Quaere did a custom designed set for a new design. This is one of my choices. I'm up at 3:45 am because there are coyotes howling somewhere and it's creepy!
I haven't been keeping up with all of the new patterns I have out. Here are two hats. This one is called "I Dream of Lapland" because it's reminiscent of a couple of years ago when husband had us visit northern Finland, 2 seconds from the Russian border, because that's where the "Real Santa" lives. It was cold. So cold.
The Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort was 10 miles from us. I so wish I'd stomped my feet and gotten us to stay here but I agreed to the log cabin sixties hotel with the mandatory naked sauna. It got dark at 230pm in Lapland but it was beautiful (and I hate the cold so this was open-mindedness at its best.) They gave us tons of woolens and heavy boots and snowsuits for our husky rides and snow activities. There were reindeer all over the place and one twilit afternoon we took a sleigh ride far into the forest and sure enough, there was Santa. The elves pulled husband from the sled and said, "We remember this chap! He was a messer!" My kids have never let him forget that. So, you can see why I named the hat "I Dream of Lapand" rather than "The Cold Sucks and I wish I lived in Fiji."
This hat is called "Fall is a Color" because I don't know too much about browns, rusts and oranges. And yet, apparently they are actual colors! Done as a collaboration between Casapinka, Indie Untangled and Backyard Fiberworks for the Rhinebeck Indie Untangled show.
The Quindici Shawl is made of 15 different segments (quindici is "fifteen" in Italian) inspired by some memories of Italy this summer. My family was staying with my in-laws in Ireland and my daughter and I scooted off to Italy and France for a wonderful 10 day adventure. Here are the first eight of the fifteen memory segments. I hope you enjoy them!
1. People watching was fantastic. I adore this picture where the guy is smoking a cigarette and talking on his phone while my kid is in gelato heaven. Two worlds converging into one.
2. My kid taking her friend's toothpaste on a European tour. The Crest was confiscated from our carry-on (it's a gel) so we bought a new, Italian one!
3. The Dangerous Camp for Boys, back in Ireland, that Junior was attending while we left him with my wonderful in-laws. This is where they (the campersL played Manhunt.
4. The Trevi Non-Fountain which was freaking under construction. Consequently, we wondered around, got gelato and then discovered the fascinating underground archaeological site, La Cittá del Acqua. No tourists, clear cisterns with water, nice and cool...a serendipitous finding for my history loving daughter.
5. Foosball on the Tiber. Near our hotel and so much fun after dinner in Trastevere.
6. The visit to the Sistine Chapel and Manny. In the Sistine, my kid sat in repose for a while and then proclaimed, "I think Michaelangelo did a pretty good job." We'll also never forget the loud American woman (not me!) from New York who kept calling, "Maaannnny, come here! Maaaaannny buy me that!" Even now, we like to break into a nice nasal "Maaanny, stop doing that, you're embarrassing me!"
7. An Italian wedding outside the Knitghts of Malta keyhole on the Aventine Hill. Another hidden gem, free of tourists.
8. The Cat Sanctuary at the Piazza del Argentina where we visited again and again, and again and again. (My kid adores cats.) We got the mug and the t-shirt. Took videos. Went inside. Watched from outside. You get the picture...my kid hates cats, ahem.
Zomboni is a one skein quick knit with a slightly scalloped edge, done in Zombie Games on Miss Babs' Yummy 2-ply. It's a simple and quick project. I think it took the time of: 7 swim practices (including a misplaced cannonball), 3 arguments between my kids, a vet visit for a cat's leg tumor and a several episodes of "The Fosters." See? Simple stuff.
Sometimes the "wrong side" of something looks right, somehow, like when I look at this. My dad is sick, in the hospital where our former President is also residing, and my just-turned 12 year old daughter leaves for Ireland all by herself tomorrow. I've calmed myself down with the reassurance that we did buy her a Dublin bus pass. She'll be grand, as they say.
I'm making some changes here at Casapinka. I closed the Etsy store since business is almost exclusively via Ravelry. Lots of fun design projects including with some recent gorgeous yarn by Magpie Fibers, shown above. I was at the Washington DC, yarn crawl a few weeks ago, where I taught a class and had a trunk show at The Knot House. This weekend, Junior and I are heading up to Tenant's Harbor, Maine with my wonderful tech editor. So looking forward to a nice trip and some lobster. Junior, of course, has been instucteed to leave his nunchuks at home and if he creates any new ones he will be sidelined for many fortnights.
Looking at hotels in Paris for this summer. Back in the day, the travel agent booked it (or Let's Go Europe told us which hostel was coolest) but now with Expedia I could look all day and never make a decision. I love having all of the choices at my fingertips, such as this hotel in the Marais.
Breakfast on the balcony. I could get use to that!
One of the rooms with a punching bag. I could really use this in my own house! What a cool idea. I could knit one in pink...
It's daff season! Finally, it seems winter is over. Today, I'm pleased to announce that Junior, who has had a bowl cut since the age of 2, and refused to have anything else ("It's my skater cut!") allowed a "de-bowling" in honor of his first communion. I had to agree to allow his sideburns to remain but I believe in parental concessions in the name of apostolic progress.
Here, you can see lilac colored yarn drying - a sample from my friend, Cary, of Gigi Bonin yarns. I'm making a baby dress design out of it. Puffed sleeves, seed stitch empire waist...I think you guys will like it a lot. I wish this photo didn't point out to me that I have to clean the outside of my windows. On the other hand, that seems like an excellent way to earn Minecraft time. Clean a window, get thirty minutes in the nether. Those of you w/ kids under the age of 20: I'm sure that last sentence made sense to you, just as seeing the license plate SSK the other day did to me. I want that license plate.
This new shawl pattern, Sirène, was an adventure in naming. It is hard to come up with names! Here are some of the contenders and why they were possibilities or why they weren't chosen. 1. Doghouse. Background conversation: "Honey, your car is shaking when I go over 50. Silence. Husband: I know...Uh...it gets better as the day goes on...DOGHOUSE (because I had to spend 6 hours at the mechanic since there was metal coming out of a tire and they had to order the dumb tire). 2. Winter Sucks! This was passed over because I teach Knitting Club at my kid's school and I shouldn't use language like this (not that I don't, but I know I'm not supposed to). 3. Dust on the Windows - noticed when taking these photos. But if i don't point it out you probably won't notice (unlike if your car shuddered when driving over 50mph...I know you guys would notice that and not continue to drive). Ahem.
"Ariel" after the Little Mermaid. Daughter's choice. All I need is Disney lawyering up against me. Plus the name is taken. "Flounder's Friend." Flounder was Ariel's best friend but Disney again. I liked the mermaid idea, though, since it looks like it has scales...hence Sirène. I also love how the scale stitches disappear when backlit and tiny flowers come out, almost in bas-relief. Such a fun discovery! Sirene takes 2 skeins of fingering, (740 yards), shown here in Miss Babs Yummy 2 ply in Blue Energy.
Best husband, EVER. Yesterday, he took me to this amaaaazing store with hundreds of giant knitting bags! I may not look excited but that's because I'm a master of self control. I was knitting my new design, Vary the Gate, shown below, available on Ravelry.
Done in a single skein of Miss Babs Perfectly Wreckless, it's fast, easy and colorful.
Once in a great while I do book reviews if I really like something. Artistic Differences is a collaborative book between Classic Elite Yarns and designer, Talitha Kuomi. I'm always happy when I can find a knitting book where I like all of the patterns, rather than a select few! I can then put the book in my library and refer to it when I need inspiration. There are numerous designs that are both knit-able and make you want to knit them; They are organic but with an edge.
My favorite design is the Forte pullover, as I can imagine it in different sizes and colors. I also know that my 11 year old would steal mine in a heartbeat. I love when garter stitch is used in a unique way. In Forte, top-down raglan shaping is combined with some dropped stitches and a unique garter middle. Yet, it's still simple (making me smack my head and wish I'd thought of it!)
The Tensity bag, with central cables and nice, textured reverse stockinette surrounding them. What attracts me to these is that they have the same construction, knitting wise, but are sewn up differently afterwards, depending on the look you want. Shown in Classic Elite Wynter, on US 10/6mm needles.
It will come as no surprise that the magenta Cade cowl is one of my favorites, probably because I'm such a fan of what I call a "loopy stitch" (and the color magenta, of course.) The loopy stitch is easily executed but adds a nice embellishment, and you can also do it in a different color. There are two different versions included of this lovely cowl, the Rocker and the Boho. One is longer, the other wider. Knitted in Chateau, a baby alpaca and bamboo mix, on US 11 needles. Instant gratification!
In total, there are two sock patterns, four sweaters, a pair of fingerless gloves, a cowl, a hat, and a bag - all of which are shown in different versions, sizes or construction techniques, giving knitters immense value for money, while playing heavily on style and edge. Love it!
This post is more for those who know me and are giving me a lot of grief about not having a car. I haven't been teased so much since getting braces! In fact, I kind of feel like not getting a car now because it seems to really bug people. Right around Christmas, someone came blasting into the back of my car, hard. Car totaled, no chance of repair. Since then, Husband has been taking the bus (and claims to actually enjoy the down time) until I get another car. It's as if people are offended by this. And the Facebook messages: "Just saw your daughter at school: Does she need a ride home... I know you STILL don't have a car!" Which, of course results in comments: "You don't have a car?" "OMG, STILL?" and "Why don't you get a car already" For the record, I did consider that my kid needed a way home, but the 14 mile walk to our house is mostly smooth highway, and she knows to flag down an honest looking stranger if it's snowing.
Here's the thing: My old car was the BEST. It had a tricked out, very loud exhaust, manual transmission, and was a wagon, or "estate" if you aren't in the US. Let me emphasize: I don't care if it's dorky to love a wagon. It got 32 mpg on a good day! I could punch it on the highway and double clutch it out on twisting, empty back roads near the knitting store. Potholes near the studio, no problemo. Ikea run - tons of room in the back. But now, I can't seem to find anything bigger than a Mini Cooper that comes with a stick shift, never mind AWD. With the grace level in our family, SUV's are asking for trouble. They don't sell the Citroen C5, Ford Mondeo wagon or the Mazda 6 (with it's super cool shark fin) in the US. I'm thinking that the picture above might be just about my speed. Kids will be punching each other in the tiny backseat but at least we'll look super cute and I'll get my 3 pedals. It's funny: Looking back, you can see that in 2010 I had the same issues. Reading that old post makes me think I should wait until we're in Ireland this summer and bring home a Mazda 6 on the boat. First World problems, eh?
Last fall, I had the loveliest new dishwasher in the world. It was this silent little thing that pretty much cleared the table, loaded itself, and sent the kids to brush their teeth after dinner. It did this for 3 months before all manner of things went wrong. You see, apparently it doesn't matter how nice a dishwasher it is; they're all now made with the same cheap, crappy parts with an average life expectancy of 8 years! Mine didn't make it to 8 years and after flooding my kitchen, the pump breaking and now the electronics not working, I decided to get my beeotch on and go to the "nice local business" and get up in someone's grill. So much for going local, paying more but getting excellent customer service...Wickford Appliance - epic fail.
Funny, no matter how many emails or phone calls they can ignore, they can't ignore a pissed off woman who has had a broken dishwasher through every snowstorm this winter, and is going to tell them all about it in person. How she put it on last thing at night and it dumped the entire cycle of water onto the kitchen floor, leaking through into the basement, causing litter boxes to turn into Suncats and dripping into Christmas decorations. I figured if I bored their ears off with long stories with a hint of vitriol they'd eventually do anything to get rid of me. Bingo - Brand new dishwasher arriving today. Unfortunately, it will be stainless steel, something that always reminds me of morgues and anatomy labs. Husband, however, says that it reminds him of the OR, his happy place. (Weirdo!) I guess I should turn my focus to those ugly chair covers and try to get them ripped out and replaced, along with some proper curtains that don't showcase the naked eighties swinger parties we host every weekend.
Very pleased that my new shawl, Purpleplexy, is in the top 20 for hot patterns on Ravelry. It's exciting to see my business take off like this!
A collaboration with Miss Babs, this shawl is nice and large and requires 2 skeins of fingering and a gradient set, shown here in Pleiades.
It's funny how life works: I'm teeing up to return to doctoring this summer, so I'll have to find some extra knitting time, somewhere. If I could only get better at creating new designs and handing them off to some of the wonderful knitters I know!
For those of you who join the Mr. Pinkerson KAL in the Casapinka Ravelry group, this will be one of the prizes when it finishes on April 2. Donated by LYDIA Yarns, you'll have all you need for your next project or another Mr. P!
I'm really happy with the way my patterns are all selling these days - it's crazy! I forgot to post this "one skein" shawl here even though it came out a few weeks ago. It's called Woven and is meant for that spare skein of variegated sock yarn we all have in our stashes. Available on Ravelry.
We've had so many people traipsing through our house in the last couple of days to fix all sorts of weather related problems. Fire alarms gone crazy. Pilot light on water heater problems. Frozen pipe. Love when the water heater you're told your "only option" is to replace for $1500 is fixed with a $15 kit! (Also love that anyone who's ever watched a single episode of anything HGTV knows that a water heater is $700, not $1500). Anyway, after all of this snow, I can't wait for the thaw...bring your kayak to Casapinka and we'll let you in the basement for a nominal fee.
This would also make a nice mailbox pole...if they didn't take so long to knit! Purchased on my trip to Webs last week where I had a nice conversation with Leslie Ann Bestor, who I first met at Webs several years ago and has written a terrific book. Anyway, it's a new pattern in the works but was removed from my person before the ends were even sewn in, never mind receiving a good block (the knitting, not the kid.) I'm telling you, Today's Tween: Loves me for my knitting one minute, the next minute is mortified that her math teacher asked me to run a knitting club with her at school. "Are you trying to RUIN my social life?"
When one loves fair isle it seems a waste to file away all of those swatches. Better to beautify the neighborhood and our ugly mailbox that Husband bought (without consultation) after the snow plowers knocked down are beautiful aqua one. If only I could figure out how to put the aqua one back up this would be perfect!
Let's start this Thursday morning with some lovely yarns form LYDIA.
The owner, Angela, and I are collaborating on a couple of projects.
Here are some of my LYDIA yarns that are either going into the projects or are serving as inspiration (or giveaways on Ravelry in my group, so have a look.) Lucky me, right?