Monday, January 26, 2015


The other day, I came across the ultimate "grass is greener" picture - a young family that had moved to Maine to try their hand at farming (all captured in glorious, natural light photos, no less). I sat at my computer and had a 15-second pity party for myself. You see, for that brief moment, I wasn't content with my great family, challenging and stimulating job that pays enough to support us, and comfortable house in a nice town. I wanted to be the kind of person who crafts in the middle of the day in sun-filled rooms and takes beautiful pictures of her domestic pursuits. And then I realized that I can do that - at least on the blog. So this weekend, when the sun came out I ran and grabbed the camera. I even knit a bit during daylight hours (very rare for me these days) while Tadpole and I watched the animated Hobbit during her sister's nap.

I know how important it is for many bloggers to acknowledge all of the effort behind the images they share with the world. But that's not what you're going to find here. Only a masochist would enjoy hearing me catalog the number of late nights I've worked after putting the kids to bed or the mental debate between trying to sneak in a bit of exercise and getting something that might resemble a reasonable night's sleep. That's all there in the background but not something I want to focus on here. Instead, welcome to a heavily edited glimpse into the small part of my life where I get to be one of those people who crafts in a sun-lit room.

Here we go...

I've been on a cowl kick lately. Not so much knitting them as favoriting patterns on ravelry right and left looking for just the right one. While I'm on the lookout for the perfect combination of cables (I'll let you know when I see it), I'm having a blast trying one of the hybrid cowl/shawl patterns from Hillary Smith Callis. I've just reached the part of the Luna Viridis pattern where you join the stitches for working in the round and I'm curious to see how the shaping turns out.

The yarn is tosh merino light (leftovers from when I had knit my Color Affection ages ago). It's a lovely green so you'll understand why I want to wrap this up and knit a bit before calling it a night.

But before I go, I think I've found the perfect baby gift knit: Elizabeth Zimmerman's Baby Surplice Jacket.

This is the same sweater she wore home from the hospital. What other baby pattern do you know that fits as well at 11 months as it did at 11 days?

Monday, January 19, 2015


I wasn't planning to knit anything for the holidays this year but I ended up knitting three xmas gifts (technically four, since I made a matching hat and cowl for my mother). In reverse order of finishes, mum got the Scrollwork hat and cowl set worked in Malabrigo Rios.

The cables are fantastic, the instructions clear, and the fit of the cowl is great for cold, windy days. And Rios is a delightful yarn to knit with. Although I have to confess that after binge-listening to the podcast over the last couple of weeks and hearing Pam Allen discuss all of the nasty chemicals that go into making a wool yarn super wash, I'm a bit put off the idea of buying more at this point. Probably a good thing for my stash.

Anyway, Rios seemed to be my go-to yarn for knitted gifts this season since I also used it to whip up a Lacunae hat for my grandfather. I had worked a similar hat for Mr. Tinks and Frogs several years ago and decided to support the designer and actually purchase the pattern this time around since I didn't want to think too hard about the crown shaping. I should have just unvented the pattern again since I ended up working the crown shaping three times before finding something that would fit an average man-sized head.

To distract you from the fact that I don't have a good picture of that one, let me show you my sister's present, fetchingly modeled by Tadpole:

It actually looks half-way decent on me, too.

This is Shibui's Pebble/Peak Hat worked in Shubui Pebble held double. I cannot say enough good things about this yarn (except for maybe the price point, which is actually quite reasonable when you consider the fiber content). And the hat pattern is delightful - an interesting twisted rib pattern at the hem, several inches of stockinette you can zoom through, finished off with some clever grafting at the top.

Having been so productive with my holiday knitting, I really wanted to treat myself to something special. I'd been eyeing Gable from the latest Wool People and thought I'd try it in the Knitspot Stone Soup Fingering, which had recently come into my LYS. I eagerly picked out a color and brought some skeins home. Unusual for me, I sat right down to wind the first skein so that I could start swatching and ended up with this:

That's right, 19 separate segments of yarn were wound together into the skein. Let's just say I won't be trying that yarn again for a while. I'm very grateful for how gracefully my LYS handled the situation and let me return all four skeins. But doesn't change the sour taste I have from the whole experience and fact that I desperately want to be knitting a sweater right now (a sweater for me, that is). Anyway, I can take a hint - no sweaters for me for the time being.

So I went back to my trusty Rios and started up some more gift knitting. I love the cushy cables!

Now I just need to find the time to finish the piece and pop it in the mail. 

Time is always short around here but I've been making some for my newest crafty pursuit. Thanks to a blissful four-hour quilting extravaganza (courtesy of Mr. Tinks and Frogs for wrangling the girls and sending me out the door last weekend), I finished squaring up what must have been hundreds of half-square triangles and started laying out blocks.

I think I'm in love. Now I just need to lay out the last row of squares and start piecing everything together. Bets on how long that will take?

And I've been practicing my free motion quilting. Tadpole and I went to my favorite fabric store together a couple of weeks ago and she asked if I would make a quilt for one of her toys. How could I resist? So she's getting a mini quilt with all-over pebble free motion quilting using fabrics and thread that she picked out.

It's by no means perfect but I'm definitely seeing progress. Now if only I could figure out how to keep the thread from breaking while I'm working. Maybe I'll come up with an answer by the time I finish this piece. Fingers crossed!