Thursday, July 24, 2014

Outlander Knit-A-Long

If you have been living under a rock, then you are missing the fact that OUTLANDER is coming to Starz on August 9. 
EVERYONE in the knitting community is going gaga - Bijou Basin has their Outlandish Colors and doing the #countdowntoOutlandar, Stitched by JessaLu is creating an Outlander themed bag, and myself, Jasmin/Gigi, Kristin and C.C. are generally sharing every post we find on twitter and Facebook with one another, giggling at Sam Heughan's hotness and hashtagging anything Outlander related with #relevant. 
Source: Bijou Basin Ranch. Check out their Outlandish colors sale!
Source: Instagram
What better way to create even more fun, giggling and general crazy than having an Outlander Knit-Along? 
Here is how it is going to work: 

It starts now! Knit something inspired by the show. I am knitting Magrathea by Martina Behm in a gorgeous skein of Handmaiden Sea Silk in greens and browns that remind me of the Scottish Highlands. 

This is an Instagram-based KAL - post your FO (modeled with Pocket Jamie optional) onto Instagram and please make note of your Ravelry name if it is different from your Instagram name. 

Don't forget to hashtag it with #countdowntooutlander and #outlanderkal.

Prizes will be drawn at two points: first at the end of September after the mid-season hiatus, and then at the end of the first season in 2015. Keep on knitting during the whole time! 
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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Road to Rhinebeck: An Interview with Berry Colorful Yarnings

This week's edition of In the Conductor's Booth is also the start of our summer series, The Road to Rhinebeck. Last week, I sat down with Michelle of Berry Colorful Yarnings (also at Big Cartel) and had a great time chatting about dyeing and among other things, self-striping yarn. 
Here are some of the things we chatted about: 
Mardi Gras Self-Striping Yarn

We have a giveaway for three skeins of self-striping yarn! The giveaway will run from now until September 1. To enter the giveaway, answer the following question in the comments below: what pattern would you knit (other than socks!) with a self-striping yarn?

Remember to include your Ravelry name in the comments so I can contact you.

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

Listen here, and subscribe here and here.
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Monday, July 21, 2014

Summer Series: The Road to Rhinebeck

I am leaving for Greece today, and in the meantime,  I have a Summer series planned for the blog, called "The Road to Rhinebeck." Everyone is starting to plan out their Rhinebeck weekend, and this year, the preparation and anticipation started the minute last year's Rhinebeck ended, especially with how I was able to get to Rhinebeck last year!

This year promises to be one of the most epic Rhinebeck weekends ever: first, Laura from Gynx Yarns/Dyer's Notebook is coming and staying with me (HOORAY!) and of course there will be meetups planned, and sweaters that everyone is already starting to talk about and knit.

Whenever I can, I will also talk about the progress I'm making in knitting my Rhinebeck sweater: Nevelson Lace Pullover by Amy Christoffers (from New American Knits), in Jill Draper Makes Stuff Mohonk, colorway Deerskin Jacket.

In addition, there is going to be a bit of a twist. While I am away, there are going to be several blog posts reviewing amazing books scheduled, as well as a few interviews that are both on the blog and in the podcast.

Many of the interviews feature indie dyers, designers and other members of the fiber community that have played a role in my Rhinebeck experiences, or are part of a trunk show that is being organized by Indie Untangled, which is an amazing resource for finding out about new dyers, accessories makers and fiber artists, and to learn about the people who make the amazing things that we use everyday.
The trunk show will be held at the Garden Plaza Hotel in Kingston, NY on October 17 and several of the artisans featured on Indie Untangled will be showcasing their items there. It's definitely a great opportunity to check out some new vendors in person, in addition to those who are vending at the NYS Sheep & Wool.

Stay tuned for some great discussions, coupon codes and giveaways! Have a great summer, and I will see you in August.
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Saturday, July 19, 2014

DIY: Patriotic Cupcake Toppers

On Memorial Day, I co-hosted with my parents and Little Sister our second annual "Friends and Family BBQ." What started as a way to BBQ for my and my sister's friends, with my parents graciously hosting, as they love these things and they like our friends, turned into a huge extravaganza with their friends, and my in-laws for a total of about 50 people. 

Our leftovers had leftovers. I still have leftovers from the cupcakes I made this weekend, which is the focus of this post's DIY. 

If you have been reading the blog long enough, you know that I am not the best of cooks. That is The Aussie's purview. I recently got into the America's Test Kitchen cookbook series (thank you, Jasmin) and decided I wanted to make cupcakes.

From scratch. With homemade vanilla frosting. It cannot get any more classic than chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting on a warm summer day. 

Still, I wanted to jazz things up a bit and decided to make my own cupcake toppers. It takes a bit of patience and nimble fingers, but it turned out really nice! 

Here is what you need (I purchased everything from Michael's): 

~1 hole punch in the shape of your choice (I got a star shaped one)
~1 piece of cardstock in the color of your choice (I purchased red, navy and gold polkadot   brown paper for some variety).
~Toothpicks (the number depends on how many cupcakes you want to make, I used 24)
~Glue stick.

And this is how to do it: 
Use your hole punch to punch out DOUBLE the number of shapes you need. I made 24 cupcakes, so I needed 48 stars. Since I am the type to want everything in even groups, that meant 16 stars in each of my colors for 8 cupcakes in red, blue and gold dot respectively. 
Using the glue stick, place glue on one side of the star and center your toothpick. 
Place glue on the other shape and put on top of first shape and toothpick. Pinch the sides around the toothpick; what I did was I used two more on either side and pressed down, then flipped the topper over and did it again to make it even. Use your fingers to center the shapes on top of one another as needed. 

Enjoy your cupcake toppers! I definitely plan to do this again (Christmas themed stars, anyone?) and love that it was quick and easy. Once I got into a rhythm, it took less than one episode of The Tonight Show to finish them all off.  

How would you use the star toppers and for what holiday? 
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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Armchair Travel KAL

Want to come along and travel to Greece with me? 
 Knit a pattern or use a yarn to knit something inspired by Greece while I share the places I go and explore over the next two months. 


Time Frame: July 14 - September 2.

WIPs: If you have a WIP that was started on or after June 26, I will allow it for entry into the giveaway (since June 26 is the start of the school holidays for New York City). 

Requirements: Knit a pattern or with a yarn that is inspired that is inspired by a picture of Greece. Post your FO, picture and explanation in the FOs thread. 

Ideas: Beaches, monasteries, landmarks (Acropolis, White Tower in Thessaloniki, Temple of Poseidon), ocean - anything is possible! 

Don't forget: use the hashtag #armtravelKAL to tag your photos in social media and to link your project in Ravelry.

Double Dipping: Allowed! The point is to have fun. If a project for one KAL works for this one, go for it. 


Grand Prize: 1 Skein of Myth donated by Kristin of Voolenvine Yarns: 80/10/10 Merino Cashmere Nylon in Fingering Weight, 400 yds, and a few goodies from Greece! 
1 Skein of Zealana  Willow in Blueberry donated by Stitch Craft/Yarnsisters: 70/30 Merino Cashmere, DK, 280 yards.

And more TBD! Stay tuned. 

Have fun! On July 14, Chat and FOs threads will be open. 
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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Subway Knits Episode 66: Milestone

We made it to 100,000 downloads of the show! 
Hooray, and thank you! 
Off the Needles
Totoro Hat
On the Needles
Stash Dash - bet with Jasmin of Knitmore Girls
We watched baby Sam Heughan in "A Princess for Christmas" (soooo bad its sooo good).
Rhinebeck Sweater: Nevelson Pullover by Amy Christoffers, out of Jill Draper Makes Stuff  Mohonk in Deerskin Jacket.

Spin Right Round
Working on Loop Batt. Decided to definitely do a Navajo-Ply.
Tour de Fleece and Team Sasquatch

Knitting Finds
Women of Final Fantasy Yarn Club by Gynx Yarns - my first skein was Aerith from Final Fantasy 7, and my second is Eiko from Final Fantasy 9.
Old Hand Knitters of the Dales, published by Cooperative Press
Debbie Bliss has some wonderful knitting-related home items and accessories - the Harris Tweed project bag and the Knit One Brew One Mug are my favorites.

New Vintage Lace by Andrea Jurgrau. Published by Interweave Press. $24.99 US, $27.99 CAN.

Thanks for listening!
Closing Song: "Thalassa" by Elena Paparizou

Listen here, and subscribe here and here.
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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Subway Knits Episode 65 : 5 Weeks, 1 Carryon

Off the Needles
Libration Cowl for #iknitNYC - deadline extended to July 31, so there is still plenty of time! (insert 

On the Needles
Happy Streets by Veera Valimaki - Creatively Dyed Sami in Forest, Bijou Basin Yak Yarn and Sanguine Gryphon Eidos in Bacchic.

Spin Right Round
Tour de Fleece and Team Sasquatch

Knitting Finds
A real Yellow Submarine
Stitch Craft Ravelry Group

Knitting Travels
GREECE!!! Hence the music throughout the show, and in the next episodes to come.

I am going to try and eek out at least three more podcasts before I leave, and I have a few interviews scheduled to go out while I am away as well as a Summer Review Series. I plan to record on the go but not upload, UNLESS The Aussie lets me use his laptop; we are not sure if we are bringing it yet, since it all depends on how he wants to store the photos while on the go.

Amy Christoffer's New American Knits, published by Interweave Press. US $24.99, CAD $27.99
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Go get this book. I love the patterns and the aesthetic and story that Amy is displaying throughout the book.

Thanks for listening!
Closing Song: "Radevou Paralia" by Eleni Foureira

Listen here, and subscribe here and here.

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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Aaaaand, We're Back

You know how sometimes people say, "life can really run away from you sometimes"? 

Well for me that definitely was the case these past two months, hence the blog and podcast silence. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I finally got proper chalkboard markers and found a use for them: 
And that was just May. The "Notes" section was in case other things popped up! We were booked for every weekend at least on Saturday and sometimes Saturday AND Sunday. 

Combined with the fact that I was in charge of Senior Week and Blackline testing (for students who didn't pass the state exams) at work, and June ended up being pretty busy on the weekends, I ended up coming home and napping most of the time. Naps are glorious. I'm probably catching up on the times I refused to take a nap as a toddler. 

Now that summer vacation started, I am free free free for the next 10 weeks! Which sounds a lot better than 67 days n my opinion. I have a lot of blog posts planned - both as a bit of catchup, and some fun style and knitting related posts as well. I will also try and blog while I am in Greece, which may be a bit tricky given that I only plan to bring the iPad with me. 

Here's to a fun Summer! What are your plans for the next 10 weeks? 
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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Stylish Reflections from One King's Lane

Ever since I started Operation Redecorate last summer, I was always on the lookout for a mirror to add a bit of punch to the walls of my apartment. Interior decorators say that using mirrors helps make a small space seem bigger, which is definitely key for our apartment! 

These days, it seems like I accumulated a lot of stuff; one of the things I am doing is every time The Aussie and I do our bi-weekly deep clean of the apartment, I go through my things and recycle or donate a few things. 

That being said, while having a mirror means accumulating more stuff, one can always dream and plan for a bigger apartment, or even a house. The lovely people over at One King's Lane got in touch with me to design my own dream vanity with a mirror as the centerpiece. 

To me, a vanity is such a luxury! The closest thing I have to a vanity at the moment is my hacked IKEA desk (though I feel the need for a new hack, and pass this one along to The Aussie). 

When I saw the Line Mirror, I knew that was the perfect mirror for me - I love the wood surrounding the simple round shape and the curves give the mirror visual interest. The wood frame inspired to me to keep things sleek and simple with a bit of rustic sophistication and some pops of color. 
Rustic simplicity, with pops of color. 

I decided to go with a console for the vanity table itself as opposed to a desk for several reasons: first, I wanted to imagine this vanity in my apartment so it needed to fit somewhere in my living room. There is a wall where my husband's bike is currently mounted on; in a perfect world, I would put the mirror there and the console table underneath. 

The Liv Console can serve as a vanity with the addition of the Kira Armchair; I had such a hard time picking which color for the chair because the Kira series had a lot of options! I decided to stick with coral since it is one of my favorite colors, and is a nice compliment to our walls, which are currently navy blue.  

When we have our dinner parties, the console table can then turn into a bar, or a buffet, and the chair becomes extra seating for our guests. It's all about multitasking and finding as many uses for a piece of furniture. 

The accessories would be minimal; I would also add some of my own personal accessories that I would put on the vanity that can easily be moved when needed and can also serve as a compliment to the accessories One King's Lane has on offer. 
Overseas vintage finds.
The Japanese doll is an antique I purchased in Oxford when I studied abroad in London and the box is an antique paulownia box from the 1920s that I purchased when I lived in Japan. It used to hold medicine; now I use it as a jewelry box. 

I added the Hadley book boxes because since this is a vanity, I would need a space to store my makeup, and these boxes provide a complimentary pop of color, but also a subtle way to store the things I need. I would put these next to the Tall Mod table lamp; like the console, the lamp is slim. 

In the boxes, you would find some of my beauty essentials: Korres Pomegranate Moisturizer, and almost anything from Bobbi Brown. I use the Tinted Moisturizer, Corrector and Concealer and Sheer Finish Loose Powder. For a bit of color, I dust on the Blush in Desert Rose, and use Sephora's It Girl Lipstick (staying in the lines using Bobbi Brown's Lipliner) with a coat of the always classic Maybelline Mascara. 
Make-up must haves; need to restock for Greece! 
After a  quick look in the mirror, I'm ready to head on out! Check out One King's Lane for more inspiration to help you create your own dream vanity. What would your dream vanity consist of? 
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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Off to the (Wine) Country: Long Island Fleece and Fiber Fair

Last weekend was the Long Island Fleece and Fiber Fair (I like to call it LIFF for short); I hosted the bus from NYC to Riverhead again, and had such a great time! 

What is great about LIFF is that while its a small festival in terms of vendor size, it's large on activities and demonstrations. If you ever are the type that wants to go to MS&W or Rhinebeck and you end up missing out on demos because you are shopping (which is TOTALLY fine by me, I do it all the time), LIFF is the place where you can get the shopping done and also have the chance to see the demos as well. 

Dana and I were at first a bit disappointed in that the bunnies weren't there this year, there was definitely something to make up for it! If you follow Long Island Livestock on Facebook, you know that Tabetthia recently adopted a baby pig, named Piggety. 
L: Piggety, R: Pansy. 
He is ADORABLE. Pansy is sweet too, but Piggety is younger and therefore more active. Pansy is a bit of a chill diva.  
It was fun seeing the llamas; I remember when I went out to the open house last summer and Kareena was just born; she is the llama on the far right below. I also got a question that I was wondering about finally answered - llamas always have a patch of their coat unshaved because it serves as a "sample"  of their fiber for when they are taken to competitions. Later on in the day, we got to see Tabbethia shear one of the llamas and learn more about the difference between shearing a llama and shearing a sheep. 
The real highlight this year was touring the homestead, which I did not get to do last year. We walked in the Hallock family house and got to see what it was like up until 1979, when the final family member left; now it serves as a museum.  
This is a sampler that one of the Hallock daughters made chronicling the births in the family. 
Bedroom in the Hallock house. Love the Singer machine. 
After the tour, we headed for lunch, which was similar to last year but I think definitely an improvement. I think the lack of a line really helped as well as more seating; Dana and I were able to sit in the sun a bit and enjoy the weather, even though it was a bit windy!

I wore my Larch Cardigan that day and over lunch, I came to a sudden realization: if I want a new Rhinebeck sweater done in time, I need to start knitting one as of yesterday. We all know how slow I knit and on top of that we have Greece. I am not knitting a sweater in Greece. It's going to be HOT. And there will be no air conditioning at some points during the trip. 
As part of the tickets on the bus, riders got some goodies - one of the best ones was a free "Flight" tasting at Martha Clara Vineyards across the street. Dana and I got to try three wines and each sample was quite generous! The vineyard is also dog friendly and you can picnic on the grounds; I definitely want to go back and do a day trip in Long Island Wine country during the summer. 
 Now for the haul! 

Compared to last year, I did not purchase that much yarn and no fiber at all. If it weren't for Fiddle Knits (where I got the two mini gradient skeins and the full skein of sock yarn below) I would have walked away essentially empty handed. Alas, I did not.  
Dana compared Fae Mist (the skein on the top right) to Monet's lilies, and I saw that the gradients are definitely reminiscent of Van Gogh's Starry Night. Those will definitely become socks. Fae Mist is going to be some kind of cowl or skinny scarf. Maybe a pretty pair of socks. The tote bag was part of our goody bag for going on the bus. 
The fabric is vintage, purchased from the antiques shop at the Hallock Museum. I have something planned up my sleeve for Memorial Day/Fourth of July and when I saw the fabric, I knew that it was perfect. I am very much looking forward to going to LIFF again next year, and cannot WAIT for Rhinebeck. It's going to be epic. 
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