Monthly Archives: September 2017

Weekly Photo Challenge: Windows…

Prompt: Your inspiration this week is windows. Use a window to frame your shot, use a window to give structure to your photo, or make a window itself your subject.


Windows, windows, windows and more windows…

From NYC skyscraper windows, to windows inside a lighthouse, to the porthole window on a ship, to my daughter’s eyes, to the light streaming through a window in St Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC, to the reflection of the sky in the back window of my car… these are my window choices.

Do What You Love

Currently I’m working on trying to make more time to enjoy the things I love. I’ve been spending so much time shuttling the kids to their various appointments, schools, and activities, and I haven’t had much energy left over for much else. Slowly, though, I’ve been adding back in time in my schedule to work on my knitting and spinning, to cook and bake, and to be more present in the moment when I’m checking on the flock. And you know what? I feel more energized now, and I’m even more convinced of the magical qualities of pursuing what you’re passionate about.


I’m still struggling a bit trying to find my rhythm with the spinning wheel and getting the twist right, but I am very much enjoying the learning process.


I’m still working through the roving I bought at Rhinebeck last year, and I’m hoping to have it used up by Rhinebeck this year (because you know I’m going to bring home more!).



Oona and I moved the flock up to the front pen this evening. I love seeing them out there when I look out the front window.




I’ve decided that I’ll be looking into finding a Blue-Faced Leicester ram for breeding again this fall. The kids were sad to miss out on lambing this year, and I’d really love to add some new life to the flock.


As for the garden….we suddenly have watermelons growing again in Oona’s garden.  I doubt they will get very big, but the late-season heatwave has seriously confused the plants that haven’t died off. It’ll be interesting to see how these little guys turn out!

Tagged: Farm, Garden, Knitting, Spinning

Pattern Release: Escondido Falls Shawl


Ready for another foray into cables and lace and color? The Escondido Falls Shawl is a wedge-shaped shawl worked from the bottom up, with a lush lace and densely cabled edging.

You can work it in either two colors as shown above, in one color as shown at the end of the post, or (not shown) in one color for the body and cable section, and a second color for the lace.

I got to meet Gerty, Anzula’s new 100% Targhee yarn, this summer at TNNA. I decided to do a two-colored cable shawl to explore how Gerty would play with the cables, lace, and colorwork. I chose Clay, a greenish neutral, as the CC, and Teddy, a warm rich brown.

After lots of swatching, and playing with different options (fair isle in the center of the cable, different widths to the linen stitch edging, etc), I ended up with the pattern as is. My sample knitter Cambria finished the sample for me.

With the deadline looming, I thought it’s be great to do a single colored version as well, for those of you who just want to play with TWO techniques (cables and lace) at a time. 🙂   A quick email to my sample knitter Annette verified she could do the sample, and a quick email to Anzula ensured there were three skeins of the same dyelot available. I think it looks gorgeous in the blue as well!

The Targhee is extremely bouncy. You can block the heck out of it and it springs back.  I initially blocked the two-colored cable shawl to 90¼” / 229 cm along the lace edge to really open up the lace; it now measures 77¼” / 196.5cm, two weeks or so later (the lace edge looks great still!). Note that the gauge for the textured section is a bit tighter, which gives the shawl of  bit of a curled shape.

This shawl gets a California place name! I love exploring California parks, and especially waterfall hikes. There are some really neat waterfalls in the Los Angeles area, especially if we’ve had a wet winter.

One of the best is Escondido Falls in Malibu. We brought our dog Rigel with us when we did this hike back in 2009. It was quite the adventure for both us and him! You can read about the hike here.

Shawl details:

One size, easily altered

Finished Measurements
Length along lace edge: 77¼” / 196.5cm
Width at top: 27” / 68.5 cm

Anzula Gerty, 100% American Targhee (390 yds / 357 m per 4.02 oz / 114g), 2 skeins Teddy (MC), 1 skein Clay (CC) (or) 3 skeins Blueberry
1040 yds / 951 m total, approx 730 yds / 668 m MC and 310 yds / 283 m CC

US4 / 3.5mm circular needles or size to obtain gauge

25 sts and 32 rows = 4” / 10 cm in Dot Knit textured pattern, blocked
Cable Section Width: 2” / 5 cm, blocked
Lace Edging Width at widest point: 4” / 10 cm, blocked
Lace Edging Height: 4” / 10 cm, blocked

cable needle, yarn needle

For two-colored version: stranded knitting, following colorwork charts
All versions: Cabling, lace
Line by line directions given for single color only

How To Knit a Thumb Gusset

I had a little scare over the weekend. I dusted off my first novel to start querying agents again. I had my query letter ready, my synopsis done. I had a sample of the first few chapters all neat and shiny and decided to check in on the full manuscript to look for errant typos and formatting issues.

When I open the document, I scan the whole thing, so far so good. Not too much work to be done. Then I see it. The word count in the corner.

106,000 words.

Holy shit. No.

When I last closed this document, it read 90,000 words. And that still is a little too long for the genre I write in, but 106,000 words? Oh hell no.

I panicked, scanned to doc again in case I accidentally duplicated a chapter. Nope.

So I took a breath and went in with my mental machete sharpened and prepared to hack 16,000 words out of my book.

A few chapters in, I’d gotten it down by about 2000 and was despairing when my husband suggested I email him the story. He popped it into his copy of Word, and looked at me like I was crazy.

His word doc said 90,000 words.

I copy and pasted my whole book back into google docs, where I do all my writing, and got roughly the same word count he did. We tried a few shorter documents with similar results

Turns out, the free word processor I downloaded when I got my new computer last spring can’t count words for shit.

But what a relief. I will rely on my google docs word count from now on. It’s seen me to winning two Nanowrimos, so I think I’m good.

Word count is a finnicky thing, which is why I love the thumb gusset we’re working on today. It is neat, simple, and beautifully symmetrical.

Want to get started on this project, visit the written pattern to find a materials list and links to earlier videos.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Layered…

Share a layered image of your own. The topic is wide open, as long as you focus on the interplay of depth, density, and texture, you can keep your interpretation as literal or as figurative as you wish.


imageedit_42_8080335885 (2)

I’m Still Here!

I can’t believe I haven’t posted since July!

It’s been a challenging year. I was disappointed our mating season was a failure and we had no lambs, but insult was added to injury when I lost my beautiful ewe, Perivale, to a snake bite. Having sheep and goats is kind of a crazy thing to do, because once you finally work out that perfect formula of good grass, good parasite control, and a nice, healthy weight, you lose them to snakes. Or sheer stupidity (our goat, Basil, tragically got himself wedged under a large woodpile and his injuries and dehydration were too much to overcome).

The garden this year was also not the best I’ve had, but I did manage to get a decent amount of tomatoes and basil, along with volunteer pumpkins that grew in spots where the pigs had “deposited”seeds after eating pumpkins last year. The asparagus is looking great as well, and I can actually start harvesting it a bit next spring.

Sabine is officially retired as a guard dog. She was spooked by the fireworks on July 4 and ended up 3 miles away. I brought her inside  to recover from her adventure and she decided she was done with the great outdoors. Considering she’s 11, with the beginnings of arthritis in her hips, I decided she deserved a life of spoiling and luxury from here  on out. It does mean that currently I have no guardian for the flock, however, and I’m going to have to get that taken care of at some point, especially if I decide to breed and have lambs around. Given the choice, I’d get another llama. An Akbash would be nice, too!

However, now that fall is upon us, things are looking up. Neve is studying cosmetology at the local vocational school in addition to her regular studies. Emily is enrolled at the community college. And with that, I feel way older than I’d like! I’ve also been spending a crazy amount of time in the car, driving them to their various classes and appointments. Emily is working on her license, and that will be a relief.

Everyone has been knitting the last few weeks. I’ve finished a project that will be a Christmas gift and am mostly done with a second. The girls are working on scarves. I’ve made pesto ravioli and next week I’ll make pumpkin ravioli. Hopefully I’ll be better about making time for this space again from here on out; I’ve missed the writing!













Tagged: Farm, food, Garden, Pets

Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival!

SVFF is this weekend!  (September 23 and 24) in Berryville, VA.  That is where I will be Saturday and Sunday!  Come see me in my usual spot in the Lions Pavilion.

I have lots of lovely pots and handwoven towels as well.  Hope to see you there!

Collection: Winery Knits


Winery Knits is my love letter to California wine country. Are you ready to explore it with me?

Aran Lace and stranded cable techniques are highlighted. The stoles and the mitts are Aran Lace and stranded versions of similar patterns. The Dry Creek sweater has  beautiful Aran Lace panel.

You can purchase the patterns separately ($6-$8 each), or bundled together as an e-book ($20).  If you choose to purchase the ebook, any previously purchased patterns will be included against the price total.  Here’s the link for the e-book:

I’ll be releasing patterns every week or two; you’ll receive updates as I add patterns to the e-book.

There are five patterns:

  • Dry Creek Sweater, an Aran Lace top-down raglan women’s sweater
  • Atlas Peak Stole, an Aran Lace stole
  • Spring Mountain Stole, a cabled and stranded stole
  • Willow Creek Mitts, unisex cabled and stranded mitts
  • Chalk Hill Mitts, Aran Lace mitts

Pattern Release: Dry Creek Sweater

The Dry Creek Sweater is named after my favorite AVA ((American Viticultural Area) in Sonoma County, the Dry Creek Valley. This was the first name I came up with for a pattern in the Winery Knits Collection — that’s how much I love the area!

Talty and Bella are some of our favorite wineries in this area. The area is especially known for Zinfandel, one of my favorite varietals.

The valley itself is wonderful for cycling. You can ride around the lower perimeter of the valley, over very gentle elevation variations (you can’t really call them hills), viewing the vineyards in the center of the valley.

Read about the Winery Knits Collection here.

Women’s XS (S, M, L, XL, 2X, 3X)

Finished Measurements
Chest: 32¾ (37, 40¾, 45, 49¼, 53½, 57¾)”
83 (94, 103.5, 114.5, 125, 136, 146.5) cm
To fit with approx 4-5” / 10-12.5 cm of ease.
See schematic for other measurements.
Shown in Size S.

Harrisville WATERshed, 100% Pure Virgin Wool, 110 yds / 50 g, 8 (10, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19) skeins, shown in Driftwood
880 (1030, 1155, 1365, 1550, 1825, 1990) yds / 805 (942, 1056, 1248, 1417, 1669, 1820) m

US6 (4 mm) circular needles, or size to obtain gauge
US5 (3¾ mm) circular needles for ribbing, or one size smaller than needle to obtain gauge

19 sts and 30 rows / rounds = 4” / 10 cm in Spot Stitch Pattern
average 22.5 sts = 4” /10 cm over cable panels

yarn needle, waste yarn, minimum 8 stitch markers

cabling, reading charts, maintaining stitch patterns



How to Cast On to Double Pointed Needles

Back when I was teaching knitting classes regularly, I had a lot of students who had never knit in the round, and more specifically, had never knit with double pointed needles (DPNs), because they were intimidated by the mechanics of it. So we spent the whole first two hour lesson in any sock or mitten class learning how to cast on and getting to know all those needles.

Today’s video is like a condensed, 10-minute version of that class. It’s got all my tips and tricks, but it doesn’t take long to watch. And even better, you can watch the parts you need over and over again. I am still learning the video editing process, and I still sound like a grade A idiot on film, but my husband said I could tag this video as knitting ASMR, so I’m calling that a win.

If you would like to follow along with the written pattern, check it out here.

Next Monday we’ll increase for the thumb!