2015.

Well well. Have I really skipped the entire year of 2015 without posting once? You would think I would have something to show for it – more money, a new person in my life, another excellent hobby – but no. Just same old me doing the same old stuff.

Truth be told, I did knit a bunch of things in 2015. Not as many as I’d like, of course, but there were a lot of long flights and some solid weekends upstate where I powered through a lot of projects. Was there a common theme?  Not especially, if you look at the FOs – mittens, throws, lots of hats. But if you look at the yarn, my objective is clear: get. rid. of. all. that. fucking. yarn.

I admit it, I have a touch of hoarding disorder. I like to think of it as Temporary Pack Rat Syndrome, since I like to hold on to a lot of shit and then one day I snap and throw it all away, because I truly like simplicity and lack of clutter. When we lived in Park Slope, I kept all my yarn in bags behind the couch, out of sight. But occasionally a guest would look back through the windows…and then down…and then shriek in horror. Rightfully so, there was a lot of creepy looking yarn back there. It was the physical manifestation of my compulsive yarn purchasing.

Around a year ago today, I had a “snap” moment and actually threw out a bunch of yarn. It was cathartic, but still there were a handful of skeins I just could not part with. Some I just had too much of, some was just too soft and beautiful.

Two projects worth mentioning: one, an easy knitting and highly customizable hat pattern from Joelle Hoverson’s Last Minute Knitted Gifts. The fun part about this one is getting creative with stripes, patterns, earflaps and most notably colors. I got rid of ALL of my leftover skeins of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran (check out the new website on Debbie! said as Samuel L. Jackson from Pulp Fiction, i.e., check out the big brains on Brad!). Here’s one sample of probably 5 hats I made.

I also had a lot of leftover Loops & Threads Cozy Wool super bulky yarn in various colors, but mostly an off-white, not quite ivory. This is essentially the Michael’s store brand, and it’s very similar to Lion Brand’s Wool-Ease Thick & Quick, which I adore. The Michael’s brand tends to be slightly less expensive, which is a little nuts because Michael’s is 50% wool and 50% acrylic, and Lion Brand is 80% acrylic and 20% wool. Oh well. Either way, the acrylic makes it nice and washable without a grody wet wool stank.

I’m continually impressed with the Purl Soho site and selection of patterns (not to mention their yarn – swoon – more on that in a subsequent post). Most of 2015 was mild and pleasant, not exactly the kind of weather where you’d need mittens (esp knitted in super bulky, where they turn out like oven mitts, see another project of mine). However, I knew the day would come, as it did, and these mittens have been invaluable during morning and evening dog walks. This is the Ancient Stitch Mittens pattern (they have a scarf version as well), and it was a pretty fun little pattern to learn. For whatever reason, my thumbs ended up in the middle of my palm, but that’s probably my mistake. They still work, and are still so pretty.

ancient_stitch_mittens

In conclusion (I guess in beginning and conclusion) 2015 was about being more efficient with yarn, and doing so via Joelle Hoverson and her Purl Soho empire. Not a terrible way to spend a year! And oh yes…one big change in 2015 – we adopted another labrador! Sweet old Rocky passed away in August 2014. We were terribly heartbroken, but our hearts have been mended by one large, sweet 7-year old chocolate lab named Mobley. We adopted him via Labs4Rescue, a fantastic group of volunteers who were able to secure a foster in Shreveport, LA, where he was found as a stray wandering the streets. Being heartworm positive, he was on the euthanasia list until L4R pulled him. Since January 17th, 2015, he’s been enjoying the good life of snuggling, napping, chewing bones and chasing squirrels in Brooklyn and upstate in Barryville. We absolutely adore him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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!