Aw look! One pattern, 364 versions of the MDK New Ancestral Christmas Stocking.

In Which I Cease Whining (or at least pause)

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Dear Ann,
Now that I’ve seen the state of your porch chairs, I’ve decided to turn over a new leaf, to glop on some fresh psychic paint, to bloom where I am planted, and to make lemonade when life hands me Crystal Light. Thanks for that, friend. Sometimes one needs a reminder that one is not the only Pottery Barn gal marooned in a Grey Gardens world (minus cats and fleas, but I do think about wearing a cardigan on my head).
There are compensations. See that kitchen window up there?
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This is the view.
And not to brag or anything, but I am the mistress of a genuine Can-O-Mat:
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(I don’t quite get what is so ‘mat’ about it. And am I the only person who sees this thing and thinks ‘eBay’?)
I am in love with our new neighborhood, Washington Heights. Here’s a news flash, people (including taxi drivers): Washington Heights is in MANHATTAN. Hop on the A train, and it’s 20 minutes to Columbus Circle. Yet it’s a world apart. Small towny (in a New Yorky way). A small shopping street with everything you really need, a couple of nice places to eat and drink, a *bucks for those whose souls are in the grip of the almighty latte, and a venerable German Jewish bakery for those whose lives are governed by the almighty pumpernickel.
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This is Manhattan? Can it be? Yes, it be!
Most of the buildings seem to have been built in the 30s, Art Deco with a human scale and a common touch.
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Check out the fire escapes! Art Deco fire escapes!
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You want Tudor? We got your Tudor!
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Plenty of knitting/quilting inspiration.
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Excellent lengths of curb to walk on.
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These signs are all over the neighborhood. I’m thinking of getting my real estate license. Come on up! Check it out!
Knitting?
I’m re-immersing in this book:
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To make this:
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It’s not a necklace. It’s a PulloverOrMaybeATunicOrMaybeADressI’llJustSeeHowItGoesOkay?
So far I’ve learned that it is one thing to wing a blanket without a pattern. A sweater/tunic/dress? Another thing entirely. So fun!
Love, Kay

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51 Comments

51 Comments

  1. I love love love your new neighborhood!! If I weren’t leaving the country, I’d so move up there. Right. Now.

  2. This Jawja gal sure liked seeing those New Yawk sights. Very interested in your journey with Knitting from the Top. Just got the book and am told it’s the Bible on the subject. Keep us posted!

  3. that’s my neighborhood! and i can identify every building! how exciting for me!
    i read this blog regularly, and enjoy it ever so much, but this is the first time i’ve commented. welcome!

  4. Kay – OH NO – have you seen the Garnet Hill Website…DEBUT AUGUST 9Th – Eileen Fisher HOME.
    Kill me now.

  5. KAY!!!!!!! You can DO this! You are going to have a fabulous time with this, just email me if you need help – Love your kitchen btw.

  6. Shit Kay. When you were at the house, did you not see my swatch and THAT BOOK sitting there looking lonely? I’ve abandoned my fabu top down v-neck set in sleeve sweater for log cabins. When do we start our BW knit along?
    By the way, thanks for today. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE!

  7. wow i can’t believe it.. i think that you live in the same building as my girlfriend patricia she’s a knitter too!! i’ve got to let her know you are there too :-) karola.
    eeek i’m still not finished packing yet.. k

  8. Thanks for the scenic tour. Love Art Deco buildings.

  9. Love your view! And now the movie Grey Gardens is in my Blockbuster queue. I think I will have friend Kerrie over to watch and knit!!!
    BTW – this weekend is a quilting weekend with Melody Johnson, the art quilter. It is no sewing… all fusing! I’ll let you know how it goes. She’s a knitter, too… so I’m taking my mitred squares!

  10. What a lovely tour! I’m glad you are taking a moment to find the beauty of your surroundings, which is hard when all your stuff is packed up and everything is so temporary. You can probably tell I’ve done that too. I think the rocking chair transformation helped quite a few of us! Love your book and blog. Hope you are back in your own home with all your “stuff” soon.

  11. The Washington Heights municipality people should pay you. Or buy ad space on your blog. Very nice. Looking forward to whatever that nice collar is to become.

  12. welcome to the neighbourhood, i live a few blocks from you. i hope you and your family enjoy it up here as much as we do.
    two summers ago i visited the cloisters and then went apartment searching in the area the next day. i’m so glad i was mad at my old landlord that weekend.

  13. wow! i moved to the UWS a few months ago, and my real estate agent tried to get me up to wash heights, and i was operating under the misguided notion that it was desolate and too far away, now i am kicking myself, i probably would have found a great place there! with a much better view!!! i hope you enjoy your new ‘hood! looks so pretty and green!!!

  14. Just love the city, always an inspiration! I sure miss that little bakery/cafe on the east side on 2nd ave. Lots of color & yummy treats!

  15. Welcome to the Heights! I also live a few blocks from you. I’ve been here for 3 years and it’s great. I especially love the Medieval Fair in Fort Tryon Park in October. I’m sorry we don’t have a LYS nearby, but otherwise, I hope you enjoy living up here!

  16. What a beautiful neighbourhood! I must say, I think Manhattan and that’s not the picture that comes to mind. I’m usually picturing huge highrises and swank stores a plenty.
    Your kitchen is a little galley-ish but in a cute kind of way.
    I think your Can-O-Mat just maybe vintage. Vintage what, I don’t really know, but vintage nonetheless.
    Thanks Kay.

  17. Good Lord. There really is a kitchen out there smaller than mine…and it’s Kay’s.

  18. Hey — that’s MY neighborhood! Wait — that’s my BUILDING!! How exciting, to have a famous blogger move in next door! Looks (from the view anyway)like you’re in swanky Castle Village, but that can be forgiven. Any chance you’ll stop by my local stitch and bitch if I ever get around to actually hosting one?
    -esme
    p.s. I predict you’ll grow to love your can-o-matic.

  19. Hey, let me welcome you to the neighborhood as well! (I’m actually a wee bit north of you, I think.) I actually just spoke to a woman at my nail place who is thinking of opening a yarn shop around here….as if the neighborhood could be any more perfect :-)

  20. Washington Heights is in da house! I can’t believe how many of us have popped up here already. Time for a Way Upper West Side Knit In, people (although a think it’s creepy somehow that we have a Starbucks now…you think maybe Smile Deli would host us?)

  21. Thanks for the fun tour of your neighborhood!

  22. I’ll have to call you when we’re apartment-hunting in Wash Hts next spring…though the size of your kitchen, Kay, it makes me weep silently to myself. I come from Big-Kitchen Country.
    Still. It’s good to know there’s green and good pumpernickel to be had. That will make my transition easier. But you left out the most important thing–what about the yarn shops? Where’s the closest yarn??

  23. Do you have a fire escape? I’ve always wanted a fire escape. I would grow basil and geraniums in small pots and sit out there writing at night when it was hot, and I would look down and…
    Oh. Sorry. I have a well developed sense of romance around the urban fire escape.

  24. The photos are lovely, but the little girl is absolutely gorgeous, sweet, and charming. Please tell her so. She is the best part of this post. Is she yours? If so, well done!

  25. Different city, but that kitchen looks JUST LIKE the one I had when I was first married. Flashback.

  26. My beloved and willing-to-wear-every-cardigan-I-ever-made-for
    her-every-day-even-in-the-summertime-Grandmother had a can-o-mat. Except she never used it, said it was too slow. No patience for retro, that granny. I guess she saved all her patience for me!

  27. Wow, congrats on the new place. We looked up there, but the commute to WAY downtown was too long so eeek, bought in Jersey City Heights across the ‘ol river. I have friends up there who love it though. Eat some pumpernickel for me.

  28. I’m reading that book right now, too. I saw it at my fave yarn shop and knew that if I didn’t buy it, I would have to stand there and read it every time I visited from then on. It’s already come in handy for the In Love With Lace Enchanted Jacket when I had a brain spasm trying to figure out one step of the pattern. I’m looking forward to seeing your now-necklace-soon-to-be-dress garment!

  29. Kay,
    Thanks for the pics of NYC! My mom grew up in Inwood, your neighbor to the north. I have many, many happy memories of my grandparents and aunt whose apartment overlooked Columbia’s Baker Field.

  30. Kay, I lived in the Tudor extravaganza for five years and sure do miss the ‘hood–to say nothing of the magnificent views from every window of my apartment. My kids still insist on going back to Kismat for Indian food. Don’t miss their Chicken Tikka.

  31. OOOoooo, I love your new neighborhood! Isn’t it just terrific to be so near the metro area but in a little neighborhoody area, too? I live in a place like that in Chicago – 20 minutes on the train to the city’s center, but *I* have the luxury of parks and trees and neighbors who all know each other! Yippee! And BTW, your view is definite envy material…

  32. oh, i love washington heights. i had a pal in college who lived there and i used to visit him and i remember the first time i went to his house, i was just stunned – his street had houses all along one side and TREES – real trees, like a whole little forest! – on the other side. i kept going “this is manhattan? wow!” SUCH a fun neighborhood.

  33. Oooh, Kay, I love your new neighborhood. It’s always been a dream of mine to live in NYC and you just made it dreamier! Lucky lady!
    Re the “Can-o-Mat”–I suppose it was pretty darned space-age as a replacement to one of those old-style can openers that were spikey on one end (no moving parts)–you know, that you had move around the edge of a can as it chewed it open. That’s all my poor grandma had for years–what she would’ve given for a geniune Can-o-Mat! You should keep it right where it is!

  34. Is that Gen-u-ine Mock Tudor? Most ‘Tudor’ here is Mock, much of the real stuff got burnt down. Wood, so flammable, who knew?
    What, oh what, is a can-o-matic? Looks good, but just what does it do? Is it, as we say here in Blighty, a ‘can opener’, and if it is isn’t it a bit redundant now that cans come with those ring-pull lid things? Or is it so old it could be a gen-u-ine Antiques Roadshow exhibit?
    Love from genuine Victorian London, where all the genuine 120 year old muck from the loft has descended onto the stairs due to lax dirt handling standards of builder. I’m sure you can imagine it. (Mouse has bacome a black rabbit!)

  35. ps – and I love Carrie standing there thinking ‘OK Mum, I know you’re close to the edge what with moving and the heat and summer holidays and everything, so I’ll just stand here with this knitting needle and a bit of string around my neck to humour you and make you feel a bit better’. I can see it in her eyes….. she is a love, keeping you happy this way. x x x

  36. Wow. What a lovely little jaunt to NYC this morning. Beautiful neighborhood, breathtaking view! My normal low-level mild pining to live there has grown into full-blown yearning. We have a visit planned in October, which will just have to do for now, I guess. Thanks!

  37. I’ve traveled all over the world, but never been in NYC. Thanks for sharing these photos! I’d love to see more.

  38. Your neighbourhood is wonderful!
    Don’t ya just love real cities?
    I’m presently doing time–I mean LIVING in Vegas, where everything is so stinking new that anything older than 10 years old is considered…
    well…OLD.
    When I make a daytrip back to SoCal, and walk around neighbourhoods where a tree in someone’s front yard has been there since the 1920s? It makes my head swim and my heart ache.

  39. Oh! You live in my complex! So excited to have you here- don’t get your real estate job, open a yarn store! We desperately need some businesses, and judging from the amount of people I see knitting…we need it. (Also check out this woman in the early morning who is doing a needlepoint landscape of the park across from the subway station- incredible)

  40. Art Deco wooooow. Even fire escapes look great in Art Deco. It’s my favorite building style. I’d like to do a quilt in Art Deco. You are very lucky.

  41. Wow, what a cool neighborhood and a GREAT view! Anyway, I would guess that your Can-O-Mat somehow derives from the word “automatic.” As another reader has commented, it seems to date from the time (’50s?) when everything was Space Age and modern.
    Interesting that Britain evidently has a lot of cans that open by ring-pull. The only cans I buy that have those are some soups and canned pineapple. The rest I have to open with my 1990s wedding gift Oster can opener.

  42. i went to a party in washington heights about 20 years ago. it was serious gangland then. what happened?? sure didn’t look like that!

  43. Wow, what a thrill to see Washington Heights mentioned in your blog. My parents lived there right after WWII, when apartments were almost impossible to find. They told wonderful stories of their first apartment in that neighborhood, so the name has always held just a bit of magic for me. This is my first time commenting though I’ve lurked on your blog for awhile now and LOVE MDK. Thank you, Ann and Kay!

  44. Just bought that wonderful book earlier this summer, but haven’t yet tried anything. Now that the log cabin afghan-from-hell is completed, maybe I’ll be brave and jump into something!

  45. Hey, welcome to the neighborhood, Kay! – I’ve been living here for a few years now. You’re lucky you’re in Castle Village though (I assume, from the pics) – some of the pretty buildings across the street are not so well managed or maintained! We found 22 square feet of mold one day on our bedroom in a building pictured in your post. There are some down sides to old buildings! We’re in a newer one now, down the hill, and it’s great! Don’t forget to check out the Russian store on 181st, next to *bucks. Try the imported soda called “Baikal” – it’s like root beer, only deliciously different. Eucalyptus is the secret ingredient. They serve a good borsch to go, in the winter, too.
    About the real estate signs – one of my favorite features of the neighborhood! But get this – I saw THE SAME SIGN in a window of a fancy antique store in SoHo only a few weeks ago. Can you imagine what they’re asking for it?
    I am SO gung-ho for a SnB in the ‘hood! I’ll stay tuned in to hear more – but me and at least two of my knitting friends are also here in Wash Heights and would love to come!

  46. Ah, Washington Heights looks good! I’m used to visiting the East Village where my sister-in-law lives. Like your ‘hood better!

  47. Just to say that, yes, here in Britain lots of cans now come with ring pulls, and it is quite definitely a mixed blessing. So, OK, you don’t have to hunt for a can opener, but you have to be careful to a) not break a nail trying to lift the ring pull up enough to get your finger thru it (I tend to to to this with the end of a spoon) and b) learn to pull carefully so that the can doesn’t go flying and/or splatter contents (tomato/tuna in oil &c) all over when the lid peels off with a final thwack!
    Hope you have a good time in your new flat, Kay. I find moving very stressful, and can’t think of much worse than what you’re doing, so I hope it will all go well.
    TTFN

  48. I saw the can opener in the top kitchen window picture & immediately thought, “That’s like the one in my mom’s kitchen when I was growin’ up.” My eye went right to that stickin’ out can opener. Ours was bolted to a kitchen cabinet, too, right around the sink.
    Thanks for the trip in the way back machine.

  49. Just bought your book. I’m a beginning knitter and loved the book. Tonight is my second night on the website and you have a new fan. Excited to spend a few minutes everyday with all my new friends.

  50. hey! my cousin-in-law lived in Washington Heights! it’s the first neighbourhood i ever visited in the big apple, and in fact, the only one i’ve really walked around completely. i love it. and i had a rental car parked on a lot there and someone broke into it, checked out everything, (i’d left it clean), then left without peeing in it or trashing it in any way. good new – you have polite thieves in washington heights!!!!!!!

  51. O.k., I didn’t know about Grey Gardens until I read your post. I got it from Netflix and watched it last night. What an interesting documentary….but why do you think you live in a Grey Gardens world?