Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I just wanted to share a little something with you all before I head back to NJ for Christmas.

These are buttons commissioned by Ms. Blue Garter for her February Lady Sweater. They look huge here, but they're only 1" in diameter. Made from fabric from my grandmother's stash, so I guess it can be considered vintage, 'cause it's probably really old! The fabric is a little sheer so the shine of the button shell comes through.

They should be arriving on your coast any moment now, Sarah! I hope you like them!!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

I've been doing a lot to get into the Holiday Spirit this week. I think it's working.

Tuesday night, the NYC/SNB ladies wrapped presents for Children of the City, a very worthwhile charity. Only a few of us braved the snow that evening, but we were well rewarded with Glad Tidings!

I bought a one pound bar of chocolate at Trader Joe's in Brooklyn. It was supposed to be for candy-makin', but I couldn't resist busting into it right away. Oops.
I also bought a crate of clementines that I've been enjoying all week. They look very festive in a bowl in my dining room.

I've also been having a really grand time selecting items for my etsy favorites, but every time I go to check on them, one more has sold before I had the chance to buy it!!
I like to think that all of my friend who read my blog are buying them up for my Christmas presents. A girl can dream, no?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Yikes! It seems like, the last thing I remember is that it was the day after Thanksgiving, and I was talking about Christmas gifts.....
Then, I blinked my eyes and now it's December 16th! Christmas is next week!!!

I've been very, very busy the last month. Too busy, it seems to post anything here. I don't like to post without pictures and it's been nearly impossible to take pictures in my new place.
(Busy = getting home too late = no pictures).
These, however, are pictures of what's been keeping me so busy. Curtains. Lots and lots of curtains.

This is my roommate's bedroom. He has two windows that I made four, eight foot panels for. They're totally lined and have hidden tabs on the back that create cool pleats on the front when you put a curtain rod through them. It's kind of cheating, but it's cute.
The room is a pale gray color and the curtains are gold, with a white leaf motif, the fabric from Ikea. They're fully lined, but still let in a good deal of light. This was taken on Saturday around 11am without a flash. The (east facing) room is fairly dark, but you can see the sunlight struggling through.

This is The Blue Room. The Office/Wardrobe/Crafting Room. The Multi-Purpose Room. The It's -Good-To-Have-3-Bedrooms Room. This room and the gray bedroom are separated by french doors, so I wanted to create a real sense of privacy, but in a way that didn't feel static.
Enter the hospital curtain track. This was a project that took over 2 months to complete. I ordered industrial medical supplies online to get the type of rack with rollers that I could mount to the ceiling. I never ordered enough of what I needed at one time. But now it's finished and I am incredibly triumphant!!!
This fabric* I purchased online and I was amazed at how it matched the walls. It's hard to see in the picture, but around each motif, between the brown and white, is the exact color blue of the wall! Amazing.
Each panel is over eight feet long and nine feet tall. Fully lined, so that from the gray room you see only white. They hang straight from the ceiling to the floor and can be pulled back from the middle of the room to allow for the french doors to be open. Whew!

I've also been busy crafting, but they're all gifts so I can't share. I have: 2 knit hats, 2 sets of fingerless gloves and two eye masks from Amy Butler's In Stitches (which is a great source of holiday gifties).

*I have over 2 yards of it left. The fabric is 52" wide. I paid $15.95/yard and would be willing to work out a trade or a deal if anyone is interested in it. It's really beautiful, but I can't imagine using it for anything else in the apartment, now that it's on the wall.

Friday, November 28, 2008

With Thanksgiving just past, I know I've got Christmas shopping on the brain.

Every year, in an attempt to have a less commercial holiday, I try to make as many of my gifts as possible. This year, however, I've been busier than normal and so I've needed a little help to check off everyone on my list. This is where etsy comes in.

If I can't make handmade, than I'll buy handmade. Or some of the amazing vintage finds that have been so carefully culled.
These are just a few of my favorites, which I hope to inspire you towards a homey-er, handmade holiday.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I have a lot to be thankful for this year.

If you had talked to me a month ago, I probably wouldn't have said that. I probably would have just started crying and ran away, leaving you in stunned silence, but I'm feeling differently right now.

At Thanksgiving, my family has a practice that makes me cringe, but it's sweet in its way. Before we can eat, we go around the table and everyone says what they're thankful for. With nearly 13 of us gathered around the table, it can take awhile, and I usually get all shy and can't think of anything thoughtful to say.

This year. This year, though, they won't be able to shut me up. For real.

I have an adorable new apartment and an amazing roommate and a really, really good job, which I love and a cousin who survived cancer and a soon-to-be sister-in-law who I adore and tons of friends who would do anything to make me smile and THE MOST FANTASTIC FAMILY, who loves me more than I can explain to anyone.

So, yeah, I have a lot to be thankful for this year.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Friday night I shuffled off to The Point for a workshop. I say shuffled because it was bitterly cold and it was a Friday evening after a long, long week. I would have rather been tucked up on my couch with a glass of wine, watching a DVR'd episode of Ugly Betty.

But Jared was going to be there! And wasn't that enough to make the trip worth while? So, of course, I'm glad I went. I've never knit lace more complicated than some Feather & Fan, so I was taking a big step outside my comfort zone with the Hemlock Ring Blanket. But I figured that under the watchful eye of Brooklyn Tweed and the capable folks at The Point, I could get over my fear. Right?

So right!! I caught on right away to the clever cast on Jared taught us and was knitting along in no time at all! We have a two week break for Thanksgiving and we'll be back the first week in December for the second installment. I've knit quite a bit on my own, but after round 35, my eyes were starting to cross, so I put it down for a while. I'm really looking forward to the next class!!

(Had to sneak in this picture of Ms. PassionKNITly with Mr. Brooklyn Tweed. So cute!)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

See? Knitting content. I promised.
This is a sweater that I started back in August, after the Olympics were over.
It's still not finished.

This is Jil Eaton Minnow Merino. It's a superwash merino, because I think it's generally intended for children's garments. The colors offered are crazy bright This hot magenta was the most tame of the bunch.

It's a sort of loose single ply, but sooooo soft. I'm a little annoyed by how the loose ply is already all fuzzy (I know it's going to pill like crazy) but the softness and warmth make up for it.

It still needs sleeves, but I put it on the dress form at work so I could steam block it a little bit. I wanted a soft looking structure and originally planned on letting the stockinette on all the edges roll naturally, but I didn't account for the extra length and width I would need to accommodate the rolling, so I added a simple edge by picking up stitches, knitting one row and binding off. It's still very simple looking but hopefully the edge will keep it from rolling too much.

Monday, November 10, 2008

This was my first real weekend in my new place (real, meaning, it wasn't Moving Weekend or Halloween) and I have to admit, it was a little rough.
Important items are unpacked and tidied away and I'm settling into a routine, but with that routine comes a reminder of all the things that my new life isn't.

It isn't a life that I'm sharing with someone a love. It isn't a life that I'm building with someone else. It may be strange for some of you to hear, but I've never experienced this before. I've never been so completely on my own.

An independent life is something that I'm having trouble adjusting to. I don't know what it's like to make decisions that affect only me. Simple choices like what color to paint a wall or what to buy for dinner seem so daunting, because I'm out there floundering on my own, with no partner to turn to and ask, "What do you think?"
It also feels incredibly indulgent. And risky.
I'm struggling a little bit, but I'm hanging in there. I'll be back with some knitting content really, really soon.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Oy! I've been tagged for a meme by Ms. PassionKNITly, herself!

7 Weird Things You Probably Didn't Know About Me (here we go):

  1. I hate, hate, hate bell peppers. More than a normal person should, probably. I've been known to cry if they appear in my food and I wasn't aware that they would, because that means that the food is entirely inedible. I get teased about this a lot, which I don't understand, because it's the *only* food that I don't like.
  2. I don't like talking on the phone. This includes ordering food for delivery and calling my grandmother. If you don't hear from me often, don't be insulted. (Sorry, grandma!)
  3. I'm incapable of "saving" food that I like. If I have a box of candy, or jar of pickles, or bag of chips, or whatever, I will systematically eat it over a period of no more than two days. I'm am always genuinely shocked when I visit friends and find easter candy in May. Shocked. Consequently, I don't keep snacks in my house.
  4. I fall asleep *really* easily when in transit. Cars, buses, trains, subways. Like, scary easy.
  5. I can't watch TV without knitting and vice versa. Unless there's someone to talk to or something, but I can't just sit an knit - it drives me batty.
  6. I have to take glucosamine for my hip. I call it "my old lady pills".
  7. All my family's pets are named after jazz musicians: Miles (kitty), Parker (kitty) and Ella (doggy)!
I apparently have to tag 7 other peeps:

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

OK, OK, I know it wasn't exactly fair to just drop an "Oh, I'm moving" and not provide the details. So unfair!!

I'm moving to Sunnyside this Saturday. I'm moving in with my dear friend, Kevin, who you may remember from his appearance here. It's the lovely top floor of an adorable two story house, with a front garden and a little gate and a stoop. I'm smitten!

And I'm going to have a work room. And office/sewing/yarn storage room. I'm excited beyond words. I'll be sharing it all with you very soon! Wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

OK. Well. This isn't very exciting. I'm in a kind of state of limbo because I'm moving on Saturday. (OK, *that's* exciting!). So, I guess, I'm in crafting limbo.

My quilt is not finished. I did by a walking foot for my sewing machine so I'm all set once I get settled in to the new place.

The owl cardi is finished and blocked and awaiting a zipper. I'm so-o-o-o-o close, people!!

This is the only thing that I'm knitting right now. It's for a "Knitting for the Home" installation for The Point. It's a place mat. (Is placemat one word or two?) Only, to be honest, it's way to fuzzy for something you're going to be eating food off of. I can't even remember the name of the yarn. I took the label off at the store and didn't bother to make a note, except that I know it's 4.5 stitches to the inch. I thought it looked kind of neutral, not too girl-y, which I don't know why, but was a requirement for place mat (placemat?) yarn in my brain. So, I've knit one and I've only just started the second one and it has to be done for the first of November and I DON'T feel like knitting it anymore. So many other things that I'd rather be knitting!!!

Ah, well, I'm almost done. Done with the limbo - crafting and otherwise. Can't wait to be settled and getting on with life (crafting and otherwise).

Monday, October 13, 2008

The physical demands of my job can be as varied as they are unexpected. Some days, I'm on my feet non-stop. Some days, all I do is sit on my "you know what".

So while I do have a steady rotation of jeans and flats, I'm always wondering if I can get away with wearing a new pair of shoes, skirt, dress, you get the idea.

This was a kind of failed experiment: vintage high-waisted jeans and platform loafers. The jeans were great, the shoes, they hurt the feet. The terrible part is that cute platform loafers are a necessity when wearing, really, really wide leg, high-waisted vintage jeans to create the illusion of long legs. Wide leg jeans + short little me = stumpy legs. Thus the necessity of a little lift.

*Sigh* I guess neither one will be making it back into the work rotation.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Some things I'm loving right now:

Very vintage apple computer pin that I found while cleaning out my parents' basement.

A new purse that is actually an industrial tool bag.

My new Holga baby. This makes me *really* happy!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Well, the leaves are done and installed at The Point. I think it came out pretty cute, so you should go check it out. If it inspires you to make a leaf or two, I'd love to keep adding to the tree.

This is a peek at my finished quilt top. The color in the photo is really close to how it actually is. All cool blues and teals and browns.

This is a detail of the patchwork portion. I'm really, really excited to finish it, but a little nervous as well. This is a queen sized quilt and the process of putting it together just seems so daunting!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Leaf count: 58 (64, with these guys here).

There's still time to contribute! Take your leaves to The Point before October 1st!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I am knitting and soliciting knit/crochet leaves for an installation I'm creating for The Point for October. I'm going to created a tree with knit/crochet leaves in their window.

I'm making as many as I possibly can and I have everyone at the store working, too. But, with a project like this, more is always better. My favorite part of the whole endeavour is having many different people contribute. It speaks to the sense of community that knitting seems to foster and which we strive for at The Point.

Anyone who would like to contribute can knit from one of the patterns linked below and drop the leaf(ves) off at The Point. If you're not local, put them in the mail! Our deadline is Octber 1st!!

merino stripes leaf pullover

a tree undone

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Yes, I really have been doing activities other than eating at lots of great NYC restaurants (and sometimes on the street) and sleeping in other people's apartments.

No, really, I have! Here's the evidence!

This is a "I moved home with my parents and need something to keep me busy" project. It's a very simple quilt that I started in the beginning of July and I that is very nearly complete. The patchwork topper was done this past Monday. I'm going to make some binding tape, or whatever you call it, this weekend and hopefully have a new quilt by the time the cool weather sets it!

I'm *SO* excited! The quilt is another personal goal that I set for myself. I think I started collecting fabric for it almost 2 years ago, but was unsure of how to proceed and a little scared. Now here I am, nearly finished!

Oh, I also have my Olympian Sweater, a.k.a. The Owl Cardi, which is also very nearly finished (I just need a zipper!), but at work*, cause that's where I've been working on it. Pictures soon!

*Yes, I knit at work. I have the best job!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

My month of crashing at various pads around NYC ended with an action packed Labor Day weekend. Courtesy of CityMinx, who was kind enough to go away for an entire week and let me feed her cat.

Here's a recap*:

Rooftop at The Met - Jeff Koons exhibit.

A multi-ethnic eating tour of the LES, organized by Big Onion. Definitely check them out.

Lunch at Bread, with Sandy.

A view from the lower end of 5th Aveue. I was really sad for it to end!!

*Not pictured, but equally fun: dinner and a movie with The Rainbow Gentleman, lunch at Cafe Gitane with Jess, dinner at Village Yokocho.
(Phew! That's a lotta links!)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Your result for The Director Who Films Your Life Test...

Woody Allen

Your film will be 63% romantic, 42% comedy, 24% complex plot, and a $ 27 million budget.

Thanks, Michelle! This made me smile. (But the Annie Hall*, not Scoop, Woody Allen!)

* Which won the Academy Award for Best Picture in the year of my birth.
On Sunday I headed to Philly to participate in the 2008 LiveStrong Challenge.

I was a little intimidated by all the people, but it was inspiring at the same time.

Yes, Lance Armstrong was actually there.

Not the most flattering picture of myself, but I do seem to be glowing with a certain sense of accomplishment, no? In the photo with me are my cousins: Justin, on the left, cancer survivor and his brother, Jon, on the right. I must say, we do look rather pleased with ourselves. It was an incredible day.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I was on Wall Street this week, enjoying the seemingly, never-ending hospitality of friends.

I can't believe I've never been here.

My neighbors.

A very good read.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I spent last week in Astoria, Queens, with a side trip to Coney Island.

Sparrow, Astoria

Coney Island

Keyspan Park

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Olympics are half way over today and I'm about half way from finishing my Ravelympics entry. According to my records, which are vague, at best, I started it in January of 2006. I am, obviously, participating in WIP Wrestling. I can hardly believe that I've managed to finish so much of it in so little time. When I started the chart (2 years ago!) it seemed like such an insurmountable task. And now the chart is finished and I only have to knit the waistband, sleeves and collar. Amazing.

This is a new concept for me. Setting a goal and acheiving it. It's something, well, Olympian. I've always been a good one for excuses. Excuses not to try something. Excuses not to go somewhere. Excuses not to call someone. I've finally (FINALLY) learned that if you never try, you can never succeed. Such a simple idea.

I ran my first 5K last weekend and I finished it. That was my only goal - just finish. Now I'm in another race next weekend. It seems to get easier and easier to set goals for myself. Knit this sweater. Run this race. Live my life.

I'm learning some really tough lessons this summer. About how easy it is to take life for granted. How easy it is for the people in it to suddenly disappear. A long time love gone. A dear friend dead. An old friend moved away.

I said goodbye to yet another special person in my life last night. Lindsay was my roommate the semester I spent in Paris in 1998. It was the year I discovered that I had been hiding who I was for a long time and these 5 brilliant, hillarious, beautiful girls (ahem, women) made me their friend and showed me a life I could have. Lindsay, Carrie, Lynn, Molly and Anja. Thank you.

By some gift of Fate, three of them ended up in NYC with me. (I spent 9/11 on Lindsay's couch, stranded in the city that awful day.) We've had dinners and brunches and birthdays, but not enough. You're always busy, in love, tired, full of excuses and there's always next time. But then one day, there is no next time.

Last night, standing in the wet night, sharing one last ciagrette, Lindsay and I reminisced and said goodbye. 1998 was also the year that I met Peter. Now, 10 years later, a very large chapter of my life comes to an end. Peter is gone, Lindsay is gone, Carrie is soon to be gone (to NJ, so not to far). And my life is changed. And a great is lesson learned.

Take nothing for granted. Don't make excuses. Love everyone the best you possibly can. Don't depend on there being a next time. Don't make excuses. Don't be afraid.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Fiona Wrap Jacket, detail

Aw, man. You guys have been great! I mean, just wonderful. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your kind words and encouragement. I never thought, two years ago, when I started this blog, that I would make so many friends through it. I think that's what everyone says at one point or another on their blog, but it's true! How is it possible that there are so many amazing people out there doing this? This, being blogging or knitting or whatever. How have you all found me?

Well, thank you. I'm blushing. I cannot believe that there are so many people out there that are so kind to me. I'm still feeling kind of sad and alone and lost, but I have you all to hoist me up and remind me that I have a very full and wonderful life that is very much my own.

So, here is the knitting I promised you.

The Fiona Wrap Jacket, a.k.a The Point's August Pattern of the Month.

I could hardly believe, during the oppressive heat of July, that I was knitting such a garment. But the last couple of days, with the hint of a chill in the air during the late evenings, Fall doesn't seem so far away, and the thought of getting started on some cooler weather knits isn't so ludicrous.

You can get all of the details for this on Ravelry. I will tell you, however, that this is ridiulously easy to knit. It's one piece, starting from the back edge and separating for the two fronts to be worked, well, separately. I held two strands of Jo Sharp Alpaca Silk Georgette together to get a very pleasing tweed effect and a knitted gauge of about 4 stitches to one inch.

I was really sad to send this one off to The Point, but I'm considering knitting another one for myself out of some mohair that I've been holding onto for some time. That would be really warm and super lightweight. It would be equally lovely knit out of a single strand of some bulky Malabrigo or Manos, so that the stockinette can show off the lovely hand-dyed yarn. But I do go on....

P.S. The 5K is this weekend!!! Wish me luck!!! And a super big THANK YOU to those of you who donated (you know who you are) and everyone who offerred words of encourgament! Thanks again. (Can I say thank you enough? Nope.)

P.P.S. I even signed up for another run in two weeks. The Livestrong Challenge in Philly which I'll be running with my cousin.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Boy, I have some nerve.

Here I am, digging out after a month of chaos. I was lucky that you didn't desert me completely and, in return, I promised you some knitting.

Instead, I'm coming to you with my hand out. That's right. I'm gonna ask for a favor.

When I moved back to NJ, one month ago, my family was in the midst of dealing with their own troubles. A very dear friend had been fighting a losing battle against pancreatic cancer. At a loss for a way to help, my mother organized a team to participate in the Purple Stride Island Run. It's organized by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, which you can read about here.

I, in an attempt to keep busy, decided to run the 5K portion of the race. Those of you who know me well enough, know that this was quite a decision. I'm not exactly a runner. Or a jogger, for that matter.

And in the month that I've been home, we've lost our friend. He had an amazing life that ended too soon and an amazing family that didn't deserve to have him taken away so early.

The people that have agreed to participate in the run/walk and the money that we've raised to far are both testaments to how much he was loved. I've decided (another decision!) to step up my game and not only run the race, but to try to raise a bit of money as well.

I don't expect much. I'm just asking for support. Now that support can come in the form of a "Way to go!" in my comment section, or in the form of $1 added to my team. I just kind of wanted to put it out there in the blogisphere that I was doing this thing and who it was for and to ask for your collective good thoughts for myself (during the run) and for his family (who need it more than I do.)

That's all. Thanks.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


Oh, hi. You're still here? Thanks for hanging in there.

There have been a lot of changes chez Needleworks in the last month: I've moved to NJ (suddenly), a very long (10 year) relationship ended, and my life, in general is in a state of upheaval.

I'm trudging along, but there's not much crafting being done in these parts. All of my things are in boxes, which makes it difficult. I'm not quite ready to unearth everything yet.

I am doing quite a bit of knitting on my (2 hours each way) commute, so I'll have something to share very quickly.

Be patient with me while I figure things out. I'm still trying to decide how this blog will be a part of my new life. It seems so ingrained in the old one in so many ways, that I was tempted to stop it all together. A part of me, though, really wants to keep it.

So, here we are.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The dress that I so triumphantly finished this weekend does. not. fit. I should have tried it on as I went. I should have known that I might have this problem. My top half is pretty much a full size smaller than my bottom half (which causes much confusion when buying patterns), so of course the bodice is all loose and gap-py and the bottom is perfect.

So while I'm working out a way to take in the darts some more, I'll leave you with this:

I'm done with the back portion of the August pattern of the month for The Point. I'm really surprised how fast this went. I'm holding two different color strands of yarn together and I *love* the tweed effect that I'm getting.

I may have a photo shoot this weekend of the disastrous dress. Adjusted or otherwise.