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


Recommended Annual Allowances of Blog (and dog)

How is this possible? Nearly an entire year since I last posted? Well, as usual, it’s because big, strange things are afoot at the Circle K. Last we met, I was living somesundogtimes in Brooklyn, but mostly on an airplane, working at a beer company. Today, I sit in an apartment in San Francisco, working for a silicon valley media company, and petting a gigantic black labrador (squee!). Rocky dog!

As it happens, I actually have been knitting. I travel roughly the same amount as the last gig, if not more, but mostly domestic travel (and lots back to NY, which is nice).

AmĀ  I getting better? I think so? I tried more interesting things in the past two years, and in 2012 I made my first non-accessories item that I’d actually wear. SF doesn’t have the selection of yarn shops that NY or even Brooklyn does, but two stand out as pretty solid: Atelier Yarns, on Divisadero in what I suppose is Lower Pac Heights or maybe Laurel Heights? They also have a bigger store in Marin. Small, but super helpful and a decent selection of books and patterns. They tend to carry more premium yarn brands (rabbit fur yarn!) and the prices can be steep. The other good shop is ImagiKnit in the Mission, which is huge and has a big selection of all kinds of yarn, from the cheapie to the cashmere.

And now let me make the usual overtures to myself that are tied up with New Years Resolutions, that is, I will blog more, remember to photograph more, knit more etc. et alia. blabbity blah. Give me your paw and let’s shake on it.

 


Holidaze 2: Elf Hat Edition

Man, what’s cuter than babies at Christmas? Nothing. What’s creepier than naked Santas in a Finnish nightmare about the legend of Santa Claus, aka Rare Exports?

Creepy Naked Santa

Me, crazy old lady, the only non-breeder in Park Slope, knitting things for my friends adorable childrens.

Hopefully I’m not as creepy as him. Actually he’s not even Santa. But watch the movie, it’s adorably creepy and very Spielbergian. In the best way possible.

In any case, I found a great pattern that inspired me to knit for the babies Ryan, Jackson, Barrett and Jacob. Best thing about knitting for babies? It takes about 2 seconds, or one long flight across the country or to another country (except eastern Canada). Actually, I take that back…I might have completed one to and from Toronto. Elf Hat with Effect

Elf Hat, Side ViewHow cute did this turn out? I got the yarn at Seaport, using hand dyed Malabrigo Silky Merino in Natural and Ravelry Red. I doubled the yarn to get the best effect and it worked great (I used size 7 round and DPNs as well). Cute as pie and fun. Will post some photos of the kids wearing them; the pattern comes in several sizes for several size baby craniums.


Holidaze

So, the holidays have come and gone but I did do a bit of work prior to ensure that I had some home-knitted things to give. Mostly, babies of friends since roughly 90% of my friends had babies this fall. And they are, by far, the cutest snuggle buns ever.

Snugglie Ryan Mae

First, Miss Ryan, who is the longest, palest string bean this side of Jack and the Beanstalk. She was something like the 130% percentile in height, and if they did the same for white-ness, she would achieve that too. I made her a baby blanket using String Yarns pattern and their yarn as well.

In 2007, I joined String Direct, their pattern program, where they’d send you a pattern of the month and give you a discount on the yarn used in the pattern. Cool idea, right? Except my grandma must have thought these patterns frump-o-matic. The only redeemable patterns were the Origami jacket (more to come on that front) and the baby blanket, which looked so cool and cozy. I also wanted to buy the right yarn, so I trekked up to the upper east side and bought the yarn – holey moley. Beautiful yarn, but my god, will it give me eternal life? Why so esspensive? My husband said I have some essplainin to do.

I bought it in off white, and it took a few long trips to South America and such to finish, but I did do it in time for her baby shower. Turned out great, and hopefully is something little Ryan Mae will enjoy! Or at least, not vomit directly on it. On purpose.

Additionally, I thought that my godchild would like toys. Soon, I am going to introducmorelastminute copye her to the wonders of Lego, but I figured a newborn would probably like something soft and squishy. In More Last Minute Gifts, from the awesome

Ryan's bunny

Ryan’s bunny

Joelle Hoverson of the awesome Soho yarn shop Purl, there is an utterly adorable and sweet pattern for vintage toys. I made the bunny. I hope my little lovey Ryan loves it as much as I loved knitting it. I’d never done this before and it was awesome!

 


Lacey Throws, Exotic Dancer

My husband used to joke about a guy I used to work with, whose name, when said aloud, seemed to command the title, “Male Prostitute.” I never knew what the reference was, and I imagine he’s probably forgot it anyway. But one always seems to stumble upon great names that requires another great employment title. Trapper John, MD, is a good example. My best friend grew up in Orange County and knew a “Thomas Thomas”, or Tom Tom, and the inimitable Becky Doubledee, who was also lucky enough to have a giant DD sized set of cans.

In the same fashion, my husband often applies those sorts of titles to the knitting projects I’m working on at any given time. This particular project began with a visit to Seaport Yarns in the financial district, where I used to work and would often spend a quick 20 minutes or so during a slightly slow afternoon, whenever that happened. Seaport Yarns is a great store – lots of selection, and the lady who runs it is incredibly knowledgeable about yarn and gauge and all that crap. For example, I was looking for a Tahki Stacey Charles, and she suggested an alternative yarn, which has since become a favorite with me: Plymouth Yarns. The Baby Alpaca Grand, which is, of course, a chunky yarn, is so soft and delightful and much easier and less essspensive than the TSC, it was an easy choice. Plus, she had lots of nice colors at Seaport, and I selected a pretty dark heather gray, color 403, to make my Lacey Throws. The pattern was found easily and for free on Ravelry as the Happy Birthday Throw, by Emily Ivey, using Lion Brands Thick & Quick…to be continued in the next post.

But for now I give you the Happy Birthday, Lacey Throws, you naughty thing, you’re soft and comfy, and while you do tend to leave some lint on the couch, I like you anyway. You were fast and fun.