Catskill Boardwalk


Boardwalk (4 of 4)

Boardwalk (2 of 4)

This may be my favorite handknit yet. The design—Boardwalk, by Heidi Kirrmaier for Wool People 3—is perfection. It’s got just enough intriguing detail while still being understated enough to work with any outfit. I finished it in time to wear it at Madrona with a short gathered skirt, colored tights, and a pair of girly Oxfords, but it’s equally good with jeans. I knit the 36 1/2″ size, but added two and a half inches to the torso before dividing for the arms because I’m 5’11” and I wanted the hem to hit just at my hipbone. (That was a lot of stockinet on #3 needles, I won’t lie. But I am building stamina for my Wild Apple Bohus kit, so really it was like running a 5K in training for a marathon. This one doesn’t even have sleeves, after all.)

Boardwalk (1 of 4)

The yarn is Catskill Saxon Merino Fingering from Eugene Wyatt’s farm in New York. That’s a link to his blog, which you should absolutely go read—brew yourself a steaming mug of coffee and settle in for a good while, because Eugene has rare gifts. He brings his yarn and his sausage down to the Greenmarket in Union Square on Saturdays. As a vegetarian I can’t comment on the sausage, but hot diggity dog, that is SOME YARN. I always try to visit the Catskill Merino booth if I’m in New York City on a Saturday, and when I was there last June I spent nearly an hour mesmerized by the beautiful colors they achieve with natural dyes, trying to choose one for my Boardwalk. And in the end I walked away with simple, undyed, merino white, and it’s utterly perfect. The fingering weight is incredible to knit, bouncier than anything else I’ve worked with, downright playful on the needles. It makes a soft, light fabric with a very dry hand and just a hint of rustic character. I love it madly. I’ll be in New York in a couple of weeks and I swear I can’t be held responsible for what might come home with me.

BoardwalkBW (1 of 1)

Thanks to my friend Daniel for these photos. In addition to being good with a camera, Daniel can build bicycles, play ultimate at the pro level, and teach math and decency to ten-year-olds, so he is pretty much a rock star.


I sent my three-year-old off to her first day of preschool this morning. “I feel hard to leave my old school,” she said plaintively as we kissed her brother goodbye and continued on our journey to her new place. She’s an old hand and a natural at this schooling business, having taken to nursery-level Montessori like a pig to slops at the age of 11 months. Today she climbed straight into the little loft when we arrived and required that I read to her through the railing. I got only the briefest kiss goodbye as she hurried off to help feed Jeremiah the hamster. I knew she’d be fine. But she’s the littlest for the first time and I wondered and hoped for her all morning, as mamas do.

I distracted myself with work, and then I thought I’d get back to this blog’s roots and post about knitting for once. New on the needles and quickly snapped with le cameraphone in repose on the handsome big granite slabs outside the SeaTac airport:



This is Echo Beach. Like the famed Clapotis, this scarf is all delayed gratification… one could drop those stitches down earlier to glimpse the final glory, but psychologists have shown that those of us who can, as four-year-olds, resist the temptation to gobble up one marshmallow rightnow on the promise of two marshmallows later will be more successful when we grow up. I was the child who froze her Halloween candy and made it last all winter. An Everlasting Gobstobber warranted occasional brief licking and then wrapping in paper for storage in the drawer of my bedside table for so long that I can’t be sure I didn’t forget all about it in the end… it may yet turn up when my parents move house. So you won’t catch me dropping stitches until it’s time to bind off. And that might not be very soon, because this is a no-pressure knit—just something small enough to be good for travel and easy to pick up after neglect. Although the yarn provides a significant lure to knit on; I can scarcely believe it’s going to be hot cantaloupe orange before I reach the other end! I was pretty thrilled to make the first transition out of stolid burgundy, enlivened though it is with tweedy flecks of seafoam green, into deep magenta.

But for pure pleasure between the fingers, I’m loving this:



When I visited New York in June, I treated myself to a visit to the Greenmarket and Eugene Wyatt’s Catskill Merino booth. I knew I wanted wool for a vest—Heidi Kirrmaier’s Boardwalk, specifically. I think I dithered for half an hour over the beautiful natural dyes. February Green? Van Gogh Gray? And finally I walked away with four hanks of plain merino white. It’ll go with everything. Nothing will distract from the simple, sheepy beauty of the wool and the clean architecture of the design. I freed up my DyakCraft Heavy Metal needles for this one. They hold the stitches firmly but tenderly and whisper to each other as they work. The vest would go faster on my slick Addis, but I don’t think I want it to.

Full disclosure: I haven’t finished the children’s knitting. Ada’s little Boreal is into the yoke and I’m biting my nails about starting the decreases immediately after the sleeve join, but can’t see a way to avoid it without messing up the trees and snowflakes. Jolly’s Pomander still wants its short sleeves and its buttons; must find correct dpns. And I’m slogging along the first sleeve of Ada’s Minni… still. You wouldn’t think such short arms could require such endless knitting, but 2mm needles and garter ridges are the enemies of visible progress. Worse still, I expect I’ll have to lengthen those sleeves and count on superwash to do its droopy business for the torso length if she’s going to wear the thing at all. It’s too beautiful not to finish. Still, the siren song of new yarn sweeps me onto the rocks every time. Let us not speak of the luscious silky wonder I just received in the mail from Duck Duck Wool; I’m not sure there are needles enough even in my ample collection to cast on anything more at present.

Confess: What have you cast on for the new season, against your better judgment?