Wednesday, November 18, 2015

yarn along: purple

Joining Ginny for today's Yarn Along:

The Girl on the Train (suspenseful, but just OK -- read Gone Girl instead if you haven't already), The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (amazing, heartfelt, and funny -- highly recommended), and Erik's purple Flax pullover.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

rosie posie

A completed Rosie Posie Grannie Square afghan, at long last!

I crocheted all the squares while I was pregnant with Erik, but abandoned it after his birth when I didn't have the gumption to tackle the finishing work.

Squares joined, ends woven in, border added, and ready for Bridget to enjoy. Sorry, Erik! As the first child, you have plenty of handmade blankets to enjoy already. (More details on my Ravelry project page.)

Bridget in a sweet little cardi and bonnet set knit by a dear friend.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

yarn along: birds without wings

Quick iPhone pictures as I join Ginny for this week's Yarn Along:
Knitting away on Erik's Flax pullover and just starting Birds Without Wings.

Bridget looking bright-eyed in a little green cardigan that I designed -- I'm not sure I took good enough notes to share the pattern, but we'll see.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

yarn along: h is for hawk

A Flax Pullover in the works, in purple, Erik's favorite color.

While reshuffling Erik's dresser and closet when the cool weather hit, I realized that Erik didn't have any handknit sweaters that fit. Talk about the cobbler's children!

Poor Erik! That is what I keep thinking as he adjusts to being a big brother. To go from being the star to sharing the spotlight in the blink of an eye can't be easy. I was essentially an only child (my brother was in his late teens when I was born), so this is new territory for me. Then again, soon Erik will have a playmate and compatriot, something I didn't have growing up, turning instead to books as my constant companions.

A Chouette owl hat for Erik is almost done, to boot.

Joining Ginny in the Yarn Along today: I'm reading H is for Hawk, by Helen Macdonald, a beautifully written (at times perhaps over-written) memoir about how the author (a Cambridge academic and poet), prompted by the loss of her father, immersed herself in training a young goshawk. Essentially falconry as therapy. A rare turn for me to read two nonfiction works back to back (Love, Nina last week, which I thoroughly enjoyed).

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

October warm woollies

Spending this cool and crisp October morning with this sweet girl, the Avett brothers, and a mug of hot coffee. Blissful! Heather from my knitting group knit this wee cardigan for Erik when he was a baby, and I knit the booties just for Bridget. They stay on, they're warm, and they're super cute. Handknits for the win! Unfortunately I have no recollection of the pattern details. Sigh... The yarn is Malabrigo Rios. They would make a terrific go-to quick baby gift, so I'll try to figure out which pattern I used.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

bitty cabled cardigan, again

Bridget, alert and wearing the bitty cabled cardigan I knit for her big brother.

Flashback to Erik, sporting the same cardigan two years ago -- my, how time flies! We celebrated Erik's second birthday with family last weekend, and he was a little shell-shocked by all the attention, cupcakes and presents.

Yes, he adores chocolate. Totally gets that from me.

 Lots of snuggles with wee Bridget these days. She's plumping up nicely -- look at those cheeks!
Yarnalong: just starting Love, Nina: A Nanny Writes Home and casting on a Nurmilintu shawl with some pretty Orange Flower yarn.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

yarnalong: crooked heart

a cozy autumn stroll, complete with handknit candy corn hat (thanks, Anne!) and cozy baby chalice blankie

joining Ginny for the yarnalong this morning:
Crooked Heart, by Lissa Evans and the start of another Barley hat

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

a knitter's child

 warm and cozy baby Bridget, wrapped up in handknit love

how quickly newborns move from sweet sleepiness to bright-eyed alertness

The baby surprise jacket was made by one of the gals in my knitting circle (thank you, Sam!), and I knit the blanket using yarn from the mill-end sale at Lorna's Laces, which is just a few blocks from our house here in Chicago.

pattern: baby chalice blanket, by Karen S. Lauger
yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted, Monkeyshines, 2 skeins
needles: US 9 (5.5 mm) Clover bamboo circs


I'm reading The Artful Parent and feeling woefully inadequate. No knitting at present (soon, I hope!), but I'm crocheting the edging on my long-neglected rosie posie granny square afghan:

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

fo: Bridget Linnea

Welcome to the world, Bridget Linnea
 8 pounds, 3 oz., 21 inches of sweet little baby

Friday, August 07, 2015

fo + wip

pattern: seamless yoked baby cardigan, by Carole Barenys
yarn: quince and co. chickadee, leek, 2 skeins
needles: U.S. 5 (3.75 mm) bamboo circs

The stitch pattern on the yoke and collars is super cute and fun to knit. I worked five buttonholes total. I wish the instructions for the length of the body and sleeves were more explicit. It is a free pattern, though. I love the yarn -- it is delightfully springy and woolly. Same yarn that I am using for the Sunny Lou dress, just a different color. I bought it right after Quince and Co. launched five years ago!
We have a work-in-progress underway here, too -- a baby girl, due September 13! We are through the moon, and we are hoping that Erik adjusts well to his new role as big brother. So far he enjoys reading My New Baby and Waiting for Baby, and today he declared that one of the tiny babies at storytime was "his," so we are hoping for the best. Any tips or book suggestions are very welcome.
I knit this Window Cat for Erik using some leftover (sadly discontinued) Knit Picks organic Simply Cotton. I have christened it Moxie Jr., since this cat allows Erik far more liberties than our actual marmalade tabby ever does.

 exhibit a: eye-poking

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

yarn along: sunny lou

Joining Ginny et al. for the yarn along today:

Knitting a Sunny Lou Dress with Quince and Co.'s Chickadee in Carrie's Yellow, a delightfully cheerful color.

Listening to the audiobook of Neal Stephenson's latest weighty tome, Seveneves. So far I like the thinly veiled fictional version of Neal Degrasse Tyson, Doc Dubois, but I'm not sure it's going to be as good as Anathem, Cryptonomicon, or The Diamond Age.

Monday, July 20, 2015

off the needles: hamamelis

off the needles and onto the hydrangeas:

 pattern: hamamelis shawl, by kirsten kapur
yarn: dream in color smooshy, nightwatch, 1 skein
needles: US 5 (3.5 mm) Clover bamboo circs

I am so pleased with this shawlette! The tonal dark blue is gorgeous, it has a lot of body, and it's lacy without being fussy. Initially I had trouble getting the lace pattern to click, but once I was a couple of repeats in, it made complete sense. I'm definitely going to try more of Kirsten Kapur's patterns, perhaps Cladonia or Cerasifera next. The yarn transferred a lot of dye to the needles and my hands, but surprisingly not as much as I expected when I washed and blocked it. I didn't bother to pin it out when I blocked it, which was a good choice.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

yarn along: labor of love

Knitting and reading along with Ginny again.
For once I'm not reading a novel -- rare! Jera Brandvig's Quilt-As-You-Go Made Modern is inspiring -- I can't wait to try this technique, which takes a lot of the fussiness and bulkiness out of quilting and focuses on the fabrics and the fun parts. Love the Home You Have, by Melissa Michaels from The Inspired Room is helping me reframe how I think about our small flat -- one thing I really enjoy about reading blogs is realizing how much we have in common with people who initially seem very different (age/religion/politics) -- it's humanizing.

On the needles: The Dude -- truly a labor of love, as this pattern was written for the end result (a Big Lebowski sweater), not for the of knitting. Looooong floats, allover 1x1 rib, yikes. This thing has gone in and out of hibernation for the past eight months. I'm aiming for Paul's birthday in November -- wish me luck.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


Steamy, sticky days here in Chicago after a cool and rainy start to the summer. Playground trips, fort-building, running through the sprinkler, swimming, picnicking, flying kites. Summer is much more fun with a busy toddler, though exhausting.
pattern: yoked cardigan, by hannah fettig
yarn: mountain colors 4/8's wool, winter sky, 1 skein
needles: US 7 bamboo circs for the body, US 8 for the sleeves
size: 2 years

I'm not sure that this cardi is really a size 2T! Seems a little small. Easy pattern, fun to knit, and I love the yarn. Smooth and springy, lovely dark shades of blue and purple, plus it had been marinating in the stash forever. Next time I'd try smaller needles when picking up stitches for the button band.


my favorite easy-peasy summer sandwich

French bread or ciabatta rolls topped with roasted red peppers, fresh mozzarella, a drizzle of olive oil, and a healthy sprinkle of garlic salt, broiled or baked in a 400-degree oven for 8 min. or so, then topped with fresh basil from the garden

reclaimed prairie at Winnemac Park

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

yarn along: elsie

Joining Ginny with this week's Yarn Along:
Knitting another Elsie cardigan and reading Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break, by Anna Brones and Johanna Kindvall -- an absolutely charming cookbook + collection of musings on Swedish coffee break culture.

I've also been tinkering around with a recipe for a raspberry rhubarb tart. Strawberry rhubarb has been done many a time! I think this version's a winner:

Raspberry Rhubarb Tart

Fruit Filling:
2-2 1/4 C. rhubarb, chopped (1/2-inch pieces)
1 1/4 C. raspberries
3/4 C. sugar
3 T. flour
3/4 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 T. butter, cut into small pieces

Tart Dough:
1 1/2 C. flour
4 oz. (1 stick) butter, cold, cut into cubes
1/2 tsp. salt
1 large egg
2-3 T. cold water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Make the dough by mixing the flour and salt in a bowl. Add the butter and use your hands, or a pastry blender, to break in the butter until the mixture has a crumbly, cornmeal-like texture. You can also make this in the food processor, using the “pulse” feature, being careful not to over-process.

Mix the egg with 2 tablespoons of the water. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the egg mixture, stirring until the dough holds together. If it’s not coming together easily, add an extra tablespoon of ice water.

Gather the dough into a ball and roll the dough on a lightly floured surface, adding extra flour only as necessary to keep the dough from sticking.

Once the dough is large enough so that it will cover the bottom of the pan and go up the sides, roll the dough around the rolling pin then unroll it over the tart pan. “Dock” the bottom of the pastry firmly with your fingertips a few times, pressing in to make indentations.

Chill the tart dough in the refrigerator while you prepare the fruit filling.

Combine rhubarb and raspberries in a large bowl. Sprinkle with sugar, flour, and lemon juice. Toss gently. Spoon into prepared tart dish, and dot with butter.

Bake until the pastry is golden brown and the fruit filling is bubbling in the center (35-45 min.). Cool on a wire rack before serving.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

yarn along: hamamelis

Joining Ginny et al. for this week's Yarn Along:

The lace pattern for Hamamelis finally clicked, and now it's coming along just swimmingly. I just started All the Light We Cannot See -- compelling and hard to put down!
Erik visited his grandparents over the weekend, and Paul and I spent a glorious staycation weekend here in Chicago. Chocolate croissants on the front porch, burgers at the Bad Apple, the new Avengers movie (going out together after dark! such a luxury!).
I even fit in some uninterrupted crafting time both mornings -- a little bit of hand quilting (not my forte, but I'd like to finish this wee baby quilt that I started eons ago) and a handknits finishing frenzy. So many buttons to sew on! Here's the first: 

pattern: lottie cardigan, by carrie bostick hoge
yarn: frog tree ewetopia, #1245, 3 skeins
needles: US 7 (4.5 mm) bamboo circs and US 8 bamboo dpns
size: 6 months


A lovely little pattern. I like that there is plenty of overlap for the front button bands. So many baby sweater patterns don't bother, with the result that the fronts tends to pull when buttoned.

The yarn was an absolute delight. My first time knitting with Frog Tree yarn. Ewetopia is a 2-ply merino, with a special twist -- one ply is superwash, the other is not, so the two plies take the dye very differently. It's a marled yarn, and it's so springy and squooshy. I found the yarn at Knit One Purl Two in Rockford, a very nice shop (much nicer than I expected given its location in a strip mall). I found the wooden buttons at Yarn Con -- I wish I could find this woman's contact info, as she sells a wonderful selection of wooden buttons in a variety of shapes and sizes at affordable prices. A real treasure!

Thursday, June 04, 2015

dispatch from the front porch

Today I squeezed in a little front porch knitting, which is pretty much the best type of knitting.

The pattern is Kirsten Kapur's Hamamelis, which has been on my to-knit list forever. Again, I'm using yarn from deep in the stash (hooray!) -- Dream in Color's Smooshy sock yarn in Nightwatch. The pattern's looking great, but the shawl seems small-ish considering that the second of four repeats of the main chart is almost done. I had a little trouble getting into the lace pattern, something that hasn't happened to me in a long time. There's something about garter stitch-based lace that just doesn't click naturally with my brain, esp. when there's patterning on both the right and wrong side rows. The yarn is springy and has kind of a tight twist -- it would probably make excellent socks.

Summer's finally here, and the university where I work is looking absolutely beautiful. Peonies on the main quads, plus look how quickly this spring's crop of ducklings is growing up!

Speaking of getting big so quickly, here's Erik reading a book. He inherited my love of Richard Scarry.