Tuesday, July 04, 2006


I took this photo a year ago, but it's where I spent my morning today, down on the Hudson, spiritually taking a deep breath on this holiday that's shaping up to be instead a busy-day. Living in New York for five years has helped me learn how to find a quiet solace even as dozens of people pass by my park bench. Personal space is redefined when you share a 12-mile long island with 4 million others.

In other news, I've been taking the crochet on the road a lot this week. To the movies, on the subway (where this great, tough-guy guy told me how he wanted to learn how!), and I'll take it on my trip this weekend. I'm telling you, those squares are addictive.

Monday, July 03, 2006


With apologies to Kim, I confess that this weekend I have fallen in love with the granny square.

I've been crocheting for 15 months, and these are my first squares. I bought the yarn to make a poncho for Mom, but lots of unsuccessful swatching convinced me it was too scratchy for her.

At some stage, I got the inspiration to make a blanket, inspried by the "Modern Afghan" pattern in Erika Knight's Simple Crochet book to think that granny squares can be modern, sophisticated, retro-in-a-good-way, and chic.

I'm not sure if I've achieved any of those things, but I still love these squares. I love the colors, I love how quick they are to finish, I love the soft look of them. But I also feel like I need to apologize for them. I told a friend today, "I don't usually go in for the more traditional crochet, but I think these colors are beautiful together and it's a modern take on the classic pattern." Maybe it is. And maybe it's just an aspect of the craft that has been passed down through generations and it is what it is. It's beautiful because of it's tradition.

My grandmother tried to teach me to crochet when I was nine. I'd learned to knit around that time (it didn't stick), but crochet was difficult for my brain to grasp, especially after my fingers had just memorized the motions required to knit. Now, years after my grandmother's passing, as I've picked up crochet, I feel a connection with her in it. I don't remember if my grandmother made granny squares, but I think of her when I do. I think of the unborn baby girl who will likely receive the blanket they'll make.

I'm reminded of the beautiful women around my life as I crochet the traditional granny squares for this classic afghan as I travel around New York City. Perhaps being on the cutting edge is overrated. I'd much rather just create something beautiful.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

A diving expedition

Feeling a bit whiny about the paper I have to finish for tomorrow, I took a break to delve into my yarn stash and dream a bit. I was pleasantly surprised. I thought that everything in there was cheap-o acrylics, but I found some nice surprises, the nicest of which is the CashSoft above, a gift from my sister, from which I'd like to make myself a hat.

But, here, dear readers, I need your help. I have a lot of this:

left from a shawl I just completed. It's a roughly worsted weight wool/sparkly blend, a lovely hand-dye from Cherry Tree Hill. Any ideas? I bought 1440 yards, and would estimate that I have about 600 yards left.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Another use for stash yarn

I love New York. I just placed this ad on Craigslist:

Free, but slightly crappy, futon
Date: 2006-06-24, 11:51AM EDT
I'm about to drag this 4-year-old Ikea futon to the curb, but wanted to give any starving artists/students/etc. in need of seating a chance first. If you're broke and slightly handy, this may be the couch for you. The cushions sit on little frames, one of which is broken (hence the sinking cushion on the right). No major stains on the cushions, but the covers could use a good wash. E-mail via the Craigslist address if you're interested.

for this has-seen-better-days futon:

And already have someone coming to pick it up. I wanted to bundle the cushions to make his pickup easy, but thought, "Oh, I don't have any string." Then I noticed the massive bag of yarn sitting on my shelf. Aha. :)


Yes, indeed. Thank God it's Saturday. Fridays never quite seem to bring the rest they promise, but today has given me a chance to sleep in, linger over a coffee, joyfully browse through the new issue of CrochetMe, and it's just now 9:30. Next on the agenda is to rejoin my cup of coffee for an hour or so of reading, praying, and writing... the kind of stillness my soul needs after a very busy week.

So, I'm moving. Not out of my beloved New York, but off my precious "My Island." (That's what I started calling Manhattan the day I thought I was going to have to swim across the East River to get back here from Brooklyn. MTA + weekends = trouble.) My Island is an amazing place, by all of My City is pretty fascinating, diverse, and fantastic, and I'm going to go live in a part of it that requires half the monthly investment.

So, to Sunnyside I go, and with roommates I'll live. When I assessed my financial situation, thinking I'd have to move, I was initially very sad to leave My Island. But I'm actually excited, now. I love seeing how God is able to use an event I perceive as tragedy to bring outstanding blessing. Here's to (a) my last five fabulous weeks in Manhattan (for a while), and (b) an incredible new beginnning.

P.S. Apologies and thanks to the photographer from whom I "borrowed" this image. His work is really quite beautiful; go check it out and buy something.

Friday, June 23, 2006

I might like knitting better

I was such a faithful crochet girl, and still am... but how flipping cute is this? It's the "Cleo's Colors" cardigan from The Yarn Girls' Guide to Kid Knits, in Lion Brand Microspun. I think it's my new favorite baby yarn. Cheap, colorful and machine washable!

Saturday, June 03, 2006


OK, progress is good.

Shawl blocked. Just have to let it dry and wrap it. I just used steam and a mister bottle (read: emptied out my hair product bottle and filled it with water). It was quick, but I do miss the magic of a full wet block. But I wonder if that might have stretched too much.

Onesie components crocheted
. Assembly remains, which is not my strong suit, but the morning will be good for that.

Friday, June 02, 2006


In the last 15 minutes, I've:

  • Realized that the baby shower starts 2 hours earlier than I realized.
  • Panicked about the head opening on the onesie.
  • Learned about the head circumference of young baby boys.
  • Slipped the onesie over my thigh (oh, yes, I'm serious) to make sure it was big enough to match the head circumference.
  • Rented Just Like Heaven on Pay-Per-View.
  • Lost my F hook.

Things are going... OK.


I have to redo my first sleeve, and, as I'm sewing the shoulders together, I'm afraid the head will be too small to slip over baby's 6-9 month old head. Why don't I just do blankets and booties?

I'm going to make some tea.


Tonight I need to finish a onesie, block a shawl, and (hopefully) crochet a hat for a friend's baby shower tomorrow. Here's the status check in. More to come. (It has to!)

I'm plagued by UFOs

No, no, sillies... not THOSE kind of UFOs. The craft world version--UnFinished Objects. Two of which must get finished for tomorrow afternoon's baby shower: a shawl for mommy and crocheted onesie for baby boy. What kind of crazy person pulls an all-nighter to finish crochet projects? (Um, yeah. Me, I fear. :)

I'm excited to finish and present--I hope that will give me energy to start a gift for the baby shower next weekend!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Sometimes you can't make it on your own

I'm totally stealing the "song name as title" concept from Grey's Anatomy, but it happened to come on while I was writing this and it's just so darn appropriate.

I happened on the most blissful of yarn shopping experiences today. I wandered past Suss, a newish NYC branch of an LA store I hadn't yet checked out. I wandered past on SAMPLE SALE DAY. I've never been a rabid sample saler, but today was my day.

My spoils? Two stunning handknit shrugs for... get ready... $20 each. They're made of an alpaca/acrylic/nylon blend and are lovely. I could make them.. but the yarn alone would cost me more than $20, and let's face it—my time is at a premium these days.

And the mohair yarn? $3. Per. Skein. I'm planning on making the cover project from last year's Interweave Crochet.

As Bono would say, "It's a beautiful day."

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Bodum Bliss

I'm a believer in the "golden rule," of whatever variation or rendition—"do unto others," "as you sow, so shall you reap," etc.

I gave friends of mine these fabulous Fish's Eddy stemless wine glasses for an engagement present. I love the aesthetic, and as I bought them, thought, "I should get some of these for myself." One week later, I get Bodum stemless wine glasses for my birthday from a totally separate friend.

How fabulous is this glass? (It's filled with water, in case you're wondering, though served nobly earlier tonight in holding a much smaller quantity of sauvignon blanc.)

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

My first completed project since...?

And the baby sundress is almost done! It's made from Lion Brand's Microspun, which required a lot of adaptation from the gauge in the pattern. I think it's turned out OK... let's just hope it fits the baby girl! I made it small so she can start wearing it now.. It seems awfully small, but I think it fits the measures for 1-3 month size, so she should be good to go.

And the back: I just need to do the snap closure.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Crochet (re)birth

It's been a while, but in honor of the birth today of my friend's little girl, I resurrected my crochet habit. A sundress in the making. It's been a busy season, but there's something very healing and soothing about taking time out to create.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Endless time-wasting, er... fun

A friend sent me this face recognition site where you upload a photo and it tells you who you look like.

I loved it when it compared my photo of me at my sister's wedding to Evangeline Lily and Jennifer Garner. (Have I mentioned the Alias obssession? The dreams that I AM Sydney Bristow?)

But then it compared the Hawaii photo of me sunkissed & in braids to Richard Stallman. I don't know who he is, but um, I'll keep the Jen Garner comparison.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Free Association Googling: Creativity

When I'm stuck to write about something that I'm stuck on, I often type the phrase into Google. It's digitally-enhanced free association. Something will stick, and I'm off and running.

I've been thinking a lot lately on creativity, though nothing has crystalized yet. I think some Free Associ-Googling is in order. Here are my Top 3 inspirations found in less than 5 minutes from Google's results on "creativity."

What are yours?

  • Crayola.com - Crayons inspire me! Simplicity. Low pressure creation.
  • Creativity Pool - Just a whole bunch of ideas posted in a message board. It's instant cure for writers block, methinks.
  • Ten Steps for Boosting Creativity - only because it says this: "Don't watch TV. Experiments performed by the JPB Creative Laboratory show that watching TV causes your brain to slowly trickle out your ears and/or nose. It's not pretty, but it happens." And that makes me laugh. Laughing inspires me to be creative.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

It has sleeve(hole)s!

Moving along nicely on the Tank Girl tank, my new Knitting Olympics entry. I'll at least finish the back.

And I had to laugh at the math required to adapt the pattern to the new gauge.

[x-posted to Team Hooker]

Sunday, February 19, 2006

My LAPtop

I hooked up a wireless router last night, and now I'm truly typing with my computer on my lap. Revolutionary. It's fabulous to be able to do stuff online during commercials. I'm also wrapped in a scarf, hat, and blanket in my living room since the heat in my building is off at the moment, but all in all, I'm counting it a great night.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Ribbit (and RIP)

Well, I let the wee-sized-off-gauge W go last night. Frogging it was less painful and more therapeutic than I'd thought it would be. AND, I realized that the "Tank Girl" tank in Stitch 'n' Bitch looks like it will work perfectly for the yarn. It looks like the perfect pattern to get me on the knitting horse again. I'll resurrect the W some day (soon) with new yarn and renewed confidence.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

New hope

In the frustration of last night's gauge incident, I had considered giving up knitting for good in favor of crochet. But I found redemption in the mailbox, in the form of a long-overdue copy of Interweave Knits. I love the feeling I get every time I look at a new knitting book or magazine—it rings like a call to create, and that's the kind of call to arms to which my spirit responds.

New possibilities abound!


I'm just under 20% done. This is easy to figure because each side is knitted in 5 wedges, and I'm nearly done with wedge 2.

But, actually, I just measured it, now that it's taking form enough to be recognizable, and it looks like I must be way off gauge. I was way ON gauge in the stockinette stitch part. And the gauge was measured over St stitch. NOW it's clear that I should have measured more often, but I'm usually pretty consistent.

Huh. Hmm. It's 16" long and it should be 20" long. Hmph. I might be a Knitting Olympics dropout... :(

Wow, I don't know if I can emotionally survive frogging this whole thing. Encourage me please. Tell me the joy's in the process, or something. :)

[x-posted to Team Hooker]

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Free, fabulous music

Happy Valentine's Day, indeed! My friend Mindy showed me Pandora, part of something called the Music Genome Project. You enter the name of an artist you like, and they give you music suggestions. Then you rate the suggestions, and they play more suggestions. It plays like a radio station stream—and just keeps playing! It links to iTunes if you want to purchase the song. My new favorite thing!

Why, oh, why?!?

... do people find it touching to send holiday well wishes out over a mass text message? Nothing says, "I love you," like the personal touch of a 100-character SMS on my mobile.

Saturday, February 11, 2006


It's snowing here, and I had one of those lovely evenings where I listened to NPR, knitted, read, and am going to bed early. There's something very restful about a night with no television and minimal noise in general, but this seems to be augmented by the snow.

My Knitting Olympics project progresses (and more on the process here), though I didn't pursue it tonight with the Athenian vigor or grit. Tonight's pursuit was peace, and as I sought, so I found.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

It's a boy!

Well, the onesie is, at least. I have three pregnant friends, and sex determination of the wee ones is in progress. But I've been wanting to make this "Little Boy Blue" onesie from the Jane Davis book, Simple Crochet for Cherished Babies, and it seemed weird to make it in a color other than blue.

I'm swatching to see if (really how) I want to add some color and whether I want to stick with their stitch pattern ([sc, ch1] in ch1 spaces across) or just go with a basic single crochet, the simplicity of which I like.


This is a folded version of the first swatch to show the smaller yellow & teal stripes.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Good study habits

Ah, the old days. I think they made us take a class on that at my undergrad. I have a vague memory of being in a classroom in a building in which none of my other classes took place and learning how to take notes.

I'm at the library, wrapping up an evening of studying after a day of working. Life experience seems to be the best teacher of good study habits. There's something about being in the library late at night that reminds me of being 18, but I'm vastly more capable of learning now than I was then. There were no classes in out-of-the-way buildings, no special seminars on how to manage time. I learned it along the way, as we all do. I found those types of classes of relatively little value, but I wonder how strong was their influence in making me attentive to pick up the good habits along the way?

A dose of creative writing/musing to counteract a night of reading psychology texts. As school picks up, nurturing the creative is increasingly important to me. It's exciting to see expansion & integration rather than an either-or choice in my life.

Sunday, February 05, 2006


New York has a nasty little tendency to create a longing for "more." Desiring increase and improvement is not necessarily unhealthy. But the city whispers seductively to her people, "You don't have enough." And her people leap to the conclusion, "You're not enough." There was a Carrie Bradshaw line on Sex and the City that struck me as particularly succinct: New Yorkers are always looking for a better apartment, job, and boyfriend.

But you know what? Things aren't that bad, folks. I actually love my apartment, and I'm living roommate-free at not-quite-27. I have a great job that allows me to go to grad school for (almost) free. No boyfriend at the moment, but he'll come along soon enough, and the dozens of amazing women in my life are bringing me no shortage of joy in the meantime.

I'm so grateful for the blessings I have, and tonight I decided to shift my focus to the abundant provision I have and away from the "stuff" New York is trying to convince me I need. I'm going to stop wanting and start thanking. Simplicity makes me smile; a little celebration:

Happy Thing I Have #1

A Netflix subscription. Free entertainment.

Happy Thing I Have #2

Several barely-touched knitting publications, full of potential projects. (This was the start of the revelation, as I found myself thinking of buying a new knitting book to choose a project for the Knitting Olympics.

Happy Thing I Have #3

Frozen shredded hash browns, a veggie burger, and a glass of wine at the end of the bottle = free dinner, one of my favorite simple joys.

These are the most superficial of reasons that life is good, certainly. But I'm choosing to celebrate all the evidence of the fact I have more than enough.

Friday, February 03, 2006

The Warm-up

Every good athlete needs a warm-up. In preparation for the aforementioned Knitting Olympics, which I decided to join today in a moment of weakness/excitement, I'm hoping to finish this shawl for a friend. Finishing may be unrealistic, but some soothing progress toward using up my 1440-yd ball of yarn would please me.

I'm still deciding on my Knitting Olympics project, and will track my decision-making process at the Team Hooker blog, but I'm thinking of a baby sweater... this shawl is for an expectant mom, so the two could partner together as a gift in a couple months.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Sweater

What else is there to say? It was my first. I committed to making it over Christmas, and I guess I did the whole thing in less than two weeks, which would almost qualify it for the Knitting Olympics, (if you consider the holidays a world-class sport). It's done in Knit Picks Wool of the Andes, so the whole thing cost me less than $30. It's super cozy, a little too big, but warm enough to fend off any chilly day. I wore it to go see Munich, and I felt very cozy. I found the pattern, "Reconfigured Raglan," in Interweave's subscriber archives.

And I worked through setting the timer on my digital camera to get this one. I carefully cropped it, as I have a "no showing of my face on the Internet" policy. I should have a "no showing of my knees in shorts in February" policy, too, but then you'd miss the sleeves. (This one's for you, Mom & Dad!) :)

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Lutheran Alert!!

I find this really funny. I get marketing mail from this Lutheran insurance company, having received an award from them in high school, and this particular campaign really cracks me up. Why does overpaying on car insurance qualify as a "LUTHERAN" alert? Are they still concerned about my insurance payments now that I would cateogorize myself as a plain old "Christian"? And do they notice the Manhattan zip code and think, "We should save ourselves the stamp. This girl doesn't have a car."

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Crochet? What crochet?

It's been a while. I busily knit a sweater over Christmas (of which I'll eventually post a picture, but I really am tired of taking pictures of myself in a mirror and need to enlist some help) and am now happily back to crochet, working on a shawl for a one of my many friends who's having a baby.

It's the "Petals and Stems" openwork pattern from this amazing book I've been wanting for ages:

And though I did just realize I paid $9 more at Barnes & Noble than I could have bought it for on Amazon, I think the work I've done in the last week is worth it. Yes?

The yarn is a Blue Heron hand-dyed; wool with a sparkle from Seaport Yarn.


Tonight I attended an event where two very famous authors hosted a very highbrow discussion about the role art plays in society's search for justice. The event was quite exclusive, featured views of Central Park, and was attended by people whose last names are preceded with a "The" that makes me think I should know who they are. But I don't.

Now I am home and am eating the microwaved remnants of last night's burrito, accompanied by a beer.

I do love my life.