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Brooklyn Knit Chick

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


I'm suffering from Castonitis (cast-on-eye-tis). Although it's not fatal, there is no pain, no itch, you might risk running out of needles. I've had a few happy cast offs this week, and then proceeded to go a little nuts with the casting on. I was SOOOOO thrilled to finally cast OFF the dreaded braided scarf (happy now Zeena?)

I also whipped up a little hat out of the hand spun, hand dyed wool I made

and last but not least. . . I finished the Sarah Tank. I'm really happy with the way it turned out. The pattern was only written for M-L, so I just messed around with the gauge a bit until I was happy with the smaller sizing. I made it from the really dreamy Debbie Bliss cotton angora.

That's when the casting on madness began. Fist of all, I had wanted to get rid of the rest of the Filatura Lanarota Summer Soft I bought during the Smiley's summer sale. I bought a bag of ten and only used two for the ballet t-shirt. I decided to cast on, what was probably going to be my last summer weight garment for a while, the Spring Fling.

Then the madness started. I found out I'm going to go out with the Jersey Boys national tour. We start rehearsal in late October, and I'll be hitting the road on November 20th. This means, once again, no Thanksgiving with my family. I had promised my brother in law and my niece that I would bring them scarves for Thanksgiving. Now I have to finish the scarves before I see them in mid October. So I cast on a tweedy green garter slip stitch scarf for Colin

and a crazy novelty yarn (Fiona Feza) scarf for my niece Rachel.

I also bought a yummy skein of Alpaca from the NJ Sheep and Wool Festival. I'm making a simple cable scarf for David.

Last but not least in the "drowning in scarves" phenomenon . . . There's the Red Scarf Project. For that I'm using a maroon yarn and casting on a cable, bauble scarf.

I'm in a bit of a panic thinking about packing for a tour. I feel like my knitting stuff is going to take a whole trunk. Thank god my union sets our luggage limit based on weight, and after all, yarn doesn't weigh that much!

Saturday, September 23, 2006


So here I sit feeling pretty good about my crafting ability. I'm making a hat out of the wool I spun and dyed myself.

Granted, it is the most simplistic hat pattern known to man . . . the wool came out uneven and chunky . . . the color isn't what I wanted . . . what the hell? I suck!

I'm having a dilettante moment. (For my favorite musical definition of dilettante, check out my rockin' pal Nell Balaban's song. Just click on her name, and click on Dilettante on her site). A dilettante moment, we've all had them--usually after meeting someone who's a real artist. Someone who does more than follow a pattern. Someone who, at the risk of sounding both trite and queer at the same time, follows her heart. I recently came across not one, but two such examples of our craft at its most impressive.

First was Christina O. She was the woman who taught me how to make my cardboard box Tensioned Lazy Kate (by the way, here are links to other people's homemade lazy Kates: Stuck on Socks, and Keyboard Biologist). I met her at last week's Sit n' Knit NY. She (wait for it) felted her own wedding dress. WHAT? Now that may seem like some crazy heavy, smelly-when-wet, dress, but NO. It looked lighter than air. Here's the description of the process from her blog:

The bodice is almost finished and I started on the petals for the skirt. This is really exciting. I love my electric sander. It really makes life easy. So here's how I'm doing it. First, I cut the gauze in a petal shape. There are three sizes, as the skirt is longer in the back than the front, and I wanted to keep the number of rows the same. That means the petals in the back will be in a triangle shape with the larger ones in the middle, and then graduated sizes to the outside. After the gauze is cut, a petal is laid on the counter, wet down with soap/water spray, and the wool is laid on top. Once the areas are filled in, wet muslin is put on top of that, and I lightly sand it-a few seconds for each area. I flip the fabric over, and now the felt is stuck a little to the muslin. I peel it off like hot wax, at an angle away from the felt, so that I don't disturb the placement of the wool. Next, I sand it some more, this time for longer to make sure the layers are attached. I flip it over and sand the backside for good measure, then rinse out the soap and full it on the washboard in the sink. Ahhhh. That's all there is to it.

That's right folks, "that's all there is to it." WHAT?!? Here's a pic of the finished dress:

You all must go see the pics of the whole crazy process. Click on the photo album link.

Next there's my friend Francesca's mom. She crocheted and beaded, not only her own wedding dress, but her bridesmaid's, matron of honor's and flower girl's as well. Here's a blurb from the local paper:

(At her wedding on Saturday Miss Pauline Philomena Bagshaw wore a full-length dress and train which she had crocheted herself. The bodice and sleeves were edged with 1500 beads. She also made her bridesmaid's and matron of honour's crocheted dresses.)

And then there's me: dabbler, trifler, idler, amateur, lightweight, tinkerer, dilet--wait a minute. I just finished my hat. It looks pretty good! The color in the yarn looks really neat. The uneven weight turned out cool. I rock!

Muddah, faddah kindly disregard this letter. (you're either old enough to get that reference or you're not. Sorry.)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Men's sweater vest

I'm looking for a simple sweater vest for a very picky man. Does anyone have a pattern with a single cable, and a v neck? Everything I've showed David he's nixed for one reason or another.

Spinning is like crack!

So I spun my first 6 oz of wool. It's incredibly addictive. All I can think of is my next roving fix. Oh sure it starts with a free drop spindle and a bit of wool, next you're buying a few dollars worth of roving, next thing you know you're cruising eBay looking for Spinning Wheels.

Here's my crazy drop spindle made from CDs and my first spindle full of wool.

My first 3 oz. were pretty chunky. Christina gave me a bit of blue roving. I practiced on it and plyed it with a commercial yarn. I knit this sad little swatch with me very first plied yarn:

After a little practice, I took a shot at the other 3 oz. of wool. I did a little better on the old drop spindle. I Kool Aid dyed both plys a light raspberry. I meant it to be a lot darker, but I didn't use enough Kool Aid. David kept threatening to drink it because it smelled "so sweet and tasty".

Here's my first ply before and after Kool Aid dying:

I built the bizarre little cardboard box contraption that Christina drew for me. I was initially going to ply each 3 oz spindle with commercial yarn, but I decided to ply them together after all.

And finally, days later. . . 65 yards of pinkish chunky, hand spun, hand dyed wool. YEAH!

I'm doomed!!!!!!!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Crazy Weekend of Knitting - part two

If your just checking the blog today, scroll down (trust me it's worth it). This is actually part two of a post. There was too much for one post.

On to Knit Out New York. Holy @^%$ that's a lotta knitters in one place! I got there at 11:58 am (it started at noon), and there were already thousands of people there. Usually I love being around knitters, but being around 30,000 knitters when free patterns, free yarn, and free needles are being given out, was not for the faint of heart. I don't know what the heck was going on at the Michael's booth, but those women looked like they'd kill you just as soon as look at you, so I kept moving.
I enjoyed the fashion show. The dogs were really hard to photograph, because they moved kinda quickly. The kids were even harder to photograph. All my kid shots came out blurry. Here are some of the doggy fashion show.

(the dog wouldn't put on the sweater)

The human fashion show was really long, but the always fabulous Yarn Harlot kept things lively. The whole show broke down into three distinct groups:
1) things I would knit and wear
2) things that I admire, but wouldn't wear
3) just because you can knit it, doesn't mean you SHOULD knit it

1 - Things I would knit and wear
(my fave - Lion Brand Cashmere Blend. Knit it Fall/Winter 06)
(I liked this as a top, but was horrified when they said it was a dress. Is the designer high?)

2- Things that I admire, but wouldn't wear

3- Just because you can knit it, doesn't mean you SHOULD knit it

(WAY too much)

(What's with the plate on her head!!)

(RONG - Wrong!)

After the wool fashion show in 89 degree weather, it was time for a B&N iced coffee break before meeting up with the Sit n' Knit NY group. I met some really cool knitters. I hooked up with some of my fellow bloggers, Annie, Hila, Necia. I also met this amazing spinner, Christina. She taught me how to ply the two singles that I'm going to spin. She even drew me a little sketch of how to make some crazy cardboard box thing. Can't wait to try it. Thanks all.

Crazy Weekend of Knitting

So my fun filled few days of knitting began Thursday night at the Tea Lounge in Park Slope (I know, not technically the weekend, but just go with me. There I met the Park Slope Knitting Circle. It was really a great evening. First of all, love my Tea Lounge! If they sold yarn it would be my fave place on earth. Hmmm, that's an idea. I met a lot of cool knitters. My favorite moment in the evening was when Emily nonchalantly walked in carrying her spinning wheel. As you might imagine . . . she turned a few heads. She was nice enough to give me a little tutorial. I found it pretty cool, but lets face it. I'm out of control enough with the knitting. I can't get into spinning. . . right. . . (gulp).
(Emily on her wheel)

Then I saw this woman knitting a beautiful sweater out of yarn she spun herself. Well Alexandra started talking to me about how great spinning is. I said I don't really have any room for a wheel. She said "you can spin on a drop spindle". I said "you are not going to be satisfied until I start spinning". Well Alexandra, Emily, wait till ya hear what I did on Saturday!

(Alexandra and her super cool hand spun wool)

So next stop on Patty's tour of cool knitting spots was the New Jersey Sheep and Wool festival. It was my first ever Sheep & Wool Festival. It was also my consolation prize for not being able to go to Rhinebeck. It's the same weekend as my family reunion. Although I toyed around with the idea of disowning my own family, I came out of my yarn daze in time to realize that wasn't a great idea. As soon as my pal Francesca and I arrived we signed up for the 10:30 am spinning workshop (Happy now Alexandra??). We got a crazy drop spindle made from two CD's. It was really hard to get the hang of. Francesca said hers looked like dred locks. Of course, by the end of the workshop I was shopping for rowving. I decided to buy 6 oz because I figured that would take me a while.

(spinning class)

(Francesca spinning her dred locks)

Here are some picks from the parade of breeds, the adorable Alpacas. So cute you wanna take them home. A tiny boy, like four, came up to one of the Alpaca owners and asked "Can I feed the bunnies?". The guy didn't have the heart to explain the whole, they're not giant bunnies, thing, so he just said "I don't have anything to feed them.
(Parade of Breeds)
(Strangely evil looking sheep)

(nice bunnies . . .I mean sweaters) (SCARY sheep)
(Francesca with the sheep of her homeland!)

Way off in the corner of the barn, segregated from all the other sheep was the sad sight of racism in the animal kingdom. The dreaded KKK sheep:

Okay, not really. I think they were just keeping there coats clean until after the show. But we did think they looked just like KKK sheep. They kinda freaked me out.

The craziest thing we saw was the sheep dog demonstration. They were herding, wait for it, geese. It was one of the more bizarre sights in the world. I don't know why the site of dogs ganging up on foul to make them walk through an obstacle course, renewed my faith in humanity . . . but it did.
(get in there, don't make me have to get up!)

Of course what day would be complete without a sheep shearing a fleece auction. I was feeling full of love for these creatures that gave me my fiber. I called home and told David I was going to buy a small sheep to keep up on the roof deck. He was not amused.

(thank you for all you do for us)

(This one I just call - TRUST)

(why can't I own this sheep?)

coming up next . . . Knit Out NY!!!!!!