Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Sorry, no rabbit pics!

Okay, I didn't get around to the rabbit pics last night, dinner took w-a-a-a-y too long. And I'm only posting today to give a shout out to Chelsea Green Publishing. They are a fabulous small-ish publisher of sustainable living books. I am totally in love with Permaculture and Edible Forest Gardens, two of the best reasons to buy those 20 acres before we can afford to build on them. But in the meantime, despite not having an inch of land to grow on, Eric Toensmeier's book, Perennial Vegetables makes it easy to dream, and if you do have a plot of land, it's an easy first step in the right direction. I'll be on the radio talking about it on Friday - but I won't be saying anything you can't read yourself. So buy it, for pete's sake! And bunny pictures tomorrow. Hopefully.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Back to work blues

I listened only to songs with "blues" in the title this morning - because as Bleeding Gums Murphy said, "The Blues isn't about making yourself feel better - its about making other people feel worse!" But I did actually feel better after listening to those songs - playlist included "Good Morning Blues" by Leadbelly (which I listened to like five times, I love that song), "Lonesome Homesick Blues" by The Carter Family, "Worried Man Blues" by Woody Guthrie, and "Working Girl Blues" by Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerard, which really made me feel like leading the entire subway car in a sing along. Sigh...

The long weekend was nice. We knocked out all the errand-y stuff on Saturday so the rest of the weekend was just for relaxing. I'm nearly done with sock #1 for the man, and I worked a few repeats on the nearly forgotten spider net shawl. The sock looks like its turning out sort of big - as in long. But I've only knitted ladies socks before so I didn't know what to expect. I knitted the calf to 9", not thinking that the heel flap was going to add another 3" or so. I suppose the nice thing about knitting socks is you always know that eventually, all of his other socks will be dirty and he'll be forced to wear the knitted socks and maybe then he'll start to like them.

And I made a new friend! And she might be the first person EVER to visit my blog (she's actually only the third person to know about it, and of course the man doesn't count, so I guess if the third person you tell about your blog is the first person to visit it, then thats pretty good). We met at the bar because she had a bunny charm hanging from her cell phone and so do I. Ultimately it turned out that we had a lot of wacky stuff in common - same major in undergrad, both live in Queens, both have rabbits, both knit, both tea drinkers, and we were both with our guys for a long, long time before deciding to get married. And there was probably some other stuff too that I forget. Oh yeah - we're both "editors" in our job titles!

Her darling bunny pics have inspired me to post some too. And some knitting photos. Which I'll do...tomorrow. Really. I swear. I mean, I swear that I hope that I will take some photos tonight and remember to bring in the card reader and download and post them tomorrow even though work is stupid busy and I'm losing my mind.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Not about knitting!

And not because I'm not knitting - I totally am - but because I can't stop talking about, thinking about The Arnold Arboretum. I was just there twice in as many weeks for work and it is SPECTACULAR. If you live nearby and have never visited, go! go! go! Its even worth braving that Boston traffic and weird lights (whats up with the blinking yellow instead of green?) and those wacky "rotaries".
The Arnold really must be one of the most amazing horticultural sites in the US. They have at least two specimens that were the first of their species ever brought to America (Davidia, the dove tree, and Metasequoia, dawn redwood). The arboretum was founded in 1872 so many of the trees are mature to say the least. Better yet, the siting of these trees in the landscape is so dreamy and romantic. My favorite spots: the Aesculus (horse-chestnut) collection - which will probably be close to peak this weekend, so is going to be glorious (and crowded. People ruin everything!); the birch collection (don't get mired in the lilac collection as you pass - just smell them as you walk by and continue to those big, shady birches, so beautifully sited); and finally, and best of all: the spruce collection.
I'm not specifically a spruce fan - in fact, I'm rather indifferent about them on the whole. But the Arnold's collection defies description. Its like something from Lord of the Rings, which is to say, its like something from New Zealand. The silhouettes of the trees are so dramatic, and there are so many cultivars grouped together, and they are so tall, that it really feels like somewhere far, far away. Somewhere exotic. Like a fairyland, really.
So, bring a lunch, bring your sweetie, wear your walking shoes and spend the day exploring. If I lived in Boston, I would!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Why haven't I been posting?

I should be posting a lot more. I want to post a lot more but work has gone a bit haywire. In horticulture, we call it "mad May" for a good reason. I have been travelling all over New England (that is a bit of an exaggeration, just CT and MA) the past few weeks, with another trip to Boston coming up next week. I love to knit on long car rides, but I have been the driver for these trips unfortunately.
Heading back to the city from CT the other day, I happened upon a yarn shop. Don't you love when that happens? I've driven right by the exit on the Merritt Parkway oodles of times and never knew there was a yarn shop with such easy off, easy on access. I bought some Regia Silk, a silk blend sock yarn for the man. In grey, naturally.
I've never knitted socks for the man. When I first started knitting 8 years ago, I read somewhere that you shouldn't knit socks for your boyfriend or "he'll walk away from you". While I didn't think that would happen, I also didn't want to risk it. So we joked about it for six years, and then we got married, and decided I could knit socks for him. So this is the first pair. Nice yarn, and he wants the whole calf in 1x1 rib. We can all think of more fun patterns to knit, but oblige, I must. I'm only a few rows into it.
I actually hadn't heard of the sweater curse at that time, and my first project was a sweater for him. But I realized I had made a mistake in the armhole shaping and couldn't figure out what to do to fix it. Plus, I was using extremely fine shetland wool and didn't love the airy (and SUPER itchy) fabric it was making. Finally, it was (and still is, in my stash trunk) still in spinning oil, so had a weird oily feel and a smell to it. That sweater sat languishing for years as I switched my focus to quilting and sewing. When I began knitting seriously again, my only thought was to finish that sweater (and we were married by that time, so even if I knew about the sweater curse, it wouldn't have applied). I swatched using a double strand, liked it, and quickly calculated I wouldn't have enough yarn. The yarn was from School Products and I went back but of course they didn't have any. It was actually a coned yarn, and so probably a factory remnant or something.
Since then, I've knitted him two sweaters which he loves, and hats - but no socks. He's a tough customer. Wish me luck!

Monday, May 7, 2007

Goodbye, Blue Monday

So, I've returned from Italy. The trip was good - sadly, not great. We were treated very rudely everywhere and I heard several people at the airport saying the same thing. I don't know if its the war, or if the Italians are just weary of tourists (because the crowds were brutal, let me tell you), or what, but it wasn't exactly a pleasant place to be. It pains me to say so, it really does.

As for Eurofly airlines, it was a good experience all in all. The seats on the plane were fairly worn looking but that might be my only real complaint. The food was basically edible for airline food, they served wine with dinner, the staff was young and good looking, and they flights were more or less on time. We arrived at the airport in Italy a bit over three hours before departure and no one was there to check people in until exactly three hours before, but thats not so bad nor so surprising. So if you found some crazy deal on Eurofly and are wondering what its all about, I'd say, take the deal and run with it - there are a lot worse major airlines in terms of service and timeliness here in the US.

I went to one yarn shop to try and find the Bollicine from my mom, but no luck. The people there were nice though. I also went to a really amazing fabric shop on Via Sistina, near the Spanish steps called Lisio Tessuti d'Arte. As you can no doubt tell from the link, those fabrics defy description. The gentleman in the shop didn't speak English, but we communicated in Italian/Spanish as much as we could - enough to find out that there was no way I could afford so much as a scrap, even if they had them. But if you go to Rome and are fabric shopping, do take a look - they are some of the most exquisite fabrics you'll see outside of museums.

I FINALLY got around to photographing some WIPs so lets talk about those:

This is the purple cotton lace cap sleeve shell from Elann that I mentioned. I've been cooking along on it and enjoying it thoroughly. I've never knitted a sweater in the round before, because it doesn't lend itself to being dragged around town, but this little summery number is fine for that. Too bad the pattern is no longer available in their free patterns section!

And here is the Classic Elite Vintage shell thing that I'm working on:

I haven't picked this thing up in a while, so I don't even know where I left off. There isn't much to the pattern but there is side shaping - shouldn't be too hard to figure out, except that stitches not on the needles are hard to count because of the texture. Which reminds me, I really like the texture of this yarn in reverse stockinette.

I last talked about this project in my "yarn snobbery" post where I went off on the Michael Kors project in the current issue of VK. Well, get this: the Michael Kors offices are in the same building and elevator bank as my office. So the evening I was leaving for the trip, this girl gets on the elevator off a Kors floor and she's wearing a sweater that is almost identical to the one in VK - only difference is hers was belted. So I asked her if it was a Michael Kors sweater and she said yes and I told her about the pattern in VK and how much it cost to buy the yarn. And she said that $300 was a bargain compared to what she paid for it and that "Thank God I get a clothing allowance." Anyways, moral of the story: if you want to wear a designer (which I don't, especially, I just liked that sweater), then knitting one of his or her designs in expensive yarn is still a better deal than buying it ready-made.

There are photos of the bog jacket too, but they aren't that great and I will save those for another day. Same goes for photos from Italy - lots of floral inspirations!