Hooked on a feeling. Or at least a Hunch.

That’s pretty much how I feel about California…I am pretty sure I need to move back rocky_haunchesto New York, but really, it’s just a hunch. But shouldn’t you trust your hunches? Or your haunches? (Like Rocky).

Or your guts? Lily Tomlin said, “What is reality anyway? Just a collective hunch.” lilytomlinSo if I have an individual hunch, is it just as valid? Well, I’m going to go for it. We’re moving back to Brooklyn! I’ve got a feeling, a hunch, a Karen Smith weather alert, and we’re doing it.karensmith

In honor of the intuitive reckoning that drives detectives, Quasimotos, and, well, me, I present the Hunch hat, by Wendy Bernard of the fantastic blog Knit and Tonic. I knitted this extra slouchy (took the 1.5″ suggestion), using a bulky yarn that I frankly don’t consider bulky – Lion Brand’s Martha Stewart Craft line, alpaca blend. I’ve used this many times before, and it’s inexpensive, soft, and incredibly versatile. Imagine my horror when the kindly Lion Brand store employees told me it was half off – because they’re discontinuing it! Say it ain’t so, Lion! Or Martha. Or whoever. I immediately bought as many as I could take on the plane. A couple of skeins of Buttermilk, which I used in this pattern here, also used to make the previous Chevalier Mittens project for my friend Devon (I made a pair for myself too), and a couple of skeins of Pea Coat Blue, a pretty, almost marbled dark blue that’s not quite navy. No idea what to make with that at the moment, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out.

hunchinprogressBack to the Hunch…this knit up fairly quickly, as you might imagine with mostly all stockinette, but I particularly enjoyed top down knitting. Don’t think I’ve ever done that before, but it gave me more control over the slouch and allowed me to check the fitting more accurately (I think) as I went along. And the finished product? I’m pretty proud, not the least of which because Greg actually said, “Hey, you can like, wear that!”. I have a hunch that I can.

hunch_grin


Happy Easter from the Red Baron and her trusty Bunny Rabbit!

It’s Easter Sunday, which means I get to indulge in lots of things that are usually forbidden: swedish pancakes, champagne in the morning, deviled easter eggs, a BBC marathon and knitting. Pretty much everything I want in life, so thanks Jesus. peepsAnd there’s nothing like dyed easter eggs and marshmallow peeps as a gorgeous spring pallette for inspiration, even if all the yarn I own is black, gray, white or tan. Come to think of it, that’s consistent with my wardrobe too.

Speaking of the tan yarn, I started and then abandoned a capelet a few years ago, but kept the pricey yarn. The pattern haunts me from the back of the yarn closet, but the yarn is a really lovely Filatura di Crosa, which I think is part of the Takhi Stacy Charles empire. What to do with this yarn? And so much yarn…enough yarn to make a “capelet”, which sounds small but is something that Gandalf would find cozy. Let’s start with something small, and adorable, and huggable, and spring-like.

Lucky for me, a lovely friend from work gave birth to a sweet girl named Wesley (what a great name!) a few weeks ago. She (both mom and daughter) are small, adorable, huggable and spring-like. So I made baby Wes a small, adorable, huggable and spring-like toy: a floppy eared bunny from Joelle Hoverson’s More Last Minute Knitted Gifts. These patterns (there’s an elephant and a bear too) are modeled on vintage toy patterns, and are fairly uncomplicated designs. It’s also pred_baron_and_bunnyretty fun to play with stuffing, and it was an interesting challenge to tackle. I made one version about a year ago for baby Ryan, but this yarn is much finer, making some of the sewing and increases and decreases a bit more tricky. Still, all in all a fun Easter pattern for a small, adorable and huggable creature in springtime. Ryan the mom even sent me a photo of Wesley, who looks ready for adventure dressed as the Red Baron! With bunny rabbit beside her, she’ll be ready for anything. Squee!

 


The Grown-Ass Women Knitters Club.

Mittens, and hats, and even huggable bunny toys…these are all well and good. Accomplishments even. What separates the little girls from the Grown Ass Women? The real knitters from the dabblers? The bad asses from the run of the mill jackasses?

I will tell you: knitting an actual piece of clothing, a wearable piece of clothing. And today, I join that Grown Ass Women’s Knitting club. Someone needs to knight me with a pair of straight needles – barring that, I think I’ll just have a glass of champagne and snuggle with my dog.centerforants

For many years, I’ve tried and failed, in some cases spectacularly. I spent a weekend with a friend in Bloomington, Indiana (our menfolk were there separately on a bachelor party), knitting away on a cardigan, only to reveal that I apparently made a cardigan for a two-year old. I’ve also made sweater parts, only to fail in the grafting/sewing stage, and then ripped apart the work in deep and abiding frustration.Aidez front

So what did I accomplish? An actually pretty gorgeous cardigan from Berrocco (although I did not use their yarn) called Aidez. It’s slightly long, mid-butt length, with long sleeves, no buttons, a semi-cowled-ish collar, and utterly awesome cables and mini-patterns. Ear of corn, trellis and cable patterns made this challenging but also supremely fun. The front panels have the ear of corn pattern, easy but very pretty in 8 rows, and the sleeves have sort of a variation on that theme in the seeded wishbone pattern. I can see myself repeating this for something else, a blanket maybe? The trickiest pattern was called simply the Left and Right Cross- Stitch Cable. You had to wrap the stitches twice around to create the cable, and drop them in the following RS row. Once I got the handle of it, it was fairly straightforward, but I guess I was expecting more from a all the work required of that cable pattern, hrm. It just kind of looked like a regular old cable. As Eddie Murphy said, “These are just some regular old crackers.”  I couldn’t find the Berrocco in a light oatmeal color as the pattern indicated but I found something similar, soft aidez_detailand off-white. The only challenge with this yarn was that it was a little fuzzy. But dang – over Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, I made this Grown Ass Woman’s sweater.

And huge hat tip to the lady who is responsible for the (apparently short lived but loved by me) Grown Ass Women’s Club, and always good to review her definition of Grown Ass Women. Take note, all you women under 35. Haters gonna hate. Grown Ass Women stand tall.


Rumors of my knitting death are greatly exaggerated

I just got a promotion, is all! And my workload blew up. And, I got engaged to the most fabulous man of all time. So, I’ve been working harder than a one armed paper hanger. And I bought a weekend house. So shit’s been cra-zy. The nice part is that when I’m up at my house (in Barryville, NY – the southwest corner of the Catskill mountains) it’s all knitting all the time. There’s vodka, a fireplace, wild turkeys and not much else.

weekend Catskill house.

Here’s a photo of our lovely upstate abode. I met the builder and saw the bones of the house in January, and closed June 1. All in all, a relatively painless process and it’s been incredibly fun since then. It’s small, but with an open floor plan design and tons of windows that really let the outdoors in, it feels huge.

Greg is up there with a bunch of dudes this weekend, which is why I’ve got a free pass here at home, watching Jane Austen movies and drinking sparkling shiraz by myself. Think the dudes are having a good time. No bears just yet, but they’re killing lots of zombies in Left 4 Dead, which is my new favorite Xbox game.

I’ve started the Concetta cardigan, which is an awesomely simple, well-designed shaped cardigan. Two big buttons, slighly belled sleeves and a funnel neck give it a really modern shape, and I re-allocated an ill-devised plan for a wrap sweater’s yarn supply to make it happen; it’s a nice Berroco wool (Peruvia) in a pretty green called Peat Moss. Sounds very Wuthering Heights, which I guess the sweater is too.

I am now watching Emma for the 456th time. Oh, comfort of 19th century Regency. “It sounds as      though he eats a worrisome amount of custard!” Mr. Woodhouse is adorable.


A Likely Story

Yes, I’ve been in planning hell. No excuses. But I’ve been in Dallas for Christ’s sake. However, it has meant I’ve completed and come close to completing some actual projects. My AA miles (not related to my wine consumption, but close enough) are coming close to allowing space travel, so I guess that is good too.

So! A completed project. I bought 4 hanks of Lion Brand yarn’s Thick & Quick wool yarn in a lovely burnt orange called Butterscotch. An aside: I really hate that they call this yarn “Thick & Quick”. It makes you slur the words. Or else I’ve had too much Cabernet already. It’s like my man friend’s joke about saying Linens N’ Things – you always sound a little drunkie when you say it.

Anyhoo – I actually made this scarf for my man friend. I hope he enjoys it! Also, I’m thisclose to finishing the Kelly cardigan mohair jobby. Hopeully will finish this week/weekend. I’ll be in Bloomington, IN, crossing my fingers for some quiet college town time. I am so excited!


The Last of the Alpacans

So, achingly close to completing Cloud Bolero I ran out of fricking yarn. I had bought a boatload of Debbie Bliss alpaca silk, lovely stuff, in a couple of colors. One was “denim”, a gorgeous light navy. Ran out of it. Local yarn shops, like Stitch Therapy here in Park Slope, offered advice on replacement yarn but had no Debbie. Knit NY on 14th street in the city, no dice. Called several others…apparently no one ordered more DB alpaca silk, and no one had that color left. Enter the wonders of the introwebs, where I was able to buy two skeins of the exact yarn needed from Seaport Yarns (apparently their last two!). Came quickly, packaged well and I was able to finish Cloud Bolero yesterday. Or so I thought…again inching toward completion, literally maybe 4 picot edges left to do I run out of it AGAIN! So I spied a lonely sock I never completed the partner for and cut it up (it was partially knit wit the same yarn I’ve been using). Eh voila!

This is the first time I’ve used the picot edging. While Ysolda’s pattern instructions on picot were pretty straightforward, I found some nice visuals and more explicit instruction in Knitty’s archives:

And so, I have a finished product I am proud of. I need a little fancines, either ribbon or a cool brooch to bring it all together but it’s a nice finished object. Especially needed after my Briar Rose Disaster. Wee!

 

Also, it’s a gloomy, wintry morning in Brooklyn. I’m knitting, drinking tea and watching Chinatown. This movie is amazing.


Mohair wishes and champagne dreams

Make that Sauvignon Blanc. The Kenwood was on sale so I had to make it happen, plus I’ve been drinking red by the barrel-ful, it being the winter of my discontent and all. It’s a Wednesday night, and my man-friend is at the Knicks-Pacers game with Indy friends. Potentially the two worst teams in the NBA – I guess that might make it a good game.

So: my most recent project is a sweater I’ve knit poorly before, albeit with the wrong guage/yarn happening. This would be the Kelly Cardigan, a lovely, simple pattern from Erica Knight’s Classic Knits, one of my all time favorite books. Now I’m starting with yarn I should be working with, a mushroom/taupe shade in kid mohair blend from Sublime. It’s 60% mohair, 35% nylon and 5% extra fine merino. The cardigan itself it fitted, with 3/4 sleeves and a simple 1×1 rib trim. That’s what I like about Classic Knits – it’s shit you’ll actually wear.

Sublime Truffle

Meanwhile: I’ve begun to watch this creep-tacular, awesome movie about 45 minutes in called The Prophecy. The TWC description was intriguing (“Jealous angels wage war against humanity”, 1995), but then you add Christopher Walken as an angel, Viggo Mortensen as THE baddie angel Lucifer, and a young Virginia Madsen and – wait for it – a younger Christopher Meloni! Playing a cop! Now with more hair.

Speaking of hair and back to knitting: I’ve never really knit with mohair before. Mohair sweaters are for girls in the ’50’s with big torpedo boobies. Mohair is indulgent. It’s soft, and seems expensive. It’s ok so far to knit!

Update: Ok it’s not Christopher Meloni. It’s Elias Koteas. Is it me or are these two separated at birth?

Elias Koteas Det. Stabler