October 2007 Archives

This page is an archive of entries from October 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

To see all archives, visit the Archive Index.

September 2007 is the previous archive.

November 2007 is the next archive.

Mystery Subway Knitter of the Week!

Before we get down to business here, I would like to respond to a comment that someone left about my reticence on the Red Sox. Yes, yesterday should have been filled with all kinds of "Whooo-hoo, Sox! " I must confess, however, that I wrote that post before the sweep was a sure thing. Sure, things looked good and all, but one can never get cocky, especially when it comes to the Red Sox. Like we needed a repeat of Game 6.

Anyway, now that it's all over, and we're a Nation in celebration, I can confidently claim some credit the Series win. How? I'll tell you. It turned out that I forgot (I know, bad) to mention the World Series in my post last Wednesday. And the Sox won. Then I meant to catch up on Thursday, but I forgot again. And, the Sox won. Again. "Okay," I thought. "There's GOT to be something to this." So, for the remainder of the Series I pledged to maintain radio silence on game day.

It worked.

Oh, yeah, right. This is a knitting blog, and based on the title of today's post, you were promised a subway knitter who is not me.


I saw her on the N, knitting like a fiend on a scarf. Happy now?

A Matched Pair?

Hey, remember those socks? I got busy last week blabbing on and on about Rhinebeck and subway knitting, and all sorts of stuff that I forgot to talk about my favorite subject: me.

"But Colleen," you say, "Last week was all about you. Where you went, what you saw, and what you're going to knit for you with all of that yarn that you bought."

A point well taken. I guess that we're never far away from mememememe here at Subway Knitter.

Actually, my favorite topic of late should be the socks that I'm knitting (for me). Take a look:


I'm telling you, this is the same colorway, and dyelot, and everything. What's going on with this Claudia Handpainted? Is this much variation to be expected with handpainted yarn? You can see that the colors are the same, but their application from hank to hank is completely different.

Truth be told, I don't mind that these socks are more than a little mismatched. They're going to be keep-my-feet-warm-at-home socks, anyway. I certainly needed quite a few pairs of them last winter in Boston. I'm betting that New York will be same.

Mystery Subway Knitter of the Week

What a fitting end to a week that began with a wee Rhinebeck hangover:


Spotted on the 4/5. It looked like she was knitting a striped hat. Poor thing didn't know how to carry the unused yarn up behind the working yarn, and I think that she's going to have a lot of ends to weave in. I thought about offering a tip right there on the subway, but then thought better about it, if only because a crowded train isn't the best environment for a how-to.

What is This?

Someone needs to help me. With all of my knitting books in storage, I can't identify this stitch pattern, much less figure out its repeat. It must have something to do with dropped stitches, but in what combination I cannot decide.


Photographed at Rhinebeck, it's one of the patterns that I'm thinking of using for my Prism Scarf. Apparently, I'm not alone in liking this motif. Did you see the Logan River Wrap in the Winter Interweave preview? Oh, yeah, and there's another pattern in there too (thanks for all your kind comments about my print debut).

My design aside, I think that the latest IK is fantastic! I want to knit almost everything. It's been a long time since I've been able to say that about a knitting mag. Kudos to the IK peeps for a great issue!

What Embargo?

As I promised in yesterday's post, here's what came back with me to Queens:

Most definitely, the self-imposed book yarn embargo is decidedly over. I tried to be sensible and good, but it just wasn't making me happy. Besides moving (for which we still have no firm date), these days new yarn is one of the few things that will make me happy.

Anyway, here's what moved with me all the way from Duchess County to Queens County:

First we have some luscious alpaca, Heavenly, from Delly's Delights Farm in Maryland (there is a website, but it's not updated so I didn't link). It's sportweight in a variegated colorway that I can't quite photograph:


Then we have a wool/silk blend, also a sportweight, from Oak Grove, in Putney, Vermont. The colorway is called "Stones". Apparently my camera likes blues better than reds, because these hanks are more accurately shown. Again, it's a sportweight. I'm thinking of simple scarves for both.


Finally, we have the Morehouse haul. Am I the only knitter who's disappointed that Morehouse is closing its bricks-and-mortar shop to become an internet-only business? I don't think so. Sigh....


I bought four hanks of a natural wool laceweight to make Sophie's Shawl (a Morehouse pattern). One probably doesn't need a pattern to knit this, but with the pattern I can be lazy and let someone else decide how many stitches I need to cast on, and how many rows the shawl should be.

I also picked up a hank of an unidentified bulky wool, in a gray/blue colorway. It was in the sale bin and set me back a whopping $4. I'm going to stripe it with some brown I bought at Morehouse last year and make myself a hat.

Then you'll notice the card. I picked up one of Maryse's beautiful photocards. I hope that she keeps this up, as her work is very good.

So, nothing too extravagant. I was able to stick to yarn sources at Rhinebeck that I wouldn't otherwise find, and I didn't do anything impulsively. I looked; I noted. If something stayed in my thoughts, then I had to have it. I also set a budget and stuck to it. Yay me.

Rhinebeck Wrap-Up I

WARNING: Self indulgent Rhinebeck post ahead. please feel free to skip to the next blog. I haven't had a chance to properly photograph my (paultry) purchases, so today you get my reflections.

I needed a few days for the Rhinebeck to steep in my memory before I could give it a proper blog.

Saturday dawned beautiful, warm, and bright. As I walked through Astoria on my way to meet Cathy, I realized that I should get up earlier on Saturday mornings. Astoria waking up reminded me a lot of early mornings in London. A few bakeries quietly serving customers, fruit stands already bustling, waiters washing down sidewalks and getting ready for the day. Maybe it's just an urban thing, and it's easy to make comparisons between two large cities.

Anyway, you're not here to read my musings about my neighborhood. This is a knitting blog after all. The five of us arrived in Rhinebeck shortly after ten. And I'll admit, I had no plan. Not a single idea of what I wanted to buy. I did, fortunately, have a budget (to which, I am proud to say, I stuck). What I was really there to do, I must admit, was to say hello to...everyone.

I swear that almost every knitter I know in real life was at Rhinebeck on Saturday. And based on the blog reading I'm doing, there were a few more there whom I did not encounter. These fiber festivals are where we come to be with our people. Rhinebeck is where my worlds collide. Boston Colleen was meeting New York Colleen. The Knitsmiths and the Spiders.

I was so happy to see my Boston peeps. I just wish that we had had more time to catch up. But we all had our own agendas, and mine seemed to be wandering aimlessly among the tents and barns, seeing whatever and whomever I could. Like Cassie wrote, too much festival, too little time. I think that next year Saturday will be for the festival, and Sunday will be for a loooong brunch, knitting, and talking. I don't know how I would go about arranging that, but who's with me on this one?

For me Rhinebeck was about this:


And this:


summed it up really well in her post. Being at Rhinebeck made me realize that my life has changed a lot, but in a very good way, And (maybe this is strange, or maybe others feel the same way) because I have the blog I don't feel disconnected from anyone at all, even though I've moved 200 miles away. It's like we hang out in the virtual living room, and then a few times a year we all get together.

See You There?

I'm going to Rhinebeck. La dee, dah dee, dah!

I was a fool to think that we might actually be moving to Brooklyn this weekend (although it seems that an actual moving day is not far away), the reason behind my on-the-fence behavior about attending this festival (or festibal, as Mamacate puts it).

So, maybe I'll see you there tomorrow. You'll know me as the only one in the entire fairgrounds who won't be wearing a handknit item.

I'm an Innocent Victim Here!

So there I was, having a day. A day off. I was sipping a mocha (like you do), avoiding creepy guys (like you do), and sauntering down Madison in a jaunty way (like you do).

Then it hit me: I was in Shireen's 'hood. Would she be up for a little jaunty saunter? There was only one way to find out. I texted her (like you do).

I'M ON YOUR STREET. ARE YOU HOME? (Yes, I'm a total texting neophyte. I spell out everything and use punctuation.)

The reply came quickly: NO. AT WORK. :-( GO TO STRING!

String? String?! Oh, String! But where is String?

Shireen read my mind: 82ND BETWEEN LEX AND PARK.

What else could I do? I walked a few blocks north and found the store.


This is the type of store that could exist only on the UES! Cashmere, cashmere, alpaca, and cashmere as far as the eye could see. Definitely the place that you go when you want something special.


The inventory is definitely weighted toward luxury fibers. I think of Loop in Philly or Seed Stitch up in Salem as places with a thoughtfully selected inventory that's a lot broader than what you will find at String. I couldn't imagine staying for hours and playing with yarns, as I have done at both Loop and Seed Stitch. String just isn't that type of place, and that's okay. It's a store, not a community center, and I fully support shopkeepers who want their customers to shop, buy (hopefully), and then shove off. For my everyday yarn shopping in NYC, I have The Point (home of the Spiders). I'm finding its inventory harder and harder to ignore. Indeed, as I type I can hear some smoky blue Malabrigo calling my name. "Colleen. Colleeeeen." Oh wait. That's not the yarn, it's Sven.

I digress! String. Yup, it's a fabulous store. I received helpful service, in a non-rushed, friendly atmosphere. My advice (if you're ever in NYC) is to go. Speaking for myself (someone who is employed by a non-profit), I probably would not buy a sweater's load of yarn from String. But do I live on the UES? No. Will I ever live on the UES? Not unless there's a whole load of money in my knitting bag (just checked: there isn't). I guess what I'm saying is that String knows its demographic.

That's not to say that I left empty handed.


Some of you might be asking "Isn't she on a book/yarn embargo until she moves?" Let's just blame this on Shireen, shall we? This is some Curlz by Prism Yarn (located, ironically, in St. Petersburg, Florida--not Russia). It's a wool/nylon blend (98/2), so a little luxe, but not over the top. The colorway is Smoke, and it'll go perfectly with a new chocolatey-brown coat that I picked up (on sale) in Two Rivers, Wisconsin when I visited in June.

As the weather cools, I find myself drawn to chunky accessories. I think that this yarn will be perfect knit up as a chunky scarf. I just need to find a bold stitch pattern to use with this bouclé. Since all of my knitting books are (you guessed it) in storage (we are, however, in the final stretch of this everything-in-storage business). In lieu of my knitting library, it's time to hit Ravelry for some inspiration and ideas.

Monday, Monday

Can't trust that day...

So, you're still here. Last Monday, a holiday for some (including me), presented me with my last bit of calm for the remainder of the working week. I think that I cobbled together a post once last week, but a work deadline sucked all of my attentions, including knitting ones. You can tell when I'm tired and tell when I'm stressed when I don't want to knit. And for most of last week, I didn't want to knit.

Luckily, I made the most of my Monday. I'm happy that I did because that was the last my DPNs saw of me for the entire week.


Nothing like a large mocha at Le Pain Quotidian. I sat at the long table in the center of the room, happily knitting and ignoring the man who sat across from me. He was really trying hard to impress everyone in the room, especially the 20-something woman from South Korea to his left. "I'm a actor!" he told her. "And I'm pretty good."

Good grief. Actually at that, I had to finish up quickly and leave. The sight of a man who should be old enough to know better, hitting on a woman who's a third his age always makes me uncomfortable.

What will this Monday bring? Hopefully a workweek with better work-life balance.

I didn't write...


But I probably could have. Oh wait. I already do. It's called this here blog.

It's too bad that we lost Lacey as a fellow subway knitter, but she seems to be doing great work in Portland.

NJ Trans(kn)it

As the title implies, I knit a lot on NJ Transit this weekend. Sven and I went to what I am referring to as a baby-warming, where I met the wee recipient of some recent FOs. More accurately, it was a picnic in South Meadow Reservation.

Both there and back I had the chance to knit on the train. These NJ Transit trains remind me a lot of SEPTA trains I took in Philly, and the older, single-decker MBTA Commuter Rail rolling stock. They're all probably the same model of car. I didn't, however, take any photos. We made both of these trains by the skin of our teeth, (the only reason we caught the train back into Penn Station was that it was late arriving in South Orange) and I didn't want a picture of an especially tired and disheveled Subway Knitter gracing these here pages.

The sock, however, is anything but disheveled.


Yup, I got through the heel. If you cruised around the above-mentioned Philadelphia posts, you'll come to one where I lament the concentration required for knitting a short-row heel. I still find that to be the case. Usually, I use Priscilla Gibson Roberts heel instructions, but mine are (guess) in storage. So, because I want to branch out a little bit, I found Wendy's short-row heel instructions. I'm not doing a toe-up socks, but these instructions still work. I didn't decide to knit a Wendy pattern this time, so I might as well incorporate some of her technical advice in these socks.

Wendy doesn't do the backwards yarn-over thingie favored by PGR. If you're intimidated by that (Really, there's no need to be. It's easy, you just don't think that you're doing it properly the first time that you try it. Tutorial here.)

Two things to say about Wendy's instructions. They're easier, and they're not easier. They're much easier to stop mid-heel and resume knitting at a later time (perfect for yours truly). Gone is the dreaded K3Tog TBL (again, not so hard, once you get the hang of it). But they're not easier because they seem a bit fiddly in the beginning. But then, so does just about everything that's knitting. Once I remembered the suggested way to pick up a wrapped stitch, I was absolutely fine.

Although, I seem to remember that Vogue Knitting teaches you to pick up the wraps differently for purl and knit stitches. So that's what I did. It might explain the slightly different appearance of each side of the heel.


and the other:


Random Friday

Scientists are doing important work on behalf of knitters. I half suspect, though, that a couple of knitters could have told these guys the same thing.

And the Sox are battling it out in the Playoffs. We know which team Kate's rooting for.


Let's go Red Sox!

Mystery Subway Knitter of the Week

New York, you are not letting me down:


Not one, but two subway knitters. Sitting side by side these two carried on a conversation in English and in Spanish as they knit their sweaters on the 5 train.


First off, big thanks to Dave for today's post. Ah, WinMil, how I miss thee.

As I wrote in Friday's post, the next project will be all about moi. I needs me some more handknit sock. Mmm, mmm. There's nothing like the feeling of handknit socks on one's feet. I could make analogies between sex and handknit socks, but I won't, this being a mostly G-rated blog.

I grabbed some Claudia Handpainted that I've long had in the ministash. Shireen most recently used a couple of these hanks for her Sockapalooooza pair. She also has all the colorway information in that post, so I don't need to repeat it here.

Originally, I planned to do a somewhat intricate lace pattern for these socks. Upon further thought I realized that lately my subway knitting time can double as some study time. [Just as an aside, one might think that all the hustle and bustle of a subway train would be distracting if you're trying to study. You would be partially correct, but I find it remarkably easy to slip into a private mental zone and almost miss my stop. I don't do any hard core studying there, but it's a good spot for memorizing things.] If I'm trying to follow a chart at the same time that I'm working out a verb conjugation, that sounds like a recipe for knitting and linguistic chaos.

New Socks1012.jpg

So, it'll be simple picot cuff (ala Claudia), ribbed cuff, short-row heel, and stockinette foot. This is my go-to sock pattern. For such a simple knit, it does an amazing job of holding my knitting interest, while at the same time allows me to turn my attention to something else for a time.

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