Thursday, September 18, 2008

Bon Voyage Hats!

It was recently suggested to me that I join Kristy's Quest, where as many hats as possible were to be knitted and crochetted so that Kristy could take them to orphanages in the Ukraine, where it's extremely cold and the indoor heating is pretty unreliable. The deadline was Sept. 5th, so I've been busy churning out hats like a maniac the last few weeks. I made 9 total.

4 basic crochetted hats (improvised pattern)

3 smaller crochetted hats (bottom center has a lining),
an improvised cable hat and an Elizabeth Zimmerman Maltese Hat.

...and then this one came about, but it was too small to send (baby size). So, I wrote out the pattern, and here it is:

Mini Muffin Hat

...and then I wanted an adult sized one, but a little different, and for self-striping yarn and I came up with:

Rook Hat
pictured hats made with Noro Kureyon (left) and SWTC Karaoke (right)
1. Free Ravelry Download
2. On my Free Patterns Page

...and finally, of course, I ended up wanting a matching, reversible scarf...

Rook Scarf

There is more knitting and crochetting going on that I can't blog about yet, and one more free pattern coming soon (crochetted newsboy cap)!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

The winners are...

First of all, a big THANK YOU to everyone for participating in this little drawing. I loved reading all your comments about your favorite Mozart compositions; there were such varied and interesting responses!!! It made me hunt through my recordings to go listen to all of them!

FYI: When tallying up everyone's choices, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik was the most popular (hard to beat that piece), followed very closely by the Clarinet Concerto and Requiem. As for me, I do have multiple Mozart faves, but my current ones are Don Giovanni and Symphony #25 (which I get to play next week!)

Here is my oh-so-scientific selection approach... having the BF pull out 3 folded up pieces of paper stuffed in one of the first hats I ever knit. It happens to be the only hat the BF actually wears, despite the many other hats I've knit him since...

The names he pulled out were:

#1: EJ (for the Kaalund Lace)

#2: Miss Ewe from miss ewe knits (for the Regia 4-ply)

#3: Teri E. (for the Opal 6-ply)

Will the three of you lucky winners please email me your snail mail address to:

Thanks again everyone for playing along!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I was...

...burnt out, to put it simply...

I must admit, knitting and blogging just slipped away from me for a while. I feel bad that I let it get there, but with all the work and the auditions and the fact that I was crazy enough to take a Japanese class on top of everything else, I just needed a break.

I went on a vacation to Puerto Rico for a week:


Much revived and refreshed, the knitting mojo started flowing again:

Vine Flower Dress
by Anne Hanson of Knitspot

Yarn: Knitpicks Cotlin in "Moroccan Red"
Very soft yarn, except for little pokey wiry bits sticking out of the yarn. They softened with washing, but gave me a scare initially.

Circle Socks
by Anne Campbell

One of the few WIP's I've got going. I'm using yarn from Twisted. It stripes, but at different intervals, so no matching (took me a while to get over that). I like the yarn very much, but ever since Twisted started its own site, buying yarn from them has become a bit more challenging. They do a pre-order thing (which I'm not into), and an occasional "instant gratification" thing. Honestly, I have better luck scoring fabled Wollmeise.

Dream in Color Shrug

I'm using the colorway "Giant Peach" for this (like in the pattern pic), because I happened to have some in my stash. It's very soft, squishy, bouncy yarn that smells really nice. I'm knitting this shrug because the air conditioner keeps things at arctic temperatures where I work.

Lawrence of Arabia?/Fun with Earflaps
Maltese Fisheraman's Hat
by Elizabeth Zimmerman

I am obsessed with this hat. There is lots of potential for variation, it's ergonomic, and weird enough that I keep wanting to tweak the design. Yarn is a combo of some colorful Insubordiknit and Morehouse Bulky in colorway "Oatmeal".

Mods: I switched to the contrast color when you start the shaping for the earflaps, and switched back after knitting the "one full row". When you start the row that ends with CO 14 sts for the forehead, that should be back in the main color. I added more rounds of garter ridges for symmetry and hat depth, and slip stitched along the head for that "ridge". Also crocheted one row around the hat opening. I also decreased at a faster rate for a rounder top: when it should be K2tog (or P2tog), K10 around, I changed to K2tog, K4 around.

Chullo inspired Maltese

Here's another one, but this time I tried for some patterning at the top. It was improvised from some Peruvian wave designs I've seen. Earflaps were knit with some bulky hand dyed that I lost the label to, and the top was Misti Alpaca worsted that I used quadrupled. If I ever visit Minnesota, I'm taking this hat - it's that thick and warm.

Some kitchenalia knitting mojo kicked in as well. Here are some variations on the:

Mods: I cast on 41sts for a larger potholder, and lined them with felt for more heat protection.

These were pretty cute too, and super fast to crochet:

Yeah, I know, this is a totally photo-heavy post. But if you've made it this far, here's the...


It's Mozart season again! To enter, leave a comment telling me what your favorite piece by Mozart is! It can be an opera, symphony, chamber piece, concerto, whatever!

Prize#1: Kaalund Lace yarn hand dyed in Australia
100% kid mohair 460m colorway "Pawpaw"

Prize#2: Regia 4ply Crazy Color in colorway #5402

Prize#3: a huge skein of Opal 6ply in color #1714

Contest ends on Midnight, August 2nd, and the winners' names will be posted the next day. Good Luck!!!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Still Playing Catch-up

Since my return to NYC, I've been scrambling to find the time to catch my breath. First I took yet another audition (this was for a neighboring opera house to where I currently work): I did better this time, making it to the finals. There were 4 finalists in all, and between 250-300 people who took the audition from around the world, so I'm not feeling too bad about losing.

Taking auditions is definitely a marathon ordeal! Once you get there, there is a lot of sitting, waiting to be assigned a practice room, finishing your snacks and getting hungry, trying to stay focused while being surrounded by other auditioners, waiting for results between rounds... It's really exhausting, and it can take hours (the last day, I got out at 8pm. I had been there since 2pm, and was there the day before as well.)

After that was over, I thought, great, I'll have some free time now... and then I caught a nasty cold. I've finally gotten over the cold, and have been practicing like a madwoman for an upcoming chamber music concert.

The knitting has been sparse, but here is a pair of socks I knit for my mother as her get-well present after her knee replacement surgery. Thank you everyone for your kind words for my mom's recovery:

"Lotus" by Robyn Gallimore
yarn: 2 skeins Lorna's Laces in "Periwinkle"
mods: didn't like how the original cuff curled, so picked up stitches and added ribbing,
finishing with a tubular bind off.

closeup of the "lotus" stitch pattern

Well, otherwise, I missed my blogiversary (argh!), so I will be putting together a contest soon!

Not to be an enabler but Knitpicks is having their 40% off all books sale again!

Off to catch up on blog reading!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Quick Blurb

My apologies for suddenly having disappeared from blog-land; my mother recently had knee replacement surgery and so I've been in California the last few weeks helping her with her recovery. There has been a lot for me to do around the house, and very little free time as a result. I miss reading everyone's blogs-! Luckily my mother has started feeling better the last few days, so I'm looking forward to finally catching up on some reading :) Woohoo!

Before leaving for California, I managed to churn out a couple of knits:

Lacy Flower Sweater
yarn: Rowan Handknit Cotton in "Mango Fool" (great name, huh?)

...for some reason I'm having trouble linking to the free pattern:

There are errata in the edging: it's supposed to be 14 (16:18:19). The instructions are a bit confusing because there are several different ways they ask for a Yarn Over. If you ever knit this, just do a regular YO every time. I modified the shape into a bit of an A-Line with some flair by decreasing under the arms to a 20" chest circumference.

Child's Cable Jumper
yarn: Katia Diana in a seafoam green

Pretty sure there's an errata in this one too, for the 18mo size; the cast on number of stitches is correct, but the subsequent rows have one too many stitches on the second half of the jumper (there is a P4 that should be a P3.) Both halves of the round should be symmetrical, in other words.

Used for a 60 year old bottle of Madeira which was a B-day gift for a 60 year old friend. I used the bobble and leaf patterns included in the instructions, but assembled them into one big grape cluster. Modified to knit in the round. I had to go up a couple of needle sizes for the base; it kept turning out way too small. :(

Monday, April 21, 2008

...and the Winner is...

A HUGE THANK YOU to all of you who participated in this little contest and for sharing all of your fantastic ideas and suggestions for warm weather knitting!!! I've definitely got enough inspiration from all of you to keep me knitting through the summer without the threat of bad mojo! Thanks again! now here is my lovely assistant, sporting a recent F.O.

A pair of seriously decadent "Dashing"
1+ skeins of Artyarns Cashmere 5
(modified to a shorter length)

...and the winner is...


Congratulations! Please email me ( your snail mail address, and your Trekking XXL will be on it's way to you :)

I'm off to do some serious catching up on my blog reading, and to F.O. some U.F.O.'s!

Friday, April 11, 2008

My pattern got published!!!...and a little contest

Woohoo!!! I'm so excited!!!

...So a while back, I made up this diagonal scarf pattern to go with some funky Insubordiknit handspun yarn...

Turns out, another talented spinner, Lexi Boeger (of Pluckyfluff Yarns), was in the process of coming out with her second book...

My "Go Diagonal" scarf pattern was knitted and submitted by Cindy Cafaro, and it ended up here:

"Intertwined" by Lexi Boeger
"The Art of Handspun Yarn, Modern Patterns, and Creative Spinning"

...and here it is on page 178!
(on Ravelry, it's here)

Not much knitting to show... lots of WIP's, but that's about it. The place where I work is having some major concert scheduling issues for next year, and I'm part of a group that has to deal with this headache... Needless to say, it has been sucking up almost all of my free time ("free" also goes for the fact that this is unpaid volunteer work...)

Anyhow, let's get onto the little contest:

Up for grabs is a lovely skein of Trekking XXL in color #06

Here's the thing; it's getting warmer outside, and with this sort of weather, my knitting mojo starts to sag...

Please leave a comment telling me about what kind of knitting project keeps you most motivated during warmer weather!

The contest ends on midnight, Monday April 21, and the winner's name will be posted here later that day.

Best of Luck!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Oh, Phooey!

I did not win the audition. :( Darn! Oh well, next time, perhaps...

Meanwhile, I just wanted to say:

Thank you everyone, for your supportive and kind comments!!! They always mean a lot to me, but I really appreciated them during this crazy stressful time!!! a small token of appreciation, I will organize a little contest for my next post... I will try to get it all together this week... stay tuned...

I actually did manage to do a little knitting here and there:

This is the sweater from Kate Gilbert's Peapod Baby Set. (The pattern is free, but you have to register with the Knitting Daily Site. It's possible to unsubscribe later.) The yarn is Louet Worsted weight (which was more like DK weight), and the wooden ducky buttons are from M&J Trimming here in NYC. It was a bit of a juggling act keeping track of the pattern, the edging and the button holes all at once, but I think it was worth it.

And this Tulip Cardigan... yes, it's the one that was so crazily popular about a year ago... I got completely caught up in the frenzy of it all and managed to buy a kit, but after seeing soooo many people knitting it and blogging about it, I sort of lost interest and just never got around to knitting it until now...
I must say I totally love this sweater. The yarn is beautiful, and it passed the "Mommy Gaga" test with flying colors. (The "Mommy Gaga" test: I show a knitted item or its picture to several of my friends who are Mommies. If they totally flip out and ask me to knit one for their kids, it passes the test.)

I'm slowly working on this Afghan by Barbara Walker (I'm using Cascade 220 superwash):

Squares #1 and #2

Squares #3 and #4

Squares #5 and #6

And here's another Knit in Action:

Modeled by the supremely cute Miss "A", this is the February Baby Sweater from E.Z.'s Knitter's Almanac that I knitted about a year ago.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Audition Woes and Knits in Action

I have been knitting, really.... but only a little, because my hands feel totally shot.
You see, stupid me decided about a month ago that for the fun and challenge of it, I would try another audition. I figured practicing for this thing would keep me in good playing shape during my current off-season. The last audition I took was 2 years ago, and during that time, I must've gotten hit on the head or something, because I clearly forgot the craziness of it all.

For those of you who have not experienced an orchestral audition, it goes something like this:
A position is announced, and depending on the orchestra, there can be 250+ applicants sending their resumes for that one job. Of those, less than half are invited to a live audition. You are then given a list of excerpts of pieces which you practice to the point of insanity (I've been clocking about 5-6 hours of practice a day).

At some point, it is common to get "burnt out" on playing these same little excerpts over and over, but it's also frustrating because there are some beastly little passages in there that require all your attention and finger acrobatics to land safely. (Imagine knitting in stockinette stitch for miles and miles, and suddenly you have to negotiate an incredibly complicated cable stitch within a few seconds, and you're not allowed to frog it if you mess up.)

I think the worst part of these auditions is that after so many hours of preparation, you have about 5 minutes, behind a screen, to play it all perfectly. Anything can go wrong from nerves making you shake to your instrument acting up; and there's always something. You just have to ignore it and do your best anyway.

Perhaps I will come to my senses and just not take this audition; I have 2 jobs already, and I'm quite happy with them. But more likely, I will take the bull-headed approach and just do it.


Well, the fun thing is that my friends have sent me pictures of their daughters wearing the things I knit for them; it's great seeing knits in action, and reminds me why I enjoy knitting so much:

"A" wearing the BSJ that I modified (longer body and sleeve length, and added hood). She was stopped by a knitter in a NYC subway station who knew this was a BSJ.

"M" wearing the original BSJ. Also stopped in a T-station in Boston by a knitter who recognized Elizabeth Zimmerman's BSJ.

Both "M" and "A"s mothers are not knitters, and so were extremely impressed by these people who could recognize the "brand" or "designer" of the knitwear their kids were wearing from across the station.

"S" wearing a Bolero, booties and posing next to a baby-sized version of this afghan (I'm working on a full size one right now; pics of squares soon)