Summer List

Warming my toes

We’ve been doing a fair amount of sitting outside watching a fire burn down lately.  No long family vacations for the Knitting Up North household, but several long weekends away and watching a fire whenever we can.


  1. I was kind of bummed last week that I chose not to go to Stitches Midwest this year.  I love going but had made the decision that I was going to be content with Knitting Extravaganza instead.
  2. Now I have an overwhelming urge to attend Vogue Knitting Live in Chicago Nov. 1-3.  Check out the class list.  The timing isn’t fantastic for me, we’ll be coming off one extremely busy time at work and heading right into another, but I think hope I might be able to sneak away.  I certainly wouldn’t mind if someone wanted to enable me by offering to come along on the trip.  Of course, there’s also one in Seattle March 14-16 which happens to fall during Spring Break.  I don’t officially get time off at Spring Break, but its usually easier to sneak away at that time.  Besides, Seattle in March has got to be better than the frozen tundra Superior in March.
  3. I finished some stuff.  Do you want to see pictures?  Me too!
  4. I started a LightSpeed.  So far so good.  I’m using some Trekking for my main color and Noro for the contrast.  It’s gonna be puuurdy.  I should get pictures of this soon too.
  5. I have another pair of Houdini socks started.  One sole done and another about halfway.  Best. Sock. Pattern. Eva.  As I’ve said before, I don’t do the lace pattern on the cuff of the sock.  I usually pick some other cuff ribbing that I like.  I’m not sure what I’ll do on these yet.
  6. I bottled wine at lunch today.  It was wine for an event we’re having next spring.  Crazy, huh?
  7. I’ve been doing a bit of spinning again.  It took me a bit to get my wheel set up the way I like, but now I’m off and running with it.  I’m trying to do a little bit after the kids go to bed each night.

The Cardigan That Wasn’t

So…. I started on my Liesl cardigan.  I’m using a very fluffy off white yarn that was deep in the stash.  It’s bulky weight and when I first pulled out the skein it appeared as though there was a lot of that particular yarn.  Until I ran out of yarn.

So I went back to the stash and realized that while I have a lot of off white yarn in that bin, it was not the same off white yarn.  Even my husband could see there was a difference.  No problem, I thought, I made a sweater out of that particular yarn already.  I’m sure I can access the yarn information in Ravelry.  I’m pretty positive I bought the yarn locally and I’ll just see if they have more.  Worst case, I’ve got the blog as a back up to all my projects, I would have recorded the information on the blog.

Can you see me setting myself up for a fall?  It’s like when you’re watching a horror movie and the damsel in distress goes into the basement even though everyone watching is yelling, “don’t go into the basement!”  You can just cover your eyes now.

The sweater is not in my Ravelry projects.

The sweater is not on the blog.

I referenced (vague reference) finishing it in 2011 in time to wear it to Yarnover.  But no details.  Not a single one.  Not even the pattern name.

The sweater is not all that attractive.  It’s warm, it’s cozy, but it’s a white sweater made out of bulky weight wool.  It’s practically bulletproof.

No pictures of the sweater can be found.

No reference to the yarn can be found.

But I vaguely remember having lots of yarn left over after the sweater was done.  (To be fair, I had a nasty cold/flu thing while knitting and finishing this sweater and so I think I was in a major fog that might have affected reasonable thought.)

I considered my options.  I could keep the top white and knit the bottom in a contrasting color.  But I didn’t think I had enough yarn of anything other than red to finish the sweater with.  And reds are, well let’s face it, reds are hard to match.  And I really don’t have many red summer dresses to wear this with.

So I threw caution to the wind and started tossing the stash in front of my husband.  Now my husband knows that I have a lot of yarn.  He even thinks I have an unreasonable amount of yarn.  And he occasionally comments to this effect.  But rarely do I pull it all out while he is at home.  It’s really for the best that way.  I don’t understand why he owns so many Boy Scout mugs/patches/uniforms/memorabilia/etc. and he doesn’t understand why I own so much yarn.  As long as we don’t bring it all out in front of the other person we are able to co-exist in the same house with the other person’s hoarding collection treasure.  This time though, storage bags were pulled out from under the couches, the trunk was sifted through, and drawers were gone through.  And finally, I found one extra large skein of off white yarn.  It’s unlabeled, so I still don’t know what it is.  I pulled the skein out, triumphant, and showed it to my husband.

He didn’t seem impressed.



Run. Do Not Walk.

Quick, go to Ravelry and look for the Winged Knits Collection by Cecily Glowik MacDonald.  She is giving 20% off her patterns if you enter SUMMER in the coupon code at checkout.

I love her design aesthetic.  I have several of her patterns and I’ve knit a couple.  Her patterns are well written and easy to follow.  I could easily come up with a wish list of patterns and yarn just based on her designs.  In fact, I found no less than 4 short sleeve cardigans that would work for summer dresses.  All are long enough to cover the tummy if that’s what you need (I do!).  Or you can make them more cropped if that’s your style (not mine).

Or take a long sleeve cardigan and convert it to a short sleeve.


So stop reading my silly ramblings and go.  Have Fun.  Shop.


I think summer is here.  At least it was here last week.  The weather made it up into the high 80′s for 3 full days until it plunged back into the 50′s.  It’s a foggy balmy 55 today – light sweater weather.

One of those warm days we took the kids on a 4.5 mile walk down the Osaugie Trail.  By the time we got back the temp had hit 90 degrees F and the girls thought they were going to melt.  So we did what any good Northerner would do and left our un-air conditioned house and went to the air conditioned library.

My Little Reader

The kids found a stack of books to read and I found some cookbooks.  I recently found out that I need to follow a gluten free diet and so I’m reading everything I can get my hands on.  I’ll try to keep the gluten-free chatter on my family blog, instead of cluttering it up here.  It’s not an easy change for me (oh let me list the things I miss!) but it has definitely made an improvement in how I feel.

While going from extremely warm to cold air conditioning, it struck me that what I need is a little light airy sweater.  Something like the Liesl that has been in my queue  I even own a hard copy of the pattern.  Every summer I say I’m going to make a rainbow of these to go over tank tops and little sun dresses (of which I probably own 3).  Then fall comes around and I wonder why I would ever want anything without full sleeves.

But baby, I promise this summer will be different.

But first, I’ve got to finish my Lumen shawl (on the last 16 rows) and the HPKY scarf.  By the time I’m done with all that garter stitch I think I’ll be ready for some feather and fan action.  Hopefully there will still be a few days of warmish weather left to inspire me to knit a Liesl.

Bitten by Smitten

It’s funny how the next project is always the best project.  What I mean is while I’m working on the current project most of the time I’m dreaming about the next project down the line.  What’s it going to look like, what yarn I’ll use, whether I need to go buy more yarn or if I have it in the stash, do I have the needles I need…. and the list goes on.

So it should be no surprise to me that when I was working on my first Smitten Scarf I was planning the next one.

And the next.


I have blacks, greys and whites picked out for my next scarf.  I was just waiting for the weather to get less grey and stormy before I started something that colorless.  But that’s when I got bitten.  Apparently, working on this scarf for 2 weeks straight without any other knitting gave me a slight repetitive stress injury in my hand.  I was told that ice and ibuprofen were fine, but that it should be accompanied by no knitting.  Yikes!!  (I guess it goes to show that my normal knitting of several projects at once isn’t such a bad idea after all)

I took a two day break…. it was a hard two days!  Once I got over the shakes I was much better.  After the two days, I found a hat to knit that was done with worsted weight yarn to see if that would help.  I even crocheted a bit thinking that would help as you move the muscles differently.  It all helped a little.

I was able to power through the blue scarf.  I’m donating it to a silent auction for a friend who is paddling in Dragon Boat World competition.  It’s a bit brighter than something I would normally knit – I really struggled with the color combinations.  I finally decided that what I didn’t like about the scarf was that it didn’t go with black or grey (the color of pants that I seem to wear a lot of).  When I held the scarf up against a blue or green background it looked great.  It really pops against denim.

Last night I tossed the stash a bit and decided that I really have some lovely handspun from Sharon that I should use before the Second Coming.  I was searching for something simple and mostly brainless that would make the most of 2 skeins of 210 yds each.  Then it hit me, I have a lovely kit for a Bias Shawl from HPKY that a bought a while back.  It’s soft, it’s fluffy, it feels too light and airy to be real.  And, it’s warm.  Which normally is not something I would want at the end of June.  But since this is not a normal year, I need warmth!

Fuzzy Wuzzy

In the meantime, I’ll keep looking for the perfect project for my handspun.




The grass outside my window is actually turning green and my husband is starting to work on outside projects.  I’m very excited as we are doing extensive yard projects this year.  It’s not quite a total yard makeover, but it will be close.  We’re moving the garden to a sunnier spot as the trees around our old garden have gotten much bigger and leafier since we planted it.  We’re putting in a retaining wall type of planter along the south side of the house, and we’re putting in a backyard patio.  I say “we” but really all I’ve done is consult on the correct color of block and pavers.  I’ll do the majority of the planting or replanting.  And of course the purchasing of new plants.  The nights have still been really cold, so I’m hesitant to buy or plant much right now.

As for my knitting, welllll… I am knitting.  I’m in the 2nd section of the Cameo shawl.  I’m anxious for the final section,which is lace.  I spent the Memorial Day weekend driving down to Chicago and back (a trip that I would normally be a passenger on most if not all of the trip) so I didn’t get to knit as much as I would like.  I did get to work a little on a crocheted blanket for my nephew while I was there.  The up side to driving all that way was that I was able to catch up on my knitting podcasts while in the car.  The girls got a little tired of listening to knitting though so we mixed it up with They Might Be Giants on the way home.

This weekend I realized too late that I had left my knitting at the office hiding under my desk.  I pulled out a kit for a Mini Mania scarf.  Oh. My.  I am smitten!!  I don’t know what it is about this scarf, whether it’s the colors or changing yarn every row, but I totally and completely love it.  I’m planning my next three scarves in my head right now.  There is no reasoning with myself that this is seed linen stitch and it should be boring the pants off of me.  Somehow it is not boring.

Pretty Pretty

Somehow I want to rip through my stash and find all the contrasting colors that I can find and make 20 of these for all my closest friends.  See?  I’m Smitten.

The trick to this scarf is that there. Is. No. Purl. Row.  I know!  It seems wrong.  You start every row on the right side with a 8″ tail and then cut your yarn at the end of the row, leaving a long tail.  I’m tying the yarn as I go so that I’ll have fringe.  Who wouldn’t want fringe on their scarf?  Especially when the payout is this good.

Yep, I’m totally over the top Smitten.

Annie and the Swiss Cheese Scarf by Alana Dakos

Addie and I ran into the yarn store the other day in between doctor appointments to pick up a ball winder.  I had a punch card full and was able to get the ball winder for 30% off.  Addie kind of likes going to this store because they have some stuffed lamb toys that she can play with.  Instead, she spotted this book and asked me to get it down off the shelf.  I had heard about the book on the Knitmoregirls podcast, so I was interested to see what Addie thought.

Addie read the book in the store and said it was definitely worth buying.  I read the book to both girls last night as a bedtime story.  I think Addie liked it because it was a little girl spending time with her Mommy knitting.  The girls can definitely relate to a Mommy that sits on the couch and knits all night.

Addie says, “I thought it was a wonderful book and I recommend it to any kid or a kid whose mom knits.”

What I liked about the book was that it reinforces that you need to practice knitting to be good at it.  Knitting isn’t something that you just all of a sudden get, it takes practice and patience.  Annie has to practice in the story, then she shows her friends at school how she knits.

Lily says, “I thought it was really good.  I liked that she knits and that she taught the kids in her class to knit.”

The illustrations are beautiful, Annie and her mom both wear sweaters that Alana Dakos designed – they’re available under the Never Not Knitting brand.  Both girls enjoyed finding the cat and mouse that are hidden on every page.

Three thumbs up from the girls in the Knitting Up North household.


My husband was practicing with his new camera lens the other day and decided to use my knitting as his focal point.  I’m always happy to have him take pictures of knitting, especially if my exhausted face is not the focal point.  This is after an all day event at work, so I am wiped out.

It’s interesting to watch myself knit from photos.  I am a thrower rather than a picker.  I.e. I knit English rather than Continental.  I know this is a less efficient way to knit as your motions are much bigger and therefore slower.  I’m not going to win any speed knitting competitions any time soon and I’m ok with that.

I can knit either way, and when I knit with two colors I hold one color in each hand.  It’s just that I’m more comfortable throwing and it’s a relief whenever I’m done with two color knitting because I can go back to throwing the yarn over.

As I teach the knitting class, I am mostly teaching them to throw the yarn.  However, I have noticed that a couple of kids are more comfortable holding the yarn in their left hand and picking.  It makes me wonder about whether our knitting preference is because we’re taught that way or if there’s a natural inclination.  Both girls that want to pick are right handed, so it’s not an issue of what the dominant hand is.

An interesting side note is that one of our students was knitting backwards last week.  She got to the end of the row and rather than flipping her work around, she just started knitting the row backwards.  It took me awhile to figure out what she was doing (I was watching 5 kids knit all at once), because all of her stitches were sitting on the needle backwards.  While she’s the most proficient knitter I have in the class along with Lily, she’s also the tightest knitter.  I think next week I’m going to cast on with much larger needles and see if she’s ready to start making her square.

Knock Me Over

This is roughly a conversation that took place in my office this week.

Me:  Guess what Boss?  We had 16 kids show up for a Knitting Class at the school yesterday!  I’ve got 21 kids registered and I have to start a waiting list!  Who would have thunk?

The Boss:  You’re going to blog this, right?  I hope this makes the blog, because it really should.

So yes, the fact that I started a Knitting and Crochet class at the school and that it is wildly successful will in fact make the blog.  He also commented on the fact that he is now an enabler since my office closet is now overflowing with donated yarn.  Hee hee.


Remember These Things with Petals that Smell Nice?

In other news, it appears as though spring might actually come to the land of endless snow.  The rumor is that we might actually reach a temperature soon where snow will melt.  Whether we get any more snow… well that remains to be seen.

It’s been very hard to focus on all the things I need to do this spring when it still feels like February.  I’ve got 2 large events in May as well as all the smaller end of the school year things that happen and I’m starting to feel as though I’m behind the eight-ball on all of them.

And knitting… well knitting has been slow.  I started work on a small scarf because I wanted something springy.  There was just too much red sweater action happening and since one of the sweaters had progressed to a spot where I needed to only work on it at home when I had access to a chart, it wasn’t travel knitting any more.  If I can’t pull a project out and work on it at odd times when I have a minute here or there or am having lunch with friends, then it tends to sit and wait for large chunks of time that rarely happen.

This week it hit me that a very fancy dress up event was happening in 3 weeks.  I have a dress that I found a few weeks ago on sale.  Since it’s been so chilly I really wanted a shawl to go with.  My intention back in January was to make the Lumen shawl.  The event is called the Lumen Christi and I just like the idea of wearing the Lumen shawl to the Lumen Christi.  I’m funny like that.  However, the Lumen is a charted pattern and I’ve already established that I don’t have the time to work a charted pattern consistently right now.

Instead, I chose the Cameo pattern.  I’m fairly certain that I can whip out a basic garter stitch shawl in the time needed.  Of course, the problem with shawls is they tend to get larger as you go, so what seems like a fast knit to start with becomes a neverending endurance race as the rows get larger.


I tossed the stash one night this week while my husband was at work (the safest time to really air out all the yarn from the different hidey holes that I stash them in).  I compared different shades of blues and greens against the dress and weighed the merits of each.  I was really hoping to use some green Madelinetosh that I had bought for the Lumen shawl, however it just didn’t sit right with the dress.  I finally decided on these two colors.  The Hazel Knits from a yarn club that I was briefly in and the MacKintosh yarn from a Stitches event.  It was kind of sad pulling out the MacKintosh as I bought 1200 yds of it with the intention of using it for a cardigan or sweater.  Once I saw the match up of the two yarns though, I am happy I did it.

Now, I’m off to enjoy the rest of my Saturday and hopefully spend much of it knitting.



Put One Foot in Front of the Other

Put One Foot In Front of the Other

I think that link is appropriate for this time of year.  After all, it’s continuing to look a lot like Christmas outside!

Just one of the snow piles that is bigger than Lily

(By the way, that’s a soy hot chocolate that she’s holding in the Starbucks cup.)

It’s one of those days weeks where I really need to see progress and relatively instant gratification.  In other words, it’s a list day.

  1. We are starting a Knitting group after school at Cathedral School.  I’m excited, really-really excited.  There’s a stash of donated yarn in my office closet.  The goal is for the kids to be able to knit squares for an afghan.  The kids will make garter stitch squares, the adults will knit complementary 4 leaf squares to pull it all together.  My sample square:

    4 Leaf Clover Afghan Square

  2. Since it looks like Christmas outside, I knit a Button Tab Hat over the weekend.  It’s out of leftover Socks that Rock Heavyweight.  I might even be able to squeak one more hat out of this skein.  The buttons are a gift from a friend which have been marinating in my stash for quite some time.

    Button Tab Hat

  3. The 2 red sweaters are still in progress.
  4. It’s Eat Downtown week in Duluth.  It’s one of my favorite weeks of the year.  I’m kidnapping a co-worker and we’re going for lunch.  The only hard part is deciding where to go for lunch.
  5. I wish I had seen this post from Crafaholics Anonymous before Easter.  The little rock chicks are so cute!
  6. And lastly, I want to take this class at Stitches Midwest next August.  I don’t know why.  I think making that much icord (unless I can use my fun icord toy) would drive me absolutely batty.  Absolutely, Seriously batty.  I would never finish it.  I would have really good intentions, but I think the icord would just be too dull.  But I would love wearing it.
  7. Edited to add:  Why do I look at food blogs when I’m already hungry?  This is bad.  It’s like grocery shopping when you’re hungry kind of bad.  I do have a pretty amazing list of food bloggers that I currently read.  It always amazes me how amazing their staging and photography is.  Clearly they do not work out of my kitchen with it’s 3 feet of counter space and poor lighting.  Course I’m sure the fact that my iphone is my go to camera doesn’t help matters much.