Frogging, Dancing, Riding and a Little Knitting in Between

This weekend wasn't what I planned, but it was nice just the same.

Friday was a bust. Lynn came over to help me figure out to how to use my sewing machine and the machine didn't work. I am not sure why, because I haven't "used" the thing in months. If I touched it 10 times, that would be a lot.

I have this dream of learning how to use a sewing machine, but for some reason the dream isn't becoming a reality. The first person who was teaching me how to sew is no longer giving private lessons and now the machine is broken. I am not sure if it is worth getting it fixed, because it is a mini machine and might cost more to get it fixed than it is worth.

Friday night I just chillaxed in the house, because my evening plans didn't work out, so I worked on the BSJ and watched the 20/20 Michael Jackson special. Bad combination! I was paying more attention to the TV, than my knitting and had to frog it. UGH! UGH! I had 9 rows done. Something told me to put a lifeline in before I started row 1o, but of course I didn't listen to myself. So now Baby Legall's BSJ is just a bunch of pretty pink and
purple yarn on my futon. :(

Saturday was a better day. Ran some errands. Rode the B23 bus (for the last time) and then hopped on the B67. I got some great public transportation knitting in . Then later that night I went to a Michael Jackson tribute party and danced with Joe and Cheddie. I am not sure if anyone would call what I do dancing, but I jiggled my big butt, moved my feet in two general directions, clapped my hands, fist pumped and sang. Awesome party! Keita and DJ Spinna really know how to throw a party.

If you are a MJ fan. Click here for a little treat. I made this mix a couple of days after his death. Hope you enjoy it.

Today is super hot and my foot is hurting from all of the "dancing", so today definitely didn't go as planned. I was going to go out to either to dance to some more MJ tunes or go to gay pride, but I thought I was going to melt if I did either of those things. So I joined Amanda at the laundromat.

Besides the fact that my bedroom smelled like a dirty laundry basket, please tell me why I decided to go to the laundromat on the hottest day ever? Unfortunately, I was not able to get some laundromat knitting in. Laundromats are another urban knitter venue. I am sure there will be posts on laundromat knitting soon.


Knitting Venue Closed

I wouldn't be much of an Urban Knitter if I never talked about my journeys on public transportation. As a New Yorker, I depend on the MTA for 99% of my transportation needs.

Most Urban Knitters do a great deal of knitting on public transportation. Public transportation is a great place to work on small knitting/crochet projects. I always feel so productive when I am able to work on a project on the train or bus. It is so much better to get a couple of rows done then just sit there and let the time slip away. There are a few draw backs to knitting on the train, but the productivity out weighs the draw backs in my book.

I hate the MTA! I hate them with a passion. They keep charging us more and more money and giving us less. The only thing we get more of is attitude and horrible service.

Tomorrow is going to be a hard day for New Yorkers. The massive service cuts that have been in the news for months are going into effect tomorrow. The Q train and the B23 bus (two of my favorite modes of transportation) are going to be greatly effected by the budget cuts.

The Q train is now going to Queens. UGH! Not that I have a problem with Queens. I just have a problem with my train going there. The thing I love most about the Q train is the first/the last stop is in the city. I knew if I went to 57th Street and 7th I would get a seat. Now that the Q train is going to Queens I will not be guaranteed that luxury.

I like to refer to the Q train as the crafty train, because there are so many knitters and crocheters on the train. I never seen a train line with so many crafters on it. I love looking around the subway seeing all of the people working on their projects. I love talking to the other crafters about their projects. I wonder if there are going to be less knitters/crocheters on the Q train, because there will be less seats available. I have a feeling I am going to knit less on the Q train. Unfortunately, I have not picked up the skill of knitting while standing up on a moving train. Maybe I should add that to my 2010 challenge, so I don't loose those extra minutes of knitting.

The B23 (my neighborhood bus) is being discontinued. I understand why this cut has been made, because the bus doesn't really go anywhere. It goes up and down Cortelyou Road and 16th Avenue and it doesn't have a lot of passengers, but I really like the B23. It is a great help to me when I go grocery/liquor shopping, it's raining, late at night, too hot or too cold.

During my hiatus from life I have been using the B23 a lot and I started taking longer trips on it. I have discovered how amazing this bus is. During my longer bus trips I have knitted on it. The B23 is the ideal bus to knit on, because there are not a lot of people on it, so I can spread out, and it is always air conditioned.

Goodbye B23. I am going to miss you!

I have some errands to run today, so I think I am going hop on it today and knit a little.

Why does the MTA have to screw up the good things?


R.I.P Michael Jackson

Just wanted to take a moment to send a little love to Michael Joseph Jackson.

MJ I love you! I can't believe a year has passed since you left this earth. Even though you are no longer here, your music will live on forever.

Thank you for the songs and the hours of dancing.

There will never be another talent like you!


My Meetup Day

Today, I spent most of my day knitting with groups that I found on Meetup.com. Meetup.com is a great site to find people who are interested in the same activities as you.

During my hiatus from the real world. I have attended a lot of meetup events. I love going to these events, because I meet nice people and get to see really amazing knit and crochet pieces. People are doing things that I can only dream of creating. A couple of weeks ago, I had a 15 minute conversation with a guy about how he is creating knitwear for knight/medieval costumes. (Yes medieval costumes. Crazy I know, but cool at the same time.)

Every time I leave an event I tell myself that I need to step up my knitting game. I really need to get my 2010 Knitting Challenge in full gear. No more simple projects. I need to bust out the
cables and the color knitting. I need to start making sweaters. Better yet why don't I make a sweater that incorporates color knitting and cables. (insert laugh track here)

Tony, the organizer of the Knit PH Group, needed a volunteer to facilitate today's afternoon session. (Today's session was the first afternoon event this group ever held.) Since I was available I volunteered.

The meetup was held at the
Lefferts Historic House in Prospect Park. I have walked passed this place a million times, but I have never been inside. This was an interesting place to hold a knitting meetup. The venue is a house museum displaying artifacts from the Lefferts family that lived there from 1785 - 1915. (While we were there an intern was setting up a textile installation. So we fit in perfectly.) The original house was on the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Maple Street. What I am trying to figure out is if the house was where 10 Maple Street is or where 11 Maple Street (my first apartment in Brooklyn).

Unfortunately the afternoon session was not very popular. It was just me and one other person, but I had a great time. Abbey was super sweet. She brought her 13 year old son. He was very nice too. Abbey and I spent the afternoon sitting under the covered porch knitting, chatting with each other and talking to museum visitors and staff who were curious about our projects. Her son spent the afternoon playing the piano in the park. (This summer the Parks Department has placed 60 pianos in different areas of the city. You can read more about this program here.)

I worked on Mr. Crawford's Scarf for a little while, but had to stop, because the wool was getting too hot and itchy, so I worked on Baby Legall's Jacket. Abbey worked on this.

After I left the Lefferts Historic House I hopped on the B41 bus and headed over to Park Slope to go to Hanco's Bubble Tea and Vietnamese Sandwich Shop to cool off, grab a bite to eat and send out my resume before the Park Slope Knitting Circle began.

I found the Park Slope Knitting Circle by accident. I had nothing to do one Saturday afternoon and took a walk down Smith Street and decided to visit La Casita to see what all of the raving was about. (I will tell you more about La Casita in another post, because I love this little shop and it deserves its own post.) When I walked into La Casita I saw a group of women sitting at the project table knitting. The leader invited me to sit and knit with them. After exploring the little store and meeting the owners I sat down and fell in love with the ladies of the group.

The group is run by this Russian spit fire named Olga. I love Olga, because she says what she means and means what she says. Every time I see Olga I am amazed by her knitting projects. She is so talented. She made her nephew a beautiful blue sweater. The amazing thing about this sweater is that she made it without a pattern. I could only dream of making my own sweater pattern. I also met Jackie. Jackie is so sweet. She is a bold new knitter. She is taking on knitting projects that I didn't do until I was knitting for at least a year. After meeting them that day, I knew it was a group that I wanted to be apart of.

Today's meetup was nice. There was a ton of people there. I didn't know any of them expect Olga. (Abbey joined us after eating dinner with her family.)

As usual I had great conversations and I was amazed by all of the things that people were working on. I did have a proud moment when some of the girls said that they couldn't figure out to how to make the Baby Surprise Jacket.
I think I would have been happier if I was actually working on my Baby Surprise Jacket. Since it was cool in Hanco's I worked on Mr. Crawford's scarf.

The best part about going to a meetup held at Hanco's is the food. OMG the sandwiches are amazing! Today I had a grilled chicken sandwich, 2 summer rolls and a decaf passion fruit bubble tea. The flavors in the grilled chicken sandwich are amazing! Everyone who eats there gets addicted. It is like crack. I really need to try other Vietnamese sandwich places to see if this place is really good or if I can find a better place.


Dear Mr. Kool - Aid Man,

Dear Mr. Kool-Aid Man,

I think I am in love with another. As much as I love your smiling round belly. I think it is time that I try another coloring method to dye my yarn with.

Mr. Kool-Aid Man, you and I have spent a couple of wonderful days together. I have enjoyed hunting you down, but my heart has been yearning for someone else. His name is Wilton. I discovered Wilton when I was researching how to use you. Wilton intrigued me, because the yarns that I saw online that he mixed with were so vibrant and rich.
I wasn't sure where to find Wilton at first. But I knew where to find you, so I tried you first. (Please do not think I settled with you. Because I didn't.)

So I picked you up, took you home and tried you out. I liked you. You gave me 6 wonderful little balls of joy, but I wanted more! I wanted something deeper and richer. Something that would make a statement. I think I we could have that together, but it would take some work.

Maybe I am lazy and didn't want to work that hard. So I tried Wilton and he gave me what I was looking for without all of the work. Sorry Mr. Kool-Aid Man. I still like you and I hope we can still be friends.

In a perfect world, I hope that I can figure out how to use you and Wilton together. I know it is possible, because I have seen photos of this. I hope you understand. I hope you are not too upset. I am sure that I am not the only one who has left you behind for Wilton.

Stay strong Mr. Kool-Aid Man. We will be together soon! I still have a ton of packets that I still need to use.


Blog Post - Hello Wilton's

Cheryl came over last week, because she wanted to try hand dyeing too. Figured it would be a good day to try the Wilton's Icing Coloring that I purchased a few weeks ago since I already made several balls using Kool-Aid.

Cheryl used Kool-Aid and made a hank of variegated pink yarn. Can't wait to see it.

I pulled out another roll of Lion Brand's Fisherman's Wool with brown specs and my box of 8 flavors of Wilton's and went to work. I used Wilton's Christmas Red, Lemon Yellow, Leaf Green and Sky Blue and made this awesome yarn. Not sure what I should name it. I used the dip method to make this yarn.

Because I was sharing the table with Cheryl I didn't have a enough room to spread out. Big mistake! You need a lot of room for this, because there was coloring on the table and on my hands when the yarn hit the coloring on the table it turned the yarn a brown/muddy color. At first, I was upset when I saw the skein after it dried. Now that the yarn has been balled, I love the brown hints in it.The brown didn't happen every where the colors blended together, because the places where the blue and the green touched made this peacock green/blue color. Very gorgeous!

I also love that fact that even though my hands were covered they weren't stained for days. After 2 or 3 washes my hands were clean.

I know I just wrote a Dear John letter to Mr. Kool-Aid about my new love. I just wanted to let you know that our love is not perfect. No love is. Our love is messy.
For some reason that I can not explain. I feel as if the Wilton is messier than the Kool-Aid. The only reason I can think of is that Wilton's is a gel and the Kool-Aid is a powder.

I also didn't have the muddy coloring with the Kool-Aid. Even though the muddy color worked this time, it may not work the next the time, so I have to be really careful when using Wilton's.

Pros of Wilton's Dye:

Vibrant Colors
Washes off the skin easily - color was off my hands after a couple of washes unlike Kool-Aid
Mixes will certain colors
Cover the yarn completely - no white is showing

Cons of Wilton's Dye:

Gets muddy
Very drippy

Lessons learned:
Don't let too many colors touch
Let two colors touch
Must use work alone
Have a ton of gloves

I have one final ball to dye and then I am done dyeing until I knit at least 3 more projects to get rid of my stash. This dye job may be a little different than the others, because the final ball is superwash merino wool (of course made by Lion Brand. I feel like all I have been using lately is Lion Brand yarn). I think I am going to dye this last ball this week. I am curious to see how it is comes out, because of the chemical that is on the yarn that makes it washable may have an amazing or yucky reaction with the dye.


2010 Challenge

I have been knitting for about 6 years. During this time I have made a lot of great things, but they have all been really simple or just things that I made up. So I decided that this year I would challenge myself. Trying things that I never done before or were afraid to do.

I am enjoying these challenges!

For years, I was terrified of making socks, so I made the first challenge socks. I gave to my friend Adrian.
The second challenge was Elizabeth Zimmerman's Baby Surprise Jacket. This was the first sweater that I ever made. It was easier than I thought.

Third challenge was hand dying.

The fourth challenge was an adult sized crochet blanket that I made for Amanda's 31st birthday. This was a challenge is because I am not a crocheter and I have never made a blanket for an adult. The blanket was just simple double crochets, but it was something I never could do correctly no matter how hard I tried. Even though the design was easy the blanket was hard work between the size and trying to make it right. It is not perfect (the edges are really crazy), but it is made by hand and with love. I hope she enjoys it.

Upcoming challenges:
Baby Surprise Jacket with stripes
Toe up socks
2 socks at one time
Color Knitting or Double Knitting

Fun Time with Kool Aid - Part Two

The other day my friend Suzy came over and we hand dyed yarn together with Kool-Aid. Since my original posting on dyeing yarn with Kool-Aid I have been on the hunt to find Kool-Aid packets. I am surprised how hard it is to find Kool-Aid packets that are not cherry, tropical punch, orange, grape and lemonade. Every time I went out I was compelled to go in every corner store and ask if they had Kool-Aid packets. My hunting was worth the time, because I was able to find amazing flavors. I was also able to find people on Ravelry who were willing to help the cause.

I was able to find the following flavors:

berry blue
ice blue raspberry lemonade
pink lemonade
blastin’ berry cherry
man-o-mango berry
slamin' strawberry kiwi
tropical punch
watermelon cherry
black cherry

kickin' kiwi lime

This time around I have more than just colors that are in the red family. I have blues, greens, yellows and oranges (of course I have tons of reds).

The last time I tried dyeing I used my crock pot and it gave the yarn a tie-dye effect.
This time I tried the dipping effect. That is when you dip the yarn in the dye. Below you will find a photo of the method I used when I was creating my Crayon Love yarn.

I loved and hated this method. I loved the way the yarn came out, but it is reallllllllly messy. We had Kool-Aid everywhere. On the floor, all over the table. Our hands and feet were stained. The scary thing was our hands were stained for days. The photo below is of my hand hours after we finished the process. Again I ask, why do people drink this stuff and what do their insides look like?

What I loved about the this method is the way the yarn looks. The colors are deeper and richer than the crock pot method, because you are putting the yarn directly in touch with coloring.

This time I used 1 skein of Lion Brand's Fisherman Yarn and 2 skeins of Lion Brand's Pure Wool.

I had to give the Fisherman's yarn a fair shot this time since I treated it so poorly the first time. The last time I used the plain cream yarn. This time I used the cream yarn with the brown specs, because I wanted to see how the brown specs would look with the dye.

I choose the Pure Wool because it was already hanked and super cheap ($4 per hank).

Buying yarn that is already hanked is a great idea, because it saves a lot of time. The only reason why I am a bigger fan of the large Fisherman's skein is because you get so much yarn verses the smaller hanks of yarn. If I could find a hank that was as large as the fisherman's skein, then I would buy that instead.

After creating the messy blob of a hank the last time I was determined to make a real hank this time. Suzy and I set up shop on my floor and figured out the best way to create the hank was by wrapping the yarn around the legs of the card table. It worked out really well. We created a beautiful hank, but it took a good 45 minutes to get that big skein into a nice hank, but I think it was worth it.

I definitely think this was a better experience then my first time, because I took the mistakes I made the last time and made sure I didn't repeat them again. :)

Lessons learned from this batch of dying:
Get a good pair of plastic gloves - kool-aid stains!
The card table is good for creating a hank
Use a table that you do not care about
Wrap the table in plastic wrap
Dipping is a good method for bright colors

Photos of the dyed yarn:
I named this one Hippy Tones

This was made in the crock pot - I used cherry, lemon-lime and blue raspberry lemonade kool-aid. This is Lion Brand's Pure Wool.

I named this yarn Hello Cherries!

I used the dipping method. It is hard to tell in this photo, but the yarn is different shades of red. I used the following Kool-Aid flavors watermelon cherry, jamaica, black cherry and blasting berry cherry. This was made with the Lion Brand's Pure Wool.

I named this yarn Crayon Love

This is the hank that Suzy and I created after it is has been dyed.

This was made with the Berry Blue, Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade, Black Cherry, Pineapple, Grape and Lemon-Lime Kool-Aid. I used Lion Brand's Fisherman's wool with brown specs.

All of the balls were balled at the
Lion Brand Yarn Studio in New York City.


Good Times with Kool Aid Follow Up

In my first posting, I posted a photo an orange blob of Lion Brand's Fisherman's yarn that I hand dyed hanging in my bathroom. My dear friend Suzy turned that blob into 3 balls. I can't wait to see them and knit them up.