Sunday, May 18, 2014

City Views, Country Dreams

Good afternoon from New York on a bright and sunny Sunday in May.

It seems like a good time to do a little review of some signs of Spring that I have recently been seeing around the City.

Every year I try to take a photograph of the beautiful tulips that fill the median spaces along Park Avenue.  The following view was taken specially for Merisi.

Over in my own upper west side neighborhood, we also had some pretty tulips blooming right in the middle of Broadway.

I've been making weekly visits downtown to the Union Square Farmers Market, and some of those days were very overcast, even a bit drizzly.  Mr. Gandhi did not seem to mind the lack of bright sunshine in this quiet little green garden area. 

Not very far away, there was much more hustle and bustle.  Because of our lingering chilly weather, there are not many fruits or vegetables for sale yet.  However, lots of flowers and herbs have appeared to inspire folks to try their luck at urban farming on a roof or window sill.

For other folks who lack even small patches of earth and sun, there are plenty of cut flowers on offer.

Lots of color schemes, some flowers with fabulous scents, too.

These hyacinths attracted many admirers.  The open "doughnut hole" shows that some admirers took hyacinths home.

My eyes are always drawn to the mosaic patterns of flat containers of colorful plants that one farmer arranges.

Back in the last century, Union Square had fallen into disrepair and was not a pleasant or very safe place in which to spend time.  The establishment of the Farmers Market really helped to transform the entire park.  What was once a scary comfort station building has this year become the site of a cafe.

Seating is also available outside in an area adjacent to where the farmers show off their plants.  Before long I do want to sample the cafe's fares.

Here are more varieties of flowers to tempt the passersby.

More interesting color combinations.

Some flower lovers have already taken slices out of this cake.

Lilacs and peonies are often displayed together.

Some of the flowers are displayed in the bright midday sun.  Others keep their heads cool under little tents.  I like the variations in the colors that the shadows create.

It is definitely iris season.  I saw mostly purple iris.

Somehow, this one peony had decided the had arrive to burst forth into petal grandeur.  I wondered how long the other buds would stay closed.  I was reminded of how one popcorn kernal starts the popping process.

Back indoors, I also wanted to show you all that I have finished another fair isle scarf.  Its colors are somewhat reminiscent of those in a persian carpet in my apartment.  I also think that inspiration for one color band of this design might have arisen during my Lenten chocolate fast.  It now reminds me of dark and white chocolate and caramel.

Here's a close up view.

I always enjoy playing around with colors.  Sometimes I am aware of why I am choosing a particular palette; sometimes I am not!  

Thank you all for visiting and for taking time to leave comments.  I am going to try to be better at replying to you all.

Happy Spring from New York City!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

City Views, Country Dreams

Good morning from New York on a cool day in May.

Mother Nature keeps teasing us with warmth and sunshine, and then retreats for a day or two.  This has advantages.  The flowering season is prolonged and it's still quite comfy to be knitting with wool and wearing some wool layers, too.

I've just completed another of my tubular fair isle patterned cowls.  This one was knit with a selection of DK yarns on a 3.75 mm circular needle.

For the borders between the diagonal bits I used a duo of fingering weight yarns.  One was black shetland and the other was a ruby red tweed yarn.  I think this blending helps soften the line, while still giving some definition.

In order to complete this cowl, I finally mastered a grafting technique known as the Kitchener stitch.

I'm left-handed, but do my knitting in the same direction as right-handed folks do.  My crocheting is done in a left-handed way, opposite to what you see in crocheting instruction books.  Kitchener stitch instructions I've seen over the years in books and videos also seemed geared to right-handed persons.

I just could not get my mind wrapped around the technique.  And then, yesterday, I found that I could.  I am thankful to the Kitchener instructions given in Elizabeth Lovick's wonderful book, The Magic of Shetland Lace Knitting.

It took a little while to join the ends of my tube but as you can see in the above photo, my cowl is complete, and I do like the way it drapes.

I will soon be adding this item to my Foakley Arts shop.

Now I am finishing up another fair isle scarf, and beginning a lacy triangle scarf using very fine yarn.  As I work on these two projects, I am also getting some ideas about another design which will allow me to practice that no longer elusive Kitchener stitch.

Many thanks to you all for your visits and comments.  It is pleasure to hear from you all and to welcome new visitors.