Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Every Time a Bell Rings...

Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays to all of my internet friends! We had a lovely, quiet day here in Chicago, and I worked on Ben's second pair of socks, cooked, and am about to settle down and watch It's a Wonderful Life before I go to bed. Today, just before we settled in to open our presents, it began to snow! It snowed for several hours, leaving just enough of a sparkling layer to make everything glisten beautifully. I'll be back tomorrow afternoon with pictures of mittens and--finally--talk of the Suupa Seekrit Holiday Knitting! I hope that you all are having a beautiful, peaceful night.

Friday, December 21, 2012


Sorry for letting a few days go by with no posts! I've spent the last couple of days cleaning the daylights out of our home, and I'm extremely pleased with the results! However, the main reason I haven't posted wasn't the cleaning.
The next bit of this post is going to be a bit of a downer, but I promise, the post ends with happy things and knitting. Stick with me.
It's a very long story, but here's the quick version: the other night, I was organizing my stash, and there was an extremely loud noise. After investigation, we discovered that the apartment next door, whose residents were not home, was engulfed in flames. This was the room directly next to our room. The only reason that we still have a home is because the walls in this old building are made of concrete. The loud noise I had heard was the sound of the entire ceiling, complete with ceiling fan, collapsing to the floor. Several hours after our discovery, the firemen finally left, and we returned to our unharmed apartment, incredulous, shaky, and inexpressibly thankful. Incredibly, we had absolutely no damage. The following morning, we saw the interior of the neighbor's room in the daylight, and it had been reduced by the flames to a black and ashy hole in our hallway. It's taken us a few days to recover from the shock of this event, and I've done a lot of knitting, and a lot of cleaning, to cope with my frayed nerves. We are grateful beyond words, and have been celebrating our blessings by making our home as nice as possible.

I've been working on converting one corner of our tiny apartment into a sort of knitting area, with a floor pillow and all of my knitting books and supplies nearby. It's almost done, but it needs an area rug, so I'll take pictures when it's complete. I spent a lot of time sitting there today, listening to records and going through all of my project bags and storage containers, winding remnants of yarn into little balls and getting rid of trash. As a result, my stash, projects, and supplies are 100% organized. I have located absolutely every item I own, and everything has a place and is in that place. My yarn is sorted by weight into a plastic storage container with drawers, and I have made one of my decorative storage boxes for project bags, WIPs, and small finished objects, and the other for supplies. I'm really excited that everything is so well organized now, because I think I'll spend much more time knitting, and much less time looking for things.

I also finally got some pictures of the blue mittens, which I will share with you tomorrow! I'm now going to get started on my one bit of holiday knitting, which is a project that shouldn't take too long. When I get that finished up, I'll be sharing it with you! I'm so happy to be spending this quiet evening safe in my home, with all of the people and things I love unharmed. I hope that all of you are having similarly peaceful evenings.

Monday, December 17, 2012


Remember that unexpected adventure? It was a deeper rabbit hole than even I anticipated. It took me four days to reach completion, but I'd say it was worth it.

In February of last year, I decided to start my first sweater. I chose the pattern, Plain and Simple Pullover, ordered some Knit Picks Palette in red, and got started. However, I planned on making it with long sleeves, instead of the short ones in the pattern. Being a newer knitter than I am now, it didn't occur to me right away that drop sleeves wouldn't be able to be easily converted by just knitting them longer. Ultimately, I asked around on Ravelry and found someone who said they'd help me convert it to a raglan. I knitted both sleeves from the cuff up, but life happened and the Raveler was unable to help me. So, I finally put the sweater away, with plans to take an evening to frog it at a later date.

However, it never did get frogged, and the other night it floated back into my mind when I was falling asleep. I realized that I could probably manage the raglan shaping now, having gotten many a sock gusset under my belt since then. Using EZ's directions from The Opinionated Knitter, I did the calculations, got numbers for my gauge, and the rest was history. Victorious, glorious history.

(This might be my new favorite picture of myself.)

It's been a really gloomy day outside, so we'll probably take more pictures at a later time.

I'm so happy with this sweater. It fits very well, which was more than I expected, and it's delightfully warm. All the math worked out beautifully, and now I can't wait to make more sweaters! I'm so glad that I didn't have to end up frogging all of my hard work. I named her Rosemary, because I finished her the same night that I saw White Christmas, with Rosemary Clooney, for the first time. I know, shameful, right? One of the most famous movies in my favorite era of cinema, and I hadn't seen it.

But, it's just like this sweater--better late than never. :)

P.S. I also finished Ben's first pair of socks, and started a second. Pics to come.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


I had an idea this morning that has led to quite the knitting adventure. With enough perseverance and good knitting mojo, I should have something very interesting to share tomorrow. Send me good vibes, my friends.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


This is the first day off I've had since the last time I posted! Wow, I really need it, too. I wanted to show you the last thing from our little photoshoot in the park. I finally knitted Ben a proper wool scarf, after all these years.

It's about time! For the past six years, he's been using the scarf that I crocheted him out of Red Heart when we first started dating. Yeah, not exactly the warmest, coziest thing to make a scarf from. I wasn't always the yarn snob that I am now.

Anyway, it served him well enough through New Orleans winters, but he needed something a little more substantial in Chicago (if he wanted to survive until spring.)

It's just a plain seed-stitch scarf, made extra wide and long so that he can wrap it around three times when it gets cold enough for him to need that. I made it from two skeins of Imperial Yarn Columbia in 116 Black Cherry. I think I used 5.00mm needles, but I'm actually not sure. That's what the yarn called for, so that's probably what I used. He's gotten a lot of use out of it so far, and it's a very sturdy yarn, so I think it will be a scarf that sticks around for a long time.

I am almost done with my first pair of socks for Ben! The first one fit him perfectly, and I'm really excited about stocking up on socks (hah, get it?) for winter. Pictures soon of a couple pairs of finished socks. Until then, back to knitting by the tree!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Heavenly Peace

Sorry for the lapse in posts, y'all. The past few days, I have been getting in a whole lot of much-needed relaxation. Tuesday was my birthday, and I had a fantastic day! Ben gave me something I've been wanting for a long time: a Willow Tree nativity scene. I've been spending so much time lately blissfully curled up with my knitting, enjoying the coziness of our light-bedecked apartment and tiny Christmas tree! I will be back very soon with the remainder of our photo shoot pictures! Until then, I hope you are enjoying some of your own cozy holiday cheer.

Saturday, December 1, 2012


This shawl turned out totally differently than I thought it would, and I find that very symbolic. (In case you haven't noticed, I find most of my FO's symbolic. Humor me.)

It's hard to explain how it's symbolic or why, but I can show you how surprising the transformation was. When I finished, I thought that I'd block and wind up with a beautifully simple and functional piece.

But, then I blocked, and the yarn and the pattern worked together to create something even more gorgeous than I originally expected.

I enjoyed this project immensely. It was soothing and the finished product is gorgeous. I'm so pleased.

Pattern: Damson by Ysolda Teague
Yarn: Malabrigo Sock in Primavera
Needles: 4.5mm

I would normally have used 4.0mm needles for something like this, but I used my handmade needles that I got at VKL at the beginning, and realized when I transferred onto circulars that they lean more toward 4.5mm. So, I transferred onto 4.5mm circulars, and I don't mind the larger gauge. Also, I left off the border because I didn't have enough yarn due to the slightly larger gauge. I think this particular version of Damson in this yarn looks better without the edging.

Also, my Cyber Monday yarn purchases came yesterday!!!!! I'll share some pictures soon, but I will say one thing now: There Will Be Socks.

Oh, and they put up a beautiful tree in the tiny park where we took our photoshoot. It's the holiday season, yay!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Old Faithful

Because I am supremely sleepy, I'm just going to share this one thing from yesterday's photo shoot, and the new shawl will wait until tomorrow when I am making sense.

I made these gloves two years ago, and just took finished pictures of them yesterday. For shame. However, the good news is that they look exactly like they did the day I finished them.

I cobbled these together from a few different fingerless glove patterns on Ravelry, and I've worn them daily for two, going on three winters. They are phenomenal, durable, and comfortable--and I can't say enough for gloves with long wrists.

There's not much more I can say about them, because I didn't really use a single pattern. They were knitted with KnitPicks Telemark, which is a remarkably durable yarn. I think that yarn, combined with the tight gauge, is what's kept them looking the same for the past two years. I highly recommend this yarn for gloves, although I think it may be discontinued.

I'll be back tomorrow with many pictures of my newest completed shawl. For now, I leave you with a picture (one of many) that we took of this adorable bird who kept us company during our shoot:

Goodnight, all!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Long-Delayed Introduction

It is a beautiful day here in Chicago, and Ben and I went to a little park and had a little photo shoot of several different knits. Now, I can finally share them with you all! It's about time that I properly introduce Esperanza.

She started like this:

And, slowly but surely, she grew:

Then, one night, she was done:

I blocked her the next morning:

I wore her to VKL:

And now, finally, I made the time today to take proper photos of her outside:

It's about time. I couldn't be happier.

Pattern: Queen Anne's Lace by MMario
Needles: 3.5mm dpns and 4.00mm circulars
Yarn: Malabrigo Lace in Verde Esperanza

I love, love, love this pattern. Please knit it, you won't regret it.

P.S. I'll be back tomorrow with more from the photoshoot!

Friday, November 23, 2012


A year ago today, Spook came into our lives. It was a totally unexpected development for me to have a rabbit, although I'd wanted one for a long time. He was so tense and afraid in those early months, and through the last semester of my undergrad, I was so busy that we didn't get a whole lot of quality time together. That, combined with the hectic nature of my household at the time, meant that his demeanor didn't get a whole lot more relaxed while I was living in New Orleans.

However, then we put him in the big orange truck with us and brought him to Chicago, and everything changed. In the three-ish months since we've gotten here, Spook and I have bonded to a degree that I could only have dreamed of, before. We have a morning routine where we hang out while the coffee's brewing, and we frequently cuddle with him lying on my stomach. Moving here helped so much, because he's near us all day, every day, and we interact with him constantly. I'm so thankful that he is a part of our little family, and I can't imagine our home without him.

(He had been sleeping, and opened his eyes because he heard me taking the picture. He sprawls out like this to sleep all the time, and I love it so much.)

So, Happy Birthday, little man. I can't wait to see what the next year will bring.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Thanksgiving got here so quickly, this year. We didn't plan on staying here originally, and suddenly Thanksgiving was coming and we were staying and I needed to cook! I wound up getting it all together at the last minute, and combined with Ben's birthday yesterday, I've done a tremendous amount of cooking in the past 48 hours! But, it was all so, so worth it. We have had an amazing couple of days, and we really needed the break. This was our first holiday in our own home, and I thought I'd be sad and homesick, but instead I was excited, optimistic, and proud of the job we did. I think I'm going to take a page from the Yarn Harlot's book and do this one photo-essay style. I really should have broken out my proper camera, but everything was moving too fast. These will do.

(He didn't eat much of his plate, but it was the spirit of the thing that mattered.)

I'm so proud of the meal I cooked and the experience we had today. This will certainly be a holiday I remember for years to come--I've never had a Thanksgiving where I felt so thankful.

As for knitting, I've been working on a Damson with some straight needles I bought at VKL and some Mal Sock that I bought while my friend Eryn was visiting me around Halloween. I'll be posting more pics of that soon. I'm also going to start knitting Christmas stockings for our house! I'm going to get some yarn for that soon, I can't wait to start them. I hope that everyone had as good of a day as I did--today bodes well for the rest of the holiday season. And now that my kitchen is immaculate one more, time for some much deserved relaxation and knitting. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Holy wow, it's been a while. Since last we talked, there's been the rest of the opera, and finals week. Now, Thanksgiving is upon us! I am enjoying the second of two deliciously consecutive days off, and soon I will make a big post about VKL and all of the goodies I got there! For now, just know that there is knitting going on, and that I'm still alive!!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Crazy Pants

I just wanted to stop by and say that I am, indeed, alive. Tonight is the opening of my opera, and one of my best friends and fellow knitters has been staying with me this week, so it's been amazing. It's also been incredibly busy, which is why I haven't posted much. But, I will be back soon with pictures of VKL and all of the goodies I got there! In the meantime, send me good mojo for this weekend's shows!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Time Has Come

Y'all. I am at Vogue Knitting Live. The marketplace opens in six minutes. I'm wearing Esperanza. The hotel is gorgeous. And there are free lectures that I just found out about. I am going to take a million pictures, and I'll tell you all about it tomorrow!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Esperanza is complete. I have three rows of plain knitting, and then I cast off. I can't believe she's done. It's been hours of work, and I'm so happy with the result, so far. I can't wait to see her blocked! Completing Esperanza is extremely meaningful for me. I cast her on as a symbol of hope, and as she grew, so did I. Things are so much better in my life than they were the day I cast her on, and it's so wonderful to have a physical manifestation of all of the work that went into that change. I can't wait to share pictures of her, completely finished. My Green Hope has grown into something truly lovely.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Day One

Well, today was my first day at Caribou! It was a lot of fun! There's so much new information to take in, but I think I'll have it under my belt soon. My manager and coworkers are really, really nice, and there's really nothing about this job that I don't like, so far. I have more training next weekend, but nothing tomorrow, so I'm going to be spending some quality time with Esperanza while I get a little much-needed R&R! I'm so glad I managed to get a job in coffee. Also, one of my closest friends, who was my inspiration to work in coffee, may be returning to her true calling soon! All of this is very good news, people. Very good news, indeed. Today was an entirely fabulous day. Spook fell asleep in my arms tonight, relaxed and clearly content. His heart rate was slow and steady, his paws and ears were relaxed, and his eyes closed. This is a huge step for us. He also gave me lots of kisses when he woke up--another recent bit of progress. Things are just getting better and better. I can't wait to see what happens next.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

"When in doubt, breathe."

Today is one of those really magical days that starts as a total pile of crap and turns into something fantastic. I just had a fabulous haircut--my first since I left New Orleans, and it was so well done! Now, I'm sitting in a pizzeria that I've been wanting to try, enjoying the breeze through the open window and working on Clementine. Later I'll go to rehearsal, and then it's practically the weekend! I would never have guessed how great this day would end up. I hope your day is going just as well!

Monday, October 8, 2012


This weekend was full of knitting! I spent most of the day Saturday and all day Sunday stitching away on Esperanza and enjoying movies. I got so much done! I can definitely finish her by VKL if I keep using my weekends wisely. Clementine is more than half done, and I'm really enjoying how much she matches the landscape around here! Until we moved here, I never really realized the meaning of Fall. In Chicago, these leaves FALL, y'all. When the wind blows (and it does
often) the leaves swirl around all over the place, and it looks like it's snowing gold. It's absolutely beautiful. Clementine is a perfect project for this time of year. I finished chart three of Esperanza yesterday, I'm not sure yet whether or not I'm going to do the extension, it depends on how much yarn I have as I get to the end. I would
share a picture with you, but she just looks like a giant, pretty green jellyfish on the circular. I can't wait to see what turns into. Until then, there's Clementine, and the beautiful landscape of Chicago in Autumn.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


I just wanted to drop by briefly and let
you know that, as of today, Operation Barista is a success! I have been hired by Caribou Coffee! I'll be back soon with knitting things--as of right now I just have a slightly longer piece of the same lace scarf--and more news about my new job! Ben and I went out and celebrated our new jobs tonight, and enjoyed our first real cheeseburgers since moving here! They were divine. I have a very good feeling about October, y'all. Things are looking up.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Little Zauberball that Wouldn't

There once was a Little Zauberball that didn't want to be anything.

First, many moons ago, the Knitter who owned it tried to crochet it into a Mock Aestlight Shawl, called Cranberry Pantomime.

But, alas, the Little Zauberball wouldn't. So, the Knitter frogged it, saving it for another time, a better time, when the Zauberball would want to be knitted.

Years later, the Knitter took out the Zauberball again, and tried to knit it into a scarf:

But, once again, the Little Zauberball wouldn't. So, the Knitter frogged the scarf, and now the Little Zauberball is at rest again, waiting for another time, a better time, when it will want to be knitted.


Second Try

Today was a luxurious day of knitting. I worked on the orange scarf I cast on last night for the majority of the day today, while enjoying a Mini Marilyn Marathon. I started knitting at about nine o'clock this morning, while the sun was still streaming through the windows and I had a hot cup of tea nearby:

A couple of hours later, I began the Marilyn-a-Thon:

Ultimately, this was today's progress.

I have decided to name this scarf Clementine, after the character in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The name originally was prompted by the color of the yarn, but the more I work on it, the more the feather and fan lace reminds me of the waves of Montauk. I'm really enjoying working on this, and it's giving me much greater satisfaction than the version I was knitting out of the Zauberball--which I'll address in my next post.

Starting this scarf over, and the subsequent success, is fairly indicative of the way things have been in my life, lately. It's been a crazy mess for a while, and things are finally starting to come together. As my friend Aero pointed out tonight, starting over on this scarf is a symbol of our new-found success. Ben has gotten not one, but two jobs in the past week, and Operation Barista has had a major development: I have an interview at Caribou Coffee on Monday! It took some major assertion on my part to get the interview, but I've got it and I'm going to hope and pray that they hire me! It's the perfect job for me for a thousand reasons, so please keep your fingers crossed!! Be back soon with a tale of woe: the Zauberball that Wouldn't.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Winter is Coming

The last twelve days have been a blur as I prepared for the beginning of our staging rehearsals for the opera. However, now that we've begun things are coming together and quieting down a little, thank goodness. In terms of the feather and fan scarf, there's been a change of plans. I'll explain it all tomorrow.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Up for Breath

Oh, it's been almost ten days since my last post. Life's been odd and trying and overwhelming lately, and last night was the first time I knitted in over a week. By the time I've been getting my work done at night, I haven't had the attention span for Esperanza, which has reached a tricky spot. So, I wasn't knitting at all. Last night, I cast on another 2 Weeknights with Warrick by Karin Bole. I really enjoyed the last one I knit, and it doesn't take as much attention as Esperanza which gives me some hope of getting to work on it daily. Here is an extremely mediocre picture, and for that, I apologize:

I'm using the Zauberball that I've had in the stash for ages, and I'm pretty pleased with it so far. I'm not totally sure about the gauge, but I'm going to keep going for a bit longer and then block what I've got and see if I like it. It's coming out much wider than the last one I knit, even though they were in similar weights and I used bigger needles on the last one. I'm not sure what that's about.

In other news--I made a knitter friend! One of my voice teacher's former students who is filling in for her at the moment mentioned knitting in class the other day--which immediately led to conversation, then coffee, then Ravelry friendship. Last night, I cast on this scarf while sipping wine and chatting about knitting at her apartment, and it was quite nice. I'm so happy to have someone to talk about knitting to in person, and we have gone though some very similar things, so we have a lot to relate about.

Also, I have been cooking some lovely things lately. Yesterday, I made a pineapple upside down cake for the first time:

It was absolutely delicious--although next time, I'm going to leave it in the oven a bit longer. It didn't have the caramelized top I was looking for, because I took it out for fear of burning it.

Also, I made another pizza a few nights back, and that was quite delicious, too.

I've really come to love Nigella Lawson in the past month or so, and I use a lot of her recipes now. The pineapple upside-down cake is her recipe, as well as some other delicious desserts I've been exploring. I have made this pasta several times, and it is one of my favorite things to eat now--although not the most healthy. I skip the truffle oil, and usually use mozzarella and New Orleans-type spices, so it makes me feel at home.

Now that I've had the good sense to cast on an easier project for busy times (I don't know what took me so long) I hope to be knitting more frequently, and therefore posting more frequently. My new friend Meg mentioned that one of the yarn shops nearby has knit nights with sci-fi movies, and that is a happy prospect. I'll be back again soon--I promise.

Friday, September 7, 2012


Well, I got a couple rows done on Esperanza yesterday morning, but nothing since then. Things have been strange--Ben is at home in New Orleans attending Mechacon, which is really exciting. Today, he met one of his favorite actors, Jason David Frank! I'm so happy for him, but it's been weird for us to be split between New Orleans and Chicago. I already feel like half of me was left in New Orleans when we moved, and now my other half is there, too! It's been a weird few days, especially with starting school. Everything is more than I expected--some in good ways, some in bad ways. I was hoping to have tomorrow to chill and knit and clean and work on some music, but my professors kindly decided that school was going to extend to the weekend this week, and when you combine that with other obligations, it gets crazy. However, there is a silver lining:

This arrived today. I called my Paw Paw to tell him. So, I'm going to go read this, and then go to sleep, because I've about had it with this week. Hopefully I'll get some knitting done this weekend.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


Sorry for the lack of posting over the past few days--I started school and things have been so crazy that I haven't knitted in about three days. I'm going to make some time tomorrow before I go insane from lack of knitting--I'll write a proper post then, after I've gotten some quality time with Esperanza.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

In the Moment

Today was a day of surprises. I had decided last night that I would use today to learn music, apply for jobs, and generally Get Things Done. I woke up late this morning with a terrible headache, and I was moving pretty slowly--but still planning on hitting the To-Do list, eventually. Then, in the course of a conversation with Ben, I decided to look up the characters from my favorite childhood book, so that I could show him.

Does anyone remember Golden Girl and the Guardians of the Gemstones?

Golden Girl started out as a toy line in the 80s that was only released for a year. Later, books were written about the characters, and there was a board game, and a short-lived TV show. This pre-dated She-Ra, which I didn't know until today. I had a She-Ra toy when I was little that I thought was Golden Girl, but it's good to know that Golden Girl wasn't a rip-off. Anyway, this book was the origin story for Golden Girl and explains how she gets the Gemstone that she and the other Guardians protect in later books. I did not have this book when I was little, I had one of the later ones, which was aimed at a slightly younger audience and was sold with an accompanying cassette, which I didn't have:

My PawPaw and I probably read this book a thousand times. It was old when I got it--acquired, no doubt, at one of the garage sales that we frequented on Sundays. It only got more worn with constant reading, and eventually my PawPaw had to reinforce the spine with tape. I remember specifically that it was old-fashioned clear tape with the threads in it, like this:
Unfortunately, when I got older Hurricane Katrina took the book, so I don't have it anymore.

Anyway, while I was looking up pictures of the Dragon Queen to show to Ben, we started looking on Ebay and Amazon at the different merchandise that was available for sale. We wound up spending most of the afternoon looking at things, and Ben won an auction for this awesome lunch box--we got it for $5!

As you can see, it comes with a thermos, and it's exactly like another lunch box I had as a child, just with the Golden Girl pictures on it, instead. I'm very, very excited! Then, I started looking into the book I had when I was a kid, and found that it's very hard to come by these days! But, motivated by the challenge, I found both the book I owned before, AND the original, origin-story book, at very reasonable prices! So, those will be in the mail very soon, as well as my lunchbox!

After that, I offered to make Ben whatever he wanted for dinner, to thank him for winning me the lunchbox. First, he asked for Mexican, but we didn't have everything I needed, so he asked me to make something with potatoes, instead. I thought about it for a little while, and a couple of hours later, we had this!

I made cheesy twice-baked potatoes with fajita-style chicken and vegetables. It came out exactly the way I wanted it to, and I'm so pleased. I sliced the bell peppers and onions, and put them in a big bowl with the sliced raw chicken. Then, I seasoned everything liberally and stuck it in the fridge during the hour that I was baking the potatoes. This gave the chicken a lot of flavor. This was one of the first times that I basically improvised a meal, and I'm so glad it came out well. Best of all, Ben was thrilled with it.

So, today I accomplished nothing that I planned to do. Instead, I ended up having a romp through my childhood--and books and a lunchbox! (I used birthday money, so I have no guilt about the budget.) Then, I whipped up a delicious impromptu meal! I might have to do some serious catching-up on work later, but today I lived in the moment, and it was fantastic.