Shower the people

I have something very exciting to report. (At last!) I have finished a secret project!

Some of you may remember from last summer when I got my supplies:

Mystery Projects

Let me back up a little. My sister Becky is getting married this year. (I’m still kind of in shock that we’re old enough to be getting married, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.) So in between the dress shopping and planning and excitement I realized, I have to knit something! Well, not that I have to, but more like, if there is ever a time to create a beautiful handknit that could turn into a heirloom, weddings and births are really those times. So. I picked out a pattern (the Mitered Cross Blanket [Rav link] by Kay Gardiner) and started, slowly. The great thing about this pattern is that it’s done in blocks, so it’s portable and you can do it in bits and pieces. I was able to do a square or two and then stop to make myself a new scarf, do a square, knit a friend mittens for Christmas, do a square….

Afghan squares

Until I had a pile of squares waiting to be seamed together.


This really is a delightfully clever pattern, and it was so much fun to watch it come together, like this:


The pattern originally calls for Noro Silk Garden, but as Becky and her fiance will be sharing this blanket with the Lucypuppy I figured something washable was a better bet. So I picked out a neutral color for the background (to match Lucy’s coat) in Lion Brand Wool Ease in Natural Heather, and then found five colorways of Lion Brand Amazing (Arcadia, Constellation, Mesa, Rainforest, and Roses) to use for the mitered crosses. Everything was knit on US7s, and the only notions I needed were some stitch markers and a darning needle for weaving in ends. Once everything was seamed up I went ahead and gave it a wash, hung it to dry for a day and then gave it a quick spin in the dryer on low just to get the last of the moisture out and puff everything up a bit, just in time for Becky’s bridal shower. I am very, very happy at how it came out, and I think Becky is too:

Becky and her afghan

I love this picture a lot, and not just for the blanket.

(Oh hey, now it’s time to get a move on the other secret project for the other sister. Oh boy…)


Wow, has it really been a month and a half since I last posted? Apparently so. I swear I was busy. Too busy, perhaps — my job keeps me pretty occupied. I’ve finally settled in and can devote brain space to things like knitting and designing and blogging. And..going to RHINEBECK.

I didn’t take a lot of pictures; I was too busy yakking with people and wandering around and buying ALL THE YARN. So were a lot of other people. This was the line at the Sanguine Gryphon booth:

Rhinebeck 2011

We poked fun at signs:

Rhinebeck 2011

and went to the Ravelry meetup on Saturday:

Rhinebeck 2011

We knit and spun in a brewpub in Kingston:

Rhinebeck 2011

and for the first time ever I had a knitted garment (not just an accessory) to wear this year.

Rhinebeck 2011

The fact that I seamed it at 1 am Saturday and had to get help weaving in ends on Sunday morning while I hopped in the shower is inconsequential. Achievement Rhinebeck Sweater: Unlocked.

We rented a house this year and packed it full of awesome ladies:

Rhinebeck 2011

and they were a huge part of why this weekend was so, so excellent. I am already looking forward to next year, but I supposed I should start knitting now, because. Well.

Rhinebeck Stash

I had a great time. So did my stash.

Goodnight, Irene

Hi there, internet. I’m posting which means I do, in fact, have power — unlike most of Long Island. Something like half of the households are still out following this weekend’s hurricane, so I’m feeling pretty fortunate. We had a lot of wind and rain, but now that the storm has passed it’s peaceful and everything smells fresh and clean.

We did have some pretty large trees go down in the storm:

Irene's Aftermath

like this big old one by the public library. The whole thing just came up out of the ground, roots and all. My yard got off pretty lightly in comparison:

Irene's Aftermath

We cleaned up everything today, so I decided to celebrate by having a winding party.

Winding party

It was very strange to sit outside winding yarn in such fresh-smelling air, looking at the perfectly sunny, blue sky, when it was so stormy just a day before. I’m very glad my family & neighborhood got through OK, and my heart’s going out to Vermont and the shore communities in NC and NJ that have been so decimated.

Raining, Pouring

It has been a very wet week. I spent it catsitting for friends in Queens, which meant a delightfully shortened commute, but now I am home again and catching up on everything.

I did some knitting this week, but it’s secret, so all I can show you is this:

Super Secret

3 down, 7 to go. Soon.

I also got some swag. My friend Rebecca went to Sock Summit, and she brought me back goodies!

Summit Swag

There’s some Indigo Dragonfly yarn in there, and Glenna C’s Captain Mal sock pattern (eee!), a skein of Little Red Bicycle laceweight, and some Hazel Knits miniskeins and a delightful little fingerless mitt pattern for them. I hardly know where to begin. Look at this beautiful yarn. Just look at it.

Also, I wanted to introduce you to the newest member of my family, my puppyniece Lucy!


Lucy is a schnauzer-poodle mix, 11 weeks old, and the most wiggly bundle of energy I have ever seen. This picture is a few weeks old now, and she is almost as big as her toys at this point. She will squirm her way right into your heart before you’ve known it. She and Eeyore are already fast friends:

Lucy & Eeyore

Lucy is very happy to meet you all.

Wiggly Lucy

Shawls for Smiles

So you might remember a few posts back I talked about spending the day with my friend Vhary. We went to St John the Divine and had lunch and went yarn shopping, and Vhary asked me if I would knit her something if she got herself some yarn.

Well, why not? Especially when Vhary has such good taste:


This is Malabrigo Sock in Indecita, which is really lovely. I understand now why it’s so popular. I took the yarn home with me and wound it, and picked out a pattern (Charlize by Vanessa Smith [rav link]) that seemed to meet Vhary’s requests: lots of lace, and long, almost more scarf than shawl.

I cast on on the train home from work a few days later:


and knit during commutes and on lunch break and at home:

Work in Progress

(that’s the tail end of a lunch break, with my tea and chocolate, mmm) and then Vhary emailed and said she was going to be in town for a few days last week and would I like to meet for dinner? So I quickly blocked the finished object, and wrapped it up carefully and brought it with me and gave it to her after we had a lovely tea at Alice’s.

Vhary did this:


and then she did this:

I think she likes it

and that is why I love her. Reactions like that mean I’ll knit for you any time, Vhary darling, just say the word.

So that was one of my mystery projects. I have two more that I am working on now, along with a Featherweight and socks that are kind of being ignored more often than not, and today I got more yarn for more mystery projects:

Mystery Projects

Let’s just say there are a lot of squares in my future. And thank goodness for Lion Brand’s wonderful discounts, because I walked out of there with a bag of 30 skeins(!). There is not enough time to knit all of my yarn, people. This knitting stuff is serious business.

Take Me Out

Traveling Sock celebrated Father’s Day by going to the ballpark.

Ducks Game 6.19.2011

It was a beautiful day for a game. Especially when the home team won 6-0. Sorry, Camden.

Ducks Game 6.19.2011

The Long Island Ducks are my favorite baseball team, because they are a semi-pro team that play in a reasonably-sized stadium where you can see what’s happening on the field no matter where your seat, because you will not go bankrupt buying crackerjacks, because the first base coach (Buddy Harrelson, for you Mets fans out there) will sit at a table during the fourth inning and sign autographs for kids, because half of the starting lineup is from the Island and I like supporting my community, and because the mascot is a gigantic duck.

Ducks Game 6.19.2011

Since it was Father’s Day, Quackerjack’s dad Papa jack flew up from Florida to join him (get it?) Their antics never fail to amuse.

I didn’t get much knitting done, since I was coated in sunscreen and still somehow managed to get burned in a few spots. But it was a great afternoon. I love a good ballgame.

The Return of the Traveling Sock

Traveling Sock took a little trip today. My friend Vhary has been in town this week (in advance of a move out to San Francisco for grad school) and we met up today in the city and wandered around the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, as I had never been there before and Vhary felt it necessary to rectify this.

I took some pictures, as one does.

St. John's Cathedral 5/28/11

St. John's Cathedral 5/28/11

I love grand cathedrals and churches, and I had a wonderful time wandering in all the chapels and corners with Vhary. Afterwards, she agreed to hold the Traveling Sock for me while we were walking around the grounds:

St. John's Cathedral 5/28/11

(This was supposed to be March’s socks. I’m a little behind.)

Once the heat got to be too much, we repaired to a coffee shop and had lunch and lingered over coffee and tea, and then we went to Knitty City, to look at the yarn and the colors. Now, Vhary can knit, but she doesn’t do it often. Her hobby is blues dancing, which is a horse of a slightly different color. But she fell in love with this yarn:


so she bought it, and I am going to make her a shawlette. We discussed patterns briefly. I had one of my Simple Things with me, which she liked but declared not lacy enough. She was fond of the sample Shetland Triangle[rav link] hanging up, but I’m thinking this is not a good yarn for that pattern. Anyone have suggestions, before I hit the Rav pattern database?

Yes, I bought myself yarn too. It’s Madtosh.

Madtosh Lace

You are not surprised.


I’m working on a bunch of gift knitting at the moment, but I needed a bit of a break.

So I started another project. Startitis? Me? You must be mistaking me for some other knitter.

Ishbel on the train

Say hi to my new train knitting, an Ishbel that I am making in Madtosh Merino Light celebration yarn that I bought the day my new job called to tell me I was hired. I felt like partying, and picking up a skein of yarn and discovering it was named “cameo” (which jewelry I am quite fond of) seemed like a sign. So I bought it, and am knitting it now and I just adore how it’s working up.

I’ve actually done a bit more since I took this shot on my trip home last week; I finished the stockinette portion and am into the charts now. It’s chugging along nicely and I feel refreshed and ready to retackle my gift knitting, which is exactly what I needed.

IN the meantime, my crafty mom surprised me today with these:

dream of cities

City pillowcases! When we went into the city a few months ago to check out those awesome quilt shows, we found these great city-themed fabrics in the City Quilter, my favorite quilt/fabric store in Manhattan. So we got them, and Mom made me a set of pillowcases. Yes, that second one has the subway map on it, and I love it to bits.

This deal we have of trading knitting and sewing with each other is pretty awesome. She keeps threatening to teach me to use a sewing machine, and I keep threatening to teach her to knit, but I think we’re both pretty happy with this arrangement as it stands. At least, I am! Now to see what I can offer her in trade to get her to turn my old tee-shirts into a quilt…

Catching Up

I’ve been really busy.

I started a new job, which means a new commuting route:

Commuting Knitting

So there is more train knitting.

I bought some yarn too:

Little Red Bicycle Hipster Sock

Isn’t that luscious? I’m still trying to decide what I want to do with it.

And I made my sister a shawl for her birthday:

Pinkerton Shawl

This is the Pinkerton Shawl that was on the cover of the Spring Interweave Knits. I knit it in Dream in Color Smooshy in Chinatown Apple, stretched with a little bit of DiC Baby in the same colorway. (This shawl eats yarn for breakfast. Plan accordingly.) And then I took pictures of it at my parents’ cabin in upstate New York, where my whole clan had gathered for Easter.

Pinkerton Shawl

The cabin is tiny and up on top of a hill. It has electricity and really good 3G service, but no television. There’s a wonderful porch that catches the breeze and I have visions of summer weekends knitting and looking out over the hills.

Balmoral Streamlet

We’ve dubbed the cabin “Balmoral,” in honor of the royal vacation estate. I think it’s entirely fitting.

Red and White

I did not knit today. Today, I marveled.

View from the entrance

Through a not entirely random series of events (a quilt show at FIT, stopping in to use a coupon we go there at my mom’s favorite quilt shop in the city, and a conveniently placed pamphlet at the register) my mom and I ended up at the Park Avenue Armory for the American Folk Art Museum’s exhibition Infinite Variety: Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts.

All of these quilts are from a private collection, and the owner apparently decided that she wanted to celebrate her 80th birthday by throwing herself an exhibition. Well. Rock on, Joanna S. Rose, because this is the most unique birthday party I’ve ever been to.

Looking across the drill hall

The best word I can use for this is dizzying. There’s over six hundred quilts in this exhibition and they are hung in the huge drill hall four and five high — and in the center? They spiral up in a seemingly-never-ending column. Everywhere you turn there’s a new design, a new technique, something new to admire.

This one caught my eye for the intricacy:

Cats? Unicorns?  Your guess is as good as mine.

And this one for its cross-craftual appeal:


But I think my favorite in the whole show was this one:

Redwork Flour Sack Quilt

This quilt was made of squares cut from flour sacks, with the flour company designs embroidered in red. It’s such a perfect example of the idea of folk art, taking the ordinary everyday objects in life and making something beautiful and even breathtaking out of them. I stood next to this one for a long time just enjoying all of the fine details and contrasting logos.

The only negative thing? This exhibit is only open until March 30th. If you’re in New York this week, you should definitely catch it! It’s even free, so there’s no excuse to miss it. I promise you won’t be disappointed.