FO: Deep Waters Clockwork

You know life is a little too bustling when the kid asks to stay home and chill on a three-day weekend.

So after our back-to-back Saturday commitments and the usual weekend chores, we spent the rest of Labor Day weekend watching movies — Rio (meh) and Rango (fun) — and hanging out at the pool.

And, no surprise, there was lots of knitting. With “Deep Waters” and “Mermaid Lagoon” as the yarn color names, this third in my West Knits collection just begged for a poolside shot. And since it was such a relaxing knit, a shot in the Zen Garden.

Pattern: Clockwork by Stephen West
Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll Tonal and Imagination Hand Painted


And, as you’ve no doubt come to expect, there needed to be a few Izzy modeling shots as well.

FO: Slightly Carnivorous Herbivore


Pattern: Herbivore by Stephen West


I’ve never really been a shawl person. Then I discovered Stephen West and his unisex designs. Nothing grandmotherly about them.

First up was the Pagona I knit a few months ago. Now the Herbivore. I love the texture of the twisted stitches, but must confess there were times I didn’t enjoy the knitting. It’s too intricate given the fingering weight yarn to be good TV/movie knitting. Yet, it’s just mindless/tedious enough to not be fun to knit for long stretches. If it weren’t for several sessions of “Knit Group of 2” with Jane while the girls were ice skating/hanging out in the pool, I might not have finished it for quite awhile. It proved perfect for rambling chats where you know the other person well enough that you don’t feel rude making infrequent eye contact.


Also of huge help was the KPPPM yarn: so soft, so squishy, such interesting color combinations that it was fun to watch the rows take shape. I was so worried after coming up short on yardage with the Pagona that I bought 3 skeins at the outset. I ended up using just shy of two. Now what to do with the other skein? It’s too lovely to return.

Hats, Hats, CIF Hats

I’m happy to report that I’m done with my Craft It Forward projects, not that I didn’t have fun with all of them. It was a great chance to knit some items I’d had my eye on, and the last one gave me a chance to do some basic colorwork before I launch into the Fiddlehead Mitts I chose as one of my 2011 knitting goals.

The happiness comes more from being able to cross something off my master to-do list (the one that lives in my mind mostly, and is always more ambitious than time and life warrant). First up was a sweet little hat I loved the moment I saw it. But I also knew that it would not be flattering on me. I do think it will suit Jessi, but if not, she need never tell me. And since we no longer work together (she’s in MN) she doesn’t even have to pretend to wear it this coming winter.

Pattern: gwynedd hat by Cecily Glowik MacDonald
Yarn: KnitPicks Merino Style (silver)
Not being a Dr. Who fan, I don’t fully appreciate the allure of this hat. However, I do know that Kristin has been talking about my teaching her to knit for about two years now just so that she could own one. That’s fangirl dedication. Realistically, it’s hardly a starter project, but it was a good starter colorwork project for me.
Pattern:  (re)TARDIS Hat by Jen Bruck
Yarn: KnitPicks Shine Worsted (French blue, white, black)

FO: Button Tunic

I fell in love with this sweet little tunic the minute I saw it in Brave New Knits. One giant pocket for outdoor collecting? Genius. Problem was the sizing, and sadly the style, no longer suited my soon-to-hit-double-digits daughter.

So I seized my “Craft It Forward” opportunity when a a family member with not one, but two, little girls signed on. The plan was to make it for the oldest, with the thought that it might last as a hand-me-down.

I already had the purple cotton in my stash (purchased for some now-long-forgotten project when Izzy was little). Bought the dark indigo for the contrast, figuring it would make a good (read: dirt-hiding) pocket. I used flower buttons I had on hand and purchased the others, smitten with the tiny little sheep in the center of each.

The Cotton Glace knits up beautifully, but for the first time I understood why some people hate knitting with cotton. My hands required a lot more stretching due to the lack of give. Now that it’s been mailed off to the recipient several days ago, figure it’s finally safe to blog it. Seeing the photos here, wish I’d made the pocket a bit deeper. But even so, can’t you just imagine wildflowers poking out between those buttons?

Pattern: Button Tunic by Julie Weisenberger
Yarn: Rowan Cotton Glace (Lavender & Nightshade)

Go Heavy on the Greens

When it comes to the Pogona, load up on whatever color it is you’re using. Seriously. The two skeins I’d purchased had 24 yards more than the 380 the pattern called for, so I figured I’d be safe. I’m always under in yardage used.

Well, I was just hitting a center triangle length of 12 inches (far from the 15 called for by the pattern before the edging) when I pulled out the kitchen scale. At best, I could hope for 4/5 more rows. Frantic call to my LYS the next morning, followed by lunchtime yarn run for the one (and only) skein left in the dye lot.

This has me seriously confused. I had gauge. As did many of the others who I’ve since read about on Ravelry. But then there are just as many people who made the shawl with the called for yardage or even less. If anyone can explain this phenomenon, please drop me a comment. Best guess I can come up with is that it all hinges on row gauge (which the pattern doesn’t specify).







But all’s well that ends well — with another 162 yards. And Crystal Palace Panda Silk Print was a joy to work with (52% bamboo with merino and silk rounding out the 100).

I got to try out my blocking wires for the first time. So much easier. Terrific investment, I’d say, not that anyone asked. Only problem is they were so easy to work with that I overdid the blocking by several inches. But since I wanted this shawl/scarf for the summer, I guess airy is good?

Those Last 3 Months (and 2 FOs)

Why the long radio silence? Here goes…as quickly as I can.

Shortly after the year started, I found out that the woman who owns the house we were renting in ABQ wanted to put it on the market. Couldn’t blame her as I was coming to a similar conclusion about the house I was renting out in Minneapolis. But where and when to go?

Perhaps it was because my 46th birthday was nearing, kicking me into what I hope is the second half of my life—hey, I come from some hearty Scandinavian-Irish stock with many a 90+ birthday celebrated, so it’s not irrationally optimistic. Perhaps it was because when I started looking around at the piles of crap lovely stuff that had followed us across the country on our Westward moves, I started to feel like a Hoarders intervention could be on the horizon. And perhaps—no, most definitely—because the past few years had redefined intense.

And so the Great Downsizing Dream was born. A small, cozy place with less space and objects to clean. Pre-baked landscaping with the beauty that I, frankly, lack the patience or skill for. Maintenance and repairs in someone else’s hands, and checkbook. A downsized, yet upsized, life.

In other words, step off the moving sidewalk before you’re catapulted face first.

A lovely apartment was found. The first of dozens of Goodwill trips were made. A spring break moving “vacation” was planned. (The kid would eventually forgive me—the new place had a pool!) I was a woman determined and in control; I would live in 1/2 the space with 1/3 the stuff. With God as my witness, life would be clutter-free!

And then work got crazy in a way that I can’t describe, mostly because I’ve so thoroughly blocked it. The planned-for vacation time got cut short. The remaining charitable trips were replaced with a frantic call for a junk van. Seriously. Here’s the photographic evidence.


Fast forward 2 months to today, with work back to it’s “normal” pace and the apartment finally losing that warehouse veneer. My knitting needles are once again in action. There’s the dish towel that started this post to christen the new kitchen. And a scarf that, while blocked back at the house and worn several times in February, didn’t get photographed until it was unpacked in April.


More later…I’ve still got some unpacking to do. And a house in Minneapolis to sell.

2011 FOs: Sugar and Spice

How can it be February already? This year the calendar seems as caffeinated as I’ve been to keep up with everyday life. To start, an FO that’s a first and old hat all at once. It’s the first FO that’s been worn multiple times before getting documented here. (It was photographed back in mid-January, though.) It’s also the third of the back-to-back Saroyans I’ve knit. This one for me, using yarn purchased during the trip to Taos. I’m pretty sure I’m done with this pattern … for now, at least.

Pattern: Saroyan 

After those multiple leafy, lacy scarfs, is it any wonder I was craving something bolder and faster to knit? When my friend Chris posted a Craft It Forward invitation on Facebook, I jumped right on board. And when I found this stunning handspun in the inoxia studios Etsy shop, I snapped it up for Jane, who has signed on as one of the five people I’m passing the the crafting on to. The hardest part about this project was finding a stitch “pattern” that let the yarn shine. I settled on a simple K1P1, which also gives the cowl plenty of stretch.

And, yes, that is snow. And, no, this wasn’t taken in MN. That’s NM snow you see.