Sunday, January 27, 2013


I don't know about you, but I'm really feeling like a champ.

This week I started (and finished! Oh yes!) two different knitting projects.

Last time I posted, I had yarn picked out, but no project to go with it. Well, I ended up making a Purl Ridge Scarf by Stephen West. This was a good mindless project, and I actually got a lot done during knitting group. Sometimes, when I go to knitting group, I'm more chatty than knitty. However, with this project I was able to be both. I'm not like some of those awesome knitters who can knit and read at the same time (yet, ahem), but I'm now able to focus on a conversation while knitting. It used to be that I'd only catch every fourth or fifth word. "Salsa." "Ribs." "Hospital." "Marvelous." Okay, back to the main road folks. Anywho, I used almost all of the three skeins of tweed for this scarf, and didn't make many personal modifications to the pattern. If you like to see this project on ravelry, click this link please. Here's a pic below that shows the texture of the scarf, and it's the best I have right now. Once it's dry, I'll probably instagram or tweet a pic or two because I'll need to wear it. Did you know we got a few more inches of snow??

Well, I ended up finishing another Stephen West project just yesterday. The Drawbridge Cowl was a super easy knit, for reals. With the exception of the cast on, bind off, and 4 other rows, this thing is entirely stockinette in the round. Hello there, easy peasy... This was the first time that I've used a provisional cast on and it really wasn't that bad. A provisional cast on is when you cast on without an edge, so you have live stitches to pick up later. It was a little scary, but once I got into the knitting, not bad at all. I have an amazing book called Cast On Bind Off by Leslie Ann Bestor and it's proven (time and time again) to be a wonderful resource.

Okay, I'm really all over the map today. For the cowl, I used (from my stash, folks) Knit Picks Shine Worsted. KP Shine is a combination of Cotton and Modal (which Knit Picks calls beech wood and google calls rayon) and it was not bad to work with, for a cotton-based yarn. Cotton-based yarns aren't my favorite, as they don't usually have the spring that a natural wool has. That being said, I enjoyed this cotton yarn more than any others I've tried. If you'd like the deets, here's my Drawbridge project page on ravelry. I have 4 more balls of it in my stash in a nice grey color (I think it's "wallaby") and I wouldn't be surprised if they turn into a Purl Ridge Scarf for James...

Here's a couple pics of the cowl; one a little boring, and one where James was channeling Hodel (or maybe Chava) from Fiddler.

Oy vey.

I think it's been a post or two since I've updated you on it, but in case you were wondering... I only have 18 YARNS IN MY STASH!! I can't believe it's under 20. My original goal was to get the stash under 30 by the end of February and I have really surprised myself. I think the blog is keeping me honest and motivated, so that's a plus. Although, come the end of February, we'll probably be looking at a post (or two, eek!) that says "look at all the yarn I just got at Stitches West!"

Okay, I'm going to stop typing now. I think I've just disturbed someone during their first mid-morning nap.

Sorry, Ringo.

Monday, January 21, 2013


My mother is always right.

On Saturday, I knit a hat, among other things. It just sort of happened. Now, don't go thinking I'm a hero. It was bulky yarn on US 10 needles and entirely in ribbing, but it did help with my stash down (25!). However, my excitement with finishing an entire project in a matter of hours was short-lived. Let me tell you why, folks. My mother told me when I was a little kid that I had a big head. I had a strange surplus of self-confidence when I was a kid and I think she was just trying to bring me back down to earth. Sadly, she's had my number all along. The name of this pattern... "Gargantuan Melon." As if that's not bad enough, the thing fits me perfectly. Well, she was right again. Ten points for mom.

Raveled here.

In other knitting news, I'm finally done with my Windward, and I think it's going to be great. The shaping of this scarf is like nothing else I've ever seen. It took me quite a while to pin out, but that's okay. I'm not worried. I love the process. Here's a little pic below (that really isn't that great, but I block knitwear in the guest room, so there) and it's raveled right over here. It's a little crazy, but so am I. Okay, maybe I'm a tad bit more than a little crazy.

I'm not sure what my next project will be, but I'm feeling something cowl-ish, or scarf-ish, so we'll see. Whatever the project might be, I've already chosen the yarn from my stash. After two big projects with sock yarn, I really need to knit something in a worsted weight. I have 3 little skeins of Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Tweed in Garnet Heather and that's what I'll be knitting. It's a warm, rustic red. I've used this yarn before, and it's a delight. So, here's a shot of the yarn below, and by the time I post again it should be an FO. I mean, honestly, it's only 330 yards. How long could anything take, really?

Oh yes, and ONE MONTH from today, I'll be at STITCHES WEST! Ergo... One month from today will be the first time I'll be shopping for yarn in a very long time. Since November 10, 2012, to be quite exact. Hooray!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


I do love a good road trip.

Especially when it means I get to knit... a bunch.

We went to the other side of the state this past weekend to visit my husband's family. James is from a teeny little hamlet of a town called Tower City, PA. The population (I'm pretty sure) is still less than 2000 folks, and there isn't a traffic signal in sight. He grew up with his entire family within walking distance of his house, and most of them have remained there. I've been to Tower City many times before, and we've always had a great time.

The drive is about 5 hours each way and I checked out the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows audio book to keep things magical. I love Harry Potter. Probably too much. I wish I was a wizard. At the very least, I'd like to be able to knit like Molly Weasley. She's fierce.

The jewel of Tower City, the gem of Tower City, the apple of Tower City's eye is a little restaurant that we always visit... Nino's. Now, I've had my share of pizza growing up. To be quite plain, I've probably had your share of pizza as well. Ahem. Like Joey Tribbiani, I LOVE pizza and sandwiches. My appetite is probably my most masculine feature (he sheepishly admits with a mouthful of cheese). Well, Nino's has the best pizza I've ever had outside of New York. It's not fancy, it's not expensive, and it's the best pizza (and sandwich) I've ever had. James introduced me to the Chicken Finger Sub many years ago, and I'm certain I haven't thanked him enough. Such a simple concept (chicken, lettuce, tomato), but at Nino's it's all in the execution. The bread and pizza dough are made fresh in-house daily, as is the sauce and everything else there. If you ever find yourself in Schuylkill County, PA you would do well to remember Nino's New York Style Pizza.

As if by divine intervention, we arrived home today right after I knit the last stitch of the last row of my 22.5 Degrees shawl. All that was left was the bind-off. After a wishy-washy exchange with myself (inside my head, for the most part) I decided to bind-off tonight and be done with it. This was the first time that I've ever use Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off and it was fantastic. Usually on a shawl bind off, I go up a needle size or two, but I didn't have to with this technique. That was convenient, as I didn't really feel like digging through my needles. I washed and blocked it, and now all I have to do is wait for it to dry. Ungh. I love the shape of this piece, and I can't wait to wear it. Hurry up and dry already!

In other news, I have a little stash enhancement to share... I know I've been making proclamations about not buying any yarn until a certain west coast fiber extravaganza, and you'll be happy to know that I'm still a man of my word. Leslie and Laura, the hosts of a fabulous knitting video cast, The Knit Girllls, were having a contest in December 2012 (Deep Stash Dive December) and my entry was the Fitful Head hat. When the prizes were drawn, my name came up!! Hooray!! I won a skein of Friday Studios Self Striping Sock Yarn (all the way from Sweden, y'all!) in the Monday Base (75% Wool/25% Nylon) in the colorway "Under the Sea." Have I mentioned that my favorite Disney movie of all time is The Little Mermaid?? It was fate. Kismet, really. Here's a quick pic so you can see the blues, teals, purples and pinks of this amazing yarn.

That's really all I have for now. Well, I did watch the Golden Globes (LOVED IT!) and was not surprised at all when Anne Hathaway took home the award for Actress in a Supporting Role for Les Miserables. Not. Surprised. At. All.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


What are you knitting?

While I was at knitting group tonight, I started thinking about knitting in public.

I'm no stranger to knitting in public. In fact, there's not many places that I haven't (or wouldn't) knit. I don't knit at the office, I don't knit at the movies (yet), and I don't knit in traffic (I don't think it will ever come to this). I do knit in airports and on airplanes, at coffee shops, by the pool, and certainly when I'm in any sort of waiting room. I have been approached many times about my knitting, and it's always been a pleasant experience. Those who know me personally will already know that I have no problem (at all) talking about myself... Hence this blog. So it's no surprise that, when asked about my knitting, I open up as easily as a pleated plastic bag.

When I knit on airplanes, I'm almost always in the company of another knitter (or crocheter, or hooker, ahem) whether they're seated near me or not. I've even had certain projects identified by the pattern and designer. As in, "Are you knitting the Noro scarf?" or "Is that a hitchhiker?" On one notably pleasant flight, one of the flight attendants was a fellow knitter and she stopped by several times over the course of a flight from Florida to Pennsylvania, just to check up on my progress. I admittedly love to knit, but on these occasions it's felt especially good to be a knitter.

I have found the knitting community to be warm, welcoming, and instantly comfortable; much like your favorite winter scarf, or a handmade afghan that's been handed down from generation to generation. Any time I stop into a local yarn shop**, the employees and patrons alike are always happy to talk to another yarn enthusiast.

That's all for today, really. After reading this, I guess I was feeling a bit smooshy today. Eh, it was probably the weather...

Oh wait, maybe that's not really all. Here's a quick WIP update... My 22.5 Degrees shawl (designed by Martina Behm) is coming along nicely. James and I have 10 hours of car time coming up this weekend, so hopefully I'll get that finished. Well, maybe. I've also just reached the halfway point on the Windward scarf (designed by Heidi Kirrmaier) and I'm really loving this pattern, as well as the colors. Can I be honest? I was originally going to use Bordeaux for the color block, but instead used Coast Grey. Because my husband said so. It was his idea, y'all... And I like it better... He knows me so well.

**Speaking of local yarn shops, here in Pittsburgh my very favorite shop is Natural Stitches. And... they have a blog, too!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Okay... Back to reality... For now.

The holidays were wonderful, and still not completely over for us. I know that the calendar says Christmas has passed, but we are going to see some relatives in a couple weeks so we're prolonging the magic. Well... except we'll be taking the Christmas decorations down. If the decorations stay up too long after New Year's I get a bit twitchy. And cranky.

In all honesty, I haven't knit a single stitch in 3 days. James' sister and her husband, along with our niece and nephew were at our house for an extended weekend. They just left this morning and are now back in Florida. Boo. We had a great time with lots of shopping, cooking, laughing and a couple movies. We always have the best time together. Speaking of the cooking, James and Kristy (his sister) made a few recipes from the new Ina Garten cookbook, Foolproof - Recipes You Can Trust. They surprised us with Amelia's Jambalaya and Straw & Hay with Gorgonzola. Mmm... Gorgonzola. Sadly, I don't have any pictures (gobble gobble), but they both looked amazing and tasted even better! If you're a Barefoot Contessa fan, and you haven't yet, grab this book. It's wonderful. Before our guests arrived, I baked the Chocolate Chunk Blondies from the same recipe collection. I did make a small adjustment, though. My nephew has a nut allergy, so instead of walnuts I used (drum roll, please) more chocolate. Sue me.

Today I thought to myself, "It's a new year... I should start a new project." My lovely mother gifted me a few patterns on ravelry for Christmas and it just so happens that my friends Aimee and Darren of the Knitting in Circles Podcast are hosting a Gifted Pattern KAL (Knit-A-Long) in their ravelry group. I've started the Windward Scarf by Heidi Kirrmaier and I'm enjoying the pattern so far. It's an asymmetrical scarf that uses a combination of simple stitch patterns and unique construction, that I think I'll enjoy. And let me just say, this pattern is very well-written. I love it when patterns are easy to read. I'm using two different colors of Knit Picks Gloss since I happened to have them on hand. As you may have heard, I'm still trying to stash down before I head to Stitches West next month. Here's my public project page, and a quick pick of the small amount of progress I've made so far...

Oh yes, and as of today, my yarn stash on ravelry is down to 26!!

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