Sunday, December 02, 2012


I have my dear girl Earthchick to thank for so much, but most recently for this vest.  It was her example that got me interested in this pattern. I am the person who sees what another person is ordering in a restaurant / buying at Trader Joe's / knitting and immediately must have it for myself. And so it was with this vest--she was knitting it and I had to knit it too! (Nevermind that she is basically the fastest knitter west of the Pecos and just makes mincemeat of FOs as she charges ever forward, if I concerned myself with such matters I would never get the gumption to try anything at all, now would I?).
Pattern: Alberta by Brooklyn Tweed
Size: Large
Yarn: Shelter in Woodsmoke (3) and Tent (1); Noro Silk Garden 359 (2). I think that yardage is correct?
Needles: Size 8
Mods: Well, you know Jared loves his short row shoulder shaping. I took one look at that and was like "Umm, yeah. Probably not this time around--but nice detail nonetheless!".
I am just gaga for this vest! I love the stripes beyond all measure. I love how the stripes change. I love the rustic look of the Shelter combined with the sheen of the Silk Garden. I love that I did not have to knit sleeves for it. Yes, that it was I really love.
 This vest represents a real first for me: steeking! I know the experienced steekers in the house are rolling their eyes at this point, but he, BABYSTEPS. I must have watched 11 or so painstakingly-filmed Youtube tutorials on the subject as well as bugged people on Twitter to share their best practices tips with me. There are many schools of thought on the matter of steeking: to crochet a reenforement, to sew a reenforcement, or to not reenforce at all and just cut? The decision was made for me by my piss poor crocheting skills and my utter lack of talent as well as limited access to a sewing machine. Yes folks, I just CUT and it felt great! I am here to tell you that it's basically no big deal. And if for some reason you have special information regarding the secret news that "cutting without reenforcing" is a sure-fire way to have the garment unravel in six months time à la some sort of time-release knitting catastrophe, can you please keep it to yourself? I prefer to blame the recipient for somehow being too rough with it and wearing it out rather than face the notion that my own laziness was somehow to blame.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Attention Philatelists!

Snowtracks CapA few weeks ago I was pottering around the ol' stash (yes, it's a geographical location) and came across one of the rarer skeins of yarn a knitter d'une certaine age could possibly have. I came upon my finding quite by accident and when I set my eyes up it I let out a mini-gasp. People I am talking about a yarn whose discontinuation and subsequent departure has left a gaping whole in our community. No amount of Calmer, Yorkshire Tweed, Maratona or Jaeger Chamonix will ever come close to leaving the empty fetal-position inducing DTs that Classic Elite Skye Tweed has left in its wake. It is the original Dag Hammarskjöld stamp of yarns. I am certain that the decision to discontinue it will go down as one of the massive blunders of the 21st century yarn industry. Sorry Classic Elite, your name will live infamy for this!

To celebrate my reunion with this yarn I knit a hat.

Snowtracks Cap
Specs: Snowtracks Cap by Timothy Peters. Meh. It was free!
Needles: Size 5 and 7
Yarn: CE Skye Tweed. I just can't even...

The pattern was a nice enough pattern with nothing to recommend nor discourage someone from doing it. If you're itching to do cables for a spell and don't want to pay for a pattern, I see no reason why you shouldn't give this pattern a whirl. my only tiny complaint is that the shape is somewhat bucket-like, but who really cares? I guess my extreme enthusiasm for the yarn eclipses any genius that the pattern might have...

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Muckle Mitts!

Muckle Mitts for Nova
Thanks to all for tolerating my brief foray into merchandising. If you are still itching to acquire more stash, just click HERE and HERE. Ahem.

Several weeks ago I participated in a swap (the one that brought the aforementioned quilt as well as this unbelievable doll my way. Yes, a doll, Go look at it!). Now sometimes swaps give me the shakes and fill me with dread and fear, but with certain people you know it's just always going to be a complete gas. Case in point: Muckle Mitts!
Muckle Mitts for Nova
Pattern: Muckle Mitts by Mary Jane Mucklestone
For: My all-around stellar pal Nova, seen modeling them here. Ain't she sweet?
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpaca Mélange in Chili Pepper, Cornflower and a touch of Blue Earth.
Needles: Size 3 and 4s
Mods: Not a one
Muckle Mitts for Nova
As you might know I am gaga for color work, and this pattern definitely scratches that particular itch in a big way. So many combinations! Each one completely different! Just take a gander at the Ravelry project page and you'll see what I mean.

Fingerless gloves are such a curious garment--they are perfect for about 3.5 months out of the year. When you need them, they do the trick. When it's freezing/balmy/humid/frigid, they are the most pointless hand knit with only the lowly poncho being more needless.
Muckle Mitts for Nova
Chances are you have the yarn for this already just laying around, any sport weight will do. This is also--and I know I am prone to exaggeration--a maximum two nights worth of knitting. It is guaranteed to speed by and definitely has GIFT KNITTING written all over it.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

EPIC Destash!

From: The Department of Shameless Mercantilism
To: Yarny Public
Re: Yarn that is priced to SELL

It has come to my attention that I have, as it would appear, acquired an amount of yarn that even if I were to employ a Triangle factory-type sweat shop knitting round the clock for several years, would not be exhausted. So my gluttony and disgraceful miscalculation is your gain!

Several things to keep in mind:

1.) Shipping is included in the price.

2.) Lots won't be broken up. Please don't ask because it'll make me sad.

3.) The prices are the prices. If you want to bargain, take your business to the souk in Marrakech and we'll see how you do!

4.) If you want to BUY BUY BUY just email me hmccoyATgmailDOTcom and we'll set you up.

One final note: I realize that this type of crass post might offend your finer sensibilities. Let us never speak of it again.

Ella Rae Classic (yellow) 6 skeins, #115 [$24]
EPIC Desstah

Monday, February 27, 2012

N O R B Y and my most prized possession

Norby in Loft "Longjohns"
February: Groundhog Day is a snoozefest, President's Day is underwhelming and Valentine's Day is perennially fraught (short version: "forgot it was a holiday, we're celebrating it? blah blah, oops". Yes I'm aggrieved and petty, it's why you come here, remember?). However there are some mighty nice things that happened this February and it would be a shame not to mention them!
Norby in Loft "Longjohns"
For one, I knitted a hat in the called for yarn, something that delights me to no end. You know that feeling when you see a pattern and remember you have a skein of that very yarn just hanging around in an unclaimed state? Sort of like Neely O'Hara when she found her vodka and the red pills in this beloved classic of American cinema:

The Specs
Pattern: Norby by Gudrun Johnston
Yarn: Brooklyn Tweed Loft in 'Longjohns'
Needles: size 4
Mods: none, except that it might have taken me a few tries to get the tassel just right.
Norby in Loft "Longjohns"
The pattern was lots of fun to make. Sometimes knitting at a smaller gauge is just what the doctor ordered. I debated about doing the tassel, worrying that it might be slightly gimmicky. But I listened to good sense and did the tassel. I mean, it's basically why you're doing the hat anyway, right? The hat is a life support system for the tassel! And with that I have just referenced a corny/dirty/kind of funny joke from the 80s...
Norby in Loft "Longjohns"
The yarn is beautiful BUT you must handle with care. Why? Because if you even look at it crossly, it was break. Just come apart. So my advice is to be gentle with it and DO NOT tug it. Trust me. Luckily its fragility is redeemed by the stunning panoply of colors it come in. So score one for Jared!
Norby in Loft "Longjohns"
Funnily enough the name of the pattern is our family nickname for the elder model you see on this blog. Instead you see pictured here two of my fave people, sneaky tricksters who had a hand in the item pictured below...

Another really nice thing that happened in February was that I got together with some of my favorite people anywhere and they gave me an astonishing gift. They made a quilt 100% tailored just to me and my life! You see, when my dad died, I was supposed to meet up with them, but of course wasn't able to do so. So they hatched a secret crafting plan and made me this quilt:
KBC Quilt

Look--a phrenology head,just like my dad used to have in his museum, except this one is filled with my own preoccupations:
Phrenology Head

And a sad tomato (his favorite expression) and a hog de hedge:
Hog de Hedge et Sad Tomato!

Sometimes I just stare at it and think "I have friends...and they made me THIS?!!". It's truly one of the most exciting things that ever happened to me. There are so many touching, darling details on this quilt that I am overwhelmed by sweetness of it. When they gave it to me (at our last meet-up, just last week!) I thought I was going to come unglued. They made this--FOR ME. Since then I take a little time every day to notice a new delightful detail. As Gary enthusiastically put it, "this is our new most prized possession".

So I guess what I'm saying is that even with the lame-o faux "holidays", February wasn't bad at all...

Sunday, January 29, 2012


Tremont in Quince and Co. Lark, "Goldfinch"
January, almost over? Sheesh, I really need to get with the program. I have loads and loads of WIPs and FOs people, so if you can still tolerate my erratic and maddeningly undependable ways, you are in for quite the treat once I get my blogging act together.
Tremont in Quince and Co. Lark, "Goldfinch"
The Specs
Pattern: Tremont by Cecily Glowik McDonald
Yarn: Quince and Co. Lark, 1 skein in "Goldfinch"
Needles: size 6
Mods: Accidentally doing more cable repeats than called for. I'm an over-achiever!
Tremont in Quince and Co. Lark, "Goldfinch"
First off, the yarn: ARE YOU KIDDING ME it it so unbelievably soft! Not sure how Quince and Co. has achieved this, but man alive is it luscious. A true joy to knit with. I chose "Goldfinch" but spent about 20 minutes deliberating in my decision-making process because there are many tempting colors.
Tremont in Quince and Co. Lark, "Goldfinch"
The pattern was an easy, simple knit. Sadly it has only been made by two other people on Ravelry. This is completely surprising to me and I don't quite get it. Is it too plain? Or do people see the pattern and say "please I could do that myself" à la my dad re: every Jackson Pollock painting ever?

Tremont in Quince and Co. Lark, "Goldfinch"
I am going to give this pattern and yarn combination a sold stamp of personal approval. Yes it's not earth shatteringly unique but is quite pleasing in its utter simplicity. It's solid. Not flashy. Functional. Practical and utilitarian. If our Amish pals were ever to make hand knits a part of their 21st century garb and yellow an approved color for outer garments, this hat would be a perfect addition to their wardrobe. Perhaps the pattern should be promoted by the Seamen's Institute as a perfectly cheerful and not too snazzy option for their knitting program? Not sure, but I am quite certain that this pattern has yet to find its niche. Any ideas?