on the move

Posted on Posted in book reviews/events, designing, projects


whew, another whirlwind week gone by and suddenly it’s the start of a new month already—jeesh, where did february go?? swirled away with all that snow we’ve had, it feels like.

last wednesday sarah and i had an exciting day up in cleveland where i went to film a couple of segments for knitting daily tv. one revolved around the use of undyed, natural yarn colors and the other about fitting sweaters. this required quite a lot of preparation before we left the house, with me knitting swatches and samples and sarah making lists and packing. in the studio, sarah clicked away and erica posted all sorts of pictures on our twitter and instagram feeds while i did not take one photo the whole time (eek, sorry; i must remind her to cc me when she texts photos, haha).

anyway, when we returned that evening, the only souvenir i had of the day was this beautiful collection of slouch potato caps—one in each of our DK weight yarns. from left to right: stone soup DK in slate, ghillie sport in cream, kent DK in beach glass, and kent DK in driftwood.

that last sample is still unblocked in the photo, since i finished it up during filming. notice how much the fabric in the other samples was improved by blocking—read on to see more.


also last week, i finally had a chance to spend time with debby and susie celebrating my birthday—because first snowstorms, then illness caused a nearly month-long delay in allowing us to get together. we went out for a lovely dinner and talked and talked. they gave me a gift certificate to the running store that i shop at and susie knit me these plain jhayne mitts, knit in stone soup fingering yarn!!

holy cow, was i surprised and pleased; i have been wanting to knit myself these exact mitts for months, but just haven’t gotten around to it. and let me tell you, they are warm. i’ve been wearing them at my desk, which is in front of the west-facing windows in our house (brrrr) and they are toasty. they’d be great for driving too, since they are nice and long in the fingers. i love them, thank you susie!

david and i had plans to travel to see my mom for her birthday as well—all dependent on the weather, of course. we really didn’t know until the night before if we’d actually get to go, but finally decided it was safe to travel.


usually when we decide to come visit my mom, we set out on thursday and return on sunday. but i had a ticket to see my friend helena perform in peter pan on friday night so this time, we traveled on saturday instead.

whoa—what a difference it makes to drive while everyone else is relaxing or doing local errands. few trucks, no one commuting to work; it’s a different world out there. i took my turn for the first few hours to give david some time to wake up (as you might by now have gathered, he is not a morning person). this trip, we are listening to the girl you left behind, by mojo moyes.

when david took over, i got out my polartorte project and got to work; i wasn’t going to knit another, but then decided i wanted to gift one to a friend. i was just past the brim when we set out and with about three good knitting hours in the car, i was up to the start of the decreases. after a quick nap, i got back to work and by the time we pulled up to my mom’s house, i was nearly done.


i would have settled into a chair and just kept going, but we had a date with my sister’s family for dinner. it’s always nice to be able to grab some family time when we get to albany; between their busy school and work schedules, it’s hard for them to travel to see us. we had a great celebration dinner


complete with presents, cake, and conversation—it was a lovely evening. and when we got home i finished up my hat while we watched movies.


now i know it looks rather ragtag in this photo; the fiber is dull and the stitches quite misshapen. but you will see later how it changes completely before your very eyes with a bit of TLC.

yesterday we got up early and while my mom read the papers and david slept in, i went for a long run on the back roads near her house. after being cooped up all week at our house, where it was bitter cold and snowed every day, it was nice to run in the fresh air and sunshine.

we visited with my cousin in the afternoon and i got back to work on a secret project i’d started and laid aside a while back.


i can’t say too much about it at the moment, but soon all will be revealed. i’m knitting with stone soup fingering yarn and yes, it starts off with some one by one rib. it’s another thing i’ve been coveting for some time and i think it’s going to be quite handsome when it’s done.


it got pretty cold here after dinner, so instead of going out anywhere, we all settled in to knit and watch the oscars. the living room fairly hummed with activity. my mom is knitting a baby blanket to contribute to the christ child society at her church—a group that, among other activities, makes layettes for young single moms. her parish has a knitting group that meets weekly to work on them throughout the year; in 2013 they have gifted 480 sets. in the fall, they host a community baby shower for expectant moms, where invited guests are each presented with a sweater set and blanket.

david is getting ready to start on a hat project of his own; i think he wants to knit it a squish me hat. he’s been sitting in on wednesday night classes at home and has shown interest in doing a couple of new projects. i am beyond excited, but i daren’t make too big a deal of it; i’ll let barb and susan do that, hahaha.

while they worked on their projects and i worked on mine, my polartorte was soaking in a bathroom sink filled with very hot, soapy water. i find that this is the best way to treat the fabric for its first wash.


this is the unwashed, unblocked fabric as it  appears just off the needles. you can see that the stitches look pretty uneven, while the fabric as a whole is saggy, rumpled, and dull looking. now check this out


this is what it looks like after a nice, hot soapy bath, blocked and dried. if you thought that something like a hat doesn’t “need” blocking after it’s completed, i’m hoping this might persuade you that it will indeed, send your knitted fabric to that next level, bringing out its natural inner glow and giving it beautiful drape.


now that’s a nice fabric. another thing—if you think that your knitting tension isn’t nice or that your fabric isn’t even because you are doing something “wrong”, a good blocking could very well prove that it isn’t you at all. think of it as a free upgrade from this


to THIS.


i know which one i’d want to give as my gift.

ok, enough talk about knitting; my mom is making one of my very favorite sweets—the annual st joseph’s day treat called cavazone. i definitely want to watch.


21 thoughts on “on the move

  1. Your blog always increases my “must do” list–finish the Squish Me hat started a while ago, no running due to thre joint replacements but a long walkmis in order, look at the Slouch Potato pattern, block the garter stitch shawl just off the needles and riddled with uneven stitches, find out what cavazones are. Whew–better get busy!

  2. You are so right about the magic of blocking – it’s something I would not have believed if I hadn’t seen the transformation for myself! You are so, so lucky to be able to share your love of knitting with your Mum. She looks like an amazing lady, working away in her kitchen!

  3. I love your yarns so much. It is amazing what they become. The best ever! Now I have to tell you I am concerned about something. Any chance you will be having some maple yum yum on this trip? This is very important. It is gluten free, just sayin’.

  4. What delightful pictures of your mother, not to mention all the lovely yarn pron. I hope you get another run in before you get back to the snow country!

  5. You’ve sold me on blocking some time ago. Your blocking video is great – I’ve watched several times.

  6. I’m bad and usually don’t block my hats and things, but only because I always want to wear them right away! It really does make a noticeable difference though!

  7. Wish you would come to Cleveland more often. Would love to meet you. I never blocked anything (except some steam blocking) until I started reading your blog and knitting your patterns. Thank you, Anne!!! Finishing up Sky Cap and I know blocking will definitely make a difference. By the way, what is the slouch potato pattern? Love it (and Polartore, too).

  8. I read your blog religiously and enjoy using your patterns. I read with interest about your latest goings on. Imagine my surprise when I clicked on the cavazone link to find that it took me to an article about our local Italian restaurant over the hill from me! Maybe we can meet one day and have dinner there on St. Joseph’s Day.

  9. Loved this blog post for so many reasons, polartorte, David knitting, the magic that is blocking and your beautiful mom. Thank you.

  10. I love the photos of your mother active with knitting and cooking.
    I had never heard of cavazone.
    The St Joseph item sold near me in this Little Italy (we have at least three such neighbourhoods in Toronto) is zeppole. Perhaps one could describe a zeppola as a cream puff circle cut horizontally stuffed with cream/ricotta/custard and some dark berry jam? Delicious.
    Perhaps Toronto’s Italian communities only have cavazone at home, not from a bakery? Time to investigate!
    Thanks for the blog posts!
    p.s. when is spring coming? I need some flowers.

  11. this was a wonderful post. I am in love with the picture of the slouch potato caps. I am always attracted to natural color yarns and those colors are gorgeous.

  12. I make alot of hats and always block them…..I only use cold water….I was curious when I read you give the a hot soapy bath…….I love to see the stitches POP after blocking…..Thanks for all your wonderful knitting tips and beautiful patterns

  13. Also where can I find the slouchy potato chip hat pattern……I searched and searched…just love it!

  14. I would also like to know about this Slouch Potato Cap pattern as I can’t find it either. Wow, I’m amazed at what a difference it makes to block even a hat. I must admit I’m in the group of not blocking mittens and hats, mainly because I want to wear them right away and sometimes I’m not sure how to actually block them due to being smaller and rounded (not flat like a shawl). I’m putting your blocking video on my wish list to buy this year. I’ve heard such rave comments about it.

  15. Did I miss something (entirely possible)? What’s the countdown at the top of the blog counting down TO?

  16. I am really impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your blog.
    Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself?
    Anyway keep up the nice quality writing, it’s rare to see
    a great blog like this one nowadays.

  17. I live not too far from Albany! It’s always a nice surprise to read that you are/were nearby. 🙂 Looks like you had a nice trip. What a difference to see that hat not blocked/blocked. Really a nice hat pattern.

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