Friday, December 28, 2007

Old photos

Some people dread looking at other people's family or travel photos. Me? I can't get enough of them. Especially older photos. There is a quality to the old photos that simply can't be captured by today's technology. Some people think it's because the photos are black and white that they look timeless. That is over simplifying it. You can take a photo with a digital camera and convert it to black and white and it will not look anything like a real silver gelatin print. In fact, the black and white paper I used as a student didn't even look like the older silver prints. The paper companies cut down on the silver, so you didn't get the same rich tones.

I really like this photo of my father and my grandmother. I don't mind the fuzziness of the photo. In fact I think it actually adds to the atmosphere a bit. I love how they look so comfortable together. The fact that they are even wearing practically the same outfit adds so much to the loveliness of the photo for me.

Monday, December 24, 2007

It's beginning to smell a lot like Christmas!

Christmas has crept up on me this year. I keep slowly chipping away at things and think I may actually pull it off by tomorrow. I made a snowman-shaped cake for Lindsay's school holiday party. I have the gifts. I knit those cute little cork guys. I baked Christmas cookies yesterday. I have to wrap the presents tonight. And then voila....Christmas tomorrow!!!

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 21, 2007


We had a holiday celebration at Lindsay's school today. All the parents bring in food and mingle and then everyone gathers together to sing holiday songs. I'm such a sap that it makes me misty eyed each year. Can't imagine how much of a basket-case I will be when Lindsay is in her first school play!

We are so lucky this year to have two lovely teachers. I knitted them each a scarf as a way of thanking them for all of their hard work.

This scarf is made using Barbara Walker's Open Star Stitch. The yarn is a mystery since it's from a ball someone gave me. It is soft and a bit fuzzy.

This is from the Knitty pattern Wisp. I made it with one ball of kidsilk haze yarn that I dyed using Kool Aid. It was a test skein for a pattern I wrote for the first Stitch and Bitch book. The pattern in the book is hand dyed also and is called To Dye For sweater.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

What's next a bald eagle???

I was looking out my back window two days ago and saw something large moving in the grass. It was very hard to make out what it was because it was brown and everything in the backyard is brown right now. Besides it was behind some plants. Upon further inspection I realized it was a hawk and it was tearing away at something for its lunch. I grabbed my video camera and put it on zoom, but it was even less noticeable than w/ my own eyes. Kind of like the white bunny in the snow storm. It flapped over to a part of my backyard that I couldn't see from my window, but seemed to still be in my yard. Lindsay woke up from her nap a few minutes later, so I picked her up and quietly opened our back door. At first we didn't see it, but then it flapped away carrying something round and dark in its talons. A rat perhaps? This neighborhood has been overwhelmed with restaurants and bars and subsequently with rat sightings. I think it's a wonderful tipping of the natural scales to see hawks coming to Smith Street to dine. I went into the part of the yard where the hawk was eating earlier and saw a pile of feathers and a small piece of intestine. Probably a starling.

I'm not sure what kind of hawk it was because I really didn't get a good look, but I'm guessing it's a Cooper's hawk.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

In Focus

This past Thursday I was asked to participate in a focus group. They selected people who are pretty certain that they are going to move out of NYC in the next year or so. I have always wondered what focus groups were like and always wanted to be a fly on the wall during one. Well, my friend Ruth hooked me up with this group. I keep forgetting to ask Ruth how she knew about it in the first place. The group actually was Philadelphia specific. They really wanted people who were considering moving to Philly. I have a friend who is moving to Philly this summer, so I was able to get her into the group as well. The client was the Philadelphia tourist board, and they are looking to lure people away from NYC to live in Philly.

It was FASCINATING! Okay, the questions were pretty simple, but what was interesting were my fellow participants. How DID they find some of these people? One guy interested Reiko and me the most. He spoke a lot, but it was really hard to understand what point he was getting at. He was interested in moving to Philly because there was an MTV episode of The Real World that took place there. Yikes! I'm sure some of these people vote also!

At the end of the 2 hour session, we each picked up an envelope with $125 in cash and went our separate ways. How funny. I'm also selling stuff on Ebay if that doesn't cement my status as white trash.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Dum dee dum

I could possibly be the most boring person alive. I've finished a few projects, but still need to take photos of them. I'm just knitting a few scarves, nothing earth shattering about that. Refer to the first sentence in this paragraph. Sigh.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The ants come marching...

The temperature dropped last night, which made lots of ants run for shelter in my warm garden apartment. The positive result of all of these ants, was that I saw this beauty on my back steps munching on them. It's a northern flicker (yellow shafted) and is a bit larger than a mourning dove (13" long). They differ from other woodpeckers in that they like to forage for ants and other delicacies on the ground instead of in trees.

It's always special to see something other than pigeons, sparrows and starlings here.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Halloween recap

When Lindsay came home from school on Halloween, I surprised her with her new fairy wings. She promptly burst into tears and desperately wanted to wear the crappy store-bought ones that came with the costume. I asked her if I could wear the big ones and she didn't like that. I understand that she wanted to be the only fairy, and who am I to steal her Halloween thunder? Sigh. Next time, I won't make an amateur mistake like showing her the crappy store-bought wings ahead of time.

We had a fun time. Photos can be seen here. Lindsay had WAY too much candy that night. The next morning she was a beast with her Halloween hangover. We've successfully avoided questions about remaining candy and are trying to detox the sugar from her system.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

Lindsay is going to be a fairy today. My friend Simone helped me design and make the frame for fairy wings when she was visiting here. I just finished and painted them today. Hopefully the paint will be fully dry in a few hours! I'm really happy with how they turned out. I based the design on butterfly wing patterns and the swirls on the cheapo set of wings that came with her costume. The leaves in the center are to hide the joins.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Can you smell it?

It's so close I can almost smell it. Rhinebeck! Oh the sheep, the bunnies, the fiber, the yarn the books, the beautiful wooden tools that haven't changed shape in centuries! I'm giddy. Maybe it's the fumes from the sheep wafting all the way down to Brooklyn.

I can't wait until tomorrow!!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Have you read?

These are the top 106 books most often marked as "unread" by LibraryThing's users (as of today). Bold what you have read, underline what you started but couldn't finish, and strike through what you couldn't stand. Add an asterisk to those you've read more than once. Italicize those on your to-read list.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Anna Karenina
Crime and punishment
One hundred years of solitude
Wuthering Heights

Life of Pi: a novel
The name of the rose
Don Quixote
Moby Dick
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey
Pride and Prejudice********
Jane Eyre

A Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
War and Peace (I think I have, but can’t remember)
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveler's Wife
The Iliad
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations
American Gods
A heartbreaking work of staggering genius
Atlas shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked: the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
The Canterbury tales
The historian: a novel
A portrait of the artist as a young man
Love in the time of cholera*
Brave new world
The Fountainhead

Foucault's pendulum
The Count of Monte Cristo
A clockwork orange
Anansi boys
The once and future king
The grapes of wrath
The Poisonwood Bible : a novel
Angels & demons
The inferno
The satanic verses
Sense and sensibility***
The picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park**
One flew over the cuckoo's nes
To the lighthouse
Tess of the D'Urbervilles
Oliver Twist
Gulliver's travels (can’t remember for sure)
Les misérables
The corrections
The amazing adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The curious incident of the dog in the night-time
The prince
The sound and the fury
Angela's ashes: a memoir
The god of small things
A people's history of the United States: 1492-present
A confederacy of dunces (I can't seem to do the strikethrough, but ugh!)
A short history of nearly everything
The unbearable lightness of being
The scarlet letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake: a novel
Collapse: how societies choose to fail or succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Northanger Abbey***
The Catcher in the Rye (this was banned in my highschool
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics: a Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: an Inquiry into Values
The Aeneid
Watership Down
Gravity's Rainbow
The Hobbit
In cold blood: a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences
White teeth (White Fang??)
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
The three musketeers

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Storm King

After years of driving by it, we finally made it to Storm King! For those of you who aren't familiar with it, it's a sculpture park on 50 acres of gorgeous land near New Paltz, NY. The sculptures are of a monumental size, and by many of the big hitters in the art world. Neil and I had seen the Andy Goldsworthy movie Rivers and Tides and really wanted to see his rock wall that snakes through Storm King. It was wonderful. Here's a photo that obviously wasn't taken by me since it was quite warm the day we went.

This next one is by Richard Serra. We saw a show of his work at the MOMA, which we really enjoyed.

Friday, October 5, 2007

birthday fun

I had a really enjoyable birthday filled with friends and celebrations. There are times when I get moody and convince myself that I have no real friends. If it weren't for Neil and Lindsay, I would die alone and be slowly consumed by my cat. But then there are times like my birthday, when my friends really exert themselves in a way I cannot deny.

My wonderful friend Simone flew in all the way from Germany. Our neighbor upstairs was away and let Simone stay in her apartment. So we could see each other every day, but could also retreat into our own spaces at night. The week with Simone was wonderful. We laughed, made fairy wings for Lindsay's Halloween costume, went to Wave Hill ( a lovely public garden in the Bronx), and the Cloisters. It was kind of funny to go see medieval art in NYC with someone from Europe, but the views and art were lovely and we had an enjoyable lunch in their garden. Simone is also a fabulous cook. I trailed her as she made her famous tiramisu and chocolate-cherry cake. We made two huge trays of the tiramisu for my birthday and an 11" cake. Yum!

We went to Chelsea to peek at the galleries. There were two shows that really stood out to us. One was a Julie Heffernan show called Booty at PPOW.

The other show we enjoyed was Andrew Woffinden's show at Dillon Gallery.

Then there were my friends Sandi and Jim who came down from Rhode Island. They are in a particularly busy time with their business, so it was touching that they took the time to visit. They joined us for a lovely dinner at Po restaurant in Brooklyn. Our other friend Sue joined us for dinner as well.

Then Neil organized a small group of our friends to come over for wine and cake in our backyard. He decorated it with candles and with the warm weather, it was magical. I really felt celebrated.

Monday, October 1, 2007

40 years ago

On October 2, 1967 a not-so-little kid was born. This chunkster, weighing in at 8lbs 8oz was named Martha Farago Lazar. Fast forward 40 years and now Martha isn't so chunky for her frame. Probably better not to have so many rolls at this point. I can't quite believe I'm 40. I vividly remember when my mother turned 40. She was laughing and crying the whole day. It freaked me out as a kid. I don't really feel like doing either of those things. Mostly I feel sort of meh.

What feels really wonderful is that Neil has organized a small get-together in our backyard. Wine and cake. Yum. And we have a bunch of friends coming. My friend Simone flew in from Germany to celebrate my birthday. That has given me enough of a warm and fuzzy feeling to last me all winter long. Thanks everyone for making this gal feel celebrated.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Oregon Coastline

Oregon Coastline
Originally uploaded by marthaknits

Does this one photo sum up why I want to move out to Portland? I just heard the term nature deficit disorder as a joke, but I've got it! This gorgeous beach was about an hour and a half outside of Portland. Everything there is a bit of a drive, but holy smoke! This is worth it. I was a magpie the whole time on my trip, but instead of picking up shiny objects to take back to my home, I was collecting dried seaweed, pretty stones, interesting dried seed pods, etc. Brooklyn just isn't cutting it for me these days.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Oh, I just got onto Ravelry's beta site and it's so much fun!! You can easily queue up your favorite projects, search to see what other people are making to get inspiration, see who else is working on the same projects you are working on, etc. etc. etc. It's a huge time suck, but a lot of fun.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


In case you think karma doesn't exist.......HA HA.

And because I know news stories don't stay online for long. Here's the headline:
O.J. Simpson arrested in Vegas robbery

Simpson was to be booked on two counts of robbery with a deadly weapon, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, conspiracy to commit burglary and burglary with a firearm, police said. The district attorney, meanwhile, said he expected Simpson to ultimately be charged with seven felonies and one gross misdemeanor.

If convicted of the booking charges, Simpson would face up to 30 years in state prison on each robbery count alone.

I don't know why this makes me so happy, but it does.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Back in Town

After being gone for 3 weeks, we are now back in Brooklyn. We left mid-August for several reasons:
1. Escape the brutal heat that engulfs the city in August.
2. Visit our sisters and friends on the West coast.
3. Travel as a work/play diversion while Lindsay is out of school.

We left a couple of days after her camp ended and flew the week-old airline Virgin America. I kept thinking of how elegant airplane travel used to be. People actually dressed up in their best outfits to fly. What a far cry it's become. Now you have to drag your bags around along with your children. The security is spotty and seemingly pointless. My sister used the term "security theater" and I think that's dead on. There's a huge show, with great inconvenience to all, without actually making the passengers safer.

Tell me why we still have to take our shoes and belts off? It also seems that some of the restrictions have been kept to earn the airports more money. Why can't we bring drinks through security anymore? Actually, if someone is going to tell me about explosive liquids, I'll mention that you are allowed to bring milk, formula and juice if you have an infant or toddler. I brought on 2 large cups of juice without one question being asked. Check the TSA website and you will see that it's allowed. There was an incident a few years ago when a mother was questioned about a bottle of breast milk she had for her infant. I think she was forced to drink it to prove that it wasn't some sort of bomb making liquid. I guess there was a lawsuit, because the TSA specifically states that you will not be made to drink the liquid you bring for your child. I'm all for this, but please tell me why childless people can't bring liquids on as well.

I was shocked by the discomfort we experienced with Virgin America and was already to pen one of my letters to customer service. It seems as though this is the norm these days though. They charged extra for absolutely everything. They supposedly had food, but it was a tiny snack for $7. They charged $8 for movies and several dollars for "premium tv" I was half expecting to have to swipe my credit card to use the bathroom! Kids tv consisted of god-awful cartoons instead of anything decent like PBS kids, or Discovery kids. I felt that 3 1/2 years of brainwashing my kid had been undone on that flight.

We allowed extra time at the airports because I was actually bringing film. Remember that stuff? I don't like them to x-ray it because it fogs. So they need to hand check it. They are still encased in light tight foil packets and the TSA folks usually just swipe them with their little cloth and run it through their chemical sensor. Every now and again, I get someone who hates the world and wants to teach me a lesson. We had one guy in England deliberately take his sweet time swiping one roll at a time. I think he was hoping we would get all stressed out about missing our flight. The joke was that we had about 3 hours, so we didn't bat an eyelash with his power play. Other security guys offered to help him to speed things up, but he sent them away. Anyway, we allow lots of time when we fly with film. In the San Francisco airport one of the women started to open all of the foil packets. This isn't desirable because the rolls are then apt to get fogged from sunlight. I asked her why she wasn't just swiping them and she called over a colleague. I overheard that they were out of the swiping cloths (it was 8:30am). She then made a big show of inspecting each roll as though that was the approved method. Security theater!!

I will post more about our trip later, which was wonderful.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Summer Days

Today was a lovely sunny day in the low 80s. We got up early and went to the beach at Jacob Riis national park. I don't know how I've lived in NYC so long and never went here. It's a beautiful, clean beach, which doesn't get overly crowded until the afternoon.

Tonight will still be warm, so I'm going to serve gazpacho with small, red new potatoes. I boil the potatoes and then sautee them in olive oil and butter until golden brown. Then I put some sea salt and pepper on them. They are so sweet, that they don't need anything else.

The gazpacho recipe I make is adapted from Moosewood's first cookbook.

4c Tomato juice
1 small onion
1 med bell pepper
1 T honey
1 Cucumber
1/2 lemon, juice of
1 lime, juice of
1 t tarragon
1 t basil
1/2 t cumin
2 T olive oil
2c diced tomatoes (can used canned, but fresh are better)

I put the onion in the food processor first, pulse, then add the bell pepper and pulse, cucumber, pulse, and diced tomatoes with all of the spices and pulse until it is the consistency you like. We like pretty chunky gazpacho. Then add to the tomato juice and chill for at least 2 hours.

Eat with a yummy crusty bread and you have a great meal.

Friday, August 3, 2007

A happy Day!

After years of being engaged, it took almost losing their health insurance to prompt our friends Dennis and Maria Christina to tie the knot. They invited us to be witnesses at their City Hall wedding. Once we realized that we were at City Hall in Manhattan and they were at City Hall in Brooklyn, the day got better. Dennis was beaming, Maria Christina was gorgeous, and their 5 month old baby Joachin was an angel.

It's amazing that all of the nervousness, all of the emotion and all of the euphoria of getting married are present at a City Hall wedding. Everyone was beaming at them during the ceremony, which probably lasted all of 4 minutes.

Afterwards we went to Balthazar in Manhattan for a delicious brunch. We all decided that drinking champagne in the morning was a very civilized way to start the day.

Their friend brought this beautiful cake decorated with tulips, which was a lovely nod to Dennis' Dutch heritage.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

July 18th

July 18th was Neil and my 9th anniversary. The day started out quite rocky. We had a huge rainstorm, which left our apartment under 1-2" of rain. It was all pouring in through our back door into our living room. The amount of rain was quite amazing, because it came to at least a foot up our back door and sneaked it's way in through the cracks around the door. All we could do was to watch the flood waters rise.

Neil called our landlord to come over and deal with the mess since she just raised our rent substantially. Historically, we would deal with minor inconveniences ourselves because we had a reasonably low rent. No longer! It is now our challenge to spend every penny of the $2,400 rent hike she imposed on us with minor and major repairs. Cue the evil laughter.

Our landlord took our rug to be cleaned and in the process of helping her take it out of the apartment, Neil threw out his back. When he does this, his spine is visibly crooked. One hip is noticeably higher than the other one, and he's in excruciating pain.

After cleaning up the mess and picking Lindsay up from school, we just took it easy and all watched a movie together. Our friend Graham came over to babysit Lindsay and Neil and I went out to eat at Po. Po is a restaurant in the village that was opened by Mario Batali. He since sold it and now one has just opened in our neighborhood. The meal was absolutely delicious. We shared a shaved fennel, watercress salad with dried cherry tomatoes, and then I had a pasta with sweet corn and chorizo. We finished off with a panna cotta for dessert with some marinated cherries. It was a wonderful evening, which we extended by having drinks at the Brooklyn Social Club.

Friday, July 13, 2007

The flowers are growing

I've been knitting a few rows of the intarsia here and there. I must admit that I needed a little auto-pilot knitting, so I knit one of the sleeves. I'm getting slowly better at the intarsia. I've been replacing the plastic bobbins with handmade "butterflies" (as Shirley Paden calls them). The plastic bobbins add quite a bit of weight that makes the knitting a bit unpleasant. Basically, the butterflies are just small center-pull skeins that you make by wrapping the yarn around two fingers. They are lightweight, so they are much nicer to knit with. You can see a couple of them at the bottom of the knitting.

After the intarsia is done, there's a bit of embroidery to do on top of it. I might scale that back a little. For one thing, I'm not very skilled at embroidery and for another, it might just be gilding the lily.

Thursday, July 5, 2007


I am currently knitting the Wildflower sweater for Lindsay from Lucinda Guy's book Handknits for Kids. When you look at the photo above, you think how cute. The colorwork is going to be really pretty when it's finished. When you look at the photo below, you think, boy is she nuts to knit something in intarsia with all those cursed bobbins tangling up on the back of the work.

I'm having a hard time finding a photo of the project. This is the best I could find. You have to scroll down to see the Wildflower sweater. It's going to be so sweet when it's finished. I was even able to use some stash yarn for the project, and only had to buy two additional skeins. I'm pretty much sticking to the same color-scheme for the sweater because I think Lucinda's color combinations are really gorgeous. I also really like the Dougie sweater and hat/scarf set in the book as well as the Jack Frost jacket and the knitted flowers. Does anyone ever really knit these baby blankets? Seems like an insane amount of work!

I am slowly getting better at the intarsia. I was being stingy with the amount of bobbins I made and was carrying one skein of blue across the whole thing. I added a few more blue bobbins and am now only carrying one color across the back at any given time. I can't say I love this technique. I also think that I'll make the back of the sweater plain blue because I can't really stomach the idea of another side of this glacially slow progress.

On another note, I've started a knitting group in my neighborhood. We meet the first Wednesday of each month at the Tea Lounge. So far there have only been one or two people who have come, but they have been really interesting women, so it's been very enjoyable.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Blue Dress

It looks as though I'm sewing for myself and knitting for Lindsay. This is a dress that I completed in my sewing class. It's a New Look pattern (6615) which was adapted a bit. I didn't add the ties in the back and made it a bit more fitted. I'm pretty pleased with it, although I think that the tie in back would have made it a bit more fitted over my derriere. I absolutely love the fabric, which is a Japanese fabric I got from Brooklyn General store. They are expanding their stock to not only have knitting and spinning, but now sewing and embroidery. And, no, I really do not want to become an embroiderer. I really appreciate all the adorable embroidery I've been seing on people's blogs, but I CAN'T learn one more thing. Family and friends may have heard me say this about spinning and sewing in the past. But, really now. Hee hee. I'm serious this time. The project I'm currently working on for Lindsay involves some embroidery, but that will be all. I swear it.

I think I look really dorky in this photo, but I was melting from the impromptu lovin' of a 3 year old.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Yellow Dress

Photos at long last! Isn't there something about the cobbler's children.....
I'm pretty happy with this dress. It fits Lindsay well. Hopefully I will get two seasons out of it. I made the length for a 5 year old. Keep in mind this pattern is from the early 70s, so short was in!!

I decided that smocking the variegated yarn probably wouldn't look great, so I changed the yarn to a solid. I'm pretty happy with the results. Lindsay likes it and very sweetly tells people that her mommy made it. And, no I don't bribe her with lollipops to do that!

Thursday, June 21, 2007


I've been knitting a pattern from this 1972 copy of Spinnerin. It has a lot of fabulous patterns that I will post and knit later. You can see a photo of the dress I'm making below. I've made a bunch of changes, namely having it stockinette instead of reverse stockinette. I also used a variegated yarn and a contrasting color on the smocking. It's actually done, but I need to snap a photo of Lindsay wearing it.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Green and Black


I don't need to use last names because you know who you are. I walked like a lamb behind you in the store that fateful evening before the Yarn Harlot's talk when you purchased the green and black nectar of the gods. I knew you were picky about the chocolate you eat, so I knew it had to be good. I was completely unprepared. I have consumed a small lake of chocolate since that time.

Now I know how Adam felt- oh Eve, you evil temptress.

Friday, June 8, 2007


Neil and I are taking Lindsay on her first camping trip on Monday. We chose Beartown State Forest as the best spot. First of all, it is beautiful. It's a small park with a small lake. There's a nice trail that circles the lake. It's actually the place where Neil proposed to me. The other reason we chose Beartown is that it is quite close to his parents house in case anything goes dreadfully wrong. I'm not anticipating anything, but we want an out just in case.

So, we're spending a lot of time planning, shopping and packing. I'm not a camper, so I really have no idea what to pack for meals and supplies. We're going to stop by the in-laws on the way up and borrow their big coolers and some plastic bowls and cups. We have a picnic basket w/ plastic plates and utensils. We have an ancient canvas tent that someone gave us and we just ordered sleeping bags.

The funny thing about Beartown is that there actually are bears. Actually it's not very funny. I'm concerned about the whole food/toothpaste thing. They say you should put your food and cosmetics in the back of your car. So here's the thing...we had a friend who worked at Yosemite National Park. He said that putting food in cars didn't stop the bears. One family came back to their car to find their windshield completely ripped off and a bear sitting in the backseat munching on whatever they left inside. Yikes!!

So besides the bears, I'm really looking forward to this trip. Neil predicted that this is going to be one of those ugly New York summers and it looks as though he's going to be right. Tempers are already high. We had a murder on our block last week, where two brothers got into a fight over a bicycle and one shot the other. It was an ugly scene with police in riot gear, police tape crisscrossing the street, dogs trying to sniff and track down the brother who did the shooting, etc. The man who was shot was one of the crazy characters who grew up in the neighborhood who everyone knew.

I'm looking forward leaving the city to do some outdoor knitting. I've packed watercolor paint and paper and will do some painting with Lindsay. She just tried watercolors for the first time a few weeks ago and seemed to enjoy them. I'm looking forward to being where it's green and taking some nature photos. And I'm looking forward to exploring the woods with Neil and Lindsay and finding the spot where we got engaged.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

White cardigan

I actually knitted this little sweater for Lindsay last summer when I decided she needed a plain white cardigan for cool evenings. When it was all seamed up, I realized that the arms were *way* too short. So the sweater sat around for months and months. Finally I added a couple of inches on to the arms and body of the sweater. I camoflaged the join with some nice ribbon and voila. The sleeves are still too short (although less so than before) because it took me so flippin' long to make the alteration. Eegads. I can add on to the sleeves more easily this time since they are knitted down. But, I'll probably procrastinate....see where this is going?

Pattern: Dotty from Jaeger Handknits JB29
Yarn: Mystery yarn from a cone someone gave me. It's so unbelievably soft I think it might be cashmere.
Changes: I decided not to embroider the little dots on the sweater. I made a couple and they looked awful, so I decided to quit while I was ahead. I lengthened the crazy short sleeves and added a ribbon.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Mother's Day

For mother's day we went to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. It's been a tradition with us since I've been a mother. What a nicer way to celebrate than to stroll around on a gorgeous day and look at lilacs and other amazing flowers blooming? Well, sleeping late was pretty wonderful! Neil let me sleep late and then we had croissants (plain, chocolate and almond) from the super yummy french restaurant that makes all their own bread and pastries. The extra-special surprise was that my sister was in town from Oakland. We haven't seen each other in 2 1/2 years, so it was a real treat.

Neil brought Lindsay home for a nap and Lisa and I got to walk around the gardens at a nice, leisurely pace.

This plaque gives me an unreasonable amount of silly pleasure.

This gorgeous flower was in the tropical hot house. Aren't the colors lovely?

This plant gives a pretty good show of the fertility of spring!

I hope everyone had as lovely a day as we did. We even had a nice grown-up dinner afterwards in the neighborhood.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

A Line Skirt

Here's the skirt! I think there's a trend happening. When I asked Neil to photograph me outside w/ the skirt, Lindsay got upset. Flashback to the shawl w/ #20 edging photo. Aack. But, I was able to distract her w/ some flowers and mint. She loves picking and eating herbs.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Sewing class

I've been taking a sewing class at Brooklyn General, which is a wonderful yarn store here in Brooklyn. They've been expanding their stock to include fiber for spinning, fabric and sewing supplies.

I made an A-line skirt out of the Sew U book. I bought the fabric from City Quilter.

I'll post photos of my finished skirt shortly. One of the other women in the class made her skirt out of a gorgeous fabric. I decided to make a dress out of the same fabric. I think I have the bug, because after I finish the dress I'm going to make a shirt out of the Sew U book. I can see how I'm going to have a stash of fabrics to go along with my yarn stash. Very frightening picture.

It seems that Autumn makes me want to knit and now Spring makes me want to sew. Tra la tra la.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Earth Day

We went up to the Berkshires for some good old country fun last weekend. The weather was absolutely breathtaking and warm.

On the way up we visited my grandmother, who lives in Chappaqua, NY. She sold a lot of her land to the Audobon Society, so her yard connects with a nice amount of woods that will never be developed. While we were visiting, we sat in her dining room which has a large picture window on the back yard. Lindsay had fun putting out peanuts and birdseed, and we had fun watching the chipmunks, blue jays, titmouses (titmice??), red bellied woodpeckers, and chickadees diving in to eat. The highlight of the nature parade was a coyote sauntering across her backyard.

On Earth Day we went for a bike ride to Mill River, which is the next small town from Hartsville. We noticed people on the side of the road picking up litter and we decided that it was a great idea for celebrating Earth Day. After Lindsay's nap we went out onto Neil's parent's road with their little wagon. I was shocked at the amount of garbage we picked up. In less than 2/10ths of a mile we picked up over a case-worth of beer cans and bottles.

We also bought some compact fluorescent lights for our closets. Naomi Dagen Bloom of A Little Red Hen was the catalyst for my finally buying them. So what with the litter collection, the bike riding and the cfls, I felt pretty good about celebrating the planet.

The next day we went for a hike up Monument Mountain. This is a hike that Neil's family has done for years. It's a nice moderately steep hike with a lovely view at the top. They laugh because Canyon Ranch takes their clientele up there now. So the Beckermans get a nice spa treatment for free every time they do that hike. Lindsay did well on the trail and fancies herself a mountain climber now. She insisted on carrying my backpack on some of the stretches.

Friday, April 13, 2007

aran lace scarf

I just completed a bulky-weight lace scarf for a fundraiser at my daughter's school. The money will go to the scholarship fund. I also donated private knitting lessons. Both of which I'm hoping someone will think are nifty and bid on.

Anyway the specs for the scarf are:
Takhi Lana yarn
size 15 addi needles
Barbara Walker lace insertion pattern called Dayflower. The pattern gently undulates on the sides, which adds a bit of grace to the lace.

I had knit my daughter a scarf with a worsted weight yarn in the same pattern. Time was limited to make this one for the auction, so I pulled yarn out of my stash that was quite bulky. The yarn looks a lot like aran fisherman sweaters even in the lace. Several non-knitters who saw it mentioned that.

Monday, April 9, 2007


After spending Passover in the city, we drove up to the Berkshires to stay with Neil's parents. Lindsay is on Spring Break until the 12th. Rather than stay in Brooklyn and get caught in a rut, we decided to go to the country.

We visited friends who moved up there from Brooklyn. They have a daughter Ruby, who is one of Lindsay's good friends. We all had a nice time catching up with them. After leaving their home in Ashley Falls, MA, we drove for a minute or so out of town and saw a bobcat flying across the road. It was an amazing animal, running full speed a la National Geographic special. It did stop a second to glare at our car heading right towards it. Absolutely majestic animal. Although it was incredible to see such a beautiful animal, it was out of place where it was, which was a sad reminder of how all of the houses being built up there are displacing its habitat. I hope it finds a good new home. I think it was eating a chicken before we so rudely interrupted it.

I was talking about unusual animals with the owner of a pet store here in Brooklyn. He mentioned that there are colonies of wild parrots in Brooklyn. I can't wait to look for those guys. There's a colony at Greenwood cemetery, which is a gorgeous park-like place that I have never gone to.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Z hat

It's been a fun knitting week. On Thursday, I went out in the great world of grown-ups to see Stephanie Pearl-McPhee aka The Yarn Harlot speak at FIT. She was launching her book tour here in NYC. As usual, she was lovely and hilariously funny.

I also finished a little hat for baby Zach. The first one was kind of awful. I tried to do the Z with intarsia and it came out really lumpy and uneven. I might have tried to overlook that if it weren't for the fact that the hat almost fit my 3 year-old. Don't know what's happened to my knitting mojo since the shawl, but I think it has more to do with the fact that I haven't been able to sleep well lately.

Anyway, I think this hat is suitably cute for a newborn. It will get packed up with some nice kids music, some wonderful organic baby shampoo and lotion and sent off to Zach.

I have friends who had a baby 2 months premature. I think that little baby needs a hat. I just have to figure out how small to make it.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

When in doubt, spin

Since finishing the shawl in VLT, I have had a hard time starting a new project. I made a little hat for Zach, but I can't say it was a success, so it's going to the frog pond.

During this phase of floundering, I have been doing some spinning. Nothing like the simple act of spinning to soothe the soul. This skein is 80% merino and 20% mohair. There's just enough mohair to have a beautiful sheen, and take the dye beautifully. The merino keeps it soft. The color is beautifully gradated shades of dark blue. It wasn't until I plyed and tied the skein that I noticed the color choice being similar to my blog colors. Funny how that works without one realizing it.

I am now spinning some yak fiber I got at Rhinebeck. It's unbelievably soft. Makes you just want to roll around in the roving. The fibers are extremely short, so it lends itself to a fine highly spun yarn. Ruth if you are reading this....this might be harder than the cormo.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Zach is in the house

Little Zachary was born in Santa Cruz this morning weighing in at just over 8 lbs. Mom and baby are doing well. Lindsay is a cousin and I am an aunt. Does that mean I can crash people's picnics?

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Shawl with #20 edging

Yippee. This shawl has been finished for some time, but not blocked. I couldn't find my t-pins. I figure that Lindsay was peeking in my knitting notions bag and came across the pins. I probably put them safely out of her reach and then promptly forgot that I did that. I guess some day I will be dusting up high (ha ha ha) and find them. I decided to bite the bullet and buy some new ones. And now, voila!

So I should have been smiling and jumping for joy in the photo you say?? Lindsay was mad that both her parents were outside doing something other than entertaining her. So she was having a tantrum at the back door. I thought I did an admirable job of hiding the blood vessels that were ready to pop, but I guess not.

Victorian Lace Today, Shawl with #20 Edging
Kid Silk Haze
Size 7 needles

Monday, January 29, 2007


Today was Lindsay's first visit to the dentist. I was concerned about her two upper molars looking odd, but fortunately everything was absolutely fine. She has two-tone molars. How original.

But it got me thinking about how parenting has changed since I was a kid. Parents are told to bring their children in to the dentist between age 2 and 3. That seems extremely early to me. I can't imagine that my parents brought me into the dentist before the age of 6, when my baby teeth started falling out.

There seems to be more information for parents these days, but I've come to the realization that there are too many opinions. Instead of giving parents information that is useful, which would calm many fears, there is so much information (mostly alarmist) flying around from thousands of "experts" it has the opposite effect. It can make you downright neurotic about making a decision.

The news just loves to scare the crap out of the general public. Consumer Reports just came out with a story showing babies flying out of car seats. They were trying to say that car seats are normally tested with the vehicle going 30 mph. But now look what happens when you get into an accident going 35mph. Cue the flying baby footage. It had parents flipping out. Turns out that in their great salivating desire to show baby carnage, they jumped the gun and didn't perform the test correctly. I think the cars were really going over 70mph. Bastards!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Turning 3

Yesterday was my daughter's 3rd birthday party. We went to see a puppet show of Alice in Wonderland. The cupcakes reflect the Alice theme. She's growing up so quickly, she doesn't need to eat or drink anything to make her bigger.

The recipe is from Magnolia bakery and is wonderful. I cut the frosting recipe in 1/2 and still had extra.