soozeinthecity

May 1, 2014

Behind the Scenes at Yankee Stadium

In the last few years the New York Yankees created various perks for their full season ticket holders. Depending on your seniority there are opportunities to attend different events. We recently took what was billed as a private tour. We had taken tours at both the old and new stadiums so we were a bit blasé about taking another one.

Our “Behind the Scenes” tour was guided by Brian Richards, who happens to be the curator for the Yankees Museum. The tour started by the Championship seats by third base. While Brian spoke of the history of both the old and new stadiums I was intrigued by the man replacing the cushioned seat.

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We proceeded to Monument Park where we saw the new plaque for Nelson Mandela which is right next to Jackie Robinson’s retired number 42. Mariano Rivera’s “42” is retired with the other Yankee numbers. Brian spoke of the rich history represented in Monument Park.

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As we walked the field level concourse Brian noted the various celebration photos that lined the concourse. He pointed out the various incarnations of the Yankees uniforms as well as mentioning stories of Babe Ruth and Yogi Berra.

Our next stop was the Yankee Museum. Naturally as museum curator Brian puts together many of the exhibits. Current exhibits include Mickey Mantle, George Steinbrenner and championship rings from throughout the years.

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We decided to ask Brian what happened to the old stadium’s storied weathervane. “We still have it, it hasn’t gone away”. Maybe it’ll pop up in an exhibit? You never know.

We proceeded to the stadium basement and sat in the press conference room. The room had recently been used to announce the new New York City soccer team.

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Unfortunately, neither clubhouse was available for a visit.

As the tour group moved toward the Yankee dugout it has started to rain lightly.

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And after the dugout we landed in the Press Box. Each seat is assigned to a representative of the sports media. We sat in the Daily News beat reporters seats. (I wonder if I sat in Mark Feinsand’s seat?) I thought it was interesting that the Japanese media has something like 12 seats in the press box. I wasn’t sure if all of them could be attributed to Mashiro Tanaka’s presence.

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Brian told many us many things – one of my favorite stories was about Bobby Murcer. When Murcer was part of the broadcast team he had a cinder block that he would stand on whenever he had stand with his very tall colleagues, Michael Kay and Ken Singleton. The cinder block remains in the booth, a remembrance of Murcer.

Our last stop was a visit to the Suite level. One of the best features of this level is the Daily News photo gallery. There are photos of Bernie Williams near Suite 51, Mariano Rivera near Suite 42 and so on. We also visited one of the suites. (Sorry, the hallways were too dark to take good photos. Also the Yankee offices were starting to empty out – we had been on the tour for over 2 hours!)

This tour was an eye opener. Wherever we walked Brian was ready with a story and as we asked questions he gave us detailed answers. Brian conducts about 16 tours during the year; we were pleased to have such a knowledge person spend time with us. Kudos to the Yankees and Brian Richards!

April 5, 2014

La Casita: Bergere de France Trunk Show

Filed under: Crochet, Knitting — Tags: , , , , , — soozeinthecity @ 7:11 pm

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I recently attended the Bergere de France trunk show which was held at the La Casita Yarn Shop. I try to go to as many trunk shows as possible – usually you get try the garments on and it serves as inspiration for projects.
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In the 1970s and 1980s European yarns were readily available in US yarn shops. Many were blends using acrylic or nylon with natural fibers. Nowadays the demand is for 100% natural fibers as well and hand-dyed yarn. The yarn representative, Margot, explained Bergere has been family run business since the 1940s; the grandson currently runs the company. Also they are the last industrial wool mill in France making yarn for hand knitting.

La Casita is stocking two Bergere yarns for the Spring: Estivale, a hemp blend with sequins and Cotton Nature, a DK weight organic cotton. Estivale is very pretty and would be great for small and large projects. Cotton Nature is not dyed, its natural color is perfect for warm weather projects.

Two of the most tried on garments at the trunk show were:

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“02-Open Sweater” knit in Bigarelle, a light fingering cotton/linen blend.

“Cable Sweater” knit in Bergereine, a DK cotton/wool blend. (On Ravelry 125- Pull Asymetrique)

All attendees were given the 2013-2014 pattern book (a $20 value), which contains 161 knitting and crochet patterns for women, men, children, and the home.

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I really enjoyed this goody because:

1 – Usually the European patterns need to be translated from French or Italian – this book is in English.

2 – The first 17 pages are instructions for the knitting, crochet, and embroidery techniques that are used in the patterns.

3 – Each size is assigned a color. When you read the pattern the color helps you find the right numbers for the size you are making. The colored numbers are also on the schematics. LOVE!

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4 – There are many garments I would make. And judging by the mad rush to try on garments I would say others agree with me.

I wish the book had an index or a table of contents. The patterns are pretty random – you see patterns for women, followed by patterns for men, follow by a scarf pattern, and then back to patterns for women. Definitely have some post-its handy if you are marking future projects.

Also during the trunk show, several knitters were looking up the patterns on Ravelry – we quickly discovered that the patterns are assigned a number and a simple name (ex, 695 Fair-Isle Sweater). Just something to keep in mind if you want to look at existing projects.

March 27, 2014

BKCG March 2014: A visit by Jade Sapphire Cashmere

Filed under: Knitting — Tags: , , , , — soozeinthecity @ 7:41 pm

The Brooklyn Knit and Crochet Guild held it’s March meeting this past Sunday. The guest speakers were Ken and Jane Saffir, owners of Jade Sapphire yarns.

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These photos only show a portion of the samples that were on display. It was amazing to touch so much cashmere in such a short period of time. Jade Sapphire produces 200 colors; Jane knits each color is knit into a square, with black edging. These squares will make a beautiful afghan! Then Ken proceeded to educated us about cashmere.

“Soft gold”
Cashmere is the only fiber where demand exceeds supply. Whereas a single sheep may yield 8 pounds of wool fiber, a single goat yields 4 ounces of cashmere fiber. Also the fiber is combed off the goats, not sheared. Ken also explained that if the fiber is 19 microns or less it is cashmere, otherwise it is classified as wool.

All cashmere comes from China. It is THE source for this fiber. Although there have been attempts to relocate the goats to warmer climates, the high altitude and the extreme cold of China & Mongolia play a key role in producing the soft coat.

(More information about this sought after fiber can be found at cashmere.org

The Journey
Jade Sapphire cashmere is milled at the same factory that serves brands that are aimed at high end and mid-tier consumers (Think of brands that feature British plaid or represented by actress Kate Hudson). They produce cashmere fabric & sweaters that are sold worldwide.

Once the fiber is cleaned and spun it is sent to the dyer, one person dyes all their yarn. Ken noted that many yarn companies like theirs are small operations, especially those that hand dye yarn. He proudly mentions that their cashmere has been tapped to be part of the new knitwear line being launched by the luxury goods company, Coach (woohoo!).

After an animated Q&A session, the presentation concluded with the opportunity to take a closer look at the samples. La Casita Yarn Shop brought their inventory of Jade Sapphire yarn and offered Guild members the opportunity to make purchases at a discount. I look forward to seeing what fellow Guild members make with this delightful cashmere yarn!

Learn more about:

Jade Sapphire yarn
Brooklyn Knit & Crochet Guild
La Casita Yarn Shop

January 25, 2014

Vogue Knitting Live 2014 (recap #vklive)

Filed under: Knitting — Tags: , , , — soozeinthecity @ 12:17 am

What Did I Do?
I took the all day “Machine Knitting for Beginners” class on Friday (more here). The instructor mention that a few of her classes had room for one more person so at lunchtime I signed up for her Sunday “Hand Knitting for Machine” class (I’ll recap class in my next post).

I attended Anna Hrachovec’s Toy Design lecture. It’s amazing how she’s developed her mochimochiland brand.

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What Came Home With Me?

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Everyone flipped out over the buttons at the vintage button booth – it was just too easy to pick up a handful. I have so many colors in my yarn stash that I was sure anything I picked would work out.

I bought a skein of Dragonfly Djinni yarn in the color way “Show Special”. I’ve heard good things about their yarn and will probably make a pair of socks.

One vendor brought shelves of Madelinetosh but what did I find? A skein of Lucy Neatby’s Cat’s Pajama sock yarn. The same vendor had Lucy’s Knitting DVDs too.

My biggest surprise of the day was finding Indigodragonfly yarn! My friend Kim is the owner and creator of that yarn. We “met” on Ravelry years ago. I remember when she wanted to start dyeing yarn and how we all encouraged her to start her business. I’m sure the booth reps at La Maison Tricotee thought I was a loon, posing Kim’s yarn so I could take a photo. Of course I couldn’t walk away with getting a skein of sock yarn.

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As I made one last pass around the marketplace I found that Jimmy Beans had a booth. I almost caved and bought some yarn kits until I realized that I could just order them when I got home. But it was nice to see the kits in person.

What Caught My Eye?

One of the hand knits I loved is this gingerbread mitten that was displayed at the Windy Valley Muskox booth.

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I spent a bit of time talking to the ladies at the Julia Hilbrandt booth. She handcrafts beautiful bags out of felt. Three of my fiber friends have these bags.

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For the first time there was a sample sale with the proceeds going to the Make A Wish Foundation. Apparently everything sold out in less than 2 hours:

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And VK Live does a great job bringing fiber artists to their art gallery. Many folks loved Carol Milne’s knitted glass display but my favorite display was goinggnome‘s chessboard and felted pieces:

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My Last Thought
I had a nice balance of learning and shopping. I’m already planning my classes for next year!

January 19, 2014

Intro to Machine Knitting (Vogue Knitting Live #VKLive #yearofmaking)

Filed under: Knitting, New York Life — Tags: , , , — soozeinthecity @ 5:53 am

About 6 weeks ago I was looking at the Vogue Knitting class schedule and poof, I saw that the all day Introduction to Machine Knitting class did not have a sold out sign anymore. Did they add more seats? Did someone cancel? No matter, I quickly registered and with a few keyboard clicks I was in.

Last year I acquired a Bond Sweater machine from someone who upgraded to a Silver Reed. I would finally use it! We were lucky to work with Silver Reed LK150 straight out of the box. I thought of my Bond machine and wondered how long I would use it before thinking about upgrading.

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After learning how to put the machine together we learned how to feed the yarn, cast on the first row and how the carriage works. After some practice rows we learned how to use the tools to increase and decrease stitches – the curling sides of the grey yarn makes it hard to see this. I also played around with setting the number of stitches per inch – I brought DK weight yarn which I used at settings 5 or 7.

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I also bound off stitches when I switched back to the cream color.

In the afternoon session we were encouraged to try out different techniques. Some folks tried out striping, lace, and/or texture techniques. I tried to follow a mosaic pattern but my stitches kept dropping:

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I should get better with some practice. The instructor, Susan Guagliumi has written two books on this topic and she has worked over 25 years in the knitting machines industry. She is an excellent teacher and very knowledgeable about the topic. I highly recommend her if you want to start to use a knitting machine.

January 14, 2014

Big Apple Knitting Guild’s Yarn Auction

Filed under: Knitting, Uncategorized — Tags: , , — soozeinthecity @ 3:35 am

The Big Apple Knitting Guild holds a yarn auction every year. It’s members donate yarn to the auction and the proceeds go to fund various programs that take place throughout the year.

My goal this year was to purchase yarn I normally wouldn’t work with. But even before the auction started I had purchased these tempting items:

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A pink/gray grab bag and a set of sock yarn pattern books.

At the beginning of the auction I was knitting but once the bulky yarns were sold I put my project away and started to pay attention to the bidding. What did I come home with?

1- 12 balls of Brown Sheep NatureSpun for colorwork

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2- Katia Gatsby – I had purchase this yarn years ago and I didn’t have enough for a sweater. I was thrilled to bid $8 for 6 balls! I’ll add 2 balls to the 7 I have already (yay cardigan!). The other 4 can be used for a holiday shawl.

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3- Leftovers of Unique Sheep Gradience – always like to try out yarn from indie dyers.

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4- My Guild buddy, Jane, won several grab bags of Opal and Online sock yarn. I asked her which one was her least favorite and I bought it from her:

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5- And my final purchase was 1/2 a skein of Wollmeise Twin sock yarn. It turns out I have a full skein of Wollmeise in the same gray ( Im Jahr der Ratte) so now I can figure out a project that uses 700 yards instead of 500 yards. Yay!

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I spent half my budget, which leaves the remaining half available for for this weekend’s Vogue Knitting Live. And knitters, that is a good thing.

September 12, 2013

Shared Remembrance

Filed under: New York Life — Tags: , , , — soozeinthecity @ 1:38 am

I didn’t quite time it right but as I rode the subway over the Manhattan Bridge I was hoping to see the Beacon of Light shining up from the World Trade Center site. Unfortunately there was still too much natural light out.

I’m told that on September 11, 2001 a former boss of mine was on the F train on her way to work. At a certain point the subway is on elevated tracks… and she saw the first plane crash into the tower. I met her several years later and you would have never guessed that she was a witness to history. I’ve always wanted to ask her how that event affected her life. Every September 11 gives me that opportunity with everyone I encounter.

Today is a day where most
New Yorkers can tell you where they were, who they knew & how their life changed. The deaths of 4,000 people will do that to you and everyone around you. “Shared remembrance” helps New Yorkers get through this day every year.

July 12, 2013

How suite it is!

Filed under: New York Life — Tags: , , , — soozeinthecity @ 6:02 pm

We got invited to sit in a suite at last Monday’s Yankees vs Kansas City game. NYC weather has been positively tropical during the month of July. Our regular seats would have been like sitting in a sauna so we decide to accept their offer.

We got to the game early because the giveaway was a Derek Jeter bobblehead doll.

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As we headed to the suite we ran into two Yankees employees that we knew from the old stadium. It was good to spend time catching up with them.

Most suites look like this:

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The box has 14 seats outdoors. We watched the Royals batting practice for a bit. I couldn’t wait any longer and dug into the food (sushi plate and guacamole & chips, later supplemented by hot appetizers).

There was a rain delay, a delay so unexpected by the grounds crew that when the tarp was rolled out over the infield it fell short & did not make it over to cover the first base line. The grounds crew rolled it back into left field. With the whole crew making a running start they made sure on the 2nd try to get the tarp over the whole infield. I believe short rain showers were expected but the 2nd shower was so heavy that the umpires must have asked for the tarp. I heard later that if you were watching the Yankees broadcast you saw none of this!

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During the delay I walked around the suite level. There are beautiful photos from the Daily News.

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And outside each suite there is a plaque listing the players that wore the suite number.

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I found Suite 4 very touching.

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Once the game started resumed I lost track of some batters so my scorecard is incomplete.

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I gave up after the 5th inning.

The suite was fun. Yes, it’s very exclusive and I can’t imagine watching the games all the time in a suite box. But for one hot, rainy night it was terrific.

June 28, 2013

A good start to Friday

Filed under: Knitting, New York Life — Tags: , , , , — soozeinthecity @ 2:10 pm

Commuting on the NYC subway usually produces a scowl from the passengers – delayed trains, crowded conditions, loud tourists. But this morning I had a smile on my face. Why? The woman next to me sat down and pulled her knitting out. Grey wool yarn, green locking stitch marker, Addi needles and a black KnowKnits project bag. And she could knit without looking at her work.

Don’t worry I wasn’t stalking her – since I work in a yarn store I can identify her knitting stuff fairly quickly. And she helped her concentration by listening to her music. I loved it, loved it enough to write about it and not take out my own knitting :)

Happy Friday!!

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June 5, 2013

London, the last word.

Filed under: Knitting, Quilting, Travel — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — soozeinthecity @ 10:14 pm

When we go abroad we always grocery shop, take a look in the drugstores, visit book and record stores and visit yarn stores. These places give you a quick look at what residents like and use in everyday life.

However, many items from the British drugstore Boots are available at your local Target and iTunes has just about put the record chain HMV out of business. I didn’t get a chance to go to Waterstone but I did buy a book (titled “Wool”) at Healthrow.

Even with those places crossed off our list we still found plenty to do.

Waitrose has a sheep cake:

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Casa Brindisa is a lovely spot in South Kensington with delicious tapas. A little 3 years old girl sat at the table next to us – we were amazed at her ability to eat the jumbo sized green olives. She would have eaten then all if mom didn’t tell her to try the green peppers!

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I love the entrance for Liberty, I wish you could smell these flowers:

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And after you walk into the store you look up and see this:

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I always stop by Liberty to look at the Rowan stock, the entire line. Believe or not, Rowan can be hard to find in NYC yarn shops. I picked up the Spirit pattern book by Kim Hargreaves & some Regia sock yarns (Kaffe Fassett and Kristin Nichols):

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You can’t shop at Liberty without seeing their gorgeous textiles. I’m learning how to quilt so I was thrilled to see Liberty fabric hexes for English Paper Piecing. I can hand sew these into something unique:

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We didn’t have time to visit Nest. My first and only visit several years ago revealed a charming yarn store that carried mainly British & European fiber – many aren’t available to me in the US.

We did have time to visit to Loop. This is my third visit and I found that their stock overlapped with many other US stores I’ve gone to. I was disappointed that the Wollmeise was basically brown skeins and that each skein was ¬£29 (that’s almost $45 US).
They do carry some UK hand-dyers but again none of the colors appealed to me.

I did pick up some crafty magazines, another Kim Hargreaves pattern book, Quirky and Kate Davies’ Colors of Shetland book which contains essays & patterns:

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My last shopping stop was the haberdashery department at John Lewis on Oxford Street. I quickly scooped up this striped Debbie Bliss Rialto DK yarn. To my recollection I’ve never seem variegated yarn from Debbie Bliss. I love these colors and have a project in mind.

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That’s it! Hope you liked this little taste of London. I’d love to hear about your travel tales.

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