Sewing straight lines

“What are you making?” is the quintessential icebreaker question when people see you knitting. After hearing about whatever it is, the unanimous citizen response is, “Oh I don’t have the patience for something like that.” Repeating this interaction but replacing knitting with sewing produces an eerily similar response: “Oh I can’t even sew a straight line.”

It’s as if people feel a need to justify to why they haven’t (or don’t plan to) take up the same hobby. Or they’re trying to fend off what they perceive as a forthcoming recruitment pitch, which, given a knitter’s love for knitting, isn’t entirely crazy. How do you usually respond to these unsolicited explanations? (I’m assuming you get them too) Because I’m not sure that people are accurately identifying the barriers.

I usually say that patience is something I possess in wildly different amounts depending on the situation.

And as for the sewing in straight lines, it’s actually pretty hard for me (probably because it requires so much damn patience…measuring, cutting, piecing).


I’m working on a stash-busting scrap quilt that – like most – requires sewing together lines of blocks (the last quilt pattern I used was cleverly chosen to avoid this). It’s so hard to match up row after row of little squares! What trick am I missing? I had to rip out several seams and redo them so that the lines weren’t egregiously mismatched, and there are still plenty of little places where it’s not quite right, but…I like where it’s going. I think it will look good when it’s finished.


Spring sewing

I don’t usually like to entertain complaints about winter weather that is completely expected (i.e. it’s Boston in January, of course it’s snowing), but this year winter was noticeably never-ending. A friend’s wedding in southern California helped get me through that last stretch of sub-freezing horribleness. Ahhhh – palm trees. Short-sleeves. Iced coffee.


In between bridesmaid duties I worked in an afternoon at the Fabric District, since my first tour of the place was so successful. I loitered for a while at the bargain place, but sadly, this time around no bin of new closeouts was wheeled out of the back room. I still snagged a nice striped jersey knit for around $3.


The great news is that my new boss is big into crafting and owns all the gadgets, including a serger, and she’s going to let me borrow it so I can make a proper maxi skirt (and maybe re-sew the one I made last time because the seams are starting to pull).

The second and final purchase was this stretch cotton blend. What should it be?

P1070589 P1070588

The Sheboygan cardigan is shop-ready!

The test-knitters did their thing, the edits are made, and this cardigan pattern is all set to go! Now through March 8th I’m offering it for the promotional price of $5 (instead of $6).

Even though winter is clearly sticking around for a while, this sweater is good for more than sub-zero temperatures. I have sweaters that are beautiful but….they make me sweat. This one is all wool but the Phatastic yarn has lots of air spun into it, and so I wear it comfortably in a wider range of temperatures. I like this sweater over a plain v-neck tee with skinny jeans and boots. Maybe a nice infinity scarf on top.


Home again, home again…

I’m back. And I brought R. and the camera home with me! A week in Puebla and a few surrounding cities was lovely…definitely better than this never ending lineup of snowstorms.

922601_10153045663997195_362226779_oedit**Many thanks to my father-in-law Ron who shared that the above photo – the convento/museo Santa Monica – was the feature topic on this week’s Public Radio “The World”.


Puebla is the land of mole poblano. Here’s dinner our last night in town at El Mural de Los Poblanos - some gourmet quesadillas and a six-mole sampler.  Unfortuntely I was too sick to eat much more than a few bites, but those bites were delectable. I followed up with a nice bowl of rice in broth :(


Before I arrived R. said that he was routinely stopped by locals, especially in smaller towns, and asked to pose with them for a photo. Usually the locals were teen girls or middle-aged women who giggled as they walked away. My arrival significantly cut down on the number of photo requests (sorry R!), but we did have a woman stop and ask us if she could take us to coffee so she could practice her English. She brought her husband and granddaughter, so there was a wide range of English and/or Spanish skills represented at the table, and we had a great time trying to communicate with one another. She made us promise that when we returned to Puebla we’d come over to her house so her husband could give us cooking lessons. So….guess we need to try and get back there soon!

Camera-less blog post #2

I’m learning how un-fun blogging is when there’s no camera around. Sigh. It’s probably time that I gave up my phone-that-only-calls-people and just got a smartphone. The cameras on those things just keep getting better and better.


At a party this winter someone saw my phone (see above) and asked, “So do you feel jealous of people with smartphones, or just self-righteous?” It was a martini-induced zinger that made me laugh. I mean….who goes this long without a little self-righteousness? Mostly I’m just worried that a smartphone’s GPS will erode my navigation abilities the way cellphones made me forget all phone numbers. I take my spatial memory very seriously because it’s about the only kind I have.

I also fear getting sucked into smartphone-usage like this:

phoneBut since I’m not so principled as to avoid mooching off friends’ smartphones (“can you look up a number/address/knitting pattern for me?”) I may have stumbled into dreaded technology-hypocrite territory:


No camera means I can’t show you pictures of our big Wednesday snowfall, which is too bad because for some reason it was an especially pretty one. However I do have a few pictures of FO’s thanks to Christine: Scrap Hat #1, Handspun Socks, and Scrap Hat #2. Plus a nice portrait of Samson ;)

HatTwo SocksOne YHFiveBack


When it’s 8 degrees Fahrenheit out….

…this is the most lucrative bit of cat real estate in the apartment.
UntitledThey love the warmth of the pilot light. It also provides a nice vantage point for spying on a brown Boston terrier who we’re dog-sitting. He is very cute and nice, but he and the cats aren’t quite sure about each other.

UntitledEdith took her own safety very seriously at the beginning, and for the first time ever I found her perched on top of the shower door.

If you were caught up in Storm Hercules, I hope you’re safe and warm. We didn’t get too much snow here – maybe 8 inches with some drifting – but it was incredibly cold out. My walk in the snow didn’t last long.

UntitledSo…naturally I worked on some knitting and sewing. The sockyarn that I spun up this fall yielded a pair of Christmas socks for my mom and there was still enough left over to make myself a pair. I’m finishing up the second one now. I also started working on a new quilt. Kind of a wonky chevron thing to use up a bunch of scraps. Did you have any snow day projects?



Goodbye two thousand and thirteen

WordPress so helpfully sends you a little year-in-review report every year. Interestingly enough, my mother’s complaints that I “haven’t been posting as much” are, in fact, supported by hard data. I still like using and keeping this space – although I keep toying with the idea of renovating it – so we’ll see if I pick things up in 2014.

But regardless of the pace of blogging, 2013 saw plenty of knitting. In January I published my first graded-garment pattern – Teddywidder – which at 100+ pattern sales has far exceeded my expectations. There was my first handspun sweater, Surella (which has since been eaten by moths…so sad) and a lovely striped handspun shawl. Sheboygan is my new favorite sweater, and also what I’m attempting to write up for the next pattern. Plus…thanks to Christine and her coaching in how to pre-draft, I spun up the finest, most even handspun to date! (multicolored in the bottom photo)

2013 knittingThailand was our big trip this past year, but we fit in some other adventures, including (clockwise below, starting with upper left): shoveling out of Storm Nemo, celebrating Thanksgiving in October in Oregon, visiting Dumbarton Oaks in D.C., hiking the foothills outside Salt Lake City, camping with Sam, and (above Bangkok) a girls trip to NYC.

travels2013Thank you for visiting me here and sharing your ideas, inspiration, and love for cat-and-dog photos :) On that note, I’ll sign off with a few of the crew. Happy New Year and I hope 2014 brings you blessings and happiness!