Category: Uncategorized

FO Friday: Breton Cowl

a white woman in an olive green and chartreuse striped cowl and a sky blue top stands facing the camera, seen from the waist up

Pattern: Breton Cowl by Antonia Shankland

Yarn: Shibui Knits Drift in Field and Shibui Knits Silk Cloud in Pollen

Needle: US9 (5.5mm)

Ravelry Link: here

Started: October 18, 2019

Completed: November 22, 2019

I am a stripes gal, they’re the pattern you see most in my wardrobe. When the lovely ladies at Mason-Dixon Knitting gave me a kit for the Breton Cowl and a copy of the Field Guide containing the pattern I was thrilled to knit some more stripes for my closet. They didn’t ask me to review the kit, this is just me proudly blogging my FOs 😌

white woman in an olive green and chartreuse striped cowl and a sky blue top stands with her head turned to the side

Not only does this pattern contain stripes, it contains my other knitting love – garter stitch. I really love the contrast of the squishy garter background and the stripes in a different fiber and texture. It gives a bit of visual interest to the cowl and makes it the perfect thing to throw on with a simple top.

Do you have go tos that are hard for you to resist in a pattern? I’d love to hear about them below!

Rhinebeck Recap 2019

a sheep tilting its head at the camera

Another year, another New York Sheep and Wool Festival (aka Rhinebeck) in the books. I love my annual opportunity to spend a few minutes in person with people that I usually communicate with online. It is also fun to be surrounded by people who love making as much as I do – it is a place where you can stare at someone’s sweater and they understand it comes from admiration. Being among your people is deeply comforting.

a flat lay of books, jerky, a tote bag, lotion, a spray bottle, a needle, washi tape, and two necklaces

As always, I enjoy the shopping opportunities that Rhinebeck provides. This year I brought home:

  • jerky for my husband
  • When Your Elephant Has the Sniffles for my daughter
  • two necklaces from Jennie the Potter
  • Vanishing Fleece by Clara Parkes
  • Knitting Outside the Box: Drape and Fold by Bristol Ivy
  • rose face spray
  • washi tape
  • a nålebinding needle
  • my favorite lanolin lotion from Long Island Livestock Co
  • a mud-dyed tote bag(!!)
  • Making a Life by Melanie Falick

The tote bag and rose spray and needle were from my swap partner, as part of our house swap. We draw names on the first night and give a gift to our partner on the last night. She totally nailed my color palette and my favorite scent.

close up of two silver necklaces

The Jennie the Potter necklaces are particularly special. I bought one of these for myself 5 years ago and have worn it nearly everyday since. Whenever I go out of town I leave it with my daughter, so she can feel close to mom when she is far away. This year on the first night of Rhinebeck I got a panicked phone call that my daughter had lost the charm – she kept sobbing how sorry she was. It was so sad that this object I meant to bring her comfort instead stressed her out, and I was really thrilled to see that Jennie had them in stock this year. I got two so my daughter and I can each have our own. And amazingly, on Sunday night she managed to find the missing charm, so now we have three of them. Plenty to make sure anyone who wants one has one.

the head and back of a sheep with black wool

It was another wonderful year at Rhinebeck, and I look forward to attending next year.

Jeans!!

Blond woman wears shirt that says Ableism Is Trash and blue skinny jeans.

Pattern: Ginger Jeans by Closet Case Patterns

Fabric: Tencel denim from Cone Mills

Size: 14

Started: June 28, 2019

Completed: June 30, 2019

Blond woman half turned with her behind facing the camera. A redhead motions towards her behind.

Last weekend I was lucky enough to go to Fancy Tiger Crafts in Denver to take a jeans retreat with Lauren Taylor, aka Lladybird. These jeans are now my favorite item of clothing and I wish that I could wear them every single day. They’re so comfortable and it feels so dang cool to know that I made them.

A pair of jeans laying on a railing showing off lightning bolt stitching on the back pocket

The retreat took place over 2.5 days. Lauren, the instructor, came prepared with samples of the jeans in every size in the pattern, so the first task was to try them on and figure out the right size for me to make. I fit the straight 14s really well and my denim was similar in stretchiness, so I decided to make them as is. Some of my classmates got notes from Lauren about fit adjustments they’d want to make as they went on, so we’d each come out with a pair that works for us.

The front of a pair of jeans, showing a lightning bolt shaped bar tack.

As you can see, I had fun adding lightning bolt detailing to my jeans. I added some decorative stitching to my back pockets, and then echoed that in one of my bar tacks on the front of my jeans. There is a lot of room for fun little detailing like that on jeans, which I had not appreciated beforehand. I didn’t go in with a plan beyond the back pockets, but it turned out that my top-stitching thread didn’t make nice bar tacks so I used some other thread in the studio and that led to some little touches. I enjoyed it happening organically and plan to approach my next pair the same way and let inspiration strike while I sew.

The inside of a pair of jeans showing the pocket fabric.

While I fit a straight size well I did make a few adjustments to the pattern. Once my legs were stitched together I lopped 2″ off the bottom. I ended up hemming them at that length even though they’re still long enough to cuff 2″ because I expect them to shrink in length with subsequent washes. I also adjusted the shape of the lower legs. I think because I didn’t remove length at the lengthen/shorten line the calves of my jeans were much looser than the rest. I removed ease from the knee down to make the fit the same along my leg. Next time I’d like to remove my length from higher and see if that helps. Finally, I made pocket bags rather than pocket stays to accommodate the extra space I like to have around a medical device I wear on my stomach.

Now that I have sewn jeans once with an instructor I feel like I could definitely do them again on my own. I look forward to my next pair! Have you ever sewn jeans? How was your experience?

Rhinebeck Recap 2018

Rhinebeck, the knitter’s shorthand for the NY State Sheep & Wool Festival, is one of my favorite weekends of the year. This was my 5th year going and it is nice to be a veteran – I felt no urgency to see everything, and knew that however I spent my time I would see beautiful things. First up I will share the classic Rhinebeck blog post content – my haul.

I brought home (the big stuff):

  • Here, the new book of designs from Jill Draper (all in her new yarn, Kingston)

  • Amy Herzog’s Ultimate Sweater Book because I love her and I love this kind of book

  • The Secret Lives of Color – I was sold when I saw that the edge of each page is the color it is discussing!

  • Mending Matters – A must for any slow fashion enthusiast’s library

  • When Your Lion Needs A Bath – the author wrote the nicest inscription for my daughter ❤

  • 4 skeins of Jill Draper’s Kingston yarn

  • 1 skein of a new Lornas Laces yarn

  • a tub of Long Island Livestock Co Body Butter – I’m having some chemo side effects in my fingers and lanolin-rich moisturizers are supposed to help

  • a much better faux pom pom than the one I brought with me

Seriously, check out this pom pom glow up!

And here’s a close-up of the little stuff:

  • a pen topped with a llama with googly eyes, a present for my daughter

  • a tiny pair of scissors that I plan to keep in my purse

  • a pain of earrings from Jennie the Potter

  • a tube of 9 different embroidery needles

  • 3 enamel pins from Shelli Can – the outer 2 were from her Rhinebeck set and the middle one is for Pom Pom (and happens to be holographic!)

While I clearly enjoy the shopping, that’s not my favorite part of Rhinebeck. The weekend is so special to me because it is a chance to connect with the fiber arts community. The Ravelry meet up on Saturday is the biggest one I can remember for a long time, and it was one where different groups mingled on the hill. It felt like we all were ready for some connection.

The other thing I really enjoyed this weekend was the chance to speak with some of the business owners there – farmers and dyers and shop owners and designers and editors – and celebrate their niches in the industry and their successes. It delights me to see their ideas come to life and supporting them.

As always, I’m already looking forward to next year’s Rhinebeck.

What I Keep In My Knitting Bag

Over 10 years of knitting, I have tried a lot of knitting bags and notions. I’m really loving my current set up, so I thought I’d share what I make sure I don’t head to knit night without.

Bag

For my project bags I’m a big fan of the Fringe Field Bag. It is a good size for a project, has a handy carrying handle, and a perfect set of pockets. On one side is a pocket the length of the bag, and here I keep my swatches and the printed pattern. On the other size are a series of smaller pockets where I keep my needles and the rest of my notions. (Full disclosure: I received the toffee one as a gift to the Ravelry staff from Fringe.)

Scissors

You can never have too many tiny scissors.

Row Counter

My favorite of these is from Cocoknits. I think it’s the prettiest one out there. I also like that it has a lock so that when my 6yo gets a hold of one she can’t mess up my count.

Measuring Tape

I like a retractable measuring tape best. And if you can get it in the form of a cute animal why wouldn’t you?

Stitch Markers

I prefer different types for different projects, so I try to keep a variety in each bag. My all-time favorites are Crystaletts. They’re a locking marker with a tiny crystal at the bottom. I like that they’re low profile, but add a bit of sparkle. I often use them to color code my knitting – paired decreases getting the same color, for example.

Scrap Yarn

I don’t think there’s a better stitch holder than scrap yarn. I make sure there are a bunch of pieces of different lengths in every project bag – for underarm stitches, for a sleeve, or for the entire piece so I can try it on in progress.

Tapestry Needles

Like tiny scissors, you can never have too many of these stashed around. I’m not fancy here, plain straight ones are fine by me.

Writing Tool

In most of my bags I keep a pencil. One is lucky enough to have a tiny container of colored pencils I found at a LYS in San Diego. They’re so handy to have on hand, I hope I run across more some day. The only downside is I have no idea how I will ever sharpen them.

And that’s your tour of my knitting bag. Did I leave out a notion you think is essential to yours? Introduce you to anything new? Let me know.

Rhinebeck Recap 2017

Visiting the NY Sheep and Wool festival in Rhinebeck, NY is one of the highlights of my year, without fail. This year was no exception. In the midst of a tough year, it was so wonderful to be surrounded by friends and taken care of.

My favorite thing I saw at the festival was this map, where festival go-ers could mark where they are from and how long they have been attending with a pin. I put my white pin in Austin and was happy to see I’m not the only one. Around the edge of the cork board international visitors left notes with where they were visiting from. I saw Scotland, the Netherlands, Israel and Saudi Arabia!

Here’s what came home with me this year from the festival. Top row: a skein of DK Matter as a gift from the ever generous Indigodragonfly, a country ladle from the spoon man, a copy of Clara Parkes’ A Stash of One’s Own, a gnome needle felting kit for my daughter and I to do together from Going Gnome, and a skein of Green Mountain Spinnery sock weight in a very Christina color from my lovely house swap partner, Jessica. Bottom row: a bundle of Windham mini-skeins from Jill Draper Makes Stuff, Bristol Ivy’s Knitting Outside the Box, and Hannah Thiessen’s Slow Knitting.

Thanks for the warm welcome, Rhinebeck! Until next year! I’d love to hear about your favorite part of the festival, or what you hope to see there someday.

Renewal

Renewal

Hello.

It’s been a while.

I needed some renewal this summer and was fortunate enough to be able to get it. I took time off from work, relinquished all obligations outside of myself and my nuclear family, and gave myself permission to rest.

I slept. I made a new friend. I read. I didn’t make much. I did a lot of crossword puzzles.

And now I am ready for the pendulum to swing back towards action. To execute the projects I have been dreaming of. To expand my energies outwards. To share and connect.

I’ll be back to my weekly posting schedule. The plan is to continue with a crafty read and a throwback Thursday post each month, and throw in FO posts around that. If there’s something you want to see more or less of, please let me know. I’d also love to hear what you’ve been up to this summer!

#yarnlovechallenge

Lately I have been trying to find ways to sustain myself, and naturally the first place I want to turn is yarn. To me, yarn is comfort and community, solace and strength, entertainment and engine. So, my friend Mary Heather and I came up with the idea of the #yarnlovechallenge – a yarn-related daily photo challenge. We want to bring beauty into the world right now, and continue to connect with our fellow yarn lovers.

The challenge will take place during February – each day take a picture based on the prompt and post it on Instagram with the hashtag #yarnlovechallenge. You don’t have to have yarn in every picture, but it’s definitely the theme of the challenge so we hope to see lots of it! Here’s the schedule.

I hope you’ll join us when you need a boost, and invite your friends who might need one, too. You can find us on Instagram – as @oharethey, @maryheatherb, and @yarnlovechallenge. If you’re not on Instagram and still want to participate, you can join us in our Ravelry group, too.

Rhinebeck Recap 2016

This was a Rhinebeck of miracles. I lost 10% of my lung in a surgery two weeks earlier, but I was medically cleared and felt up to the trip. Our rental house that we have stayed at for 6 years was double booked and we managed to find other accommodations for 16 people on Friday afternoon. It felt amazing that we all managed to be together for a moment, stepping away from the stresses of everyday life.

One of my favorite parts of the weekend is my ritual of getting up early to walk our property alone. It’s a quiet moment to savor the chill in the air and the leaves on the trees. I was lucky enough to gaze across a misty pond to watch a family of deer scamper across a frost-covered field.

And another picture of the terrain, because I think that during the third weekend in October few places in the world are as beautiful as the Hudson Valley.

My time at the festival was mostly spent catching up with friends. For a long time I felt like a hanger-on of my coworkers friends, but this year it was clear that I have earned my own relationships with this community. It was a gift to be part of so many hugs with whispers of, “I am so glad you are here. I am so happy to see you.”

I did not spend very much time shopping but clearly I was efficient. The top row has my new copies of Comfort and Joy by Melynda Bernardi (gorgeous Christmas stocking patterns!) and the Winter 2016 issue of Pom Pom Quarterly. Next to those is an incredible skein of Rifton from Jill Draper Makes Stuff, a skein of Chamelon Sock from Indigodragonfly, and a skein of 3 ply sport weight cashmere from Springtide Farms. I plan to turn the cashmere into a cowl for my mother-in-law, and am still plotting what to do with the other yarn. The middle row has my gift for my daughter – a picture book called Brave Little Finn. My husband got his annual present from Chester T Basil. A little bit more yarn made it home with me – 2 skeins of Rifton Mono from Jill Draper Makes Stuff to coordinate with the megaskein of Rifton, and a skein of Ewe & Me Merinos 2 ply bulky. I got a skein of the bulky yarn last year for a pair of Cadeautjes and this year’s skein is to make a pair for my daughter. The bottom row has a beautiful paper card I got from my house swap partner, Sarah, the little pink heart from Melissa Jean is a necklace and the other half of my gorgeous present. The necklace is on my new handwoven dishtowel. I have wanted one for years and finally went for it! I also got myself a panflute. I attend a Music Together class with my daughter and the theme this semester is flute, so I plan to attend with my own instrument to jam on. Finally, my riches from the book tent – a signed copy of Yarnitecture by Jillian Moreno, and a copy of On the Loom by Maryanne Moodie. You’ll definitely hear more about those books in future months of crafty reads.

And that’s a wrap on Rhinebeck 2016. It was such a restorative weekend, even though I came home physically exhausted. Before I left I made this pie chart of what I was excited about for the festival, and I think it’s an accurate reflection of my trip.

Office/Studio Tour

Office/Studio Tour

I moved into my house when I was 30 weeks pregnant, during the hottest summer on record in my city. It was miserable, and then I too was busy being pregnant or sleep deprived for the next two years to have any energy leftover for decorating. Since then I have been slowly going room by room updating the furnishings and decor to fit us perfectly. My office does triple duty, also housing the family craft supplies and serving as our guest room. I went all-in with a knitting theme, and today I’m going to give you a little tour.

First up is my desk. I love how gigantic it is – it’s where I set up my sewing machine, spread out notes, work alongside my daughter. It’s also an electric sit-stand desk – I can push those little buttons to raise and lower it. Behind it is my favorite part of the entire office, my stockinette wall. I bought this stencil from The Stencil Studio and my husband and I were able to knock it out in an evening.

Next to my desk I keep typical productivity tools – a calendar, a whiteboard – along side some inspiring art and my color blending study I shared with you earlier this year. My cork board is custom – I stapled some canvas fabric over some pieces of cork to get something pretty for a display that’s easy to change out.

Last year when I was going through my first round of cancer treatment, my wonderful friend and coworker Mary Heather sent me those tiny pills you see on my cork board, each one filled with a different little message for me. I like to keep them just behind me while I work, letting that positive energy quite literally back me up every day.

These cubes contain my favorite treasures for display. Some of these displays are unchanged since I put up the cubes and some change monthly. I think we all have long-time sources of pride and current obsessions and I love that this set up allows me to highlight both.

I keep my crafty library over here, as well as mementos from special trips. The beautiful wooden bowl is from Fringe Supply Co and holds some yarn I can’t stand to tuck away in my closet. And the crocheted cacti? My sister made those for me!

You get a glimpse of our “guest bed” – a pull out couch next to the most useful thing in my office. This storage unit contains my sewing notions up top, craft supplies my daughter is allowed to use unsupervised at the bottom where she can reach them, and in the middle are my projects in-process. When the drawers are full I can’t start any new projects. It’s nice to have a place to leave WIPs of all kinds that allows me to follow my heart a little bit and explore different things, but not get lost in the chaos of half-finished ideas. The closet to the right isn’t pretty inside, but houses just about every medium you could imagine if you want to make something.

Finally, a few more pretty things to look at while I work. That dropcloth sampler was my first embroidery project and it’s great to have it hanging up making my office feel cozy.

And that’s it! I hope you enjoyed a little peek into where I spend most of my days. It’s always going to be a work in progress, which I think is pretty perfect for a crafty studio. I love the current iteration and look forward to seeing it continue to fill with hand made creations. Do you have any of your favorite projects displayed in special places in your home? Tell me about it below!