Category Archives: Knitting

The Cabernet All Day Sweater

I like my clothing to match my life, the events of my days, the trips that I take, the events that I celebrate. Who doesn’t? Surely that is part and parcel of conscious consumption, a topic close to many of our minds. Thoughtful understanding of our objects fit into our lives, and how new objects ought to meet needs, right?

And part of the joy of making is that we makers have the ability to integrate our creations into our lives, or for them to serve our lives, as directly as possible. We can craft for weddings and beach vacations and divorce parties and hiking trips, theme parties and themed lives. We can even make to match our beverages, and that’s exactly what I have done with my most recent knitted project. After all, sweater weather means red wine, does it not? And now I can look the way my glass does in the cold, ready for some red.

Ah, knitting, you saucy minx. You seduce me with your tactility and infuriate me with your pace. Sewing is a puzzle, and knitting is a labyrinth, and I get lost sometimes. You keep me warm with your fuzzy fibers, but in the sticky heat of Mumbai, what need have I of such warmth? And yet I enjoy you, I do. I bring you to movie theaters and on planes, to places beyond the reach of my sewing machine (for Heaven forbid I not be crafting; if I am not making, what am I?). You are a mobile art, if an expensive one (I maintain this thought: sewing can be thrifty, knitting cannot). You challenge me, you force patience, and I cannot quit you, although we do take breaks. You take forever, and yet I keep taking on projects with thinner yarn, which must mean I like your challenge. For example, this Brooklyn Tweed Arabella which I finished right in time for my lightening round trip to Vienna, and then threw into my suitcase to take to Philadelphia, where it kept me very warm, and I had a chance to force my mother to take these photos.

I realized looking at these photos that the nature of the yarn, a glorious variegated Tosh Merino Light in Tart, completely obscures the Quaker Ridging of this project in images. SIGHHHHHHHH.

See, the sweater looks like this:

But of course you can’t see any of those painstakingly worked ridges in my photos because the changing color of the yarn subtly moving from lighter to darker and back again is much more visible than the texture of the ridges. OH well. You will just have to trust me, I ridged them all.

Let me tell you something that knitters already know and people who don’t knit have no context for/way to understand: A fingering weight sweater takes FOREVER. This represents at least 9 months of my time. Of course, I wasn’t working on it constantly, but, like, STILL. That’s a lot of months.

This was my first Brooklyn Tweed sweater experience and based on this, I think I need to go down a size or two. I am still not great with negative ease in knitting, I realize, and I tend to knit big. This sweater turned out huge, and really long, and while I love it, I sort of also resent it because…it took so much time! It could have taken ever so slightly less time!

The sleeves are long, so I tend to cuff them, and the hem is long, but I enjoy that. I love the swingy feel of this design. I made many mistakes (which I can live with), but no, shall we say, deliberate changes, because…I would have no idea how to do that. And I really admire people who do! But I don’t, not with knitting, not yet. Maybe not ever? I don’t know, as I said, we share a deep but problematic love.

Fun side not, those pants which you can barely see are my first round of Palisade Pants from Papercut patterns, discussed in my last post!

I enjoyed the pattern, and might try it again (someday, I’m back to a worsted weight wool, a Malabrigo, for my new sweater, the Rowan Land Girl’s sweater, and feeling fine) in a solid wool next time so the pattern detailing is clearer. It was fun to knit, gripes aside, and I made it over many a glass of wine, red and otherwise. But now that it’s in the world as a whole thing, I’m guessing it’s going to be a red wine kind of garment, which is wonderful, as I said, who doesn’t want their makes to match their life?

This selfie was the best image I could get that showed the true color of the sweater, which has been rendered brighter in these photos by the gorgeous afternoon light my parents’ green roof receives (as a fun bonus, it really captures the frizz of my hair!). It also has the clearest image of the ridges, so forgive the selfie, it has a use!

Do you like your creations to match your bodily consumption, or anything else in your life? Do you find knitting to be a fling, a casual date, a committed partnership, a toxic ex? Do tell!


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Filed under Brooklyn Tweed, Knitting

The Oh Noble Sheep Outfit


In the photos you are about to see, I am wearing two self-knitted garments. One of them took me a week. One of them took me 5 months.

Guys. Knitting. It’s a whole damn thing.

I do actually really like knitting. But since we moved to Mumbai, my knitting game has taken a strong hit. This is 100% because it is so damn hot and humid here, and the idea of handling a ton of wool is just painful. I am not a fast knitter, one-week skirt aside, so I end up spending a long time with a knitting project, most of the time. The idea of covering my lap with wool is so so appealing in a crisp fall, cold winter, or damp spring. Not so much in this tedious land of constant summer.

But I do spend time in the States, in Philadelphia and New York, and they are cold in the winter! Which, I know that that is a bummer but honestly, I just can’t even with this monotonous weather, I had a total temper tantrum the other day with What’s-his-face about the sameness of the weather, I’m a mess. So I was really excited to finish this sweater, FINALLY, and wear it in America. And then I thought, let me get this party really started! On a two week trip to the States, I ordered wool and bought a pattern and decided to challenge myself to knit a wool skirt in 7 days. And I did!

Chunky knits, man. They just HAPPEN.

In other news, I’m going to attempt my first fingering weight sweater while on an upcoming writer’s residency in Italy. I might be knitting that for a year. Wish me well.

But first, a word from our sponsors:



To the outfit!

I do feel that all these knits make ME look a little chunky, but ah well. They also keep me warm! And it was cold, as I wanted it to be. And I was happy!

The sweater is the Purl Soho Folded Squares Cardigan.  I made one for my mother in Manos del Uruguay, so then I had to do the same for myself….

The shape is lovely, and drapes well, and the Manos yarn in Clasica is SO warm and cozy. I made one change to the pattern, lengthening the sleeves. This was the same alteration I made for my mom, and we both are big fans!

A bit windy up there….

The sweater is an easy knit, but  time consuming. I started it in July, and I finished it in February, just to give you a sense of how slow I am. Row after row after row, it’s a little monotonous, but it’s fun the way it all fits together!

The skirt, on the other hand, is super easy and and very fast. It’s the Bryn Mawr skirt, which, given my own origins in Philadelphia, is very appropriate! (Bryn Mawr is a suburb of Philadelphia, and a great college! Midge went there!)

I read a lot of Ravelry reviews of this pattern and all of them said it knitted up big, so I opted for a size 28 waist, figuring that would be comfortable, but it’s enormous! It was slipping off during these photos and literally slide off of my body about thirty minutes after we took these, which was about an hour after I wore the skirt for the first time. So I’m going to insert elastic, because otherwise I can’t wear this, and it’s so cosy and cute, I want to!

It’s SO warm. This yarn is from a company called Valley Yarns, and it’s the Berkshire Bulky, and it’s a dream.

Okay, so that’s about it. Busty photos of me in chunky knits on a rooftop. But let me tell you, I was WARM!


Filed under knit, Knitting

The All Over Ireland Scarf

This is just a quick post for you all in between writing one play and another, but I wanted to share a small project I actually was able to complete on my vacation to Ireland! Start to finish, this puppy is handmade in Ireland. I had promised my father, an inveterate clothes-horse, a scarf, for Hanukkah, but had had zero time to actually do the thing. But I had bought the yarn, and had a feeling I might have some time to knit as we drove around the Irish countryside. Some might have taken the time to look out the window, but I’ve actually SEEN sheep before, so….

So here it is, a nice easy project I’ve made many times now in my very favorite yarn, Manos de Uruguay:


The pattern is a free one from Loop Yarns, my favorite Philadelphia yarn store (and this is obviously my favorite father, so it’s all about favorites with this project!) called the Montana Scarf. My father has no particular affinity for Montana but I knew he would like this scarf, and he does!

AOI 1I made it shorter then I normally would have because my mother insisted that it would stretch with time, which, I mean, she’s right, but it still felt kind of weird. I actually finished this on the flight back from Ireland while watching Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters. This is a terrible movie. Please don’t watch it. But if you do watch it, please keep in mind that Nathan Fillion is a good man and we can’t blame him for wanting to make some money. Also, I interned this summer at a place where Alexandra Daddario used to intern before she got on White Collar so the point is look for me soon on White Collar, am I right?

SCARF. It was easy to knit. I don’t know what else to say. Scarves are whatever. But this yarn is just the best, I love the way it shifts in colors:

AOI 2So there you go, a simple gift for my father, a man who loves shopping, so giving him something like this almost seems mean. He seemed into it, though, and what else can I do? At least he has a nice reminder of our trip!

AOI 3See? Always looking on the bright side, my father.

There you go, something very quick and easy but loved. Handmade gifts can be that way sometimes, simple but oh so satisfying!


Filed under Knitting, Travel

The Touch Of The Irish Sweater

It’s the strangest thing, but when I told people I was going to Ireland many of them asked if I was visiting family. It’s not that it would be weird for me to visit family, though I don’t have any in Ireland whatsoever, I don’t know what the Russian Jewish or Puerto Rican populations of Ireland are but I can’t imagine they are bounteous. Perhaps I’m being dreadfully unfair here, and if so I’m awfully sorry, and there is an Irish Jewish Museum here, as a quick google search reveled to my mother and I, but the point is, no, I have no family in Ireland. But it’s not the implication that I would or wouldn’t have family here that surprised me, it’s that people asked. On few other trips I’ve been on has anyone asked me if I was visiting family, which makes me think that’s a thing, many Irish people must come back here to see family or their home town or where their ancestors ate potatoes stuffed inside potatoes on top of potatoes. I’m kidding, the food has been lovely, actually. But the point is, I just think that’s sort of funny that people seem to immediately ask that question about Ireland. Because my family is many things, but Irish isn’t one of them.

That being said, my mom used to get asked if she was Irish all the time. She had sort of auburn hair when she was younger, and she has pale skin and freckles, so I guess she looked the part, and besides, she looks amazing in many shades of green (She’s an autumn). So when I told her I would make her a sweater this year for a (very) belated Hanukkah present, I thought I could make something that would both fit the woman and this trip, as I had a suspicion I might be furiously knitting as we drove across hill and dale. And as it turns out, I know myself very well, because I ended up finishing this sweater literally as we drove about the Ring of Kerry on the 31st of December! So I got it in just under the wire for 2013, that’s something, at least. My mother was amazed, she was sure she would get it for NEXT Hanukkah. Oh ye Deborah of little faith…It’s not that my mom doesn’t think I’m a fast knitter, it’s just that she KNOWS sweaters take forever, and I think she felt guilty about me making her a gift that takes so much time and effort. But if she could gestate me for 9 months and then push me through her body and out into the world, I can make her a damn sweater or five, am I right?

At any rate, the sweater was one thing, convincing my mom to allow me to photograph it was another. So many battles, so little time. But I did it! I made a sweater AND I got my gorgeous mom to pose for me! Victory lap! So let’s see this 6 week long endevor, shall we?

TOTI 1The pattern is a free pattern (FREE PATTERN!) from Berocco, Avocet B, a really nice simple well designed open cardigan. I ended up changing the garter stitch to stockinette stitch, but making no other changes, except, well, I guess because I didn’t use the recommended yarn I just ended up with TWICE as much yarn as I needed by buying the number of skeins suggested. So that was…odd, and I’m not sure what to do with the 5 extra skeins of Berroco Vintage Yarn I now have in this color, Douglas Fir. It’s not a great one for me, sigh, so…

TOTI 3My mom is the cutest. We took these photos on a woodland walk through the grounds of Ashford Castle, a really lovely place.

TOTI 7She loves this cardigan, she was very happy to have it and even happier that I finished it in such (for me) record time. The sleeves ended up a bit long, but otherwise the fit is perfect for her, by her own admission.

TOTI 5She grumbled a bit that I made her take off her coat in the middle of the woods, and what you can’t see from these photos is that my dad is nearby holding all our stuff. Thanks, Papi.


See? Awesome color for her.

TOTI 9I like this collar detail a lot. You knit these extensions in the side pieces and seam them together into a collar that kind of rolls away from the neck. Simple yet very pretty, I think. In general I found this pattern totally easy to follow and clear, and I’m pretty pleased that a free pattern was this well made and transparent. Why can’t sewing patterns be more like that? I’m looking at you, BurdaStyle!

TOTI 10A little close up of the yarn for you. It’s actually a bit darker than this, but here you can see the gold in the green. It was actually pretty nice to knit with, the acrylic/wool blend is really nice and soft.

TOTI 2As reluctant as she initially was, my mom really got into the posing by the end. She would be the best model. Call Gucci, he should know about this!

The woodland walk was just beautiful, want to see?

TOTI 11 TOTI 12 TOTI 13 TOTI 15 TOTI 16And I knew the whole time that my mom was nice and warm and cozy in her new sweater! She might not have a touch of the Irish in her blood, but at least now she has it in her wardrobe. Not too shabby, right?


Filed under Berocco, Clothing, knit, Knitting, Travel

The Knit Knit Duo

Oh dear god it’s that time again, isn’t it? That post-Halloween Trans-Siberan-Railroad long stretch into the holiday season. That long and lonely road from the euphoria of costumes and candy into the descent into that hell where the whole world feels like a drug store seasonal goods display, all scented with canned pine and fluttering with tinsel and despair. (Sidenote, as it may be apparent, Christmas and I? Not the best of friends. I don’t begrudge it for others and am so happy that other people enjoy it,  but we are not personally tight, if you know what I mean.) And as it so happens, those of us who count Moses as a close friend this year is a damn mess. Let’s talk about the fact that the first night of Hanukkah is also Thanksgiving, shall we? Which makes it….HanThanksgivingukkah. And who can pronounce a thing like that? I tell you, it’s a hard knock life as a chosen person. Like no one has ever made that observation ever…

So my life has been a bit consumed with holiday crafting. And school, that place that makes me write stuff, like you do. And honestly the season being what it is and these cold days freezing my face like they do, well, knitting and I have been getting back together. Look, sewing is totally my boyfriend, we are, like, completely committed to each other and we have our tiffs and we spar but at the end of the day, I always know that’s the thing I want to come home to. But knitting is like my work husband, it fulfills all these needs for me, it comforts me, it flirts with me, I look at it and I think, wow, I could do this all the time! I indulge in that fantasy for a few moments until I realize, I would never leave sewing, sewing is too good to me, I’m just not that kind of girl. But the flirtation persists, especially around this time of year when the weather is cold, as are my hands, and I want to curl up with something soft and warm that wont bite me, like this creature, and gifts need to be made.

KK 11

One of the things in this photo is more likely to bite then the other. Can you guess which one? It’s tricky, I know. Take your time. I’ll wait.

So I’m not going to post all of my gifts on this blog because although I hate surprises other people seem to enjoy them and I would not want to deprive anyone of that happiness. But I will show you two projects I recently made that I plan to duplicate in some way for holiday gifts:

First things first, after a swimsuit, can you really be worried about your body on a sewing blog? As it turns out, yes, you very much can. So I was unsure as whether to post about this or not, but I thought, well, screw it. Namaste, people, here is me in self-made yoga pants!KK 4Yeah. I made Yoga pants. That is a true fact about me. Spoiler alert, I also run in these and go to gym classes. But I tend to feel fairly wonderful going to my Monday afternoon yoga class at Yoga to the People, the crunchiest possible Yoga Studio (which, by the way, I very much love), in self made pants. Oh, yeah, and there is enlightenment and self understand blah blah blah the point is HAVE YOU SEEN MY YOGA PANTS? I MADE THEM. I can feel very cool and Brooklyn and authentic in them, I think they give my Warrior One a little kick.

KK 5I had grey fabric left over from many knit projects so I went with the contrasting waistline option. I used this pattern, which was insanely simple to put together. Zig zig stitch all the way through and straight on ’till morning. Seriously,  from assembling the pattern to hemming the pants I think it took me less than two hours. It’s okay to be impressed. A lot of people are.

KK 6Enjoy the backdoor shot, internets. Enjoy.

KK 7I got the black spandex/cotton blend at GirlCharlee, which remains on of my favorite websites in existence to this day.

But what is the point of me standing in these pants, what does that prove to you? In order to see these in action, you probably need to see them in their true element, don’t you?

KK 9See? See? They move and don’t break! I know it sounds silly but when I make something like this I almost expect it to fall apart the second it hits the world, but these have done me proud through a few weeks of work outs now, so I feel confident that they will keep it together, even as I cry because ANOTHER PLANK? SERIOUSLY? SERIOUSLY? Seriously this is an excellent pattern and so very easy to make, I cannot recommend it enough.

KK 8At some point, according to my roommate Emily,who kindly took these photos, I’m just showing off.

My cool t-shirt is from kickstarting my friends’ awesome theater company, Aggrocrag. They are fantastic, check them out.

Oh, and in the midst of my holiday knitting I got a little selfish: KK 1Last year I made this pattern for my friend Allie and ever since then I’ve wanted one for myself, but couldn’t find the time to make it even though it seriously takes no time at all. So this year once I finished a simple scarf that nevertheless took a while, scarves take longer then they should, I believe, new theory, and was already ahead on my crafting schedule (I obviously have a schedule, if you don’t have a schedule how do you get things done? I’m not being facetious, I genuinely don’t know, I cling to my schedule like a shipwrecked sailor clings to a piece of driftwood, I swear.) so I figured I could take a day and make myself this earwarmer. So I did. And this thing is so fast that it literally did take me one day to make it.

KK 2I used Purl Soho’s Super Soft Merino, one hank, and that stuff, pricey as it is, knits up a dream, and feels like clouds in your hands. And on your head. So it’s kind of worth it, at least in a project like this that is quick and easy and yarn-efficient. Just saying. I’m not making a sweater out of this any time soon, but for something like this it’s nice to insert a little luxury into your life.

KK 3I told Emily I had to have hair up and hair down photos, the hair down ones being the hipster-style, and she was like, Leah, you are taking this photos to put on your sewing blog, I think you have the hipster-style covered. And this is me laughing.

The color on these photos is a bit off (or a mile off) because they are indoor evening shots, so this is what the color of the earwarmer is more like:

KK 10Both of these patterns are quick and fun to make, so if you are looking for gifts for the people in your life, well, look no further. Me, I’m back to my crafting sweatshop to pump out more gifts. Of course, someone might point out that I could BUY gifts for people, but that’s just madness.

How is your November going? Are you excited about the upcoming holiday season or quietly shotgunning mulled wine in the corner hoping it’s all a bad dream? You could be doing both, you know. No judgement.


Filed under Clothing, Greenstyle Patterns, Knitting, Planning, Sewing

If you are going to knit things knit them for those you love

This is my philosophy on knitting. Because it takes so damn long and it’s so labor intensive and there are times when I’ve looked down at what I’ve made and been like, screw this, knitting is bogus, I can’t do this anymore! But then I keep doing it. What can I say, I’m a glutton for punishment. And I do enjoy the act of knitting, it’s soothing, it’s repetitive  it keeps the food out of my hands, it’s good all around, and when it’s cold, having something warm in your hands is really nice. Though of course now I can’t watch a movie or whatever when I’m NOT knitting and I seriously pulled out projects during all of the last movies I saw in theaters, including Lincoln. Which….meh. I have many feelings. But I’m not going to put them on my sewing blog, that’s not a place for feelings. Really, the internets is no place for feelings at all, though I wish someone would tell that to every youtube commentor…

ANYway, clearly I’m still a bit jetlagged, having gotten in from Holland last night. (It was great, by the way!) And I did take quite a few me made items with me, one of which is new and you shall see it in a post or so. But this is about the knitted items which I made for others (and one for myself, I couldn’t resist!) which we brought to combat the harsh Dutch winter. Of course, it was warmer there in Amsterdam then it is here in Struggledelphia, but hey, you can’t have it all ways. Damn those canals and their balmy breezes….

So this is something I made for my mother LAST year, combined with something I made for her THIS year! I gave her this scarf last year, which was from this free pattern via my favorite Philadelphia yarn store.

Amsterdam! 031

I love this pattern, it’s really easy and the texture is just really nice!

Amsterdam! 038

I also made my mom her ear warmer, with yarn I got from Purl Soho (ah, I finally went to Purl Soho and it was beautiful and expensive and cute and perfect and so very Manhattan and I wanted to throw up at the prices and touch all the Liberty of London, it was at once very exciting and upsetting. So pretty par for the course for a yarn store.) I made up the pattern! Look at me, going rouge…

Amsterdam! 037It’s just seed stitch with a knitted border, It ended up a bit wide, so my mother tends to fold it over. It goes with her coat, don’t you think?

Amsterdam! 585Here it is in full. My mom says it’s very warm!

And then I also made this for Alex, my brother

Amsterdam! 584

Same pattern, slightly wider and in a yarn I got from Brooklyn General, which is honestly equally as precious as Purl Soho, but in a much more Brooklyn hipster paying-for-cool rather then paying-for-labels way.

Amsterdam! 034Nice, right? It’s awfully warm, Alex even had to admit that he liked it…

Amsterdam! 033Don’t they look nice in their knitted gifts? Alex and Deborah are both Autumns, color-wise, so they got earthy greens. Now me, I’m a winter, so I had to  make myself a little something…

Amsterdam! 582I just HAD to. The cowl I made too, last winter, but this little beauty I whipped up the night before I left for Amsterdam (though to be fair, Lincoln helped).

Amsterdam! 580I made up the pattern for the one, too, it’s just a rectangle in seed stitch and then another little rectangle in seed stitch and I sewed the thing up and there you go. I should note that I have been knitting these earwarmers flat and then seaming them up the back, that’ s just how I roll. I mentioned to my mom that all the women in Holland had really messy hair (they really do) and she said, oh, you must feel right at home! She wasn’t wrong…

Amsterdam! 578So there you go, a couple of knitted goodies in the land of cheese and wooden shoes. Do you knit for others? If you knit? What’s your handmade gift philosophy?







Filed under Knitting

The Vying for the Viaduct Sweater

Stop everything you are doing and pay attention to me. I made a sweater. A real, honest to God, knit by hand sweater. A WHOLE DAMN SWEATER. I, Leah Franqui, struggle extraordinaire, 4 month knitter, completed a sweater. And it’s awesome. Right?

Yeah. It’s awesome. And I made it. WITH MY HANDS. Bam. The sweater is the Berocco FREE PATTERN the Aidez. Over 1500 Ravelry knitters have made this beautiful open cardigan, and they are chalk full of advice and modifications and ideas. Did I take any of them into account? Of course not. That would be madness.

No, I’m just kidding. I actually took a class at Loop to make this sweater. I was a bit concerned that despite my mad knitting skills honed over the course of several scarves and snoods, I wouldn’t be able to master the art of sweatery (it’s my new word, deal with it) all by my lonesome. And I’m glad I took the class, because a lot of learning anything new is vocabulary, and it’s nice to be able to look at my lovely instructor and be like, YTTB, WTF? And she could be like, that’s actually a simple concept you know intuitively and here’s how to do it. And I could be like, JK! TY! So all my thanks to my instructor and the wonderful ladies in my class (no gentleman, sadly, step up, boys, join the world of knitting!) for getting me through to the other side and helping me make this masterpiece.

I love it. I LOVE IT. There are a few little mistakes which I wont bore you with/want you to be impressed with me so I don’t want to point out my silly errors. But this is a really nice pattern, and though it looks really complex, it’s actually pretty simple once you memorize the pattern, but not at all boring, at least, not for me as a beginner! There are four kinds of cable on this puppy, which make it look amazing.

I knitted up a small, which worked perfectly for me. This yarn really does bloom (expand after washing, for you non-knitters out there, look at me, picking up the lingo!) and it blocks beautifully. I used the recommended yarn, Berocco Peruvia, because I honestly didn’t know you could deviate from the recommendation. Now that I do, consider my mind BLOWN.

I really liked knitting with this yarn, though, it’s chunky and knits up really quickly. This sweater took me about 5 weeks, or in TV terms, 5 episodes of Downton Abby, Season 2, 3 Miss Marples, 2 Poroits, countless 30 Rocks and Parks and Recreations, 2 Midsummer Murders, and a lot of things I’m ashamed to list here (cough, Hart of Dixie, cough). But I made it through and got all my pieces knit and blocked by the final class, where I learned that seaming is just like sewing. Which is nice, because I totally know how to do that.

This is the face I make when I have completed an insanely cool sweater WITH MY HANDS. Yeah. Expect to see that one more often, people. Thought honestly, not THAT often, because knitting takes FOREVER.

Now, you may at this point be wondering, what the hell is a Viaduct? Well, it’s actually really cool. My friend Ben took these photos (thanks, Ben!) yesterday when we, along with my mother and father and a group of about 35 other people, participated in this walk along the three mile stretch of what was the first railway line into Philadelphia, the path of the famous Pennsylvania Railroad! The track went dead in 1991, I believe, and since then has been a three mile expanse of nothing, without use or really much public knowledge of its existance. But that all might, hopefully, change soon, because there are two organizations pushing to repurpose and reclaim the now abandoned tracks to create a Viaduct, much like the wildly successful New York High Line! This would be an amazing boon for the city, and really revitalize a few areas that currently act as urban no-mans lands.

The issue is now that part of the Viaduct, the part known as the 9th street viaduct or the Reading Viaduct, is more likely to be made into a pocket park in the next few (I hope just a few) years, while the underground cross-city tunnel part seems less likely, at least, right now. So while one organization, The Reading Viaduct, its focused on transforming the above-ground elevated 9th Street portion of the 4 track wide (that’s pretty wide) space into a park, the Viaduct Greene Organization wants the whole 3 miles reclaimed, and wont take anything less. So there is some conflict there, a bit of vying, if you will. Personally, I hope the 9th Street Viaduct becomes the first phase in a multistage project that eventually spans all three miles of railroad track and revitalizes those areas of this delightful but really strugglesome city. And I know that wont happen any time soon. But, hey, I got some good pictures, at least:

How cute is my mamala?

And there's my papa.

And Ben, my fearless photographer.

With the view of Philadelphia behind me, aglow with the warmth of my sweater. Can you imagine anything better?

Anyway, that’s what I’ve got going on lately. What about you? Big projects? New strides? Reclaimed spaces? Any trespassing (which is totally what we were doing, shhhh, don’t tell the Mayor!)? Or maybe just learned a cool new thing? Let me know!


Filed under Berocco, Knitting

Awesome Things You Ought To Know About: Holiday 2011 Edition

(This is from Handmade Ryan Gosling. Like you do.)

In honor of the upcoming holiday, I thought I would compile a little list of things that are delighting me right now, as well as some goodies sprinkled over the internet that you might not be aware of, currently.

1. The irreplaceably excellent Dixie has done it again. Not only has she posted a series of helpful tips to help newbies like myself sew with knits (which is something I’ve never done. But I’m about to do it. Wish me well.), but she’s given the world a free dress pattern! What? I know! Cannonize that woman right now. It’s called the Ballet Dress and it’s comfortable looking and adorable and available fo’ free from now until the 23rd of December. Download it. NOW.

2. Somehow, who knows how, via Pintrest, I stumbled across this list of photography tips, most of which actually seem quite helpful. As someone who struggles with getting great shots of my creations, this seemed like an excellent resource! Check it out here.

3. The Victoria and Albert Museum has an archive of free 1940’s knitting patterns. Of course, there are many free vintage knitting patterns out there, but I just really love that the V and A has them online. I wish the Met would publish patterns inspired by some of their famous dress-portraits, or even their fashion wing! How cool would that be? (If the Met does decide to do this, you heard it here first, see?) Anyway, you can check out these wartime-approved knitting patterns here, and make someone you love a knitted waistcoat, or a balaklavah helmet. Like you do.

4. I don’t really know what you do with your time, but I spend a lot of mine on this website, Animals Talking In All Capitals. If you asked me to pin down why I find this so hilarious I honestly couldn’t tell you, it just is. The same goes for Louis Vs. Rick. The same person turned me on to both of these, (thank you VERY much, Sarah Y.) and I love her eternally for that.

5. You know what I like about the holidays? Everywhere you go, there’s a lot of booze. And it’s the perfect gift, really, when you go to a party or an event (unless it’s thrown by Mormons, or something, in which case, it’s a huge faux pax, don’t do it). But how much cooler is MAKING your own booze? And if you don’t have a pocket distillery, you can at least infuse it on up with these recipes. Try Martha’s method, or make some peppermint vodka to warm the cold nights! I bet you could make as many kinds of infused liquors as there are holiday themed candles at Anthropologie. Who wants to accept that challenge? Anyone? Buller?

That’s what I’ve got for you today. Don’t forget to enter my pattern giveaway and win your own holiday gift!

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Filed under Clothing, Fabric, Giveaway, Inspiration, Knitting, Sewing, Tutorial

I promise I’m not a total slacker

I solemnly swear I do a lot of things with my time. They just aren’t always well photographed. I have a lot of respect/hate for these amazing bloggers whose husbands/boyfriends/life partners shoot amazing photos. I am NOT among them. I have yet to find someone who shoots great photos of me and my creations. Well, that’s not fair. People do shoot great photos of me, but I feel bad asking them. However, if I was having sex with someone, well, I feel like that would be a fair exchange. Maybe I should put out an ad:

SWF, excellent cook, cute as a button, seeks amorous fashion photograph. Must like theater. Nerdy glasses a plus. No serial killers, please.

That’s gonna work, right? Totally.

But I have been doing quite a bit these days, and making all kinds of neat things. I took a knitting class at Loop, which is the co-owner of my beloved Spool, and the most addicting place in the world. The stores are literally next to each other. It’s like putting a crack den next to a heroin shop (…do they have heroin shops?) and then pointing the addicts the way. So now I’ve been getting into knitting, which means more patterns to drool over, more stashing, more things to fill my time….yep. Good times. And I’ve made some gifts! Becca, Jenny, Lisa, look away right now if you don’t want to ruin the surprise.

This, someday, is going to be a neckwarmer. Man, knitting takes FOREVER. If sewing is a puzzle, then knitting is a maze, folks. You heard it here first! But I’ve already made two of them, so I feel like I’m going to make it out alive.

Apologies for the weird shadow. Don't know what that's about.


Yeah. I’m into knitting. I do make time for it, though. Since I moved out of my parents house and into my new apartment, I bring over my knitting whenever I go over to watch a netflix. Knitting is so much more mobile then sewing.

And what else is new? Oh, yeah. This guy.

This is Brother Cadfael. He is my new cat. Yes. Let the lifetime of spinsterhood begin. This is probably how it happened for Miss Marple. But on the flip side, I will get to solve crimes!  He is named after a fictional detective from a series by Ellis Peters. Because that’s how I roll. Also, Derek Jacobi played him in the BBC series. Pretty damn bad-ass.I rescued my Brothe Cadfael from a life on the streets, and he spends most of his time sleeping and staring at me adoringly. But hey, who DOESN’T?

And I’ve been sewing! Because the holidays are almost upon us (which, I mean, what the hell? How does this happen? Wasn’t it JUST July? No? Who is with me? I’m like a tote bag away from throwing up my hands and just buying stuff. But I will stay strong, people. With the help of wine). And I found this free tie pattern online, so, gentlemen in my life, get excited.

I hate cutting things. The things I do for people.

And I made myself some new pajamas. I like them, but I don’t LOVE them. The fit of the pattern is a little weird. I made them from a 1960’s pattern so they are short and the top is super short and they clearly were not designed for ladies with hips. It’s a juniors pattern, so I suppose that’s really my fault. I personally had hips a a junior, but I guess that’s a modern invention.

And tote bags. Lots of tote bags. Yeah.

I also made a dress for my company’s opening last week. It’s awesome. But I didn’t get GREAT photos because we were in a bar afterwards and we were drinking so neither the subject, yours truly, or the photographer (Brenna, who is the best) were really in a position to take the best shots. Well, we took SHOTS, but not photos. Know what I’m sayin’? I don’t know why people think theater is lame. We bring whiskey to practically everything. Fact.So I can’t show you the dress, really, but here is just a little preview!

Yep. That’s about all I’ve been up to. What about you guys?


Filed under Inspiration, Knitting, Sewing