Author Archives: annazzini

Dreamy

Dear Future Mrs. MAC,

Okay, I had a dream last night and you were in it.

We were at a huge yarn store, which was holding a class upstairs. (We were there early to buy yarn before class, obviously).

So I bought some seriously UGLY yarn that was half solid white and half a really hideous yellow/orange color. It cost $6.25 for a skein (I remember this exactly), and I only needed one since I had MORE of this seriously ugly yarn at home.

You, on the other hand, were buying shoes. (Why was a yarn store selling shoes?? I have no idea). They were Pumas, with a navy blue swooshy thing, but they were kind of like blinged out Pumas because they had rhinestones and stuff all over them.

So I paid for my $6.25 yarn and then the lady rang up your shoes and they cost $1,400! And I was like “um Margaret, did you realize these are so expensive?!” and you were all “I know but they’re REALLY COOL! I must have them.” So I was kind of internally rolling my eyes, but I guess you can waste money if you want.

THEN we went upstairs to the knitting class and there were a lot of empty seats so we were trying to figure out where the best place to sit was, but every time we went to sit down some middle-aged lady with a bad haircut would give us the stink-eye and we’d keep walking.

So we ended up sitting at a dining room table at the side of the room, which happened to have dishes on it, so we thought “oooh, maybe we’ll get dinner and the rest of these old ladies won’t – ha ha!”

And then I woke up, so I’m not sure how the class went.

Isn’t that a kind of boring dream to have? I mean, why weren’t there any cute boys and couldn’t I at least have bought cashmere or something??

All this is to say WOW – has it been since January when we last posted??! That is bad, Margaret. We’ve got to step up our game. I guess you have an excuse since you’re planning a (hopefully) very frilly and pink wedding, but what am I doing? Working part-time and trying to keep the house clean. Big woo. I will do better! Maybe I will even post twice in a ROW. Crazytalk, but it’s possible.

So firstly, I’ve been doing some serious baby knitting. I finally sewed the button (it’s a snap, actually, with a button cover just for looks) on this cardi, for Tegan Kennedy (apparently Tegan is also the name of a girl in a band or somesuch? I don’t know, I am very out of the loop on these matters):

She doesn’t look too thrilled, but my cousin assures me that she was just a little fussy at the time.

I also finished this jacket for our friend’s daughter Leah, which was SEED STITCH. What the heck? Why do I keep making things with this FREAKING STITCH? Remind me not to do that again for a long time. Oy. But it was worth it because it turned out so adorably cute:

I made it with that Ella Rae Amity Solid we bought on one of our yarn crawls… I actually used stash yarn for something! Go me! Really I just wanted an excuse to buy cute buttons from Etsy.

And of course these socks (Child’s First Sock pattern by Nancy Bush), which took for-ev-er. (Have you seen The Sandlot? CLASSIC).

And, OBVIOUSLY, I’m working furiously (albiet making very very slow progress) on my bridesmaid shawl! No pictures yet, I will have to post those next time.

Phew. Now I need to get some new things on the needles… not sure what yet.

Did you figure out which shrug to make? I think I like the Posh Wedding Shrug best, although if you’re making it with black yarn Veronique is probably better, since it’s so sheer. I know it’ll be Halloween-time, but a solid black shrug just doesn’t seem very wedding-y. Just my opinion. Of course, I wore a cardigan at my wedding (duh, I am a cardigan-aholic) and worked well too. You definitely don’t want to be fussing with it when you’re trying to hug everyone!

That’s it for me (for now). I’m off to research yarn shops for your trip here in June – woo!

xo,
Anna

PS: post an engagement photo!

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Just a Dishcloth

My Dear Margaret,

Tsk, tsk, tsk – I can see an intervention is in order. If it makes you feel any better, I took the gift certificate you and Rose gave me to Queen Bee Creations (and, uh, some of my own money too) and bought THIS:

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Isn’t she beautiful? And it’s handmade in Portland, so I’m supporting the local economy. Yeah, that’s it. I emailed them first to ensure that they had corrected that little bag-handle-size-of-drop problem we encountered at Sock Summit, and it sounds as though they have. I’m hoping it’s sturdy enough to hold a lot of stuff. I mean, it’s made of FELT… so I don’t know. But that yellow Jitterbug (you know I’m a sucker for yellow yarn!) is be-a-utiful! It looks a lot like the Malabrigo sock yarn I bought on one of our many yarn crawls.

But while you’re out gallivanting amongst the waves of Waikiki, I’m still here, hanging out. Knitting. And doing other stuff. As per usual. Ho hum. Not that I’m BITTER or anything. Of course, it’s getting down into the 30s at night, but still. NO BITTERNESS HERE. Nosireebob. I hope you bought me a present, is all I’m saying.

My recent knitting progress has been fairly slow… although tomorrow is a holiday so I plan on knitting quite a lot. Yeah I know, I work from home… so what? A holiday is a holiday. I will be honoring our veterans with my mad knitting skillz. My latest venture has been this super cute baby cardigan for my cousin’s baby (due in February).

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I don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl, so I had to be careful in yarn selection – which is why I went with chocolate brown. If it’s good enough for Kelly Petkun, it’s good enough for me. I haven’t really FINISHED anything, except for this snazzy ballband dishcloth.

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Isn’t it pretty? Pink and green are my favorite colors, so it pretty much rocks my world. My MiL recently told me that her goal is to eventually have ONLY handmade dishcloths in their house. Isn’t that fantastic? Maybe I should try that. The only problem is that I tend to get kind of dishclothed out after doing a small one, and I’d need to make some big ones to use for drying hands and the like. But it’s a goal. Maybe.

Oh, I’d also like to share that lately I’ve taken to writing out blog posts in longhand first. In pencil. On a sheet of notebook paper. Whilst flopped across the guest room bed. If I was listening to C&C Music Factory it would be 4th grade all over again over here.

Feel the vibrations!
Anna

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Brrr!

Dude,

It is cold.  Like, 57 degrees in the house cold.  Like, I’m wearing a cowl and fingerless gloves right now cold.  OMG.

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We ain’t in Southern California anymore, my friend.  We are in a place with actual WEATHER.

But I cannot complain because it’s my very favorite time of year (it just kind of snuck up on me, is all).  Autumn, oh Autumn, how I love you.  I love clomping through the leaves in the backyard on my way to hang up some laundry on the line (yeah, it’s 54 degrees, so what? it’ll dry eventually) and pumpkin-flavored things and having to wear a jacket when you leave the house.    Hurrah for such a glorious season!

I can’t believe that Sylus thing, M! I am CRAZY JEALOUS… why do I not have any sheep herding friends?? Man. I’m excited to see what you make. I need to make The Professor a cowl, so I need to look into yarn for that too. I’m glad to hear that the Cascade sock yarn is so good! I can’t remember how much it was, but I think Cascade goes on sale pretty often so now that I know I’ll be on the lookout.

In other news I tried out a new yarn shop last weekend while we were visiting our nation’s capital.  I’m pretty sure Obama flew over us in his helicopter while we were walking to the Jefferson Memorial and I’m pretty sure he waved at me.  Pretty sure.  I’d also like to point out that I walked three miles on Monday afternoon – this was after the million miles we’d walked that morning – to see Mr. Jefferson (looking good!) and go to Thai food.  Why is everything so SPREAD OUT up there?  Geez louise, it’s ridiculous.  OH, and my knitting shoes (I’m pretty sure they must be knitting shoes since they were selling them at Sock Summit) broke while we were there.  I’d like to take a moment to pay homage to my Cordovan Dansko Professional Cabrio Clogs.  Sniff.

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Oh fabulous Danskos, you were with me in college as I slogged my way across WWU’s campus to make it to class and hustled to and from the bus stop.  You were there whenever I went home to WA and needed good rain shoes and of course who can forget your fateful trip to Ireland, where you were indispensable in keeping my feet toasty and dry.  You and I have clomped up and down the California coastline as well as along the Grand Canyon and New England.  You were an honest pair of shoes, worth every penny, and lasted a good 8 years.  I shall be replacing you as soon as I am able (albeit in a smaller size because you made me trip a lot… I blame you and not my innate clumsiness) but it won’t quite be the same. Since you BROKE IN HALF across the ball of the foot. Sad.

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Anyhoo, what the heck was I talking about? Oh yeah. DC. Right. Well we did stop in at Stitch DC, a lovely little shop in a nice neighborhood.  I didn’t actually buy anything, which is totally depressing, but I’m trying to be strong!  I mean, we have Maryland Sheep & Wool in May, so I have to save my pennies. They did have some locally spun/dyed yarn, which is awesome, but it was kind of rough and I am such a wimp that it wasn’t soft enough for me! It WAS a nice place though, so next time you’re in the District of Columbia you should check it out! (No man cave this time though, just warning you).

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In retrospect, I should have taken more handknits with us, but we didn’t expect it to be so cold! We had a great time though – we will definitely be back. So many museums! So many monuments about things of which we know nothing! It would take forever to see it all.

Hope you’re enjoying your beachy weather. I have to go make some more tea.

Lovies!
Anna

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New Blog (kind of)!

Dear Margaret,

So yeah.  Guess it’s been awhile… went to Europe, got The Professor all “official” with his PhD and moved 3000 miles to the Historic Triangle on the peninsula of Virginia. I officially live in a commonwealth.  (Contrary to popular belief we do not all wear colonial garb, though I WISH it were required.  It would make going to the gym much more interesting).

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At least we have knitting weather around here, and I plan on putting all my wool to good use.  Speaking of which, I just finished my first (adult-sized) sweater in a wonderfully soft cotton/silk blend (yeah yeah, it’s not wool, but go with it).  It’s a butter yellow color so it goes with a lot of the neutrals in my wardrobe.  That seed stitch is a KILLER though.  Margaret, why didn’t you warn me about this?!  It took me a year to finish just because of all that freaking SEED STITCH.  It looks really cool though, so I guess I can’t complain too much.

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Just have to note that this photo was taken in our backyard which IS AWESOME. The cotton was kind of hard on the ol’ hands too.  😦  Whine, whine, whine… I am an expert.  I still have juuust under 3 skeins left so if anyone wants to purchase them for a nominal fee, please let me know!

We were in Arizona last week with my in-laws and ended up (it was my MiL’s fault, I PROMISE) at Knit Happens, where I planned to buy nothing so of course walked out with size 0 Lantern Moon sock stix, 3 balls of Debbie Bliss Rialto in a beautiful deep chocolate brown (50% off! come on now) and the Fall/Winter 2009 edition of Debbie Bliss magazine.  It’s my first DB Mag experience and I love a few of the sweaters (duh, that’s why I plunked down my eight bucks), plus there’s an “At Home: British Style” section which is perfect for an Anglophile like me.

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However. Wow. Having a whole magazine about yourself is kind of weird. But hey, it works for Oprah. Can you imagine if the Yarn Harlot had a magazine? There could be regular columns entitled “Another Reason I Love Canada” and a fashion corner with the latest clothes she borrowed from her daughters and/or found on the floor of the closet.

Anyhoodle, so just for all our faithful readers, here is my official DB Mag Review:

It starts out with a letter from DB herself (!), blah, blah. This is followed by a section entitled “The Blissful Life,” where Deb shares what are purported to be her personal collections of items around her home, such as antique fabric and – whoops! – her new yarn line! Now how’d THAT get on the coffee table?! Also photos of a “small but delightful” haberdashery (what the?) in Paris. But of course. I realize that I have been known to travel to Europe and mostly love antique linens and all, but sheesh. Maybe this a fantasy sort of magazine? I mean, I guess normal things, like throw pillows you bought at Target are kind of boring. I just hope she doesn’t think regular people actually live like this.

Then we have “My Knitting Friends.” Yes Debster, you’re famous, that’s awesome… but are these people really your FRIENDS? Like, do you meet for coffee? I question this. The article is good though, and long, so it’s not just a one page summary or anything. It’s also a person I’d never heard of so that was interesting.

But now, NOW is where the oddest part comes in… the “Ask Rosy” section where you can ask all your burning knitting questions. This makes sense, although answering technical questions is kind of boring to read. I should propose a question column to IK that will have things like “I love my boyfriend but he’s allergic to wool and I want to have my own sheep farm, WHAT DO I DO?!” That would be way more fun. And interesting. So anyway, the point of DB’s column is to answer specific technique questions about HER OWN PATTERNS. Snoozefest, seriously. The hilarious part is that it makes DB patterns seem like they’re so poorly written that they need an entire magazine page to answer questions about them! I mean, I guess it could just be a lot of knitters who don’t understand pattern terminology and haven’t mastered the art of Google… but still. It makes me nervous about trying one of the patterns.

Alright, so then the parade of patterns comes along, with wintery stuff (I totally want to make this:

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and this:)

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and cutesy animal scarves for the kids. Some super chunky knits too, which I have lately become a fan of. If only I could get The Professor into wearing cardigans. It makes sense, right? Cardigan + elbow patches x pipe = professor. So yeah. Then some baby jazz, which was prettily photographed but doesn’t really grab me. A baby blanket in 27 balls of Cashmerino Aran? (For those who don’t know, each ball costs between $8-10!) I don’t think so, lady.

Then we end up with a fisherman’s gansey that looks nothing like one… probably “inspired by” I guess. And the duder they have modeling it look like a girl. Is it just me?

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Except for the little beard. So you know.

So in sum, the patterns are awesome (some Ravelers complained about a lack of multiple photos of each project, but I didn’t think it was too bad) and it’s a little heavy on the self-awesomeness. But the magazine is CALLED Debbie Bliss Knitting Magazine so she’s allowed. I certainly would! Well maybe I would… I don’t know, a magazine AND a yarn line sounds like too much work. But I’d definitely include that Knitter Personal Problems column too – that would be awesome!

Love from ye olde colonial-land,
Anna

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Something red, blue, and green

Dear Anna,

I have to say that I’m totally sick of the drama between Gina and Kelly on BH 90210. I really think that Dylan and Kelly need to stop fooling themselves and admit that they are meant to be.

Gah!

Well, with that confession out of the way, I present to you my Something Red:

The photo isn’t great (it’s hard to do a self-pic of a sweater) but I am really pleased with the way it turned out. The button band truly became a labor of love – I ripped and reknit it at least five times and it’s still not perfect (the ribbing doesn’t line up because I picked up too many stiches on one side compared to the other) but no one can tell unless you look closely . . . especially with it buttoned.

The angora is blissfully soft but it’s totally unpractical for southern California weather . . . however, it’s perfect for the air conditioned office. In fact, I wore it to work once and got a lot of compliments – the best was “I love your sweater, where did you buy it?!”. I think that any knitter can agree that THAT is the best compliment ever. Another co-worker commented that she didn’t know a person could knit “something stylish”. Ha! We knitters are very industrious!

My Garter Yoke Cardigan is coming along really great – I’m nearly done with the first sleeve. So far, it fits great and I see myself getting a lot of use out of it when it’s done. I only wish I had splurged on nicer yarn. The acrylic blend Elle Mae that I bought when we went on our most recent San Diego yarn crawl isn’t bad . . . it just isn’t particularly soft. But, the good thing is that I’m sure it will hold up really well in the wash.

Since I’m rounding the last corner on the cardi, I was compelled to cast on for a new project. I started the Shetland Triangle from Wrap Style. I bought the yarn at Black Sheep with a gift certificate that Ron got me for Valentine’s Day. As I mentioned in my project notes, I really wanted Rowan Kid Silkhaze in a creamy white or light blue but they didn’t have anything suitable. So I got the next best thing, SRK Oration which has a similar blend (75% mohair/25% silk compared to Rowan’s 70% mohair/30% silk). Ravelry didn’t recognize the yarn brand when I entered in the project details so I have no idea if this is a little known gem or a really bad knock off . . . I guess I’ll find out!

So far, I am enjoying the Shetland Triangle pattern so much more compared to the Ene Scarf (both are lace triangle shawls). With Ene, you start with casting on over 300 stiches (which I had to do multiple times). With the Shetland, you also start at the neck but you cast on only two stiches . . . it’s a really odd construction but it’s kinda cool to see it grow.

Oh, I just watched Mama Mia! last night and I loved loved loved the set design. It made me want to paint my whole place ocean blue.


So. . . whose up for a girls trip to Greece in 2010? 🙂

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Auld Lang Syne

Dear Mmmmmargaret,

Well. I woke up this morning with volumized hair. And the blog has been updated twice in one week. I believe this bodes well for 2009, don’t you? We just returned from a trip to Philadelphia, where The Professor diligently interviewed for a job at many Universities throughout the Midwest and Canada. Will 2009 be the year we move to a cornfield in Nebraska? Or perhaps to an igloo in Alberta? At this point it’s impossible to say.

HOWEVER, I did get to wear my new mittens:

And take a trip to Loop, where I purchased 1000 yards of chocolate brown Lorna’s Laces Fisherman Wool. I’m thinking of using it to make something from Custom Knits… maybe Ingenue?

Thanks to you and Rose for the birthday gift card!!

I just checked the Rav and apparently I finished kind of a lot… clearly I have no life. And Neal will be gone most of January, so my lack of social engagements will continue and maybe I can even finish a sweater or something. The offical list of 2008 projects is:

3 hats (Jenny Cloche, Koolhaas, Shedir)
4 shawls (two Forest Canopy shawls, Summer Lace Shawlette, Eyelet Capelet)
3 pairs of socks (Thuja, Monkey, plain Yarn Harlot recipe)
2 scarves (Haven, Yarn Harlot One Row Scarf)
1 baby sweater (Child’s Placket-Neck Pullover)
1 pair of mittens (Give a Hoot)

And a few random dishcloths, but I don’t really keep track of those. Phew!

I am determined to finish a sweater this year. For reals. I will do it! Maybe I will even do two. My Mother also commissioned me to make her a scarf, so I’ll have to get to that soon.

Also, check out this totally Rav worthy pic from Philadelphia:

Seriously. I could be a Knitty model. It was taken in Fork – they had Coca-Cola in BOTTLES, my friend. Tiny glass bottles. So obviously I had to have one. And I’m wearing my luxe neckwarmer from Knit2Together. I love the blue and green combo.

In other news, I tried to spruce up the blog a bit so let me know what you think. I added a book list! I’ve been wanting one for awhile now. And I changed the background just for funsies. Feel free to edit as you see fit. I’m not really planning to take up any new hobbies but since we will be moving away from So Cal this summer I am working to get rid of AS MUCH STUFF as possible before then. It’s a frightening proposition, I know. I will become a cleaning machine. Just as soon as I get out of these pajamas.

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Happy New Year!

Dear Anna,

So, It’s only been since August . . . averaging one blog post every five months . . . pretty much we rock at blogging!

Actually, the lack of posts is my fault as it has been my turn but haven’t had any photos to share since my crappy digital camera passed away earlier this Spring. But Dear Ronald got me a new shiny camera for Christmas! Yay!

Looking back on 2008, I realize it has been a good year for knitting. I completed:

2 scarves (Chevron and Dimple Shale), 2 wraps (Clapotis and Ene), 3 pairs of socks (Jaywalkers, Artichoke, and Lichen Ribbed), and one hat (Koolhas).

My favorite project of the year was hands down Ene, which I completed in November:

By the way, the table cloth in the background is my favorite unnecessary splurge of the year (from Anthropologie). Ene was my first major lace project. I used Mmmmalabrigo lace weight held double throughout for a slightly thicker and springy-er fabric.

A view of Ene in action:My knitting new year’s resolution for 2009 is to try my hand at color work and finish a sweater (hopefully the one in progress now).

Since about Thanksgiving time I’ve been working diligently away on Something Red by Wendy Bernard. Considering we moved the first week of December and I didn’t pick up my needles for about 7 days, I think I’ve made quick progress.

As of this past weekend, I had begun the button band (the last step) but decided that I really would prefer a few more inches on the body of the sweater – so I ripped back the button band and commenced knitting a little longer.

I’m using Elsebeth Lavold’s Angora (60% Angora, 20% Wool, 20% Polyamide – whatever that is!!) which is as soft as a bunny rabbit.

The halo of fuzz on this sweater is incredibly decadant – I have no idea what sort of use this will get in San Diego (probably not much) but so far I’m in love with this yarn and the fit.

In non knitting news, I’m planning on trying to garden a bit. The new place we moved into has a small, neglected bed perfect for a small kitchen garden with veggies and herbs.

Right now, there appears to be lavendar (the big bush on the right), aloe (in the back, left), and a lot of mint and various weeds running amuck. I don’t know jack about gardening but this weekend I plan to get out there to dig up the weeds, buy some soil and fertilizer, and plant new shiny plants and seeds. Hopefully it works – I’m pretty terrible about killing house plants but I’m really trying to keep my new ones alive, including this:

I’m forcing a daffodil bulb. Supposedly, it will bloom in 3 – 4 weeks.

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