Pumpkin Season…Now with Cherry Flavor

October is upon us. This is perhaps my favorite month. “Because it’s not too hot, not too cold. All you need is a light jacket!” But seriously, after the humidity and grossness of summer, it’s the best weather ever. Plus, my favorite things start poppin’ up (or I can look forward to them poppin’ up soon) come October time: Foliage, mulled cider, whipping out my stylish yet affordable boots, the annual window of opportunity within which to purchase Starbucks’ Gingerbread Lattes, old-school animated holiday specials on TV, candy corn, and…pumpkins.

Clockwise from top left: Philosophical pumpkins, hungry pumpkins, tired-of-photos pumpkins, mischief-plotting pumpkins

Pattern: Berry Baby Hat by Michele Sabatier

Yarn: Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in Wild Orange and Jungle Green

My cousin takes her little girls to the pumpkin patch every October and my stashbusting process convinced me that I needed to make some pumpkin hats for the photo op this year. I got to see them this weekend and learned that A) pumpkin hats are more fun when worn like ski masks to pretend that one is a blind Frankenstein, B) pumpkin hats are even more fun when you place them on hapless stuffed animals and teach them the names of plastic fruit, and C) pumpkin hats are funnest when you wear them while running around the house in a circle, singing at the top of your lungs, until you nearly pass out from the exertion.

Plus, I got to give my cousin this poor, neglected Clapotis:

Cherry Blossom Clapotis

Pattern: Clapotis by Kate Gilbert

Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill Sock Yarn in Cherry Blossom, a little less than 2 skeins

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Desert Gold, Iris Purple

One WIP down, nine to go.

A Long Daybreak’s Journey Into Night

Pattern: Daybreak by Stephen West

Yarn: Scraps of Knit Picks Gloss in Serengeti, Fleece Artist Sea Wool in Gold, 2 reclaimed skeins of Claudia Handpainted Yarns Fingering in Bearded Iris, scraps of Dream in Color Smooshy in Visual Purple.

Needles: US 6 bamboo circs

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Good Things Come to Those Who…

…get off their lazy bums and finish their languishing-at-95%-on-Ravelry projects?

P’raps.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve suddenly remembered why blogging gets so hard on a regular basis. There was work. Then more work. And even more work. And also, meals with friends I haven’t seen in ages.

And then I keep starting new projects. Because I need to knit, right? Even if old projects aren’t entirely finished? Them rush-hour subway and bus rides (and I cannot believe that the MTA is willing to raise the monthly pass fee yet again) are just too horrible without holding a pair of needles in my hand to ward off really annoying passengers who think there is nothing rude about literally breathing audibly into your face. Blech.

What I really need is a good solid chunk of about three free hours + a very large, very expansive blocking mat in order to check off the last 5% of each of the following projects.

The mohair lace. So exhausted, it's molting.

My Auntie #2’s Melon Shawl. Years ago, I made a lime green with Louet Kidlin Laceweight in Grasshopper.  I loved it, but hardly wore it. I think I was a bit too precious about it. It was my first really big lace project and it seemed blasphemous to wear the heck out of. In June, when my aunties descended on my parents’ house for my cousin’s wedding, Auntie #3 claimed the green one and Auntie #2 wondered aloud if it would be possible for me to make another one, in a color more flattering for her.

The knitting’s all done. I only have to seam up the edges of the border and then soak, pin, and let dry. And I can’t motivate myself to dig it out of my yarn basket.

Then there’s this:

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Designs for the Birds

 

I have a supreme love for the wonders and horrors of Hitchcock. Now, I like a bit of blood and guts in my movies now and again. But the little room of my soul that is reserved for horror films really doesn’t feel satisfied until it gets a heaping serving of some good old-fashioned black & white suspense.
 
And The Birds really stands the test of the time as one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen in my entire life.

The Birds: 875. Tippi: 0.

This is the reason I start to shudder when I pass large, ominous flocks of evil New York City pigeons that tend to converge on sidewalks. I fear birds. I do. There’s a photo of my family from Busch Gardens when I was maybe six years old in which I have crawled under my mother’s legs, flashing my undies in the process, just because my mother has a giant tropical parrot perched on her arm. I think it’s the talons, man. Yeah, it’s those really large talons.

But if I don’t actually have to confront those talons in reality, I find birds to be deeply inspiring… or maybe just deeply camp:

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The Seductive Powers of the Knit Dress

Many sweater seasons ago, I dug a big hole in my wallet by purchasing a lot of this:

13 balls of Rowan Kid Classic in Victoria

To fulfill my intermediate knitter fantasy of this:

Rannoch Dress from Rowan 42

Oh, my heart beat faster just thinking of those lovely fair-isle sleeves, the backdrop of the stark British wilds, the pretty model’s pensive-and-somehow-mildly-feral expression.

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Knitknitknit, ad infinitum

Really, the only word for this blanket is…WHEW.

This is a long slog, m’friends. A very. Long. Slog. Even if you smush all the knitting into a short span of time, it will still lodge in your memory as an infinite time warp loop of garter stitches. The garter stitches will even run amok through your dreams, chasing you with repetitive chants of “knit, knit, knit, knit, knit, knit, knit, knit…pick-up…knit, knit, knit, knit, knit.” You get the drift.

But then again, you end up with a singularly striking bundle o’ joy:

Shamrockian Wedding Blanket

Pattern: Moderne Log Cabin Blanket (free pattern link!) from Mason-Dixon Knitting

Yarn: Vanna’s Choice — 4 balls each of Kelly Green, Dusty Green, and Espresso; 3 balls of Linen

Needles: US 9 26″ circulars

Modifications: Fiddled with a different gauge; shifted color blocks; added a made-up garter stitch border

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Knitting Full Circles

Years ago, my grandmother taught me to knit when she came over to visit us. I think I must have been about 10 or 11. She came with my mom and me to the craft store to buy some cheap acrylic yarn, whittled the tips on a pair of bamboo chopsticks with a jackknife, and set me to work. I knit a square with a lot of inadvertent holes in it. And then I figured I sucked at this and forgot all about it, especially when my grandmother’s next visit meant a from-scratch, designed-to-fit custom Emily Dickinson dress for a school book report/project.

My mom learned to knit the same way, from the same lady. Except they only used wool back then and my mother had this thing about not doing any shaping. She would knit only the straight bits and then hand it over to her mom to finish. My mom apparently knit an entire pullover for my dad like this. She says: “My mom did it better.” I say: “You’re lazy.”

When my mother decided to try her hand at knitting again, she asked for something very very easy, with no yarnovers, no knit2togethers, no purling through the back loops. She said she’d make something for me, whatever I wanted. So…here it is, from SwayMom:

Texture-y, Eter-knit-ty Scarf

Pattern: Looks Good on All Sides Scarf from Custom Knits

Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca, approximately 3 skeins

Needles: US 7 circulars

Mods: Turned it into a big ol’ loop and eliminated the border stitches on the sides.

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A Return to Form via Slouchiness.

It’s been a difficult year or two for me on a personal and professional level. I’ve often felt disheartened and discouraged. Perhaps even disillusioned. But I keep truckin’, because that’s what my mamma always taught me to do. So in a symbolic gesture of reclaiming my life at the beautiful and no-nonsense age of 30, I am re-dedicating myself to the (he)art of fiber work. I won’t be delving too deeply into either my personal or professional spheres on this here corner of the Internet. I’ll only be coming here for some much needed TLC and soul therapy via woolly (and silky…and cottony) goodness.

What better way to start than to post about the mini-epic journey that transformed the way I think about knitting:

Creamy, Creature-y Cardi

Pattern: Fudged from creature comforts cardi and Pimlico Shrug

Yarn: Berroco Peruvia in an Ivory/Cream color; approximately 7 skeins

Needles: US 9 for body; US 8 for ribbing

Mods: Oof. A lot. More on that below.

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