26 September 2011

August Trip Report

I'd better write this up before October arrives!

In August we went up to Massachusetts so Isobel could spend some time with her father and a bunch of his relatives. We stayed in Cambridge while they went up to Burlington. Conveniently, this was the same weekend as the Fiber Revival in Newburyport (yay! if you know me even a little, you know that the combination of knitting supplies, old friends, and an antique farm in the summer in New England is pretty close to perfect). Inconveniently, the traffic out of Boston was ridiculously awful (and Penelope gets carsick in stop-and-go traffic), so we almost bailed. I am so glad that we didn't! In addition to seeing my Yarns in the Farms ladies (hi, Carolyn, Jill, Joanne, and Suzanne!), I got to meet Amy King, Ms. Spunky Eclectic herself. I also had a chance to catch up with Leslie Wind who made the beautiful C-pin on Turn of the Glass and who lives on Cape Ann.

Outfield of corn
Stephen watching; beards, beer, and baseball

But the best part was that Nick, Stephen, and Penelope came with me, and they had fun! There was a triple-header of antique rules baseball (1861 - no gloves, balls caught on one bounce are an out, underhand pitching, sideburns and charming uniforms) played in a grass paddock with a field of corn for an outfield. Nick had seemed ... not terribly enthusiastic when I mentioned this beforehand. But once we got there, it turned out to be really neat for all of us to watch. And there was a beer truck from Ipswich Ale (yum!) with hot dogs and whatnot. Penelope discovered the popcorn popper (and an adorable cast iron toy stove in the gift shop). Stephen found some other kids to play soccer and baseball with. And I came away with a bag of The Woolen Rabbit's Sporty that is destined for greatness (well, that's the vague plan, anyway) in Storm and Midas. I haven't even tried to take a picture because I'm not sure I can do these colors justice. I'll try at some point, but today is not picture day.

The rest of the weekend was nice, too. It was as if New England was on its best behavior (except for the traffic Saturday morning and the lack of a Red Sox game in town). The weather was lovely - sunny and warm during the day, cooling off at night. New England in the summer can be so delightful. We had dinner at Farnham's in Essex where I realized that I have a painting of this house:
Essex marsh house
Essex marsh house painting
Painting of the Essex marsh house
Why, yes, dinner at Farnham's was good. Thanks for asking!

After a long weekend in Massachusetts, we high-tailed it back to New York for lots of laundry, showering the cats with affection, and repacking before we headed to Chicago. Nick's parents live within walking distance of Loopy Yarns, so I got to visit there (with Nick - his first time), though I couldn't find yarn I wanted to buy (that Woolen Rabbit yarn was still on my mind, and I kicked myself for not bringing it along, even though I was working on another sweater, which I finished). I have some gorgeous yarn in my stash that I need to knit up before I invest in something new.

And then we made the great migration North to Door County, Wisconsin. My sister came from Berlin (via Paris and Detroit), and my brother and his family came up, too. It's tons of fun for the kids, and the grown-ups have a good time, though with six kids things get a little crazy. We even made it up to Washington Island, where I got to visit the famous Sievers School shop. Again (is something wrong with me?), I didn't buy any yarn, but my sister came away with some lovely, dark grey alpaca. Of course, the stop caused us to miss the ferry, but we caught the next one. My sister and I also checked out Whitefish Bay Farm and Spin in Sturgeon Bay. I was tempted by the hand-dyed yarns at Whitefish Bay Farm but couldn't decide what I wanted, especially as I still have a sweater in various shades of their undyed yarns OTN (I think I have a gauge issue - it's biiiig - and can't really face how much work I've put into it already).

Of course, the end of our week saw Miss Hurricane Irene pop up on everyone's radar, and we started to panic that we wouldn't get back to the East Coast. A phone call to the airlines had some nice lady in India talking about flying back in September, which would not do at all. We even reserved a car and started gearing up for driving the kids back from Chicago to New York. Luckily, our flight was one of the first to land at La Guardia on Monday. Whew!

Somewhere in there I also finished a shawlette (pattern TK) and a sweater I can't wait to wear and show you. I also reviewed the edited pattern for Jane Austen Knits and saw photographs of the sweater on a model. So cool! Publication date is 8 November, so you've got a little time to wrap up your current projects ;)

07 September 2011


I know you're dying for the August trip report (ha!), but I just shoved my superego out of the way and created a group on Ravelry for people interested in my designs. So, if you read this here blog and are a member of Ravelry, come join us (me) here! Don't leave me all by myself over there, people. Mwah.

06 September 2011

Wish List, Birthday 2011

Yeah, so you're going to have to wait for the trip report from August. Life has been busy. And today is one week before the big four-oh for me, so it's time for a birthday wish list. Yippee!

  • Madeline Tosh yarn - any, all. [link]
  • The new edition of Maggie Righetti's Sweater Design in Plain English. [link]
  • Anything from my Etsy wish list - Seriously? There are amazing things over there! [link
  • Rainboots - rain is forecast all week long, and I threw out my leaking boots in the spring. I'm between Bogs, which Isobel has and loves, and some Hunter boots. Any advice would be much appreciated.
  • A job and some clothes to wear to it. I applied for the Director of Communications position at the kids' school and have had occasional work wardrobe fantasies ever since, mostly J. Crew.
  • Bill Cunningham New York - this documentary was so delightful, and it's being released on my birthday. [link]
  • Pampering - massage, manicure, pedicure, stuff like that. Sadly, I don't really know where to go in the city (ridiculous, I know), since all the well-known ones seem very spendy. I feel like there must be secret, cool places that don't charge and arm and a leg to work on your arms and legs. I'm probably delusional.
  • A new laundry basket, preferably not plastic. I know. But I'm a Virgo, and mine is falling apart. And nice tools make the job slightly less onerous. There is a gorgeous Shaker one... [link]
  • Wolff cage-bottom dress form - there's one in my Etsy wish list for $1400, which is crazy (crazier than a $100 laundry basket, even), but there must be a way for me to get one of these here in New York City...
  • A new bike - not sure which one, though. Actually, I'd love a Vespa, since this is a *wish* list, but it's extremely impractical with the little ones. Maybe in ten years - then I could be the cool mom dropping Penelope off at her new high school. (OMG, panic attack.)
  • Whatever one needs to run away with one's husband for a romantic weekend in Paris (in early November).
  • A sleeve for my laptop. I like the Moleskine one but feel it's too cheap (plastic) for the price. So, something cool but, you know, not flimsy. [link]
  • Alternatively, a new computer/laptop bag that can also hold my DSLR. The one I have is a Timbuk2, and it's fine, but sometimes you want something new, especially when you're wishing. Maybe an Epiphanie? Clover or Paris, but I hesitate over the braided handle or studding - not really me, but maybe I'd like it. [link]
  • Macarons. Love them. Laduree just opened an outpost on the UES. I'm sure they will be featured on Gossip Girl in a matter of weeks. [link]
I'm sure I could come up with more cool, fun (OK, a laundry basket isn't exactly fun. For you.) things, but there is much laundry (see!) to be done to get ready for the first day of school tomorrow.

02 September 2011


Wow, it's my favorite time of year again. I do love September, and it's not just because my birthday is this month (13th for those of you worried about getting my present here on time ;) I love the still-warm days and cool nights, that hint of crispness in the air, and, as a parent, that the kids are heading back to school.

To celebrate the anniversary of my birth and all the lovely things September brings, you can get 20% off anything in my Ravelry and Etsy stores all month long. Just use the code "September20" on either site.

We were all over the place in the month of August, so once I get my new pattern off to the tech editor, I'll be able to write up a "trip report". Hope you had a great August - I'll let you know all about mine tomorrow.

08 August 2011


And the living is ... hot. Due to a variety of unforeseen (and unfortunate) circumstances, we've been in New York all summer. No Maine for us. Sigh.

We've spent most mornings at the playground enjoying the sprinklers. Well, the girls have enjoyed them, while I've sat on various benches knitting up sleeves (conveniently small enough to fit in my purse). And in the afternoon during Penelope's naptime in the air conditioning, Isobel and I have watched movies, read books, and knit sweater bodies. I've been working on a Knitty submission and a pattern to be self-published once Jane Austen Knits comes out. Sadly, both are not ready for their close-ups (and Knitty gets upset if you show things pre-publication).

Night watch cap (summer version)
Guess who is ready for her close-up?
I've also worked a version of my Night Watch Cap pattern in Rowan Calmer that, hopefully, will make a good chemo cap for a friend's sister. Penelope modeled it for me at the aforementioned playground. That Calmer is an interesting yarn - very squishy and stretchy. Perfect for a chemo cap, since it's soft and machine-washable. Makes a great ribbed hat.

And Isobel has been working on a blanket and pillow set for her doll. Yes, she's finally gotten on the knitting train! Not quite obsessive yet, but definitely working on her knit stitch. I've outfitted her with a bag of Malabrigo leftovers. What? It's not like I'm piling my cashmere and KSH in her lap :)

So, we're off to Boston this weekend. Isobel will get to spend some time with my ex and some of his extended family. I will get to at least one North Shore beach and hit up the Fiber Revival on Saturday. And we may tour Fenway Park on Sunday morning - what else are you going to do when the Sox are on a road trip? There will also be a burger and shake taste-off at Mr. Bartley's (we'll compare to our Friday Family Date spot, Mel's Burger Bar).

I'm on the second sleeve of both sweaters so hope to finish at least one (if not both) of them before we go. I always like to start a new project when I hit the road - less anxiety about having nothing to do that way. I mean, what if I finished a project on the way UP there? What a disaster that would be!

21 July 2011

Pattern: Deckhand (Knitpicks version)

Isobel wearing her Deckhand

So, I've done my first project with Knitpicks' Independent Designers' Program (IDP), and a second version of Deckhand is the result. It has the same sizing range as the one in Avast No. 1 but is worked in Knitpicks' Comfy Worsted.

I enjoyed working with Knitpicks the company and have some more ideas brewing for future projects. Perhaps a Deckhand with some shaping for me?

And I really liked Comfy (75% Pima cotton, 25% Acrylic microfiber) - silky with a nice drape often missing from straight-up cotton, and it's machine-washable - so important for the small set.

You can find my KP IDP profile here, and the KP version of Deckhand here.

05 July 2011

eBook: Avast No. 1


Yo, ho ho and a ... new pattern booklet.

Now available on Ravelry and Etsy, my first pattern ebook! Avast No. 1 contains patterns with notes and charts (where necessary) for eight piratical knits suitable for summer (or any) time knitting.

Aphros - a laceweight shawl - one skein, one needle
Babe in the Mist - baby blanket that is pretty to look at and fun to work
Captain Austen's Scarf - seaweed scarf with hand-knotted fringe
Deckhand - child's boatneck sweater worked in cool and easy-care cotton
Mermaid's Mitts - pretty little bits of lace
Night Watch Cap - Turn of the Glass twisted ribs make a cozy hat
Walk the Plank - worsted weight socks worked from the toe up
Wench - linen pullover perfect for summer

Fibers like linen and cotton are great for summer knitting, as is laceweight wool. And if you don't want to give up worsted weight yarns, there are smaller accessory patterns so you don't end up with a pile of wool in your lap - I can't tell you how happy I was to finish my Austen Knits project at the end of May, just a things were starting to heat up here in New York.

I've done my best to describe things clearly, providing both charts and written out patterns where I can, and including lots of helpful notes in every pattern. If you can knit and purl, I am confident you can create any and all of these projects, and if you get stuck, I'm always available to help!

There are 24 pages for all eight patterns, letter size, and, as always, I've set things up so that you don't have to print the cover pages with all the "pretty" pictures, just the notes and pattern pages (sometimes the same page) to take with you in your project bag. There is a list of abbreviations at the beginning, but I've also included them in each pattern as needed, so you don't have to refer to the entire booklet. While the booklet is full-color, the patterns can be printed in black-and-white without losing any valuable information.

To be of even more help, I'm going to set up a Group on Ravelry to help with my 17 (seventeen? when did that happen?!) patterns, perhaps start a KAL or two, and generally get to know more knitters. I'll post the details once I know them and hope you'll join me.

Avast No. 1: eight patterns for piratical knitters
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