Not again…welcome to 2021! Ya know, the second half.

All right, fine. My bad. Oddly enough, during a 1+ year pandemic adventure (everyone is healthy, vaccinated, and relatively sane, or as sane as they were before, give or take), I knitted a ton but didn’t post anything about it. Now that we’re (fingers crossed) emerging from this national nightmare (unfortunately the rest of the world is not), I’m ready to start talking about these projects again!

I’ve still been buying yarns and kits from We Are Knitters, Purl Soho, Lion Brand and other faves, and have added Wool and the Gang to my ever-growing yarn stash. Per usual, I’ve got several projects on needles at the moment. In the winter, I was in a heavy blanket phase, heavy in terms of both the yarn and frequency of projects. I gave a few away for holiday gifts or baby shower gifts, but one I kept was this one, mostly for my dog Bruce:

The yarn was repurposed from a different WAK project that was frankly too similar to the other blanket projects I completed from them. I nosed around Ravelry and found this pattern, Buttercream, from Cali Chick Baby (as you might imagine, a baby blanket, although they have another version that’s a big one). I paid for it, and you can contact them for the pattern either via Ravelry or The baby version they show is in a lovely off-white color – Buttercream, natch – in Alpaca, but the author indicated you can use any super bulky or bulky so away I went!

The pattern is one of those that are easy to understand and knit, and switches between a very straightforward garter stitch and what I’ve always heard called “drunken rib”, a 1×1 rib for 2 rows that alternates on the following 2, giving it a cool, *almost* basketweave look. In any case, fun and easy to do if you’re watching a movie (or on a Zoom call if you dare!). In any case, it’s now Bruce’s blanket, so I’m continually taking a lint roller to it to remove dog hair, but the unintended benefit is that it keeps the fuzzies at bay as well. The Fuzzies, of course, constantly doing battle everyday with the Dust Bunnies in my house. Hardwood floors! [shakes fist at sky].

Still trapped under something heavy? Like a pandemic, maybe. Or these blankets.

Six weeks, I told myself (and anyone else who would listen). It will be over in 6 weeks. It’s now been 7 months. It was chilly and fire-worthy when we got here in March, and now summer has come and gone and it’s again chilly and fire-worthy. Despite having a commute from one room to another, I still somehow managed to be busy (and neglecting my knitting) – that is, until my We Are Knitters kit came in. Maybe I’m lazy, but the kits 1) make it way easier to ensure you’re getting the same lot of yarn 2) that you have enough yarn and 3) helps me focus on a single project – more or less, since I always have roughly 3 projects going at any given time.

The first two projects were easy blankets. Kits arrive in a very cute (if heavy-duty) brown paper bag. The yarn used was super bulky, and it’s pretty good quality. Although does tend to get a little fuzzy, but I think that’s kind of true with most super bulky yarns in my experience.

The first one I did was the larger gray one with a simple crosshatch pattern. Called the No. 4 blanket, it knitted fast and the pattern is pretty easy. I was very uncreative and went with the same shade featured in the pattern, but WAK has a pretty nice selection. If you squint really hard, you can also see some Bruce fur knitted directly into the blanket! He’s just the most adorable part of the process.

The second one was in some ways even easier – just a series of bobbles called the Bobble blanket. It always takes me a few tries to nail the bobble, but then it’s like riding a bike. I was tempted to pick the hot pink in the pattern sample, but opted for Black Tweed, which is a nice off-black with little tufts of color throughout it. When you’ve got a black dog who enjoys furniture and snuggling, you make some specific yarn (and couch upholstery) choices.

DUMBO bunnies.

dumboDeja vu? Wishful thinking? No. Return to Paradise, I say. Yes, we’ve enjoyed our adventure on the Left Coast, and now we’re back in Brooklyn, where I think we rightfully belong. At least we feel more welcome, and our friends are here, and we brought a Rocky Dog with us too. I miss Ryan, Alexa, Diane, Bonni, and Colby, and that is roughly it. We gave it the old college try, and I’m glad we did. But more glad that we’re back.

And we now live in DUMBO, which to me for many years was frankly a wasteland.

Truth be told, we’ve lived here already for a year plus, I just haven’t updated this poor blog since then. Still feeling great about Brooklyn, save for one big change: we lost our sweet old Rocky dog in August 2014. It’s hard to talk about or even write about, but his battle with cancer and ultimately a bad pneumonia was too much for that gentle soul. Not a day goes by where I don’t think about him.  I’m hoping to convince Greg to adopt another grey muzzle labbie, androcky hope to have him convinced by spring. I think it’s the best way to honor Rocky’s memory.

And we are working through that loss…one way, of course, is indulging in my favorite, expensive hobby of knitting. I’ve started a number of projects, and finished a handful – notably some more Old Fashioned Toys from Joelle Hoverson’s Last Minute Knitted Gifts, for all the babies my friends seem to be having. They’re fun, cute, somewhat challenging and make a great gift.

And the toys – and the babies, and the friends, and the wine and all the other awesome things in life – help a lot. Here’s to more of those wonderful things, people and experiences – and I’m going to promise to get better about knitting (and posting, so I can remember what the heck I just knitted). And to remember my pup, too.  We miss you every day, buddy. You were a Good Dog.


Stay on target…almost there…

Yes, Porkins, I know, to destroy the death star I must stay on target. But I must confess, 2012 saw me un-doing projects as much as I began them. I started two sweaters – ambitious projects, I realize – but even after making some serious progress, I realized that I’d done one of the following:

– picked the wrong yarn

– picked the wrong needle size

– picked the wrong pattern/lost interest/didn’t care

Points 1 & 2 could have been helped by checking gauge. But isn’t that for weenies? in-progress-failI’ve made some great stuff by winging it, but I guess when you’re making the jump from super bulky accessories to finer yarn making things that you’d actually wear, you must also check gauge. I’m all growns up.
This example to the left is an example of all three (yarn, needle, pattern) being wrong, and potentially the movie I’m watching the in background. Is that the Exorcist?

No, no, no. None of these are working. Help me say it right, Consuela:

Holidaze 2: Elf Hat Edition

Man, what’s cuter than babies at Christmas? Nothing. What’s creepier than naked Santas in a Finnish nightmare about the legend of Santa Claus, aka Rare Exports?

Creepy Naked Santa

Me, crazy old lady, the only non-breeder in Park Slope, knitting things for my friends adorable childrens.

Hopefully I’m not as creepy as him. Actually he’s not even Santa. But watch the movie, it’s adorably creepy and very Spielbergian. In the best way possible.

In any case, I found a great pattern that inspired me to knit for the babies Ryan, Jackson, Barrett and Jacob. Best thing about knitting for babies? It takes about 2 seconds, or one long flight across the country or to another country (except eastern Canada). Actually, I take that back…I might have completed one to and from Toronto. Elf Hat with Effect

Elf Hat, Side ViewHow cute did this turn out? I got the yarn at Seaport, using hand dyed Malabrigo Silky Merino in Natural and Ravelry Red. I doubled the yarn to get the best effect and it worked great (I used size 7 round and DPNs as well). Cute as pie and fun. Will post some photos of the kids wearing them; the pattern comes in several sizes for several size baby craniums.

Stash Bustin’

twinkle's weekend knits bookIt’s technically spring (although you wouldn’t know it from the NYC weather we’ve been enjoying), and with a little hint of a temperature close to 50 degrees, I have a hankering for a spring cleanup. This also means spring cleanup of my yarn, which is a Sargasso Sea of crap that I hide behind our couch in the den. It’s like a scene from a horror movie when people come over and accidentally peek behind the couch.  I can’t even post a photo – this is a family blog.

So, in addition to taking stock of current yarn and tossing some crap I can’t remember purchasing, let alone remembering why I purchased it, I took a look at some old finished projects I abhor and never wear. One was a huge sweater from Twinkle’s Weekend Knits, a great book with lovely items made for tiny, skinny women. Every time I don a super bulky sweater made with yarn of the same, the effect is sausage-like. So, I undid an old sweater made from a couple of hanks of Twinkle’s super bulky and figured I’d knit up some accessories right quick. That is a huge benefit of bulky yarn – for people without patience, it’s a godsend.

So, with hanks of Twinkle’s Soft Chunky (bulky weight) in Icy Blue and Kelly Green (which doesn’t appear available on the Classic Elite yarns website, oddly), I made two hats and a cowl, I guess it’s a cowl?

broccoli shroom hat
Broccoli Shroom Hat

The first hat was from a pattern in Knitty called the Shroom hat, ostensibly due to the close comparison to a mushroom. They were careful to men

tion a particular kind of bulky yarn, but I threw caution to the wind and used Twinkle. The result is pretty cute, but the bright green made it seem more broccoli than mushroom. Either way, if you don’t think specifically about broccoli, it’s an okay/wearable hat.

Second up, on Ravelry I saw a cool cowl made with bulky yarn in a nice acid greeny/yellow, called the wham bam thank you ma’am neckwarmer, I believe because it’s made quite quickly. I made it with the icy blue chunky yarn. It’s warm, bodering on hot, when you’re wearing it but hey, it does get cold around here sometimes. I bet it’s probably

chunky cowl
Chunky cowl in icy blue

pretty good for skiing. It’s currently being modeled on my cupcake plate! One problem to solve for the future, I didn’t do a great job of hiding the knots where I needed to join pieces of yarn together. Hmm.

Lastly, I just threw together yet another version of the Urchin hat from Twinkle’s Weekend Knits. It’s cute and floppy, but beret-like so it looks fairly polished for work. The green is a nice bold energetic color and I think it works. I wore a version I made in a very light gray for most of this past winter. And now, I’ve gotten rid of all my green and a big portion of the blue. A small victory in stash busting.

urchin beret
Urchin beret in kelly green

MFFO. Avec photo. And the Powder Puff Derby.

Okay, for some reason this never got posted the first time around. I now have vastly shorter hair which is far less blonde, since in the time I originally wrote it to now, I’ve weaned myself off of peroxide in a box hair color and now actually go to a professional. AND I’ve worn these hats about 50 times. AND Mira Nair made a biopic about Amelia Earhart starring Hilary Swank. So, without further ado:

I have traditionally treated digital cameras the same way I treat the $14.99 disposable cameras from CVS – like they’re disposable and stuff. Honestly, I’m on camera #4. Or maybe this one is 5. Either way, I’ve got some FO’s to show off. I’m so excited, they’re MF FO’s though. They deserve some profanity. They’ve been waiting in the wings for so long.

Amelia Earhart Head Hugger
Amelia Earhart Head Hugger

This was from head hugger patterns, I made it from some Sublime Angora Merino I got on sale. It’s a really pretty lavendar, but oddly enough the color is called Clover. I knitted this on a couple of plane flights in July, to and from Chicago and Dallas and the like. Because it’s mohair, little tufts of mohair goodness kept fluffing off and landing usually on the pant leg of some person next to me on the plane. I’m sure they loved me. Here’s a solo shot of the hat:

Did you know? Amelia Earhart was kind of a feminist icon. Her wikipedia entry is insane. And she was gorgeous and fashionable and she had a gap tooth like me!

And then I did it again in another cool sale item, Sahara brand’s worsted weight Camelhair (55%) and Merino (45%). It’s soft and nice, and I knit double up to get gauge, same as the Sublime.

Sahara up close
Sahara up close

Hooray finished objects!

The Barefoot Concetta

The latest project I’ve tackled, nearly finished, and then discarded, is a delightful cardigan I got from Ravelry. Elizabeth Smith’s Concetta Cardigan pattern is lovely, easy and I thought would make a good, wearable sweater.

I’m blaming the yarn on this one. Soft, but wooly, the k2p2 border around the entire sweater (2″, mind you), bunched horribly when finishing, so much so that it brought to mind a child’s sweater…but the bunching made it a child’s sweater for a shar-pei. Hate it. Hate that I spent so much time on it, and now it’s ruined.

Will post pics and update on the new project that I’m double dipping on shortly.

Showcase showdown

I have all this stuff! That’s like, completed and junk. I’ve recently been empowered by new job opportunities that have just fell in my lap, so that my current work situation seems less dire. With that, I’ve begun to spend my evenings with a little bit of knitting instead of the consistent fretting.

I completed Le Slouch a few weeks ago. Despite not really understanding how to decrease in moss stitch so that you don’t get the same stitch next to one another, it turned out kinda fly! I would wear it, but maybe not give it to someone else:

Two: I completed a shortened version of the cable scarf from Erika Knight’s Classic Knits. I used a pretty Sundara worsted in Camel. It has a cool split in the scarf, making it sort of a necker (or so I’ve seen it called). The term Necker makes me think of Neck Face, a graffiti artist who has worked in Brooklyn. I kept thinking that Neck Face was some sort of cultural term, possibly sexual, that I just didn’t get when I rolled off the turnip truck ten years ago and arrived in New York City. Turns out it’s fairly innocuous, even if the real Neck Face is not.

Neckface Begins
Neckface Begins

And finally – the winner of the completed objects July showcase showdown is: the Head Huggers Amelia Earhart hat! I got some Sublime Angora Merino on sale at Stitch Therapy in a gorgeous purple, shade 43. It’s soft and a little fuzzy; I knitted it exactly as the pattern dictated and it came out slightly bigger than expected but stilln workabel. Good to keep in mind for my friends with giant noggins: Devon, Ed, my pops. Video to come shortly. I may have to feature myself as a model. I’m that pleased with it. Or I’m a little drunkie. A nice salesperson gave me a 2006 Cakebread Chardonnay and it’s simply delightful.

An aside: I’m watching Demolition Man. Starring a very young Sandra Bullock and Stallone (of course). It’s a horribly awesomely bad movie. Apparently when they unfroze Stallone, they downloaded a knitting application in his brain and he just knit Sandy a cable sweater.

Who has a boat in Denver

Boat Drinks, you may have seen on the title of this blog. It’s Saturday night, I’m drinking wine with my man friend who is working on a pitch for a film company. I’m watching one of my all time favorite films, Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead. If I could only find my own Jimmy the saint. Tortured and tragic but inflamed and afire. And Walken in this thing is brilliant.

I’m drinking some wine and working on Erica Knight’s Classic Knits first pattern, the cabled scarf. I was working on it this morning while I was getting a mani/pedi, and a woman said – Is this the tree of life? I was taken aback. It IS. Go figure. I’m trying ot tie this to the film but straining. I will just enjoy the film in a creepy way. While drinking and knitting. I wish someone would pay me to do these things instead of my real job. I’m so much better at this…or at least I enjoy it more.

And have I forgotten about Treat Williams. This was to be his big comeback moment, his Travolta Transitory. Why does this movie make me, ralph Wiggum-like, happy AND sad?

Also, I love Andy Garcia. I really do.

Things to do in Denver When you're Dead
Things to do in Denver When you're Dead