Looking at hotels in Paris for this summer. Back in the day, the travel agent booked it (or Let's Go Europe told us which hostel was coolest) but now with Expedia I could look all day and never make a decision. I love having all of the choices at my fingertips, such as this hotel in the Marais.
Breakfast on the balcony. I could get use to that!
One of the rooms with a punching bag. I could really use this in my own house! What a cool idea. I could knit one in pink...
It's daff season! Finally, it seems winter is over. Today, I'm pleased to announce that Junior, who has had a bowl cut since the age of 2, and refused to have anything else ("It's my skater cut!") allowed a "de-bowling" in honor of his first communion. I had to agree to allow his sideburns to remain but I believe in parental concessions in the name of apostolic progress.
Here, you can see lilac colored yarn drying - a sample from my friend, Cary, of Gigi Bonin yarns. I'm making a baby dress design out of it. Puffed sleeves, seed stitch empire waist...I think you guys will like it a lot. I wish this photo didn't point out to me that I have to clean the outside of my windows. On the other hand, that seems like an excellent way to earn Minecraft time. Clean a window, get thirty minutes in the nether. Those of you w/ kids under the age of 20: I'm sure that last sentence made sense to you, just as seeing the license plate SSK the other day did to me. I want that license plate.
This new shawl pattern, Sirène, was an adventure in naming. It is hard to come up with names! Here are some of the contenders and why they were possibilities or why they weren't chosen. 1. Doghouse. Background conversation: "Honey, your car is shaking when I go over 50. Silence. Husband: I know...Uh...it gets better as the day goes on...DOGHOUSE (because I had to spend 6 hours at the mechanic since there was metal coming out of a tire and they had to order the dumb tire). 2. Winter Sucks! This was passed over because I teach Knitting Club at my kid's school and I shouldn't use language like this (not that I don't, but I know I'm not supposed to). 3. Dust on the Windows - noticed when taking these photos. But if i don't point it out you probably won't notice (unlike if your car shuddered when driving over 50mph...I know you guys would notice that and not continue to drive). Ahem.
"Ariel" after the Little Mermaid. Daughter's choice. All I need is Disney lawyering up against me. Plus the name is taken. "Flounder's Friend." Flounder was Ariel's best friend but Disney again. I liked the mermaid idea, though, since it looks like it has scales...hence Sirène. I also love how the scale stitches disappear when backlit and tiny flowers come out, almost in bas-relief. Such a fun discovery! Sirene takes 2 skeins of fingering, (740 yards), shown here in Miss Babs Yummy 2 ply in Blue Energy.
Best husband, EVER. Yesterday, he took me to this amaaaazing store with hundreds of giant knitting bags! I may not look excited but that's because I'm a master of self control. I was knitting my new design, Vary the Gate, shown below, available on Ravelry.
Done in a single skein of Miss Babs Perfectly Wreckless, it's fast, easy and colorful.
Once in a great while I do book reviews if I really like something. Artistic Differences is a collaborative book between Classic Elite Yarns and designer, Talitha Kuomi. I'm always happy when I can find a knitting book where I like all of the patterns, rather than a select few! I can then put the book in my library and refer to it when I need inspiration. There are numerous designs that are both knit-able and make you want to knit them; They are organic but with an edge.
My favorite design is the Forte pullover, as I can imagine it in different sizes and colors. I also know that my 11 year old would steal mine in a heartbeat. I love when garter stitch is used in a unique way. In Forte, top-down raglan shaping is combined with some dropped stitches and a unique garter middle. Yet, it's still simple (making me smack my head and wish I'd thought of it!)
The Tensity bag, with central cables and nice, textured reverse stockinette surrounding them. What attracts me to these is that they have the same construction, knitting wise, but are sewn up differently afterwards, depending on the look you want. Shown in Classic Elite Wynter, on US 10/6mm needles.
It will come as no surprise that the magenta Cade cowl is one of my favorites, probably because I'm such a fan of what I call a "loopy stitch" (and the color magenta, of course.) The loopy stitch is easily executed but adds a nice embellishment, and you can also do it in a different color. There are two different versions included of this lovely cowl, the Rocker and the Boho. One is longer, the other wider. Knitted in Chateau, a baby alpaca and bamboo mix, on US 11 needles. Instant gratification!
In total, there are two sock patterns, four sweaters, a pair of fingerless gloves, a cowl, a hat, and a bag - all of which are shown in different versions, sizes or construction techniques, giving knitters immense value for money, while playing heavily on style and edge. Love it!
This post is more for those who know me and are giving me a lot of grief about not having a car. I haven't been teased so much since getting braces! In fact, I kind of feel like not getting a car now because it seems to really bug people. Right around Christmas, someone came blasting into the back of my car, hard. Car totaled, no chance of repair. Since then, Husband has been taking the bus (and claims to actually enjoy the down time) until I get another car. It's as if people are offended by this. And the Facebook messages: "Just saw your daughter at school: Does she need a ride home... I know you STILL don't have a car!" Which, of course results in comments: "You don't have a car?" "OMG, STILL?" and "Why don't you get a car already" For the record, I did consider that my kid needed a way home, but the 14 mile walk to our house is mostly smooth highway, and she knows to flag down an honest looking stranger if it's snowing.
Here's the thing: My old car was the BEST. It had a tricked out, very loud exhaust, manual transmission, and was a wagon, or "estate" if you aren't in the US. Let me emphasize: I don't care if it's dorky to love a wagon. It got 32 mpg on a good day! I could punch it on the highway and double clutch it out on twisting, empty back roads near the knitting store. Potholes near the studio, no problemo. Ikea run - tons of room in the back. But now, I can't seem to find anything bigger than a Mini Cooper that comes with a stick shift, never mind AWD. With the grace level in our family, SUV's are asking for trouble. They don't sell the Citroen C5, Ford Mondeo wagon or the Mazda 6 (with it's super cool shark fin) in the US. I'm thinking that the picture above might be just about my speed. Kids will be punching each other in the tiny backseat but at least we'll look super cute and I'll get my 3 pedals. It's funny: Looking back, you can see that in 2010 I had the same issues. Reading that old post makes me think I should wait until we're in Ireland this summer and bring home a Mazda 6 on the boat. First World problems, eh?
Last fall, I had the loveliest new dishwasher in the world. It was this silent little thing that pretty much cleared the table, loaded itself, and sent the kids to brush their teeth after dinner. It did this for 3 months before all manner of things went wrong. You see, apparently it doesn't matter how nice a dishwasher it is; they're all now made with the same cheap, crappy parts with an average life expectancy of 8 years! Mine didn't make it to 8 years and after flooding my kitchen, the pump breaking and now the electronics not working, I decided to get my beeotch on and go to the "nice local business" and get up in someone's grill. So much for going local, paying more but getting excellent customer service...Wickford Appliance - epic fail.
Funny, no matter how many emails or phone calls they can ignore, they can't ignore a pissed off woman who has had a broken dishwasher through every snowstorm this winter, and is going to tell them all about it in person. How she put it on last thing at night and it dumped the entire cycle of water onto the kitchen floor, leaking through into the basement, causing litter boxes to turn into Suncats and dripping into Christmas decorations. I figured if I bored their ears off with long stories with a hint of vitriol they'd eventually do anything to get rid of me. Bingo - Brand new dishwasher arriving today. Unfortunately, it will be stainless steel, something that always reminds me of morgues and anatomy labs. Husband, however, says that it reminds him of the OR, his happy place. (Weirdo!) I guess I should turn my focus to those ugly chair covers and try to get them ripped out and replaced, along with some proper curtains that don't showcase the naked eighties swinger parties we host every weekend.
Very pleased that my new shawl, Purpleplexy, is in the top 20 for hot patterns on Ravelry. It's exciting to see my business take off like this!
A collaboration with Miss Babs, this shawl is nice and large and requires 2 skeins of fingering and a gradient set, shown here in Pleiades.
It's funny how life works: I'm teeing up to return to doctoring this summer, so I'll have to find some extra knitting time, somewhere. If I could only get better at creating new designs and handing them off to some of the wonderful knitters I know!
For those of you who join the Mr. Pinkerson KAL in the Casapinka Ravelry group, this will be one of the prizes when it finishes on April 2. Donated by LYDIA Yarns, you'll have all you need for your next project or another Mr. P!
I'm really happy with the way my patterns are all selling these days - it's crazy! I forgot to post this "one skein" shawl here even though it came out a few weeks ago. It's called Woven and is meant for that spare skein of variegated sock yarn we all have in our stashes. Available on Ravelry.
We've had so many people traipsing through our house in the last couple of days to fix all sorts of weather related problems. Fire alarms gone crazy. Pilot light on water heater problems. Frozen pipe. Love when the water heater you're told your "only option" is to replace for $1500 is fixed with a $15 kit! (Also love that anyone who's ever watched a single episode of anything HGTV knows that a water heater is $700, not $1500). Anyway, after all of this snow, I can't wait for the thaw...bring your kayak to Casapinka and we'll let you in the basement for a nominal fee.
This would also make a nice mailbox pole...if they didn't take so long to knit! Purchased on my trip to Webs last week where I had a nice conversation with Leslie Ann Bestor, who I first met at Webs several years ago and has written a terrific book. Anyway, it's a new pattern in the works but was removed from my person before the ends were even sewn in, never mind receiving a good block (the knitting, not the kid.) I'm telling you, Today's Tween: Loves me for my knitting one minute, the next minute is mortified that her math teacher asked me to run a knitting club with her at school. "Are you trying to RUIN my social life?"
When one loves fair isle it seems a waste to file away all of those swatches. Better to beautify the neighborhood and our ugly mailbox that Husband bought (without consultation) after the snow plowers knocked down are beautiful aqua one. If only I could figure out how to put the aqua one back up this would be perfect!
Let's start this Thursday morning with some lovely yarns form LYDIA.
The owner, Angela, and I are collaborating on a couple of projects.
Here are some of my LYDIA yarns that are either going into the projects or are serving as inspiration (or giveaways on Ravelry in my group, so have a look.) Lucky me, right?
A Knitalong (KAL) for Loop will be starting at Love 2 Knit in East Greenwich, RI this Thursday, November 6 from 10-12. Get your yarn and come join us if you're in the area. I know a lot of readers live in various places around the globe but you can still join in online in the Casapinka group. You can get your patterh here. And the yarn is from Julie Spins, a dyer by night and scientist by day. I know she has lots of fans - go check her out.
"What is this?" you ask. It's Junior's requested new hair color, of course. It's actually what I bought at stitches in the form of roving to transform a lovely Julia Hilbrandt bag. Sorry, you'll have to wait to see it because the pictures aren't great.
I've finally started a Ravelry group! I've wanted to for ages but after several negative knitting experiences over the past year I just shied away from it. I'm trying to chalk them up to experience, as they say, but jeez they really made me realize how awful seemingly "good" people can be. Luckily, I have solid friends who are supportive. Anyway, last night when I woke at 2am and couldn't fall back asleep, I created a couple of banners, one for my group and one for an advertisement for Loop that I've studiosly been "not doing."
I finally decided to create the Ravelry group because I was so surprised and gratified at Stitches and Rhinebeck when I discovered that I have fans! I couldn't believe that people were showing me their projects (that I designed!) I had my picture taken, complete with 2 big zits which I had inadequeately disguised and met all sorts of people who recognized Loop and Dot which I wore, and they talked to me about my designs. What a buzz! So, please come join the Casapinka group. No trolls, no jerky buttheads, just color, fun projects, yarn discussions, KAL's and giveaways.
These are two of my favorite photos from Rhinebeck. The Miss Babs booth was so crowded and the line so long, I grabbed several skeins and decided to "shop" while in line. On top is Deep Sea Jellyfish and the very bottom is Perfectly Wreckless, which was used in the original Loop shawl, but I just couldn't pass it up, so great is the love.
And this handsome chap was in the back building awaiting his haircut. I would imagine he's looking forward to being able to acutally see again!
The sweater, below, started out a bit differently than it ended up. I don't even remember what sort of pattern I was originally knitting but I clearly changed it. I never actually wrote up the pattern, much as I like the cardigan. It's in an unusual color (Gilded, on Tosh Pashmina) but it's so pretty to have around. It serves as a neutral, meaning it goes with everything that I own. No surprise that I also call pink a neutral!
I'm off to Rhinebeck today with my good friend, Meg, where a weekend of yarn, sheep auctions and fellow fiberophiles (apologies, William Safir) awaits us. I think I'll pick up some more yarn to make this sweater again with the idea of actually publishing the design rather than making notes on Bubble Yum wrappers and stuffing them in my bedside table. So often my swatches end up being full garments and I need to do Round 2 to work out all the kinks.
Today is the perfect knitting day. It's raining and the fall colors are out and I'm working on my steeked coat design in Verdant Gryphon Purple Hibiscus on Traveller. I haven't been going to the studio to work since Junior is precarious on his crutches and I feel I should stay close to home. In reality, per reports from his school, he's doing the equivalent of donuts at the landfill while driving a Chevette. I keep expecting a call from school involving the word "faceplant."
Although our yard needs some TLC (Husband insists on doing everything himself which means it gets done, uh, on occasion) it looks so pretty with the bright red, undoubtedly poisonous, things growing on the wall. Perfect backdrop to working on an endless stockinette project. I just love endless stockinette, particularly on gorgeous yarn. If you've done one of my designs you know this! It simply means Junior can faceplant without me dropping any stitches or, worse yet, having to tink back 8 rows of lace while being called "Potty Mouth" by the same kids who got me into the forgotten yo lace predicament.
Angela, the owner of Indie yarn company LYDIA (an acronym for Luxury Yarns Dyed in America) gifted me some beautiful yarn at Stitches East last weekend. I really enjoyed meeting her, as well as Lynn, her associate, who happened to be knitting my Dot Shaw! I am in love with this color way called "Confetti." I'm making a Loop Hat here just to see what it looks like. I also made a Dot hat but it looked like I was preparing for electroconvulsive therapy which isn't generally the look I go for while waltzing through Target with Junior dragging his massive cast behind him.
You thought I was kidding.
It was very exciting to open up the Miss Babs newsletter this morning to read about their Rhinebeck booth and to see my Loop shawl right in front of me! I hd such a good time making it, watching the contrast skein of Perfectly Wreckless dole out its intense colors.
Loop has been done for a while but I had to get a new computer - and the new computer likes to turn "STS" into "STD" (great abbreviation to have in one's knitting patterns) and various other small nuisances, so it took a while to publish. Then Junior was using it as a cape for a while and when we were trying to photograph it, we got kicked off of a (non) private beach near our home! I kind of wondered if it was doomed but it looks like it's still kicking. It's knitted from the top down and the loop sts (STDs) are just slipped with k2togs. Yarn is carried up the side.