Stop the presses!

I am so incredibly excited – last year our dear friends announced they were having a bebe and I made a few little things for the sweet darling girl.

And now we recently found that there is:

Other than Steve’s sweater, I plan on putting aside most of my projects in order to make a few things for the newest bebe. Little items are so fun to make and quick to knit up.

Here are a few items I will be choosing from for my new knitting marathon.

Tin Can Knits is the best source for quality patterns in an array of sizes: the Flax pullover is my first recommendation for anyone knitting their first sweater. It is well written, and it is free. It suits plain yarns as well as speckles, and it can be made for a newborn as well as for someone in a size 4XL. In the picture above, it is the pale pink sweater on the top left.

The Beloved bonnet is another fun pattern from Tin Can Knits, easily made holding 2 sock-weight strands or one DK strand of yarn. You can see one I made previously in the picture below.

For a pop of color, I am liking this sweet French Macaron pullover from The Noble Thread. Maybe make a little hat or booties in the accent color?

French Macaron by The Noble Thread

The Garter Ear Flap Hat has been made over ten thousand times – Purl Soho is an excellent source of patterns as well as yarns to make them and this adorable little hat is a quick knit.

Garter Ear Flap Hat by Purl Soho

My dear friend Cait showed me a gorgeous set of patterns inspired by the hobbits of Lord of the Rings. My only complaint is, why are they not in adult sizes? Because I would totally live in these pieces!

Mithril pullover
Elevensies jacket
Fellowship cloak
Hobbit vest
Tookish britches

Aren’t they all adorable?

Booties and mittens are always a fun extra to add to a bebe gift. I am looking forward to sorting through patterns to find something to complement the rest of my knits, but I’d love any suggestions!

Soundtrack – en Francais!

I will be visiting some of my all time favorite soundtracks as I knit Marie Greene’s beautiful Soundtrack sweater.

Chocolate AND France? Sign me up! When this movie came out in 2000 I wasted no time going to see it.

The music in this movie is light and luminous, and because of the main character’s ancestry, it even includes some pan-flute bits here and there. Lovely movie, lovely soundtrack, even better if you have some great chocolate to nibble on while you watch or listen.

Another great soundtrack to listen to while nibbling on some deliciousness – pastries, sweets, macarons? is Marie Antoinette, with the wonderful Kirsten Dunst as the doomed French queen. Again, as a history nerd and Francophile, this movie was a must for me, and the mix of classical and modern that director Sofia Coppola chose for the film makes for a timeless soundtrack.

The costumes and sets are also amazing, and by the way, that pair of shoes that doesn’t seem to fit in with anything else was totally on purpose by Coppola, who wanted her Marie Antoinette to show her young, carefree side.

Knitting wise, my Soundtrack sweater is hopping along, I am now on the third and last colorwork section and love, love, love, the way it’s turning out.

All details are on my Ravelry and Instagram, if you want to know the colorways, vendors, etc. This will be a long-sleeved pullover sweater, and I look forward to wearing it when it finally gets cold. I am seriously not okay with the current 80s-90s weather. The humidity is awful, I feel like I’m breathing vapor, and the heat gives me headaches and heat rashes. Summer can be over already.

Until next time!

Soundtrack – Orlando

I will be visiting some of my all time favorite soundtracks as I knit Marie Greene’s beautiful Soundtrack sweater.

In 1992, I discovered Tilda Swinton. There was a movie called Orlando, based on the book by Virginia Woolf, and I went to see it in the theater five times. I was fascinated by the story, the actor, and the music.

I bought the soundtrack at Tower Records and it became my background music for the next few months. Here’s a little bit of the soundtrack if you’re curious and I won’t tell anyone if you simply have to buy it. This movie also sent me into a spiral of frustration because 99% of the movies Tilda had made until then were too avant-garde and weren’t really found at Blockbuster Video. I did snag a copy of Edward II, which is an amazing film based on a play by Christopher Marlowe – yeah, that one – which was itself based on one of the most toxic royal marriages ever. The character Tilda plays is Isabella of France, Queen of England.

Knitting-wise, I am working through the second set of colorwork rows on my Soundtrack sweater.

The pattern is quite intuitive and the yarns I am using are lovely to work with. I have very sensitive skin plus arthritis, so yarn that is not kind to my hands is usually not worth it given the number of hours it takes to make a sweater, but I am very happy with these yarns.

I am making it with a little less ease than the recommended amount in the pattern – I am short and busty, so if I wear something with too much ease, it’s not super flattering. Marie’s patterns are very well crafted and I have made garments by her before so I trust her sizing.

That’s it for this Soundtrack update – until next time!

The Shameful Shame, part 3

My closet is pretty and functional again. I am very happy with the results and wanted to share the last of the process here. The sources are listed at the end of this post. I tried to repurpose items I already had to minimize waste, but did need a few things.

Taking everything out was the easy part.

Putting things back in an organized way and being honest about items that needed to be purged or put away somewhere else or in storage was what took the longest time.

Also, I couldn’t put anything back on the center counter area until I got the wall decals I had ordered. Originally I wanted a dark floral wallpaper, but then I decided it would make the closet feel like a cave, so I switched to a light floral design, and since I only wanted the center area covered, I decided on these beautiful decals, which I could position however I wanted.

They were so easy to put up – I cut them out first and mapped out how I wanted them with poster putty, and then I peeled them off the backing and stuck them to the wall.

I had these pretty trays that I decided to use for my nail polish and perfumes. I used to have so much nail polish in every color of the rainbow but I hadn’t used them in years, so I only kept the nudes and top coats. Manicures that I do myself don’t last a day, and I hate having chipped polish, so clear polish or colors super closed to my nail color are all I use now. My lifestyle is becoming more pared down and if I want colorful nails, I have no shame in using the press-on kind. They have come a long way from the crap I used to wear (for ten minutes) in the 80s.

My perfume collection is courtesy of my beloved husband except for the two perfumes I got in Italy a couple of years ago. I am not a “signature scent” kind of girl but I do prefer the Warm/Spicy type. Much to my personal shame I do remember stealing my mom’s Giorgio back in the 80s, anyone remember that scent? Oh my dog, it was as strong and bold as the yellow-striped box it came in.

That necklace is one I made for my wedding day. I have only worn it one other time to another wedding, but I love seeing it every day.

Makeup is not a particular fascination of mine, to be honest I just do the basics to look polished. I do like to be able to close my closet door and be able to put my makeup on so I don’t wake up my husband since he leaves for work after I do (he also gets home considerably later than I do). This mirror lights up in three different settings and is great for what I need.

The moment I saw these jewelry trays, I knew I wanted them. I originally wanted to buy just one but I do have a few special pieces of jewelry and I didn’t want to cram everything I am keeping onto one of these. They look kind of steampunky and I really like them.

All the jewelry pieces shown here were bought locally – I believe in supporting local businesses, small businesses, BIPOC-owned businesses. I am also working on switching all my makeup, skincare, and scents to cruelty-free and I love recommendations, so please send those my way.

I hope you have enjoyed seeing this project, I am certainly very happy with the results. And now it’s on to . . . the medicine cabinet!

Sources:

Peony wall decals from Simple Shapes

Vanity mirror from Amazon

Peru watercolor map from Poppy & Pinecones

Paris photographs from Georgianna Lane

Gold tray (perfume) and mirrored tray (nail polish) from Michaels

Terrace tray jewelry organizers from The Container Store

Rolling stool from Amazon

Naked manicure set from Zoya

The Shameful Shame, part 2

I like to plan long before I actually tackle a project. I make lists, visual boards, measure twice, draw sketches, etc. The sketches won’t be posted because my drawing talent ends at stick figures, but I can share a little collage that is my inspiration for my closet refresh.

The top picture is this fascinating piece of jewelry storage I found at The Container Store – it looks vintage and modern at the same time and I just loved the look of it. I have ordered two, and my goal is to pare down my jewelry so that everything fits into these two pieces comfortably. I could probably have aimed to pare down to enough for one, but I don’t want to regret my decisions, so I am giving myself enough space (literally) to keep what I want.

The bottom left picture is what currently is my top choice in wallpaper. I found it on Etsy and I think it’s beautiful. I do have some concerns about the black background because a) I don’t want the whole closet covered in wallpaper and I think it might be odd to have one wall dark and the others white, but b) if I do all the walls in the wallpaper it will be this dark space and I don’t want that, either.

Bottom right is my all time favorite painting. It is called The Birth of Venus by Alexandre Cabanel. I fell in love with it the first time I went to the Musee d’Orsay, and when we went back to Paris in 2014, much to my chagrin, the painting was on loan to a museum in Japan. The color palette calls back to the pale pinks and pale blues in the wallpaper and I love the idea of having it in the closet. I think I know where it will go, but I am not 100% on that yet.

In the meantime, I am working through clearing out my closet in the evenings. Our weekends are usually busy so I don’t have a full day to dedicate to it but it gives me time to consider what remains and what goes with calm. Like I said, I don’t want any regrets, so taking my time is best.

Here is an in-progress shot of my work.

Not much, I know, but deciding where things should go, and then putting them away, is a process unto itself. I love these maps but they will need to go live somewhere else. Since I have no idea where, I need to roll them up and store them safely until I figure that out. Those pink and beige bins will probably go in my yarn storage.

I have so much shit in this closet. And my youngest’s birthday is at the end of July so items are starting to come in and I am fighting the urge to throw them all in here.

Next, shoes and clothing. This should be fun.

The Shameful Shame

When we moved to Wisconsin five years ago, I was thrilled to have my own small walk-in closet. As someone who had spent her while life content with having part of a regular mirrored-door closet and a dresser, this was a major upgrade.

Unfortunately . . .

this is the current state of my closet.

AND! This is AFTER I removed most of the yarn and work-in-progress bags.

#theshamefulshame

Recently, I have been wanting to pare down. Don’t get me wrong, the pictures of gorgeous closets with luxe finishes, endless rows of handbags, walls filled with expensive shoes and rack after rack of shirts, jeans, dresses, etc. are beautiful to look at.

But they are not me.

I don’t know if it is being older, because it’s definitely not being wiser, I am not sure when (if?) that will ever happen, but I am wanting to pare down. I like having a “uniform” which for me it’s soft pants or jeans, light top, and a cardigan. I usually carry one handbag for months/years, and since I received my dream bag last Christmas, I have no plans of switching. I don’t faff around with lots of jewelry – usually earrings, especially since I cut my hair. I do have some pieces for special occasions but my everyday outfits are predictable and comfortable.

I have big plans for my closet, including some accent wallpaper. Which might run into issues with the center shelf bracket.

My husband said it would be no problem and he could install the wallpaper.

I need to be more respectful of this space. Every December I start throwing boxes and bags everywhere I can stash them because I hide everyone’s presents here. That needs to stop. No more throwing yarn here instead of putting it – oh I don’t know – in the storage space I have in the basement?

No more of that. Respect for this space will beget less stress for me because right now, just walking in makes me nervous.

Looking forward to sharing the process, and hopefully, the progress with this space.

Soundtrack time!

I actually mean Marie Greene‘s new sweater pattern Soundtrack, which will release as a Knit Along (KAL) on July 1.

Isn’t this the most joyous photo?! (Photo : Marie Greene)

I had the pleasure of meeting Marie at an event she did with Cream City Yarn, my local yarn shop (or LYS – aren’t you learning all sorts of acronyms today?) so she and her patterns have a special place in my heart. She is knowledgeable, eloquent, and super nice!

I managed to cover most of my top, which is made from one of Marie’s patterns!

I will be using this utterly delicious and lush Brooklyn Tweed Arbor in Cobbler for the main color:

Photo : Brooklyn Tweed

And for the accent, I will use this beautiful Cast & Dye yarn held double.

Photo : Cast & Dye

This will be the SIXTH sweater I have on my needles right now, but it will also be a chance to share some of my favorite movie soundtracks and why they remain some of my go-to music. I’ll be updating my progress on Instagram where I post my knitting pics during the week.

I might end up making another inspiration board because honestly there are too many soundtracks I absolutely love.

What are some of your favorite soundtracks?

The Lunenburg Pullover

I have made a few top-down pullovers. Most of them involve some kind of short-row sequence at the beginning, so that the back of the neckline is higher than the front. When I read the description on this pattern by Amy Christoffers and it mentioned short rows beneath the colorwork yoke section instead, I knew I had to try it.

Amy’s patterns are published in various magazines, yarn company websites, and also under her own brand, Savory Knitting. She has many designs that are favorites in the knitting community, such as the Felix pullover.

I had originally purchased the colors for the fair isle section for a different project that never came to be. In fact, it was one of the first purchases I ever made at my local yarn shop. Once I decided to make this sweater, I thought the gold/green palette would be perfect.

I decided to made the cuffs and hem ribbing in the dark brown color, and probably didn’t follow the chart as precisely as I should have, but I do really like the short row shaping method.

The main yarn for this pullover is from Abundant Earth Fiber – it is a beautiful neutral and knit up like a dream. The colorwork yarn is from Elemental Affects, and it is very sheepy and rustic. I have very sensitive skin so I wear a thin layer underneath.

I am very happy with this project, the fit is comfortable but not super oversized, and I love wearing this sweater with jeans. You can find more details on my Lunenburg sweater, or as I named it, my Golden Fairyland sweater, on my Ravelry project page.

A Momoa-sized challenge

Steve has received from me a handknit sweater each of the past three years. Every time it’s the same, “oh, whatever you think best” back and forth until I pretty much just close my eyes and point to a cabled sweater pattern and call it a day.

This year, though, he has a pretty specific sweater in mind.

Found on Pinterest

For those of you able to get past the sight of Mr. Momoa looking like a fine feast, he is wearing a heavily cabled sweater with a shawl collar in this publicity pic from the movie Justice League. I’ve made cabled sweaters for Steve before, of course, since that is his preference. The challenge, however is to find a starting point – I’ve never knit a shawl collar before – and then customize it to look as much as possible as this sweater.

I happen to have Norah Gaughan’s Knitted Cable Sourcebook, which is, in fact, a guide on incorporating a variety of cables onto whatever you choose to design. The plan is to make a chart including all the cables seen on the front, figure out how many stitches for each cable and in between cables, total them up, and adjust depending on how many stitches the front of my starting point pattern has. I have a few ideas for the base pattern, thanks to my lovely yarnie friends C and L, so I will decide that in the next few days.

As far as yarn color goes, I’m going to make Steve’s sweater in a shade of blue. If I’m going to make all those cables, which are not difficult but are time consuming, I want them to be easily visible, so a medium blue-gray is the goal, and will also go well with Steve’s fair coloring.

Added to the mix is the fact that Steve has wanted me to knit him a hoodie as well, so do we make this a hoodie or stick with a shawl collar. No, I am not making a shawl collar hoodie, dogdamnit.

Also Pinterest, showing the sleeve cabling.

I usually start Steve’s sweaters around September, so that I can present it at Christmas. This past year a friend was having a bebe so Steve graciously let me make a bajillion baby knits and his sweater was ready in February. Considering how this year has gone so far, though, I am probably going to start early, take a lot of notes on what I’m doing, and light a few candles.

Maybe one of these.

If you want to follow my daily knitting adventures, follow me on Instagram.

As Anne Boleyn said to Henry VIII . . .

“we’re one third of the way through!”

No, she never said that, but we are one third done with this insane year and I figured a recap of my knit achievements would be a good thing to document.

Here are some highlights of this year’s knitting:

Eleven Twelve sweater / Blackwood hat / Wash’s Sweater / Tender hat & Cozy Classic Raglan / Becoming test knit / Zweig pullover ( all details on Ravelry)

It seems that a) this year is going to be mostly garments, and b) while it may not be clear in this grid above, this will be the year of pink. Much to my own surprise and that of everyone who has known me for more than three days, I am in the middle of a complete pink-fest. I have bought more pink yarn in the last two months than I have in the past forty-eight years. Before February, I had no pink yarn other than yarn I’d bought for baby knits.

What’s next on the needles? Another pink top, a couple of colorwork projects, and uh, another pink top. No, really. I’ve been a burgundy-and-black girl for decades so this pink addiction is very much a reality I am still getting used to.

I am super thrilled with what I have made so far, and I am making my peace with the fact that, maybe due to my arthritis, or maybe due to age, my gauge has changed. I am knitting way looser than I have ever knitted. Not a problem, I just make a smaller size. I am not willing to fight the new way I’m knitting because that will just end up hurting my hands. Accepting and moving forward.

And now murder hornets – excellent.