Coming soon ... a mini collection for Purl Soho using Shepherdess Alpaca. (I'll tell you more soon!)
Bowie was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) exactly one year ago on 4/4/16. I will always remember that date, even though I am terrible at remembering dates.
That day, I took Bowie to his autism evaluation at Blank Children's Hospital and to make a long story short, was given the ASD diagnosis by our (now) beloved, wonderful Dr. Noble.
After it was over, I didn't know what to do next. What was I supposed to do now? I had a stack of papers in my lap and lots of work to do – waivers to apply for, waiting lists to add our names to and a bunch of things I could not quite wrap my brain around just yet. So I looked at my super cool, brilliant boy ... knowing he was the exact same kid that he had been a few hours before. And decided he deserved ice cream. Maybe we both deserved ice cream. So we stopped by Orange Leaf on our way home. Okay, frozen yogurt ... not ice cream. Close enough.
Later that day, our family went to Target to pick up a couple of things. (What an extremely normal thing to do after such a defining moment in our lives, you say! Life goes on.) Bowie loves to collect the small plastic zoo animals they have in the toy section, so we let him pick one out. At the checkout lane, he was fidgeting with the tag on his animal (because he hates tags) and was urgently saying 'cut it with scissors.'
Almost immediately, our tall, young cashier bent over and cut the tag off the toy animal. He said 'That tag is bugging him, huh.' and proceeded to make lots of comments about the things we were purchasing. Lots of comments. I looked up and thanked him for cutting the tag and he told me it was a special day. That took me aback ... because yeah, it kind of had been a special day for us too. A day that had not exactly sunk in just yet.
He said "Well, today is a square root day, which is really rare. 4 x 4 = 16, 4 is the square root of 16, 4 and 16 are perfect squares, and it's 4/4/16. He went on about this and then I realized ... I was pretty darn sure our cashier was on the autism spectrum. (I later wrote a letter to Target in praise of this cashier and confirmed this.)
I realize this is a completely random, fragmented story, but this cashier could not have been in a more perfect place at a more perfect time. He was a young adult on the spectrum. He worked at Target. (Yay Target, by the way!) And he was just doing his job, but was also incredible and bright and interesting. And he was unintentionally helping me understand and accept a million things all at once. That everything was going to be alright ... now and in the future.
It's kind of the low-lying constant question in the back of every ASD parent's mind ... what about the future? Then you remind yourself to focus on the now. But that question comes back. This cashier provided a bit of foreshadowing I didn't know I needed. Every single person on the spectrum is totally, completely different. But knowing that kind of makes me want to meet them all. Life with autism might not be a piece of cake; it might be different but it will be alright. Bowie is doing fantastic things. And he will continue to do fantastic things.
We've learned a lot this first year. We've had a lot of ups and downs. And we've had a little refresher on square roots and perfect squares.
* photo by Alexandra Crahan Photography
Rowan Selects Stone Washed, an on-trend collection for Rowan + Wool and the Gang features Rowan's new denim-inspired tape yarn. The collection includes quick knit vests, ribbed sweater and dresses with simple textures suitable for any knitter.
These knits are right up my alley – simple and oh-so wearable! The best part? Sign into the Rowan website and you can download the patterns for FREE! Find them here in the Rowan Selects Stone Washed collection.
Here in Iowa, the temps are dropping, the snow is falling and the storm is hitting. Knitters are knitting and everyone's seems to be staying in and trying to stay cozy. Just a few days ago, our furnace went out and our family huddled around our fireplace. It was fixed soon enough, but it just took a minute for us all to think about all the people out there who don't have heat or a fire or a warm place to huddle.
Today, a friend asked me for the PDF file for these 'I'm not lost' tags I made a few years ago. I made them after I saw photos from a Ottawa-based knitting group who had been scarf-bombing and hat-bombing their city with hand-knits left behind for anyone who needed them to find. A tiny hand-knit act of kindness. Scarfs tied to trees and posts and benches. What a great excuse to use up some of your stash or put your extra knits to good use.
If you would like to print out some of these tags too, you can download them HERE.
Happy holidays and warm wishes to you! Stay cozy.
As the holidays get closer, it's cool to shop small. It's also cool to support women. I've put together a list of a few of my favorite women-owned businesses and some super neat gift giving ideas. Check it!
First up… Moop. I have been a huge fan of Moop bags for years. And I own quite a few. Backpacks, clutches, totes, messenger bags and more. They are my go-to everyday bags and I know you (or anyone on your list) will absolutely love them too.
Check out Lilla Barn, a rad clothing shop owned by my friend Bergen. She makes clothing for kids and women, and also has hand-dyed goods for your home (like these super cool tea towels.) Everything is handmade in Chicago.
Eden is my favorite DSM stop to find a thoughtful gift (or just to treat myself to something special.) If you're shopping for someone who seems to already have everything, hit up this shop – they'll help you find the perfect gift every time. Owned by my awesome friend Jen, Eden is a bath, baby, and home boutique carrying hard to find products you'd never believe would be available in Iowa. Plus they throw the best parties. <3
Hill Vintage & Knits is my Des Moines yarn store home and my friends Erica and Jess are entrepreneurial badasses. They have an awesome selection of yarns like Hedgehog Fibers, Malabrigo, Noro, Madeline Tosh, Dyed in the Wool, Wool and the Gang and more. AND they have vintage clothing and home goods too, too. In case you need a rad dress for a NYE party, a Lee denim jacket of a set of E.T. juice glasses.
And I know you know my friend Gaye of GGMadeIt ... knitter extraordinaire! GG is an absolute ray of light – she is always sharing the coolest knitting projects online and she always knows what's up. But did you know she sells her signature Yarn Ho t-shirts, plus mugs and tote bags too? Find everything here. She is also offering gorgeous hand-knit accessories (all made by GG!) here.
And then there's my talented friend Laura from XO-LP. Highlighters + markers + wit. She hand-illustrates all kinds of cool things – cards, t-shirts, coloring books, custom stationery, Thanksgiving table runners that kids can color ... you name it. Her lunchbox notes were just featured in Martha Stewart Living Online! So cool.
Domestica is my favorite modern indie handmade shop here in DSM, IA (and they have a full online + print shop too!) Domestica has the best super cool home and personal accessories – rad prints and pieces to help you spruce up your nest, and the perfect gift for anyone on your list. Broad City drinking glasses? YAS.
Coolest gift giving idea ever? An online/long-distance tarot reading by my awesome friend Kristi, or a deck of her very own (stunning) Ritual Oracle tarot cards. K lives in CA, but you can ask her a question from wherever you are ... then prepare to be floored by her guidance and perspective. She offers mini or full readings. And did I mention her deck is GORGEOUS? It is. I have one of my very own. And I love it so much. Find her online shop here.
If you are a knitter (or know a knitter), chances are that you are already familiar with Fringe Supply Co. This online shop has THE coolest knitting/crafting tools imaginable. Just a few items I'm obsessing over this season are the birch knitting needle sets, the leather wrist ruler, any and all of the Boukhou bags and gray canvas Field Bag. Swoon. If you're looking for a gift for your favorite knitter, this is your one-stop shop.
If you know me IRL, you know I'm in love with everything Blackbird. This Seattle design house uses innovative materials and concepts to create perfumes, incense, men's grooming, tea and accessories for everyone. Definitely one of my favorite things in life.
And last but not least, I can't put together a gift guide without mentioning my knitting books WEEKEND and EVERYDAY. Treat yourself to these gorgeously photographed books full of simple, modern designs. These books make fantastic gifts – don't forget to add them to your wish list! Find them here (and keep an eye out for a Black Friday deal you won't want to miss!)
HARD COPY + PDF EBOOK
Order your hard copy of 'Everyday: A casual, modern hand-knit collection' + a free digital copy for $27 + shipping. Hard copies of 'EVERYDAY' are paperback with a soft matte finish on the cover. Gorgeously photographed, this 140-page collection will look fantastic on your knitting resource shelf or your coffee table. Look for the PDF download link (for your electronic copy of the book) in your confirmation email.
RAVELRY – PDF ebook + PDF individual patterns
Each individual pattern is available on Ravelry, along with the full PDF ebook.
'EVERYDAY' is also available on Amazon.com.
Available as a Kindle eBook here.
Want to take a look inside? Check out the complete 'EVERYDAY' Lookbook.
I've been sketching, dreaming, knitting and writing my latest hand-knit collection for the past year or so, and now it's finally time to put all the pieces together. I look forward to this part the very most. Once again I'm collaborating with my local dream team Joelle Blanchard and Joey Leaming, plus my gorgeous model friends Chantell Moody and Valerie Sanders. I cannot tell you what a thrill it is to work alongside these comrades of mine who just have creativity oozing from their bones. We laughed and listened to records this past week, and I think we've captured every stitch and tiny detail.
The photos have been shot. The patterns are receiving their final tech edits. The layout is coming together. Here we go again ... and I hope you'll come along for the ride. Book no. 2 (title still in the works) will be released later this month. Tell your mama. Tell your friends. Tell anyone whose heart can comprehend. <3
A few years ago (well, gosh – it was back in 2010!) I wrote a knitting pattern called 'Braided', which is a nice cozy headband/earwarmer. Every so often, I'll get a message from a lovely knitter on Ravelry who offers to translate a pattern for a different language. Which is so extremely cool and kind of them! I love spreading knitting love around the globe, I do.
Thanks to Marianne Holmen of Denmark, Braided has been translated to Danish! You can find the tranlated PDF right here.
Lykkelig strikning! (Happy knitting!)
It's no secret that I have an obsession/adoration for super bulky and chunky yarn. But sometimes I get the itch to knit with something a little bit different. And I've found a super bulky that is a little bit different (and looks amazing.) It's called Briggs & Little Country Roving, and it's made of 5 strands of 100% wool that are held together as a single strand.
Briggs & Little is Canada's oldest woolen mill and has a really interesting history that you can read about here and here. (Seriously, you should check it out because I just learned a lot about how yarn is spun at a mill.) They use 100% Canadian wool and environmentally friendly dyes, which are very wash & light fast. As you can see here, Country Roving is spun from single strand roving into 5-ply rolls. It's wound to stay together (while remaining separate!) The end result is definitely that wonderful super bulky, woolen fabric that we all love but it's also light and airy. It knits up lightning fast. Country Roving comes in 15 shades, and the one I'm using here is called Sheep's Grey. Each lovely 8 oz roll has 155 yards.
This month Briggs & Little are celebrating their 100th anniversary of the Briggs & Little Name, though the mill itself has actually been around for over 150 years! If you'd like to try the yarn, you can contact them by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to find your nearest Briggs & Little retailer. They can also ship directly to customers if you don't happen to have a LYS that carries the yarn. You can check out their yarns on their website ... and be sure to follow them on Facebook!
I'm actually playing around with designs for my next book with Briggs & Little Country Roving because I am really enjoying the way it looks as I knit! I've been on the hunt for a woolen super bulky like this for awhile and I think I've found 'the one!' (What would you make with this super cool 5-strand wonder?)