Thursday, January 31, 2008

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Pre Fall





Fall is my absolute favorite season. I love the electricity in the air, the rich, natural colors of the foliage, and the opportunities to layer clothing. Every season that isn't fall should be considered "Pre Fall". Now, thanks to the increasingly obvious effects of climate change, gentle fall seems to be fading away and fashion designers are taking note! Pre Fall collections, much like Resort collections before them, are appearing to indulge our fantasies and entice us to invest in that perfect Fall Outfit- should we ever have the luck to enjoy another mild, golden autumn day again. Chloe's Pre Fall collection got it just right for me this time. I love the rich, warm colors tempered with flashes of cool whites and silver, and weighty wools, velvets and suedes that balance out the airy silks and fluffy furs.

Monday, January 21, 2008

March for Babies

I'm excited to announce that I've joined a March for Babies (March of Dimes) walk in New Jersey, along with a coworker! Again this year, I've made a silent resolution to get in shape, and participating in this walk is going to help me towards that end. Last year, my coworker inspired me when she signed up for several different walks throughout the spring and summer months, and this year I'm going to act.

The walk will take place in Bloomfield, New Jersey (never been there before...) on April 27, beginning at 9:00 AM, and we'll be walking 5 miles. If you'd like to sponsor me on this walk, or just want to check out my personal page, please go to http://www.marchforbabies.org/dlittlegarden.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

27

Today I am 27. Hurray! Since work is insane this week, I'll be holding off on celebrating until the weekend. But to keep ALL my 4 blog readers happy in the mean time, I am posting the Birthday Meme!



The instructions:

1) Go to Wikipedia.
2) In the search box, type your birth month and day but not the year.
3) List three events that happened on your birthday
4) List two important birthdays and one death
5) One holiday or observance (if any)

3 events:
38 BCE- Octavian marries Livia Drusilla
1605- First publication of Don Quixote
1929- Popeye the Sailor Man first appears in the Thimble Theatre comic strip

birthdays (I couldn't resist adding a few more)
1706- Benjamin Franklin, American statesman
1899- Al Capone, American gangster
1928- Vidal Sassoon, English cosmetologist
1931- James Earl Jones, American actor
1942- Muhammad Ali, American boxer
1949- Andy Kaufman, American comedian
1954- Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., American lawyer and environmental activist
1962- Jim Carrey, Canadian actor and comedian
1971- Kid Rock, American singer
1975- Freddy Rodriguez, Puerto Rican-American actor
1980- Zooey Deschanel, American actress

1 death:
1933- Louis Comfort Tiffany, American artists and designer

1 holiday:
In Ancient Latvia, Zirgu Diena is observed....


Also, just for shits and giggles, here are some great Etsy finds I may or may not be treating myself to:

- pretty obi belt
- another great mug
- little kisslock pouch
- suspicious looking gnome and a cool key fob
- little leather wallet for my metro card
- gorgeous hand dyed fabric

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Fine gauge for men




As displayed above by Brad Pitt (who seems to be a fan of knitted accessories) fine gauge knits look great on men! And yet it seems that I rarely see men wearing finer knits in real life- maybe this is just me. Or maybe it's that generally men don't tend to accessorize unnecessarily- as in, when the weather doesn't call of a hugely chunky/warm scarf. If that's the case, I wish they would! Both scarves pictured above are what I would qualify as "indoor scarves"- fine enough to be worn inside, or tucked inside your coat when stepping outside. In fact, the darker one even appears to be cables and lace. Go Brad! I like the casual way he tosses his scarves around his neck. Also, call me crazy, but is the dark grey scarf pictured with the suit a Convertible?? Look at the buttons running along the side of it....

Sunday, January 13, 2008

And then there were two...


Still need to block my version....

FO: Upper East Slouch

My gorgeous, former Elite model friend S and I went shopping the other weekend at Bloomingdales and Saks, hoping to find some great after-Christmas deals (we did). As usual, she looked stunning and very artfully put together topping off her sleek winter ensemble with a mustard yellow chunky-knit beret. When I complimented her on the hat, she squealed that she loved it too, and wanted to go buy more. She was wearing this hat from Urban Outfitters. So, we skipped over to the nearest location only to find that they had just a few left in stock- and all in a mousy brown that was kind of blah with S's pale complexion. Poor S, not being a knitter, considered buying the dull brown one anyway because she loved the style so much. I grabbed it from her hands and examined it only to find that it was for 70% acrylic. Enough of this nonsense! I insisted that I knit her a hat in a fiber and flattering color of her choosing. She generously humored me, and said that she would love either a grey or green hat, and as for the other details- I should surprise her.

Pattern: Upper East Slouch- my own pattern

Yarn: Araucania Nature Wool Chunky, color unknown(sorry, lost the ball band)

Needles: Size 10 Clover bamboo circulars- Magic Looped

Reactions:

-Pattern:Great for knitting while reviewing season 3 of Lost on dvd.

-Yarn: This was my first time with this yarn, and I liked it. First, it was a huge deal at Webs, where I bought the hank for $4.99. There's a nice, subtle variation to the greyish lavender of this particular dyelot, which gave the boring 2x2 rib some extra interest. This yarn's a good basic- woolly without being too itchy- and I can see myself using a lot of this stuff in the future.

Here's the resulting hat, modeled by me after blocking:


Hopefully I'll be able to update this post with an S-modeled picture soon. I liked the simplicity and instant gratification of knitting this hat so much, I knitted another version for myself last night out of a slate colored Araucania Nature Wool Chunky. Pictures of that coming soon too.

And how about this for a coincidence!? I read this post the other day about a very similar hat seen on the lovely Scarlett Johansson.



Thursday, January 03, 2008

Happiness is... Strangers Complimenting My Handmades

I was zoning out on the uptown D train this morning when the lovely young woman next to me tapped my shoulder and said, "Excuse me, but may I ask you where you got your set?" She pointed first to my neck and then to my folded hands (both wrapped in fuzzed-out Manos knitted goods).

Shocked, I replied, "Oh...! THANK YOU! I made them."

She widened her eyes and shook her head, "They're just beautiful."

Well! What a way to start the day! I was flattered beyond belief. Apparently, others get compliments all the time on my knitted items, but aside from friends and family, I'd never before received a compliment myself. As fashionable as knitting is these days, I still often question whether my preference for woolly, imperfect knits is chic enough for Manhattan. But having a sophisticated, hip, urban woman compliment me like that made me walk with new pride down Fifth Avenue.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Crocheted Christmas Gift #1 Revealed!



Pattern: Bernat's Haven pattern (free!)

Yarn: about 4.25 balls of Elann's Pamir in Kirsch

Hook: Size US N


Reactions:

-Pattern: I taught myself to crochet right before I put it aside in favor of learning to knit, so even though I crochet from time to time, I'm a beginner. The first Christmas gift I made this year was actually not knitted, but crocheted. I made a wrap for my coworker, J. She, like me, is constantly cold in our office, so I hope this wrap will help keep her toasty whilst typing away at her desk. Though I prefer knitting and the results of knitting to crocheting, I do recognize that crochet has it's place. In this case, I had a the Elann yarn already selected to make a wrap for my coworker, but couldn't find a suitably lacy knit pattern for aran weight yarn, but there were plenty of crochet pattern options. This particular pattern has a lot going for it: it's easy, quick, and free! I'm really happy with the results. The size is perfect for the office- not super big, but not a skimpy/borderline scarf-ish.

-Yarn: Neat yarn- it has a handspun kind of quality to it. It's thick and thin and has a nice mohair halo (I think it's evident by now that I love a halo). Crocheted-up, this yarn is super toasty! Even with a holey pattern like Havenly, the mohair/wool blend keeps a lot of insulation. I love this Kirsch color! It's very vibrant, slightly blue-red. It'll look terrific with J's coloring, and fit perfectly with her wardrobe, which is a lot of graphic black and white.

Knitted Christmas Gift #2 Revealed!



Pattern: Ruched Scarf, my own pattern

Yarn: Elann's Peruvian Baby Cashmere in Cashmere Blue- 3.5 balls

Needles: Size 7 Brittnay Birch Straights and Size 3 Clover Bamboo Straights


Reactions:

-Pattern: In keeping with a coworker-declared mandate that our office must make gifts for one another this year, I knitted this scarf for my boss. She's a very petite woman who dresses in crisply tailored suits with a few feminine touches, and in a very restricted color palette of black, cream, beige and the occasional splash of powder blue or lipstick red. I had success choosing a pair of earrings for her last year that she wears on a regular basis, so I was looking forward to trying to knit her something that would work with her aesthetic. I decided a little ruched scarf, something that could be thrown casually around the neck and worn in our arctic office and look sophisticated and ladylike, was just the ticket. You'll notice that this knitted Christmas gift is listed as #2, and yet I'm only revealing it now. That's because the actual knitting of this scarf was bor-ing, and we don't actually exchange gifts until later this week, so I got this one started early and then put it on the back burner.
The 'pattern', if you will, is simply a cast on of 60 stitches with size 7's, *stockinette for 16 rows, then k2tog across using size 3's, knitting 5 more garter stitch rows with the small needles, then kfb across using the 7's again, repeat from * until sufficient length is reached, then 16 more stockinette rows.

-Yarn: This yarn is called "Baby Cashmere", but the cashmere content is only 10%. Still, for the price, it's a nice yarn. Pretty soft (though I think that the baby alpaca used is not the best quality-- every now and then I felt a fiber go through my fingers that was a little prickley. Because of the alpaca, this yarn has a fine halo that helps it look full even with knitted with size 7's. The color happens to be just what I was looking for for my very particular boss, and luckily Elann's online color representations are true to life, at least on my monitor.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Knitted Christmas Gift #11 Revealed!


Pattern: Pillow cover, my own pattern/none

Yarn: Orange tweedy wool blend stash yarn, from Elann at least 7 (!) years ago and Chocolate Wool of the Andes from the stash

Needles: Addi Turbo Size 8 40" circulars

Other: 12" x 12" pillow insert and faux horn buttons from JoAnn Fabrics


Reactions-

-Pattern: Again, no real pattern here. I just cast on 100 stitches and joined in the round, then knit garter stitch (in the round, so, k one row, purl the next), then bound off 50 stitches when I reached the right dimensions, knitting garter stitch flat for the pillow case flap. I decided to add a brown block randomly, but it was a good thing, actually. I finished the pillow with just three yards of orange tweedy stuff left over, which I used to whip stitch the bottom of the pillow closed and create 5 button hole loops. Simple, and not too time consuming.

-Yarn: Man, I cannot BELIEVE this yarn is 7 years old. Do you know what that means? It means I've been calling myself a knitter for 7.5 years. And it means I am getting old. I bought this yarn online when I was a freshman in college, when I'd just taught myself to knit and just discovered the treacherous world of online shopping. I tried knitting something with it right away- a 4 inch rectangle of garter stitch, and left it languishing in my stash ever since. I thought about throwing it out once or twice, but being a die-hard pack rat, I kept it. The yarn's fine, if something of a novelty yarn. It has little bits of confetti-colored acrylic throughout, but from a short distance, this reads as tweedish. It has a thick and thin quality to it, and actually will go well with my coworker's home interior, I hope.