Saturday, July 17, 2010

Kindle Kover 2.0

I finally completed the Kindle Kover 2.0 that was requested of me months ago. After weeks of plotting, sketching and swatching, I finished sewing in the lining this morning. Of course I see tons of room for improvement, but that's just the type of knitter I am, I suppose.

I think my friend will enjoy it, which is the most important part.

One particular area of re-working that I need, however, is how my ribbing turns out. As one can see from the picture on the right, I did a tubular cast on for this project. Now while that was a new feat all its own, I ended up with a rather common knitter's problem where the knit/purls in my ribbing would become looser as they were made one after the other. The problem isn't really present on the right side, but screams out to me on the left. I'm researching now how to fix this, and will update you once I've figured it out.

Now, time for some iPod socks! (The second half of the request).

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Late Coming

I'm incredibly late in posting these photos, but I did want to get them up. They're from the Vogue Fashion Show that Lion Brand Yarn Studio put on in May. Was a great show, though as always, wish I had gotten to see a couple more men's designs. Beautiful pieces over all though. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Vermont, Part Deux

I'm up in Vermont again. GP is graduating from his cartooning program. Everyone else is still asleep in the apartment. As usual, I can't sleep for very long when I'm away from home, so I sat down at the computer for some light and continued to work on my swatch of a cable I'll be doing in my next project.

Since cables are usually done on a purling background, I wanted to see if purling would be necessary if I  knitted the cable stitches in a different color than the main work. I don't mind the idea of doing the purl, I just want to know what the effect will be like. I saw in another test swatch that the purling is desirable when using the same color as the rest of the work.

Oh, sun's really rising finally. Better start to get ready for the day. After just one more row.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Scotch at Gymboree

Yesterday was a great knitting day. A few weeks ago I noticed Petrina, a Ravelry member (first row in the photo, holding the Vera Bradley bag), had created a thread seeing if anyone would be interested in having a subway knitting event. The idea was to have a bunch of knitters meet up and take over a subway car. With mostly positive responses from fellow Ravelers, Petrina took it upon herself to plan the whole event (a piece a cake I'm sure for an event planner).

We met at the 57th & 7th Stop of the Q train (the first/last stop of the train in Manhattan). I arrived in a hurry, worried that my ride downtown on the 1 and then walking to the station would make me late. I walked down the platform, not spotting any knitters at first, and thought perhaps no one else had arrived yet. And then I came across a bench surrounded by women knitting. As I thought may be the case, I had the pleasure of being the only male present. In fact, as I arrived holding my Denise circulars in hand to identify myself as a knitter, I was greeted by Suzy exclaiming, "A knitting dude!" I may have blushed.

Petrina introduced herself to me, and I attempted to greet some of the other knitters. We waited until 2PM and then boarded the next Q train and began our ride out to Coney Island. We took up about half the train car (seated) and I thought nothing of it at first. Anyone who wasn't already knitting began to pull out projects and ask what the person next to them was working on. Or had one of the delicious chocolate chip cookies that were brought along. Everyone seemed to be excited to be taking part of the event, and to have the chance to meet other knitters.

 It wasn't until we pulled into Times Square, and I saw the mass of people waiting to board the train, that I began to think how people would react to a train car filled with people stitching away.
I'd say we mostly went by unnoticed, except for a curious glance that I caught from a rider or two. A few passengers (some knitters, some not) were very excited to see us on the train. They asked questions and we politely answered, and enjoyed the trip out to the beach. One of the quickest I've ever had (though I've only ever been out there once or twice before).

Once we arrived at Coney Island, we headed over to Footprints Cafe for some linner (it's lunch and dinner). Petrina had been kind enough to reserve the entire patio for us. Footprints, a sort of Caribbean-styled restaurant, had a 4-page long list of drinks, a good variety of entrees, and a good wait-staff. Being the least adventurous of my group, I started off with Buffalo wings, followed by grilled chicken and vegetables with a side of rice. Others had codfish and crab cakes, Rasta Pasta and other names I can't remember. But we all had a great time, as we ended up being there for nearly 3 hours. But with great company, good food and knitting at hand, it felt like five minutes.

Thank heavens yesterday was my going out day. I'm not sure if I could have handled being out by Coney Island in this heat and humidity.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Knit Something Already!

My interchangable needles are here! Or, they have beem since the 13th. I've been putting them to use since they day I got them, and have been knitting just about everywhere now. Originally I was suppose to receive a set for my birthday/Christmas. However, that set were placed on backorder without informing my incredible friend who had ordered them. So when they still hadn't arrived in February, I asked what had ever happened to them. He informed me that he called the company, told him what happened, and he canceled the order. Instead we went with the Denise Interchangeable Needles Kit, and I'm incredibly happy with them! I'll post a review on how well they work perhaps a little later.

Since I got my set of Denise Needles, there's been a familiar exchange between my boyfriend and me:

"What are you working on?" David asks, taking a break from whatever school project he's working on.
"Oh, I'm just practicing." I reply.
"Just make something already!" he says before he turns back to his work.
On some level, I find it all very amusing. Though I can see why it would frustrate him that I've been just sort of knitting swatches or practicing a new stitch. He's been waiting an awful long time for me to make him socks or a blanket, so I really do have to hop to it.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

"It's not your average tweed"*

A fantastic evening** with Jared Flood, aka, Brooklyn Tweed. I couldn't have asked for a better injection of motivation to get my knitting, and surrounding life, into gear!

"What you see here are two very idyllic images."
Taking the stage at LBYS, Flood began the night by showing us pictures of where he grew up and went to school--the Pacific Northwest. Pictures filled with nature: flowers, trees and lakes. His goal was to demonstrate the differences between his influences from back home, and the very urban beauty he finds in New York City. His final photo of the Northwest was of a foggy road--the fog seemed to be easing in and dominating the road. This picture of light filled water particles set the tone of the evening for me.

"Artists' perception develops in the light where they grew up." I forget at times that Flood's training and background is that of a painter/draftsman. And as he continues to speak, Flood touches on the fact that when he designs his knitwear, it's images such as these that he goes to for inspiration. Not the patterns or pieces of other knitwear designers. As well, he explained that he uses mood boards when he works. A way to set the tone for the piece(s) that he is working on. I of course find this particularly interesting because his approach is incredibly artistic, but also how many fashion designers approach their work. 

In addition to explaining where his inspiration comes from, Flood shared that it is, as with many hand knitters, the texture of the pieces that so often catches his attention. "I think of light as physical." It is the textures that he saw when he was living in Rome and Dublin, the tangible light in the fog, that inspires him to create. A psuedo-hidden architecture fan, Flood showed us how the Seattle Public Library had a direct impact on his Koolhaas pattern. His approach seems both incredibly modest and direct. Quite humble in a way. How can someone not, in turn, want to go into the world and be inspired. To find their own avenue of creation.

Flood continued to fill us in on his adventures into knitting. Though he began to learn when he was about 5, it only lasted for a week or so before he left it behind. He started creating an online presence for himself because he had fallen into the 9-to-5 rut (something that I think we can call commiserate with) and wanted to have a way to hold himself accountable. "This is a good thing to do with my work computer" he said. And thus a sort of 'hobby' that he did, over the last 7 years, has become a career that he never expected. 

"You're designing a garment. But you're also designing an experience."
Flood's designs are keen on simplicity. "If you have the right materials in your hands, the simplest thing can be beautiful" noted Flood, as he showed us a lace shawl. "I just really love lace because it gives you an excuse to play with shape." Its no surprise then, that one of Flood's future projects is a book of lace patterns. The evening moved along very quickly, with Flood showing us his work and explaining what his future projects would be. Common through his pieces are miles of garter stitch with just a simple twist to add that elegance that has become so associated with Brooklyn Tweed. 

If any of you have been to Flood's blog, you will have seen the gorgeous photos he takes of his work. So it was no surprise that during the Q&A section, Flood was asked for some tips for those aspiring to take Brooklyn Tweed worthy pictures of their knitting:
  1. Always approach your piece from a perpendicular angle to where the light is coming from. Doing this is what allows your pictures to have depth and not become flat.
  2. Create a secondary light source. You can use a white pillow, a sheet of poster board, anything that will reflect light back onto the piece you are photographing.
  3. You are only responsible for what is in your field. Kick the dirty laundry out of the way, and you're picture will have the right focus, and compliment the rest of your space. Apparently he receives regular questions about how large his apartment must be, when in fact, it's just 650 squared-feet.
I'd like to end this by touching on how Flood chose to end his presentation. The final photo was of where he knits when he is home. A large, well-worn, brown leather chair is seated in the corner, next to a wooden table. On the table their are a couple skeins of yarn, and a large potted plant. Behind the table is a large window with an unbelievable amount of sun streaming in. He included this image because, though his online presence has given him so much, "If you never left the house it would all be in your head." I know I was glad to have left the house tonight.

Just make sure you bring your knitting along for the ride.

*Yes, he did say this at some point, and I was immensely amused by it. Though perhaps only I was.

** I would like to say that this evening was made possible by the kindness of a knitter that I had never met before. I'm not sure how she found out--I believe she saw my post on Ravelry lamenting that I was too late to RSVP--but she had a opening in her RSVP, and decided to reach out to me. I, of course, jumped at the opportunity to go see Jared Flood. So thank you so much, Kimberly, for inviting me out to what was such a great event.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


It s really frustrating to realize how quickly time goes by. Mostly because when I log on to compose a new post, and realize that a month has gone by, I can't help but get incredibly annoyed with myself. A part of this is because there has been very little actual knitting in my life over the past few weeks, since I completed the sock I was demo-sock I was working on (photos to follow below).

Not without projects to complete, my knitting has been out aside because of (a) the lack of funds to get new yarn for some specific projects and (b) waiting on some circulars I should be getting soon. When someone in my organization saw my Kindle Kover recently, they complimented me on it and asked if I could make them one. Another person then reminded me that I was to make her a scarf. So right there we have two projects I need to jump on top of. Perhaps next month: I expect that certain things will have settled down greatly by then.

The demo-sock was a truly interesting experience. I finished off the foot and closed the toe during this years Grammy Awards. Note about closing the toe: I do not enjoy the Kitchener Stitch. In all of my knitting-related reading, the Kitchener Stitch is only discussed to if there is an opening disclaimer:

Dear Knitter, 
I am very sorry to talk to you about this closing stitch, I know it has a bad reputation, but really it isn't that bad. Just follow my written instructions with a few images to guide you and you'll be fine. 
Knitwear King

I should have known better. After fighting to weave my yarn tail in and out of the loops in what seems an odd pattern, I understand why people protest it so. The Three-Needle Bind Off that I taught myself for the Kindle Kover was by far easier than this method. I'm not certain that I'll be using it again in the future. In fairness of the technique: I did not use the aide of any online videos in learning how to do this sewing. Usually I used a mix of book instructions and online video instructions in order to learn a technique. Not the case for the Kitchener. Perhaps I'm just not there yet.
Here's a close up of the heel. I'm rather pleased with this part of it. 

And here's the entire thing. I have one real mistake that can't be seen, which is that I dropped a stitch when making the leg of the sock. Didn't realize where it was until much later. But that's what practice is for. As well, I had trouble spotting which where the edge stitches of the heel for creating the foot at first, but caught on in the end. Overall, I think it was a successful project.

Monday, January 25, 2010


It's a rainy and cloudy day in New York City today. I was foolish enough to leave my house with a hood-less jacket and no umbrella, with a large box handicapping me from my usual walking speed. But a fairly decent cup of coffee once I got into the office brighten the mood--that and knowing that my knitting, kindle and iPod all managed to avoid getting wet.

So though I'm nearly at the end of the demo sock, I'm a bit fearful of picking up the needles again to finish it off. I avoided knitting for most of last week, but when I tried to pick up the DPNs yesterday, I still felt the stiffness in my wrist when I got my hand into position to do Continental. It wasn't as strong when I switched over to English, but was definitely still there. Perhaps after a couple more days of rest, I can pick it back up again?

I've been doing some research on the boards at Ravelry, and it seems that such occurrences (elbow, wrist, finger pain, etc.) among fiber artists in general is not rare. Though it seems to manifest itself differently in everyone, and each person has different methods. Whether it's knitting with different size yarn and needles, or taking a break every 20 minutes, there seem to be as many approaches as there are cures for hiccups. I've been thinking of getting myself a wrist brace. Though I still feel that a large part of it has to do with the sheer amount of knitting I did from the 14-18th.

Back to knitting. As requested by one of my previous readers, I've attached below a photo of the demo sock, with its still unfinished foot and toe:

As you can see, I'm using the spare yarn from the Kindle Kover. I think I've gotten a hang of the idea of making a sock. Now there's just the finishing of it.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


This entry will have to be a combination entry of sorts:

Occurring mostly from the evening to Friday, January 15th 2010 to Sunday, January 17th 2010.
1) I have kicked Continental knitting butt! It's humorous to think about the fact that last week I was feeling so defeated by the entire experience. However, I spent the long weekend knitting away and somewhere between all the stitches and episodes of Xena on Netflix, I found my flow and it finally clicked.

If you asked me how it happened, I'm not sure if I could tell you. As I kept on knitting, I seemed to realize after the fact that I wasn't concerned about messing up every stitch. I knew that though the yarn did not feel the way it normally did, it would not magically fall off my finger, and if I did lose it, all I had to do was put it back. There was no reason to hold my pinky and ring finger so close that they were white. As I eased up, my knitting pick up both in ease and speed, and I was rather enjoying the entire experience.

As I continued my now very long practice swatch, I felt confidant enough to try my hand at doing a purl Continental-style, and after reminding myself how it was suppose to look, it was easy! I did a practice square of stockinette and rib, and moved right along.

What amazed me the most about it all, was that my hands were not tired after everything. I knitted for just about all of Sunday, and my hands weren't the least bit tired by the end of it. Something I found that would occur after doing English for a long period of time.

Occurring mostly from Wednesday, January 20th, 2010 to Thursday, January 21st, 2010.
2) Make sure you consider the fine print. That is, try to see not just what is going on right now, but what may happen because of it three steps in the future. After my success with Continental knitting, I have been working on what has been kindly titled a "demo sock". Wanting to make socks in the near future, I figured it would be nice if I understood what basic construction of a sock was. So since about Monday night (when I missed a knitting group meeting) I began work on the demo sock. So that is now nearly five days that I have been doing knitting of some form.

Well, the piper has come. I started to feel it last night, and confirmed it this morning, that my hands are tired. There was a stiffness and an ache in the back of my hands that made me think that perhaps knitting should be placed on for at least a day or two. And such a shame! I'm nearly up to the toe of the sock...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Continental Divide

While I was in bed trying to beat a cold before it fully developed this Wednesday, I decided to learn Continental knitting. Just about since I started knitting, I've been told about how superior Continental knitting is to English. You will never reach your full potential until you learn to not have to pick up your yarn. Continental knitting is much faster; it's the EZ way. English knitters have no idea what they're doing or missing out on! (The last one was provided by a particularly dramatic friend over gchat).

Knowing what my goals are for the future, the first and a half statements really stuck out to me. So, I grabbed a set of clover needles and Wool-Ease Thick & Quick and got to reading and surfing. I found what seemed to be a very detailed video about Continental knitting and definitely had to agree that it looked pretty damn quick. But when I watched my own mirrored motions, I felt stiff and clunky. As I struggled to get the needle in, grab the yarn and come out triumphant with a new loop, I was reminded of just how much progress I had made over the past year. It's like learning to knit all over again, friend consoled. Well then, perhaps I do not want to learn it all over again. It took a lot of stitches to get at the somewhat level of comfort that I have now, and like many things in life, the details of how exactly you arrived are just a bit foggy at this point. And I'm not sure if I want to clear the air just yet.

But then again, nearly all my ventures into the fiber world have been with wooden needles held with conviction, if not exactly with complete understand. I didn't know how to knit originally, but managed to make a damn good garter stitch scarf. Knitting with four needles instead of two? Why not. Five? Just an extra one to stick into my beard. Cables? Those involve twisting things about. I always thought they were nice. Gimme. That's right, gimme those Continental stitches.

So, I kept researching. I read Domiknitrix's section on it, which while giving me a new option for where to wrap the yarn, seemed to miss what to do with the yarn that hung over forefinger and dangled. So I turned to Stitch 'n Bitch and found an option for how to hold the yarn. My stitches seemed to be becoming more even, but this was certainly not completely from my own doing. It must have been a combination of luck and getting so fed up with a row that I would finish it off with English and start again. Either way, come this morning, my swatches were not so tight that a pin would have trouble pushing through. I practiced a bit more on the train to work, and thought little of it.

When a trip to Lion Brand Yarn Studio just happened to come up in the middle of the day (we went for a co-worker, I swear!), I mentioned in passing that I was trying to teach myself Continental. Immediately, a worker at the store commiserated with me and asked me how my purls were coming along. "Oh, I haven't gotten even close to that yet. The knits are still giving me trouble". And thus began a 5-minute tutorial on what I should consider when doing Continental knitting. What a godsend! We agreed that: there is no clear 1-way-to-do-Continental vs 1-way-to-do-English. That I don't need to keep my pointer finger aimed at the far heavens. And we ended with one piece of advice: Chunky yarn is the worst thing to try and learn with. When I told her this, and she realized what I had been using, the pity with which she looked on to me could not be contained.

I came home after work, pulled out some Vanna's Choice I had left over from my Kindle Kover and got to work. After feeling a little comfortable, I figured I should time myself. In order to knit 26 stitches on size 7 needles (4.5mm) it took...
Continental      English
    1:53.7          1:25.3
Maybe I don't need to have any more tools in my arsenal. Maybe I'm just too Owen Burnett to ever be Preston Vogel.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Venturing Out

With little to do after work, I decided to attend a knitting group I found on Ravelry. While searching about the groups, I found one that meets on Monday night pretty close to my job, so yesterday evening I headed up to Houston from my job in Wall Street for an evening that I hoped would be filled with knitting, meeting new people and a pleasant ride home after. I was delivered on all three.

For the first time I got to meet a group of icons and forum posts on Ravelry in the flesh, and I was glad to have the opportunity. Everyone was very amiable, and my initial concerns of walking up to people I've never seen before, my hands full with a sandwich and water, were quickly allayed. I spent the evening working on my swatches and enjoying from delicious garlic bread, while we all talked about different knitting techniques, where we were from, our likes and dislikes of trains, transfers and the boroughs we have, and currently do, call home.

A point that was particularly interesting was listening to one of the knitters who is originally from France talk about the idea of circular needles in France. She said that the needles are so closely associated with Germany that they are often referred to as German needles. And are not easy to find in France because of this. For knitting in-the-round, your only option are DPNs. Makes me pretty glad that I became such a fan of them when I was working on my Kindle Kover. Though when I'll be in France, I do not know. But it is nice to know I'll be French knitting prepared.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Mailer Daemon Unknown

Signed, sealed and delivered. Finally. 

On Thursday I stood in line at the post office to send my package of gifts including the Mixed Message Scarf for Eileen. After half an hour and a triple the size charge of what would have been 2-day delivery, I was told that the package would arrive the next day by 3 PM. GP would be leaving for Vermont on Sunday, so I left relaxed and feeling that everything should go fine.

Skip scene to Friday, 3:34 PM. I call GP to see if anything has arrived. He walks out to the mailbox, though he would have had to sign for the package. Mailbox empty. Though I'm annoyed that it is after 3PM and nothing has arrived, I feel secure in the fact that "Hey. It HAS to get there today, it's Express Shipping to Albany, NY. How long could it actually take?" 

Fast forward to Friday, 4:32PM. GP calls me starting off with "Those bastards!" I know it is either another rant on Walmart, or something has gone wrong with my package. Though GP was home all day, they decided that he wasn't home as there was no cars in the drive way. Never mind the fact that no one came up to the door, there were no footprints in the snow. No signs of any attempt to verify if anyone was home whatsoever. Just a "Sorry we missed you slip" in the mailbox across the street. Shoot!

But, thankfully today I get a call telling me that my fears may be calmed, as the gifts were received and much appreciated. And now that Eileen has gotten her gift, I can showcase the finished piece here: 

As my first adventure into the land of cables, I am rather enamored with them. Though it would not be approved of by Stafford, so I'll try to not go overboard with them.

A sidenote: I was on the subway two weeks ago, knitting the last leg of the scarf, when I noticed the a woman watching and half smiling from the corner of my eye. She continued to watch me until we hit 42nd Street--Times Square. I had put my knitting away just before we reached the stop. She walked toward the door to exit, but right before, she came over to me to commend me for my cable work. She said that it was such a delight to watch me make them. Though her mothered had tried to teach her how to make them, she never got the grasp of them. I thanked her and was left with a smile on my face as she got off the train.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Late Night

I should be asleep right now (I have work and a training to run tomorrow) but first I wanted to write up a quick post before I got to sleep.

I finished knitting, weaving in ends and steam blocking the scarf I've been working on. Feels great to have another finished piece, and it is definitely driving me to work on it even more. I'd go into why I enjoy knitting so much, but I just yawned again. (I know I'm tired cause  just wrote "yarned" instead of "yawned"). I'll be sure to muse and post photos tomorrow. I really need to get to sleep. All I need to do now is find a box to package it in and off it goes!

Good night, all.