Hello. I'm a jack of many trades, but what I love most is making things and writing about how to do it...(read more)


First Icelandic sweater

I'm so happy with my first Icelandic-style sweater! I mailed it off to Scotland yesterday, where I imagine my daughter wearing it under her raincoat to stay warm in the blustery weather.


Quilts for college

Finally both college quilts are finished. The blue and white for my son, the red and white for my daughter. Never mind that my son just started his junior year and this quilt was supposed to be there for him from day 1 of college...


Here's what's on my mind

Here's what's on my mind --- black pussy willows from my neighbor Judy and this fantastic "trimeteria" display from a shop in Rhinebeck, NY. For me spring is a time to take a look around me, to notice what's growing, and to think about new things I want to make. Especially this year, after a winter wrapped in scarves and hats, marching with my head down, concentrating only on staying warm, in spring I appreciate things.



6 pairs of mittens and 5 hats later and winter is finally over, for me at least. As I think back on this winter's knitting, I laugh at myself because I made 6 pairs of identical mittens, and 5 identical hats. Sure, I played with stripes and colors to have some fun, but I used the same basic mitten and hat pattern (*) over and over again, and this has gotten me thinking about the nature of repetitive work. As you know if you create anything, almost anything at all, from cookies to quilts to stories, making things is all about repetition. One cookie is never enough. You make one quilt block and you need a bunch more before you have a quilt. Knit a mitten and you need to knit another. And one sentence does not a paragraph make. But on an even more basic level, whether you're knitting or sewing or whatever (nailing? gluing?), it's all the same thing, over and over again. And depending on your personality, all this repetition either calms you down, so you're drawn to pick up your project often enough that it doesn't get buried under piles of whatever you have lying around. Or the repetition agitates the heck out of you, and all you can think is when will this stupid project be finished? And you hide it under one of the piles so you can forget it existed and do something more important with your time. I am one of the people who gets calm. I like the process as much (ok, almost) as I like to finish the project. So as I'm about to switch from my wooly, wintery knitting to some spring socks --- you guessed it, using the same sock pattern I've been using for years --- I wonder if I would be better off if I were the other kind of person? Impatient to move on, learn new things, ready to take on more challenges and make myself a better person?

Probably the answer is yes.

So, in the spirit of self improvement and with best wishes for an revelatory spring, I'm trying out a new sock pattern. I'll let you know how it goes.

* The mitten pattern is from an old Elizabeth Zimmerman book (I forget which one) and the hat pattern from Debbie Stoller's "Stitch 'n Bitch book.

(photo above is of my daughter Ellie and her friend Caroline in their - almost - matching hats.)


Snowy day dog walk

The thing about a dog is you have to get up from your nice warm spot at the kitchen table, sipping your coffee, and take a walk. Rain or snow or shine, like the postman. Some days it's the last thing I want to do but once I'm outside I'm pretty much always glad I'm there. Thanks Ringo.