Thursday, June 24, 2010

Productive Procrastination

I am a very goal-oriented person. I like being able to cross things off of my list. (Said list being all in my head, as I'm not organized enough to actually write it down.) And with a goal in my line of sight, I rarely deviate from it. But every so often, I procrastinate. I take little detours. And these detours usually turn out to be quite productive. Reorganizing yarn stash, surfing ravelry and my latest friends' activities, checking out yarn sales, setting aside yarn to donate... quite productive. Yes yes, quite productive.

Well, during my last project, I procrastinated. I was able to turn in my project early, thankfully, but I was antsy. I don't know - maybe it was knitting with bulky yarn in 90 degree weather. Maybe it was the fact that it wasn't portable. Maybe I needed something easy to knit whilst watching the World Cup. In any case, I procrastinated with this Mara Shawl. A free pattern from madelinetosh. I like its simplicity with the touch of femininity at the edge.

I used about three skeins of madelinetosh's DK yarn. It's so soft, with just the perfect amount of springiness. The color is Victorian Gothic. It's the deepest purple and since it's hand-dyed there is a beautiful subtlety in its unevenness. I absolutely love the yarn, the color and the finished product. How often can you say that?! It's still way too warm for this piece, but it'll be great come Fall.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Little Rewards

As a little reward for finishing up my project before the deadline, I hit Barnes & Noble yesterday with my dear friend Jen. It's been a ritual of ours. We'll meet up, check out Barnes & Noble and then grab some dinner. I used to live a few blocks away from one, but not anymore. So now, it's really a treat for me.

Since buying my beloved Kindle, I don't have much use for buying bestsellers, but I don't think there's any substitution for craft books. There's too much flipping back and forth between the picture, pattern, abbreviations and definitions. Who knows... maybe one day.

Well, much to our dismay, our Barnes & Noble was rearranging and reorganizing the "Crafts & Hobbies" section at the exact same time we decided to go. So, we decided to check out the periodicals. No luck - we both had all of the latest issues of everything. We turned to look at each other and the lightbulb went off. Without uttering any words, we intuitively started to make our way to the Cookbooks section.

We picked up copies of Whoopie Pies and today I made my first batch of Oatmeal Whoopie Pies with classic buttercream filling. YUM-MY IN MY TUMMY!!!!!! Best reward ever!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Winter in Summer

I just finished knitting my design for Vogue Knitting's Holiday issue. I'm so in love with it. I love that it's just so darn wearable. I know with every idea that pops into my head, it's hard to really know how it's going to turn out. From the sketch, to the swatches, to working out the pattern, to the final product... there are a lot of variables.

And the one thing you don't have much control over when working with a big magazine like VK is the yarn. They choose it for you. And I love that it forces me to work outside of my comfort zone. And that's an important part of growing and learning - working outside of that comfort zone.

So you'll see with this next design that I was dragged kicking and screaming into the wide world of color. They choose a very festive red. For the past month, it's been the one splash of color in my sea of beige and gray. And, I'm going to miss it.

Here's a very small sneak peek:

And now, back to the drawing board for Spring... any thoughts?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Beyond Flattered

People don't usually surprise me anymore. In Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers, he talks about the 10,000 hour rule. It takes 10,000 hours to master something. I think if you've ridden 10,000 hours on the subway, you've pretty much mastered The Person. You've seen it all. I have ridden at least 10,000 hours on the subway. I won't list all the erratic human behavior I've been witness to during those 10,000 hours. And anyone who's reading this and has ridden the subway is probably just nodding their head and praying I don't start a bulleted list. I think you get me here.

So when I posted my first pattern on Ravelry, I found myself surprised. Surprised with people! People were actually buying it and making it! But honestly, I was, least of all, surprised and, most of all, flattered. We all know the knitting community is a caring one. But, I didn't recognize how nurturing it is. Maybe it's just me that hasn't seen something so obvious until now. But with every finished Eternity Scarf posted onto Ravelry, I am encouraged little by little to continue down this designing path.

Below are a few pictures of some finished Eternity Scarves. Something I've tried to improve upon is my photography, and I owe it all to knitting, this blog and the wide world of the Internet. A picture says a thousand words, right? It's obvious I'm not the only one out there. Look at how gorgeous these photos are! I am so humbled, and so proud to be a part of this always-growing knitting world.

by Elaine

by Mary

by Catrina

by Knitterella®

by Linda :: photo by Gabrielle

I work with Linda, by the way. She's based in our San Francisco office, and though we've never met, we've become close knitting buds. I was cyberally introduced to the knitting group that gathers in the SF office. And thinking back, it was a passing conversation I had with Linda that gave me the motivation and encouragement to write this pattern.

Aren't the scarves incredible?! The colors take my breath away. I really need to start knitting with more color - she says as she stares at her pile of gray yarn.

Click here for more Eternity Scarves on Thank you everyone for purchasing this pattern. I am beyond flattered.

Friday, June 04, 2010

A Garden in Queens

I have to admit, I did not take to gardening at first. I can't imagine it's as pleasurable to garden in New York City as it is in, say, the Hudson Valley or in Pennsylvania. I had to figure it all out.

I am lucky enough to have "outdoor space". (For those of you not from an urban area, outdoor space is an amenity. Not a God-given right. ) And, I had to move out of Manhattan and into Queens to get some of this mythical Outdoor Space. It has been downright eye-opening. Between trees dying, perennials NOT coming back and the random visits by caterpillars (who ate all my dill and parsley), twig caterpillars on my roses, and bees + honeycombs, you'd think I was on an Animal Planet episode and not in a very industrialized part of Queens.

The only gardening I'm doing is what I think people call Container Gardening. I have a gazillion planters, and a bazillion pots. So I guess I'm a little limited to what I can do. But this is great for me. If I had LAND, I just don't know what I would do with it. So my containers are finally abloom. And while it's taken me awhile to warm up to the whole dirt and bug thing, I think I like it. I think I really really like it. It's given me that much-needed downtime between work and knitting. And it forces me to go outside and spend some time in the sun... another thing that seems to be an amenity in NYC.

So, let's see... I've got my first rose:

And some pretty light pink flowers (yeah, I threw out those plastic things with the flower's name):

And these are for one special little Pug. Her favorites: strawberries:

We've already plucked off the ripened one's and given them to her. She's waiting not-so-patiently for these.