Rhinebeck 2014 (she wore it after all.)

October 20th, 2014

Zuzu’s Chromatic Cardigan makes her look a little bit like a fluffy linebacker. When she first tried it on she was so excited to make Mama happy, that I had to suppress the look of horror my face was dying to make. Reluctantly, I brought the sweater to Rhinebeck anyway. I luckily had another sweater on-hand for her – a hand-me-down handknit that I’d made for her cousin Ashley 9(!!!) years ago.

This is us when we first got to Rhinebeck:

The thing is, Saturday morning ended up being WAY colder (and wetter) than the Weather Channel led us to believe it would be (what else is new!?). So, I broke out some more handknits.

That girlie is wearing a handknit hat, a mini clapotis, and *T W O* Handknit Sweaters.

As it turns out, all that bulk underneath makes the Chromatic Cardigan looks really cute on her! I suspect that in a year or two, it will lose it’s unsightly linebacker qualities and fit her juuuust right! She got a ton of compliments too :) (it’s the classic knitwear model effect – the cuteness of the model totally hiding the hideousness of the actual knitwear).

This weekend was a total blast! It was the perfect blend of knitterly goodness and mama/daughter bonding time. Taking Zuzu with me definitely changed how I experienced the festival – toddlers and packed barns are not an ideal combo – but it also enriched it sooo much (and probably saved me a ton of $$$).

We played in the leaves.

We saw cute animals (including this llama I kept calling an alpaca because I am braindamaged).

We got another balloon sword.

We ate lots and lots of rainbow kettle corn (each color is a different! flavor!)

We danced to super-loud panflute music with these crazy lunatics.

And since Zu wanted to party Friday night ’til the breaka-breaka-dawn (“I’m gonna stay up allll the time!”), there was even an hour and a half of stroller naptime where Mama got to shop a bit.

(Any guesses what my plans for this yarn might be?!?)

It’s 920 yards worth of Briar Rose Sonoma in lovely greens and browns – my only purchase this year (I’m actually pretty proud of myself, as it was one of the (just two!) things I had on my shopping list!!)

Best of all, we got to stay with some pretty awesome peeps (whom I am sadly lacking pictures of). Everyone knows that what makes Rhinebeck (and any fiber festival) so incredibly amazing are the people you share it with. I feel really really lucky that friendships we made so many years ago still endure today and that we can still enjoy these festivals together :)

All of us old-school knitbloggers, hangin’ at the house. (Mayarn, Big Lug Jen, Carrieoke, One Stitch Short, Frecklegirl and Vibeknits. And Zuzu, who insisted on being in the picture.)

That’s the only picture I have. It’s missing Casey and Mary-Heather and newer friends Christina and Cathy and Erica. It’s also missing all the cutie babies – Eva and Ollie and wee baby Auggie. Next year I need to be more aggressive with the picture taking. For reals.

Adam and I had a wedding Sunday, so Zu and I had to leave Rhinebeck Saturday night after dinner :( I spent all of Sunday morning stalking the #Rhinebeck hashtag on Instagram, all sad and pathetic. Next year, I guess.

T-Minus what? 364 days?

I’ll be counting.

Party Like It’s 2005!

October 16th, 2014

Back in May of 2005, I went to my first Sheep and Wool Festival.

Chelsea and I went together and we had THE. BEST. TIME.



I’d even argue that it was life-changing, since that’s the weekend I met Anne-Marie in person and now she’s legally my sister!

I met so many of my blogger friends that weekend (and little stuffed stand-ins for friends I’d meet later), turning my crazy imaginary internet friends into real-life, flesh and blood friendships I still cherish. It was such a beautiful weekend.

Wool Festivals became can’t-miss events for the next several years, beloved reunions with kindred spirits. Then, after I moved to NY in 2008, I just sorta stopped going :( A year later, I stopped blogging too. For the most part, I’d pretty much ditched everything knit-related.

Then, last year, encouraged by a brief knitting renaissance, I took Zuzu up to Rhinebeck.

We ate Pickles.

We looked at Sheep

We battled leaves with Balloon Swords.

Best of all, I got to reconnect with old friends and meet some new ones :) <3

(many of whom are not pictured)

You guys, it was SO nice.

I wasn’t sure if I’d go this year. I’d been waffling back and forth (especially after it turned out Anne-Marie couldn’t come up for it – I’m still sad about that)…I knew I’d waited too long to find a place to stay AND Adam and I got invited to a wedding that Sunday, so it seemed a little impractical anyway.

And then…

I got an email. A few of the old gang had some extra space in their house for the festival and wanted to know if I wanted to come up and stay with them! (YES! YES!) Then, as if that wasn’t a sign on its own, I discovered this lady was ALSO staying at the house.

Decision. CEMENTED.

I’m IN.

There are a lot of people who won’t be there whom I miss and would have loved to see, but this Rhinebeck? It’s gonna be a little like getting the old band back together! It’s a partial mini time-machine back to 2005! ONLY WITH MORE CUTE, CUDDLY BABIES (and less Soju)!

I SO SO SO can’t wait.

T-Minus 2 days, peeps. T-Minus 2 days.

PS – Adam did get Zuzu to try on the sweater (which was intended to be her Rhinebeck Sweater.) It’s not good folks. It is SO. NOT. GOOD. I’m not sure I can let her wear it to *Rhinebeck*, y’all. It’s baaaaaaad. I might though, just so the horrendousness can be properly photographed. We’ll see.

Zuzu and the Sweater.

October 9th, 2014

Last fall (at Rhinebeck!), Zuzu helped me pick out some yarn so I could make her a little sweater. However, shortly after Rhinebeck last year, my briefly revived interest in knitting was pushed aside in favor of Halloween costume craftiness and abandoned. Naturally, as often happens with my fiber festival purchases, I tucked the yarn away in my stash and forgot about it.

Lately, I’ve been obsessing over knitting again (YAY!) and decided to dig out that yarn and finally turn it into something cute for Zu. She has been very interested in the whole process, from picking out the pattern to re-approving of the colors to the idea of picking out buttons (“Let’s go now, mama!”).

Everything was on track for this sweater. Having bought two colors, I thought I would try something with some simple colorwork. I decided on a pattern called “The Chromatic Cardigan” by Kira Dulaney. I compared the pattern’s finished measurements to the measurements of some of Zuzu’s larger sweatshirts and decided that a size 4 would be the most practical choice. I felt very thorough.



I didn’t swatch.

“Baby” sweaters are little. Swatches are annoying. The sweater could BE the swatch, no? Besides, I had the correct weight yarn and the right sized needles… How off could I be? Right? RIGHT!?!?!?!

Really, *REALLY* off, apparently.

Since it’s top-down and almost every other row has increases, it’s really hard to get a good grasp on gauge off the actual sweater. I knew the collar was *4* inches too wide, but I shrugged it off in a fit of denial and optimism. By the time I separated the body from the sleeves, there was no denying the ugly truth.

While too big is better than too small and it IS true she can always grow into a larger size, I was sorta kinda hoping she’d be able to wear this sweater sometime *BEFORE* college.

So? I had to rip it out. And uh, SWATCH.

Swatching is key, apparently*. There is actually a purpose to swatching. Swatching? Kiiiiiinda necessary. Don’t skip the swatching, people.

I made two mini-swatches and ended up with perfect gauge on 8’s. So I cast on again and got going!

After knitting, then ripping, then swatching, then RE-knitting, I FINALLY finished the sweater!

We ended up using buttons I already had buried away in my stash! (I found three in my stash. The other two had to be ripped off dusty old iPod cozis that only fit iPods made circa 2004. Useless.)

It’s not perfect…I kinda suspect the puckering is due to my lackluster colorwork skills…but I think it came out pretty cute! There’s supposed to be another row of colorwork under the stripe, but I decided to leave it out, partly because I like how it looks without it and partly because I’m lazy and cannot stand colorwork on the purl side.

Now, after all this sizing drama and the knitting and ripping and reknitting, I’d love to wrap the story up with a pretty little bow and tell you that the sweater fits PERFECTLY and Zuzu loves it and we all lived happily ever after, but…

She won’t try it on.

I cannot get her to wear it. If I even HOLD IT UP TO HER, folded up and to the side, she pushes it away and yells, “Noooooooo!”

The day I finished it, I moped around the whole day carrying the sweater, constantly trying to see if I could sneak it on her. I was a depressive, disgruntled knitter in need of a serious FO fix and my dealer would not give it to me! Adam suggested that maaaaaybe if I stopped stalking her and stopped trying to push it on her, she might actually wear it. Whatever. What does he know?

She says she likes it. She was excited when I first showed her the finished sweater. She loves the buttons. She just won’t put it on.

“What do you think we should do with it then?” I asked her.

“Put it away.”


I’ll get it on her. You just wait! Mama’s got ideas… This knitter is not going down without a fight!

*you know what else is probably necessary (or at least highly advisable?)!?!? WASHING said swatch. Let’s just say I’m going to avoid washing this sweater for as long as humanly possible…

It only took me 7 years.

September 25th, 2014

7 years ago, I was a single girl living in Maryland. I worked middays at HOT 99.5 in DC, I had a long-distance boyfriend who lived in New York, I was moonlighting at Knit Happens (R.I.P.) and I’d just come out of another (much shorter) knitting drought.

It was around this time, that I cast on for a little cabled sweater known as the Central Park Hoodie. Maybe you’ve heard of it? (Oh, you knitted one already? 7 years ago? You and *everyone* else. There are 5038 Central Park Hoodies in Ravelry.)

Central Park Hoodie was there with me later the next year when I got laid off and replaced by Ryan Seacrest. She went with me on a trip around the Greek Islands. She moved with me to NYC. And then, I can’t remember exactly when, she got thrown into a closet and forgotten. It was somewhere around the part where all the pieces had been knit, but they all needed to be blocked. After that, I needed to sew the shoulders together, knit the hood and button band, and sew the rest of the sweater together.

I’m pretty sure this is why she was shoved into a closet. While I consider myself a pretty good knitter, finishing has always scared me a little. I have attempted mattress stitch on a few occasions (baby sweaters) and while the results weren’t horrible, they weren’t great either. CPH has sewn shoulders. It has SET-IN SLEEVES. I think I abandoned her because I was terrified of her.

And yet, occasionally, I would be cleaning out the closet and come across my sweater and think, “Maybe I should finish this.”

Last September, it almost happened. I pulled her out, I sewed up the shoulders, and I knit the hood! It was happening! I even thought I *might* finish it in time to make it to Rhinebeck (my first wool festival since I moved to NY in 2008!)! However, when I didn’t finish in time for the festival, she went back into the closet to make time for Halloween sewing (a post for another day). My knitting renaissance faded as quickly as it had begun.

I have never given knitting proper credit for its therapeutic abilities, but the truth is, I need it in my life. Over the last spring and summer, I have really been feeling the stress of being a stay-at-home mom in a house with three kids. I’d been laid off from my DJ job and somehow, as often happens, I’d sorta lost touch with all the things I used to like to do for myself. So, struggling to find some sort of outlet that would allow me to find ME, I poked around in my bags of unfinished knits.

I pulled out my Central Park Hoodie.

I finished her.

7. Years. Later.

And you know what? It turns out finishing isn’t that scary. It’s actually kind of easy.

Who knew!?

yarn: 11? balls of Debbie Bliss Donegal Aran Tweed
needles: size 8 and 6 addi turbos