March 31, 2008

Dreams of Spring Hats

So I designed these hats for this inbetween time.
malabrigo  hats

It’s still cold enough that working with wool is more than appropriate, but the thought of starting a long-term project like a sweater is just too depressing because really, now, it’s supposed to be spring.
malabrigo hats

Not quite ready for cotton but not quite able to work on anything large.
malabrigo & merino hat
Plus I really wanted to see how the single ply of Malabrigo looked against a twisted double ply yarn. I was thinking the contrast would help the Malabrigo pop and look more jeweled:
malabrigo & patons hat
I think that effect was very successful.

I also wanted to work with floral motifs that reminded me of spring – but not to make them too flowery. I wanted graphic flowers, not frou-frou flowers. malabrigo and alpaca hat

So I started with my stitch dictionary and played until I got the look I wanted.
malabrigo & alpaca hat
malabrigo & patons hat
I really enjoyed designing and knitting these two hats. I hope you guys like them, too!

Dreams of Spring Hat I
(the pink and green version)
malabrigo & alpaca hat
Knit out of Berocco Ultra Alpaca in Olive and Malabrigo in Geranio.

Dreams of Spring Hat II
(the blue and white version)
malabrigo and merino hat
Knit out of Patons Classic Merino in White and Malagbrigo in Oceanos.
Both are now pdf downloads. They are also available as a Ravelry download in my pattern store.

March 30, 2008

Mmmalabrigo glovies

So I was successful in squeezing out a pair of fingerless mitts from the little tiny bit of Malabrigo leftover from the Koolhaas hat. I weighed the yarn I had left and it was 1.20oz. At 215 yards per 3.5 oz that’s just under 75 yards. Not a lot of yarn to work with….
75 yard fingerless mitts
But they turned out really nice! And I even had about 2 yards left over. Here’s what I did:

75-Yard Mmmalabrigo Fingerless Mitts:
a small amount (75ish yards, 1.20 oz) of Malabrigo.
Size 7 & 8 Double Pointed Needles
A stitch holder
A stitch marker for marking the beginning of the round and 2 other stitch markers for marking increases

Cast on 32 stitches with size 8 needles. Join for knitting in the round being careful not to twist.
Work K2, P2 rib for 9 rounds. (the cuff was a little bit short – if you have more yarn you might want to make this a bit longer)
Knit 2 rounds plain.

Setup Round: K16, Place Marker, Increase 1, K1, Increase 1, Place Marker, Knit to end of round
Round 1: K around slipping all markers
Round 2: K around slipping all markers
Round 3: K to first marker, slip marker, increase 1, K to next marker, Increase 1, Slip Marker, K to end of round.

Repeat rounds 1-3 until you have 13 stitches between the markers – row 18 since the end of the ribbing.

Next Round: K around slipping all markers
Next Round: K to first marker, remove marker, Bind off 12 stitches, remove marker, knit to end of round.

Knit 7 rounds plain.
Work 4 rounds in K2, P2 ribbing
Switch to size 7 Double Pointed Needles
Work 5 more rounds
Bind off loosely in pattern.

Weave in ends and block if desired. Repeat for second mitt.

And to update you on Matt’s coworkers… He gave this set to the guy with the cold ears today:

And everyone – especially the one who thought that handknit hats suck – was impressed. Mission Accomplished.

Oh and mmmalabrigo march isn’t over just yet. I have a couple more projects brewing:
dreams of spring hats
dreams of spring hat
More info (and possibly patterns) tomorrow!

March 28, 2008


So a lot of times when I blog I write the post – or at least have a pretty good idea of it – over the weekend. Then during the week I take/add photos and links as needed. Well last weekend I wrote one about how this time last year I was enjoying all of the signs of spring and was hit with a massive bout of spring fevor. And how this year I still just want to ball up and hibernate. And while as a knitter and a skier I love winter enough is enough already.

I even put winter on notice:

And took some very depressing pictures of the piles of snow covering the places where my bulbs were supposed to be but I'm not posting them b/c I"m sick of posting pictures of snow.

That was Sunday. 3 days later and what did we have? (I took these on Wed.)


And that spot that was buried in feet of snow?
side yard - first of the bulbs
side yard - first of the bulbs

Only a matter of time until I have daffodils, too. Mother Nature sure knows what she’s doing.

So now of course I’m in full on spring fever mode. Flipping through the Burpee catalogue and trying to figure out what seeds I want to start and when. I also could no longer resist the temptation and bought these:
Hyacinth from Buyers outlet
Hyacinth from Buyers outlet
Now my whole house smells like spring.

Speaking of the garden – you know what’s dangerous? There’s a liquor store right next to my new gym. Even more dangerous than that is the Dairy Queen in the same plaza. But the most dangerous of all? To get to the Dairy Queen/liquor store/gym I have to walk past the place that I buy all of my plants. Something tells me by mid-May I’ll be brining a flat of flowers home with me every time I work out. So far all they have are bulbs:
Hyacinth from Buyers outlet

Dexter also has a massive case of spring fevor:
Dexer likes car rides
Dexer likes car rides
He’s responding by chewing anything he can get at. We had to have the “chewing up knitting needles is the fastest way back to the pound” conversation again. That was fun. So last week my brother and I took both our dogs to Edgewater Marina (it’s pretty much closed for the season. We were the only ones there) and let ‘em run:
Dexter running
Dexter running
They really like going to the marina…

Edgewater Marina
And I’m just as happy that it’s finally spring.

March 27, 2008

The Great Dining Room Table Hunt

So we've been looking for a dining room table for two years now. Here's the post from when we first redid it (alot's changed since then!) But everything is either:

a.) HUGE -we have a little dining area that’s completely open to our living room in our 1948 home. We do not have a big house and we are not big people we do not want/need big furniture. Problem being that a lot of houses are oversized and the furniture available matches that trend.

b.) Way too ornate - like it should be in a McMansion with lots of fypon scrolls. We are not fypon people. Plus that style wouldn’t match any of our other furniture or our house or our lifestyle anyways.

c.) Uber expensive - why is anything even remotely modern with clean lines automatically millions of dollars? Or super cheaply made? (Ikea & Target I’m looking at you.)

d.) Didn't have leaves. We wanted leaves. Plural. Most tables sold now are big to begin with and only have one leaf or no leaves at all.

e.) Came with a buffet and a hutch and wouldn't be sold separately and we don't need all of that business.


f.) we are too lazy to go antiquing often enough to find anything good but we are both architects and are therefore unreasonably picky about things like furniture. It’s bad when one person is picky… but when they both are? Well…then it takes 2 years to find a table. See above list.

So anyways – my mom's on break and bored this week so she went scoping in all of the secondhand stores in Lakewood for us. And in the same store as the set my mom loved (pretty. very very pretty. but a bit too frilly for us and also a bit out of our price range) was an authentic 1950’s Danish Modern set:
Our new dining room set
sorry for the crappy cell phone pictures - I didn't have my camera with me...
Our new dining room set
Our new dining room set
Our new dining room set
Super super excited about it. I have to recover the chairs (no biggie there – hi grandma! Can I borrow your staple gun again?) and it definitely needs polished and cleaned up but for what we paid we got an excellent deal. And it came with 6 armchairs and 2 leaves. Plural. We couldn’t be happier. Plus I was getting really sick of dragging the kitchen table into the dining room every time Matt had poker night or we had people over for dinner.

Can’t wait to pick it up!

Also – anyone know of a good electrician? ‘cause we need a new dining room chandelier STAT. Wonder if we could find an artichoke lamp for less than a billion…. Because, really, to complete the theme of Danish design we totally need a Poulsen. Hmmmmm….

PS – the sweet 16 are duking it out right now. Chloe is currently ahead –and up soon? Beyoncee vs. Jlo. Battle of the shiny outfits. I can’t wait.

March 26, 2008


Ok so all of my recreational internet usage has been spent obsessing over my brackets. Checking to see who won the matchups and how right my predictions were....

Wait. No.

Not those brackets. As I’ve said before I don’t give a shit about college sports. These brackets:

Fug Madness

Pitting celebrities against each other in a battle of fugly? Now that’s a tournament worth betting on. And I have a round of drinks riding on Chloe Sevigny taking the whole damn thing. Because Chloe, honey, while I love you like a sis for being the evil yet awesome wife #2 the only one who can pull off floral leggings is Donna Martin:

Easiest free drinks ever. Well. Without any cleavage involved that is.

Speaking of pop culture - I have discovered how to get my fill of crap reality television. See my husband is way more high-class than I am and refuses to watch things like SB46P, ANTM, PR, and LPBW. But at the gym? I can watch whatever I want. So last week I was on the treadmill rocking it out to Dancing with the Stars (don’t judge) and I heard the announcer dude say this “Next up one of the biggest stars of the past 20 years” Well that got my attention right quick. I was super-excited. Did they actually have someone A-list? Not that Kelly Taylor isn’t A list in my book and certainly much more so that Steve Sanders but still…. The camera pans over and

“Holy fuck is that Steve Gutenberg?!”

Yup. I said that out loud – so loud that I heard it over my headphones – in my small little teeny tiny gym. Completely mortifying. Lots of people staring at the crazy lady cursing to herself. Greeeeaaaat.

In my defense someone had just called Steve Gutenberg a big star.

And considering that’s three 90210 references in the same post I think I need to quit while I’m ahead. Ahead obviously being a relative term. Blogging will resume once the tourney results are in. Go Chloe!

March 20, 2008

Mod Cable Mittens

So remember the Mod Cables Hat I knit waaaay back when?
Mod Cables Hat
Well around then I took the design and turned it into a pattern for mittens to complete the set:
Mod Cables Mittens
Mod Cables Mittens

The set includes the hat, mittens, and my here and there cables scarf:
Mod Cables Mittens
All knit out of Malabrigo in the color way Geranio.

I wear it almost every single day:
Mod Cables Mittens

So in honor of the Malabrigo March celebrations going on over at Ravelry I finally had the motivation to write up the pattern and share it with you:

Mod Cable Mittens
I hope you enjoy them as much as I have!

Edited to add: Here they are on Ravelry!

March 18, 2008

Happy St. Pat’s!

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day (a little late), everyone!!!

I’m somewhat Irish but didn't really celebrate because my friends are old. Seriously. We talked about it when we were all out on Fri. night and we were all just kindof “Meh” on the whole thing. Boozing on a Monday just doesn’t sound fun anymore. Especially considering the amount of meetings and deadlines I have to deal with this week… I’m stressed just thinking about it. So insead of green beer how about some green projects?
Koolhaas Hat
I finished the Koolhaas! And can I just say that it kicked my ass? This should have not been so complicated. But I thought it would be fun to try to learn to cable w/o a cable needle. It was worth it in the end but there was quite a bit of cussing along the way.
Koolhaas Hat
Also? I started knitting it on size 6’s and 8’s like the pattern called for and it came out waaaaay too big. Not even close to gauge. And I was on a plane with no other needles – and no other needles packed with me for the weekend. Which just goes to show that you should ALWAYS pack more knitting than you think you’ll need. Luckily I also had a sock with me or I would have been really screwed.
Koolhaas Hat
Pattern: Koolhaas (guys size)
Yarn: Malabrigo Merino colorway Forest
Needles: Size 5 & 7 Knitpicks Options
Mods: None. At all. Crazy that.
Verdict: LOVE!!!
Koolhaas Hat

So after finishing up the hat I had what I thought was quite a bit of yarn leftover. Not enough for another hat but enough to do something with. Also? I was in the middle of watching The Sandlot (we haven’t had a lazy weekend in for-ev-er. Sandlot style. Heh.) and I didn’t want to get up. So I cast on for what I thought would be some nice, guy friendly, fingerless mitts:
Malabrigo fingerless mitts
Looks ok, right?

Turns out it’s actually a heaping pile of FAIL.

I weighed this mitt and then weighed the rest of the yarn and discovered that I had used more than half of what I had. Boo. But I really didn’t want to give up because this had now become a problem to be solved. This malabrigo would NOT get the best of me.

So I wound the ball back on itself and started a new mitt from the other end. This time I used much larger needles and many less stitches:
Malabrigo fingerless mitts
I finished it w/o having to rip any of the previous mitt out! That means I have enough yarn!
Malabrigo fingerless mitts

I’ll probably post the “pattern” when it’s done.

Oh and speaking of patterns… both the Mod Cables Hat and the Bulky Flip-top Mittens are now available for direct download through my Ravelry Pattern Store. I have my own pattern store! How fun is that! Of course everything in it is free but still… made me feel all special and stuff. I should have another pattern (not the one for these green mitts but something way funner) coming out this week...

March 14, 2008

Plain Dealer Photo Contest.

So today was the deadline for the Plain Dealer Travel Photography Contest. Choosing photographs to enter was such a drawn out process – you only get 5 per person. It resulted in a lot of procrastination and a last second run to the post office. So instead of being bummed that we couldn’t enter all of the photographs that we wanted to I thought I’d share some of the rejects with you guys.

Although before I do that does anyone else find it completely amusing that my two best entries both had to do with fiber arts?
Woman selling natural dyes at the market in Pisac, Peru.

Taquille Island, Peru
Woven belts for sale on Taquile Island, Lake Titicaca, Peru.


Matt’s best entry was one that we both originally overlooked. We just didn’t have any perspective b/c while he was taking this picture I was behind him crying b/c I just broke my nose on that rail:
Lake in the Amazon

Funny how what you felt in a place influences your thoughts on the photographs of it. Case in point this picture is too dark when printed to really be all that great (it looks better on a computer than it does printed):
Refugio Amazonas
But we seriously thought about entering it just because that lodge was so frickin’ cool.

There were two shots that didn’t make the cut that made me really wish we were each allowed 6 entries:
Inca Trail, Day One
View of the Urubamba River, Inca Trail Hike, Day 1, Peru.

I love that photograph. But as Matt said – It’s just a beautiful landscape shot. Yes it’s nice but there will be 50 million other nice landscape shots entered into the contest. In a herd there’s nothing that’s going to make it stand out that much.
Train from Cusco to Puno, Peru
View from the train between Cusco and Puno, Peru.

This is a photograph that would probably be perfect for the competition since it’s very clearly about travel. However the entry form states that only basic photo editing is allowed. In the original shot there is a guys backside in the window. His light pants screwed up the otherwise perfect reflection. So I photoshopped it out. Really the retouching work was barely anything - maybe 2 clicks on the rubber stamp tool. But with the butt in the picture it’s not nearly as nice of a shot. I debated sending it in but what exactly is “basic” editing? Would this count? Or would it be disqualified? I decided it wasn’t worth it to even come close to “cheating”.

It wasn’t just our Peru photos that we considered. We seriously thought about entering in one of these two from the Chihuly Nights Exhibit:
Chihuly Nights at Phipps Conservatory
Chihuly Nights at Phipps Conservatory
But decided that they were shots of objects and not of places. I think they will be looking for shots that more reflect the essence of a place.

With that in mind we considered these two of the abandoned Carrie Blast Furnace in Pittsburgh:
Ruin of a Blast Furnace
Ruin of a Blast Furnace

We both love these photographs. But we also realize that we sortof have a thing for industrial ruins. To most people rundown steel mill does not equal vacation. So they didn’t make the cut.

Only one non Peru picture did and it’s just because no matter how many times we looked at the pile this one stuck out:
Toledo Museum of Art - Glass Paviliion
Toledo Museum of Art, Glass Pavilion

Something about the way Matt shot this really describes what that space felt like. Plus it's pretty.

Anyways I doubt either of us will win. The competition is pretty stiff – just from what I’ve seen so far. My dad submitted a couple of completely spectacular shots (his are in their online galleries - gallery #7 photographs 35-39) and at least 2 of my coworkers were entering. But you can’t win if you don’t try so what the hell.

Keep your fingers crossed for us!
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