Monday, December 20, 2010

It's beginning to feel a lot like...

I'm really starting to feel the holiday spirit this week. I waited on a record setting line at the post office this morning. Nothing says Christmas to me like swarms of procastinating gifters. Also, there's a whole lot of sweets bedecking our kitchen counter - I also know it's Christmas when chocolate starts appearing out of nowhere. Plus, I've been knitting a whole lot of gifts (for other people to give to other people, but they are gifts nonetheless) and to further my giftiness, Becki over at Neighborhood Notes included me in their local pdx gift guide! Yay! I'm feeling the love, indeed :)

Check it out here:

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Crafty Wonderland!!

Wondering why I've been so scatter-brained and absent on this blog? Check it out!

This is where me and good ol' Neeka Knits will be this weekend, along with all the knitted friends I've been obsessively making for the past few weeks. (My hands are this close to surrendering, but I'm not letting them yet. I just use my circular needles as a whip and slap them back into submission).

What's funny is, I keep feeling like I haven't knitted enough, until I realize it's like I've made gifts for every single friend I have all in three weeks. Usually one hand knit birthday present takes me months. So I guess it's a lot. Who knows. I'll take pictures of my boothage to show you all and you can be the judge. Or better yet, if you're in Portland this weekend, stop by and see for yourself!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Shop, Shop, Gobble, Gobble, SALE, SALE!

Ahh, the Thanksgiving weekend of excess, the holiday madness has begun. The gluttony started yesterday at my family thanksgiving feast, to which I contributed a lovely sweet potato combo:

 That yummy marshmallow-bespeckled casserole is actually this recipe made from sweet potato orzo! It got all browned and chewy.....ah chewiness, a much missed texture on the Thanksgiving plate.

Then the shopping began this morning. Now, let me clarify. I am not a Black Friday shopper. Never have been. Crowds. Lines. Disgusting displays of greed and wanton spending. It's not my thing. But when I found out my local yarn store was having a Black Friday sale with additional discounts for wearing your PJs? Well, greedy and wanton yarn shopping is another story. I picked up a bushel of puffy Burly Spun and I do believe I'm feeling the post-sale after glow.

 Indeed, I'm feeling so festive, I decided to host an After Thanksgiving Pattern SALE on my Etsy shop! All Patterns are 2 for $5 now through end of day Monday. Stock up now and that way when you realize you need some fast, last-minute gifts in a few weeks, you'll be ready!

Check out the SALE here and feel free to pass the news along.

Meanwhile, I have some leftovers to attend to.....

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Kerchief Cowl - Updated!

The weather outside is freezing and not really that delightful. It was supposed to snow here, the weather peeps on TV have been attempting to whip up us into a snow-crazed frenzy for an entire week. But a little night-time snow shower was all we got, and it isn't pretty. My yard is sprinkled with small crunchy white bits that look and feel, but do not taste, like Nerds (the candy that is). Either that, or as if I decided to decorate my yard with 5 year old confectioner's sugar. Oh well. Maybe they're saving the good stuff for Christmas.

The cold weather has at least been good for one thing. I've been doing a whole lot of knitting, as well as a good amount of snuggling with my winter accessories, specifically the Kerchief Cowl I designed last winter. It's the warmest, coziest thing I've got in my repertoire, and I wanted to knit some up to share the cozy love.  Of course, I couldn't knit the pattern as is, even if I did write the darn thing, so mods began popping up as they always do. First, I started with a bulkier, puffier, tweedier yarn. I skipped the textural garter rows and left off the bottom triangle. Then I added a big ol' huge vintage button.

Huh. Still cozy. And then I turned it inside out and upside down and poof!

It turned into a cool, kerchief bandana like thing, just like I wanted all along. So, if anyone out there is knitting this pattern, feel free to experiment. It'll keep you cozy no matter what. If instead, you'd like one of these new updated cowls all knitted up and ready to snuggle your neck, you can get 'em here. And if anyone else wants a pretty snow-covered yard...well, sorry, can't help you there. Give me a few weeks.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Oaxaca Highlights

Wow, I can't believe it's already been a few weeks since I got back from Oaxaca. I've been too wound up in a tangle of stressed-out holiday knitting to notice anything these days. So, before I forget (even more) and move on to different things, here are a few Oaxaca highlight pics. Oaxaca really is a magical place and the amount of craft and art everywhere is so inspiring! It made me want to lose myself in some detailed, elaborate, grand-scale sort of public art project....if only if my hands could knit faster....

Anyway, Enjoy! (And remind me that one day I really have to do a special post just on the amazing natural dye process the weavers use. It will blow your yarny mind!)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

And the fun begins....

One thing is for certain. I have been a picture taking machine since I landed in Oaxaca. Me and my camera are getting a little overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of exposures I've been scrolling through, but I can't stop. Every where I look is another picture! I want to post as many as I can here, but I think I'm going to have to limit myself just to stay organized. So I've decided to alternate subjects each time. Today's picture quota - Day of the Dead arty goodness! Preparations are ramping up here for the festivities and lots of art has started to appear. Sand sculptures are being built in stores and in the streets:

There is an amazing quantity and variety of papel picado - tissue paper banners with fun designs - my favorite is the bicycle!

We saw a group of young tattoo artists painting some amazing giant skulls to put out in the streets - they are making 37 of these total!

But our best find so far was the mural on this house! The community chooses a local artist to paint a different design on it each year. We were told last year was a skeleton cowboy riding a giant skeleton horse:

Here are some close-ups of some of the fun details:

All of this has really only just begun and I am so excited for all the amazing art spectacles I will see closer to the holiday. Another Dia de los Muertos photo installment is guaranteed!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


That's right. My mystery vacation is revealed. Lucky little me...I am in the beautiful city of Oaxaca for a culinary tour and Day of the Dead celebrations. We had a little time to kill today before our tour starts, so my first stop? The Museo Textil de Oaxaca ( a textile museum!) for some serious woven and embroidered gorgeousness.

 The colors combinations were unbelievable and most made with natural dye. I had some opportunities for yarn gazing (my favorite activity):

And saw some other gorgeous designs, like this fanciful skirt:

Check out what's on the back!

   We headed over to the craft market ("Mercado de Artesanias")...

Where I picked out this fun little summery frock...

I have a hunch the rest of my days here will be filled with just as much amazing art and craft goodness, so I'll be sure to post lots of pics. Adios! or Hasta Luego! Or whatever else would make sense...which reminds me...I really, really need to learn how to speak Spanish....

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Guess what? I'm going on vacation....tomorrow!! I'm going somewhere with warm weather, delicious food and even more delicious textiles (and no, it's not hawaii, but mister rooster up there is happy for me anyway). Curious? I'll be posting live from the spot this week with pictures, so stay tuned...

Thursday, September 30, 2010

First of the Last Thursdays

So, I've decided to try setting up shop at the lovely, insane anarchy that is Last Thursday on Alberta. (For non-Portlanders this is kind of like a monthly street fair, but with no rules and regulations, lots of random "vendors," wierdly shaped bikes, impromptu performances, drunk people and hipster posturing).

This isn't really the first time I've tried selling wares at Last Thursday. Five or six years ago I went up there with a folding tray table and 6 pairs of randomly designed handwarmers. There were no signs or price tags or anything. I must of looked sad and rather adorable staring at the handwarmers on the table, laid out in front of me like some sort of strange solitaire game. I didn't sell anything, but I did manage to do a few trades with some of the other crafty vendors there.

Honestly, I don't know if I will fare any better this time around, but I do feel more prepared.
I'll still have a few pairs of handwarmers, of course...

But I'll also have some headbands, hats, cowls, scarves and even one or two little knitting kits I made up:

They come in cute little lamb bags. (After printing him a few dozen times, I've decided the lamb's name is Herb)

 And I will also have lovely printed copies of all my knitting patterns. Given that 6 years ago during my handwarmer phase I  just barely knew how to read a pattern, let along write one, I'm feeling particularly proud of my pattern pups. Oh little knitting self, how you grow up so fast.

If any Portland readers feel like heading out on a lovely, summery fall night, please come and find me. I'll be the one playing solitaire with knitted goods.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Balustrade Cowl

Let's have a little chat about lace. Not the kind of lace in doilies or the fancy see-through kind adorning a lot of black dresses this fall, but knitted lace patterns. The kinds with names like "winding trail," "passionflower" or "snowdrops," the kind of lace that wraps any hat, sweater or shawl into it's complicated web and turns it into a prized heirloom. I don't think I could ever have enough knitted lace, and a pretty lace triangle shawl is about the best it gets. Almost. Lately, I've been having trouble with my beloved triangle scarves. It's not just the logistics of keeping one wrapped securely around my neck - the ocean wind almost stole a lovely swallowtail shawl from me once on a Seattle ferry.
 It's just that sometimes I crave something a little less sweet and quaint, and a little more modern.

 So, me and my lacey, shawly self got together and decided on a compromise. The result is a long, wide cowl knit seamlessly in the round. Bands of simple, geometric lace are separated by slightly gathered garter strips that create a nice, full drape when wrapped around your neck. I designed it imagining I'd wear it this way, wrapped double so it looks like a pretty, perfectly tousled scarf with no ends, or shifting, or fiddling needed. But, actually, it turns out to be a more versatile little piece of lace than I thought...

I named this pattern Balustrade, which is a fancy architectural word for a railing on a staircase or porch. I named it this partly because the lace reminded me of the geometric shapes and patterns often found on railings or windows, but also because the cowl reminded me of the word itself - a bit of lovely, pretty fluff for something that is, at its heart, utterly functional.

If you find yourself craving a bit of lace, please check out the Balustrade pattern on Ravelry here or on Etsy here.