Monday, April 22, 2013

on the needles: twigs and willows

Friday's snippets post included a sneak peek of the sweater I'm knitting.  Today I'd like to share more about it!

twigs and willows botanical knits
I'm currently knitting the Twigs and Willows cardigan, by Alana Dakos, from her beautiful new book, Botanical Knits.  I'm using Ella Rae Classic Heathers yarn in color 130-- it's a deep olive green, with brighter green heathered into it.  It's lovely to work with-- it feels satisfyingly woolly to knit, but when I washed and blocked my gauge swatch, I was surprised at how soft it became.  Alana's sample cardigan is knit in a woolen spun (basically, lighter and fluffier) yarn, Brooklyn Tweed Shelter, and I'm using a worsted (more densely) spun yarn, so I was a little concerned that the overall shape of the leaf motifs would be overshadowed by the individual stitch definition.  That worry disappeared as soon as my swatch was dry.  The Ella Rae Classic bloomed just the right amount when it was washed.

twigs and willows ribbing eastern purling
I tried a new-to-me technique for the ribbing!  I used the eastern purl variation on ribbing, as described in Ysolda Teague's book, Little Red in the City.  Just as a side note, while I haven't knit any of the sweaters from Little Red in the City yet, I refer to the book constantly for technique notes.  The illustrations are extremely clear, and Ysolda goes into detail about why one would choose a particular stitch over another, as well as a writing a fantastic section about fitting your knitwear for your specific measurements.  It's incredibly helpful.  Anyway, the eastern purl rib is designed to prevent the final knit stitch of each rib from becoming loose and uneven.  Essentially, you throw the yarn clockwise around the working needle instead of counter-clockwise, then knit those stitches through the back loop on the following row.  It takes a few rows to get used to, but I think it's worth the effort.  I'm so pleased with the results!  

I have the back and both front pieces of my Twigs and Willows cardigan finished, and the first sleeve about halfway done.  I'm hoping to finish the sweater in the next week or so.  Yay!

I hope your week is off to a lovely start!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

a tale of two kitties

Hi, and happy Saturday!
I mentioned yesterday that Bucky and Cocoa had a little bit of a rough week, and I promised more details-- so here's what happened.

siamese cats
Bucky and Cocoa are best friends.  They snuggle together, they get into mischief together-- they're rarely apart.  Cocoa had a little tummy issue last Sunday, so we took him to an emergency vet clinic because we were worried he would get dehydrated.  (I'll tell you the end of the story right now so you don't have to worry: Cocoa is totally healthy, no problems at all.  Yay!)  Cocoa's physical was fine, but they wanted to keep him overnight to make sure he was hydrated and to run a few more tests.  It was so upsetting to have to leave him at the vet, but since it was for his own health, I did it as calmly as I could.  Which, to be honest, wasn't very calmly.  

siamese cat alf
Bucky wasn't pleased with the situation either.  Cocoa is like his teddy bear, and he kept turning around trying to get comfortable without his cuddly little pal.  After a little while, I settled an Alf stuffed animal in with him, and he snuggled up with it for the night.

siamese cats snuggling
When we went to get Cocoa the next day, we discovered that the tip of his ear had been accidentally cut off, apparently when they were cutting off his temporary paper collar.  Thankfully, we noticed before leaving the vet's office.  And that is all I can say about that, because it's too infuriating to even think about.  Bucky didn't react well to all the vet-smells on Cocoa when he got home.  Bucky hissed and growled whenever Cocoa got near him, and Cocoa couldn't figure out why his buddy suddenly wouldn't have anything to do with him.  I was a nervous wreck-- even though I had read that this is totally normal behavior after one pet has an unfamiliar scent, I was worried that my little guys wouldn't be able to patch things up.  But they did, of course, and now they're back to curling up together on my bed, snoozing, and grooming each other.  Thank goodness.

I hope you're having a wonderful weekend!

Friday, April 19, 2013


Hi there,
I hope you're having a good week and that all of you are safe and sound.
First of all, my heart goes out to everyone involved in this week's events in Boston and in Texas.  
I'm lucky enough not to know first-hand what it feels like to be in either situation, or to have a loved one involved.  I'm sure that even the deepest empathy or the most vivid imaginings fall short of how horrifying the reality is.  I'm simultaneously shocked at how terrible some actions can be and at how selflessly others respond.  Seeing the footage of runners in Boston putting their own lives in danger to try to save others, or continuing to run directly to hospitals to donate blood, is so encouraging.  It pales in comparison the heroic efforts made by so many, but I'm sending out all of the positive, healing energy I can muster up.

With no segue whatsoever (because really, how can one possibly segue from that to anything else?), here's a peek into my life lately.

sheep knitting stitch marker
My mom won a door prize at the opening of the Skirted Fleece Mill!  She won a set of these adorable sheep stitch markers and a beautiful hand-thrown, hand-painted yarn bowl.  Lucky for me, she doesn't knit.  She also won a skein of handspun yarn, which I'll be knitting into a hat for her.  The stitch markers are currently on my very first sweater-- more about that soon!

siamese cats sleeping snuggling
Here are the two adorable reasons why I never have room to stretch out to sleep.  They take up the entire bottom half of the bed!  But they always look so cozy, I just can't bring myself to move them.    These little guys have had a rough time this week-- more on that soon, too.  They're back to their usual charming selves now, though.

new york city tulips flowers spring
Tulips are blooming in Manhattan!  
It's such an amazing change to see the city go from cold and gray to balmy and green.

McNulty's black tea berry creme cream
I just re-stocked my supply of my favorite tea ever, McNulty's Berry Creme black tea.  It's delicious, and the dried rose petals make it beautiful to look at, too.  

I hope you have a beautiful, peaceful day.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


I think spring has finally arrived!

purple crocus

moss on fallen tree

buds on trees


white crocus

sun on moss

It's so wonderful to go outside and feel the sun on my face.
I hope the weather is gorgeous where you are, too!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

much love tuesday ♥

Hi there, I hope you're having a lovely day!
Here are a few of my favorite things this week.

pink sand Harbour Island
This pink sand from Harbour Island-- pink sand!

Paper to Petal book
this book looks so inspiring.
float couture dress nishe modcloth
so adorable!  I love the hot air balloon embroidery, illusion neckline, and scalloped peter pan collar on this dress.

e.e. cummings book necklace carry your heart
this tiny book necklace is printed with one of my favorite poems.

Claus Porto guest soap pastilles pastel
these soaps come in the prettiest macaron-pastel shades, and they're 100% vegetable based-- perfect for those of us who have sensitive skin.

This is one of my favorite songs from Flight of the Conchords--I've probably seen it at least twenty times, but it still gives me the giggles.

Can you tell that my finds this week are inspired by the gorgeous spring weather we've been having on the East coast this week?  Its so wonderful to look outside and see flowers instead of snow!
Enjoy the rest of your day!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

dunzo list

Lately I have finished a lot of things.
In other words, I have a bunch of things on my dunzo list which should definitely be spelled 'donezo' considering it's based on the word 'done,' but apparently this nonsensical word is also spelled nonsensically.

Except, unlike Tom's list, mine are all good things!

First up:  the Woodland Gable wrap.

gable wrap juniper moon
Here it is, on display in my local yarn shop.  I'm so pleased with how it turned out-- and it's absolutely enormous!  As it should be, considering that there's nearly a mile of yarn in this wrap.

juniper moon gable wrap findley dappled
My LYS owner, Jan, did a gorgeous job of displaying the wrap, of course.
She has such an eye for visual merchandising.

Next on the dunzo list: the Bonjour, Girl socks!
open windows socks dream in color smooshy into the mystic
Ta-da!  These are the softest, coziest socks in the world (or at least in my sock drawer.  Close enough.).  I love the cable and lace pattern on the front of the socks, but fair warning: the heel instructions for this pattern are a little bit questionable.  After some research, I think the problem is the instructions for doing wrap and turn short rows.  In short, this pattern instructs the knitter to start wrapping the stitch before slipping it to the left needle, so the stitch ends up being on the wrong side of the wrap when you go to knit them together.  At first I thought it was just that this was my first time turning heels, but it looks like other people on Ravelry have had the same issue with this pattern.  As long as you know to look out for it, and use alternate wrap and turn instructions, I think you'd be okay knitting this pattern.  For more details on other modifications I made to this pattern, check out my Ravelry project page.

Lastly, I'm dunzo with reading The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff (which still looks exactly the same, so no photograph of that.).  Overall, it was a satisfying read.  One rather major plot point came to a conclusion that felt like a bit of a cop-out to me, but in general, I was happy with the way things turned out.  How's that for vague and mysterious?

So there we have it.
My dunzo list.
And if they invited me, I would totally go play putt-putt with anything on it.

I hope you're having a lovely week!

Monday, April 1, 2013

much love, monday

...And on a Monday, no less!
I hope you had a fantastic weekend and that your week is off to a lovely start.
Here are a few pretty things I found this week!

The Wheatfield Katie Daisy april showers may flowers
this pretty print from Katie Daisy-- perfect for this rainy day!

Barbara McClintock illustration
this sweet illustration by Barbara McClintock

Charles James evening dress 1950
this beautiful gray 1950 evening dress by Charles James

sepia tea and books
tea and books-- yes please!

Eva Patikian Siréliss
this dreamy photograph

Hanuol Kim Ji-Hyuck Anne of Green Gables
and this illustration from Hanuol's Anne of Green Gables collection

Have a wonderful evening!