Tag Archives: New York

Pure planning bliss

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I am in something of a planning sweet spot. Something about a) finishing a big project and b) the approaching holidays has combined to create a space for planning and knitting that is making me both ambitious and realistic and so, so happy. I’m not saying I don’t get stressed about gift knitting (talk to me in the second week of December), but right now, when everything seems doable and fun and it feels like there’s lots of time? Right now, it is fun.

Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in Artifact, destined to be this hat.

Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in Artifact, destined to be this hat.

One of the things I like best about this time is planning pattern and yarn pairings. I like to think about what colour(s) someone will like best, what pattern will suit their style and their needs, and what will be an engaging knit. All of this necessitates spending some time looking at patterns on Ravelry and also buying yarn (oh darn) and, of course, this inevitably leads to me finding patterns and yarns that get added to my post-holiday, for-me knitting, which is fun to plan and think about too.

Brooklyn Tweed Loft in Almanac and Foothills, which I plan to use for this hat in January.

Brooklyn Tweed Loft in Almanac and Foothills, which I plan to use for this hat (for me) in January.

Last weekend, my friend Wendy and I went to New York for the New Yorker Festival. We went two years ago and loved it, so it was really fun to go back. The festival lineup was great and we had a tough time narrowing down our choices (as much as we’d like to see everything that’s a bit expensive and also, when in New York, it’s fun to have time to do other things too). In the end, we went to the New Yorker MOTH night, a panel on immersion journalism hosted by David Remnick, saw Susan Orlean interview Christophe Waltz, and watched Philomena (staring Judy Dench and Steve Coogan) followed by an on-stage interview with director Stephen Frears. It was great.

Anzula Squishy in Rootbeer – I am have a bit of a shawl moment right now, and I think this would gorgeous as  the Sagano Shawl by Laura Chau. Thoughts?

Anzula Squishy in Rootbeer – I am have a bit of a shawl moment right now, and I think this would gorgeous as the Sagano Shawl by Laura Chau. Thoughts?

Would a trip to New York be complete without a visit to Purl Soho? Probably not. So we went twice: once to look, and once to buy. I’d planned ahead a little and picked up some yarn for L’s annual hat as well as a couple of treats for myself, which is, I think, a perfect balance.

A practical purchase. Last year, I got quite a gash on my finger from all the knitting with sharp little needles. This year, I'm prepared.

A practical purchase. Last year, I got quite a gash on my finger from all the knitting with sharp little needles. This year, I’m prepared.

How was your weekend? Are you already planning or do you prefer to wing it?

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New York yarn shops

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Well, that ellipsis lasted longer than I had intended. This week got away from me, and while I could tell you all about the moose gloves (fingers are super weird to knit), I promised to write about yarn shops in New York. We left the city on Friday morning, mere hours before the VKL marketplace opened, but that was probably for the best, because I got quite an odd look from the customs guy when I told him that I had purchased “shirts, books, and yarn,” so it’s definitely good that everything came under the allowed amount because I think they would have been very confused about how to charge duty on yarn.

Anyway, we really only made it two yarn shops, because I didn’t want to highjack the trip and, while L and I are generally very supportive and indulgent of each other, I try not to push it. Also, we did this part of the trip on his birthday.

First up was Lion Brand Studios. I’ve never actually knit with any Lion Brand anything before (I’m not sure it’s that big a deal in Canada, but I might be wrong about that), but I had heard about its amazing window displays and wanted to see the shop in person. Let me just say, even if you intend to buy nothing, it is still worth a visit. The front window was incredible (despite the scaffolding erected in front of it) and the shop itself is small and cozy and fun.

The reflections are annoying, but since taking a photo straight on was impossible, this was the best I could do.

The reflections are annoying, but since taking a photo straight on was impossible, this was the best I could do.

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Everything in the window was knitted, including the swans and trees, which L thought was pretty incredible. (He thought I should make sure to get a photo of the swan's feet on the blog, so take a good look.)

Everything in the window was knitted, including the swans and trees, which L thought was pretty incredible. (He thought I should make sure to get a photo of the swan’s feet on the blog, so take a good look.)

One of my favourite things in the shop was the “Testing Wall,” where you could get some yarn and swatch it before buying. This is so smart, and something I’d love to see more of. I didn’t take advantage of it while we were there (it being L’s birthday and all), but I definitely would on a future visit.

Such a good idea.

Such a good idea.

I also really enjoyed that the knitting-related decor didn’t end with the window display. I didn’t even notice this needle light shade when I first passed it, and while I was taking a picture another woman came to see what I was doing and laughed when she noticed it. Genius.

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What to do with your giant-needle collection.

Next up was Purl Soho, which was the real destination. I’ve been reading their blog since I first started knitting, and very much wanted to see the shop in person. It was getting dark (and cold) by the time we got there, so I didn’t get a shot of the window, but I did take this one from just inside the front door.

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It’s a bit deceptive how big this makes the shop look, but the back half is all sewing and fabric. Yarn wise, they had many beautiful things, but I knew what I wanted, and I wanted Brooklyn Tweed (which you cannot get in Canadian shops, at least as far as I know). I splurged a little (it’s New York!) and bought five skeins of Shelter: two in Plume, two in Hayloft, and one in Snowbound. We went and grabbed lemonade (why? I couldn’t say) and I started swatching.

Yum yum yum. The hayloft is really more mustard than green, but it's tricky to photograph.

Yum yum yum. The Hayloft is really more mustard than green, but it’s tricky to photograph.

Plume up close. I am in love with this colour.

Plume up close. I am in love with this colour.

I have definite plans for this purchase, but they remain secret for now. I will say, though, that Shelter is a dream to knit with. It’s rustic and lofty a very soft, which is everything I want to knit with right now – I just need to finish those moose gloves! Speaking of which, I should really go do that since I’m just four fingers and a thumb from finished. Have a lovely weekend!

Two and a half days in New York

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Before the parage of photos begins, let me put things in context. L and live in Toronto, the largest city in Canada. The population of Toronto (and area) is about 5 million. To put that in context, that is more than five times the population of Nova Scotia, my home province. So yeah, for me, moving to Toronto was a pretty big adjustment for me. So, it would stand to reason that going to New York City, population 8 million-ish, should be overwhelming. Oddly, though, it isn’t. It might be because we’ve both been there and know what to expect, or that we’ve travelled quite a bit, but I suspect it’s because New York is so ubiquitous. I mean, you can walk into a neighbourhood you’ve never been to, on streets you can’t name, and recognize something from a TV show or a movie, and that makes New York not at all intimidating.

All of which is to say that we had a great time. We had pretty crappy weather for the first couple of days (cold and raining/sleeting), but our third day was crisp and clear, so it all balanced out – I always figure it’s good to get at least one rainy day when you’re in a big city since you’re probably going to go to a bunch of museums and things anyway.

So, without further ado, here’s a selection of things we did in New York:

1. Walk around Central Park: We were staying on the Upper East Side, so it was close by, and who can resist, really?

Central Park: We were staying on the Upper East Side, so it was close by. (This is, as best as I can figure, the bridge in Home Alone 2.)

This is, as best as I can figure, the bridge in Home Alone 2.

2. Eat Ramen: This was near our friends’ place and is their favourite ramen place. It did not disappoint.

Eat Ramen: This was near our friends' place and is their favourite ramen place. It did not disappoint. (This is L's bowl, since the veggie ramen, while delicious, was less photogenic.)

This is L’s bowl, since the veggie ramen, while delicious, was less photogenic.

3. Visit the Museum of Natural History. I’m pretty sure this is where the Night at the Museum movies were filmed, and with good reason – it is awesome. We spent an entire (rainy) day here, and didn’t even make it through half.

The Hall of Biodiversity wasn't even an exhibit we were intending to go to, but it was so full of lovely things we stopped in anyway.

The Hall of Biodiversity wasn’t even an exhibit we were intending to go to, but it was so full of lovely things we stopped in anyway.

More biodiversity. There was just so much to look at.

More biodiversity. There was just so much to look at.

Dinosaurs! I had never seen dinosaur skeletons before, so this was pretty cool. (We also saw the big sea life and North American mammals exhibits.)

Dinosaurs! I had never seen dinosaur skeletons before, so this was pretty cool. (We also saw the big sea life and North American mammals exhibits.)

4. The Empire State Building. Neither of us had been, and since we had free tickets (our friends had leftover City Passes) we figured we should go. It turns out that if you go before 11 on a Thursday, there’s no line!

The Chrysler Building is pretty magnificent.

The Chrysler Building is pretty magnificent.

I love all the water towers on top of the downtown buildings. I'd never noticed them before, but I'm smitten.

I love all the water towers on top of the downtown buildings. I’d never noticed them before, but I’m smitten.

5. Walk the High Line. We started at 28th Street and walked all the way to the end, stopping for lunch at Chelsea Market. I cannot recommend this highly enough – what an awesome way to experience New York.

The High Line was a definite highlight. We started at 28th Street and walked all the way to the end, stopping for lunch at Chelsea Market. I cannot recommend this highly enough – what an awesome way to experience New York.

Yes, it was cold (I have a shawl on under that scarf), but it was sunny and beautiful. I wish we had something like this in Toronto.

6. See the city at night. You basically can’t avoid this (especially at this time of year), but still. Walking around downtown at night is immensely satisfying and lovely (and cold!)

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The arch in Washington Square Park plus the Empire State Building, all lit up.

My mum always says that you can’t do everything in one trip or you have no excuse to go back, so true to that we didn’t make it nearly everywhere we wanted to, and we’re okay with that. We did, however, make it to some yarn shops, but that will be its own post later this week.

Quickly, quickly

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By the time you read this, L and I will be in (or at least on the way) to New York. It’s his birthday on Thursday and, even though I won’t have finished moose gloves to give him (I totally got the first hand done, though!), I can at least show him a good time in a big city. Although we have both been to New York before, we’ve never been together, so I’m pretty excited (and, before you ask, I’m sorry to say we’ll be heading back to Toronto before Vogue Knitting Live – before the marketplace even opens, actually, which is perhaps for the best, since I don’t want to high jack our trip).

We will be staying with friends in Manhattan, and while we have a rough idea of stuff we’d like to see and do, we’re not planning too heavily because we don’t want to feel rushed while we’re there. That being said – what is your New York must-see/must-do? Please tell me so I can impress him with my insider knowledge!

Okay, I have to pack, and finish work stuff (and probably repack – who are we kidding?), and try to get some sleep before I go (see how organized I am, writing this in advance). I may get a chance to blog while we’re there, but I sort of doubt it, so I will fill you in on how it all goes when we’re back. Until then, please enjoy this adorable little hat I knit for our friend’s baby shower on Sunday:

Unisex colours, totally girly wrapping paper. I still think they're having a boy, though.

Unisex colours, totally girly wrapping paper. I still think they’re having a boy, though.

It’s so cute I want to knit six more! (Ravelled here, if you want the details.)