Monday, January 28, 2008

Knit PH at Maha's: January 23, '08

I moved Knit PH at Maha's to the fourth Wednesday of January since the original date fell on the day after New Years. I wasn't hung over, but I did have the flu. We added a few new people to our small group. Marci is from Windsor Terrace. Jeff lives in the Bronx, but stopped in to knit before he caught the train home. Travis ferried from Staten Island (this man needs a car). Tomo finished her monkey hat, that is one sweet sweeeet hat. I asked her to send me an image. Emily (which Emily?) asked if she could crash, she didn't have time to RSVP this month. I told her I'd stand if needed. This February Emily, Tomo and I are going to form a team for Diorama Night at Freddy's. I'm working on the pre-game trash talk — we play to win, what can I say.

We've got an interesting group, I've noticed that many people in the group are from a publication related or Libarary Science fields. Meg is an acq. editor, Melissa and Jeff — Library Science, and Marci works in children's books. We had a soft-trade conversation about the industry and where it's going, books, magazines... etc. I told them about some of the most rediculous magazines that I developed — the weirdest one being Money Magazine's children's issue called "Money! For Kids" Doesn't that sound evil?

Meg and I were the lucky one's, Maha gave us cake on our way out. Yummm.

Meanwhile, on the Needle

I made a bunch of silk screened labels. Pearl Paint makes custom screens for $25 and up. The investment was low, but the commitment to silk screening was taxing. I got ink on my shoe and dragged it all over the floor and carpet. Then I got the ink on the curtains. After all is said and done I can only use 80% of them. It also didn't occur to me that sewing round shapes into a hat is very slow work.

So why am I making my own labels? Maxcine asked if I wanted to sell Hugo at her shop, Stitch Therapy. Low return on product? Hours of intensive labor? Hand cramps? Of course I do!! I'm developing the Yarn Monkey as a brand. A friend asked if anyone might think the monkey image might be seen as "racist". How? It looks just like me without the cigarette. In the future I'll just order woven labels from Or maybe I should get on of those sewing helper monkeys. Anyhow, Hugo will be sold at Stitch Therapy starting this February. My friend Eric is also pushing me to jump on the ETSY bandwagon. I'm just one guy — better get more needles.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Court Trouble: Woe$ In The Political Arena

I've run out of words to describe the eminant domain highway robbery of Prospect Heights, but this screen grab above says it all. Betty White ("Lake Placid", Fox 200 Pictures, 1999) as the widow Bickerman responds to her cow being used as bait to lure a 30 foot long crocodile:

"You can't take my cow by eminant domain!
You're all c--k s-----s!
I knew that at first but I didn't want to say it!
You're all c--k s-----s!

Speaking of eminant domain c--k s-----s, it looks as if the mega-developer FCR is running into financial problems with the Nets Arena. Who knew that the sub-prime mortage mess would get tangled into the Nets' arena funding mess. That's like finding out that smog protected us from atmospheric radiation. The New York Post reported that an affidavit from Forest City Ratner's Director of Finance admitted fundraising difficulties. From the recent article "Ratner Admits Arena-Funding Woes" (Rich Calder, NY POST, January 28) Rich Calder reports:

"Ratner is running into trouble securing funding for his controversial $4 billion Atlantic Yards project...The biggest development in Brooklyn's history is in jeopardy because of dragging litigation and a slumping fiscal market."

"The credit markets are in turmoil at this time . . . There is a serious question as to whether, given the current state of the debt market, the underwriters will be able to proceed with the financing for the arena while the appeal is pending,"

The affidavit contends that Ratner is "likely to encounter significant difficulties and cost increases in concluding the bond financing that is essential to the arena's completion should the appeal not be decided quickly.

And Eminent Domain ?

Of course this all happens as Ratner himself is trying to pressure the courts into ruling the eminant domain case in his favor. As judges flee this case in fear of jeapordizing their political futures, FCR and their legal team want people to believe that the pesky protesters (DDDB) are costing Brooklyn a civic boon. But Bruce Ratner decided a long time ago that fighting it out in court was cheaper than submitting Atlantic Yards to a transparent public-approval process... yadda, yadda, yadda. This just makes me sick to my stomach. Broo0klyn, what have we allowed?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Capping It Off

It's freezing cold on Martin Luther King Day with a high temp of 24 degrees. I just dropped off some proofs with a client. It was so cold that my cigarette froze to my mouth. I had to warm up to pry it from my lip. I made seven hats for a fundraiser this past Sunday evening — a good cause with excellent eats, live music, and a raffle. The hats went over very well, people ran to the raffle table to get a chance to win a Hugo, jewelry, cakes, art, vynil, and more. One woman won two hats: varigated blue and walnut. She was asked to "do the right thing" and pick another prize to which she yelled "Go to hell!"

This hat isn't gender specific, but I find that men instinctively wear it differently from the women. Women carfully arrange their hair so that the hat sits evenly, only showing the lobes of their ears (inset left). On the other hand most men wear it off-centered with the visor to the left or right side, or on the back making sure their ears stick out like pot handles (above). JR owns the bodega next to the bagel shop on Bergen Street — he loves his new red hat. An Irish woman won the green hat, she actually called it "bonnie".

Someone asked if I named this cap after Hugo Chavez's infamous red berret. NO. That would be like naming an eagle motif sweater "the Hitler Pullover". I actually named this cap after Hugo Weaving ("The Matrix", "Little Fish"). No real reason other than it looks like a hat that he'd wear.

The newsboy hat has many names and varitions: Gatsby, Cabby cap, (US) Paddy, Scone (Ireland), Windsor, Beagler (England), Cheese-cutter (New Zealand, Australia), Ya-she-mao, Mao cap (duck's tongue in Mandarin). My friend Pat calls it a "Scally cap" (Boston). He said that Scally means "fat alcoholic Irish racist douche-bag from Boston." His wife Ellen corrected him "It was actually named after Scollay Square in Boston, newsies would dispatch from Scollay and set off to hawk news papers on city corners — to their racist Irish douche-bag readers." Pat and Ellen are Boston Irish from Milton, they can say these things.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Hugo: News-Boy Brioche Cap

James showed me his new tatto today. I though he was wearing a t-shirt under his t-shirt. It's a large arm tattoo of a green dragon chasing its tail. I've never had a tattoo myself. Just not my speed. James is good hat model. He's sporting Hugo, a Brioche Stitch news-boy style cap. I know this hat pattern is popular with women, but I think of this more as being a guy's hat.

I'm going to try this as a two-color brioche later. It folds completely flat and fits rolled-up in a jacket or back pocket.

I used Karabella "Majestic" (merino, mohair, nylon) doubled-up with other wool yarns — Cascade 220 and some hand-dyed stuff. It needed more weight, but I didn't want it to look bulky. I started by making a garter stitch head band. I made the visor separately and sewed it onto the band. I picked up stitches from the headband and knit upwards in Brioche. To close the hat I swtiched to regular 1 X 1 rib and decreased. The visor is self-supporting and stands clear away from the face. A little felting with an iron helps too.

By the way, this is not an optical effect, James is actually that white. If you stare hard enough you can see his heart pumping right through his chest. I should just make him a hat, he always seems hesitant when I say "OK give it back to me now." I've been working on this pattern for about a week, so far I like it.

Knit PH at Perk: Jan 10 '08

Travis, just started knitting a few weeks ago. In a manner of speaking, he's hooked. He actually missed the Staten Island ferry while working on his purl. We had a good crowd at Prospect Perk. Tomo finished a neck warmer before she went out dancing — she's into swing.
Meg was from the old hood but she and her husband moved to South Slope (my old neighborhood). With the threat of a massive arena construction South Slope and Midwood seem to be the logical next move these days. She's working on an apple green baby blanket. Archie is working on a baby blanket as well. I've been meaning to sign up for his Thursday Park Slope circle, I just don't know when I'll have time.

Emily, Emily, and Emeilie — we now have more Emily's than we can shake a stick at. Emeilie, is a Music Teacher, she was working on some End Paper mittens. I like the pattern a lot, it does look like the the decorative paper that follows the colofont. Emielie said that Melissa would be late, she had a flood in her apartment. Emily by proxy is in China. She's probably reading this from some covert computer in a tea house. Emily from Queens, showed up, she works in publication design. She's originally from Seattle. I thought she found our circle through Edna (from Sunnyside Queens) but she found us on Ravelry. Both of them talked about starting a group in Astoria. I'd definetly go, those old Russian and Greek ladies are harboring ancient secrets.

Melissa, arrived for some reprieve from her flood situation. A hot water pipe had burst and leaked into everything in her closet — including her wedding pictures! She said that her photos were all digital o that's the least of her problem, the wall was starting to cave.
I was amazed at her stealthy Shaolin-like calm. It must be from years of Library Science training. Randy just stopped for socializing and observation, he's ready for a new project.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Little Vigo

It's back to the grind for me. I had a meeting on Tuesday to revise content and web site specs. A sign of getting older is when you consider being sick having "some time off". This flu has progressed quite well — I've developed a Captain Jack Sparrow swagger. As my hacking cough subsided I also took on a crackly Sally Struthers voice. I actually woke myself up mumbling about feeding the third world for just 50 cents a day. That was just the flu talking.

My joints still hurt, but I made a Little Vigo for little Jyothi, she may be too old (3) for the mouse-ear hat. I'll let their parents decide which child gets what. Little Vigo is made from an orange worsted Brown sheep. It sorta looks like a tangerine with a visor. While running out to buy more flu relief (before the relapse), I ran into my neighbor Mia. She's doing much better, she was still on crutches, but getting around. She laughed when I flagged her down. Was it my the Jack Sparrow swagger? She thanked me for all the yarn and said "You saved me! I was so bored in the hospital." It's good to see her out and about. She has a longer recovery ahead, but it helps when one's spirits are high.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Shaker Bootie?

So I didn't have a cold after all. I spent most of this week recovering from the flu. I had the chills, joint aches, everything-aches, swollen glands, nose bleeds... the whole bit. I should've known I was going a bit off when I confused "Gypsy 83" with "Buffalo 66" at Blockbuster. Any movie with Karen Black is a disaster movie. But as I lay in a waking coma, I was haunted by the same questions: "Who the hell were the Shakers?" "Why is that stitch called the Shaker Stitch?" "Did the Shakers invent Brioche too?" "Should I be wearing pants in bed?" The was just the flu talking.

I didn't have an answer but I recalled an e-mail reply from a Shaker Stitch Savant. I recently made contact with Nancy Marchant, from I found Nancy's site very inspiring with lot's of detailed instructions and enjoyed exploring her projects and patterns. I especially love her reconstructions of the Elvis Briohce Sweater.

"Everyone seems to claim that it originated in their country. It is known in Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Estonia... in French the stitch is known as CĂ´res Anglaises, in English it can be called English Rib, Oriental Rib, Brioche (Barbara G Walker calls it by that name), Shaker Stitch and its variation is called Fisherman's Rib. Elizabeth Zimmerman called it Prime Rib... in other words, I have no idea where it originated but it is an old stitch and has traveled over the whole world."

Conceivably it can be called the Micronesian Stitch, if Micronesia in fact had use for sweaters and missionaries.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

That Auld-Lang Sign

5:05 am 2008. As I paid for my $6 sushi at Flatbush Farms (the 24 grocer) the cashier said "Kansahamnida, and Happy New Year". I'm not Korean, but at this hour I guess we all look a bit... ethnic. I went to three parties tonight — Freddy's Bar was my last stop. There was a champaigne toast at midnight, a few bands played. I felt like I was in the best place on earth, but by the time the entire back room sang "White Rabbit" for the third time, I knew it was time to leave the bar. On my way out someone spilled single-malt wiskey down my coat. My mouth feels like a sandy ashtray. My feet hurt. My throat is sore. What a night. All these are auld-lang signs of a good time. I'm home now, my apartment smells like a brand new shower curtain and clean laundry, and my bed smells like fresh cotton sheets.

Mz. Vickers asked me, "Why don't you make me a hat." I replied "Because you're obnoxious." Her attitude improved, but I gave Vigo to Long-tall John tonight. This hat is called Vigo, it's made from all the left over Lamb's Pride (wool/cahmere) in the bin: Walnut, Sable and Moss Green. I doubled the yarn to get a chunky-heathered effect. This hat has a square visor with mitered corners — it does not need plastic support. The visor is picked up from the cast-on edge, double-knit, and then sewn back into the rim. The rib pattern is based on a repeat of 4 stitches over two rounds:

R1: P2, K2.
R2: P2, C1B.

I told John not to show it to Keeton, his girlfriend. But by the end of the evening she pulled it out of her bag and mouthed "MINE!" to me. Goodbye Vigo, John will miss you terribly. Reminder: pick up chicken wings by 1:00 for New Year's Day party.


It's a new year, so what the hell. Vicker's got her hat this weekend. She's a Steeler's fan.