Friday, May 31, 2013


I am 31 today.

So, even though it's only been a few days since my last post, I thought I'd throw a few words out. Just because it's my birthday.

So far, 31 feels just as good as 30 did (yesterday). Ten years ago, there was a bit more excitement surrounding my birthday... There was also a bit more alcohol... While 21 may have been more obvious excitement, my enthusiasm still hasn't wavered. This year, I'm just excited about different things. My grandmother (or "Nan" as she's known around here) flew out here on Monday, and she's staying at my family's house (just down the road) for a few weeks. Growing up, I spent many weekends with my Nan, and we always had the best time. She's warm and kind, and a little wild. Also, she can crochet like the wind! These days we have just as much fun as we did then... We just sit down more.

Tonight we're going for dinner at a little Italian restaurant that my family has loved for the past 20 years; Vincent's. They've catered many parties for my family, and my father used to fly 2500 miles smelling like an entire field of garlic, so I could enjoy my favorite sausage and cheese bread when I lived in California. It's no surprise that I'm pretty serious about food. Mmmm....

What am I knitting on my birthday, you ask? Well, I'm working on my first second sock (that's right, the SECOND SOCK!) since the first first one is done, except for the kitchener. I've only grafted a few times before, and I'm still a little iffy, so I may ask for a little help at Natural Stitches tomorrow. As it turns out, I'm really loving sock knitting! My favorite part is the portability, and the different pattern components. Once you're bored with one section, you're on to the next! Here's a quick pic of my progress on sock two.

Speaking of socks, I'm using the Addi Turbo Sock Rockets to magic-loop this pair. If you haven't tried these needles yet, I would totally recommend it. So much so, that I wrote a review for the latest Natural Stitches Newsletter, which came out today! Check it out!

Okay, before I finish I do have something to confess... Last time I posted, I mentioned a new hat that was on my needles. Well, said hat is no longer on my needles. As it turns out, I wasn't compatible with the yarn. He just wasn't that into me. After a good bit of work, and a quick shot of bourbon, I frogged the entire hat the other day. This yarn just wasn't for me. Needless to say, I'll be looking for a good home for this yarn, as we are really not doing well together.

It's like Taylor Swift says...

PS - Check out the blue wallpaper in that video!

Monday, May 27, 2013


It's almost my birthday!

And speaking of holidays, it's also Madelinetosh May! Since I can never pass up a celebration, I had to knit with some Madelinetosh yarn (as if I ever really need an excuse). I decided on a hat that I've had queued for quite a while, Windschief by Stephen West. The pattern is actually for a hat or cowl, so you can have a set if you'd like. There's some twisted stitches, and a asymmetrical motif, which is no surprise considering the source. I used a hank of tosh DK in the gilded colorway. I know it doesn't really need to be said (but that's never stopped me before), but madelinetosh is the cat's pajamas. Here's a pic of James modeling the hat, and the other details are raveled here.

handsome devil
I'm also working on another hat, and my first sock! Golden Autumn is the hat that I'm knitting out of Rowan Felted Tweed DK, another pattern I've had for a while. Also, this is a rare case because I'm knitting the item in the yarn that the pattern actually suggests! I feel like such a good boy. We'll get to that once I'm done (it's still in the early stages).

Progress on the sock is going well. I've made my way to the foot! If you're keeping track, that means I've made it through the ribbing, leg, heel turn, and gusset! I'm trying to keep copious notes, so when I knit the mate, all I'll have to do is keep a row count. The pattern (right here if you're curious) is quite basic, because I didn't want to bite off more than I can chew. My goal is to have this sock finished by the end of the week, and cast on the partner next weekend. I've got more details on my ravelry project page, and I'll be working on this sock for a while today.

So, you guys know that I get a little stashy sometimes, and this next challenge is no exception. I'm participating in Stash Dash 2013, a yearly event hosted by Leslie and Laura of The Knit Girllls. The goal is to knit from stash for 73 days (05/24-08/05) and get through 4,375 yards of yarn. Any item you finish during this time can be counted. So far, I'm at 200 yards... Once I finish both of the projects I've got going right now, though, I'll be at around 1,000 yards. As long as I knit 60 yards each day (on average), I'll make it. This is a lofty goal, but I've never been afraid of a challenge...

Oh yeah, speaking of my birthday, I'm going to be 31 on Friday! That's right, 31 on the 31st. If James is reading this, I'd like a Natural Stitches gift card for my birthday... Just give them a call... (412) 441-4410, they can keep it at the store for me. Have I mentioned how much I love this store?

Yes, I think I have.

Saturday, May 18, 2013



Oxford, Mississippi.

Population 18,916

This past weekend I was in Mississippi. My little sister graduated from Ole Miss, so we drove (yes, seriously) from Pittsburgh in a big van to see her. We didn't really need a van for the three of us; it's more for all the goodies that have accumulated in my sister's apartment for the last three years. My sister isn't moving home just yet, but a good deal of her crap stuff is. Mississippi was wonderful, and it was the first time I've ever been there. Of course, I had a sweet tea with every meal. Also, with every meal, there was slaw, beans, some kind of sauce. The weekend was wonderful, and the graduation ceremony was lovely. I'm so proud of my littlest sister.

Before I left for Ole Miss, I had just finished test knitting a hat pattern for my friend Megan (aka JustRunKnit on Ravelry) of the Stockinette Zombies, but the pattern hadn't been released. The hat pattern, Weather the Weather, is available now on Ravelry, and it's free! Isn't that fun?! All you need is one hank of worsted and you're good to go. I knit my hat with Stonehedge Fiber Mill Shepherd's Wool, since I had a hank in the stash. I love the hat, but the next time I knit this pattern, I'll be using a variegated yarn, as there's a bunch of garter (which you know I love) in the pattern. There's a few more details on my project page, if you'd like.

While I was in the car (for a while) I was working on my Happy Street shawl, and I managed to get a few stripes done. Since we've been home, I've almost finished the shawl. Well, I knit the last few rows yesterday, and now I have a 546-stitch bind off staring me in the face. Wow. 546 stitches. Eek. Last night, I opted for margaritas instead of the bind off, and I think tonight might be just the same. This feels like a Sunday morning task to me... Perhaps with a movie. Steel Magnolias?? Of course! I should have guessed. Pink is my signature color.

This picture is the best I could do for now, since it's all scrunched up on the needle. Hopefully this will be blocking sometime early next week, but we'll have to wait and see. Oh yeah, after the bind off, there's just about a bazillion ends to weave in. That's okay, though, because I'm really excited about the FO.

In other exciting knitting news, I've cast on a sock! Not just any sock, my first sock with sock yarn and itty-bitty needles! I've made a few socks before, but they were made with big chunky yarn on US 10 needles, and just to learn basic sock construction. This time it's for real! Now, I don't know how successful I'll be, as I've only just finished the ribbing of sock one, but I'm staying optimistic. I feel like the time for socks has finally arrived. I'm not expecting progress to be especially quick on this, and if you're curious about it, you can check my project page. Wish me luck!

Until next time!

Friday, May 3, 2013


I do love garter stitch.

It's reversible. It's easy. It blocks beautifully.

Knitting back and forth in garter stitch is, for me, just like meditation... If I'd ever taken the time to try meditation. Knit, knit, knit... Turn, knit some more. When I'm knitting garter stitch, my mind wanders, and I think that's what I like the most about it. I love those moments when my head is clear, and my thoughts are quiet. It seems that as I get older, my mind has less and less time to wander. I suppose that with age comes wisdom, but I never feel that wise. Just old. It's not that I have a ton of worries, I just have a ton of thoughts. There's work, house, dog, and all the little lists in between. Then there's lists within the lists. There is a chance that I'm being a stitch dramatic, but my brain is the only frame of reference I have on the subject.

So, back to the knitting. I went to Natural Stitches last weekend without a single project on the needles, but I knew I was going to start something while I was there. And not just trouble! I brought some stash yarns and pattern ideas, my notions bag and a couple needles, so I was ready for anything. I decided on a shawl (shocking, I'm sure) in sock yarn, and I only needed to buy one more hank.

I started working on a new pattern by Veera Välimäki called Happy Street. As is usually the case with her shawls, there's lots of garter stitch and some short row shaping. I'm using two colorways (curry & gun metal) of Shalimar Yarns Zoe Sock that I picked up at the Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival this year. The third is Dream in Color Smooshy in the navy zeal colorway, which I picked up at NS last weekend. The pattern is totally intuitive and working on it is a dream. Sadly, I haven't had much time to work on it this week. I do have plans for lots of knitting this weekend, though. There's some progress pictures and all the fun details on my ravelry project page.

Speaking of lots of knitting, James and I are going on a road trip to Mississippi next weekend. My baby sister is graduating, so we're driving down to Oxford for the occasion. My dad rented a house for the weekend and we're going to be there celebrating my sister from dawn 'til dusk. This trip is going to be amazing! Also, the weekend will be sandwiched in between two extra-super-long car trips, on which I plan to knit until I can't see. To make packing easier and more efficient, I need to make some decisions about what I may want to knit. I'm open to suggestion, as I'm having a hard time narrowing it down. As long as I have the yarn in my stash, I'm good to go. As far as packing constraints go, I'm forcing myself to only take what I can fit in my new favorite knitting bag, that you can see below.

Have I mentioned how much I love this place?
Hopefully, by the next time I post, I'll have knit all the things on my trip, and then I'll be able to show them off!
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