log cabin socks

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Chocolate Guinness Cupcake
Ina Garten Irish Soda Bread
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Ina Garten Irish Soda Bread

Every year on St. Patrick's Day we get together with two of our favorite couples and cook a big dinner of corned beef and cabbage, Guinness beef stew, and colcannon. Even though we take turns hosting the event, I'm always responsible for bringing the Irish soda bread and a dessert. The soda bread recipe is always the same--I use Ina Garten's recipe, because it's 1) delicious, 2) easily adaptable, and 3) even better the next day toasted with a generous smear of soft, salted butter.  I make two versions of the bread--first, the recipe as written, gloriously orange-scented and studded with ruby-red currants. For the second loaf, I omit the orange zest and fruit and replace it with two tablespoons of aromatic caraway seeds. The anise flavor of the caraway pairs especially well with the pickling spices used to flavor the corned beef and cabbage. Pair a warm slice with a little nip of Linie Aquavit, (a Norwegian spirit distilled from potatoes and flavored with caraway and star anise), and you're pretty close to heaven.

I added a third loaf to the mix to this year--a simple beer bread recipe. The texture of this loaf reminded me of banana bread, which was a bit unexpected, but worked well when topped with butter and dipped into the delicious pot of Guinness Beef Stew my sister made. 

Chocolate Guinness Cupcake

For dessert, I made Veggie and the Beast's Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Whisky Buttercream and Salted Caramel. Needless to say, these were a big hit. The batter was extremely liquid, so I ended up using a tiny ladle to gently spoon it into the muffin tin. Since we had a bigger crowd this year, I doubled the recipe, and ended up with five dozen cupcakes. To flavor the caramel and buttercream, I used Jameson Caskmates (Stout Edition); the tang of the stout in the whisky really brought everything together. These dark, luscious babies took me over four hours to make from start to finish.

I ended up with two small jars of left-over salted whisky caramel, which I plan to drizzle over some good vanilla ice cream this weekend. 

While everything was baking away, I snuck over to my little corner of the couch to knit rounds and rounds on my log cabin sock. Being perpetually cold, I've added these to my personal queue for the fall. I'm thinking about trying Woolfolk Luft, a 55% merino and 45% organic pima cotton blend, to keep them light and fluffy. 

This week, I plan on finishing this first sock, then continue working on my secret project, which I hope to complete by the end of the month. How about you, fellow knitters? What are you working on this week?

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Laine issue 4: Linna

Laine Issue 4
Twig & Horn Packages
Laine Issue 4 Linna
Laine Issue 4 Linna

I believe good branding is such a gift--I'm a sucker for good design, lovely packaging, and thoughtful brand touches. It's hard to believe that I just recently bought my first ever copy of Laine Magazine. I'd been following Laine religiously on Instagram, but for some inexplicable reason, had yet to order the publication. Once I saw the teasers for the  Magnolia, Eri, and Morginn sweaters, the Linna issue quickly made its way into my Twig & Horn shopping cart! When the package arrived in the mail on Saturday, I purposely left it sealed so that I could savor my first viewing. 

On Sunday morning, after brewing my morning coffee, I lit the mahogany-scented candle on the dining room table (which was also covered in wool, of course), and released the magazine from its brown paper wrapper. Then, page by page, I slowly worked my way through the Winter/Spring 2018 issue of this gorgeous Nordic knitting pub. 

Knitters--it was an inspiring experience. The weight and color of the paper stock, the photography, the typeface, the layout, the articles and interviews--even the advertisements--were a treat for the eyes. I vow to own every Laine magazine from this point forward.


Also in that package was Twig & Horn's K2TOG Club Enamel Wool Pin. It makes the perfect addition to my work-bag flair, doesn't it? 

What about you, friends? Which knitting publications and products are you loving these days?

baking + wool

Wool and baking
Fresh Blueberries
Wool and baking

This was one of those perfect little weekends--there were no obligations to meet, no significant errands to run, and lots and lots of down time. On Saturday morning, I spent a leisurely hour on the couch knitting a little Quince and winding this smoky gray ball of wool for the Log Cabin socks. Using this week's leftover blueberries, I made Eva's Blueberry Dutch Baby from her new book, First We Eat. (If you love baking and stunning photography, you must check out her website, Adventures in Cooking. It's such a treasure trove of inspiration!) Anyway, we're big fans of Dutch Babies in our house. If you've never had one, you should make one immediately--they're a glorious cross between a pancake and a popover. Typically, we default to the Dutch Baby with Lemon Sugar on Epicurious, but as soon as I saw Eva's dark and luscious blueberry version, I knew we'd have to try it! 

Don't let the beauty of this Baby intimidate you--it's actually quite simple and straightforward to make. First, you prepare a quick blueberry jam by combining blueberries, sugar, and water in a small pan and simmering until it thickens. It takes all of about 15 minutes to prepare and, really, it's the best kind of kitchen puttering one can do on a Saturday morning. Then, you preheat a cast iron skillet in the oven while you prepare all the ingredients. When the pan is scalding hot, drop in softened pats of butter until they sizzle and melt, then pour the batter in and bake until it's puffed and golden. Immediately top the Baby with the homemade jam, fresh blueberries, and almonds (I toasted mine for extra flavor) and eat warm from the oven with a glass of cold milk. The custardy pancake, combined with the sticky-sweet jam, the pop of ripe fruit, and the nuttiness of the toasted almonds, made this one of the best Dutch Babies I've ever had. 

Please pick up the ingredients and make one this weekend! I promise you won't regret it. 

weekend prep.

Quince & Co. Lark Yarn
Library
Log Cabin Socks

This week, I spent a little time prepping for my weekend knitting projects:

First, I finally learned how to hand-wind a center-pull ball of yarn, which will be used on my secret WIP. I actually used my Beauty Blender container to start the ball, after seeing someone on Instagram use an old film canister. Sometimes the strand catches and needs a little extra tug to release, but overall, it works! I think I just wound those first few rounds a little too tightly, so next time, I'll try relaxing my tension. This is the first new skill I've added to my repertoire this year!

On Wednesday, I stopped into my local library to photocopy the Log Cabin Socks pattern out of the book, Handknit Holidays. (Question: does anyone else visit the library for knitting patterns?) Inspired by Jared's gorgeous version, these cozy slipper socks will be a (very late) Christmas knit for my very patient niece. Since the pattern calls for bulky weight yarn, I'm hoping these are a quick, satisfying knit.

What about you? What are you working on this weekend? 

brainstorming.

Quince & Co. Lark
My home office

It's funny how inspiration can strike you in the oddest places. I was reflecting on the Shale Baby Blanket while in the shower this weekend, and with a head-full of shampoo, had a 'eureka' moment for a new product for knitters! I'm excited to spend some time in my newly-tidied office doing some market research and sketching out a few ideas for the initial concept. I have a pretty clear picture of what I want the end product to look like--getting it out of my head and turning it into a sellable item will be equal parts creatively-challenging and fun. 

On Sunday, I spent some quality time curled up with a soft, bouncy skein of Quince & Co. Lark. The longer I knit with the Canvas colorway, the more I marvel at how appropriately-named it is. This particular shade of beige adapts to the light in the most wonderful ways. At times, it looks more oatmeal, other times, more cafe au lait.  When it's bright and sunny, it takes on the neutral, beachy tones of seashells. When it's overcast, the grays become more predominant, giving the fiber a vintage, ballet slipper hue. The beauty of this neutral colorway is that you can confidently pair it with both warm and cool colors, making your hand knit instantly more versatile. It's really quite lovely, especially for indecisive knitters. 

Tonight, I'm going to try my hand at winding a center-pull ball. I love learning new tricks, don't you?

 

shale baby blanket

The Shale Baby Blanket is freshly washed, blocked, and off to her recipient! As is tradition with any Brooklyn Tweed pattern, this stunning pattern was a delight to knit. While it looks intricate, it's actually quite simple to master. It's a four row repeat--three of which are simple knits and purls. If you can handle knitting multiple stitches together, yarn-overs, and passing stitches over, you're golden. If not, this is a great pattern to expand your knitting skills. The pattern used about 5 skeins of yarn, and I ended up knitting 52 repeats of the lace instead of the 58 called for in the pattern. 

Since this blanket is for a tiny baby, I initially selected Knit Pick's Brava Worsted for its practicality. I wanted something that could be easily tossed into the washer and dryer, and quickly added back into rotation. I will say that, as I neared the end of the project, I began to question my yarn decision. I've knitted other children's projects with Brava before without issue, but this lot had quite a few ties-offs, knots, and frays in the middle of the skeins. And while soft, it had a strange hand to it. By the time I got to the end, the blanket had already started to look a little worn, which makes a little concerned for how this will wear over time. I'm not sure if they changed their production methods, but it was not the same knitting experience.

Which leads me to this:

I do adore this little blanket, and I'm sure it will be well-loved by one sweet baby girl. And while I love creating something that's made with the end user/practicality in mind, the time and effort put into the making is wasted if the quality of the end product is even slightly lacking. This is why I plan to buy only natural fibers from this point on. I'll use up what's in my stash, of course, but will only purchase the fibers I love the most from now on. The care and upkeep of a project knit in wool requires only slightly more thought and effort--but I'll be content knowing that, if carefully preserved, my recipients are receiving an heirloom piece that can be passed down from generation to generation. 

pattern: shale baby blanket by brooklyn tweed | yarn: knit picks brava worsted in seraphim | ravelry project page

 

 

 

yarn love | my very first knits

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My love of fiber and all things woolen runs deep--and grows deeper each day. Today, I couldn't imagine a day without knitting, but when I think about how it all started, I marvel at the small chain of events that had to occur in order to bring knitting into my life. 

My first cast on occurred in a hospital waiting room over nine years ago. You see, my mother has battled severe health issues over the past decade, and when her illness was first discovered, my younger sister and I spent hours and hours, days upon days, sitting in drab-beige hospital waiting rooms bored out of our minds. One day, my sister casually turned to me and said: "You know, while I was out in Oregon visiting Mom Jodie (her mother-in-law), she taught me how to knit. How about I bring in some yarn and needles tomorrow and I'll show you? It'll at least give us something to do while we sit here." I said yes, and so she did. 

The next day, she arrived at the hospital with two, long bamboo knitting needles and a skein of Red Heart Super Saver acrylic yarn in the brightest shade of turquoise I'd ever seen. Sitting in the peach, pleather-covered chairs, she patiently showed me the long tail cast on, then, slowly demonstrated the four movements that would forever impact my life.

Tip the wooden needle into the tiny loop of fiber, wrap the yarn around the working needle, tuck the tip back through the loop, then slip off the completed stitch!

I was mesmerized. My stitches were tight at first, but slowly, as I became more confident in the movements, they began to relax and even out. Row after row, a soft fabric began to form, and at that moment, I knew I was a lifelong knitter. The funny part of this story is that my sister never took to knitting; she only knew the one stitch. She couldn't teach me how to purl or bind off, so from that day forward, I became a YouTube-watching knitting junkie--devouring videos about stockinette, tension, and weaving in ends. 

The very next week, I went to my local yarn store and picked out two skeins of Brown Sheep's Lanaloft Aran wool in a beautiful red and pink ombre, and cast on my first scarf--bravely--without a pattern. It was my first time knitting with wool, and I fell in love with the sheepy characteristics of the fiber. How it felt in my hands, so warm and responsive. I was proud of myself for 'conceptualizing' a scarf with garter edges and smooth, center stockinette panel. I took my time with the scarf, counting my stitches after each row, checking to make sure the loops were perfect before moving onto the next. I didn't know it at the time, but I was learning to read my knitting--a skill that's come in handy as my projects have grown in complexity. Despite its curling edges, I felt an immeasurable sense of pride when the scissors cut the working yarn from the finished object.

With my hands, two sticks, and some wool, I had made an article of clothing. Knitting felt like a gift, and I never looked back. 

So today, on this St. Valentine's Day, I celebrate my love for this craft. Sometimes I wonder if my sister didn't take that trip to Oregon, and didn't have a knitting mother-in-law, and and if my mother hadn't come down with an incurable, lifelong illness, would I be a knitter today? It's possible. However, when I think about how much joy, happiness, and connection that knitting has brought to my life, it's unimaginable what life would be like without it. 

places you can knit

My office

Only 84 more rows of lace (or, 21 more pattern repeats) to go on this charmer. The deadline is fast approaching on this project, as it was a commission piece from one of my co-workers. As of today, I'm going to bring this beauty into work with me each day so that I can knock out a few rows during my lunch break.

Even though I work in a corporate office, I'm lucky enough to have rocking chair and knitting basket in the corner of my office. It's one of my favorite places to take a five-minute time-out when I'm feeling stressed or just plain-old tired of making decisions. Sitting and knitting just a row or two on a small project helps clear the clutter out of my brain and refocuses my energy. After these mini-sessions, I see burst in productivity, so I don't feel too guilty about taking a few minutes here or there! 

How about you? Do you bring your knitting to work with you? 

beginnings

Mail
Quince & Co. Yarn Twig & Horn Wool Soap
Quince & Co. Yarn
Twig & Horn Wool Soap in Rosewood
Quince & Co. branding
Quince & Co. Lark

Last week was the best mail week ever. I received not one, but two packages from Quince & Co. The first contained four skeins of Tern sock yarn in springy shades of pale blue and lavender (Oyster, Mist & Dusk). These are for a new lace sock design I've been tinkering with over the winter, and it will be hard to decide which color(s) to use! I also splurged on a bottle of Twig & Horn's Wool Soap in Rosewood. I'm a sucker for good packaging, and I love the minimalist label and how you can see the milky soap through the clear glass bottle.

The second--and most important package--contained three simple skeins of Lark worsted-weight wool in the Canvas colorway. As is tradition, they came snuggly wrapped in Quince's classic brown paper bag, tightly sealed with the bright-white, circular Q sticker. Opening a Quince package is always like opening a Christmas present, however, this time, peeling back that sticker and opening that brown paper bag had a whole new meaning to me. You see, these three skeins mark a big first step forward in my knitting journey. And while I can't reveal the project yet, I will say that I did not expect an opportunity like this to come along so soon!

progress + planning

Camden, Maine
Maine

January is always the longest month of the year for me, but in the best kind of way. Work abruptly quiets down, and the weekends--once packed with holiday events and family get-togethers--finally return back to normal. Over the past month, I've spent some serious time by the fireplace with my needles and a big-ol' pile of fiber. I'm about halfway through this Shale Baby Blanket, and because it's such a slow, meditative patten, I've had a lot of time to think about the future and where I want to focus my creative energy. For so long, it's been my dream to join the knitting world professionally, and I've officially decided to start planning ways to achieve that goal over the next few years. There are so many ideas running through my head, but I want to be slow and deliberate about how to move forward into this new space. There are still lots of questions to work through first: Do I want to build my own brand? (Tempting) Do I want to join the marketing team of an established fiber company? (Absolutely) Should I do both? (Could be fun...)

Either way, I think we'll eventually end up moving to Maine, the unofficial capitol of the knitting world. Last year, the hubby and I spent Christmas in Kennebunkport, and even in the dead of winter, we immediately knew it was the place for us. This year, we're planning two trips Downeast. The first will take place in the late spring--we'll fly into Bangor, then explore the entire coastline from Camden all the way up into Lubec. We can't wait to scope out some of the smaller, seaside neighborhoods and visit some of the homes I obsessively save on Zillow each weekend. We'll whale-watch, hike through Acadia, eat our weight in lobster rolls, and do the touristy, schooner-thing. Then, for Christmas, we'll rent a cabin in the mountains, to ski, watch holiday movies, and drink hot toddies by the fire. 

It's fun to plan and dream, and have nice things to look forward to...

p.s. If you have any recommendations on where to stay or what to see in Maine, we'd love to hear them! 

 

 

spring shale

There's something special about casting on a new Brooklyn Tweed pattern, wouldn't you agree? They're well-constructed, thoughtfully written, and beautifully presented. For me, these details quietly elevate the already enjoyable experience of knitting. When my co-worker asked if I would knit her expecting niece a baby blanket, I immediately knew that I wanted to cast on Jared's Shale Baby Blanket, with its sweet, feather-and-fan lace and eyelet cables. 

I was told that the baby's nursery was lavender, cream, and gray, so I picked this pale, dusty shade of soft purple to pair with the pattern. The yarn is Knit Pick's Brava Worsted in Seraphim. Now, I'm a firm believer that all babies should be exposed to wool early on, but when I think back to when I was a brand-new momma, I certainly didn't have time to delicately hand wash and block wool baby blankets. The reality of those early (reflux-heavy) baby days, was that I needed something that could be easily thrown into the washer and dryer, so that I could get it back into rotation as quickly as possible. 

I started the project on bamboo needles, but the blunt tips and grip of the bamboo made it difficult to knit some of the large decreases. I switched to lace-tip stainless steel needles, which has made all the difference--especially when you have to ssssk and k4tog! 

This pattern is quickly memorized--after the first four row repeat, I was good to go. So even though it looks complicated, it's quite a simple and relaxing knit. The vintage pattern, combined with the old-fashioned lavender yarn (which, in case you haven't heard, is apparently getting ready to dethrone millennial pink), makes this piece feel like an instant modern heirloom. 

december

Cowl
Cowl
Tree Farm
Christmas tree
Tree Farm
The boy
Quince & Co. Lark

It's hard to believe we've reached the final month of the year. Fall flew by way too fast--it was all just a blur, really. From August to late November, work kept me moving at a steady pace. For those of you who don't know, a big of my job is to oversee the production of all the marketing and advertising content that goes into hiring Amazon.com's seasonal workers, so they can pick, pack, and ship all of your holiday orders. As you can imagine, this is quite a feat! We're starting to wind down now, so I'm beginning to shift my focus back to all things knitting. 

Somehow through all the chaos, I've started to combine my love of knitting with my passion for marketing and branding. I released my very first pattern for sale, The Giving Mitts, which was both extremely nerve-wracking and exciting. After dozens of hours fretting over making sure every detail was perfect, pushing the 'publish to Ravelry' button felt exhilarating! The #knitstagram community has been so supportive and it's been so much fun seeing everyone's posts. 

I also sent in two design submissions--a pair of lace socks to The Fibre Co.'s YSP 2 collection, and a worsted-weight cowl to Quince & Co.'s Scarves, etc. 7. The Fibre Co. ended up passing on my design, but I really enjoyed the whole process of coming up with the design concept, knitting a prototype, and branding the submission PDF. Actually, if I'm being honest, while I love the challenge of knitwear design, the best part of a submission is the pattern branding. I have so much fun staging the photos, setting the PDF layouts, choosing the fonts, writing the copy, and sharing glimpses on social media. 

All of this, I hope,  is good practice for down the road. My son graduates high school next year, so the question of  what's next has been a common theme around our home. Lately, we've been obsessively looking at real estate in Maine and are seriously considering a move up North. It would be a dream to move to small, coastal town and provide marketing support to a fiber company. In January, we're thinking about heading Down East to check out some of the small towns we've been researching. We hope that seeing them in winter will provide us with a realistic view of what it might be like to live there. If you have any suggestions on where to look, I'd love to hear them!  

Fall Baby Blanket

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The minute we hit mid-August, my brain immediately switches into fall knitting mode. I think this is true for most knitters--as summer begins to wind down, we start to get excited about the cooler temperatures, changing leaves, and the transition from linen and cotton fibers to all things warm and woolen. 

My goal this season is to knit entirely from my stash, so when I decided to cast on my first fall project, I went straight for the gigantic pile of Knit Picks Brava Bulky, which has been patiently nestled into a wicker basket for almost a year now. Immediately, I knew that these moody shades of gray would become big, squishy baby blanket--perfect for keeping a little one warm during fall activities. 

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With as stressful as life has seemed lately, I decided to go back to basics and knit the entire blanket in row after row of meditative garter stitch. Not only did this amplify the squish-factor of the yarn, but the repetition of this classic stitch provided me with a few hours of much-needed therapy at the end of each day. 

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Normally, I'm not a knit-with-acrylic kind of girl, but when it comes to baby blankets, practicality is key. I tossed this right into the washing machine on a gentle cycle, then tumble dried it on low. Fresh out of the dryer, it was perfectly soft and toasty. The final knit is perfect for keeping your little one cozy and warm during afternoons filled with apple picking, pumpkin patch visits, hayrides, and nap time snuggles.

In the spirit of the season, I've gussied-up my notes into a complimentary knitting pattern for my fellow knitters. You can find it here, on Ravelry. While simple in nature, the result is a completely satisfying pile of bouncy goodness.  Meet your new, dependable go-to:

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Pattern Details

  • Pattern :: Fall Baby Blanket
  • Yarn ::  Knit Picks Brava Bulky | Main color: Cobblestone Heather (5 balls); Contrast color: Dove Heather (2 balls)
  • Needles :: Size US 11 (24" circulars)
  • Finished dimensions :: approximately 32.5" x 42.5"

Enjoy, and happy fall!

growing up.

The busy season at work is finally over, which means holiday knitting projects (and blogging) are back in full swing! Three projects are already off the needles, and this weekend, I happily cast on for project number four — the Bray Cap by Jared Flood. Part of the BT Fall 2013 collection, it's the right amount of 'cool' for my 13-year old niece. Every year, she gets a new Christmas woolen — usually, a classic stockinette cap. This year, since she's becoming a little more responsible with her belongings (meaning: less prone to losing things), I thought it was time to 'move her up' in knitwear — both in quality of wool and complexity of pattern. 

Bray Cap by Jared Flood

The yarn is Shelter, in the Soot colorway. As if you don't already know, this wool is a true joy to knit with. I'm hoping that she thinks of this hat as her first heirloom piece — the one she'll reach for time and again; the one she'll send back to me for mending one too many times. These are things I like to think about when I'm making. 

p.s. Yarn purchased online from the charming Loop Yarn in Philadelphia — thank you again for shipping the yarn so quickly!

fall decorating

fall decorations 1
fall decorations 2
bedroom flowers
candelabra
pumpkin candle

I had some time to myself in the house last week, so I took the opportunity to do a little fall-cleaning and cozy things up for the new season. It felt great to go through each room, tidying all of the corners and putting away the last of summer items. Once the furniture was polished and the floors vacuumed, it was time to add some small, autumn decorations and candles around the house. I found a new Birch candle that smells like a bonfire, but slightly more subtle. It's almost like when you're taking a walk outside on a cool night and the air has the faint scent of a fireplace burning somewhere off in the distance.

This one was quickly moved from the kitchen to my knitting room first thing Saturday morning, where I settled into my knitting perch to knit, drink coffee, and read the new fall issue of Downeast Magazine. Its pages upon pages of farmers' markets, fall events, and apple-laced treats got me super excited for the season-particularly after reading the feature on Stephen King's gloomy hometown of Durham. This time of year, it's all I can do not to get into the car and drive up to the coast to New England and surround myself with all things quintessentially autumn.  

Even though we've never been there before, the hubby and I seriously consider calling Maine home one day. I've always felt it in my heart that New Englanders are 'my people', and that I'd feel quite at home alongside all of the fiber-folk up North.

It sure is fun to dream about...  

wool and wine

alpacas of windswept farm
alpacas of windswept farm
alpacas of windswept farm
 our tree...

On Saturday, we went to the 2016 Maryland Wine Festival with our best friends, which was a much-needed diversion from reality. We parked our chairs underneath an old holly tree, and shared bottles of red and white wine underneath its canopy all afternoon. 

Occasionally, we'd get up and walk around, testing samples of wine from across the local region. I ended up buying this Boordy Vineyards Petit Cab, partially because I enjoyed the taste, but also because its charming description: A cabernet sauvignon with soft tannins and aromas of cedar, tobacco, briar fruits and plum.

wool and wine

We also browsed the local artisan and vendor tents, and was super excited to see the local yarn being sold at Alpacas of Windswept Farms tent. After careful consideration, this beautiful skein of Alpaca and Mohair came home with me. It was the softest of the bunch, with a gorgeous halo and bits of vegetable matter tucked into its fibers. Now to decide what to do with this beautiful yarn! 

Isn't it nice when you get to shop local?

have a lovely weekend.

weekend #knitspiration

Who else is anxious to get this weekend started? I can't believe how quickly this week flew by...there was so much to catch up on after being out of the office all last week. The hubs and I have lots of fun packed into this weekend. On Saturday, we're heading down to Westminster, MD with our two best friends to check out the Maryland Wine Festival. In addition to wine, there's an entire cheese pavilion, which I'm super excited about. Plus, there will be lots of artisan booths and craft vendors, so I'm secretly hoping I'll be able to get my hands on some local wool. 

We'll also be heading to the local Sängerbund for its annual Oktoberfest celebration. We're looking forward to hanging out with friends and family, watching our nieces and nephew dance the Schuhplattler (shoe slapping dance), and eating brats with warm, vinegary German potato salad. Oh, and drinking beer, of course! Marrying into a German family was a pretty awesome decision. 

There will also be knitting...lots of knitting. There are a couple of babies and a wedding on the way, not to mention winter! There are so many beautiful things I want to knit...how I'll fit it all in is beyond me. It's the classic knitter's dilemma. 

Speaking of beautiful things, here's a little #knitspiration to kick off your weekend:

No. 1 :: Brooklyn Tweed's Fall 2016 collection was released this week! As someone who's drawn to classic menswear styles, I love, love, love the his & hers bespoke concept this season. The standout pattern? Veronica Avery's Vika cabled turtleneck sweater. Between the spectacular cables, the drop shoulder, and the boxy, knuckle-grazing coziness, I'm sold. Pour a hot cup of french press on Saturday morning and check out the gorgeous lookbook

No 2 :: As my hubby well knows, I'm quite particular about my drinking vessels, particularly when it comes to coffee and tea. It's been a while since I've added a new mug to my collection, and this sweet little llama is calling my name. Side note: have you ever knit with llama? I was part of the test knit team for Steven West's Earth and Sky Shawl, and selected three shades of Llama Luxury to work up the sample. It almost feels like cashmere!

No 3 :: The closer we get to the cooler months, the more I want a sturdier wool on my needles. Hinterland's Cabin yarn is a single ply, mule spun Navajo Churro Lopi wool. It might be fun to knit this up into a pair of slippers to help keep toes cozy as fall sets in. 

Enjoy your weekend!

Photos from: Brooklyn Tweed, Anthropologie, and Woolful Mercantile

 

back home

Madeline Tosh Vintage Optic
Ready for blocking
Apple season
Dutch baby recipe

It was nice to get back to normal this weekend...last week my company had its annual Leadership Meeting, where 200 of us are sequestered away offsite with each other for the majority of the week. I had to give a 30-minute presentation to the group, which I was extremely nervous about, since public speaking pretty much freaks me out. After about a dozen or so practice runs, I felt pretty good about getting up on stage--but I have to say, once I hit that last slide in my presentation, I felt such an amazing lightness knowing that I had made it through (until next year, anyway).  

I was happy to return home and settle back into my creature comforts. For me, this meant knitting and puttering around the kitchen. Before my eyes could fully open on Saturday morning, I immediately finished up the ribbed edging on the cowl pattern I'm working on. The second picture shows it fresh off the needles--a shriveled, heavy mass waiting for a good, long soak in a Eucalan bath. It's now pinned and blocked within an inch of its life in the guest room. This one was tricky to block...I think perhaps Hunter has the right idea! 

On Sunday, I made a Dutch baby for breakfast (this one, if you're so inclined), which I first read about on Alicia's blog. I break this recipe out once a month, when we're feeling particularly decadent and want something cozy and warm to start our day. We had some of the season's first apples stored in the fridge, so those were peeled, diced and warmed over in a pan with some butter, dark brown sugar, and cinnamon. (Promise you'll try it with the lemon sugar before making it any other way!) Later in the day, we simmered a pot of of Sunday sauce on the stove and baked a pumpkin bundt cake for dessert. 

In between my kitchen adventures, I sat down on my perch and knit row after row of my Topiary wrap while watching scary movies on Netflix. All in all, it was a nice way to end an exhausting week. How about you--what did you do this weekend?

Hope you have a lovely week!

 

september things

It's hard to believe September is already here, isn't it? Every year, the months just seem to fly by, one quicker than the next. For me, the month of September officially marks the transition to the 'cozy' months--I'm content knowing that wool blankets, apple cider, and changing leaves are all just a few short weeks away. September also marks the beginning of our busy season at work, which we refer to as 'Peak.' It's during this time that I have to really have to consciously work to maintain a work/life/craft balance. The next twelve weeks are bound to be long and chaotically productive, so I'm really looking forward to this final, leisurely summer weekend. 

What are you up to this weekend? We're heading up to Atlantic City, NJ to spend some time relaxing poolside. I plan on casting on for my new cowl pattern on the car ride up and knitting while lounging under an umbrella.  

For those of you riding shotgun on the way to your holiday weekend adventures, here's a little #knitpiration for you to peruse:

No. 1 :: Ysolda released her lovely Inglis Mitts pattern as part of the new Wool Tribe 2016 Festival Companion book. I love the thought she puts into her designs; the way she curves the cable from cuff to thumb is a pretty flourish. Ysolda's Rose Red pattern was the very first hat I knit for myself,  way back in September of 2009. I remember being so proud of knitting lace in the round and learning how to read a knitting chart! The photo of me wearing the hat is still my Ravelry Avatar, even after all of these years... 

No 2 :: I've been doing a lot of sketching lately--my sketchbook is large and heavy and filled with swatches of wool that I've knit up over the years. It might be nice to have a few lightweight sketchbooks to throw into my knitting bag for when inspiration strikes on-the-go. I'm a long-time fan of Rifle Paper Co. products, and these Vintage Blossoms Notebooks are the perfect size for my knitting tote. [set of 2--on sale for the holiday weekend!]

No 3 :: Purl Soho's shelves are newly stocked with skeins of Sno by Woolfolk Yarn. This moody, black/green twist reminds me of the beautiful forests we drove past during our trip to Germany last September. 

Enjoy the last of the summer sun & have a safe holiday weekend!

 

swatching

Tosh Vintage swatch

This past Saturday, I had the entire house to myself, which is a very, very rare treat. Besides eating nothing but carbs  all day, I spent a considerable amount of time parked on the couch watching cheesy, made-for-TV movies and swatching my Tosh Vintage yarn. When I spotted these midnight-colored speckles on a shelf at Loop, I knew right away they wanted to come home with me.

Tosh Vintage in Optic

How perfect would they be worked into a cowl to go with my winter coat?

Madeline Tosh Vintage in Optic

This yarn is super hardy--I kept going back and forth on the stitch pattern that flanks the lace panel, and must have ripped out my knitting at least four times. The yarn held up extremely well and showed very little evidence of my woman-handling. Can we all agree that this Optic colorway is pretty amazing? I could stare at those tiny flecks of rust and aqua nestled into the fibers for hours on end. This yarn is just a delight to knit with, and, as Steven West would say, #specklesaresohotrightnow