Category Archives: writing

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.

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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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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.

Joey guitars

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 February

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February was a month where Joey and I both found ourselves working hard.  He has spent lots of time working at Redwood Studio- recording music and in the down time finishing some of their last bits of studio construction.  They are putting the final touches on the “apartment” side of the studio, so that out of town musicians can have a place to stay when they record an album there.  They held a grand opening event, with two of the artists they have been working with performing live for a small crowd.  The night had a magical energy about it and it was so good to get to finally share the fruits of our labor with others and see them enjoy it so much.

I’ve been working on drafting patterns for a few of my latest designs and also making a big office move that has sapped lots of my nightly knitting energy.  (Hello, exhausted 9pm bedtimes and doggie snuggles!)  I celebrated a birthday and also celebrated the release of my pattern and article in Pom Pom.  We’ve had some house guests the past week- a good friend from our NYC days who has since moved to CA, and a new friend from England, who are both in town to record at Redwood.

Things are good.  Things are good.

Hill Country Hat

Image via Pom Pom

Image via Pom Pom

The article I wrote for Pom Pom Issue 4: Verdant Stitches chronicles a trip to Texas Hill Country, where Joey and I stayed in a big ranch house with some of our good friends while the guys were recording an album.  The issue is available HERE and also contains a bonus pattern for my Hill Country Hat, which I knitted during the trip.

Image via Pom Pom

Image via Pom Pom

Be sure to check out the preview of the other lovely patterns in this issue of Pom Pom.  They are so gorgeous, you will surely want to knit them all.

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Insta-January

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January was a bit of a whirlwind for me. Knit-wise, I started off by photographing and releasing my hat pattern, Borlänge, and I made some nice progress on a few upcoming designs. Travel-wise, there was a super quick weekend trip to Texas Hill Country to visit with some dear friends and Joey took a weeklong music trip to NYC during the coldest week ever. In our downtime, we enjoyed a fabulous dinner party with good friends that ended with lots of laughs and even a bit of singing and dancing. There was also a nice long Saturday afternoon spent at Redwood studio: me knitting, Joey working on guitar parts for a friend’s record, and Henry lounging around on the cozy shag rug. Unfortunately, January ended on a sad note with the loss of our sweet, sweet Daisy and my parents’ gentle dog Fly. We’ve all been a bit broken hearted this week as we had to unexpectedly say goodbye to these wonderful dogs that brought so much love and happiness to our lives. But as Elizabeth Zimmerman says, “properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn’t hurt the untroubled spirit, either.”

and I’ve got some knitting to do….

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Psst….

Just wanted to share the sneak peek teaser that Pom Pom Quarterly have released for their upcoming Spring Issue:

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image source: Pom Pom Quarterly

I have a travelogue article featured in this issue and maybe even a teensy little pattern to go along with it!  I’m very excited to be a part of this issue, as Pom Pom is such an exciting new publication for the knitting community.

PRE ORDER  Issue 4 or SUBSCRIBE to the next four issues.

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