31 December 2009

Amazing British Glove collection

In case you haven't seen this amazing collection of gloves, be sure to visit here and here and all of the rest of them. Leather, knitted fabric, amazing embroidery - wow. I'm inspired.

25 December 2009

Falala Free Pattern #25: Treeline Striped Cardigan

I'm sure you were very good this year and received a bag of yummy Manos del Uruguay or other Aran/Worsted yarn of your choice. Now it's time to make something for yourself. I'm thinking of the Treeline Striped Cardigan, with Malabrigo Merino Worsted and some Kidsilk Haze. [Ravelry link / Pattern link]

24 December 2009

Falala Free Pattern #24: Stocking Ornament

You've still got sock yarn nuggets, don't you. How about a few last-minute mini stockings for your tree? Everlasting Liz comes through again with these cuties. [Ravelry link / Pattern link]

23 December 2009

Falala Free Pattern #23: Gifted Mittens

I bet you need a pair of mittens for snowball fights right about now or know someone who would appreciate them this Christmas, and these go very quickly with bulky yarn (or doubled worsted weight) on two needles. The seaming up is pretty quick. Kate Gilbert is a lovely knitwear designer, and it's very kind of her to share this pattern. [Ravelry link / Pattern link / PDF link]

22 December 2009

Falala Free Pattern #22: Sweater Ornaments

Surely you have a little nugget of sock yarn in your oddballs stash. A few last-minute sweater ornaments would be perfect for the tree or to decorate a gift. I've included two today; one is top-down and the other bottom-up, so you can go with whichever is easier for you (or try the other for a light challenge in miniature).  [Bottom-up: Ravelry link /  Pattern link; Top-down: Ravelry link / Pattern link]

21 December 2009

Falala Free Pattern #21: EZ as Pi Lace Beret

Lacy, pretty, quick. What more could you want? You are running out of time for Christmas gifts, Hannukah is over, and today is the Solstice (yay, turning towards the light!). This one does go quickly, though you need to leave time for blocking -- I do mine over a cake stand and run a strand of thread through the YOs closest to the ribbing and tie it tight around the base of the stand to open up the lace and keep the brim snug (at least to start, as we all know wear will stretch out that ribbing). [Ravelry link]

20 December 2009

Falala Free Pattern #20: Pooch Pouch

We're getting down to the wire! How about some saddle bags for your dog's retractable leash to hold keys, ID, perhaps even a baggie or two? A little bit of worsted weight yarn is all it takes. Sized for small, medium and large retractable leashes. [Ravelry link / Pattern link]

19 December 2009

Falala Free Pattern #19: Lobster Buoys

You don't have to be from Maine to know what a wonderful place it is. Why not add a few lobster buoy ornaments to your tree or someone else's to keep Maine fresh in your mind? These little buoys from Molly Lincoln, who also designed the awesome knit lobster, are a great stash buster and a quickie project. Knit them up in Christmas colors or come up with your own lobsterman color scheme. [Ravelry link / Pattern link]

Falala Free Pattern #18: Goldfish Mittens

Still looking for something special for the little one in your life? These mittens are adorable, a good chance to practice your stranded knitting technique, and have a clever cuff design that looks like a fish tail. I worked up a pair for Isobel in Malabrigo Merino Worsted on US4s, and just in time as it's finally cold here in New York. And there just might be a pair on the needles in blue and gold for a certain nephew of mine for Christmas. They go quickly, so you should have time to work up a pair before the big day. [Ravelry link]

17 December 2009

Falala Free Pattern #17: Little Red

Do you have a little fairy-tale lover on your list? How about the new Little Red Riding Hood set from Petite Purls? Little Red, her Grandmother, and the Wolf work up quickly, being small, in DK yarn -- perfect little handfuls. And if you hadn't visited Petite Purls yet, what are you waiting for? Lots of darling things for your little darlings on this new online publication. [Ravelry link / Pattern link]

16 December 2009

Falala Free Pattern #16: Francis Revisited

Today's delay brought to you by ... changing email addresses. Yes, after 15 years I've decided to chuck the mac.com addy and go gmail (kathleendames at, for those who are interested in such things). Which means I've spent the day unsubscribing and resubscribing to a kajillion mailing lists. Wow, some online entities are waaaay better than others when it comes to managing your personal data/preferences/subscription. Yahoo!, you stink. Sorry, but I had to change every Groups subscription I had individually, and I still have to see the stupid "kathleen_fivel" identity, even though I am no longer Kathleen Fivel and have, in fact, changed everything to "kathleen_dames". Grumble grumble. Gah! Enough of that, on to the fun stuff!

It's cold (finally) in New York, so I'm in the mood for a sweater, something cosy, perhaps with a cowl neck? How about Francis Revisited? Beth Silverstein has kindly written up her pattern for all of us (XS to 3XL) and offers it free on Ravelry. The pattern is worked on slightly larger needles (US10) for the worsted/aran yarn, so it should fly. I have a pile of 100purewool worsted merino in the Frog Pond that may be just right. New Christmas sweater, anyone? This one doesn't have any intarsia reindeer! [Ravelry link]

15 December 2009

Falala Free Pattern #15: Knitted Fisherman Stocking

Until I work up my own knitted fisherman Christmas stocking pattern, you will have to make do with Mary Thomas's lovely one. A row of these hung by the chimney with care would be so pretty. This pattern has been in my queue for a long time, so I should get cracking on at least one. If only we had a fireplace in our apartment! A word of warning on this pattern: there are no charts. However, the written instructions seem fairly clear. [Ravelry link / Pattern link]

Wish List, Winter 2009

What's on your wish list this year? Oh, in addition to the little list below, I'd like peace, universal health care worth having, meaningful work for those who don't have it, and a new season of Project Runway or The Rachel Zoe Project. What? A girl can dream.
  • Backup for my digital life (all of it - 1 TB!)
  • Perhaps a new interchangeable needle set -- there are lots to choose from these days. This one from WEBS comes in such a pretty case, and, of course, there are the Knitpicks Options sets (metal/the original Options , wood/Harmony, or acrylic/Zephyr). I like that the set from WEBS will have a US3 needle, since I tend to knit yarns on the finer side these days. There is also the HiyaHiya Interchangeable set, though it's not available for purchase at this time -- perhaps they underestimated the demand for a high-quality set. Usually I'm not that keen on metal needles, but I liked the brushed finish on the lightweight steel tips from HiyaHiya.
  • Oh, anything and everything from my Etsy Wish List. I just love Etsy, despite Germaine Greer's tirade against handmade gifts in the Guardian a couple of days ago.
  • A silicone basting brush -- my current "dishwasher safe" one keeps losing bristles, making it clear that it is not, in fact, dishwasher safe.
  • A job, ideally the one I interviewed for last week. It's a design position with the university. The people seemed nice and cool and have a similar design and work philosophy. Plus the office is about halfway between home and the kids' school. Good work, good people, good location, good benefits: All around a really good fit, if they like me.
  • A case for my camera (Nikon D80) -- it's pretty heavy to lug in my purse, and it deserves a little more protection.
  • Lovelies from past wish lists, like Scilla, a C pin from Leslie Wind, a Mermaid blanket, or some ORK posters

14 December 2009

Falala Free Pattern #14: Impatience

Here is another pattern for knitting up some of that beautiful sock yarn you're hoarding. Impatience is a large cowl/scarf worked in Dream in Color's Starry (all of DIC's lovely, superwash color with added sparkle -- what's not to love). [Ravelry link / Blog link / PDF link]

13 December 2009

Falala Free Pattern #13: 22.5 Degrees

Do you still have sock yarn looking for a purpose? Of course you do! Why not knit up Martina Behm's lovely little shawlette. Garter stitch-based with a very wide angle, it's more interesting to knit than a scarf but fills the same need. Be sure to check Martina's video link on the pattern page to see her work the scalloped edge. She used a skein of Wollmeise, which has over 500 yards, but since the body of the shawl is garter stitch (no extraneous lace), you should be able to adjust, starting the edge a little earlier -- just follow her notes in the pattern for how many stitches you'll need on the needles. This would make a perfect quick gift or a project to look forward to in January. [Ravelry link]

12 December 2009

Falala Free Pattern #12: Jean Beret

Hats hats hats! They're quick and satisfying to make, do a super-efficient job of keeping their wearers warm, and brighten up one's winter ensemble in a snap. The slouchy style is very popular right now, so why not try my Jean Beret, especially since today is my mom's birthday, and I created this one for her. Worsted-weight yarn make it a pretty quick knit, while the twisted stitches lend interest to both knitter and wearer. [Ravelry link / PDF link]

Happy Birthday, Mom! I love you.

11 December 2009

Falala Free Pattern #11: Hemlock Ring Blanket

I know, I know! Everyone has knit this blanket. What? You haven't? Oh, you should. It's a neat pattern and makes a lovely gift. Just ask my parents. I made one for them last Christmas (I wanted to make two but had this little, hungry baby who wouldn't let me accomplish much of anything) and there was so much squabbling I had to whip up another one (for Dad, he let Mom keep the first) once Penelope started eating solids. So far I've made four, including one for me. Go on, make one! Brooklyn Tweed (Jared Flood) made this one famous, and the Rainey sisters whipped up a lovely PDF chart. [Ravelry link / Brooklyn Tweed's blog link / Rainey Sisters' blog link / PDF link]

Falala Free Pattern #10: Petrol

Have a man in your life? How about a nice vest for him. Quicker than a sweater (especially if you have one of the long-armed varieties) but a step up from a scarf or hat, Carol J. Sukcoski (yes, that Carol) wrote this one to knit quickly in beautiful Aran-weight Manos del Uruguay. Folks have also subbed Cascade 220, Cascade Eco Wool, Malabrigo, and more. Work it up in one color for Mr. Conservative, or push his boundaries a little by including the stripe. [Ravelry link / Pattern link]

P.S. Apologies for missing a post yesterday. I had an interview for a position I really want and then sold some of my handknits at the kids' school Craft Fair yesterday. Busy busy busy. Today's pattern will be up shortly to get us back on track.

09 December 2009

Falala Free Pattern #9: International Cat Hat: Turkey

Let's not forget the kitties this year! Stacy Mar of Spindles and Spices has come up with a number of adorable, hysterical patterns for cat hats. It was a toss-up between this Turkish fez and the Statue of Liberty crown (the French beret is cute, too), but the red of the fez seems more festive for the season. If you can get your cat to wear such a thing for more than a nanosecond, I would be impressed. Riley says, "No." [Ravelry link / Pattern link]

08 December 2009

Falala Free Pattern #8: Hearts and Bones Dog Sweater

Do you have one of those dear little dogs that need a sweater when the weather turns foul or know someone who does? How about a little dog sweater with charted intarsia hearts and bones for embellishment. This sweater is from Picture Perfect Knits (Chronicle Books) and has some nice details, like front-leg sleeves and straps that keep the back of your pooch warm, too, without getting the back of the sweater dirty. Recommended yarn is Lamb's Pride Worsted Superwash, and this is an instance where you should choose a superwash yarn. Your faithful companion will thank you. [Ravelry link / Pattern link]

07 December 2009

Falala Free Pattern #7: Child's Gansey Sweater

Do you have a special child to knit for? Perhaps a traditional Gansey Sweater is in order. Claudia at Countrywool wrote up this chatty pattern for the Aranknit list covering all the details that make a Gansey Sweater unique (Channel Island cast on, twisted-stitch yoke pattern, and gussets for a better fit where sleeve meets body) in Worsted weight yarn. She gives us her recipe for a 28" chest and 5spi, but because it's a recipe, she gives you the information to adjust for your own size/gauge. If you follow the Yarn Harlot's adventures, you may know that she's been working on a Gansey for Joe for years. Why not try a smaller version and finish it up in no time? That's the beauty of a kid's pattern: lots less yarn/knitting and you still master new skills. [Ravelry link / Pattern link]

KSA: Vogue Knitting Winter Sale Ends Today

Wow! 40% off books, 50% off patterns. Lost your copy of the Winter 06/07 with Norah Gaughan's Cabled Bolero on the cover? You can get a copy of the pattern for half off. It's in my queue. Is there a knitter in your life (perhaps yourself?) moving on from following patterns to designing their own? Get one of Nicky Epstein's "edge" books or a Vogue Stitchionary (Knit and Purl, Cables, Colorwork) on sale. Ends today (12/7/09). [Link]

06 December 2009

Falala Free Pattern #6: Gloves Can Be Deceiving

Perhaps you're a fairly new knitter, looking to move on from scarves, starting to stash beautiful hand-dyed sock yarn, but not yet ready for socks and/or knitting in the round on double-pointed needles (DPNs). Try these gloves, knit flat with sock yarn and then seamed (slightly tedious, but totally worth it). I used about a third of a skein of Madeline Tosh Sock for mine and didn't do the stripes (happily, the pattern is based on measurements rather than a certain number of rows or repeats of the striping pattern, so just follow the inches), which makes it a little easier with fewer ends to weave in and all, plus that hand-dye does all the work. [Ravelry link / pattern link]

05 December 2009

Falala Free Pattern #5: Irish Hiking Scarf

This classic, cabled scarf is perfect for just about any man or woman on your list. [Ravelry link / blog link / PDF link]

If you're a knitter with access to the interwebs and don't know who Adrian Bizilia is, you're missing out: beautiful hand-dyed yarns and fibers, clever patterns, some free, others available in great knitting publications like Twist Collective and Clara Parkes's books. Wander around her site from the blog link above or browse her projects on Ravelry.

04 December 2009

Falala Free Pattern #4: Amy March's Slippers

These slippers, worked up in bulky yarn (pattern calls for Lamb's Pride Bulky) or two strands of worsted (I've done a number with Malabrigo Merino Worsted, doubled), are quick-to-knit, cozy, and feminine with a bit of ribbon. Plus, they are a great gift for a traveler, since they are small and stretchy and can be slipped in a carry-on. Bonus for the knitter: learn toe-up sock construction with a short-row heel on a much smaller number of stitches. PDF available for download from Ravelry. [Ravelry link]

03 December 2009

Falala Free Pattern #3: Kelly Bag

I was going to say I'll add this to my queue for after the holidays, but Jennifer Casa (the clever designer) and several others on Ravelry said they knit theirs up in a day. Economy? What economy? Kelly bags for everyone! [Ravelry link / Blog link]

02 December 2009

Falala Free Pattern #2: Mini Mittens

How about a string of mini mittens for an Advent Calendar? Or use them with long strings to wrap up holiday presents? This pattern [PDF link / Ravelry link] from Valley Yarns (Webs) work the mittens flat with a little seam to sew up, which may be less fiddly for some knitters. If you are looking to work in the round, try these from Mindy Lewis [blog link / Ravelry link].

01 December 2009

Falala Free Pattern #1: Elsa Schiaparelli Bowknot Sweater

Thought I would share a free pattern a day until Christmas, some suitable for quick-knit gifts, others to put in your queue for a gift to yourself once the holidays are over.

Why not add Elsa Schiaparelli's Bowknot Sweater to your queue? Shocking pink, perhaps. The good people of Schoolhouse Press offer this pattern free on their website. In addition to knitting a bit of surrealist fashion history, you could add Armenian knitting* to your skill set. Or if you're a crazy-quick knitter, you could wrap yourself up for the holidays!

*Looking at the trompe l'oeil bowknot on the front of this sweater, you would think it is done with intarsia, and you would be wrong. Armenian knitting uses trapping of the second color (a la two-handed fair isle knitting) to carry the second color throughout the piece. The pattern is written in pieces, which means trapping on purl rows -- I think I might try to convert this to knitting in the round to avoid that and work out some seamless set-in sleeves with EZ's help.

30 November 2009


Back in the day, I remember my dad, Dennis, sporting a cool knit tie like this for casual wear. Now everyone seems to be getting in on the action. Quick to knit from luxurious alpaca and silk, this tie has an elegant texture that makes it stand out (quietly) from the crowd and would make a great gift for the man (or woman) in your life.
I used the entire skein of Blue Sky Alpaca's Alpaca Silk for the small tie, so if you want to knit a gauge swatch, be sure to buy a second skein or be prepared to frog your swatch. The men’s tie will leave you with plenty of yarn for a swatch and the tab, to keep the tail of the tie under control (men like that kind of thing; ladies usually wear their ties with a little more insouciance).
The Spot Stitch gives interest for knitter and wearer while being easy to remember. It is also a good lesson in “seeing” your knitting with purl bumps every other stitch every other row.

Columns of purl stitches up both sides help it to lie flat in the front, while the back, knit flat, helps the yarn go further, keeps the around-the-neck area slim, and the front lie smoothly over the back.

The pattern is available here on Ravelry or you can buy it directly using the button below.

24 November 2009

Online and knitting

Whew! I'm back online on my own laptop, thanks to freshbattery. I've been busy job-hunting, kid wrangling, and knitting a bunch of items to sell at the School's Craft Fair next month. I have a big ol' cone of School Products Cashmere Merino Bulky yarn in charcoal grey. I was saving it up for a swashbuckling cabled sweater coat design that I have in mind, but it will be put to better use at the moment as gloves, mittens, scarves, and hats, perhaps even a cowl or pair of wrist warmers for good measure. I'm going to work up a couple of Infinites, too, as well as sell printed copies of the pattern.

Isobel and her new guitar from Baba and Papou

I've also been pretty busy because my girl turned five last week. How did that happen?! There were dark chocolate cupcakes with white chocolate frosting to bake for school, which were very tasty, from the back of the E. Guittard Bittersweet Chocolate box. Then the cake to bake for the all-girl party (Cook's Illustrated's chocolate layer cake with milk chocolate frosting), complete with make-your-own-tutus, crustless grilled cheese and PB&J triangles, and hot chocolate with homemade marshmallows, which were pretty easy to do, if you have a stand mixer.

As you can see she really likes her new guitar. And she likes the Leapster from Grandma and Grandpa so much that she tried to hide it under her pillow Sunday afternoon when we insisted she take a nap. Once that was removed, she was out in two minutes. Birthdays are exhausting! I didn't knit her a thing this year but may work up a sweater for her soon. Still have to put the button bands on Penelope's birthday sweater, which probably means I should give it to her cousin who would actually be able to get some wear out of it.

We're off to Chicago tomorrow with all three kids (wish us luck) to see both families and attend my high school reunion. How could twenty years have passed since my graduation? I'm also going to get a chance to go out and see my grandmother who, after getting out of the hospital, will be spending a few more weeks in a nursing home regaining her strength before getting back to her place in her assisted living community. I'm so glad I'll have a chance to see her - she is an amazing lady, and I'm so grateful that she is still around. So, my sister and I are going to take the girls out on Saturday and perhaps stop by The Fold on the way back. Talk about gilding the lily!

09 November 2009

Please don't call it a "snood"

Check out this article in the WSJ about "snoods" or what normal people call a cowl or circular scarf, and hip people call an infinity or eternity scarf. We already have something in the world called a snood, folks, and it is meant to corral all your long, beautiful hair in a sort of netted bag. Think '40s beauties or Scarlett O'Hara working at the hospital in Atlanta. Fashion marketeers seem to view "snood" as some sort of brilliant, Brit-inflected mash-up of scarf and hood. Now, I'm no genius, but wouldn't that be a "scood"? Grumble grumble.

Of course, I call it an infinity scarf. Or just Infinite.

Anyway, the weekend was not great, chez Purly. Penelope picked up some bug and (Warning: mildly gross Mom oversharing ahead) had diarrhea all weekend, with special added vomiting all day Saturday. Now, normally, with three kids I end up doing a fair amount of laundry, but this weekend it was all laundry, all the time. And then we have the dead computer (battery, hopefully). Luckily, Nick is busy grading papers, so I can borrow his computer for a mo'. But all my pics and the half-written pattern for a little vest/camisole thing (how do you decide when something is one or the other?) are trapped on the dead laptop. A replacement battery has been ordered (my 'top is almost five years old, so no popping down to the Apple Store, unfortunately), so I hope to be back up and running in a few days. Until then I'll be knitting hats and mittens for the kids' school Holiday Fair next month.

And the cherry on top is that my darling, ever-shrinking grandmother is in the hospital. Her bones are crumbling, and she's in a lot of pain. She is a smart, tough lady, and if she says she can't take it, it must be bad. I just wish there was something I could do for her.

04 November 2009


You know how those infinity scarves, like this one from American Apparel, are all the rage? Well, I decided I could do better than that, and here it is in all its silky-mohair glory: Infinite.

And there are, if not an infinite number of ways to wear it, at least three ways to wear it. Doubled up as a cuddly neck scarf (above), with the second wrap pulled up over your head like a smoke ring (below), or as a long, drapey scarf (far below).

This lovely used just one skein of Rowan's Kidsilk Haze. I had this ball of Majestic, purchased at Yarns in the Farms moons ago, that I wanted to work up into something special. I know I'm going to get a lot of use out of this one, and a few folks on the holiday list may find themselves opening up a little bit of infinity on Christmas morning. Pattern is available for $2.00 on Ravelry here. Or you can buy it now.

ETA: Infinite will increase in price to $4.00 on 15 November.

03 November 2009

News and whatnot

I won! Veronik had a little contest for some mini skeins of her new St Denis yarn for those of us who couldn't mob her at Rhinebeck, and I am a winner. Can't wait for that little package to arrive.

You may have seen that Susan B. Anderson has a new book of knitted toy patterns, including a set of Matryoshka nesting dolls. Clever construction to make them nest, but I'm still partial to my Matryoshka Japonais :)

If 98% of those polled think that driving while texting should be illegal, do we really need a law? And while we're at it, people, make up your minds. Does everything need to be legislated, or do you think you can use a little common sense and act like adults? Just don't do it, people.

Sorry, the day off for the kids seems to have gotten to me already, and I started this post at 9am.

I've finished my Vines Vest with the yummy Madeline Tosh Worsted and have to write it out properly before I can settle down to grading the pattern. I'm quite happy with it, though the armbands may need a little reinforcement (crochet? pick up and bind off?). I'm working away on my Selbuvotter and realized that the initials chart is quite a few rows taller than the original. I'm on to the rosemaling portion now and will see how this first one comes out. I was so careful about the width when creating the charts that I forgot about height! Another lesson learned.

30 October 2009

*U*FO: Mohair Pi Shawl

Apologies for the mediocre photography on this one, but what's a girl to do? I knit this Pi Shawl out of two skeins of hand-dyed mohair yarn I bought at the 2007 Shepherd's Market in Door County. I just loved the color and was intrigued by the adult mohair. It is not next-to-the-skin soft but it is a lovely yarn and would make a good shawl. Unfortunately, there is no more of this yarn, and still about a third of the edge to bind off. I already frogged back once to before an increase round when it became clear that I wouldn't have enough yarn for the edging, so I'm not doing that again.

I supposed I could frog back the edging, keep going around and around with this yarn and then start the edging with a different yarn when I run out. But this yarn is so unique (how much two-ply adult mohair have you encountered in your knitting career?) that I'm not sure what would pair well with it. Or I could frog back the edging and redo it as a simple garter edge, which is one of the options EZ suggests. But this edging is so pretty!

Right now this lovely thing is sitting in the time out basket. Think I'll go work on my mitten.

FO: John's Yoke Sweater

Pattern: Seamless Yoke Sweater lessons from Knitting Workshop by Elizabeth Zimmermann, colorwork patterns from Sheila MacGregor's Traditional Fairisle Knitting [Ravelry link]
Yarn: Wool/Tencel blend sock yarn from Foster Farm in blue and natural, purchased at the Columbia Farmer's Market
Needle: US4/3.5mm
Recipient: John, my one-year-old nephew
Mods: Well, there aren't really any, since I was following a recipe, rather than an exact pattern, but I did try to make the arms long-ish, so the sweater could be worn for a while.

Now, I've knit seamless sweaters before (mostly raglans), but this was my first yoke-style one with colorwork, and it turned out pretty well, I think. Getting five stitches per inch, I cast on 130 stitches for a 26" chest and went from there, following EZ's guidelines. This was all in Part II: Two Sweaters, Lessons One (Seamless Yoke-Sweater Body and Sleeves) and Two (Yoke Patterns, Weaving and Finishing). I threw in a couple of short rows to lengthen the back before starting the yoke and did the Casting-On Casting-Off at the neck, which was a little tedious but came out nicely. The only thing I didn't do was the phoney seams, which certainly help a grown-up sized sweater hang better but seemed not quite necessary on a sweater this size.

In more EZP news, I'm taking a break from her sweaters for the moment and have the Stonington Shawl on the needles, with the lovely red merino Mom and I brought home from the Door County yarn crawl. I've knit the body (a square on the diagonal) and the first side and am now wondering why I can't knit the edging on this side before going on to pick up the next side -- EZ has you knit up trapezoids on each side and keep all stitches live before you knit them all off in one long go for the edging. Doing the edging on one side would eliminate holding all those stitches, since they'd be done. I guess the question is linking the edging from one side to the next. It just seems like an unnecessary step to have all the stitches OTN around the shawl, when you work the edging perpendicularly. So, I've stalled as I ponder. And I have to choose an edging pattern, as this version of the shawl is from the book recipe, rather than a pattern (it was published in pattern form in Knitter's and a Spun Out, later).

I also have my first Selbuvotter OTN, having charted my initials and the year -- I'm doing NHM #10 with some modifications. The stranded work takes some concentration, going back and forth between Terri Shea's charts and mine for the front and back of the mitten. I'm excited about them -- it's been a long time since I had a pair of mittens.

And I just whipped out a little vest with the lovely Madeline Tosh Worsted from the NYC Yarn Crawl. I'm not sure it's finished yet, and then I'll need to grade the pattern. This will be my first grading experience (yay, no sleeves), so I'm excited and a little anxious.

27 October 2009

KSA: Yarndex

Inherited some label-less yarn? Just curious to see all the colors Kidsilk Haze comes in? (Thirty-three shades available as of this writing.) Yarndex is the place to explore yarns. While they may not have every yarn ever spun, they cover a staggering number of yarns, including many no longer in production, which could help you figure out if that thrift store purchase is really a treasure (and if you'll have enough to make a sweater). Color cards, yardage and gauge information, fiber content, price, and so on. This is a very helpful site to have at your fingertips.

26 October 2009

Free Pattern: Jean Beret

A new pattern for you! This one is for my mom, which is why I named it Jean. She wanted a cozy beret-style hat that she could pull down around her ears to keep warm in Chicago (and up in the snowy wilds of Wisconsin sometimes). You can wear it down around your ears, beret-style, or pushed back on your head. I knit it with two skeins of Crystal Palace Yarns Merino 5 Solid in Black, and a good sub would be Berocco's Pure Merino to get the same fabric, but Malabrigo Merino Worsted or Cascade 220 would work just as well (and only one skein!).
download now

I'm working on some other patterns, so watch this space :)

19 October 2009

FO: Shrug for Frances

Pattern: Knitting Pure and Simple Little Girl's Shrug [Ravelry link]
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash (176 yds) in Blue
Needle: US6
Notions: Pretty rhinestone button from M&J Trimming
Mods: None. Did the ribbed bottom rather than the lace.

This was for my niece's third birthday. No pictures of her wearing it yet, as she has decided ideas about the world and many of them involve not listening to anything Mom or Dad ask her to do :) Hopefully I'll see it on her at Thanksgiving.

14 October 2009

Win a copy of Vintage Baby Knits

You might win a signed copy of Kristen Rengren's Vintage Baby Knits: More Than 40 Heirloom Patterns from the 1920s to the 1950s. Enter here.

I don't have this book yet but everyone who has it loves it. I'm more interested in acquiring knitting technique books these days but would be very happy to receive a copy of this book.

Good luck!

NYC Yarn Crawl Report

Bet you're all dying to hear about the yarn crawl. It was fun, but, embarassingly, I got yarned out on Saturday. How is that even possible?!? I guess part of it is that I have quite a few yarns already that I'm really excited to work with, and my brain isn't really up for adding many new ones right now. Anyway, on to the crawl...

Isobel and I started at Downtown Yarns (she's got our city map just in case); we arrived a few minutes before they opened, so we were among the first to enter the raffle. I'm still holding out hope that we won a basket, but that's dwindling as Wednesday draws to a close.

Here's what the inside looks like. There are a few additional pictures of my crawl on my Flickr - I didn't want to bog down the blog with all of them.

Two skeins of madeline tosh Worsted in Ink made it's way into my bag; I'm thinking a little vest for winter with it. As you may know I lurve the tosh sock yarn and am sure I will be just as pleased with the worsted. Watch here for further details.

Then we walked along Houston to First and stopped for lunch at Little Veselka, an unknown-to-me branch of the super-yummy Veselka diner in the Village, where we always try to go with Nick's mom, since she's Ukrainian and Veselka is in the Ukrainian section of New York. Delicious food! I recommend the Meat Stuffed Cabbage with Beets and Horseradish and Egg Noodles. Anyway, I had a beautiful beet, goat cheese, candied walnut, and mandarin orange section salad, while Isobel turned her nose up at a grilled Vermont cheddar on challah bread in favor of the bag of chips. Oh, well.

After a little playground time for the young lady, we walked across Houston to Sullivan. I worried at times that it might be a fool's errand, but we did stop in to Crate and Barrel at Lafayette to use the loo (C&B always has nice facilities, though they do their best to hide them away), which is a good thing, since bathrooms can be hard to find unless you're George Costanza.

As you can see, by the time we got to Purl Soho, Isobel was somewhat disenchanted with the yarn crawl:

Oh, well. She did pretty well for the most part with the Purl Soho staff and decided she needed a skein of Manos Silk Blend (denied until we have a few more knitting sessions with a sturdier yarn). I did pick up a skein each of navy and cream fingering weight yarn from Nature's Palette to create some Selbuvotter. Now I just have to decide which ones.

There were vague thoughts of trying to squeeze in one more LYS, but clearly Isobel needed to come home, so we ended up on the 1 train with a couple from Wisconsin to whom I'd given Downtown Yarns directions. They'd decided to bag that for the day and head to the Upper West Side. I sent them to Knitty City and hope they had fun.

I did go to Knitty City (on my own) on Sunday, ran into Susie from the Yarntopia (and how lame am I that I didn't even make it to my real LYS? I must be coming down with something) knitting group, and picked up a skein of beautiful Jojoland Harmony, which is a merino cobweb yarn that I was unfamiliar with (I've checked out Jojoland yarns but never Harmony). There are 880 yards in that little bun, and the colors vary a little in a sort of moire way from lilac to lavender - something seriously lacy is in the offing at some point soon. I also added Mary Thomas's Knitting Book to my collection (I have the Book of Knitting Patterns), since Knitty City was having a sale on books.

After that I headed up a couple of blocks to The Yarn Company but was feeling so burnt out that even a sale on Koigu KPPM was too much for me. I couldn't make a decision anymore, and I knew if I tried, I'd just end up with more blue yarn, so I decided to call it a day.

And here is my little yarn haul (apologies for the flash in the picture, but the non-flash shot was mud):

More on my new desk and using my lovely crystal cake stand to display yarn some other time...

We thought of hitting Habu, School Products, and/or the Lion Brand Yarn Studio on Monday after taking Isobel to the top of the Empire State Building, but it was chilly and Isobel is battling a cold, so I have yet to visit these stores. I'm kind of happy to have saved some special places for future visits, as well as the Brooklyn yarn stores.

08 October 2009

Staying for the Yarn Crawl

Looks like we're going to stay in NYC this weekend, so I'll be able to check out the yarn crawl in person. I'll have to plan my itinerary, which I'd much rather focus on than the job market and the 10% unemployment rate in NYC and the patterns I need to write up and and and ...

If Isobel were reading this she would now inform you that the three dots mean "something's coming, mama" - a little knowledge is a dangerous thing :)

EZ hat from Knitting Workshop

Anyway, here is the hat I completed for Part I, Lessons 1-4 of Knitting Workshop by Elizabeth Zimmermann [Ravelry link]. It was fun to do; I'm pleased with the colorwork, actually; but it came out small, which was OK as it was also a gauge swatch for Nick's birthday hat (all dark grey, 2x2 rib). I learned casting on, increases and gauge, colorwork, and decreasing and blocking. Things I already knew, but it was fun. And Isobel has acquired another hat, as it's too small for the grownups, Penelope has a quantity of hats handed down from Isobel, and Stephen wants something more colorful.

K2tog decreases

OK, off to plan my crawl itinerary amongst other things.

07 October 2009

Knitting Daily: Free Men's Patterns

Sandi and the gang at Knitting Daily have just released their next free pattern booklet, this one with some really nice men's knits: four pullovers, a cardi you'll want to steal back, a scarf, and a pair of fingerless gloves. All are knit in DK or Worsted yarn, so you don't even have to start them today to have some handsome knit gifts for the winter holidays. [Link]

Vogue Knitting Pattern Sale

All patterns are on sale for $2.99 October 6-8, 2009. Over 800 patterns from VK, Knit Simple, and Knit.1. Lots of beautiful patterns there - get 'em at a discount so you can spend more on yarn! [Link]

04 October 2009

Spider Silk Tapestry

We took the kids to the American Museum of Natural History on Monday, as they all had the day off from school. I was very excited to see this weaving that I mentioned a week or so ago. They seem to have hidden it off in a side entrance and have no signs directing you there (we had to ask at the desk), but it was neat to see.

I wish they had had a specimen of the spiders (preserved, you know, not live) since some of them did die during the production of this textile, or at least a life-size picture, since the spiders are, apparently, quite large. There is a picture of two of them in someone hands on the second page of this NYT article.

In the tassel picture above I hope you get an idea of how fine the threads are (and I apologize for the blur in the shot - the lighting, glass case, and angle conspired to make a good shot virtually impossible). It was really beautiful and mind-boggling to think that it was made from spiders' silk. I loved the saffron yellow color - rich enough for royalty for certain.

NYC Yarn Crawl

Darn it! I'm going to be up in Maine next weekend for the first New York City Yarn Crawl. Sigh. Everyone have lots of fun for me and plan to do it again next year, 'k?

Knitting Daily TV

Do you get Knitting Daily TV? Frustratingly, I don't, but I did just download their new PDF with 13 helpful hints for knitting, which is nice and runs the gamut from cast-ons to the basics of spinning to a lace primer. And I say "frustratingly" because my Time-Warner cable box has a listing for Knitting Daily, but it's on channel "-1". I don't know about you, but I can't seem to get channel minus-one.

We do get something called The Knit and Crochet Show, which is ... pretty basic. Knitty Gritty was, too, but Vicki Howell was enjoyable, and they did a good job photographing people in such a way that you could understand how they were knitting, which is particularly helpful when you are looking to expand your range of technique.

I'd love a knitting show that went beyond the basics, and it sounds like Knitting Daily TV could be it. They are also offering a free download of the Cleo Kitty Slippers from Kristen Rengren's popular book Vintage Baby Knits.

25 September 2009

This Week in Purly

I've been battling the bugs this week, the daycare, kindergarten, first grade bugs. But I'm almost better now. Luckily, at the beginning of the week I acquired a birthday present - the iPod Touch (I stumble over the name every time and found myself practicing what to say while waiting in line to get mine at the beautiful Apple Store in Soho). Anyway, love it! But in synching my bookmarks, contacts, etc., I've discovered that my bookmarks are an absolute mess, so this afternoon I've been working away to clean things up. So, I have some links to share. These are new discoveries for me. Hope you enjoy them.

Knitfinder: knitmag pattern indices, lace links - pretty cool and growing
Knitting Lace by Susanna Lewis is being reprinted by Schoolhouse Press - pre-order by 15 October and get free shipping - this lace book has been OOP for over a decade and sells for beaucoup bucks on ebay.
Textile composed of spider silk is on display at the Museum of Natural History, here on the Upper West Side. May have to drag the kids this weekend when the weather is uncooperative (looks like Sunday).

Guess that's it for the moment. I have some belated September birthday presents to mail to my niece and nephew, and then I'll have some FOs to show you.

18 September 2009

KSA: Ravelry

Just in case you're a fibery type that's been offline for the last few years (it's possible, I suppose), check out Ravelry, an amazing online community space for all fibertarians (knitters, crocheters, spinners, weavers, dyers, designers). Some say it's like Facebook for knitters, but I say it's more. The site is still, technically, in beta, so sign up now for your invitation (I'm pretty sure they've caught up with the backlog of requests, so you should get your invitation right away) and enjoy! Be sure to "friend" me (RavelryID: Purly) once you're in.

17 September 2009

The Job Search

So, I'm looking for a job, most likely outside the house, that pays money. Not too much to ask, but, you know, it takes time to find the right thing, both from my perspective and that of an employer. I check various job sites that focus on book publishing, since that's my area of expertise (mediabistro, Creative Hotlist, Publishers Marketplace), I've got my searches set up on Indeed, and I continue to expand my "network" on LinkedIn. It takes time, and it's not the most fun I've ever had, but every once in a while something good comes along, or at least something plausible. And then there are the clunkers: responsibilities include "creative ideation" - at least they've stopped mentioning that we should "think outside the box" (when was English replaced by Business-speak?); my Indeed search on "knit" that mostly comes up with nannies wanted for close-knit families or the frightening-to-a-handknitter "cut and sew knits". Something will happen, eventually, and I appreciate you, my Purly cheering section, for all your supportive comments and pleasant distractions.

And today it's better that I only have mommy employment, as Penelope is home with a fever (she's going to daycare two days a week now, which gives me time to search for a job and gives us a leg up on care for her when I do go back to work). Never consciously think how great it is that she finally sleeps through the night! Inevitably she will wake up with a fever and need a lot of Mommy in the middle of the night. I'm going to do some more searching while she's sleeping and work on the garter-stitch center of a Stonington Shawl - knitknitknit is about all I can handle today.

16 September 2009

Door County Yarn Crawl 2009

While on vacation last month (I know, how do you go on vacation when you don't have a job? Well, it's not much of a vacation with the kids, you know. Kidding!) up at my parents' place in Door County, Mom and I went on a little yarn crawl, since there are two new yarn stores on the Peninsula.
First, we visited Red Sock Yarns (no website, that's the link to the Ravelry page) in Fish Creek. I didn't bring my camera, so you'll just have to use your imagination on this one: a nice, spacious store with yarn displayed mainly on freestanding shelves, a lounging area with couch, armchair, coffee table, and a pile of pattern books to browse through, and lots of yarn. It's all sort of a blur now, but some luscious, red Skacel Lace Merino came home with me, as well as some Crystal Palace Merino 5 in black for a hat for mom (custom designed - what's the point of a daughter who knits if you don't get exactly the hat you want?). I don't want to say it was all standard yarn, as they had a nice selection, good variety, but it was almost all stuff you can find most anywhere. Until we got to the counter, where I noticed one skein of sock yarn that looked to be hand-dyed. Turns out it was from a local indie dyer. Now, to my mind that is the stuff that should be piled up all over the place. Door County is, after all, a vacation community, and knitters like souvenir yarn, something we can't find just anywhere, something that will remind us of our leisurely days by the Lake. Anyway, we'd already made our purchase, so the sock yarn was left behind (just as well for me, as I need another skein of blue sock yarn like I need, well, another skein of blue sock yarn). The shop is tucked away at the back of the Fish Creek Top of the Hill shops, so keep going towards the back - it's there!
A couple of days later we went down to Spin in Sturgeon Bay (don't you love the names of Door County towns?), which is housed in an old bank building. I'm happy to report that they kept the beautiful pressed tin ceiling and bank vault.
Lots of sock yarn, lots of Rowan, Misti Alpaca, a wide variety of baby friendly yarns (in addition to being a vacation spot, Door County is also a popular retirement destination, at least for the summer), and a nice selection of books. I came home with The Art of Fair Isle Knitting: History, Technique, Color & Patterns, a couple of Cottage Creations booklets for Irish and Ukrainian dolls, and some pretty mother-of-pearl buttons for Penelope's unfinished birthday sweater (what? she doesn't know, and it hasn't really been cold enough for a sweater yet). Why did I come away without any yarn? Everything I was drawn to was pretty much like something already in the stash (see sock yarn, blue). And, again, they didn't really have any souvenir yarn. But I'm happy about the things that did come home with me.

And then we hit the place that does have souvenir yarn, Whitefish Bay Farm. I bought yarn for a yoke sweater there a couple of years ago, four natural-to-the-fleece colors, and they are still waiting for me to knit them up. I hope to do it this winter and have some groovy ideas for how to use the colors. They also sell roving, some hand-dyed yarn, as well as hand-spun yarn. I controlled myself and bought a couple more skeins of the palest, sheepy color - not sure if they will be insurance for the sweater project or for something completely different. Apparently they have their yarn processed by Blackberry Ridge Woolen Mill, also in Wisconsin, and really like the way the yarn and roving turn out, so if you are looking for a processor, they might be your place.
While there I also visited the upstairs gallery, where I fell for this beautiful rug woven out of locks. Not quite in my budget these days (nor small enough to fit in my suitcase), but maybe next year.

So, that's it for this year's Door County yarn crawl. There are a few other fibery places up there, including some spots on Washington Island, but with little Miss Penelope taking two naps a day, it wasn't really feasible to get there this year. Next year I plan to knit some August Fiddle Faddle in the Woods a la EZ. Won't that be fun?

12 September 2009

Knitty Fall 2009

Did you know the new Knitty is up? I went over yesterday to look up something and saw all the new patterns and redesign before the announcement email hit my inbox.

I'm not even going to try to list favorites, as there are so many beautiful projects, and I've found over the years that my tastes change - patterns that I had no interest in will suddenly become my passion. There are various reasons for this, though I know one of them is when I feel I've more fully mastered a technique and can do a pattern justice. Of course, another is seeing beautiful FOs that show a pattern in a different light than the original photography.

I will just mention that I've met Anna, designer of Ruby Red, at Purl Diva's Knit Night. I've been very keen to see what she designed, and it is a lovely sweater. Frankly, I have a difficult time resisting any project using Madeline Tosh Sock yarn!

11 September 2009

FO: Lena's Matryoshkas and Sweater

Pattern: Matryoshka Japonais [Ravelry link]
Yarn: Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Marron Oscuro, Shocking Pink, Natura, and Paris Night
Needles: US6/4.0mm
Notions: Needle felting fiber for stuffing from Halcyon Yarns
Mods: Using a smaller needle to make a tighter fabric

Well, I like the pattern ;) Actually, I'm happy to report that I followed my pattern blindly, and they worked out just right. If you're interested in the pattern, you can follow the link in my sidebar to my Etsy shop or buy it directly on Ravelry.

I made this set for my new niece Lena (Nick's sister's baby) and hope she finds them as cuddly and soft as Penelope did. P kept wanting to appropriate the dolls while I was finishing them, so they have her stamp of approval. The color choices grew out of the lovely yarn I used for her BSJ.

Pattern: Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmermann from The Opinionated Knitter [Ravelry link]
Yarn: Merino 2/6 by Fleece Artist in a beautiful chocolate-covered cherry colorway specifically requested by Ellen, the clever owner of Purl Diva
Needle: US5/3.75mm
Notions: Five lovely little pink buttons from Purl Diva

Apparently, this is my fourth BSJ, though I think my first is languishing in the UFO bin. Such a wonderful pattern, and a great garment with all the squishiness of garter stitch. This really has become my go-to baby pattern, especially as it's a great excuse to use some new-mom-friendly superwash sock yarn. I knit Lena some of Ysolda's tiny shoes, too, with adorable, little, pink bunny rabbit buttons, though I neglected to take a picture of them before giving them to Lena. Hope we'll get a picture of the recipient in her finery soon.

E.T.A. I almost forgot that Ellen had taken a picture of the sweater and booties in her lovely lightbox.

As you can see I'm doing my best to catch up on some belated posts, trying to get back in the groove.

KSA: Knitter's Review

Just in case you've been knitting offline since 2000, a great place to find reviews of yarn, books, and tools is Knitter's Review, maintained by Clara Parkes, author of The Knitter's Book of Yarn: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing, Using, and Enjoying Yarn, which is an amazingly informative resource on fiber and yarn and how the one gets turned into the other, as well as some nice patterns. If she gives something a good review, you can be sure you'll be happy with the yarn. There are also some busy forums on the site. Sign up for the weekly newsletter and never miss another review.

FO: Fair Isle Hat (for Isobel)

Pattern: Fair Isle Hat from Fiber Revival Two-Handed Fair Isle class [Ravelry link]
Yarn: Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Marron Oscuro, Shocking Pink, and Natura
Needle: US7/4.5mm 16" circular
Mods: None

Isobel saw this while it was still OTN and claimed it for her own. How could I object to my daughter wanting something I knit? She's modeling it right before bedtime, and this may have even been the night she wore it to bed. I'm glad she likes it, and I'm so glad to have conquered two-handed fair isle knitting, thanks to Isobel (Abelson, my teacher).

The purl rounds are interesting, giving a little dimension, though I think if I were to knit this chart pattern again I would probably omit the purl rounds. However, I am very interested in experimenting with purl bumps of color as shown in the Bohus sweaters.


Trisha Malcolm commented on this little blog. I was so excited that I could not fall asleep last night (and should have come out to the computer and posted a few belated blog posts: Door County yarn crawl with mom, Isobel's new hat, EZP progress - soon!). Instead I lay in bed thinking about knitting and blogs and publishing. I've been lucky enough to meet Amy many moons ago at a Circles event, have Stephanie mention that she'd seen my blog at a book signing, drank tea with Mary Jane Mucklestone at Ysolda's book signing, hung out briefly with Julia and talked about how great Franklin is, and then the following week took a class with Franklin and talked about how great Julia, Veronik (who, of course, has an adorable french accent), and the rest of the clever folks at Twist Collective are, talked shawls with zee Joan Schrouder. Of course there is also a long list of knitting luminaries that I long to meet.

I'm striving to be a capital K Knitter, and not just because of my stash but because of my ongoing apprenticeship to this craft. That's why I'm working on the EZP. There is always more to learn. It's exciting to be a part of the knitting community right now, especially when our rock stars are also real people. OK, time for this fangirl to get back to the real world of laundry, back-to-school paperwork, and my nephew's unfinished sweater (luckily, he doesn't know it's his first birthday tomorrow!).

Thank you for the comment, Trisha!

10 September 2009

Photographing Your Knitting with Franklin Habit

Loopy Yarns Wall of Koigu I

Loopy Yarns Wall of Koigu II

Ayre in the lightbox

So, I had a great time at my class at Loopy Yarns with Franklin Habit. Of course in my desperate attempt not to seem like a crazy fangirl I didn't even snap a pic of clever, witty, knitter extraordinaire Franklin. Though I know something about photography, having taken a class at the Museum School a couple of lifetimes ago (and being an Art Director), I signed up for the class to give me a kick in the derriere and to learn how to make my own lightbox at home. Mission accomplished! Franklin reminded me about the properties of light, depth of field, and presenting objects to highlight their best qualities (and hide their flaws). Everyone was very nice (knitters almost always are, though, aren't they), and near the end we found ourselves talking about Manor House.

How did I miss out on the "House" series? I so want to see Colonial House! Carole went to the Adams National Historic Park recently, and now I've had to add it to the long list of New England places we'll have to drag the kids when they're a little bit older.

Anyway, back to the photography. The shots above were from the shop, and it was fun to play with perspective. The class was also a chance for me to play around with my camera and all its settings. I'm usually a little lazy when it comes to the camera, leaving it on "Auto" far too often.

So, hopefully you will see an improvement in my photography going forward. I plan to start a Year In Pictures (YIP) on Sunday. It was going to be a Self-Portrait 365, but I'm not sure I'm up for 365 self portraits at this point. I'm excited and need to go spend some more time with my camera manual. And I've saved a Fresh Direct box from this afternoon's delivery - just need some white posterboard and clamp lamps to build my lightbox.

Thanks, Franklin, for a great class!

VK 360º

I thought for sure I'd mentioned this before. Vogue Knitting has this great feature on their website where you can view every project in the past five issues on a real person from all angles. There are close-ups of details that you might not be able to see in the styled photographs in an issue. Pretty neat. Anyway, if you've been on the fence about a project, check it out.

07 September 2009

Knitting in Books

Did you know that Dorothy Parker was an avid knitter and carried her knitting bag with her everywhere? I just found this list. It is a very incomplete list but a fun find.

In fact I read The Book of Salt: A Novel
this summer (the fictional autobiography of the Vietnamese chef of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas in Paris - interesting, but I think I was hoping for there to be more depth to the book), and there is a reference to Alice B. Toklas knitting.

04 September 2009

The Elizabeth Zimmermann Project (EZP)

As I have immersed myself more and more in knitting, I have become more interested in Elizabeth Zimmermann and her books. She was a clever woman and a generous teacher. One of my dreams is to go to Knitting Camp some day. Until then I have decided to apprentice myself to the knitting projects of EZ, working the projects of Knitter's Almanac (KA) in the appropriate month for the next year. I also plan to knit through Knitter's Workshop (KW).

September is the KA Nether Garments project, so there will be a pair of longies/knit pants, probably for Penelope, as she is the smallest member of the family (there are four birthdays, not counting my own, in the family in September, so I have to cherry-pick where I can).

For KW I've already knit the first project, which is a basic hat with some colorwork thrown in for excitement, knit in cozy Ultra Alpaca from Berocco (a leftover from Nick's Cobblestone Sweater two years ago - love marinated yarn from the stash) and a smidge of light grey Alpaca from Plymouth Yarns (a leftover from a February Baby Sweater). The hat took just two nights and will make someone warm - Nick wants his new hat plain, no colorwork, please.

2009 Birthday Wish List

It's time for my semi-annual wish list, since my birthday is a little over a week away (the other one is at Christmas-time)! What has caught my eye this summer? In no particular order...

  • A job! Modestly lucrative pay, meaningful work, a chance to talk to other grownups about something besides the kids. Sometimes I think that's just a fantasy. I know, work is ... work, and I'm contributing to society by doing my best to raise strong yet sensitive children, but I am capable of more.
  • Twist Tote - looks like a great project bag

  • Still crazy about the Scilla cardigan kit from Solveig Hisdal (select Bohus Stickning, then scroll down about half way) - blue for the main color, of course!

  • Knitpicks stuff: some options needles perhaps (the new Zephyr tips look neat, and I'm often partial to warm and lightweight plastic/acrylic like my Bryspuns), blocking tiles, maybe even a new ballwinder. A Knitpicks gift certificate would work, too ;)
  • iPhone - I go round and round on whether I really want to join the 21st century and be able to get online anywhere. It's really a blessing and a curse, isn't it? I read something recently that people get a little endorphin rush every time they get a message, and it's addictive. Hence all those people Driving While Texting (DWT). Right now I just have a pretty lame cameraphone, which is OK. Plus, I'm a Verizon customer, and there are rumors Apple will partner with them soon, since AT&T is dropping calls left and right with their overloaded system. Maybe I'll wait.
  • Some new clothes, probably J.Crew. When I get a job I will definitely need some clothes, since most of mine are three years old or so (anybody want some maternity clothes?), and I purged much of my wardrobe when the Gloucester house sold. Actually, what I'd really like is a cool, eclectic wardrobe of clothes from etsy. I am always amazed by all the creative things people are producing over there.
  • A remote for my digital camera, so I can stage my own photo shoots :) I'm also thinking of doing a Self-Portrait 365 starting on my birthday. I hope it will improve my knowledge of my camera. My class with Franklin reminded me to, you know, actually use the various functions on my camera and experiment, not just leave it on "Auto".

  • Still keen on the Ork Posters: Boston (blue screen print), Chicago (white on black screen print), Great Lakes (clear blue print), and of course Manhattan (butcher paper orange - how cool). Once a graphic designer, always a graphic designer, I guess.
  • A Mermaid Napper blanket from Nan Kennedy/Sea Colors. I met Nan at the Bath Farmer's Market (and had missed meeting her a few years ago at a Sea Colors trunk show at Yarns in the Farms) and had a great time talking with her and admiring her woolly wares (solar-dyed yarn, sweaters produced by Maine knitters with seaglass buttons - want some of those! -, tasty lamb chops, and these blankets). Wedgwood or Mermint are my favorite colorways, of course.

  • Barbara Walker's Fourth Treasury (the green one) - I used to dismiss this one, but as I've delved deeper into knitwear design, I see that there is more wisdom in there that I could benefit from, beyond just plugging stitch patterns into existing shapes.

  • Yarn yarn yarn. Although I did acquire two skeins of Swan Island Certified Organic Merino Fingering weight in Robin's Egg before leaving Maine for the summer. It's the stash pet of the moment, while I figure out a worthy project for this yarn. And yarn came home with me from Wisconsin. But you always need more yarn, right?