charmed, i’m sure

Posted on 16 CommentsPosted in book reviews/events, designing, lace/shawls, projects

one of my favorite aspects of christmas week is the relaxation of the usual routine to fit in visits with friends and relatives. i grew up in a large extended family and my parents were close to thier siblings and cousins, so the week between the holidays was filled by getting out of the house to deliver cookie trays, giving us an opportunity to play with other kids while our moms sipped coffee and talked. sometimes several families would visit together in one afternoon.

we don’t live near any of our family now, but i’m imprinted to crave company during this time, so we enjoy extra outings with friends and their families during the holidays when possible.

on tuesday, beckie and i were invited to the cozy cottage home of our friends kris and helena (and jeff, but he was elsewhere for the day) for a tea party and we accepted with excitement. when we arrived, helena greeted us in a beautiful outfit of vintage clothes and jewelry. helena is a talented stylist and a budding dressmaker with much promise—she enjoys plundering thrift shops and grandmother’s closet for wearable treasures, as well as watching old movies for ideas.

(i should have taken a photo of her gloves—they are hand-crocheted beauties)

KD, the family cairn terrier, was on hand, vying for title of cutest blog dog—he just has one thing to say:
move over mr jeffries—lemme show ya how this posing stuff is done.

though beckie and i did not wear dressup costumes, beckie did wear her new, frilly mitts until the knitting came out and the food was served

(i assembled an outfit carefully that revolved around a shawl and sweater combo, but then left my shawl behind in the bathroom, sigh)
after we opened small gifts, helena showed us her christmas presents

one of them was this adorable hat knit by kris, from the rowan vintage beret pattern and we all decided she should start modeling some knitspot stuff, yes? (this is her pouty pose)

after that, we settled down for a scrumptious light lunch of quiche and salad, followed by confections such as lavender truffles and cookies

(KD didn’t jump once, even when things got way more exciting)

after lunch we all took out our needlework and sat for a couple of hours of chatting and working

beckie is knitting socks from handspun and kris is putting the final touches on a hat and scarf set destined for their adopted sibling in india—a boy whose family smuggled him out of tibet to have a better life. he has been part of kris’s family from afar for several years now.

i arrived with my second gansey sock just barely started and left with the deep ribbed cuff complete, ready to start the patterned panel.

helena has a passion for paper dolls and received several new sets for christmas, including this erté collection. she also spent some of the afternoon exploring a huge bag of trims, beads, appliqués, lace, and vintage sewing patterns i brought

they have been sitting unused in my workroom collection for years—i couldn’t bear to throw them out—just waiting for the right person to claim them. i was more than happy to pass everything along to her—she will enjoy it the most of anyone i know. (and i now have a nearly-empty cabinet under my pressing bench, yay!).

while the light was still good, beckie donned the completed fishbone gansey sock and we did a little photo shoot

kris’s house is so rich with background texture and pattern that it made the perfect location to photograph this cozy sock (and how about those pumpkins?)

after some more tea and knitting, beckie and i packed up reluctantly to head home—it’s been a very cold and snowy week and we hated to leave their cozy house and a magical visit.

it was really sweet that david was all set to put dinner on the table when i arrived home—leftovers from christmas to warm us up.

after we ate, i settled in for an evening of work on my current projects.

i got one of my upcoming secret projects on the needles the other night; this will be a good traveling project or one i can pick up and put down, thus making progress with a little or a lot of knitting time.

it’s kind-of straightforward though, and after a bit i was eager to work on the henley for a little more excitement

it’s growing—and—without any unpleasantness, too. i am through the shaping on this back piece and about an inch from the underarm bindoff. i just love this knitting notions superwash sport yarn—the denimy colorway and it’s soft, comfy, worn feel would be perfect to wear in california in january.
i think i can make a pretty good dent in the upper back tonight and maybe even finish it, if i don’t get sidetracked. then, i’ll just have the front to do (with the exciting placket to work). if i could finish it time to pack it, i’d be pretty pleased.

david’s christmas sweater is still waiting for buttons, but i think we hit the motherlode of solutions with man-appeal during a restless jog over to etsy the other night. i was all set to try to get to jo-ann this week for the buttons, despite the after-holiday throngs of crafty bargain hunters, when it occurred to me to check etsy for possible alternatives.

and voila—i give you buttonboy and wooden treasures, purveyors of natural wood buttons, plain or fancy and rustic or fine (check out those spalted wood ones!), that are sure to appeal to any guy’s inner paul bunyan.

i ordered a couple of sets to be sure i got some that are the right color and smoothness—i’m sure i’ll use all of them at some point (when i showed them to david, he smiled broadly and nodded wordlessly—a sign of very strong approval).

later on, in front of the TV, i worked on the second gansey sock some more

and got all the way through the upper leg panel. obviously, i’m anxious to wear these, heh. don’t forget to vote on the color name for this yarn—see my last post to participate in the poll (and thanks again for all of the great suggestions you made!)

cast your vote for orange

Posted on 7 CommentsPosted in book reviews/events

wow, you all sure love a good orange! of course, this delectable dye dreams classy sox colorway will inspire that kind of enthusiasm—338 comments which included hundreds of suggested names (thank you everyone!).

it took me a little while to pare them all down to a shortlist (i read each and every one several times) and there were several that it pained me to leave out. i looked for unique and catchy names that are on the short side, which roll easily off the tongue. in cases where more than one person suggested the same name, i picked the one whose comment appears first.

here are five contenders that represent the whole array fairly well. cast your vote and join the fun. voting closes at 12 midnight EST on thursday, january 31st, 2009. we will tally up the results and announce the winner on friday, january 1.

Voting has now been closed; thank you everyone who voted!
you can view the final results of the poll by clicking here

create your own poll at using their easy free poll maker tool

crooked brook sock

Posted on 15 CommentsPosted in patterns

ever wonder where all the secret projects disappear to?
here’s a lacy sock i designed last spring for the woolgirl sock club april kit. i knew ahead of time that the color would be a deep blue, but had no idea what the yarn texture would be. when i received the light, soft yarn, i knew i needed a motif that would provide structure and stitch definition.

the resulting sock is luxuriously fine and dressy enough to wear with slim loafers under a professional trouser outfit—a little like that lacy lingerie we hide berneath our working clothes sometimes, heh. and who doesn’t appreciate a little warmth on an icy morning, dress shoes or not?

shown here: size medium in curious creek fibers wasonga, colorway old head of kinsale (a club-exclusive colorway, but there are many more beautiful choices!).

to purchase pattern or view complete pattern information, please click here to visit the product page in the knitspot pattern shop.

i am always thrilled to have a chance to work with jen at woolgirl, who offers an exciting array of exquisite yarns, covetous clubs, and delicious accessories in her online shop. she is also an incredible matchmaker of designers and dyers—i love participating in her clubs. thank you jen, for another wonderful opportunity.

name this orange

Posted on 346 CommentsPosted in book reviews/events

ok, SO . . . mona and stephanie at dye dreams have come up with an incredibly scrumptious new merino/cashmere/nylon blend yarn called classy sox. we are celebrating by using it in the design for the first installment of their 2009 four seasons sock club.

i asked for a cheerful, pick-me-up orange to design with, knowing that this sock would be coming to you in january—a pretty gray month in the north, yet the height of citrus season in the south.

and they came through with the perfect thing—a juicy, happy, orangey orange.
the only problem is, they canNOT think of a name for the colorway.

but they did think of a brilliant solution—they want YOU to pick a name for the orange yarn (not the sock).

leave a comment with your suggested color name(s) by midnight EST on tuesday, december 29th and i will compile a list, then trim it down to a shortlist (this part will be subjective, but as fair as possible).

i will publish the shortlist on december 30th and you can vote for the name that best represents this colorway (ONE vote per person, please; voting will close on thursday, december 31st, at midnight EST).

the contributor whose name wins the most votes will receive a gift of a gansey sock kit from dye dreams, to be shipped when the club kits go out in january.

orange you glad you stopped by??