quick tool organization upgrade

I love my needle organization, however, it doesn’t work well when I’m out and about. A few years ago, Tom Bihn released knitting tool pouches.

it’s finally spring! shawl

I finished a shawl! It’s a quick easy knit that’s great for working on in front of the TV or listening to audiobooks. Ok, it took me 10 months to finish, but I was trying an experiment to see if my projects would knit themselves to completion. Yeah… that didn’t work out.

Meet my Spring Valley Shawl by Carol Ullmann from Happy Fuzzy Yarn.

Spring Valley Shawl by Carol Ullmann in Happy Fuzzy Yarn DK Merino

This is knit in Happy Fuzzy Yarn DK Merino in the colourways Granny Smith (my favourite), Shadow (my other favourite even if it isn’t my Shadow), and Verdigris (my other other favourite). ;)

The stripes are easy and do make it a great TV viewing project. I knit loose and knit to a fabric I like, so I chose the needle appropriate to my personal tension. I also stopped increasing earlier — I’m 5’1″ and it still blocked to an incredibly generous shawl, larger than expected, of 48″ short edge x 84″ long edge! I think this is absolutely delightful and I know that even though the temperatures are in the 70°s this week, I’ll love to curl up with it when E turns on the AC!

Spring Valley Shawl by Carol Ullmann in Happy Fuzzy Yarn DK Merino

The lace is not difficult but it took me a few tries to get right. I made a few modifications to the pattern, the biggest is that I changed the double decrease to a centered double decrease. Why? I enjoy knitting that stitch more and it helped me read the lace pattern easier as I was knitting.


There are a few more details about this shawl in my Ravelry notes.

Would you like to knit one of your own? You can find a local retailer for the DK Merino and pick up a copy of the pattern at Ravelry.

balance with paint

Almost a year ago I wrote an essay that was in large part about perfectionism. It’s been a struggle to write up more about this topic, not because they’ll be the wrong words and not (groan) perfect but because I really don’t know how I want to articulate what’s in my head.

I have many friends who write eloquently. Sarah is one of them. Please go and read her recent post, “in which I exhort you to paint some perfect little trees (we are all perfect little trees)“.

Oh wow, you came back! Thank you.

There are several areas in my life where I’m working to find that balance between not even starting (because I won’t do it right) and working tirelessly yet never finishing to reach that elusive ideal. Some days are better than others.

To that end I’m trying to doodle and paint more (as I did a year ago), and not only in my colouring book. Earlier this week, I took out the glue gun and affixed magnets to the bottom of the half pans so I could get rid of the icky plastic insert that came with my set and rearrange things how I liked. Bonus, there’s now room for my brushes!

watercolours meet magnets and glue gun

Yes, it is possible to do this magnet modification with cheaper thinner craft magnets, but I had these so I used them. I’m much happier with this setup!

I’ve had a big watercolor project I’ve wanted to work on for the past year, to revisit and redraw my project bag doodles. I love the ones I doodled, but I want to make them more versatile and useful to how I record and track things. I plan to scan them and convert my doodles into mini labels or stickers. Anyway, I think it’s big to me because there are quite a few bags to doodle and I don’t have a dedicated small watercolour sketchbook or setup. I primarily use any paper at hand or if I want something special (which I do for this project) a 9×12 pad of student watercolour paper. As I tend to pull out the paints to work in a 5 min spurt, or on a small cleared corner of my desk, that generally isn’t helpful when staring at a large sheet of paper.

Today after lunch, I brought a lap desk out into the sunroom, sketched a few bags and started painting. I’m not sure if I like how I sketched out the box bags or if I want to go back to they way I’ve doodled before, but the thing is I started.

And it’s progress.
(click to see them bigger)

I do love how I doodled up my Split Yarn Perfect Pouch, it holds my Swatch Maker 3-in-1 Weaving Loom. More on that great tool soon.

project bag doodle, detail

Also related to progress on my perfectionism, I finally got over that not everything is to my ideal (related to my current pattern layout and photography) and released a new pattern this week, Ayrton. It’s been tech edited by the very patient Lindsey Stephens of Poetry in Yarn and received generous yarn support from Anzula. This classic yet understated design is a nice seasonal transition piece or for when the office AC gets cranked up. The stitch design and pattern name pays tribute to Hertha Marks Ayrton, an electrical engineer, feminist, physicist, and inventor. The pattern is available for $6 and immediate download at ravelry | craftsy | etsy.


Moving into the grey space between perfectionism and answering the question of “when is a work of art complete?“, the Met’s new space, The Met Breuer, the inaugural exhibit is Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible and with this Da Vinci as a part of the collection, I urge you to go! I hope to get there at some point.

watercolours box

more socks!

On Sunday I finished another pair of socks for E. He loved the most recent pair so much he asked me if I would knit him another pair. So I did.

He had a few changes for this pair, while he loves the bright colours of his Into the Whirled pair, could this pair include some blues and greys? Could the leg and cuff be longer? Of course! That’s what I love about making socks, I can modify to fit specific requests.

At VK Live last month, I stopped by the Knit Circus booth (ok, I was helping them during lunch) and purchased some Greatest of Ease in Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Sock Variation.

While to the same stitch gauge, they knit up considerably faster due to determination to finish them as close to E’s birthday as I could and because I had the other pair to use as size reference. And of course the colours are more Penny-friendly so I enjoyed knitting every stitch!

Yarn: KnitCircus Greatest of Ease in colourway Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Sock – variation, purchased at VK Live NY January 2016
Needles: 2mm (US0)
Project started: January 17 2016
Project completed: February 7 2016
Ravelry project page

These were tons of fun to knit. He’s been very appreciative of them so while the next pair of socks is for me to help replenish my neglected sock drawer, we’re already in discussions for his next pair. Mine might be a pair of knee highs in Gradient stripes and who knows what yarn and colourway he’ll choose. There are many options!


Last Friday I finished E’s socks. They were worn to work this week and returned home with a favourable review. Yay! This is the fourth pair I’ve knitted him and the first pair that will be worn again.

Yarn: Into the Whirled Pakokku Sock in Palindrome Paint in colourway Ramble, purchased at NYS Sheep & Wool 2015
Needles: 2mm (US0)
Project started: 26 October 2015
Project completed: 18 December 2015
Ravelry project page

They were a fun knit and while this is a colourway I would never pick for myself it was fun to watch the colours progress. I have a skein in a more Penny-friendly colour I purchased at Rhinebeck in 2011. I’m not yet sure if I’ll knit my skein into a shawl or a pair of socks, but I do know I’m looking forward to knitting this yarn base again.