Thursday, September 27, 2012


I’m not normally into stripes. Don’t get me wrong, I have always liked them, just not for me.

So you can only imagine my surprise when I started thinking about the Million Stripes Loop from Brenda Burrell. I saw it first on Pinterest about a month ago and was intrigued. I kept thinking about and started stalking it on Ravelry. I finally bit the bullet and cast on for one of my own.

MIllion Stripes

What is also shocking about this project is my color choice. What you will normally see from me are pinks, purples, greens and blues (I know that my mother’s 1980s copy of Color Me Beautiful says that I am a Spring after all). But I decided to use more of a fall palette. Since I intend to use the loop as an accessory, I thought it might be easier for me to incorporate it into my wardrobe. I am using Classic Elite Alpaca Sox in 5 colors – Granny Smith, Byzintine Purple, Amber, Russet (orange) and Lago (dark blue).

I am about half way done with the cowl and the goal is to keep at it, so I can wear it this fall. I am enjoying the stripes so much that I am thinking about making another one, but more in my traditional colors for spring. And maybe one more in shades of grey.

What colors would you use?

Knit on!

Friday, September 21, 2012


I wasn’t supposed to buy any new yarn until Rhinebeck…

Sock yarn

Monday, September 17, 2012


I finished my Shetland Triangle Shawl last week. Here is a picture of it while it is blocking:

Shetland Blocking

I almost can’t wait for the weather to turn cooler, so I can wear it.

Blocking is such an important part of knitting, especially knitting lace. And I promise it is nothing to be scared of and you only need a few supplies – blocking mats (optional), blocking wires (optional), pins (lots of them, I like t-pins, but regular sewing pins will work in a pinch), measuring tape, T-square (optional) and lots of patience. Here is how I block:

The first thing I do after binding off is a little celebratory jig (ok, maybe not literary…but at least in my head). The next thing I do is to soak my finished piece for at least a half an hour. I usually put a little Euclean in the bath. The way I figure at some point while I was knitting this my hands were dirty.

I then VERY gently press the water out of the project. Please note that I did not say ring the water out. After all that hard work, you don’t want to take a change of ripping the piece before you can ever use it. Fibers are more fragile when wet. So handle with care.

Next I roll the piece up on in a clean dry towel, pressing even more water out of it.

I then lay out my blocking mats, while gently explaining to the cat that this is not an appropriate place for him to sharpen his claws. Mats are great if you, like me, don’t have a dedicated space for blocking. They can be connected in a variety of shapes and sizes and then can be broken down for easy storage. They are not mandatory though. So if you don’t have any and don’t want to invest, you can use a few layers of towels or even a rug. Something that you can put pins into without damaging the surface below.

Next I use my trusty blocking wires. If you planning on making (and blocking) a lot of shawls, I highly recommend acquiring a set of wires. When blocking a triangle shawl, I start by putting wire though the “top” of the shawl. This usually takes 2 or 3, depending on the size. I make sure to overlap the wires, which makes it easier to get a straight edge when pinning. I continue by putting a wire down the spine of the shawl.

This is usually when I start pinning. Starting at the center and working out, I pin the top edge first. I always have a measuring tape on hand and make sure that I am pinning the shawl symmetrically. Your center point to edge should be the same on each side. If it is not, just unpin one side and gently stretch it to match the other side.

The next step is to pin the center spine. If you have a T-square, it is a good idea to check and make sure the spine of the shawl is at a 90 degree angle from the top edge. But if you don’t have one, you can just eyeball it 9it not like anyone will be walking after you with a T-square shouting that your spine is at 88 degrees).

Don’t be afraid or upset if you have to repeat the pinning a few times. I often go back and tweak things.

Once I am satisfied with me top edge and spine, I move on to the diagonal edges. IF (like the Shetland Triangle) your shawl has points, I run wires though each of the points. Again, depending on the size of your shawl, you may need a few on each side, just make sure to overlap them. Once all my points have been threaded, I gently pull on the wires to stretch the points out. I then pin each point down to the mat. As I pin each point, I measure the space between each point to make sure they are uniform. This is another time when you should plan on doing more than once; I often have to “adjust” my points. If your shawl doesn’t have points, thread your wire though the edge and gentle pull into place.

Repeat this last step for the other diagonal edge.

The next step is the hardest…waiting.

Once the shawl is dry, unpin and wear with pride!

Stay tuned…next post will include pictures of the finished shawl.

Shetland closeup

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Never Forget

There are so many things that I remember from 11 years ago.

I remember what I was wearing (hot pink roll neck top, black cargo skirt, black sandals).

I remember what a beautiful day it was. I remember walking to the subway and wishing I didn’t have to go to work that day.

I remember what I was doing at 8:46 AM.

I remember who told me what happened and where I was at that moment.

I remember yelling at my co-workers to turn on a radio in English (many of the people I worked with were immigrants and listed to the radio in Spanish or Chinese).

I remember not believing it.

I remember going to the roof of the building I worked in and being able to see the impact zones over 2 miles away.

I remember thinking “How are they going to fix those buildings?”

I remember where I was when the first tower collapsed.

I remember sitting down on the floor and crying at that point.

I remember going to my co-worker’s apartment, who lived on the Upper West Side, and seeing Black Hawks fly down the Hudson River with their massive guns drawn.

I remember calling my mom and asking over and over again “How could this happen?”

I remember taking the subway back to Astoria and getting off at Queens Boro Plaza and looking back at downtown Manhattan and seeing for the first time live and seeing what everyone else had been watching on TV.

I remember being amazed that there were people who were rushing into those buildings to help, when the natural instinct was to run away.

I remember thinking “How could someone, anyone, be so evil that they did this?”

I remember how scared we all were.

I remember. And I will never forget.

Shortly after Sept. 11 the letter below was sent around the office I was working at. I think it sums up much of what I was feeling in those dark times and still rings true today. We have come so far in 11 years, but if we forget why we just relive the same tragedies over and over. So please…don’t ever forget.

As I don't have Osama bin Laden's email address please forward this letter to as many as folks as possible so that he may receive my heartfelt thanks!

Dear Osama:

Allow me to thank you for your recent visits to our country! I am a 49 year old male, 4th generation, well educated, prosperous and yes, a spoiled American. I have never really understood our nation's history nor the actions of the past generations. You see I grew up in a time period when we had our unpopular war in Vietnam and it wasn't cool to be a patriotic. Went through the space generation, the love generation, the me generation and the x-generation without any real appreciation for what went on before my time. I couldn't understand why men would rush to sign-up to defend our country in the World Wars. Nor could I even really appreciate why we had Veteran's Day or for that matter the Fourth of July. For my generation, it was merely a holiday which was a day off from work.

My hero's weren't fireman, policemen, soldiers, or politicians. They were sports figures, business tycoons, movies stars and the like. Why would anyone take one of those low paying, dangerous positions when you could have more money, more respect, and have a whole lot more fun as one of these others?

My view of the world was; USA against the rest of the world because nobody appreciated what we did for them. I was never concerned about the rest of the world or really cared for their well being...except to dole out money for food and medicine thru one of our relief programs (like the $171,000,000 we gave your countrymen last year). All I ever thought about was maybe a vacation to their corner of the world to experience their culture.

Your visit here has changed all that! So I want to tell you "Thanks"! I sincerely mean it too. You have no idea how your visit has changed all that. You see I realize now what my forefathers fought for and why they risked their lives. I understand what Memorial Day and the Fourth of July are all about. Upon seeing our Flag, my chest expands, our national anthem brings tears to my eyes. My fellow Americans are truly my brothers and I will defend them with all my might.

As you watch CNN (from our satellite) broadcasting our American family portrait, I am sure you have noticed a different pose. We are all one now. Racial barriers have been broken, religious barriers are gone, as we believe and trust in any and all religions that support a just and merciful Supreme Being. My heroes now are firemen, policemen, soldiers and yes, even our politicians. The outside world as I have known it has now embraced us. Taking us in during our time of need and given us the support we so desperately required. Our enemies of the past are not. So, you see, Osama, we OWE you. Thank you for realigning our perspectives and values like no one has done before. Your actions have created more good will than any one single act I have known in my lifetime. I know you didn't think this would be the outcome, but rest assured this is what you have created!! You made us understand a lesson we hope to never forget or take for granted again.

In closing it is a custom in our country to express our gratitude. So we and a few of our friends (the rest of the world) are going to stop by and deliver a message to you and yours. I hope it comes soon and swift but don't worry if you don't see us right away we won't forget...not now, not ever.

In Appreciation,


Friday, September 7, 2012

Knitting Notion Organization

I would like to thank the cat for organizing my knitting notions while I was at work today:

Knititng Notions

Very helpful!

Monday, September 3, 2012


I only have 5 rows and the bind off to go…but I don’t think I am going to make it –

Shetland Border

See that thin pink string? For once I was smart and put a lifeline in. Look like it time to visit the frog pond!