A New Favorite Sweater

Once upon a time, in high school, about 14 years ago now, I recieved for Christmas a sweater. It was a great sweater. It was beige, it was tweedy, it was soft, warm and fit perfectly. It was J. Crew, which at that point (and still today) was a big deal. It quickly became my favorite sweater. For 14 years I wore it I loved it, I thought was great. It got holes in it and I fixed them and continued wearing it. Then I stupidly ruined it by providing it the freak chance to contact a red sock while wet and well, we all know where this is going… Favorite sweater, while still my favorite sweater, is now less fashionable due to a large red blob (or pink, but pink enough to see it and say “gads! You’ve got a ruined sweater there, haven’t you!”)
As luck would have it, the next day I happened into a great yarn shop with a very pregnant friend who is nesting like there is no tomorrow. Anyways, as I was perusing I found a yarn (swatched earlier on blog) that was exactly the feel of the favorite sweater. Brilliant. I bought a shit ton. So in progress is a re-creation of the best sweater ever.

soon to be favorite sweater in progress

Never fear, the swatch indicates that when washed, it grows a bit so it should be just right after washing. Without any red socks this time, thankyouverymuch. (It’s hard to capture the red, it’s just above the green in this photo, and I swear it’s visible if you’re not looking at a photo but rather the sweater itself…)

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The yarn is tweedy, soft after washing, and lovely. I’m usually a “give me 100% wool or give me death” type of person, and while this is 20% nylon, the label of old-favorite-sweater says the same thing, so in honor of historic re-creation, I feel ok about the knitting with a little plastic. I’m not entirely certain what I’m going to do when I get to the sleeves, whether to the set in sleeves without a pattern (DANGER!) or in the round (SAFER!) or raglan sleeves (SAFEST DECISION EVER!) but I’ll worry about that in a bit. I finished a bunch more at knit night so I’m almost to that decision, but I was too worried about the mouse running around the library floor to think about the sleeves… (There are mice in my city library… that’s gross. And terrifying… I didn’t like it and I won’t lie, I left a bit early because of the critter. Not so rugged now, hunh…)

And of course, knitting with most favorite stitch markers ever. Makes it even better. I have high hopes for new favorite sweater… Hopefully it’ll last another 14 years before I stupidly do something to ruin it again…

sheepie

Kitchen as a Microcosm

365.25 state of my kitchen

I was heading to bed last night at 10:30 and recalled that I hadn’t taken my 365 photo that day. To be honest, I’m pretty boring so thinking of a photo every day, especially in winter and especially housebound by mountains of snow (at least during the week) makes photo-taking pretty boring. But as I walked through the kitchen I thought that someone at least might get a kick out of my sink, especially because it isn’t theirs. It is mine, so I want to scream, but it’s a microcosm of my life at the moment.

The kitchen: There are two people in my house. Two people who don’t eat a particularly large amount, nor do we drink an exceptional amount of water, juice, wine, whatever. We just don’t. Yet, somehow, about 3 hours after doing a sink full of dishes – before they were even dry! – the sink is full again. I’m usually a ‘do the dishes before bed’ kind of person, a sink full of dishes is just ick. But last night I just gave up. The dishes needed putting away, the new dishes needed doing, the stove needs to be washed, the floors need sweeping, I just couldn’t handle it so I went to bed.

This is a miniature part of the issues this week. My eyebrows, they need plucking. Like really bad. I’ve been trying to paint my nails for about a week, I have been trying to clean the bathroom and floors for two weeks and I just can’t handle it. I have yet to put away the yarn which is spilling out of my knitting bag. The snow outside, you know, the 29″ we’ve gotten this month, on top of the 18″ last month, and just because that’s not enough, we have 9″ more coming tonight? Yeah, that’s a mess too. Where do you put more snow? I’m ready to throw up my hands and say forget it, never mind, I didn’t want to deal with February anyways, so I’ll be hibernating until April. It feels like every time I turn around there’s something else that needs doing. I’m currently avoiding putting away the dishes and doing more, cleaning the stove, putting away clothes that are piling up, and vacuuming up the salt and sand that’s coming in the door due to the aforementioned snow. I really want to call in the next few weeks and sit around and knit, that’s about all I can handle right now. Alas, that won’t get things any further, now will they. Sometimes it’s a bummer being a responsible somewhat clean adult! I’m not usually a spring person, but man, I will be SO HAPPY when it comes this year.

Random Monday

It’s been a while since Random Day has happened. It will happen now.

1. I broke my nail. I tried to glue it back together (it broke below the white part, ouch!). This didn’t work. I don’t recommend trying it.
2nd} The snow. It is this high. (This is looking out my front window. The window is about 8 feet off the ground. The snow is almost to the window.) This is not cool. I may have said at some point I was excited for snow. That was a delusional comment, I take it back.

snow outside the window

 

c) On Friday, I washed my favorite sweater. This is a sweater I’ve had since high school, so it’s about 12 years old. It was the coziest, happiest sweater, neutral so it went with everything, light so it wasn’t bulky but oh so warm. Some moron (read: Me) washed it with a red sock. Guess who no longer has a favorite sweater? (The offending sock has been thrown out so as not to ruin anything else. I didn’t like it anyways, even though it was handknit. I handknit it before I knew how to make a sock fit…). This was the final nail in the week of defeat coffin.

And then… We went to visit our friends, one who is very pregnant and requested cupcakes. They were delicious. There are no more.

365.22 frosted cupcakes for anna

They were chocolate with butter cream frosting (some almond some vanilla). I somehow decided I also deserved them.

And then… we decided to go to a new favorite yarn shop, where it was just as a yarn shop should be. The people were very friendly and it was cozy and there were couches! This is in stark contrast to the two yarn shops nearer me. I cannot understand how you can run a yarn shop and not be friendly and happy and helpful. That’s not that hard! Anyway, I digress. I had intended to just look but as it turns out, a yarn exists that is almost exactly like my favorite sweater yarn! So I bought it. Ooops.

swatch for favorite sweater

And that about sums up Monday…

Thanks, Rob.

365.21 Thanks Rob

This week has been defeating. Defeating with first world problems entirely, which makes me feel like a brat that I’m considering them problems. Things like 2 snowstorms, neighbors who are total morons who reserve their spots with chairs making parking stressful, massages that get canceled, wakes that I cannot attend. Yesterday was the culmination with a traffic disaster on the way home, during which I became Monster Hungry. Monster Hungry is my husband’s description of what happens when I get hungry and there is no food around. It has reduced me to tears many times, once sitting on the kitchen floor painting a bookcase yellow for the third time. But I digress. The point is yesterday was not so great. I should be happy I could afford the massage that was canceled, have a job to go to that leaves me with the issue of getting home to find parking, and have a home to come to at all. I know this but it didn’t help me yesterday. Winter in New England is not easy. This year we’ve had a lot of snow. Then it rained on the snow and now it’s frozen in ice. Then we got more snow. I know, boo hoo. I’m just saying it is wearing me down. Combined with larger questions like “what do you want to be when you grow up” (and I’m 29… a little late? Don’t mention that please.) and PMS made this week an utterly defeating week which made me seriously consider hibernating at least until the snow melts which at this rate should be about April.

In order to avoid one more defeat, I left my car at home during the second significant snowfall this week and walked to the commuter rail station this morning, feeling pleased with myself that I’d thwarted the spot stealers on my street who would have claimed it and got on the train. I bought a ticket at the machine, and it spit it out, feeling pleased I walked up, waited and then got on the train. The day was going well. I saw a co-worker and we started chatting. Train man comes by, I give him my ticket and he takes it. “Oh, sorry, I need that back, it’s a round trip.” “No, you should have two.” say the man. Umm, nope it spit out one. I should have two. I give up. Train man collects the rest of the tickets, and comes back. “Did you buy a round trip?” Yes, I did. And the nice train man, apparently named Rob P. writes out the ticket above and hands it to me. “I believe you. This should work this afternoon.”

So thank you Rob P. for not defeating me today. I really really really appreciate it. Even though they didn’t collect tickets on the way home and in reality I didn’t need it at all.

World’s End

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Last weekend I went for a walk with my parents, and brought the new fancy pants camera to document the occasion. Worlds End is a great place for a walk, as part of the Trustees of Reservations to which we belong. Mainly because we got married at one of their historic houses and with that comes a free membership, which we’ve renewed for a second time this year. Open space is so nice.

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Off we trekked as the sun got low, it was a lovely walk with snowshoes. Especially because my mothers snowshoes spray up a skunk tail which is hysterical to walk behind.
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365.16 branches

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It was cold and windy, but fresh and sunny. You can see Boston from the top of the hill. We then went home and I sat by the fire and played with my Jamieson shetland and it was great.

A Package? For Moi?

shetland

During the snow day last week when I sat around and played Cat, I bought some new yarn. It’s possible I got carried away and bought 15 colors… I rarely buy yarn without a purpose. Even if I don’t know what it will be, I usually buy a sweaters worth, I rarely have yarn sitting around and wonder what to do with it. It stresses me out to have things I don’t know what they’ll be. (It’s incredibly easy to stress me out. Really. You’re probably doing it right now) I will never be a yarn stasher of epic proportions, the kind with a yarn shop in the spare bedroom. Not least because I will unlikely ever have that much extra space. And also because I’d be rocking in a corner of that room.

The one exception is yarn for fair isle. I don’t feel bad about having fair isle yarn. I have about 10 colors of Satakieli for various Latvian mittens and hats, I love that stuff. I now have about 24 colors of Jamieson’s Shetland 2-ply Spindrift. I can never have enough colors of this stuff. It is not super soft, it is fuzzy, warm, the best word for it is cozy. The way you can mix the colors is amazing. I love color to no end. I love naming colors. There is a co-worker who has an unusually large buttondown shirt collection of various colors and I love that one is robbins egg blue, one is eggplant, one is sofa patterned (he insists it’s a loveseat…)… If I had my way, I’d have them all now, but trying to be reasonable, I buy a few new colors every year and am building the collection up. And, in true geek fashion, I’ve got a color card started in case I run out of one and need it. You know, just in case. ‘Cause I’m like that.

color card

And because I couldn’t wait to try it out, I grabbed the greys and browns, and the awesome new golds and rusts and sunrise (which is a deep red… I think sunrise of being more gold/orange?) and tried out a pattern from my Traditional Fair Isle Knitting book, which I love to death. So much for trendier knitting, hunh?

trying out some shetland

I have a great plan though, to use the traditional pattern and take Venezia knitting pattern, with long sleeves of course, I’m too cold blooded for 3/4 sleeves. But with any luck it’ll be a trendier twist on a fair isle sweater.

A Great Snow Day

365.12 scraps

Wednesday was the best snow day I’ve had since I was 10. It snowed so much work closed. This morning all the trees looked like Dr. Seuss trees, with big puffy white snow piles on them and all wobbly under the weight. We spent an hour or two shoveling out, we had spaghetti and grandma’s meat sauce for dinner, and I didn’t get out of my jammies except when shoveling (then I wore snowpants). So as not to waste the day, I was up at 7:30, watching the news as those poor saps stood outside trying to think of something to say besides that they really were miserable out there in the driving snow, and what had they done so wrong in a past life to deserve such a job. I finished a little project I’d started last week while watching them and drinking tea and thinking once again how lucky I am.

handspun reading mitts rolled

These are fingerless mitts made out of handspun yarn. To be honest, I’ve never really understood the fingerless mitts thing. Everyone makes them, in fact makes several and declares they need another pair. To me it’s always seemed that someone started out making mittens then though oh screw it, I’m tired of these… However, a few months ago I found myself thinking, man, the bedroom is kinda cold. I like to read before bed, in bed, and to be honest, I fought the thought, but it occurred to me was what I needed was fingerless mitts. And then a few weeks ago I pulled out some wool that I’d bought a year ago on Etsy and I loved the colors and it was so soft, so I spun it up. I miscalculated my thickness and instead of ending up with 400 yds of fingering weight, I ended up with 200 yards of sportish. Drat. It then occurred to me to put the ideas together. I know. I’m so smart.

handspun reading mitts

These are not typically my colors, but I do like them. The silk in them makes them shiny and the alpaca makes them warm. Still not my most favorite item, but they were quick and I must admit, I am beginning to see why one might want a pair of these…