Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Planning for 39

After my family, the greatest blessing in my life is a tight-knit group of 12 women who are my lifetime friends.  We met at Princeton in the early 90s and have remained close--supporting each other through heartbreak and achievement, marriages, babies, the death of parents, job traumas and all the other stuff that life brings.  We try to get the whole group together at least once a year--no small task since we are scattered from Boston to San Francisco.  Often, it happens naturally--someone getting married, major year Reunions, etc.  But when it doesn't, we put a trip together.

In the days after Christmas, one of the California ladies was on the East Coast so the NY/NJ/PA contingent gathered in Brooklyn for the afternoon.  And that's where the plotting began--we need a ski trip.  On the phone a few days later with Ms. Boston, we came up with the idea for a 39th Birthday Bash--a weeklong trip in the winter of 2011 to celebrate our collective 39th birthdays.

What does this have to do with knitting? Glad you asked.  In the next few weeks, I'm going to plan my Ski Trousseau.  By the time the Great 39th rolls around, I want to have a pile of awesome handknits to take to Vail or Aspen or Park City or wherever we decide to go.  I anticipate needing 5 or so sweaters, about 6 pairs of socks, 2-3 pairs of mittens, a couple of hats, a few cowls and maybe even some leg warmers.  Now the fun begins--picking out the patterns and yarn for this year-long project.  On hiatus will be knits for the Ungrateful Children (who alternate between never wearing my handiwork, or beating the crap out of a given sweater).  This will be a year devoted to selfish knitting.

Already on my list are:
Seneca and Huron by Brooklyn Tweed
Lightweight Pullover by Hannah Fetig
Hedge Fence Pullover by Elinor Brown

Not being much of a sock knitter, I will stick to straightforward patterns like Thuja.  I love this pair I made for Ms. SF-Toronto last year out of STR heavyweight in the Gingerbread Man colorway.  Truth be told, the only other sock pattern I've successfully completed is Spring Forward.  But maybe I will challenge myself by trying something like Monkey.

What would you take with you on a fabulous ski vacation?

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Here Be Dragons

I know all about girls. My first child was a daughter, I have a sister, girl cousins--but no male relatives my age, and no real male friends until I was an adult. In other words, no experience with *boys*. So, around 4 years ago, when I found out I was going to have a boy, I was scared and excited, but mostly, I knew I was venturing into the unknown.

When the mapmakers reached the edge of the known world, they wrote, "Beyond here be dragons..." What lay ahead was scary and fraught with peril. And I have to be honest, raising this boy has challenged me more than, well, just about anything. I'm a verbal person--he is not. I'm not a patient person, and he requires patience above all else. There have also been many adorable, sweet moments--but I think the most incredible thing is the glimpses I am getting of a life with a son. That I get to witness the process of a boy growing into a man. And he's a reminder to me that we are all of us, works in progress.

And for me, the experience is nothing short of transformational.

So, I am pondering all of this as I knit Ryuu-Ko, by Daniela Nii from the most recent issue of Petit Purls.

Here's what I've got so far--knit in Cascade 220:

Friday, August 14, 2009

3..2...1... CLEAR!

Whew, that was close.  For all of you who thought the blog was dead, I'm here to tell you that it has been successfully revived.   The good news is that I have  a lot of finished FOs to show, though I had better pace myself.   There has been sock knitting, sweater knitting, baby knitting, and lots of fun fun yarn buying.

Easing into things--here's a quickie--Spring Forward socks in Hazel Knits Artisan Sock.  

Love this yarn--she has gorgeous colors and it has such a nice sproingy twist.  This is a great pattern for when you've lost your knitting mojo.  It's easy, it's fun, it's fast and the results are adorable. 

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Across the finish line

And just in time too. The Diamonds in Relief sweater is finished and delivered--school auction is in two days.
Diamond in Relief (size 31")
Interweave Knits Holiday 2008
O-Wool Classic: 3 skeins in Willow

For the first time, I actually had "fun" finishing/seaming up the sweater. I don't know why, but for some reason, the rhythm of mattress stitch just clicked.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Decisions, decisions

I'm going to knit a sweater for my daughter's school auction. The idea is, I'll knit a sample, people will bid and they can either take the sample or commission a new one in a different size/color. So, it's got to be basic, but not too basic, gender-neutral and run in sizes from K-8 graders.

I finally decided on this pattern, "Diamonds in Relief" from this past year's Interweave Knits.

Now, the question is, what yarn and which color? Gauge is 4st/inch so the possibilities are endless...

I've narrowed it down to:
Cascade Eco+ in blue, red, orange or green
O-Wool Classic in Slate, Willow or Evergreen

Event is fast approaching...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


The days are getting longer and even the gray days seem less gray. I'm a big fan of February. After all the holiday craziness, people seem to have found their footing again. Things seem "regular." Sometimes there's snow, but here on the east coast, we know that spring is right around the corner. Oh, and it's my birthday month so there are flowers, and treats, and good wishes.

The best part though, is that it's still great knitting weather. You can still whip up a pair of mittens and know that you can wear them right away. But if you are going to knit mittens in February, they should be pretty and hopeful. Kind of like these:

Pattern: All the Water by Kristin Kapur
Yarn: 1 skein of Blue Sky Alpacas Suri Merino in "Sky"
Needles: US size 7 (knit on 2 circulars)

Never one to pass up a good bandwagon, I jumped all over Kirsten Kapur's "All the Water" Mittens as soon as she published the pattern. It's a fun fast pattern and the Blue Sky Alpacas suri merino knits up like spun cloud. My distracted knitting didn't do justice to the pattern--there's a stray cable on one mitt, a too-short thumb on the other--but I love them nonetheless.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


My dear neighbor and I did a sweater knit-along for the kids.  Here's mine--nothing too fancy, just a warm gray sweater that the kiddo loves.  I love this pattern.  It's mindless and easy but is nicely proportioned for kids.  I've made a wee one out of cotton, but love the way it looks and feels in the Nature Spun.  It softened up so much after a nice warm bath and it was easy to block away the fact that one sleeve was a 1/2" longer than the other. 

Pattern:  Child's Placket Sweater from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts
Yarn: 2 skeins of Nature Spun worsted in Charcoal
Needles: size US7

Friday, January 16, 2009

KAL: 12 in 12

So I stared a little KAL over on Ravelry--we're calling it "12 in 12"-- 12 kid sweaters in 12 months.  Totally doable right?  And imagine, my kids will be so well-clothed by this time next year.  My friends with new babies will be so grateful and think I am a knitting genius... etc...  

A rule for this KAL that applies only to me is that I must knit as many items for my daughter as I do for my son.  The 6yo has very strong opinions about pattern, color, and texture.  The 2yo just wants some more goldfish crackers.   Guess who usually gets more sweaters?

Want to join?  Check it out here.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Making Progress

The hoodie of a thousand tiny cables is coming along nicely. The back is done and I'm about halfway up the front. But even with the slick addis, it's still not something I can do full-time. I still need a mindless stockinette project or an instant gratification hat/mitten project.

I find I work on it during the week--when I take a break at lunchtime, or for an hour or so in the evening. And is is looking yummy. The Rowan All-Season Cotton has just enough stretch and softness to make knitting tiny cables with cotton bearable. And it has has a nice almost-rustic texture that makes me think ahead to evenings by the water in the summer months ahead--a nice visual in the dead of winter.

Monday, January 5, 2009

It's not easy being this green

It was an impulse buy, I'll admit it. I saw Hello Knitty's fantastic version of the February Lady Sweater and decided I had to make the exact same thing. I was sure that as soon as I got the yarn, I would tear into it, cast on immediately, work on it until the wee hours of the morning until it was done. So I googled and ordered up 4 skeins of Araucania Nature Wool and when I opened the package.... it was GREEN.
And then reality set in. I don't wear a lot of green and when I do, it's of the forest or mossy variety, for good reason. I held it up to my face and it was not pretty. Instantly, I turned a strange shade of yellow. It's a stunning color--just not on me.

I tried to entice 6yo daughter--wouldn't she love a sweater in green?

No. Blue.

She said "I don't want to be disappointed, so can you please make it blue?"

So, down the pecking order it goes.... to little brother.

I would love to re-jigger Anny Purl's Cardigan for Merry--it seems like the perfect color for such a project--and I wonder if, by making it out of worsted instead of sport-weight yarn, I would end up with a 2-3yo size jacket. I'm off to the Ravelry forums to seek advice.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Second Hat Down

The kids are now officially ready for winter.  In the second-to-last -day of Christmas Break, I whipped up a quick hat for the little guy yesterday--loosely based on Tiennie's "Norwegian Star Earflap Hat"--except without the earflaps.  I'm not a big fan of how the earflaps look on his giant noggin so I did some ribbing instead.  

This was a fun, quick one and I have to say, I loved they yarn--soft, warm, and slightly fuzzy thanks to a bit of alpaca.    

I made the ribbing extra wide to serve almost like an earwarmer headband and I eliminated all the knit rounds at the top to give the hat a more squared-off shape--kind of like the kid's head.

Unlike my picky daughter, the little guy will wear anything I knit up--hats, scarves, mittens and sweater of any color or material.  

However, also unlike the 6yo, at 2.5, it is impossible to get a
 picture of him unless he's asleep.  So here is a more accurate depiction of the hat at work.

January, bring it on.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Light Bright

There are some color combinations that only a 6 year old girl can love.  Here is one of them. Because I was letting her pick out her own colors, I picked a pattern that I could knock off in a day or so--also, it's cold and the kid needs a hat.  A while ago, I had queued up Knitty's "Center Square" and after a little gauge math, I was off the the races.

I started by knitting it on two circulars, but the tangle of 
cables and yarn started to really annoy me so I just wrestled them onto one 24" circular until I got to the crown decreases.  I have to say, I wouldn't really recommend that--it made for unpleasant tight knitting that never felt fun--I just wanted to get to the end.  It was a little small after I finished, but I'm hoping blocking might help with that.

Though I like the colors she picked out, I'm not crazy about how they look together in this pattern, and in the process of knitting it, my addled brain figured out why.  Artists and other color experts will instantly tell me where I went wrong, but it took me a while to see that though the blue and pink are very different colors, they are very similar in color value.  That means they have a similar amount of white in them and therefore, next to each other, they don't really create much contrast.   Interesting lesson learned and filed away in noggin.  After a break from the colors, I'll whip up some matching mittens, per her request.

Center Square, Knitty.com
One skein each Cascade 128 in Powder Blue and Cotton Candy
US size 10 needles