Monday, October 31, 2005

happy halloween, everybody.

a smattering collage of the last couple days and nights.

[captions pending, but please enjoy the photos for now.]

+ catch a video glimpse of ms. gwen 'B-A-N-A-N-A' stefani live on stage at bankboston garden. 5th row seats courtesy of zinman's hookups. rad.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

heyheyhey. i'm alive, i'm back, i'm writing, i'm online. sorry for the blogtastic hiatus, the last couple weeks have been simultaneously heartracing and chillaxing. i will definitely blitzblog about the remarkable events (with pictures!) soon enough, though i completely know firsthand the unsurmountable difficulty it is to write about something 4... 24... 194 hours after it transpired. such is the constant forwardness of life's narrative.

anyway, big news today. unbelievable. it *snowed*. ALL DAY. holy moly, winter is here in boston. *rubs eyes* october 29th, to be sure. when big fluffy white flakes started falling around 1pm this afternoon, i yelled, my roommates ran, and the scene was completely surreal. weather like this? now?? whee! i ran outside in my flipflops and took some amaaaazing footage such as that below: (click on pics to view short films in quicktime format)

i spent most of the afternoon skedaddling around central square, dodging the icy flakes melting coolcold on my cheeks, trying to find some halloweeny inspiration. tonight we're having a little spooky shindig at our apartment, all of us like one big happy family. [we even went shopping at trader joe's together! awww.] i already have a cute costume, which should be arising on the internets sometime later this weekend, but was perusing the best and brightest in holiday decoration on a last-minute weekend. all i can say is that everything, everywhere is plastic and made in china. i was momentarily tempted by fake blood capsules, but i knew that only the *real deal* would do for tonight. heh heh hehhhhh....

here is what cambridge looks like from under my pink umbrella. as snow was falling, softly, incessantly, parts of town looked like it came straight from a norman rockwell illustration. so cute and towny and historically fond. i loved seeing the contrast between the snow and the surfaces it began to blanket. look; doesn't it kind of look like a forest? for... ants?

the adorable doggie was outside of dado tea, where i was dropping off a package of shoes to ups. i must give a huge thumbs-up to zappos, the online purveyor of shoes, for their excellent customer service. basically, one of the zippers on these knee-high black leather naturalizer boots which i adore (and wear 24/7) broke last week and i was stuck with boots that don't, well, bootup. i contacted zappos through their little web contact form, and someone called me back in ten minutes. even though i bought the shoes back in february, they still were happy to give me a brand new replacement pair, and send me a mailing label to return my bad shoes. no shipping fees, no weird clauses, no questions asked. it was amazing to see them send me boots, with 2-day rushed delivery, even when my broken ones are scuffed and worn from eight months of usage. experience was supergreat. after this ordeal, i i wholeheartedly trust their quality of service.

i cracked up so bad when i saw this retail display at artist craftsman and supply. i totally was the queen of gimp. well, before my knitting days, i was really into making friendship bracelets, so i bought hanks of embroidery floss at the age of 11. i even got creative by incorporating metallic lurex thread and finishing them off with real jewelry clasps. but yeah. GIMP. salty days at sailing camp and pulling those slippery suckers of string so they would tighten with each weave. i hear you, deb*. they really do add a certain something to the look.

* I see you're drinking 1%. Is that 'cause you think you're fat? 'Cause you're not. You could be drinking whole if you wanted to.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

holy moley.

100% cashmere sweaters for $30 (!!!) at by isaac mizrahi.

incredible. steal the deal.

Monday, October 17, 2005



Thursday, October 13, 2005

hello, all. it's been quite a week. for those who are outside of my immediate radar, upcoming is the infamous sponsor open house, which is when the media lab goes craaaazy with nonstop demos, workshops, meetings, and talks. demo or die, as the media lab motto carries on. this happens only twice a year, one in the fall (ta-da) and one in the spring. so now everyone's in the mood to get their thing to work, where thing and work are redefined on a near daily basis. fun times. and, may i add, the espresso machine is as beautiful as ever.

it's amazing to think how september just magically disappeared. and how come no one told me thanksgiving is in a MONTH? i suppose mother nature is telling me with the encroaching cold and wet on my nose, but winter is coming faster than i know what to do with myself. except maybe knit.

now that i have the gifts for my mom, my niece, and older sister #1 taken care of (idea for sis #2 is pending), presently i'm working on the tweed peaked hats for my dad and my nephew. grandpa and grandson united through headwear. you can gag with cuteness now. it's okay. i have been thinking about this idea for a while, with an image of tweedy cabbie hat or touring cap in my head. however, i had some difficulty finding patterns that weren't (1) blatantly feminine or (2) fugly, so it came with great luck that rhonda found a hat that worked in a bunch of patterns she got off ebay. it's out of an old patons 'winter accessories' book. we might just call it total karma.

so i finished the smaller one, except i need to attach a garter stitch brim and a covered button on the top of the cap. otherwise, voila.

and on the needles to the right is the larger hat that i cast on today at lunchhour's stitch 'n' bitch. adorable to the max, no? i had a little too much fun during my mini self-portrait photo session, as illustrated by the cute-hipsters-knit-too cheeky pic, and one in which you can espy my prized nara print.

the yarn i'm using for the hats is debbie bliss aran tweed, color 07, which is a black/gray marled yarn with flecks of red, yellow, and blue. very classic looking. however, i would NEVER EVER use this yarn again for a project. even though it's fine to work with once you've gotten the stitches going (and the fabric it creates is quite nice), the yarn itself is horridly fragile and breaks superduperily easily. i'm talking about tugging it between my fingers with ALMOST NO TENSION and it just separates just like that. [i have witnesses that can attest.] i haven't yet been able to cast on completely for my project without the yarn coming off in my hands, despite my attempts to cast 'gently' on the needles. i emailed the vendor off ebay from which i acquired the yarn, just to see if perhaps the yarn i got was imperfect or second-grade which might explain the fragility, but she confirmed it was first-grade yarn. if that's true (and i believe her), then this debbie bliss tweed is completely disappointing. i tried googling around to see if anyone else had issues with it, but all i could find were glowing reviews. huh. maybe i'm just a rough-tumble-gal with my yarn, but i'll just hope that whoever wears these hats won't find themselves scratching their heads with a pointy stick too often.

one thing to remember about sponsor week: free fancy food. chin up, everyone!

Monday, October 10, 2005

hey, check it out. kinda looks like a finished object, doesn't it? :) i finally depleted the last three yards tonight to finish the corkscrew scarf. yippee! this is the gift for my sis. but please don't tell her...

a lovely 52" length. 1.5 skeins of berroco quest. 10.5 needles. pattern by teva durham, loop-d-loop. smashingly metallic. have a better view of the muppety yarn in this sunshiny entry of my scarf-in-progress getting its caffeine fix at diesel cafe. sippy sip.

apologies for the minimal lighting. i abhor flash unless absolutely necessary, so i'd rather leave some mystery in the shadows than bleach out the entire scene with blinding photons. i hope she likes it! should go with her artsy schmartsy aesthetic.

isFinishedObject(ribPillow) == true.

below, the pillow adjusts to its new environment. all is abuzz on camp coverlet.

aussie becomes mildly confused after discovering that it tastes nothing like eucalyptus leaves, despite its deliciously green exterior. after a second and a third nibble, aussie decides he'll leave it alone, remembering what happened the last time he ingested a squishy square. he doesn't mind, though, and welcomes it into the family with a warm, furry, vegemite'd hug.

the cheat gets off his beatbox and promptly announces himself king of the ribbed bark mountain and pronounces it thus so with a little triumphant meh. meh! meeehh mehmehmehemehmmmeeh! meeeeeah!

a good, restful night to all.

Friday, October 07, 2005

this has got to be the best thing that ever happened to the post office.

and they're already available for purchase. i <3 the muppets oh-so-much. and they even have dr. honeydew and beaker on there! plus the swedish chef! so so so so so adorable. cannot contain myself.

despite the fact that i love teva's style and adore the full-fashioned, lady-like ballet pullover, i felt that my sweater-in-progress really wasn't working out. not too much effort wasted, since it's on hulking size 15 needles and with super soft cashmerino. no regrets! some of my motivations for frogging:
  • i searched high and low for my pink yarn, since i liked how the 'ballet' descriptor really infused the project with a sophisticated girlishness. however, i knew that it would come back to haunt me that i really don't wear pink, since it tends to fight with my golden skin.
  • my gauge was not consistent. i should have used smaller needles (probably 13 or 11), but my 13 tips were currently in use and i doubted the 11s. plus, even though i was pretty close to gauge, the stitched-up yarn turned out to be very stretchy. it became clear after putting it on that it wasn't the desired effect. i planned for it to be form-fitting and taut, but it ended up loose and hung heavily.
  • to combat the horrifyingly out-of-whack size, i attempted a quick-fix by furiously decreasing stitches with each successive row. it did the reduction job, though i ended up eliminating the feminine hourglass shape the sweater was intended to mimic.
  • the pink yarn (a dusty shade) is probably better suited to my almost 5-year-old niece than to me. somehow a bulky light pink sweater becomes much more appropriate on a smaller scale. she could pull the look off way better. and cuter.
so there we have it. i haven't fully frogged it, but am stringing out (ha) the destruction for as long as possible.

going...                                     going...

so what, you may ask, am i going to do with my extant 500gr of pink? i think i will put it toward the corrugated asymmetrical v-neck sweater from (surprise, surprise) loop-d-loop in the kid-size version for my niece down the road. totally adorable, right? maybe for next christmas, since i already have the pink theresa sweater set out for her. ah, little girls. they always come in handy when i you have a boatload of pink yarn to burn.

i am sososo excited... the new wallace & gromit movie is opening today! those of you might know that i am obsessed with their animated shorts (i have all the episodes on VHS, plus creature comforts [my heart goes out to the lion from brazil] and a bunch of brilliant aardman flicks), and i got all the little collectibles and stationery and calendars that i could get my hands on. i was a little disappointed with chicken run, aardman's first full-length film in 2000, only because i felt like the usually witty brit humor was completely dumbed down modified for an american family audience. the chicken hijinks were amusing, though i missed the depth and charm of the the original w&g episodes. there are a lot of subtleties in the shorts that make for intelligent watching, and not merely a passive entertaining experience. plus, i missed the screen presence of plasticine wensleydale cheese.

i'm glad gromit's knitting makes another cameo in the new film. the above image is from a close shave, though you can view the movie trailer and see him clicking his needles away in a moment of needed relief. there's one past episode i remember where he's stitching a 'dogbone' pattern in intarsia. it's absolutely genius.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

just a reminder to set your iCals for my radio show, sans serif, every wednesday at 7pm EST on wmbr 88.1fm. if you're in cambridge, you can tune in on the dial; if you're away, you can hear the stream on wmbr; and mp3 archives and playlists for each show are available for download on my website.

it all begins tomorrow night. thanks for listening!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

so today was a bit rough. somehow things didn't fit together the way i intended, and so i left lab sort of in a funk. however, i got to witness the super-exclusive vito acconci talk and presentation at cavs this evening. i left early, though i saw some cool projects such as 'instant house' and the upside-down glass house. acconci studio investigates the fascinating relationship between humans and their spaces.

on my way home, totally out of routine, i ducked into the gap in central square. i usually don't stop inside, though i was curious on what treasures might hang on the sale racks. optimistic, i know.

there was the usual palette of khaki and corduroy available, though it was clear that knitwear is definitely 'in' for the season. here are some photos to prove it (and i didn't even get some of the loopy bulky wrap scarves and ribbed turtlenecks):

above, i'm illustrating once again why things with scratchy fibres don't sell. check this out... acrylic, nylon, and mohair. ever-so-slightly better than H&M's hive-inducing acrylic-mohair blend, but i still bristle at the scratchy lace. i would totally wear it if my skin didn't wish to crawl continously underneath that swaddling of thistly threads. other than the fact that you itch yourself into a writhing pink ball of flesh, it's pretty classy.

[clearly, being yarn-conscious really makes you take notice of these things.]

i also noticed a proponderance of cables. they always come back every year, somehow in a different combination or permutation or width or weight or right-cross or left-cross... classic brands leave no cable pattern unturned!

on the left is a sweater from the gap store, with its pattern of wide-skinny cable repeats. on the right is from a promotion at j.crew that landed in my email box today, announcing the wellesley cabled sweaters knit in their 'exclusive' yarn. so basically they bought out the entire mill lot. that's understandable; and i have to admire (at the cost of $68) their blend of merino, viscose, angora, and cashmere. taking a closer notice at the wellesley cable, it seems to be a medium-cable and rib pattern.

this got me thinking on the way home... how did cables become the de rigeur pattern for classic, preppy brands? why have cables developed into something that signals the cape cod/hamptons/i-wear-argyle-underwear aura? and so, a little online research commences.

well, i do know that cable patterns descend from irish aran, celtic, and viking traditions. i start googling some queries, but all i get are shopping sites with the newest polo cable sweater for sale, or knitting blogs with lots of cable projects with aran yarn. i dig a little deeper. i come up with bad 80's sweater patterns and a link to ralph lauren. what's even more surprising is that abercrombie + fitch does not even carry cable sweaters (not much knitwear at all, come to think of it... are they following the trends or are they sticking to their fragrance and undergarment lines?)

to the left are some cable offerings from american eagle and anthropologie respectively. looks like we have an elongated-cable and rib pattern, and a chunky bold cable motif.

so, i suppose my question still isn't answered. why cables? is it the historical link wayyyy back to the british isles and their classy tweedy ways? are we mentally making the connection from prep-schooling to yacht-owning to irish fishing? if anyone has some tidbits, i would love to hear about it.

whew. now where does that leave me?

tonight i worked a bit more on the bark rib. check it out, gracefully covering up my coy little pillowform.

luckily, i think i may not need to do as many pattern repeats as i expected, since the pillow is squishy and the yarn quite accomodating to stretch. about 20 more rows to go, and then sewing the whole thing up. i miscalculated my pace before, and i clocked myself at 8 rows per hour. so i have a on-the-horizon three hours left (including the seaming) before ms. ribbing gets to plunk down on a soft bed where she belongs! i hadn't planned for anything additional, but any suggestions for tassels, ribbons, edgings, buttons, or beads? a FO is in sight! w00t!

so last night i managed to analyze and investigate the projects i currently have on the needles. it's been up and down with my knitting momemtum, but here's a quick rundown...

corkscrew scarf from loop-d-loop (90%)
  • berroco quest (100% nylon) on 10.5 aluminum dpns (can we say slippery?)
  • nearing the end of my current skein, but i have about a 1/3 skein leftover from the remnants of another project (which shall go embarassingly unsaid...)
  • it's at a decent short-scarf length at a bit over 4' long, but i have to play around with it
  • this is for sister #1, though she never reads my blog so i think i'm safe :)
tree-bark rib pillow (adapation) from loop-d-loop (60%)
  • double-stranded knitpicks merino style on denise 9s
  • designed as a covering for one of my 20" x 20" pillowforms (the other one will have to be naked for the time-being)
  • polishing off the 3rd pair-of-skeins out of my 5 pairs-of-skeins
  • i am loving the ribs, though it's going slowly but steadily; i can go through a pair-of-skeins in an hour or so if i put my mind to it, so i think perhaps another solid three hours should finish this off
  • this is a housewarming gift to myself. happy new apartment!
ballet pullover from IK summer 2004 (62.5%)
  • double-stranded debbie bliss cashmerino aran on denise 15s (needles for giants!)
  • i have the entire body finished, and as of last night halfway through one of the sleeves with chunky double-pointed candy sticks on loan from danielle
  • should i do 3/4 sleeves or full-length? time will tell.
  • it's a bulky ropey pink sweater, so i hope it doesn't make me look too michelin-woman-esque, though i am totally digging the absence of finishing and seaming... when you're done, you're done!
  • i made a huge edit in the pattern when i realised my gauge was a little oversized, so i ended up decreasing like crazy from the middle of the body downwards; not a brilliant move, but a handy fix-it, and it's not too noticeable
  • it's a super-fast knit, so i might be able to finish this in three hours, since i'm 5/8 of the way through already ;)
so there's the current lineup. i am also writing this down as a service to myself, so i don't tempt myself with starting an attractive new project with my UFOs in the wings crying for attention. (and how sad they get!) so i'll try to finish these before i embark on something beautifully ambitious.

[re my old WIP list: the kitty hat will sit in my basket for a bit before i have the patience to do the ears and pompoms. right now it's a functional cap, sort of amelia-aviator-like, which is cute, so i don't mind. also, i might just frog the lonely fingerless nymph glove and use the yarn for a small project, maybe the leaf cravat from IK winter 2002/03. does anyone have this pattern i could borrow? the theresa sweater for my niece is all done, and all that remains is seaming. sigh.]

don't worry, i have a healthy list of PIQ (projects in queue) when the time comes to go yarn shopping. and it is ever growing! here's a taste:
  • cable riding jacket from loop-d-loop (i'm thinking in rowanspun aran)
  • gibson girl pullover from IK summer 2004 (i'm thinking in knitpicks elegance)
  • jaywalker socks from magknits sept05 (in my blue moon fiber yarn)

Monday, October 03, 2005

how autumn looks as it descends upon the media lab:

more evidence that fall is here:

it's true. sandal season is over. as my socks begin to rejoice in their soft, funny way, you'll see my toes again in about eight months.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

a lot of sun and string at today's boston knitout! it was a four-hour extravaganza of yarn craziness smack dab in the middle of the city, happily sprawled across one area of boston common. the weather couldn't have been more perfect for a day outside. stitchers were everywhere to be seen, with large expanses of color on people's laps and women spontaneously shrieking "that pattern is gorgeous, what's that you're making?" i got a lot of positive comments about my corkscrew scarf, from loop-d-loop in the berroco quest, which i toted along as my project for the day. a lot of ruffly scarves were spotted among the crowd, although i secretly think mine was the prettiest ;) it's definitely the oceanic robot colorway, for sure.

i was the volunteer contest coordinator, so i got to manage the fastest needles contest (who could knit the most stitches in 4 minutes), the fastest hook contest (who could do the most double crochet in 4 minutes), and the interweave press scarf style contest. the speed contests were superhilarious, with the dj playing cheesy stuff like chariots of fire, and the emcee cheering on the contestants with the energy of an nfl sportscaster. everyone's hands worked furiously with the same-for-everyone camel-colored yarn. props to the single male contestant... especially competing against women who have been crocheting for more than 40 years. go figure.

after being in the sun all day, i think i may be feeling a little loopy, though i have to mention that i met NORAH GAUGHAN! totally by accident, too! *swoon* so there were tents set up for various vendors and sponsors, and berroco had its little table with yarn samples and patterns and such. i personally think berroco patterns are terrifyingly ugly (you'll be convinced after perusing youknitwhat), but i stopped by the table since i wanted to show them the scarf i was making with the quest yarn. i started chatting with the lady behind the booth, and i glanced at her nametag and i almost fainted when i realised i was talking to norah herself. i definitely had a moment of starstruckedness. silly, i know, and i think i embarassed myself at how gushy i became at that very moment, but this gal designs impressive stuff! she told me she's publishing a book that's sort of a sequel to loop-d-loop, one that's more 'intelligent knitting' (that's the way she described it), with patterns based on mathematical algorithms and patterns found in nature. i cannot wait for it to come out in june 2006. i suppose she's one of the faces of berroco, so i must give them some credit, but i still think their patterns are unforgivably fugly. apologies.

i also met perri klass, elaine eskesen, and jil eaton, knitwear designers and authors. they were special guests who did book signings and judged the scarf style contest. i find it incredibly impressive that we managed to get these folks out to boston for this event. kudos to everyone who put on this show... are we ready for next year?

more about knitwear later. but i have to say... H&M, i would loooooove your sweaters if you invested just a teensy bit more and used a yarn that's not 30% mohair and 70% acrylic, a combination that's itchy and scratchy just thinking about it. the designs a lovely, but if only i could bear to touch it. i'll pay $10 more for a pinch of wool or cashmere. please.

but some curiousness. so here we have the H&M window display, which i espied while in downtown crossing yesterday. the 'collection' outfits are pretty attractive. i actually dig the megabobble sweater.

but then i saw this.

who knew that socks with sandals would make it to the runway? no, me neither. :) although i'm skeptical on its ready-to-wear applicability (hello, MIT), but yay for putting mini-sweaters on cold feet.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

a goodbye party for ben dalton (who's leaving for the UK on monday) transpired last night at this tremendously spectacular loft in fort point. deliciously spacious and subtly covert. friends gathered from far and wide to comingle as artists do.

captioning from T -> B, L -> R:

the 14ft-ceilinged space houses two designers who adorn their charming abode with their paintings, architectural sketches, and vintage furnishings. this picture captures like 10% of the entire space. their bathroom is larger than my bedroom. it really does bring tears to your eyes.

liucubed + niknak, as seen from the rest of the taller world.

aaron + orkan, doing their part to reprazent smg in das haus. taken as seen from much smaller christine.

live music sampled set accompanied by wall projection and glitchy nintendo riffs. you can see ben rocking out in the red robot tshirt in the background. the world shall dearly miss my first cassette.