Sunday, November 27, 2011

In the Conductor's Booth: An Interview with Lela Nargi

On a gorgeous fall day, I had the opportunity to interview Lela Nargi, who recently published Knitting Around the World. 
There will be a more detailed review in the next episode (which due to a trip to IKEA is delayed - but there is a knitting connection so you will hear about the trip) but I will say that it is an amazing book. Check it out.

We had a really great and thoughtful conversation about why people knit and once again, Japan and knitting makes a comeback. Before the interview, I explored Cobble Hill a bit and as an architecture buff, it was eye candy galore.

 
Speaking of knitting around the world: I would like to point out that I made a Subway Knits Listeners map, so please add yourself to it! I know there are a lot of listeners from many varied places around the globe and as someone who has wanderlust, would love to know where everyone is from. The link is also located on the "Where Are You Going, Where Are You From?" section on the right sidebar of the blog.

P.S. The holiday season is upon us, so that means all the closing songs from here until New Year will be holiday themed. I LOVE holiday music, especially contemporary takes on it.

Closing Song: "Carol of the Bells" by The Bird and the Bee

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Gobble, Gobble

What I am thankful for:

a happy, healthy family and friends
my cat
my job
my health

and of course, knitting and all the amazingness that has come from it - the podcast, the listeners and the crazy shenanigans that have ensued since I picked up the needles in August 2007.

Hoping to get 2 episodes out to you this holiday weekend (yay 4-day weekend!): a regular episode, and an interview that was supposed to be last week, but delayed due to craziness at work.
Source: Knit Turkey pattern on Ravelry
 
Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

In Which I Answer More Questions

I recently did a guest post as part of NaBloPoMo for Amy over on her blog. Check it out!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Episode 22: A Knitter Grows in Brooklyn

Off the Needles
We finally have an FO! Two of them actually, since I haven't really talked in much detail about the February Lady Sweater.
Another FO that I have is the Bramble Beret. It was such a slog to finish that thing because I made the mistake of knitting DK yarn with size 8 needles - never again.

On the Needles
I decided to knit through a PD (professional development) meeting that I had on the Saturday of the freak snowstorm that we had on October 30 - I brought the Dionysus socks and almost got done with the first sock.

I cast on for 2 projects even though I said to myself that I will not do so unless I finish all the projects in my PhD bin. In my defense, 1 project is due to necessity and another is a test knit. The necessity project is Bella Mitts from THAT movie and before anyone asks, no it's not because Breaking Dawn is coming out in theatres next week.

The test knit is actually a test knit of yarn - Roman Hills 4 ply worsted weight yarn which is called Gruber in Toasted Marshmallow. Its very wooly in feel but knitting up in the Snapdragon Tam pattern very nicely.


Knitting Travels
Last Sunday, I headed on over to Brooklyn General for a twitter knitter meetup: Kristin from Yarngasm as well as stitchmistress, knittingknoobie and riaknits were all tweeting about a meetup and lo and behold it happened! It did make me realize something - until I became a serious knitter, I never really went into Brooklyn, especially the northwest part. I only went into Bay Ridge for the in-laws and even then never really left.
Another knitting travel comes from my dad, who went to Greece for the first time since 1998 for three weeks. I sent him on a yarn mission in Thessaloniki to Noulikas, located at Vasileos Irakleiou 15, where he picked up some Maxi-Maxi from Mallia Molokotou which is a 100% wool yarn made in Greece. He even tried looking for yarn from his hometown but said via a phone call to my mom that it wasn't that great.


Knitting Finds
Kristin from the Yarngasm podcast has started up a new knitting blog called Knitnook and I had the honor of being the first interviewee! She focuses on new knitting patterns and etsy finds as well as interviews and I had alot of fun anwering the questions.

Another knitting find is Kate Davies' website and online knitting magazine, Textisles

Reviews
Thanks to the people at Potter Craft, I have The Knitter's Book of Socks by Clara Parkes of Knitter's Review to review this week for you. It retails for $30 USA and $34 in Canada.
 We also have a look at Jane Austen Knits, which I picked up at the twitter knitter meetup at Brooklyn General.
Closing song: You and Me by Zee Avi

Friday, November 11, 2011

Knitting Nooks

Have you checked out Kristin of Yargasm's new website Knit Nook? I was featured on there recently and while I talk more about it in the next episode (which I am currently working on the shownotes on for, but my back decided to be evil, which resulted in me lying down on my back in bed for most of the day) it got me thinking about my own knitting nook, which was one of the questions Kristin asked me.

As of right now, I have no knitting/craft room, much less a knitting nook. I just have a desk, and a spot on the couch.

Our bedroom is pretty big - there is a bed, bike, tall dresser, 2 bookcases, 2 desks, 2 chairs, an end table and my 2 skinny yarn towers. The far wall is the "office" area where the desks and bookcases are. Thing is, ever since Mel got his laptop he is NEVER at the desk where the PC is. Waste of space, especially since we plan to get two bookcases and a bridge to complete our tv unit from IKEA (the Hemnes series in black-brown in case anyone is wondering).

It's going to look exactly like this:
Why the uneven bookcases? We  want the tv to be sorta centered to the couch because our living room, while rectangular is laid out wonky because of the placement of windows and doors.

And now that hypothetically, that office area in the bedroom is totally clear of the two old, cheap desks because the PC tower and a bunch of books from the bedroom will be in that unit, this is what I have planned for my knitting nook/teacher space:
The picture with the macarons is the color scheme: plum, coral, grey and mustard - the plum will be painted vertical stripes along the wall. I already have the Manhattan poster and FINALLY found a frame for it cheaply too at Urban Outfitters. I was pleasantly surprised while trolling through that site - I hate their clothes, but their apartment stuff is pretty cute! However, I still prefer etsy and independent artists when it comes to wall art.

The desk is the Hemnes one from IKEA, and it was these knobs that finally got the ball rolling:

Can we see how amazing these knobs are? They are from a seller on Etsy called Vintage Skye and I just so happened to stumble upon a 25% off sale. I could easily visualize them with the grey desk and I was sold.

And I mean, really, how more appropriate can you get for a knitting nook when you find a knob that has a vintage ad on it?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Knitting and History

Is something I wish I had more time to do research about. What with the new job and all of the obligations, accountability and stress that comes with it, I have barely had any time to just spend the afternoon in the Rose Main Reading Room at the New York Public Library digging up any obscure references to knitting and even textile history.

It's one of my favorite places in the city, and right next to Kinokuniya Bookstores, so if you are heading there for the Japanese knitting books, pop in to the NYPL and see this room. It's awe-inspiring.
 There is a photo of me somewhere from Christmas 2004 doing research in this room - I was looking through English Language Japanese newspapers published in Yokohama in the 1890s. I had a whole cartful of them, and got stared at by the tourists who came in rather noisily to take photos of the reading room. I was doing research for my tutorial back in London which eventually became the undergrad thesis, a part of which became the Master's thesis.

To be honest, I miss my academic career, short lived as it was. I miss talking with the college students and sharing ideas. I told myself that I would try and just teach one class at my old college, but there is just too much going on at my middle school to even give me the time.

I was a history major in college - while my focus was on a completely different country, I have learned some valuable skills (:::cough cough how to use Google properly for starters cough cough:::) and in grad school, I learned how to look at things and a bit about material culture if through the Japanese lens. I could teach myself (and anyone else, can for that matter) about textile and knitting history and create something out of that as my analysis.

I may as well throw it out there - I hope that there is room for another budding knitting historian out there because I would like to write and publish a few things in the future. I love the academic side of knitting, but I need the time and the self-confidence (of which both are really lacking as of late). I still have not submitted the master's thesis for journal publication simply because I have no time. Maybe next summer. 

In the meantime, I have been doing alot of reading from the internet. Entangled Magazine (which is something I will talk about in more detail on the show when the next issue comes out) is a magazine that just talks about knitting and other textile related crafts. No patterns, just pure discussion and information.

I also recently discovered Kate Davies' blog of Neep Heid and now Sheep Heid fame (clearly, I have been living under a rock but those are on my must-knit list) and have been eagerly reading through the back posts and saw that she published something called Textisles. You have to buy the Warriston pattern to get the issue, but even at first glance, it's worth it.She may have gained another fangirl.

Finally, I do have 2 books that I am meaning to pore through and review as well: the first is Knitting Around the World, by Lela Nargi. I had the pleasure to meet her at Rhinebeck and the first thing that came out of my mouth was "Thank you so much for this book, because it has a bibliography. I love the book for this." I also have Knitting on Top of the World by Nicki Epstein. They go nicely together,  I think.

I am still on the lookout for Richard Rutt's The History of Handknitting. If anyone ever finds a copy, contact me.