soozeinthecity

July 25, 2014

Brooklyn Cyclones: Stitch n Pitch night

Filed under: Baseball, Knitting — Tags: , , , , , , — soozeinthecity @ 9:39 pm

Hey, a blog post! Sorry that’s it’s been a while. I have several entries I want to post in the next month or so.

The National NeedleArts Association (TNNA) organizes Stitch n Pitch events at the Major League Baseball level. The purpose is to promote the fiber arts (knitting, crochet, needlework, etc) while enjoying a baseball game. There is an upcoming Stitch n Pitch at Mets game in September.

Last night I attended a Stitch n Pitch event (organized by the Brooklyn Knit and Crochet Guild) at the Brooklyn Cyclones game. The Cyclones are a minor affiliate of the New York Mets. It was a nice, cool summer night in Coney Island with low lying clouds and a beautiful sunset.

We had amazing seats, to the right of home plate:

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During the game I took a walk around the ballpark and got a gorgeous picture of the Parachute Jump tower:

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I believe this used to be a real ride but has been discontinued ( I guess to safety reason, lol).

I enjoyed Nathan’s French fries, popcorn, and mini melt ice cream in the flavor “Cotton Candy”. And yes I did knit:

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It’s my annual “no thinking required” project for summer knitting. Using two skeins of sock yarn I’m knitting in the round to create a double thick scarf for the winter. It has quite a ways to go.

By the way, the home team won. The Cyclones were playing the Vermont Lake Monsters (?) and I believe the score was 7-2. I usually pay close attention to baseball games but my knitting distracted me.

The Guild has been doing some really fun events and the members are friendly. If you are in the New York Area consider joining for a year to see what it’s like. Our next meeting is yarn swap.

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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.

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.

May 13, 2013

Edie Eckman’s “Easy Stitches for Impatient Knitters”

Filed under: Crochet, Knitting — Tags: , , , , , , — soozeinthecity @ 4:01 pm

I am in rut when it comes to knitting my swatches. Every one is in stockinette! I was much more adventurous when I was a beginner. The one thing I’ve learned during my almost 20 years of knitting is to always seek out something new. For me that means taking a class. I always manage to learn a couple of new things, meet some new knitters and chat with another person that works in the fiber arts industry.

This was certainly the case when I signed up for Edie Eckman’s class “Easy Stitches for Impatient Knitters”. Why take a class that teaches you new stitches? There’s guidance, practice time, and you walk away learning the correct way to knit these stitch patterns. Edie is generous with her knowledge – so much so that I signed up for her pattern writing class that took place the next day.

You can look up all these stitches in a stitch dictionary. Here is what I knit in class.

Condo Stitch – yes you use two different sized needles.
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Coral Stitch (yellow) –

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Turkish Stitch

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Garter Drop Stitch

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And my favorite, the Loops Stitch

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May 9, 2013

Elijah the Elephant

Filed under: Knitting, New York Life — Tags: , , , — soozeinthecity @ 5:45 pm

I attended a baby shower Saturday night. As my co workers will verify I was knitting furiously until we all headed off. My gift was Elijah the Elephant by Ysolda Teague:

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I loved a semi solid blue skein of Blue Sky Alpaca Organic Worsted Cotton and thought it would make a great toy.

I had planned to work out it when I was at the Loopy Ewe Spring Fling earlier this month but the pattern called for the parts to be stuffed before closing them up and picking up stitches on said part to knit the next part.

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Of course my toy wasn’t finished. The head, body & ears were done and by Saturday morning I was ready to add the legs. I had leg #1 almost completed when I realized it was in the wrong spot! And I was scheduled to work until 30 minutes before the baby shower began. Turns out my co-workers all were sewing on buttons and adding last minute touches to their gifts, but no one was still knitting their present.

So throughout the day I knit during lunch and my 2 breaks. Poor Elijah went into the gift bag missing two arms & a leg :(. I wrote a gift tag that said “From the Island of Misfit Toys” hoping to get a couple of laughs were gift opening time rolled around.

As it turns out this was more a party for the baby’s parents – due to time and people constraints, the gifts were not open at the party. When I left I had to pull over the mom-to-be and explain what happened. She herself is a knitter so she got a big laugh out of it. She plans to drop Elijah off so I can finish him (whew!). I hope to be able to share a picture of the completed Elijah the Elephant in a week or two.

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