Knit 2 Par 3

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Wool and Water in Brooklyn

It was a rainy rainy day Saturday and the laundry pile was in danger of avalanche. Worried that the Board of Health would be stopping by any minute to arrest me for my continued neglect of the housework, I skipped out the front door and hopped on the train to Brooklyn General.

Unlike most everyone I know, I never lived in Brooklyn. I don't quite have the lay of the land there, and I always feel a little like Alice making her way through a familiarly unfamiliar landscape. I wonder how that story would have turned out if Alice had a GPS on her Crackberry like me?

Imagine my surprise when I shook out my umbrella and opened the door at Brooklyn General, and found myself in the "Wool and Water" chapter from Through the Looking Glass:

"Was she in a shop? And was that really -- was it really a sheep that was sitting on the other side of the counter? Rub as she would, she could make nothing more of it: she was in a little dark shop, leaning with her elbows on the counter, and opposite to her was an old Sheep, sitting in an arm-chair, knitting, and every now and then leaving off to look at her through a great pair of spectacles.

`What is it you want to buy?' the Sheep said at last, looking up for a moment from her knitting.

`I don't quite know yet,' Alice said very gently. `I should like to look all round me first, if I might.'

`You may look in front of you, and on both sides, if you like,' said the Sheep; `but you ca'n't look all round you -- unless you've got eyes at the back of your head.'

But these, as it happened, Alice had not got: so she contented herself with turning round, looking at the shelves as she came to them.

The shop seemed to be full of all manner of curious things -- but the oddest part of it all was that, whenever she looked hard at any shelf, to make out exactly what it had on it, that particular shelf was always quite, empty, though the others round it were crowded as full as they could hold.

`Things flow about so here!' she said at last in a plaintive tone, after she had spent a minute or so in vainly pursuing a large bright thing that looked sometimes like a doll and sometimes like a work-box, and was always in the shelf next above the one she was looking at. `And this one is the most provoking of all -- but I'll tell you what --' she added, as a sudden thought struck her. `I'll follow it up to the very top shelf of all. It'll puzzle it to go through the ceiling, I expect!'

But even this plan failed: the `thing' went through the ceiling as quietly as possible, as if it were quite used to it.

`Are you a child or a teetotum?' the Sheep said, as she took up another pair of needles. `You'll make me giddy soon, if you go on turning round like that.' She was now working with fourteen pairs at once, and Alice couldn't help looking at her in great astonishment.

`How can she knit with so many?' the puzzled child thought to herself. `She gets more and more like a porcupine every minute!'

`Can you row?' the Sheep asked, handing her a pair of knitting-needles as she spoke.

`Yes, a little -- but not on land -- and not with needles --' Alice was beginning to say, when suddenly the needles turned into oars in her hands, and she found they were in a little boat, gliding along between banks: so there was nothing for it but to do her best."

I came to in the PATH station with a lot of yarn! And some ribbon! And buttons! And my Crackberry had run out of batteries! And I couldn't tell you how to get there again if my life depended on it, but I suggest you crawl down your own rabbit hole and find out.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Knit 2 Strike 3: Yer Out!

I woke up with that warm, fuzzy feeling I always get at the end of baseball season. While there are several more games to go, the Yanks are out of the running for the Whirled Series and family life resumes here in the Little House in the Mile Square City.

But the Yankees did not play their best this year, and mi marido y niƱa were despondent for many weeks at a time. Isn't that a polite way to put it? I sincerely believe that Yankee Captain Derek Jeter reads this blog, and I don't want him to be offended.

There's always next year.

I wonder if this guy, who sat in front of us at a game, has taken a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to his head in despair:

On the knitting front, the chilly snap in the air gives me permission to cast on projects like crazy. Pretty soon people are going to need mittens (and one girl is going to need me to finish up the left mitty on this project or else she will just have to keep one hand in her pocket). People are going to need hats, and scarves, and shrugs and vests.

I may have to buy more yarn.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Who'da Thunk It?

Today was filled with things I'd never have imagined happening. First, the USA won the Ryder Cup. I thought the last time the US team won was "never" but the actual last time was about 10 years ago. In Golf Time, which is much slower than regular people's time, ten years is just like yesterday, but still, that's a long time to go without winning.

I also finished up a few knitting projects in anticipation of several dozen new things I want to start, like right now. Here is Emily modeling the Ribbed Lace Bolero knitted up in Lion Brand Cotton Ease, of all things.

Yarn snob that I am, I can't believe I knitted anything using Lion Brand. Discerning knitters will see that this crap really can't hold up to the lace pattern but it was a quick knit and very inexpensive and of course, it looks fab on Em.

But I was really surprised to find myself, still on the couch long after golf was over, watching - a western and knitting a dishcloth. Granted, it was a western staring Johnny Depp, but a western nonetheless. And as for the dishcloth, I needed a little gift for someone in my office moving to a new apartment.

We are all making it up as we go along, I've heard tell, so I guess it behooves us to never say never.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Now this is bliss.

I could hardly wait for the factory whistle to blow and signal the end of the work day so I could rush out and buy my very own copy of the Mason-Dixon girls new book.

Now these girls deserve a book. I like them so much I paid full price for this book, which now that I think about it, is about the same cost as the yarn you'd need for a few of the sweaters in the book. Although they are usually pretty keen on cables there were only a few of them lurking around on these pages. Manageable! Their sweater coats are just the things I needed to bring my Ravelry queue up to 300 projects.

If you spring for a copy, or if you just want to borrow mine and spend your skrilla on the yarn, you'll enjoy reading right through page 110. Then you get into the chapter on Knitted Things, and some of these things are worse than cozies: they are dishcloths. If you are keeping a list, these are a few of my most unfavorite things: Knitted cozies. Knitted dishcloths. Westerns.

I remembered that last year, towards the end of my unemployed days and when I was feeling pretty depraved I did knit two dish cloths, probably while I was watching a western. John uses them just about every day so in a funny way, they get more wear than a lot of the things I knit.

There are quite a few housework and home/holiday items, and I think a picture of a dressed up dog, so I'd recommend that you just paper clip that chapter together and not worry your knitty little head about it.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Not Really My Bliss, but...

You'd think I'd be right on top of something like this, a new magazine entirely devoted to one knitwear designer. I probably like Debbie Bliss less than most knitters, because of the endless endless endless cables in her patterns. For you golfers, cables are like putts. You have to have some skill in doing them to get through the game, and like the dream of a two putt shot, there are always many more than you bargained for.

There is also the problem of the cozies.

As a Brit she probably has to include some cozies, but I draw the line at the egg cozies that go right on the egg and get served on the table. It's bad enough that people knit cozies for appliances but there is no excuse for knitting little hats for food. If I had my own magazine, I'd put some cozy patterns in there for hot dogs, or maybe pork chops, see how you like that huh.

But some of the sweaters, cables and all, are pretty fab and I am thinking about rethinking my dislike of cables. I mean maybe one or two cables could be nice.

Even though I have this here blog, I wish someone would make a knitting 'zine about my life. Looking at her Letter to the Editor picture, I see I have exactly the same kind of hair as Debbie Bliss, and I have a similarly ill fitting teenaged name. My knitting magazine would have absolutely no cozy patterns, and I'd keep cable-osity to the minimum. I'd have horoscopes, and a political column, and maybe one of those "short stories" like in the back of Bust magazine - but yarn related. And a little travel column too.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

One Door Closes, Another Door Opens

I was very sad to learn that my local golf store is going out of business. Where will people go to buy their golf toilet paper, golf business card holders and most importantly, hot dog and cigar holders? I took advantage of their misery and bought myself yet another new pair of golf shoes. That makes three pairs of golf shoes for me, and I doubt that Imelda Marcos herself had that many pairs of golf shoes.

And I was very glad to learn that a new yarn store opened in neighboring Chilltown. A knit cafe, with nice baked goods and an outside seating area. I was so excited to head over there on Saturday morning that I left the house with my shirt on inside out. The yarn selection was what I'd call Hats-Scarves-Mittens, generous skeins at reasonable prices for small pieces. It was a little disconcerting to realize that my stash probably exceeded the store's stock, but that didn't stop me from picking up some nice Misti Alpaca cotton silk.

I spent the rest of the weekend "organizing"my Ravelry queue using their new and diabolical sorting and tagging tool. This provided hours and hours of hand cramping entertainment and housework avoidance opportunity. I tell you, if Bob asked subscribers for a penny for every hour we spent cruising that thing, well, he'd have many pennies.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Real Christian

With all this political talk about Christians, I was glad to see my favorite Christian- however briefly - on Project Runway last night. The PR hens in my office led me to believe that he would be playing a larger part, and in fact, I think one of them told me the challenge was hand knitted couture millinery and that Christian was the guest judge.

But in retrospect, maybe he was yanking my skein.

Monday, September 08, 2008

In Case You Are Among the 14% of Undecided Americans

All anyone has to do is mention the name Sarah Palin to me and every thought in my head comes to a grinding halt. How is it that 14% of voters are undecided about whom to vote for? Today I learned Palin doesn't even play golf. And that's good for America, I guess, because she can use those five hours that's she's not playing golf on Saturday to figure out the VP job description.

Happily, Obama plays golf, but even I can see he needs to keep his head down on the swing. And use his hips! And keep that left arm straight. And relax and have fun!

Friday, September 05, 2008


I want to knit some of the things I saw on vacation. Being here made me want to knit a happy cotton sweater:

And a green blanket:

And something crocheted. This is some kind of threshing machine or maybe a space alien wtih many eyes.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

More about the Blueberry Festival

I mentioned it in one of those last posts, but I have more to say about the Blueberry Festival. It took a lot of driving to get there, and it was the farthest north I've every been in Maine.

Because we can't go more than 2 hours without a giant meal when in Maine, we stopped at this nice place in Bath but unbelievably, we did not stop at Halcyon Yarns down the street. Others on the trip might use different descriptive words besides "unbelievably", such as "miraculously" or "thankfully" but I just wasn't in the yarn buying mode this vacation.

This was a 4-H fair and being a city person I have limited experience with that kind of activity. Many of the youts displaying their animals were hoping to sell them at the end of the fair, presumably to someone who would make food out of them. I guess that's just like spending a whole month knitting something and giving it away, so I could relate. But I hope none of you are eating the knitting.

Some of the 4-H clubs had beautiful displays of produce, jams, knitted mittens and quilts. In this one please note how the string beans are all labeled. This was a real labor of love.

These cows (I think the brand name for them is "Oreo Cows") had more hairdressers and make up artists than the Tresemme Hair and Makeup Salon on Project Runway. They were getting brushed and hosed off and some were getting black spray paint on their butt, I guess to make their butts look better or smaller. I know it works for me!

Well there was a lot more to see and do that day. There was a sad sack band doing ZZ Top covers, that's always a good thing. There were many blueberry things to eat. There was a lot of religion, too, something for every denomination, even the vacuum cleaner worshipers among us.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Home Again Home Again

Well, we are really and truly back from vacation. The drive back from Maine allowed us to wallow in 6 uninterrupted hours of classic rock/70's disco on the radio, highlighted by a death defying air guitar rendition of Foxy Lady by the driver. The fun was a little subdued by the plaintive bleating voices of the teens in the back seat, asking why do we have to listen to this crap and how come you know all the words to a song like that?

I really did a lot of knitting these last two weeks, but only on one project: the constant reworking of some kind of sweater for me using the Taiyo yarn I bought in the spring. This summbitch is in its third reincarnation: it started out as a Minimalist Cardigan, and that just looked bad on me. The second go round I tried Mr. Greenjeans, but I neglected to swatch. Need I say more? Now it's a cardigan based on this cute thing, and although I am working from a picture and no pattern, and using an entirely different stitch, I think I nailed it this time.

My one very favorite thing to do in Maine is to take a little walk with Emily and recite Lewis Carroll's The Walrus and the Carpenter. This unfortunate tale has left me unable to eat oysters, largely because I always think of this line when I see them on a menu: "but four young oysters hurried up, all eager for the treat/their clothes were brushed, their faces washed/ their shoes were clean and neat/ And this was odd, because you know/they don't have any feet".

I couldn't drag Em out of bed earlier enough for a walk and a poem, and I didn't get a chance to do it during this vacation. But I'm going to do it now.