Wednesday, December 28, 2011

christmas knits

Wrist warmers, fingerless gloves, mitts, driving gloves. I'm not quite sure what to call these, but I spent the weeks (and hours) before Christmas knitting lots of them. The wristwarmers were a hit with the recipients and were fairly quick to knit, too. Knitting the thumbs and sewing in ends took the longest because I'm not fond of those tasks. I put them off as long as possible.

The brown and pink ones on the left were made using the Susie's Reading Mitts pattern, which is the same one I used to make my own fingerless gloves. These mitts are wonderfully fancy and very ladylike. They make me want to curtsy and attend afternoon teas. Sadly, the pattern is unavailable now. Apparently there were some copyright issues between the designer and the publisher. However, after poking around Ravelry a bit, I found that there's a loophole so that you can still access the pattern. Just check out the recent comments on the pattern page. Nothing ever really disappears on the internet, does it?

I knitted the shorter brown and yellow mitts by modifying the pattern. The honey-colored ribbed gloves would be perfect for plain jane days, and the cream embellishment really perks up the garter stitch wrist warmers. I'm excited to try more modifying and much more embroidery on knits.

* * * 

I haven't joined in the yarn along in ages, but I happen to be blogging about knitting on a Wednesday. So, I'll go ahead and throw in my reading, too. I just devoured Agatha Christie's Crooked House on my new Kindle Fire, a gift from my sweet sister. Paper and ink are still my thing, but now that our library is lending eBooks, I can definitely see myself using the Kindle. Oh, and Crooked House? Meh. Yes, it was suspenseful and fun to speculate, but ultimately the oversimplified midcentury take on genetics turned me off.

{Ravelry links}

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

brown paper packages

a peek at the packages.

merry making!

free gift tags from hey look

crochet stars. 

free pattern from a foothill home companion.

* * * 

and just so you know, only hours before the gifts looked like this.

 knit mess.

More photos to come, of course.

Friday, December 23, 2011

christmas sweets

Hello there. These last few weeks have been busy at work and busy at home. I've logged plenty of hours in the kitchen--mixing, rolling, baking, icing, sprinkling. I had four generations of family over to help prepare the Christmas sweets this year! I've never been able to do that before, but with the new house we finally have enough room. Hooray!

We actually didn't go overboard with Christmas baking and making this year, but we definitely made enough to share. We made butter cookies, peanut butter cups (the best!), butterball cookies (I'm noticing a butter theme here), fudge, chocolate-covered pretzels, and Italian Cream cake.

butter cookies

Christmas pretzels
[these disappear as fast as they're made]

Italian Cream Cake

my sweet love-
roasting marshmallows in our living room

I've also kept busy with Christmas crafting, but I'll save the photos for after Christmas. I wouldn't want to ruin the surprise. I love surprises!

* * * * * 

Remember this? I was spot on for winter. 

Here's hoping I was right about the rest of the year, too.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

floppy-eared bunnies

 Bunnies featured heavily in my childhood. Peter Cottontail, the Easter Bunny, and these adorable sleepy rabbits kept me company through bedtime stories as I drifted off to sleep. My mom and I had matching pink and white bunny slippers. We kept a concrete bunny in the garden named PeeWee. To top it all off, "Bunny" is the nickname my mom gave to my sister and me when we were kids. Actually, I'm pretty sure she still calls us that sometimes. So, when I came across the hopsalot pattern, I knew I had to make these sweet little critters.

The knitting part was quick and easy--big needles and two strands of yarn held together. This was the first time I've held two strands together. It was no harder than regular knitting.

What held me up was the felting. I started by hand-felting the slippers, which took about a million years and left me with one slipper that fit and one that fell off my foot every time I tried to walk. I chucked them into the washer and dryer, which made for a slightly better fit. In the end, I just had to stitch up the top of the heel on the bigger slipper so that it fits more snugly.

 I still found myself stealing K's slippers when he wasn't looking. He's got store bought ones with comfy, substantial soles. My bunny slippers felt more like glorified socks. My solution was to cut out two foot-shaped pieces from a felted scarf and tuck them inside the slippers. The felt lining makes a world of difference. It's thick and cushy, making the slippers more comfortable and giving them more structure. K can keep his slippers. I'll take my bunnies.

And just like the bunnies of my youth, these have fluffy white tails. I love them. 

I can see myself making another pair of these slippers sometime down the line. The fit issues I had make me want to take on other projects first and let my frustrations settle. Next time I'd skip the hand-felting and go straight to the machine. Find more details here.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


solid vanilla perfume. clementines. green tea.

This blog is about moments. I've written that before, but what I've left unspoken is that it's a blog about good moments.

I haven't written much about my job. It's pretty much a mixed bag of moments. I work for an IT company, which requires me to spend 8-10 hours a day in front of a computer screen. Sometimes my eyes go out of focus, and sometimes I feel bad about all the time I spend with computers. Wendell Berry makes me think I need to hightail it out of the office and into the fields. Maybe someday.

But for now I want to savor the good moments in my days.

I get to talk with college professors every day.

I create online courses for colleges all over the U.S.

I work with smart, talented, funny people.

And I fill every spare moment with good things--tangible things--in an effort to live and appreciate a "three-dimensioned life." Clementines. Tea. Vanilla perfume. Knitting. Origami. Books. Crocheting. Walks.


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

button making

"Can I borrow your hacksaw?" I asked my father-in-law as I bounced into his kitchen on the morning after Thanksgiving. 

He didn't say yes. 

Instead he politely inquired why in the world I'd need a hacksaw and then volunteered to help me with the project I had in mind (probably to protect his hacksaw).   We He spent the morning making buttons for my Levenwick cardigan inspired by these handmade ones. We used a walnut dowel rod he had hanging around his workshop, sanded the edges, sliced off 1/4 inch pieces with a bandsaw, and drilled the holes. The buttons are finished with sealer and varnish.


drill bits 

almost finished


I'm glad our buttons are more polished and less rustic because I had some concerns about snagging my sweater on hacksawed buttons. Not so with these shiny guys. They'll be perfect for my Levenwick!

Sunday, November 27, 2011


It's time for sleeves. Ugh.

My Levenwick knitting has been humming along in the background, filling time between other projects. When I wanted long stretches of stockinette, I picked up the Levenwick. Seeing miles of knits and purls before me soothed me. My hands worked without any thought, leaving me free to daydream. I thought of how this cardigan would be perfect for Christmas get-togethers with skinny jeans and boots, how the color reminded me of cranberries, how the scalloped collar will keep my neck warm.

Now I've got two sleeves to knit, all purling in the round. Daydreaming time is over. If I daydream on the sleeves, my stitches end up in an uneven, ugly spiral all down the sleeve. I know this from experience. I've already ripped back once, but I'm facing the slog of sleeve-knitting with determination because I do want to wear this on Christmas Eve.

* * * 

How is your Christmas crafting coming along? I've got four presents I've started but not yet finished, plus this sweater for myself. I'm only really worried about one of the projects because it requires reading a knitting chart. I haven't mastered that skill yet. I'd love to hear how your projects are going!

* * * 

P.S. Thanks for the podcast suggestions! I love This American Life and plan to try out On Being. I also recently discovered Here's the Thing with Alec Baldwin (I could listen to him talk all day) and CraftLit (a combination craft podcast and audiobook--I started with Dracula, but can't wait to listen to The Woman in White).

Thursday, November 24, 2011

little things

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my U.S. friends (and happy Thursday to everyone else)!

Good morning! Today is starting off with a cup of creamy hot coffee and gingerbread cookie beside me, so needless to say, I have a lot to be thankful for. I have a lot of big things to be thankful for this year--healthy family, new home, steady job, graduate degree--but this blog is about noticing the small things, too. Little things I'm thankful for lately:

{cheese and fruit feast}

Accompanied by a movie marathon with my little sister. 

I never get bored with this soft yarn and these colorful needles.

{persimmon tree in the neighborhood}

Reminds me of our time in Japan.

{vegetable pot pie}

So cozy and comforting.

* * * 

I hope you have a lot of things--both big and small--to be thankful for today and always.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Lately my mind is buzzing with projects that I want to make right now. Nevermind that I've got several Christmas projects that I haven't even started. No, now is the time to make myself some bunny slippers, knit myself a cardigan, and crochet stars for Christmas package decorations. I may end up with nothing to put in those packages, but rest assured that they'll be gorgeously decorated empty boxes.

I've been logging plenty of crafting hours, which means I get to spend lots of time in my upstairs craft room. It's so cozy up there! I've also been listening to a ton of podcasts and thought I'd share a few of my favorites with you.

Patient Zero - Radiolab Fascinating exploration of the history of HIV and SIV. This podcast episode made me long for my days as an anthropology major when my favorite professor deemed everything "fascinating." I think she'd like this.

Unintentional Spinners - Just One More Row Um, so, I have this urge to add another craft to my repertoire. It started when I watched women spinning yarn at the state fair. This podcast episode only added fuel to the fire. The hosts of this show, Brittany and Dana, always sound like they're having so much fun (and they have lovely twangy voices). I've promised myself not to start spinning until after Christmas.

[Every episode] - The Moth The Moth makes me happy. If you don't listen to it yet, you should start. It's real people telling true, unscripted stories, and it's always compelling.

* * * 

Are you a podcast listener? What are you favorites? 

I'm always looking for new ones to try!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

it feels like home

apple peeling out on the deck.

garlic planting. hoping for a harvest come june.

in the evenings, japanese maple shadows dance across our walls.
{so hard to capture in a photo...}

squash bread makes the new place smell like home.

a beautiful day in the neighborhood. yeah, it feels this idyllic in person, too.

* * * 

I can only show you snippets of our days lately. If I showed you more, you'd see that nearly every room of the house still has boxes to unpack. You'd see me sneaking off to read The Hunger Games or knit Christmas presents or watch the first season of The Sopranos with K. We're settling in slowly. 

It's funny the things that have changed. Things that I never could have anticipated. For instance, I can see the sky so much better in our house than I could from our apartment. I never knew how much I missed it, but lately I've been watching the clouds by day and marveling at the waxing moon by night. What a show.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

new place

We are in our new house and loving it. We've got a lot of unpacking to do before we can really settle in, but it's not as daunting when I can take knitting breaks in front of the fire.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

keeping warm

The kettle is on. I'm layered in shirts and sweats. Our bed is piled with quilts and afghans. My hands want to wrap themselves around a mug of coffee--c'mon, kettle. Cold weather has finally found its way to our Kentucky valley.

Of course this means that I need to make more woolly things. These fingerless gloves were on and off my needles last week, and I'm getting a lot of satisfaction from such a quick knit. They keep my hands from freezing at the bus stop while leaving my fingers free to find my bus pass, work keys, and knitting needles.

Now the coffee is ready, and I need some slow sipping time with the newspaper and maybe a bit of knitting before a day of packing and running errands. Have a good weekend!


Reading Mitts (free pattern)
Yarn: Littledove (a Kentucky yarn!)
Needles: US Size 5 DPNs

* * * * * 

Other people keeping warm:

Andrea with her Rocky Coast cardigan

Kristen with her scalloped collar

Anna Maria with her new flannels

Thursday, October 20, 2011

right now, handwritten

And you? 

* * * * *

Updated to add: We're not in the new house yet. Right now we are enjoying the last few (chaotic) days in our apartment before the big move, and we're eagerly anticipating settling into our new home next week.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

yarn along: planning

I just don't know about this week. Work is crazy-busy, leaving me feeling scattered at the end of each day. My personal life is stressful--sick relatives and family fights. And this morning at the bus stop an angry drunk man got up in my face and yelled horrible things. It's all enough to make me want to crawl into bed and hibernate all winter.

But I can't.

So, I'm planning for the future, for those glad times that are hopefully waiting out there for me in the not-too-distant future.

This week I'm knitting some wrist warmers for myself in anticipation of delightfully chilly autumn days. We've had such a warm streak of weather lately that it hasn't felt like fall at all. It's been so warm that I was surprised to see the trees turning gold and sidewalks filled with russet leaves when K and I were out on a walk last night. There's a cold front moving through tonight that is supposed to bring rain. Cool days will soon be here and I'll need some wrist warmers to ward off the chill while still keeping my fingers free. You know, in case I need to mace anyone at the bus stop.

And of course, I'm planning for our new house. It seems unreal that we'll be living in a place of our own in just over two weeks. Design*Sponge at Home is full of inspiration and my copy is full of sticky notes marking decor I love. It's overwhelming to think of decorating a whole house, but certainly exciting.

* * *

I'm yarning along today with Ginny. What are you making/reading this week?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

happy distractions

Happy fingers

(Cables! Woohoo!)

Happy mouth 

(find a version of the recipe here)

Happy thoughts

(dreaming of my next sweater and a hat)

* * * * *

Lately I've found mounds of happy things to distract me from moving chores, but we've got a stack of empty boxes in the living room that I've promised myself I'll start filling. Soon. We move in three weeks!

What's making you happy today?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


It has been so hard to get back into the work week after the weekend that we had. For K's birthday, I surprised him with an in-the-city getaway. We stayed downtown at the 21c Museum Hotel, which was voted the #1 hotel in the US and #6 in the world (that's right, big things are happening here in Kentucky). The 21c has fabulous 24/7 gallery space with a bevy of art exhibits. Their rooms are full of interior design inspiration, and they serve up delicious meals at their restaurant, Proof.

Downtown Louisville has (surprisingly) a lot going on at night. I curled up on the window seat for a while and watched people walking by. Later K and I had a board game marathon (it was his birthday, after all). K was surprised and loved having a low-key birthday getaway. 

 * * * 

I just had to show you guys my favorite interactive art installation. A camera projects live images onto a wall along with falling letters. You can actually catch the letters as they cascade down. The word nerd in me had a blast!

If you're in need of a getaway, I highly recommend the 21c!

Saturday, October 1, 2011


We're celebrating my mister's last year as a twenty-something. 

We've had birthday dinners, birthday cakes, and birthday games.

His birthday may be over, but the celebrating isn't. I've still got some surprises up my sleeve. I can't wait to share with you (and him!) where we're going. 

* * * * * 

Happy birthday, K! You just keep getting better with age.

* * * * * 

Have a great weekend!

Monday, September 26, 2011

honeycomb cardigan

I'm so excited to show you my latest finished project, which I've named the Honeycomb Cardigan. Remember when it was still growing? Well, now it's a full-fledged sweater, and I feel like a bona fide knitter. It's my absolute favorite sweater, and I'm still marveling that my hands made it. Bona fide, oh my.

What do I love about this sweater? Um, just about everything--the color, feel, lacework, i-cord edging, and twisted rib. It's dressy enough for the office, but cozy enough to wear when I'm just kicking around town. It brightened up my rainy Saturday last weekend and even made my trip to pay the bills feel kind of fun.


Yarn: Quince & Co. Chickadee in Carrie's Yellow (I wholeheartedly recommend!)

Notions: Cream-colored buttons

* * * * * 

P.S. As I was sorting through these photos I realized that I had unintentionally knitted myself a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Maybe I make my own luck?

P.P.S. Bona fide! (1:20)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

favorite of favorites

Saturday mornings move slowly around here. Hours feel like whole days, and Monday's return to the routine seems far away. This morning has been particularly pleasant. I dove into our CSA vegetables and made breakfast burritos. The open windows let in cool, rain-soaked air, but two pots of coffee have kept me warm. A ball of red wool found its way onto my needles. But by far the best part of this morning has been the music. 

Tonight we've got tickets to a Nanci Griffith concert, so I dug out all of my Nanci records and CDs. I've been playing them the whole morning. Nanci's voice is tied with many memories for me. My dad and uncle listened to her music when I was a kid. Certain lyrics transport me across the world and time. 

Bicycles squeezed down alley ways into view
And towels warmed on oven doors
To not freeze
Was the only thing to do

I hummed this song all over Amsterdam for months as I rode my bike through cobblestone streets. Her words reminded me of home and made me feel less alone among strangers.

One winter night in Japan I walked home from work late at night listening to Nanci's album of torch songs. Snow was piled high around me as I trudged through an empty park. The only sounds were the crunch of snow and Nanci's voice singing "Bluer than blue." The whole world seemed cast in blue--the  pale ice, glowing streetlights, and dark sky.  In those moments I felt both melancholy and the happiest I'd ever been.

One of the Nanci Griffith records I found at a shop in Ann Arbor has notes taken during a concert she played on December 7, 1985. The album is also signed by Nanci and includes her book recommendations: Carson McCullers's Reflections in a Golden Eye and Thomas Wolfe's Look Homeward, Angel. I think these two need to make it onto my reading list.

* * * * * 

Do you have any special memories tied to music? Who is your favorite musician? What do you love about their music? I'm such a word lover that lyrics are the most important part of music for me, and Nanci's songs always tell stories. She's definitely my favorite of favorites. I can't wait till tonight!


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