Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Roast Vegetables

When I visited my kids at college last month, we had the most delicious vegetable medly for dinner. I recreate it here for your enjoyment:

Roasted Root Vegetables:

Peel and cut into 1/2 inch cubes the following vegetables:( or purchase pre-cubed)
2 Sweet potatoes or yams
1 butternut squash
2 or 3 Parsnips
3 or 4 fresh red beets

Toss with 3 or 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Spread one layer thick on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with fresh ground pepper and a small amount of salt. (Other herbs may be added, but caution: they may overpower the delicate flavor of the veggies).

Roast at 400 degrees for 45 min to 1 hour, turning over every 20 minutes, until most of the veggies are soft and lightly browned.

Serves 6-8.

Serve warm. Will keep in fridge for several days, covered. Reheats nicely!
I wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Change of Seasons

Changing seasons here in the NorthEast USA is always a challenge. There is no clear demarcation, so the weather can change from summertime 80 degrees down to chilly 50s in a day. Thus one needs an array of clothes to cover every eventuality! Thus I made 2 similar sweaters, one in linen and one in wool/alpaca to chase away the chills. The top photos are of Waterlily Cosmos, so called because of the waterlily edging and the top down construction like my other Cosmos sweaters. I really enjoyed knitting that one after the unforgiving linen, but the second  sweater, Summer Leaves, has its charms also! It is a variation of the Metamorphosis sweater, with same numbers but different lace patterns. It was a pleasure to play with pattern and texture in both of these, and I am already thinking of more variations.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Labor Day blues

I finally finished my quilt for my son, even though he left for college 2 weeks ago! I always underestimate how long quilts take to make! This one is 72in X 88 in, the size for a Twin bed, and is made of mostly blue and white fabrics which I had on hand. Some are rather old ( one was used as a maternity dress when I was carrying him), one was used in his Bar-Mitzvah quilt, several were used in "Crystal Blues", a quilt I made in 1998, whic I still enjoy. I also bought a few  new pieces of fabric for this quilt. It is machine pieced and quilted, with a walking foot for the body of the quilt, but with free motion for the border. I also machine applied the binding. It was a challenge to photograph this huge thing! I hope he likes it...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Baby Cat

As I am getting my kids ready to go off to college, and thinking about my "empty nest", naturally I recall how much fun it was to have a new baby in the house, and fondly recall the fun of each of my children's growth and childhood. It is incredible to me that these young men are ready to enter the world, albeit the relatively safer realm of college, but still my house will be quiet! Except for the 2 cats, of course. They would keep me busy. And my older son requested a quilt for his bed, so I have been busily sewing and cutting and enjoying watching that take place.

Meanwhile, last night at 6pm my son's Japanese teacher  called in a panic, as she had found a baby kitten in the road near her house and didn't know what to do with it, but couldn't keep it because of her dog being too aggressive. She had called her vet who said they maybe could take it later today, but she needed someone to take it  for the night. I agreed to take it over night, so she dropped off this little kitten. And I mean little. Its eyes were still closed, and the umbilical cord was hanging off it, so it probably was 2 days old if that. I had some cat milk and an eye dropper, and Bobby and I made it a warm nest with a hot water bottle and one of those plastic boxes and an old towel. It mewed pitifully, and we tried to feed it while I called shelters and vets offices which were all closed, and I concluded it wasn't going anywhere last night. My younger son, who loves kittens, was up till 4:30 am with it, and I got up at 9 and resumed feeding, trying to get it to pee ( mother cats lick their babies butts to make them pee, so the website I found ( http://www.kitten-rescue.com/) suggested cotton balls and warm water....it was very stressful as it kept mewing for its mother and was kind of freaked out, but so cute and fluffy and tiny! Little claws and whiskers! I was relieved and sorry when Mako came to take it at 1:30, but it was good because by then I had remembered the anxiety and the stress of babies, their incessant neediness, and their inability to be alone for a moment, and the huge feeling of responsibility for a tiny creature, adorable as it was, was too much for me! I am glad and proud of my kids going off to college, and I did my bit, so perhaps it is time for a new phase of life, with a bit more freedom to do as I please! I still have to sell the house, so there is a lot to keep me occupied.....

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hot time

Summer! It has been blazing hot lately, and all I want to do is knit with linen. I finished a couple of sweaters in lovely linen, and am in the process of designing and knitting several more. Of course, with the heat I haven't worn them much, although with the airconditioning in some buildings, a lacy linen sweater is just the thing.The beige one started out as a square block, then grew into a long strip, then I added the sides and followed my "Medallion Cardigan" pattern. You can see details on my Ravelry project page here: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/knitbird/medallion-lace-cardigan-3
The blue one is a version of Cosmos Cardigan, which I really must make time for writing up the pattern! Lazy me...but it is tricky to explain, so I have let that one languish.
 But in the meantime, I have published my "Metamorphosis Sweater" which is the result of our BadCat winter KAL where we designed a custom-fitted to your measurements seamless lace sweater, along with the folks who test knitted the pattern with us. It really is a workshop in a pattern. It runs 30 pages, and is available here:  http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/metamorphosis-sweater. You need to get the 47 pages of lace charts from BadCatDesigns, though, so in total the package runs $20, but it is a goldmine of step by step information to customize this amazing sweater in 8 sizes, so it can really fit anyone.
I have also started knitting the Back To The Garden Shawl, as part of BadCatDesigns Summer KAL ( http://www.badcatdesigns.blogspot.com/ )but that one is taking me a while because it is the most complex lace I've done in a while and not suited for watching TV quite yet..but it is so gorgeous I want to do it. It will have to grow slowly though, as I've never been much of a gardener.!
It has been a busy spring, with one son graduating from High School, and with college and jobs and various transitions happening all at once. I am still in the process of trying to sell and to declutter the house, but it isn't easy to part with my stuff....so, that is what I've been doing...

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Waiting for

In the midst of cleaning and decluttering the studio, and my house, it is difficult to create things, as one doesn't want to make a big mess.But what could be neater than doing a big quilting project where the design hinges on the quilting itself?

At least 5 years ago, I dyed 2 pieces of fabric in a radiating color pattern, and drew a design on one piece. Then it sat for a long time, as I was hesitant to find the perfect way to quilt it. Last month I got inspired to use black thread and just go for it, using as many references as I could to find for patterns for the areas to be quilted. I used "The Grammar of Ornament" by Owen Jones as a kind of reference manual, and when I got stuck for inspiration, I would open it at random and see what patterns spiked my fancy. Then I adapted them for quilting patterns. Co-incidentally, my friend Elizabeth (  http://www.elizabethrosenberg.com/weblog/ )    had been doodling with marvelous designs, and somehow I heard about Zentangles, so I was primed to find lots of doodle inspiration to guide my quilting. So, here is the result, "Goodbye New York" 39X39 inches,which won an Honorable Mention at the Northern Star Quilters Guild show this past weekend. And some detail shots:
And I've kind of been on a finish up UFO kick lately, so there are a few sweaters coming to fruition. Of course, in the process of cleaning and sorting I am finding lots of fun ideas and half-finished things which cry out for frogging or for finishing.
So it is fun to make that decision sometimes.
Also, for the Northern Star show, I made a small auction piece, which was kind of a sample, and used hand dyed fabric I made a few years ago, with a portion of the design. I thought it would be good to have a place to experiment, but I ended up doing that piece afterwards. I also quilted the negative space in that one with matching thread, which I thought wasn't as effective as leaving some areas unquilted, as I did with the big one.. It sold at auction, and now has a happy home.
I have designed the outline for the next one, and I'm in the process of quilting that, so hopefully it will turn out as nicely as the first one! . One never knows, in a series. If not, I might have to dye some more fabric...

Monday, April 25, 2011

Quilter's Dream Home for Sale

My house is for sale!

Designed in 1999 by renowned architect Ferdinand Gottlieb in collaboration with a dedicated quilter, this house in suburban Westchester County, NY, has everything a quilter and family could wish for. Huge (16ft 6 inch by 15 ft) studio space right off the main entrance, with two generous fabric closets and large design wall, big enough for your longarm set-up. 5 bedrooms ( with huge walk-in closets), custom marble and tilework mandalas in two of the three full bathrooms, eat-in kitchen with cherry cabinets and plenty of counter space, au pair/office/guest suite with private bathroom and separate entrance, two car garage, dye studio space, and huge Recreation room (18ft 5in X 28 ft 5”) in basement. House has excellent storage with 20 closets, plus attic. Room for all of your stashes!
Living room has fireplace and south-facing , fully heated/ cooled greenhouse with automatic drip watering system. Central air conditioning, central vacuum, 3 zone gas heating, large sunny yard. 35 minutes by train to Grand Central Station. Near 3 local quilting guilds, large nature preserve and all the amenities of suburban life with excellent schools and lots of local culture, plus easy access to New York City!.

Asking $989,000., in mint condition. Move in and start quilting today! Contact Hudson Shores Realtors at 914-591-5600 and ask for Bernice  or the Quilter's Dream Home.

I even grow pineapples and figs in the greenhouse!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

No pain, no gain

I suppose pain is inevitable; despair is optional. With lots of physical therapy, icing, heat, naprosyn and resting, I finally finished my own Metamorphosis cardigan sweater. It always amazes me how pain free I can be during the knitting, but when I stop, owie owie. Very bizarre. But I am finished, and I love it. I may never take it off.I love how the sleeves bell out slightly, and the length is great, and it is warm but light.
Thanks to Andrea and the Metamorphosis group for encouragement, ideas and support!

Meanwhile, I am packing to move house, and trying to sell, so it is important not to make a mess in my studio. Which is really hard for me. But I started a quilt a few years ago, and it is a quilting rather than piecing project, so all I need is the machine and some thread. Of course, time is always important. Perhaps tomorrow I will give you a peek at it.

Monday, March 14, 2011

In Celebration of Pi Day

My son found this marvelous song in honor of Pi: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaMWEz-jaHE
 so I had to share it with you.
It is lovely to knit to...although I am still limiting my knitting time and icing and getting PT, etc. But nothing is as disheartening as seeing the scenes of destruction in Japan. The scope of the world-wide disasters lately has been astonishing. If it brings the world together and helps us rise above our petty differences, that might bring some good out of all of this. With Uranus entering Aries , at a time of Pluto in Capricorn and Saturn in Libra, it is certainly a time where compassion and mothering are sorely needed. Maybe Neptune entering Pisces will help usher in an ideal of universal compassion and we can start to heal some of the wounds of the world.
In the meantime, there are blue orchids.

I had to buy this blue orchid, which I ran across at Home Depot of all places. It is the most perfect color I have ever seen in a flower.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Type A

Happily, I managed to finish my third metamorphosis body, this one using patterns ABCD, and Madeline ToshSock, in an amazingly bright Nikko blue yarn. Again, blocking was magic!
This is the blocked body, lying on the blocking area. I love how the wires curve to allow for some waist shaping. Later I smoothed out the lines by spreading out the sweater and lightly spraying the lines with water and letting it dry.
Here are the unblocked photos for comparison:

Ruler shows length to be about 20 inches. (blocked was more like 29!)
Here is the try-on , unblocked:

I forgot to take blocked try on pics, and went directly to knitting the sleeves, which involves putting the body in a draw-string bag so it won't get in the way while I'm working the sleeves ( in the round, on DPNs).

Unfortunately, last month I developed another episode of repetitive strain symptoms, so I stopped knitting for a couple of weeks. This made me really frustrated! And didn't seem to help much, despite some icing and all the rest. So lately I've been getting physical therapy 3 times a week, with chiropractic, and exercises, heat, ice, etc. It is sort of helpful, but apparently my neck discs are impinging on my nerves,  so that just exascerbates the whole thing. Jane Brody in the  NY Times had an interesting article about tendonopathies: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/01/health/01brody.html?_r=2&ref=science

So, how could I stop knitting ( or typing)after this? Impossible. So, I'm taking frequent breaks, stretching, icing and trying to knit differently ( knitting backwards instead of purling, doing some rows in continental instead of my usual english style), supporting my arms and using "aircast" arm bands sometimes to isolate the painful muscles. It is slow, but I am determined! And I'm reading more books, which is the one thing I can't seem to do and knit at the same time...so, we shall see. But if you don't hear much from me, it is due to my laying off the typing for a while.I do want to hear from you, though! So, email me!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Here is the Green Cardigan with the addition of sleeves. They ended up a bit short on my model, but that way they won't get in the way of her violin playing! But I think I could have been more agressive with the blocking.
As I told my son the other day, In theory, theory and practice are the same; in practice, they are not.
Hence the great utility of trying on one's knitting as one works. But the tricky thing with lace is the blocking element, which can sometimes be predicted ( with a good swatch) but sometimes not.
My blue pullover seemed very happy as a tunic, so for now it is merely finished off at the sleeve edges. I still have my third skein in case I decide to add sleeves later, but for now I really like it as a sleeveless tunic.
As the green cardigan is not my size, I thought it was a good idea to start a new cardigan for myself, so I started the Metamorphosis Cardigan Type A. Andrea designed a slight variation on the B lace, which makes a lot of difference in the look. I will add some photos of that next time. You can also see it on Ravelry here: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/knitbird/metamorphosis-3

Monday, February 07, 2011

Whole Lotta Lace

This month has all been about Lace! I worked on my two Metamorphosis sweaters: one, a cardigan in green BB Toes yarn, and the other a tunic in Knitpicks Bare ( silk and Merino) that I dyed myself with a combination of colors including Brilliant Blue, National Blue and golden yellow.
These sweaters were made to illustrate the concepts we have been working on in the Metamorphosis Knit Along ( see http://www.badcatdesigns.blogspot.com/ for more details).
This green one will have sleeves, which will be shown next week; the other one I left as a sleeveless tunic so I could wear it to Vogue Knitting last month. Here is a shot of the lace hem:

I also released my new pattern ( available at http://www.ravelry.com/ at http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/leaf-lace-vest-2) for the Leaf Lace Vest which came out very nicely:

 I sized this one for sizes from 34 to 62 inch chest, as I had worked out the math while doing the Metamorphosis project, and this one works the same way.Or maybe it is the other way around? I designed the Leaf Lace vest in 2007, so it has been percolating a long while.

In other exciting news, I am the featured guest this week in Math4Knitters, a podcast by Lara Neel, available for your listening pleasure here:
So, lots going on lately!
The one good thing about all of the snow and ice storms we have had this winter is the knitting I can work on! I hope it warms up soon, though, as I am tired from all of the shoveling...

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Metamorphosis Casts On!

We have been very busy lately knitting swatches and collecting yarn and beads for the Metamorphosis Project, the collaborative effort of Andrea of BadcatDesigns ( http://www.badcatdesigns.blogspot.com/) and myself. Andrea is designing the gorgeous lace patterns and I am designing the sweaters to go with the lace.
It has been so much fun to watch the ideas manifest in form. I am knitting 2 sweaters to test the concepts, one as a pullover with the yarn above ( for myself! Of course it is blue...) and the other as a cardigan in a lovely green, which happens to fit Andrea's daughter and beautiful model BadKitten.

You can still join the fun by going to BadCat's blog and following the instructions there.

The green cardigan is really lovely, and uses a merino fingering weight yarn called BB Toes, which we all fell in love with at Stitches East. It is available at https://mochasfiber.com/ , and blocks out into a drapey smooth fabric that really shows the stitches well.
Tomorrow we will release the first chart and the instructions for the beginning of the sweater, which is a top-down, seamless raglan style yoke. The beauty of this is how the lace pattern flows seamlessly around.
I have done the calculations to size the sweater from 34 inch chest up to 60 inches, and it has been interesting to see how the design can be upsized. I have kept Andrea busy desinging her amazing charts so we can have shaping and flare in the sweater, and I think it will look lovely on a range of sizes. Being top-down, you can adjust the lengths as you wish.
There are also 3 shawls which will use the same lace patterns and combinations of those, so it is wonderful to see how Andrea has concocted such lovely patterns.