9.03.2015

BLANKET.

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Guys. Is this not the most absurd color/pattern combo ever? I am in LOVE with it! It looks like one of those horrendous, so tacky it's great late 60s crocheted blankets you see on interior decor websites as a passive item of interest in the corner THAT YOU CANNOT BUY. I knew the colors would be ridiculous when I chose them but damn, better than I imagined. That's just me though, I love loud.

This is a "gender neutral" baby blanket I decided to whip up. It was intended to be a little thing for the back of the car or in the stroller but I completely misfired and it's actually kind of huge. Whatever though, blankets are always useful no matter the size. I saw this pattern on Purl Bee and thought shit that's cool but I so dislike colorwork. I read the pattern anyhow and realized this is a different style of colorwork than I'd never heard of and decided what the hell! Why not give it a shot?!

It is SO EASY. Highly highly recommend. The person who invented this technique is Barbara G Walker and apparently she has a whole book of other pattern variations you can use this method for. So far so good, it's already eaten up 4 skeins of Malabrigo Chunky Merino and will be requiring 6 more. Stash busting!

The pattern is Mosaic Blanket and if you're contemplating color work or just want to try a different method just check out the vid in the post. Weirdly easy.

9.01.2015

NH!

NH When I was younger my family used to go up to my Grandparents' cabin in the woods for a week once every summer. It was amazing, it's still my favorite place on Earth. Since I started working at 17 I haven't had the chance to do more than 3 days and although I've gotten to do tons of amazing things, a week in NH has been the white whale.

Well day dream of lazy reading on the porch no more! This year Db and I got our own week because you know, we're adults now (hahaha).

It kicked ass.

We didn't climb trees or play in the creek in the woods all day BUT WE DID get to play in a frosted donut shaped water tube and hang in a hammock by the lake all day. The weather was beyond perfect, especially compared to the annual Philly mid-summer sufferfest. It was almost like mother nature was saying "sorry guys" for raining on our wedding day, the majority of our camping trips and all our anniversaries so far. I'll take it!
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Uzo got over his fear of water… mostly, and he swam every day like a champ. Just one week in the woods turned him into a mountain dog. His dirty little bandana gave him courage to do dumb shit and generally be more independent it would seem. It was super cute. He was even down with chillin' in the hammock!
NH
IT WAS AWESOME. A far cry from our usual full throttle traveling escapades but equally as fun in totally different ways. Doing nothing is the best sometimes.

NH I love you.

8.27.2015

knittannggggg! Jo's new cowl

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My friend Jo from back home always has to have a warm cowl situation because "back home" is colder than "a witch's tit" as my Grandpa would say. Stupid winter. It's the least I can do, we ran around year round in tights when we'd go out so we appreciate some good wool wear. She shares her wine knowledge with me, I share my knit skills with her… I think I'm on the better end of this deal but I do what I can! Anyways, new year, new coat, new cowl.

This was my mindless knitting for when I could actually deal with knitting for a few rows. It's easy, I could put it down and never forget my place because the entire thing is the same and it's bulky so it looks like you're getting a lot done in very little time. Perfect project for when you suck at life. I felt so victorious when I finished it. Normally I can bang one of these out in a day or two and this one took me almost 3 months!!! I finally got around to taking pics of it a few weeks ago which was comically hard to remember to do. In my defense, who thinks about wearing wool accessories when it's 90ºF+ out?

Malabrigo Chunky Merino - Marine
Pattern my own
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8.25.2015

i'm back!

Untitled So this has been the longest I've gone without posting since I started doing this however many years ago. I missed it! Let's just be as vague as possible here, I was pretty unwell for a decent length of time and did nothing worth posting about anyways. No, not even knitting. I realized at one point I didn't remember the last time I'd even checked my email. It wasn't cute. I've seen probably every nature documentary on Netflix at this point so at least I got smarter! I'm better now and up to most of my old shit so it's all good.

I hope you have all had a rad summer so far!

* I left for a minute and Flickr got all weird. What are you guys using for image hosting these days?

3.10.2015

weekends

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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

2.19.2015

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

2.04.2015

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!!!

1.28.2015

dirty doz: odd garment central

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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

1.20.2015

dirty doz: effortless aka the blanket with sleeves

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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
EffortlessEffortless

1.09.2015

2015

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?

12.19.2014

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!

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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