Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Tale of Two Linens

Sandalwood is growing.

Unfortunately, I am afraid that she is not growing quite enough. I've tried her on and she seems fairly drapey, but is she drapey enough to make me feel not quite like a sausage when I wear her? Only time will tell. I'm not ripping at this point so if she's too tight, I'll either have to lose five pounds or give her to a friend. Let's wait for the final installment before making any rash decisions.

Also, this here is another lover-ly linen sweater:

This was not knit by me or any other human being. It's a machine knit linen cardi my mother bought for me last summer. It was the most wonderful linen cardi ever until this happened:

BOOOOOOOO. That's all that can be said. I have no idea how this occurred and if I ever find the culprit (probably a sharp piece of jewelry on me or some other person), I will be very mad at the inanimate object and give it a real talking to.

I'd fix it myself, but...where in the world am I to find laceweight linen?

I've compared to my fingering weight yarns and this stuff is much finer. I wonder if Habu would have laceweight linen in a similar sage color.

Also, I had to buy this book this week:

Yep, it's a book called Sway. It's about the Rolling Stones and Charles Manson. Haven't read it yet, but it's a must since he named the book after meeeeee.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Scattergories & Stashbusting

There are periods in my life when my brain just cannot stay focused. This is one of those times. I've been sweeping out my room and trying to sweep out the dusty corners of my head, but I seem to be making little progress.

I think I've figured out why I have such bad luck with dates. I'm always looking for things that sweep me off my feet in a wave of emotion. I like rushes. I'm a seeker of immediate immersion. Unfortunately, this means that I don't have the patience to stick with something through the slow opening stages. I often read ten pages of a book and put it down for months or knit up half a front of a sweater and put it down for months. Also why I will go on a date and decide within fifteen minutes that I do not want to be there and there is no way on earth that I could ever end up in a meaningful relationship with this person.

This is the play-by-play in my head on a typical date:

Hmmm. I suppose you're empirically attractive, but why have you not shaved? I know you're all artsy and angsty, but that doesn't mean you have to sport perpetual five o'clock shadow, does it? You seem reasonably intelligent. Wait, why are you bringing up your fight with your sister on a first date? Doesn't bode well for my confidence in your ability to keep confidences. At least you're not a picky eater. I hate picky eaters...and now you're pushing all the carrots on your plate into a little bunch and not eating them. Yes, let's move on to movies. You don't like Back to the Future? What?? I'm just beginning to think that men with chest hair should really button that top button. Yes, that unbuttoned button is really starting to distract me. I need another glass of wine. Wiiiine, where are youuuuuu???? Maybe you're funnier when I'm tipsy. Let's try that. Nope. Why has my best friend not texted me about later plans? I may have to enter a convent. My cheeks hurt from forcing myself to smile. God, I am going to grow old and alone and live in a rickety Victorian mansion with only cats for company. I will be surrounded by mountains of stash and pull a Miss Havisham and wear a moldy vintage wedding gown and really mess up a little girl's life by poisoning her mind against evil, evil men.

Whew. Basically at this point in the night, I've decided this will never work. I'd rather read a book. Or knit a sock. Sad little single socks, that is.

Look at them, all alone in the world without a partner. But they are amongst friends, no?

I've also been distracted by more projects. I am a project ho. Fo sho.

It's Ysolda's Rose Red Beret pattern, but I'm making it in an electric purple for a friend. She says it's her favorite color. It's quite electric.

And I was looking through my stash and decided this wonderful Louet MerLin Tristan needed to be knit. It was crying because I'd ignored it for so long.

It's the very humble beginnings of a Gathered Pullover. I never really thought about this pattern until I saw Eunny's (Ravelry link). She used this same yarn and I suddenly knew that I must knit this sweater. It's so beautiful but in a streamlined, subdued kind of way.

The yarn is simply elegant in terms of structure and drape. This pattern calls for a sportweight yarn on a slightly larger-than-normal needle. I got gauge on a US 8. It's perfect for my wandering mind right now.

Look at the little purl bumps. The plies are so pretty. I am trying to think of dating like I think of this project. I thought I knew what I would do with the yarn (Linen Kilt from Knit 2 Together) but ignored its potential and simply let it sit in the stash for almost a year. All at once, an external trigger launched a closer look at the simple beauty of the yarn and I felt that immediate rush. So one day, maybe I will realize that both Mr. Wrong and I deserve a second chance. Here's to wishing.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Lace is All Around Us

I once sat next to a girl in grade school and saw her write down in the margin of her notebook, "I want a dimen necklace." I couldn't find that word in the dictionary and it took me two weeks to realize that it was just the most unusual spelling error I'd ever seen (up until that point). I seriously thought for those two weeks that maybe a "dimen" was some kind of obscure gem that I hadn't heard of.

Speaking of dimens, my Irish Cream diamonds are expanding...

I'm pretty sure this lusciously soft shawl will go to my mother. If she chooses to be unselfish, she can give it to one of her sisters since they all complain that my mom is the only one who got a daughter who knits.

I was unsure of the match between variegated yarn and lace, but I like this project a whole heaping bunch.

Besides a lot of swatches and lonely single socks, I've also got a non-variegated lace project on the needles.

It's the North Sea Shawl from Folk Shawls. It's going pretty quickly and it's for a friend's mom who has been kind to me. The yarn is Jaggerspun Zephyr and it's also my first time working with this stuff. It's a great weight and feels just beautiful. I think I'll skip the middle panel and just use this stitch pattern for the whole bit. The color is actually a maroon and I am not good enough with Photoshop to alter colors yet. Durn. But at least I'm reacquainting myself with lace, which bodes well for the hot summer days ahead.

And some belated thick house socks for Mum:

The main yarn is Artyarns Ultramerino 8 with Karabella Merino Superwash for the toes, heels, and cuffs. I was supposed to make my dad a pair as well, but I need more yarn. But the Artyarns Ultramerino is so squishy that now I'm lusting after a sweater in it.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Friday Eye Candy

This is what my books tend to look like if I'm using them for work:

Can I just say that those little Post-It flags are the best things ever? I flag and highlight everything I need to remember and then go back after I'm done for a marathon session of writing those things down on individual post cards that I file away in their respective boxes. I am not always OCD, but I do have my moments.

The other day, it was gorgeous out and I took a walk. They're doing construction in Washington Square Park.

You see that red brick building to the right? Yeah, that one? Now, if you've seen I am Legend, then you know what building that is. Yep. That one.

Then I had to take a photo of this because I am curious like a cat:

Now, how do people get up there and graffiti the very tippy-top of buildings??? Is graffiti worth risking life and limb?

Also, the trees...they are a-blossoming.

Monday, April 14, 2008

InStash Gratification

I dunno what's come over me. I keep buying yarn. My only excuse is that I had a good month freelancing. Freelancing means not being able to count on the same amount of income at any given month so I took advantage of the fat times to tide me over in the lean ones. But I have to stop now if I really want to make my trip to Paris this summer.

The other excuse is that I got a good bargain on this here pile:

It's a whopping seven skeins of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted Multi in Aslan. Leanna (Ravelry link) destashed this little treasure trove for a ridiculously low price and I decided I would be nice enough to take it off her hands. It's luscious, this stuff. The color is beautiful and I've no clue what to make with it, but I'll keep myself occupied by knitting up a swatch:

It's got a teeny tint of olive thrown into the mix and the browns range from pinky beige to sable. I am going to have so much fun trying to figure out what to knit.

Now, there's some more brown yarn I just acquired:

I didn't mean to take the "Earth" portion of Project Spectrum so seriously. But I've been meaning to design a sweater for my dad that resembles one my mother knit for him when they were dating. I decided this color of Sheep Shop Three would be perfect since he's very fussy about itchy/overly warm sweaters. This is another seven skeins:

There is something about these oodles of yarn that reminds me of all the mischievous noodles enveloping the whole town in Strega Nona.
I loved Tomie dePaola when I was a little kid and this was my favorite of his books.

In other, more grown-up reading news, I finished that BTK book. I am now officially taking a break from reading more serial killer books. I'll probably have to refer back to the ones I've read so far as I keep writing, but no more new ones for a while. I've started to get to that point where I think a night light might be useful.

Friday, April 11, 2008

FOs: Adventures in Beret Knitting

There are again birthdays galore 'round these here parts. I have no idea why, but most of my friends seem to have been born in April.

Eliza's birthday was Wed. and I wanted to give her a quick but pretty hat. Enter a random skein of Mountain Colors and a wonderfully adjustable beret pattern!

Eliza's Birthday Beret
Yarn: Mountain Colors New 3-ply Wool in "Glacier Teal"
Needles: US 9 DPNs and 24" circular
Pattern: Through the Loops! Beret Recipe (see above link)

It's a wonderful yarn, Mountain Colors. It was just terrifically yummy to knit with and I've decided that some sort of scarf is in order next fall. The pattern is also lovely. It's super easy, super quick and really delivers a great beret shape. You can make it with whatever yarn and needles you want. The 3-ply Wool needs a bigger needle, but I only had the US 9s available. I figured it would block out drapier. I was right. It's a bit bigger than I thought it would be, but it's still warm and slouchy.

I also fiddled around to make this:

Pink Hemlock Tam
Yarn: Loop-d-Loop by Teva Durham Moss
Needles: US 3 DPNs and 24" circulars
Pattern: Fudged from the Hemlock Doily pattern made famous by BrooklynTweed's Hemlock Ring Blanket

Basically, after seeing everyone's gorgeous renditions of these blankets, I was jealous. Mostly because I knew I had no use for such a blanket, but it was so pretty that I wanted one anyway. I've been really interested in the center-out construction of berets lately (I can blame Ysolda for that). When this pattern wouldn't get out of my head, I wondered what else I could make. It finally hit me that since the pattern is from the center out, I could just knit out until about 8" in diameter and try to decrease appropriately to create the slouchy and brim sections.

In the end, I'm 80% satisfied. I don't think I knit it to be slouchy enough. I think I'll try fiddling with the numbers again and incorporating less even decreases for the beret part but more decreases right before the brim. Another idea is to knit it without the feather and fan part and just stockinette instead with YOs only outlining the Hemlock pattern. Argh, dunno yet. You know how Comedy Central's election coverage is called "Indecision 2008"? My life is Indecision Central.

Regarding the Moss, I'm not such a huge fan of it. It's soft enough in the ball, but working with it is weird because of the nylon content. When I blocked it, the wet fabric just felt gross and squeaky. It's terribly good yardage, however. I made the whole hat with one ball. And the colors are lovely. I doubt I'd use it for a sweater, but it probably serves well for items that require durable yarn.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

In Which I Am Bad

I have not finished the pair for the Veronik socks. And yet I cast on for another pair. I am bad.

But it fits so well with Project Spectrum! It's Koigu! OK, I am still bad. But in a good way.

These are green movies. I only own movies that I love, so there are no negative DVD reviews to be had from me. Amelie was one of those movies that I went to see three times in the theater because I loved it so much. I wept a lot. Not just cried; wept. Mostly because I was going through a tough time and it just renewed my faith in beauty. Little Women is still surprisingly good. I thought I'd outgrow it, but that was a foolish thought. How could I outgrow a movie in which a tomboy singes her sister's hair off? Ghost World is just delightful. I especially love the whole "found art" scene. If you have a chance to read the comics, do it. I wouldn't have except my brother is a huge fan of Daniel Clowes and had a bunch of them. Last but not least, I Capture the Castle is one of those rare incidences when I love the movie as much as I love the book. Both are stupendous. Read/watch!

I just realized that chocolate fits in with this round of PS.

At least, that's my excuse. Muahahahahaha.

And I took a photo of the sky behind my parents' house last weekend.

Isn't it marvelous?

Saturday, April 5, 2008


So Project Spectrum is all about Earth. I am visiting mis padres for the weekend in NJ and scoured the house for green, brown, and metallics.

Here are some that are green:

The top two are pretty self-explanatory. I loved them when I read them as a child and I will love them until I die. Henry Green is such an under-read writer and Loving is excellent at portraying the daily goings-on of a "family" of servants. The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea is one of my all-time favorite books. Yukio Mishima was deeply disturbed (as evidenced by his rabid obsession with weightlifting and eventual death by ritual suicide), but his books are intense and moving and ask big questions about how violence intertwines with beauty and sexuality.

Here are some that are brown:

Again, several are self-explanatory. As much as I get annoyed sometimes at Sylvia Plath's "I have it so hard because no one understands what it is to be beautiful and talented" tone, I still think The Bell Jar and much of her poetry demonstrate that she was one of the strongest women's voices in literature, ever. The Talented Mr. Ripley was turned into a pretty good movie, but the book is far more intense. I heart Patricia Highsmith. The Great Arizona Orphan Abduction is a fascinating history book about what happened to a group of Irish Catholic orphans around the turn of the century. In New York, where the Irish were looked upon with disdain, no "white" families wanted Irish orphans so they were sent to Mexican Catholic families in Arizona. In Arizona, however, where Mexicans were looked upon with disdain, the white families took away the "white" children from the Mexicans and threatened to lynch the local priest. It's an incredibly crazy look at how relative our definitions of race really are.

Here are some other earthy things:

A tiny potted cactus.

Moss growing in a pot my mother left out on the deck all winter.

Eight silver pear-shaped salt and pepper shakers. Can't figure out why my mother has eight.

Our faithful upright piano. He's been with us since I was in middle school.

A whorled knot in our deck.

Earth-inspired knitting:

I bought some Great Adirondack Sirino the other day because I am in loooooove with this color. It's Irish Cream. I want to buy some Bailey's so I can engage in some tipsy knitting. I'm going to turn this into "Diamonds and Triangles" from Victorian Lace Today.

Also, here is an ancient FO:

This was basically my first serious knitting project. Clapotis. In 2006, I bought 7 balls of Rowan Tapestry from a yarn store that I have since stopped patronizing because of meanness. It cost about $60 and I had a minor heart attack because I was spending that much money on yarn. Ha. If only I had known it was the beginning of a downward spiral of yarn spending. I made this and gave it to my mother, but only used 5 of the 7 balls. It's not as wide or long as I had planned, but the yarn has worn surprisingly well. My mom loves it, but she deserves one that she can wear more comfortably without pulling. I'm going to buy some more Tapestry and make her another one.

In closing, I realized I have just been tagged by both KnitWit and Vorare for blog awards. I am really bad with computers and it took me this long to notice what was going on. Thank you both for the kudos!

Here's my list of blogs that make me happy/blogs that are excellent:

Ask a Korean! - This guy is hysterical. I'm Korean and it's always wonderful to have someone explain it all so that others can figure out the difference between what's culture and what's stereotype. I also love people who are unapologetic about referring to themselves in the third person.

- Her cats are the cutest I have ever seen. The cutest. She provides drink recipes. Me like. I am jealous of her beautiful house.

Elliphantom - I love the photos and their captions on this site. It was one of the first ones I started reading and it makes me feel nostalgic for when I thought I could never knit the "hard" things.

Fluffbuff - Francesca's knitting is beautiful, but I also love that she's following her heart and starting up a whole 'nother blog about cooking and culinary school. I'll be reading and wishing I could be eating.

HeyOkay - This site is just funny. Weird, hysterical photos. There's also one in the archives of a rastafari crocheting something large on the subway while wearing an entire crocheted outfit. Crazy.

Knitting on Impulse - This site is pretty and I love her jewelry designs.

LollyKnitting Around - Lolly is also one of the first blogs I started reading. I love her photos, her nature walks, and Project Spectrum.

NiñaBomba - This is the cutest website and her knitting is fabulous. I also love that it's in both English and Spanish so I can practice reading Spanish and keep myself from getting too rusty.

- Again, gorgeous photos. Before I knew that knitters and knitbloggers were mostly friendly people, I wrote her an email to ask her a question about a certain yarn. I was scared b/c I'm pretty shy and didn't think she'd respond to li'l ol' me. But she did and was so nice that I realized I was being a scaredy cat for no reason. Her knitting and recipes are wonderful.

Tiennie Knits - Tiennie is the sweetest. Her children are wonderful sock models. Her knitting is gorgeous. I love reading her blog.