Knitting in N-Zed

Well, we made it and are happily ensconced at Mr. N’s parents on New Zealand’s Kapiti Coast.  We had a bit of a luggage scare — my precious bag of yarn (along with, less importantly, the entirety of our checked luggage) was lost for our first evening in New Zealand, but, much to my relief, all the bags made it to us the next day with nary a ball of wool harmed. Continue reading “Knitting in N-Zed”

I’m going on a trip…

I’m packing my bag, and in my bag I’m packing…

  • 4 skeins Ysolda Blend No. 1
  • 2 skeins Jill Draper Esposus
  • 1 giant skein of Blue Moon Fiber Arts BFL Sport (split into two cakes)
  • 3 skeins Kettle Yarn Co Heath Fingering
  • Mystery sock yarn
  • 1/2 Julie Asselin Leizu fingering (for my Marigoldjen sock heels)
  • And 6 skeins Zealana Heron

This is my kind of suitcase!

WIP Wednesday: Islay and Marigoldjen Socks

We got moved out of our house last week and came down to stay with my family for almost a week — it’s been a lovely time, except it’s gone by way too quickly!  My mom and I have both been working on Islay as a distance KAL, and it’s been so nice to get to knit on it together this past week.  We’ve been squeezing in as much porch knitting time as we can!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Continue reading “WIP Wednesday: Islay and Marigoldjen Socks”

A Basket of WIPs and some Big Decisions

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Clockwise from left: Socks in Marigoldjen  BLF Extra Long Sock, Islay Cardigan in Blue Moon Fiber Arts BFL Sport, Tom and Jerry Hat in YOTH Big Sister, and Mezcal in Julie Asselin Leizu DK. 

So, I’m moving.  After five wonderful years in Baltimore, I’ll be heading up to Philadelphia in the fall.  There’s nothing like a move to make you realize just how much yarn you own. Or how many WIPs you have.  That basket is full of projects I’ve cast on just since the beginning of March.  Two of them were cast on in the last two weeks.  And there’s a much bigger basket I have to sort through that has projects with ages I’d prefer not to think about…  While I’d like to think I’ve gotten better about seeing projects through to the end, I still have a long way to go! Continue reading “A Basket of WIPs and some Big Decisions”

Cake, cocktails, and other long weekend adventures

We’ve had a friend over from the UK for the last two weeks, and it’s been such a fun time!  It’s so nice to have longer visits with faraway friends.  It’s also given us a chance to cook, bake and mix some extra yummy things and do some sight seeing that we might have otherwise missed. Continue reading “Cake, cocktails, and other long weekend adventures”

FO Friday: May Cardigan

When I cast on Bristol Ivy’s May Cardigan at the beginning of April, my hope was that I’d be able to wear it to Maryland Sheep and Wool.  As I mentioned Tuesday, that happened, but just barely!  I stayed up late Saturday night finishing the first sleeve and furiously worked on the second sleeve on the drive to the festival!  As we were pulling into the parking lot, I had about 15 stitches left to cast off on the sleeve — so I ended up sitting in the parking lot of the festival, feverishly doing a sewn cast off and quickly weaving the two ends of the completed sleeve in.  It was the work of a few minutes, and my friends were kind enough to gamely wait! I initially felt a bit silly about it all, but in the end, was super happy I got to wear it Sunday.  It was the perfect temperature for a light sweater!

May Cardigan

Continue reading “FO Friday: May Cardigan”

Maryland Sheep and Wool!

I remember when I first heard about Maryland Sheep and Wool, almost ten years ago. I was studying abroad in London and joined a knitting group in the hopes of meeting locals — unbeknownst to me, the group was comprised almost entirely of American ex-pats!  They had all been in the UK for decades but tried to return to the US annually for Sheep and Wool.  When I moved to Maryland to start graduate school, I was so excited that I would be so close to the fabled festival!

This year was my fourth visit to MDS&W, and it did not disappoint.  Early Sunday morning, a carload of us (including a friend from the UK who planned her first trip to the US to coincide with the festival!) headed out to West Friendship.  We got there just after it opened and spent the whole morning and early afternoon exploring — I usually go around midday, and it was so nice to get there a bit earlier!  I always forgot just how crowded the festival can get.


Despite my repeated claims to my friends that I never buy much at MDS&W  (In past years, I’ve been so overwhelmed by the sheer amount of wool that I’ve often come away with very little, which is a testament to the size of the festival as I typically have no trouble buying yarn!), this year, I came away with a nice haul.  Some of my purchases were planned, like this Green Mountain Spinnery Cotton Comfort yarn for a Morning Mist top.  Three out of four of us got yarn for this project, and I got some for my mom as well — I was really missing her at the festival, especially as it was Mother’s Day!  In a last minute decision, I went for the colors in the pattern sample.  My mom went for a gorgeous, golden yellow called Yarrow.

I’d planned to get a more vibrant color, but couldn’t resist this gray!
The happiest yellow!

One thing I love about going to the festival year after year is getting to visit the same vendors — I’m especially appreciative that many stay in roughly the same spot each year!  After seeing the lovely ladies in the Green Mountain Spinnery booth, I made a beeline for Marigoldjen‘s tent, which usually sits near the back edge of the festival.  I picked up this gorgeous skein of her BFL superwash sock yarn in Lazy Days, along with a coordinating mini skein.  I’ll use some of the yarn for socks, but with 655 yards in the skein, I’ll have enough left over for another small project.

I can’t wait to cast on with these beauties!

After my visit to Marigoldjen, I stumbled into the Ross Farm tent, and I’m so glad I did.  They had an absolutely beautiful array of wool.  I got myself a lovely skein of sport to try out, maybe for a Newhaven hat.  I love that they are an operation breeding rare and heritage sheep breeds, just up the road for me.

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Henrietta 2.0

Because all the yarn can be a bit overwhelming, I came armed with a list of some projects out of different weights of yarn and the required yardage — I had planned to get sock yarn if any struck my fancy, and I had Newhaven on my list for any stray skeins of sport that I found.  But my last purchase was completely unplanned!  I stopped by Jill Draper Makes Stuff‘s booth, and she had a gorgeous sample Asagi knit up in her Esopus yarn.  I tried it on and loved the fit — and found out it only took two skeins.  So I impulse bought two in this lovely mustard colorway:

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I meant to take loads more pictures of the festival than I actually did, but snapped a few of some of the adorable lambs and sheep.  I love getting to see all the different breeds!

Isn’t she majestic?
A sleepy day old lamb, rejected by it’s mother.
The friendliest sheep!

With our friend over from the UK, it’s been a very fun (and busy!) week and a half of sight seeing in the mid-Atlantic. I’ve managed a bit of knitting while we’ve been on the road that I’m excited to share with you soon.  And I finished my May Cardigan just in time for the festival (more on that later this week).  Until then, below are a few of my favorite pictures of this past week’s adventures!

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Havre de Grace, Maryland
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The Orioles lost big when we went to see them last Wednesday, but I love knitting at baseball games!
We did a long yomp at Gettysburg Monday.


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View from the Pennsylvania Monument

And I’ll leave you with this gal!

We ended our walk by a field with some very inquisitive horses.

Happy Tuesday!

New Month, New Things

I can hardly believe it’s the second day of May (and neither can the weather, it seems).  It’s been gray and dreary here the past week, so I decided I’d try a new spring recipe to remind myself that sunshine and good produce are on the way!

I love The Guardian’s recipes, and they have recently been featuring spring dishes.  I decided to give their Braised Rabbit with Radishes and Spring Onions a try (that post has so many other tasty recipes, too).  We went to the Farmers’ Market Saturday morning, but the farm we get meat from didn’t have rabbit this week, so I got chicken instead.

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The ingredients, ready to go!

The recipe’s a pretty simple one, with very few ingredients.  I think it’s definitely worth seeking out some high quality chicken for it — ours was from the amazing Liberty Delight Farms.  We love all their meats, and their chicken is super flavorful, which really came through in this dish.

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Going into the oven to braise.

I followed the recipe pretty much as written.  I didn’t get the chicken brining until the morning of making it.  The leg quarters were huge, so I had to brown them in batches in the pot.  I had a bit of a fight with a few of them, trying to move them too early while they were browning and destroying the skin a bit.  By the last one (on the left side of the pan), I sort of got the hang of it.  I was really frustrated that I tore the skin on so many, but it still turned out delicious — a good reminder that things don’t have to turn out perfectly to be yummy!

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The finished product!

This recipe had a few new tricks for me.  The first was pickling mustard seeds using the juice from a jar of dill pickles!  Like the brining, I forgot to do this the night before, so started them the morning of.  They were tasty — probably not essential to the finished recipe, but I felt very pro sprinkling them on my finished chicken.  The recipe also called for steamed radishes and green onions — I wasn’t sure about steamed radishes, but they were super tasty.  I also boiled up some red and white new potatoes from the market, with a bit of parsley and butter and made a springy salad with bibb lettuce and arugula, some pickled red onions and pistachios.  It was a big Sunday meal, and everything but the pantry items and the bibb lettuce came from the Farmer’s Market — I love those kinds of meals!

There were also some fun new things of the sheep and wool variety this weekend:


Charm City Craft Mafia‘s Buzz Market was this weekend, and there were so many awesome makers with gorgeous things.  I tried to restrain myself since Maryland Sheep and Wool is this coming weekend, but I splurged on a couple of prints from Tiny Dog Press and Wooden Pencil Co., a bandanna from Radical Textiles, and this amazing sheep pillow from Fuzzy Mug!  I love this sheepy gal, and she goes perfectly with my other gorgeous sheepy pillow that Mr. N got me in the Midlands a few years ago!  Typing that all out, I’m realizing what a poor job I did of restraining myself … but it could have been worse (I was particularly tempted by Julia‘s gorgeous pottery and candles from Handmade Habitat and Knits, Soy and Metal).  It was a fabulous craft fair.

I reached the point in my May Cardigan where it required blocking (before seaming and knitting a small amount of ribbing on each sleeve), so I wound up a GIANT skein of BFL sport and did a gauge swatch for my next project, Gudrun Johnson’s new Islay Cardigan. I’m really excited about this project.  Gudrun’s hosting a KAL on Ravelry starting at the end of this week, and my mom and I are both joining.  I love KALs to keep me motivated on projects.  The yarn is a gorgeous — it’s a Blue Moon Fiber Arts yarn that is, unfortunately, discontinued at the moment because of supply issues, in the colorwary Deep Unrelenting Gray.  I love the subtle variations in the color.  It also meets two of my knitting goals for 2016: doing more knitting from stash (I bought this yarn a few years ago for a Audrey in Unst, which I still want to make) and knitting with sturdier wool that’s less likely to pill — the BFL is still soft enough to wear next to the skin, but I’m hoping it will wear better than some sweaters I’ve knit out of softer wool (see, for example, the very visible pilling on my favorite pink sweater in the above picture).

Hope your weekend was full of some fun new things — happy Monday!


WIP Wednesday: May Cardigan

I love traveling, and luckily, get to do a lot of it for work.  There are many things I enjoy when traveling (including, of course, eating!), but few things quite as much as scouting out local yarn shops.


Just over a year ago, I spent a month in Massachusetts for research.  While there, we took a brief trip to Portland, Maine, a place I’d never been before.  Even in frigid March, it was a lovely place, and we had an amazing time wandering around, eating great food and trying fun cocktails, and exploring a bit of the Maine coast.  Despite the short visit, we stopped in at LYS Knit Wit.  Sharing a hometown with Quince and Co., it’s one of the yarn line’s original flagship stores and had almost every yarn the company makes.  I was immediately drawn to two yarns: gorgeous Tern in Columbine, which became an Everly Shawl shortly thereafter, and, unusually for me, Quince and Co’s Piper, a 50-50 merino/mohair blend, in Guadalupe.  I wasn’t quite sure what I’d do with it, but picked up three skeins, enough to make a shawl like Love and Lemons (a shawl I’d still like to make).

Fast forward to this spring and Quince’s release of a new Piper collection.  I immediately fell in love with the May cardigan — which required three skeins of Piper!  I cast on with the goal of finishing the sweater in time for this year’s Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.

With about a week and a half to go until the festival, I think I have a reasonable chance of reaching my goal.  I’ve really enjoyed knitting this sweater.  The construction’s very interesting (I’ll admit I’m still not 100% sure on how the whole thing comes together) but you start at the bottom of the sweater, work the back and fronts together, then divide the fronts and keep going — eventually the fronts are joined together, and seamed to the back, making the lovely shawl collar. The cartridge stitch is easy to do, so it’s great TV knitting, and I love the texture of the stitch.  I’m not usually a big fan of fuzzy yarns, but the blend of merino and mohair has a really pleasing halo — I think it will be the perfect spring/summer cardigan.

In progress May on the front porch, with my nifty Yarn Pop bag helping me knit the fronts at the same time!

I’ve followed the pattern pretty much to the letter — this is my second Bristol Ivy sweater, and I find her patterns clear and clever!  My only deviation from the pattern as written was to knit the two fronts at the same time — it’s a method I almost always use for socks and mitts.  For this pattern, it appealed to me for two reasons.  The fronts are quite long, and I worried I’d lose steam after completing the first one.  Also, the cartridge stitch is super stretchy, and a bit hard to measure as a result, so this ensures my front will be exactly the same length.

Porch snacks!

I spent a little time on the front porch knitting, trying a new IPA with some yummy French cheese and my new favorite crackers.  I’m almost done with the fronts — full steam ahead on the final details, and fingers crossed I’ll be wearing this one a week from Sunday at the festival.  Here’s to Wednesday — the week’s half done!