Tuesday, May 30, 2006

no blog for you!

real simple
Originally uploaded by Needleworks, Inc..
Apparently, I've surpassed my limit for uploads on flickr.com for the month of May.

There were a bunch of things that I wanted to share with you today that will have to wait.

For example: my day at Coney Island yesterday or my Jaywalker Sock destruction or how my apartment is now so hot I'm considering sleeping on the bathroom floor (where it's nice and cool).

Instead I leave you with my recipe for Pasta alla Needleworks, Inc.

extra virgin olive oil
one anchovy filet cured in oil
one medium onion
2 or 3 cloves of garlic
one 28oz can of crushed tomatoes
one 1lb box of pasta (any shape you like)
one can of good quality tuna packed in oil
salt and pepper

Put a big stock pot full of water on to boil.

Meanwhile, cover the bottom of a very wide saute pan (I use a 5qt pan) with olive oil turn on heat to medium. Place one anchovy filet in the pan.

While the oil is heating, finely chop your onion. When you are finished the oil should be hot and the filet will have dissolved. (At this point I sometimes add red pepper flakes - you can if you want it spicy!)

Add your onions to the pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. While the onions are sweating, mince your garlic. (Add as much or as little as you like!)

Add the garlic and cook for about one or two minutes until you can just smell the garlic (not much longer because you don't want it to burn).

Add the entire can of crushed tomatoes and bring up to a simmer. Then go have a nice glass of wine while you wait for the pasta water to boil.

Once the pasta water comes up to a boil, add a pinch of salt and then your pasta. Take this opportunity to taste your sauce and add more salt and pepper, if you like. You can also add a splash of balsamic vinegar or red wine. I don't measure, but will go one time around the pan.

The pasta should be done in 8 minutes or so (depending on what shape you're cooking). When it's done, drain it and put all of it into your sauce pan. Toss it until fully coated.

This is the point where I add the tuna. Don't drain it or rinse it, just dump it in. Some people think it's weird, but I love it. You could also omit the tuna and add some cured black olives or grated pecorino romano cheese.

Enjoy! Yum!

Friday, May 26, 2006

secret pal and co.

Originally uploaded by Needleworks, Inc..
My Secret Pal is so cute! She sent me this handmade postcard from a photo of some amazing yarn. And she totally reads my blog everyday and makes thoughtful comments and mentions it on her postcard! Thank you, Secret Pal (whoever you are....)!

Isn't it amazing that the postcard she sent me matches this bag that I embellished only last night? How did you know that, Secret Pal? How did you know?!

The tote is one of the reusable bags that I received a while back from Master P's dad. I cut out a circle of some of my favorite fabric and did a zig zag stitch around the edge. Then I did a running stitch around the edge to attach it to the bag. Then I did a little embroidery on top of it. Isn't it cute? It's the first time I've ever stitched anything free-hand and I'm kind of proud. Aw, shucks.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

meanwhile, back at the ranch

2 right feet
Originally uploaded by Needleworks, Inc..
All this talk about Miss C & F! You guys must think I've really have strayed far from my path of crafting monogamy. Well. Miss Class and Fabulous and I have quite a few issues to work out, but in the meantime I had a finishing frenzie!

Remember the booties I was knitting out of the amazing Filatura di Crosa cotton. There they are. Can you tell what's wrong? No? Look closer, you fool! I can hardly stand to look myself in the eye. It's a disgrace.

Do you know that all the time they've been hanging out on my sidebar, waiting to be finished, all I had to do was cast on some extra stitches and knit that *%@!* strap. And what did I do? I knit it on the same side as the original bootie.

As we speak these little fellas have been banned to the Land of Yarn That Time Forgot. They will not be gifted after all.

Now the hat is another story. It's a knitty.com pattern and I'm quite in love with it:

Miss Dashwood Bonnet
Knit from: Filatura di Crosa Baby Lovely
Knit on: size 5 Addi Turbo circular needles and size 5 Crystal Palace double pointed needles
Time to knit: one round trip train ride to NJ, one season finale episode of Lost (which was CRAZY, btw! Ah!)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

as if I didn't have enough to worry about

Originally uploaded by Needleworks, Inc..
Little Miss Classy & Fabulous has been taunting me from her perch on the craft table. We had a really lovely photo shoot (on location at my parents' house in NJ) and I told her to chill at The Works for a while.

Is she content to hang out and relax while I try to race my way through the many unfinished projects that are weighing heavily on my mind? No. She's not. She wants some attention.

So Miss C & F and I are totally obsessed and inspired by Chaiken's Fall 2006 collection (apparently we can still knit capes and be fashionable!). All the cute little jackets - we want to make one! Now Miss C & F will not have the soft drape that they do, nor will she be black, but I'm using the designs as a jumping off point.

Now since I can't get my hands on a Chaiken jacket, I'm considering one of favorites that's currently in my closet. I love the basic shape and the 3/4 sleeves. I think it will not, however have the same banded collar and instead have a rounded neck. Much like the Chaiken jacket, but also a *lot* like a classic Chanel, given Miss C & F's tweedy, boucle tendencies.

Next stop, buying some muslin to make a pattern. She will be full fashioned - none of this top down in the round nonsense. Miss C & F is an old-fahioned kind of girl.

Wish us luck.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

fashion vs. style

classy and fabulous
Originally uploaded by Needleworks, Inc..
This little lady doesn't know what she wants to be when she grows up. In fact, she's having a bit of an identity crisis. At first she imagined herself as something exotic and delectable. Then she thought she should be more lady-like. She really can't decide.

On thing is for certain is that she lives by the words of the brilliant Coco Chanel, who said, "A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous."

"Rebecca, " she said to me pleadingly. "I don't want to be a faux fur collar. I want to be something fashionable. Something stylish."

"My dear," I responded. "Fashion fades, only style remains the same." (We both love quoting Ms. Chanel, what can I say?)

I feel for her identity crisis. I really do. She is lovely and sumptuously colored, but she longs to be something more enduring. Something classic. Something that I will love for all time and never look at and say, "What was I thinking?"

Something like this little jacket.

We have a lot of soul searching to do. We have to find just the right path for this little one. She deserves it. And so do I.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Originally uploaded by Needleworks, Inc..
Not much about knitting, I'm afraid.

My parents are remodeling their kitchen, so they're doing a lot of cleaning and purging. This means I get some loot.

This is a picture of an old school bowl for serving nuts in the shell. It has a nut cracker and some scary looking picks.

Also pictured is some green glass dessert bowls and pitcher. I believe these are from my dad's mom, but I have no idea how old they are. I have to do some research on eBay.

The next purchase will maybe be something to display some of the cool glassware I've been accumulating. Maybe this.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

It's a very sleepy Tuesday (my Monday, keep up with me now) and I'm considering the following:

Making this.

Buying this.

Seeing this.

Reading this.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

What if I told you...

orange yarn_flowers
Originally uploaded by Needleworks, Inc..
...that I made this yarn? Well, I dyed it. Well, John B and I dyed it. That is, he taught me how to dye it. With Kool Ade!

We had another Crafty Night @ The Works last week and we dyed yarn! And we sewed! It was crafty!

Pictured left (notice the orange theme) is some laceweight wool from Habu Textiles. It's like a gazillion yards.

The dying process is as follows:

1. Soak the yarn in hot water in large pot.
2. Prepare the dye by dissolving packets of Kool Ade in hot water. Make sure it's completely dissolved, but add more or less depending on how intense you want the color to be.
3. Carefully pour dye (Kool Ade) strategically in the pot of yarn approximately where you want it to go. This is not an exact science, but that's what makes it exciting!
4. Bring yarn up to a boil and then gently simmer until water is clear! (Clear! It turns clear and the yarn eats up all the Kool Ade!)
5. Let cool and carefully wring excess water from yarn and let it hang to dry. Yay!

Here is the process is photo form (Sorry about the icky flash photography. It was Crafty *Night* after all):


Thursday, May 11, 2006

patchy thoughts

bag project
Originally uploaded by Needleworks, Inc..
I've been feeling really unfocused lately. I have a few ideas floating around in my head for projects, but I can't concentrate on one thing. I can't finish anything either.

I've prided myself in being a monogamous crafter for so long that I feel like I've hit a rough patch. Like the relationship is on the rocks. I'm not being faithful to any one project and I find it very disturbing.

You can see that I added another project to my In The Works section on the sidebar there (compliments of Jenn) - some Jaywalker socks - but I still haven't finished the booties I blogged about weeks ago! And now I am fixated on this new idea.

Pictured above are the reusable bags I got a while back. I actually really love them, but I feel they are a bit plain. I had visions of embellishing them with patches and embroidery. I've even gone so far as picking out some choice scraps of fabric to use, but have not gotten further than that.

What is my problem? Why can't I concentrate? Maybe I burned myself out? I feel like even this post is patchy.

For now I'll have to be content working on that blasted So Called Scarf. It's the only thing I can focus on. Or not focus, as the case may be. Blech.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

the yarn that time forgot

sad yarn
Originally uploaded by Needleworks, Inc..
Do not be confused. This is not my stash. Well, I guess that depends on how you define "stash". I have nice bags of pristine yarn that is destined to be knit into this sweater or that. That's in the bottom of my closet.

This is leftover yarn. Yarn that was left over when I finished whatever random project I was working on. Like golf club covers. Or knitted cupcakes.

Right there on top is some yarn of great debate. It is Celia by Adrienne Vittadini. It is 100% silk. It is my greatest nightmare. It began life as a tank top from Knit 1 magazine, designed by Teva Durham. It has met its end, here, in the bin of unwanted yarn.

I've never just given up on a project until now. This one was just not fun anymore and I couldn't care less if it was every finished. I just didn't want to knit a bias-striped silk tank on size 2 needles. I just didn't.

What's a girl to do? I feel like it's too pretty to be ignored, but it will never, ever be a tank top. Maybe a quadruple-stranded scarf? I just don't have the energy to care right now.

Monday, May 08, 2006

tyra banks here i come!

claudia's sweater
Originally uploaded by Needleworks, Inc..
You know, there are some people who you meet in life who just make you fabulous by sheer force of will. If they keep telling you over and over that you're smart or creative or talented (or fabulous) then you eventually believe it. John B is one of those people.

When we get together we talk shop. In a good way. We talk about what we can do to up our creative game, how to promote yourself, how to not compromise the things you believe in to be successful, and how to be fabulous.

Now I wouldn't go climbing on loading docks in industrial Brooklyn for just anybody, but John asked and so I said, "Sure."

You see, he made this amazing sweater out of yarn that was named after him (for pete's sake) and he wanted some pics so he had proof that the sweater existed before he sent it off to the yarn people. He knows I dabbled in photo styling (scroll down to see my images), and we talk at length about making knitting cool and sexy, so we thought it'd be a fun collaboration.

I picked this picture because it shows off the luscious oversized collar and cuffs, and really emphasizes the lovely set in sleeve and cool panel on the front of the sweater. And let's not even get into the amazing colors, ok?

If you'd like to see more fabulous pictures you can go here. Now I have to go practice my signature walk.

Friday, May 05, 2006

what if i told you...

sweetwater grill
Originally uploaded by Needleworks, Inc..
What if I told you that I almost died today? I'm serious. I almost died, because I almost went so insane that I almost shot myself in the head.

I always hesitate to reveal too much about myself on this blog. Especially because of the nature of my blog (knitting, etc.) and the place where I work (a knitting store) and talking about things like work would lead to comments like, "Ooo did you hear what Rebecca said about working at Blankity Blank?" But people who read my blog are people who know me so they know where I work anyway. So what the heck?

My job made me crazy today. I cried twice and almost snapped a pen in half with my teeth. And I almost shot myself in the head to escape the agony that is retail management. And I worked about 12 hours. That's too much.

I'll admit that most of this is due to the fact that I'm a big pushover and have very little backbone, if any. But it doesn't change the fact that I feel like having a great, big, fat martini.

By the way, this is a photo that I took at Sweetwater Grill in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. They have great, big, fat martinis. With three olives. I love it there.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Secret Pal 8 Questionnaire

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like? I love mohair, merino wool and really good wool blends. I am not a fan of knitting with pure silk or cotton.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in? I store my needles in a needle case that I made myself!

3. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced? I have been knitting for about 4 years. I would call myself intermediate.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? Hm, no.

5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.) I like clean or floral scents. Nothing fruity or spicy.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy? Chocolate! Chocolate! Chocolate! Oh! I also love combos like chocolate and mint or chocolate and orange. Yum!

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin? I also sew and embroider. And cook. Does that count as DIY?

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD) I love old jazz standards (Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald) and old Soul and R&B (Otis Redding, Etta James). I am totally MP3 friendly.

9. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand? I like cool colors, like blues and greens, and jewel tones, like deep ruby, burgundy, and purple.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets? I live with my boyfriend and our two cats, Penelope and Monk.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos? I wear scarves and hats. Not much of a mitten-wearer. I own one poncho that I knit a long time ago.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? Purses, hats, simple sweaters.

13. What are you knitting right now? Intarsia wobbly Circles bag from Interweave knits.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts? Yes!

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? Addi Turbos!

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift? No

17. How did you learn to knit? I taught myself from one of my mom's old books from the 70's

18. How old is your oldest UFO? About a year old.

19. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas definitely.

20. Is there anything that you collect? Cool pin cushions, buttons. But generally I try not to accumulate too many things that collect dust.

21. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have? Gosh I'm boring. There's nothing that I really want. (It's hard when you work at a knitting store!) I don't subscribe to any knitting magazines.

22. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn? I really need to try entrelac. Also knitting in the round from the top down.

23. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements? I don't really knit socks.

24. When is your birthday? (mm/dd) 01/23

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

gifted yarn

gifted yarn
Originally uploaded by Needleworks, Inc..
It was gifted to me. And it's from someone gifted. On the left is some original handspun yumminess from my pal, John. On the right Malabrigo merino.

What did I do to deserve all of this? Just a little sewing. Do you remember John's post about felting? It seems that John wanted to use a felted piece to make a little pillow to send to another blog-friend - none other than Wendy, from Knit and Tonic. Now, I'll do anything for Wendy. I've never even met her and I love her. I love her blog. And I love John. So it was a no brainer.

Bloggers coming together, being crafty. It's a good thing.

Monday, May 01, 2006

what was i thinking?

merino aran
Originally uploaded by Needleworks, Inc..
A very wise person once told me that you should never buy an article of clothing (dress, skirt, pants, whatever) unless you already have the shoes to wear with it. It is a well documented fact of my life, that many cute outfits have hung in my closet for up to a year with the tags still attached for lack of the perfect pair of shoes to complete them.

I now cling to this little bit of advice unequivocally. Everytime I try on a dress, I think, "Do I have shoes to wear with this?" It's true. And if I don't, I put it back.

Why then, do I not apply this same bit of logic to yarn? When I see Debbie Bliss Merino Aran on sale for $4 a ball, do I not stop myself and think, "Do I have a pattern I can use this for?" No. I do not.

Instead I buy a copy of Ann Budd's The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns thinking I can just come up with a pattern myself. Easier said than done, my friends. Easier said than done.

What will my yarn become? It must be striped because these are the colors that I bought. Will it be a cardigan? Do I really want a striped cardigan? I'm thinking something seamless and top down with no seams, but I just don't know. The Ann Budd patterns have almost no shaping so I'd have to figure that out, too. Is this yarn destined to sit in my closet for years without ever being knit?

At least I don't have to buy shoes to match it.