Thursday, December 30, 2010

day in the desert

Climbing day! Woo-hoo! So, so good to be out in the desert again, to be gearing up and getting out on the rocks.

And of course, knitting between climbs. Hands constantly in motion

stitching miles of stockinette in soft, chocolate-brown wool

*Yawn* says Isis ....

And I have to agree, although there is always something appreciably meditative about stockinette in the round.

Anyways, late in the day, time for the last climb. We left Isis at the bottom, perched on a rock, sphinx-like.

And headed up a gorgeous 300' spire, arriving at the top with the last glow of sunset. I tell you, I just want to drink in this view, have it infuse every cell of mine. I could stay up there forever.

But the sun was dropping fast, so no time to tarry. Mountain Man signed our names in to the summit register

Smile. Breathe. Remember this moment.

Monday, December 27, 2010

a Christmas miracle

I've been back in sunny Arizona for the holidays, where winter means fresh grapefruits and meyer lemon margaritas (yum).

On the flight here, I was thinking about that 85% stretch concept again. It was really bothering me to think of my history of project abandonment! So, I set about finishing one such unfinished project: a pair of felted Christmas stockings, started exactly a year ago. Honestly, it only took an hour or so of knitting to finish them. I hand-felted them and let them dry all Christmas Day....

So, the before, when I dug them out of the stash on Christmas Eve ...

And the after, felted and ready for next year ...

Honestly, I can't believe I abandoned these with so little left to go!

If you'd like to make your own, the pattern is Christmas Stockings, from Leigh Radford's AlterKNITS felt. I knit a version without a cuff, though I might add one later (I'm thinking of an aran style in cabled white wool).

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Yesterday afternoon, with snowflakes swirling through the cold December air ...

Nina and I ventured out among the trees and barns for a photoshoot of the Vermont shawls...

I've been reading her sweet blog, Naturally Nina, for some time, and I immediately thought of her when I decided I wanted someone to photograph the shawls here in Boston, in the snow and dark greenery and cold light.

I always feel strange contacting people out of the blue. But I'm glad I did, and I'm thankful that she made the time for this project. It was a delight to spend a few wintry hours with her! And her photography is so luminous and beautiful ...

And this means I'm one step closer to the pattern being finished!

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Chilly, gray Sunday here in Cambridge. I might venture out for a bracing run before the light fades, but mostly I've been holed up in my apartment, nestled into a wingback chair by the woodstove, drinking endless cups of tea, trying to write up my shawl pattern.

I carefully drafted the first version of the pattern back in October of last year. But I made a lot of changes with the two recent versions, and my notes -- usually scribbled on the fly and hastily charted out by hand -- are at times indecipherable. I've had to pin out the shawl and painstakingly trace out the rows in a few places to double check the lace patterning.

I'm sorting through papers, sorting through stitches, and sorting through computers too. My new laptop doesn't have the font I need, and my old one is cumbersome to do the charts on because the arrow keys are broken (thanks to a long-ago spilled cup of tea). So it's back and forth, back and forth.

So, it's a quiet, plodding, but productive enough day here. The only thing missing is a little snowfall outside my window ... and that's in the weather report for tomorrow!

Monday, December 13, 2010


It's finished! The shawl, that is. Back in Arizona this past weekend, I knit the last stitch, sewed in the ends, and blocked it out with lovely, crisp points.

Only guess what? I didn't get any good pictures of it. I did take the usual pre- and post-blocking shots, but the photos were really dreadful. The shawl is too dark to photograph in the shade and, thanks to the silk, too reflective to photograph in the sun. And I wasn't around long enough to time it right for early morning.

Ah, well. You can get a teaser from its shadow ...

I'm back in Cambridge now. I'll be working on editing the pattern over the next few evenings. And maybe if I can get a friend to photograph me with the shawl in this gentle, cool, winter light, I'll have the pattern out before Christmas ...

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

the 85% stretch

I'm in the long home stretch now for my shawl. It's coming out beautifully, and I'm very happy with it, but this point, when I'm about 85% done or so, is always the hardest part of a project for me.

The excitement has dissipated. The rows are interminably long. Progress is hard to see, with so many stitches crammed onto the needle. This is when I usually abandon projects for something new, never to come back to them to finish. Honestly, I can't tell you how many 85% projects I have hanging around in my stash! Just last month, I stalled on an 85% pair of mittens (probably only 2 hours to finishing, and boy could I use them now!), and I paused on another 85% shawl in order to start this green beauty.

Come to think of it, this is probably a broader pattern in my life. Actually, in writing this, I'm procrastinating on an 85% paper I'm struggling to revise. And I just got distracted from this 85% blog post and went to check email for a while ... ha!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Texas Thanksgiving

I spent a marvelous Thanksgiving down in the hill country of Texas. It was beautiful, with such a distinctive color and texture palette, and it kicked me into inspired crafting mode!

Soaring live oaks

Darling old farmhouse (where we stayed)


Cow face

Rusty barbed wire

Corrugated metal

Rusting out old cars

When I flew into Austin, I made time to swing by Hill Country Weavers, which is probably the most incredible yarn store I've ever been to. I was particularly impressed by their organic and eco-friendly yarn selection. If my bag hadn't been so full, I would've definitely come home with several projects worth of yarn! But I did treat myself to a pair of Addi Lace needles and from then on, knitted like the wind!

And just what was it that I was knitting? I finally picked a yarn for my final Vermont shawl -- Miss Babs "Yet" in Verdigris -- and by the end of the trip had finished about half of the shawl. It's so hard to see cramped up on a needle like this, especially washed out by the bright Texas sunshine, but you'll have to trust me: it's gorgeous!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

gray & green

Snapshots from my apartment on a quiet Saturday morning ....

Shetland sheepskin (from Charlotte's farm)

vintage miniature muffin tin

rustic wool on an old milking stool

odd little hat being blocked

sunlight across my 1920s stove

The hat is a top-down cap that I whipped up over the last few nights, using a gray yarn from Hope Spinnery and (when the gray yarn ran out) a naturally-dyed wool that my friend brought me from Paraguay. I feel like a little wood elf when I wear it.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

on the move

Things are moving again! It all started this past weekend, with another sweet visit to Claybrook Farm. Patches, a roly-poly Shetland sheep, was certainly on the move, running to dinner as fast as his little legs could carry him ....

The chickens were on the move, too, darting and scratching around the barnyard ...

I did manage to catch one, having learned how on the last visit. I tried to take a self-portrait-with-chicken, but it kept moving too much! Ha ha!

Anyways, it was a splendid afternoon. We played with animals. Drank hot chocolate. Admired Charlotte's incredible quilts.

And this time, we finally took a trip to the Iron Horse yarn shop. What a gem! I think I petted every skein of yarn in there ... it was definitely a much-needed infusion of fiber and color energy, and it's kicked me out of my crafting malaise!

Friday, November 05, 2010


Has it really been three weeks since I last posted? I don't know what's going on. A series of little disappointments, I guess.

rain on the window, uninspiring light

endless swatching

a too big hat that I need to unravel

*sigh* And the biggest disappointment that kicked off this craft/blog malaise was that my Rhinebeck yarn quest failed. I did not find yarn for my final Vermont shawl. It may be time for a local yarn crawl this weekend ...

Sunday, October 17, 2010


yarn, resplendent

smiles, shawls




Ravelry fanatics

autumn memories