My dad was at the hospital yesterday for exploratory surgery  (they’re still not sure what disease is causing his tumors), so I ended up spending a lot of time at San Francisco’s Japantown, wandering the dollar stores and eating udon. (Japantown is a few blocks away from the hospital.) And of course, going to Kinokuniya. New York also has a Kinokuniya (a chain of Japanese bookstores), but for some reason, the San Francisco one has a much better selection of craft books than the New York one. I got there about half an hour before closing, so I only had a chance to paw through about half of the knitting/crochet selection, but I did buy this book, which I had first seen (and coveted) on Little Purl of the Orient’s blog (click through for more photos of the inside):

Japanese knitting book

Last year, I took a class at Knitty City, on the Upper West Side, about how to read Japanese knitting patterns, but there’s a chance the book will end up being more of an inspiration, than line-by-line instructions for me. By the way, I noticed the prices here were significantly lower than the prices at Lacis, so if you’re interested in Japanese crafting books, this is the place to go. 

Noro shawlette and cherry blossoms

It’s also cherry blossom festival time at Japantown (and around the country, I assume), so here’s a shot of the shawlette  in front of the cherry trees.

Posted in Printed Matter, Shawls, travelingproject at April 15th, 2009.

chanel08

Adam suggested I do an inspiration day every week, and I groaned. I was like, noooo. It’s hard to find good images of stuff that hasn’t been blogged everywhere else, and I can’t just link to The Satorialist in every post, you know? Anyway, here’s an image from Chanel’s Pre-Fall 2009 collection this year. Yes, she looks like a deranged clown, but the design on the sweater is great–I think it would be a cute motif on a hat, or yes, dare I say it, a dog sweater. And I don’t even own a dog. Or maybe a felted handbag.

Oh, and sad news for those of you who don’t follow the media death march as I do–Craft magazine is going online only.

Posted in Inspiration, Printed Matter at February 12th, 2009.

Knitting in my neighbor’s yard.

I smiled a bit when reading Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitters Almanac this weekend. Writing about her apprehension about moving to the United States in 1937, she wrote:

“My idea of this country had been gathered from her traveling citizens, from the movies, and from ‘Babbit.’…I was convinced that we should have to live in a shabby brownstone walkup with four families to share the facilities; that we should spend our summers panting on the front steps, or walking along something called a boardwalk eating popcorn and cotton candy, and our vacations in a landscape strongly resembling the Jersey Flats. I knew we could never aspire to Cadillacs, to estates on Long Island, and the cool Adirondacks in the summer.”

I smiled because anyone who has read kids’ books from a certain era (like the All-of-a-Kind Family series, and yes, click through to read the cute Jezebel.com review of it), or were forced into watching too much early Woody Allen (Radio Days, anyone?) has a similar view of New York. I moved to New York in 1996, 59 years after Elizabeth Zimmermann came to the U.S., and even I thought of New York like that. But the funny thing is that it sort of still is. Despite all the carping about gentrification of the city, people here still sit on their front steps, multi-families still share apartments, we still go to the boardwalk, and Adam and I even go to the Jersey Shore every summer. (Though I think EZ meant the Jersey in the UK.) And by and large, I think that’s great. Elizabeth Zimmermann saw it as something to dread, saying that she saw the Statue of Liberty with “apprehensive gloom,” before launching into that description above, but I think it’s something to savor, and something to love about New York.

For every person like EZ, who sees stoop-sitting in the heat as some kind of urban misery, there’s someone who loves it. I don’t always; sometimes I just am dying to go on vacation. But actually, I often do love it–I love going to Coney Island, I love going to the Shore, I love eating bodega popsicles, I love eating outside for dinner, I love picnics in Central Park, I love walking around in the hot evenings, and I love how the city seems to belong to me. There’s a stillness in the heat that always seems filled with hope, for me and every other New York immigrant who comes to the city with their own dreams and images of what it will be live here.

There is nothing like New York in the summer, and for all of the heat and madness, I love summer in the city.

Posted in personal, Printed Matter at June 16th, 2008.

I actually have all four pages of this Daniel Clowes comic, thanks to my neighbor and FOA (Friend of Adam’s ) who is an art school alum and who mailed a copy of it to me after we saw the movie. My scanner seems to be broken though, so I’m just linking the first panel from Wikipedia.

Anyway, I’ve realized this whole “art” idea is great! Now I can justify my ugly knitting! Who knew that any of my readers and commenters went to art school? I love it! I did not go to art school, though I did major in history, which is bullshitty in its own way, particularly if you wrote the kinds of papers I did. (Including my totally awesome paper “The Semiotics of the Autumn 1996 Men’s J. Crew Catalog.” And no, I did not go to Brown.)

I read KnitKnit a while back (and I saw Sabrina Gschwandtner speak at that American Craft event I went to) and I thought it was fairly interesting. It’s a mix of people who definitely see knitting as Art, fashion designers, and handknitting designers. They each gave a pattern, so it’s actually quite an eclectic collection, and an interesting book, if not necessarily the most useful.

I’m not really sure if I’m a process or a product knitter. I think I’m kind of a product knitter, because I wouldn’t knit something just to learn a technique, yet I often choose to knit ugly things. I think I might be is a knitting-product knitter, versus a clothing-product knitter. I knit things because I like the look of the finished object, versus the look of the finished object on me. Though I have a tendency to buy extremely weird clothes too, so it might be a life problem.

By the way, I know this blog totally ignores actual news–like the earthquake in China, the problems in Myanmar, or even the election–but I’m not sure I have any useful thoughts to offer on any of those situations.

Posted in Printed Matter at May 13th, 2008.

  Crafts  

I went to a talk at the American Craft library last year, and I never blogged about it. It’s a great resource that I had never heard of until I read a story about American Craft, which is a high-end craft magazine.  (It’s not a pattern or D.I.Y. magazine, more like an ArtForum or Art in America, but for crafts. You can read Alissa Walker‘s piece about the redesign in the April issue of PRINT.)

Anyway, the magazine is owned by the American Craft Council, and they have a library that’s open to the public (though by appointment only, I believe) and the library only consists of craft books. It’s really a wonderful treasure trove, filled with a lot of out-of-print books and periodicals. (A part of the knitting section is shown above.) 

The photos below (which are crappy, I know; Adam is the official photographer for New York Minknit, but I took these, hence their blurry and generally crappy quality) show a range of the works they have available, including an intriguing looking mitten book, a chapter from a book about “sweaterhags,” an old French knitting book, and a spread from a funky 1970s needlecraft book.

 books American Craft   

 

Posted in Printed Matter at April 26th, 2008.

I was reading Lucky at the hairdresser’s last week (<–which makes me sound like some kind of Southern belle, but anyway), and they had this article “The Best Websites You’ve (Probably) Never Heard Of” and I read about this amusing site, Net Granny. The site offers 15 Swiss grandmothers who will knit you a pair of socks for $45. I have my own granny, who is, any moment now, going to call and threaten me about her hat that I have yet to knit for her, so I have no need for Net Granny. Net Granddaughter, maybe.

Posted in Printed Matter, the Business at December 9th, 2007.

twinklevogue1.jpg

I was reading my September Vogue the other day, and I came across this article. The author of the article goes to Wenlan Chia’s studio–and never having knit before!–knits herself this tunic. It’s pretty cute, actually, and it’s one of the patterns in Twinkle’s Big City’s Knits (which I own, and was planning on making some stuff from). There’s a whole flickr group devoted to Big City Knits here–pretty cute.

(And I just noticed on the flickr bulletin board that Wenlan Chia was recruiting knitters in NYC to teach at Anthropologie to make her clothes–and that Vogue would be covering the classes. That might be where this article originated…)

In the fashion spreads of the same issue, there are also tons of GINORMOUS knits. Kind of crazy, and probably not all that wearable, but cute.

(I know there’s a ton of hatred around The Internets about Twinkle and Vogue–generally separate camps of hate–because of their tendency to only show clothes for skinny ladies. I’ve got some thoughts on this, but am too tired to blog about it. Sorry.)

Posted in celebrity knitting, Printed Matter at September 3rd, 2007.

So I am currently knitting the turtleneck on my sweater and I came across a problem.

First part of the problem: I had some stitches on holders, and then I had to pick up some around the neck to knit up. I looked in the Montse Stanley book and old Montse made all sorts of sniffy comments about the foolishness of people who keep their neckband stitches live on a holder instead of binding off (it makes one part flat and another part raised blah blah blah)

But the problem is that I had already kept some live (as per the pattern instructions) and though I could bind them off, old Maggie Rhigetti, of Sweater Design in Plain English (and Knitting in Plain English), makes all sorts of sniffy comments about foolish people who bind off for the neckline and then end up with a too tight neck.

 Well, Maggie and Montse can go duel it out in the master knitter ring next time they see each other (if they are alive) because BOTH OF YOU ARE UNHELPFUL!!! What I needed to know is how the hell do you pick up and slide the live stitches on and then pick up again?!?! Internet searches were not really helpful, so I guessed. I picked up (according to the photos on an article on Knitty, mixed with some Montse advice), and then I knit the live stitches (who the hell knows if this is the right thing to do), and it seems to be going okay.

 Kim’s hat has been placed on pause because I need those needles (the balene #9 in 16″) to knit the turtleneck and the armholes. Soon, both the sweater and the hat will be done. Hallelujah!!

Posted in Printed Matter at March 22nd, 2006.