I Bought a Pillow

We all know how this goes right. You buy a pillow, then nothing else matches the pillow. So I bought SEVEN more pillows. Let see …… there is one for the chair in the living room, where the first pillow need began.

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Five pillows for the sofa and two more for the bed in the bedroom. Because you can see the bed from the living so it all must match.

And then the duvet in the bedroom did not match so a new duvet was purchased for the bed. Did I mention that all the candles were now the wrong color. Yup new candles.

All is looking good except ….. the cat’s blanket on the sofa is the wrong color. Now Mozart is an old cat 23 years to be exact. A Maine Coon that has lived a long and spoiled life in our household. His “red” blanket was one I had knitted several years ago. It is his blanket and must be folded a certain way for him to rest comfortably on the sofa for HOURS and HOURS of rest.

Sadly I know, in order to have that “perfect summer look” in the house, the blanket must be sacrificed. But do I go and buy a blanket …..Oh NO …..let’s just be crazy and knit a new blanket for the cat! Of course I know all you knitter’s out there will understand this, right?

Off to the yarn store with a pillow so it all matches correctly ….god forbid the color would be off and a new pillow hysteria would begin. Himself would toss me over the edge if that happened. As you know, you can only take a guy pillow shopping maybe once every two decades.

I made a most excellent decision on yarn. Cascade 198, a bulky, knits up fast. And I need fast! Machine Washable. And I need washable. And in the most beautiful color of White. White with a cat? I know a little crazy on my part. Read previous paragraph on pillow shopping and you will understand why I took the risk.

It is now the first part of May and I am casting on for a Summer Blanket, and I mean this summer! There is a need for speed. So size 11 needles and how about a really easy pattern. Grandma’s dishcloth. Oh Ya!!!!

It takes energy to sling those big needles ……. Diet Coke, Chocolate, and Wine!

Mozart sat next to me on his current Red blanket and observed the progress. He kept putting his paws on the in progress blanket approving the cushy soft feeling of the yarn.

And so in just two weeks of only knitting on this project it is finished. The Perfect Summer Look of my house is complete. The red blanket is gone and the new white blanket is in place.

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I am back to a little real knitting. Himself is relieved that he doesn’t have to pillow shop for a while. And most important Mozart approves!!!

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Now just a couple of months until the Perfect Fall/Winter Look…….

Union Square

A new pattern just for you.

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I think I have been channeling “Mad Men” lately. The clothes, the drinks, yes even the Conga Drums. This sweater is the result. And then finding that button, well, it just had to happen.

The sweater is boxy, with a bracelet sleeve, and of course garter stitch edging. It is a fast easy knit with a fun technique of leaving your bottom row stitches live on the needle and turning and picking up the front and neck edges. No bind off, you are just off and running onto the garter stitch edging.

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So why the name Union Square?

Well, that is in honor of a farmer and his beautiful yarn. If you get the opportunity to go to the Union Square Green Market in NYC on Saturday. There, you will find the booth of Catskill Merino Sheep Farm and Eugene Wyatt. Think the wonderful smell of lamb sausage on the grill, fresh garlic, and being surrounded by skeins and skeins of beautiful hand dyed yarn swinging in the breeze. Every time I put on this sweater, those are my memories of a most wonderful day at Union Square.

The Details:

  • Sizes 35 1/2 (38, 40, 42, 44) Actual chest measurement. Intended positive ease of 2 – 4″. Model shown with 2″ positive ease.
  • Yarn 6 (7, 8, 9, 9) skeins Catskill Saxon Merino Sport (100% Saxon Merino Wool) 175yds. Shown in Happy Brown. Note A DK eight will also work
  • Needles US 8 in 24in circular & 16in circular or DPNs and US 7 in 24in circular & 16in circular or DPN’s or size to obtain gauge
  • Gauge 18sts and 24 rows = 4″ in Stockinette Stitch on US 8
  • One 1 1/2″ Button for closing at neck edge.

For more details and to purchase go to Ravelry.

Knitted Gifts…

Us knitters always seem to knit special gifts for our special friends that don’t knit. But we often knit little somethings for each other as well.  Why would you knit something for someone when they could very well knit it themself, you ask?

Well….. we can’t help ourself’s. For me, it is often creating or knitting something that they don’t do. I recently knitted a beaded scarf for someone in a very fine fingering weight yarn. I happen to know she loved the scarf pattern but knitting fine weight yarn was something that  was difficult for her. So my gift to her, was to knit her the scarf she adored but could not knit for herself.

And then sometimes… if I am very very good…. I get knitted gifts. My daughter knew I wanted to learn how to do thrumming. I bought the yarn, the slipper pattern, the wool and it sat….. and I read the pattern…. and it sat for some more time. I finally handed her the whole bag with the pattern and told her I just did not have it in me to mess with it..

Magically this week she handed me a bag and in the bag were the finished slippersgift1

I am in heaven! They are soft and wonderful! I understand how the thrumming adds warmth. But most wonderful is that she took her precious knitting time to make them for me.

But wait there is more…. in the bottom of the bag was thisgift2

A skein of yarn. We often buy yarn for each other when we travel….. but this wasn’t just any yarn. This was yarn she had spun for me. That’s right, she has a wheel and spins as well. I had picked out the fiber on our last trip to Sock Summit. It is Dragon Fly Fiber with silk. Just beautiful, a heavy lace weight of about 700 yds. Wow, Wow, Wow.  It is going to be something really special.

In the meantime…. I am paying it forward…. to another knitter friend that is doing a special favor for me. I know she has a new grandbaby and I am certain he is going to love his “Like the Big Boys” hat…

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Just because, I can’t help myself…

Road Trip

I have been on the road…..airplane after airplane, city after city, business meeting after business meeting, so tired I can barely knit.

So while I have been slaving away, himself and the cats have been home in our new digs checking out their new spaces. The cats have discovered the low window ledges make for perfect perches. Among other tricks, Sting runs to the window ledge jumps on the ledge and then proceeds to walk thru the metal shade pulls because they make this clank sound. I think he figured out it annoys us.

Himself has been taking walks thru various parts of the city, finding great little coffee shops, stores, neat old homes. So when I came home this last time he had something special just for me. A business card… with the name “Bad Woman Yarn” on it.

Yup…. himself found a yarn shop for me. He even walked thru the yarn store and talked to some of the staff. He said “I think you might like it, but I am not sure…. it’s different.”

So on Sunday, we did a little road trip together… to Bad Woman Yarn in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood. What a delight! I won’t tell you the whole story here as it has inspired me to add a new section to my blog… Favorite Shops. I will be adding reviews of shops that I visit and love, all across the US.

In the meantime…. I bought a little more yarn, Madelinetosh Sport, color is Firewood. And yes himself helped me pick it out and got me the tulips as well. Just because…..smoky1

The Dragon Has Arrived!

As promised, a new look for the new year!!!

Finally you get to see the Dragon Lady as her true self. This is all thanks to Alex Sanso of Artopia Creative, a most incredible illustrator who took on the task of creating my dragon lady knitting persona. I think she did a most wonderful job.

So while you admire the Dragon Lady, I will give you a quick update of my intense road tours.

NYC2014aNYC….yes, I did buy a little bit of yarn. Dragonfly Fibers, Neighborhood Fiber Co. and, The Verdant Gryphon all were at Vogue Knitting Live. The best of course is Catskill Merino Sheepfarm at Union Square Market. Beautiful hand dyed yarn. Eugene Wyatt’s saxon merino sheep are the best. The hand on this wool is stunning. So I brought home a lot from him. Enough for a couple of sweaters and a couple of beautiful lace scarfs…YUM!!

I have had a lot of airplane time as I went from NYC, home for one day, then off to Los Angeles and the OC for another week. PHEW!!! Needless to say there was a lot of mindless knitting required as I was in business meetings until late in the evening and just plane tired… LOL.

So here are a few scarfs I knit from coast to coast.

Spooky, pattern is Antarktis, this is Dragonfly Fiber, Pixie.

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Jeweled Sunshine, pattern is Jeweled Cowl, yarn is Blue Moon Fiber Arts
Worthy, I used way less beads than was recommended, just scattered
them… in my own logical way.

jewel1And I finally finished Silver Marin… pattern is Marin, yarn is Lana Grossa Chiara. This one had been sitting for a while. It was the pattern that drove my airline seat neighbor to the 100 question distraction and I just had to step away from that memory.

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And finally, a giant cake for you to ponder…

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Yes, it is crazy crayon colors. Yes, so not black or brown. Yes it is for me… now I know you are scared! Stay tuned… I promised you are going to like it!!

Look out NYC…

The Knitter’s are coming!

A road trip is happening. Myself and my daughter are grabbing a little yarn, our needles, and heading to NYC. I have a business trip. She is on vacation. Then a really wonderful thing happens….my conference ends and we get a couple of vacation days together. But wait there’s more….. this is not just a tourist kind of vacation, Oh NO!. We are going to Vogue Knitting LIve!!!!

We are going to hear Clara Parks. We are going to touch and buy yummy yarn. We are going to see Catskill Merino Sheep Farm at Union Squire Market!!! And of course drink wine and have a few martini’s along the way. Our husbands are already shaking at the thought of the very sizzle of our credit cards as they have been warned “we are coming home with some yarn”.

So in honor of this wonderful road trip. I have a new pattern for you. A FREE pattern for you. It is called 30 Below, a cozy, warm, cowl. It is knit with a very special yarn… Catskill Merino Wool Bulky, in Umber.

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The photos just do not do justice to the incredible color of this hand died yarn. I urge you to indulge a little and buy this yarn on-line from Eugene Wyatt, Catskill Merino. The cowl takes two skeins. I promise you will not be disappointed. If any of you follow Clara Parks and her “Great White Bale” blog, this is the same wool. Go ahead, spoil yourself. I am going to buy a little more….

And just to tease you with a little more of my favorite yarn. Another new pattern will be released next month. This is a cardigan sweater “Union Square” It is in Catskill Merino Wool Sport, the color is Happy Brown.

I think I was channeling a bit of Mad Men when I was working on this design! So to tide you over…a little sneak peek.

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Now, I must go pack my bags… 1/2 full… as I will need room for yarn coming home.

Scorched Earth

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It is New Year’s Day….. and I am sitting in our new condo looking out at the Space Needle.

I am amazed at where I am sitting….. what I am looking at….. and dazed that we are here.

There is a saying in the corporate world, “scorched earth”. It is that time when you move so fast you can’t even see what you left behind. I have been moving like scorched earth since September.

Let’s see…. sell a house, buy a new house, sell off and get rid of 1/2 of all your possessions plus one vehicle. Be sure to keep husband, cats, and yarn stash. Oh and in the middle of all this negotiate one of the largest corporate contracts for my whole work year.  Add in… 5 business trips, two business plans, new furniture for new house, Thanksgiving, Christmas and all the stuff surrounding it.

I survived! As did everyone around me…. which is amazing.

So I owe you all a Thank You for being patient and hanging in there with me. And to answer all the questions….

Yes, I did make cookies including the famous Santa’s from Hell.

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Yes, I did do some holiday knitting…. my favorite was the coat, hat and cowl set….The pattern is Lottie Set, found on Quince and Co. I did the coat and my daughter did the cowl and hat. I can hardly wait to see this on Eve.

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The rest were fast and simple….a hat for Henry, Eve’s older brother. This pattern is Barley by tincanknits. A great hat for a boy.

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A couple of cowls and fingerless mitts for our daughter and god-daughter. This is the Walking Rib Cowl from Churchmouse Yarns and Teas

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A Koigu Linen Stitch Scarf for Doug, another Churchmouse Yarns and Teas pattern

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and finally a mash up of Shoulder Cozy’s by Churchmouse Yarns and Teas…. one for me, one for my daughter and one for Karen.

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Next up….well a new look for this blog site….a new sweater pattern….and a little fast and easy cowl pattern.  Cause I owe you a few things and I just haven’t had that much going on recently!

Boxes

My life of late is about boxes’.  Think outside of the box….. flip the box over….. empty a box…. pack a box…. move a box….

Do you see a progression of box’s?  It all started so simple…. an outside of the box business plan that added some additional responsibilities to my plate.  I love my day job, but the travel burden was really difficult. So…..

On a beautiful afternoon, drinking a little wine on the deck, himself and I  were talking about the love hate relationship I have with my job. In that conversation I discovered it wasn’t the job I hated, it was the transportation and connectivity issues. That killer last hour of travel home, praying to the god’s that I would make the ferry-boat.

The having to take a flight a day earlier because the ferry-boat did not leave early enough for me to get to the airport. Add to that the day-to-day struggles of decent internet connectivity and sporadic cell phone connections were exhausting me.

We flipped the box over and said what if we lived someplace else? Wonder if our home would sell this time of year…. mid-September. Let’s see…… We listed our house on Thursday, on Monday our house sold….. it was a sign, by Thursday we had found and bought a new house. Yup, we are moving. I believe when the stars align you must go for it!

To simplify our life, we are moving from the country to the city. A downtown high-rise condo. Easy access to the airport, great internet connectivity, no yard, no maintenance…Phew.

Now the empty a box must happen. Our new space is 1/3 smaller than what we have today plus no garage. The empty and sort every box in the garage game began. There were boxes that have moved with us to our last three houses that had never been opened. There were mis-labeled boxes…how could I have possibly moved my mother’s floral sheets three times!

Boxes and boxes of old paperwork, duplicate photos, and frankly just junk.  Add to that way to much stuff in the house. Is it embarrassing to say the lady at the dump knows us on a first name basis, as does Goodwill and Freecycle? When all is said and done it is very freeing to have less and have to care for less.

We are now into the packing boxes phase. What is left must be packed up for the move. It goes something like this, pack a few books, tuck yarn around a few books… and NO I DID NOT get rid of my stash!

Soon we will be emptying box’s again, but with a joy of a beautiful new space. Stay tuned, in the middle of all this I am finishing up a couple of patterns for you, plus I have completed some fun simple knits that I know you will want to do as well. Now back to box’s……

I’m blaming it on my knee….

I messed up my knee a couple of weeks ago. Injured the ACL in a couple of very stupid moves. The first one was at the airport security line….think heels, a runaway rollerboard, and slanted floor, all where you are supposed to place your whole life in five seconds or less on the x-ray belt.  Somewhat painful twist of knee and still had to get thru the airport, on a plane, thru another airport, up a really steep ramp to board a ferryboat to get home.

The second stupid move was day two of being home. Climbing stairs to my garden and realizing there was a ton of peas to be picked. So I knelt down on the knee and heard and felt the painful pop!. Now I am laying on the ground in my garden in serious pain. Seeing stars and not certain I can get up. Finally crawled into the house……just stupid, stupid did I say stupid.

So the party began, ice on the knee….no weight on the knee….hobbeling around the house.

O…wait it gets even better. In one week I am having a party at the house. Fourteen for dinner on the deck. These are business colleges that are flying in from all over the US for our one time casual gathering of our board members dinner. No way to cancel this deal.

Yup you get it……I have a list a mile long of things that must be done. And himself already has a list two miles long that he has to do to help me get ready for this as well. So the projects begin….weeding the garden. O wait, I can’t kneel! Plan B, I sit on an upside down bucket and weed….slide the bucket and weed some more. Did I mention that when you are in pain the logic part of your brain fails to function.

More ice….more wine…..I can do this. And yes I did. Planked Salmon on the grill, Thank you Himself! Roasted rosemary potatoes, grilled corn and tomato salad, spinach salad with blackberries, goat cheese, walnuts and toasted cornbread croutons. Dessert of a peach and plum crisp. Plus s’mores around the firepit. A real Pacific Northwest Feast!

Still ice on knee, still in pain but nothing can stop me now. The annual sidewalk sale is in town and that includes the YARN STORE. I am not going to miss that.  Think pain and logic not functioning. Now think buying frenzy, just crazy knitters grabbing bags of yarn to add to their stash and this is what happened.

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Yup, I bought that crazy yarn. What was I thinking…..even better…..I bought a pattern to knit with this yarn and immediately started to knit it when I got home. Ice on knee, wine, crazy yarn…..Oh yah!

The knee started to improve so I went to knit nite with the pattern, the crazy yarn, and a portion of a sleeve that I had knit.

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Thank you!!!! My dear,  sweet, wonderful, knitsters!!!!  You are honest……and have no fear to speak the truth.  And the table spoke…….”It looks kinda clownish”……  “Is it for a Halloween costume?” ……”It belongs to frogtown”

So the moral of the story…….when in pain….DO NOT SHOP FOR YARN!!!

For anyone that has an interest in this crazy orange stuff……let me know, otherwise I think it will be fuel for my next batch of s’mores.

Hit the Pause Button Please

I was zooming along on several projects. Micki’s shawl is finished and ready to mail.

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I finished this fun little cardi.

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I have a very cool looking sweatshirt style sweater on needles and a couple of more things in the works. All seemed well and then……..It turned on me….the weather that is.

Summer hit us overnight. It is hot. Toooooo hot to knit wool sweaters.  So what to knit next?  That’s when what I call the conundrum began. I pulled out a bunch of pattern ideas and yarn and spent days swatching this and swatching that…starting this and starting that and could not get into the rhythm of what I wanted to do next. I did a very difficult thing. I stepped away from the yarn and the knitting for a few days/hours and took a time out.

Besides the heat, the indecisive knitting, a garden going crazy, and work travel even crazier…..you can understand my brain hit overload. And suddenly a little bit of cool air blew in. My brain cleared….peas and lettuce were picked…..I needed a project for a business road trip and the knitting began again.

First I did a really fast and fun project

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This is from Knit.Wear 2012, the Deep V Tee. I knit it in a day and a half. So cute, so perfect as a toss on with khaki shorts. I want to knit another.

Then I chose to knit what I really wanted for summer. A little white sweater. This is linen and the pattern is Featherweight. I love this pattern. I plan to change it up a little and do a twisted rib along the front edge and all the ribbing.  I like how it is looking and the fit is perfect.

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Linen is a little hard on the hands so I have another project on needles as well. The vest is a Carol Sunday pattern, Clair de Lune. It is a little more complex. Perfect for afternoon knitting on the deck.

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As for the pause button…..well all the woolly knits are resting until the weather starts to cool a little. Which is not anytime soon I hope :-).

PS Don’t tell himself, but I already bought yarn for another Deep V Tee…….