Slow progress

I was home with a sick kiddo a couple of days last week. There was a lot of chicken soup and children’s TV and laundry and Tylenol…

part of a seawater draped on a chair

And a fair amount of knitting! This is my stripy cardi, which I started last August. I made good progress for a month or so, then got distracted.

part of a seawater draped on a chair

But now I’ve almost finished the body! I’m through the stockinette and the contrast stripe now. I just need to knit the hood, sleeves, and edging.

In my head I’m calling this my spring sweater. Will it be done for spring? I’m uncertain. But I also still have 12″ of snow in my backyard, so it’s not impossible!

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New FO!

I finished my Brighde mitts back in February before my brother’s wedding, took photos, then abandoned them on my camera (poor neglected electrons.)

two blue mitts with cables

But finally here they are! I really enjoyed this pattern. My only change was to removed a couple repeats of the ribbing because my gauge didn’t quite match the pattern.

close up shot of mitt thumb

I love the way the braid divides to go around the thumb gusset.

The yarn I used is Green Mountain Spinnery’s Lana which I love for it’s softness and durability. I get so little knitting time I’m becoming very picky about both my yarn and pattern and these were perfect!

Never hurts to ask

The night before the NY Sheep and Wool festival includes a growing number of attractions. This year I picked up some lip balm, scented oil, and lanolin hand balm from Tuft Woolens.

The lanolin hand balm is amazing. It soaks in well and isn’t too sticky, so I can put it on at work. And the black orchid scent is amazing. The only problem (and this may not be a problem for everyone) is that it comes in that little plastic dispenser.

Plastic is not my thing.

So I worked up the courage to email, and ask if she sells the balm in any other format? The answer that came back from Martha was “not officially” but she offered to pour a lotion bar just for me! I happily accepted her generous offer. And now I have a gorgeous 2oz bar of my favorite lotion ever. It’s seriously pretty.

And it came packaged in paper and tied up with string. Perfect.

Slice of life

The thing about life these days is that it’s simultaneously very busy, and pretty mundane. I mean, I love my kids, but somehow they’re not blog material quite the way my chickens were…

Recently though, we went on a little adventure

My brother got married in South Carolina. It was spring there and winter here in VT, so the timing was really perfect.

Traveling by plane with two small children was as rewarding, and exhausting, as you can imagine.

But we made it there and back again! And had quite a lot of fun in between.

And of course there was knitting! Not on the plane mind you, my lap was full of toddler then. But I managed to sneak in quite a bit during naps and while family entertained the girls. So it was a proper vacation all around!

Zweigelt

Here’s something I haven’t done in a loooong while! It’s a new design! These fingerless mitts are called Zweigelt after a wine variety of grape (and because I didn’t have ANY patterns with a “Z” name yet!) As always the design is available through Ravelry.

Zweigelt preview

These are fairly simple mitts. Undulating cables sprout from the ribbed cuff, decorating a cozy pair of winter weight mitts. They’re knit simply from wrist to fingers and they work up quickly in aran weight yarn to and keep the focus on the rhythmic cables.

woman drinking coffee wearing fingerless mitts

The yarn is the incomparable Merino Aran from Periwinkle Sheep. This colorway is called “Any Port in a Storm” (see the wine reference?) but you really can’t go wrong with any of Karin’s colors. They’re all simply amazing! This yarn is wonderfully soft, as you’d expect from merino. But I will add that I’ve been wearing these mitts regularly (ahem, for 2.5 years) and they aren’t pilled. No pilling at all with a 100% merino is amazing!

two fingerless mitts

So yeah, like I just said, these mitts have been finished for a looong time. Luckily I had the forethought to photograph them when they were new. Because it’s taken me quite a while to get the pattern written and laid out. I actually have a lot of designs that were photographed 2+ years ago. Hopefully I’ll get a couple more of them released this year!

woman looking thoughtfully at coffee mug wearing fingerless mitts

If you’ve been paying any attention at this blog you’ll notice a couple things about these photos. My hair isn’t that long any more, it’s also not exactly that color. And I have new glasses. If you follow the Ravelry link at the top you’ll notice another thing has changed: my name. I’m living, and designing as, Becky Wilkins now. It’s the culmination of a different long process, one which certainly had an impact on my ability to design. I’ve been a single mom for over a year already, so this divorce is just putting on paper the truth that I’ve already been living.

Finally finished!

My moonflower rug is finally finished! I love how squishy it is (as do my cats.) I love the colors and the feel of it makes me smile when I get out of bed in the morning. Which is helpful because getting out of bed is NOT my favorite part of my day.

felted wool bedside rug

It’s not perfect. The second two flowers are much more warped than the first two. I think if my first had come out that lumpy I’d have figured out something was wrong and I needed to be knitting 6 petals, not 5. But there’s no frogging a felted project, and also I won’t be trying again because this put a serious dent in my colorful fiber collection (which was part of the goal.)

felted wool bedside rug

So I have a slightly uneven bedside rug. Life goes on, but now with warmer feet! And maybe after a year of my cats sleeping on it some of the wrinkles will be smoothed out.

(And yes, I should have gotten out the good camera for this FO photo shoot. But when I can’t even get daylight photos I start to get lazy…)

Not an FO yet

I’ve been knitting away slowly on my moonflower rug, and I thought for sure I’d have a new Finished Object to share this week. I finished knitting the 4th flower, I even added a diamond to the edge of one petal to fill the gap in the center. While it was felting I admitted to myself that if I planned a 5th the rug might never be finished. I’ve also used up most of the colored fibers I chose for this project and was left with mostly brown and white.

So that just leave the seaming, right?

felted rug in progress

I got this far into seaming before I admitted the last petal overlaps badly with one of the other flowers. I can manage a great deal of denial when it comes to floppy felted sewing.

So I had to rip all that out, and detach the flower tile before it, as well. I figured I must’ve attached it in the wrong spot to have everything line up that poorly.

felted rug bits

But now I that might not be the problem either. I think that flowers with 5 petals instead of 6 just don’t tesselate properly. So if you’re planning to work this pattern please knit 6 petals per flower like the directions tell you to!

felted rug in progress

Me? I’m going to fudge things. I can’t exactly frog now that everything is felted. And I don’t want all that gorgeous fiber going to waste. The rug is pinned now, and it mostly works. Some of those petals will never lie flat. But it’s a rug, not a sweater. I’ll survive.

(also? Yes, the 4th flower is significantly smaller than the first. Felting is never consistent for me.)

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Happy Houseplants

New shower friends

I admit the inside of my shower stall is not usually a very blog-worthy place. But I just got a new shelf, with some unusual residents.

Aren’t they beautiful?! I did a fair bit of reading before picking these guys. They’re all part or full shade plants which like wet soil, or are epiphytes.

They’re right on eye level, but out of the way. And the shelf sticks to the wall with adhesive clips which claim to be non-damaging.

These beauties make me very happy. Let’s just hope I can keep them from dying…

Breakfast bake

Here’s a baked breakfast dish I (sort of) made up myself! It started with a King Arthur recipe for baked french toast with apples, and a comment that adding sausage might be good too.

From there I made the logical assumption it needed cheese too. Obviously.

Breakfast Bake

French Toast Ingredients

  • 1 day old baguette
  • 8 eggs
  • 2C milk
  • 1/3C sugar
  • 1Tbsp vanilla
  • 1/4tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4tsp salt

Topping ingredients

  • 5 apples
  • 1Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4C sugar
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1lb ground breakfast sausage
  • 1-2C shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

Cook and drain the sausage.

Slice the bread and lay it in the bottom of a 9×12 baking dish. Mix all the other french toast ingredients and pour over the bread. Let it soak in while you prep everything else.

Preheat the oven to 375F. Peel and slice the apples. Toss with the lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt.

Spread the cooked sausage over the bread. Layer the apples evenly over the sausage.

Cook for 35 minutes, remove briefly to sprinkle cheese over everything and return to oven. Cook for an additional 20 minutes.

Eat while piping hot!