Fall Shawl Together and stuff and things

1. I’m participating in an event called Fall Shawl Together! It is super nifty and will force me to continue my unfinished series on designing a lace triangle, so wins all around. The first post, by Cate, of Infinite Twist, is up, and you should go read it! It’s about picking colors for a multicolor shawl. The second post, by Melissa, of With Mel, is also up, and it is about wearing shawls in a variety of ways. This is such a fun series, and I am looking forward to all the contributions!

2. I’m waiting on buttons for the brown sweater, and whipping up a few more small samples for a little ebook of last minute knit gifts. (Including a fast shawl, actually.)

3. On a not-knitting related note, you can read a piece I wrote about my nose and other noses here.

Posted in Miscellany, Shawl Together, Writing

Small sized

Mode Moderne is such an easy knit, and I like working stripes and playing with the color combinations so much that I couldn’t resist making a small version for my daughter. I’d make a baby version as well, except cowl necks plus babies is a pretty big no-no!

This small version is knit in Neighborhood Fiber Co. Rustic Fingering and Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light, in the colorways Georgetown and Logwood, respectively. I only had one skein of the Rustic Fingering, and though each skein is a very generous 475 yards, I was anxious about running out, so I made my smallish 9 year old daughter a size 7/8 instead of the size 10 that I think would work better and leave more room to grow. That said, I think it turned out really cute and she LOVES it, and has been wearing it near constantly, even though it’s been much warmer than I think is ideal for wearing wool.

I’m currently working on a small collection of last minute gifts that I hope to release all at once, probably early November. Petite Mode shouldn’t take too long to write up, either, and will be sized from 2 to 10, only because once you get up to size 12, we’re in the range of sizes I wrote for the original adult pattern. I’ll offer them as a bundle, too, in case you want to do matching mother/daughter outfits. I need to get a photo of my sister, my daughter, and me, all in our stripey sweaters!

Posted in Finished Projects, Kidswear, Knitting, Mode Moderne, Original Pattern, Petite Mode, Pullovers, Self Designed, Sweaters


The GRE subject test is over and I just feel depleted. I signed the thing that says you won’t tell what’s on the test, but honestly, moments after I was done, I remembered almost nothing of what I’d just been through anyway. I just know it’s done. I’ve been dreading this test for months, even knowing that it will not be the deciding factor for grad school – pretty much every part of my application is more important than this – but it was a necessary step, an unpleasant one, and it’s over.

I celebrated with a box of chocolate truffles. Normally I’d celebrate with yarn, but I think my stash has reached a point where I’m not comfortable adding to it unless I make a more serious dent. I still have one more Sweater Club shipment coming from Madelinetosh next month (Sweater Club was my graduation present to myself) and I’ve calculated that I have something like seven sweaters worth of yarn right now in addition to all my smaller quantities, so, you know, time to work with the massive amount I already have. Especially since I’m applying to grad schools. In an ideal world, I get into a great school close to home and we don’t have to move, but there’s a very real possibility of a fairly massive relocation in the next year, so having less stuff would be a plus. (Although I know from experience that yarn is swell for packing around delicates in a move, should you be planning one yourself.)

I have been having some bearable but very tiring flare-ups from my Ehlers-Danlos syndrome of late, and I’m thinking I need to go easy on myself for a while. I’ll be starting on my application essay on Monday, to be refined over the next few weeks, and I still have plenty to do, but I’m not going to do a lot beyond what absolutely must be done. Mild flare-ups are manageable. A major flare-up would not be, and I’ve had one of those recently enough to be really cautious. I threw out a small part of my lower back, but the pain was astonishing. I can only compare it to labor pains, and for more than a week, any shift in position was accompanied by them. Ehlers-Danlos is not progressive, and I do not normally dread the future, but those pains were bad enough that I found myself thinking that I couldn’t imagine a life where that was the norm, and fearing that it would become that. I’m pretty motivated to avoid anything that bad again. I’ve thrown out my hip multiple times, which severely hindering my walking, but did not hurt very much after the first instance. I’ve dislocated my ribs a bunch of times, which is uniquely alarming, because the body goes on high alert without your input once it thinks the heart and lungs are in danger. I don’t like those things, and I’ll work to avoid them, but I’ve never had anything that was quite as bad as this lower back deal.

Anyway, that’s where I’m at. I’m so glad to be done with the test, and so tired at once. I will get back to knitting stuff soon, but for now, I’m going to take a little time to just sort of exist.

Posted in Miscellany

We believe in nothing

I just spent the morning taking a practice test for the Lit GRE subject test, which I am taking on Saturday. I did pretty well on the practice test, which is a bit comforting, but the actual process was mind numbing and horrid, to the point where I still feel like my head has detached my body and is floating above its usual perch. I’m also considering an embrace of nihilism, since nothing can have any meaning in a world in which Scantron multiple choice tests exist.

But on the knitting front, things look good, even if I am giving up on any quantifiable meaning in this world that is without intrinsic value and morality. I still need to weave in the ends and add buttons (and shoot pictures where I’ve combed my hair and put on lipstick) but the Bannister Cardigan is done, knittingwise.

This is certainly a top contender for My Favorite Thing I’ve Knit. I love the cables, I love the color, I love the fit, and the yarn, Cephalopod Yarns Beastie, is glorious. It is also fairly unusual and no longer available, so I am a bit puzzled on the substitution front. I’m trying to decide whether to try to knit a whole sample in another yarn, or whether to try out a bunch of single skeins and swatch with them to see how they behave. Many yarns cable well, but Beastie is heavy, round, sturdy, and dense. It’s a mix of wool, alpaca, and silk, which is not an unheard of combo, but the way it was spun was different than any yarn I’ve used with a similar makeup. Right now, I’m thinking about Quince & Co Osprey as a possible alternative, but I am not sure. If you’ve knit with Beastie and have any ideas of an Aran weight yarn (same makeup or no) that behaves similarly, please let me know!

Posted in Cardigans, Carved from Wool, Finished Projects, In progress, Knitting, Sweaters

And time is marching on

And time…is still marching on.

Hello, hello! It’s been a flurry of activity since school started up again. The kids are once again in three different schools, and I’m assistant teaching a class, plus studying for the Lit GRE and preparing application material for grad school. Basically, if I leave the house with my head screwed on straight, I’m pretty good.

I’m still plugging away at the catch up game. The striped cowl I mentioned in the last post is going to be part of a small collection of last minute gifts that can be made with varying amounts of yarn. In addition to the cowl, I have this shawl recipe I’ve been using to make presents for people. I’ve made two lace weight versions (neither photographed before I gave them away, sadly) and one fingering weight and one sport weight version. They’re easy, but I think they’re really pretty and versatile.

Additionally, I am currently blocking version number three of the baby dress I’ve been working on.

And finally, a humor piece I wrote for The Toast came out today. If you’ve ever wanted to see the titles of Choose Your Own Adventure books analyzed using critical literary theory, this is your chance!

I hope to have actual new patterns available soon, but I am just not pushing it. I’m feeling a bit worn thin, and I keep throwing out my back, so I have decided to go easy on myself as much as possible for a while. Ideally I catch up soon, but if not, I am going to be OK. I have in the past tended toward an all or nothing perfectionism. If things didn’t come out exactly as I wanted, I would often give up on them entirely, walking away from projects that I truly cared about rather than have them come out in a way that made me feel like I looked less than superhuman. One of the best gifts of my adult life so far has been a fairly recent tendency to channel my perfectionism to work for me. I’m trying to take my time and get things done rather than walking away. It’s not easy, and I still have a deep seated desire to hide from any work that isn’t meeting my standards, but I am getting there.

Posted in Dresses, In progress, Kidswear, Knitting, Original Pattern, Self Designed, Shawls, Writing


I previously reviewed Zealana Air Marle, a DK weight marled possum/cashmere/silk yarn, and while I had high praise for the yarn, I wasn’t happy with my own choice of stitch pattern. I’ve reused the yarn here, to much greater effect, I think. This plain cowl with pops of bright color (Orange Flower MCN Worsted in Coral) really allows the bloom of the Air Marle to shine, and I love what the i-cord bind off does to the top edge.

It’s not the fanciest of patterns, but a nice one for small amounts of yarn, especially in contrasting colors and textures.

I took the general GRE last Sunday, so that is DONE and behind me and I am relieved beyond all measure. I have the GRE in literature at the end of September, plus I’ll be writing applications and such, so it promises to be a busy fall and winter for me. I’m feeling more hopeful about catching up with my backlog despite this, and am accepting that I may just be slow on knitting related stuff for a while. It’ll be OK.

Posted in Cowls, Knitting, Yarn

A happy surprise

When I measured the second (purple) little dress, it must not have been fully dry from blocking, because it’s now definitely smaller than the first version, which means I’m not (totally) crazy, and my math wasn’t plotting against me on the sly.

Of course, I did buy yarn in SoCal for a third version of this little dress. Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in Cobalt, to match my niece’s eyes. I’ll go down a size, since she’s a little thing, and probably use the remains of the Orange Flower Twist | SOCK in Sandstone for the edging.

Posted in Design, Dresses, In progress, Kidswear, Knitting, Original Pattern

Woodgrain Hat

The Woodgrain Hat is now available for purchase! There are three sizes and two options for hat length, a close fitting toque, and a longer slouch.

This is a quick, satisfying knit, with a bit of a choose your own adventure aspect; you can place the knothole cables wherever you want, and in whatever profusion you want. The hat is knit primarily in twisted rib, which creates a wonderfully stretchy fabric, and allows each of the three sizes to fit a wide range of head sizes. Although I wrote this up in adult sizes, the sizes S and M may well work on many children.

The yarn is Cephalopod Yarns Bugga!, a lovely, soft sportweight beauty of an MCN yarn with a soft hand and gorgeous stitch definition. As previously mentioned, Cephalopod has sadly gone out of business, so I want to suggest some alternative possibilities. All of these are either yarns I have personally used, or yarns from companies I especially like and trust. The most obvious alternative is of course Verdant Gryphon Bugga!, which is identical in weight and fiber content, and comes in a range of beautiful colors. Other yarns with a similar weight and fiber makeup include Becoming Art Agave Sport, about which I have previously gushed, and A Verb for Keeping Warm Annapurna, which comes in Verb’s beautiful natural dye range. If you’re looking for a similar weight with enough structure, but you don’t want to spend the extra money for a cashmere blend, Orange Flower SW Merino | Sport is a lovely bouncy merino in a beautiful hand dyed range. And finally, for a very economical option that retains the bounce and structure necessary to highlight the twisted stitches, Quince and Company Chickadee is a round, springy, soft wool yarn that makes knitting a joy. And of course, you can still find Cephalopod Bugga! for sale in Ravelry Stashes.

The Woodgrain Hat is a great autumn knit: light, fast, and warm without being too warm. I’m really excited about this one, and I hope you love it, too!

I’m adding the Woodgrain Hat to the Carved from Wool bundle. If you have previously purchased Fine Hewn, the price will be automatically deducted from the collection price. I’m offering the two patterns now for $10, and the price will increase as more patterns are added. If you buy now, however, you will get the additional patterns without any extra charge, the caveat being that I don’t have a firm time frame for additional releases. I’ve previewed some of the pieces to come in this previous blog post. Each pattern will be inspired by carved wood, and will be knit in brown yarns. Happy knitting!

Posted in Carved from Wool, ebook, eBooks, Hats, Knitting, Original Pattern, Pattern for sale, Woodgrain Hat

In which math turns on me

I don’t have a picture because I’m in Southern California and the little dress is back in Northern California, but I made a second sample of the baby dress in new yarn with new math, and I have no idea how it happened, but it came out the exact same size as the first dress. I’ve been doing this for a while now, and my math is usually pretty good at this point, but somehow swatches and numbers did not lead to a new result. I suppose this means that my niece is going to be outfitted for many months out yet, but I will need to make a THIRD dress. Amazing.

That said, the Woodgrain Hat pattern is done and ready and will be released Monday, so at least I’m not totally incompetent. Right now, I’m willing to take lack of incompetence as a sign of competence.

We got pretty good pictures, but since I got up early to pose for them after a night when I’d had trouble falling asleep in the first place, I was pretty grumpy at the time, and it kind of shows in many of the shots.

Yeah, pictures, whatever. Why didn’t I make myself tea this morning? Ugh, I hate everything.

I used less irritable shots for the pattern. If grumpy ever starts selling knitting patterns, though, I am READY.



Posted in Dresses, Finished Projects, Hats, In progress, Kidswear, Knitting, Miscellany, Original Pattern, Self Designed

Throw it on the pile over there

Because I didn’t have enough sample FOs that lack a pattern, I completed another. This is a baby dress knit in Orange Flower Twist | SOCK in Sandstone, with Wabi Sabi Tallulah in Amelia for the edging. Orange Flower was and is one of my very favorite yarn dyers; Karin’s colors are stunning, and her subtlety has a quality almost like a good pencil drawing. She gets depth that retains a hand drawn feel without any jarring notes. Basically, I love her yarns and you should go buy a mess to prevent me from spending money I do not have on them.

This little dress has been in my head for years. The birth of my niece provided an excuse to finally make it. I was lazy about gauge, though, and the dress is a size up from the 6-12 month size I was aiming for, which means (alas, alackaday) that I shall have to make another little dress when I get the chance. Since I’m already so far behind in my pattern writing, I have decided to knit from my stash, and as I haven’t another skein of Twist | SOCK in a color I think will work well for this pattern, I have been combing through my other sock yarns for a pleasant combination. Today I will swatch and see what works. No more gauge carelessness on my part!

I did get a bunch of work done on writing up the Woodgrain Hat pattern, and it should be ready for tech editing later this week. I do my layout at the same time as I write up the pattern because seeing how it fits into the layout is a big part of making it work, and this means my write ups often take more time than they otherwise would. I still need to get modeled photographs, as well.

That’s largely it at the moment! ‘Til next time!


Posted in Dresses, In progress, Knitting, Orange Flower, Original Pattern, Yarn