Friday, April 30, 2010


busy at work on my Clapotis

Really, wherever I can get needles and yarn in my hands, I'll knit. At class, at the office, in cars, on buses (until my motion sickness kicks in), on the metro, on planes, in waiting rooms, on front porches, in bars. If I had to choose my favorite knitting location, it would be on my balcony at 7am with a cup of coffee. The sun is up, the morning is still in my tiny courtyard, and I can prepare for the day ahead... but I haven't had the chance to get knitting out there too often lately.

Where do I find myself most days with needles in hand, happily plugging away at my newest project? Actually, it's in my bed. Over the past months, my gloriously huge and fluffy bed has transformed into my knitting studio. With pillows fluffed, podcasts playing, pajamas on, and hot tea at my bedside, I can relax and wind down my busy days with some time well-spent, needles in hand.

Word of advice, though - don't ever actually fall asleep with knitting... unless you want a bamboo needle in the bum at 2am.

To read other posts by knitters and crocheters participating in 'blog week,' just google search 'knitcroblo1' for day 1, 'knitcroblo2' for day 2, etc.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


I'll probably start to sound like a broken record, but it's true: One of the things I so love about knitting is that there are seemingly endless amounts of things to learn. And for most techniques, I'm practically fearless and happily dive head-first into a project without the slightest clue what I'm doing. Knitting in the round? Sure, why not. Cables? Count me in. Lace? It's just a few yarn overs. Entrelac? Sounds good to me!

photo © hello yarn

But one technique has me (figuratively) shaking in my boots... Colorwork. Why oh why? So much of it that I love, so many knitters whose work with it that I adore, but I have yet to try, already years into my knitting life. And one poor pattern patiently awaits in my Ravelry queue: Hello Yarn's Fiddlehead Mitts. A classic mitten with scrolling detail, which I covet when I see it pop up on other's project pages. I am certain that after a bit of reading and perhaps a class or a little help from my friends, I'll be knitting away on these without a care. Until then, I'll look at them longingly, from afar, simply waiting... until I know what I'm doing.

To read other posts by knitters and crocheters participating in 'blog week,' just google search 'knitcroblo1' for day 1, 'knitcroblo2' for day 2, etc.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Ugh. I have been thinking on this for days now. How can I pick one great knitter who I look up to, who inspires me, who I aspire to be like? There are so many! First I started thinking of all my favorite designers and "celebrity" knitters (if you'll allow that term). Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is the woman who made me feel less alone as a yarn obsessive. Then there's Ysolda, Kim Hargreaves, Amy Singer, Jared Flood... I could go on. Each of them with an individual aesthetic and point of view.

photo © Marie Greene

So instead, I began to think about my blogging friends, and immediately, I thought of Marie. We met through the blog project French Picnic, and I got to know her through Permission to Unwind. She's an incredible knitter, and I think that almost goes without saying. But she's also incredibly positive, full of life, sassy, hilarious, kind-hearted, and she dyes pink streaks in her hair for fun. How couldn't you like this gal? Not to mention, she's given me a great deal of support as I've begun on this blogging journey of my own. So, go visit Marie at Permission to Unwind and tell her I sent you. :)

To read other posts by knitters and crocheters participating in 'blog week,' just google search 'knitcroblo1' for day 1, 'knitcroblo2' for day 2, etc.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


photo © Sadie Dayton

One of the incredible things about Ravelry is its role as a storehouse for information for knitters and crocheters. Before it, you could troll the internet for hours on end trying to find a blogger's errata notes on a pattern. Now, you can almost safely assume that if it isn't on Ravelry, it probably doesn't exist! Nonetheless, I find myself trolling Ravelry for hours on end, looking through patterns, designers, and yarns for things I've yet to use.

photo © Sadie Dayton

That's probably how I stumbled upon the Sylvi. At first glance, it's really not my style. A huge sweater coat. Appliqued floral details. But something about it struck me. It's quite obviously a beautiful sweater, yet there's more to it. The Sylvi would represent a dedication to time, would demonstrate my abilities as a knitter, would reinforce my love for the craft. And it would be something I wear with pride.

As of now, I'm attempting to complete a few of those projects that have been lurking on the needles far too long to make room for the Sylvi. I am so up for the challenge.

The Sylvi pattern is available for download purchase from Twist Collective. Knitters looking for help with the pattern can join the Sylvi KAL on Ravelry, an ongoing group for knitters pursuing the project.

To read other posts by knitters and crocheters participating in 'blog week', just google search for 'knitcroblo1' for day 1, 'knitcroblo2' for day 2, etc.

Monday, April 26, 2010


From Knitting, etc.
One of my early (and admittedly still unfinished) projects...

Now that I'm reflecting on things, it's almost funny that I still think of myself as a brand-new knitter... but one of the major aspects that I love about this craft is how much I still have to learn. It's sort of difficult for me to remember exactly how I began knitting - there was no inciting incident for me. Without sounding too hokey, I almost feel like I was meant to become a knitter, especially considering my favorite childhood memories.

When I was in elementary school, my neighbor Miss Vicky taught me basic crochet stitches. She gave me a beautiful granny square, in which I hand stitched a lining and turned into a crochet hook case. My mom would let me go to the craft store to get yarn and pattern books, but I don't think I ever completed one. I made little potholders for my mom when I wasn't working on rug hook kits, a lap loom, or making jewelry. Let's just say I was always a crafty kid.

But middle school came around and I quit crochet. I unfortunately don't remember much of it and haven't done it since. But my recollections of crochet in college had me thinking about starting to knit. I didn't know anyone who was an avid knitter, so I just went online looking for directions and tutorials. Being a lefty, I tried and tried to learn left-handed knitting on my own... and failed miserably!

On a whim, I decided to check out the right-handed knitting tutorials. And I got it. I made one lumpy square out of brown acrylic and finally figured out stockinette before I started work on a rugby striped scarf with that same brown and a steel blue that I gave to my boyfriend at the time for a birthday gift. The thing was pretty decent, but a little sad and misshapen, and I ill-advisedly allowed my mom to iron the thing on cool to flatten it out, since no one had informed me on the concept of wet-blocking yet. Nonetheless, he was so full of praise for me, as was my family, which really encouraged me to continue knitting away.

Even though I took a knitting hiatus for a bit - knitting just didn't seem like a summertime hobby in my mind - I still would read blogs and patterns constantly, and after getting a little involved in the knitting community, I never looked back. If you're not participating in KnitCroBloWeek, what got you interested in knitting or crochet?

To read other posts by knitters and crocheters participating in 'blog week', just google search for 'knitcroblo1' for day 1, 'knitcroblo2' for day 2, etc.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Hi friends! First off, thanks to all who've stopped by recently from PEAR, New Friend Friday, Twitter, Ravelry, and elsewhere on the interwebs! I spent the majority of the weekend relatively unplugged (as to focus on paper-writing and knitting), but am working on visiting all of your blogs to see your crafty selves at work and share some comment love.

I just wanted to get up a quick post to share that I'll be participating in Knit & Crochet Blog Week starting tomorrow... and if you're interested, it's certainly not too late to get involved. Started in conjunction with The Blog Hub group on Ravelry and Eskimimi, bloggers will simultaneously post on the same topics over the course of one week to share community and individual points of view on the aesthetic of crafting!

I'm excited to get involved this week and share my thoughts on knitting with everyone, so I encourage you to check out the Ravelry thread or Eskimimi's blog for more information if you'd like to join in.

Friday, April 23, 2010


From Knitting, etc.

It has been a long week, so I thought to treat myself after work with a trip to my most favorite LYS, A Tangled Skein. I arrived with a plan: buy two skeins of Cascade Ecological Wool. An un-dyed, sturdy, beautiful, reasonably priced bulky yarn.

They were out. So I ended up chatting with the lovely gal working in the shop. Things start happening. Touching too much yarn. I get invited into the brand new storage room they're renting in the building. I'm shown an entire box of Cascade Eco Duo, an un-dyed, worsted weight, two-toned alpaca and merino blend.

It's so lovely and so soft that I think I got confused because I left the store with eight skeins and a badly dented credit card. I don't even know how that skein of Malabrigo ended up in my bag, too. It's a good thing I got a discount. Afterwards, I gleefully called my best friend on a yarn-high. A few hours later, I realized what I had done.

Lesson learned: Don't let them take you to the back storage room. You'll have no self-control.

Also... I'm still looking for some Ecological Wool, so if you have some in your stash you'd like to trade, let me know. :)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010



Yes, I look deliriously happy, but I have a good reason. The amazing Jane tagged me for the Happy 101 Award. The feeling is mutual, Jane! :) I wracked my brain for the last few days thinking about things that make me happy, and here's my list.

1 - My great loves: If you know a little bit about me, it's true that I'm quite unlucky (tragically so, it might seem) when it comes to my dating life... but I certainly have no shortage of love. My family and close friends are my support system and bring lots of joy and laughter. In life, I think we're always unrealistically searching for people who will love us unconditionally, not in spite of our flaws, but because of them. And somehow, I already have that in my parents, my brother + sister-in-law, the rest of my extended family, and my dearest friends.

2 - Art: I am an absolute art nerd. I stalk books on art history and criticism on Amazon. I visit museums often, gleefully. I used to work in galleries in Baltimore and still frequent openings for free wine (and a little inspiration, too). As an undergrad, I found a niche with the art historians, but took every hands-on class I could - design, sculpture, textile, painting, ceramics. My favorite art leans towards modern and contemporary. I love the modern German styles, from the Bauhaus and De Stijl and Weiner Werkstatte and I could go on and on. My wall calendar showcases famous typography, I kid you not. I could look at Jan Van Eyck's Annunciation for days and still be in awe of his ability to convey color and transparency. I find stained glass in medieval cathedrals to be overwhelming. I have a thing for Kandinsky, Richard Serra, furniture design, and performance art by the likes of Marina Abramovic and Miranda July. For me, art is all about experience and interaction, and I devour it.

3 - Bookstores: As a librarian, obviously I should be telling you to frequent your libraries (and honestly, the public library is where I have some of my fondest childhood memories), but oh the joy of an old, musty, used bookshop. I have spent many a Saturday afternoon on the floor between stacks of old paperbacks, poring through art theory, trashy memoirs, historical biographies, short story anthologies, and whatever else strikes my fancy.

4 - Crafting: This thing seems to have taken over my life. I dream about fabric swatches; I google embroidery stitches, and my bed is literally covered in yarn. I never thought something could become so encompassing, but I spend the entirety of my days making things, reading about making things, or thinking about when I'll get to have free time so I can keep making things.

5 - My bed: Speaking of my bed, I'm pretty sure this thing is the best purchase I've made in the past year. No one should sleep on a futon, and better yet, no one should sleep on a futon mattress on the floor. Last summer, I upgraded to a pillow-top queen-sized bed with high thread count sheets and pillow shams. And hey, I deserve it.

6 - Baltimore: It's pretty clear that I have a serious love affair with the city of Baltimore, the town for which this blog is named. The place is so different from neighborhood to neighborhood, so delightfully weird, and I never run out of things to do there. Sure, it has its problems (Hello, The Wire!), but who doesn't? No matter where I live, nothing will beat tapas outdoors on Charles Street in July, Sunday brunch in Hampden with hipsters, martinis on the 13th Floor of the Belvedere, Fluid Movement's water ballet at Patterson Park, midday coffee and knitting at the Evergreen, or shows at the Zodiac.

7 - Trying new things: Even the smallest adventure can really excite me. Downloading a podcast I've never heard. Eating steak tartare for the first time. Riding on an overnight train. My love for trying new things led me to knitting, to sewing, to my favorite restaurants, to cities I'd never explored. And this spirit reminds me to be open and to keep learning.

8 - Listening to my record player: When I pull out the vinyl, I flashback to childhood: My parents' old turntable. Dancing to "Cecelia" by Simon and Garfunkel in the living room. I still do the same thing now, but it's usually Van Morrison.

9 - Wearing skirts and dresses: In my opinion, this is one of the joys of being a lady (and I realize that many of you will probably disagree!). But oh, the freedom of wearing a skirt. The five-year-old child in me finds pants so restrictive, and I'd much rather layer up my crazy clothes in the depths of winter (skirt, leggings, knee socks, boots, top, cardigan, etc, etc, etc,) than wear a pair of jeans.

10 - Blogging: I've at times been made to feel that my blogging is self-involved and a little too self-congratulatory. And yes, it is! At the end of the day, I blog for myself. I hope people read and enjoy and maybe take away a little something from my blogging, but I fully admit that if anything, this blog is a record for myself. It is only after getting to know so many of you that I've realized blogging is much more to me - it's community. Know that I find you all to be so creative and inspiring, and that I aspire to be as talented as each of you!

And with that, I extend the Happy 101 Award to ten of you who make me ever so happy as well!

Lexy from lexyjane and lulu
Gabrielle & Marie from French Picnic
Lanie from Lanie J. and Co.
Milly from a girl in winter
Katie from katili*made

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


From Knitting, etc.

In-between schooling and working and being my general disorganized self, I quickly knitted up this fun, retro cotton hanging dish towel for one of my secret swappers. The colors aren't typical of me, but she loves anything bright and this is a perfect way to use up some stash yarn. I have some ideas for a few variations to start working up in some more muted tones to match my kitchen, but I love this one because it's so fun and colorful. What types of handmade goodies do you like to make for gifts?