Monday, November 24, 2008

Pretty Pretty Pictures

All of last weeks running around helped Hubby come to a realization. He is already jealous of the warm fingers that I am going to have during Thursday's parade. I tried really hard not to have any last minute holiday knitting, and despite celebrating Christmas early I thought I was successful. That was silly thinking. Hubby is now in need of his own gloves instead of socks by the end of December, he is going to be getting (if the knitting deities allow) Broad Street Mittens by the end of the week. I started them last Thursday night so I could take them on my errands and what not Friday. On a long trip back from Queens I did my first subway knitting and finished the first cuff. This weekend I finished the first glove minus the mitten cap. I've moved on to the second glove and I'll do both the mitten caps after that just in case time runs out. I think two fingerless gloves will be better than one full mitten. I was going to take pictures today to share, but my new Interweave Knits arrived and by the time I pulled my nose out of it, the sunlight was gone. I don't want to leave you with out any pretty knitting though so here are pictures from some of the projects that I am excited about.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Another 'Hey I Could Make That!' Sighting

I was really excited a couple weeks ago when I saw the coat I want to knit in a Macy's ad. It has happened again. Today one of the non-knitting blogs that I read posted a link to this throw that he just ordered. I saw it and immediately thought of this:

This pattern has been in my Ravelry queue since the first day it was released on Knitty. In fact, the first time I tried to queue it, it hadn't been put into Ravelry yet so I was out of luck. I like this wrap so much that if I wasn't on a yarn diet, I probably would have cast it on already. Turning it into a throw doesn't seem like it would be very difficult at all.

It is really nice to see something for sale that makes me think, "Hey, I could make that!" It is hard to describe what the actual feeling is, but I think empowered is the closest. It is probably only a fraction of what people who make their own patterns feel. Both times that I've had that feeling, I knew that there was a pattern waiting for me on the internet that would meet my needs. To be confident that you could make something knowing that there isn't a pattern or seeing something that isn't even knitwear and having it inspire a knit creation, that has got to feel great.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

What a Week

This week was a whirlwind of non-stop action. Ok, maybe not quite, but I was busy enough that I didn't get to see the new James Bond movie. I also didn't spend any time in virtual adventures or knitting. Tuesday night was one of the more exciting events rather than just the errands that most of the rest of my time.

Tuesday we went to the Apollo for a seminar put on by the Made in NY program. Made in NY is a program from the mayor's office that is working to provide incentives that keep film and television producing in the city as well as increasing the community awareness and pride for the things that are made here. According to our MC for the evening, there have been some recent productions pretending to be be in New York city but they were actually filmed in places like Canada. The mayor is trying to take those productions back. They also announced a Production Assistant Program that the city is doing. It is a free 4-week training program and at the end there is job placement. Your first job may be asking pedestrians to wait so they don't walk though a shoot, but it would be a great experience for anyone interested. I live in New Jersey so I am not eligible. If you live in the city and are interested in film and television, check it out and let me know what you think.

So what's the longest running television show shot in NYC? No, it is not Law and Order, though at nineteen seasons they certainly have been around for awhile. The winner for longest running, coming in at just under four decades, is Sesame Street. Tuesday's seminar, How to Get to Sesame Street, was a panel discussion with Carol-Lynn Parente (Executive Producer), Dr. Rosemarie Truglio (Vice President, Education and Research), Joey Mazzario (Writer, puppeteer, director, "Murray"), Kevin Clash (Producer, puppeteer, "Elmo"), and Sonia Manzano (Performer, writer, "Maria"). It was moderated by Katherine Oliver (Commissioner, Mayor's Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting). It was a great event. They talked about the process of making an episode and what a day in the life of each would be like. Elmo even made an appearance before the evening was done. Their unanimous suggestion for how to get to Sesame Street would be via internship. The executive producer herself started with the Children's Television Workshop (now Sesame Workshop) as an intern hauling film canisters.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Weekend Adventures

As I mentioned earlier, the expansion to the video game that Hubby and I play was released on Thursday. Unsurprisingly, I didn't get much at all done as far as knitting is concerned. Saving a virtual world from evil creatures was much higher up on my priority list. Fortunately, I find this game absolutely beautiful. It is not the same kind of beauty as a skein of fantastic yarn, and my monitor certainly isn't as cuddly. I took some pictures of my adventures to share with you anyway. Here is what I did this weekend:

I defied gravity and surfed on a Harpoon across a river.I drugged a pirate and stole his money.I helped two walruses find love.I rode a giant turtle that reminded me of The Never Ending Story.I meditated at a mountain top shrine until I was cleansed of my inner turmoil.
I rescued some tadpoles from an evil giant lobster.
I went shark hunting.

All in all, it was a pretty exciting weekend, and I had a lot of fun.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

When Hobbies Collide

In addition to knitting I spend some of my spare time playing an online video game with Hubby. (Though it has been a lot less of my spare time ever since I started knitting.) The game we play is World of Warcraft (WoW) and today the newest expansion was released. Like all good gamers, we stood in line outside of GameStop last night waiting for midnight. In preparation I cast on a new project with worsted weight yarn and a simple stitch for ideal at the computer knitting. Instead of sharing that project with you (especially since I don't have any pictures) I am going to share some links of knitting projects inspired by WoW.

Alliance Emblem
Horde Scarf
Murlock Toy
Murlock Hat
Felhound Toy
Hearthstone Stitch Markers (I've got a set of these)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Quick Introduction

During the Earl Grey socks, I cast on for a lace project mainly to help give me some perspective on my sock yarn. It only took about ten rows of working with lace weight to really give my sock yarn some substance. I don't see this getting done anytime soon, but I've been picking it up every so often when I have the chance to really focus on my knitting. I am using Alpaca Cloud in Midnight Heather. This yarn is incredible. It seems black, but it is filled with flecks of green and blue. Sometimes I think I might see a purple. The colors are really subtle, but they give it a lot of depth. It has been really hard to photograph, but hopefully you get the idea.

The pattern I have paired it with is the Cleopatra Wrap (Ravelry Link) from Sensual Knits. There are two errors in the pattern. The errors are not really that hard to figure out, but this is my first lace project so I was reluctant to go forward without finding the errata.

I've only gotten around 30 rows done and I have hundreds more to go, but as a quick introduction, here is my Cleo:

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Parade Mittens

I've convinced Hubby that we must go to the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade this year. We both have childhood memories of watching the parade. For me it was whenever I spent the holidays with my grandparents that I got to see it. I'd be sitting in my pajamas eating breakfast and it would be on the tv in the dining room. I'd zip away during commercial breaks to get dressed, brush my teeth, and sometimes pull a brush though my hair. To say I'm excited about getting to see it live is an understatement. So far, I'm not at all phased by the thought of showing up at 6:30 to see a 9:00 parade. I doubt that it is going to become an annual tradition since neither of us really like crowds that much, but it is one of those things that I've got to do once.

Hubby is still a little reluctant about the weather, so I am trying to get us as equipped as possible. I took a sock detour and knit myself some mittens. My thoughts are that this will help me make sure to take lots of pictures because my fingers will stay warm. Hubby is usually the camera man, but if his fingers get cold, I will be able to relieve him of his duties as he warms them back up.

These are Subway Mittens from Interweave Knits. I used some left over Andean Silk from my Francis. They knit up very quick. I think it only took a couple nights of watching tv. The pattern calls for a pocket on one mitten to hold your subway card so you can just swipe your hand in front of the card reader and keep your fingers toasty. I haven't put a pocket on for a couple reasons. First, I put pockets on some baby dresses that I did awhile back, and I did a horrible job. That is something that I am going to have to practice before incorporating it into anymore projects. (Ohh maybe I should practice by sewing my gauge swatches onto each other.) Second, I can just swipe my wallet in front of the card reader so my fingers don't have to be pulled out of the mittens anyway. In the spirit of the pattern being more than just mitts, I'd like to put something on them. I haven't decided what yet though. I'll have to go poke my head in my yarn basket and search for inspiration.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I Love This City

While I was putting around the internet last Thursday, I came across an announcement that the JCC in Manhattan was going to have a discussion with the director and scenes from the documentary in progress When Muppets Dream of Peace on Saturday. I immediately signed up and pulled out my subway map to figure out how to get there.

The last time I saw a documentary about Sesame Workshop, it meant a lot to me. I had heard whispers and rumors of a new documentary, but it was never anything that I could confirm or find any good information on. I was extremely excited to hear that I was going to get a sneak peak. Saturday was a soggy day, but we headed out anyway.

The World According to Sesame Street is the other documentary. It talks about the origins of Sesame Street and about some of the productions that Sesame Workshop is working in other parts of the world. One of the co-productions that they showed was in Kosovo. There they were starting two new shows that worked together to teach Albanian and Serbian children about each other to hopefully bring peace and tolerance to a younger generation. It was a difficult task especially because of the violence that was physically keeping everyone one apart. There is one scene that shows the whole group together brainstorming ideas for their first episodes. The first lesson they came up with to teach their kids was how to recognize a grenade and what to do if you find one. That scene changed my world view. I was teaching kids how to move stage right and stage left (I use to teach children's theater) at the same time that kids were being taught how to avoid explosives.

The new documentary When Muppets Dream of Peace is about a workshop project that is very similar to Kosovo. This project involved three productions. One for Israel, Palestine, and Jordan. Here is a video from a news segment about how one of the productions resulted in an actual Sesame Street:

At the JCC we got to see a few scenes and there was a panel discussion with Executive Produce Jane Coleman, filmmaker David Van Taylor, and Danny Labin from the Sesame Workshop (who you just saw in the news clip). It was a fascinating session about the challenges that the project faced and how they over came some of those issues. I am excited about seeing this documentary when it is finished. According to Mr. Van Taylor it was a growing experience for everyone and it sounds like they worked out some great solutions. I haven't found any official information about the documentary online, but here is what the postcard they passed out says:

When Muppets Dream of Peace
Coming to PBS 2009
from Highlander Pictures & Lumiere Productions
a documentary by David Van Taylor
Executive Producer Jane Coleman
Director of Photography Ramez Kazmouz
Co-Producer Noam Shalev
Editor Cindy Kaplan-Rooney

When Muppets Dream of Peace is made possible by support from The Ford Foundation, the Rokefeller Brothers Fund, and the Public Broadcasting Service.

We are currently seeking finishing funds.

For further information or to help, contact Jane Coleman:

While we were waiting for the discussion to start we found out that the JCC was having an evening discussion titled Planet of the Arabs about the view of Arabs portrayed by American media. Our plan was to find some food in between the two sessions and make it to them both. Unfortunately, we got caught up in some huge slices of pizza and we were too late getting back. My only excuse is that we must have lost a chunk of time in a carb induced daze. It all worked out though. We headed home early, and as soon as we got to our apartment, some Veteran's Day fireworks began on the river. It was a great day. I am loving living near all of this exciting stuff.

I'm not sure I agree with all it says, but it is a pretty picture.

Your result for What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test...

Non-conformist, Visionary, and Independent

12 Abstract, -9 Islamic, -2 Ukiyo-e, 3 Cubist, 2 Impressionist and -22 Renaissance!

Abstract art uses a visual language of form, color and line to create a composition which exists independently of what may appear to others as visual realities. Western had been underpinned by the logic of perspective and an attempt to reproduce an illusion of visible reality. It allowed the progressive thinking artists to show a different side to the world around them. By the end of the 19th century many artists felt a need to create a 'new kind of art' which would encompass the fundamental changes taking place in technology, science and philosophy. Abstract artists created art that was diverse and reflected the social and intellectual turmoil in all areas of Western culture.

People that chose abstract art as their preferred artform tend to be visionsaries. They see things in the world around them and in people that others may miss because they look beyond what is visual only with the eye. They rely on their inner thoughts and feelings in dealing with the world around them instead of on what they are told they should think and feel. They feel freed from the tendancy to be bound by traditional thought and experiences. They look more toward their own ideas and experiences than what they are told by their religious upbringing or from scientific evidence. They tend to like to prove theories themselves instead of relying on the insight or ideas of others. They are not bound by common and mundane, but like to travel and have new experiences. They value intelligence, but they also enjoy a challenge. They can be rather argumentative when they are being forced or feel as if they are being forced to conform.

Take What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test at HelloQuizzy

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Kudos to Teva Durham

I have been drooling over the Mixed Media pea coat from the IK Fall 2008 issue. This pattern from Teva Durham is on my wish list, but not currently in my budget. A quick price check on the two yarns used, and some calculations give me an estimate of just over $200 for this project. I believe it is worth every penny, but it is going to take some serious planning and yarn dieting on my part to get all of that together for one project. Hopefully someday I'll be talking about this project because I'm casting it on, but today I just want to give a high five to the designer. I opened my NYT to a full page Macy's ad and this is what I saw:

If you click on the image to make it bigger you can really see the stitch work in Macy's jacket. She really was a step ahead (which I guess you have to be if you're going to knit it in time to be stylish). The best part about this is that I don't have to justify $200 worth of yarn to anyone because Macy's is selling that jacket for $330.

A knitted story

Friday, November 7, 2008


This post is long overdue. As I was decreasing the toes on my BIL's socks, I realized that I was jealous of these ones too. I knew the next on my list of Christmas knitting* were Hubby's socks, but I really want a pair of my own. I decided it was time for a sit down with Hubby. Being the perceptive and incredibly smart man that he is, before I could even get my thoughts out, he told me that I deserve a pair of socks and that I should make mine first. How can you not love that?

These socks started 4 months ago. KnitPicks announced that they were releasing new sock yarn for fall. I still wasn't a successful sock knitter so I normally wouldn't be tempted, but this stuff is called Imagination and the colorways are named after all sorts of fun fairytale stuff. I knew I needed the yarn for the Christmas socks so I decided to wait and spoil myself with a little bit of this too. I was I picked up a couple skeins of Gingerbread House and Seven Dwarfs. Excited about my self indulgence, I started searching sock patterns and I came across Tuscany. I was full of inspiration!
This pattern:
With this yarn:

Filled my head with visions of cupcakes and sprinkles. My heart was set on some fantastically sweet socks.

I cast on as soon as I was done with the Earl Gray socks. Then, I immediately ripped it out and completely changed up the pattern. First, I didn't like the gauge of the pattern as much as the socks I've been working on lately so I upped the number of stitches to a variable of 8 that was closer to what I've been working with. Second, I realized that sprinkle placement is pretty chaotic and that I didn't want them to be quite as orderly as they are in the pattern picture. Every other pattern repeat I decided to offset by two stitches. It is not much, and it is far from orderly, but I'm happy with the results. Finally, since I have a completely different number of stitches than the pattern recommends, I had to improvise a heel from a different sock pattern. I'll probably have to do the same with the toe but I haven't gotten that far yet. (If you asked me four months ago, there is no way I could have predicted that I'd be improvising heels and toes!) Here is how all of my adjustments are turning out:
I am pretty smitten with them.

*Hubby's side of the family is visiting us for Thanksgiving, so we'll actually be celebrating Christmas this month instead of next. This is why I've been working so diligently on my Christmas knitting. I must admit it does feel kind of nice to be finishing mine up as everyone writes about beginning theirs.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


We've all been there. Someone shares a link with you and the next thing you know, your entire day is gone and you have no reasonable explanation. I've lost absurd amounts of time to bouncing penguins, filling rice bowls, learning the meanings of baby names and searching though public domain books. Even worse, were my first encounters with YouTube, Facebook, and Ravelry. Today, Erin over at A Dress A Day shared one of those links.

What she shared is a blog that has top ten lists of blogs. There you can easily check out the top 10 blogs on technology in education, top 10 mental health blogs, top 10 blogs for frugal living, top 10 celebrity blogs. Of course there are 10 popular knitting blogs, and 10 more popular knitting blogs (because knitters never really do fit into the same boxes as everyone else do they). I looked at blogs on a least a dozen different topics, and hours of my day vanished just like that. Unfortunately, I have set up my web browser so that I can easily click a button and subscribe to an rss feed. I lost track after the third top ten list how many blogs I subscribed to today. Now I have some how committed an unknown amount of my future time to this link even though I've vowed that I won't click on it again for at least a month. I imagine I'll get some great stuff out of it, but I predict a huge rss feed culling in the near future.

Check it out. Not because I want to condemn you to the same time sink, but because I want to hear what cool new blogs you found.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election Thoughts

Yesterday started with voting, but we quickly found our way back to our normal Tuesday routine of heading into the city for our free movie, dinner, and a nice walk. I skipped my knitting group partly because we came back later than normal and mostly because I wanted to get things ready for our election results monitoring. Since we weren't going to or hosting a party, I knew we would have a lot of time to pass that normally would be spent tuning out pundits and chatting with other people. Our distraction solution was to second tv in the living room so we could watch the election and still busy ourselves with the PlayStation. Clearly I haven't been living here long enough, because it never occurred to me to congregate at Times Square for last night. By the time I saw all the people there on tv, I had already opened a bottle of wine and I was settled into my comfy pants. I stayed up way past my bedtime and had a great night. Even though I was exhausted, when I went to bed, my head was swimming with things to write about. Here are just some of them:
  • How I feel about Barack Obama
  • How Barack Obama feels about Higher Education
  • How Academics feel about the election
  • How awful general chat was in WoW yesterday
  • How distasteful it is to boo someone who has just been elected president
  • How disappointed I am about Proposition 8
  • How it was different to be in a blue state
  • How I made my voting decisions as a Hillary supporter
  • How uncomfortable I was with the rest of my ballot since I haven't been a part of this community for very long
  • How knitters have shown support for their candidates
  • How exciting the voter turn out was
  • How beautiful it was to see people partying in the streets
  • How it felt to vote for the winner for the first time
Thankfully, I slept on it and remembered that those are not the conversations that I want to have with strangers on the Internet. Those are the conversations I want to have with my friends over a good meal. It is difficult because they are all so far away, and those dinners will probably never happen. That will change though, and the excitement has just begun. Since I am not a political writer, and I have no intention of becoming one, I wrote about the technology used to share the election results.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My Vote is In

Things have been pretty great around here. On Halloween we decided to skip the plethora of parties at the Hoboken bars, and take it easy in the city instead. We went to Chelsea for dinner and a movie. It was a great place just to walk around and see everybody on their way to parties. I think I could have happily just rode the subway around the city for the evening just to see the costumes coming and going.

Today we headed out to vote and had a wonderful experience. Everything was organized, everyone was friendly, and there was no line to wait in. Three cheers for West New York! Hopefully you've gotten your civic duty/responsibilities taken care of. If not there is still time. I'm not the motivational speaker Sam is though, so I'll let him reinvigorate your love for this country and inspire you to vote. (That, and I seem to be on a YouTube kick.)