Home Sweet Home

Pattern: "Frock Camisole," by Katie Himmelberg, available free here
Yarn: Louisa Harding Cinnabar - worsted weight; 30% viscose, 25% cotton, 15% acrylic, 10% silk, 10% Linen, 5% Nylon, 5% Acetate (whew!)
Colorway: 6

This simple, cool-to-the-touch project was great to pull onto my lap during stressful moments as we were moving. Only the very top strap portion requires moderate attention to the pattern. I love the feel of this drapey, metallic, slightly slubby yarn against my skin. It's truly the perfect match for this cute tank. I love the cut of the top itself and find it universally flattering.

Delta: I feel like it looks outstanding from the front, okay from the back, and a little sloppy on the sides. I wonder how one would tidy that up without messing up the way the front lays. Decreases along the center back?

Okay, we need to talk about how skinny I look in these pictures. I've lost 40 freakin' pounds, people!!! If I can do it, then truly, anyone can. I jog/walked my first 5k on July 15, and I'm planning on jogging an entire one on September 12th with Jake. In addition to increasing my activity, I've been using Weight Watcher's clever POINTS system to make sure I'm eating the right amount for my needs each day. I still have tacos and ice cream and cheeseburgers, so it's more like a paradigm than a diet.

Jake and I are all settled in our new little townhouse, with which we are ENTIRELY in love. Since we rented it sight unseen, we were preparing for the worst, but this place is AWESOME. Hardwood floors, beautiful molding, huge garden bathtub, tons of storage, lovely tile on back-splash and bathrooms, two bedrooms so Jake can have an office, and two-and-a-half baths so Gracie's litter box can sit somewhere I never, ever have to go. There are a ton of law students living in this development, particularly a lot of people in Jake's class, which has helped us make some connections in town quickly. There's even a couple a few doors down, in which the wife is a drama major who knits. (!!!)

My new teaching job is incredible and life-altering, but I will speak more of that next posting. For now, enjoy the newest Watts afghan square, #28/36


Friendly Yarns

"Parallelograms" by Lynne Barr, available in Knitting New Scarves
Yarn: Dream in Color Classy - worsted weight, 100% superwash merino
Colorways: Happy Forest and Tea Party
Mods: I carried the non-working yarn up the sides of the stockinette sections, wrapping around the working yarn. I'm not into weaving in when I don't have to!

Plus: I heart Lynne Barr. Her designs rock, and her instincts for texture and geometry always thrill me. Even though the pattern is somewhat hypnotizing to stare at, it was simple, instantly memorized, and lightning fast! Jake requested that I make a cool, masculine scarf for one of the high school students he worked with last year at Berkner. There were a few months when Jake was on the lookout for the perfect satchel for law school, and he noticed this kid's bag. Upon complimenting its style and inquiring where he could get one, Jake was startled as the kid emptied the bag of its contents and handed it to him! The student insisted that he was finished with it and was about to switch to a new bag anyway, but Jake was so touched by this generosity that he insisted I make him a fabulous thank you gift. (p.s. The kid is gay and always raves about Jake's handknit sweaters and accessories. Too cute.)

I think that it would look better even wider. I actually did not use a needle size as big as called for, because the fabric was too floppy at that gauge, so maybe it's meant to be wider. If I knit this again, I would work with at least 25 stitches, instead of 20.

"Owl Coffee Cup Cozy," by Sabrina Thompson, available free here
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran
Mods: I only added safety eyes to one owl cable instead of all 5. I skipped the beak embroidery because the more I tried, the harder it sucked.

Plus: My dear friend Sonya requested this one after seeing a previously finished coffee cozy. I've been meaning to try out one of the zillions of owl cable projects out there, and this was a perfect use for a 1/4 of a skein of cashmerino.

I think these are kind of dumb. Unless it's a felted version, these simply stretch and slip too much to be useful. I've now created one with the cable running vertically and one with a horizontally situated cable; doesn't matter--they stretch and slip. For the last one, I ended up weaving in tons of elastic thread along the inside and cinching it tight, a pain in the rear which led to negligible improvement. For this one, I ran out of time and left it as it, but I suggested to Sonya that she could a) use fabric glue to attach it to a regular cardboard sleeve or b) use the elastic thread method or c) wash and dry it regularly. We'll see. I won't make another.


Some Babies Have All the Luck

Pattern: "Rose Leaf Blanket, Bonnet, and Booties" by Kristan Spurkland, available in Blankets, Hats, and Booties to Knit and Crochet
Yarn: Madelinetosh tosh dk - 100% superwash merino wool
Colorway: Coral
Mods: On booties, when binding off the five stitches, I left the first (slipped) stitch intact. This created an eyelit pattern rather than the creepy, elven-looking triangles. I think it fits the style of the set much better.

Plus: This leaf motif is so delicate and classic, if not for the hip, hand-dyed yarn, people might think these were antique heirlooms. Once blocked out, the effect is truly breath-taking. I'm so happy to have this book that coordinates layette sets like this. It saves me the hassle of finding three different patterns for the same yarn or trying to rewrite patterns so the stitch motifs are aligned.

This set certainly garnered a great deal of lust. My knitting buddy Shelley did all but promise me the deed to her house in exchange for this yarn (her signature color, which she did not find quite right in subsequent dye lots). Another knitting buddy Hannah implored me to think of anyone who deserved these items more than she; promises of instant tears and constant use NEARLY won me over. When I finally presented the woolly darlings to my pregnant friend Danielle, her sister's eyes widened, and she suggested that since I'll surely be bored in Virginia, I can spend all my time knitting sweaters and blankets for her. It's good to feel wanted.

Delta: Once I started the lace border, this project went pretty slowly. It's not a difficult lace--I could tell immediately if something went awry--but I never quite memorized the chart. Additionally, I would suggest to any future knitters of this blanket that they use a provisional cast-on (rather than cabled) when beginning the lace border to avoid an ugly seam there when finished. I was kind of annoyed with myself for not thinking of that at the time, but I have never done a blanket construction like this before, and I was mystified as to what in the world was happening. Additionally, I found the booties pattern pretty confusing and sometimes, outright wrong-headed. If you're familiar with top-down/heel-flap sock construction, feel free to read ahead and rewrite to your tastes.

My favorite part of the WHOLE project was the "beaded bind-off" across the back of the bonnet. Do you see how the bit across the nape of the neck makes pretty little scallops? Neat-o.

Well, we are officially relocated! After brief overnight visits with my parents in Richardson, then his parents in Plano, then my sister in Nashville, we made our way to Lexington, Virginia, our home for the next three years. Our townhouse is PERFECT for us in every single way, and we're working hard to get everything unpacked, hung, decorated, etc. Once we're finished, I'll definitely share some pics. For now, just know that:

  • Everyone here is extremely friendly
  • The bugs are huge and plentiful
  • You can see a bazillion stars from our back porch
  • I panic every now and then thinking about how far I am from a Starbucks or Target