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I’m in the Mood for Nordic, Simply Because You’re Near Me…

I love Nordic-inspired knitwear. What’s better than the idea of trekking through the snow with snowshoes strapped to your feet, nose red from the cold, snow falling silently around you, the warm yellow lights trickling through the windows of a far off house and a Nordic sweater on your back? To me that sounds like heaven (if you added a thermos of hot chocolate into the scenario).

I recently designed a Nordic Pullover for Imperial Stock Ranch. Chock full of the techniques I adore, top down raglan, corrugated ribbing, fair isle and a pretty amazing coziness factor, I knew once I boxed it, sealed it up and sent it to them in Oregon that I might have to make one for myself. They have many great yarns over at Imperial, but my favorite of theirs is Native Twist. I was pretty excited when they told me that’s what they wanted the sweater knit out of.

Being a summer baby, you’d think I’d jump for joy when the days grow warm, the sweat starts dripping from my brow for no reason and the days grow longer. Heck no! I long for dark evenings, snow drifts, chilly temperatures, warm woolies, steaming mugs of tea and the smell of fresh bread coming from the oven. I want a red nose, cold ears, icicles hanging from the roof and wet boots by the door. Knitting this sweater made me long for those days… They’ll be here before you know it.

Download the Nordic Pullover pattern here. 150 days until the official start of Winter on December 21.

Hot Fun in the Summertime

There’s hot and there’s what’s been happening here in DC and many other parts of the country… This goes beyond a regular summer with humidity that is my worst nightmare, evenings that don’t go below 90 degrees, airplanes sinking into the tarmac (that really happened!), week-long power outages and the weather guy on TV baking cookies on the sidewalk (that also really happened).

When the weather gets like this there isn’t much to do but go on lockdown. Take the dog for a quick walk after the sun sets to keep the panting to a minimum, don’t run the dishwasher or washer/dryer until right before bed and look for activities to appease a 14-month old who is used to going on long walks and playing at the park, neither of which we’ve been able to do lately because of the heat. With the power outages here last week and the week before, all public places with good AC we usually hide out at like museums, the zoo or the mall were mobbed with people, all hovered near any available power outlet and looking like they were going into technology withdrawal. I actually heard a girl crying because she hadn’t been able to get on Facebook for a few days.

Have we really gotten to this point? Instead of worrying about an elderly neighbor or pets not doing well in the heat, the wasted food in the fridge or the possibility of dehydration, we worry about FACEBOOK? Wow. This reminded me of a few things I had planned on getting around to when “I had time.”

My husband is a green mechanical engineer. He was interested in it before it became trendy and has changed my life for the better (complete with changing my lightbulbs to LEDs 10 years ago when we first started dating). With weather like what much of the country has been living in these past few weeks, how can you not believe in global warming? Yes, it’s hot, but guess what? It’s our fault. We’ve ticked off Mother Nature and she’s showing her wrath by reminding us we’ve lived responsibility-free for far too long.We live in a small apartment in the city and while it’s not possible to live a 100% green life, we do our best to do what we can. We recently decided to live our lives paper towel and napkin-free. Think of all that waste! I’ve also been trying to use up some of my stash, whether it’s yarn, fabric, cleaning supplies or soap (why do we have so much soap under the sink?).

15 napkins folded in half so you can see both sides

This weekend I hauled out the ‘ol sewing machine, dug through my fabric stash for scraps not big enough for any substantial project, gathered my rotary cutter, threads, cutting mat, ironing board, iron and got to work. I found an online tutorial here and changed the size up a bit for larger napkins. I knew I wanted 15 napkins as a start and that they would be doubled sided, with no 2 alike. A few hours later, I had exactly what I had hoped for! I forgot how much I love sewing and while I’m not fantastic at it, I love every aspect of turning fabric into something utilitarian and beautiful. I’ll definitely be making more of these to build up an arsenal for when we have company.

They were nicely ironed until Callum got his hands on them!

Next up? New kitchen towels, a small quilt, pants for my son and maybe a few pillow covers.

Until then, stay cool.

Anchors Away Pullover

Summer is in full swing here in Washington, DC. You know what that means if you’ve ever experienced a DC summer… Dodging from shade patch to shade patch, constantly searching for your sunglasses, going through sunscreen like it’s going out of style, praying for lower humidity and trying to knit something that doesn’t make you sweat the second you touch it.

I’m a big fan of cotton. I wear it all year round and particularly like knitting with it. Cotton gets a bad rep and I hear a lot of “it hurts to knit with cotton,” or “my dry hands can’t handle it.” To those comments I say “heck no!” You’re not working with the right kind of cotton if you’re having those issues. Try Pima.

What is Pima Cotton you ask? According to an online source, it’s “also called extra long staple (ELS), is a type of cotton grown primarily in Peru, the southwestern United States and Australia. It is considered to be one of the superior blends of cotton and is extremely durable and absorbent. This type of cotton is named after the Pima, a group of American Indians who first cultivated the plant in the U.S.”

I especially like it in a yarn because you can throw it in the washing machine on a cool setting, then tumble dry it on low. This makes it particularly nice for children’s garments because at the end of the day both the child and the nice handknit sweater you made them are filthy.

Growing up on the ocean a smidge southeast of Boston, I’m no stranger to the sea and all things ocean-motif. My mom and I used to walk a lot on the beach in the evening, watching the fishermen haul in their daily catch and search for seashells. One of my oldest friends and I would carefully pick our way across the rocks to get to the end of the jetty and watch the lighthouses turn on as dusk fell and have a good talk. I’ve always had a particular fondness for anchors and blue and white. It reminds me of home, the smell of salt in the air and seagulls crying, searching for food.

Knit in Cascade’s Ultra Pima Fine, the short-sleeve Anchors Away Pullover knits up quickly on US 3 and 4s. A huge fan of the top-down raglan and Fair Isle, this is the perfect portable project to bring with you on your summer travels. Cascade’s Ultra Pima Fine comes in over 50 colors, making it incredibly easy to choose two colors that suit the wearer. Again with the amazing color selection! It’s very soft on your hands, does not pill and knits up nice and smooth. Yum! You only need 2 hanks of the MC and 1 of the CC. 3 hanks for a 12-month size pullover? Sign me up! This is one of my favorite Pima Cottons to knit with.

Download the free pattern here.

Ahoy!