Originally uploaded by Needleworks, Inc..
Happy holidays to you and yours.
We chose not to bake cookies this year at The Works. Instead I took a page from Orangette and made some chocolates. The easiest thing in the world to make. Also, I can make it while I do other stuff. Love that.
I had to make two batches because me and Master P couldn't resist eating a lot of it on our own. One had dried cranberries, raisins, hazelnuts and almonds. One had dried cranberries, currants, hazelnuts and pistachos.
The holiday knitting is 90% done! I'm gonna finish it tonight after wrapping presents and while watching Season 4 of Angel on DVD. Whoo!
(Does anyone subscribe to Daily Candy? Did you catch the blatant reference to D*** In a Box from last week's SNL? So FUNNY!)
This is my new favorite necklace, from Erica Weiner, which I found at Artists and Fleas in Brooklyn. All of her designs are made from found objects and inspired by nature. I love her because she told me it was a great piece for layering, say, with a sting of pearls - just how I would love to wear it.
If you could see more, you would see my Killer Zombie Moose t-shirt, which is really just an image of a moose skeleton. It was from recovered stock of shirts from a silk screening factory from the 80's and a gift from The Urban Natrualist.
Tonight was spent frantically knitting Christmas gift and making some very simple candy. More on that later....
This is my cute tree skirt and my super cute silver tinsel tree. My mom bought it for me at an post holiday sale at West Elm. It was originally almost $70 and we got it for, like, $5! Yay!
The skirt is just pink felt cut into the shape of my coffee table and the little circles are the bottom of my can of Cafe Bustello. I sewed on a few ribbons to tie it in the back and, voila, tree skirt!
Over the weekend, I was talking to my mom, who is the orignial Crafty, Make-Everything-By-Hand Lady, about all the holiday projects I still have to finish and she said, and I quote, "Be careful. The crafts will kill you."
I'm gonna put that on a t-shirt.
I hope everyone takes a moment this season to honor tradition and get in the spirit. I spent a lovely afternoon with the cool women in my family, baking cookies. I didn't take the time to come home last Christmas and bake with my family. This year I was reminded of just how important and, well, fun it is.
I started this blog when I entered the knitting community. Not a month after taking a job at a knitting store, I realized there was an entire universe out there where people who were just like me existed.
See, my whole life I never had a friend who liked to sew or knit or paint flowers on recyled chinese take out containers or decoupage old chairs that they found on the curb. The friends I had, I suspect, thought I was a little weird and wondered why I spent time trying to make a dress when I could just go out and buy one.
But then I heard that one of my customers had a blog. "What exacty is a blog?" I wondered. And then I saw one. And another. And another. I fell into a whole world of people who decoupage chairs and who look at things and, more often than not, think, "I can make that," rather than, "I will buy that."
So, before I even knit, I sewed. Not that I'm an expert, but my mom always sewed and it was the first thing I learned how to do. Way before knitting. And I've been making handbags for people for, oh, maybe 8 years or so.
And so last weekend I went to the craft fair where I sell my handbags every year. (You may remember seeing this fabric before.) I thought I'd give you a little peek.
After this weekend, I intend to update my etsy shop. It's been up for a while but I've kept it under wraps because I wasn't 100% thrilled with my "inventory", but I'll update the most recent bags (which I am happy with and which I think are kind of cute) and then it'll be all up and running.
I've read countless other blog entries like the one I'm about to write. From bloggers who are tired of blogging, struggling with blogging. I mean, honestly, isn't this something I chose to do because it was fun? Do I now feel obligated? Not really obligated, but a little tired.
Oh, I've been busy, that's for sure. Look at the bags I've knit - all waiting to be felted. And I've been doing a lot of pattern-writing and picture-taking for the store, but I don't really want to share those pictures here at Needleworks, Inc. (You can go see them at the store if you like, in the form of many house patterns.) So it's not as though I've become less productive, just less enthusiatic about sharing every last detail of what I do.
I mean, really. Who cares what I thought about the new James Bod film? (It was awesome.) Or what I ate for breakfast? (Left over cranberry apple crumble with vanilla ice cream. Yes, ice cream for breakfast.) Am I breaking any amazing crafting ground by sharing that with you? How much does my opinion really matter?
Not to get all Angry Blogger on you - I'm not. I'm just saying, I can't share just for sharing's sake. I wish I could share with you something that I'm really excited about (a new knitting venture), but it's kind of top secret. Now that's no fun, is it?
Then there's all the gift knitting I'm doing - I can't share that. Not that my 19 year old brother reads my blog, but I'm a big believer in the idea that presents should be surprises. Ok?
So I miss being out there in the blogisphere. Maybe I should find other things to share. I'll figure it out eventually, I'm sure. See you soon.
Not me. Nope.
I found this fabric at an amazing thrift store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn on North 6th Street. It's about 1.5 yards of fabric. I'm considering making it into a series of bags for the craft fair I have coming up in Decemeber.
I've been knitting and re-knitting the same sample for the store for the last week. I am very bored with it. I'm also completely bored with the Mystery Sweater. Yawn.
(Oh and at this same thrift store, Mater P found a mint condition Burberry trench coat for $75. I mean, I'm still reeling at the luck he had. It's never been worn - there are still replacement buttons in the pocket - and it had a button-in wool lining. For $75! We looked it up online and a new one costs about $1,500. You do the math. Sheesh. What luck!)
There's no knitting here. I have nothing to show for the last couple of weeks except some pattern pieces I've cut out. Aren't they pretty?
I'm not done with the Mystery Sweater yet. I have about 1/3 of the final sleeve knit and I'm slaving away today, hoping to finish it .
I've been knitting other items, but they're also secret. Mostly because they are Christmas presents or items for the store.
Maybe next Sunday I'll have a photo shoot with Master P and the Mystery Sweater. Stay tuned!
I seriously can't believe how long I've been knitting this sweater. This is probably the longest it has taken me to knit anything! No kidding.
I haven't had much to blog about because I've mainly been slaving away at this little baby. I finished one sleeve on Friday night and sewed the buttons on yesterday so I could see what it was going to look like. I didn't want to do both sleeves and then realize that I hated it.
But, look! It's cute! I'm so happy! I knit the sleeve as I did the body to about the elbow and then did one round of decreases, every other stitch. Then I switched to the size 3 needle I was using for the ribbing on the body and knit away in a 3x3 rib. The result is a slightly pufffy cap with a very tight sleeve. Super cute!
I knit the sleeves using two circular needles and I have to say that I kind of liked it. It's the first time I've used this method on a item that wasn't a sock and I think it worked really well. Because of the construction of the garment, it's very unwieldy and didn't want to deal with double pointed needles.
Now I know not everyone goes in for the 2 circular needle deal, but if you are crazy enough (ahem) to have multiple needles laying around, you should go for it. I feel like it made this particular garment a lot more portable.
Now, I just have to finish the second sleeve! Hopefully we will have a photo shoot next weekend.
I've reached a real turning point with They Mystery Sweater, where I know have a fully realized vision of what she will be.
Before now, I was making it up as I knit, changing my mind often and re-knitting frequently.
I know now, for example, that these lovely white buttons will play an integral part. Stay tuned.
The beads are jade and were purchased at this really cool import store in DUMBO. John B, Master P and I took a little field trip earlier this week and stumbled into this shop. I couldn't tell you where it was, though I may be able to find it again. Perhaps. I really want to go back and buy a couple of these really cool pieces of coral.
Now I don't know the first thing about jewelry making or beading, but I had to have these. I really want to make them into a necklace, but don't know where to begin. Can anyone give me some advice on where to shop, what to do, etc.? Help! I'm lost!
One of my favorite places in all of New York City is the American Folk Art Museum's gift shop. I volunteer there on Friday nights and hardly a Friday goes by that I don't walk away with some little treasure fromt he shop.
This is a puzzle. It's a block of wood that was carved into eleven peices of furniture. Each one is a little "off" so they really only fit together one way.
They're tucked away on my dresser with my piggy bank and Master P's typewriters. Aren't they cute?
What's that? You were really sad because I said I would show you pictuers of my felted bag yesterday and I didn't? Then I showed you some lame picture of myself wearing a corduroy blazer?
I'm sorry. I promise to never disappoint you again.
I've started this felted bag series and this is #2 of 5 bags. They're very loosely based on a pattern from Magknits from a while back.
This yarn is Pierrot Print from Madil. It's a beautiful, multi-colored, thick and thin wool that comes in 200g hanks!
The green and yellow bag I think will have a handle made from ribbon or fabric threaded through some grommets. I have to wait and see.
In other news, I finished the body ribbing on the Mystery Sweater and now only have to do the sleeves!
Remember a while back when I posted about thrift shopping in NJ? Well, I finally got to wear my spiffy corduroy jacket this weekend. On the lapel, my mom's walnut shell brooch.
Master P snapped this shot of my second-hand loot outside of Old Town after a late lunch of burgers and beers on Sunday afternoon. It was such a lovely day that we wandered all over the city, window shopping, and even got to check out the Chelsea flea market.
What a lovely weekend!
This is it, folks. Tin cans covered in felt. You're not gonna see much more than this for a little while longer.
If I didn't have such an aversion to progress shots, you'd be able to see the Mystery Sweater that I've been working on. I'm finishing her with about 7 inches of 3x3 ribbing on size 3 needles so it isn't going to fast. I still have the sleeves to do yet.
I started a series of felted bags for a craft fair that I go to every year. They're not so exciting. I'll maybe show you a pic tomorrow.
Oh, and the Jaywalker sock remains unfinished. It's lanquishing in its unfinishedness.
I'm also knitting a series of samples for the store, which are seriously cramping my style. You can see picks of them later here.
Boy, yesterday's post looks like real junk, huh? I'm still mastering this multiple photo's thing. My internet connection at The Works is too slow to even allow it, so I posted from work, after hours, and I guess I was just too tired to get it to look right.
This is a pcture of my Jaywalker sock in Boston. It was only approriate that I brought the Jaywalkers with me. I had a nice, four hour-train ride to work on this sock and it was enough time to knit the heel flap, turn the heel and pick up stitches for the gusset.
I have to tell you, though, I'm really disappointed in it. The tension on my heel, where I had to work back and forth, is so much looser than the rest of the sock. It looks awful. Just awful. And I don't much like that knitting backwards business. Oh, well, I don't know if I see many more socks in my future.
Oh yeah, I spent the weekend in Boston. It was fun. We were real tourists and did all kinds of tourist stuff. You can see more pics on my flickr page.
(And you know what else, I must have been really, really tired last night because ANTM isn't even on on Tuesday. It's on tonight! Tonight, by the way, is a major TV night. I don't know if I can handle it!)
It's no secret that Thursdays at The Works is more about nesting and less about knitting. It's a day that I get out of work early and have the chance to do things like shop, cook, and blog.
I saw these dahlias as I was walking to the subway and they called to me to buy them. Flowers are a luxury item when you live in the city. You have to depend on your local deli to provide afforable greenery, rather than stepping into your garden to cut it yourself.
In the bowl are some "italian prunes," or at least, that's what the produce store was calling them. They're a small type of plum and my grandparents used to have one of these trees in their backyard.
It wasn't until I put these purchases on my table that I realized that what drew me to by them was nostalgia.
My mother's parents always had these two items in their backyard. They had a little patch of land in Trenton, NJ on which they had a pear tree and plum tree and also grew tomatoes, green beens, cucumbers, peppers, onions, garlic, horseradish, and recently, eggplant and zuchinni.
The fruit and flowers undeniably remind me of my youth and my grandparents' garden. There were always dahlia's to cut at the end of summer. My mom has pictures of me as a little girl, clutching bouquets of dahlias to take to my teachers on the first week of school.
As I grew older, I loved to go to my grandmother's yard and cut the overgrown flowers to take home with me. They always cheered me up. In fact, I felt that they held mysterious cheer-ing powers. When my grandfather was sick and dying of cancer, I would cut a few every day and put them in a plastic cup near his bed. I believed that they must make him happy as they did me. They were a reminder of the garden that he spent so many hours working and weeding.
The plums and pears were consumed constantly while they were available. The plums were baked in to cakes and buckles and eaten whole. We often couldn't keep up with the pears and they would ripen and fall to the ground making the backyard a minefield of buzzing bees. When they were picked, my grandfather would feed us, cutting slices of the pears with a small paring knife.
Once the season came to an end, the fruit was stewed and canned and we would eat them all winter long with our Farina. My grandparents managed to preserve a little of their Old World lifestyle amid the concrete of their new city.
These plums won't last long enough to can them. I plan on eating them tonight. You take them between your thumb and index finger and squeeze to reveal the little pit. One you remove that, you can pop the whole thing in your mouth.
I'm using the last of my grandmother's tomatoes to make a roasted tomato soup with lentils. I have a bag full of green beans that I don't know what to do with. I think I'll freeze some so that I can eat them mid-winter. The rest I plan on pickling.
But the plums, the plums will be eaten right away. Tonight.
P.S. Thanks to my friend, Berhan, who made a lovely gift of this pitcher and bowl!
My mother is quite the fashion-plate and she never throws anything away. As a result, every few years or so, I get to rediscover some very cool stuff. This is a pin made from a walnut shell and a beaded necklace from when she was in college.
2. Hit the thrift stores:
I found these shirts at the local thrift shop. They just called out to me to buy them. I am going to make them into a patchwork something, but I'm not sure yet. Any thoughts? I also scored a cool, olive green, corduroy suit and a pleated, calf-length, wool skirt.
3. Go shoe shopping:
I just could not take knitting on Not Bad Penny for one more minute, so I took one night off to make this beret.
(Sorry for the really bad quality photo. This is what happens when you try to take picture during a rainy afternoon.)
Made from: Misti Alpaca super chunky, double stranded
Knit on: size 10 and 15 addi turbo circular needles
Time to knit: one viewing of Angel, season one, disk three, one Deadwood season finale
You can find the pattern here. This is just the right kind of quick fix knit when you're longing for fall. Sigh.
So I finally had a chance to snap pics of my SP8 loot. Now that you see it all, you know why it took me so long! This is what was included:
* Jam from a local orchard (Master P and I ate this for breakfast on Thursday - It was so good.)
* 3 skeins of merino wool from handpaintedyarn.com, colorway Strawberry Fields
* 2 skeins of Knitpicks sock yarn
* one skein of sock-weight soy yarn from local soy producers!
* more Sharpies and a cool notebook and little accesories pouch
* laceweight merino from handpaintedyarn.com
* fruit cocktail (This made me laugh the most. It proved that Stacey really, truly read my blog)
* a pig Christmas tree ornament and a t-shirt from Stacey's hometown
* sock yarn, hand-dyed by my secret pal. Isn't she the best?
What didn't make it to the photo gallery: a bunch of beauty supplies, which I had trouble photographing, more laceweight yarn that is a beautiful dark, almost black, purple color, and some chocolate goodies that I opened and ate right away.
This was my first blogger gift exchange and I have to say, that I was very, very fortunate. Thank you for everything, Stacey!
* angel, willow, firefly, and life aquatic colorways at sweet georgia
* my cat, Monk, when he's quiet like this (which is not often)
* waking up and drinking coffee while it's still kind of dark and rainy
* the fact that this book is being delivered to me tomorrow
* the fact that I wore a jacket today (yay! fall!)
* bad penny has taken a turn and is no longer bad penny, but better!
* five days ahead of me at my parents' house filled with knitting, trips to Target and walks with Ella
This is a stack on my work table, next to my favorite avacado green lamp. Yes, there is only one lamp. Maybe I'll tell you that story another time.
The stack consists of (starting from the bottom) some books and magazines that are part of knitting WIPs, clothes that I can no longer wear, but don't want to part with, Tulip waiting for some adjustments, my needle roll and notions pouch. (That blue floral fabric is the first skirt I ever made, four dress sizes ago).
My weekend was cut short this week (because I'm going on vacation at the end of the week). Sunday, however, was quite lovely.
Master P and I had brunch in Williamsburg with a long ago friend. Ursula was our closest friend when we lived in Paris. She's spent the last 4 years in Cairo, working as a journalist, and is now getting her master's degree at NYU. I am so happy she's in NYC, at least for a little while!
We puttered around The Needleworks for most of the rainy afternoon and then had a very impromtu dinner with another dear friend that we don't get to see very often, because he's a very busy fella.
On the menu: white bean & celery crostini, pasta with pesto, chicken, and zucchini, the season finale of Entourage, ripe peaches and strawberries, some great wine and a few episodes of The Venture Brothers. Lovely.
My secret pal, Stacey, is the coolest. She waited until the end of our secret pal exchange to send a package and, oh, what a package she sent!
This amazing person over-nighted a package that contained, not only enough yarn and goodies to make your head spin, but tomatoes from her garden! Over. Night. Tomatoes.
These tomatoes made the perfect late summer dinner. I cooked some pasta and tossed these with marinated mozzarella, kalamata olives and grated parmesan. Simple and heavenly.
(I will be posting the rest of the loot later. I didn't have enought daylight to take worthy pictures. I actually ran out of daylight. Can you believe that?)
This it Tulip.
Made from: 3 skeins of Katia Jamaica
Knit on: size 5 susan bates silverados, size 3 and size 0 addi turbos
Time to knit: 3 weeks, one heat wave, one nervous breakdown
My thoughts: my excitement in knitting Tulip completely overshadowed the fact that I actually don't like cotton knits. After wearing her once, she's all stretched and mis-shapen. I don't know how much wear she'll actually get. I really struggled with my tension on Tulip (as many of you know), but learned how to knit backwards, thanks to Lisa and Jess, which helpd tremendously. I shall purl no more!
Meet Bad Penny.
Bad Penny and I have a really great relationship. She knits along easily while allowing me to watch as much television or as many DVDs as I like. When you're knit in stockinette, entirely in round it makes for pretty smooth sailing.
Again my Fairy Yarn Father has given my an amzing gift. This is Italian cashmere. It's three strands of different colors plied together - two shades of pink and one creamy white.
I'm making some some modifications to Bad Penny. I'm not using a contrast color for the neck, arms and waistband. I'll probably do a little less ribbing and make the arms a 3/4 length, becuase cap sleeves are not so flattering on me.
OK, now I have more movies to watch (and more knitting to do)!
I thought I'd just throw something out there.
I haven't been posting that much, but I have been busy. Truth be told, the moment I finished Tulip (no pics yet, sorry) I picked up another project and have been knitting like a fiend ever since.
I'm thinking of finishing up these pin cushions-to-be tonight. Unless the Mystery Project lures me to the couch with her siren song.
(If you are still looking at this in Bloglines, you can't see the new progress bar and don't know what Mystery Project I'm talking about!)
Do you watch the news? Did you hear what was going on over in NJ this past week? The government shut down. Yup. Just closed up shop for almost a week.
It appears that they couldn't resolve the budget, so they just decided to stop running until they could settle the whole matter. There was actually an episode of The West Wing about this very matter.
Lately I've been wishing that I could do the same. I really struggle with my monthly budget. I've used all kinds of guides to figure out how much money to allocate to what, but it never works out right. Money set aside for one thing, always winds up being used for something else. I invariably go over budget, leaving the next month's finances all in a twist.
Couldn't I just shut down? Not go to work, not use the subway, not by groceries until I can come to some kind of settlement or deficit resolution?
Would I have to stop knitting? Sewing? I guess these are things that I can do at home during my shutdown. I could plow through my stash. Finish up all the sewing projects I have piled up. How long would that take? A month? Six months? A year?
Then, I guess, I would have to re-enter the world. Because I would need more yarn. But then it probably won't be in my New Improved Budget to buy more yarn, so I'd be back where I started, wouldn't I?
(This is a photo of the Loop-d-Loop bag that I'm having problems with. I just took it off the needles. I'm going to attempt it again tonight.)