Saturday, May 31, 2008

Ding Ding!!

Last Monday, my husband was out walking on our street where there is an apartment being "rennovated" (in my neighborhood, this means that the apartment is having all of the old, fun stuff taken out and replaced by Home Depot). He looked more closely at a door that was out for the garbage that we'd noticed earlier and found that it had some potentially really great hardware on it. I wish I had some photos for you of the 2 of us out on the curb attempting to remove the hardware, under it's 8-10 layers of paint but, as it was 10:30 at night, it was way too dark. So you'll just have to imagine us, complete with flashlight and guilty looks every time someone passed. What follows I did get photos for and it is The Saga of Removing 1,000 Year Old Paint to Uncover Hidden Potential.

I include the photo of the inside of the bell so that you can see that this is a MECHANICAL doorbell! It doesn't ring with all of the paint but it is pretty cool! That knob right next to it in the next photo is the bell knob that goes on the other side of the door. See how shiny and black and wonderful the doorknob is in the third photo!?

I'm sorry that these are so dark. The result of the Citrustrip (thanks for the recommendation Thread and Butter!) was just too fascinatingly disgusting not to document, even if it was getting to be late in the evening.

I think it's beautiful! I don't know what we're going to do with it but I think it's exciting, just the same. I wish you could hear the lovely ding of the door bell. You'll just have to imagine. . .

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

White Space Wednesday

I've just joined the white space wednesday group on flickr and it's so much fun so far! This is my first Wednesday to be in the group and I hope to keep on the ball and do it for a lot more to come.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Double Knitting

Double knitting has been to me and I'm sure it has been to others as well, a very difficult task. It even sounds confusing — what does "double kniting" even mean?? I've done several double knitting projects in the past and have consistently ranked them to be some of the most difficult things to knit. And in all of those cases, I followed very good instructions, step by step. But I never understood what it was that I was doing, exactly. Well, last weekend, I decided to get past that. And, like so many knitting problems, I find it to not be nearly as difficult as I was making it. As a result, I have made some serious progress with a scarf that I bought yarn for on that aformentioned trip to Cape Cod in February (Lobster Pot camel yarn, no less!). And I made a "tutorial" to post here with some tips on what I've found to be helpful and a (hopefully helpful) video of me doing the double knitting to show the basic concept.

(The other side is just he exact reverse of this side but I can't get it to photograph so well as all of the blue is replaced by yellow and looks VERY yellow in all of the photos)

1) Just as in normal fairisle knitting, pick a hand for each color and STICK TO IT (whenever I am teaching anyone anything in knitting, I cannot say enough times that consistency is the most important thing) — I have been using my left hand for the yellow and my right for the turquoise.

2) The left hand should knit Continental Style while the right hand knits English Style (throwing)

3) Each 2 stitches should be viewed as single stitch, with the purl (or the knit) always first and the knit (or the purl) always second

4) (This one is directly related to #3) — the stitches should alternate kpkpkp all the way across — in other words, unless you are crazy enough to try a stitch patter in combination with the double knitting, there should be no two of the same stitch type in a row

5) Purls are the opposite side from that which you are working on and knits are the side that you are looking at — in this way you will be knitting both the front and the back at the same time — purls for the "back" and knits for the "front"

6) MOST IMPORTANTLY: Bring both strands to the front to purl, even though you'll only purl one of the strands and bring both strands to the back to knit even though, again, you'll only knit one of the strands. This prevents twisting.

Good luck!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Finished Project!

Now I actually have something to show! The panda is finished and may just make it to Oklahoma in time for the birthday. I'm sure that any crafter has, at some point, "given" and unfinished gift to then take it back and finish it but I'm pretty sure that I'm the worst about this. So to have something finished and ready to go, with 2 weeks left to make it to its destination, is quite an accomplishment.

I think that the tail is the cutest part. It doesn't show up very well in the photos in the magazine.

If you decide to do this pattern, the one adjustment that I made to it was to not sew the limbs shut before attaching them to the body. They look much better when just attached straight on, as the head is to the body. Also, the pattern for the ears seems a bit off but I just went ahead and made the full circles, as the pattern called for, and folded the top part over to make a little ear flap and I think it turned out all right.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Still here although Silent

I haven't gone anywhere. There just isn't much of note happening. I'm still working on the quilt, the scarf, and the panda. Maybe I'll have a finished project to show off in a few days.

Or maybe my sudden silence here could also be linked to my recent obsession with Douglas Fairbanks. Senior (pause a la Orson Welles). I have long known about him, by virtue of my interest in silent film but, somehow, had managed never to see one of his movies. Until I saw Robin Hood recently at Film Forum. He is HILARIOUS. As well as acrobatic and amazing. I can't even count the number of times he jumped onto or off of a moving horse or climed up a sheer wall (and, according to Orson, he did this in real life as well). So now I have the dvd of The Mark of Zorro and Don Q: The Son of Zorro (in which he plays his own son, in true silent movie style) and I have been holding up our Netflix queue for a couple of weeks now because I refuse to give him back.

Here is some more Orson Welles action for you, just in case you didn't get enough from the bit above!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Salt and Pep!

My Aunt will have to be blamed for this one. It's all that I can say for myself. I've started collecting salt and pepper shakers. I'm limiting myself on this one though. Only the slightly disturbing figural shakers will be allowed. Meet Salt and Pep! (The latter must always be followed by an exclamation point as it is creepier that way):

They are a vintage Japanese set that I bought on a spur-of-the-moment trip to Cape Cod in February (yes, I know that that sounds odd but we LOVE the Cape and felt like having a trip so off we went. In Februrary. At least it turned out to be a more mild weekend than when we went in January in 2003).

These are the funny little pair that started it all. They were given to me as a lovely going away gift when I moved from Oklahoma to New York. From my Aunt who shares my obsession for strange and wonderful things. Apparently they are from a 1930's cartoon strip and their names are Maggie and Jiggs. The cartoon was called Bringing Up Father and I've found a lot of information on it online. My favorite bits were here, here, and here (especially this last because it has the most photos).

Monday, May 19, 2008

Works in Progress (more)

You'd think I'd have a finished work to post at some point but that isn't happening today! And it seems that I've not yet had 2 posts on the same topic. But I'm sure that I'll get to that at some point as well. But, for now, on to another new subject. . .

Knitting AND crocheting, all in one!

I just hope that my friend whose baby's birthday is coming up and my grandmother continue to be unable to use the internet because I am posting about their gifts this time.

This year I am behind on birthday presents (this panda needs to be done and in Oklahoma by June 6th) but WAY ahead on Christmas gifts. This scarf is from the cream of spinach pattern from Stitch Marker and it is both fun and fast to make. I read several times that it is an easily-memorized pattern and, boy, is that an understatement! It only took 2 rows of confusion to get the hang of it and now I'm clipping along (I have about 4 feet after about 2 evenings' worth of work). It's also being done with some great alpaca/merino (blue sky) which was leftover from another project and so I'm happy about that as well as the fact that Christmas is still 7 months away and I've actually got a head start this year.

And as for the panda, don't find the disembodied head too creepy! I certainly do. At least I tried to crop most of the disturbing part out by getting close enough so as not to have the head floating in the frame to frighten small children. I am just so excited about how he is turning out that I had to go ahead and put him up here. I'll try to have a less creepy, bodied panda to post after knitting group on Wednesday. He is from one of the great amigurumi patterns in the new Knit.1 Green Issue.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Brooklyn Flea

The new Brooklyn Flea Market in Fort Greene every Sunday turns out to be a great flea market! It's in the style of the old Chelsea Flea Market with lots of vintage ephemera, records, clothes, and furniture with the added bonus of some craft fair regulars like Jezebel thrown in. And, like all of the best flea markets, the vendors are completely willing to haggle. I got this sugar and creamer last week and am loving them. They're much more silver than they look in the photos and so are in with my small collection of silver-colored objects.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Spring in Brooklyn

It may have been a LONG time in coming this year, but spring is finally here! All of the green popping up in between the brownstones are my evidence. Ignore the sporadic winter temperatures. And the non-apples-and-oranges fruit are coming back as well.

Pretentious Book Collection

I've lately been seeing a lot about this list on LibraryThing about the top books tagged unread by their users. It apparently started as the Top 106 and has since grown but I'll go with the 106 as that is what is in the meme around the blogs. This has given me quite a kick this morning as it turns out that I have a VERY pretentious book collection and it is funny to me to be labeled that way by some thing floating around the internet. So I thought I would, for my own further amusement, catalog all of the books in my collection which appear on this list (there are 40).

The best part about the whole thing though, I think, are the much more pretentious books appearing on my bookshelves at the edges of the photos. And the multiple copies that I own of some of the books. Some of the titles are my favorites and I have gathered multiples in my 12+ years of book collecting. I do have to say, in my own defense, between my husband and myself, we have read nearly all of these books. I'm sorry that the photos are so dark -- some of the books were in such dark rooms that they had to be moved to have their portraits taken.