Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Quiet Day: Knitting Galeo

I have a day off today, and thought I would take the time to play with The Aussie's camera and get some photo practice in. Out of all the shots that I took of my Galeo hat, this one is my favorite. 

Still need to work a bit on camera shake. Maybe if I used the remote and tripod, the photo would be a bit sharper. 

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Almost There!

One of the great things about going to Rhinebeck is not only just meeting up with friends and putting faces to the Ravatars of the members in your Ravelry group, but also meeting up with new people and introducing yourself and the podcast to others who like podcasts, but have not heard of yours yet. 

In the week and a half since Rhinebeck, the community behind the Subway Knits Podcast group on Ravelry has grown and I want to celebrate that!

We are currently at 840 members and while our group is on the quieter side, it makes up for it in numbers and comments. 

So here is how it is going to work - part of me really, really hopes we make it to 1000 by the time the 4th anniversary of the podcast rolls around, which is December 30, 2014. 

So as a thank you, for every 50 new members there will be a prize  given at 850, 900, 950 and 1000 - plus a GRAND prize to celebrate our community making it to 1000. 

You need to be a member of the Ravelry group and to participate in the Member's Celebration thread by answering the discussion questions. The winners will be chosen by RNG from that thread. 

Also, I am going to include a chat thread with an AMA (Ask Me Anything), Reddit style - if you have any questions to ask about my thoughts on anything related to knitting, crafting, the podcast, blogging, ask away! The answers to the questions posed in the thread will be answered in the 4th Anniversary episode of the podcast. 

Stay tuned for prize updates! 
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Sunday, October 26, 2014

(Subway Knits Episode 70) Rhinebeck Uncut: 4 New Yorkers, A Texan and a Dog

It was an epic Rhinebeck
weekend as always - even made more epic by the fact that Laura came and stayed with me, The Aussie took amazing photos and was amazing and a wonderful husband because he drove us & Emily up, people were so lovely and saying hi at Rhinebeck (Laura's hair served as a homing beacon) and, and and!

Lots happened over the course of two days and it was so jam packed, my assistant principal told me she was surprised to see me on Tuesday (I was dead on my feet on Monday, so she assumed I was sick).

We got there early and  the line to go inside was already ridiculously long - so much for even trying to get a Jennie the Potter mug. 

It was a thought, but when Laura from KnitGirllls mentioned that people where there from 6:45 in the morning, it was a lost cause. 
Waiting outside for the gates to open. 
The weather was a bit iffy here and there - I really regretted not wearing my Cadence Pullover at least so I could have a backup Rhinebeck sweater, but it got warmer during the day and we enjoyed the gorgeous foliage. 

Of course, we were there to see the goods - this year I was on a bit of a budget, but also I am suffering a bit from stash overload.

I think the time has come where I am at a point with my stash - it has to be knit down. And until it is, no more yarn buying. I have enough yarn to get me through several sweaters and also tons of socks and other accessories.
That being said, looking at the goods is always a fun thing to do. 

Kim's Chuppah for her sister at the competition booth in the food hall. 
Laura and I had alot of fun running into people - there were so many! Off the top of my head we ran into several listeners (you know who you are!) spoke briefly with some dyers and companies that are friends of the blog and podcast (Long Island Livestock, Dragonfly Fibers & Bijou Basin Ranch, to start) and of course, all the podcasters. 
Laura, Me & the Stockinette Zombies
68 Episodes later, finally got to meet Laura (suddenexpression), aka moderator extraordinaire in person! 
At the meetup, we had a little bit of fun modeling our fresh knits that we finished for Rhinebeck. Laura and Emily had sweaters (a very modified Featherweight and Owls, respectively) and I got to wear Happy Street for the first time. I ended up only knitting 4 out of the 5 repeats of the strip set, but I was really glad I didn't go for the fifth. Firstly, I would have run out of time and secondly, it would have been way to big. I love big shawls to wear as scarves, but I have my limits. There is such a thing as too big. 

What I also love about Rhinebeck is getting up close and personal with the animals that contribute the fiber we use to make our Rhinebeck sweaters and shawls. We saw the famous nun with her cashmere goat, and got to know more about sheep and how they are auctioned off. 

Of course, it wouldn't be Rhinebeck without the amazing frisbee dogs and the adorable border collies. The Aussie actually put his name down on the list for a future litter of border collie puppies! 
As for the swag, I shared it on Kim's upload of the podcast we did with Laura, Kristin and Dana - as I mentioned before, my stash enhancements were tiny, but mighty. 

I'll elaborate more in another post, but in the meantime, how was your Rhinebeck 2014? Share links to other roundups and blog posts about the event in the comments below, as well as the swag!

Here's to Rhinebeck 2015!

Psst...the audio for our epic Rhinebeck video podcast is up! Listen here for Episode 70, and subscribe here and here.

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Subway Knits Episode 69: Rhinebeck 2014

On the Needles
Happy Street is finished! 
I cast on Galeo using the Jones & Vandermeer Camel yarn from Gauge x Tension; trying to eek it out of 1 skein, so only did 1.5" of ribbing. 

Knitting Finds
Craftsy wrote an article on how to get out of a rut, which often happens to me. 

If you love the classic, "All American"/New Englander/Preppy look like I do, check out the patterns that Swans Island published recently featuring their All American Collection worsted weight yarn. 

Rhinebeck 2014: check out my photo roundup here and Kim's upload of our 4 New Yorkers, A Texan and a Dog podcast. I will also upload the audio version of the podcast to my feed for the audio listeners. 

Review (color palette, formatting visually appealing, patterns easy to read
A Head for Trouble What to Knit While Chasing Crooks, Chasing Clues and Solving Murders by Julie Turjoman Paperback is $26.95, the e-book is $19.95 and the paperback/e-book combo is $46.90.
A wonderful collection of 20 accessories inspired by the 1920s and fictional female detectives. When I saw this, I immediately thought of Agatha Christie and Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. Definitely worth a look for the hats alone, especially if you love cloches. 

The cover page says Volume 1, so that means there is definitely more to come! If you like the fashion of Downton Abbey, especially now that Season 5 is firmly set in the 1920s, The Great Gatsby or Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, this is the book for you. I had a lot of fun looking through it! 

Anyone who pre-orders the print copy and e-book combo by October 31 will receive the bonus e-book collection called A Head for Fashion.

In addition, Julie was kind enough to offer a copy as a giveaway! Take a look at the patterns and see which lady detective's hat and accessories set you would like to knit up the most. Place your choice in the comments below, and don't forget your Ravelry ID.

Thanks for listening!
Closing Song: "Feel the Same Way" by Poema

Listen here, and subscribe here and here.
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Friday, October 17, 2014

Taking to the Roads, Halls and Guillotines: Exploring the Reasons Behind and the History of Knitting in Public (Part III)

Now for the final part of this mini-series. Hope you enjoyed it! 
Missed Parts I and II? Find them here and here, respectively. 

“Then she glanced in a casual manner
round the wine-shop, took up her knitting
with great apparent calmness and repose of spirit,
and became absorbed in it” (Dickens).

One of the most notorious women to ever take knitting out of the domestic sphere and use it in the public sphere for political purposes was Madame Defarge, of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. Madame Defarge first appears in the novel knitting in her husband’s wine-shop, but the knitting takes on a more morbid purpose. An ardent revolutionary, she encodes the names of the Evrèmonde family into her work as part of her revenge for crimes committed against her family years before. 

Madame Defarge is a fictional representation of the tricoteuse, the ‘knitter’ who would knit while listening along to the Assembly debates (Godineau, XIX). Tricoteuses, while considered violent, was an example of how women pushed boundaries and attempted to find their own place in the public sphere. Knitting was often a domestic chore and women were often relegated to the home; during the Revolution, many women found themselves outside their homes and taking part in debates, be it by their presence alone. And the knitting came with them. 


‘“As I had no stockings and my boots were not a perfect

fit, my feet became very sore”’ (Macdonald, 97). 


During the American Civil War (1861-1865), soldiers wrote home requesting vast amounts of socks and other handknit items. The North responded by organizing various Aid Society meetings, which also served as a space for promoting some sense of normalcy during this time (Macdonald, 100-101). These meetings were publicised in the local papers and helped promote the goal of the workers by word of mouth. 

Today, many knitting groups get together and knit for a charity; with the creation of sites such as ravelry and Twitter, the word about the charity knitting spreads faster and has wider outreach.

Thanks to social networking and modern technology, knitters and crafters are able to coordinate events for WWKIP all over the world. After the events of WWKIP end, they continue knitting in public by coordinating future meetings. WWKIP may have helped many knitters who never tried knitting in public do so for the first time and embrace it enthusiastically in a positive and encouraging way.

Knitting in public, and its reasons for doing so owes its debt to not just those mentioned above, but to other instances beyond the scope of this article that paved the way for today’s generation of knitters. WWKIP grew initially from just 25 locations in 2005 to over 751 by 2009, demonstrating that knitting in public is gaining in popularity, which is in part thanks to the volunteers that enthusiastically encourage and organize these events. 

Over time, the reasons for knitting in public have stayed the same but also have changed. During the Civil War, knitters in the South were praised for their work and memorialised; today, many knitters state that we knit in public so that we can break stereotypes. 

Knitting, while at times can be solitary and help pass the time be it in the covered wagon or the subway platform, is still a social activity which helps people get together and form close bonds and help promote a cause and a purpose.

Works Cited

Dickens, Charles. A Tale of Two Cities. Project Gutenberg eBook. 2012. Web.

Godineau, Dominique. The Women of Paris and Their French Revolution. Trans. Katherine

Streip. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998.

Macdonald, Anne L. No Idle Hands: A Social History of American Knitting. New York:

Ballantine Books, 1988.

World Wide Knit in Public Day. 2011. Web.

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

French Inspired: Playing Interior Designer with Chairish

Desks and chairs are on the brain as of late for a few reasons: one, I am turning 30 in December and I am thinking of getting myself a super special present of either a desk from West Elm as my first real piece of "grown up furniture" or to walk into Tiffany and Co. on 5th Avenue after work and get myself a piece of jewelry. 
Danish Teak

Both make a statement, which pretty much boils down to that as I am turning 30, I am at a point in my life where yes, I can go and walk into one of these stores and get it. For myself. Kinda like how Beyoncé sang "Independent Women" when Destiny's Child was still around. 

Secondly, I am leaning more towards the desk, as the lovely people over at Chairishan exclusive curator approved, online marketplace for vintage furniture, sent over some photos of accent chairs to take a look at and design a storyboard around it.

I was so torn between the Butterfly Wingback, Danish Teak Lounge and Coco Chanel chair! 

Both of the chairs above would look great in a corner of my living room, but just a corner on its own. 
Butterfly Wingback

In the end I went with the Coco Chanel - the name certainly helped, and much like the other time I talked about interior design, I still need to consider a few things such as living in a New York City apartment and having pieces that are great to look at, but also have a lot of functionality.

Since I am a teacher, I do spend a lot of time at a desk. And I want my "office" space to be inspiring, motivating and also reflects who I am as a person. 

Currently, I am looking for a desk that looks sleek and takes up minimal space, but also has storage. This is why I love the desks at West Elm - they definitely fulfill my needs and are also designed with smaller spaces in mind.

The Coco Chanel chair is a feminine chair, and has a lot of flourishes that make it a standout piece; the hot pink velvet really amps up the wow factor. This is why I went with the Parsons Desk since it is simple and sleek and allows the chair to be the focal point of the office space. 
Clockwise from Top Left:
Marie Antoinette Print - Rifle Paper Co. * Monogram Mug - Anthropologie * Lucite Tray - Pencil Shavings Studio (similar) *  Shelf: IKEA                         Parsons Desk - West Elm * Lamp - West Elm * Agenda - Kate Spade

I cannot work anywhere without several desktop essentials: my 2015 Kate Spade agenda is my one-stop place for work related events (IEP meetings, after school events, field trips, tests) and also serves as my social calendar (Lorde concert!). 

The lucite tray helps catch the odds and ends like paper clips and post it notes - I love the ones that are from Pencil Shavings Studio. A monogramed mug, like this one from Anthropologie keeps my pens and pencils in order. 

For a bit of fun and whimsy, I selected the Marie Antoinette print from Rifle Paper Co. - the flowers in the print coordinate with the peonies in the glass vase, which would be placed on the right side of the desk, with the mug and lucite tray on the left. 

When I saw that print, I immediately thought it would go perfect with the chair and be a bit tongue-in-cheek: who else could be better paired with Coco Chanel than an equally fashionable French lady? 

Underneath the print is one of my favorite, yet so simple and unassuming pieces of furniture: IKEA Ribba shelves. They are simple photo shelves so that you can put frames on, or some small random knicknacks, like my collection of Japanese omikuji figurines. 

Which chair would you choose: Butterfly Velvet, Danish teak, or the Coco Chanel? Where would you see these chairs in your home? Also - West Elm desk, or Tiffany bracelet (or earrings)?  Can't decide! 
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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A New York Love Story: Anniversary Brunch at the Rainbow Room

A (not so) long time ago, and in a place (not) very far away, a newly engaged couple had a small pipe dream: to have their wedding at the Rainbow Room.
You see, the couple worked together in the Diamond District during college, and as the Diamond District is rightnextdoor to Rockefeller Center, they longed to be one of those glamorous couples heading up into the sky to dance the night away at a New York landmark.  
 Alas, due to not only the Rainbow Room being way out of budget (as was the Vera Wang dream dress), but also the Rainbow Room closed during the years of their engagement. 

A different venue, a different dress, several job changes, two promotions and five years later, the boy was able to pull a few strings and get the girl reservations for a classic New York Sunday brunch on top of the world, just 4 days after the Rainbow Room reopened.
The boy originally planned it to be a surprise. She was able to learn about it from him and completely panicked - what DOES one wear to the Rainbow Room on a Sunday morning? Nothing in the closet worked! Off to online shop.

Five dresses, multiple online stores, two brick and mortar stores and a huge online order later, she found the dress. 
The food was delicious and varied, and the live music was excellent. Definitely fit the description of a classic New York City brunch, and one to be remembered for a long time. 
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Taking to the Roads, Halls and Guillotines: Exploring the Reasons Behind and the History of Knitting in Public (Part II)

Part I can be found here
‘“Dusty days were knit into those socks,
and long drowsy days on the train trailing west,
ever west, to meet the sea”’ (Macdonald, 70).

During the period of westward expansion and pioneering in the United States (first half of the nineteenth century), pioneer women were still expected to fulfill their domestic roles on the trail, which in their eyes included knitting. Wagons that were filled with only “absolutely essential” supplies almost always included a favorite knitting or rocking chair, to be used when stopping for a break in the evenings (Macdonald, 73). 

Women were a minority on the trail; they carried their handwork with them as they walked, and went between each other’s wagons to socialise as they searched for companionship on the trail similar to that of what they left behind at their old homes. In essence, these women created impromptu knitting circles on the move.

Not only companionship drove these women to knit, but also as a means to pass the time and to save time. Today, many people state how they knit while commuting to work on the bus or the subway, or at the doctor’s office when waiting for an appointment. While a solitary activity during that particular moment, it does count as knitting in public. 

Pioneer women would knit after the chores of the day were completed and there was a lull between chores and bedtime. Others would knit while riding in the wagon and not visiting their friends, since ‘the slow gait of the oxen made this possible’ (Macdonald, 77). Here, we have the prototype of knitting while riding in the passenger seat of a car while on a long road trip.

‘“Let the Knitting Needle be your Delight
and Wheels and Needles be the Fair
One’s Theme!”’ (Macdonald, 29).

Gathering together and knitting in public also served various political purposes during times of need. During the American Colonial period, Britain decreed that the American colonies would only purchase their textiles and cloth from England. 

Colonists responded with a resounding cry, which was demonstrated through enthusiastic “spinning bees” that also involved knitting (Macdonald, 28). These bees became so widespread that they became enthusiastic competitions.

 Here, knitting in public is used as a means to knit for a cause, which was the promotion of American homespun and textiles, and protest against British colonial policy. Furthermore, spinning and knitting in public at these bees in response to the policy gave women a voice in politics, albeit in a domestic context.

To be continued...
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Monday, October 13, 2014

Popping Up in Brooklyn: Gauge X Tension by Michelle Wang

This last weekend was the annual New York City Yarn Crawl (hope you found my Brooklyn guide useful!) and while I did not have any time in my schedule to make it to any of the LYS', I was able to check out the Gauge X Tension pop-up in Greenpoint last weekend when it opened it's doors. 

I met up with Lisa from Indie Untangled (psst...trunk show this Friday to kick off Rhinebeck) and we had a lovely afternoon chatting with Michelle Wang, the brains behind the pop up (and behind so many amazing patterns - ALMOST done with Slade) and checking out the yarn. 

When I go into a yarn shop for the first time, especially when I am traveling I always ask about what is either new to the shop, or local to the area. 

GxT has an AMAZING selection of yarn, some of which I knew about and coveted from afar, and some I never even heard of: Sleep Season, Western Sky Knits, Tanis Fiber Arts, Julie Asselin, to name a few. I want to dive head first into the yarn that GxT carries.

Given that Rhinebeck was coming up and I knew I could go back to the pop-up at the very end, I held back. 

A bit. 

For me, it was something totally new that totally caught my senses: Jones and Vandermeer 100% Baby Camel Yarn in the colorway Poppy. I tried on the Galeo sample, and immediately fell in love. I had to buy the yarn, AND the pattern. 
After exploring the J&V website a bit, I feel like when it comes to yarn and travel we share the same ideas: "We're globetrotters on the hunt for curious handknitting yarns, fabrics, notions and other crafting materials.  And sometimes, we come across something that doesn't fit any of those categories but really is worth writing home about, or in our case, stuffing into our suitcase. It makes us say, “how curious!” all over again." 
This was definitely the case when I was in Greece this past summer - of course I was on the lookout for yarn, but came home with things I never would have imagined: vintage scarf from Uzbekistan, coral and gold bracelet handmade in Santorini (I'm wearing it in the photo above with my watch), and an antique style brass coffee grinder, for example. 

With that kind of ethos, I want to go on an adventure trip with the people behind Jones & Vandermeer. 

Lisa and I had lunch at Five Leaves (worth the wait!) and ice cream at Van Leeuwen (Earl Grey Ice Cream!) and before I knew it, Kristin from Yarngasm/Voolenvine Yarns came by Van Leeuwen to meet with me and walk back to GxT; we had a launch party to go to! 
There was much prosecco and cheese to be had. Kim from Craftstash came along  later, and then we had a late dinner at the Manhattan Inn, which had a live piano player. But first, we came across some kilts. Needless to say, it was definitely #kiltmeNOT.  
I really hope that GxT is something that happens again in the future or even becomes a permanent fixture on the NYC LYS scene; I could definitely see  GxT filling in the void of LYS' in Northwest Brooklyn/Western Queens.  I'm already looking forward to going back again before it closes. 
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