a scary day in the neighborhood

Posted on 28 CommentsPosted in food and garden, Uncategorized

happy halloween!
i know many of you have been looking forward all month so see what my neighbor bret has cooked up for this year’s halloween display, so i’ve organized some photos of his house and yard for my post today.

each year, bret rotates his holiday displays throughout the winter months, but focuses on gardening and flowers during the summer. so this first effort of the decorating season makes a big splash with us—no one on the block even attempts to compete, heh.

scary lane begins just beyond the crooked little fence at the front of bret’s lawn. we must watch carefully as we creep, so as not to trip over bones rising from the grass

to our left, grinning goblins dressed for halloween dancing line the path

this fierce skull and crossbones may scare off the faint of heart, but if you continue back into the gloom, you will be amply rewarded with enough ghost sitings to last a long while in your imagination

back and back we creep, into the gloom and indeed, there they are.

during the evenings when the weather is nice, delighted shrieks from the neighbor kids can be heard as they run through the front garden and up into the porch, scaring themselves silly, haha (remember that?), while their parents wait on the sidewalk, chatting with bret and connie.

there are many, many skeletons, too, in all manner of attire, some of which dance in horrible, cackling laughter on the darkest nights.

bats fly around the heads of those brave enough to cross the threshold of the porch.

my favorite skeletons are the gruesome bride and groom pair, decked out in ragged finery on their special day, complete with horrifically happy countenances.

open the door of the old outhouse and be surprised by another skelghost, looking none too happy to see you.

this delights the vulture perched above.

at the very back, the pièce de résistance—the rising skel monster

grounded for a few days earlier this week, due to high winds and lashing rains, he was this morning back on his high mast, overlooking the block

in all his glory, the master of his domain

in fact, the weather this week prevented me from getting the night photos we love so much—bret had to turn them off during the hard rainfall. then i was away the last three nights, so i missed them when they went back on. hopefully, i’ll get a few tonight to add here at the end.

what i did manage to get for the first time is a great picture of bret himself, surrounded by his favorite pieces.

he’s entirely pleased that you enjoy his holiday displays so much.

now, here’s a handy book

Posted on 193 CommentsPosted in book reviews/events

out just in time for holiday gifting, vogue knitting mittens & gloves is a collection of more than 40 favorite accessories for hands and wrists, gathered from the pages of vogue knitting magazine.

representing virtually any style you can think of, this book explores the gamut from classic to glam to fantastic with the collection contained inside.

and the photography shows off each one so that making the choice of which to start with might be the knitter’s biggest difficulty.

i love the several pair of long gloves, worked in fine yarn which are included—they give off the most feminine air and are versatile enough to be worn indoors as an accessory.

in addition to a bevy of style choices, there is something from every knit stitch “family” to choose from

the adorable pine tree mittens above and the scandinavian style ski mittens below are just two of the colorwork pieces included.

and there is lace, too

cables do not go ignored either—complex 3D ones are among the pages

mixing with more delicate streamlined cable texture in other pieces

the instructions are laid out well with detailed construction directions and large, color-coded charts for each piece.

there are quite a few pieces that are not purposed for warmth, but instead, for sheer style or illusion. my favorite page in the book shows a pair of backless gloves, cleverly designed to imitate the leather ones worn for horseback riding (or driving).

on another page, a beautiful muff is pictured

maybe not practical for everyday use, but certainly, it could have a role in a glamorous winter costume event—i could see it making and unforgettable entrance at a wedding, winter prom, or glittering holiday party.

the book compiles so many appealing choices in one place that it’s sure to have something for everyone.

i’m in richmond, VA this weekend, teaching at the hanover knttiing guild, but i thought it would be fun to post this review and offer a treat for readers in place of hearing from the real me. sixth&spring has generously offered to send a copy of vogue knitting mittens & gloves to one lucky reader. if you’d like to get in the drawing, leave a comment at the end of this post some time before 9 pm EST on sunday, october 31st. i’ll announce the winner upon my return home, probably monday morning (but maybe tuesday, heh).


Posted on 36 CommentsPosted in patterns

are you just about ready to start gift knitting for the holidays? or suddenly feeling the chill wind of november nipping at your cuffs and neck? maybe this neckwarmer and mitts set will fill the bill—classic architectural detail translated into a handknit fabric, texural yet refined.

knit up in fine, soft fingering yarn, these pieces are light enough to be worn indoors, but provide a warming layer at the edges of your outerwear as well, especially with a bit of luxury fiber thrown into the yarn blend.

shown here, size small in dirty water dyeworks bertha, a fine 3-ply merino/cashmere/nylon sock blend, in colorway smoke.

glass pendant earring shown on this page are a recent purchase from moving mud—i just love the way the yellow glass catches the gorgeous light we had yesterday for the photo shoot.

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

david has created another little film to celebrate the release of this pattern, which he’ll be posting it shortly on the knitspot youTube channel

speaking of david, i am extremely grateful to him for sacrificing a good chunk of a perfect day for roofing work to photograph several articles for upcoming pattern releases. even though the photo shoot delayed his project plans, he patiently worked with me to make the most of yesterday’s incredible light to bring you a lovely portfolio of photos. and we had a LOT of fun doing it—let’s take a look at the extended story in pictures . . .

i really, really like this book

Posted on 29 CommentsPosted in book reviews/events

my friend cookie has written another book AND she published it herself.
AND it’s absolutely stunning—a real work of art.
how much more of a role model do i need? i’m as proud of cookie’s book as if i wrote it myself (i WISH).

i received my advance copy the other day and since then, i’ve picked it up about twelve times to lose myself amongst the pages—that’s how lovely it is.

once again, cookie has centered the book around socks (what else?), chronicling her development as a sock knitter and designer by reworking previously-published patterns and juxtaposing them with new designs.

the styling (sarah beaver) and photography (laura kicey) are brilliant, combining edgy environments with vintage clothing and tying those two seemingly disparate flavors together with a strong use of primary color.

the mood swings from urban-shabby to über-sexy without hesitation, creating an exciting visual voyage reflective of the author’s own inner narrative, design process, and taste.

knitters will be enticed by the mood into one design after another

the photography does not just serve an artistic purpose however

also included with each pattern are clear and detailed (and beautiful!) sock photos, taken from every angle and at varying distances

so that the knitter is never left to wonder what their project should look like at any given point. everyone involved did a great job presenting useful, utilitarian visuals that also happen to be quite dreamy.

in knit. sock. love., favorites such as the ever-popular monkey are now presented in fresh yarns with multiple sizing.

cookie divides the collection into three sections by type of pattern—but not into the usual categories you would expect, such as knit/purl, cables, lace, etc. rather, she separates them into geographical classes of columns, tessellations, and diagonals, distinguished by the type of terrain created as the patterns map out across the fabric.

each pattern includes clearly-written directions, large, readable charts, and diagrams to guide the knitter through complex surface designs and constructions.

at the back of the book, a reference and resource section is included to guide the knitter in finding helpful information about techniques included in the patterns.

the book is available for preorder now, with several purchasing options, including the PDF download format (very handy for printing just what you need). for a limited time, you can order both versions at a considerable savings.

yes, i love this book, and not just because cookie is one of my dearest friends. i like it because it’s smart, beautiful, and hardworking all at once, just like her.