Handmade Vacation

finished objects, sewing

Hey there! I just got back from my epic trip to Spain, and I wanted to share what handmade clothes I wore while traveling. Two standout pieces, my grey linen Brumby skirt, and my Red cotton/linen Moss skirt, were workhorses. I wore them almost every day!! I was looking forward to getting some wear from my jean jacket, but it was so hot in Spain, I only wore it once. What a beautiful country!


About to discover the wrong entrance to the Toledo Cathedral in my Brumby skirt and carrying my New Yorker tote.


Taking in the Barcelona view from Montjuïc in my Moss skirt


Posing as the Washerwoman at Park Güell with my New Yorker tote and a Wiksten tank dress


In awe of the Sagrada Família wearing my Hampton jean jacket


Drinking in the Barcelona culture in my Lois dress


Bonus Brumby skirt pic next to a delightful Joan Miró sculpture

I was daydreaming of sewing the whole time we were gone, so I can’t wait to get back into the swing of things and get to autumn sewing.


finished objects, knitting

Jacob picked out some Zealana possum-blend (60% merino, 30% possum, 10% silk) yarn on our honeymoon to New Zealand, and I finally got some pictures of him wearing the cowl I made with it, since its been SOOO COLD!

lodgepole cowl in action

First, some background on possum yarn. Possums in New Zealand are not like the ones here. As a non-native species they are an invasive predator to NZ’s birds. The short of it: New Zealand has a very unique avian population due to its remote location and lack of native mammals. Birds evolved in a very wild way here because they had no natural predators. The most widely known example of this is the Kiwi. Because the possum is killing off their already-endangered birds, NZ is curbing the population of possums wherever possible, and in the process has discovered that their fur makes wonderfully warm yarn. We had to see for ourselves, so I bought some yarn to make a cowl for Jacob. It has a distinct halo when knitted up that you can sorta see here:

lodgepole cowl on bodyI used the Lodgepole cowl pattern, because I wanted to do some colorwork, and I wanted it to be masculine enough so Jacob would happily wear it. I used bamboo DPN’s for this, and I really do not like them at all, for the record. But I think I have two-handed colorwork down now, so maybe I should try a colorwork sweater! HA! I eliminated one of the repeats to make a more snug cowl, and I added a split in the bottom ribbing to curb opportunities for the wind to sneak in to his neck while riding a bike. He has been using it this week since its become suddenly bone-chilling cold. He loves it, and it fits very snugly.

lodgepole cowl closeup

lodgepole cowl side shot

oops! you can see where my 2×2 ribbing didn’t line up because I eliminated a pattern repeat!


Been doing a lot of reading, cooking, sewing (and a littttle knitting) lately. did i tell you i have a 2014 book-a-month goal? so far im on track!

Made another dress from Stylish Dress Book.

red buttons, huh?

And here’s a knitting update: 

progress on my cardigan.
Spent last weekend in Elk County, PA with some lovely people who I don’t get to see enough. Jacob’s mom gave me her old film camera and since none of the little stores on the way to Camp sold film, I just used the expired film in her case. Some turned out really nice:

Playing Rummy 500
my crappy rummy hand
walking up to The View

enjoying The View
good morning!



i finished my hat on the plane to california. it was pretty funny because i wanted to finish it night before but couldn’t, and when we got to the gate we immediately boarded, so i feverishly did the final decreases on the takeoff, and pretty soon into the flight i completed it and attached the tassels. it was an early morning flight, so most people were sleeping or groggy, but i was doing a little dance of happiness in my plane seat.

UPDATE: here’s a pic of the finished hat:

california was so beautiful, but the most fiber-related part of the trip happened in a yarn store in Petaluma. Knitterly was the most wonderful little place. i took a walk around, noticing and petting all the pretty skeins, and then i came back to the front of the store, almost about to walk out without purchasing anything, and then i found the most breathtaking (seriously..) display of yarn i had ever happened upon.

handspun, pre-center pulled balls of yarn nestled in white tissue in wide, shallow blueberry boxes were stacked on (i think) a picnic table with bench “shelves.” i lost all interest in anything but this, and touched every single ball of yarn. some of the yarn was undyed and ranged from a very dark dark gray black to a light brown mocha to a wonderful light smoke. the dyed colors were reds, purples, blues and greens. i must have picked up almost every ball to consider purchasing it.

one of the employees saw my enchantment and explained to me that the yarn was made by a woman in Napa who lives on a farm with all of the animals who provide their wool to make the yarn. she shears, cleans, spins and dyes all the yarn herself! on the labels she includes the names of each animal who contributed to the finished product. the kind employee also told me that this wonderful fiber artist started out not using dyes, but once she made some herself, she couldn’t resist the amazing colors she could achieve. the yarn is only sold in two stores, knitterly and another store in downtown san francisco, and sells out very, very quickly. it is also ridiculously reasonably priced.

i deliberated about what yarns to get for a very long time. i settled on two bright grass green balls, and two medium heathery gray ones. i plan to make a cladonia striped shawl with these beauties.

bravo, california.

you know she’s beachin’ it.


wow, what a lovely beach vacation. we did so much stuff! and also so much relaxing on the beach. we had mostly great weather, but a couple bad-weather days, but we had a triple-feature-90s-movies day where we watched Point Break, 10 Things I hate about You, and Jurassic Park.

we biked to the cape may/lewes ferry and rode to the dogfish head brewery, which was DELICIOUS. we passed this sign.

we visited the cape may brewery for a tasting and tour. they are very new, but still had 4 beers: a saison, porter, and two IPAs.
my parents and sister came down for the weekend, and we spent some serious time on the beach.
during the drive down, we passed philadelphia and had the marvelous idea to stop and see the barnes collection on the return trip. my friend mike (who was with us) told us about art of the steal, an extremely gripping documentary about the barnes and how the city of philadelphia "stole" it and moved it downtown. although i am not sure i can pick a right side on the matter, i wanted to see this magnificent art collection regardless of its location. in short, it was ABSOLUTELY PHENOMENAL. i went through the rooms and gasped constantly, the breadth of the collection is outstanding. if you are ever in the area, it is so worth a stop. i would like to go back another time, though, it was very draining and i found myself going through the 2nd floor rooms too quickly because i was burned out. 

i was able to get some serious knitting time in this week! now that i see the pictures i took, it doesn’t look like i spent much time on it, but i used a lot of time to decipher the chart instead of reading the written directions (as i had been doing), and the pattern is going much, much faster now– i am almost memorizing it. i had to rip out several rows at first, but im back on track and almost ready to start decreasing for the neck! my goal is to have this finished for our san francisco trip next month (its a lofty goal, we’ll see).