March knit Madness

HELLO.

Hi, yes I have a blog, which I do love and want to keep but find it hard to find the time to actually write in it. So here I am, child 1 is at school, child 2 is with an IPAD and I have some thoughts on my knitting.

First of all, I want to knit ALL the things right now. I’m currently working on the 2nd sleeve of my Sipila sweater from Boylandknit Works. I’ll talk about that more in a different post but the long short of it all is that I went into it without doing a proper gauge swatch because when I read the ease in the pattern I thought for sure that if I just closed my eyes and picked a size and used the suggested needles I’d come close enough to that ease that it would be fine.

Insert LAUGH here.

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WELL, I love my sweater, I really really really do but come on… why oh why do I think I have a weird “getting gauge” super power. I sure as sh*t do not. SO the result is actually a Negative Ease sweater that I still love but keeps on getting me weird looks when I bring it out. People think it’s for a CHILD and not for me. AHEM.

ANYWAY, I also went ahead and KonMari’d the hell out of my closets and found a long lost WHIP from 2015 – my Flaum. What’s kinda hilarious is that when I went back in my memory – aka my Instagram feed, I saw that I spoke of this sweater last in 2016 and said something like “I’m gonna finish this baby today!” – WHAT A LIAR.

It is in the same condition as it was from this 2016 photograph. One sleeve not done, and one sleeve a mere 2″ away from completion. So here I am in 2019 hoping to finish a sweater that I told EVERYONE on the internet was done already.

SO, I take this bad boy out to get a good look at what needs to be done. On first inspection, I see I’ve already switched to the smaller size for the 1″ cuff on the right sleeve. I get out the measuring tape and see I’m actually 1″ short from that point, so ok, let me grab my larger needles to just knit an extra inch… fine fine.

BUT back in 2015, I knit this sleeve FLAT and seamed it. Probably because I don’t like how my 1×1 knitting looks in the round. It always looks better from the wrong side (damn that knit tension! – fist shake -) – and therefore as I begin to rip I notice that it’s going back and forth and not around and around.

So friends, I just decide to put that sucker back on the needle and knit in the round because who is going to notice an inch or two of in-the-round 1×1 knitting at this point.

So now I feel compelled to finish this sleeve and then do the next and Then have 2 pretty sweaters to wear just as the snow thaws into April.

If you’ve made it this far, thank you. It feels good to get some words down again and to say hello and hit POST. It may not be the prettiest or most well thought out post but it’s me. So hi.

I will now have to wrestle the iPad out of my sons hands and I’m sure deal with the ensuing tantrum. Thanks, Ryan’s Toy Review!

xo

m

FO: Kirigami Pullover

Talk about love at first sight! I normally love pretty much all things Brooklyn Tweed but the latest look book had be at hello with Gudrun’s Kirigami sweater. It’s been FOR-ever since I made a pullover for myself and saw that as a perfect re-introduction. Plus, I have test knitted for Gudrun in the past and know her patterns are always spot on.

I decided to go with the yarn it’s called for, Arbor, which is Brooklyn Tweed’s newer DK weight yarn. I knitted my swatch in the suggested needle size (US 5) and saw my swatch bloom with a wash. I was hesitant to go down a needle size because I figured since I was working the pattern in the round vs flat like my swatch – the difference of in-the-round tension would make up the difference. But let’s be honest here, I was also impatient and decided to go ahead and cast on a sleeve. Sure enough my sleeve gauge was on (Pre-Blocking) so naturally I decided to just go forward with the knitting!

I didn’t do anything fiddly like start with the yoke first (although I see you out there with your provisional cast ons! Brilliant!). I kinda love being “bossed around” with my knitting so I pretty much followed the pattern to the T. I did however do my sleeves first which is always a good idea when working from the bottom up in the round. If you’ve ever ended up on “sleeve island” than you know exactly what I mean!

I decided to knit the 41” as I am typically a 36” bust and wanted something more slouchy than the smaller size which was a 37” bust.

The yoke has such beauty and texture which I find is so flattering.

SO people, let’s have the true confession. I knew I didn’t *quite* get gauge, and yet I still went ahead with knitting… so all day yesterday while this girlie blocked I was sweating bullets because sure enough the whole thing bloomed to another size completely! I didn’t pin it out – more like every once in a while I kept going back to smoosh it smaller and smaller.  Even now, all dried it is a bit too large for me but I still LOVE IT and will wear it a lot. The yarn, Arbor, is so soft and I can tell will get even softer with wear.

Am I a little bummed it’s not exactly the size I wanted, of course. I didn’t stop myself when I should have but I actually love this sweater so much I am thinking of making another in a smaller size with a different color.

It’s just so classic and I can see myself wanting to wear it again and again. But let it be a lesson for you all – Trust Your Gauge (!!!) and definitely do a gauge swatch if you’re making a sweater. Don’t be like me and pretend it’s going to work because it will not.

Oh knitting, I do love you so. It was really wonderful to get back into a project so deeply that I totally nearly ignored my children.

xo,

M

The Rare Stitch

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Today, Feb 28th is Rare Disease Day. The day we get to shine a light on so many kids and adults living with a Rare Disease including my son James.
I have been thinking of ways to increase awareness for Rare Disease in the community I love so much and realized that knitting is a perfect metaphor of the odds of rare disease.
Thinking about your knitting as a population, how many hundreds of thousands stitches do you knit? Now imagine if one of those stitches is “off”. A sea of stockinette but one isn’t quite the same as the others.
So what am I asking you to do? Something very simple. Grab a knit you’re working on or one you already have and duplicate stitch One Stitch in a contrasting color.
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One stitch of so many that is different. That stands out from the rest. That can’t be ignored.
A disease or disorder is defined as rare when it effects less than 200,000 people in the US. My son James is diagnosed with Alternating Hemipelgia of Childhood which has only 380 cases. A 1 in a million chance diagnosis.
Tell a story with your stitch. Maybe James is the one one you know, maybe you of know another? Fill our spaces with the stories of those who would normally be forgotten in a sea of so many others.
You can use hashtag #therarestitch and tag me at @1010_studio when you post. I’d love so see them and want to create a huge “collage” by the end of the month!  Please encourage or tag others to keep it going.
A donation to CureAHC.org or your Rare Disease charity of your choice is optional and always welcomed.
James (4) is going into Kindergarten next year and this spring will be one of huge transition. He still has episodes of weakness weekly and I do worry what his life will look like when he’s older.
However, seeing the village around us supporting him (and me) as we keep making our way through this Rare Disease world is amazing. I know I wouldn’t be as chipper as I am without you all! I cannot thank you all enough for being a part of our journey and helping to shine a light on that One Stitch of many.
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Love to you all,
Margaux
IG: @1010_studio

Open Letter to Joyce Byers – Mom/Hero

I just finished watching Stranger Things 2 and cannot stop thinking about Joyce Byers.

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Now if you haven’t seen the show and do not want to be spoiled I want you to stop here. I don’t plan on giving away too many spoilers but the show is just too darn good and I’d like you to go watch it first.

Now that you’ve been warned…

Dear Joyce,

You are one amazing mother.  You’ve been through one of the most traumatic experiences any human can go through and what have you done… you became stronger.

You work tirelessly as a single parent in a time where there were no cell phones or internet. I noticed that you handmade your son’s halloween costume. I noticed that you work days on end to give your sons a good life – and your boys are Good Men. Both of them. I cannot deal with how much I love the relationship your boys have with each other and guess what? That’s because of you! Jonathan and Will are a wonderful unit and that all comes from you whether you realize it or not. I can only hope that my two sons will have that closeness when they are older.

You never gave up on finding Will and when he returned you remained tireless in your effort to heal him. I can only imagine how much courage it took to let him go off with his friends. How much fear you had to swallow to let him “have his space”. You were so strong and yet fragile. How we can all relate!

When things ultimately started to go sideways, you knew him. You knew he would respond to his art. You never gave up and man, if you could have fought that monster with your own bare hands you would have.

You jumped into the Upside Down like it was NOTHING. Like, oh, I have to go to another evil dimension to get my son (and save my friend Hopper?) No Big Deal. Girlfriend, You RAN towards that scary disgusting hole in the wall. You sped your car toward that hole in the ground. Mama your courage is inspiring!

As a mother of a child with special needs I saw so much of myself in you. Or rather I hope I would go to any lengths to get my son help – to run towards that evil scary place with no question. To have him trust me, to have him believe that No Matter What I would be there for him.

I get so worried about when my son gets older. Wondering how many kids will make fun of him because he can’t communicate as well or drools. Will they call him “Zombie Boy” or “drooling boy”? I hope not but it’s inevitable, right? The world can be cruel and UpsideDown. I know like you I’m going to want to punch those kids (and monsters) in the face but will work hard at keeping my temper. I hope beyond hope he will have a friend like Mike, a brother like Jonathan and that I can be a mother like you.

Thank you Joyce for showing us all what a strong mother is.

You’re my hero.

Love,
Margaux

P.S. Now go pour yourself a glass of wine and call Hopper. You deserve a fun night out.

P.P.S Wynona, you deserve all the awards next season. Bravo!

Rhinebeck or Bust – NY Sheep and Wool 2017

Every year I look forward to this beautiful October weekend. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s in my favorite month of year, or that the leaves decide to show off their glorious colors or maybe it’s the beautiful hand knit sweaters… whatever it is, there’s no doubting that my yearly trip to Rhinebeck is a highlight of my year – every year.

Could it be possible that I’ve only missed two festivals in the past 14 years! The latest miss was due to a brunch with Martha Stewart (Hey girl!). Not gonna lie that was a good time but Martha has nothing on the NY Sheep and Wool Festival.

I remember the first one I went to. I drove up with my friend, Melissa (Hey girl!), it was in the early days of blogging and I remember spotting so many familiar faces I knew from blogs. It’s possible she thought me crazy that I knew so many “internet friends”. Now look at us, Instagram/Facebook/Snapchat Friends everywhere! I also remember buying a Jennie the Potter mug, with No Line on a SUNDAY. Man, Those were the days!

Since then I’ve gone up with a crew of knitters from Hoboken, NJ (Hey, guys!) and of late I have had the pleasure of sharing a home for the weekend with some of the most talented knitters and knitwear designers I know (Oh hey ladies!). To say this is one of my favorite weekends of the year is an understatement.

The NY Sheep and Wool festival in Rhinebeck, NY is a Mecca for all fiber artists. Stall after stall of yarn goodness evokes so much inspiration. I loved walking slowly (partly due to the crowds) to touch the yarns and piles of fiber. It was almost overwhelming.

The fairgrounds were packed on Saturday with so many people flocking to the fair on a unseasonable warm day for late October. Even the bees were confused – they were incessant at the food stalls, trying to pollinate every fried artichoke it could find.

My favorite yarn that I walked away with was A Wing and a Prayer Farm‘s Cormo Alpaca blend. I plan on knitting it into a cowl (surprise surprise). I also love that they listed the names of the sheep and alpaca the yarn was sourced from. Hey there, Goldenrod, Indigo, Wilbur and Fluffhead, you are amazingly soft, thank you in advance for warming my neck! 😉

I also loved catching up with so many friends in the fiber arts world that I don’t get to see often. Jess from Ravelry and my old friend Jamison (10 years baby!) and of course, Cara from JanuaryOne. Oh and I may or may not have accosted Kate and Courtney on the bathroom line. (Sorry, not sorry! And no photo – darn!) But was so excited about their new yarn, Andorra, how couldn’t I not jump for joy! I cannot wait to knit it up.

I was lucky to stay with some friends who are also some talented knitwear designers. I totally grabbed a copy of my housemate, Bristol Ivy‘s new book Knitting Outside the Box. So many beautiful patterns to knit. I can’t stop flipping through it.

Thea Colman sported her latest knit Rye & Rum Punch – a gorgeous pullover and Amy Christoffers gave me a sneak peek of her latest cardigan which I want to cast on, like yesterday. Not to mention I want to sew all the things with Ellen Mason and Sonya Phillip. Not enough hours in the day, ladies. But we did have such yummy and glorious pie at the Mason Dixon Meetup.

I also loved sharing ideas with them and have walked away with a lot of ideas for the future (potential E-book coming your way!) It’s all I can do to just sit down and focus to get it all done.

And then there is The Bag! I designed a “Rhinebeck or Bust” tote bag this year and it sold like hotcakes. Thanks to some wonderful fiber friends (see above) who shared it with their networks, this bag was in stock for maybe a day.

Seeing it everywhere I went on Saturday was such a surreal treat. So many people complimented me on the bag and also said they too were being asked where they got it from. I love that my art/creativity has taken me to the hand lettering arena. It’s been a fun exploration and I plan on continuing to experiment when I can!

I also was sporting some Pom-Pom earring which I made the week before after being inspired by my local shop, Calliope Paperie. The owner Kristina sports various pom-pom earrings on the regular and her influence finally rubbed off  on me as I decided to make myself a pair. I never thought of myself as a pompom earring person but once I put them on I was like, “I AM a Pom Pom earring Person, ya’ll!” I got so many compliments on them that when I got home I went straight to work on making a jillion pairs.

You can get yourself a pair via my Etsy Shop – here!

Overall, Rhinebeck did not disappoint and I am already looking forward to next year. Until then, knit on friends!

M

Handknit Wall Hangings

I’ve falling in love with wall hangings. I blame Instagram and the endless inspiration is provides. It all began with a very popular account, Lindsey of The Blushing Script. I found her due to my current fascination with calligraphy and hand lettering. I was immediately drawn in with her calligraphy videos and her ease at mastering that craft.

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I naturally took at look at her Etsy shop. She does a little bit of everything – calligraphy, weaving, and macrame! (She’s the Etsy shop I want to be when I grow up! LOL) I had never done a large macrame piece and most of my knotting was left to friendship bracelets which long ago I made many of. But her constant sharing of her beautiful pieces led me to follow more and more macrame accounts which let me to finally purchasing some cotton string from Niroma Studios.

Macrame is a different beast than knitting. You need to precut strings and have them hanging on a tension rod. And then there’s all the knotting! I had to find the right place to do it in my house where I could sit and watch my kids. I used a hanger to balance my piece on and hung it from a dresser. I can see why someone who has fallen hard for macrame will get a movable tension rod and hooks.

After making that first piece I started thinking about how I could combine the two “ideas” – wall hangings and knitting. It was an almost “duh!” moment for me.

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I immediately whipped out my stitch pattern dictionaries and began to map out my first wall hanging – a chevron/eyelet idea. Once that was done, I was eagerly flipping through to find more patterns that I felt could work!

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I had a funny conversation with a commenter on Instagram over how great it is to display knitting. So much of what we make ends up in boxes that land in closets and we don’t get to use or see it often. Now I worry I don’t have enough wall space for all the wall hangings!

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Want to try it too? I wrote up a pattern for my Diamond Mesh wall hanging (pictured earlier in the post) which you can get via Ravelry.com or in my Etsy shop – tentenlove!

OR if you’re not a knitter, I have a few finished wall hangings available in the shop as well! Go get decorating!

I heart Sewing!

This Christmas my husband gifted me with a new sewing machine. Well, to be true, he told me he wanted to gift me one and promptly asked me to pick it out since he felt it was too personal a choice to do for me. How true he was! There are SO many machines out there to choose from and of course I had no idea where to start. After a few texts with some amazingly talented sewers and a Pinterest post on beginner machines, I eventually chose mine.

Meet my girl, Singer Stylist 7258 – a crowd pleaser. She’s a basic work horse that has 100 different kinds of stitches. What is most awesome to me is that my mother and grandmother also sewed on Singer machines. How could I not honor my heritage?

I immediately began scouring the internet for patterns and inspiration. There is a TON out there and an awful lot of stuff to comb through. Who knew the sewing world was so vast?

Also, how thankful am I to have a site like Ravelry? It’s a wonderful site dedicated to knitters and crochers with a tremendous database of patterns and reviews. If you want to make a pattern it’s the first place I look to see if there are any major hiccups or things I need to keep in mind. To my knowledge, sewing does not have a similar place.

Of course the first place I went to (aftering being reminded) was Purl Soho. I LOVE their style and knew they would have sewing patterns that would what I was looking for.


After some simple pillowcases under my belt I decided to give their Easy Tote a try! Stay tuned for a second post more in depth! 

After that I found my self falling down the sewing rabbit hole.

My sewing/making inspiration:

Purl Soho – https://www.purlsoho.com/

Colette Patterns – https://www.colettepatterns.com/

Blackbird Fabrics – http://www.blackbirdfabrics.com/

Grainline Studio – http://www.grainlinestudio.com/

Sewaholic Patterns – http://www.sewaholicpatterns.com/

Thread Theory – https://threadtheory.ca/

IndieSew – https://indiesew.com/

Fringe Supply Co – http://www.fringesupplyco.com/

What other places have you found great sewing inspiration?

Things they don’t tell you about sewing – 

These are my intial impressions on what you need to know before starting a sewing project. I imagine as I become more experienced this list will be more obivous and will probably include more bullets – alas, this is just what I’ve come to learn over the last few days.

Your sewing machine manual is GOLD. Read it, keep it nearby and don’t lose it.

Your Iron is just as important as your sewing machine. I didn’t realize how married they are. You cannot sew anything without having your iron near by. Pressing your pieces is key to success.

Cutting fabrics. This is a DUH but did you know you have to cut the fabric a certain way. I had no idea there was such a thing. Grainwise is a new term for me but it’s slowly sinking in. To be true, I  had a serious mental block on what that meant and “picturing” the way the fabric is cut from the bolt. Also Shears vs. Rotary Cutter is a thing. Luckily I actually have a rotary cutter handy so that was nice. I have since bought a huge cutting board to help keep things neat and straight.

Seam Ripper! It was one of the first things I bought. Let’s be honest lots of mistakes are going to be made by moi. I’m not afraid to rip and this tool is super necessary.

Bobbins – every time you load a bobbin you can’t “unload” it. I went ahead and did two projects with two very distinct colors so now I have two used bobbins from the 2 that came with my machine. More colors I want to use, means more bobbins!

Needles – just like knitting, different patterns require different needles but it’s not necessarily written out in an obvious way. I was making my first tote via Purl Soho’s blog – the Easy Tote – and almost started going along my merry way before my mother in law stopped me and asked what kind of needle I was going to use! I hadn’t even thought of it before and glad she did stop me because lo and behold I needed something with more strength.

I can’t tell you how excited I am to be sewing. I really pushed it out of my mind to tackle because I was so worried how “all in” I would be. To be honest, it was my destiny! With a grandmother and mother who are both amazing seamstresses it wasn’t hard for me to jump right in. Happy Sewing!

On dealing…

It’s a truth telling session, ya’ll.

I am often cheerful and hopeful and Pollyanna about my sons situation but to be true it is so fucking hard sometimes. The appointments and paperwork piles up and all of a sudden I’m drowning and getting a life-saver seems to come through more endless amounts of more paperwork I simply cannot keep track of.

I cannot think clearly. I often miss deadlines and coffee dates. I can barely clean out the dishwasher sometimes. So when this debacle happened you can imagine it was just another thing to chalk up to the side effect of AHC.
I’m not writing this for your sympathy, no, it’s more for my own sense of “shit that happens that you just have to deal with”. Things are harder because of James’ condition. I can’t ignore that. I can’t ignore that I’m not functioning the same either. We missed a letter, which missed a deadline which missed a way to get out of the mess we are in. 

I don’t think anyone in their right mind wants to be tangled up in a government department. They are cold. They are long telephone waits and form letters. They are zero empathy. No one really cares. I am sure it has to be that way. I can only imagine the thousands of other stressed out mothers who let mail pile up at their kitchen counters who call desperately for some help and are shunned or turned away because they didn’t call or do that thing they needed to do in 30 days of some date.
Ya’ll this sucks and it’s been a lesson to me. Even when I’m in the BS, when things are hard and I can’t think straight, I have to try to think Straight. Because once you let something go, no one is going to be around to help you. It’s all on you.

I pray for those families who are in worse shape than I am dealing with this kind of thing. Good Lord how do they cope? I’m so lucky to have a great husband and family (and community) that ultimately when all the tears are shed and the curses screamed, I’m going to be ok. I really truly am. Even as I get these words out, I’m breathing a little deeper and fuming a little less – heck maybe I’ll even knit a fucking row.

It just sucks right now. AHC sucks. Rare disease sucks. Being on the fringe sucks. Asking for help sucks. Deal with it, right?

Deal with it.

Cocoa Brownies

I recently finished a delightful novel titled The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller that made me yearn to bake! There’s something so attractive to me about baking. The process feeds my need to follow a design (see: Knitting) and I thrive on making people happy (see: personality!). I mean who doesn’t love desert?

I think if I had all the time and money in the world I would definitely sign up for a pastry chef program.  I would love to learn the craft and science of how to make things that people drool over.


Speaking of drool, these are my absolutely favorite – my cocoa brownies. I make them any chance I get whether it’s a barbecue with friends, hosting a playgroup or a Netfix and chill night with my husband. 


First let’s start with the good stuff – the cocoa! The better cocoa powder you can use the better the brownies will be. Our old standby is Ghiradelli’s cocoa powder which can be found at most supermarkets. To me it beats the taste of Hershey’s any day and has the chops to stand up to the fancier Sharfenberger cocoa.


After mixing the sugar, cocoa and salt together with a whisk it’s time to add the melted butter. 45 seconds in my microwave usually melts a stick without overheating it. Sure, you can melt it over a stovetop but I’m quite impatitent when it comes to waiting for the butter melt and then to cool. Mother of 2 toddlers – I’m usually wanting to get those brownies in my mouth ASAP.


While whisking pour the butter in – I like to really whip it after it’s all in there just for good measure. Next add the vanilla. Whip some more. Whip it, whip it good.


Now the eggs.  One at a time and really work the batter until it’s completely incorporated. I can’t stress enough how this part really makes this brownie. Definitely put eggs in one and a time and don’t  be cheap on the mixing. Keep going until your forearms burn and until the batter lightens in color a bit.

The last part is mixing in the flour. As fierce as you were with mixing in those eggs, you want to fold that flour in gently, as if you were making a merengue. Gently, gently until it all comes together! 



Pour the batter into a greased 9×9 pan (I used coconut oil spray) and spread it evenly with a spatutula. Using a knife, scrape the spatula down and add the bits to any corners that need love. (And or feel free to lick ;-))


Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Try hard to wait until the pan cools before cutting in and devouring. We find it a huge triumph if we haven’t eaten the whole tray in one sitting. We take our will power (or lack there of) pretty seriously.


My dad loves to have this with 2 huge scoops of ice cream on top. I prefer the corners and my husband the gooey middle. (Match made in brownie heaven, we are!)

Full Recpie Below

Adapted from Bon Apetit

Cocoa Brownies

Makes 9 3″ X 3″ brownies

1 stick butter melted

1 c 2/3 c. Sugar

3/4 c. Cocoa

1/4 tsp Salt

1 tsp vanilla 

2 eggs

1/3 c. Flour

Preheat the oven to 325

Grease a 9×9 pan and put aside

Melt butter in the microwave or saucepan, let cool 

Whisk together the dry ingredients. Add butter by pouring in slowly while whisking until fully incorporated. Add vanilla. Add eggs one at a time and whisk vigorously until each has been incoporated and batter is a little light and fluffy. Fold in flour.

Pour batter into a 9×9 brownie pan. Cook 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Enjoy with your favorite ice cream or alone in all it’s glory! Be the talk of the town or your couch! 😉

Love and brownies,

Margaux