Weekends never feel long enough do they? It's tuesday and I'm still wishing it was saturday. Waking up, watching Uzo take a sunbath, breakfast in bed. Damn.

Db and I have been traveling a lot on weekends for family stuff so having a chill weekend just for us was a really nice treat. Next weekend we're traveling again, and then again shortly thereafter. So much to do! Stretches like this are why people always tend to move back to their hometowns I imagine. So much driving, so little sleeping in your own bed. As for now I'll be holding onto this nice moment from a rare weekend at home and looking forward to when we get to have a few weekends like this in a row, especially because we're getting really good at weekend breakfasts!Untitled


high five for warm hands

mom's fingerless Having an overly eventful 2015 so far, but that hasn't stopped the knitting. Well it just now stopped the knitting, so I'll just blog about past knitting instead. Very rarely am I miserable enough to not be driven to make one thing or another, so here I sit watching my movie version sedatives and breaking in a pair of clogs. Breaking in hard leather counts as work… right? Bloody ankles unite. Using the law of attraction for ice cream.

Anyways, I finally finished the gloves I started for my mom two years ago and then promptly churned out a fingerless pair, too. The yarn was so ridiculously MOM I couldn't help myself, plus she has an iPhone now and needs those fingertips. These are made from a men's convertible mitten pamphlet pattern I bought years ago, before I even knew how to use dpns or knit in the round. That's how I tend to learn though, Db wants something I have no idea how to make and then I learn how to make it. Now this pattern has spawned EIGHT pairs of gloves over the years! These look kind of big and inelegant but that's just because my mom's hands are larger than mine, they fit her just fine. Oh the things you can do with a craft store pattern, a little ingenuity and a lot of math.

Madelinetosh Tosh Chunky - Holi Festival
Mission Falls 1824 Wool (discontinued) - Basil
mom's gloves mom's fingerless mom's gloves


dirty doz: blackberry socks!

Untitled I have small feet. Not TINY feet, just small. A nice normal size 6. So why is it that every pattern I find is for feet larger than mine?! I really wanted this book Socks from the Toe Up by Wendy Johnson and upon getting it realized that the smallest sizes were all mediums! What gives sock pattern writers? Only baby socks and large socks allowed?

Enter math.

Finally tired of knitting myself socks that turn out too large when using the smallest size pattern and smaller than recommended needles, I wrote my own damn sock pattern. And I like it. I combined my favorite parts of the several sock patterns I've used, then threw some broken linen stitch in there and they're complete! I really like how these turned out, and seeing as I knit them with SweetGeorgia Yarns Tough Love Sock I'm pretty sure they'll last a good long while.

Take that average sized sock pattern writers!

SweetGeorgia Yarns Tough Love Sock - Blackberry Untitled

dirty doz: aeris!!!

Untitled Does anyone else's crafting go in cycles of feast and famine? Since the first of the year I've finished FOUR projects! I almost don't want to blog about all of them because it's just knitting, knitting, knitting and a little more knitting on here lately. I will though, I just need to take pics first. Kind of making up for lost time when I was traveling for six months I guess.

So totally ignoring those four newly finished projects, I'm currently in love with my newest in progress project, Aeris! It's a really cool worsted weight asymmetrical shawl with texture and a bit of lace. The pattern was for sale only as part of a kit at first, but finally it was released for us plebeians who don't like buying kits (or already have a massive stash and need to use it) a few weeks ago. My cousin Alice gifted me the PDF for my birthday this year and I love it! Waking up and checking the internet to discover a new knitting endeavor? Hell yes. Thanks Alice!

Last summer my mom and I went to Maine to hit up Freeport and Halcyon Yarn. I always LOVE Swans Island yarns but they're so damn expensive retail. Being made in the USA and organically processed definitely makes working with it that much more rewarding, I like treading lightly. I picked one skein up to make a little cowl and my mom matched it so I could make something bigger and more luxurious, thanks mom! I scoured Ravelry for shawl patterns, saw this one and saved the yarn until it was released. It's so funny this should happen, because two years ago when Alice sent me a birthday pattern I used some wicked fancy yarn I'd been given by my mom and had waiting for the perfect project, too.

So far so good! The pattern is pretty easy, I'm loving how the yarn feels and the lilac has the most subtle variegation. Dare I say this might turn out looking classy? SHIT! Time to cast on something gaudy and neon!!!


dirty doz: odd garment central

Much to my own amusement, I knit this. I really wanted a reason to use this color and this pattern looked semi-ridiculous so I went for it. It isn't the most flattering thing, but it's perfect for layering under a cardigan to throwing on just so I don't wear my "cat woman outfit" every single day. It's hard to dress in anything other than black on black on black when you dye fabric all the time, it's the only color I can't ruin with dye, so this is an entertaining way to stay warm and sort of shake it up. It's a shame this is the only project on Ravelry besides the pattern example, it's a fun garment! I'm surprised no one else has made one yet.

Overall I like the result. I made it a little narrower, which I now regret because it's in the "not loose, not tight" fit zone, but whatevs. I also lengthened the straps considerably because I couldn't close the button around my neck when I followed the directions… not really sure how that happened. It was an easy fix though. I really liked the springiness of the Quince and Co. Finch, it feels really sturdy. I bet it would make for fantastic gloves. The button is from the most overpriced vintage store I've ever been to in my life. It still baffles Db and I how a miserable town like Sheffield, England can be such an expensive place to exist! If I'm going to spend tons of money on shitty quality produce and old buttons it better be somewhere awesome. The button is supposedly from an old shoe which is cool. Mostly I bought it to remember what wandering the streets of England in pissing rain was like. SUCCESS. Honestly though, I really enjoy crafting because when I wear or see the finished product I can instantly remember where I was at in life when making it. Do sweaters and socks and blankets do that for anyone else?

Aproned Tank by Hannah Fettig


dirty doz: effortless aka the blanket with sleeves

This sweater has had quite the journey from wishful thinking to my currently wearing it. My cousin Alice gifted me the pattern on Ravelry for my birthday, and after a few months of finishing other projects before allowing myself to work on this I cast on. I then promptly moved to England, finished it, and then didn't feel comfortable blocking it with the record breaking mold growth in our flat. It lived safely in a ziplock bag until moving back to Philly and being able to block it. Now I finally get to wear it, just under one year from getting the pattern! Final consensus? Love it.

It was a very easy knit, perfect for watching foreign language films because it's stockinette and a lot of it. The pattern is a little less detail oriented than I like, personally, but that's just because the details are my favorite part. A lot of the other patterns I've worked with over the years have had you do something super specific or random that seems pointless at first, only to realize a few rows later it was ingeniously clever and the finished products end up looking perfectly thought out. Not so with this one. I think Hannah's patterns in general are best suited for more experienced knitters so you already know the clever tricks and can insert them where needed for a better outcome. Also, she makes some assumptions that you already know general rules about picking up stitches, etc. So, even though this sweater and the tunic I also knit by her (more on that one next week) are super easy and may seem perfect for beginners, it would be really easy turning out something that looks "homemade" rather than "handmade" with them because of the lack of detail built in. Just a word of warning for those of you starting out. For example; Jane Richmond patterns (which usually outline every detail for every size and are very specific about which increase to use, etc) may be intimidating... but when you nail it and your sweater is amazing it will give you more confidence to tweak patterns like this one later on. They also allow you to gain experience using all the different increases/decreases and finishing tricks so you actually know how a certain method will look in the end. If I hadn't knit with patterns like that before getting to Hannah Fettig's patterns my Fettig projects might have looked a mess for lack of experience.

All in all I really liked making this, it worked up really fast and it's warm and comfortable without looking too comfortable. It's good to be back in the knitting swing of things! Even taking the pictures of this was really fun… even with (or maybe because of) Db merclessly making fun of my "glamour shots" which lead to these pics of my sincere laughter. What an ass! Whatever, THIS IS WHAT I LOOK LIKE. I can't control my laughter and wear killer sweaters, welcome to my life.

Effortless by Hannah Fettig
Madelinetosh Tosh DK - Tomato



2015 Well, this is late, but better late than never! I cannot believe how wild a year 2014 was, and that we had no idea what was coming for us at the start of it. Please 2015 be kind! I would be totally satisfied with a nice, borderline boring year full of hanging out in parks, riding bikes and playing with Uzo.

As for my 2014 goals, I did alright considering 6 months of the year threw a wrench in a few. I meant to sew 4 things and knit 8, in reality I sewed 3 and knit 10. I'll call that a victory. (I'm also going to post about them when I get pics!) I didn't ride a cross race because I was out of the country for the whole season, but I run in tights now so that takes balls, too. Humiliation? WHAT IS THAT? Look at my tiny ass while I pant down the street, I do not care. I have almost completely weened myself off the teat that is cheap consumer goods; but jeans, bras and running shoes are just about impossible to avoid buying from China. And I did not seek gallery representation because I didn't have the ability to dye or paint in England for 6 months. Handstand? Um, that might be a never. I'm going to call 2015 the year of the still somewhat impressive compromise - arm balances! Not SO bad right?

As for 2015...
- Cook one new recipe a week, preferably vegan. Particularly aiming it at bread and canning. I'm really excited to be able to have my kitchen back! And a CSA share again! I really missed that this year.
- Dirty Dozen 5.0! Finish 12 projects in 2015. This kind of just turned into a way of life but it's fun to keep track.
- Continue with my USA made, local, vintage and small business consumer choices. Also has turned into a way of life for me since I've been doing it for so long, but you can always get better. Maybe this year I'll find some non fast-fashion tank tops, or better yet, learn to make them.
- Stick with yoga and running. Be able to run a half marathon and do an arm balance with ease. Maybe I'll even run an actual race! Got my eyes on you Broad St 10k…
- Work harder, chill harder, none of this halfway bullshit. It's not productive AND it just makes down time guilt ridden. That "I didn't do my homework" feeling has got to go.

I know it's over a week into the new year but we're all still being good and getting our goals done right? What are you guys working towards in 2015?


happy holidays!

Our tree
This six month living in a foreign country thing has been insane. Since mid October, Db and I haven't been in one place longer than ten days, and on one particular day we went to four countries! It has mostly been for his job, and for just under six weeks of it we lived out of our suitcases going from hotel to hotel around eastjabumfuck Europe. I wore lots of black and we did lots and lots of sink laundry. Oh the glamour! We also got to go to some absolutely badass places like Barcelona and Paris though, so the weird parts were definitely worth it.

What you see here is our lovely christmas tree, which is decorated with an ornament Db was given for free at an all you can eat Chinese buffet in northern France. I hung it on a lamp in every hotel we went to after getting it so we could have some sort of festiveness going on, it's funny which little things make a difference when you have almost nothing. This silly ornament kind of marked our home base, and now we get to bring it to our real home base because today is our last day in England! In addition to the ornament, we got the sculpture (which we named "Fjord in Space" after Brâncuși's "Bird in Space" series) in Norway, the Rooster in the Açores and I made the 100 link paper chain countdown to tomorrow while Db was in Bulgaria. Db even went to Singapore! Clearly we had no idea what we were in for when we came over here and Sheffield has decided it best to say goodbye by giving us a day full of blazing sun and pouring rain, mostly both at once. It's pretty hilarious and not that unusual.

So while I pack up and we're shooting over the Atlantic towards our lovely Uzo and favorite people, I hope you are all having a great holiday season and have a kick ass New Year. See you all in 2015!


yarndale scores

Yarndale haul After my last post about Yarndale a few of you asked to see what I bought, so here goes! I got quite the bagful of yarn and goodies but I can't post it all here because half of it is gifts for a few of my fellow yarn lovers. This is just what I picked up for myself. It looks like my willpower took a bit of a day off, but I assure you this is the result of much self restraint. I wish I could have gotten more, there was so much great stuff!

First thing's first - the yarn!
Yarndale haul As soon as I laid eyes on this Rainbow Heirloom color Killer Flamingo it was basically game over. I knew if I bought one thing in the whole place it would be this yarn. All of their yarns are super saturated, definitely follow that link if you like color. So this is a weird reference, but remember in the late 80s early 90s when that transparent pink vinyl was everywhere; barrettes and costume jewelry, Barbie clothes, etc? Well it looks like that if you looked at it edgewise, how it glowed a pink orange that didn't make sense. This yarn glows. It's a pinky peach and you can see very subtle variations within the skeins because it is hand dyed. It's a DK/Worsted weight 100% superwash merino hand dyed in Edinburgh, Scotland. Super cush, I'm thinking this might be one of those precious yarns I take forever to decide what to use it for. If only they'd had another skein or two, I'd have made an absolutely epic sweater with it!

The yellow is Jillybean Yarns heavy worsted weight mixed British fleece in Greengage. It's "British wool, British spun, Hand painted". The wool feels rough and tough and I imagine it would be perfect for a gnarly cowl or some sort of hard wearing warm outer layer, kind of like what you need to wear here in England pretty much always. I got to feel a finished garment knit with it and it seems to soften up a decent amount after blocking which is always good. I'm excited to turn it into something I can wear while riding around Philly in the winter. Plus the color. You guys know me, I have a weakness that goes to the bones for this color.

*I realize the pictures look insane and really edited, the colors are so bright they kind of fouled out my picture taking devices. The colors are right on though, crazy but true.

Now for the tools!
Yarndale haul I like buying second hand and I like nice things that will last. What says "I will last" better than second hand? Nothing. When I ever saw there was a whole booth full of vintage tools I just about died. It was like your Grandma's absolutely rad tool arsenal many times over. Everything was beautiful. While wandering around being dazzled by the things in there, Db found a cache of row counters and picked out the best ones for me! I'd been on the hunt for a particularly cool row counter for a while and these were it, thanks Db! They're Milward "Ro-Tally" row counters produced in the 1950s and were made in England. Apparently they were the first ever barrel style row counters and were made in response to the baby boom requiring more hand knitting. How neat is that? Now if we had a baby boom it would just require more iPads, our generation is disappointing. Here's the original packaging for the Ro-Tally, so so cool. Hell yeah for getting excited about the little things!

Next up, ever since I was a little girl I thought my Great great Aunt Famie's antique yard stick was the coolest thing ever, and I'd been looking for a vintage collapsible one for years. This was made by Rabone Chesterman in Sheffield, England which just happens to be where we live right now. Freakier still is the actual address of the business is the same building I have studio space in. I wondered what the complex was used for, apparently making sick rulers! It's Boxwood and brass and was made in 1967. This one isn't a yard stick, it's actually 24" which is perfect for sweater knitting. It also folds up totally different than any I've seen, making it easier to lay flat if not completely open than a typical collapsible yardstick. Isn't the font of the numbers beautiful? And lastly, a good old-fashioned wooden mushroom darner! I learned how to darn socks a while back but until now (in my sock knitting frenzy) I haven't really needed to do it. I'm positive Db is going to run through his pair this winter and now I'm ready to fix them! I so wish she had an online shop, she has some legit gear for sale.

So there is my Yarndale haul, not bad right? I'll just keep telling myself that was self restraint at work.



Yarndale This past weekend I was lucky enough to be able to go to Yarndale! My fiber loving cousin told me about it last week and after investigating I realized not only did it look rad, but going was totally doable. I got dressed in my very best handknits and Db and I hopped in the car for the 2 hour drive to Skipton, armed only with cookies, bananas and reusable bags because there was likely to be some yarn related retail therapy happening.

We needed the cookie and banana fuel, and the bags. It was a victorious day.

Yarndale was really cool even before we got inside, they decorated the trees with bunting and pompoms and there were people scattered all over the grass chatting and knitting together while wearing amazing handknits. I loved it, it was great actually seeing people working with yarn and wearing handmade garments. Ravelry is great and I love it, but being surrounded by actual humans who think fiber craft is cool was a whole other level. Someone recognized my cardigan was Grace by Jane Richmond, it blew my mind.Yarndale Inside there was an entryway with the most epic crocheted bunting that likely exists on Earth (6,212 triangles total), yarn bombed bikes and maps so you could mark where you were from. Upon inspection Db and I saw that no one had pinned Philly so we got to mark our spot. In the actual show there was a massive number of vendors, most of which were local to the UK and sold UK made goods. I'd only heard of two before! There was everything, seriously, everything. Fleeces, roving, carders, spinning wheels, drop spindles, swifts, dyes, knitting and crochet tools, patterns, finished garments, felting tools, peg looms, a booth just for vintage tools (I died, and scored gorgeous things) and every imaginable kind of yarn. I was overwhelmed. They even had little sheep, alpacas and angora rabbits that you could pet. Of course, we pet all the animals, that's kind of my life moto at the moment.

It was a really fun time, it totally put fiber festivals on the radar for me.
For more pics, read more >>>


dirty doz '14: year of the sock I guess?

Untitled As I was updating my list of projects this year after casting on these lovely socks realized that the vast majority are either neckwear or footwear. What happened to sweater knitting?! I think there must have just been a little too many large, stockinette projects in a row that left me wanting solely instant gratification. Also not hurting, they're small projects which are easy to tote around while traveling and made with needles that will definitely be allowed on planes.

Therefore, lots of socks.

Earlier this year I made the first pair for myself which turned out much too large, then made toe-less ones for yoga which came out a smidge too tight. All year I've experimented with heels, toes, needle size and finally after all that skill building and preference gathering I've jumped into a hopefully well fitting, aesthetically pleasing, pleasurable to knit sock. I really can't estimate how  many toes and heels I've pulled out this year, I feel like I owe it to myself to make a pair of socks I'm satisfied with. These are knit top down using numbers I formulated and a pattern I came up with myself, kind of a patchwork of different patterns and techniques. The stitch pattern is broken linen stitch, and I got the idea to make a pair of socks with it because of this pattern. Broken linen stitch is a good, lofty texture and I imagine (or hope really) that it will be warm and soft like thermal knits.

So far so good. These pics are from knitting outside at Yarndale this past weekend. Oh man, that was insane. So many handknits in one place! So much AMAZING British wool. More on that later this week!


dirty doz '14: not so little baby sweater

Untitled Knitting. It's that thing I probably don't go a day without doing at some point, but have minimal to show for it over the past 3 months. Honestly, I'm not sure how the British do it. I can barely get my pants to dry in less than 3 days, even after programming the drier to run for an hour. A family of four is the only way anyone could consume a whole loaf of bread here before it turns to 90% mold.

Basically, I'm absolutely horrified to block anything here.

That doesn't mean I haven't been churning things out though! One of my best friends is expecting her first babe any day now, so what better occasion to knit something ridiculous? They didn't want to know the gender and she isn't into pastels so why not RAINBOW? The ultimate baby gender neutral! I'm knitting up Baby Vertebrae by Kelly Brooker with a Schoppel-Wolle Crazy Zauberball (I have always wanted an excuse to use one). The pattern itself is pretty decent so far, but I really think I should have swatched… this is turning out a bit larger than anticipated. On the other hand, I know nothing about baby clothes and maybe it's supposed to be this size and I just can't tell. I've never knit a baby garment before OR dressed a baby so who knows. The yarn seems like it could be a little rough for baby skin so I'm making it short-ish sleeved so it can be a top layer, just in case, but I'm sure it will soften up once washed. Either way, it looks wild so far and I think Db is jealous and wants his own absurd cardigan. Not sure why I have such a strong tendency to dress babies like stylish 60 year old hippie women...


epic vaca to the motherland aka. faial, açores!

Faial, Açores Over a month ago Db and I went to Faial with my family, and oh man, it was SO COOL. I had no idea my Dad was from somewhere so beautiful. I've heard stories my whole life and always imagined it to be pretty rad, but holy shit! I got to see where my family lived and where all the classic stories took place. This house is actually the house my dad and the whole family lived in until they came to the USA. That front window was a bedroom view of the open ocean. I got to see the stone oven my Vavó used to cook bread in, the whole house was magical.

 While we were there we got to hang out with super nice people always, eat such good cheese, bread and fish, see dolphins, black beaches, volcanoes and tropical plants. I would totally like to go back someday. The island maybe takes an hour to ride around the whole thing, and the villages are all really small and cool. They have names that translate to things like "Deep Ravine", "North Beach" and "Little North". Db, my brother and I were all kinda of surprised by how much we liked it. Totally worth the wait in making it happen!

For more pics, read more >>>



London Last week Dillon had to do some work at the other office, which happens to be right outside London. We picked a hotel in zone 1 and while Dillon was at work I got to wander the city, slowly turning my feet into hooves between taking breaks to read Orwell's 1984 while IN London, where it takes place. My mom lent me her copy (published before 1984 which is important) and I saved it so I'd be able to read it here. What an amazing way to read this book, wandering around and then reading a bit at night and realizing I was at the place they met up in the book earlier in the day? Reading about the capitalists and how the worst of all is called the King while sitting within view of Buckingham Palace? So so cool. Everything about this pic amuses and disturbs me, including my dollar bill bookmark. I also finally found a legit art store in England, so London is alright by me.

I figured out the first day we were there I walked just over 7 miles! We saw Buckingham Palace, walked the Mall and saw pelicans in St James' Park. We went to The National Portrait Gallery, which disappointingly and surprisingly did not have a portrait of England's national treasure and most often heard voice, Sir David Attenborough. FOR SHAME. We watched Big Ben toll 6 and then a huge rainbow form over it and checked it out at night looking all spooky and imposing, too. We deemed just about everything to be "the Queen's favorite". Shitty pub named The Bag o' Nails? The Queen's favorite. White Pelicans? The Queen's favorite. The geraniums that are in all the gardens in the city? Geraniums must be the Queen's favorite. The Queen also must make her guards wear their stupid uniforms for fun because they carry automatic rifles, no old fashioned weapons there.

It was really fun, and this past weekend when we were there was Summer Bank Holiday which is basically English Labor Day aka. "Summer is over, PARTY!" So we got not only an extra day to explore, but we also got to go to the Notting Hill Carnival with two friends who live outside London! It was … huge. Really I can't compare it to anything except what I imagine Carnival in Rio to be like. I have never seen so many people in one place in my life. Everyone was having a great time, the music was so loud, everyone was gorgeous, people were walking around covered in chocolate and the drinking was no joke. No little nips on the street, we're talking people dancing with 750s of Jager ten feet from cops. I would love to know what it looked like from above, it was wild!

We went all over really, it ruled. I was surprised by how cool London is.
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hey hey norway

Norway Db travels a lot for work. Usually in the US he travels podunk places and occasionally somewhere cool like Portland or San Fran. But in the UK where can you go? Oh, places like NORWAY. Now I've been pretty lucky so far in life when it comes to seeing things I want to see, like the Pantheon. Not to discount that, but I didn't even know it existed until college. Norway and the fjords on the other hand? I have wanted to see them since third grade when I found out I was part Norwegian.

Story time!

In 1994 when my family went to Epcot my brother and I each got to pick one country to visit and with zero hesitation I chose Norway. It was cool, and amazingly I still remember it pretty clearly… it's probably the only thing I remember about 1994 besides the next part of the story. The next fall the whole fourth grade class had to choose a country to do a project about for "country fair". No country could be picked twice and you got to choose when your name got pulled from a hat. The entire fourth grade classes' names in a hat! That was like… 100 kids. As I nervously sat there willing my name to be called all the other kids picked off the usual suspects; England, Canada, Ireland, Brazil… I was afraid someone would pick Norway because in my mine why wouldn't they?! But lucky me got my Norway even considering I wasn't called until near the end. That day I went home and up to the (scary) third floor where my mom's set of Encylopædia Britannica was, sat on the floor right there and cracked it open. I so, so clearly remember everything about it, right down to the rug I sat on and what that book smells like. Literally the second I saw a picture of the fjords, and struggled to figure out how you would say it out loud, I wanted to go there. I think I even remember where on the page the black and white pic of the fjords was; top left of the left page. Clearly it left a huge impression. My project ruled, I even went to the library. Oh 1994.

Wanting to go to Norway was the longest standing desire of my life. No joke. All the usual "I want to do this someday" things hadn't occurred to me yet, like getting a puppy or owning a house or falling in love. Nope, wanted to go to Norway. And it was also the one desire I still thought was the most inaccessible and unlikely. Like if you don't want to go to Oslo, where do you aim it? It's a huge country! And the airfare. Yikes. So fast forward to a few weeks ago. I land in England and Db goes to work the next day and we have this conversation via text out of absolutely nowhere;

he - "You want to go to Norway wed-thurs?"
me - "Like, the day after tomorrow?"
he - "Yep. We could take the weekend. Look up Stavanger."

Hahaha, BEST WORK TRIP EVER. So I tagged along on his business trip and my dream life became real life for a few days. Enough story time! It was absolutely amazing and there are far too many pictures! I literally cried tears of joy on the ferry through the fjords, I still can't believe it was real. We would both go back in a second.

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