Zarzuela Knits and Crochets
My blog about my knitting, crocheting, and anything else I feel like ranting about!

Let the selfish knitting begin!

Now that the holidays are over, it's all me all the time! Well... not really... but I am finally getting back to a couple of things that I've been neglecting while I was working on things for others.

The morehouse cardi that Sami, Sneeksleep and I have been trucking along on finally has gone beyond increase hell:

It looks a little weird in that shot, but we've got sleevage!! Great mindless train knitting for sure for a while now. I have to finish up the 12-14 inches of body before I do the sleeves. The most interesting thing from this point out will probably be the button band and hoping that the thing fits after all this work!

The other thing I finally got back to over the Christmas break was this:

I'm still trying to figure out the new camera a bit.

Yep. That Samus. I'm still working on the body, obviously, but I'm nearly done. Does anyone else think it's silly to put stitches on waste yarn or holders when you can just leave them on circular and continue to knit? Or am I missing some very important thing about keeping stitches here?

Since neither of these is going to be done any time soon, my last FO of 2005 has turned out to be this:

HWJF admired my Coronet so much that he wanted one of his own in "boy colors" (whatever that means). If you are a long time reader you may remember that I made mine around this time last year. It was kind of interesting to find myself coming back to this pattern in a way I couldn't have imagined last year.

The yarn here is Knitpicks and Morehouse, the Morehouse being the lighter color that will go against the skin. I did the band in the Knitpicks because it was a bit scratchier and I felt would make a more sturdy band:

That yarn was leftover from his mittens. They I used the Morehouse to pick up the stitches on the band and knit the rest. That yarn was leftover from his scarf so I feel like I ended up bringing the trio together nicely. Funniest part is a still have leftover from both yarns even after finishing the hat! Not sure what else to do with it though...

No FO pic just yet. We have tickets to the NY Philharmonic tonight (Judy LeClair is playing the Weber Bassoon Concerto!) and I've been promised a pic with all three items then. :)

Must run for now. But...


and Fortitude (all decked out for the holidays. Aren't they cute?!) and I wish you all a very Healthy, Happy and Safe New Year!!

Post Christmas wrap up

A very happy holiday was had by all around Chez Zarzuela this year. You might notice a difference in picture quality around here (once I get the hang of things) because of this:

I was so excited when I opened this. A new digital camera for me! You would understand just how awesome this is if you knew what the dinosaur I was using before was like. Functional, but not too slick. This sucker is SLICK! I absolutely love it and I've been making good use of it since the batteries were fully charged Christmas afternoon.

I made Mom and Dad pose with their knitted gifts:

And being the hambone he is, Dad had to imitate Mom's pose even if he did get socks:

My parent's cat Buster surveyed the situation from above:

He really doesn't have headlights for eyes. Really.

We had a wonderful Christmas dinner which luckily did NOT involve a trip to the ER. Mom accidentally spilled some hot liquid on herself which could have seriously burned her if it hadn't been for the fact that she was able to tear off her pants and socks in a hurry. All turned out to be ok though and I think she managed to enjoy her dinner:

At least it sure looked like it to me!!

On the knitting front I managed to finish up a few "gifts" for myself. The first was that I was finally able to finish off and wear the socks I started making from Knitpicks Sock Landscape in Maine this summer:

I was getting really tired of stockinette so I decided to use a lace pattern from Queen Kahuna's book for the cuff. Here's a closeup:

And just in time for 40 degree weather, I finished my long awaited Thrummed Mittens:

These have quite a few mistakes ::cough:: design elements in them. Some of the thrums are not the same as the others, some of them don't line up, and the spacing of them just plain didn't turn out right thanks to me not accounting for the thumb gusset, but they will definitely keep my hands warm and toasty on those cold walks to the train station and that's all that matters to me.

There was also a bit of new project inspiration under the tree:

I'm already dying to make the Irish Diamond Shawl from the Folk Shawls book. I also love the designs in the other book, but will have to get myself into colorwork much more before I can attempt any of them.

And although she couldn't be with us on Christmas (somehow I don't think a howling kitty would be welcome in my office), Simba got to enjoy her Christmas presents too. There was this magnet:

(which almost made me die laughing) from my Dad's boss. And Simba's grandma gave her a new mouse which was loved immediately:

Nothing quite like a good catnip induced romp to celebrate the holidays!

I count myself very lucky this holiday. I have a job, my family and friends are healthy and safe, and I have a great guy in my life. What more could a girl ask for? I hope your holidays were just as great!

Dear Santa....

A transit strike is not exactly what anyone who lives or works in NYC had in mind for Christmas. Really. Now I know you don't exactly have control over these things, and I do kind of like the fact that this all means I get to go to the train station in the daylight for a change, but really. A transit strike a Christmas? With all the procrastinators trying to finish their shopping *and* get to work? Not a good plan. If you could do something to fix all that, I think there would be a lot of happy people. Just sayin'.

While it seems to be all transit strike all the time around here these days (although I'm now hearing that it may be over tomorrow), Christmas is still coming and I've even had a little Christmas a little bit early.

Many moons ago my dear friend Sami and I said we were going to try to learn Fair Isle with headband kits from Bea Ellis Knitwear. Never exactly happened although we had all good intentions. Guess what I got the other day from Sami...

I'm so excited about this! I think it will be the perfect size project for taking a first stab at this technique. Thanks so much Sami!

HWJF and I decided to have our own Christmas celebration this weekend since we won't be able to be together for the real thing (he's flying to Maine, I'll be in NY). Apparently he has learned my addictions real well in the past few months. First, I have this little thing for candles. So you better believed I loved finding this:

Note that it's a mistletoe candle. Enough said. :-)

Even more exciting, while driving around Princeton the other night I happened to totally freek out notice the local yarn shop. I guess my interest was obvious:

A gift certificate and a trip into Princeton later got me this:

Who doesn't need more sock yarn right? I got two skeins of Lorna's Laces because I've never tried any and I've been dying to. The Regia is for socks for HWJF, because, afterall, when someone feeds your yarn habit and waits around a yarn shop while you drool and try to decide what to get, you have to make sure they have a reason to continue to do so, right?

I'm also on a bit of a mission with this. He hates socks. Hates them. But he's never had a pair of hand knit socks, so I might just be able to change his mind. Then again, I could be getting myself in a whole lot of trouble (not like I'm not already in hot water after the last blog post)... but I've been in worse trouble before. We'll see what happens.

I think HWJF enjoyed his presents too, which included a pair of mittens very similar to the ones I posted pictures of recently. So much so that he thought they were the same ones!

So now I've gone back to knitting things for myself that I've been wanting to finish up now that the holiday stuff is done. Hopefully I'll get to show them to you soon. For now though I want to wish everyone in Blogland a very Happy Holiday, whichever one you might celebrate, since I may not get to post again before then. Wish me luck getting to my parent's house on Friday and surviving the annual family sojourn to Long Island! I'm just looking forward to the long weekend...

A boy and his scarf are soon parted...

Sometime ago you may remember that I was knitting a scarf for a certain boy that tends to hang around these parts quite often. We affectionately refer to him at chez Zarzuela as "He Who Juggles Fire" or HWJF for short (in real life we call him such boring and innocuous things as "boyfriend" and other sappy sweet things I won't sicken you with). You might also remember that when said scarf was gifted, it was well received but said recipient refused to pose for a Finished Object shot for ye olde blog.

Alas, blackmail is a wonderful thing.

You see, the above named giftee has quite the high body temperature as compared to moi (which really isn't saying much since I'm always freezing...but I digress) and has therefore not seen much need to wear said scarf. However, said giftee has also been teased mercilessly at the hands of yours truly for not wearing said scarf after having requested it. After all, I knit the boy a scarf, he damn well better wear it right?

Well, as you may also remember, said giftee has been in the process of moving to the far off land of NJ. As anyone who has had to move might tell you, this involves a fair amount of chaos. Add to that car problems that involve leaving one car in Maine, taking a rental to NJ and then having to exchange the rental for the car in CT and you have all the makings of a real mess. Things are bound to get lost. But a hand knit scarf, that is something one would guard with one's very life, no?!

During one of the above mentioned merciless teasing sessions mentioned above, it was somehow conveyed that the scarf *may* have ended up back in Maine somehow and HWJF was slightly concerned that his parents *may* have thought it belonged to someone else.


The knitter of said scarf (that being me) was a bit pissed off, worried, freeked out, generally crazed, disturbed about this possibility.

And then I found it. Wrapped up in a polar fleece that he left on a chair in my apartment.

Payback's a bitch and so am I.

I got my F.O. picture. Even if it took a little spiked hot cider and a major guilt trip.

Thanks sweetie! What do you want me to knit you next? ;-D

December 13th

Happy Birthday Mom!!

If you click the pic, it gets real big.

Hopefully she likes her present as much as I liked making it. There's this great little bead shop a few blocks from my office and they have *everything* you could possibly want for jewlery making. When I saw the square beads pictured above, I knew I had to make my Mom a pair of earrings for her birthday. When I saw the other beads I figured, why not make three pairs? And the little silk purse to put them all in was just the right kind of gift wrap (I suck at wrapping presents. Ask anyone who has ever gotten a gift for me that wasn't wrapped by someone else) to complete the deal. I have also knit with beads in the past and if I ever decide to do it again, I sure know where to go!

Getting in the spirit....

It's finally Saturday! I have been looking forward to this day all week? Why? Number 1 - I was able to sleep past 5am. Number 2 - I finally get to blog! It's seems like every time I try to get something up on the blog lately, something else gets in the way.

Anyway, obviously, life has been busy. I've been staying at work late a lot to make up time that I've lost from leaving early for gigs, or the one day that I had to call in sick and didn't have enough sick time to cover it. As of yesterday I've finally broken even, so I will hopefully be able to get back on a normal schedule for a while at least.

In the meantime, I've been trying to get into the holiday spirit. We had a significant snowfall in the tri-state area yesterday which made getting to the train station a bit interesting. Good thing I lived near Buffalo for four years and I've had some experience dealing with this weather. Good thing I also have a four wheel drive vehicle because they didn't even have the roads plowed at 6am and when I got back after my rehearsal at 10:30pm last night my parking space wasn't even shoveled? And why am I paying as much as I am for rent? Good question.

The snow does make it seem like the fact that Christmas is fast approaching is *right* though. 70 degree weather does not make one believe that they have to do Christmas shopping when they live in the Northeast afterall. The other thing that really gets one's ass in gear is realizing that you are going to a holiday party on Monday and two of the gifts that you want to give aren't finished and this may be your only chance to see the people you want to give them to before Christmas! So last Saturday after running around like a proverbial headless chicken I managed to finish up these:

The green one was gifted after said Christmas party on Monday and was very well received. Nothing like a happy giftee to get one in the Christmas spirit.

There are also signs of the season all around where I work. Mind you, most of them have been up since before Thanksgiving, but now at least they feel like they are warranted. And since I have nothing better to post want to share them with you, I hauled my stone-aged digital camera into work one day and took some pics. My office is right around the corner from Lord and Taylor on 5th ave. and they have some really beautiful windows this year. They are all based on a fairytale theme. Over the entrance is a huge wreath:

And on the way into the store we have Rapunzel:

Isn't she just stunning? I had to take the pic mostly because of the awesome old fashioned music stand (which I later realized was mostly obscured by the flash (grr....).

Outside the sidewalk is lined with scenes like this:

I was Goldilocks in a pre-school production so I had to take that shot.

But the coolest one of all for those of us who love Knitblog land has to be this:

Isn't she awesome?! The wheel actually spins around and everything! Lord and Taylor must know that spinning is very *in* this year. :-) I must have been grinning ear to ear the first time I saw this window. And of course, the first thing I thought of was, "I need a pic for my blog!"

Grand Central is done up a bit too:

Kind of neat with the Chrysler building behind. The pictures aren't great because of it being nighttime, but you get the idea. The light show on the ceiling of the station just wasn't something I could get a good shot of, but if you get down there, definitely go take a peek.

And lest you think there isn't any holiday knitting going on here, check out my latest finished present:

Mitten knitting! (Say that three times fast!) This pair was made with Patons Canadiana (which I really enjoyed working with despite the fiber content) and this book. These are my very first pair of knitted mittens ever and my first contribution to the Warm Hands knitalong despite the fact that I joined it ages ago. I have more mitten knitting planned since I enjoyed it so much (and it makes for great train knitting) so stay tuned.

And in true holiday style, I have presents to wrap and more shopping to do so I'd better get to it! I wish you speedy holiday knitting in the coming weeks if you are doing it this year!

Week in review...

It's hard to believe another week has gone by and I'm just getting around to posting something! Where the heck does the time go lately? Oh yeah. Life. That's where it goes. In fact, I saw the best bumper sticker during my travels last weekend. It said:

I used to have a life,
But my job ate it.

No truer words have I seen lately!

Anyway, in the time since I last posted I had a very nice Thanksgiving at home with the folks. I took the train from NYC to Poughkeepsie and Mom picked me up at the station which is about a 45 min. drive away from home. Luckily, I didn't have to fork over any more cash to the MTA since my New Haven ticket covered me. The next day was Turkey Day and I woke up to this:

Yikes! Who turned on winter?! I do not approve!!

Don't the birdies look hungry? I would be too if I was out in that.

This morning I was wondering why I had so much laundry to do. Then I finally realized that the only "laundry" I did last weekend was a little felting magic. Behold! Three finished Sophie bags before felting:

And after:

(Soda can used for scale.)

I'm pretty pleased with how these turned out. The little button loops that I put on the purple ones didn't felt much. I think it will still be a nice closure for the bag though. The green bag I'm pretty proud of.

(Sorry for the pic on it's side. Ran out of blogging time.)

It seems to be a little twisted but my attempt to make a fold over flap seems to have been successful. Hopefully the recipients of these will be as happy as I am with them.

I had seriously thought about doing a sort of "Felt your own gift" with these but I chickened out. Anyone ever done that? Where you give the item to the person unfelted and give them instructions on how to do it themselves? I decided not to because I wasn't sure of the washing machine access that most of the recipients had. If you've done it before, how did it turn out?

Other than these things my week has been pretty normal except for one occurrence. My "blog" wrote back to me on my last post. Don't believe me? Go check the comments. And no, I didn't write that all myself and post it to be self serving. I know how it happened now. And I just have to say that I have the most wonderful and sweet "blog" on the planet. So there.

More actual knitting content this weekend perhaps...