Tuesday, September 18, 2018

I’m so happy festival season is here.  Doc and I went down to Hemlock on Saturday for the Finger Lakes Fiber Festival, and I swear I could hardly sleep the night before.  I woke up really early.  I was a kid at Christmas.  I feel so understood at a fiber festival.  If you say “Threipmuir” or “Hebridean” or “nostepinne”, you get smiles and knowing nods.  There is such a sense of community there.  People admire what you’re wearing, even if it’s just a Johnny Cash t-shirt from Target.   I want a fiber festival every single weekend all year, and I will be putting all my less-important organs for sale on Craigslist in order to fund the ensuing purchases.  And Doc, who wore his kilt and looked fierce, as usual, and who carried my new fleece [it’s a Shetland!  It’s gray!  I don’t need any more fleeces, but I can’t help it!] on his back looking again like a creepy Santa, did not complain one breath about the heat, nor about the powerful sheepy smell coming from his cargo, nor about anything else, either.  He’s the very best fiber festival companion, and actually in all other things, too.  Up next is Rhinebeck, and my sweater for that (Next Year In Lerwick by Tori Seierstad) is clipping along at a terrific rate, what with me being obsessed by it and everything.  Just as I’m sick of a motif, it’s time for a the breather of a couple plain rows and a color change, which just keeps me going.  I’m a little scared of all that colorwork on the sleeves, but it isn’t time to worry about those yet.  The body is coming out a bit long (row gauge is such a jerk) but I think I can live with it.

I bought my annual sweater’s quantity from the amazing Jill Draper, who never fails to remember me from last year and to make me feel like we’re friends.  She is kindly and warm, and the yarn is pretty perfect.  If you ever have a chance to use Jill’s yarn, you should do so without delay, but if you can buy it directly from her at a festival, you’ll have such a lovely interaction with her, and all that joy and good cheer will go right into your project.

She let me try on her sample for September House, a stranded colorwork yoke pullover designed by Kirsten Kapur, which is what I’ll be working on next.  It was a very cozy 82 degrees F, which didn’t keep me from loving that sweater, nor the yarn its made with.  Get on my needles, JDMS Valkill!  

I have a finished sweater here.  Sitting in front of me as I type this.  All its ends are woven in, and it is blocked and dry, and it is pretty much exactly what I hoped it would be, except:

More on this later.

Monday, September 10, 2018

And just like that, fall is here.  I’m feeling quite prepared this year, and am ready to do my best to love it, and if I can’t quite love it, to at least appreciate it.  I made an apple crisp (worth it already) and am wearing my Aamu turtleneck today for the first time, reveling in its wooly-ness.  It is pouring and gray outside, and I’m feeling very cozy, tucked indoors with the catdog and the warm fire.

We walked yesterday to the pond, and the sky, all churned up, looked full of doom and solid with rain.  This little pond and the meadow beside it, hidden in the orchard, pleases me in all seasons, and it looked still and serene on an early autumn day.  When I was growing up and reading Anne of Green Gables over and over again, I wished so hard for a place like that, a friendly and secret oasis in the woods where I could lie belly first on a rock and hang over the water, watching frogs paddle around in the cattails.  It sometimes is a muddy hike out to the pond, and sometimes the pond is frozen over and desolate, and sometimes there is a distant snowmobile or tractor or siren that shatters the stillness, but I am still very thankful for it.  Even in the darkest part of the year, the pond is there, alive underneath the ice.

Of course I’m always preparing for cold weather in at least one way—I am always knitting.  This week, during a trip home to visit my lovely mama, I finished the last sleeve of my Ola Yoke and spread it out to block on her floor.  I tried it on several times while it was still damp and just could hardly wait to sew in the ends and wear it.  Friends, the satisfaction levels on this finished sweater are pretty high.  I wanted to knit this design ever since I first saw it, but I was looking for a more muted palette, and I felt miserably unqualified to choose one.  I sort of thought it would have to wait until some future day when I could travel to Shetland, stand in front of the Great Wall of color at Jamieson and Smith and beg Ella herself to help me pick out colors, but then Ella saved me several thousand dollars by releasing a hat pattern with a motif similar to the Ola and in the most perfect palette of browns and dusky lilacs and muted periwinkles.  One of these colors is called “Leprechaun Tears”.  Seriously, it isn’t possible to love that any more than I do.  So I bought both patterns and kind of mushed them together, and then knit this sweater on US 2 needles, which, in case you didn’t know, is very small.  It was an epic knit, and I loved every stitch, and the finished garment feels so very worthy somehow.  This is a sweater for a lifetime, and then some.  It will be with me forever, I think.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Hello there!  I’ve been having the most luxurious days, just filled to the brim with sitting cross-legged in a comfy chair with a pile of knitting in my lap, one good page-turner after another propped up in front of me.  There’s been Netflix, and a pizza.  I made a blueberry pie.  You guys, this pie!  Okay, Imma teach you this pie, because you need to know.

Cozy Things’ Blueberry Pie of Dreams
(Serves 1.  I mean, 8)

Your favorite flaky pie crust, 9”, baked
(Mine is 1c + 2T flour, 1/2 t salt, 1/3 c coconut oil + 4 T cold water
3/4 c coconut sugar
3 T cornstarch
1/8 t salt
1/4 c water
4 c blueberries
Zest of one lemon
1 T lemon juice
8 oz cream cheese (we use vegan, this one is good)
1/4 coconut sugar

Bake the pie crust, and let it cool.  Add 3/4 c sugar, salt, cornstarch, and water to a saucepan and stir.  Add 2 c blueberries and lemon zest.  Cook on medium heat, stirring often, until it’s clear and very thick.  Stir in the lemon juice and remove from heat.  Let it cool.  Mix the cream cheese and 1/4 c sugar in a bowl until blended.  Spread in the cooled pie crust.  Add the remaining 2 c berries and press them gently into the cream cheese mixture.  Pour the cooled jammy berry mixture on top.  Chill and devour.

That pie is so good I can not stop thinking about it.  I hope you have an abundance of blueberries where you are.

There’s been a lot of knitting happening.  I finished my Albini cardigan (pattern here) and it is so light and lovely.  It was a lot of plain stockinette, which as you know is something I really love.  I used Holst Supersoft in “Slate Grey” which is beautiful and heathery, making dark gray look really kind of interesting.  I’m so in love with Supersoft right now.  The transformation it makes with washing just keeps me hanging on through the long miles of knitting at a relatively wee gauge; I can hardly wait to get the finished garment into the blocking bath.  It is so tremendously rewarding.

I’ve been at my spinning wheel all week, too.  My dear friend Debbie came over last Friday with a huge trash bag full of an unwashed fleece from her beloved flock of adopted orphans and I spent the next several days transforming that into clean, carded batts, all ready for the wheel.  Having that fleece lying around kind of lit a fire under me about the other unfinished fleeces I already had, so I buckled down and finished spinning the Romney/Blue-faced Leicester I bought two years ago at the Fiber Festival.  Speaking of gorgeous heathery gray, those finished skeins just make me want to cast on a comfy cardigan right now, something for the encroaching cooler weather, something for evenings beside the fire.  Something for apple-picking and cider-sipping and bonfires under the stars.

Monday, August 13, 2018

The air is steamy.  I drift along in it, feeling content.  Doc tells me he can tell how humid it is by the state and size of my hair, which at the moment is tall and fluffy.  He called me a humometer, which is accurate, and which made me laugh.  It is mighty sultry around here.  The fruits of summer are ripening all at once, and everything feels so abundant; the blackberries are as big as a baby’s fist.   We stop at every roadside stand, buying tomatoes from this guy, corn from that guy, peaches from everybody.  I can hardly eat them fast enough.  Sometimes I just throw it all in the blender together and drink it for breakfast, lunch and dinner; a tall, sweating, quart-size canning jar full of blended fruit, with a huge handful of spinach thrown in just to make me feel virtuous.

Inside the house, if you squint, everything looks orderly, but there is a slippery scrim of dog hair on every single surface, and the wet heat of the air has made my beautiful antique kitchen rug become unpleasantly fragrant.  I threw it onto the driveway yesterday and scrubbed it with hot water and soap, and then rinsed and rinsed and rinsed it until the suds stopped coming out, but I think it just got worse, because it reeks now like you wouldn’t believe and I can’t even stand to have it in the house.   It smells like a thousand bare feet and ten thousand snoring old dogs.  It smells like two hundred years’ worth of life, which is probably just about right.  More scrubbing needed, but now it looks like rain.

I want to show you my latest finished sweater.  This is “Lovable” designed by Sylvia McFadden, knit in some very lovable yarn.  The tag says “100% British Mixed Wools from Knockando Woolmill” in the natural Dark Grey color, yarn that was carded and spun on Victorian machinery in rural Scotland.  I know!!!  All those words are the best words ever!  I just want to run around in circles, leaping with joy.  This treasured yarn was given to me by my friend Erin, who carried it all the way from Edinburgh in her suitcase, and then, when destashing, thought of me. There will be more sweaters to come from Erin’s destash yarn, and I can hardly wait.  Lovable, indeed.  I wore it this morning, for awhile.  I’ve been hearing the geese on the move already, and I sense a change in the air.  Soon, the berries and peaches will be gone, and there will be apples and pears, and those are just as good.  It’s time to get out the wooly yarns, I think.

Monday, August 6, 2018

It is properly hot here—not out-of-bounds hot, the way it seems to be in Europe this summer, but just a regular hot summer, the way I remember summer, and the way I love it.  I point a big fan at my head and just read a book, quietly melting.  It’s not too hot for me to knit (it never is) but for reasons unrelated to the weather, the Cozy Things Sweater Knitting Machine is taking a brief hiatus.  I decided to sew something, because (see above: I like the heat) I apparently enjoy suffering and failure.  All my knitting projects are being confounding right now, and I seem to have backed myself into a situation where I have nothing to do except knit eight sleeves, and since that makes me want to scream a little bit, I picked out a really nice sewing pattern and some really questionable fabric and got to work.

Fabric.  You guys.  Okay, I’ve tried linen in the past, and I loved it, but despite all kinds of careful finishing and double-felled seams and neat topstitching, it fell completely to pieces in the wash and I am not having that, ya’ll.  Apart from linen and all the synthetic fabrics you could want, there isn’t anything left in the fabric store except quilting cottons and polar fleece printed in Dora the Explorer motifs.  Help!  Honestly.  I try buying fabric online, but it never looks or feels like I thought it would.  I don’t know what to do.

This fabric was a desperate move.  It is a very lightweight cotton, printed in India, perhaps using some kind of resist technique and indigo dyeing...okay, it is a curtain I bought at Home Goods.  I think it looks fine and it hangs nicely (because it’s a curtain) and the pattern was really good, with lots of interesting construction techniques that were fun to work on but not too hard (because, honestly, I have the sewing skills of an advanced toddler) and it fits and looks good.  But there’s still this problem:

It clings to everything.  Everything I sew clings to everything.  Am I just extra-staticky?  Sigh.  I will make another one of these in better fabric, once I figure out what that is.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Planning for the future

I have got the madness for colorwork right now.  Finally, finally, I feel somewhat adept at managing two colors—one in each hand—and while it’ll probably never be as fluid as knitting plain stockinette from my natural side, it feels like a big accomplishment to get comfortable with being a switch hitter.

This is my Aamu, designed by Isabell Kraemer.  Goodness, isn’t her style just so good?  It’s all just so wearable, and so comfy looking.  I can imagine having a whole wardrobe of handknits, just made from her designs, and being happy.  I knit this in Knit Picks Palette “Finley Heather”, which is a beautiful pearly gray, the very best color ever.  The yoke contrast colors—and I tried to replicate Isabell’s color choices—are a combination of yarns from my stash, in pale pink, burnt orange, yellow, and bittersweet. There’s some Holst Supersoft, some Elemental Affects, and some more Palette in there.  I have accumulated quite a stash of Palette.  You guys, that is such a nice yarn.

It occurs to me that I knit for the future, in all seasons.  Which means I can never wear what I’ve made right away.  I don’t know why I do this, but last winter I made so many 3/4 sleeve superwash fingering weight hardly-a-sweater sweaters, and now that it is properly hot in my neighborhood, I keep choosing the wooliest projects I can imagine.  A fine-gauge wool turtleneck is just the sort of thing I dearly love, to knit it right now, and to wear it when the leaves start to turn.  I’m starting to think about Rhinebeck now—what to wear?  I’ll have such a good time figuring that out!

Friday, July 27, 2018


I’m pretty pleased with this one.  It does make me very happy to be finding such a good use for my handspun, and I’m quite proud of having done so much of the work of this garment my own self.  I can’t take credit for the idea—that comes from Rachel from Spincycle Yarns, who wanted to use the charts from The Twigs by Junko Okamoto in a dk weight cardigan.  The Twigs has eleventy-seven charts, and Rachel did the hard work of figuring out where they would work in a larger gauge cardigan, and all I did was trail along behind her, doing the same thing.  You can see her project here, and listen to her talk about it briefly here.  I was, as I’ve said, completely absorbed by this project.  I worked it in the round, with six steek stitches at the front, and since most of these handspun yarns are mostly merino, it was a little dodgy—ends flying loose everywhere.  I spent a long evening with a sharp darning needle, weaving them in and then I secured all the raw edges underneath a ribbon at the inside.  It looks pretty tidy, and it feels somewhat secure.  Whew.

I just want to do more of this now.  I’ve revived an old work-in-progress, because it, too, is all over colorwork at a fairly large gauge, and whoo!  It’s so much fun.  This project was started maybe two years ago and then basically abandoned when I had to put it away to make room for something else, and you guys, that is a mistake.  If I put it away, it stops existing.  I don’t even count it as one of my works-in-progress.  It just goes completely away, except for the nagging feeling that I should be either working on it or unraveling it.  I thought a few times about unraveling this one, but every time I looked at it, I just really liked it again.  Inspiration for this one came from the one and only Kaffe Fassett, and I’m still inspired.  I am not putting this away anymore.  There is yarn all over the table, and it isn’t going anywhere until this cardigan is finished.  It’s a mess.  I’m motivated.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Songbird Mittens and Hawaii

So we went to Hawaii.  I know!  Waikiki Beach is as advertised—packed solid with surfers and tourists and little kids in water wings.  Frangipani blossoms drifted down from the trees and into my hair.  The coral sand was soft and slippery, like walking through sesame seeds.  I ate sushi and fresh pineapple and huge amounts of coconut ice cream, and Spam, and more sushi.  I found a pearl in an oyster.  The water of the tropical Pacific is clear and slightly bracing and it all felt so friendly and happy.  It was blissful.  I think if I were to stay there long enough, those scowl lines between my eyebrows that never disappear would disappear.

I didn’t even knit while I was there.  Who am I???  Honestly, I don’t really know how people do that anyway—the beach is a salty, windy, sticky, messy place.  It’s all I can do to keep my hat from flying away.  Knitting doesn’t really seem necessary there, or actually even all that possible.  Fortunately, getting to Hawaii and then home again involves two pretty long plane flights, which gave me a chance to make these mittens.  They were the perfect travel project—absorbing, but small.  It is 90 degrees F today and for once I don’t need any mittens, and I’m kinda missing those trade winds.  Also, I need a nap.  Hawaii is six time zones away and I can’t sleep when I’m supposed to and now my brain feels kind of soupy and fuddled.

Monday, July 9, 2018

There’s no way to explain this except to say I had The Fever.  I was cleaning behind the bookcase last week and letting knitting podcasts just auto play in the background, when, happening to look up for a moment, saw Kristy Glass asking one of the makers of Spincycle Yarns about the sweater she was wearing.  I thought about my stash of handspun yarn, none of which is enough of one color or fiber or ply angle or anything else to make a whole garment.  I love all these skeins, but I had started to feel guilty about having them in the cupboard, taking up space, when they were probably just destined to be a pile of lumpy hats nobody wanted.  I remembered this from last summer.  I put down my dust cloth, bought the pattern for The Twigs and started winding yarn.

The Fever got worse, because over the next few days, the weather suddenly went from summery to sultry and, undeterred—in fact, ecstatic—the garment grew into a sweltering lapful of knitting.  Let me just say that I don’t mind this one bit.  I sit in the shade, I aim a huge fan at my face, I keep a dripping glass of iced coffee nearby.  I am a summer baby, and it is never too hot for me to knit.  But I am aware that I will not be needing to wear this one for a long time.  It is knit at a gauge of 4 stitches per inch, in fairly densely spun wool.  It is heavy.  This garment is for the future; for a distant season that I hope does not arrive too early, and frankly I wouldn’t mind if it never got cold enough to wear this, but I know it will, and sooner than I’d like...anyway, as I knit and it was predictably lumpy and weird and the contrast colors veered in and out of matching the main color in value, I just kept shaking my head at myself and saying, well, I’ve got the fever.

Then, five rows and the button bands from the end, I ran out of yarn.  This, you may recall, is yarn I spun by hand, from a bump of roving that had been in my stash since the heyday of The Backstreet Boys, and there was no getting any more.  Since the whole point of the project had been to use some of the handspun, I was determined not to buy any yarn.  A little story for you:  when we were thirteen or so, my best friend and I got hungry in the middle of a sleepover, so late at night, we crept into her mom’s kitchen and baked a cake from a mix.  It wasn’t making a big enough mess, so we got out the food coloring and started dumping stuff in, and pretty soon, that cake was army green, with no going back.  It looked gruesome, and very un-foodlike.  We left it on the counter, turned our attention to oatmeal and honey facial treatments, and eventually went to sleep.  In the morning, we got up to find her dad standing over the pan, eating a huge piece of it with a fork, and smacking his lips like it was the best cake in the world.  As I was looking at the last bit of the hand-dyed, handspun yarn disappearing into the top of the yoke as I knit, I thought about that, and how easily we got bluish-greenish out of kitchen food coloring.  So I scrounged up some Cascade Ecological Wool, leftover from something else, rummaged in the back of the cupboard behind the candy sprinkles and started dumping stuff into the dyepot.  The result was close, but not quite.  It’s not perfect, but nothing about this poor thing is perfect in any way.  It is sort of motley and wobbly, and for the first time ever, I think my cut steek might collapse like a house of cards, and it still doesn’t have any buttons, but honestly, I truly love this sweater.  I’ll show it to you next time, all finished with buttons and everything, but it’ll be a long time drying, and a really long time before I can wear it.

Monday, July 2, 2018

I really can’t get enough of summer.  The cherry tree is bursting with fruit; the lower branches are almost hanging to the ground.  When you have to bend down a little bit to pick the sweet cherries that are growing right there in your own yard, you know your life is pretty nice.  I can eat cherries until my clothes don’t fit anymore, and there are still more than plenty to share.  The robins and the catbirds are onto them, too, and there’s a lot of fruit on the ground already, perfect cherries with one dainty bite missing.  I went out there barefoot the other day, bowl in hand, and stained my feet orange.  Adventures in natural dyeing, inadvertent edition.

Doc was surfing around on Craigslist awhile back, and said suddenly, “Is Tunis any good?”  I was imagining some kind of North African tagine dish possibly made with peanuts, so I said, “I don’t know, what’s in it?  Are we looking at restaurants?  I’m in, let’s go.”  “No,” he said, “Tunis fleece.  Sheep.”  Actually, I don’t know squat about fleeces, but I know I like yarn, which comes from wool, which comes from sheep, so I said “Ack!  Yes!  Good!”  And got in the car before he could change his mind.  So we came home with two [there were two, you can’t just leave things like that sitting there!] lambswool fleeces, which were creamy white, gorgeously crimpy and utterly packed full of thorns and hay.  I tried to imagine carding it all by hand and my courage failed me.  I tried to imagine stashing it in the upstairs closet and worrying about it later, and I knew it would keep me awake at night to do that.  I found these plans for building a drum carder at home, and Doc said he’d be thrilled to do that for me, but when the time came to start getting parts together, he made kind of a weary face, probably imagining many hours in the hot workshop hunting down variously-sized bolts while I reclined in the shade of the umbrella and he said, “Eh.  Let’s just buy one.”  It arrived the other day, and I carded one of the fleeces and even though my knuckles look like hamburger [don’t touch those teeth while the thing is turning, duh!  That hurts!] it was wonderfully fun, and now I have a bunch of fluffy batts, waiting to be spun.  I stacked them up on the table to admire them, and they looked like the world’s biggest cinnamon roll, ready for the oven.

Knowing that more yarn is headed into the stash soon [I’ll spin it soon!  Will too!] I decided to crack on with the my Wheat sweater, which I started back in March and then temporarily abandoned, and which had nothing left to make but the sleeves.  A sleeve takes no more than a few hours of knitting, but the idea of sleeves takes weeks of procrastination.   You knitters know what I’m talking about.  Sleeves!  Am I right?  These sleeves are all cabled, too, which added extra time to the putting-off, and just a little extra time to the knitting.  I made a few modifications to the hemline and edge treatments in order to suit my fancy and I knit this in Holst Supersoft, in the colorway “Nougat.”  I’m telling you, this thing is as light as a breath of air, and softer than you would believe.  It is like wearing nothing, but warm, too, and that palest pale gray color is everything I want.  That yarn.  Swoon.

Monday, June 18, 2018


It’s a terrific scorcher today.  The sky is white-hot, the sultry air is thick.  Suddenly-blossoming antique roses sprawl along the prickly hedge and the perfume from them suffuses easily and heavily into the kitchen window.  The lily buds are fat and ready, and the cherries are just the color of bittersweet now.  In a week I will start eating them in tart little handfuls, when they are not yet quite ripe.  I sit in front of the fan, beside the open window, and glow with sweat and contentment.  My happiest season is here.  The farmer mowed his meadow over the weekend, just as I was waxing all rhapsodic about it.  It looks like a kid who’s just given himself a haircut with a pocketknife, clumped with dead grass and brown patches.  This is the way of it in the country—things grow, things die, things grow again.  A farmer has no time to be sentimental about a wildflower meadow.

Obviously, I’m still knitting.  This is my newly-finished Relax pullover.  It is very relaxing, in every way, really.  So much plain knitting, and so easily worn.  It looks absurd without a person in it—enormous body, and teeny little doll sleeves—and I have no idea why it works so well, but it does.  Something about the shoulder shaping, I think, keeps it from being just a sad, droopy sack.  Anyway, it’s great.  I used Primrose Yarn Co. Sophia (a 3-ply fingering weight) in the [I’m pretty sure discontinued, ugh] colorway “Abyss”, and I alternated skeins to prevent the wildly vareigated patterning from pooling too much.  It is just about exactly the colors of all my favorite jeans in all the denim stages of fading.  It feels just right for summer.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Houll hat and the meadow

This meadow is near my house.  Years ago, it was planted in apple trees, and they were bent and ancient-looking, and stooped like old men, and had become more interested in making leaves than in making apples, so a few years ago, my farmer neighbor brought in a huge piece of equipment with a big claw on the front of it and took them out.  There was a sad bonfire, and the land looked demolished, and I was innocently devastated.  I’ve since learned that these old farmer neighbors know what they’re doing, and that in these parts, if there is a bare patch of earth, somebody will plant apple trees, so I know that one day, this meadow will be an apple orchard again.  Now, though,  it is fallow, and rich with long purple-tipped grass and wild daisies and clover, and the wind (there is always so much wind) ripples along it, making waves in the grass.  I can see a distant farmhouse and barn; someone else’s farmer neighbor.  Sometimes, when we walk along the roadside here, we see a hawk, lazily circling.  Killdeer make their nests, and when we walk by, nattering on about nothing and everything, they jabber loudly in a big ruckus and try to lure us away.

It is very easy for me to remember, as I walk down these quiet country roads full of raucous birdsongs and untouched wildflowers, holding Doc’s hand, that I have everything, everything, everything.

This hat is new:  it is the Houll hat by Ella Gordon, knit in a mix of yarns from my stash—there is some Rauma Finullgarn, some Holst Supersoft, some KnitPicks Palette, and one (the turquoise) fancy hand-dyed sock yarn from Stone Edge Fibers.  June has been cool enough to make a hat seem like a good idea, but it is almost summer, so, a mango pineapple popsicle seems like a good idea, too.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Threipmuir, in June

Well, June has just been a gorgeous month so far.  I have so many peonies in blossom now, and Doc remembered to tie them up, which I always forget to do, so instead of flopping around in the mud getting ruined before I’ve even seen them, they are proud and perfect this year, and so lush.  They look like party dresses.  Party dresses that are full of ants but smell like the breath of angels.  June, you are my favorite.

Festival season is here, and Doc and I went to the CNY Fiber Festival on Saturday.  Guys, I love a yarn festival more than I can say, and not even because of all the yarn and fiber, either.  Baby lambs, newborn sheepdog puppies, elderflower soda and kettle corn, and the Nicest People Anywhere.  Doc wore his kilt (and was much celebrated everywhere he went) and I wore my newest finished object; Threipmuir, designed by Ysolda.  This was knit from some of my New York City yarn haul (Jamieson’s of Shetland Spindrift in ‘cream’ and ‘dewdrop’ and in Le Petit Lambswool from Biches & Buches in ‘Vert Gris Moyen’ (Medium Gray Green).  These two-ply fingering weight wooly wool yarns are so wonderful to work with and to wear—gently fluffy, and light as a feather.   It is not too warm for handknits.  It hardly ever is.

Monday, June 4, 2018


We went home last weekend, to visit our families in Michigan.  My nephew graduated from high school, and his party was sort of a mini class reunion, and it made me so happy to see friends from a long time ago, to reminisce about the olden days with people who knew me when I was young.  One of my dad’s old friends told me the story he always tells me whenever I see him, and I love it so much; I’m going to tell it to you just the way Don always tells it.

“We were playing golf, and your dad hit one off the tee and it plopped straight into the sand trap.  We all went ‘Oh no!’  As he’s choosing a club I said, ‘What are you doing?  You can’t hit that out of there with a driver!’  Your dad said, ‘You don’t know much about the game, do you?’  He took a swing, and the ball sailed all the way over to the green where it hit the flag, flapped around in it for a minute, and then dropped straight into the hole.  It was the most beautiful golf shot I’ve ever witnessed in my life.”  Don shakes his head.  “An Eagle!”

Cue the cheering!  I have no idea what an Eagle is, but I don’t doubt for a minute that Dad bought a round in the clubhouse after that.   He’s been gone for seventeen years, and things like that, hearing a story that a man has kept alive all this time in his own memory keeps him with me.  I can see Dad now, as surprised as anybody, watching the ball drop in and doing a happy little dance in that moment of glory.  I’m so glad Don was there to see it, and to tell me about it all these years later.

More and still more sweaters are happening around here.  This is Cabeladabra by Hanna Maciejewska (pattern is here) knit in Spirit Trail Fiberworks Zalti, in the colorway “Hermitage”, an almost uncapturable mustard/olive/highlighter pen yellow combination that just calls to me.  This color is so irresistible.
Look at those gorgeous cables, in that glowing, golden yarn!  I really love how this one turned out.  It makes me want to do a little happy dance, too.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Rainy Day Socks

It’s drizzly here today.   I don’t mind these rainy, gloomy days, as long as they are interspersed with sunshine-y, blossomy, birdsong ones, and they are.  The fading pink petals of the crabapple tree against the moody sky are so beautiful.  They glow like a neon sign: This is Spring!  As long as it isn’t snowing anymore [please, no] I am willing to pull a wool sweater on over a fresh sunburn.   Yesterday was sort of a wash because I spent the whole of it maniacally focused on a project that has since failed and been ditched, but of course I —as I always do—learned a thing or two in the process, so it was okay.  The problem was [this again?] value and contrast.  I swear.  Anyway, knitting is fun, so I don’t mind.  So that was a long afternoon in the sunshine, getting a little bit fried because I didn’t realize how much time had passed and that one arm was not underneath the umbrella.  There’s one downside to taking a deep creative dive.   Also, Catdog, who spends 99% of her life inert and asleep, stood up and surprised me by bolting into the underbrush.   Friends, this dog lives to relax.  I have seen her watch a chipmunk run underneath her nose without even flickering an ear.  She had her annual burst of energy yesterday, though, and I chased her in my flip flops all over the neighborhood, dress flapping, through freshly-tilled gardens and behind other people’s garages, calling and cajoling and basically being ignored, and when I finally caught up with her, she was wild-eyed and covered in creek mud, and she looked like she’d discovered something brand new.   Wait, there’s more to life than napping?   She’s still a catdog, though, because five minutes of running flat out was her limit, and, freshly dried and sweet-smelling after a warm bath, she coiled up under her down comforter, with nothing but her nose peeking out, and fell soundly asleep, a little mouse in a feathered nest.

After all that, I’m a little glad it’s raining today.  It seems like a good day to wear a new pair of warm socks.  The pattern is here

Thursday, May 17, 2018


Here is another pullover, off my needles.  I know, it’s not gray!  Who even am I?   This is Anoushka, by Regina Moessmer (pattern is here) in Knit Picks Palette.  You guys, this yarn.  It is so nice!  Why haven’t I been using Palette for everything?  Palette is making all the tres fancy yarns in my stash a little bit nervous right now.  I used “Currant” and “Seraphim”  (which is really a light lilac, not white as it appears to be) and they worked so nicely together.  I worried about the fit of this one as I was working, and I even wet-blocked the yoke, and then the body, and had honestly almost decided that it was going to be too small, but in the end, once the collar and sleeves were on and it could hang properly, it fits wonderfully.  I’ve worn it three times already, because even though it is the middle of May, I am almost never warm enough and wool is life.  

In other news, this is what I got for Mother’s Day:

My beautiful boy has earned his Bachelor of Architecture.  He will imagine amazing things, and people will build them!  I can’t stop marveling at that.  I could not be happier or more proud.  As I am writing this, he and his girl are on a cross-country journey, following their dreams to have a life in The West.  Letting them grow up and go away is so hard, but I am also thrilled for them, too.  Adventure!  Friends in Denver, Colorado, please take good care of them.  That’s it, all my children are grown up now.  I’m not saying I’m getting ready to start dressing the catdog in human clothes and letting her sit at the kitchen table, but I do think she would look really cute in little jeans. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

New York City Birthday

I keep saying this, to anyone who will listen:  what I really want in this life is to go places.  As much as I love my little cozy house in the country and all the ways rural life manifests for me, I am not content to just sit in my patio chair shelling peas and wondering.  I want to go.  There’s a whole big world out there!  There’s so much to do, so much to be amazed by.  When I turned fifty last week, it didn’t go as planned, you guys.  I totally meant to celebrate my half-century of life in this world, and to embrace the beginning of the next phase, but instead I wallowed in self-pity and was, in general, a giant ugly pain.  And then I hated that I couldn’t, even at fifty, be a grown-up, which made me feel worse.  I have never yet learned to keep the emotional baggage of my birthday at bay, and I always spend most of the day near tears, for complicated reasons that honestly don’t have much to do with getting older.  I am thrilled to be getting older, in part because it means I am not as yet dead, but also because I feel more free to yell when I want to and when somebody needs it, and to care less about what my hair and backside look like, and because my children are grown, I have more time and resources to go places.  So when my birthday was finally over and I had cheered up a little, Doc and I got on a train for New York.  

A word about train travel.  I’m a little afraid that somebody will find out how wonderful it is to travel by train in the US and ruin it somehow by adding a bunch of annoying rules, but until that happens, I’m traveling that way whenever I can.  I could write long verses of love poetry about train travel—it is so uncomplicated, so civilized and gentle.  So comfortable.  It is patient and kind.  Liberate yourself from the airport security line and take the train.  

I love New York so much.  There is such an abundance of life there.  The theater lights glow golden in the twilight, the same color as the hurtling, honking taxis.  They are everywhere, but still, take the subway; it is so much more pleasant and I am not even joking.  It is clean and efficient, and everyone makes room for each other, and teenage girls get up and give their seats to grandmothers, and kids on their way home from school play rock-paper-scissors and read library books, and if someone bumps your foot, they apologize.  If you don’t know how to find your stop, someone will help you.  I just love it.

Central Park is ravishing.  It is in bloom right now, and filled on a warm weekend with children and dogs and musicians and people (like us) walking hand in hand.  We walked for miles, for hours, dragging up, finally in a sandwich shop on 43rd Street, and I sank gratefully into a chair, planning never to get up again.  

At the MoMA, we finally saw “The Starry Night”, which has its own guard, and a big crowd of people lined up and waiting to take a quick picture with their phones and then leave without even looking at the painting (Doc said, quietly, to me, “You know, they sell postcards of that in the gift shop...”). The Cy Twombly gallery was the one that really made me light up, though; that one up there is from his huge “Four Seasons” work.  They were so wonderful, and I am wildly inspired now.

Of course I bought yarn.  Armloads of it.  I could have bought armloads more.  Much more about that later.  

Until next time, NYC.  #heart