Sunday, December 08, 2013


Have been working hard on many fronts--my "day job," my personal knitting (I'm participating in the 2 KnitLit Chicks Poncho Comeback KAL; I'm making the Easy Folded Poncho pattern with the  that I bought a few weeks ago. Using luscious Juniper Moon Farm Herriott (100% alpaca). I've had several "false starts" until I think I arrived at the dimensions that will fit my small frame and the seed stitch edging that will keep me from going crazy with severely rolling edges.

Then, just got several new orders in my Etsy shop from a dear friend. I'm hoping this will be the start of a busy holiday season and maybe my "new direction" will be able to begin. Stay tuned.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Soft, Lacy Cowl


Yesterday I finished the Garland Cowl, which was the winner in a long inner decision-making process regarding what I should make with my one skein of the luscious and soft Tess Designer Yarn's Cultivated Silk and Wool, in a beautiful blue-green. I had a moment of panic when the cowl, even when fully blocked, was about 31" long -- this after the pattern said it should be 60" long! The good news is that after that good blocking, the cowl hanks about to my waist when not doubled around my neck, and I am able to double it if I wish. I think I'll wear it to work tomorrow!

Friday, November 29, 2013

So Much to Be Thankful For

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with dear friends yesterday. We'll be sorry to see them go when they move across country soon, but we know we will stay in touch.

Prior to the day(s) of cooking, preparation and finally eating, I had completed a knitting project for each of my children. Thankfully, both of them flew home without delay during a nasty Nor'easter and on the busiest travel week of the year. They modeled their knitwear yesterday before we sat down to eat and both seemed genuinely happy with their finished object. Image


I'm pleased with my daughter's sweater, the Estelle Pullover--she tried it on Tuesday night and I made some notations about where it needed to be slightly bigger; I then blocked it and it fits PERFECTLY. My son's scarf, the Textured Triple Stripe Scarf from 60 Quick Knits, is long, particularly since I knit it in bulky instead of worsted and didn't do my calculations exactly right--but he likes the warmth of it looped around his neck and it looks great on him.

Wish I had them home longer, but in general, life is very good today!

Friday, November 22, 2013

I Gave In to Temptation

Walking down the street today, on my way to the train station to go into New York City for a lunch meeting....I passed Wool & Grace, a yarn store that I heard about from a friend but have not had the chance to visit since it's been open about a year now. After a successful meeting, I rewarded myself with a visit to the shop, where I found lovely yarns and had a great discussion with shop owner Cathy. 

I wasn't going to buy yarn, although I wanted to buy something. But when I saw the Easy Folded Poncho (by Churchmouse Yarn & Tea) on a mannequin, and I felt that Eileen Fisher vibe from both the style and color of this garment, I had to have it.


The yarn is Juniper Moon Farm Herriott, 100% baby alpaca, so it's incredibly soft and will be very warm. Yet anothertem added to my bursting stash. But I felt so good when I walked out of the store!

Now more projects will have to take a back seat as I itch to cast this on...but first, my son's scarf! 10 LONG rows to go!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Team Spirit!

I got the chance to go see my family's beloved Pittsburgh Steelers this past Sunday! My husband, who is from Pittsburgh, usually takes our son to a game once a year, but since my son is now away at college, I got the nod! It suddenly dawned on me that with an Etsy shop full of school spirit-themed items, I was going to a Steelers game without anything knitted in Steelers Black and Gold!

IMG_0923I quickly remedied that by knitting a Steelers headband while my husband drove to Pittsburgh. It was warm and cozy and looked great at the stadium. And of course, it was good luck--the Steelers had a great come-from-behind win, 37-27! GO STEELERS!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Serious Knitting for A Cold Winter!

With both of my children at school in Michigan, I feel the need to keep them warm from afar. I am happy to report that I finished my daughter's sweater, the fabulous Estelle Pullover by Linden Down. I am going to wait until she comes home for Thanksgiving to block it--she may want it a little longer and perhaps a little wider (not so form-fitting). I have been trying it on as I go (thank goodness for Try-It-On-Tubing!) and it fits me great--I will probably make another one for me. We are almost the same size, so I think with a little blocking it will be perfect on her too. Image

The Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted is Superwash, so it should have a lot of give/growth during blocking.

Next up, in between a few Etsy shop orders I've gotten, is a nice warm scarf for my son, who is experiencing the Michigan winter for the first time (and it came early this year!). I found a great pattern in Cathy Carron's 60 Quick Knits, and I'm altering it to use bulky yarn, which I use almost exclusively for my shop items. We have a long car trip coming up this weekend, so I should be able to make good headway on that and have it ready for him for Thanksgiving too.

Nice to know that maternal instinct can be satisfied through knitting--I know they've always got a little bit of Mom's love wrapped around them.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Moving Toward Completions

I am making great headway on my Estelle Pullover for my daughter. I want to finish by the time she comes home for Thanksgiving break. So far, this is a great pattern--I want to make one for myself after I finish this one (just like the last sweater I made for her!)


I was very careful to take lots of measurement checks during sleeve #1, as I had read a lot of Ravelry comments about the sleeves being tight. Now that I have the measurements down, sleeve #2 is flying. I had set a goal of 20 rounds per week, and I've already done 36 rounds for this week with three days left! I may just finish next week. The ChiaoGoo circulars are great, but it is hard to manipulate the small size for the sleeve as the cord is very inflexible. On sleeve #1, I switched to DPN's about half way through and I think I'll do that again. I hadn't used DPN's in a long time, as I usually favor Magic Loop. It's kind of nice to go back to my circular knitting roots!

In the meantime, however, I got another order in my Etsy shop today, thanks to a dear friend who let her friend know that I was selling University of Michigan-themed hand knits. Trying to do initiate a number of different advertising campaigns--on Etsy, on Ravelry, and on Google. So far, the word of mouth method is working the best! But time will tell.

On my way to a meeting tomorrow that may yield some clearer direction about my career and my ability to focus more on my knitting. Fingers crossed.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Favorite New Stretchy Bind-Off

I have been experimenting with various cast-ons and bind-offs since I've been doing so many accessories for my shop. Many of these items (headbands, some of my hats, fingerless mitts) need stretchy cast-ons and/or bind-offs. Since I've gotten the excellent book, Cast On, Bind Off, 54 Step by Step Methods, by Leslie Ann Bestor of WEBS, I've found a treasure trove of methods to try.

The winner today: The Lace Bind Off (aka Russian, Purl Two Together) which I used for my latest headband.


It doesn't leave a gap between the last row of knitting and the bind-off, as some of these methods do. Instead, it leaves a nice, neat, but stretchy finished edge. It's also quick and easy. I'll continue to try and report on other techniques!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Getting Serious

Last weekend was the trunk show at my daughter's sorority. While I only sold a few items in person, I did generate some interest in my Etsy site. I think if I had had more inventory there, I would have done better.

I'm determined to make my shop work! So today I took the plunge and signed up for some Google advertising as well as some promoted advertising on Etsy. We'll see what happens and I'll take it from there. Also posted the newest item that I sold at the trunk show, knit in a few days this week and sent off this morning.


I'm liking the colorful backgrounds. One of the things on my list is a photography class, perhaps this one offered on

I'm looking forward to documenting my journey as an independent crafter here on my blog--come along for the ride (and all suggestions welcome!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Getting Ready for the Trunk Show!

Next weekend I'll be testing the waters for my online business, SchoolSpirit Knits on Etsy, at my daughter's sorority trunk show at the University of Michigan. I worked on photographing some of my new knits today and posted them on a variety of social media. What do you think?





Friday, October 04, 2013

Science Proves What We Know: Knitting and Reading Are Good for Us!

I was thrilled to read the results of a study conducted by researchers at The New School for Social Research and published in the journal Science. As The New York Times reported,
"[the researchers found] that after reading literary fiction, as opposed to popular fiction or serious nonfiction, people performed better on tests measuring empathy, social perception and emotional intelligence — skills that come in especially handy when you are trying to read someone’s body language or gauge what they might be thinking.

The researchers say the reason is that literary fiction often leaves more to the imagination, encouraging readers to make inferences about characters and be sensitive to emotional nuance and complexity."

I love knowing that there is a scientific reason to read wonderful literature.

Similarly, some studies have shown that knitting is an important stress reliever--and are formalizing it through programs such as Project KnitWell, an organization based in Washington, DC hospitals that brings knitting to those in stressful situations.

As knitting and reading are my two greatest passions, I think I can pursue both this weekend without guilt. After all, it's good for me and those around me. I urge you to do the same!

Taking the Plunge

My daughter has asked me to participate in her sorority fundraiser by selling my knitted items in her school colors. I've done this in the past and attempted to turn this into a business--or at least part of a business. This time, I think I'm really going to go for it. I've put some items in my Etsy shop and will take special orders at the event. Being overwhelmed with orders is exactly the problem I want to have.

Take a look at my shop and see what you think. Any feedback, tips, social media strategies, etc. are most welcome!


Wednesday, October 02, 2013

The Seemingly Impossible Can Happen

ImageMy husband's beloved Pittsburgh Pirates made it into the first round of Major League Baseball playoffs in an inspiring one-game playoff game against the Cincinnati Reds tonight. Along with thousands of other Pirates fans, my husband has waited over 20 years for this! I only wish he had been able to be at PNC Park to see the game. I'm so glad we got to go to see the Pirates on a beautiful August Sunday with our whole extended family. Also glad that there will be more baseball games to watch--more knitting time!

As I try to figure out what is to come in the next chapter of my life, I'm going to keep tonight's inspiring win in mind. The Pirates and their fans never lost faith (well, maybe the fans did a few times), and I know that I will find the solution that will represent a win for me. Stay tuned as I work it all out.


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Knitting at the Beach!

Visiting beautiful Cape May, NJ. Even though it's the end of September, the sun is shining, we had a gorgeous run along the beach this morning, and now sitting at the pool with a lovely beach view. 

In the summer, it's often too hot to knit at the beach. Today is perfect--low humidity, about 60 degrees, brilliant sunshine... The perfect day for outdoor knitting!Image


Thursday, September 26, 2013


One of my favorite TV shows is back! This makes me smile for several reasons:

  • I can relate to the characters on the show, both the four Braverman siblings and their teenage children
  • I like the Bay area setting, as we have lots of family in the area and I think the show's creators do a great job of creating the atmosphere of the East Bay
  • I think it's cool that the show is back partially due to social media pressure by fans. It's great to see that grassroots efforts can make a difference, and that we now have the tools to do that.
  • Most importantly, when I watch a show like Parenthood, I stop working (briefly) and knit. I'll get a good hour of knitting in tonight, and every Thursday moving forward. I'm planning on continuing work on my Estelle Pullover for my daughter. She'll be home for fall break in two weeks (YAY!) and it should be at a perfect point to try it on her then. Maybe it will even be finished and ready to give to her by Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Well, I didn't want to leave you all hanging--my event today was a great success. I guess all of that worrying was for nothing, or maybe it helped make the event that much better. All of the speakers were wonderful, and I learned a lot for next time (if there is a next time). Sometimes it's the most challenging projects that lead to the most gratification.

Knitting is a lot like that, isn't it? I did reward myself with a few rows tonight. Now I'm ready to crash.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Stress Relief

As I worked on last-minute details (and crises) for an event that I'm responsible for tomorrow, I felt my stress level begin to rise. One of my coworkers even told me to "take a Xanax." I've been planning this event for almost a year. I've attracted 15 corporate sponsors, invited 20 prestigious speakers from the healthcare community, worked with the speakers on their presentations, and helped to market the event so that an audience of 200 people should be in their seats tomorrow.

I guess it's not surprising that I'm nervous...I really want this project that I've nurtured from the idea stage to be a success.

So...I came home tonight and, after rehearsing my introductions for tomorrow, I  knit. The most Zen project that I have going right now is the Splendid Striped Cowl, which I'm knitting as the final accessory for myself for my visit to my kids at the University of Michigan next month. I'm knitting it, of course, in the school colors of maize and blue. The two-row striped pattern is perfect for a moment like this.


Hopefully tomorrow night I'll be able to knit more and stress less!

Sunday, September 22, 2013


I LOVE the new Fall Issue of Vogue Knitting! I have been subscribing to the magazine for many years--and actually made my "masterpiece" intarsia tunic from Vogue Knitting more than 20 years ago, before my daughter was born. I usually like one or two patterns enough to put them in my Ravelry queue, but this issue is just filled with sweaters I LOVE.

Among my favorites:

  • Yoko Hatta's cabled, hooded short-sleeve sweater, and her Aran pullover with slit sides
  • Inge Spungen's hound's-tooth cape (a real departure for me, but I actually think I would wear this!)
  • Sanae Gunji's Design-Contest-Award-Winning asymmetrical sweater
  • Margeau Soboti's top with slimming side shaping
  • And my two favorite favorites: Laura Zukaite's intarsia turtleneck, and the cover sweater, Deborah Newton's cable sweater with strips threaded through the cables



I woke up this morning and finished reading the issue, eager to finish what's on my needles so I can start one of these projects, preferably using some of my out-of-hand stash.

The creativity that abounds in this issue put me in a great mood and energized me as I left the house to run in my town's annual 5K Race. Both my husband and I noticed our finish times have decreased considerably since we started running this race more than 15 years ago. But we love it for so many reasons--it is a great community event, it benefits a charity (this year, Wounded Warriors), and being in a race motivates me to run faster and harder than I do on my daily jogs. I am still feeling a heightened level of energy hours later. I'll have to do more racing.


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Out with the Old, In with the New

This week has brought several decision points regarding getting rid of old things and trying new ones.


  • Our 1997 Buick, a hand-me-down from my mom which has been our teenagers' car for the past 3 years, has some issues, including a horn that goes off at odd hours of the day and night. The price to fix the car really puts us over the tipping point of keeping it vs. getting rid of it, particularly since the kids are away at college now and the car isn't being used very much. It will be sad to see the Buick go, but it's time.
  • Our block got together and changed garbage removal services; we negotiated a junk pickup that is happening as we speak. Last night, my husband and I put out piles of old (and not in condition to be donated) toys, muddy soccer shoes, and other items that have been clogging up our basement. As we prepare to refresh this room after a recent flood, it will be nice to have more space to work with. It's also time to make this room into a young adult hangout rather than a playroom.


  • I downloaded ios7 for my iPhone. LOVE IT! It's like getting a new adult toy, and I'm finding it faster, more efficient, and very easy to use. Bravo to Apple for giving me this refresh without my having to buy a new phone!
  • We had a landscaper over this morning to recommend a plan for some new trees and shrubs that will really spruce up the look of our home.

Change can be hard and sometimes fraught with emotion, but in the end, let's hope it's all for the best.

Happy knitting and crafting to all this week.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

New Beginnings

Spent yesterday repenting for my sins of the past year on Yom Kippur. Although I am not very religious, I usually welcome this day when I don't focus on work or issues around the house (of which there are many right now), but rather contemplate the past year and think about the coming months.

One of my biggest goals for this year is to change my situation so that I have more time for meaningful projects and more crafting. So stay tuned as I figure it all out. In the meantime, continuing to work on my Splendid Striped Cowl in maize and blue--not sure if it will be finished before the October 19th Michigan vs. Indian game, but I'll try-- and my daughter's Estelle Pullover, which I am hoping to put on Try-It-On Tubing tonight to make sure it will fit.

More to come!

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Back to Blogging, from the Empty Nest

Hi everyone (if in fact anyone is listening!)

I've decided to try to return to blogging again, especially as I ponder the idea of a freelance career. Who knows, I may even start another blog having to do with one of my new areas of interest--stay tuned for more on that.

As for the knitting, I've been very busy the past several months knitting University of Michigan projects for my son, who is now a freshman, and my daughter, who is now a junior there. For my son, I made an afghan that looks lovely and I hope is keeping him as warm as a hug from mom. Also made him a hat--it gets cold in Ann Arbor!


My daughter moved into her first apartment with 5 friends and I knit them 4 dishcloths with the block "M" embedded inside. They were a big hit! The roommates were not familiar with dishcloths and were excited to use them. I'll have to get a report on whether they are actually washing dishes and how they compare to a sponge for these discerning young women.

Now it's on to some "Go Blue" accessories for me to wear when we go to a football game next month. I've already made one of my striped headbands (which I've made for many of the kids' friends in appropriate college colors); now in the midst of some fingerless mitts, and then will do a cowl.

The main project on my needles right now is a beautiful sweater for my daughter--the Estelle pullover. I'm using Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted, which is superwash, in a beautiful sage green. After some initial mental blocks that prevented me from getting the right number after increasing, I'm now flying through it and just separated out the sleeves. Will probably put it on try-it-on-tubing soon to make sure the fit will be good.

So, the empty is definitely quiet here in our house, but I think I'm adjusting. Will see what other life changes this fall will I said, stay tuned as I hope to start blogging more regularly.

Glad to be back.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

2012: Year in Review

Since I switched my blog over to WordPress, I haven't really been blogging and am not sure how often I will. The end of this year was marred by Hurricane Sandy and some complications with my 91-year-old Mom spending time with us and then being relocated to assisted living; much work still needs to be done to repair her damaged home and much stress will continue to ensue. I'm hoping that knitting will be one of my solaces in 2013.
I would like to mark the new year with a review of what I knit in 2012 and the hope that 2013 will be a productive year for me, and for all of you reading out there!
In 2012, I completed:
The gorgeous Gap-tastic cowl (definitely want to make more of these this year)
One pair of matching fingerless mitts
One dishcloth
Two cardigans, including the amazing Swirl SweaterIMG_1154
One shawl (by Carol Feller, and a sweater by Carol is on my list for this year)
One and a half pairs of socks (hope to complete sock #2 of pair #2 SOON!)
Two adorable baby blankets, including one of the most favorite things I've ever made, the OpArt Baby Blanket
One Baby Hoodie
One Baby dress (also adorable)
Two Baby Hats
Three girls' headbands for big sisters of the babies I knit for
Several hats for charity, a brief career in selling hats, and one most recently for my dear son, who will leave for college next fall. His college afghan will be on my needles this spring, once I know the colors of the school he has chosen to attend.
Wishing everyone a happy, healthy, productive 2013!