Wednesday, November 02, 2016

yarn along: mabel again

knitting :: Mabel Cardigan

Detroit Hustle was an interesting read, and not what I expected. It truly is a memoir -- one woman's journey from a trailer in Colorado to hipsterdom in Brooklyn to fixing up a ramshackle house in Detroit's West Village, not too far from where we live. It's about her, not the house, really, and she and her husband aren't into DIY, so it's not a how-to guide. But it's thoughtful, personal, and (for me) local.

joining Ginny for this week's Yarn Along

Monday, October 31, 2016

Belle Isle: handknits in the wild

 The Christian Children's Temperance Fountain at the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory
Yesterday the kids and I trekked over to Belle Isle, an island park in the middle of the Detroit River on the border with Canada. It's beautiful -- a huge park with biking and hiking trails, a charming old aquarium and conservatory, the Detroit Yacht Club, all manner of things to do. It's one of the many places where you get a hint of how wonderful and prosperous Detroit once was, and hopefully will be again.

Erik is in the midst of an independent streak, and while he refused to wear his rain coat, it warmed my heart that he happily donned the Flax pullover that I knit last winter. It still fits, but just barely -- time for mama to break out the purple yarn again

 always in motion

 a few steps ahead

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

yarn along: mabel

Knitting a Mabel cardigan for Bridget and reading Circling the Sun, by Paula McLain, on my Kindle.

I'm using leftover Malabrigo worsted yarn (hooray, always a good feeling) for the cardigan. As always, it's a delight to knit. The pattern is worked top-down and the yoke features these amazing cluster stitches for the increase rows. They look so neat, and they're fun to work, so long as you read the pattern very, very carefully, since they are slightly different as you go along. I just may have had to rip back a few times. 

Circling the Sun is beautifully written, evocative of place and time. You can tell that Paula McLain came to historical fiction via poetry. I attended her author talk at the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House last weekend, and she was terrific. Funny, genuine, down-to-earth. I love hearing about authors' journeys -- how they have come to writing, how they work, what inspires them. Lauren Willig spoke, too -- I haven't read her books yet, but she's a gem. A PhD student-turned-attorney-turned-author. It was so neat to hear how both authors approach writing and have made big, bold choices, embracing doing what they love, immersing themselves in books and writing. 

A big weekend for me! I also went to the Fiber Expo in Ann Arbor, which was great fun, and I made some wonderful new knitting-related discoveries. More soon...

** joining Ginny for this week's Yarn Along **

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

yarn along: tiramisu

Joining Ginny for this week's Yarn Along:

I'm reading The Shepherd's Life and it's eye-opening. The introduction got me, with Rebanks'  assessment of Wordsworth and Romanticism and how they have affected life in the Lake District, and the sheep farmer's connection to the land. The Guardian's review is here. On my e-reader is Circling the Sun (so good! hard to put down!), and I'm really looking forward to seeing Paula McLain speak at the authors' tea at the Edsel and Eleanor Ford estate later this month.

Tiramisu is done and dusted, ready to be dispatched to Chicago to warm up a dear friend's new baby. The pattern's free, and it's written by the ever-wonderful Alicia Paulson of Posie Gets Cozy.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

busy autumn days

Bridget just turned one. The months go oh-so-quickly, I can barely believe it. B loves swinging, playing in the sandbox, snuggling, reading books, and doing whatever her big brother is doing.

 And Erik? The usual -- hugging goats, loving the color purple, playing with Matchbox cars, running. He turns three this weekend, which is amazing.


Me? I'm up to the usual, too -- reading (Undocumented is a great read!), swatching, knitting a Strokkur pullover for myself, and drinking plenty of coffee. I wish I could bottle these beautiful fall days -- the leaves changing color, the cool breeze, the first sip of coffee in the morning, the apple orchard's dappled light, the children laughing at the playground.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


reading :: The Red Tent
crocheting :: cosy stripes

Somehow I missed reading The Red Tent when it was so popular -- it's my book club's pick this month. Perhaps a bit overwrought and overwritten? Ah well, I'm not the target demographic for this one.

Cosy stripes is almost done! Just 1.5 rows of edging left to go... Wonderful pattern, cozy yarn, perfect thing to crochet on these beautiful, crisp autumn mornings. Sometimes I get up before the rest of the family, enjoy a mug of hot coffee, and knit a few rows as the sun rises. Blissful.

Then it's go-go-go around here for the rest of the day. Bridget is a busy bee, curious, getting into everything, wanting to do everything her big brother does. She loves books, crayons, Matchbox cars, Magna-Tiles, cats, exploring the contents of my purse (that one I'm not so fond of). Here she's wearing her Lottie Cardigan, which I love. So sweet... now I want to knit her another. But first I must make her a Mabel cardigan. Never enough hours in the day!

joining this week's yarn along

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

yarn along: pompom + baby doll

reading: a back issue of pompom quarterly (so charming!)
knitting: a baby doll for Bridget's first birthday

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

yarn along: rib-a-roni and 'the nightingale'

starting Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale
just finished a Rib-A-Roni hat for my purple-loving little boy

Erik picked out the yarn himself (Stonehedge Fiber Mill Crazy) at a lovely yarn shop we happened across in Rochester, Michigan -- Skeins on Main. Definitely worth a visit! Easy, fun pattern -- I like the crown shaping and nice decreases. I'm working on a birthday present for wee Bridget, too -- a knit baby doll like the one I made for Nora's first birthday two years ago. Amy Gaines, the designer, has a new pattern for a sweet mermaid, too, which I may attempt next.

joining Ginny and co. for this week's yarn along

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

yarn along: The Bronte Plot

Just starting The Brontë Plot and mulling over hat patterns for Erik. He picked out this one-of-a-kind crazy Stonehedge Farms yarn at Skeins on Main, a charming yarn store in Rochester, Michigan. Erik is my purple kid!

Joining Ginny for this week's Yarn Along.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

yarn along: fairy tale

reading and crocheting along with Ginny today

Helen Simonson's The Summer before the War is hard to put down, esp. since the main character is a Latin teacher (I used to teach Latin and Greek before I came to editing). NYT review here.

Lorna Landvik's Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons is a book club pick, and it has made me nostalgic for Minnesota. It has also made me think about my mother, who was a young wife and mother in Minneapolis around the same time, and just how much things have changed, while still staying the same. Worth a read -- not quite the fluff the cover would lead you to believe, but a familiar story. Coming to it with a deep knowledge of the setting has made me enjoy it far more than this reviewer did.

The magenta crochet number is a Tiramisu blanket (free pattern!) that is working up quickly. It's the perfect companion to snuggling up on the couch and binge-watching Catastrophe.  I'm using Knit Picks Comfy Worsted in Fairy Tale -- a fitting name for a baby blanket for a dear friend who's expecting twins.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

yarn along: cosy stripes

I'm still enjoying making this cosy stripes afghan. The lovely colors cheer me up whenever I get a free moment to settle down to crochet (not as often as I'd like -- we've been going through a bit of a rough patch around here.) Yukari Takahara's Story Quilts: Through the Seasons features creative and unique quilts, such a wonderful mix of whimsy and embellishment. Inspiring!

Joining Ginny's Yarn Along this week...

Thursday, June 02, 2016


making :: attic 24's cosy stripe blanket
 baking :: German rhubarb cake 

1/2 C. butter, softened
1.5 C. brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. clove
1 tsp. vanilla
2 C. finely chopped rhubarb
2 C. + 2 T. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 C. buttermilk

1/3 C. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 C. chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter. Add next seven ingredients (through vanilla) and mix well. In a separate bowl, mix flour and baking soda. Alternately add flour and buttermilk to first mixture and mix well. Fold in rhubarb. Pour batter in a greased 9" x 13" pan (metal is better than pyrex). Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle on batter. Bake for about 40 min.

Recipe adapted from the Minnesota Heritage Cookbook, by Sue Zelickson

playing :: giving new meaning to the phrase "all-purpose bucket"

 love that impish grin

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


Yarn Along with Ginny and co. on this sunny Wednesday morning:
Still reading Knitlandia (my goodness, does this book make me want to travel and knit) and knitting my Age of Brass and Steam Kerchief. As I'd hoped, the easy pattern is good for my knitting mojo and getting back in the crafting habit. With two little ones, a full-time job, and an old house that we haven't fully settled into yet, I need to have something pleasant but mindless to work on. Now I feel inspired to stock the cozy corners of the house with knitting baskets with projects that don't require too much concentration.
Bridget tried out the swing for the first time and loved it! Her beautiful Pomander cardigan was knit by Rue. So gorgeous and cozy -- Bridget has worn this a great deal over the winter and spring. Definitely a pattern I'd like to knit.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

feeling sheepish

Joining in the Yarn Along with Ginny this fine Wednesday morning:
My crafting mojo has been on the wane a bit lately -- kids' tummy bugs, lack of sleep, and our first plane trip with kiddos (just Minneapolis for Easter) have taken their toll on my free time, not to mention my general sanity. Hoping to get back in the game with this easy age of brass and steam kerchief and Clara Parkes' Knitlandia, which is off to a good start.
 Tummy time again? Really? 

B is wearing her little garter cardi -- so sweet. The proportions are just perfect for B, which is a rarity for my long-armed, long-torso babe. I underestimated this sweater and didn't realize just how cute and cozy it would be. The yarn is Beaverslide Dry Goods Fisherman Weight, and it's wonderfully sheepy and natural, with beautiful heathered colors. If I didn't already have a yarn store's worth of wool in my house already, I'd buy more right now!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

sleepy kitten, little lamb

This little lamb was ready just in time to join the sleepy kitty for the big show (i.e., the Easter basket). So sweet, but the finishing details were rather fiddly. (Ravelry details here and here).
 Bridget wore one of my old dresses for Easter -- so precious!
Apparently the Easter Bunny brings only the finest in Matchbox cars... Erik kept himself very busy.
Joining up with Ginny for this week's Yarn Along: I'm perusing What to Knit: The Toddler Years to find my next project for Erik (cute toddler patterns are much harder to come by than baby patterns -- recommendations are welcome!) and I'm about to start The Outcast. 

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

knitty kitty

handknit kitty

 actual kitty

Embroidering the handknit kitty's face went surprisingly well. Now to tackle the wee sheep! And perhaps knit two more in time for Easter? I was hoping to make Alicia's sweet lovey lamb and honey bunny for Easter baskets, but my crochet skills aren't proving up to the task (joining and turning rounds with a seam, oy vey... I usually crochet blankets).

Joining Ginny & co. for this week's Yarn Along  -- I'm still reading The New Moon with the Old and How Toddlers Thrive.

P.S. Free kitty and sheep patterns here.

Monday, March 07, 2016

handknit heaven

Lucky Bridget. So many handknits, so little time...

purl bee little baby sweater, in kitchen sink dyeworks seacell merino fine

 barley hat, minus the garter detail, in madelinetosh tosh dk (begonia leaf)

yoked cardigan, in mountain colors 4/8s wool

Such a sweet girl. And those cheeks!!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

fiddly knitting

Joining Ginny and friends for this week's Yarn Along:

Reading How Toddlers Thrive, one of the most helpful, practical, and kind-spirited books I've read about parenting toddlers -- it's helping me think about how little kids think, learn, and grow (a nice review here). Also Dodie Smith's The New Moon with the Old -- she wrote 101 Dalmatians, one of my favorite childhood books, plus I Capture the Castle, so I was excited to see some of her lesser-known books now available in reprints.

Knitting some sweet little toys for the kiddos. I'm at the fiddly part -- embroidery, seaming, and stuffing. Embroidering the face can make or break a handknit toy. A few wonky stitches can lead to the stuff of nightmares. I always end up pulling it out and redoing it a few times.

Here's the pattern photo of how they're supposed to look -- fingers crossed I can pull it off.

Friday, February 19, 2016

snowy days

Snowy days in the upper midwest call for handknits: Erik in the Barley hat I knit last winter; Bridget bundled up in a hand-me-down crochet earflap hat of Erik's, plus her cozy Baby Chalice blanket. More fun with the neighbor's Tomten garden! Visiting it is now part of our routine, and a good way for Mama to get a little exercise.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

bon bon toque + one plus one

Joining Ginny & friends for this week's Yarn Along:

a Bon Bon Toque for Erik, using leftover eggplant-colored yarn from his Flax pullover (both terrific patterns from Tin Can Knits).

Just finished One Plus One by Jojo Moyes on my Kindle -- a single mum who's down on her luck and her two eccentric kiddos end up on a roadtrip with one of her housecleaning clients. Charming fluff, not as moving as Me Before You (which is being made into a movie!). Having some light reading on my Kindle is perfect for those wonderful times when Bridget falls asleep on my lap or those less wonderful times when the queue at the post office is unbearably long.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Tomten + Chouette

Erik is a whirlwind of activity these days -- so hard to get a shot of him in focus. What has him so fascinated?
A fairy garden just down the block, though Erik is convinced that the wee gnome is actually the Tomten, which we have been reading every night lately.
Not only am I dreaming up plans for our veggie/herb/flower garden this summer, now I've added a Tomten garden to the list.

pattern: Chouette by Ekaterina Blanchard
yarn: Malabrigo Chunky, blue surf, less than 1 skein
needles: US 9 (5 mm) bamboo circs
size: toddler

I did a 3-needle bind-off rather than kitchener stitch, and it worked great. Also, skipped the button eyes -- Erik needed a hat one day, so I grabbed this off the stack of handknits to finish and then completely forgot about the button eyes until now.
P.S. Joining Ginny for the Yarn Along today.