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August 24, 2014 / KristenMakes

An Unplanned Break

Hey readers!  Yup, I’m still around, just not been blogging.  Somehow life has fast-forwarded a few years in the span of 6 quick months, and I have found myself fully-employed, living on the OTHER side of the country to which I had just returned, and with a few newly-published patterns!  This is all way too much to squeeze in to one brief update post, but since I am clearly not up to the task of blogging regularly, I will squeeze away.

Last I posted, my husband and I had returned to Florida after living in Scotland.  Ahhh, Scotland.  I miss you.  Thanks to friends, Instagram, Twitter, etc., I have lived vicariously and experience Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival and the windy and sometimes sunny summer, and hope for a someday return.  But digression!  After a few brief months of a much-needed catching up with Florida-based friends and family, my husband and I moved across the country so that I could take a new job.  The past 5 months in Oregon have been amazing – summer, lots more sun than I had expected, hiking, driving, settling in to a new job and new home.

And patterns!  Back in late 2013, when we learned we’d be unexpectedly returning to the States (visa issues, bah!), in a desperate fear of unemployment I sent out a flurry of knit design submissions and signed up to teach a few classes.  The classes went great, and astoundingly, a lot of the submission ideas got accepted!  I spent the months of December 2013 up to now juggling design commission to design commission with packing, moving, job-searching, job-getting, moving again, settling in, etc.  I cannot believe the lovely projects I have been able to be a part of.


Windowpanes Scarf, Knit Now, Issue 33, April 2014

(c) Practical Publishing

(c) Practical Publishing

Love for simple garter and stockinette merge with variegated yarn and geometric shaping, in Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend DK.


 Restalrig, Twist Collective, Spring 2014

(c) James Brittain | Twist Collective

Named after the street of our first flat in Edinburgh, this design is a tunic that features a twisted rib yoke and waistline in Brooklyn Tweed Loft.  This was my first US publication and it was such a thrill.

East Neuk Hoodie, Knitscene, Fall 2014

(c) Knitscene/Harper Point

(c) Knitscene/Harper Point

This gansey-inspired hoodie was a shining star.  It was my love letter to Scotland, a thank you for my adventures.  Knitscene even allowed me to supplement the design with an article about my time knitting in Scotland, and the article (my first!) was a joy to write.  I have so loved the response from it, so much interest in the design and in visiting Scotland.  The surprise of the year was when the issue came out and my design made the cover!  This issue should still currently be on the shelves in the shops, so have a look for it.


So now that that flurry of activity is over (a few more patterns are due out over the next few months, but they have for my part been completed and submitted), I am enjoying a fresh start with a break from hand-knit design.  I’m not sure going forward how much I’ll be blogging, but I am enjoying a rediscovery of the things I have once loved – cooking, reading, slow (no deadline) knitting, spending time with husband, cleaning the house.  It is weird to think for the past few years how much I over-worked myself by having a full-time job and struggling to fit in a hand-knit design profession as well.  Looking back, I feel I was not present enough, did not relax or appreciate things enough; and life is short – we need to slow down.  I love hand-knit design and publishing patterns, don’t get me wrong, but right now for me, taking a break from it is much needed.

Here’s to finding a balance!

March 4, 2014 / KristenMakes

I’ve Made it Home! (an update 2 months late)

Yes!  Despite what you may have gleaned from my blog silence, we did survive the move from Scotland to Florida.  We landed in FL on Christmas Eve, just in time to spend the holidays with our families.  It has been a whirlwind of catching up with friends, hanging out with family, playing with our cats, and of course diving back into work.

We did get a chance to spend our last weekend in the city we love, Edinburgh.  It is a city I fear, that has ruined all other cities for me.  I do not know that I will find another city that I would enjoy living in more.


So before leaving the city, we made sure to do a lot of “lasts,” including one last Full Scottish Breakfast at The Edinburgh Larder.  Best brekkie ever.

last fry up

And we also had our own Christmas before heading home.  Trent got me this awesome bag from Cambridge Satchel Company.  Can you tell how excited I am?

cambridge satchel 1

Since being back, we’ve tried to temper our American immersion with a little bit of Britishness/Scottishness.  For example, the local grocery store, Publix, may have this so very American pop-up hot dog toaster…

hot dog maker

but it also has a British import section!

british imporst

And while we experimented in the food truckery phenomenon (it was awesome!)…

food truck

…we returned to Wickham Park the very next day for a Dragon Festival, complete with jousting and even (this was new to me) stick-weaving.  Ok, so it wasn’t an entirely authentically British event (have you heard of utility kilts?), but we were impressed with the event, their enthusiasm, and the turnout.  It was a really fun day!

jousting2 Stick weaving

Striving to keep some of the Scottish traditions we’ve adopted, Trent found some Haggis from a local import store, so we were able to celebrate Burns Night in style (and you can bet we are going to enjoy Pancake Tuesday tonight too – yes, I know that isn’t a Scottish tradition, but we picked it up from there!).

haggis burns night

Unlike in Scotland, we have been able to spend a good deal of time outdoors: Reading just outside (making the kitty insanely jealous),

reading outside

Dog-sitting by the pool – not a hard job! By the way, that hair you see belongs to a shi tzu, it is not my own luscious flowing hair.


and we even have gotten a wee walk in: the Ritch-Grissom Wetlands at Viera. We spotted 3 alligators and loads of birds – Florida walks are so very different from Scotland walks.  I enjoy the sun (with protection from a sun-hat and spf 70), but I do miss the sheep!

Viera Marsh walk

On the knitting front, I’ve done quite a bit for fun!  I have found a knitting group that meet every Wednesday – it’s great, they are all so nice!  However, I expect over the summer the numbers will drastically reduce – a major percentage of the group is retired snowbirds!  Inspired by one of the knitters in the group, I’ve started 2 versions of Ysolda’s Follow Your Arrow Mystery KAL.  I’m having fun also keeping tabs on the Edinburgh knitter pals who are knitting their Arrow Shawls too.  Pictures of mine will come eventually, I’m sure!

I’ve also had some baby things to knit!  My good friend Angeli is adorably pregnant, and one of the major perks of being home now is getting to watch her grow, attending her shower, and in a few months, meeting baby!  I knitted a bumblebee-lovey for the wee bairn, I hope it will be a hit toy for baby.  Angeli sure liked it, so that is promising!  The project was adapted from this pattern; you can see my project details here.

bumblebee lovey bebe shower

My older brother and his wife are expecting too – I’m going to be an Auntie! – so you can bet I have a project planned for them…  but the shower is soon, so I am running out of time to knit it!

So what’s left?  Oh yeah!  I also managed to visit NYC!  First time back in about 5 years, I’d guess.  I represented ERIBÉ, whom you may recall I worked for back in Scotland.  I got to be salesman, bringing the Autumn/Winter 2014-15 collection to present to buyers in the city.  It was a great experience, and fantastic to represent and share a brand that you love and know so very well.


I visited a tradeshow while I was there and did a bit of browsing in the shops too – time to learn what American knitwear looks like, right (hint, it is very similar to British knitwear, as trends are pretty global these days)?


Even though I’d been to Rockefeller Center before, I’ve since become a big 30 Rock fan, so revisiting the spot was pretty cool.   And thanks to the stranger who saw me struggling with my huge suitcase while attempting a selfie, you took a great picture for me!


Staying with friends provided the benefit of not having to eat alone, nor testing out an uncharted restaurant.  I had some AMAZING ice cream at Brooklyn’s Ample Hills Creamery, and we even found a chippy for me!  Yes, not away from Scotland for even 2 months and I’m seeking out fish and chips and sticky toffee pudding.  So yum.

sticky toffee pudding

So that is what I have been up to these past few months!  What about you!?

December 10, 2013 / KristenMakes

The Best/Worst Month

What a month this is turning out to be!  I love it, and I hate it…

The amazing bits of December:

  • I’m Designer of the Month at Ginger Twist Studios!  Jess has some of my patterns for sale in the shop, and there are samples at the shop to try on.  How exciting!

designer of the month

  • I’ve taught another fantastic class in Edinburgh.  Thanks to all my students at That Polished Knit at Be Inspired Fibres.  We had a great time and learned a lot of techniques.
  • We just had a lovely visit and holiday with my husband’s parents.  We took off a week and a half and did some travelling – Oxford, Stratford-Upon-Avon and York, PLUS Trent graduated from University of Edinburgh!  Yay Dr Orme, PhD!  We had such a nice time with them.

Trent Graduation pic

  • I’ve got another class coming up next weekend too: Intarsia at Ginger Twist!  We’ll be working on my new hat pattern, which will be released online soon too.

Intarsia flier2            intarsia hat

So there are a lot of great things going on this month that I am SO excited about!

However, this is also my last month in Scotland, so at the same time this is a little difficult for me.  We’ve met with the landlord, selling our stuff like mad, began packing up and are squaring things away.  I’ve even started to have my first few goodbyes with friends.  These goodbyes are hard, but it’s a part of life.  We will be home two weeks from now, and I’m pretty excited, but there is so much to do first!  Ok now, back to packing…