Free pattern: Elanor Cowl

(This free pattern has been available on my old blog for some time, so I thought it would be a good idea to move it to the new one. Enjoy!)

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Supplies:

  • Yarn: Rowan Purelife Organic Cotton, two skeins; or 300 yards of a similar fingering weight yarn. I used colourway Chlorophyll.
  • Needles: size 4 / 3.5mm.
  • 8 buttons, the kind with little loops on the back, not holes through the center.
  • Crochet hook with a small enough tip to put through the loops of the buttons.
  • Tapestry needle.

Gauge: 

  • Doesn’t really matter for this project. It’s knit longways so you can test out the length as you go. To increase the width,  add a multiple of 6 stitches.

Instructions:

  1. Cast on 56 stitches.
  2. (RS) K2, *p1, yo, k2tog through the back loop, p1, k2* to the end.
  3. (WS) P2, *k1, p2* to the end.
  4. K2, *p1, k2tog, yo, p1, k2* to the end.
  5. P2, *k1, p2* to the end.
  6. Repeat these four rows until you reach an agreeable length.
  7. On a WS row, add your buttons: p2, k1, p2, k1, then on the next p, use your crochet hook to pull the loop off the left-hand needle and through the back of your button. Replace the loop on the left, make sure your button is facing the RS, and continue your p2, k1. Put a button on the first purl of every other ‘p2, k1’ segment. (Note, I didn’t put buttons at the very corners.
  8. As step 2 or 4, depending on which WS row you put the buttons on.
  9. Cast off and sew in your ends!

And the clever thing is, the openings in the lace double as buttonholes. Keep this in mind when picking buttons, they’ll need to squeeze through! I also left my cowl unblocked, as the cotton stays smooshier that way.

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IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR.

The time where I wander through all the tony boutiques in the city silently judging their seasonal knitwear offerings.  “Made in China” and “100% polyester”  written boldly across the tags like they’ve no shame at all. To further add to insult, usually you’ll flip these same tags over to discover a truly optimistic sale price. I’ve pretty much reached the point where I basically don’t buy knitwear at all because I know I can make it myself out of materials I know I will love, even if it doesn’t necessarily end up less expensive. (I’m looking at you, Anthropologie.)

There’s a balance that you figure out, as a handknitter (this is probably true across most crafts). Often it’s the dreaded “pick two” triangle. You know the one.

crafting-triangle

The more I learn about ethically-sourced high-quality wools, yarns, and notions, and the more I improve my skills, the more I’m (obviously) wary of stuff in stores. Does “handknit” actually mean knitted by hand? Or that someone’s hands turned on the knitting machine? Okay, this hat may be handknit, but it’s also 100% cotton, and that’s not going to be particularly helpful in rainy, 30 degree weather. A handmade local cashmere baby onesie may technically be worthy of a three digit price tag, but is it really worth it when you’re tiredly hand-washing stains out of it for the umpteenth time? Although, let’s be real, if you bought a $xxx cashmere anything for a baby, you’re probably not the one doing the hand-washing.

I think these are important things to consider, especially during primo gift-buying season. Should have written this post in time for Slow Fashion October last month.  ┐( ̄ー ̄)┌

Anyway, to get back to Anthropologie, can I talk about how much I want to turn this rug into a Guernsey-style knitting pattern? Because it is MUCH.

guernsey-rug

Foodlandia.

Portland is absolutely a food town. You can’t swing a cat around here without hitting a trendy eatery. Yeah, some of it is just hipster food. But some of it is really good stuff just dressed up like hipster food because you gotta do what you gotta do. There’s a little bit of everything. I’ve had excellent Lebanese, Ethiopian, Greek, Thai, Mexican, sushi, pho, pasta, sandwiches, tapas, all manner of alcoholic beverage, and every sort of vague continental European thing out there.

But I am from the South. THE South. The weird bit, even.

And there are just a few things that I’m having a hard time finding.

  • Conch fritters. Also, anyone who knows what a conch is.
  • Boiled peanuts. Like, the kind you buy from a guy in a wifebeater on the side of the highway.
  • Grits, shrimp optional but recommended.
  • Gator. DON’T LOOK AT ME LIKE THAT.
  • Fried okra. To be fair, I have had some pretty good fried okra, but it goes on the list so I get to go back, have more, and this time take a picture and make an official comment. 😀
  • Collard greens, and you gotta have that hot pepper vinegar to go with.
  • North Carolina-style BBQ.
  • South Carolina-style BBQ.
  • Honestly, the BBQ scene here is severely lacking.
  • Although I don’t know if Portlanders like to acknowledge those states.
  • LOL THE SOUTH AMIRITE?

So this summer I’m making it a personal mission to track down a few nibbles from the Motherland. Stay tuned. I’ll leave you with a glorious surprise find from two years ago, when I maybe had to call my dad and send a photo.

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PS YES I KNOW CRACKER BARREL IS OPENING SOME RESTAURANTS UP HERE SIMMER DOWN. … Also, my mom already sent me a gift certificate.

A tale of woe.

Do you see this hat? It was perfect. Slouchy in all the right places, and a truly excellent shade of witchy green in my favourite yarn that, for all I knew, had been discontinued forever (the Sanguine Gryphon’s Little Traveller). It was so perfect and so wearable and I loved it. Just look at it! Went with absolutely everything.

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So of course I would put it on a couple of weeks ago as I’m headed out the door to work. I would think nothing of the rain as I stood at the bus stop. I wouldn’t even hardly notice as a woman with an umbrella stood behind me as the bus pulled up.

But I definitely noticed when, as she closed her umbrella just over my shoulder, the end of one of the tines snagged the back of Perfect Favourite Green Little Traveller Slouchy Beanie and yanked it off my head, which happened pretty much as I was stepping up onto the bus. And I’m absolutely sure I noticed my poor hat land squarely in the rain-filled gutter between the bus wheel and the curb. In fact, I’m pretty sure that part actually happened in slow-motion, accompanied by me doing something along the lines of

HAPPIER TIMES AT ROSE CITY YARN CRAWL 2014.

RCYC 2014 at Twisted

RIP in peace, Perfect Favourite Green Little Traveller Slouchy Beanie.

May your successor prove worthy.

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Sometimes it’s not coffee and lime pickle for dinner.

Sometimes it’s real food.

This weekend was clear and cold — perfect soup weather — and I had a goal in mind: garlic soup, specifically this version by Najwa of Delicious Shots.

I did make a few changes to the original recipe: swapped out the chicken broth for vegetable, and sliced in a bunch of oyster mushrooms. I recommend getting a minion to do all the garlic peeling for you. Three heads is more cloves than you might think. The result was a rich, woodsy broth that you could smell from all the way down the hall. Planned on saving some of the leftovers for lunch at work but there were no leftovers to be had! Even kept some of the garlicky-thymey olive oil to use for cooking something else nice later.

garlic soup

It’s Monday now and the dishes still aren’t done, but one thing at a time.

In other news, I assembled the artificial Christmas tree we put up at work today and now my poor delicate little forearms are scratched all to hell. Trying not to mind, as it’s probably the only tree I’ll get to have this year. :/

Happy 99%-off-bagged-Halloween-candy Day!

It was a rare morning — cloudless, breezy, and full of sunshine — and very appreciated after last night’s downpour. Spent it out strolling with a nice hot latte in my hand and ended up popping in to one of the local bead shops. Now, beading is another one of those crafts that I really enjoy but have to aggressively ration, because if I’m not careful, I’ll be drowning in one more craft’s worth of supplies and my peace of mind can’t handle that what with already the watercolors and inkpens and of course the yarn yarn yarn yarn.

But I did find these tiny zodiac sign charms that I simply had to have. Starting with Cancer, Leo, and Scorpio so I have markers specifically for my three main giftees’ Christmas knits, but I may go back tomorrow and pick up the rest to make a full set.

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Which is not to say I haven’t been doing my post-Halloween American duty and going into a proper candy-fueled sugar coma. Those peanut butter cups won’t eat themselves.

lil moth goes to Paris!

You heard it here first, folks. Almost six and a half years exactly after my first visit, I’m headed back to Paris.

I never had the Paris-based Audrey-and-peonies obsession that ran rampant through the personal aesthetics of women aged 18 to 25 a while back. As Western Europe goes, I much prefer London, but to be perfectly honest I massively lucked into this trip so overall you will hear zero complaints from me no sir.

gare du nord

It’s about time to start transitioning into my fall/winter wardrobe in Portland, so I think I’m going to take the opportunity to chuck a lot of old stuff before I leave and go on a wee spree while I’m travelling. Most of these silly “dress like a Parisian” articles say the same things. Stick to neutrals. Keep jewellery simple. Weigh 100 pounds regardless of your height. Black, black, black. I can manage that last one easily enough but the jury’s still out on whether I’ll go full Audrey Hepburn on this. Spoiler alert: probably not.

On the other hand SHOPPING IN PARIS SHIT YES

eiffel tower

Ahem.

I’ll also need to start asking the tough questions pretty soon. Just what do I need to pack? What was that mussels restaurant that I went to last time? Do I still know enough French to schmooze on the hotties? And for god’s sake where are all the YARN SHOPS

WIP Wednesday.

Today I’m working with two things I’m really crazy about, and one thing I’m really not.

PDX Carpet sock

Crazy: One of my regulars at the shop got me curious about these miniscule circular needles. I’m a DPN user primarily, since I get really bad laddering with two circulars or magic loop, so I was interested in the notion of having a continuous loop but a little wary of the obvious ungainliness. I’ve recently tried both Addi’s 8″ needle and HiyaHiya’s 9″, and I must say I do prefer the HiyaHiyas. That tiny extra bit of cable makes a big difference.

Crazy: This new yarn by Portland local Knitted Wit, Victory Sock. It’s a fabulous yarn, especially, it seems, for socks. It’s quite a firm yarn, which makes it super springy and it holds shape really well. This particular colorway is inspired by the carpet at PDX, of which we’re all getting weirdly possessive at the moment. I have another skein of this stuff in  bright teal. Love it.

Not crazy: So… I’m making socks. I’m not a sock knitter! In my whole knitting history, I’ve probably made a half-dozen pairs, and every last one of them has been for somebody else. Well, these are for me. ME ME ME. Perhaps that will help keep the Second Sock Syndrome at bay.

I thought that with my super knitting mojo on right now, I might could have these puppies finished in time for Crafty Wonderland this weekend, but it’s looking dubious. We shall see.

This morning, no. 1

 
Every day is breakfast in bed when bed is the only place to eat breakfast.

Simple is best today. A big pile of fluffy scrambled eggs with Portland-made Marshall’s Haute Sauce.

Ooh ahh Rose Cii-iity.

I was finally able to kidnap my Washington Park shawlette and take a decent photo. This was the mystery knit-along for this year’s Rose City Yarn Crawl. It was made to be a shop sample, so I went a little not-me with the colour combination. Seems to be making a good impression, bright and crazy just in time for summer.

Washington Park Shawl for FYS

God himself damn that knitted-on edging, though.

Pattern: the Washington Park shawl by Debbi Stone.

Yarn: Dream in Color “Jilly”.