January 2008

I’ll save you the deep pensive reflections currently rippling through my Walden’s Pond… You know the ones about trying to get in touch with my inner-self, what feels organic, what I want and my direction in life. I have spent the past 8 years in a somewhat insecure existence. I survive, even float and on rare occasion swim. BUT… it has come with much anxiety to Ms. Risk Averse myself. The large part of my life over the past 5 years has been lived in wee increments, such that I think 6 months is long term. Instead I’ll just subject you to a “round ’bout” discussion… πŸ™‚

All that is to say that the anxiety knitting involved me waiting out contract negotiations (where in since the last post, I started and am half way through a clapotis- photos coming) and they have come to a positive end. Excepting this whole gastritis thing that showed up the same day I got the contract. That SUCKS and is still around GAH! But I want to try and focus getting on track. The big picture that I am working on is sometimes scary. So I want to look at a small attainable goal that gives me a sense of self, that I can control and define… I chose my wardrobe.

So as part of my “I am not on fiscal lock down anymore” modus operandus I gave myself a treat and went to see a movie. I wanted a comedy… so If went to see 27 dresses. Let the velveeta run! Now you might be asking why I am bringing this up (it isn’t to do a movie review… though the movie delivers- it is a fun cheesy chic flick)… Why, cause I have been battling my fashion sense. I am quirky, but I don’t have one of those defining senses of fashion. I am a chameleon, I adapt in part to what is around me. I would never have been able to survive the past 8 years in which I have moved 8 times and had 7 jobs with 12 different contracts; without the skill of being dropped in the FIRE and adapting so that I find my way out with out 80% of my body covered in 3rd degree burns.

What does that have to do with the price of tea in China?? Well I want Katherine Heigl’s stylist to come redo my wardrobe… Serious, I am focusing on the work clothes first and I want her clothes badly. But short of that realistically happening I want to strategise, and then shop. And I want to knit. HAHAHA… there it is! I told you I would find a way to tie it all together πŸ™‚

Minimalist Cardigan Tangled Yoke

So I am looking at knitting two staple sweaters for the spring/summer. The two that are currently percolating on my burner… Minimalist Cardigan and Tangled Yoke. I am also futzing with which yarn to use (Berocco Ultra Alpaca and Felted Tweed) and what colour to pick (grey and teal or cranberry) for which and what…


In the end this one is about finding and creating a wardrobe that I love more, that fits me more perfectly, that would be in style and reflect who I am as a person more uniquely. Something that wouldnt make my mornings hellish as I attempt to determine what the hell to wear with whatever else… And also to allow me to declutter some, to leave at least 10-20% of the space in the closets, drawers, and bookshelves empty, to leave room for new ideas and better things to enter into my life.


I realised a long time ago I am not a product knitter, I am a process knitter. The process keeps my fidgety hands busy as well the anxiety at bay, and that really is what it is about for me. Process at least makes me productive when I am sitting flat on my arse (which is expanding and the same rate as the US national debt) unmotivated and doing jack all. And sometimes feeling a teensy bit sorry for myself (which I need to crack myself out of every once in a while cause really- life is not that bad, and I just need to get my shite together). I am not one of those challenge myself process knitters either (thinking of the incredibly inspirational Mrs. Grumperina). I am of the “just a put needles in my hands with something to knit” kind of process variants. But it is a process that keeps my mind from speculating and running wild (which that hamster on crack running marathons on the wheel in my head is prone to), so I doubt I will ever let the needles go.

For many people knitting has a therapeutic effect, I know that it does for me most of the time. Fact: when I am stressed I tend to knit more. So this is what happens when I have to wait for things to settle out and I get just a wee bit anxious… I sit and knit- cheaper than therapy in NYC if nothing else. And right now I am in a waiting it out period that has left me a wee bit confused (introspection, reflection and questioning life… it is great) and my hands definitely tired. Not all of the below were knit between Christmas and now (only the monkeys and two sets of endpaper mitts) the others were just finished (ends woven in and toes sealed shut!). But I am grouping them all together in the same FO groupings. So bring em…

Starting the year off with FO’s and blogging, I guess it is a good way to go… Next up well I have some sweater envy right about now (oh over this, this, this, this… this and this. for starters) or I could make another pair of endpaper mitts to go with my red jacket. Then again I also have a cutaway that is 2 years overdue for finishing!

Needles: 2.5mm 10cm metal Addi needles (my only sock needles, you will pry them out of my dead cold hands before I knit with any other needles for socks)
Started: November 2007
Finished: January 2007
Yarn: Plucky Yarn Fingering Merino (Oh La La colourway)
Modifications: None!

Notes: First the yarn… This is my first go round with Plucky Yarn. I like supporting indie dyers, and the more I see yarn like this the more I think I might want to learn how to dye. And if I do, I want to learn with this yarn, because I love it. And I am willing to wager it wont be the last time I am playing with Plucky Yarn. The yarn itself reminds me of a Manos style yarn for socks… with out the thick and thin, if that makes any sense. The colours are incredible and the tone on tone pink of the socks are killer and meld with the pattern wonderfully in my opinion… But I am biased. The pattern, also lovely! It is mindless without being plain stockinette, and looks very pretty. Big props to Sandra, I am so grateful that the smart people think up the pretty things for me to knit up πŸ™‚ As for the socks themselves, the fit is a bit snug. Which is my own fault. If I knit it over again I might add 2-4 extra stitches, in the round to give it a bit more give. Otherwise, perfection.

Pattern: My Standard Socks
Started: April 2007
Finished: January 2008
Needles: 2.5mm 10cm metal Addi needles
Yarn: Vesper Sock Yarn in Crew
Modifications: None as it is my standard pattern for my feet πŸ™‚

Notes: This is my first time with Vesper yarn too… I love the striping! Great colour pairing and so much happy fun. This yarn in a simple mindless stockinette sock, it is perfection. Almost makes me wish I got two skeins so that I could make knee highs. I definitely see me making another pair in another colour. When I can find the time to stalk enough (I bought this yarn while I was still living in Paris and that took stalking to a WHOLE new level) to find the yarn in stock πŸ™‚

Pattern: The infamous Monkeys
Started: January 2008
Finished: January 2008
Needles: 2.5mm 10cm metal Addi needles
Yarn: Brooklyn Handspun in Chocolate Covered Cherries
Modifications: Again, none I am not that big into making modificiations on socks, I barely know how to modify on larger knits why am I going to make my head hurt (or buy a case of wine) for smaller knits πŸ™‚ And Cookie socks are pretty close to perfect so why would I need to?

Notes: One more indie yarn set of socks… also with I purchased the yarn eons ago when I was still in Paris. I LOVE the muted colours on the handwash yarn. Also GREAT customer service from Marie (who I met once in an inarticulate evening when I was at The Point…) And yes the yarn is wonderful too. Has held up to my abuse so far πŸ™‚ I initially tried it with another pattern from Knitting Vintage Socks. That pairing did not work… at all. So a few days ago (dude I said anxious and PLANTED on my arse) I unwound it and restarted with the Monkey’s pattern. Dear sweet buttery jesus that pattern is addictive. It is like crack. And next thing I knew within 2 days, I had one sock. 2 days later I had another (I have finished since this picture was taken… but thought it was fun to show in process). These are like instant gratification. Pop and I have a pair of socks. Woot! And ouch my hands…

Pattern: Pomatomus (or potty mouths as I called them)
Started: January 2007
Status: One down one to go… I hope to finish it before the weekend is over as it should be an anxiety wrought weekend
Needles: 2.5mm 10cm metal Addi needles
Yarn: Schaeffer Anne (I think… and don’t know the colour but it is a GORGEOUS yarn I got in an overly indulgent and unequal trade I did with Jodi. Again… while still living in Paris)
Modificiations: None… Cookie is a goddess

Notes: Ummm I am a bit more than way behind on writing on this one. The yarn matches the pattern perfectly, the pattern takes some attention so it isnt mindless anxiety knitting. We shall see what stage of anxiety knitting I am in over this weekend as I wait out the height of anxiety to this point. God I love my life, remind me why I chose this πŸ™‚

Pattern: Endpaper Mitts
Started: December 2007
Finished: December 2007 and January 2007
2.5mm 10cm metal Addi needles for the ribbing and for the colour work
Yarn: Bollicina in Taupe and Wine (I think) and Elann Peruvian Baby Cashmere in Tapestry Blue and Cashmere Blue
Modifications: Again… none really, who is going to improve upon one of Eunny Jang’s patterns? Only thing I did was that I knit longer on the ribbing for the bind offs so that I could have longer coverage on the fingers.

Notes: I first started the brown ones last year when I was in the same place (Anxietyville) only different country. Then I got frustrated as they were knitting too tight and I stopped and made a My So Called Scarf out of Manos again. So the mitts, they sat and waited… and then about a year later, I decided to rip back and start again. And then I got annoyed with ripping back to twisted ribbing (which can I say I am really liking. bit of a pain in the beginning but after you get used to it, it is fine. and a bit of a trend in these knits non?) and started another pair. Cause that is how you solve the problem. Ahem. Half way through the blue pair I showed them to my roommate and she claimed them, and said she wanted the other one to be the inverse. FUN FUN FUN… Then once done, I set my sights on my first pair. The one made with the fancy yarn (can we say 65% cashmere 35% silk). So I started back up and finished them up. Only they don’t match the red jacket I got on sale and have been wearing during this season of global warming (it is 65F in NYC IN JANUARY). So I am thinking I need a blue and white pair… I fell in love with the colourwork. I had fun with the stranded knitting. These are addictive as crack and I might fall in again here soon, I have a pair of needles free for the taking/ribbing πŸ™‚

Photos were taken by me with my new 24-70mm f2.8 lens. All bless the holy of the fast lenses… I worship at your temple. I am in the love. Also the photos were enabled by my roommate who art directed and modeled for me πŸ™‚

champers”Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

I am going to go against my grain of no New Years Resolutions. I am going to start my slate clean and try something new this year. Maybe even with new results. I am going to go for the 101 in 1001.

The Mission:
Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

The Criteria:
Tasks must be specific (i.e. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (i.e. represent some amount of work on my part).

Why 1001 Days?
Many people have created lists in the past – frequently simple goals such as New Year’s resolutions. The key to beating procrastination is to set a deadline that is realistic. 1001 days (about 2.75 years) is a better period of time than a year, because it allows you several seasons to complete the tasks.

Purchase (10/101)

  1. Treat myself to a massage or a facial once a year
  2. Buy a Lomo camera
  3. Buy one piece of art
  4. Buy fresh flowers for my room once a month for a year
  5. Buy a new “professional” set of luggage
  6. Buy one piece of investment furniture
  7. Get a subscription to National Geographic Traveller, New Yorker, Economist
  8. Buy an antique map of Paris and frame it
  9. Buy a new DSLR upgrade
  10. Find and buy one pair of killer jeans

Health (15/101)

  1. Run/Participate in a 5k, 10k, and half marathon
  2. Participate in an olympic distance triathalon
  3. 30 day trial… bikram yoga 3 times a week
  4. Visit a nutritionist/naturopath
  5. Do a master body cleansing/fast/colonic

Travel (31/101)

  1. Rent a beach house for a getaway
  2. Go surfing in Costa Rica or Hawaii
  3. Visit 3 national parks (i.e. Antelope Canyon, Grand Canyon, Muir Woods, Yosemite, Moab, The Arches, Grand Tetons)
  4. Take a working vacation at a winery in the south of France
  5. Play in the tulips in Netherlands and Skagit Valey
  6. Visit 10 friends
  7. Rent a convertible and go on a road trip
  8. Do an Ashram in India or Bali
  9. Camp out in Wadi Rum
  10. Climb up Macchu Picchu
  11. Visit a buddhist temple
  12. Watch an opera at La Scala and a ballet at Opera Garnier
  13. See the northern lights in Iceland
  14. Go to Ireland
  15. Go on a crazy Thelma Louise girls trip
  16. Stay in a luxurious 5 star hotel

Finance (42/101)

  1. Work to better credit score (by 50-100 points)
  2. Contribute at least 50% of max out to my Roth IRA annually (approx. $2000-2500)
  3. Create, maintain and track my budget for one year
  4. Pay off all credit cards and maintain zero balances
  5. Save $5 for 1001 days
  6. Do my taxes annually (2007, 2008, 2009)
  7. Invest in retirement and net worth (10% of income)
  8. Pay off 50% of remaining student loans (approx. $10,000)
  9. Invest in socially responsible mutual funds (5% of income)
  10. Get a major credit card: use and pay of in full monthly
  11. Save $10000 towards a major investment (purchase of property etc)

Learning (53/101)

  1. Take a photography course on light and flash
  2. Learn how to fly the trapeze
  3. Take an intensive Spanish language course in Spain
  4. Get my a scuba diving certification
  5. Learn how to drive a Vespa
  6. Take a wine tasting course
  7. Learn how to dye yarn
  8. Learn more about buddhism
  9. Research travel photography and writing
  10. Take skiing lessons in the alps
  11. Learn 5 Photoshop tricks

Reading (59/101)

  1. Go to 3 book readings
  2. Read 6 classics and 5 works pre- 1950
  3. Read a banned book, a booker book, a pulitzer prize book
  4. Read the Tao Te Ching
  5. Read 3 biographies per year
  6. Enter all my books into Library Thing

Creativity (69/101)

  1. Design my blog
  2. Do a photographic travel/documentary project
  3. Knit three sweaters for myself
  4. Document all my yarn stash
  5. Print 10 of my photos for framing and hanging
  6. Keep a film and book list
  7. Sell 5 photos
  8. Participate in Sunday scribbles
  9. Go to the cinema once a month
  10. Make a quotes book

Gastronomy (74/101)

  1. Go berry picking
  2. Eat at 12 new restaurants- one three star
  3. Try one new recipe a month
  4. Throw a dinner party for 8 friends
  5. Try 6 new foods and 6 foods I “dont like”

Career (77/101)

  1. Take GRE Course and Exam (1350 score goal)
  2. Apply to 10 PhD programmes
  3. Work on creating a career path

Do (101/101)

  1. Go galopping on a horse out in the free range
  2. Participate in some volunteer/public service project (maybe dealing with sexual health or at a soup kitchen)
  3. Go canoeing in Central Park
  4. Watch one classic movie per month
  5. Go to a live music festival
  6. Go to Shakespeare in the Park
  7. Meditate for 5 minutes 3 times a week
  8. Purge my wardrobe (of at least 30%)
  9. Attend a meditation retreat (5+ days)
  10. Go snowshoeing
  11. Get rid of 101 things
  12. Consolidate and reduce my storage needs and use
  13. Go to the HCB museum in Paris
  14. Reduce my carbon footprint (by 10-20%)
  15. Donate “one meal out” per month to a Food Bank
  16. Spend 5 minutes daily in total silence and inactivity for a month
  17. Visit my grandmother and father’s graves and take flowers
  18. Go to an outdoor movie
  19. Live in a new city in 1001 days
  20. Hang my mirror, shelves and frames
  21. Trace my Irish geneology
  22. See a broadway play
  23. Preserve my family photos
  24. Go to a museum once every other month

At the end of 1001 days, I plan on donating $2 to a charity of my choice for every thing that I haven’t done and $1 for everything I have done.