Thursday, October 30

we are the champions!

I went back to Philadelphia yesterday afternoon. It was totally worth a second trip, though it was eerie to sit in the same seats with the same people around us. The guy who gave me my rally towel told me that this was like Groundhog Day. Yeah, it was like we'd never left.
The crowd was about 100 times more enthusiastic than on Monday. (Not being drenched makes a big difference in one's morale) We barely sat down, and were quickly hoarse from the chanting and yelling.Did you hear that we won? Not just the game, but the WORLD SERIES!??We took the subway back to where we'd parked near Spring Garden Street, and when we emerged from the station there were tons of people streaming down Broad Street to City Hall. Everyone was honking and cheering. I thought that they only celebrated like this in Europe; clearly my teams don't win often enough!The parade is tomorrow. I don't think I'll be going back down to Philly for a third time this week; I think I actually need to go to work...

Tuesday, October 28

rain delayed

Those of you who don't live in Philadelphia and who might not follow baseball may not realize that the Philadelphia Phillies are in the World Series.
The Phillies. My team.

OK. I'm not the best fan. I follow the team mostly for my dad's sake, and until last week I didn't even know who the players were. At all. Last time I checked, Lenny Dykstra was the main guy. But that was 15 years ago, the last time they were in the World Series.

Christopher and I have been watching this year's World Series games, which have typically had surprise endings in the early morning in which the Phillies magically win. It's been fun learning about the players, and were as surprised as anyone else when the pitcher magically hit a home run in Game 4. Going into Game 5, the Phillies just needed one more game to win the Series, which they haven't done since 1980, when I was in kindergarten.

This is all a lead up to the fact that my father had two tickets to last night's game, and that he had asked me to go with him. This was the game that could win the Series!! I can't really describe the excitement I felt, except to state that I decided that I had to knit a hat for my father to wear to the game. That's how excited I was. Half the people on the bus to Philadelphia were wearing Phillies gear, and when I got off the bus everyone else had it on too.

The spirit was in the air. Winning was within reach!

We took the subway to the field (which is super nice for a stadium, I have to say) and found our seats. Here was our view. Yeah, not so great. And it was kind of chilly, even though we'd dressed for the weather. And before long, it began to rain. At first it wasn't so bad, but then it began to drench us.

We were miserable and disappointed. Here was all this hype, a game that could lift this city's spirits, and we weren't enjoying it. We couldn't see. We were wet. We were cold. I was longing for a lap blanket, and my father started talking about how nice it would be to watch the game from home, in front of the fireplace. Being dry and warm sounded very appealing.Other fans began to leave. I noticed that my feet were sitting in a puddle. In between innings a grounds crew would come out and put more dirt on the diamond. It took forever and it only made us more depressed. Eventually, after the Rays tied the game 2-2 and players were slipping in puddles and dropping balls, the crew started to pull out the tarp. We knew this was it for the night, and headed home.

My enthusiasm is dampened. The game has been postponed to Wednesday night, due to even more disgusting weather today, and though I'd still like to be there for a win, and hopefully a better game, I feel a little betrayed by the whole event. I know a lot of fans are angry about the game, that it was scheduled to start so late and that it went on for so long. But I shouldn't hold that against the Phils, right?

Saturday, October 25

in the end it's easy

It's been another long week, mostly been made up of sewing very long voile curtains, grommeting them, hanging them and then realizing that I need to make longer ones, or ones that are more gathered, or that maybe this one should be moved over there. The end is in sight, and I am ready to breathe a huge sigh of relief, but I'm not sure that's safe yet. All of the curtains could get ripped or someone could throw paint on them or maybe we'll realize that they are in the way.

In any case, knitting has been keeping me somewhat sane and I am longing for the opportunity to spin again. (It's been months!) I have been finishing things, most notably my Cables and Lace Kimono, which I started way back in January. Finishing seems to be my biggest knitting hump. I can knit and knit and get all the pieces done, but sewing them together can take a year. In this case, I finished knitting the body of the sweater in February, and I sewed the shoulders together. The sleeves are then picked up from the shoulders and knit on flat and then seamed. I got most of the way down the first sleeve before it just became unmanageable, and then the project got put aside. For about seven months.

I realized this fall, when I started looking longingly at sweaters with similar shapes, that it was time to pick it up again, and it flew by. I finished the actual knitting on the bus up to Cape Cod, and sewed it together while I was there. (there were only two seams!)
I think it's safe to say that it fits me perfectly. I couldn't be more pleased with the end result. I could wear it every day (and did last week) but the sleeves are a little bulky under a jacket, which is why I'm glad my only modification was to make the sleeve straight and not flared. I thought that it would be wide enough without a flare.
pattern: Cables and Lace Kimono Wrap Cardigan by Sweaterbabe
yarn: 7 balls Queensland Collection Kathmandu DK, color 410 (I LOVE this yarn)
needle: #7 Addi Turbo

As for the pattern, I have to say that it is over-written. There are 10 pages for something that is very simple, and I think the major reason for this is that the cables and lace are written row by row, when the whole thing could be easily charted. I contacted the designer and offered to make charts for the pattern which I could share with her. She didn't seem very interested, but she did say that I could share them if anyone else was making the sweater, so feel free to contact me if you would like them.

Tuesday, October 21

a quick hat

I've got a few finished objects up my sleeve to share, but I have so much to do today and I've already procrastinated enough, so you can just see one of them.

This is the Springtime in Philadelphia beret by Kate Gagnon. (She's the designer I recognized at Rhinebeck.) I have been wanting a slouchy hat and this one seemed perfect for fall: lightweight but wool and decorative. I used a ball of Knit Picks Palette from my stash, in Tidepool Heather. I ran out of yarn on the brim, and I had trouble getting the brim knit at all since the only needles I had that size were double pointed, and they kept slipping off, making the knitting very frustrating. I bought at 16" circular needle at Rhinebeck and reknit the brim yesterday, alternating two colors of Palette so the brim was long enough.
It's still drying, so I can't model it yet. But I can't wait to wear it!

On another note, on this day two years ago Christopher and I were married! On one hand I can't believe it's already been two years, and on the other I feel very content with how our lives are moving forward together, as partners in whatever we are doing. We have decided not to have our celebration tonight, since I'm in the middle of a project and his mid-semester grades are due this week. But we'll find a time.

Lastly, the gals from Mason-Dixon Knitting are going to be at the Brooklyn Library tonight at 6:30! I can't wait!! (especially because I forgot to go see the Yarn Harlot last week and am still kicking myself)

Sunday, October 19

the kangaroo

My father wants to see the kangaroo.

Yesterday at Rhinebeck there was a mini zoo, the kind you see for children at these sorts of things. The cages mostly contained lemurs, but there was also a cage with a kangaroo. We only noticed it on the way out, and it was getting dark and hard to photograph. See? The kangaroo has a joey in its pocket. I don't think I've ever seen an actual joey in its mama's pocket, and it was fascinating. It would peek out and then go back inside, with only its knee sticking out. And then the mother would fish inside and try to pull it out all the way.

Very interesting.

report on Rhinebeck!

I have so much to do today, but well, the New York Sheep and Wool Festival (aka Rhinebeck) must be shared first.

This was my first time at Rhinebeck (I mean, I've been to the town before but not this fiber event). My mom came up on Friday night and we drove north on Saturday morning. The drive was pretty uneventful, but the traffic from the fairgrounds extended about 3 miles down the road, and it took about 45 minutes to go that distance. Yeah, there were a lot of people!

I have to admit, it was completely different than I'd imagined. First of all, it was a family event. There was a small midway, and plenty of cotton candy and fried fair food to go around. Being upstate New York, there were also local food stands: fresh vegetables, a bakery (complete with freshly baked gourmet pizza and bread), and a long, long line for individual chicken pot pies. Yeah, chicken pot pie. I am not sure how we skipped the hot apple cinnamon buns with ice cream, but we did.

My mom and I got there at about 12:30, so after hitting the Ravelry group standing on a hill (which was just too social and weird for me) we found some hot turkey and rice soup, which really hit the spot. The day was beautiful, but there was a definite chill to the air. I had brought along a mish mash of winter accessories, which I ended up wearing layered. I must have looked like the obsessed knitting lady. Even worse was that my top layer was a beautiful long knitted coat that I rescued from a friend's give away pile in April. Her mother had knit it, and so all day yesterday I got compliments on my knitted coat, and then I had to admit abashedly that I hadn't made it. Pathetic. (My mother also received many comments on her bag, which is made from reclaimed candy wrappers and came from Mexico. I think we both felt a little like posers, getting attention for things we couldn't take credit for.)

There are many, many stalls of goods at Rhinebeck. Our first stop was at the Hope Spinnery stall, since my mom needed to get more Jacob's Wool for the sweater she's knitting. (For those who don't remember, Hope Spinnery is the wind-powered fiber mill in Maine where I got a tour and bought roving and yarn in August.) Bill, the owner, seemed happy to see us again and was excited to see the progress on my mom's sweater. The booth was teeming with people, and I recognized first the hat and then the face of Kate Gagnon, whose beret I've been knitting recently. I introduced myself and told her that I loved her berets (she also designed Selbu Modern, which I'd also really like to make.)

Here's another thing about Rhinebeck: everyone is there to enable. We found ourselves at a stall that was full of beautiful varigated yarns. They weren't cheap, and I suggested to my mom that we remember this place and move on, since we hadn't really seen anything yet and I was sure there were other great yarns in other halls. A woman overheard and turned to us, "I've been coming here for years and I can tell you, this is some of the best yarn here! Buy it now!" and we, of course, started grabbing skeins and buying.

We also met a couple, later while eating a black bean burger and admiring our purchases, who had come to Rhinebeck from the Outer Banks. They were about my mom's age, and the man asked us how many loads of yarn we'd taken to the car yet. They seemed skeptical when we said that this was all we'd bought so far. Clearly, we were in a much more novice level than most of these other buyers.

We saw a lot of different types of sheep and goats and llamas and alpacas. I know there were rabbits, but I didn't see them. I've never seen so many types of sheep all next to each other, and I don't know enough about sheep breeds to know what I was looking at, but they were amazing in their variety. Some were really tall, some had wooley faces, and their shapes were all very different. We also saw some very unusual looking goats.I can go on and on about what we saw. In any case, here is my loot: The three skeins on the bottom left are Icelandic wool from Tongue River Farm (2 skeins of fingering and one of lace weight), then some very soft lace weight wool from Shelridge Farm in Canada for my lacey scarf, and 2 oz of llama roving. On the top right are 2 oz of Jacob's Sheep roving, and then two skeins of the Persimmon Tree Farm Pot Luck yarn (50% wool/50% mohair). Oh, and I also got this: half a pound of roving from the Persimmon Farm booth.

I wish I could dive into this fiber and start making something immediately, but I need to hold myself back and really finish the sewing I have to do today for my show. The fiber will be my reward...

Friday, October 17

I have to crow a little

so please put up with me for a minute.

Ok, ok, it's not the Boston Globe (which has supposedly announced that they're not reviewing any shows on the Cape after Labor Day), but still:

This play is a two-hour game of hide the truth and seek the answers, all played out against the backdrop of a sculptured cityscape outside the office window where the light is ever-changing in dramatic sweeps, always a reflection of what is taking place on stage, thanks to brilliant lighting design by John Malinowski. Created by Eliza Brown, the set outside the window is a lifelike view that engages the audience with its clever construction and imaginative conception.

-The Provincetown Banner

I guess all that really annoying work drafting the forced perspective city paid off!

Thursday, October 16

some election humor

Because we all need to laugh now and then.

back again

I still haven't solved the camera charger problem; I know that I have/had two chargers, but since I've returned home I haven't found the second (unbroken) one. I will probably have to buy something later today at one of those huge electronics stores, since I need my camera for some research I'm doing and, well, I can't go to Rhinebeck without it.

In any case, I've downloaded my photos from the Cape. If you're at all near Wellfleet, MA before November 1, go check out the show. It was written by Conor MacPherson and is called Shining City. It's a haunting sort of play, the kind that makes you work a bit, though in a good way. And the actors are great and, well, you would also get to see my set. I was very pleased with the end result, though there were some definite labor pains mid-week.

Christopher came up on Friday night for the opening, and we spent the weekend bumming around, eating seafood, and hanging out with the actors after their performances. On Sunday we drove to Provincetown and climbed some dunes.
They were beautiful and encompassing, though we didn't make it all the way to the beach. Now we're back, and I'm neck-deep in my next show, which opens in two weeks, though the set goes in on Monday. The "set" is something that I will have to assemble, which means that between now and Monday I have to get my ass in gear, esp if I am going to Rhinebeck on Saturday... Let's hope my camera resurrects itself.

Friday, October 10

recharging batteries

I was very excited to share some photos of my show, and there are many on my camera, but there seems to be a hitch with my battery charger. One of the little metal things that should be touching the battery has fallen inside the charger, and so my camera is slowly dying, blinking a little red battery symbol at me and there's nothing I can do. Since I want to take some more pictures before I leave the Cape, I have decided to not upload the photos till I get back to New York. You'll just have to wait.

In any case, the show opens tonight and I'm very pleased with how the design came together. Christopher is on his way up; we'll spend the weekend up here together before I head home. It'll be nice to relax after this crazy week, and I'll be leaping into another show as soon as I get back, so - sigh - let's hope I can actually let myself relax.

Oh, and next week is Rhinebeck! Anyone going? I think my mom and I are going to drive up on Saturday morning. I know I will have to limit my purchases, but I am also starting a little list of what to get. So far: soft lace weight to make myself a lacy scarf. woo hoo!

Sunday, October 5


I'm now in Cape Cod, working on my show. It opens on Friday.

It's amazing just how quickly one's reality changes. I spent Friday on the bus (EIGHT hours), mostly listening to podcasts and trying hard to knit. (it was less than successful; I spent three hours trying to knit the 10 rows of ribbing to finish my beret and will have to redo it again when I have the right needle.)

Saturday was a quick immersion into life here: a run thru of the play in the morning followed by meetings with the prop mistress and the production team. In the evening I went to the final performance of the previous play, which was very good. And then I went to the tiny closing party and met the actors and director, finding myself on a road trip to Provincetown to get pizza at 1am.

Theater folks are unusually friendly and outgoing, which makes for quick friendships and an inclusive environment, perfect for someone like me who deep down considers herself shy.

Today, with the previous set struck from the stage, the crew started loading my set in. I always find this part an uneasy transition. At this level I'm not expected to help, I'd probably be in the way most of the time, but I should also be around to answer questions and notice things I want changed before things get too permanent.
Years ago, when I did props and was on the other side of this relationship, I remember being impressed by a designer who wanted to leave the theater and go furniture shopping with me. Now that I'm a designer, I can see why he wanted to flee. It's rather stressful to see your work realized, especially when it's at a point where major changes can't be made. (That's why I build a model before I submit drawings, to avoid mistakes like that.) By the time I reach this point, I need to have faith in the decisions I've made, even though I sometimes find myself thinking, "wow, I hope that looks better when that's painted," and usually it does.
In any case, the set looks great. It's very exciting to see it being realized, and the people here are just wonderful. The actors aren't on stage until Tuesday afternoon, so there's plenty of time to tweak this and that before it needs to be functional.
Remember my little village? Take a peek out the window.

Thursday, October 2

knitting for Afghans

Sometime this summer, perhaps on Mason-Dixon Knitting, I discovered Afghans for Afghans. This is a charitable organization that sends hand knitted items to Afghans in need, initiating drives every few months. The fall drive, which ends on October 15, is for orphaned children aged 7-14. Along with sweaters and blankets, they are collecting mittens, hats and socks.

My cousin, who is in the Army reserves, has just completed a year as a nurse in a hospital in eastern Afghanistan. As I write she is on her way home. She kept a rather detailed blog about what it was like for her there, including descriptions (and sometimes photographs) of her patients. I was surprised to learn that they treat a number of local Afghans in the US military hospital, most recently a group of children who had discovered a land mine, gathered around it and then touched it.

In any case, my cousin's sacrifices, and her descriptions of life there, inspired me to join this drive for Afghan children. Knitting a pair of mittens is piddly compared to a whole year of work and separation from one's family, but it's better than me just sitting on my ass and doing nothing, which is what I was doing, especially when I have so much yarn and it only takes a few hours to whip up a child's hat.

Joining me in my knitting drive were my mother and three women from my knitting group: Victoria, Marci and Yona. Here is what I collected, in no particulary order:

A pair of mittens I made (clearly I ran out of blue yarn...)

a hat my mom made

mittens by Yona

another hat by my mom

a hat I made (and can't seem to find. Hopefully it will turn up before I have to mail this)

mittens by Marci
(she made a second pair, but I think she's going to mail them directly to Afghans for Afghans)

two hats from Victoria

and another pair of mittens from me

It's not a huge collection, but I'm happy that I have as much as I do. Hopefully there will be a few extra warm heads and hands in Afghanistan this winter!