Finished just in time for the end of 2017!


Ravelry Project Page
Pattern: Skógafjall, by Dianna Walla
Yarn: Lettlopi, in the colors the pattern called for
Needles: Size 6 for ribbing, size 7 for everything else
Time to Knit: I started it ~6 months ago, but I knit like, half of it while home by myself over Christmas!

I’m SO delighted with how my Skógafjall sweater turned out! I deviated only slightly from the pattern – I followed the directions for the 39″ size, but my gauge was just a bit tighter (I prefer knitting Lettlopi on size 6 or 7 needles rather than 8s), so it turned out more like a 36.5″ sweater, which is perfect for me. And I modified the neckline, knitting the ribbing twice as long so that I could fold it over and stitch it down for a doubled collar, and I *LOVE* it!

Doubled ribbed neckline

I am just madly in love with the tree pattern in the yoke…I love trees!


It’s pretty unusual for me to so closely follow a pattern, even using the recommended yarn in the recommended colors – I actually can’t think of any other time I’ve done that! And while I’m incredibly happy with the finished result, it does feel slightly less…”mine”…than other sweaters I’ve knit. I was reading Dan Ariely’s “The Upside of Irrational” while home by myself over Christmas, and one of the things he was writing about was what he called the “IKEA-effect”, by which he means the way that we overvalue the things that we make ourselves. And I think for me, what makes a sweater feel “mine” in the sense that I take pride in it, and don’t feel awkward when someone compliments me on it (and maybe “overvalue it” in the way that Ariely talks about), is that I designed it myself, or did something especially unexpected with a design that someone else created. I think I don’t take any special pride in the knitting itself (which is probably silly of me – it is, in fact, a skill!) but in the aspects that (to my mind) are more “creative”: designing, and to a lesser extent, modifying or choosing a color palette. I suppose I do value my own handknit sweaters, even one like this one where I pretty much exactly followed the pattern, over sweaters that aren’t made by me – I wouldn’t want to buy a sweater like Skógafjall, I’d want to knit it myself. But there’s something extra-special about the ones I design myself, and perhaps that’s as it should be.


I’m gonna wear the heck out of this one, though! My last finished knit of 2017. Here’s to many more in 2018!


Double-knit earflaps!


So, nearly 8 years ago, I knit a hat for my dad. He wore it in ski races, and got lots of compliments, and then it went missing one winter, only to be found in a snowbank. Once it had dried, it was clear that the winter in the snowbank had caused it to shrink a bit, and it no longer covered my dad’s ears. But picking up and knitting down from the brim would have been complicated – there’s a cotton-based lining at the bottom hem, and I didn’t have (or at least, couldn’t find) the leftover yarn from the hat kit, anyway.

The solution we came up with? I would learn how to double-knit, and add earflaps to the hat. Maddy helped us find color-matching yarn at Yarnology when we were visiting my parents this summer (she has an amazingly good eye for color!); it’s Spud & Chloe Sweater, so a bit thicker than the sport weight yarn with which the rest of the hat was knit, but extra warm earflaps are definitely not a problem!

Our plan worked!

Yay, finished earflaps! (Also, it was raining ice pellets while I took these pictures, and I can attest that this hat provides great protection from gross weather!)

I’ve never done double-knitting before, and it definitely hurt my brain at first to keep track of both sides at the same time, but I got better and better at it as I went, and I ended up being pretty tickled with the little chart I’d created for those flaps.

I finished the earflaps for my dad’s hat (which shrunk after a winter I’m a snowbank, hence the need for better ear-coverage). My first time double-knitting!

I added braids to the end of each ear flap (to match the braids at the top of the hat) so that it can be tied under the chin. Perfect for keeping cold air out during a ski race! It was raining ice pellets while I took these pictures, and I can attest that the hat, with its new earflaps, is good at keeping out yucky weather.

I’d intended for the improved hat to be a Christmas present for my dad, but, well, life got in the way, and while it IS in fact done before Christmas, it won’t be going into the mail until next week. It can be a New Years present, instead. Happy Holidays, dad!

A cowl, and a whole lot of life-crazy


This morning, I finally finished the second Willow Cowl that I cast on months and months ago…I think back in March, if my Flickr photos are to be trusted? It got set aside for sweater-knitting this summer, but was picked back up these past couple of months as a life-stress coping device (for me, the Willow Cowl pattern is GREAT for a mindless, soothing project!)

Finished Willow Cowl #2!

I’ll say more about the life craziness in a second, but first, how about more pictures and project details?

Ravelry Project Page
Pattern: Willow Cowl
Yarn: Madelinetosh Twist Light in “Flashdance”
Needles: Size 5 rosewood circulars
Time to knit: technically months and months, but not really very much time overall!

Finished Willow Cowl #2!


I really love the Willow Cowl pattern – the way the plain stockinette stripes and the eyelet-based stripes create that stacking effect is just so clever and pretty!

Finished Willow Cowl #2!


So, about the life crazy. Well, things have been crazy enough just being a social justice-oriented, caring person here in the United States, but since September, there’s been a whole lot more added in. We’ll start with this article, which hit the press while I was away at a conference. The lecherous professor in question? That’s my husband’s boss. That’s the department in which I was a Ph.D student from 2006-2014. And I’m one of the now-16 women who’ve contributed testimony describing the ways in which we reshaped our research and careers to avoid working with him because of the kind of behavior described there. So…that’s been interesting, and infuriating, and just a huge confusing mix of emotions – embarrassment that my former department and my university have handled these things so poorly, pride in my brave friends and colleagues who are speaking up, stress about making sure my husband gets into a better job, and just a whole lot of grief over the whole situation. And it’s been wild having these issues hit the mainstream with the Weinstein stuff and the #MeToo movement – it’s both wonderful and awful to have these things out in the open while also dealing with it up close and personal at my workplace.

That seemed like enough to be dealing with, but when it rains, it pours. In mid-November, we had an IEP meeting for our dear M, and the take-home message was that her Montessori school, where she’s been since she was 8 months old, and where the teachers and the whole community there are like family to us…well, things weren’t working well for M there. I think I’ve mentioned here that she’s been formally diagnosed with ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder, and Anxiety (which manifests itself in OCD ways). She was getting services at her school, but they really just didn’t have the resources to support her needs. She was getting her services through the suburban school district in which her Montessori school is located, which is one of the top school districts in the country, and is renowned for how it handles 2E kids like M, but we currently live in the city, which is…not. So this set off a frantic few days of researching schooling options, and starting the house hunting process in case we decided that moving was the only way to get M into a school environment where she could be supported and thrive. Well, by the end of November, we’d found a house in a very walkable part of the suburb (only a couple of miles from our current house, and within walking distance of many of the same places, just from the other direction)…it’s beautiful and perfect for us and has a lovely deck and backyard that M can run around in…and we’ll be moving at the end of January, and M will start at her new public school on January 3rd. What a whirlwind! Oh, yeah, and the end of the semester was in the middle of that, too. And M’s 6th birthday, which we celebrated at an art studio with lots of glitter and pinecone-painting (M’s favorite activity):

Madrigal’s chosen birthday party activity: painting pinecones and adding glitter!


She even got to bring home a painting that her friends all helped make!



It’ll look great on the wall of her new bedroom once we move!

In the past few days, I’ve finished grading my students’ final portfolios, we’ve said goodbye to friends at M’s old school, and we’ve met with M’s new school. She’s getting set up to do half days of special education, and half days of kindergarten, and I still need to figure out after school care for the 3 days a week where I’m teaching until 3:15pm next semester (that schedule was set before any of this stuff happened!). This has been a really stressful and emotional change for all of us – M has known the people at her school for literally her entire life, and while everyone at the new school seems very nice and supportive, it’s not the same. I think this change will be a positive one in the end, but the transition is hard and there have been a lot of tears.

I’m writing this while at home, all by myself, because my husband took M to Ohio to spend Christmas with her cousin, and I just couldn’t cope with adding the stress of travel to everything else. I’ll miss them, but we celebrated the Solstice yesterday, so I got to have my holiday with my beloved little family, and now M can have a second one with her extended family and I can have a much needed break, with a few days of quiet. I’m still an emotional, anxious mess, but at least I don’t have to be one while traveling!

Finished Willow Cowl #2!


So anyway, my cowl is the first of possibly a few knits-in-progress that have been finished while I spend my days watching movies and listening to podcasts and trying to recuperate from a seriously challenging last few months.