10.09.2014

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.

10.03.2014

yarndale

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 >>>

9.29.2014

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!
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9.26.2014

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...

9.17.2014

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 >>>

8.27.2014

london

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.
For more pics, read more >>>

8.18.2014

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.

For more pics, read more >>>

7.30.2014

portugal

hottttt
Db and I went to Italy and Amsterdam on our honeymoon, and on the beach in Fiumicino we decided that our next big vacation would be a beach vacation in Portugal. Three years later that trip is tomorrow! Finally! The MOTHERLAND! We're meeting my family in the Açores where my Dad's side of the family is from, and then Db and I are splitting off to Lisbon for a day and then the Algarve to swim near caves and wear tiny inappropriate bathing suits! I cannot wait for the bakeries, seriously. If the Portuguese bakeries in RI are that good then I can't even imagine how good the ones in actual Portugal are. However beach vacation + tons of amazing pastry = ??? Whatever though, I've been hearing about the real Portuguese bakeries for my whole damn life, I am eating EVERYTHING.

I'm so excited, mid-summer is the perfect time for adventures, I hope you all are having a rad summer so far!

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7.28.2014

dirty doz '14: another odd garment

Untitled So I realized last week that I haven't posted about a knitting project in way too long. It is summer, so normally there isn't a whole lot of knitting going on anyhow, but this year since we were prepping to move for 6 months it kind of dropped off sooner than usual. However, as soon as we found out we were going to be living in England starting in July I got really excited about knitting for a number of reasons: 1- it's never heinously hot in England like it is in Philly so I would be able to knit in the summer, 2 - lots of sweater weather, and 3 - BRITISH WOOL.

So while I haven't been posting about it, I have been planning. I brought a mere 5 WIPs or soon to be WIPs along with me (all very favorites or special wool), and one was this amusing garment. A new set of Signature Needle Arts needles, yarn I've never used before, a new project bag and stitch markers from Fringe Supply Co. and a type of garment I've never knit before. A tunic! So all fun new things gathered and saved up to be cast on during my flight to Europe weeks in advance and guess what I forgot on the floor of my parents' house before my flight? This. Go figure. AND my book. It was a very boring two flights. Thankfully my mom is cool and shipped it over to me asap and now I finally get to work on it. I don't know about you, but sometimes a new project is the light I put at the end of whatever tunnel. This particular tunnel was prepping our house to be sublet, packing, cleaning and still making sure we had time to hang with all our friends before we skipped out. Time management success.

This is going to be Aproned Tank by Hannah Fettig made with Quince and Co. Finch in Honey, the most glorious of baby shit yellows. I'm not the only one excited for fall knitting in the middle of the summer right?

7.22.2014

made it.

Untitled We made it to England! And have internet finally! And our bikes arrived yesterday! And in the midst of everything we went to NORWAY!

My life is a charmed mess if that combination is even possible.

There's so much that has happened between Philly on the 26th and England today that I can't even imagine how long a "what I have been doing for a month" post would be. I've sewn two dresses, been to 5 countries in 7 days, gotten really good at currency conversions in my head and calculating what time it is back home, eaten terrible pizza and tons of weird but amazing candy, forgotten my knitting on my parents' living room floor before my flight… the list goes on.

Now time to get on my lovely, much missed bike to go investigate the local yarn shops. Let's see if I can get my hands on some Bluefaced Leicester wool! Man, keeping it local in the fiber realm here is going to rock.

7.02.2014

hey hey rhode island

First stop, last stop: the beach.
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6.27.2014

peonies

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Because I shouldn't be one of only two humans who were lucky enough to see this bouquet. Have a great weekend!

6.20.2014

summer, it's the real deal.

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This weekend is going to be full of packing and other unforeseen moving related foolishness, so we're going to eat strawberries, have a few drinks and power though it.

I hope you all have a good one, the first day of summer ain't nothin' to shake a stick at!

6.18.2014

new adventure!

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Hey all, sorry I've been truly shitty at posting fun things lately. Truth be told I have some crazy stuff going on and we are in the process of…

moving to England for 6 months!

Db and I got a really cool opportunity and jumped at it! We got very little notice and now are kind of scrambling to get everything ready to go, as is evident by most of my houseplants in the "loading area" that is my studio before boxing them up and driving them north to my parents' this past weekend. Our house feels so quiet and empty without them!

So there it is, insanity is on its way! Don't worry though, in between the insane number of things we have to do to prepare I have made time to pick out a few cool knitting projects to stowaway in my luggage, special for England. Best parts? Weekend trips all over Europe and England's generally shitty weather will never make it too hot to knit. Knitting season year round!

I'm so excited to share our adventure with you guys, we have no idea what to expect but we know two things, it will be weird and awesome, and the candy and soda in Europe RULES. Priorities!