Summer Knittng: 3 Essential Project Requirements

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I’ve been knitting at a snail’s pace lately. Lots of knitters blame summer for the natural slowdown of knitting that happens this time of year, and I’m generally in agreement with that line of thinking. Especially here in Texas, where its already hot as heck and the thermometers are inching nearer and nearer to that triple digit marker as each blazing afternoon passes by. Warm fuzzy wool and sweaty sticky hands do not make a good combination and fun summer outdoor activities don’t leave a lot of free time for your latest knitting project. I could blame summer for the approximately two and a half rounds of knitting that have commenced here as of late, but I won’t. I blame the knitting.

I know, I know. How on earth could it be the knitting’s fault? Well, my friends, I am knitting a hat, a very basic hat that is 1×1 ribbing throughout, and it is an absolute bore to work on. When faced with options on how to spend my spare time: knitting 1×1 ribbing in the round or going to the beach for the day, it’s really a tough sell to choose the knitting.

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I think I have devised a plan to combat the summer knitting slump and it all boils down to this: pick your project wisely. Admittedly, I decided upon the 1×1 ribbed bore of a hat way back in March, so it wasn’t technically my pick for “summer” knitting, but it turned out that I was so not interested in working on it, that it’s still languishing on my needles now that summer is in full swing. I think the 3 essentials for a summer project are that they have to be:

Something SMALL. You really don’t need heavy blankets or bulky sweaters overheating your lap. You want something light and portable, so you can even bring it along for that beach day on the off chance that you do spend more than 5 minutes outside of the water.

Something INTERESTING. Your project should be fun enough that it lures you to it despite summer’s distractions. It needs to be able to hold its own in the war between an evening picnic in the park or a few hours spent on an intriguing cable and lace project with a nice gin and tonic.

Something COTTON or LINEN. I usually don’t enjoy working with cotton because it doesn’t have any “give”, but it has to be said that something with a summery fiber content is much more appropriate for the season than trying to slog through a project with that alpaca or angora blend that keeps sending up downy fluffs that get stuck to your face. I’ve been seeing some very nice patterns out lately from Quince & Co., heralding their new Kestrel linen yarn. It is spun in a way so that the yarn has some sproingy-ness to it, which may be enough to rectify my misgivings towards the usually non-giving fiber.

So what will you be knitting this summer? I will be continuing on with the 1×1 bore, but only because it is small and dangit, I just want it finished. I do have plans for something less boring next- something small and portable and with lots of interesting cables.

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Insta-May

A round-up of my Instagram pictures from the past month.

Insta May 14

I started my first ever container vegetable garden this spring- I planted tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini, carrots and cantaloupe. I have enjoyed watching my little plants grow and am amazed at how much they have grown in just the past month. I just noticed the first tiny zucchini forming and am over the moon with excitement at the prospect of having my own home grown veggies this summer.

 
My sweet blog friend Kim of Hand Eye Crafts has been commissioned to knit doggie bones for inclusion in a bark box type of product, and she sent Henry one and it is the cutest thing ever. I have to constantly stop him from bringing it outside because he loves to dig and bury bones. This is his indoor only bone.

 
Joey and the band played a show at Suburbia Music festival and it was a bright, hot and dusty day, and we had an absolute blast at the show. It was the inaugural year for this festival in Plano and I hope to see it continue next year.

 
It’s almost summer and I’ve re-ignited my attempt at becoming a runner. Running is still one of those things that is very difficult for me and I am working on my stamina so I can keep up with Joey. My goal is to be able to run 2-3 miles at a decent pace without walking.

 
We still have our backyard bunnies and Joey even witnessed a mama bun nursing a burrow full of baby buns one day just feet from our back door. He said it was the craziest thing he’d seen in a while. I usually spot a bunny or two (or three!) almost every afternoon from my kitchen window. I love spying on them.

 
The third week of May was international mail week, as the baby sweater package I mailed to my friends Tim and Liis in Switzerland finally made it to them, and the very next day we received a package from Johan and Anna in Sweden, sending us a vinyl copy of the Basko Believes album, Idiot’s Hill, which we recorded at Joey’s studio in Denton last June.

 
We took a quick weekend road trip up to Indiana where Joey is originally from for a family memorial. I loved the cool nights and crisp sunny weather and oh, the green! It is lovely there. I can’t wait to go back when we can spend a little more time. At a pit stop in Illinois, I picked some daisies to decorate our dashboard for the drive.

 
As soon as we returned from Indiana, Joey geared up for another few rounds of touring. Festival season is upon us, and I will again become a ‘tour widow’ for the next few months. We celebrated his departure by indulging in some Tex Mex while trying to determine the number of countries he’s visited in the past few years. I’m just watching those frequent flyer miles add up and thinking of the next big trip we will take together. Mexico, Iceland, and France are on my list.

It Fits!

The baby sweater I knit not too long ago finally arrived in Switzerland and my friend Tim posted the cutest pic of baby Johann wearing it:

Baby Johann

He looks so adorable in it, and his jaunty little hat is the perfect accessory.

What I’m loving lately

Not much to show on the what-I’m-knitting-lately front.  If you picture  1.5″ of 1×1 ribbing for the start of a hat, there you have it.  I did want to pop in and share a few things I’m loving lately:

Knitter Badges by True Brit Knits

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These appeal to my Harry Potter loving, wishing I had grown up going to a British boarding school wearing badass blazers self.  I imagine this would be a pin that most people wouldn’t bother looking close enough to even read the words on the pin… except for other knitters!  I love finding kindred spirits in this world, and having a cute little preppy pin to make that even easier is right up my alley.

 

This Top-Down Poncho by Pickles

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I love the relaxed look of ponchos, but end up feeling ridiculously impractical anytime I’ve ever attempted to wear one.  They either make it impossible to raise your arms, or make you look like you are wearing a blanket.  This one with its nicely fitted sleeves seems like a poncho I could handle.

 

These Rice Baskets from Fringe Supply Co.

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Admittedly, I love everything in the Fringe Supply Co. shop, but these baskets are on my “must get soon” list.  I love that they fold over on themselves to create nice little bowls and can quickly transition to a yarn tote.  I think they’d be perfect for bringing a project to the beach, or for carrying anything to the beach to that matter.

Big/Little

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Ever since learning that my friend Tim and his wife Liis were expecting, I knew I would be knitting a sweater for their little one.
We met Tim when we were living in NYC; he’s an amazing photographer and one of those people that feels like family after you’ve only known them a short while. Tim and Liis moved to California while we were still in NY, and then we moved to Texas and Tim and Liis moved to Switzerland. Their beautiful baby boy Johannes was born in December and Auntie Kim is a bit late in getting a sweater to this little guy. I knit him the Storytime Scholar Cardigan by Lisa Chemery in the 9-12 month size, and I think it will easily fit him well into his first year. You can’t go wrong with a grandpa sweater for a little boy, and the garter stitch elbow patches really sold me on this pattern. The yarn I used is quickly becoming an easy go-to yarn for baby sweaters: Berocco Vintage. I like it because its soft, wooly and heathered, but with an acrylic content so its washable and no-fuss for the parents. I think it resulted in a sweet little sweater and I hope it keeps baby Johann warm and stylish in Switzerland.

I also wanted to share the sweetest thing Tim said when I was asking him how he was enjoying life with a new son. “Johann is my little and I am his big/ the cosmos just paired us up is all.”

Insta March

Insta March 14

They say March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb which was very true for me. My month started out with chilly days filled with coffee and knitting while snuggled under a blanket on the couch and ended with a warm weekend at my parents’ ranch, drinking Coronas in the sun with my mom and aunt. Joey has been away on tour since mid-February, but he had three days at home between European and US tours. We filled those three days with lots of Tex Mex, lots of record-listening, and watching an outdoor movie at our town square, nestled in the grass on a blanket and sharing a thermos of wine.

 

You can follow me on Instagram as Kimidawn24

Knitterly Goodies from Fringe Supply Co.

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I recently decided to treat myself to a couple of small goodies from Fringe Supply Co. for my birthday. I snagged one of the ebony repair hooks (a double-ended crochet hook, really) because it is so much prettier than the silly pink steel one that’s always lounging in the bottom of my knitting bag. Speaking of knitting bags, I snagged a super cute bento bag in tan ticking stripe. I carry my knitting with me to work every day and having a small knitting bag that can be thrown into my purse or any other bag at a moment’s notice is what I’m looking for.

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I also grabbed a set of the ebony cable needles. I’ve wanted some of these for quite a while because I love that they are short and straight and have little notches in them to help keep the stitches secure. I recently finished knitting a project with SO MANY CABLES and decided that my old bent steel cable needle that I bought when I first started knitting was just too annoying to use for something with lots of cabling going on. I got so tired of it that I switched to a random 4″ DPN which was much nicer to use, but HELLO? These ebony cable needles are beauts. Had to have ‘em.

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If you haven’t checked out Karen’s shop or even her blog, you should definitely do both.

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Paris, pt. 2

If you missed it, you can read part one here.

We woke up the next morning and hopped back on the bus to head across town for a radio performance.

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The show consisted of a short interview and a few live songs performed in front of a studio audience. One of the other wives, Fiona was in town and she and I decided to slip out for a little bit of sightseeing while the guys did their interview. We walked around, meandering our way towards the Eiffel Tower. It was such a bright and sunny day and I was speechless for a few moments before I asked her to take my picture.

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I knew our time in Paris would be pretty busy- Joey was there to work, after all- but the only ‘must do’ item had just been checked off my list and so Fiona and I headed back to the station just as the guys were wrapping up their performance.

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Afterwards, we all hopped back on the bus and across town again to the studios of Canal Plus France, where the guys would be filming an episode of ‘Album de la semaine.’

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I stood in the wings of the theater and watched their performance. Their harmonies sounded so wonderful, despite three of them fighting off sore throats and failing voices after being on the road for three weeks and performing two to three times each day. I watched the audience’s reactions and I welled up with pride for my talented husband and our talented friends. To spend your days traveling the world and making wonderful music that brings other people happiness is a very good thing.

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After the performance it was a quick goodbye as the guys were heading on overnight to Belgium and I had a plane to catch in the morning. My years living in NYC served as good training for venturing out on my own in Paris, back on the metro to find my hotel for the night. I stayed in the St Germain district and sadly didn’t get to explore it very much as it was getting late and I was really looking forward to a hotel bed and a good night’s rest before my long journey home. I took the RER to the airport the next morning and while waiting on the train with my luggage in hand, a French woman about my age asked me something I couldn’t understand. I explained that I didn’t speak French and she quickly switched to English, asking if this was in fact the train to the airport. I confirmed that it was, and instantly felt a little more calm and collected. If I could look like an in-the-know Parisian instead of oozing tourist vibes, then I guess my two days in Paris served me well.

Paris, pt. 1

Today Joey is in Paris. I always assumed that after having the opportunity to travel to some of these places myself, I’d be less jealous the next time he went without me. Apparently that is not the case and I find myself daydreaming of Paris. As my thoughts today are on this beautiful and still-magical seeming city, I thought I’d share my experience in Paris.

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We traveled overnight from Amsterdam to Paris on the tour bus. I awoke in my bunk to a sliver of light coming in through the curtain and the sound of cars driving and honking. I peeked out the window and was eye level with a piece by the street artist, Space Invader on the side of a building. It momentarily brought me back to Brooklyn, where I would walk past another of his pieces on an almost daily basis. I woke Joey and we decided to stretch our legs and find out where the showers were.
It turned out we were parked outside the venue the band would be playing that evening and our tour manager was sorting out where everyone could get cleaned up, so Joey and I decided to take a stroll to find some coffee.
We didn’t have to walk very far before we found a patisserie and grabbed an espresso each, a slice of quiche, and an eclair to share. (When in Paris, right?)

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After breakfast and determining it would be a few more hours before our hotel room would be ready, we decided to take another little stroll around the area. It was during this walk that I discovered that Paris is much more hilly than Texas. We walked up and down cobblestone streets, past brick walls with moss growing along the cracks in the walls and past some of the most charming little apartments and I was already picturing what it would be like to live there. It was very windy and kept threatening to rain- we actually did get caught in the tiniest of cloudbursts before we headed back to the venue for sound check.

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We had about an hour before dinner and I really wanted to see Sacré-Cœur, so we hopped on the metro towards Anvers. When we hopped off, we had lost our sense of direction and weren’t sure which direction to walk. We stopped at this corner flower shop and asked the kind old man “which way to Sacré-Cœur?” He did not speak English and I don’t speak French, so I just repeated “Sacré-Cœur?” in a questioning tone. He still didn’t quite understand what I was asking for, but fortunately a man standing nearby spoke English and translated for us. When he told the old man we were looking for Sacré-Cœur, the old man’s face brightened and said “oh, Sacré-Cœur” in the most beautiful French and proceeded to tell is to take the metro to Anvers. Grateful for the assistance and embarrassed that my Texas-accented attempt at pronouncing Sacré-Cœur sounded not even remotely recognizable to this kind man, we turned to go. I was still so confused. We just got off the metro at Anvers, so why would he be telling us to get back on? We walked a couple more blocks, thinking that like the NYC subway sometimes each stop has multiple entrances and exits, perhaps we exited at the wrong sortie. We came upon the next metro entrance and quickly realized we had gotten off at Avron, not Anvers. Silly Americans! We arrived at Anvers not too long afterwards and arrived at the steps to Sacré-Cœur just as the sun was setting.

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The show that night was a crowded and sweaty affair. The venue was way too small to hold the crowd that gathered and the air was thick with the heat and humidity from all those people crowded into a small room. The band sounded excellent and I spent part of the time watching from the small sound booth and then squeezing my way backstage to the tiniest upstairs green room with the most insane death-trap staircase/ladder that I’m not soon to forget. After the show, I could hear everyone milling about just outside the venue as cool crisp air wafted in the windows, a welcome refresher after the crowded show.

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Insta Janu-February

Bet you didn’t notice that I forgot to post an Instagram roundup of my January goings-on. I didn’t notice either, so this time you get January and February smashed into one Insta-double-whammy. (I promise it’s not as painful as it sounds).

Insta Jan Feb 14

During the first part of January we were in Aspen, CO where the band played a couple of shows, one of them was a big New Year’s eve bash. The shows were excellent and we toasted the new year in grand fashion. It was such a fun trip and we were even able to squeeze in a visit to a natural hot springs pool nestled in the mountains, and a couple of days of skiing. Back home in Texas, I’ve spent the past month and a half working, working, working, with a few stolen moments here and there for doggie snuggles and knitting and crafting. I released my Wayfinder Mitts pattern, re-released my Hill Country Hat pattern, and am wrapping up a new design submission that I’m super excited about. I had a birthday just a few days ago and celebrated with lots of sweet treats, good friends, and wonderful mail surprises from Joey, who is already back out on tour.  Now I’m getting ready for some warmer weather (aren’t we all?) and looking forward to casting on a couple of new knitting projects.

 

 

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