Bar Harbor: Whale Hat Watching

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This weekend, we are in Bar Harbor, Maine for our anniversary. It a really beautiful place on the upper coast of Maine. It has cute towns, whale watching, Acadia National Park, camping and Lobster, Lobster, Lobster! We’ve been here, semi-camping in a cabin on the water. Meanwhile, Hurricane Irene is brewing and threatening to take down the city we live and work in. Tomorrow, we will feel the effects of it. We were supposed to get up and drive to Portland, ME, but decided we were safer to stick it out here, rather than driving through it.

So, while trying to enjoy our anniversary and not think about the hurricane, we headed into town. of course I found some yarn shops. I found some hemp yarn that I am excited to make something very warm with! It has the consistency of a light cotton.

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Next, we spent the day kayaking, hiking and biking. By the time we got home, I only had energy to sit by the fire and FINISH the whale hat!

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It has been a long journey for me and this hat, but we made it to the end! I now have a whole lot of floats to deal with!
Knitter’s Notes: I found my tension on my floats to be better if I worked the hat inside out. I’m still a little loose myself, but that’s because in this fair isle class I took, she warned us to always make them looser than you think, which I took way too literal.

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But, you live and you learn, and you get a whale hat! Brian claims to like it, (he better!!) but I don’t know if it’s too much whale for one man.

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Tomorrow, we will be living through the “tropical storm” so more stories to come!

PS. One year ago, we had a wonderful wedding that seemed to fall on the only non-rainy day of the summer, so it is only fair for us to have a hurricane on our first anniversary. You can’t win ‘um all!

Whale hat, wedding cake and hurricanes

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This weekend is Brian and I’s first wedding anniversary. Brian got us a cabin on the bar harbor in Maine. In my opinion, it’s the perfect long weekend getaway, from the craziness of NYC. We are also going to stay in Portland, Maine for a night, on the drive back home. It’s Maine! They must have great yarn shops!

At 6am, I am staring around the living room, at all of the yarn on the walls, trying to think of last minute projects i can stuff into a bag. we are to leave in 1 hour, and I care more about my yarn selection than packing food or clothing. After some struggling, I threw four possible projects into my bag, and at 7am, we headed out. I knew the city was going to get hit with some Hurricane Irene aftermath, so I was glad to escape. what I didn’t think about, was the hurricane will probably NOT stop at NY…Now, 2 days later, I am hearing that our town is to evacuate. Good thing we did, just to stay in a cabin on the coast in Maine.

We’ve been driving through the rain for about 5 hours, which is perfect knitting time. As we passed through each state, I got another part of the whale hat completed. For more whale hat info, please check out: The Whale is Back!

I ended up redrawing and adjusting the pattern in three different states, which is a fitting problem with this hat, knowing our history. But! I got through the whale!

20110826-165823.jpgKnitters Notes: I created the whale using the fair isle technique, which is why the inside of the hat looks like it’s all strings. The last part of the pattern is the water spout. I am stumped. I don’t know how to tackle this. Fair isle is a good technique when constantly changing colors, but the water is only 2 out of 26 stitches in the pattern. I would love to do intarsia but the hat is knit in the round, not flat. I heard of a secret, not proper, way off knitting intarsia in the round….I think I may do some research.

So, in the meantime, I switched to the MONSTER socks. I have been avoiding measuring them, because they are taking forever, and I’m scared that I will get too frustrated knowing that I will have several inches left. But I couldn’t resist. And WINNER, they are ready for the gusset increase!

……

We are now entering Bar Harbor, so, time to start camping! In the rain, with a hurricane on its way. But it’s all ok, because we have frozen wedding cake! (made by a fantastic baker – Laura, at “Frosted Dreams”)

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The WHALE is Back

Original Whale Hat

So, if you’ve been following our blog, you know the story of the infamous “Whale Hat.” If not, read: Whale of a tale before continuing.

Brian and I went to the store last night to pick out some non-100% wool yarn, to make his new whale hat. (See, I learn – I am not even chancing the hat shrinking again with wool!)

They didn’t have the yarn I wanted to buy, but they had yarn that will suffice. FIRST ERROR. Do not use “yarn that will suffice” on a project that is so meaningful. I was just too eager to get it made. I know, at some point, I will regret my choice and have to start this project all over again… He picked out a navy for the background, oatmeal for the whale and silver for the water.

Whale Pattern on Grid Paper

I got home and immediately began looking at the pattern I created. The problem with the first hat was it was simply too big. However, the whale repeat is a set number of stitches. If I do less, one of the whales is likely to be missing his tail, which would be no good.

So, I stared, erased, redrew until I got the pattern down 2 less stitches, which meant 8 stitches total (the whale repeats 4 times).  He will be tail to tail with the other whale buddies on his hat though…

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Yarn for whale hat

I CAST ON! on the wrong needles….Frog #1 (frog in knitting means to rip it all out)

I CAST ON again! with too many stitches…. Frog #2

I CAST ON AGAIN! and do 3 rows of the wrong rib pattern, which would make the hat too big….Frog #3.

So now, I have yarn that will “suffice,” that I’ve ripped off the needles 3 times! I swear, this hat is cursed.  I will notify the public if this hat ever really gets created.  There WILL be a parade!

2-at-a-time MONSTER socks

Meanwhile, the MONSTER socks, are slowly but surely making progress. I am to the balls of his feet, sock length, which cover most of my feet!  Next socks, will for sure, be baby socks!

I do have to say, I am enjoying the rib pattern on these socks.  And as long as they are going to take me, I am enjoying every minute of them…

 

 

 

 

MONSTER Socks

(This blog entry is not intended for experienced sock knitters, unless you want a good laugh at the girl knitting her first pair…)

Hand Knit Worsted-Weight Kid Socks

Tara has been on a sock knitting kick and I have always wanted to knit socks. I actually wanted to learn to knit, because of socks. I have knit a few pairs before, but most were small child size with a worsted (thicker) weight yarn. You would never be able to actually put on a shoe with my socks.  We like to call these “MONSTER socks!,” said in a very scary and drawn out voice.

The thing is, if you are wearing hand-knit socks, why the hell would you want to cover them up with shoes!  I would never want to cover up my eye-squinting lace work done with a US 0 to US 3 needle.

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Monster Feet!

My husband, who is so good to me, is always wanting me to knit something for him. For the past couple of weeks, he’s been extra sweet and helpful, so I thought, why not knit my sized 13 foot husband socks? (what was I thinking…)

So, combining my first sock made with fingering weight (a very thin yarn) and the need to make every pattern I find way bigger, I figure this could make for an interesting read.

Using the book “Toe-Up, 2-at-a-time socks,” by Melissa Morgan-Oakes, I started rummaging through the patterns.  (I love this book, but at the same time, it’s a little hard fr me two change the pattern to a extra-large.)

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The Knitter's Fuel (aka espresso)

Knowing ahead of time that I suffer from second sock syndrome, I knew I had to knit them two-at-a-time.  For those who aren’t familiar, the “traditional” way to knit socks is one at a time on double point needles, but I bet if you go up to any sock knitter, and steal their bag, there is probably one lonely sock and a whole different project casted on their needles.  Plus, with two-at-a-time, not only when I’m done, I’M DONE, but if I screw up, they will be the same on both socks, so I can call it a design modification rather than a mistake.  And finally, they’ll be the EXACT same size. (No row counting!!)

Swatch time.  Yes, swatches are important! (This is a small 4×4 knitted square to make sure your gauge is correct before starting the project.)  For this adventure, the swatch is extra important.  Brian has huge feet and the largest pattern I find is for size 10.  So no matter the pattern, it has to be modified.  By doing a swatch, a can find out my stitches (sts) and rows per inch in order to figure out the toe-to-gusset length. (the length before you start to turn the heel and the sock is no longer just a tube.)

After 2 hours of knitting algebra, trying to convert my swatch to the pattern size and then upgrade it two shoe sizes, I think I finally figured it out.

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Two-At-A-Time Socks, Toe Up

Knitter’s notes:
If my swatch is 7 sts/inch and the pattern calls for 8sts/inch, plus the fact that the pattern is for a finished foot circumference of 8.5″ and his foot is 9.5″ then that is a CO of (9.5×7) vs (8.5×8). So my conclusion is WORST case senario, we are looking at a perfect to slightly loose fitting sock.
Does anyone follow my logic? I hope so…

So, after a 2.5 hour long movie, I barely got the toes started (in the picture above..)  So next time your significant other asks you so sweetly for a pair of hand knit socks, measure his feet first!  and then tell him target is just down the road.

This tale is to be continued…

We’re Watching You

Map of Visitor's Locations

…does that creep you out?

For a while CourT has been talking about Google Analytics and how exciting it is to monitor information about visitors to our store and blog.  Although I was very pleased to hear about all the views we were getting, I wasn’t all that interested in even taking the time to log in.  Today I finally did and…  I’m actually quite surprised I was able to pull myself away from it long enough to type this. (The map to the left is a visual representative of the countries (in green) that have visited our store, Coffee & T. )

It’s not just the numbers CourTney found intriguing, but rather the ability to personify them through sites of origin and maps, detailed enough  to provide the city in which they were viewed. (Hello Diamond, Ohio and Austin, Texas!)

With that said, we would like to say, “Cheers!” to our viewers across the world by offering you international shipping.  I don’t think we expected such a diverse geographical interest in our items when we opened and we would like to share a little of our CoffeeAndT!

 

I want to get Sudsy!

Set of 3 crocheted washcloths available of Coffee & T!

I love crocheted and knit washcloths. The idea of using a sponge to do dishes grosses me out. Maybe it’s because of all of the male roommates I’ve lived with who would pollute the sponge with meats and fatty junk; or maybe because sponges at work in the kitchen ALWAYS reek. One time, while having dinner at a bosses house, his wife told me that using the same towel more than once irked her. GERMS….That got me thinking and I have permanently switched over to washcloths.

Tara prefers to use her washcloths in the bathroom, rather than the kitchen.  She thinks they are too pretty to waste on dishes, but why not have both!  Make washing your face AND your pans prettier. I think I got her with the eco part (reusable/washable).  She’s very good to the environment.

My friend, Christine, always has the cutest things in her kitchen.  Embroidered dishcloths, adorable dishes, pretty cups.  A cute kitchen is one you want to be in.

Set of 3 washcloths at Coffee & T

Now that my home drawer is full of them, I want to share the love!  Tara and I have both been putting some sets together for our store, Coffee & T, but I want to go one step further.  I want to learn to make soap!

I’ve been searching the web for good recipes and fun methods for a one girl kind of operation  (two girls when Tara moves to NYC 🙂  ).  I found one person’s blog that I think is a LOT of fun: Soap Deli News.  There are link for shopping for homemade soaps, such as: Rebecca’s Soap Delicatessen. She sells beautiful soaps!  Soap Deli News also has a blog on packaging and some recipes!  I think this may be a new weekend project for me!

So, if anyone out there makes there own soap, wants to partner with some washcloth makers for gifts or has some good recipes to share, feel free to comment below and we can help each other out!

As for now, I will be making more washcloths.  We go through a lot in my house with a husband who likes to cook as much as mine! (This is worshiping, not complaining!)

 

 

Didja Miss Me??

Since this is my first solo post for a while, here’s what I’ve been up to:

Everything.

I am in one of those strange transitional periods where I don’t know where I’ll be in six months, so there’s been lots of “figuring out” to do.  “Figuring out” doesn’t leave much mental capacity for creativity, but the trip to Jersey and seeing CourT was a much needed respite from the stress.  CourTney is my viagra for creativity (sorry, Grandma).  I wonder if insurance would cover the next trip…?

Now I’m getting back into the swing of things, just in time to join in on the excitement over our new baby vegetable hats!  CourT made the most adorable baby tomato hat  (I would link to it but it already sold!) and soon-to-be listed pumpkin hat, and we’re working on many more!  Keep checking our store if you have a baby, know a baby, grow a baby, plan a baby, or act like a baby.  We’ll make those babies hats.  Babies love hats.

Day 3: Button Pairings & Pancakes

By CourTney & Tara

CourTney: Cowl Mania. AGAIN. I don’t joke. I finished 2 more today! I can’t stop. I have to put the knitting needles down but I can’t…

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The Yellow Cowl

It’s a good cowl though. I wanted to stripe it but didn’t want it to be too stripey. I wanted it to seem random, but trying to be random is very difficult. So Tara taught us all about the Fibonacci sequence. It’s a natural way to create a random look, but it’s completely not random. In knitting, you start with 1. Then add 1+1=2. then add 1+2=3, then add 2+3=5, then 3+5= 8, etc. etc. etc. Mathematical randomness.

The cowl is in a golden rod and silver grey. Very pretty. It will be listed in our store, Coffeeandt.etsy.com soon!

 

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Mismatched Buttons

Tara: CourT and I had been trying to figure out what we should do about selling the buttons we pressed last time she was in Ohio. Should we sell them as sets of three? Should they be cohesive or random? What will we do for photos in our listings? It may have taken us a few weeks, a chat with Brian, and a few of the Brownstone Diner’s Honkey Tonkin Pancakes, but we finally made some decisions!

Right at the table we assembled the sets into groups of three. I managed to snag a few really, really beautiful ones I had fallen in love with to wear as necklaces, (for advertising purposes, of course.) Tiffin tried to put the couple I set aside into a set and she might have lost a finger for it, I don’t know. I blacked out.

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Matched Buttons!

 

 

CourTney: But now we have a plan! (And everyone still has their fingers) Check out Coffeeandt.etsy.com to grab a set for yourself! They really are beautiful and three different necklaces for $5! You can’t beat that.

 

 

 

So an exciting update at Coffee & T! I’ve been checking out our visitors and we’ve had visitors from Brazil and Canada, along with a whole bunch of US states!

Along with that, we can see what people search for to get to our store. Tara and I’s top favorites:

1. 1959 Nancy Drew books
2. berties closet coupon

Weird how the internet works.

Tara: Yeah, when I’m lying awake at night I think about all these people who are visiting our store and I imagine them saying how much they love our items in their accents. For example, in Canada: “no doot aboot it, that’s a nifty cowl, Eh? or Texas: “well golllllly! That’s a real purrrrrrrdy shop ya’ll got there!” or my favorite, Jersey: “yous got scaaaaves! I loves scaaaaaaves!!!”

So now I’m back in Ohio, and I have to say…I’m not too excited about it and I don’t think CourTney is either. I’ve abandoned her to do a TON of work for the store alone…photos, listings, shipping, store labels, finishing needle cases, and…it’s a lot for two people, let alone one with a full time job. It’s always so tough to leave her and especially when we have so much to do. Perhaps a relocation is in order?……hmmmmm…

Day 2: Junk, Pizza & Bier

By Tara & CourTney

$10 chairs

CourTney: Day 2 of Tara’s visit. The main adventure that I wanted to tackle on their visit was this random second hand store I past one evening while going to see the HB play in his band, LeafPile, at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn. It was a really random shop with no sign and chairs sitting outside with $10 price tags. It could be a perfect store for an adventure…

As we (Mom, Lori, Tara and Brian) were leaving the apartment, Brian asked me the leaving the house checklist “sunglasses, yarn, keys, money?”  Yes.  Yarn is more important than keys and money, but without sunglasses, I won’t be able to keep knitting until I’m 102.  Gotta protect the eyes!  So, we hopped the train and started the journey.

 

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Best Slice in NYC!

Tara: I would like to briefly interject here and talk to you about pizza. CourT mentioned earlier that we went to Brooklyn, right? Well what is a visit to Brooklyn without a slice of thin crust? To all of my Ohio friends who think Hungry Howies is the best, you are wrong. See picture below…I know what I’m talking about here. Thin crust, chunky tomato sauce, huge slices of fresh mozzarella…put on your slouchy hats and ray bans and get yourself to Brooklyn!

Brian & CourT being Lost

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CourTney at JUNK

CourTney: After pizza, our mission…..finding the secondhand store.  As you travel through the city, you always see places and think, “I should come back here sometime.”  And everytime, you think your memory will serve you well, but mine just never quite does.  I guess that’s why they invented 4 square. So, even though I found this place alone, my HB was the one that knew where it was.  He is good at just knowing everything!

So we found it, with it’s fitting name: JUNK.  My mom went through the store saying, “Oh man!  We have a whole garage of this and of that.”  But Tara and I found the jackpot…

 

BUTTONS!

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Button Table at JUNK

 

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Tara picking buttons

 

 

Even though it was super hard not to buy every button I touched, I picked 4.  At 25 cents a button, I could sell my stash and make a LOT of money!  But then, I wouldn’t have a stash…

 

 

 

 

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Biergarten & Knitting

Tara: BIERGARTEN KNITTING BREAK
After a long day of walking, what could be better than a little R&R with some knitting and a cold beer? On the bottom floor of CourT’s apartment there is a bar with over a hundred different beer taps. CourT suggested I try one called Krusovice. It. Was. Awesome. A little coffee-like stout, but smooth and not bitter. After ordering, I pulled out some socks I was just beginning the pair for and CourT pulled out her chunky cowl and we got to chatting, sipping and knitting. We got a few odd looks while we sat at the bar but overall people looked upon us with interest. One guy even said to me in his Staten Island accent, “I’d have that thing in knots!” Upon which I said, “aw, it isn’t so bad!”After about an hour, CourT had almost all of her cowl finished and I barely had the top ribbing completed, but that’s just how how the old knitting sticks click.

More to come!

Tara visits!

We are back together, combining forces, defeating all of the NYC yarn shops! Tara is here.

20110813-082227.jpgMy mom, her friend Lori and Tara all hopped in a car and came for a visit. Yesterday, we attended the Lion Brand color class, for some tips to do color knitting work. For those who don’t knit, colorwork is when you look at a knit object, there is more than one color. It holding multiple stands of yarn, in a multitude of fashions to create different types of fabric. They demoed Intarsia, Double knitting, Fair Isle and Slip Stitch knitting. (These links are all different stores and blogs. All great, so check them out!) It was a standing room only class, but that got both of us excited and motivated to practice our color-work. Even if you know the skills of a class, sometimes it’s still great to know, to pick up new techniques.

Also, we stopped by a local boutique that deals with a lot of local artists, (along with national and international designers). The end goal is to get some sort of press kit together to talk to her about. Maybe she loves buttons too! Maybe my cowl mania will pay off…

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Checking out Union Square

We also did some non-knitting things. We started at the Union Square Farmer’s market. I took them all to some of my favorite interesting shops, to see some sites and to eat some great Indian food.

Today we are heading over to Chatham to visit The Stitching Bee. It’s a fun shop because everywhere you look, there is MORE YARN. It’s a lot like a grandma’s workshop. Then, we will be heading into Brooklyn for a great slice and a thrifty/flea market store.

So, that’s all for now. But cross your fingers about the local boutique. That would be exciting!