After a successful 2014 trip to Catalina State Park in Oro Valley, Arizona, Sean and I decided to venture back to the beautiful campground and hiking spot for another go around last week. It’s a gorgeous spot. Plenty of trails (which allow dogs, hurrah!) and campground facilities, all the while making you feel remote and alone at your campsite.

We pitched tent on Friday early evening and settled into a relaxing evening of margaritas and snacks. A black widow scare later and breakfast the next morning, we set out on our first hike of the weekend. Little did we know, a dog would come out of no where and maul our poor pooch Jack, forcing us to scamper down the mountain and to an emergency clinic. Jack is lucky to be alive; we are lucky to have him, and a few hours of surgery later, we were packing up our campsite and returning to Phoenix.

I don’t know how I feel about ever going back to Catalina. It held such fond memories, but now, all I can think about is that dog, ripping Jack’s throat, and the panic that ensued. For me, living in Boston, an escape to 85 degree Phoenix was plenty enough. All I wanted was sun and warmth, cocktails like Sean’s famous Moscow Mules in the copper mugs I bought him last year…. and of course cacti. I got all of those things.

bed knitting.

I’ve been going through a particularly stressful couple of weeks. It will all lead to great things and changes for me, but its been trying at times and left little else in the way of craft, knit, bake, make, think, read, breathe.

So last night, I finally decided to put time aside to hit bed early and to take a new project with me. Since the end of 2014, I have put myself on a yarn buying moratorium. I have quite a large stash and wanted to work from that, save money, and reduce the amount of bins I have with sweater amounts of yarn for projects I thought I wanted to knit but never got around to, or inevitably changed my mind about.

Enter my latest cast on, the amazing Birdie Fair Isle Sweater by the amazing Hannah Fettig of Knitbot. I just love her patterns, especially because they are often top down, which I’ve learned just fit my body better than bottom ups. I’ve finished most of the fair isle chart in one evening and its a 100% stash busting sweater.

The body (or main color) is Malabrigo Merino Worsted in frank ochre, which I have had in my stash since about 2007 (wow). The fair isle detail is a combination of: polar morn for the border, natural for the background, and Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in nest for the birds.

There isn’t a thing I don’t love about this cardigan, so far.

final batik.

While this isn’t the “maker” project for me (too much of a perfectionist to deal with the loose nature and all the imperfections that come with applying hot wax to muslin), I am happy I worked with 12 middle schoolers for 10 weeks and was exposed to something new.

I love making things with my hands. I love teaching the making. I love seeing kids’ progress, their ebbing and flowing, their unhappiness with the product, and their happiness with a product. I, too, experience all of that, all the time. It’s the maker way. It doesn’t mean you stop.

For now, here is my final batik of the term before I ironed out the wax. I’m happiest with this one, of all the batiks I made this term. I doubt I’ll be doing this again, but you never know. I think this batik will turn into a zip top pouch for all my knitting notions.

What do you think?


Remember when I mentioned I shockingly won a brilliant skein of Kettle Yarn Co. Twist Jumbo in a shocking pink as part of Pom Pom Magazine’s amazing #valentoes competition?

Yesterday, I was feeling kind of rough. And when I got home from work, an amazing little surprise was on my front stoop.

Thanks so much to Pom Pom and Kettle Yarn Co. I can’t wait to knit something incredible with this gorgeous skein of sock weight yarn.


This is my Sylvine cardigan. I knit it up in Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage in the saffron colorway and I absolutely loved the yoke detail with the chevron lace. This sweater immediately sang to me when I started it. Top down, like I enjoy, and plenty of detail to keep me interested.

I hesitated around the stockinette edgings, fearing they would curl too much. Others had the same thoughts and opted for moss stitch button bands and neck bands. I should have done the same, but decided to follow the pattern to a T, in spite of my reservations.

And I hate the finished product. It’s ill fitting. It’s uncomfortable. The sleeves are tight. The body is too long. It is meant to be knit with negative ease, and boy, is that true. The edgings curl, like I thought they would, despite some serious blocking sessions.

It has to be frogged. I can’t let this sweater sit, never quite finished (I didn’t waste my time putting buttons on, though I did buy some), with that gorgeous saffron tosh just crying out to be shown off. I have never frogged a sweater that was completely finished and BO.

Looking for advice. Hard, easy? Should I just unravel and knit a new project as I am unraveling. Please help!