May 2008 Archives

This page is an archive of entries from May 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

To see all archives, visit the Archive Index.

April 2008 is the previous archive.

June 2008 is the next archive.

Blue Sky Friday!

This title has nothing to do with the post I am about to write. I'm simply so struck by the fact that the weather is acting normal for the first time in a week that I can't let it go by without remarking on it.

A few years ago at Knitsmiths we received a sample of a knitting loom. I think that Dava brought it in, and all of us stared at the loom quizzically.

"What does one do with a knitting loom?" we asked. Knit stuff, was the answer.

"What kinds of stuff?" we wondered. Apparently you could knit everything with the loom that one could knit with needles (although we saw no evidence of that in the materials we had in front of us).

"Really?" we replied. "How?" And then we looked at the instructions and our faces blanched. One by one we silently picked up our projects and returned to knitting the way that we knew: with needles.

Needless to say, I do not struggle with conventional needles. I like the way that they feel in my hands, the way that they gently poke my fingertips, and I like feeling the fabric grow as I loop, loop, loop my way through a cardigan, or socks, or a scarf. I find that needles fill my hands and give them something to do. Knitting, one might say, is my own personal therapy.

You can probably infer that I don't have any issues maneuvering needles and yarn. Heck, I do it standing up on the subway. Stockinette? I don't even need to look anymore.

So where am I going with this? Having exposed my personal bias, I find myself with a copy of No-Needle Knits: Loom Knitting Pattern Book by Isela Phelps. Here, at last, was the proof I sought to show me that one can, indeed, knit anything with a loom that can be knit with needles.

Loom Knitting Pattern.JPG

I don't own a loom, and I have no experience with the technique, so I can't tell if these patterns are easy to understand. From my own perspective as a needle-based knitter (or, NBK) they certainly look straightforward. In fact, I think that all of these designed could be easily converted to needle-based instructions without too much thought.

And, if I were to pick up a loom, this book has a series of instructions to get me started.

Once I figured that out, I started to peruse the patterns.


The one thing that struck me immediately about this book is how good the photos are. Jonny Thompson, you are one heck of a photog--especially with the kids. Maybe you can take my picture someday--I bet that would be a fun photoshoot. I like how they're captured using the garments: yanking off booties, pushing up sleeves, and just generally being little kids in handknits (or, loomknits?).


I apologize for the craptastic-ness of my photos of these photos.

So, as you can see, it's an enjoyable book to browse for ideas. For those of you who might want to try something new, a copy of No-Needle Knits and a brand-spanking new knitting loom, might just be your answer.

Time To...

get back to the blog.

I've been mighty selfish these past couple of weeks. Work on Thea's cardigan is steaming ahead. I'm having fun, I'm enjoying the design, and I can't wait to get it finished and try. it. on.

The back is completed, along with the left side. I'm about halfway through the right:


I hit one hiccup on the right-side shaping. The pattern asks you to decrease two stitches just above the ribbing. I did this fine on the left side, but completely and totally forgot to do it on the right. Forgot, that is, until I knit about four inches above the ribbing.

Drat! So, I made an on-the-spot executive decision. I just added those decreases on the right side higher than they are on the left. I don't think it's going to cause a major difference in fit, and I don't think that anyone will notice.

The Long Awaited...

...cardigan update.


Last week things cruised along as much as they could. In between studying for a final, working, working out, and putting the finishing touches on our kitchen-cabinet order [Yes, finally! It was very exciting.] not much progress was made. Although, for the first time in a very long time, I did get some knitting time on Saturday and Sunday. One of my classes had its final meeting on Saturday morning in Long Island City, and I got some QT with the needles on the G train. Say what you want about the G--it's always a peaceful ride. Actually, the only thing that made the schlep from Brooklyn to LIC bearable was the thought of subway knitting.

Anyway, Thea's project is still holding my interest. I'm really happy with the Provence, the pattern, and the detailing. I love the way that the cable climbs along with the button band.

Although I can't hold a candle to Alison's progress, I do hope to be wearing this cardi shortly.

Mystery Subway Crocheter of the Week (Grumpy Gus Edition)

New York. It takes all types.


Take this crocheter for example. Or rather, take the black case that you see in the left corner of the photo. It contains some kind of musical instrument. Goodness knows exactly which one. Anyway, it belongs to the woman who is the focus of this story.

Maybe she just found out the results of her Music Under New York audition. Maybe she was jealous of my shorter commute. Maybe she was angry that she couldn't afford gas for her car so she must take the subway to and from Union Square each day where she makes $20 squeaking out tunes. Maybe she's just a mean and nasty person. But for whatever reason she took issue with the fact that I was taking that picture surreptitiously. Not a picture of her, mind you, but a picture of someone else.

Anyway, she gave me her two cents about it. Something about "exploitatating" people and "living in a zoo" Get the picture?

Luckily my stop came up quickly. I made sure to give her the address of this blog--so that she could see where and how I posted this photo. Maybe this woman is reading (slowly) right now. Hello!

Why Did Nobody Warn Me?

Yesterday after work, I headed to Midtown to visit M&J Trimming. You see, I have a pair of shoes that will not stay on my feet. These things should not, technically, be called shoes. "Flingers," perhaps. But, "shoes"? I don't think so.

Besides the fact that they don't stay on my feet, these "shoes" (for lack of a better term) are quite cute. Patent leather ballet flats with a trim of grosgrain ribbon.

It was the trim that gave me the idea. What if I had a cobbler sew lengths of black ribbon to the shoes? Then I could tie a little bow that would a) look cute b) keep these damn things on my feet.

So, it was off to M&J I went in search of this ribbon.

Let me preface these pictures by writing that if you need any kind of trim for any reason M&J will have it. Trust me. My first thought when entering the store was "Holy guacamole!" [Especially appropriate for Cinco de Mayo, no?]


I spent about 15 seconds walking around looking dazed when someone (the manger?) approached.

"Can I help you?"
"Oh, yes. I need some grosgrain ribbon. But first, I need to soak in this place."
"Ok. The ribbon is right here. [Lead me to the 10-foot high Wall of Ribbon]. But take as much time as you need."
"Wow, uh, thanks!" I was totally dazed by the amount of ribbon.

Then I checked out the trim sections. Again, I was completely overwhelmed by the selection. And, again, I stood there for way under a minute before I was approached by an employee asking to assist me.


So, suffice it to say, the staff at M&J is all over helping out their customers. If you go, you will most definitely be taken care of.

More pictures:

Crystals, anyone?


Finally, I'll leave you with the biggest buttons that I've ever seen. Just to give you a sense of scale, those buttons below the large ones are probably about one inch in diameter.


These had to be about as big as the palm of my hand.

Catch y'all tomorrow, with a sweater update!

Subway Inspiration

If you ever want to feel like you need a wardrobe overhaul, please ride the MTA with me. Conversely, if you ever want to feel like a fashion maven, please accompany me on my next subway excursion.

I guess what I'm trying to convey is that the subway, like New York City itself, is the great fashion equalizer. Sure, you'll be able to find a person (or in my case, more than one) who is dressed better than you. On the other hand, look around, you'll also be able to find someone who is, well, fashion challenged.

I guess that what I'm also trying to convey is that I've learned to filter out what my fellow riders are wearing (although I ever saw this guy in person, it might get a little difficult). With the odd exception, of course. This morning, I encountered an exception.

Now, I don't have a picture. I was standing very close to this woman, and if I had whipped out my camera it would have been unavoidably noticeable. In which case I would have had to ask permission. And really, the only appropriate response to "Can I take a picture of your skirt hem and your legs?" is "Hell, no! Get away from me, you freak." So, the image is seared into my memory. Unfortunately, I can't download that memory into Photoshop.

But, she was wearing a cute box-pleat skirt with navy stockings and cute-as-a-button Mary Janes. The fabric of the box-pleat skirt was small, random, vertical stripes. Somewhat like this:

SubwayStripes10502.jpg (this photo came from Fabric Lovers Unite where this particular selection is on sale).

Except not at all. Blues dominated, somewhat like this:

SubwayStripes0502.jpg (thank you Photoshop)

Except for the fact that the actual fabric was more subdued--there was a lot less white.

It got me thinking about sewing again. I picked up a pattern recently for a dress. I haven't had time, however, to explore fabrics. But now I think that I have a plan. And since my classes finish next week (Meetings of one class are, actually, over. The other ends next Thursday.) I think that I can give myself permission to sew.

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