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In which I speak to Quilters.

Box bags, yo.  I made some.

Blue Zipper Bag is sweater-sized, and Green Zipper Bag is mid-sized (though I affectionately refer to it as The Pudge Bag.)  Perfect for a child’s sweater project, several of which are in my queue for the fall.

Crazy gratifying, and also addictive:  I have several more cut and ready to sew.  I want to go back to IKEA for more fabric, and given that I am still scarred from my last trip, that is saying something.

The sizes have been determined by the lengths of the zippers I had in my stash, and of course , sizing on-the-fly is one of the benefits to sewing something one does not intend to wear.

This has been a wonderfully experimental learning process.  Like tweaking a recipe to your own tastes…

I don’t want to beat a dead horse (though now that I think about it, who wants to beat a live horse?  Really??  Why do we say these things??), but in case you’ve been living in a cave for the past half-decade, there are many, many tutorials out there for making box bags.  I will let Google give you the comprehensive list.

I perused several, but mainly I used this one by One Shabby Chick, because it was for an unlined bag.  I didn’t need or want a lining, because I used home decor weight from IKEA, not flimsy quilter’s cotton, which requires interfacing for its shape.

I had to go to a Local Quilt Shop for some thread, and after asking if they carried home decor weight fabrics (no!) and explaining that I was not in for the August sale on Batiks (but that I do indeed know what a Batik is!) we had a nice little cross-cultural exchange.  I described the box bags, one of the quilters admitted to keeping a little knitting project on the side at times, and we all shared a goodwill moment of maybe-your-thing-isn’t-really-my-thing-but-we’re-all-craftspeople.

I’m definitely a knitter (or more broadly, a yarn/fiber person), but I also dabble in sewing.  I think if you have one main craft, it’s likely you spread into other side crafts as well, it’s hard to avoid.

Or is it just me?  I feel like I’ve seen knitters foray into sewing, quilting, embroidery in several forms, even canning and preserving feels more crafty and less cooking at times….

What’s your side thing?


Worth It.

Last Friday I went to IKEA.

This boded poorly for me, for two reasons:  I hadn’t been to IKEA since moving to our house 3 years ago, and I went alone.

I should have known better, but I was out there for a client, so no kids (an in-and-out trip, thought I!) and I didn’t have carseats with me (all the better to fit things, thought I!), and away I went.

4 hours later, drenched in sweat, bedraggled in wrinkled work clothes, I hauled away two carts laden with office furniture, children’s furniture, and all the assorted things that make IKEA so compelling to shop at (dish towels! tea strainers! train tracks! fabric! all-the-things!)

EJ ended up with a new big boy bunk bed and I ended up with a scrap of home decor weight fabric destined to be a box bag:

Seriously.  Even though I wanted to die trying to load up my car in 105 degree parking garage August gas-fumed heat, I still freaking love IKEA.

Do the right thing.

After giving back the original Snowmates for Her to Caro & Stitchy last year for the Knitting It Old School trunk show, I was itching to cast on for one of my very own.

Back in February at SPA I cast on, and made decent progress, churning out the entire yoke over the course of the weekend.

(insert a couple of months focusing on work and other projects – you’ve all been there)

And after a concerted effort for two weeks in July, I knocked out the rest of the sweater, down to the hem.  I just wanted to block it out before binding off to make sure the colorwork tension wasn’t wonky.

And here is what I cut off the bottom after trying on the blocked sweater and realizing my torso is much longer and straighter than the hip increases as written for my size.

(Of course, people with my chest circumference are often much shorter than I.  It makes perfect sense that the hips as written would not be where MY hips are.)

I’m re-knitting from the waist down for the THIRD time now, and it is at this point that I have to constantly remind myself that all the effort is worth it for a sweater that will fit me perfectly, that I know I will love for years.  And I’m grateful that I can, because with a top-down raglan, you can always just try on as you go.  Really, I am, and I keep telling myself that, because I kind of want to throw it in the corner right now, and play with the BSA Melange I have all wound up and ready to go for New Towne.

Swatch me.  You know you want to.

Here and There

I feel the need to catch up before I can blog about current things, but catch ups are so tedious, so let’s leave it at this:

A couple of years ago I had a baby, then I didn’t sleep, we left NYC to buy a house in MA, there was another baby, still no sleep, and an embarrisingly small amount of knitting.

Now, baby the second is well past his first birthday, weaned, and sleeping through the night. I can reliably report that it takes about 2 weeks of full nights’ sleep to recover one’s brain from the fog of long term sleep deprivation. I am no longer stupid.

I also knit again. It is rather glorious.


See? I finished a sweater, and am unabashedly thrilled about it.

I finished it Friday night in Rhinebeck, which was cutting things a little close, but not so close that say, I was drying it in the oven, or wearing it without the ends woven in.

Rhinebeck was pretty fantastic. I didn’t take many pictures, but Amy posted pictures of our house on her blog*, and Caro on Flickr and really now that we’ve discussed Rhinebeck and the current state of my sleep, I feel like we’ve covered all the obligatory topics and I can start posting again like a normal person.

*also, Amy just announced the book she’s been working on, so a shout out of congratulations to her! Her designs are smart and stylish and infinitely wearable (do a search for her on Ravelry and see for yourself) and I am sure the book is going to be something very special. If you haven’t seen her site, you need to check it out now.

Knitting It Old School

Jackie also rocks Snowmates

(all photos this post copyright Splityarn. see below.)

There was a short period of time in the midst of all the baby-crazy the past three years that I had the capacity of a fully functioning adult, and I had the privilege to work on a design for Caro and Stitchy’s latest project, Knitting it Old School, a book which is basically the love child of Caro and Stichy’s adoration of, and fascination with, everything vintage.

Caro and Stitchy have the gift of translating fashions from the past… Not just the obvious appeal of classic patterns from the 40s or 50s (I mean really, have sweater sets ever been out of fashion completely? Anyone can do a vintage book centered on “classic”…) but also of the bold statements from the 60s, 70s and 80s. Their vision for those designs make you realize why the designs of those times were popular in the first place and show just how versatile those pieces can be.

Case in point, I had the pleasure of pattern writing Tammy George’s design Snowmates for Her (Rav link).

Kel rocks Snowmates

It’s a classic pullover, 3/4 length sleeves, waist shaping, fabulous neckline details (nested ribbing with contrast inner hem – love it!!!) with some funky color work detail. The bold blocks of color make me think of the late 60s. Maybe the 80s.

But there’s so much you could do with this pattern! I plan on making it for myself, and maybe inserting a snowflake motif for a Nordic sweater feel. You could omit the color work completely for more of a workhorse wardrobe piece. Or you could insert a favorite line of poetry or prose for something more personal, or whimsical. (I just thought of that, and damn, forget the snowflakes. I think I want words instead.)

Anyway, the pattern is easily modified… knit top-down, raglan style, just keep increasing until it fits your bust. Then keep decreasing until it fits your waist. Then increase again until it fits your hips. The math to figure all that out is fairly simple, even if you’ve never modified a pattern before.

The sweater itself looks good on, well, everyone I’ve seen wear it.

Ms Too Much Wool rocks Snowmates

(The wrinkles are from it just coming out of the Trunk.)

Kellee, Cassie and I have significantly different builds and body shapes, and it looks great on all of us, if I do say so myself.

Hats off to Tammy for her gorgeous design. I can’t wait to have one of my very own. Believe you me, I’d have at least one already if I hadn’t spent the last year pregnant, and wondering where my measurements will settle once I finish nursing.

(All pictures courtesy Caro Benna Sheridan, aka Splityarn, aka photographer extraordinaire)

A perfect weekend

WordPress just ate my post, and I haven’t the time nor inclination to recreate it (once when I was in college, Word ate a 20 page term paper, and I took the zero rather than try to recreate the work. It’s just so freaking disheartening. But I digress.)

It has been a lovely weekend. There was a leisurely dinner out, complete with tapas and sangria. There was gardening, and chive vinegar. There were happy children, enjoying the sunshine. There was a first pickup of organic raw milk, and local honey in tea. There was knitting, and long hours hanging out on my parents big ass deck. There were rhododendron bushes heavy with blossoms.







A perfect way to begin the summer.

Today, it is so.

I once asked Amy how she got so much knitting done (she churns out sweaters as if she lived in an eternal Maine winter), and she told me that her elder pre-school aged son just wanted her to be NEXT to her while he played, and her younger son was really only interested in what her elder son was doing.

At the time I wondered if I’d ever get to that glorious place.

Today, I have.



The Effects of Sunshine on the Soul

The sunlight is back.

I had an idea to chronicle all that’s happened in the 6 months or so since I last posted (um, since I had the baby), but in the bright glow of the March sunlight, I’ve found that I have no heart to drudge up the 5′ snowbank that sealed our front door off, or the 20 degrees BELOW zero (F) it was one morning, or the long john filled days of playing trains and nursing, and hot tea during naptime in a vain attempt to ward off exhaustion and cold drafts.

Somewhere in the last week that all became history.

It may have been SPA – a weekend filled with supportive friends, adult conversation, sleep, and fiber-y inspiration. My god, I love SPA. This year, Kellee made it happen for me, convincing Eric that it was the perfect weekend to get Tommy on bottles (she was right. No surprise there.)

There is something about SPA that is rejuvenating. I think it’s getting to spend REAL time with your friends, all holed up together in a hotel, for a big long sleepover. It’s not a quick knit night, it’s not a whirlwind barn-touring festival, it’s a big long pajama-fest with fiber. And room service.

Which is awesome, and certainly does a lot for the state of one’s psyche.

But today, today I am convinced it’s the sunlight.

A few weeks ago I couldn’t see past the day-to-day drudgery, I couldn’t figure out in my head how I was going to manage our jumbled schedule of conflicting family needs (work, class, meetings, trips… all a big puzzle of how to get who where, and hopefully on time).

But the sun is out, shining onto my desk, and across the play floor, and it feels like we’ve turned one big corner. I can see all the stuff before us, and it’s clicking. I can figure it out.

We may get more snow this winter. Hell, it was only 2 degrees this morning outside my kitchen window as I made my tea. But the sun is strong, and it’s been shining, and it’s all downhill to summer from here.

I’ve been knitting too. Here’s a preview of what I’m going to be showing off in the next few posts:


And a little baby love, because it really all does go by too fast:


Second Child Syndrome

Referring to the difference between how the first child is treated vs the second child (see: benign neglect), as well as what happens to bloggers after their second child is born (see: fall off face of earth).


Thomas Richard Pawlowski, born 2 months ago, after 3 days of labor and arriving to much joy and happiness. However, as he is the second child, there was no live tweeting of the event, nor a guest blog post by Eric announcing his arrival.

Or a blog post about his arrival, at all.

His labor and delivery are no longer fresh in my mind… rather I am immersed in the daily juggle of toddler and infant, the dance of naps and meals, the constant stream of diapers. It is wonderful, and it is all consuming.


Thomas is a sweetheart. He is full of bright smiles and contentment. He’s recently taken to waking only once at night. (EJ still wakes up once or twice himself, and it took almost 2 years to get that good.) I am smitten.

And busy.

Slowly I am eking out Metro (from the fall twistcollective), which I see as a good nursing sweater – a cardigan with no buttons. It awaits sleeves and a neck, but I feel confident I will eventually finish and wear it.

There are many other things happening, but right now it’s all busy-ness and overcommitment… not worth the time to type about it.

I miss you, my friends in the computer. But right now my eyes are on the rugrats, not on the screen.

Still Here

Quick update, to explain my long absence.

I’m pregnant. Very pregnant. Only wearing muumuus now pregnant. Waddling like a penguin pregnant. EJ is also obsessed with the computer, which drastically reduces the amount of time I can spend here. So we’ve been enjoying a leisurely, half-step-out-of-time-with-the-rest-of-the-world sort of summer… gardening, berry picking, pie baking, spending afternoons at the playground or the pool. Trying to prevent him from flushing the toilet at every turn.

Baby is due in 6 weeks. I’m hoping for 4, my doula cautions me to think 8 the better to avoid disappointment.

Expect pictures of the new arrival here, when he decides to make his appearance.