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1987 Called…

February 22, 2012

I said yesterday that it would depend what was on T.V. as to whether or not I took pictures of The Second Sweater.  Well.  It was The River.  I didn’t take pictures.

Actually, here’s how last night went.  I started watching The River and around 8:38ish I felt my head bob in that sleep stupor way it does when one dozes off without realizing it…  My eyes popped open and I said to the Hubs, “I think I need to go to sleep.”  I vaguely remember him saying, “Good night, I love you.” and the next thing I know it is sometime around 10:30 and I’m still on the couch.  Yeah.  I’m a real party animal.  So.  You get grainy phone shots today.  It’s all I got.

I really like this sweater except the neckline doesn’t lend itself well to layering.  I’ve tried everything underneath this thing and it all looks funky…











So, I resorted to layering over the top… (I don’t like to go to work with naked arms, if you’re wondering on my insistance of layering.)

The result?  Well.  1987 called about an hour after I tried this and said they want their shoulder pads back.  I cried.  Then I wore it all day anyhow.

Final thoughts:  I’m glad I knitted it and will wear it.  But I’m going to add a ribbed neckline to it.  I think that should make it a little easier to layer.  I hope.  I don’t like getting calls from 1987.


What’s In A Sweater?

February 21, 2012

I have had this secret obsession about knitting a super-de-duperly fantastic, once in a lifetime, masterpiece fair isle cardigan.  (Big secret, right?)  I haven’t done it before now because, well, I’m intimidated.  Big time.  I mean, for pete’s sake, I’m still working on The Fish Hat That Is Kicking My Ass.  (Yeah, there’s a reason why you haven’t seen pictures of that yet…) Also, I can’t find a pattern that is just simply me.   Sure, there are patterns that I really like and would contemplate knitting, but they’re not me.  So, I put the desire on ice and ignored it.

That is until my Spinning Guild meeting in January where one of the members whom I’ve affectionately dubbed Queen of Fair Isle was wearing an elaborate and intricate fair isle sweater with corregated ribbing that I kept staring at.  I stared at it close up when we were chatting-  envying her perfect tension and the durability of her piece (it is 12 years old and looks perfect) –  and from afar to see how the over-all pattern looked. 

I feel compelled to note that while I’m gushing about Vonda’s sweater, she is very modest about it and eshewed my new nomer for her.  But I insist on calling her the Queen anyhow.  With admiration.

I’m all sorts of motivated now and would gladly forsake my 12 in 12 goal in a heartbeat if I thought I could accomplish this masterpiece.  I have yarn o’plenty in every color of the rainbow and the know-how but here’s what’s standing in my way still: I want this sweater to kind of be an outward representation of me.  (This is where my brother would begin to pretend snore after calling me an old woman with an incredulous look on his face…  … … I take that back.  Back up to paragraph one, sentence two and that’s about when it would happen.) 

I lurked on Ravelry until I figured out what I didn’t want (since I clearly didn’t know what I DID want…) and decided against linear designs, circular yokes, partial fair-isle, raglan sleeves, etc… and finally came up with a list of components that I do want.

  • Corrugated ribbing
  • Set-in sleeves
  • Two color throughout
  • Mosaic style patterning (the pattern needs to interlock and kind of create sort of a brocade style pattern.)
  • Shaping like this but longer.  Why are hand knits always so short?!  Some of us have pudgy stomachs and need that length!! 

But what about the pattern?  I want something that is unique and decided that I should chart my own pattern and I started making mental lists of inspiration.

I thought of cultures that I feel somehow connected to (reasons unknown) and that would only be two.  Irish and Native American.  I’m not sure what it is about those two cultures but even as a small child there was a connection to them.  I don’t mean just a fascination or that I like the styles that come from those cultures.  I mean a deep down, to the core connection.  When I think of those cultures there is a bit of home in them for me.  Strange, I know, but I’m rarely described as anything other! 

Then I thought of other things that I feel connected to that might be able to be worked into a pattern like seasons (summer & autumn) and components of those like the leaves of a Bald Cypress or Oak.  But what else could I look at for fair isle charting inspiration?  I feel stumped.  I’ve got a couple of cultures and some leaves.  How can I make that work into a cohesive brocade that feels vintage classic?

Time to lurk Google Images, I suspect.

p.s. I have still been too lazy to take pictures of my Second Sweater.  Maybe I can do that tonight.  Or maybe not.  What’s on T.V. tonight?  That will be my determining factor on whether or not I want to take the time to touch up my make up.

p.p.s.  I feel like I should have included some pictures or something.  This post feels very verbose today.

p.p.p.s. The Fish Hat and I are no longer friends.  We’re currently not speaking to each other.


p.p.p.p.s. I still feel guilty about my lack of visual stimulation in my post.  So here’s a thought for you to ponder.

Is the Dowager Countess the new Chuck Norris?

Admit it.  You want the Downton Abbey paper dolls too.  Go on.  Click the link.

Hair. Knitting. Bean Burgers. In That Order.

February 3, 2012

I’m obsessed with making my own natural shampoo.

I'm also obsessed with brown apothecary jars too. Also, Chuck Norris t-shirts.

I’ve looked up recipe after recipe.  Last night I tried out a Shampaste recipe.

1 tsp baking soda


1/8 c apple cider vinegar

First you mix the baking soda and water, put it on your scalp and let it sit, then massage your scalp.  Rinse with water then rinse again with watered down vinegar, let it sit for a minute and rinse with water.

Review: All I can say is that my scalp has never felt cleaner.  Truly.  It’s almost as if I can feel my pores breathing with little lungs.  Ok.  Maybe not.  That would be creepy.  But if they had little lungs, they’d be taking huge, gulping breaths – as if they’d been suffocating in chemical sludge (oh.  wait.  they were).  It feels amazing.  Not to mention that my hair feels clean too.  It didn’t feel as sleek last night as it does after a wash and condition with products made of ingredients I can’t pronounce, but feels sleeker today.

The only thing I wasn’t thrilled about is that my hair looks dull and not at all shiny.  Is it because it cleaned off all the residue of the chempoo shampoo and this is what my hair really looks like?  Or did it damage my hair?!  I’m going to try a moisturizing recipe that involves making my own essential oils this weekend.  Let’s hope I don’t burn the house down.

Knitting:  I finished my second sweater and want to make alterations to it before I take pictures. Since I am a month ahead of schedule I’m going to use February to finish the Fish Hat That Is Kicking My Ass (I’ve scrapped again and restarted using the Estonian Inlay method called Roositud), a pair of gloves and hooded cowl for a friend and some sewing. 

Cooking: Before I say anything about what I cooked recently, I feel the urgent need to impress upon you that I know absolutely nothing about cooking.  Except pancakes and “dippy” eggs.  That’s it.  Really.

I came across a recipe for Butter Bean Burgers and knew immediately that I wanted to try it.  So, I promptly went to the grocery store (this is big, you should know) and miraculously found the canned beans on the third aisle I searched (shouldn’t they be with the other beans?!) and much to my dismay, I found not a single can of butter beans.  I did however find cans o’plenty of great northern beans (they’re the same thing, right?) and bee-lined it the check out, trying to not be crushed by one of those Weeled Death Buggys Manned by an Idiot (read: Shopping Cart).

Aside from not using the right kind of beans (I know, I know – clearly they are not the same as butter beans) here’s what I did differently from the recipe. 

  • I divided it into six patties instead of four (at first I thought I wouldn’t have enough to make two, but it surprisingly works out fine)
  • I used a (farm fresh – free range – from my hubs winged death beasts that peck – queens of the roost) egg that was too big so I used fourteen crackers instead of six.  (I know.)
  • I lightly floured the outside before frying for a nice crispy outside.

    Ta Da!

I served it on top of Lime Cilantro Rice (my own concoction) with a dollop of A1 (aka: the nectar of the gods – yeah, it’s that good).  I looooooooved it and gobbled it up.  The hubs thought it tasted like a salmon patty but thought it was better with homemade honey mustard (to which I say PASHAW! Nothing beats A1.  NOTHING!) and still thinks it needs tweaked.

He was obviously not as impressed with the idea that I actually cooked as I was.  That alone was better than BBQ chips with Jalapano Cheddar Cheese Dip cheesecake.  No joke.

Hair – And I Don’t Mean Wool

January 27, 2012

…I mean my hair.  Or a lack thereof.  I keep cutting it short because I see these super cute short cuts and I think how easy they are (and they are easy – trust me, I haven’t touched my hair in two days) and so I go and chop all my hair off on a whim.

I have no self control.

My hair is even shorter now...

I love long hair but the knowledge that my husband can talentedly chop my hair off into a pixie cut at any time for free is such an overwhelming temptation when the whim strikes that I flush all caution down the toilet. 

Right after I’ve shit on it. 

So here I am, with a pixie cut (that my hubs did a damn good job on, by the by) dreaming of long, luxurious locks that I can braid, flip, chignon up, blah blah blah.

I think I’ve decided to grow my hair out.  Since I clearly have no self control, I thought I’d try to keep myself accountable here at TKL.  (Here’s hoping this works out better than my one-time attempt at fitness accountability on Facebook.)  I know I can grow it out – I’ve done it before – but can I keep it?

In the meantime, here’s some pictures of hair that I love. 


The Husband Shirt – A Sewing Tutorial

January 19, 2012

I bet you didn’t know that I love to sew since all I talk about is knitting.  I haven’t been sewing much lately but I’ve been bitten by the bug and I’m now obsessed with sewing my own clothes.  I’m just waiting for a free and clear weekend that I can sit at the kitchen table with Springfield (That’s my machine’s name.  It’s a Singer.  Get it yet?  My name is Dusty + Singer sewing machine = Dusty Springfield… Yes.  I do astound myself with my own cleverness.) and just sew to my little heart’s content. 

But, to give myself a quick fix in the sewing department, I took my husband’s Christmas gift from last year (still had the tags on it…) and cut it down to size!  Tutorials abound on upcycling or repurposing old shirts and what have you but I thought I’d give a go at writing my own tutorial for The Knit Life (ironic that the tutorial is for sewing, no?) so, I’m sorry if it sucks, but here it is!

Take an over-sized t-shirt (this was Mens XL)


Find a t-shirt that you really love and lay it over the top


Cut around the shirt leaving a seam allowance and if you are going to serge, be sure you are leaving enough to serge and sew.  This is where I forgot to take a picture but I just cut around, leaving myself 5/8 seam allowance.  Instead of cutting the bottom of the XL shirt, I cut straight up so that I would have a really long t-shirt that I can wear long or kind of ruffle it up if I want.

Also, I cut the sleeves off at the serge point, leaving the serging on and letting it fold back naturally, then stitched around it as a hem (that part comes later in the tutorial).


Seam down the sides from under arm to bottom hem.


Reinforce your stitching:  Finger press the seams open and place it back under your presser foot.  Center the seam on the presser foot and adjust your needle setting so that it sews just to the right of the seam.


When you reach the armhole, branch off and sew down the serged edge mentioned above as your arm-hole seam. 

Allow the fabric to move where it needs to for the most natural seam.  You can see here that as I move into the armhole from the side seam it gives me a little pointy bit that I trimmed off after.  Follow this around the arm-hole and continue to stitch down the other side of the side seam, keeping the seam centered. 

When you have finished this, Go back and select a zig-zag stitch or some other sort and reinforce your seam just under your arm.

And, Ta Da!

Yeah, it looks a little muscle shirt-esq but once it is on, those little sleeves look like cute cap sleeves and not I-Should-Have-A-Mullet-esq sleeves.

 I do have a picture of me wearing this but can’t find it.  I will have to take another.

The Knitter That Cried Fail

January 17, 2012

I’m still not sure that I can accomplish 12 sweaters in 12 months.  That statement however seems stupid when I am probably 25% finished with my second sweater already.  It feels like a daunting goal but maybe I am thinking about it too much.  I have been guilty of over-thinking before.  I know.  That will not come as a shock to those that know me well. 

I’m not feeling particularly chatty so I’ll just share Sweater #1 with you (I’ve decided that I can’t call them by month since I am clearly not sticking with the months…), and say that I highly reccommend this pattern in any yarn weight (get crazy… change it up with lace or cables!!).

p.s. I have developed a little bit of a sewing obsession.  I am working on a tutorial to share with you…

p.p.s. Ignore my bad hair day.  It usually looks cuter than that.  If I weren’t feeling so blog-lazy I would have taken the time to crop my head out of the picture…

p.p.p.s.  The store the picture was taken in was Florilegium.  Fabulous little store to visit if you are ever in the Parkville area.  I will also be writing up a full review of the shop soon! (So much to write about, so little motivation today.)

What The $%#& Was I Thinking?!

January 4, 2012

The tinsel is down,

and the tree is gone. 

My needles are strung

with yarn for a sweater. 

Here I sit wondering,

‘What The $%#& Was I Thinking?!’


12 sweaters in 12 months?!  Can I really do it? 


I’ve been trying to knit a hat with a jumping fish on the side for a month. 

 Let me tell you how many times I’ve frogged and started over*:








Well, you get the point.  This hat is kicking my ass.  A hat.  And I think I can knit 12 in 12?!




One would think that with the progress I’ve made on January’s sweater I would stop fussing, but still.  That old witch-with-a-B, Doubt, is niggling at the back of my mind.  (She and I are not on friendly terms, by the by.)


But still, Doubt aside, I had a good winter break.  Christmas was festive and full of love and happiness.  Case in point:  The gift tag on my brother’s gift from me and mine.

Can you feel the sibling love and respect? 


I got to work on The Paris Sweater and since I started early, I feel obligated to share my pre-January progress.  I knitted 23 inches over the period of about four days and then put it down for other winter break activities like play time with the munchkin and starting to teach my cousin Rachel (of Sweet Emmy Designs) to knit!  (I like making new knitters…), etc…


And then, I received a most unexpected gift once the holidays had wound to a close.


I have three words for you:


Four Straight Hours Of Once Upon A Time


(What?  There’s three words in there somewhere…)


My progress on The Paris sweater went from 23 inches to 37 inches, thanks to four, fabulous, sort-of new to me** episodes of OUAT. 

Knitting + OUAT = Happy, Happy Girl


*Thanks to Google Translate for the various language translations of “five”.


**Stupid Simpsons.  My husband refuses to stop watching the show he’s watched every Sunday for decades so that I can watch my new but beloved show in its entirety each week.***


Double Humph.  HUMPH     HUMPH


*** Of course I see the logic and fairness of it and I don’t complain… Much.


And finally, a non-knitting bit.  As I was getting pictures off the camera for Facebook, I came across one I did not know existed. My sweet hubby climbed up on the table to capture us sleeping on the job as we waited for Santa.  I’m so glad he did.