loose ends

I hope that everyone had a merry & bright Christmas. Keeping it simple kind of got thrown out the window last week despite my good intentions. Crazy busy was the new theme. That is what comes from having a big & boisterous extended family. But somehow everything came together in the end and it was a fun noisy day filled with lots of laughter, food & love. Not surprisingly, my gift knitting kind of fizzled out. That's why this week is being dedicated to tying up some loose ends. I managed to finish the hubby's Piece Out hat, but haven't started on the little guy's yet. The cowls for my nieces also didn't happen, but hopefully I can manage something handmade for their birthdays. My MIL absolutely loved her knitted ornaments. It was one of the highlights of my Christmas Day to see how happy they made her. So sweet. Here are some close-ups of the hubby's hat.

I found some vintage Ducati motorcycle pins on etsy to use as buttons. I think the hat looks pretty cute on him, but don't tell him I said so ;) Next up is my year-in-review post. I am so ready to ring in the New Year...bring on the cocktail meatballs, hot crab dip, cheese balls & sparkling grape juice! Have a fun & safe New Year's Eve


knitter's armour

state street cowl, zara top, express jeans

When it comes to holiday shopping, I try to buy local as much as possible. So usually there is only one day during the Christmas season where a trip to the mall is necessary. Today was the dreaded day. But I went prepared this year, armouring myself in a warm wool cowl and...

...my knitting! It definitely came in handy when I found myself behind 13 other shoppers waiting in line to buy mall gift cards. I also felt a little smug when I whipped out my knitting in the toy store as other shoppers looked around in desperation for an escape route. We were all witnessing a multi-sibling meltdown which resulted in a serious traffic jam at the register. Note to self: next year, bring ear plugs, too.

Here's a closeup of the current take-along project. It's the Piece Out hat by Stephen West. Easy and fun so far. Also check out my latest obsession: madbird project bags. This one is a perfect size for small projects like hats, socks and mittens. I love the wristlet clutches and pattern wallets the most. They have such a cool range of fabrics. Couldn't resist the hedgehogs and toadstools. Who says armour can't be cute?


happiness is...

a trio of sweater ornaments ready for gift wrapping

duplicate stitch fun

rainbow colors

pockets and surprise candy canes in the mail (thanks Steph!)

The weather has been unpredictable this week. We have had snow, rain, sleet, ice and sunshine, sometimes all in one day! Yesterday was a Snow Day for the little guy. We celebrated by eating our favorite cold weather lunch (tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches) and drinking hot cocoa. Plus lots and lots of sweet treats. Trying really hard not to look at the calendar but I have a feeling that the holiday crazies are just around the corner. All the more reason to enjoy the little things that are making me happy right now.


kissing the holidays

I hope that all of you who celebrated Thanksgiving last week had a wonderful one. It was a work heavy week for me (60 hours!) but I still managed to spend part of Thanksgiving Day with my two favorite guys. We had a quiet and cozy evening. Some of it was spent putting up the Christmas tree and decorating the house. Everything feels more festive when there's red and green everywhere. I asked the little guy what his favorite part of the holidays was. His answer made me chuckle: candy canes! What a simple and fun response, so I decided to make that our theme for this year. Keeping it simple, with lots of good food, sweet treats, handmade goodies and best of all, meaningful time spent with loved ones. Oh, and Christmas movies! Gotta have plenty of those.

Here's my holiday gift knitting list this year. Again, keeping it simple:

☃ Handmade ornaments for Grandma L. (my MIL) and hopefully for myself, too. I am currently knitting a few of these. Also planning on casting on for a couple of these adorable (and free!) holiday stockings.
☃ A hat each for my two guys. This has become a winter tradition. As is choosing a hat pattern from Mr. Stephen West. This year's pattern is Piece Out. Love the playful brim on this one.
☃ A couple of quick to knit cowls for my two nieces. I was at Target the other night and saw some simple ribbed ones made out of sparkly chunky yarn. Then I found some similar yarn at Michael's yesterday. Serendipity!

Hope that your holiday knitting is going well. I plan on just enjoying each project as it comes and not getting stressed out if everything is not finished by December 25th. My family know me well and have come to expect a few IOU's under the tree along with their candy canes



I know, I know. November is more than halfway over which means that it is past time to start on the holiday gift knitting. There are also several selfish WIP's needing my attention. This is no time to get sidetracked! shouts the Voice of Reason.

I didn't listen. Somehow I found myself distracted by intarsia, rickrack ribbing and bright colors. The yarn is Sheep(ish) by Vickie Howell. I have a ton of it in my stash. What do you think...maybe I can turn this into a Christmas gift ;)

(linking up with WIP Wednesday)


finally, aidez

Can you hear my sigh of relief in finally finishing this sweater? Can't believe that I started knitting it back in February of 2012. The reasons why it took so long seem silly now:  1) A bad case of being intimidated by cables due to a lack of experience with knitting them 2) Seams 3) Lazy note taking 4) The weather 5) Seams

Guess what? 1) The cables and seaming ended up being super easy. 2) I absolutely adore the finished sweater. 3) It's a treasure of a (free) pattern. 4) Everyone should knit one.

 (linking up with FO Friday


knit.where outfit #17

daybreak shawl, gap jacket and shoes, american eagle jeans

We all love the look of a beautiful shawl draped romantically around the shoulders, especially when paired with a gorgeous flowy dress. But the look is hard to pull off when you have a million errands and the grocery shopping to do. And when the weather is cold and blustery, thus possibly blowing that shawl right off of your body. Here's a neat little trick: take a couple of removable stitch markers or coiless safety pins and pin the ends together. Then drape the shawl a couple of times around your neck, kinda like an oversized cowl. Unfussy shawl wearing at its best with the added benefit of keeping your neck warm and protected.

no more halloween candy...time to move on to thanksgiving :)


hardly knitting

....but there sure has been a whole lotta seaming going on here! I am trying my darnedest to finish up Aidez now that November has arrived with its chillier temperatures. Perfect weather for bundling up in a warm cabled sweater. The little fabric pouch was a handmade gift from my niece. She loves to poke around in my knitting bag whenever she visits. Last week we spent an entire day together just chatting and knitting. Such a treat for me, especially now that she is in middle school and more often hanging out with her friends instead of her boring aunt. Anyways, she was pretty appalled at the cluttered mess of my knitting bag and promptly set about organizing it. The fabric pouch is now the designated place to put my stitch markers. Sweet girl.

There has been a little more progress on the Pine Bough cowl. Really enjoying this simple colorwork pattern. Nothing better than an undemanding project. Just knitting colors round and round and not having to worry about weaving in the long floats.

Leaving you with a last farewell to October picture. The little guy decided to be Michael Jackson again this year for Halloween. Here he is showing off his dance moves! 

(linking up with WIP Wednesday)


cozy day

It's a cold, dark and drizzly day today. Norm recommended skipping the errand running and just staying warm and cozy inside. Good idea, Norm!

So I spent most of the day sitting in my favorite room reading and knitting. Here's a close-up of the knitting:

This is a free cowl pattern called Pine Bough. I am unimaginatively using the same yarn and colorway as the pattern sample. The colorwork is very easy and fun so far. A perfect rainy day knit. Hope everyone has a safe and fun Halloween! The little guy is still debating on what to be. I suggested he wear his long red union suit and a blue wig and be Thing One from The Cat in the Hat.

nothing says cozy like a bunch of Halloween candy : )

(linking up with WIP Wednesday)


adventure's end

After what seems like months of being in UFO limbo, my Chance of Showers cardigan is finally finished. I have to give myself a hi five for not throwing in the towel on this project. Not sure why I didn't....when I ran out of yarn....when I found out the yarn color had been discontinued....when after finally tracking down the yarn the dye lot and color did not match up....when I had to learn how to dye a hemp-blended fabric....guess I'm growing up after all. Was it worth all the headaches? Most definitely! Heidi's pattern was a pleasure to knit. I have a finished cardigan that will get lots of wear. Plus now that I am an expert on fiber reactive dyes, you can call me for assistance with any of your hemp fabric dyeing emergencies.


knit.where outfit #16 extreme edition

I have been slacking lately on wearing my handknits. Ironically, as soon as the weather turns chilly, I dive for the flannels and sweatshirts instead of all my warm handknitted sweaters and accessories. Must be a remnant from my youth when grunge was the popular style of the day. So today, I made a special effort ; )

candy ribbon cowl, dipped! armwarmers, wicked pullover

simple slouchy hat

hiking socks

This might be one of my favorite knit.where outfits so far. It is certainly the warmest! So, what do you think...how many handknitted items at once is too many?!?

Target deer thermal top, American Eagle jeans, ll bean boots


bramble cowl

This project was a fun break from all the self-imposed sweater knitting that I have been doing lately. The yarn is Patons Colorwul, a soft 100% wool roving, in the bramble colorway. For the single crochet edging, I used Patons Classic Wool Roving in natural and plum. The finished cowl is colorful, soft and warm, especially when worn doubled around the neck.

Here's how I made it.


29 inch length circular knitting needle, size 11
J/10 crochet hook
one stitch marker
MC (main color) = two skeins Patons Colorwul (90 yards/85 grams per skein) or any similar bulky weight yarn
CC1 & CC2 = a small amount of Patons Classic Wool Roving in two contrasting colors or any similar bulky weight yarn in your stash

gauge: 11 stitches & 18 rows = 4 inches on size 11 needles


Cast on 125 stitches. Place marker and join in the round. Knit stockinette stitch in the round (knit all stitches) until desired width is achieved (mine measured 8 inches at this point) or boredom sets in. Drink lots of tea, meditate, watch some movies, listen to an audiobook. If you are super coordinated, do all of the above at the same time. When the time comes to end all this fun, bind off knitwise. Grab your trusty J/10 crochet hook and show that curling stockinette stitch fabric who's boss by single crocheting into every stitch of the bind-off and cast-on edges with CC1. Then single crochet around again using CC2. Weave in ends. Give the whole thing a steam block. Wear lots : )

(linking up with FO Friday)


autumn colors

After a handful of rainy gloomy days, this week we are enjoying some beautiful October weather. I love the colors to be found at this time of year. Red, orange, gold, brown and burgundy all combine to make such glorious viewing. Some of them have found their way into my crafting.

Amazing how just a little bit of autumn color can inject new energy and happiness into all of my projects. I am making pretty good progress on both the knitting and spinning. The first picture is of something that I will reveal on Friday. Very relieved with the fact that I still remember how to crochet after such a long time without practicing. I finally finished spinning all of the Corriedale fiber from Maryland Sheep and Wool. Now I get to practice on this beautiful BFL & firestar combed top from Dyeabolical. Spinning with BFL is quite a revelation. So soft. The firestar gives off a bit of sparkle to the colors. Irresistible. Makes up for the fact that my second handspun is kind of an under spun mess:

On the bright side, this has only given me an excuse to play with natural dyeing techniques. I am aiming for a yellow/gold color. Just need to collect more onions skins. Or inconspicuously sneak some out of the onion bin at my local grocery store.

(linking up with WIP Wednesday)



If only....

yarn could grow on trees.

my second handspun

UFO's could finish themselves.

my I vow to finish you someday Aidez as soon as I figure out where I left off cardigan

one front and two sleeves could magically appear overnight.

Kaari pullover: back and pockets done

yarn ends didn't exist.

Chance of Showers cardigan: still waiting for a dyebath

dinner could be on the table with just a twitch of the nose, leaving more hours free for the fun stuff.

Happily, some daydreams can come true ; ) You can find this betwitched recipe here.


just knit

Sometimes you just want to cast on and knit. No thinking. No pattern. No complications. Just knit stitch after knit stitch. Some might find a large tube of stockinette stitches boring. For me, today, it is the perfect accompaniment to the rain outside. Hope that you are having the same peaceful start to your week.


more spinning tales

Currently spinning the rest of the Corriedale roving from Maryland Sheep and Wool using my new turkish spindle from knitpicks. This spindle can be configured as a top or bottom whorl drop spindle. Since I used a top whorl for my first spinning adventure, I wanted to mix it up a little by giving a bottom whorl a try. Really liking it so far. I love how the spun yarn is easily wound up into a center pull ball as the spinning progresses. Managing the cop was one of the issues I had with my first skein but this spindle makes it so much easier to prevent things from getting unwieldy. I am taking my time and trying to make the yarn be more consistent. Although it is going to be hard to resist starting on some tempting new fiber treats that just arrived the other day.

And I couldn't stop myself from adding to my budding spindle collection. Look, bunnies!


starting point

What I learned after spinning my first skein:

* Relax. I was so nervous about not getting enough twist in the yarn that I overcompensated and ended up with lots of twisty bits.
* Don't fight the fiber. Let it spin into the yarn it wants to become.
* Embrace the imperfections. The charm of handspun yarn is its quirkiness. I love the fact that even after a long soak, there are still bits of hay to be found. I adore the thick/thin uneven mess that makes a newbie spinner's yarn so different from commercially made yarn.
* Be a turtle. In other words, don't be in too much of a rush to know everything all at once. Spinning is like knitting: you can happily spend a lifetime at it and still have lots of things to learn. Beginning a new craft is like learning a new language. It can easily get too overwhelming. Go slow and enjoy the process, but....
* Use the product. Otherwise, there is a very real danger of building up another stash!

So, taking my own advice, I decided to knit something special with this novice skein.

There was just enough yarn to make three heart ornaments. One for the little guy, my hubby and me. Mine has the fiber label tucked inside. Also made a little yarnball ornament with the last remaining bits. Still need to stick in some miniature knitting needles.

Have a happy weekend!

(linking up with FO Friday)



Stepping out of my comfort zone a little with this latest sweater project. It is a design by Norah Gaughan called Kaari. Simple stockinette raglan design. Fabulous workman's pockets. Outdoorsy and comfy. Plus, some of my favorite designers have knitted this (check out Kate Davies', Lilalu's and Heidi Kirrmaier's versions). So, what's the problem? Well....the whole thing is worked in pieces and then seamed. A project that requires extensive finishing is quite a departure from my usual top-down lazy approach to sweater knitting. So why not modify it to be knit seamlessly? I will probably regret saying this, but I think that the seams will add much needed structure and shape to the sweater. I am also knitting this one out of Lion Brand fishermen's wool, which would not be my usual first choice of yarn for a sweater. But after seeing this version, I dug deep in the stash and pulled out two skeins of the exact same colorway. Hooray for those 40% off coupons at Michaels! I like the tweedy brown and cream colors and the yarn is surprisingly pleasant to knit with. Very rustic and hopefully durable. Has anyone used fishermen's wool for anything?

In case you were wondering, that's my new buddy Norm the Penguin modeling my WIP this week. He was a gift from my MIL, bless her fun loving soul. Norm and I will hopefully be spending a lot of time together this afternoon, soaking in the gorgeous sunshine and knitting a bit.

(linking up with WIP Wednesday)


a beautiful autumn monday

spoked cardigan, banana republic top, american eagle jeans, lotta from stockholm clogs

Happy Monday! The grocery shopping and laundry are done. The little guy is at school. I have sausages, apples and sauerkraut cooking in the crockpot for dinner. Guess it's time to play!