Saturday, November 10, 2012

Dust Off Those Needles...

2012 draws to an end, a year of extremes from politics to weather. Barack Obama remains president for four more years. A grueling presidential race brought out how polarized we Americans have become—culturally, ideologically and monetarily. Can Barry pull it all together in four years? We’ll soon find out.

Last week Hurricane Sandy carved a devastating trail through most of the East Coast. Houses washed away liked shoes boxes, downed power lines strewn about as tidal waves pushed inland—many are still in the dark or homeless. I'm amazed the subways came back so quickly after I saw how tunnels and lowland areas flooded.

I never underestimate the damage that water and flowing currents can wield. I felt fortunate that we didn’t lose power as so many did. Quite a few of my friends have lost their homes and cars.

It’s been a while since I picked up a pair of needles. I’ve been busy with another project; my Kimcheelicious eCookbook is going well. I have 30 recipes out of 60 fully tested. I have now made over 180 pounds of Napa cabbage kimchee over the course of this project thus far. I’ve met many folks who are interested in the book and am developing some products based on my research. I’m even giving a food demo and lecture at the Bowery Culinary Center. I’ve also developed quite a following on Tumblr... but this is topic of another blog.

On November 5th, I started this scarf at our Knit PH meetup at Hungry Ghost Café. I think we all needed to get out after being cooped up through the hurricane. This black Mobeus scarf was actually inspired by Hurricane Sandy. It’s a haphazard arrangement of reversible cables that start off and end in simple 2 X 2 ribs.

On the news we watched in awe as growing streams turned into raging rivers taking cars and houses along with it. Over social media we read as friends announced they were evacuating their homes. Familiar city streets turned into river banks in empty canyons of buildings. Sandy was the great equalizer for the monied and the have-nots. I watched people were evacuated from coastal and lowland areas. Many were left with nothing. And yet again we just got through a Nor’easter.

I sewed the open ends of this scarf together to create a seamless Mobeus strip that traveled through a river of cables and met at simple ribs. As the city recovers and people try their best to reclaim their lives, we are all due for better weather.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Are You Kimcheelicious?

Kkakdugi: pickled Korean radish salad
I haven’t blogged in a while. Someone even messaged me and asked if all was OK. I’ve been busy exploring a  healthy obsession: Kimchi. I’ve become quite the fermenteur. Kimcheelicious is a project that I’ve been developing—soon to launch as a Kickstarter campaign. Side dish or part of the main meal—my mission is to explore and document ways of making this Korean pickle a part of the American table and grill.

Kimchi meatball stuffed dumpling

Veggie dumplings made with shitake mushrooms and pickled radish
Kimchee is the unofficial Western spelling, as opposed to kim chi (김치). My Kimcheelicious project will not convert the un-converted but it will give those who appreciate it’s complex flavor more ways of enjoying and sharing a meal. Aside from varying degrees of spice, Kimchi has a deep savory complex flavor that some call it “umami.”

Lion's Head, a large meatballs stuffed with a kimchi meatball
I’ve been making great meals with my kimchi I’ve made. Aside from traditional BBQ Beef and dumplings I’ve made stuffed meatballs (Lion’s Head), pork sliders, grilled kim-cheese sandwiches, seafood stews, patty melts, pork fajitas... you get the idea. Kimchi it already on the American table and grill.

Bulgogi (Korean BBQ beef) cheese steaks

Mushroom omelet with kichi and tortillas
Grilled kim-cheese sanwich

Bok choi and Napa after brining
Kimchi and other fermented foods have been touted as some of the most healthy foods one can have in their diet. These foods restores probiotics into our digestive system, and through the process of fermentation makes other nutrients and vitamins more available. But I just like the way it tastes.

My goal is create an app and a series of iBooks that you can call up in the kitchen on an iPad. I’ll be hosting some tasting to promote Kimcheelicious before I launch my Kickstarter campaign to raise angel capital. For now you can follow me at, and The website will be up soon... meanwhile back to the knitting.

Chili paste, carrots, radish, scallions and Napa cabbage

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Night Under the Stars

I went to a class reunion although it wasn’t mine. Stephanie and Sonya went to their Columbia University class reunion. I had a reunion with Jim, her husband, and the twins, Otto and Marta. I did join everyone on Saturday for an evening under the stars. As demonstrated in these photos,  evening galas with swing music always resemble that capsized scene from the nautical disaster movie “The Poseidon Adventure.”

We had such a great time on Saturday. The mini heatwave broke giving us a delightfully cool evening. The kids found a playmate, a woman who sat near us entertained them with stories. Marta shared her gummy Bears in exchange for the glitter stickers that she gave them, Otto danced for her. We slit a six-pack on Columbia’s library steps, sitting above the main event. This was a much more pleasant experience and better way to catch up with friends... until the guard took our beer away. At a certain age saying “Oh, you mean this beer?” doesn’t work as well.

The night before, on Friday, I joined Jim and the kids for pizza and calamari at V & T. “I didn’t recognize you, you’ve changed quite a bit.” said Otto. Maybe it was the glasses and the  Memorial Day sun burn? While Steph and Sonya attended first night of the reunion, Jim and I caught up. His novel “Victims of Circumstance” is on Amazon, and sales are moving along. Sonya’s job as a foreign diplomat is taking them to Mexico this summer. The kids didn't seem to excited about it. We have an open invite to the Yucatan.

I told Jim about my iBook/applt project: “Kimcheelicious—A Korean Pickle for the American Table and Grill.” Jim loves Korean food, he worked as a correspond in Korea and misses all that delicious food that one generally can’t get unless you are totally in with a Korean family. I’ve been working on my launch... so much to do. He told me that the kids still love that funny backpack I made for their stuffed moose when we paid them a visit up in Maine. They never mention Mr. Magic Lamprey though, not a good kid toy.

Otto entertained us with riddles such as “What has many branches and leaves but no bark?” My answer was “our congress” but the real answer was “a library.” Marta picked her head up from her Kindle and proclaimed “This is the worst pizza I’ve ever had in my life!” I said “Tell me that when you come back from Mexico.” Crankiness meant bed time and our evening was coming to an end.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A New Star in Our Constellation

Is it summer already? After an unusually mild winter, Brooklyn’s transition from spring into summer seemed rather unceremonious. But our extended family has much to celebrate. Meet the new star in our constellation of friends, Luna Benjoya—what a beautiful little girl she is. I finally delivered my Ea Z. Baby Quilt to proud parents, Dave and Deike.

Their cat, Ann Richards, took a liking right away, and so far Luna seems to like it too. Here she is stretching her legs after feeding and a long nap. Don’t you just wanna pinch those chubby legs?

I used a combination of luxury yarns to make this feather-light quilt: blue and gray in Lang “Zoom,” a merino cotton blend; green in Aslan Trend’s “King Baby Llama & Mulberry Silk.” It’s ultra-soft, perfect for a newborn’s delicate skin.

The modular design was inspired by single-celled organisms called “diatoms”—microscopic phytoplankton encased in walls of glass (silica). Each have qualities that are as distinct and beautiful as cut gem stones.

This modular quilt grows with the baby. Next year I’ll add another row.  I wouldn’t call this quilt reversible, but I did carefully weave in all ends to make the back more presentable.

Although we’re already into summer Weather or not, I think they’ll get some use out of it. Our evenings have been so oddly chilly after blistering days. Congratulations to Dave and Deike on their healthy, new beautiful daughter.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Brandi Harper is Picture Perfect

Who is this lovely lady behind that high collar? This is my friend Brandi Harper. She’s a talented designer who recently launched purlBknit, an original line of handknit casual wear. Mz. Harper has a degree in international relations, a passion for public health, and a healthy obsession with fashion and knitting. Self-taught since the age of 14, she discovered crochet and then knitting followed shortly. After spending time abroad, she returned to Brooklyn and took a leap of faith driven by passion.

Like most fashion-forward people, she designs for herself. “I only sell what I would wear. I use quality yarns that feel good and flatter the body.” Her attention to detail truly makes all the difference in creating an heirloom handknit. Rich textures, flattering colors, sleeves that flow like water, soft delicate lace, whimsical collars — no two items are alike. Words can't describe her work enough, look at these  photos that I took for her Etsy store. Cheers Brandi! I think you’ll do well.

To see more of her work, visit Etsy and her blog.
Etsy Shop:

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ying, Your Poncho Is in the Mail!

Knit PH didn't meet in February, that gave me more time to finish the poncho I made for designer Ying Su. The crocuses are up, the daffodils are ready to set bud, a few star magnolias have already spent their bloom, it’s a perfect spring day here in Brooklyn... what's wrong with this picture? It’s supposed to be winter yet it’s been phenomenally warm since the fall. So far this millennium has proven to be a mysterious era for weather.

Ying Su’s classic A-line poncho evokes a by-gone era — espionage, fast cars, and mysterious women. Knit from top-down, I ran two colors of lace-weight wool with Paton’s Ram's Wool (4 @ 140 yds), and Karabella Merino Superwash (4 @ 91 yds) to create a marled stone texture. Alternating two shades of superwash white gives it very subtle stripes. I imagine Nancy Kwan throwing this on while making her get-away from Matt Helm with a stolen attaché case stowed beneath the passenger seat.

The front has an original fern leaf pattern flanked with twisted columns that travel from the turtle neck collar down to the hem. The back has simple 3 X 1 ribs. The fringe adds weight to the hem and an early '70s elegance.

I didn’t realize how big this poncho grew until I washed and blocked it — large enough to conceal a large dagger. I had to use a bigger box than the one I bought. Now all Ying needs is a pair of white rimmed sunglasses, driving gloves, and a gun. Well... I hope we actually get a real winter soon, this poncho is very warm.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Timba Get's Her Sweater!

Who is that heavenly Havanese in the soldier blue gansey? It’s Timba and she looks fetching in her new sweater — owners Mary Ann and Kathy approve. They have Phillip the Cat to thank for acting as Timba’s fit model while she was away at her lake side cottage in Florida. It fits her perfectly!

Broad ram’s horns and twisted columns travel down the back over a single rib ground. A single cable travels across the shoulder from cuff to cuff. I made a dog measurement chart to ensure an exact fit.

The body is shorter in the under carriage than on the back allowing more freedom to move about and to answer nature,... when ever she calls. Most of all it just looks just right on her. No pooch of leisure should be without a weekend sweater.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Ea Z. Baby Quilt

“Dan, how long is the  baby?” “15  inches, why?”  Washed, blocked, and pressed — this baby quilt is done and done! I wanted to make make sure it was big enough before I caught the G train for a visit. Ea Zarathustra Davis is the man of the hour and what a handsome little fellow he is.

This is the “Ea Z. Baby Quilt,” a modular hexagonal knit that’s surprisingly simple to make, although it took me a few collective weeks to design and knit. It’s soft and durable, made from Lang Cashmere Tweed and Cascade 220 in shades of pumpkin and tangerine. It’s about 30" at it’s widest point, but since it’s modular it can be made larger.

Wardrobe is very important to a growing baby. As soon as he outgrows his AC/DC T-shirts, he’ll have a new Pantera onesie pressed and waiting for him. I'll also have some hats ready for him by then.

More late nights are ahead for Dan and Carrie, and there will be some adjustment for Casandra the cat. But this little trouble maker is worth all of that. Maybe Casandra needs her own quilt.