The sounds of my home waking up in winter are quite different than the warmer seasons when the windows and doors are thrown wide open and we are roused by the birds and the wind. In the colder months, we are closed up and tucked in, insulated from nature’s alarms. When I wake before light to start my day, our winter home offers the comforting morning sonata of the gurgling coffee pot, the furnace kicking in followed by the soft whir of the blower, and the gentle snores of my dogs (and sometimes husband) as they all linger in dream land. It is this winter soundscape that will always be audible memory of writing this pattern. Up before the rest of my household, my knitting would expand with the growing light.
As winter projects go, there is none better than this alpaca throw. Steaming cup of coffee beside me, I’d work tucked beneath the warmth of my work in progress watching the sun burn the mist off the field outside my window. Core spun alpaca is a sensory joy too work with and it’s working weight would gently nudge my sleepy muscles to wakefulness. Finishing up at over 6 lbs, this throw is a physical project with big broad movements as undulating cables are manipulated and the throw is rotated from row to row. Back and forth. The greatest pleasure may be rewards of seeing such a large project work up so quickly. Knit on size 50 needles, progress is swift. Cast on today and you will be snugly tucked in beneath your completed blanket in no time.
This past year that we are tucking into bed for its final slumber, has been a notable one for us. For our family, we had some very hard and sad losses. But we also achieved great milestones and took wild leaps of faith together. We stirred the pot and sometimes marvel that we had the courage to do so. Change is unsettling. Change can be downright scary. Yet life is change and to both enjoy and share that joy with others requires an embracing of this force that can sometimes cower us and at other times empower us. During this year of endless challenges, we’ve learned to turn our faces to the wind. Whether biting or balmy, there is always something to be learned and an opportunity to be a better version of ourselves tomorrow.
As we prepare to wake to a new baby year, I wish for our family an ability to hold on to the lessons of the year in our wake and to carry them forward. We wish for ourselves and everyone the ability to be brave and outspoken, even if the only audience is yourself. From our home to yours we wish everyone the silence of peace and the roar of change.
It’s a bitter day out there. The wind is whipping. The sun is even intermittently hiding. My dogs steadfastly refuse to go outside and are equally unanimous in that the beautiful color coordinated tartan fleece jackets I got them make them all look like dorks. Stogie seems to lose his ability to move in his and starts to moan. Shmoo hides and hangs her head in shame. The girls are blind, so don’t experience quite the same level of mortification, but the point is made. I’m supposed to be hooking and writing out a new knitting pattern, but I’d rather be baking, and I really want to see high tide. I forced us all out of our comfort zones — they into their plaid, me into my oompa-loompa coat that I can’t move my arms in, and marched us into the cold.
A number of years ago I came across a pattern for a simple baby kimono. There were a lot of things I liked about it, but there were also a lot of things I didn’t. I’d been brooding over how a kimono I designed would differ for quite some time before I finally put pencil to paper and needles to yarn. The beautiful Cumbria by The Fibre Co helped spur things along. As soon as I had sample in hand, my head started whirring with the possibilities. Finally, after many stops and starts. Knits, tinks, knits, tinks, pencil scratches, recalculations, tear outs it has all come together and my newest pattern is now available in my shop.
I’ve always been a texture girl, and Cumbria excels in its stitch definition. I really wanted to create an interesting visual and I’m a sucker for a YO. After much fiddling, I devised an all over eyelet pattern I was happy with. The other thing that I really wanted to achieve with this piece was beautifully finished edges that did as they were told. No rolling or buckling or bad attitudes. I-cords came to my rescue at every start, stop, and turn. From the cast-on, certain bind offs, and all along the neckline I-cords were my design friend. It took a bit of re-work of the traditional I-cord edge to accommodate the quick decreases along the neckline, but tiny little short rows did the trick. I really couldn’t be happier with how the whole thing came out and am already working designs for companion pieces and variations for different skill sets.
I’ve also stocked my shop with three beautiful shades of Cumbria to get you started knitting right away!
This project has been calling to me for some time. These pillows are a precursor to the alpaca rug I want to hook next, but these are definitely a creative pursuit I could both sink my teeth and toes into. The alpaca is milled just for me by a couple local family farms. The all around goodness of them is swoon worthy. If you want one of these for your own snuggling purposes, they are available for purchase at The Barn at Todd Farm in Rowley, MA or you can purchase online.
It is that time of year when we are busy preserving our and our local farm’s abundance. There are pestos and sauces and most especially this year apples. And apples and apples and apples. Then there are more apples. We are making chutneys, and crisps, and pies, and applesauce, and drying them in droves. Never one to let me down, Dave has risen to the occasion and has engineered an ingenious apple corer. Click below to see it in action!
As you know, I’m prone to a vintage bent. And it extends beyond “things” to the world and family Dave and I create. Case in point: this week we are celebrating a very happy Gotcha Day anniversary of our sweet Zoey. Three years ago our home was enriched by the arrival of Zoey and her sister Maggie. They came to us with the help of a Tennessee rescue I volunteer with and at the time they were 11 (Maggie) and 13 (Zoey). They were elderly with numerous health issues. We thought they would be our summer dogs. While our Maggie died at 14+ just this Easter and our 16+ Zoey is fading, we never would have thought we’d be blessed with the joy and wonder these dogs brought to our lives for so long. It’s been THREE YEARS! Honestly, it is a toss up who loves me more—Dave or Zoey. They are in open competition and are fierce rivals with each other–though they utterly adore each other, too. I’m flattered to be the subject of their affections. And I’m honored to have have known both Maggie and Zoey and to have ensured that their final years were ones that were comfortable and well loved. If you’ve ever considered taking in an elderly pet of any ilk to your home, all I can say is that the rewards will leave you speechless.
Sounds like a good excuse for a get together to me, and I am thrilled to continue this ole’ time tradition in new places. Starting this June I will be hosting a monthly Bee on the Farm– a gathering of knitters, quilters, hookers, and other hand-workers of all sorts and skill levels–in the bucolic setting of Dandelion Spring and Straw Farm in Newcastle, Maine. If you are in the area, please join me for an afternoon of companionship, laughter, and progress on all your UFO’s surrounded by the fields, animals, busy farmers, and an abundant farm stand. While this is not a class, I’m happy to answer questions to the best of my ability—dabbler as I am in many things… And truly the best thing about a bee is the community and shared creativity. It is a time to be inspired by and to both learn from and teach each other.
To you folks in MA and NH who have been joining me for the Bee in the Barn in Rowley, fear not! We will continue to meet monthly admidst all the beautiful antiques, art, and fine craft that The Barn at Todd Farm has to offer. This group has been so much fun to stitch and secretly hope with that Scout(milliner/baker)shows up with her banana bread!
Far too much enthusiasm for Saturday morning at 6:am. I’d rather be snuggled in bed with my cute boy and ancient dog, but my internal clock decided to “up and at ’em” at 5:23 am. I guess I’m just an overachiever. Lol.
My newest project, which is sucking much of my brain power, is a complete remake of my website. The goals are to improve the shopping experience with the help of Woocommerce and to become a visual wonderland for all things fiber, vintage, primitive, handmade, and probably cookies. Yes. Cookies. I actually rarely eat sweets (I’m still very likable!) but Dave needs his afternoon snacks. I consider it my duty to provide sustenance for his creative energies.