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Works in Progress

20 Jan

There are a few things I’m still finishing up from 2012, and resisting the major urge to start something new before I get some things off the needle(s) or wheel. Sock knitting is slow for me, especially endless stockinette. Size 10.5 feet make for some L-O-N-G socks. Going forward I’m only going to knit socks while wearing handknit socks.

WIPs 2012 - The leftovers



Making Stuff – WIP

7 Jan

There were many things I didn’t finish last year (this actually began in 2008 when I was pregnant with my first child). This quilt was one of them, but as soon as this lovely baby is happy not being in mommy’s arms, she will have a new quilt.








Life happens when…

27 Feb

You’re busy making other plans. John Lennon

What I hope to accomplish in the next 8 days

  • 12 mile run – today, getting ready for a 30K run in mid March
  • 5 crotched potholders completed  Started

Potholder Swap 2011 - Fronts
What didn’t happen this week

  • finish spinning my Martha’s Vineyard Fiber Farm share from 2008 (!)
  • 14 mi run – next Sunday
  • Finish 2 weeks of coursework
  • get 14 other miles in – a bit behind in my 100 miles/month (and it isn’t a leap year!)

A sick toddler and a sick me made for a much different week than I had planned, but, such is life!

Not making 100 miles this month was a bit disappointing, but there wasn’t much for it given the shortness of the month and sickness. So a revised goal, an average of 100 miles per month will get me to the ultimate goal of 1200 miles for the year.

Also started listening to, and almost finished, A Discovery of Witches, which I first read about in the Alumnae Quarterly. You maybe thinking *another* supernatural (read: vampire) tale, but this one is gripping and nerdy all at once.  Even if you’ve gotten over Twilight or the Sookie books, give this one a chance – it is a fun and enjoyable tale. What can I say, I love my skepticism and science in real life, I like the magic and fantasy in my books. As much as I love to read a concession to my full plate, actual reading has been put on hold. I listen to novels when I run, crochet, spin, or knit.

Works in progress at the end of February

WIPs - 2011 February

good Friday

21 Mar

It can be Good and good – mine was a good Friday for 2 FOs!

First finished was my Amy Butler Bag for KnittingPhilistine – which was a bit of a battle with my sewing machine, but I believe I came out victorious. Sewing for yourself you allow for certain, eccentricities, but when sewing for someone else I am a bit more careful. For some reason, a bizillion needles needed to be sacrificed to the sewing gods, and had some real tension issues with my thread. Both were fixed by a bit more careful reading of my owner’s manual. Even though I have had the machine for 20 years (Thanks Gram!) I’ve been able to keep all the pieces together through many, many moves.

But in the final battle today, knowing that my victory way near, in a last bit of defiance today – with my last needle to boot, it broke into two pieces. I went to rescue the tip by taking off the feed-dog plate, then dropped one of the two screws that holds the plate into the machine. D’oh!

Luckily a saunter downstairs yielded the philips-head screw-driver needed to take the bottom off the sewing machine. This coupled with and the fact that I grew up in a house with tools (Thanks, Dad!) and took shop class. With the bottom off I got to see the inside of the sewing machine…

Sewing Machine guts

Sewing Machine guts

Which got me thinking about how sad it is that shop, home economics, personal finance classes, etc. are the first classes cut in school budgets. While I love me some physics – I also know that you don’t live by science alone, and that this generation of students could be really lacking some useful skills by the time they leave high school.

With crisis averted, I finished the project.

Amy Butler - Madison Bag

Pattern: Amy Butler: Madison Bag
Fabric:Deadly Squire: Blackbirds after the Harvest
Started: March 14th, 2008
Finished: March 21st, 2008

The funny thing about this fabric is that I found it at The Fabric Place, in its seconds dept…but I couldn’t find anything wrong with it!

With the wind in my sails I went to tackle another UFO (It helped that the person I was going to give it to was coming over for my husbands March Madness poker-extravaganza tonight)

bento box baby quilt

Pattern: Bento Box
Started: January 2007
Finished: March 21, 2008

Note to self – don’t start a sewing project and then move, it is hard to get going again. But the lessons learned, and new sewing needles bought, made finishing this quilt a simple task today.

A house full of men-folk, eating chili, drinking beer, and playing cards while watching some basketball – I think I’ll go knit…

What I did on my winter vacation…

25 Feb

Being an alum of the Appalachian Trail, when Jeff goes on vacation it is somewhere to hike – out in the woods, away from everything except those brave souls who go out with him. When I have a vacation (three, week-long, a year + summers, yeah it is a plus to teaching) and it doesn’t involve holidays (December’s and April’s) it is my time.

This time was great for many reasons, I got to see two of my closest friends for some quality hang-out time. Amy came up from NYC and we chatted, drank coffee, and went to the movies (I am sure No Country for Old
Men is good, but I was really pulling for Michael Clayton). I also got to visit with my friend Erin and her two little girls – I am in awe of her calm demeanor with two sweet & high energy toddlers!

The rest of the week was spent knitting, spinning and sewing – the living room was a blur with fabrics and fiber for a few day, luckily Jeff realized that while he takes his vacations outside, I take them inside.


Baby Surprise Jacket

Start: February 15, 2008
Finish: February 20, 2008
Yarn: 1 skein (200 yards) Tintagle Farms 50/50 Merino in Olives colorway from Rhinebeck 2006
Yarn: a few yards of Manos del Uruguay Olive colorway
Needles: Size 5 Knitpicks Options
Gauge: 5 stitches to the inch

Thoughts: This is my first EZ pattern – while I have several of her books, I hadn’t actually gotten around to doing any of the projects within, believe the hype, she is really a genius. The Baby Surprise Jacket was a fun, quick knit, that was stash busting to boot. The yarn from Tintagel Farms was wonderful to work with – I am kicking myself for not picking up more at Rhinebeck last year, but I hadn’t worked with it yet so I didn’t know. Hope they are there again next year. The other two skeins became the bias-knit scarf I made for the International Scarf Exchange 5.0 this fall. I have ladybug buttons to put on the sweater – but I am waiting to find out if this will be a boy-sweater or girl-sweater.


Project I Knitting Bags: Small

This is the basic cylinder design that I’ve made before – it has evolved over time, this generation I used the button hole option on my sewing machine for the draw-string instead of the metal grommet. These would fit a sock project/1 skein project.

Small Knitting Bags

Project II Knitting Bags: Large

Same as above, but a bit longer – this would fit a scarf or shawl project

Large Knitting Bags

Project III Amy Butler Madison Bags

I have used this pattern before – but with the longer strap, the handles were a bit tricky, I’ll make them again but be a bit more careful on the placement. Coordinate the lining to the outside was fun – the sheep and elephant fabrics are from japan from this etsy shop

Amy Butler - Madison Bag


Just have to press the linings with a smaller iron – hard to get in there with the regular one!

Ok, I know it isn't the grounhog's fault…

11 Feb

But it was freakin’ C-O-L-D today in New England (Laugh at me all you want Alaska, Greenland & Canada – but it was)

Our first winter in the house trying to manage a geothermal heating system and an efficient firebox was a bit outstripped this morning due to the wind that dropped the temps below zero (and still rattle the branches outside now). This little fact did not mean that I didn’t see students wearing flip-flops this morning – yeah, seriously, flip-flops!

As part of my subtle rebellion against winter, I spun up into low twist singles some Spunky Eclectic – Walking on the Sun romney (The only romney that I’d let into my house that is…) roving. I love this wool – so soft, a bit slippery to spin, but the colors and the feel made it spin up very quickly while listening to the end of The Ordinary Adventurer (J’s got to pick our next Sunday reading book) it was great – Jan is a wonderful writer, and wrote a great book about her experience hiking the The Long Trail in Vermont – not sure if there is a book in the works for her Appalachian Trail adventure – hopefully!

Spunky Eclectic - Walking on the Sun Romney

The sunny yellow and oranges brightened my day – it is now sitting peacefully on the niddy-noddy for a good stretch.

I also did a bit of sewing this weekend – trying to work out a way to have a lined, brick-shaped bag, with a zipper and no lurking seams. I found a few useful tutorials that gave the basics, but I was looking to have the folds of the bag completely hidden. I accomplished this by a small slit in the lining that will be sewn afterwards – a pattern still in progress.

Production also stopped due to my lack of zipper foot – which without made putting in the zippers a bit more tricky. Will replace it ASAP and finish these babies off!

Project Bags 2.0

First FO of the year!

8 Jan

After starting the Meadow Flowers Shawl from a Knitter’s Stash this summer I am finally finished! The shawl is blocking upstairs as I type (thank goodness for guest rooms).

Meadow Flowers Shawl

The destash is also going very well – some lovely people have new knitting needles and I have a bit of new yarn. Ravelry swaps are AWESOME!

This showed up in the mail for one of the swaps from Leah, yay malabrigo!

Sweet Grape Malabrigo

yum, sweet grape malabrigo!

Sweet Grape malabrigo

I am also getting inspired to do a bit of sewing

Fabric inspiration

And I’ve been playing with flickr a bit too.

Continuing to unpack…

11 Aug

Well, as I continue to unpack the amount of things to distract me grows. Unpacking books that haven’t seen the light of day for over a year is fun (a big shift in my reading list is about to occur). As I slowly unearth these gems I am trying not to get too sucked in – although I have started Travels with Charley: In Search of America last night, I had forgotten how much I enjoy Steinbeck. But, before I start reading again, I made a deal with myself, I had to finish unpacking a room, so I have the bedroom now done. WOO HOO! Now, just the rest of the house to go.

Along with the yarn that I found on my trip, also came home a few fat quarters, but for 9 dollars, I am not complaining one bit!


I am really fond of the two fabrics in the middle of the above picture, they will be very inspiring in future projects.


The bikes are very fun, but the dots & diamonds will work as supporting fabric in future projects.

Secret knitting continues, updates soon!

One of the weirdest/saddest things I have heard in a while is that the Chinese Government is requiring that high Tibetan Lamas have to essentially fill out paperwork to reincarnate. I just hope that Tibetan Buddhism can survive a bureaucracy that is essentially trying to end it, another reason NOT to buy things from China…

Yeah baby, Pure Nerd & Other stories…

8 Jul

After following a thread on Ravelry (wow, what organizational bliss – I just wish the rest of my life was that organized now!) on Knitting Geeks, there was a test (woo-hoo) to take to find out your score (what bothers me a bit is that the results add up to less than 100%, not sure which part(s) that is irking)

Your Score: Pure Nerd: 73 % Nerd, 8% Geek, 17% Dork (2% ???)

For The Record:
A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.
A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.
A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.

You scored better than half in Nerd, earning you the title of: Pure Nerd.

The times, they are a-changing. It used to be that being exceptionally smart led to being unpopular, which would ultimately lead to picking up all of the traits and tendencies associated with the “dork.” No-longer. Being smart isn’t as socially crippling as it once was, and even more so as you get older: eventually being a Pure Nerd will likely be replaced with the following label: Purely Successful.

THE NERD? GEEK? OR DORK? TEST (Come on you know you want too…)

I am busy finishing getting closer to finishing a quilt today, but it always takes me longer than I think it will. I am 50% through quilting the top, then finish the other 50%, then roll & finish the edges, then tie/bury all the loose ends. (Even with another grad class starting tomorrow I am giving myself until Friday to finish it, it has been long enough and I am not letting myself start any more quilts until I have this one done.)

Quilt for C

Bento Box

We actually got out a bit (I ran with my Nike+ipod for the first time too, but it didn’t calibrate correctly, D’oh!) There is a dog-friendly state park, Purgatory Chasm, that J had been to, but it was my first time there. Unfortunately there was a bazillion people there (Tally isn’t a big hordes of kids kind of dog) so we set off on a quieter route. But this is after witnessing an 11-year-old going-on-nasty-beastly give her father the finger when he said she couldn’t have an ice cream – nice.

Tally on a Walk

Purgatory Chasm

J & Tal

This looks like the place that they should lock up the nasty-beastly children, but it was only the old restrooms. Scary looking, huh?

Finishing + Starting

2 Jul

On Friday I finished a week-long intensive grad course, unfortunately it was the worst course that I have ever taken. It started as if we were elementary school students [not educators of preK -12th grade children], within the first 5 minutes she asked us to make sure that we were using our listening-ears, Seriously. OK, rant over.

To compensate on Saturday I went on a wee field trip out to Black Sheep Knitting Company in Needham, and I only came home with one skein(Noro – Cash Iroha)

Noro - Cash Iroha, 100

after going there I meandered on back-ish roads to Wellesley & went window shopping. For the first time in my life I did not bring anything home from Paper Source – I am very proud/amazed.

So, I cast around this weekend hungry to finish something, I needed it to be non-verbal [I had enough reading/writing/discussing in the course] & creative. But, none of my knitting projects were close enough to be finished to give me that satisfaction. Sewing, again, was going to be my saviour. I like small sewing projects for this reason, you can start something in the afternoon and be done before bed. None of my knitting so far has been so speedy.

I picked up this fabric last summer at The Fabric Place on their remnants table, just thinking it was cool, not knowing that it was any kind of designer stuff. Seeing that it can fetch $300+ for a bag, I was really happy.

knit project bag

This is it fully extended, but it is a bit floppy this way, so I put some side snaps to make it a bit smaller.

knit project bag

At first I was going to do a very sharp contrast lining with some Denyse Schmidt fabric but instead I used a more sedate & complementary fabric.

knit project bag inside

I had a purpose for the bag, to ferry my project o’ the day with me to sit for 6 hours of educational project presentations [part of the wicked big paper I had to write and have already presented]. Now all of my current projects are ones that I have to look at to do, more than I think etiquette would allow for in watching/listening to presentations, so I started a new project: Super -Simple Wrap Sweater from IK [thanks to jennhx for the idea]. Knitting & Purling only fit the bill nicely, I cast on my 94 stitches during the first presentation and knit through 1.25 balls of Valley Yarn Amherst.

simple sweater + bag

With 9 more hours of presentations to slog through enjoy, it seems like I have plenty of sweater to keep me sane happy! :-D