Thursday, September 25, 2014

What's in a Name?

Since the inception of my blog, every year I post a photo on 9/11 as a tribute to the tragedies of that fateful day. As a native New Yorker, it still kinda wigs me out that there's no World Trade Center on the horizon as I drive down the West Side Highway. It was "the landmark" that oriented me from any position in lower Manhattan. This year, I visited the Memorial. It was crowded and I couldn't find a place at the edge of the fountain to peer into the cascading waters. I just wanted to reflect on the loss, say a prayer and remind myself that this was once the site of special times that involved school trips, out of town family visits, dinners atop Windows on the World and one of my first post-college jobs at an insurance company whose name totally escapes me now. I walked through the park questioning why anyone would want a smiling, goofy selfie at the fountain edge and I was truly curious about the mindset involved in such a seemingly odd juxtaposition.

I finally found a spot and bellied up to the rail to look over the edge. It was more powerful than a thought and surprisingly loud yet so peaceful. I had a moment of private contemplation and then after a minute, looked down where my hands were resting at the base of someone's name as they are carved into the entire perimeter of the memorial -- all 2,606 names. There was a man's name, no one I knew but someone I immediately connected to in the blink of eye. There … carved into the ledge of the memorial was my surname. I didn't personally know anyone killed in the 9/11 attacks, nevertheless a family member. It was surreal to say the least and cosmically "wow", that the universe and throngs of people had directed me right to that spot. Even though it's late and passed the anniversary date ...tonight, I'll say a special prayer for all the victims, their families and s special one for Michael.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Fountain Pen Madness

My DIY Pen Box pictorial….

There aren't any truly noteworthy pens here but I like each of them for one reason or another but they were starting to add up. In the end, a home was required to satisfy the neat-nick that is IamKnitGuy!

The box….it was an old valet.

Built the supports with paint stirrers. Note to self, cutting paint stirrers with an exacto knife requires a lot more strength than knitting and penmanship practice develops....


Bottom layer….because who in their right mind would think one layer of pens is enough!


Support for top tray. I have no saw/cutting mechanism but the exacto knife so I improvised with some balsam wood. Really easy to cut but had to layer it.


Top layer with tabs to lift top tray out to get to bottom layer of pens… clever is that!


Finished except for some sanding, additional glue and polishing/touch ups on the wood...


The top of the box has a lovely spot for a photo but I wanted it to be just plain glass so you could see the pens. Unfortunately, I couldn't anchor the glass and stop it from rattling about when I opened and closed the lid. In the end, it was pen p0rn to the rescue and this project was written!
Hey, they're not all golden!

I'm not a handy guy, a bit crafty but not handy. In the end, I'd have to say, anyone could do this and I recommend it to any pen enthusiast! Thanks to FPN and all their posters, I would have never figured this out on my own!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Should This Be That?

So I'm thinking once the Henry scarf is done … this stunningly soft, white alpaca (that I got while attending one of the men's spring knitting retreats) should become this cowl! This yarn is one of those yarns that has to be made into something that has the freedom to move about and brush up against you. And yes, it's that yummy!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

La Maison d'IamKnitGuy

Almost a year! In my last entry, Fall had just begun and I had just returned from an amazing trip to Tuscany and Paris. I haven't done much knitting since then. Florida isn't really conducive to knitting, it's too hot and it's hot all year long.

I really hate when people insert colored paper inside their Christmas cards and type an 'update' about what's been going on in their lives. "Suzie laughed at her first fart and Dave laughed and then I laughed and before we knew it, it was Spring!" Yes, I hate that catch-up/catch-all but here's my Christmas card insert in one paragraph….

I turned 50 this year. It's kind of big but comes with surprisingly, little, midlife fanfare. I was in Paris at the stroke of 50 (yes, yet again), having cake at Cafe Carette on Place de Vosges in the Marais. It's my favorite place in Paris. I'm determined that while I live, breath and have access to a Visa card, I will go there every year. I've been studying French as well. I hired a tutor from France and I'm taking an online class from the local college, first college class in 30 years! I'm not sure I understand how you can get a degree online (there's so many easy ways to cheat) but it's working for me and my motto of "Fluent in '15", so we persevere on! I will return to Europe this Winter with destinations in Amsterdam, Dusseldorf/Cologne and Paris. My fantasy of seeing Paris under a veil of snow and me bundled up to walk her streets with Mother Nature has been foretold in my mind's eye so I'm setting off to make it so.

And with that, my Christmas card is completed and I set off with a renewed vengeance back to my blog … my knitting blog! We're going to Europe in Winter and that my friends will require hats, gloves, scarfs maybe a cowl or even fingerless mitts with pop over little mittens in one! There are so many patterns stuffed in my knitting queue, I don't know where to start! With all this swirling around in my head, I decided there's no better place to keep track of what I'm doing than back here at La Maison d'IamKnitGuy!

First project up is a blast from the past … the Henry Scarf that I started years ago and have knit over the years in spurts of 5-10 rows every 4-6 months! Needless to say, it's gotten a bit longer over time and about 5 rows to the last ball of yarn. I discovered a mistake about 30 rows back and actually, successfully pulled the needle, ripped back and got the needle back in! Yes, I had to use the 10X magnifying lamp fully equipped with the "I could land a plane in the African jungle" light but we ripped and we got the needle back into 49 beautifully, righted stitches. Big deal in these parts!

Expect to see a mix of project progress and pointless chatter about fountain pens & French!

I'll leave you with a few shots from my birthday trip … and photos don't count as additional paragraphs, I don't care what you say!

Flew first class for the first time and arrived to this view from the hotel

Visited famous monuments, statues and castles.

Had cake on my birthday and a lot of Veuve Clicquot!

Took a cooking class and learned to make chocolate croissants!

Visited the hall of mirrors at Versailles so I could take a selfie. See, old yet very progressive!

À bientôt mes amis! J.