Monday, 30 January 2012

FO: Leyfi Pullover

Fa-la-la... I finished something....


Actually, I finished it a couple weeks ago, but their isn't enough daylight in my week to get a decent shot of it. I think if you are going to spend hours and hours handknitting something you really need to do your work justice with a nice well-lit outdoors or studio photographs. This usually isn't a problem from May to September, but wintertime can be a challenge.



The pattern is called Leyfi by Romi Hill. It's from Interweave Knits Fall 2010.


I used 2 skeins of Cascade Eco Wool. The way the sweater is constructed makes it fun- you start with the crazy open lace turtleneck, work your way down to the shoulders, and then split for the lace sleeves. It flows together seamlessly.

I might have made a mistake in interpreting the pattern- I think the sleeves are meant to be more of an open lace pattern. I knit all the yarn overs through the back loop like the pattern said, and now that I look at other people's finished project, I see that they didn't. It doesn't effect the fit per say, but it just makes it less lacy.


The only thing I did to modify was a few short rows in the front for boob-shaping. Otherwise, this sweater would be the same front and back. Also, I added some garter stitch to the bottom hem to keep it from curling up. This is my first completed sweater for 2012. I can only hope that I can order up some cold, snowy weather in time for this to get more wear before spring.

It knit up fairly quickly- once the sleeves were done, it only took me a few days to complete the body. It was hard to haul it around to work on the acres of stockinette stitch that made up the body, so I watched a few movies to get through it at home. Specifically:

In a Lonely Place:

The great Hitchcock film, "Shadow of a Doubt":

And, what might be my new favorite movie ever, "Le Trou".

I guess I've always been a sucker for great iconic acting and the suspense that these old movies had to rely on instead of CGI and pyrotechnics. I knew how this sweater would end anyway. Happily, and with a warm heroine.

Monday, 23 January 2012

It's Fun to be a Tourist in Your Own Home

I love hosting visitors from out of town. I don't get to see anything fun otherwise, and if I actually did see something interesting, I would blow right past it on my way to something else that I'm probably running late for. The leisurely pace of tourist in this town is an ideal way to really see things. Sometimes I have to give myself permission to walk slow enough to hear the grunts and huffs of frustrations of the people trying to get by me. Go screw yourself, I'm a tourist! I can walk as slow as I want.

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The Tree, for instance. There is no way in hell I'm going to upper 5th ave from Thanksgiving to New Year's. It's just too much of a struggle to walk anywhere around there during the holiday crush. It looks like online shopping doesn't exist as everyone scrambles to go to Saks and Tiffany's.

Happily for me, the city was nice and quiet the week after New Year's when I took some guest from out of town out to walk and shop and eat and catch a show.

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Luckily, it was unseasonably warm out. It's much easier to navigate your way around midtown when it's not freezing cold, raining, snowing, sleeting or whatever. Peeling off layers and layers every time you step indoors gets old fast.

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The last time I was in Times Square, I was with my friend June. I work right on 42nd st, and it just never occurs to me to go anywhere near there. Even if I have show tickets, I usually go AROUND the's too hard to walk through the crowds and I just find the whole place too overstimulating. Lights, noise, hawkers and suburban chain restaurants. But I like to bring people there just to see. Now that the TKTS booth was renovated into a fancy staircase that you can climb up and take it all in while resting your feet, I find myself kind of liking it.

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I love showing people the hidden gems that they miss out on when they live elsewhere...Dim Sum Brunch, a tiny local bakery that makes amazing bread and pastry, the vintage shop with cheap-ish Chanel suits, the church where they filmed the last scenes in "Arthur" where Dudley Moore decides to leave his bride at the altar in favor of tuna fish sandwiches and Liza Minnelli.

It is days like this that I'm reminded how much I will miss it here when I leave.

Friday, 20 January 2012


Traveling for business can mean that going someplace the most people view with pure joy and happiness can fill me with pure dread and loathing.


Oh yes. Seeing the sun coming up after several sleepless all-nighters due to the massive amount of work that needed to be done was some how a relief: that is one less sunrise that I will have to endure in this place. The weather appeared to be lovely outside, but days went by and I was inside the hotel and conference room the entire day and night. My entire life, for 5 days, was composed of forced socialization with middle-aged men for hours while eating mediocre hotel catering, drinking gallons of burnt coffee and trying to remember to smile and stand in a place where my phone gets reception.



I did go for a quick walk one afternoon in what was proclaimed as a "nature trail", but it ended up being a dirt road sandwiched between the golf course and a highway. I get my dose of nature when and where I can.




There were some interesting birds- egrets, ibis, grebes, osprey and herons.




Did I mention that they had has working while the rest of the states had a 3-day weekend? Nope, no bitterness here.





The company did do a nice thing and they had a buy-out of Universal Studios. Middle-aged men got to live out their fantasies.


They did have a few rides open for us. We got to test each other's bravery, and ridicule each other when the bravery failed.




The Magic 8 ball I won playing skiball came in handy when we needed answers about quota.



I told them they looked very "Rat Pack" and they smiled:


It's good to be home. I think I'll be having a nice, relaxing weekend with absolutely no contact with co-workers.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Some Works in Progress

Two weeks in to 2012 and I've not cast on for a pair of socks. This means, despite having limited knitting time, I've gotten some real progress done on sweaters. Multiple sweaters.

First up is the Pas de Valse from Twist Collective.

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It calls for fingering weight yarn but it works up pretty quickly at a loose gauge. I'm using Sanguine Gryphon Bugga in the Adonis Butterfly colorway. I can't wait for this sweater to be done and it's not because I'm sick of knitting it- I just love the way it drapes and I can't wait to wear it. It's almost like putting something on layaway. I keep plugging away at it, and one day it will be mine, all mine!

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Because it is hand-dyed yarn and there are variations that can't be helped, I'm alternating every couple rows with another skein. That way, when I change skeins there won't be an obvious color change striping its way across my sweater.

Next up is a manly man sweater. It's the Lattice Sweater from Interweave Knits.

These are the sleeves and they only have a few more inches to go. You can't tell from the sample photo, but the sleeves have a line of rib in the center. The whole sweater is kind of boring to knit, but comforting on the commute. It seems really exciting at this point to do that cable detail around the collar. That's going to be like Christmas and my Birthday all wrapped into one when I finally get there. I am on the road for a business trip next week (that I'm seriously dreading) and I'm going to work on the body then. Flights and late nights mean that there is a chance I'll get a great deal of this knocked out without much effort. I'm using Cascade 220 Heathers in the color "Sparrow". We can't really make a man's sweater in an exciting flashy color now, can we? I'd rather it be brown or gray or a combination of the two and have the sweater get a lot of use. Maybe it can be dark green or navy if we're feeling particularly adventurous.

I actually finished this sweater a couple days ago but I haven't had a chance to get pictures yet. So here is what it looked like a couple weeks ago:


It's the Leyfi pullover by Romi Hill. It's a top-down seamless sweater with a great lace collar and a pretty leafy lace pattern that continues down the sleeves. I'll have more on it later, but I love it and it fits and it's flattering. The yarn is Cascade Eco, which knit up in no time at all once I got over the intricate lace.

An Amazon giftcard from a co-worker went to good use:

Squeeee! My quest to find comfy pumps that don't look frump resulted in these cute Mary Janes from John Fluevog. They have a nice round toe and a sturdy heel, so I've had no complaints at all. I walk quite a bit during my day- not only am I on my feet a great deal at work (well, not a waitress amount, but quite a bit) and then I'll usually have to qualms about walking a mile or so after work to run errands or avoid taking the subway at rush hour. I don't like to carry an extra pair of shoes around, so I'd rather just get something I can walk all day in without crippling myself.

I'll be out of commission for a bit as I go rah rah rah for corporate life and put on my serious face and powerpoint present my ass off. Let us all hope that it does not permanently steal my soul.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

FO: Sans Argyle Socks

Oh, sigh. These were such a good idea:

They are the Argyle socks from Veronik Avery in her lovely book Knitting Classic Style. The beauty of them is that there's no colorwork to keep track of or get tangled or mess with your tension or have to deal with knitting the sock flat and seaming it, but everything colorwork is duplicate stitched on top of the finished sock. Genius.

Except I failed at the colorwork. I've done duplicate stitch plenty, but for very small expanses. Like the black faces and feet on these sheep.

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Or like all the green bits on the Snail Mittens (which are still my favorite mitts):

Norweigan Snail Mitts

But all the intricate criss-crossing on these socks got to me, and I realized after several tries that my stitching wasn't even close to being perfect enough to make these socks look like an arts and crafts project gone wrong. It made them look very, er, "homemade", in a really sad kind of way. My embroidery was too sloppy to be seen in public.

So I put down my darning needle and left these as it. They are plain, but warm and cozy and most people are a little horrified that I would knit my man a gift of socks that are a Cashmere blend (and handpainted to boot).

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So here are the two colors I was going to use:

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One thing I did learn was that it comes out a little more evenly if you use a thinner weight yarn. Even that wouldn't save them in my hands though.

I'm happy with them anyway. I knit them almost entirely while traipsing around Paris so they have lots of good memories worked in. Also, the yarn is wonderful- The Sanguine Gryphon Bugga in Autumn Tiger Beetle. It's a pretty good way to spoil anyone you might know. I guess that time will tell if this is a good sock yarn though- if the heels blow out after a couple of wears then I will turn sour on it faster than warm milk.

Also, I got this sent to me in an email:


He's pretty adorable, eh? Plus he's wearing a Snail Hat from my handspun (and a faaabulous scarf that was meant for mum, but I'm supportive of whatever he wants to wear). Smaller than adult sizes always confuse the hell out of me- I know babies and children have proportionally large noggins, but I never know how large. Lots of stretchy ribbing and maybe something that expands quite a bit seems to work better for me that trying to guesstimate inches. I think I even put a note in with the hat saying that I would knit him another one if it doesn't fit. I dodged a bullet.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

FO: Fantastic Mister Faux

I'm a little fascinated by the relic of the 1920's and 30's: the fox stole. Why anyone would think that an animal carcass with facial features and feet slung over their shoulders is beyond me. But still. It exudes a certain glamour.

Fur has gone out of style, and for good reason- it's heartbreakingly cruel, right up there with foie gras and veal. I really only see it being worn by the Russian Trophy Wives that go on discount shopping trips in my neighborhood (along with heels that I, a high-heel wearer, can only dream of walking in) and sometimes an eccentric older lady will be donning a full-length mink that looks like it's seen better days.

Just before Christmas, we were invited out to one of those grand corporate parties of awkwardness and much drinking. Last minute I was told that it had a 1920's theme. I dug through my stash and came up with the very last novelty yarn I could unearth, and set to work to make a little glamour for my night.






Well, we were pretty much the only people to dress up costumey (which was fine, because their was no real theme going on after all except for excess southern food). Techie people aren't known for their creativity in their wardrobes. We did see a lot of pleated pants, and quite a few untucked and rumpled shirts restraining a lot of pasty white skin, and red, computer screen strained eyes. Ah well. For this one night, we looked fabulous dahhling, fabulous, if only because very few other fish were in the sea.


The bad thing about the party that it was so huge and spread out, you couldn't find a bar that had the same theme twice. Mixing is bad, people. Champange from the fountain and shots from the vodka luge and a whisky bar and a beer bar and a wine bar and...oh, hell. I should have just stuck to water.


Here is my foxy faux, up close and personal.


He looks much better now in person- after a night of hard drinking, his eyes were coming loose and were hanging by threads and I almost lost his nose at one point. Fox needs to change gears, maybe not do so much damage to his liver. Nice doggy.


Also, note the color change we have going on. He was a scrappy fellow, and when I ran out of one color, I just kept going with the next. Also...his front legs are longer than his back, because I ran out of that yarn.

Here's a list of the yarn that went into him.

Crystal Palace Yarns Fizz Solid
Crystal Palace Yarns Merino Frappe
Crystal Palace Yarns Splash Print
Sirdar Boa
Suss Yarn Mohair

He's squeaky like plastic. Fantastic plastic.

I used a hair clip for his mouth so he will attach to his tail. The pattern is from Knitty from years and years ago. I actually made one from a kit from a now defunct website that made such kits and I gifted that fox to a fabulous glamourpuss friend of mine. This was what I had for leftovers from the kit and other assorted scraps. It only took a couple hours to whip up, finishing and all. It's only really tricky because holding a lot of novelty yarn together makes a mess of your stitches, but it also hides any mistakes you might make.

He's currently elegantly draped across the back of my sofa. Sometimes I hold him in my lap and pet him. I'm creepy like that.