November 15, 2010

Orchids and Bunnies and Fairy Lights

This hat.  Oh, this hat.  I've been wanting to make this hat for more than a year now. Sometimes I worry things to death while other times I make super snap decisions.  One would think that picking up a pair of needles and starting on something as low commitment as a hat would be no big deal, but for some reason, I was hesitant to knit this one, even though I really, really wanted it.

A couple of weeks ago when I was at Rhinebeck, I saw a skein of yarn at a booth that I really, really wanted, kind of how I really, really wanted to make this hat, and it just kind of came to me that they might be a perfect match.  So I bought the yarn and now I have the hat.

Pattern: Orchids and Fairy Lights, by Tiny Owl Knits
Yarn: Jamie Harmon Merino/Angora 2-ply
Needles: 4.0mm & 5.0mm
Started: November 10
Finished: November 13

Tiny Owl Knits is the same person who deigned the Some Cloudy Day legwarmers that I made earlier this fall.  She's got a whole foresty, magical fairy vibe going on, and while I'm not really able to pull that off myself, I find myself drawn to many of her designs nonetheless.  For example, one of the things I love about this hat is it's softness, like the way the bobbles are set at the tips of the cables like buds at the tips of branches, and even how the cables aren't typical cables in that they never cross, so they're never cut off.  They just look to be stretching and growing like saplings.  So cute!  But not twee.  At least I don't think so.

Photos courtesy of Oiyi and Penny.

I'm not exactly sure how much of this yarn I had because it wasn't labeled, but as I worked, I realized I wouldn't have enough yarn to complete the hat as written, so I eliminated one pattern repeat from the length.  Still, it fits, so that's good.  For such a soft yarn, the Jamie Harmon produced great stitch definition; I'm quite pleased with how the bobbles pop.  It's super annoying to go through the work of making bobbles only to have then turn out flaccid receding.  Blech.

So, I am happy with my little luxury purchase and with the pattern it paired with.  This cozy little thing fills a "neutral headwear" void in my wardrobe.  Now, if the weather would cooperate and stay below 6o, I could bust her out.

November 11, 2010

The most wonderful time of the year

Some people say it's Christmas, but if you know me, you know that to my mind, the most wonderful time of the year is the first Sunday in November, or as I call it: Marathon Sunday.  Even writing about it gives me chills.

The New York City Marathon is an amazing event, the largest marathon in the United States, possibly in the world. This year, more than 45,000 met in New York City to run, wheel or walk 26.2 miles in a single day and, incredibly, thousands of New Yorkers in all five boroughs turned out to cheer them on.

My love affair with the Marathon began 10 years ago, when a friend invited me to a boozy marathon brunch at her home on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. We ate bagels and lox and then ventured out to 1st Avenue to see the competitors in action. I was in tears within 10 minutes, no joke. Young people, old people, slim people, fat people, able bodied and disabled people. It was such an amazing sight, thousands and thousands of these people from all over the world doggedly working their way to that finish line.

So affected was I that the next year, my cousin Paula and I entered and ran the New York City Marathon together, which was even more fun than I'd imagined.  There's this tradition with the Marathon of putting your name on your shirt so that supporters can shout personal encouragements to you and damn if it wasn't unbelievably exciting to hear "Go Rebecca!  Looking good!" while we were running.  I could not stop waving and smiling, and it took my mind off of the long slog that lay ahead of us. 

Two years later, I moved in to an apartment that was right on the Marathon route, between miles 8 and 9. Right on, as in step out of my door and hit a runner on. I started hosting a brunch people who wanted to come to Brooklyn and watch the race.  It started small, but last year, at least 50 people passed through my door to enjoy Mimosas, coffee cake, strata and cheer for the racers. 
The true race enthusiasts would come early (8:30 a.m.) to cheer for the wheeled athletes, who are among the most inspirational.  They're followed in start times by other disabled athletes, the elite women, the elite men and then the masses. By 1 pm almost all of the atheletes have passed, but it's still hard to leave.  How can you turn your back on these people??? Especially when you know you;re leaving them to go stuff your face and have another drink.  Eventually the street cleaners would come by signaling the end of the race, but the eating and drinking would continue until the evening (last year's last guests left at 9 pm).  It was always a fun and exhausting day.

Since I moved two weeks ago, I no longer live right on the Marathon route and so, no big party.  I was a little sad about this for a bit, but I had something even better to get excited about: my friend, neighbor and sometimes running buddy, Dawn, was running the race for the first time. It's an amazing feat, but made even more so by the fact that she's a 40 year old mother who also has MS.  No getting her down.

You can see I wasn't her only fan.  Due to a wardrobe malfunction, we almost missed Dawn and Julie, but they were eagle eyed and spotted me bent down in the street trying to pick up a hat.  Squeals and jumps and cheers and waves, and then they were off to finish, and finish they did. Woot woot!

While they wound their way up to Queens, across the East River into Manhattan, up north to the Bronx and back to Manhattan towards the finish line, we kept on cheering and enjoyed some pumpkin doughnut muffins, inspired by my friend Little Bird, Big City.

No doubt about it


this certainly is the most wonderful time of the year.

November 9, 2010


In the words of Elvis Costello: accidents will happen.

This particular one involved a red onion, a sharp knife and the tip of my thumb. Later, some gauze, packing tape and a Bloody Maria got involved.

If you look closely, you can see the amputated bit about half way down the blade of the chef's knife.

November 2, 2010

Parting is such sweet sorrow

A while back I decided to make a big change, a big move.  Come next spring, I will relocate to Minnesota.  It's exciting, but, having lived in New York for 15 years, also nerve wracking. Big changes are sometimes easier to handle when undertaken in steps.  My apartment lease ended this fall and I had no desire to renew, but neither was I quite ready to say goodbye to my life in New York and head west, so Step One for me was moving out of my apartment and in with a friend whom I've known since our first day of college. 

For the past several weeks I've been preparing for the move: shredding old papers, wheeling donations to the Goodwill in my grannycart, reserving a storage space, packing, blah blah blah.  Rhinebeck, a wedding and a trip to Oregon all happened while I was trying to TC all of this B, but it worked out.  It's been all-consuming, and I've done very little socializing (or knitting) these last 10 days, but It's done. Step One was completed and I've moved (4 blocks away, but still).  

Oh, old apartment.  We've had some good times, you and I: the barbecues, the Marathon parties, the birthdays, the dinners, the cocktails.

My stuff!
I'll never forget you.