crazed, but cheerful

Posted on 21 CommentsPosted in designing, food and garden, projects

i have been knitting, wrapping, cooking, and writing patterns at breakneck speed, in order to have it all done by tonight (HA!).

we leave for albany in the morning and the only thing i want to have left to do for christmas is knitting—that, i don’t mind doing right up til the last minute.

so far, so good . . .

yesterday, as soon as the coffee was on the stove, i bundled up and went out to the garden to pull some roots for soup. i wanted to make a cheery carrot soup for our monday knitting class christmas party. and yes, that is snow on the ground in the background; it snowed lightly all day saturday. it’s gone now, but it was pretty while it lasted.

back inside i flipped on my audiobook and set to work cleaning the vegetables, which always look so much better once they’ve had a good scrub.

i cook this soup differently, depending on the season—in winter, i roast the vegetables with heavier spices and garlic; in summer, i sauté them with just parsley, pepper, and salt, maybe a pinch of mint or rosemary. that way, if i want to eat it at a cooler temperature, the flavor is brighter.

either way, the zest and juice of two or three oranges goes in to braise the vegetables.

yesterday i roasted them first to get the sugars going, then added them to the mirepoix of leeks, garlic, and scallions.

toss them with the sauteéd stuff and add stock, let everything simmer til the vegetables are very soft.

put it all through the food processor, adjust the seasoning, and
wah-LA: carrot soup.

you can eat it just like this—it has plenty of body as is—or add some milk (soy milk works very well), cream, pureéd rice, or whipped potato (i got that pureéd rice hint from a sarah raven book and i like it a lot).

i garnish it with slivers of scallion tops and orange zest; bright green peas or shaved radicchio would also be pretty festive—go crazy.

speaking of crazy, we are still riding our bikes a few times a week, with a special effort to ride for our grocery shopping and errands close to home. it’s getting a bit chilly out there, however, so the hunt has begun for warmer stuff to wear.

david found these brilliant bern helmets that are very lightweight, but much less ventilated (most of your body heat escapes through your head; if you can contain it, you’ll stay lots warmer).

but the best part about them

has to be the cozy helmet liner. my new helmet arrived the other day and i couldn’t love it more—it’s SO cute! the fabric has a great waffle texture on the outside and—wait for it—faux fur on the inside. i just know that those who ride bikes out there are wiggling in your seats with joy, just thinking about how cozy that feels. go get ’em.

i have a bunch of knitting to share, but i’ve gotta do it fast, so bear with me.

tabata earband and mitts (pattern coming soon!) for my niece mary in delicious fearless fibers DK MCN luxury in colorway earthenware. this yarn has a very different character than the spirit trail holda that i used for the first set, but i love it just as well.

it’s got a nice bouncy twist for great recovery, with a softly polished outer surface offers a cozy sheen. the stitch snuggle right up against each other to block the wind and cold,

making beautiful stockinette music together (and you know what a sucker i am for a lovely stockinette surface). and these pieces aren’t even blocked yet, wow (good thing; i might will have to skip that step in order to send them out tomorrow).

and speaking of spirit trail holda, just take a gander at these adult mitts. is that surface they sexy or what? and yet again, unbocked. but these will get a nice bath, since they are staying here with me, hehehe.

the ear warmer is done as well, but i dont’ have a photo and now i really have to run.
i will be back later, hopefully with a pattern release, but if not, i’ll see you in a couple of days, when i’ve landed in albany.

wussypillows

Posted on 23 CommentsPosted in patterns

when searching for a name to give this beret and mitts set, i kept thinking how much this motif looks like pussywillows. however, when i took a look at how many patterns already use that word in the name, i decided to play around instead with another theme.

but the original continued to nag at me for expression until one day, i realized how i could use the idea and still keep it unique.

my friend debby’s grandson has never been able to pronounce the word pussywillow and instead substitutes wussypillow. they tried and tried to teach him the correct pronunciation with no success.

eventually they gave up and caved in—now the whole family just uses the term wussypillows. i love it.

i don’t think i gave debby a heads up yet that i was using the family joke as the pattern title—she’s probably spitting coffee right now as she reads this, haha.

anyway . . . what i’ve got for you today is an elegantly proportioned set of mitts with matching beret, featuring a deeply embossed texture that just doesn’t quit.

worked in a springy blend, the texture will have great definition with some sheen to show off its fine points.

the ribbed pattern provides a nice snug fit in the mitts which, when worked as written, will extend nearly to the elbow, with plenty of length to scrunch. feel free to make them shorter by simply knitting less.

the beret is slouchy, but light and worked in decreasingly smaller motifs as it converges on the center top point for a finish with plenty of back interest.

the mitts have a sculpted thumb gusset for a closely tailored look. and if all that wasn’t enough, the set coordinates with one of our most popular scarf patterns, the butternut and the almondine socks that appear in ann budd’s latest sock book as well.

i guess you could say i’m fond of working with this motif. i think these pieces might complete the cycle for me though—unless i decide to do a cowl . . . you never know

size large shown above in serenity 20, a springy merino/cashmere/silk blend in the wonderful frosted teal colorway.

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

at the end of the photo shoot, i took off the bracelet i was wearing to see how it would look on top of the mitt cuff and wow—i love this look.

this is the thin double wrap cuff from haus leather; i purchased it when i was at the finger lakes a few weeks ago and i just love wearing it.
(for years, i wasn’t to be seen outside the house without my schott motorcycle jacket, but now it’s too big for me, so this great little piece is a kind of streamlined reminiscence of that time.)

i am totally coveting this bag now, too. but i doubt santa is bringing it—unless there really IS a santa, haha!

anyway, back to the matter at hand . . . many thanks to roxanne at zen yarn garden for providing the yarn and perfect color for a rich, beautiful result; the hand on this fabric is to die for.

and heavens, what would i do without helena to bring it all to life? she’s not just a pretty face either (though that would be plenty)—she does all her own styling, too, and i’m never disappointed in her taste; she’s a natural.

a wealth of FOs (but sadly, not mine)

Posted on 13 CommentsPosted in designing, lace/shawls, projects

janet’s gonna kill me for putting her at the top of the blog, but i can’t help myself—i have very little knitting to show you and as far as things of knitterly interest go, the scale is tipping dangerously away from my pitiful holiday progress and toward her pile of wonders.

janet is just one among many of our fall in full color club members who are keeping up with each month’s shipment and who, after receiving the first four installments, has a beautiful pile of knits to show for it.

just look at her gorgeous FOs—from front to back, there’s the green hazeline shawlette, the blue longshadows scarf, the dark brown/gold set of haselnüsse and woodstacking neckwarmers, and the red/orange oktober zest set. and still two shipments to go!

all of my monday knitting students joined the fall club and each month we do the reveal during the class that lands closest to the shipping date. everyone closes their eyes while i place a package in front of each person and then they all open them at once. it’s hiLARious—totally worth the price of admission, so to speak. haha, i just wish you could hear the squealing and excitement (i keep telling david he should record or film it one of these times!). this month was particularly noisy, hee-hee, and we didn’t even have debby there.

it makes david and me really REALLY happy that we decided to do the clubs; we so enjoy planning and putting together the club’s design and further, all the positive energy and activity that is generated by the yarn choices, the eBook chapters, the goodies, and especially the clubhouse (well, thanks to our moderators kim and kat, the clubhouse would be a blast even if there wasn’t a club, haha).

we are in the midst of finalizing our yarn selections for the later months of the barenaked spring summer club now and the first shipments of yarn are on their way. i feel confident that the treasures to be had will be equally fulfilling and fun. i’ve actually got the yarn for the first project (it’s deLISH!) already packed to take along to albany next week; i’ll cast on and knit it while we visit with my family for a few days over christmas.

anyway, all that to say thank you to all of our current and future members for making the clubs so rewarding and fun. we are excited about all who signed up for another round, for those who are new to us and for those we don’t know yet. we still have space for anyone who wants to join the fun; we are that warm toasty fire when you need a break from the cold, haha.

oooh, speaking of mister knitspot

i wanted to let you know that sales of the crazy quilt scarf have have passed 225 copies and continue to rise—go YOU. and we still have 17.5 days left in december to rack up sales that will be forwarded to the red scarf project fund.

if you’re not sure what i’m talking about, you can refer back to my december 6 post to read more about our december crazy quilt/red scarf fundraiser (click here for information about foster care to success programs).

i’ve been working hard on patterns this week in an effort to get several into shape for proofreading before i go away. i’m also creating the layout for the december eBook chapter, which is always crazy time for me, haha. i accumulate photos and bits of information with abandon for weeks or even months in advance, then i have to sort, pare it down, write it, edit, and organize what remains into a book chapter. naturally, i never give myself as much time as i’d like, so it’s always a race to the finish, haha. hopefully, it doesn’t show too much.

anyway, despite the paperwork, i do have a few meager knit bits to offer . . .

i finished my holda mitt in the fig colorway on monday—pretty much in one long sitting between class and an evening visit with my friend kris. isn’t it rich?? i just adore this color and today it photographed perfectly, despite the rain and dark gray sky. the second mitt is underway and there will be an ear warmer to match.

i kept the wrist shaping in my prototype, but i won’t be using it in future versions—the reason is that in order to include the shaping, i would have been forced to eliminate some of the sizes and i really wanted this pattern to span the whole family size range (i think you do too).

then i sat down and wrote up the pattern, which went off to the proofreader last night. i was really itchy to try out the kid sizes to see how i did with the proportions, so even though it was already midnight, i ran up and wound some yarn before we sat down to watch TV.

(poor david—any given coffee table in our house is perpetually covered with yarn creep almost all the time, even this gorgeous walnut one that he built)

while i love the holda luxury blend as my first choice for this design, i wanted to try the pattern out with something a little more springy, closer to what more people might have on hand to work with. i also wanted something a little more hardwearing—superwash if possible—because this set will be a gift for a kid who has more important things to do than stay clean.

i remembered that deb from fearless fibers sent me her gorgeous MCN luxury DK a little while back so i dug that out and wound it up.

yum! the earthenware is a great color for my niece mary, i think. the gauge of my favorite fabric was a tad off, so i used a bigger needle and knit the instructions for a size smaller than i wanted and the mitt ended up being the just size i was aiming for (the largest child size).

so cute! it’s dense and squishy and soft; all qualities that are much appreciated by kids and by knitters alike. the earband is going to be great in it. mary’s going to have to play hardball to keep this from winding up on aaron or andrew’s heads (they won’t care that it’s pink when it feels so good).

this yarn would also be terrific for handsies or hot waffles, among other speedy gift knit choices.

so this pattern is on its way, yay; i’m hoping we can release it on monday. we’re doing a photo shoot tomorrow of the beret and long mitts so we can release that pattern on friday. and i’m working as fast as i can on that large leaf criss-cross scarf, but my eBook chapter takes priority over that one. and then there is next month’s club knit to finish and i’ve just GOTTA figure out what i’m knitting for you-know-who this year. i have a swatch and a sweater pattern, but it’s been challenging to actually find time to cast on.

maybe tonight . . .

moth kisses

Posted on 33 CommentsPosted in patterns

now here’s a little stocking stuffer to go with the motheye scarf you may have knit for someone’s main holiday gift . . .

or hey, if you coveted that yarn the whole time you knit with it and wanted so badly to keep the scarf for yourself, here’s a reward for being generous—knit a little keepsake for yourself with the leftovers.

these sweet little lace cuffs take almost no time to knit and are a great beginner lace project, since they are worked in the round with the right side always visible.

for a more experienced lace knitter, these can be dashed off in no time and earmarked for a hostess or teacher gift. you know that at some point, you’ll need something you can grab and wrap up in a jiffy. what better use for a small ball of leftover lace yarn?

and don’t let the delicate look fool you—these provide a nice layer of warmth over the back of my hands, while leaving my fingers completely free to work—great for typing, traveling, or even knitting.

feel free to size them up a little more to wear as boot toppers; they make a great wind baffle and are way prettier than felt boot liners.

personally, i love how a little accessories like this can be pulled from my pocket to totally flip the mood of a coat or jacket, when i’m through with business for the day.

it’s no fun for outerwear to be all work and no play, now, is it?

speaking of which, i’m going to leave it to your imagination what a little change-up like this will do for that charcoal gray business suit you wear once a week.

use with caution—they are seriously fun to wear, but are known to have devastating effects on others.

shown above with the matching motheye scarf (sold separately) in spirit trail nona, a soft and silky merino/cashmere/silk blend in the gorgeous rosewood colorway.

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

and now for one last parting shot with the sassy coat . . .