It’s a winter wonderland!

Hope you other east-coasters are enjoying the fluffy white snow– I know I was, until it turned to slush here in Manhattan.

We were intelligent enough to be up on the roof taking photos, obviously. I sat at our window and knit all night, watching as every car that drove down our block inevitably got stuck– there were tons of cabs and SUVs, and even some buses and trucks. At one point, there were two ambulances stuck on two separate corners. I’ve never seen anything like it before. But of course I was up the next day and ready to play in it. I’m not sure why snow seems to frighten the entire population of New York into staying inside, but I was happy to have the city to myself. Even most of Central Park was refreshingly free of tourists.

I wish I had equally festive pictures for the season-appropriate shawl I finished last night. But I guess I should be thankful to have an FO at all. It’s been so long… let’s see if I remember how to do this…

Pattern: Mara by madelinetosh (rav project page)

Yarn: Malabrigo Twist, 2 skeins Teal Feather 412 and 1/2 skein Pearl Ten 69

Needles: US Size 10

Started: November 7, 2010

Finished: December 27, 2010

I bought the yarn at a deep discount from Gotham Fine Yarn’s closing sale and thought it would be some type of mini shrug. Mike suggested a shawl, and I remembered seeing this garter stitch beauty. When I saw muchadored‘s striped version on Ravelry, I knew it was fate. Like everything I start, this project faced many neglected weeks by the side of the couch, but after all is said and done it was a very enjoyable knit and I can’t wait to wear it!

Til next time… happy New Year, everyone!

highlights from the last 2 months

it’s been a long time. here’s what i’ve been up to recently

we took a trip to new hampshire and saw some pretty things (North Church and a house on South Mill Pond in Portsmouth, NH)

and some beautiful things (The Fiber Studio in Henniker, NH and Yummie’s Candy in Kittery, ME)

we spent christmas in Virginia and stayed a night in Amish Country, PA on the way back (post office parking lot in Quarryville, PA and downtown Lancaster, PA as seen from the roof of a parking structure)

and i knit… quite a bit (potato head hat, birds headband– an xmas present for MIL, ribbed skyline hat, and tacky xmas sweater. all links are to ravelry for more info)

more to come, including a tutorial on using kitchener stitch to seamlessly work double knitting

everything is going to be OK

here’s another obscure technique to add to the list: linoleum woodblock printing with a laser etching machine. as it turns out, with a little trial-and-error, technology actually may be a great companion to the ancient practice of printmaking. and while laser etching on to a piece of plexi and using it as an intaglio plate is very much possible, it involves a lot more machinery and expensive materials than the good old wood cut.

if you’ve done woodblock printing before, you know that you begin with a piece of material (wood, or in this case, linoleum) and carve away your design, with the non-carved areas (high points) being what will print. this works well for hand-drawn designs, but for precision, even a steady hand can sometimes cut away too much or make an uneven line. so last semester, i sent out some unmounted easy-cut lino and some very precise computer files to see what kind of detail was possible with the laser machine. i chose to keep with my OK Soda theme, since a big part of the aesthetic of the brand was the clean-cut, industrial text and the layering of multiple images (that is, it had to be exact but would be hard to do with a silkscreen unless i wanted to make a ton of different screens with the appearance of randomness).

so i digitally recreated a bunch of logos (each a few inches wide) and lines of small text (1/2 cm to 1cm in height) from the sides of various cans and sent them off. the laser machine will only etch so deep, and it’s not deep enough. it gets the detail lines really well (see the text on the lino– on some of them, it’s only 5 millimeters tall!), but for large gaps, the roller will dip into the open space and leave you a big mess. below are my final blocks, after being used about a million times (sorry about the grime). you’ll see that i had to go in with hand tools and x-acto knives on all of them to deepen the carvings. that being said, all the exact work was done for me. for contrast, the block of the hand holding a barcode was carved entirely by hand. printing was relatively easy, i just used the stamping method. to make sure every detail printed, i used the back of a wooden spoon to press over the whole stamp before removing it. i tested it on scrap white fabric and then moved on to my t-shirts and then, the symbol of the OK era, the flannel shirt.

text: (seriously. zoom in on this one. 11 megapixels of goodness– the thumbnail doesn’t do it justice)

logo block:


hand with barcode: (hand cut)

why OK Soda? the short story is that it was a fruity soda that Coke released and marketed toward Gen-X’ers (grunge kids) in the early 90’s. their marketing focused on being the indifferent choice and, as you could imagine, they failed miserably at marketing to the unmarketable. the failure of the soda was so epic that the soda never left its test markets and it was soon forgotten. but, nearly 20 years later, fan groups are popping up on the internet and vintage soda cans are selling on ebay. so now, the chronically overmarketed soda which is no longer in existence once again has demand because of its lack of availability. sounds like the paradox of an artist and his art, eh? (that is, that an artists work is never appreciated until he or she is dead).

oh, also i really like the art from the cans. i kind of just wanted merchandise of a brand that never made merchandise (but if it had, nobody would have worn it).

ok, enough typing! here are the final shirts (click to zoom):

inspired by the overlapping logo design here:
(printed on the side of a flannel shirt)

(and on the top and shoulder of a women’s t-shirt)

inspired by the OK-ness of plaid (just following the horizontal and vertical lines):
(on the front pockets of a flannel shirt)

(framing the “OK” logo on the bottom corner of a t-shirt)

(slightly harder to see– hand with barcode on the back of a flannel shirt, framed by plaid patterned text. the hand was taken from this can)

my printing got really sloppy toward the end (especially visible on the 2nd to last one). i was trying to make a deadline on very little sleep and just gave up wearing gloves– my ink-covered fingers were all over the shirts, as were the dirty edges of the blocks. i guess you’ll just have to trust me that printing these is a total dream.

that’s all for now. i promise sometime soon there will be a post about knitting! i’m finally making progress on a bunch of WIP’s and i have a few little FO’s to share. but in the mean time, here are a few of my photos of the 4th of july fireworks this past weekend in NYC. we had an amazing view from the roof. hope you like them 🙂

catching up

it’s been too long since i last wrote here. so long, in fact, that i couldn’t get myself to post again until something totally epic was going on to make up for the time gap. more time went on, nothing really interesting happened– i moved, i knit, i yelped… and then i realized that nothing was as big as i would have wanted to resuscitate my hardly-breathing blog. instead, so much has built up in notes, pictures, and half-finished projects and i don’t have my handy archive to organize my mind. so here i go, attempting to restart it, but full well knowing that i don’t have the time to blog as much as i used to in canada.

1. hemlock ring

is almost done. i’m past the original doily pattern and into the feather and fan as written by jared flood. i have no idea how big it’ll be, but i’m just about out of yarn (11 balls of debbie bliss cashmerino chunky goes quick!). i have no clue where i’m going to block it. the photo above is from last week– i’m too lazy to get a new progress shot.

2. flame lace scarf

still workin’ on it. blah. love it, hate the repetition.

3. herringbone mitts

this one is a new project. mike and i were going to the US open on labor day and i realized i didn’t have a project that was well-suited to watching a ball go back and forth and back and forth in front of me. the hemlock was wayy too big and the flame lace i was afraid my dear turbo lace needles would be confiscated. so i grabbed two colors of sirdar snuggly (from the naked sheep summer sale) and ran a pattern search through ravelry. i really like them so far but they’re gonna be HUGE. i don’t have all my needles unpacked yet so i had to use the recommended size for the project– flashback to the first three times i cast on the endpaper mitts. anyway, this has become my transit knitting, i’m about halfway through the first mitt and done w/ the cuff on the 2nd. this will take awhile though because they’re not top priority.

4. koigu cashmere armwarmers

just cast on these today. did you even KNOW there was a koigu cashmere? mmmmmmm…. i’m worried that my entire stash will seem worthless once i begin working with cash but it’s looking sort of inevitable. i can’t resist!

5. moving

i am not moving again anytime in the near future. this time i mean it. 15 times in 5 years, and we’re back in new york. i love the neighborhood and the apartment, and the fact that our grocery store stocks more than two brands of each item (*cough dominion sucks cough*). unfortunately, one thing i don’t love is our furniture. because we have none. between flaky delivery guys, confused woodworkers, and a lack of car we have not been able to buy one new item of furniture. not like we’re not used to living out of boxes or anything. our absolute last choice was ikea, and mike is going today with my father. i hate their aesthetic and their quality, but it looks like this may be the only way to actually get a bookshelf successfully into our apartment.

6. working

it has always been my dream to own a yarn store. part of that dream has been to gain experience so that my future awesome store doesn’t go belly-up due to my never having worked at a yarn store. so when we moved back i got a job at one! its an adorable store on 82nd and lex called string and the people are all really nice. did i mention that “checking inventory”=rolling around in cashmere? gotta love it. i’m also working out three brand new winter patterns for the store. the koigu cash mitts will be one. and it’ll be free with purchase of yarn from our store (which can be bought online for any non-new yorkers). more on that later.

for now, i think that’s enough catching up. i wont be posting here as often as i used to, but i’ll at least try to update when there’s a FO or two or when i have a new pattern. happy knitting!

everything i know about canada i learned from south park

so… i had this whole “best of toronto” awards post that i was compiling… it was really long and i wasn’t sure it was even a good enough post to actually publish. then i’m on nyc yelp and i see a new topic… yelp canada! once again, i stopped packing, and in three hours i had reviewed every place on my list… and then some. and now, i can just link you to my “canada” list and i don’t have to look like i spent way too much time typing and formatting my own list 🙂

have at it!

and if you have time (or even if you don’t), do some yelping yourself. it’s a really helpful tool in new york, but there actually has to be people reviewing for it to become useful

i can’t stop myself

what have i been doing in the final days before my big move? packing? no. knitting? not so much. i’ve been yelping, and i can’t make it stop. it began innocently enough, i was just checking up on some of my favourite old places– to see if they have gone downhill or closed down, or if anything else has opened in the ‘hood that i need to check out. then i started rating things. eating in new york is a really personal thing– a health department closure can feel like a breakup. a landlord raising rent can grow horns. when my husband first heard that dtut, his coffee shop/lounge had been closed and replaced with a wine bar, he was depressed for weeks. when i first heard that the 2nd avenue deli would be replaced by a bank, i almost switched banks.

what happens when a native new yorker is passionate and nostalgic?

she becomes the #3 most prolific yelper of the month. over 100 reviews in 30 days. there are still about 50 boxes to be packed, including the WIP that should have been finished by now. i have ten more days

watch what happens, shall we?

ps. i don’t want to give away my WIP, but i’ll just say that it’s dinosaurrific. cryptic, eh?

terra who’s?

now that the city has woken up from its annual ten-month sleep, it’s finally summer in toronto. instead of just being a conglomerate of tall buildings and an inefficient subway, there are real signs of life– from pedestrians on the street to the weekly nathan phillips farmers market.

any good torontonian knows this market. it’s every wednesday afternoon, and it’s pretty much the only place in downtown that doesn’t fully stock a selection of rotting vegetables. for the most part, they are freshly picked, pesticide-free, and no more expensive than the dominion or sobey’s nearby. the market also manages to introduce citizens of the tundra to selections of vegetables that, for one reason or another, are impossible to find the rest of the week in the city. think i’m kidding? here’s a find from last week. a box of mini zucchinis. looks and tastes exactly like a regular zucchini, just cuter.

baby zucchini!

last week i also managed to pick up some blue potatoes. experience told me that the bagged variety of blue potato chips is deelicious, so i thought i’d go for something similar. the steps are all here so get bakin’

oven baked blue chips

i feel the need to note here that these don’t totally taste like the chips you’ll get in a bag. they’re oven baked, not kettle cooked, so they are much healthier. they also taste distinctly homemade, especially when eaten piping hot. mmm…

homemade oven baked blue potato chips


however many blue potatoes you want– one serving is about 2-3 small potatoes like the ones above ^^

olive oil cooking spray

sea salt to taste

homemade oven baked blue potato chips


preheat the oven to 425 f. scrub the dirt off the outside layer of the potatoes, but don’t peel them. use a mandoline or sharp knife to cut potatoes into 1/8″ slices. pat dry with a paper towel. spray cooking spray onto a cookie sheet and arrange the potato slices on a single layer (if you have too many potatoes to fit on one, work in batches). sprinkle sea salt generously and spray again with olive oil spray. bake on the middle rack for 15 minutes. use a spatula to flip the potatoes and cook for another 5-10 minutes or until golden brown on the outside and royal blue on the inside. the ones pictured are a bit extra-crispy, but make sure no part of the potato is still uncooked (purple)– this will cause them to get soggy as soon as they cool. when the batch of chips is done baking, place in a paper towel and pat to remove excess oil (be careful not to burn yourself– give them a second to cool down). sprinkle more salt and serve hot or save in an airtight container for a few days (i actually have no idea how long they would last– i’ve never had any leftover for more than a day.)

homemade oven baked blue potato chips

ps, no this has not become the giftable cooking blog. we’ll be back to your regularly scheduled knitting shortly.