Category Archives: Texas

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.

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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.

Insta March

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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

Hill Country Sessions

I’m excited to finally share the article I wrote for the Spring 2013 issue of Pom Pom Quarterly!  I’d like to add a note that the album that the article discusses, Israel Nash’s Rain Plans is now out via Loose Music in Europe. 

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Hill Country Sessions

As a knitter married to a touring musician, I try to join my husband on his travels as often as my schedule will allow and I always bring my knitting along for the journey. This particular trip finds us down in Texas Hill Country about an hour’s drive outside of Austin, Texas. We are here for two weeks while Joey records guitar for the upcoming Israel Nash album with some of our closest friends.

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photo by Tim Underwood

The setting is perfect for recording an album: there are nine of us holed up in a big ranch house that is surrounded on all sides by tree and cactus-covered hills. The closest neighbor is over a mile away; too far away to be disturbed by any music that goes late into the night. The cathedral-ceilinged living room has been transformed into a recording studio; the cowhide rug on the floor is crisscrossed with cables running from the many guitars and amps to the mixing board and analog tape machine.

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Photo by Tim Underwood

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As the band sets up their gear, my friend Laura and I set up our gear. We are staking our claim to the two lounge chairs on the back patio that overlook the valley that provides a stunning view at sunset. It is an idyllic setup for us: the guys will record their album while we lounge within earshot of the music, knitting away and enjoying each other’s company. I’ve brought along a ball of tweedy yarn and some circular needles and a vague idea for a slouchy hat that I want to make.

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The day fades quickly into night and I find myself knitting stitch after soothing stitch as I listen to the sounds of a song coming to life. The song they are working on has a dark and beautiful sound, and has most definitely been inspired by our isolated surroundings. It is the ideal soundtrack for knitting and watching the moon rise above the hills.

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One afternoon we decide to go on a walkabout to tour the natural springs that are in the area. We hike down into the valley, careful of our footing as we walk over chalky white rocks and through dry branches and thorny grasses. There is an artist living nearby that creates intricate sculptures out of the flat rocks that are abundant in the area and we happen upon a few of her works and study them with appreciation. As I survey the many precisely-placed layers of rocks, I am reminded that much like recording an album or knitting, some of the best creations are made slowly by building layer upon layer, stitch upon stitch.

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photo by Tim Underwood

As the days pass by, my hat is taking shape at a leisurely pace. I’m picking it up and putting it down often between dips in the swimming pool, walks to pick wildflowers or trips into town to refresh our stores of food. I’ll knit a few rounds as we’re all sitting around in the evenings, listening to the day’s work and discussing the songs left to be recorded. Just as I’m not in a rush to finish my hat, I’m not in a rush for my time here to be over, but before I know it I am binding off and weaving in the ends and packing my bags into the car to head home.

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Our trip has been full of so many fun memories that are forever linked in my mind with the songs that were recorded while we were here. And when the album is released and I hear the songs again, you can bet I will also be listening closely to see if I can hear sound of my knitting needles clicking away in the background.

Insta-December

Insta December 2013

Oh December, you were harsh but beautiful. The month started out with Joey heading back out on tour and me and our little Henry-dog getting snowed in by a big ice storm. As temps dipped into the teens and everything was covered in six inches of solid ice, Henry and I cozied ourselves up as much as possible. I made giant pots of soup and drank lots of tea and knitted while Henry would snooze on my lap. We ventured out on the ice for a few walks to try to combat cabin fever, and even decorated the house for the upcoming Christmas holiday. (Yes, I covered everything in yarn pom poms!) As things finally started to thaw out, I wrapped a few small gifts to put under our tree and waited impatiently for Joey’s tour to wrap up. As it turns out, I couldn’t take the full three weeks away from Joey so I drove down to Austin to catch the band’s show one Friday night after work. I also got to visit with lots of friends that I haven’t seen in a while, which was really nice. We spent a few nice days with both of our families for the holidays and are now gearing up to head out for a couple of New Year’s shows in Aspen. (Thank goodness I get to tag along this time!)  Now I’m trying to decide which handknit hat I should bring for the cold Colorado weather….

Happy New Year to you and thank you for reading!

you can find me on Instagram as Kimidawn24

Insta September

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Wow. I can’t believe it’s almost OCTOBER. Looking back at some of my Instagram snaps from September, I can see why the month passed by so quickly. Joey and Midlake are gearing up for the release of their new album* and just completed a mini-tour of the Southwest which ended with a two-night-stand of performances in our hometown. We also received a test vinyl pressing of the album and sat down with a glass of wine and listened to it in its entirety. It was a nice way to celebrate the end results of a lot of hard work. The band also has a feature article in the October issue of MOJO Magazine and proud wife that I am, I kept harassing the poor people at Barnes and Noble by calling them almost every day to ask if they’d gotten it in stock yet. It has finally arrived and I snagged a copy this week.

Knitting and design-wise I’ve been squeezing in a bit of stitching whenever I can, during my lunches at work and early on Saturday mornings with my coffee. I’m working on the Rekaviður hat pattern by Bristol Ivy and its coming out really nice. I also spent a day knitting with a couple of my lady friends, getting them both up and running on some fun fall knitting projects. I’m looking forward to a couple of calm days where I can work on a new design using some lovely Quince and Co Owl and all I can say is that THERE WILL BE CABLES.

I’ve really been enjoying the change of the seasons lately, even though its a rather slight change here in Texas. The skies are darker and darker every morning as I’m leaving for work and the evenings have a bit of a cool breeze wafting about. I’m very excited for fall to get here, and I’ll be clicking my needles making something warm and wooly when it arrives.

(*Antiphon is out in the US via ATO Records on November 5th and in the UK via BellaUnion on November 4th. You can pre-order it here and I highly recommend you check it out. It’s AMAZING and BEAUTIFUL.)

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A Crafty Saturday

The Autumnal Equinox arrived this weekend, and here in Texas we finally felt the first break from our 90+ degree heat. Saturday was such a lovely day with temps in the 60s in the morning and peaking in the mid 80s in the afternoon. I met up with some lady friends for a nice brunch and all around crafty day.

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We stopped by The DIME Store, a brick and mortar store born out of the Etsy Denton collective. DIME (Denton Independent Maker Exchange) opened up shop this spring and I have been really wanting to visit and take a peek at their handmade wares.

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These burlap pillows by Home Again were really cute, and even though the “I heart US” is surely referring to the United States, I really loved the idea of a pillow that says “I love Us” referring to the identity of a couple.

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There were some really adorable bags and clutches made by Rachel Elise that I was too busy drooling over to get a picture of and these cute little knitted baby hats by Cassie Arnold Art.

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Afterwards, we went back to my friend Felicia’s house for a little bit of knitting ourselves. Felicia cast on for a Hill Country Hat, and Bri started up a slightly modded version of my Infinity Cowl pattern, having given the one she previously knit away to a good friend.

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We had such a good time talking knitting all day and I look forward to seeing their finished knits.

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Flora and Fauna

One of the things I missed most while living in NYC was nature.  I will always love and miss the busy-ness and energy of living in such a city, but there is something about being surrounded by beautiful plants and trees or looking skyward to catch a glimpse of a bird in flight that makes me feel centered and peaceful.  Our little house in Texas is surrounded by plenty of trees and plants that are home to many different animals and I get such a kick out of spying on them from my windows.

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I’ve mentioned our bunnies before (rabbits, actually) and Joey and I continue to keep tabs on them and their goings on.  We don’t have a vegetable garden (though I dream of someday having one), so the abundance of rabbits in our area is more of a joy than a bother.  I may have even bought a bag of rabbit food to leave out for them on occasion.  I’m not putting out so much food that they will come to rely on it, but just enough to get a few extra fluffy cottontail glimpses every now and then.

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We also have lots of birds that make their home in the trees and bushes that surround our neighborhood.  There is a cardinal pair that we see almost every day, chirping happily to each other as they flit from branch to branch.  And Joey recently brought my attention to a dove and her two babies, who have been flapping around in our bushes lately.  I decided to put out a bird feeder to further entice these feathered creatures to enjoy our area, and since then I have seen daily visits from the cardinals, and even spotted a woodpecker!

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I initially hung the feeder from my back porch and within 20 minutes I was getting a few interested visitors.  By the second day the feeder had already been emptied, with a huge mess of seeds having been tossed out onto my porch.  I knew it must have been a squirrel, as no bird could have had the strength to completely knock over the feeder and create such a mess.  I even spotted the culprit in a nearby tree, waiting for me to refill the feeder one rainy day.

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I’ve since moved the feeder to our front porch just outside our picture window, thinking it may be slightly harder for the squirrels to reach it as it hangs far from the edge of our roof.  Not that they haven’t been trying, though.  I came home the other day to find that they’ve overturned a small potted cactus and completely strewn potting soil (and birdseed) all over our porch.  I righted the cactus only to find it overturned and further trampled the very next day.

The last straw came this week when I came home to find that my little cactus-sproutling, the very one I had been so enamored with a few weeks ago had been mangled by what I can only assume were those crazy ass squirrels.  I usually enjoy a good squirrel scamper, but I’m so sad that they attacked my little cactus!

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Cactus Watch ’13

The little cactus sproutling that I thought was going to be a blossom turned out to be a little baby cactus! I’m way more excited about this than any normal person should be.

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Insta June

Insta june

And just like that, June has come to a close. Any spare moment I had these past few weeks was spent seeking sun and fun or a bit of relaxation and conversation with good friends. I was inspired by a message to ‘walk in beauty,’ and so I took the time to savor the sounds of beautiful music made by people I love and adore, the splendor of heart stopping sunrises, the wonderful feel of squishy soft American-made wool in my hands and on my knitting needles, and the unexpected delight from discovering a tiny little cactus blossom sprouting from a cutting I planted at the end of last summer.

Walk in beauty, indeed.