gradations.

this yarn smells like lanolin. it smells like cabin in the woods in the white mountains, late falltime. it feels coarsely soothing, if you can imagine that… scratchy, but you want it on your skin anyway. i don’t think i’ve ever enjoyed working with a yarn so much as this. i mean, just look at it, what a beauty. i’m in love with the kaleidoscopic scene it unfurls, and it’s so right for autumn, for this time in my life full of little changes, one bleeding to the next, peeling things back and watching the newness underneath take shape, tiny step and step and step, then something bigger, brighter, starts to show its face.

xo

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adventures in beekeeping

i’ve started in on the beekeeper’s quilt. it’s a completely ideal project for the moment: easy and brainless, portable, and it offers a surging feeling of completion about every half an hour when i’m stitching up a little puff, clipping off the loose ends, and tossing it into a bowl. completion is a feeling i’m glad for these days. loose ends tied seem hard to come by.

: :

my dad used to keep bees out in the garden, in twin hives just behind the rhubarb patch. i remember his white beekeeping suit, the screen pulled over his handsome face. i’d watch from the window as he walked slowly out across the yard in morningtimes, graceful, steam rising from the smoker in his hands, fog rising from the creek to the east. i remember, once in a great while, a precious, glistening slab of honeycomb waiting at the kitchen table when i sat down to breakfast. i remember quiet voices speaking lessons of restraint and gratitude.

: :

i’ve been stung by both hornets and wasps, but not once by a bee.

: :

bees swarm in groups numbering between 1,500 and 30,000. swarming bees are gentle creatures, and the process of swarming is about transitions and growth. in the last seven days i’ve made what seems like 1,500 to 30,000 telephone calls to doctors, social workers, nursing homes, attorneys. i ask question after question. i can talk on the phone and knit at the same time. i can hear answers i don’t want to hear without crying, and that’s no small victory. i accept answers that aren’t even really answers. i count stitches like it’s my job, click click click. did you know that honeybees tap two million flowers in order to gather enough nectar to produce one pound of honey? whatever metaphorical message i was getting at has fallen apart, i’m afraid… something in there about work, and giving, and grieving. i had best be back to the needles. the beekeeper’s quilt could take me a year to make, and it could take me longer, or less, but i think it’ll be my friend for a good long while.

xo

wool and sunshine.

hi, people. we’ve had sunny skies and warm temperatures  in portland, and it it feels alot like spring. february is my favorite winter month… the camellia is starting to bloom, and instead of darkness on morning dogwalks, the sun is rising. but it’s still chilly enough for a lightweight, lacy scarf.

the pattern, named “les miserables”, is free on ravelry. the instructions are excellent. it’s knit with skinny, fuzzy yarn (i used two skeins of cascade alpaca lace), on too-big needles, and then hand felted. this is the sort of project with just enough of a challenge to keep oneself from going crazy-by-repetition, yet simple enough that you can carry it around and work on it while chatting over tea with a friend.  just right. super duper highly recommended.

one of my favorite knitting projects ever, and that’s no small thing.

xo

:: update ::  a lot of people seem to be checking out this post (via ravelry), and i feel sort of guilty that i haven’t added any helpful hints, so i’ll try. advice: if you’re a perfectionist with your knitting (like i am), this project may offer a perfect opportunity to let some of that go. i spent hours and hours unknitting and then reknitting this scarf while i was getting the rhythm down. unnecessary! it won’t matter, in the end, if your dropped stitches show up at irregular intervals. nobody will notice, and it might, in fact, actually make your finished product look more bohemian/ wabi-sabi/ distressed/ bag lady. which is precisely the look you are going for, no? also, this is quite important: follow the felting instructions exactly. be patient with that part. it’s so fun to watch your garment transform, and if you’re careful while you process it, you will be happier with your finished product. lastly, even though this is a relatively simple design, working with teeny yarn on large needles was kind of awkward (for me at least), and the pre-blocked size is pretty long… so be forewarned, this isn’t a quickie-pie little weekender gig. it will take you a good long time. and in the end it will all be worth it, because you will likely wear this scarf  a whole lot. i know i do. enjoy! xo

grumbling & adorableness.

hi people, i do realize that on friday, i said i’d be back on monday. but i wasn’t. does that mean i lied? i didn’t mean to. but the weekend was busy and strange and then someone sideswiped my truck, hit and run style, on monday. that’s only the third time it’s happened in six months and no i am not exaggerating and yes my truck must be some sort of jerky drunk driver magnet and i mean that literally. so. i didn’t blog on monday because i was too mad about it to write nice things. but, i’m over it! hi! i’m here and i’m trying to be nice. which is sort of easy since you guys are nice, too. so i’m not mad anymore, just annoyed. those are small beans in the big picture, anyway.

i promised you adorable, didn’t i? well, i wouldn’t lie about that. adorable is bigger beans, right? and so, a skull & crossbones baby dress! yes. for some hip, irreverent friends and their soon-to-be baby girl. i can’t wait to see that girl rock this jumper.

i found the pattern— the skull jumper by malia mather– through ravelry. bonus: it’s free! the pattern is super well-written and pretty easy. i did make some minor changes, adding adjustable buttons at the back so the jumper will fit for a couple of years, first as a dress and then a shirt. some notes: if you try this pattern out and are new to colorwork, please do yourselves a favor and check out a tutorial on youtube or something before going for it. if you can knit and purl, you can make this dress, really. also, don’t forget to block it. i rarely block my knitting projects, but the skulls & crossbones will look wonky if you don’t. yarn is jil eaton’s minnow merino. it’s 100% wool, cushy & supersoft & dreamy, and it’s washable! because as adorable as babies are, they do things to their clothes which require washing. ahem.

so there it is. some adorable for your tuesday. hope you’re all doing just swell. xo

i heart wool.

isn’t this yarn pretty? my friend cassie made it with her own two magical hands. what?! yes she did. yesterday was a nice time to dust off my knitting needles. i’ve missed them. i sat knitting with a blanket on my lap. a warm, wooly, white, pendleton blanket, scored for five bucks at goodwill. (that was a happy day, i tell you. i would not mind it one bit if i found this other particular blanket out thrifting one day. insanely good, those colors.)

i found this simple pattern on ravelry, and adjusted it a bit, making the tassels a bit longer, and adding the silly big pom-pom. it’s really cute and warm. that yarn felt so nice between my fingers… i wish it had lasted a bit longer, but this hat was finished and on my head in under two hours. the rainy season is long, though, and the days are short, and there are plenty more things to knit. xo