Category Archives: five for friday

Five for Friday: Cativersary edition

1. The one-year anniversary of adopting Fuzz Ferdinand (3/30) happened while we were in California. I don’t know much about his life before he came to live with us, except that he was found in someone’s backyard in Queens and spent some time being fostered before we adopted him. Watching this little monkey slowly come to realize that we’re his forever people and make the shift from the nervous, cautious creature we brought home to a confident, affectionate member of our household has been one of the great joys of my last 12 months.
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2. Rob used to live in one of the buildings (on the top floor of an illegal seventh-floor walkup, no less) that burned down after the terrible explosion in the East Village last week. I can’t stop reading about it.

3. For some reason, the narrator of this video approves of turning a perfectly cromulent beatnik teenager into her mother.

4. ” If you walked around New York you would think there was a terrible mirror famine.” Two of my favorite things that I read online this week: Fran Lebowitz on style and this incredible account of a young man who became friends with the man who ended up with his stolen iPhone and how they both became celebrities in China.

5. I can’t stop looking at these stunning photos of huskies walking on a frozen lake.

Five for Friday

1. Current projects on the needles: a Cobblestone pullover in some gorgeous Blue Sky Alpaca melange I was lucky enough to get when a friend was cleaning out her stash. I think it’ll make a really great knockaround sweater for this fall. I’m making the smallest size and my gauge is a little tighter, so it won’t be as loose-fitting, but the drape of the alpaca is so fluid and dreamy, I think it’ll still read as a relatively flowy garment. And my Stripe Study is back on track. I tried a few different cream yarns, but preferred my original selection (Swan’s Island merino/silk) in the end. It’s a little lighter weight than the gray, but I don’t have anything in the stash that’s the right color and the exact right grist; the Blackberry Ridge wool/silk I tried was a little heavier and that looked inelegant and clunky, while a couple of other wedding-dress-option yarns whose labels are lost were even lighter than this. I think it’ll even out pretty nicely when it’s blocked, anyway.

20140718-090442.jpg2. I really like Colette’s new pattern, Myrtle, and the face that it can be made in either knit or woven fabric. I’ve been keeping an eye out for a pattern to use with this fabric and I think Myrtle might be it. I’ve been picturing it used in a dress or skirt that was ankle-length and sweeping to show off the gorgeous pattern and take advantage of how well that fabric will move. It’s 58″ wide, so there should be plenty of room to lengthen the skirt and make sure it’s very full at the lower edge

3. I know it’s hot and humid and so very, very July out there, but I have fall knitting on the brain already. Partly, I think it’s because I’ve been dipping my toes into Project 333, which really deserves a post of its own–I think I’ve mentioned it before, but the idea here is that you choose 33 items, excluding underwear, workout clothes, and sleepwear, and that’s what you wear for the next three months–and I’ve been thinking about what sweaters I’d want in a very limited wardrobe. When my friend Rachael did Project 333, she didn’t count handknits at all toward the 33 items, but I already give myself so many outs, I’d like to reign myself in a little if I can. So for fall, I’d really like to have a black Baby Cables and Big Ones Too. It’s patterned enough to be interesting, but not so much so that it would look weird with patterned clothing. And I’d like a fair isle cardigan in a relatively small gauge with small geometric patterns in natural sheep shades of gray, white, and black and raglan sleeves. I haven’t been able to find one that meets my specifications, so I’ll have to come up with one. This is the closest I’ve come across, but the gauge is too big and it has drop shoulders and while I love the cross motifs, I’m not wild about the floral ones. I have the cable pattern and some gorgeous black Italian finewool on cones that’ll be perfect for it, so should start that sooner rather than later.

4. A few things I’ve enjoyed lately: Rosamund Hodge’s debut novel, Cruel Beauty, which mixes Greek mythology and the Beauty and the Beast story in very smart, well-crafted story. Happy hour at Maison Premiere in Williamsburg, where I enjoyed some $1 oysters and a couple of French 75s yesterday while sitting at a marble bar with my husband in one of the prettiest spaces in New York City. And I finally watched Frozen, which is thoroughly charming. I was struck by the fact that Elsa has gotten so much attention when it’s really Anna’s story–she’s the one who meets new people and goes on the quest and makes things happen. Elsa spends most of her time shut away, either in her room or in her fancy ice castle.

5. My office is moving this weekend from west SoHo to the Financial District. I don’t really know that part of town very well and am looking forward to exploring a bit. I know about Les Halles and The Dead Rabbit, but any other leads on good places for lunch/after work/interesting things in the neighborhood would be much appreciated.

Five for Friday

20140523-103341.jpg1. I love Kim’s new rules for email.

2. I’ve joined the sewalong for Colette Patterns’s Mabel. I haven’t worked much with knits and this seems like a pretty easy entry point to that whole thing. I don’t know that I’ll actually make one—it’s not a style I really wear—but the photos and write-ups seem like they’ll be helpful for future knits sewing.

3. This “Hostile Questions” interview series for authors is pretty amusing.

4. Is anyone going to LJ‘s Day of Dialog next week by any chance? I’m moderating a panel with Chelsea Cain, Lisa Scottoline, Rainbow Rowell, Sophie Littlefield, Pamela Nowak, Lauren Oliver, and an editor from Harlequin’s Mira line. We’re going to be talking about all sorts of issues and ideas around writing and marketing to, for, and about women and I’m pretty excited about it.

5. I’ve still finding my feet on Instagram, but I really, really love seeing all the photos from Dutch Flower Line first thing every morning.

Sunday productive Sunday

P1090128Now that the weather is warming up, my craft focus has started to shift back to spinning and sewing. I’ve been carding the Gotland fleece I got at Rhinebeck last year with some hand-dyed mohair top I’ve had since before I moved to New York, so 1999? 2000? I know I bought it on eBay from a seller whose name I can’t remember who sold different base fibers dyed in the same range of colorways and that this one was called Vienna Woods. I bought the plain wool and the mohair, spun them separately, plied them together, and knit an oversized seamless raglan cardigan out of the yarn. I’m not sure what happened to the sweater. Maybe I gave it to my mom at some point?

Anyway. I had close to a pound of the mohair left over and it’s been sitting in my stash, moving with me [counts] either seven or eight times, depending on where I was living upstate when I bought it, and I’m delighted that I’m finally doing something with it. My original plan was to ply this blended single with a plain Gotland single for yarn for a big, wild, wooly pullover. I may still do that, but I think I’ll have enough of the blend to ply on itself and still have sufficient yardage for a big, wild, wooly pullover.

I had my favorite kind of day yesterday, the kind where I spend my time moving from project to project, making demonstrable progress on a number of things. I made a batch of spicy peanut sauce to have with noodles and vegetables for dinner and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for a work party today. I worked on my cashmere/merino cabled cardigan (the back, two fronts, and one sleeve down; the last sleeve, assembly, collar, and ribbing left to go), the scrap chevron afghan I’m crocheting, and the handspun log cabin blanket I’m knitting. I made a batch of soap (scented with orange, clove, and cinnamon) and cut out fabric for a Scout tee. I got caught up on The Americans (I really like the show, but have kind of forgotten what Larrick’s damage is in the first place, so I’m not as fully invested in what’s going on as I could be), watched an episode of the original Swedish The Bridge, and listened to a fair chunk of The Alienist audiobook. Looking at my calendar for the next couple of months, I’m not sure when I’m going to have another full day just for puttering, so I’m glad I put that one to good use.

Five for Friday

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1. I made Mark Bittman’s recipe for tofu jerky this week (the miso variation, more or less) and it’s really good. It’s basically just semi-dehydrated tofu used as the vehicle for savory flavor. It took a fair amount of work–careful slicing, frequently turning the pieces over in the oven and brushing them with the sauce–for how long they lasted, but as healthful, relatively inexpensive snacks go, they’re a keeper.

2. I can’t stop thinking about a documentary I watched last night, The Elephant in the Living Room. It’s about people who keep exotic animals as pets, yes, but mostly from the point of view of one man, Tim Harrison, who gets called in when they escape or hurt someone or aren’t being cared for properly. Absolutely fascinating.

3. I only have a single sweater project on the needles at the moment, which isn’t like me at all. I’m kind of enjoying the experience of being single-minded in this way though. Maybe knitting the wedding dress last summer broke me or something something monogamy.

4. I actually did win part of the pot at my mother-in-law’s Derby party last weekend, since California Chrome was one of the names I drew out of the pot. I had to split the money five ways, but we got a night’s worth of Tibetan takeout earlier in the week and some tacos last night and still have enough left over to order a pizza or two at some point. Apparently found money = takeout money around here.

5. This week I learned that C.S. Lewis had a fondness for the whip, which came up during a very interesting conversation I had on Twitter yesterday with a former coworker and a few librarians. There’s some about it in this New Yorker profile, in The Magician’s Book by Laura Miller (who also weighed in on Twitter), and in A.N Wilson’s biography of him. As my friend Molly pointed out, it does add some texture to the character of Jadis and how easily Uncle Andrew is in thrall to her.

Five for Friday

fuzz1. My wedding was featured on Rock and Roll Bride earlier this week!

2. I’m still really digging making soap. I upgraded my equipment a bit this week and bought a no-line acrylic slab mold that comes with dividers to make evenly sized bars. Lining the mold has always been just about my least favorite part of the whole process, at least partly because I’m so bad at it, so I’m really happy to have a way around that. I made a batch of bay laurel and vetiver–scented soap last night that’ll be ready to unmold when I get home tonight. I’m pretty excited about this one, I can tell you. My apartment smelled AMAZING while I was working on it. I just want to make soap all the time; my bullet journal is rapidly filling up with ideas for scent combinations and different proportions of oils to use and things to mix in.

3. A few days ago, I got a galley of Kim Werker’s new book, Make It Mighty Ugly, and I’m pretty excited to spend some time with it this weekend.

4. I was down with a nasty, brutish cold for most of this week—I took two days off in a row because I was feeling so lousy, which I can’t remember doing maybe ever before in my working life. The only good thing to come of it is that I’ve remembered how much I love a good bowl of orzo in broth when I’m feeling poorly.

5. I just started watching True Detective. Now I get why the entire internet was obsessed with it a month or so ago. That is what you might call some compelling shit.

Foggy thinking

I went to see Her yesterday, which I liked a lot (in contrast to the elderly couple sitting next to me, who openly scoffed at every plot development and half the lines of dialogue). I’m a sucker for movies that take a slant-wise approach to human connections, and I thought the movie was beautifully designed; the color palette (corals, lemons, grassy greens, azures, and taupes) was fresh and pretty, and the way it mixed vaguely futuristic design with the openly nostalgic (that initial shot of the beach could have been a photograph from the early 60s) was very effective and appealing. The extremely long rise on the men’s pants was a bit jarring while I was watching, but the thinking behind that choice makes sense.

Then I walked home through Prospect Park, which was the foggiest I’d ever seen it. It was a little eerie and very, very lovely.

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Before They Pass Away

I’ve been completely mesmerized lately by the photo project Before They Pass Away, in which photographer Jimmy Nelson traveled the world to document extant indigenous tribes. The pictures are just gorgeous, and while I found a lot of Nelson’s rhetoric to be overblown and overly romantic, I particularly enjoyed navigating the site through the “journeys” tab, which lets you read about what it was like to move about in a particular part of the world, then see the people he met and photographed while he was there. This project has been getting comparisons to Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, in part because they both have remarkable books that came out around the same time, but mostly because both photographers take sensitive, celebratory portraits that manage to transport the viewer into the subject’s life, if only for a moment.

Vanuaru, Vanuatu Islands

Kazakh, Mongolia

Drokpa, India

Mursi, Ethiopia

Goroka, Papua New Guinea

Simple geometrics

Inspired by these coasters, I used some fabric I had around to make a bunch of light/dark squares. The red/white floral was a piece of flocked cotton, maybe half a yard, that came into my hands when my favorite cousin bought a house that had previously been owned by a hoarder. There was other fabric and yarn, but most of it had been gnawed on by little beasties, both winged and naked-tailed, and wasn’t usable. I’d wanted to use it for something special and had almost given up hope when I hit upon this idea. The plan is to put them together for cushion covers, but I haven’t quite nailed down which configurations I like best. I think these two may be the winners though. I like the strong graphic quality of the patterns and the contrast between the small pieces and the large motifs.
But there are almost limitless other combinations, not to mention the fact that I made a bunch of squares using the same striped fabric and a darker red silk paisley that used to be one of my favorites dresses in the late 90s, so that increases the combinations exponentially.
I have a crafting date with some friends this weekend, so I may pull them all out and see how everyone else puts them together.

Other things that have happened since I last posted:

  • I moved in with my boyfriend. We have the first floor of a rambling old house, complete with a deck, a bathroom that’s tiled on the ceiling, a sort of North African … mirror installation in the living room, and some truly ghastly 1980s wallpaper in the kitchen. The latter is not long for this world, but the rest of it is thoroughly charming.
  • I became obsessed with Homeland.
  • I became obsessed with Gillian Flynn’s latest book, Gone Girl. I actually almost regret reading it because it means I can never read it again for the first time.
  • I became obsessed with Draw Something.
  • I made this, possibly my favorite salad ever.
  • Knitting-wise, I’m plodding away on Effortless and Folded.