pizzas.

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Getting back to my gouache paints this past weekend, I fooled around with lightly washed color backgrounds and black and white pepperoni pizzas. Silly painting, but fun to spread out on the dining room table and paint again.

western sunsets.

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Here are two versions of the Western Sunset hat I knit up this month. The first one is amazing blacks and oranges and reds, and its perfect. The second I made to match my blue jacket but it doesn’t have the same power as the first version; color choice in fair isle knitting is such an important factor. I like it, but I don’t LOVE it.

Both versions were knit up using scraps of Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage I had in various colorways; think thyme, ink, saffron, tomato, and glazed pecan, to name a few. Then there are a few bits of Manos Del Uruguay in teal.

It’s a perfect stash buster for all those odds and ends you have leftover from other projects. The combinations are endless. I definitely want to make more of these that ring more toward the orange and black one than the navy and teal one.

What do you think? How important is crazy color contrast in fair isle? Very important, i.m.h.o. Have you had projects that you hated the fair isle because your colors were just “off”? What do you think of my blue version–less blah than I feel about it?

See my project notes here and here. Knit a version of Helen Yates’ Western Sunset hat yourself. And browse through my other hats.

 

fennel bake.

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One of the easiest–and most delicious–weeknight dinners I’ve made in a long while. You barely have to do anything, the fennel, potatoes and carrots are deliciously lemony, and the chicken thighs are fall off the bone moist.

I’m adding this to my regular rotation. Grab the recipe here.

home additions.

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I’ve been hemming and hawing over floating shelves for my kitchen since I bought and moved in last June. I looked at Ikea and hated the quality–twice. You can see where I’d hang them from most parts of the house and I wanted something sturdy and substantial, something that “shows” and is a piece of art in and of itself.

Nothing stuck.

I found some amazing Japanese burned ones that blew my mind. Then, I priced them out. In my “forever” home, I thought.

So I went to a trusted source: Etsy. I support local, small shops and artisans who create incredible things every day (hello! I make, too). And why I never started there is beyond me, because I stumbled on Sound Side Carpentry and their amazing reclaimed barn wood pieces.

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Last weekend, we finally got our floating shelves delivered. We also purchased a hairpin leg stool that doubles as a million different things (which I love!): a side table, a stool to sit on when we have extra guests for a party, a plant stand for our cactus which traveled 3,000 miles from Phoenix with Sean to live with us in Boston last summer.

And it fits my eclectic taste. I would never want to walk into a house and know what store, and when in time, that owner bought and decorated everything. I spend a lot of time thinking things over and deciding where it should go and whether it makes sense. I love vintage antiques. Unique pieces. One of a kinds. I’ve even sometimes bought something that didn’t work right then but knew at some point, it would be a must piece that completes my space.

My floating shelves are amazing and finally let me display some of my bowls and glassware and vases and kitchen trinkets I’ve collected along the way. I get to show off some of my vintage Blakley Arizona cacti frosted glass collection (I’ve got more on my bar cart), too.

See more snaps from my home here and here.

 

arched gusset mittens.

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These are the Purl Bee Arched Gusset Mittens, without the final tails trimmed off yet. I kind of like them, even if they serve zero purpose. But I’ll weave them in and give them up.

These mittens were ridiculously fast and easy to knit up. I adore them. I’m thinking about slightly felting them to make them even warmer and sturdier. What do you think? To felt or not to felt? My only hesitation with the felting is you will loose that arched gusset detail, which kind of is the entire point of these mittens. Maybe I just answered my own question.

These are the second size, but I adjusted some of the length to accommodate my tiny hands. I think I could even go down to the kids size (first) and be OK with the fit. I’ll definitely be making more of these in other colors or maybe with a pop of contrasting color at the top.

I knit these up using a ball of Patons Classic Wool in the dark gray marl colorway. I don’t normally use this yarn, but I had a few balls of it in my stash from probably 10+ years ago when I was still buying and using box store yarns, and its 100% wool, which is what I care most about–the fiber content!

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Marl yarns are really “in” right now in the knitting world; I’ve been using them more, too. So perhaps I was ahead of the times when I purchased these so many years back.

What are you knitting with marl yarns?

 

More snaps of my mittens here.

 

lover hat.

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This is the From Norway with Love hat I knit for the doc this Valentine’s Day. I love this hat; I’ve knit several of them, but I think this version might be my favorite.

The main color is Manos del Uruguay Maxima in the slate colorway, which sometimes looks gray and sometimes looks purple, which I love. The contrasting hearts are knit in Malabrigo Merino Worsted in little lovely, which looks bright pink and hot tamale red all at once.

It fits his head perfectly and it was a change up from my usual gift for him–hand knit socks (and that’s only because I didn’t finish the pair I’m working on in time).

More snaps of the hat here.

 

storhedder.

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This is the Storhedder hat by Mary Jane Mucklestone, and I love it. It was easy to knit up–quick and instantly gratifying. I hadn’t discovered Mary Jane Mucklestone’s brilliant color work until recently, and now I’m obsessed. I definitely want to try a whole bunch of her other projects; they are incredible.

I knit this one exactly like the original in the pattern, using Cascade 220 in light gray for the main color and Knit Picks Preciosa in their tonal red. I love the finished results and gifted it to Sean; as a Phoenix transplant, and temperatures dipping to -35 degrees this weekend, you can never have too many new wool hats.

I definitely want to make another one of these in a tan color for the main and black for the color work.

You can see my project notes here. Check out other hats I’ve knit here.

forester soak.

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Easily one of the quickest sweaters I’ve knit in awhile, the Forester by Michele Wang was a dream project. I loved the top down construction that had you halt working the body to knit both sleeves before finishing.

The thought of not having sleeves to knit after the body was complete was so empowering, I want to knit every seamless sweater this way!

Here’s my Forester going for a soak. I can’t decide if I should keep it for myself or gift it to my mum and make another. I’m thinking the latter…