The World According to Marney

Tuesday, December 30

End of an Era

As I walked to work this morning, I saw something that made me rather sad. The FAO Schwarz store on Fifth Avenue - featured in the movie Big - is closing. There are big signs on the windows about the store closing. I can't say that I shopped there very often, mostly because I don't have a need for many toys, but I always liked to go in and wander through the vast rooms of stuffed animals. I remember spending hot summer days cooling off in Legoland, building all kinds of stuff. Of course that was before they took that feature away and made it much less interactive.

FAO Schwarz

I shouldn't be very surprised. I had heard that they were having more financial problems. But, I didn't think that their flagship store would be on the chopping block.

In more disturbing news, I think we are losing the war on rats. As I was walking down the street last night, I came across 2 rather large rats (the size of small cats) fighting on the sidewalk. Well, maybe they weren't fighting, they could have been playing, I don't know. In any case, that was one of the very few times when I felt physically uncomfortable on the streets of New York. I felt silly crossing the street for a few feet just to avoid them, but there was no way I was going to take my chances with feisty rodents.

Monday, December 29

Before & After



I changed out the un-feltable yellow for pink. It's not what I was hoping, but it will do. I hope to get it into the washer this weekend.

On the backpack front, I found zippers on Wednesday. Over the weekend, I managed to put one in.

For the alpaca project, I blocked my back to wsee if I could get it to be the right size. I'm still a little off, not much, but a little. Instead of redoing the entire back and half of the front, I decided to knit up strips that are only 10 stitches wide to ge between the front and back pieces under the arm. I may have to redo the armhole shaping, but that is better than having to redo the entire piece.

As you can see, I have been a very busy knitter over the holiday weekend.

Wednesday, December 24

Picture Time!

Here are some of the things that I am working on:

Alpaca Sweater

The stripe will not be staying there. It is only a marker for the stitch count changes.

Notice how much this thing rolls. It's a good thing I am making it a roll neck sweater.

This is the front. I'm cooking on this one. Let's hope this doesn't take quite as long or he won't be wearing it until his birthday - in July!

Here are the backpacks that I made for my nieces. Now they are not going to make it out for the holidays. I'm hoping to get them out a little after the New Year.

for Kelsee - The straps have letter beads spelling out her name.

for Sydnee - I did the straps with the beads for her, too.

for Hailee
This is the one I wanted to felt. But I got an e-mail from Julie letting me know that the Sun Yellow won't felt due to the processing it goes through in dying. Thanks Julie, for the heads up! So, I think I may change that part of the bag to a bright pink. Or maybe I'll go back to the navy blue.

And the Chenille Blanket

Notice the massive cone of yarn. That was an e-bay score for $5.00.

These were all I could get taken last night.

Have a wonderful holiday!

Tuesday, December 23

Fun Christmas Surprise

I just got a fabulous surprise from Mom & Dad for Christmas. After we had talked last weekend about the harrowing task of getting presents to eachother across the country and came up with a compromise, Mom went out and bought a present for me and made sure that it got here before Christmas.

Can I just tell you that this thing is TINY!!! It fits in the palm of my hand.

That means I will be able to take pictures of my projects and post them again! I know everyone was jonsing for my pictures. I will have to get a rechargable battery or else I will be back in my current predicament, though. I don't have anything for you right now, but I'll post all kinds of goodies very soon. Maybe I'll even update my gallery pages. That's just crazy talk!

Thank you Mom & Dad. You are so good to me. Maybe I'll actually get you your presents sometime in the next few days. I swear I am off to mail them now. (No comments from anyone that is actually on time with their gifts. This is a ritual for me every year.)

Monday, December 22

Happy Winter

Well, today is the first official day of winter. It shouldn't be surprising to me that the daylight hours are almost non-existant. It's dark when I leave home and it's dark when I leave work. Well, at least I don't need to worry about sunglasses.

I finished the back of the alpaca sweater on Saturday. I had to make a last minute trek to IKEA on Saturday which required 2 Subways and 2 Path trains in order to meet a friend en route. That made for a bit of knitting time. So, I started in on those 30,000 stitches for the front. Let's see if I can get this one finished in less than 5 weeks.

Also, watch our for the new terror alert level:
Terror Alert Level

Friday, December 19

Wacky Friday Fun

My head is spinning with all of this new info I am learning about web design. So far, I am able to do pretty much everyone wants. Sort of. I'm still trying to figure out a few things, but I think I can handle this. Maybe I have found a new calling. Before I start sending out my "portfolio," I should probably figure out how to make more than just a boring page (what the boss wants). Void of color and interest. Just like they want it.

Still plugging away on my seemingly endless sweater. Oh, by the way, in all of these stitches I listed yesterday, I didn't count the sleeves. I haven't even touched those, yet.

Well, I am going to get back to the wonderful world to web design, now that I have had a brief respite and a slug of caffeine. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, December 18

Will I Ever Finish This Thing???

Alpaca Sweater is nearly finished on the back. Armholes are shaped. I am in the home stretch with only a couple of inches left before the neckline. This sweater is taking such a long time! Aside from my aran sweater (which is being totally neglected until the New Year - again), I churn out sweaters in a couple of weeks, tops. I am now past the month marker (I started it on November 13th) and it's not even at the halfway point. I have not been neglecting it, by any stretch of the imagination. I even have about 5 inches done on the front; only 20 more to go. At 10 rows per inch and 165 stitches across, that makes (let me get out the calculator), with the armhole shaping around 30,000 stitches left for the front. That's a lot of stitches!

Not much else to share. I have been working a lot lately. They now have me creating a website (talk about a challenge) as well as my normal duties. Well, it's a good thing that I have been brushing up on my skills lately.

Tuesday, December 16

Baking Frenzy

Last night, after working a bit late, I decided that I needed to make a little something for the holiday lunch that we are having at the office today. So before I left the office, I printed out the recipes for Peanut Brittle and Reindeer Cookies. On the train, I realized that I threw out my old cookie sheets because they were well past their prime. Off to Bed Bath & Beyond. Oh, I'm going to need a candy thermometer, too. And just across the street is the brand new Container Store which will give me something to carry all of these goodies in. Come to think of it, I need some ingredients. And of course, the first grocery store didn't have everything that I needed, so I went to a second. By the time I made it home, it was already 8:30 and baking had not yet started.

So I got lazy. Instead of making the dough for the cookies, I used the pre-made, scoop it out sugar cookie dough. Well, that's not terrible. I'm sure they'll be just fine. They still have their pretzel antlers and m&m faces. The peanut brittle is a little thick because I couldn't dedicate enough time to it while it was in its formative cooling state. Am I too much of a perfectionist to find these faults?

So believe it or not, I got no knitting done last night. For that matter, I didn't even eat dinner last night, unless you count the pretzel middles that are not appropriate antlers, yellow and orange m&ms that don't make good eyes or noses and crumbs of peanut brittle. Why am I not 300 lbs???

Monday, December 15

I don't really have the energy to post much today. Between the funeral on Friday, a snowstorm on Sunday and general exhaustion from having to be at the office 7:30 on Mondays, I really just want to curl up in a warm corner somewhere.

I did get quite a bit of knitting done this weekend. Since I really didn't want to leave my apartment, I tried to be productive at home. One backpack istotally finished with the exception of the zipper. The second one is only a strap away from that. I found some fun bright pink with white polka dot material in my fabric stash that made for some wonderful lining. I also put on quite a few inches on the alpaca sweater. I made it up to the arm hole decreases on the back. Of course, I discovered that I lost my pattern somewhere in all of the bag transfers that I do. I guess I'll have to rewrite it out. Ick!

Now I am going to find a nice hot cup of tea to help take the chill off. Every Monday, it's like a meat locker in here!

Thursday, December 11

Sad News

I just found out that Nolan's Grandmother passed away yesterday. This is not unexpected, as her health had been declining for a while. I'm afraid I have been a bit out of it this morning because of it. I found out in an e-mail from Nolan's sister-in-law (who I met at Thanksgiving), which then led me to hunt down Nolan, who I hadn't talked to since Tuesday night. To make a long story short, despite my numerous offers and inquiries about going with him to the funeral, I will not be attending. I know that he is a very strong person that does not need to have someone there to lean on, but wouldn't it be nice to have someone there just for him? Well, the offer still stands, and if I get a phone call telling me otherwise, I will be there.

I have to say, I have been very blessed to not have many funerals within my own family. I have been to wakes, funerals and memorials, not to mention sitting shiva (not common with my protestant roots) for family members of my friends. In fact, the passing of Nolan's grandmother is the third death of a family member of one of my close friends this year.

I have to admit, I am feeling rather emotional about "Nana" passing. I only met her once, at Thanksgiving when we bonded over knitting. I had heard stories about her. I mended one of the sweaters that she made for Nolan so he could wear it in a family fashion show (that didn't happen). I even knew about the big birthday party that the family threw for her last spring, even though I didn't attend. Maybe I am too much of an empathetic person. I don't know. I don't even know what to say anymore, and you all know how I can ramble on.

I'm glad I got a chance to meet her. I am even more glad that she and I could share an afternoon talking about the family and knitting (the great unifier). From the very little that I got to know of her, she was a wonderful lady with a family that loved her dearly. My heart goes out to all of the family.

Wednesday, December 10

Charity Begins on the Farm

I found this site (the Knitbloggers Knitting Basket Project) as I was rambling through the blogs today. If anyone out there wants to make a knitterly donation to Heifer International, knit bloggers and knit blog readers are welcome to make a donation toward a knitting basket going to a family in need. As of today, 7 baskets have already been donated from knit bloggers!!! If you are interested, you can conveniently make a paypal donation if you have a little cash left over from your holiday gift spree.

What is the old saying... If you give a family a fish, they have a meal, but if you give them two sheep and two llamas, they have sweaters, socks, hats, blankets and lots of baby sheep and llamas. I was never very good with proverbs.

Picture Day

Today, I have been magically transported to the 6th Grade. We are having group and individual photos taken for work. I don't think I am one of the lucky individuals, but I am supposed to be a part of the group. I contemplated wearing pigtails and mary janes just to get into the spirit of my youth, but then thought better of it and donned a suit. For some reason, I don't think the powers that be would be all that happy with my levity.

I am almost finished with the gusset for the pink backpack. That means, all that are left to knit are the straps. They don't take very long. So, I must get my behind going on the lining thing soon, or I'll miss the boat.

My good deed for the week: Yesterday, I called my old office number only to have it answered by the guy that was finally (read 2 months) hired to replace me. It is someone that I used to work with. He, after I suggested it to him, moved out to NYC from Utah to take on the massive job that I ran away from. He is a braver soul than me. Anyway, he really doesn't know what he is doing when it comes to the meeting planning thing. He has never really done that. So, being in a generous mood, I offered to stop by and give him a rundown of what to expect, what kind of a timeline he needs, and other important information that no one else in the department will have. Well, I looked at it as a kind gesture toward someone that will soon be drowning in more work than he can truly anticipate.

I also updated my New Year's Resolutions Page, if you are interested.

Tuesday, December 9

It's Tuesday, I must be grumpy

So I bailed on the bookclub meeting last night. As only 2 people were planning on going and both told me there was something else that came up, I decided that it really wasn't worth it to even bother. Is it just me or is this a totally losing battle? Maybe I'll just let this adventure die into nothingness. Apparently, there aren't very many people that are as interested in reading and discussing books as I am. I know that Roberta has been there at almost every meeting. She is really the only other person that has shown more than just passing interest.

Anyway, I got back to the backpacks last night. I realized that if I want to get these done for Christmas, I better get going. I still need to get lining and zippers in order to finish them. I had hopes of making it to P&S Fabric at some point. That really hasn't happened yet. Maybe I'll go to my favorite local fabric shop this weekend. Although, when I walked by their 57th Strret location, it looked pretty closed, as in closed for good. I think the one on the east side is close to work. Maybe I'll stop in at lunch today.

I have a silly question for dog owners out there. Why is it that when it snows, dog owners no longer pick up after their pets? Is this laziness? Do they all figure that someone else is going to shovel so why bother? All I have to say is it is truly disgusting to walk down the sidewalks of New York with dog crap in the gray snow. What if someone slips on the ice and does a header right into a pile of doggie doo? That is disgusting! Can we PLEASE continue to clean up after our pets?

Monday, December 8

And it's not even Winter yet

My it's cold over here. After 2 days and 14 inches of snow, I AM ready for a little bit of heat. Unfortunately, the office is particularly chilly today. I spent much of the morning wearing gloves at my desk. I got a few odd looks, but my fingers were warm.

Over the weekend, I started my first felting project. I made a Booga J bag out of 2 skeins of the Lopi I got from the Smiley's sale, and 2 left over skeins of Lamb's Pride. So the bag is navy on the bottom, sea foam green in the middle and buttery yellow at the top. I made the handles with the same color pattern. I have not yet done the actualy felting as I have to leave my apartment building to get to a washer and it was just too darned cold.

Make sure you check out the new Knitty!!

Friday, December 5

New Template

I have been learning more and more about HTML so I put together a little template for my blog. I hope you like the new look. I am going to try to tweek here and there as I become a bit more proficient.

I'm pretty proud of myself, considering I learned it all from a book and playing around.

Thursday, December 4

Buying Yarn Eases My Pain

Book Club
I think our little book club has hit a new low. Althouth there were two of us in attendance, only one of us had finished the book. In a blatent attempt to get people back into this reading thing, I have rescheduled the meeting for next Monday night to try to get more attendees. I figured that Monday is generally a slow night for after work festivities as well as theatre and the earlier in the month we can do it, the more likely we will not yet hit that travel time of the month. In theory. It makes me wonder if this group needs to have a bit of restructuring. I will definitely ponder.

Smiley's Hotel Sale
Before meeting for the book club, Roberta and I stopped in at the Smiley's Hotel Yarn Sale. I couldn't pass up an opportunity to spend money on yarn that I don't really need right now. I managed to get away with less than $65 for 30 balls of yar, a box of stitch markers and 1 set of circular needles. Most everything at the sale was in bags of 10. The prices ranged from $10 Red Heart to $70 alpaca per bag. I got 2 bags (at $15 per bag - around 1/2 price) of Plymouth Encore Colorspun DK, one in dark blue and one in a white, yellow, blue varigation and a bag (at $25 per bag - about 15% off) of Lite-Lopi from Reynolds in a dark blue. I don't have anything in mind yet for this yarn, but I really had to walk away from the sale with a garbage bag of my own.

I am thinking about using the lopi for My Constant Companion. I am very interested in getting into the foray of felting. I have not intentionally done that yet. (Many times unintentionally before I understood it all.)

Other Knitting Debacles
I have been trying to find my hats that I made last winter every since the weater started getting cold. I don't have a huge apartment, so I really don't know how I can't find them. Anyway, I decided to whip up a simple hat with some of the acrylic yarn I have lying around. Double stranding makes for a speedy US 10 1/2 needle instant gratification project. I pull out my Denise needles and start at it. I got about 4 inches up and my cord broke! The hard plastic piece just past the connection snapped. I was not a happy camper. No hat, a broken needle and numerous dropped stitches. Needless to say, I put that project down for a while. I did manage to find my hat this morning, but I'm still a bit upset. Now I have to order a new cord for my set. Grumble, grumble.

Wednesday, December 3

I really just have to share this pattern with all of you.

Knitted Elvis Wig Pattern


The temperature has been hovering around the mid to low twenties everytime I go outside this week. That makes for a very cold commute. I think I may have to get into the "take mass transit when it's below freezing" mode again. I should just buckle down and buy a monthly metro card and not worry about these frigid walks to and from work. Let me tell you, 20 minutes in freezing wind means about an hour of warming up.

I guess that means that I should get back into completing my projects. Ah, to be able to bring warmth into the world.

I'm off to hang out around the coffee maker (read emitting heat).

Tuesday, December 2

News Break

Queer Eye for the Straight Guy Fans

I just discovered that Queer Eye for the Straight Guy is filming up in Nolan's neighborhood (Washington Heights). He is checking out the scene to see what all is going on. We have been "discussing" whether the show is actually done in one day - as they would lead you to believe - or in multiple days - which is what the work involved would actually entail. Since the parking in that neighborhood is blocked off until Friday, it may be that their magic doesn't happen in only one day.

NYC Knitters

I totally forgot what time of year this is. Smiley's Yarn Riot Hotel Sale is going on this week. I may have to make many trips to this sale as the hotel is only 3 blocks away from my apartment. I can't go tonight because of theatre, but I can make it before the book club tomorrow. I may be able to make it back a couple of times depending on the treasures that I find. I couldn't go last year because I was out of town.

What's Going On?

I tried to go to my blog and I keep getting error messages. Has blogger gone wacky on me? Well, I have been thinking about moving this blog onto my own site. I think I may be ready to take this stuff into my own hands. Or something. Come on, you know that I will sit on this idea for months before I actually do anything with it. We'll see.

I really don't have a whole lot to talk about today. Although I just saw snow falling outside. A knitter's dream! If anything else comes up, you'll be the first to know, if you can get to my site.

Monday, December 1

Happy December

I hope everyone had a happy and healthy Thanksgiving. I know my holiday was rather nice. Of course, it really is not a holiday that is condusive to vegetarians, so I got to indulge myself in potatoes, cranberries and peas. It may not sound very fulfilling to you, but I enjoyed it very much. With all of the turkey talk going around, I was feeling a bit left out, so when I got back home, I bought some meatless turkey loaf and giblet gravy. To be honest, the abbreviated dinner on Thursday was much more fulfilling. But I got that out of my system.

I did get some knitting done over the weekend. I had time on the 3 hour bus ride Wednesday afternoon to work on the chenille blanket. It is about 4 or 5 inches right now. When I got to the house in Connecticut, I spied a fellow knitter. So, I went up to her to talk about her project. She told me that it was her first project, a scarf from Stitch 'N Bitch. Being the ever over-exuberant knitter, I told her about the bunny backpack that I made for the book and how wonderful Deb Stoller is. By the time people started showing up for dinner the next afternoon, word had spread of my pseudo celebrity to every knitter there. Not bad for being the new kid one the block. I have discovered that if you ever have to go to a large gathering with people that you do not know, it helps to have a bit of noteriety to break the ice.

I also worked on the alpaca project, which I admit is going to be a roll-neck sweater for Nolan. I wasn't going to tell him before it was finished, but I started to get a little worried that it is not quite big enough. Since the 9 inches of length that I have finished so far on the back took me over 2 weeks on size US 0 needles, I thought it would just be better to measure him and forget about the surprise. Although my gauge seems to be pretty regular (8 stitched to the inch), my sweater is about 1/2 an inch too narrow. 160 stitches should give me 20 inches, right. Well it doesn't. I have measured repeatedly. Maybe the fuzzy alpaca in charcoal gray with tiny stitches is hard to count. Let's face it, it's almost impossible to count. So instead of taking the whole thing apart, I put that side on extra yarn (none of my stitch holders were small enough to fit in the stitches) and started the other side. I added an additional 10 stitches to make up for the missing 1/2 inch on each side. I am not far enough from the ribbing to measure it accurately. We'll see.

My questions to the knitters out there are, if I am off by 1/2 an inch in width, should I make that the front and have the sleeves 1/4 of an inch further forward on each side? Or should I adjust the inset of the sleeves so they are evenly placed (more binding off on the wider side than the narrower side)? Or does any of this matter since I am talking about such a small amount and very dark yarn that tends to be forgiving?