Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Epic Fall is Magic Mini Road Trip Part 2: Rhinebeck

I am on vacation so I am finally getting around to posting part 2.

After our very short visit to Maine we made headed back down to NY for The New York Sheep and Wool Festival, the happiest place on earth. The only way I was going to be able to head back to NY after being in Maine is if it meant Rhinebeck. Otherwise I would have tethered myself to a dock screaming, "No, don't take me back there (NYC/real life), it is dirty and I can't breathe."

We stayed at a cute little motel in Hyde Park. When we walked up to the building at night we saw every curtain open and every room have 5+ people sitting, drinking wine, and knitting. It was charming.

My favorite part of Rhinebeck is the few minutes after I walk in the gate. So much potential awesome about to happen.
The yarn was as gorgeous as always. I had set strict guidelines that I was not to buy any wildly multicolored yarn. Every year I am seduced by a skein of yarn with 8 different colors in it that always looks better in the skein than knit. The goal was to buy solids in possible pairs for colorwork. My mom was there to make sure I varied my color palette and purchased colors besides red and teal, although looking at this picture I still managed to get a lot of red, and pink which was unplanned.
For a second year in a row I also got Jennie the Potter's Rhinebeck mug but have failed to take a picture of it. Her mugs are wonderful.

Anyway this post is picture light because I was with my mom and was having more fun just being there than taking many pictures. Months later I am still thinking about how awesome this little trip was and how much I want to go back up to Maine.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Epic Fall is Magic Mini Road Trip Part 1: Maine

This October I had the pleasure of going on what I have dubbed the "Epic Fall is Magic Mini Road Trip" with my mom. Originally my mom was just going to come to town for Rhinebeck but as the summer progressed the trip planning got more complex.

I have this romantic idea of living in a small town on the coast of Maine. I'm fairly certain the movie Andre is to blame and I am not embarrassed to admit it (Tina Majorino FTW). So when my mom asked if I would like to add Maine to the travel itinerary I was pretty much elated.

We only had about 2 days to explore and experience the Rockland area. Originally we were going to take a ferry out to the island of Vinalhaven but the weather meant a very choppy ride which I didn't think my stomach could handle for an hour and a half each way so we ended up exploring the mainland instead. We had a really good lunch at the Home Kitchen Cafe, stopped at a couple cute quilting shops, found the Rock City Coffee Roasters located right on the coast (it smelled spectacular and looked out over a ton of boats), met up with extended family for a chicken pot pie dinner, and attempted to walk a bit on the Rockland Breakwater but as you can see we did not make it too terribly far, it was very cold and a bit slick.
Overall Maine was exactly what I expected in many ways, the coast was gorgeous, the gloomy weather was perfect, the towns were cute, the air was nice and salty, and it would be entirely posible to get a mocha at an independent coffee shop on the water and take a walk along the coast. That last one in important since it is pretty much the top of my list of requirements for the place I want to live after NY. What I didn't expect was how much I would like the people. When they made small talk there was substance, it was fun small talk. Everyone seems to have their own weird quirky passion. I loved how many indy stores and restaurants there were. I am really terrified about someday leaving NY and being stuck with Chili's, Olive Garden, and McDonalds as my restaurant options, but it looked like I could avoid that entirely in Maine.

Our visit was short and sweet, and was the perfect intro to a state I can definitely see myself living someday and hopefully visiting again soon.

Monday, October 31, 2011

St. Lucia Stocking Cap

I am way way behind on the blogging. My mom and I had a magical mini-trip to Maine and Rhinebeck that I am dying to write about, but the before I left and the second I returned my life has been consumed with Christmas. That's right, Christmas. We are working an a fairly large, popular NY Christmas show at work right now, as well as a couple other smaller, but no less complicated shows which has thrown us all into chaos and overtime. Combine that with the inevitable homesickness that strikes when my mom goes back home and the brutal cold I caught last Friday and I have been able to do little when I at home besides sit in bed, knit a little bit, and watch the entire series of Parenthood on Netflix.

The bit of knitting I was able to do this past week is the real point of this post and a project I am giddy to present. Just in time for your holiday knitting I give you...

The St. Lucia Stocking Cap!

I am going to go ahead and admit that my interest and knowledge of Saint Lucia's Day came from my Kirsten* American Girl Doll. We were a hard-core American Girl family and Kirsten was my first. I think I got her the year after the dolls were introduced, back when it was owned by Pleasant Company. She had long blond braids and was Swedish like me (ok I'm only like a quarter Swedish, but I like that quarter). Every Christmas I dressed her in her St Lucia outfit. One year my mom even made me a matching nightgown and Santa gave me the matching human sized crown. That crown required many batteries for the "flames" but this hat pattern doesn't burn or burn through expensive batteries!

If you are unfamiliar with the celebration, Wikipedia breaks it down for you, or you can learn like I did and read Kirsten's Surprise. If you are actually Scandinavian and know of a really good book about the St. Lucia celebration, leave me a comment!
The hat is stranded and knit in the round. The flames are duplicate stitched and the red berries are embroidered on with a tapestry needle after the hat is knit. The yellow band at the bottom is an applied i-cord.

Yarn weights and needle requirements are listed in the pattern. Two sizes are listed, Child's Small, 18" in circumference or Child's Large, 21" in circumference. Other sizes can be achieved with larger or smaller needles or yarn. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't toying with the idea of someday knitting a doll sized one out of laceweight yarn on size 00 needles.

I wish my pictures were a little better, but I'm certain when I go home for Christmas, new ones will be taken with my mom's better camera in my homey-home, not my bohemian crafts-nest apartment. Bohemian is my nice way of saying messy. I may also borrow a friend's kid to model.

*How completely depressing and ridiculous is it that Mattel decided to retire Kirsten, Samantha, and Felicity? I am convinced that the Grinch works for American Girl.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hocus Pocus Mittens

I was not planning on revisiting my Hocus Pocus Cowl and Bag pattern to make mittens. I do have a hat pattern that has been in half design in my notebooks for a year now but mittens were never on the radar. Then I was asked on Ravelry if I had ever thought of making some matching mittens. I thought I would give it a shot, just start playing on Excel to see if the pattern came to me and it did.

So I give you, with just enough time to knit a pair before Halloween...
Hocus Pocus Mittens!

Hocus Pocus Mitten Version 1 framed
Hocus Pocus Mitten Version 2 framed
The pattern is made of mix and match patterns. There are two options for the front of the mitten. The classic version with black cats and the I'm-allergic-to-cats version that depicts a head and arm emerging from a grave, like that zombie character in the Hocus Pocus movie or countless vampires in Buffy. There are also two palm pattern choices, the good luck bats palm pattern and the "give me candy" palm pattern. There is only one thumb pattern with a surprise message "BOO!" In order to start knitting the pattern pieces you choose to use will need to be cut out and taped together.
Hocus Pocus Mitten Palm Version 1 frame
Hocus Pocus Mitten Palm Version 2 framed

There are two sizes included in the pattern adult and child. The adult size is knit using a sport weight yarn on size 3 needles. The child's size is knit using a light fingering weight (like Cascade Heritage) yarn on size 2 needles. Other sizes can be achieved by choosing a heavier or lighter yarn or larger or smaller needles. If you need help determining the best way to adjust the size, email me at wonderfallz (at) gmail (dot) com or message me on Ravelry.
Hocus Pocus Mitten Thumb Boo! framed

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pop Blossom Mittens

That is my street the night after all the hurricane drama. My neighborhood was located smack dab in the middle of Brooklyn and is not even in any evacuation zone. We just had torrential downpour and really scary wind that kept me up all night on Saturday but did little besides strip leaves from trees and rip apart our very old gutters. I just wish the rest of the north east had it so easy there are some really heart breaking pictures from the cute smaller towns and villages further North.

Since I was completely housebound all weekend I took the opportunity to cook a ridiculously large batch of kale chips, knit like a fiend, and watch some H2o: Just Add Water (Netflix instant video leads to embarrassing new TV habits like Australian teen shows about mermaids) and Veronica Mars. As a result of this fiendish knitting I will be releasing the Hocus Pocus Mitten pattern very very soon!! But first...

Here are the Pop Blossom Mittens!
The pattern is available by itself for $5
or as part of the Pop Blossom ebook with the matching hat pattern for $7

They are knit out of Sport, DK, or Worsted Weight yarns with instructions for how to choose the right yarn and needle to get the right size. Proportionally they are really only patterned for adult hands.

I was so happy to use some of that blue yarn I got from my first visit to Rhinebeck 4 or 5 years ago. I tend to be very precious with my Rhinebeck yarn, saving it for exactly the right thing instead of using it, knowing that I will be back the next year. My sentimentality is ridiculous sometimes and only leads to borderline hoarding.

I hope everyone reading is having a safe end of summer and looking forward to wooly weather!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Friday, July 29, 2011

Pop Blossoms!

Boy oh boy this weekend could not come fast enough. Before I am allowed to enjoy it though, I promised myself that I would finish editing and publish my latest hat pattern. Technically I was supposed to do this last week before I was allowed to see Harry Potter but that crazy heat wave won the battle, no work was done, but movie's were seen and arctic air conditioning enjoyed.

I give you the Pop Blossoms Hat...

This hat is written for a one size fits most adults in DK or Heavy Worsted Weight, but the chart repeats are fairly short so the hat is easily customizable for smaller or larger heads.

The DK Weight hat (the read and gold example) requires:
200 yards of a background color (gold)
100 yards of a pattern color (red)
US Size 4 16" or 24" circular needle and 4 or 5 DP needles for decreasing.

The Heavy Worsted Weight hat (the blue and red example) requires:
100 yards of a background color (blue)
100 yards of a pattern color (red)
US Size 7 16" or 24" circular needle and 4 or 5 DP needles for decreasing.

Both hats require a tapestry needle.
Optional Pom Poms require extra materials found on my tutorial.

Both measure 18 inches in circumference give or take a few eighths of an inch (measurement taken with hat lying flat. The red and gold hat fits my 24" monster head just fine but the blue and red hat is a bit tight. Different yarns just stretch differently so keep that in mind when choosing yarns and adjust pattern repeats accordingly.

Random Thoughts about the Pop Blossoms Hat.
- The flowers remind me of Takashi Murakami's work but without the faces.
- I branched out and took two yarns that I thought were yuck but were in my stash for some reason, put them together, and ended up loving the result. I am speaking of the red and gold.
- No matter how much I think about making sure the row jog is in the back I inevitable will take all my pictures with it in the front and then lose my camera before being able to take replacement pictures.
-I am completely inconsistent with my spelling of "bobble" and realized that I sometimes write in "bauble" and will switch back and forth using both in the same pattern. I think I caught them all in this pattern, but if you see otherwise feel free to let me know.
-Frankly, sometimes I am just completely inconsistent in my use of the English language.

Seeking Test Knitters:
I am working on a Pop Blossom Mitten pattern to go with the hat. I am in need of some test knitters. If the picture below interests you and you would like to test knit the mitten pattern for me, please let me know via Ravelry message or email me at wonderfallz(at)gmail(dot)com. I need people to test knit the pattern in a sport weight for a small adult mitten and a worsted weight for a large adult mitten. As a thank you I would send you one of my other patterns that I sell through my Ravelry store. Just a heads up the pattern is still in a rough stage, no gauge or size info included yet, but the chart is pretty much finished. I would like to hear back about size and fit by August 19th. Both mittens need not be finished by this date, just one.

Friday, July 8, 2011

I Heart Ceramic Lamps

My mom sent me a surprise last night.
Isn't he awesome? Yes, I have decided it is a he, although I have yet to figure out a suitable name. I've toyed with Pippin, W1nst0n (because I'm rereading Cory Doctorow's Little Brother for the 50th time) and Hedwig, but none of those seem right, and I can't keep naming every owl object ever Hedwig, it is wildy uncreative to keep cribbing from Harry potter. I am working on a cross stitch of my Hocus Pocus pattern that I think will look perfect framed above him on the wall.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

SALE! Knitting on the Beach SALE!

After a recent glowing NY Times article on Rockaway Beach I decided to check it out. Too often getting to other parts of Brooklyn from my neighborhood required going into the city and doubling back. Rockaway Beach is just a straight shot out to the beach, no trip into Manhattan required. The trains run on a weekend schedule which means about 45 minutes of standing on a platform waiting and 20 minutes of actual train riding but it is totally worth it. The beach is really clean especially for a NY beach. People are relaxed and not aggressive like they tend to be in Coney Island. This could be because this has long been a surfing spot. The food vendors, who are all new this year, are fantastic. As of now there is plenty of room on the beach, there are plenty of benches on the boardwalk and plenty of picnic tables around the vendors.

I have now spent two Saturday's hanging out on this beach and have found that there is no better place to sit and knit. The lighting is perfect, the waves make a wonderful sleepy soundtrack and best of all, it is never too humid. Summers are no longer my least favorite season in NY, I only wish I had discovered this years ago I could have saved myself several seasons of sticky agony. In honor of my new found love on NY summers, knitting on the beach and to celebrate the 4th of July I am having a small sale. Now through July 5th you can use the coupon code "BEACH" and receive $1 off any of the following patterns.

Warning, you can use this coupon code on as many of the patterns as you want but for it to be effective you have to purchase them one at a time. If you buy two or more patterns at a time it only takes $1 off the whole purchase.

If you have any problems with the promo code email me at

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Daily Show loves Handknit Cylons.

Last night I was curling up in bed, watching The Daily Show as usual, and this segment came on:
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
You're Welcome - Hacker Threat
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

Umm Hold on just one second, did I just see what I think I saw?

Yes, Yes I did. That was a photoshopped picture of either my hat or someone who used my pattern to knit the hat. Regardless, I am in someway or another responsible or partly responsible for the hat on John Hodgman's fake Etsy store Handknit Steampunk Cylons.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Rhode Island, I kind of love you

During my mini-vaca a few weeks ago for my little sister's graduation, my family and I took a quick day trip to Rhode Island. The point of the trip was threefold:

1- To stop by the Cocktail Couture exhibit at the RISD Museum. The rest of my family are all foodies with an appreciation for good cocktails. I am the black sheep in that I barely drink and have no desire to watch Top Chef. But museum-going is usually fun regardless of the reason. I am usually drawn to the more decorative things, tapestries, stained glass, anything that uses repetitive patterns, but this time my favorite thing in the whole museum was this piece:
For some reason this drawing cracks me up. I think it's just the idea of some super muscular guy just sitting and sketching in the nude. Unfortunately I failed to write down who the artist was who sketched this in the first place, or what it is called.

2- The second reason for our trip to Rhode Island was to stop and get a Wimpy Skippy at Caserta's. These things are spinach pie on crack.

3- The third reason was to go to the beach in Galilee, Narragansett. The beach we went to is located directly behind this famous place called George's. My mom remembers getting fried clams at the to-go window and hanging out on the beach with family when I was about 1 year old. This part of the trip was hands down my favorite. The beach, while small, was gorgeous. the sand had kind of a grey look and it sparkled like crazy due to all the shell fish in the area. The sky was a bit grey and all the buildings, fences or anything made of wood had that gorgeous grey sea exposed look to them. The water was cold but felt sooo good after I got used to it. I could have camped out on that beach for the whole summer.
Yes, I am wearing jeans and a leather jacket on the beach but in my defense it was colder out there and once I got used to temp, the pants were rolled up and the jacket came off.

This trip was the second time I have been to Rhode Island when I was old enough to actually remember anything. The first time was 7 months after I moved to NY. I had just lived through my first Thanksgiving and Christmas away from my family and was dealing with working retail on the upper east side (aka HELL) 7 days a week and still barely being able to afford living in NY. I was an emotional mess, crying almost every single day for that first 6 months of being here. My mom and sister were touring schools and I met up with them in Rhode Island. I took a 4 hour bus that was 3 hours late taking off. I was exhausted when I finally stepped off the bus at 11pm and saw my mom. She hugged me and asked if I wanted to go get a Mocha (there was a Starbucks open across the street). This pretty much solidified a happy place for Rhode Island in my heart.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Vincent Van Slouch

Finally, 6 months after it was knit, I am ready to publish the hat pattern I developed for my dad's Christmas gift (that's him modeling it on the track near my home-home). I got all sidetracked with a bunch of other projects, actually sitting and writing a pattern just never seemed to happen. That pesky day job didn't really help with that either. Right now we are immersed in a highly stylized, period, fairy tale movie. We don't do a lot of movies, we mostly stick to Broadway shows, tours, cruises and a few ice skaters but every so often a movie will need some period costumes that can't be found in stores and can't be rented. Normally I stay above the fray since I mostly manage and deal with paperwork. I tend not to do the hand work because sometimes doing what you love as your job turns it into something you don't love so much anymore. Anyway, this project was all hands on deck so I have been staying late and working weekends stitching fancy trim to fancy fabrics and trashing my poor fingers in the process. It has been fun to see this crazy-ness all come together and the costumes look pretty darn incredible. When advertising starts I will post links to what movie it is, and I can guarantee you won't want to miss it because the spectacle alone will be worth the price of the ticket.

Back to the knitting stuff, the whole point of this post, here is the Vincent Van Slouch hat. Last Christmas my dad asked for a slouchy hat. His request specifically, was for a deep blue hat with flashes of color like Van Gogh's Starry Night. My first thought was, geez dad you couldn't have chosen something a little less intimidating as inspiration? Finally I embraced the challenge and after some fun with graph paper I came up with this swirly pattern. The short color stretches are indicative of impressionist brush strokes. The different colored swirls nestle into each other, but each row is only ever worked with two colors, making the pattern look more complicated than it really is.

This hat is solidly unisex. The look can change dramatically depending on the colors are yarn used. The swirl colors use little yarn and are a good way to use up smaller leftover balls of yarn.

The pattern includes instructions for fingering and sport weight versions of the hat. The chart repeats are quite narrow so the pattern can be easily altered to fit smaller or larger heads or heavier weight yarns.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Graduation, again.

My sister is graduating again this year, this time with a Masters in Public Health.  New Haven is gross and rainy but that's ok when the buildings are so stunning on the inside.  Congratulations B!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

More on that Santa Hat

So I posted before about the opportunity I had last fall to pattern and knit Santa's casual hat for the musical Elf. I had waited, hoping that some of the publicity pics would catch the body of the hat so I could post it but I had no such luck. I have since talked to the show's costume designer and got the ok from him to post my progress pics. They are not very high quality, they were taken quickly in the shop under florescent light, but they do give you some idea of what Santa's hat looked like.

So there is a dose of Christmas in May.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Crop Circles at the Community Garden

Have you ever tried to grow a garden in a backyard open to the Rocky Mountain foothills? It is next to impossible to harvest anything with the massive herds of deer that wander the neighborhood consuming everything that is remotely edible. It is because of this that my parents joined the community garden. Just down the street in a nice fenced in area they are able to grow fruits and veggies to the point where they can be harvested for human consumption. Now, my dad and I share the same oddball sense of humor. It was he who wanted to plant the corn in a circle in the middle of their plot. Forget the normal rectangular rows of plants, there is nothing fun about that. With a circle, other gardeners are left wondering "What the heck is going on over there?" and the aliens thinking "That must be the signal we are looking for."

So in honor of my dad's circular crop of corn I have dubbed this pattern:
Crop Circles at the Community Garden

*The peace sweater came from Sundance a while back.

My sister and my brother's girlfriend were on the receiving ends of the sample knits this Christmas. The blue and gold pattern is knit in lightweight fingering yarn. The gold is a wool skein I inherited from my grandmother's stash and the blue is some laceweight merino from Elann held triple. This version was knit on US Size 1 24" circular needles.

The grey and cream is knit using Lion Brand's newish Merino Cashmere Superwash. This yarn is really lovely to work with, super soft and bouncy. This version was knit on US Size 5 24" circular needles. Note: this yarn calls for a much larger needle on it's label but I tend to always choose needles smaller than recommended for a cleaner, tighter looking knit, and I have noticed that Lion Brand's yarns are always lighter than the gauges they claim to be.