Holiday preparations

December 13, 2011

The cold has finally arrived in Philadelphia! It’s been a really mild late autumn, but now it feels like December. For this cold weather fan, this is greatly welcome. 


I’m still so behind in photos to Flickr and posts here, but after the busy work months of October and November the holiday preparations immediately began. I also like the brief internet hiatus I was on, so I’m easing my way back in.

For the time being, Kasy and I are preparing the house for a lazy, food filled, warm and cozy holiday. Presents are being wrapped. Some knits that I worked on during shifts at Rosie’s Yarn Cellar this summer were slated as gifts and are being soaked and blocked. Food has been purchased and wool blankets are snuggled under at night.


holiday preparations

holiday preparations

holiday preparations

I still have the annual tree to make and some baking to get done. Not to mention, a few gifts that require some time in front of my sewing machine. All in all, this winter is going to be excellent.

Hi there! So the temperatures have been hitting high around here, and we’ve been working hard on the house. When we finished the kitchen we moved our work straight upstairs to start on our bedroom. Knowing that the room would be finished quick, since any construction was already completed in it months ago (new closet added), this was an instant gratification job.

And boy…does it feel good.

A few years ago, we wanted to find a good blue for the bedroom that would have the same qualities of the dark green on the first floor. Being somewhat muted and heathery. We picked a color and went with it.

YIP 2009 | 11/365 | Corners of my home

And did not get what the paint chip showed we would get. This was 2 coats of the blue, and there was still ghosting. A third coat would have made our room almost pitch black! So we picked a lighter blue, which also turned out to be a horrible choice. And then we gave up for a little bit, living with a patchwork blue room that was so utterly dark and not at all what we wanted.

Next up? Bedroom. Repainting + Reflooring

We moved our things out of the bedroom, which was easy since our bedroom furniture consists of a bed, a bedside table, a chair, and a lamp. We got rid of our dressers a year or so ago, when Kasy built me a closet of my very own. Our work in the bedroom consisted of scraping, spackling, sanding, repainting, and reflooring. Here are some before shots.

Next up? Bedroom. Repainting + Reflooring

Next up? Bedroom. Repainting + Reflooring

We decided to stick with the gorgeous light blue that was used in the kitchen (Behr’s Tropical Breeze), and painted the ceiling cream as we’ve been doing in all our rooms as we renovate, to maximize light flow in our dark dark house.

Master Bedroom

Then we added in the flooring. Ok. Let’s be honest. Kasy did the entire reflooring job, while I was at Maryland Sheep and Wool. What a good man.

After the floors were put in

Moved our stuff back in…and have never been happier with this room! It is so peaceful. So serene. It stays so nice and light even when dark outside. It’s beautiful in the early light of early morning.

Master Bedroom! Finished!

The futon isn’t staying, by the way. We’ve moved our work onto Kasy’s daughter’s bedroom and needed to put her bed somewhere during that time. So for now, we have a little couch. Or thing that I put my clothes on instead of putting them away. Which ever.


So the other thing I’ve been working on is the last of my 3 remaining items on my knitting short list. I have all 3 started and all 3 underway. This is a sneak peak of some very gorgeous woolly knitting going on over here.


It’s the Acer cardigan in Green Mountain Spinnery yarn (Maine Organic in light gray and Wonderfully Woolly in Pine Warbler for the edging).

Stay tuned tomorrow, I’ll be posted a quick little yarn giveaway in the theme of RED for Project Spectrum.

Hey friends. Just popping in real quick to let you know that Gudrun Johnston, the Shetland Trader, is headed to Philly tonight.

She’ll be at Rosie’s Yarn Cellar tomorrow, Saturday April 16, 11am-5:30pm, for a book signing and trunk show. If you are local enough to come by, you should! Her designs are gorgeous and she’s a really awesome person!

Hey Philly-Area Knitters! Come meet The Shetland Trader on 4/16/11

Work in Progress Wednesday

February 23, 2011

Well, this is moments away from being a finished sweater. I have ends to weave in, so I’m still counting it as an in-progress knit.

weaving in the ends

So far, I’m very pleased with this sweater and I only hope that the blocking process will make it even more so, which it usually does. I have buttons all picked out. Once dry and ready to model, I’ll reveal it to you with all the knitterly details.

c o l d

I’m keeping warm over here, with the fresh snow outside (only 5 inches in Philly), hot coffee on the table, wool drying on the radiator, and great tunes to keep my heart and head happy (currently rotating Bruce Springsteen, the early years), and thought I’d pop in to say “hey!” and “look at some things I made” and “look at some things I will be making.”

As you may remember, last February I started working weekends at Rosie’s Yarn Cellar and could no longer resist the call of the Manos Rittenhouse 5-ply. You haven’t tried it yet? Shame on you. It really is amazing. AMAZING. (Rosie’s also ships, ahem. In case you need some enabling and can’t find it locally). This was also during a time of great strife for me, computer-wise. My trusty laptop had become the breeding ground of a nasty virus and one of my friends was kind enough to help me out on that front. In true barter fashion, all he asked for was a handknit hat in return. One that he could throw his hair up into, push back on his head a bit, and keep warm and awesome in its slouchiness. Well, that just begs to be the Felicity Hat if you ask me.

I knit this blue one for myself, since I had unexpectedly gifted my previously made one to a dear friend while dancing around drunkenly together at her housewarming party a few months prior.

FO 2010 : finished back in february

I wore this hat for many months last year, very pleased with it. Sadly, it never really lived up to the awesomeness of that first Felicity hat. I don’t think I knit the body of the hat as long as the first.


I also knit this brown one. This one being for my computer savvy friend with a penchant for slouchy hats. Of course, due to bad schedules on both our parts I didn’t end up gifting him a handknit hat until well into early summer. At that time, I had misplaced this brown one and so the blue hat when to live on the head of an amazing drummer and the brown one became mine. The brown one is my go to hat for cold days. The Rittenhouse has held up without any pilling through a lot of putting on, taking off, being shoved into coat pockets, dropped on the floor, stuffed into the bottom corner of a bag (I need my knits to be hearty, since I am not so super delicate with clothes. Clothes are meant to be worn and loved.).

These two hats cemented my absolute love for the Rittenhouse 5-ply and the colorway Smoke might be the most perfect gray every created. After seeing a friend design a gorgeous cabled sweater with this yarn, I knew I wanted to make something with cables in it for my next project with this yarn.

I need to finish this sweater

I cast on at the end of summer but sadly this sweater’s progress was seriously derailed by some deadline knitting quickly followed by holiday knitting. This is my next big thing to tackle and finish. I already know that this sweater will bring nothing but smiles. (Knitting details: Lauren by Ann Weaver. Manos Rittenhouse 5-ply in Smoke. Size 7 needles. Alternating skeins every other row)

I need to finish this sweater

In conclusion. Manos Rittenhouse 5-ply. I love you.

Oh, and just for fun, here’s a picture of our kitchen-to-be! We gutted the old kitchen and gutted the room where the new kitchen will be and are plowing ahead with this project. I will definitely show more photos of this room in progress, since it will be our largest renovation undertaking.

Coming Soon! New Kitchen!

My love for Rowanspun Aran…

December 30, 2010

A year or so ago, I acquired a small lot of 6 skeins of Rowanspun Aran in a dark blue color. It was initially going to become a Garter Yoke Cardigan, but after I increased way too much on the raglan and I had to ripout I decided to put the yarn aside for something else. It was one of those moments of realization that while you love the yarn and love the pattern, it wasn’t coming together right. I’m trying to listen to those realizations when they happen, instead of ignoring them until the project is almost finished, or finished, and all I have is regret and the need to rip.

Rowanspun Aran

Along came Idlewood, and I knew that would be the right pairing of pattern and yarn. I cast on shortly after Rhinebeck and finished before Thankgiving. A quick knit that when bound off filled me with the realization that yes, this was perfect and I would be wearing this sweater all the time.

another shot of my finished idlewood

I have been. I wear it at least once a week. It’s the perfect layering sweater for the cold we’ve been having, and the yarn is so crunchy yet soft. Rowanspun Aran has won my heart over. It really sucks that it’s discontinued and only a few people are destashing it on Ravelry but not in quantities or colors I really want. The texture of the yarn reminds me of Manos Classica in it’s subtle thick-thin and the fabric it knits into is gorgeous. I’ve gotten so many compliments on it. In fact, I really need to wash and re-block it today so I can continue to wear it ad nauseum. I really need to knit another one of these sweater, with a little longer of sleeves. Perhaps elbow length or even 3/4 length? But what yarn to use?!

Pattern: Idlewood by Cecily Glowik Macdonald
Size: 40 but at a smaller gauge
Yarn: Rowanspun Aran, colorway 965, used ~4.5 skeins
Needles: US 9 | 5.5mm
Mods: My gauge is a tad tighter, so I am knitting up a size and fitting it to me as I knit. I used size 9s for both the cowl and the body since the fabric was fine enough, and drapey enough. And I didn’t notice that I was supposed to use a larger needle for the cowl. Heh. I didn’t follow the directions for the increases, as I am not very curvy. I did 2 sets of increases spaced accordingly, since I tried on the sweater to place them. I added 2 inches to the length of the body, since I am a long person and the length in the pattern didn’t hit where I wanted it to in order to get more of a tunic silhouette.


I also used the left over half skein to knit a winter hat for my dear brother. He doesn’t usually wear winter hats but has been this past season since upstate NY has been mighty chilly. Poor thing is wearing the hat I made him years ago when I started picking up knitting again and I know that hat is too small. I’m sending off this warm treat to him soon to keep that smart brain warm.

Rowanspun hat for my dear brother

Pattern: Kim’s Hat by Kim Hamlin
Size: Largest (my brother is 6’3”. That’s a big human.)
Yarn: Rowanspun Aran, colorway 965, ~.6 of a skein (~160yds)
Needles: US 8 | 5.0 mm
Mods: ribbed brim is 2 inches long and the body of the hat had added length too. Wanted to make sure he could fold over the brim and keep most of his ears warm still.

OH…AND…both of these projects came totally from stash so they count for my Stashdown project! How exciting!

November Wrap-up

December 2, 2010

Well, that month flew by. So much for posting daily. I guess I’m just not cut out for that kind of regimented activity right now.

December is here, and the holiday season is officially underway. Before we finish off 2010, I’d like to blog about the many things I’ve found myself doing these past months. I’ve hinted at a couple, and even my Flickr site is woefully behind in showing the highlights. Let’s work backwards, shall we?

Thanksgiving 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

I headed up to New York to visit my parents for Thanksgiving. While my Grandmother cooked a turkey for the rest of the crew, I made myself some seitan to accompany my meal. This was the first time I sauteed seitan with mesquite bbq and holy moly was it delicious. We usually cook seitan, in Casa-Knitting by Bicycle, with Soyaki but my parents do not know of this delicious nectar. So scouring the shelves for the right kind of sauce, I stumbled upon the bbq that was smokey, savory, and sweet. Perfect, really. Now Kasy and I are talking of how to make bags of mesquite seitan jerky to snack on while bike touring.

Thanksgiving 2010
[my plate at Thanksgiving. Seitan is in the background of the plate.]

A few days before Thanksgiving, Kasy and I were the happy hosts to some lovely people from Boston. You may know who I’m talking about? Ann Weaver and her husband came down to Philadelphia for the weekend, while Ann had a trunk show at Rosie’s Yarn Cellar for her new book, Craft Work Knit.

Ann Weaver Trunk Show

They were such a delight to host, since they are bike people and beer people too. We drank, we ate, we chatted lots, we rode bikes around the city. Ann’s designs are gorgeous. Fun fact? Her Neiman sweater was one of my first favorites when I started picking up knitting again in a serious way years ago. It had just been published in Knitty and I vowed one day to make it. Granted, that day hasn’t come yet, but I’ve had yarn earmarked for it in my stash for years now.

Ann Weaver Trunk Show

Anyways. You need to get her book (available both as an e-book and hard copy. May I suggest the hard copy? It is gorgeously printed and worthwhile to add to the shelf). I have plans to make many things inside of it, and my mom has already requested an Albers Cowl of her own, after seeing Ann’s in person at Rhinebeck.

Ann Weaver Trunk Show

Ann. Chris. You guys are always welcome at our house in South Philly.

Next up? Quidditch. Knitting. And more bike stuff.

Finished knits of 2009

January 8, 2010

Well, as many of you may be acutely aware of, this January is particularly chilly. I love winter and cold temperatures, but whew…only a week in to January and I’m counting down to warmer weather.

We had a brief flurry in the wee hours this morning…

a slight dusting to start the morning off

…which, coupled with the weird slightly warmer temperature of yesterday and the coldness of last night, created the ideal conditions for a lot of black ice in South Philly.

Regardless, I saddled up on the old steed and got myself to the office…

“Smile, breathe and go slowly” -  Thich Nhat Hanh [photo 6 for 2010]

…where I now sit, about to tell you the tale of the finished knits of ’09.


Finished in 2009

This year was the year of accessories and test knitting, it seems. Mind you, that might be more apparent to me since I know the vast amount of works-in-progress languishing in my studio.

I test knit a couple of big hitters, as you might re-call — the gorgeous Honeybee Cardigan by Laura Chau and the lovely Ulmus Rectangle by Kirsten of Through the Loops — but there were a few other test knits as well — Simple Things by the lovely Mary-Heather, Lavalette and the Miller Hat by Kirsten of Through the Loops and New Boots and Contracts by Ann of Weaverknits (as of 12/31/09, however, only 1 sock of the pair had been completed, so it isn’t included in my finished tally). None of those have made it to the blog quite yet…

So, what are the numbers for 2009?

six hats:
1. Thorpe (ravelry link) (blog post)
2. Felicity (ravelry link) (blog post)
3. Miller Hat test knit (ravelry link)
4. Handspun Felicity striped hat (ravelry link)
5. Turn a Square 1 for brother in law (ravelry link)
6. Turn a Square 2 for brother in law (ravelry link)

1 cowl:
Rowan striped cowl (ravelry link)

8 triangular scarves/shawls:
1. Landscape Shawlette in blue (ravelry link) (blog post)
2. Lavalette test knit (ravelry link)
3. Beaded Seraphim (
ravelry link)
4. Textured Shawl Kerchief, in garter stitch (ravelry link)
5. Simple Things test knit (ravelry link)
6. Cashmere Landscape shawlette (ravelry link)
7. Tweedy Textured Shawl (ravelry link)
8. Striped shawl (not shown in mosaic, cause I forgot about it!) (ravelry link) (blog post)

2 rectangular scarves:
1. Ulmus Rectangle (ravelry link) (blog post)
2. Melody Shawl (no FO pics were taken before it was gifted (ravelry link)

1 pair of socks:
toeless Charade socks (ravelry link)

2 toys:
Kiwi birds (ravelry link) (blog post)

1 circular shawl
Vortex Shawl (ravelry link)

2 sweaters
1. Honeybee Cardigan (ravelry link) (blog post)
2. Monday Morning Cardigan [still haven’t taken proper FO pictures] (ravelry link)

Wow, so looking at this makes me see how much I didn’t blog about. I’d like to blame it on finishing graduate school and the resulting summer of freedom, which pulled me out of the house and away from the computer (phew!).

What am I hoping to accomplish in 2010? I do have some crafting goals for the year:

-Reduce my knitting stash by 30%, which will involve crocheting a Hexagon blanket with a lot of scraps and lone skeins, and things without designated projects in mind.
-blog projects more regularly
-get back to sewing again, since I have many a quilt in progress and in mind

And the biggest of all…

Finish or Frog! I’ve gathered up my works-in-progress and want to finish the ones I know I will want and rip out the ones I’ve lost complete interest in.

What are your crafty, or non-crafty, goals for 2010?