in which we are trying to stay warm

It’s brutal outside, howling winds and temperatures dropping into the single digits in the evenings. Sam and I are all about comfort foods, snuggling with the dogs, and marathoning Netflix this week. (Who else is watching Jessica Jones? I have Such Big Feelings.)

Luckily, I have warm hobbies.


Oh hey, that stitch marker is from Shannon (Purloff!) at Stitches West! My heart. ❤

I’m currently working two projects in worsted weight yarn, which is sort of unusual for me— I tend to knit DK or fingering weight projects, but I think I’m in a rush to be as covered in woolens as quickly as possible. I’ve just cast off a gift which I’ll post as soon as it’s blocked and sent out; currently, I’ve a worsted pullover sweater on the needles, although only barely. I’m on the neck, which is where you begin, so I feel silly telling you “I have a sweater on the needles,” but I need some accountability on this one; I haven’t knit a sweater in over a year. I watched Stefanie Japel finish this pattern at Rhinebeck in the prettiest gold and haven’t been able to get it out of my head ever since. The pattern will be Daelyn from Swans Island– a really clean, modern pullover with some garter stitch detail. Neighborhood Fiber Co.’s Sheridan Circle seemed perfect; I’ve had four skeins in Studio Worsted in my stash for a few months, and I swore that once we settled in I’d treat myself to a new sweater. Karida’s semi- solid colorwork just glows in simple stitchwork.

madtosh dried fruit

The thing about modest, subtle colors like these is that when they are intelligently dyed, they look even better once they begin to make a fabric. This one begins to look like the heart of a fire when worked up- it’s really exciting to knit.

The other thing keeping me occupied this week are two skeins of Madeline Tosh DK in Dried Fruit, a colorway exclusive to Jimmy Beans Wool . I can’t show you what’s on the other end of that ball quite yet because it’s a design in progress, but it’s going to help keep me warm this winter and I’m super grateful for that, and also the opportunity to design in that color— just look at that. Oh hot damn, right? MY LIFE, friends. What even.

I’ve been feeling pretty fortunate lately, despite the weather (and the promise of an imminent Snowmageddon this weekend); things are simple and I’ve been feeling better than I have in a very long time. I’m beginning to have a bit of a painting problem,* but that hasn’t stopped me at all and the art supply store was having a canvas sale so I have six large blank canvases waiting for me in case we get snowed in this weekend. (I may be rooting for getting just slightly snowed in this weekend.) I’m still working through a backlog, playing catch- up, and trying to work through the last few boxes- okay, and the entire second bedroom, because we just never look at it- but none of that is crushing. that’s just the thing— there are things that need doing, some that really need my attention, and they get it, but there are no do- or- die, end- of- the- world, all- is- ashes list items here.

I hadn’t realized just how extraordinary the stress had gotten before the move. I know I had been setting boundaries, really super healthy ones, and at the time I thought I was doing it out of a surfeit of caution, but wow, I’m so glad I did. I said a lot of gentle, kind “no”s in the six months/ year before we moved. Where did that come from? That’s got to be partly Sharen’s influence. If I turned you down for work, didn’t return a call or email, or worse, if I shot you down for social time over the last year, it wasn’t you, trust me. I’ve been patching myself together, healing, and realigning. I’m happy I listened to those instincts. I should possibly listen to that little voice more often. It is so frequently (almost always) right. The sense of relief in this new space, now that we have settled and are beginning to really adapt to our routines, it’s wonderful. I feel expansive, open, free.

I’m signing off to get busy making a strata for dinner— we have some leftover grocery store challah (avoid the grocery store challah, friends, it never lives up to the hype no matter how awesome it looks) and good farm cheese, a slab of leftover meat, a fistful of herbs that need love before they go weird on us and way too many eggs for two people.

Before I go: what are you working on these days? I’d love to see what is in everyone’s knitting, crochet, & sewing baskets. Ooooh, and let’s talk about reading, too- what’s on your nightstand table?  I just finished up Sam Gosling’s Snoop; thoroughly entertaining and exactly the light non- fiction I needed to get me through the worst of the move, but I’m looking for something meatier now that I’m beginning to feel a little settled. Who’s into something good?

Hope you’re warm, wherever you are. I’ll be back with pictures of knitting, and more, soon.


*A Painting Problem, defined:  I live in an 850 square ft house, most of my walls are windows, and I don’t know how to price paintings. (If you know/ have ideas on how one puts prices to a canvas, I’d like to hear from you because these things are stacking up. Help.) Also, have any of my readers done any work with Society6? They seem like a possible venue for prints, etc and I’d love to hear real- world feedback/ reviews. Who wants a rainbow puddle on… a pillow, or a duvet cover? Or an iPhone case, I guess? I’m actually sort of feeling the pillows, now that we’re talking about it. They’ll do almost anything, it looks like, wall clocks and whathaveyou, I’m mostly interested in prints, etc, but if you have any experience with them at all, I want to hear it!


  One thought on “in which we are trying to stay warm

  1. January 19, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    The latest things I’ve read are Without You There Is No Us by Suki Kim, Guantanamo Diary by Mohamedou Ould Slahi, and Submission by Michel Helle-something-Frenchy. All very good.

    As for knitting, I’m making an Oscar cardigan for one of my nephews. Just finished my Aftur pullover which is coming in handy right now! Let me know if I can ever dye up something for you. We could do a yarn/painting swap or something!

    • January 20, 2016 at 2:45 pm

      Oh, Guantanamo Diary sounds like something I’d be very excited to read- checking that out right away. Adding the others to my list- thank you for the recommendations! I picked up E.L. Doctorow’s last collection of short stories (All The Time In The World) last night to get me through; I’m still working through his last three works very, very slowly since he passed, but oh, this is so very good.

      I am all about barter and trade- I was just talking about this with someone on FB this afternoon! Let me work through these two projects, but you are ON. Thanks for the offer!

  2. January 19, 2016 at 9:12 pm

    I have issues with starting and finishing projects. I have 21 projects on needles right now. I managed to start 7 of them pretty much after the New Year. LOL!

    • January 20, 2016 at 2:50 pm

      TECHNICALLY, there are more projects on the needles: a pair of rainbow mitts, a pair of grey mitts, a pair of socks that just need an afterthought heel. I don’t count these because they are… resting. Yeah. We’re going with that.

  3. Tan
    January 19, 2016 at 10:28 pm

    I love that you are winding your yarn by hand. Does Sam hold or wind? I am knitting myself a hood in bulky yarn in hopes I can get it done with my minimal knitting time (school started).

    • January 20, 2016 at 3:35 pm

      I usually drape it on my knees, actually! I love hand- winding because it gives me the chance to really explore a skein before I use it— look for any issues, understand the color, get a feel for the base, all of that. It’s also a pretty good shoulder mobilizer; I’ll switch my hand- positioning up and really open up both sides.

  4. Hallie
    January 19, 2016 at 11:01 pm

    I would so put rainbow puddle pillows (puddillows?) all over my house/bed/futon.

    • January 20, 2016 at 3:36 pm

      You have so much house to fill, I think I’m obligated to make pud-illows now. ❤

  5. January 20, 2016 at 11:05 am

    I know a few who sell with society6. I’ll see if I can connect you to get some feedback on their end. As one who purchases products, I’ve been happy with the quality of prints on notecards & postcards and a ceramic mug.

  6. January 20, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    Society6 is amazing as a customer, I’ve bought tons of stuff (from prints to blankets) and quality is always high and the printing very very good. If you’d like to have a canvas pricing conversation I can certainly send you a couple of charts I have. I go by size usually with an upcharge on things I really really like.
    I’m excited to see what you are producing!

  7. Amy Crook
    January 20, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    Friend of Penny’s, commenting as requested on Society6!

    My experience with them has been that if someone asks for a thing, I put the thing up, they buy the thing, and that’s… it. There is very little discoverability, unless S6 picks you to feature, which I haven’t been lucky to experience so far. Also, you set your profit/prices on art prints, but everything else they price so you only get a few dollars.

    Also, about pricing art, it’s very individual! The advice I’ve been given, which has worked for me quite well, is be consistent and go by size, because people find that’s something they can understand. If all your 12×12 canvases are one price, and the 18x24s are another, more expensive price, then that seems sensible to buyers. Otherwise, I think it’s best to just choose a price range that only makes you cringe a little (because artists are terrible at valuing themselves!) and go for it.

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