Sunday, September 30, 2007

Tomorrow is October 1st

and I spent the weekend moving. Not myself, Sam. (OK, not the whole weekend, we also went to a draw-a-thon and Octoberfest at the Bohenian Beer Garden.) Now Sam has an awesome apartment of his own, but we had no internet. I have yet to write about the awesome knitting night at Kathleen's last Thursday, but I have some great pictures, which will be up here in a day or so. For now, I'd just like to list my goals for UFO month. I'll just go through the inventory...

1. Giant multicolored handbag. I don't see this one happening until I get a sewing machine, so I think this one will stay on hold.

2. Blue hat. Finish it! (Even if it does turn out to be too short.)

3. Black headband. Finish it!

4. Luxe gauntlets. Finish them!

5. Soccer Mom Sweater. Finish it!

6. Crocheted sweater. This one might get finished eventually, but I don't think it is reasonable to expect to finish it in the next month.

7. Lu Mei's hat. I'm going to attempt to felt this one. (I.e. finish it!)

8. Mom's giant purse. I don't think I will be able to finish this one right now, but eventually I would like to make the pattern up as I go along...

9. Green gloves. Finish them!

10. Going out with a bag. Finish it!

11. Yellow and blue bag. Redo the lining. (I.e. refinish it!)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

True Confessions

So I took that inventory. And I'm embarrassed to say that many of my UFOs are featured in this very blog:

1. Giant multicolored handbag. I think the last time I wrote about it was, um last week.

2. Blue hat.
I was almost finished with it at Cafe Lalo in June. I don't even have any knitting left - I am at the strictly tapestry needle phase. Why did I never finish? I think this one is two short and I kind of didn't want to face that.

Black headband. This is a product of my knitting-for-profit phase (in June), which is currently on hold. I based it on the Interweave pattern I used to make two lace headbands of my own. This one has a tiny bit of lace around the edges, but my intention was to knit or crochet a flower or two to sew on. So I have to learn how to that first. Oh, and I have yet to weave in the ends.

4. Luxe gauntlets.
I thought I had enough yarn to bind off, but apparently I did not. I didn't have the patience to un-bind off, un-knit, tie on more yarn, knit, and bind off. So I took some of the needles to work on the black headband. And then the one needle came off on its own. I can't remember when I started this project, but it too has been a UFO since June.

5. Soccer Mom Sweater.
This pattern is really simple - a good second sweater. If this makes me a (childless) 23-year-old soccer mom, so be it. I just have to finish the last sleeve and sew it all together. (This project appears to by my only "normal" UFO.) I started this one last fall and it has definitely been hiatus since late 2006.

6. Crocheted sweater. I've been working on it since August of last year and I haven't touched it since September. The reason? I misread the pattern, which is fine - the thing just looks different than it's supposed to look - but now each stitch is a little bit off, and this "Seamless Sweater" has a (slight) diagonal seam down the back.

7. Lu Mei's hat. Last year, I promised my friend, Lu Mei, that I would crochet her a hat. Well, I couldn't figure out how to check crochet gauge, so I thought I'd just wing it. Not so smart. It turned out way too big, and I think think only way to salvage this one would be to felt it - which is something I've never done before. I haven't touched the thing since last September.

8. Mom's giant purse.
When it comes to purse size, my mother rivals any New Yorker. When I started the research for my college thesis, I bought yarn from a lot of different yarn stores so that I would be able to get a feel for the stores and the people. At one store, I bought some giant yarn and started knitting what I hoped would be my first felted object, a handbag for my mom, from a free pattern which I promptly lost. About six months later (after I graduated), I contacted the store to ask for the pattern. They were really nice about it and they emailed me a pattern. Unfortunately, it was the wrong one. Maybe I should just wing this one. In any case, this bag has been a UFO since around February of 2006.

8. Green gloves.
These were knit on two needles. I didn't finish them because the pattern (which I no longer have) instructed to "darn" the sides together. I didn't know what darning meant. Hence, I never finished them. That was two years ago.

9. Going Out with a Bag. This is the one I've been bitching out since the nascence of this blog. Still not finished. Still gotta learn to sew in zippers. I have the zipper. Right now, I can't even find the thing, so I can't take a picture of it. I was going to make this for my sister's nineteenth birthday. My sister is now 21, and still no bag.

10. Yellow and blue bag. Two and a half years ago, this one was based roughly off of Stitch 'n Bitch Nation's Poster Boy, but I didn't put the boy on it. Technically, it is not a UFO. It was finished at one point. But I made the lining too small and out of fabric that was too light for my heavy school books. I still use it, but the lining is in desperate need of replacement.

Monday, September 24, 2007


I am making it my own personal challenge to finish as many UFOs as I can during the month of October. To anyone who wants to join me in my quest, here are some simple rules.

1. Take an inventory of your UFOs. Some things will be worth finishing, some things will worth ripping out.
2. Choose the objects you are going to finish during this very productive month. Note how much work each object will need and, just for kicks, how long each object has been a UFO.
3. Be prepared! Stock up on any yarns, finishings, etc. that you will need to finish the project.
4. Start finishing!

I will keep track of my progress here.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

More on My Manhattan Frivotities

This handbag is turning out to be quite the project. I finally finished the knitting part, but now I have to do all that sewing I've been whining about. Oh yeah, and I have to figure out what I'm going to do about straps. I'm going to need something extremely strong. Something about Manhattan causes women (e.g. me) to carry obnoxiously large handbags everywhere, and to keep them full. In college, I rarely carried a purse anywhere, even on my occasional nights out on the town. I had my phone in one pocket, and my keys, school ID, and wallet, in another. Now, I am no Carrie Bradshaw, but after just over a year, I have morphed into this crazy and slightly ridiculous being.

Amazingly, my bags are usually much smaller than girls I am friends with and girls I work with. For example, although I keep a giant wallet with a year's worth of receipts and change, a pencil case full of makeup I don't wear, and painkillers for any kind of spontaneous injury, I do not usually carry an extra pair of shoes, and I only carry a novel on occasion. Nevertheless, what by rights should have a simple project to keep my occupied over a knitting night or two has lasted me about a month. At last, I have giant pieces that need to be sewn together. I need to figure out how to sew in a zipper and, um, to make a strong lining. As far as straps, I'm thinking I might just use whatever fabric I use for the lining - maybe I'll get some metal rings to ensure that the straps don't misshape the knit fabric or tear it. Or maybe I'll knit some out of the same fabric I used to make to bottom. So here it is. The source of the past month's rants. I'm actually pretty proud of it. When I took the picture, the bottom part curled under, but I think that's just because I knit that part pretty tight. I think that when I sew it together, it will come uncurled.

And now I can move onto other things! (while I figure out this sewing machine thing). I do have the UFO project, but I think my most immediate thing will be my first pair of socks. As usual, though, I have I second project in ming. Once again, I am inspired by my high school friend, Anna. Her blog got me really excited about the Irish Hiking Scarf. It's a cable scarf knitalong. I've wanted to make a cable scarf for a while now, and I've never done a knitalong. As much as I love mindless knitting, I think it will be a while before I can make anything in plain stockinette stitch, garter stitch, or ribbed. I owe my Aunt Carol a scarf and plan to make one for Sam too, so this pattern will work for either of them.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Living in Manhattan

So I'm forfeiting a couple of concert tickets to finance my knitting habit. I'm determined to buy a sewing machine first and foremost so that I can finish this freakin bag. I'm so close to being done with the knitting part. If all goes according to plan, I should have pictures of the pieces (pre-sewing) up here tomorrow. (It's not ready now because of a headache I had earlier, which itself was due to my sorry attempt at Yom Kippor fasting.)

Let it be known that I'm not completely crazy. I have been asking my parents for a sewing machine for my birthday every year for several years. Being the practical parents that they all, they had too many reservations to give in to such consumerism. When would I have the time to sew? And where would I keep the darn thing? An ipod, they reasoned, was much more practical gift. Now don't get me wrong - I don't know if I could survive without my ipod, but now that I can actually afford a sewing machine on my own, I have a job that allows me a little time to sew, and I have a bag that will not be complete without a lining, the timing is perfect.

One problem remains. I have no room at all for the thing. Somewhere along the way, I acquired an extra air conditioner, and that is under my desk. I don't even have enough space for all my clothes, resulting in piles on the floor. Not to mention the fact that I'm already an extremely messy person. If I couldn't fit a sewing machine in a large dorm room, how will I fit it in a similarly sized room that also contains a kitchen and bathroom? Well, I'll make room. Probably somewhere on the floor. Maybe I'll sell the extra air conditioner.

P.S. I still haven't forgotten about UFO month. Along with pictures of the bag (parts), I will try to get a rules posting up here tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Another New Project!

This is the problem with UFOs. There is always a new project. Always just one, five, or ten more before we finish that thing we made last fall. It would be out of the question to ask a knitter to spend a whole month working on nothing but UFOs.

So I think it is perfectly reasonable to start this. You can make squares and send them in to be sewn into afghans, or you can team up with a group and make the whole thing. Joanna gave us the idea for this one, and she, Kathleen, Jen, and I are all very excited. (The four of us are making one together.) At the rate these girls are knitting, we'll be done in no time! It will give us opportunities to experiment with new stitches and techniques, and to use some of our leftover yarn. I think that during October, it would be reasonable for me to work on this, at least sometimes, when I'm busy but just need something to do with my hands.

Monday, September 17, 2007

My friends rock. So I'm going to do this! There is posting of rules to come, but I need to think of the rules first! Everyone's UFOs are different. For a start, just how unfinished these objects are varies greatly. And the numbers of UFOs people have vary greatly. I know better than to even suggest to a knitter to finish everything. Besides, I don't think I could do that myself! There are some things I don't think I'll ever finish, and things on which I've given up (but not taken out) after I've barely started. Any ideas for rules are welcome here!

And in other news....

I went hiking at Breakneck Ridge with Sam and Cecily for the second time yesterday. This time, we were also joined by Adam. It was awesome! The last train was at 8:57 and I almost didn't wake up for it, but I'm so glad I went. Last time, we accidentally took an easier trail, but this time there was a lot of steep rock climbing. The views were picture perfect and the climbing made me feel amazing. (The company was pretty cool too.)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

If I were a famous knitting blogger...

Come on, we all know they exist. I don't dream big but I do dream. [Enter ironic chuckle or deadpan stare.] Well, if I had my own knitting empire, I would declare October the month of the UFO. I have several items I am so close to finishing but have not finished because of various reasons (I'm not the biggest fan of weaving in ends, I don't know how to sew in zippers, I can't find one of my needles, I'm worried that when I finish I'll have to submit myself to knowing that the dimensions are wrong...) But I would set up a challenge for people to finish as many unfinished objects as they could throughout the month of October. That would, of course, give me the motivation to do so myself. But alas, I am not a famous knitting blogger. I have until the end of September to decide if I want to give myself that challenge, or if it would be just another boring, dead-end task.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


A knitting group at my apartment! Soooo much fun. I made peanut butter cookies and my mom's tuna casserole! Both were a hit, although most of the cookies burnt (though a few did not) and the casserole turned out to be more like tuna pasta (it did not stick.) But my friends assure me that it still tasted good.

Amna, Kathleen, and Sam came. Amna spent most of the time untangling her yarn, and she still finished her scarf! Kathleen was (she's probably done by now!) making a beautiful scarf for her boyfriend, and Sam learned to cast on! He is our mannitter.

And in other news....I finally went the other knitting store. They have Lamb's Pride, but not as much as School Products. They do have a lot of yarn, though. A lot of cool yarn. I got sock yarn... and they have a sock support group once a week! I'd better start those socks!

Meanwhile, I have so many bag/purse ideas . I'm still working on the bag I started at Kathleen's place so many weeks ago, but I can't wait for the next one! And the yarn I bought is sooooo nice. So soft! My newest love.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

I'm finally having a knitting night at my apartment! On the agenda for today: cleaning my apartment and knitting. Then on Tuesday (the big night) I'm going to try to make time after work to cook dinner. Sam is even going to try to make a guest appearance. Any man who will learn to knit is a keeper!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

more central park knitting (and adina gets philosophical)

My great-aunt Dora loved to crochet. Every member of my family has some item crocheted specially by Aunt Dora. Doll clothes, countless afghans, pillow, the list goes on. I have some pillows she crocheted specially for me decorating my room at my parents' house. I keep two warm afghans in my tiny apartment - two of the few items I took home with me after my grandparents died. My grandmother, her kid sister, was never really into needle crafts. I don't think she learned to knit or crochet when she was growing up in the 1930s and '40s. But when she was much older, and in the hospital, someone there taught her to crochet. She crocheted a large blanket, using mostly single crochet, with stripes and texture. It sat on my grandmother's couch for years, the oranges and yellows blending in with the 1970's decor that to this day still furnishes the house, warming anyone who sat on the couch or cozy armchairs or slept in the living room when all the bedrooms were full. My grandmother promptly forgot how to crochet, but she was always humbly proud of that blanket that she made when she was so sick.

Needle crafts really are comforting and healing, which is why I've been doing so much of it lately. I know that almost everyone gets their wisdom teeth out and that people deal with it, but mine were pretty badly impacted and are still very painful. I would love to one day teach crafts to hospital patients (unfortunately, my current work hours keep me from doing that right now). Knitting has been calming me, keeping me occupied and happy. When yesterday afternoon I finally got out to soak up some sun, I went to a knitting store that I went to with my mom when I first moved here. I had been looking for it for months but I finally found it on the internet. (The problem had been that I had no idea what it was called and couldn't quite remember where it was either.) When I got there, it was closed for Labor Day (who closes for Labor Day on Tuesday???) so I went back to The Yarn Co., which has a nice selection but is kind of small (so nothing really out of the ordinary) and doesn't stock Lamb's Pride. (Still I buy a lot of stuff there and what they do have is really nice.) I got some black Torino bulky for the bottom of my purse (if I use the silk I've been using for the rest of it, it will probably tear after a day or two) and some in black so that I can finally make a hat for Sam that isn't huge. Later, Amna came over and we got soup from a place on my block and went to Central Park for a picnic soup dinner and to knit. (Her scarf is getting so long - it looks awesome!) This cheered me up immensely, it even helped take away the pain (as the frozen yogurt we had afterwards!) I hadn't brought my camera - but Amna had hers! Unfortunately, I still have my chipmunk cheeks from getting my wisdom teeth out. (So I'm vain enough to disclose that but not enough to not put a picture of myself looking not-my-best up)

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

At the knitting night at Kathleen's, two weeks ago, I had no idea what to knit. I brought a book with me, as well as ample yarn and needles. It seems that, for various annoying reasons, I was unable to knit the things that I had been working toward. Here are a few reasons why:

1. Grey sweater started last year: couldn't find one of the needles!
2. Dad's sweater: couldn't find (either of) my knit1 magazines, one of which contains the pattern
3. new projects from new knitting books, such as "Sexy Little Knits": When I bought yarn for one of these patterns online, it turned out to be more or less useless (more like thread with parts hanging off of it) than yarn - not at all useful for the patterns.
4. sweater I started crocheting last year: couldn't find the crochet hook - besides, wanted to knit for this group, at least for right now
5. gauntlets I'm almost done with: started binding off and almost made it but found i didn't have quite enough yarn to finish (very annoying!) took some of the needles for another project and now they're somewhere in my apartment.

From this list, two things are apparent:
1. I need to clean/organize my apartment
2. I need to actually buy the yarn for the patterns in the books I buy - the patterns won't knit themselves!

So, when I went to Kathleen's I just through I bunch of yarn and a book in my bag.

When I got there, I decided to knit with some recycled silk my mom had gotten me when she visited me in Philadelphia. I casted on a number of stitches based on a pattern from speed knitting, but decided that the yarn would work better if it was not bumpy. Besides, straight knitting and purling makes socializing easier. But I decided that I would knit one long piece and flip it over and sew it up so that it would look like the "messenger bag" with a flap over it.

I worked on this bag at Kathleen's and the next time I picked it up was at Joanna's. But then on Friday I got my wisdom teeth out and since then have had very limited mobility. Sam knew I was getting better when, on Sunday, I asked him to help me find my knitting!

So I knit a lot on Sunday. I realized that I probably wouldn't use a messenger bag much, since my wallet along could barely fit in one (living in New York does that to you) and making an extremely long one would probably look very weird. But my work could be salvaged! I would use what I had done so far as the first of several panels, which I would sew together and line with something strong and durable and make a purse. I'm very excited about this and, as usual, running away with my imagination - I'm even thinking of finally getting a sewing machine (something I've been wanting for years anyway).

So far, I've just finished the two main side panels. Here is a picture of what it looked like yesterday, when I just had one and a half of the panels:So this brings me to knitting at Central Park, which is how I spent some of my Labor Day. So much fun! Yesterday, I finally went outside for the first time since the wisdom teeth. Sam took me to get some frozen yogurt. The five minute walk there and back made me feel so much better. I knew what I was lacking: sunshine! I knew for a fact that Jen and the girls were knitting in Central Park, so I decided to join them. Knitting is so therapeutic! I was kind of whacked out on pain killers and a possible overdose of antibiotics (I still don't know how many doses I took yesterday) but it was, nevertheless, lots of fun. I am definitely going to host the new knitting night at my place the week after next.