Friday, February 27, 2009

Cause they're whose clues? Blue's Clues!

For some reason I woke up with this song in my head - yes, Blue's Clues...weird!

It's been a super busy week at work and I am totally exhausted - so TGIF!!!

On the knitting front I finished my white pinwheel blanket on Wednesday evening - it looks great (photos to come over the weekend). I knit it in a sport weight on US8s. I LOVE the drape - esp because I usually like a tighter fabric on most projects. So this one got me thinking outside the box - hooray!

The funny thing about this blanket is that I worked late on Tuesday night and was able to meet up with my old knitting group on the train. Marybeth saw the blanket and asked what I was making. I told her and she laughed. My friend Patty, who later joined us, was also making the SAME blanket, ALSO in white! OMG, we had a good laugh. Right before Patty and I got off the train I put my blanket on my looked like a giant shower cap or chefs hat. Patty put her's on as well and we were laughing quite hard. Sue took a photo - and if I can get her to send it to me (come on Sue!!!) I'll share it - you'll crack up, I swear!

I started my first charity square on the train today - and got about 2.5" done - whoot whoot! I'm hoping to get a few of these done over the weekend - hooray!

In sad yarn news, the shop in our lobby is having a 50% off sale (which is actually great news for Alyssa and me) but I asked one of the nicer ladies if they were going out of business and she said "we prefer to say 'closing our doors'". It's really sad - they've been there for 22 years! If you have any thoughts on yarns you like and want me to look for you...just drop me a line! Yarn for the stash at 50% off - how can you pass that up?

Well - back to work - too busy for words right now!

Happy knitting friends!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Eleven, Twelve, One, Two, Three, Four...

I know most folks don't get routine knitting time each day like I do because I take the train. So maybe this doesn't apply to anyone else but weird ol' me...

Do you find yourself counting even after you've stopped knitting?

I know this happens to me a lot at night when I'm walking home. If I'm working on a pattern that's in sets of 12s...well then I'm counting my steps in twelves...*twelve steps down the stairs, repeat from *, turn right, go through tunnel, go up stairs, two three four, cross parking lot, eleven twelve one, cross street, etc.

Usually it wears off before I get home - mostly due to the cold weather reminding me of how stinking cold and windy it's been lately.

Please tell me I'm not alone :o)

Happy Knitting Tuesday!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Since when... I hold my working yarn like this?

Holding the yarn

I noticed this change started happening a few weeks back...but it wasn't consistent, and didn't feel "wrong" so I didn't stop.

But it JUST happens. No rhyme or reason. I'll be knitting happily along and viola...there it goes again!

This morning I noticed it on the train and quickly took a picture.


*Note: I'm knitting a pinwheel baby blanket for Evelyn. So far I'm up to 460 stitches...and on my 3rd ball of yarn. I'm thinking I'll get to 500sts and see where that leaves me. Has anyone ever done one of these? Any thoughts as to size/stitches? I'm thinking of working a couple rows in further bust the stash!

I took these photos for my 365 on Saturday. I figured out how to combine them in one excited when I learn new things! The really cool thing is that my grandmother made that sweater for me approx 20 years ago and I recently found it in one of my sweater bins. The colors might not be stylish (they weren't 20 years ago in fact) but it's cozy and reminds me of my Grandma who taught me how to knit.

Grandma's Sweater 20 years later

Friday, February 20, 2009

Fuggetaboutit Friday

The week is finally over and it kicked my butt all over the place. Let's see how it happened, shall we?

Monday - Tangled Yoke (part one)

As you know, I was battleing it out with the sewing machine on Monday trying to get the ribbon sewn into the Tangled Yoke. Score - Original Singer: 1; Me: 0. I tied up the score using my MIL's machine later that night. I even stayed up late to pick up the stitches and knit the buttonhole band. bed around 11:00pm

Tuesday - Tangled Yoke (part deux)

Woke up ready to tackle sewing on the buttons on the train ride into work. I even put my makeup on at the station before the train arrived so I didn't waste a minute of the hour ahead. I started sewing the buttons one one by one. Unfortunately something was a little off where the yolk meets in the front. I made it work as best as possible. No one will really know besides me (and now you if you're reading this, doh). I'm sewing, I'm sewing...button 3, 4, 5, 6...two more to go...7, 8...wait a minute, shouldn't I be done already...9...i'm out of buttons and still have the bottom/last one to sew. HO-LEE-MACARONI...I made too many button holes. Seriously? Are you kidding? I couldn't tell you how I did it if I tried. Was I up too late (yes)? Did I lay out EIGHT holes (yes!)? Then what on earth happened? Oh well. I got to work and wore it anway - and everyone loved it - especially Erin because her favorite color is green!

Wednesday - Commuting/Classic Penn Station/New York

Wednesday morning started off like this...


...just me and my coffee in the wee morning hours! Until...duh duh train broke down! Luckily we were partially in a we didn't need to wait for another train to come push us, etc. The bad part was that they kept announcing "We have a mechanical problem, the engineer is working on it" for about 20 minutes until they said "This train is out of service. Please detrain (yes, they use that word!) in an orderly fashion. Another train will be here in a few minutes and you can take that to Penn Station." So a thousand people are now trying to get off the train, a double decker no less, and the platforms are filling up. The train comes. Too many people. I decide to wait (something I learned to do more easily when I was pregnant). The next train will come on a completely different platform so we all shuffle down some stairs, through a tunnel and back up the other side. Turns out that the train coming in is the one my old knitting group takes - so at least I find them and catch up on what's new in everyone's lives. End result: I was one hour late to work. Urgh.

At the end of the day I run across two crazy New Yorker things:

  1. Woman w handouts saying: Sin will steal your soul in heaven
    Response: commuters laughing
  2. Overhead PA system tip to passengers: Don't be CELLfish when talking on your cell phone. Please be considerate of other passengers.

I realize on the way home that I've left my travel mug on my desk...of course...because that's my day/week.

Hubbins had scheduled a massage appointment for me since I've had a knot in my back for a couple weeks and keep feeling like something REALLY bad is going to happen. The massage is good, the steam shower is awesome, and I return home feeling relaxed and refreshed.

Thursday - One more day!!!

At 6:30 Hubbins says to me "Are you not going to work today?" to which I bolt out of bed and jump into the shower. I guess the massage really knocked those toxins around in my system and I completely ignored (and shut off) my alarm clock! Great!

Seeing as I left my travel mug at work on Wednesday, I grabbed a thermos from the cabinet and headed to the station. While standing on the platform I decide to take a sip. I screw off the "cup", press the button on the top, and try to take a sip from what appears to be the opening. WRONG! Instead of going in my mouth, a whole bunch of coffee pours down the front of my jacket (which I just washed on Monday) and onto the bottoms of my pant legs. I should have just gone back to bed right there and then.

I ran out of pink yarn for the baby blanket part way through the train ride into the city. So I started Sally's Neck Warmer using Tilli Tomas Flurries in a georgeous "burnt orange" color. It's just so niiiiiiiice.

feather and fan for sally

Casey is one of the things that make everything less stressful at the end of my day...can you wonder why? Here she is with her Mardi Gras mask...let's get ready to par-tay!

Mardi we come!

The "mess" behind her is a painting on her easel - she did not paint on our dining room walls as one friend asked

Friday - Crowded House

I woke up on time, got my regular seat on the train and things were looking good!
But the subway was SO crowded because there was a police investigation at 4th Street. Should I really have expected the week to end any different? Really? Luckily I'm a pro at where to stand on the platform and was right at the doors when they opened. Here's my self-portrait for the day...I wish you could feel the over-crowding, pushing, shoving and attitude better.


I did finish Sally's Neck Warmer - I have to take a picture still - and it looks really great on her!

It's almost quittin' time and I'm so glad to be heading home! I also got a note from Jill that she received the Noro sweater and she loves it - I'm hoping to see some modeling photos from her soon (hint hint).

I've got no big weekend plans - except to catch up on my sleep and figure out my next project - hooray!

Hope all is well in your neck of the woods!

Happy Knitting Y'all!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Another case of the Monday's? (Part 1)

If you've ever seen the movie "Office Space" you'll know what I mean by the title of this post(and of my favorite movies ever!)

Do we really get "cases" of Monday's? Nah. But sometimes it just seems like "one of those days" when it happens on a Monday, the start to our work week, the easiest explanation is to blame it on Monday. Poor Monday.

But this week a good portion of corporate America had off on my Tuesday is a Monday that started on Monday and therefore all blame defaults to it. To be fair, this case of the Monday's/Tuesday's started many years ago.

When I was a little girl both my mother and grandmother sewed because, let's face it, who didn't sew in the 70s. The 70s were all about sewing and matching blue gingham least in my small world. My mom even made my sister and me matching Mickey Mouse print dresses for our trip to Disney one year. Those were the days.

So all my life I've sewed on my mom's Singer. I mostly made Halloween costumes and clothes (I vaguely remember making some M.C. Hammer-style pants, red of course, to wear to a Cure concert...with a hand painted t-shirt that my friend Donna and I made in her mom's dining room...Robert Smith never looked so happy as the way I portrayed him). I digress...

The point is...I knew I would always own a sewing machine. Approximately 10 years ago, my grandmother moved from her home to an independent living facility. Since she was downsizing she gave me her machine, complete with table/cabinet. It was an honor to receive such a nostalgic piece of my childhood. The hours my grandmother and I spent on that machine whenever I would visit...I could start listing project after was heaven.

I brought the machine in for a tune up and was kind of disappointed when they said it would take a few weeks. I patiently waited and picked it up as soon as it was ready. Mind you, I had nothing in mind to sew...but the mere thought that I COULD sew...well, that was something. Of course the best laid plans fell to the wayside and I didn't make anything for quite some time. By the time I did want to make something, I realized the bobbin threading wasn't working properly no matter what I tried. I should have brought it back in for servicing right away...but I didn't. Bad Karen. Some more time went by and I tried the machine again. I used an old piece of felt and everything worked great! I moved on to the actual project and it all fell apart...the bottom bobbin was misbehaving. I was SO upset. I closed the table up again and it sat like that for years.

My tangled yoke was the deal breaker. I knew I wanted to reinforce the button band with ribbon but was afraid the machine would pull one of its notorious stunts. I took every precaution. I knit an extra swatch. I carefully examined the machine and the bobbin threading. I tested on the swatch AND some old felt. The old gal seemed to be working!

Until yesterday afternoon. Hubbins and Ramona were happily watching Sponge Bob and I snuck away to the basement to tackle the button band once and for all. I retested on felt. I moved my chair around until I was comfortable. I brought the needle down into the ribbon and through the yarn, dropped the foot and pressed the peddle to the metal.

About5 inches along I could tell disaster had struck. I pulled the sweater out and lo and behold, SNAGGING all along the underside. I could have cried. I pulled my seam ripper from my notions pouch and started taking out the mess of thread. I got some more felt and the knitted swatch and tested on them again. No problem. Ok, maybe it was a human error. Let's try again. This time the machine seemed to be to about 9 inches...let's just take a teensy weensy peek...NOOOOOOOOOOOO! Yes, full of "clumping". Fighting back the tears and restraining myself from screaming, I took the sweater and went upstairs, leaving the monster machine in the dark to think about what it had done! Hubbins immediately knew something was wrong. I said "It's either the machine or me...and it might be time for a new machine!" My brain raced...Did I still have the President's Day coupons for AC Moore? How late were they open? How much does a new machine even cost? My head hurt. Bad.

Hubbins to the rescue! "Do you want me to call my mom so you can borrow hers?" OMG - his mom has a machine? How did I never know this?!?! "Yes, please, call her, now, please, thank you, what year is it?" came spilling across my lips. "I dunno. My grandmother bought it for her so it's not that old". [**Hubbins' paternal grandmother was an awesome awesome lady - she passed away several years before I entered the picture so we never met...BUT she had a yarn stash the family tells stories about and she was quite crafty. They say she would have LOVED me like it's no body's business...and I know I would have loved her back].

So Hubbins the Great hopped in the car and drove over to his parents house (1/2 mile away). I sat patiently at the dining room table re-pinning the ribbon in place. A swear a white burst of light shone from behind him when he got back home - hooray for Hubbins and Nana!

I quickly set up the machine, wound a bobbin and prayed. I don't even think I tested on anything...I much worse could it get? I carefully started sewing and immediately knew things were looking up. I stopped about 6 inches in and the stitching was perfect! I kept going all the way to the end and snipped the thread. Can I have a Hallelujah and an Amen.

...stay tuned for the second installment of this story tomorrow...

Here's a photo of me wearing it at work...just so you know there's a happy ending!

Finished Tangled Yoke

Monday, February 16, 2009


Hooray...the Noro Cardi was finished on Friday night and shipped off to Jill on Saturday morning. By my estimations she should receive it on Tuesday (tomorrow). I also sent the Cabled Cape (whew, glad I finally "got it right"). I also made a twisty scarf (with some mods) over the weekend and am busy working on the first of a million baby blankets I am making this year. Here are some weekend pictures (more stories to follow tomorrow!).

Noro Cardi - Front
Noro Cardi - back
Noro Cardi - Left pocket inside


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Rollin' rollin' rollin'...keep the Noro goin'...rawhide!

Hubbins was feeling better last night so I spent some more time seaming the Noro Cardi - hooray! I also opted to try seaming on the train this morning - which is usually something I avoid because it's easier to spread out a sweater and concentrate at home in a stationary location

That being said, I've got the second sleeve and pockets left to do...and, of course, more loose ends!

Here's a peek...
noro cardi 6

And here's my SP for the day...I know, thrilling, right?
SP february 12 2009

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Way too far in advance!

I always have a zillion ideas floating through my head when it comes to blogging. I even write a lot of them down when I'm nowhere near a computer. Here are a few that struck my fancy today:

Mother's Day. (Yep, Mother's Day, seriously)

I know it's still four months away but I'd really like to make my mom a sweater this year and so I've got to start planning. I haven't made her a sweater in a VERY long time...since my beginner knitter days...and I just know in my heart that she'll love and wear a new one if I make it. But picking the right design and the right yarn is the hard part. Her hair is a dark-reddish-brown so she's very selective when it comes to color. Maybe something in the purple family. And ideally I would love to design something for her. You can see where my brain gets in a tizzy, right? And I'll admit, I was looking at what a FABULOUS job Jeannine did in making her Violette le duc that I'm contemplating making it for my mom (seams be damned!).

Charity Knitting

I know we're all happily knitting this, that and the other thing...who us? But Kaleidoscope Yarns is sponsoring this great charity "event" and I wanted to pass along the good word. A 13" by 13" square will take you what...a couple hours (???) to knit? I know I'm going to do my part! And as a bonus, if you want to help, but don't have any Encore worsted weight yarn, I will send you a skein if you send me the square upon completion. I'll make sure you get the credit in the long run and a shot at winning a prize. Please email me for more info! :o)

Noro Cardi

I'm in the middle of seaming the Noro Cardi and it's coming along SO nicely. Here's a "before" photo of the back and sleeves...

and a close up of one of the sleeves during blocking...don't you just love the colors?!?!


Since it's really hard to seam the Cardi on the train, I whipped this Luxe Neck Warmer up over the past two days. I used Tilli Tomas Mogul and it's really quite fabulous.
SP february 11 2009

Note #1: it's quite warm in NYC today...of I don't know if I'll wear it home this evening...go figure!
Note #2: this is also my Self Portrait for today - note how tired I look...(read next bit)

Calm before the storm

So Ramona the Brave had a fever late last week and couldn't go to school. Hubbins woke up Monday with a fever and the doctor told him he has the flu. He is currently holed up at home under layers of blankets and stashed away in the basement with gallons of water and a bottle of lysol!

However, last weekend we had a break in the weather and a break between illnesses...and everyone was happy...see for yourself :o)


Friday, February 06, 2009

Knitting, A New York Minute and Thee


The Noro Cardi is knitting up great. I'm wrapping up the sleeves this afternoon and will get to the Right Front tonight...and will start blocking the sleeves and back so I can start sewing together tomorrow night (fingers crossed). Then I have to do the edge ribbing - possibly on Sunday - so finished pics will be posted next week!

Here are some progress shots...

The left front (blocking) and the back (in progress)
noro cardi 2

Close up of pocket on left front
noro cardi 3

Sleeves (of course, two at a time)
noro cardi 5
noro cardi 4

New York Minute

While on the subway Wednesday afternoon, in a New York minute, I saw...
  • A spectacularly grey haired woman wearing the coolest Edith Head glasses

  • A mod girl with short black bangs wearing a bright green coat over a yellow shirt...she was just adorable!

  • An older balding man wearing ALL WHITE...a short sleeved polo shirt, SHORTS, socks and his wisps of hair...ALL WHITE (except for his Yarmulke, which was black)

  • A homeless man, wearing all black, sleeping while standing up against a wall

Self portraits

I recently joined a self-portrait group on Flickr called "365 days, the knitterly and crafty types"

To be honest, I haven't taken a photo EVERY day - but I have been trying. Here are the most recent:

February 6, 2009
Location: at the office
Time: early morning, 8:00-ish

self portrait feb 6 2009

February 5, 2009
Location: on the train with the sun glaring in my eyes
Time: afternoon, around 4:20pm

self portrait feb 5 2009

Happy Knitting everyone! And TGIF!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Weird dream...with a knitting twist!

I had the strangest dream last night.

I was at a Frederic Fekkai salon...but not the one in Manhattan. I was getting a pedicure...but I've only gotten one twice in my life so that was weird. And the technician wasn't doing anything but painting my toe nails - so it wasn't really a pedicure. She was giving me a "sample pack" of polishes that had 12 colors and was going to use a dark metallic blue - which was kind of cool. But when I looked at my toes they were a pale pink color. All of a sudden I was sitting on a brown suede couch (still at the Salon) and Hubbins was there trying to pay the lady. Next to me was Stefanie Japel...she was telling me that she contacted the salon about getting an appointment and they picked her up in a private jet to get there - no charge. I said to her "Oh yeah, they do that for people all the time" - obviously a dream! Hubbins and I left the salon and we were in a huge hotel but then I was in a room packing to leave and my sister was there telling me I had plenty of time and whatever I couldn't carry she would return to me in the mail. I have no idea what city we were in, where my husband went, or why my sister and Stefanie were there. My alarm clock went off and I jumped out of bed...still thinking I would be late for something!

What does it all mean? And what was I knitting?!?! Was this caused by the mysterious earthquake (read previous post below)? Did it happen because I'm in dire need of sleep lately?

My SECOND earthquake...and in another unlikely location!

Today's breaking news...An earthquake occured approximately 3 miles from my house! Here's the link to it:

They even mention our town...Morris Plains! It's just crazy!

We went to bed right around the time that the quake happened...but I can't say I noticed anything unusual. I've been quite exhausted the past few days (since I had bronchitis last week actually) so I'm sure that's why I was oblivious to it. My friend Sally sent me a text message when she saw it on the 11 o'clock she was my first notification when I woke up this morning.

And you read correctly...this was my 2nd earthquake. Back in 2002 I was up in Shelburne, VT visiting Liz and Mike and I woke up suddenly that morning thinking a plane was flying too closely overhead or that a load of laundry was off balance - notice I said I had woken up suddenly. So there I lay, frozen in bed, covers up to my nose listening to Kahlua and Chip barking, everyone else jumping out of bed wondering what was happening. But I stayed in bed - what was I thinking? I think the quake lasted for a good 30 seconds, it had a magnitude of 5.1 - and it seemed to last an eternity! Here's a news account...

In knitting news...which is much less exciting I suppose...

I didn't finish the Tangled Yoke last night. I think I'm a little afraid of my sewing machine and putting the ribbon on the button band. I said "afraid of my sewing machine" not because I don't know how to sew...but because the last time I used it I had some trouble with the bobbin catching. You see, it's my grandmother's old Singer and even though I had it serviced and "tuned up" it's just not quite right...which makes me kind of sad because I was SO excited when she gave it to me. I will probably have to test knit on something else - an old swatch or fabric - before putting my sweater through the feeder. Ah well...soon enough!

In the meantime I'm back working on the Noro Cardi...finished one of the fronts and decided to work on the back - because I like having something bigger to work on while I'm commuting - especially on a snowy day where delays might be expected...better to have too much knitting than not enough, right?

Have a quake-free day!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Knit Wits and Tidbits

Yesterday was our knitting groups Secret Santa party at Patty's house...the holidays continue! We had a wonderful time and it was so AWESOME to see everyone again because, for me at least, the times I see everyone are few and far between due to my work/train schedule being so different than everyone elses. I felt honored to still be included in the fun!

Yeman was my Santa and she gave me some beautiful Patternworks Bretton yarn in an eggplant color. I have a project in mind...but I have to finish up a couple other things first - it's SO tempting to want to start on something right away though! Thanks Yeman.

Little Miss Casey came to the party with me and was much more social than last year - she even let Mara tickle and chase her...something she screamed about a year ago! Mara was so kind to give Casey a new backpack and stuffed Snowman...thanks again!

Over the weekend I worked, diligently, on the Tangled Yoke. Row 11 of the chart was my enemy. Not only did I have to backtrack on the first half (found a mistake about half way through it) but I got most of the way through the second half and had to back track all the way back to the beginning. Anyone who has knit this sweater knows all about the halves. All in all I figure Row 11 must have taken me a couple hours to knit. As it now stands, I've finished all but the Buttonhole band on the right side and need to sew the buttons and ribbon onto the left side and it will be done. I've already finished all the ends and underarms etc and it looks like it will fit quiet nicely - hooray! Here are some photos I took on my blackberry last night as a preview...

tangled yoke 2

tangled yoke 1

Last weeks contest winner is...Dora!!! You've won a knitting calendar that I will get into the mail to you this week...esp since January is already behind us (WHERE DOES THE TIME GO!?!?!)

This week's knitting goals:
  1. Finish Tangled Yoke
  2. Work on Noro Cardigan
  3. Determine baby blanket patterns for March and May babies
Happy Knitting everyone!