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This is, by far, one of my favorite finish off’s so far this year. I know we are only a few weeks into 2018, but I can already tell this hat is going to remain a favorite as I add to the f.o. catalog.

Withrow is a brilliant color work hat that’s featured in the new Cascades collection for Quince and Co. by Whitney Hayward. I decided to knit it exactly as the pattern called–with three skeins of Quince and Co. chickadee in the following colors: audouin, sabine, and delft.

I realized this hat was going to be far too tall after blocking for me (even though I love a tall hat, I’m not a huge fan of a slouchy look–it needs to really stand up if it has height) so I ripped back the decrease section at the top and modified it for a decrease every row. The only problem with this is that the top is a little more puckered than the original, but it fits like a dream after blocking and it doesn’t negatively alter the final look of the color work.

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As soon as I finished, I scooped up a handful of other colors of chickadee to try my hand at different palettes. I’m thinking grays, greens, and reds. Stay tuned.

I love the Cascades collection so much, I plan to knit everything in it, which is rare for me. I already purchased yarn for the Eugene color block pullover, and again, in the exact palette the pattern called for.

This collection is clearly shaping up to be a memorable favorite on my year–consider my need for blues and grays in my wardrobe high.

 

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These hats–they just never fail me! Here’s yet another Stripes Hat for the doc; I finally got to use some Blue Sky worsted hand dyes I had in my stash for years–so long, that this butterscotch colorway has since been discontinued. The worsted hand dyes is more aran weight than other yarns I’ve used for this hat, so I had to modify the amount of stripe repeats and go down a needle size. Despite that, it turned out nicely for doc’s big head and he said it fit comfortably.

The stripes are done in bits of Malabrigo merino worsted in black forest and Madelinetosh tosh vintage in the found pottery colorway. Finally, some speckled yarns. I’ve long desired to use these but never seem to find the right project (here’s is one that was perfect for speckles, and another).

I love that this was, yet another, complete stash busting project. And, what’s more, this pattern allows for endless stash busting and color combinations because you only need little bits for stripes, could make every stripe a different color if you wanted (there’s a new idea!) and the hat itself doesn’t make a significant dent into one skein, depending on yardage. Cheers to that.

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In 2017, I agreed to take on a Reading Challenge. I don’t normally participate in those kinds of things because I like to read what I want, when I want, but this one seemed interesting and reasonable and maybe a challenge is good for me.

The 2017 challenge prompted a read every two weeks or 24 books on the year in various categories, including a book translated from another language, one from childhood, one from school days, something more than 500 pages, a book that takes place somewhere you traveled that year…and on.

I started off slow–my first read was Tolstoy’s classic War and Peace, a 1300 page sweeping epic that actually took me well over 2 weeks to complete. And so, I got behind. I picked up steam in the summer, reading well more than a book every two weeks. But, still, it wasn’t enough to make up with starting a new job and picking a number of 500+ page novels.

I came really close. I missed completing the challenge by 5 books. And it prompted me to start a reading journal, in which I keep track of everything I read, when I read it, how long it took me, whether it was a library book, a kindle book, or a book I own, and some general musings on what I liked or didn’t like about it. I’m pleased it pushed me to really start keeping track of my reads in a unique way, and I’ll carry on.

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How do you keep track of the books you read? Do you at all? I never used to. And so, in this space, I’m going to also keep track of that process, too. Because this blog, while I hope I have a reader or two, has been a great long term companion to me, my makes, my likes, my pursuits.

See more (a sample) from my reading journal here. 

 

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The past two weeks in the Boston area have been a blend of intense, deeply debilitating snowstorms, and–polar vortexes. Most days, the temperature hovered at 0 degrees, with a real feel well below.

So for that, we were stuck inside. A lot. And so, I baked bread and tackled charts. These Waves mittens by Tin can knits have been in my queue for awhile--featured in Making Vol. 3, Dots. I’m knitting the smallest size because I have tiny hands, hand knit mittens never fit me correctly, and a lot of knitters claimed these mittens were extra long.

The smallest size seems to be knitting up the right size for me, which I’m pleased about. I’ve finished the mitten gusset on one but put them down to work on a hat project when I can’t concentrate on complex charts.

Otherwise, these are shaping up to be a quick knit and a total stash buster–I’m using Knit Picks palette I had on hand in a blue and off white.

The recipe is Maida Heatter’s Mile High Cinnamon Bread from Food52.

What are you knitting–or baking– in the new year?

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I’ve made this hat before and loved it. So, when you love something, go for it again, right? For some reason, while I love pom poms, I opted against one for these hats and am pleased with the end result.

Pattern is Karusellen by Erica Smith and this version is knit up using one skein each of Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in the fossil and almanac colorways. I’m pleased with the height this hat has–if you know me, you know I love a high hat.

See my project notes here. And more of my hats here.

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For those of you that know me personally, I’m a Gilmore Girls fan. Amy Sherman-Palladino and Dan Palladino, the show’s creators, are my heroes. The pop culture references, book references, quick wit, and well -timed and brilliantly curated music selections were, and are, near and dear to me.

And so, when the opportunity to make a Gilmore Girls inspired cross stitch that didn’t feel silly popped up, I jumped. One of the show’s characters, Mrs. Kim, is anti all music that isn’t religious. And so, it was fitting to make a sign that declared she disapproved of my music collection, and hang it above a selection of our vinyl in the living room.

This pattern took one afternoon to complete–my favorite quick project with rich rewards. It fits in nicely with the rest of my art in the living room and I like that it can be kind of a cryptic message– so fun.

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I love trying new fish dishes–particularly ones that stand up to cold weather. This orange scented cod with jasmine rice is just the dish. It really sticks to the ribs in a healthy way, and the doc and I really enjoyed it.

Plus, it takes no time at all, so it’s the perfect weeknight dinner. The cod can handle the asian flavors of ginger and soy; what’s more, I always have these ingredients, generally speaking, on hand. and takes only about 6 minutes to braise. Brilliant. I think it would be really delicious with halibut, too, which is also a recommended fish for this dish.

See the recipe here. It’s definitely been added to my weeknight dinner recipes.

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The Striped Hats pattern by Quince and Co. is for sure my favorite pattern this winter. It’s simple, easy to memorize so the project is good for travel or knitting in public, and they knit up in a day or two. Plus, the color combinations are endless and you don’t need large amounts of wool to create these–perfect for stash busting, particularly those small partial skeins from other projects to use in the small stripes sections.

The doc asked for a couple brighter hats—most of the ones I have knit for him through the years are gray, dark charcoal, forest green, red. He was looking for purples, oranges, turquoise.

And lucky for him, because these projects are so speedy, he has two new hats at the ready.

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The purple one is knit using Malabrigo Merino Worsted in periwinkle as the main color, some small bits in indigo and tiger lily, respectively.

The green version features Brooklyn Tweed Shelter, main color in sap, and contrasting stripes in cast iron and sweatshirt.

Both of these hats are complete stash busters! I’ve already made a few more of these since. They will be gifted to everyone in my family this holiday season, and I now have two versions for myself. Don’t expect to see me wearing any other hats this winter–the fit of the rolled brim is a dream.

See my ravelry notes here.

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This is my first attempt at shibori, a Japanese practice of resistance dyeing on textile. Folding, bending, and clipping muslin cloth is meditative and the final results are gorgeous–rich in color, shape.

As an extension of my first dyes, I decided to try some sashiko embroidery on top, following the natural resistance dye lines I created. My stitches aren’t completely even in this first attempt, often a little wonky, but in just two sittings with my piece, I’ve already made great strides in consistency.

These first dye batches are small scale, but my mind is already spinning about where I could potentially go with this practice.

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Some little Purl Bee baby knits for an old friend that recently had her second child. This is the garter stitch baby hat and the baby socks from Last Minute Knitted Gifts.

Purl Bee has the best patterns for babies. Simple, gender neutral, soft, adorable, tiny. They are my go to source and I tend to knit every new baby I know a version of this hat and these socks.

Knit up using odds and ends of Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage in the whiskers colorway, and Juniper Moon Farm Moonshine in flan. Some Malabrigo Merino Worsted in ravelry red for the tassel on top. This project was a complete stash buster–my favorite!

See my project notes here.

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Back in 2013, I bought several skeins of Quince and Co. lark for their Striped Hat pattern. For some reason, they went in one of my stash bins to languish for four years.

I have no idea why this project got away from me for so long. Usually, in these cases, I rediscover the yarn years later, cannot for the life of me remember what I purchased it for, and repurpose the skeins into something else.

This pattern must have really stuck out in my mind because I rediscovered the yarn the other night and immediately dug out the pattern I had already purchased. This hat knits up so fast and the fit is like a dream. I love the rolled, turned in brim and its interesting construction.

My only modification was to do one less of the final row 1 -7 repeats. I thought the hat would be too tall if I didn’t make the slight adjustment. The height is perfect with the modification and it’s the only one I’ve been wearing since I completed it last weekend.

The pattern uses four skeins of Quince and Co. lark; I used the same color ways as the pattern called for: honey, frank’s plum, and gingerbread. I had mere yards of the main color (honey) left over because I didn’t complete all the pattern repeats, which means I have enough leftover to make another hat.

Read my project notes here. Expect to see a whole bunch more of these hats in my winter making this year; the color combinations are endless.