Coming soon to a newsstand near you, the Malaga Pullover in Knitscene – Winter 2014.

Malaga is my first sweater design for men, and I’m pretty proud of the way this one turned out. Inspired by a rather stylish co-worker of mine, Malaga is a simple, wearable raglan that shifts in both color and texture, but is easy to knit the whole way through. The instructions for this bottom-up raglan are written so there’s a minimal amount of purling (ribbing and short rows only) – so it’s a quick knit too – plenty of time to whip one out before the holidays and it’s available in sizes 37¾ (39½, 43¼, 47, 50¾, 54½)” chest circumference (shown in size 39½”).

What really makes this pattern work though, is the yarn selection – shown here in Harrisville Designs Shetland. The bottom half is knit holding two strands of the same color fingering weight yarn held together, and swapping one strand for a contrast color and marled effect for the sleeves and yoke. Harrisvile has a ton of wonderful earthy and saturated colors to choose from, and Brooklyn Tweed’s Loft would be another beautiful option for folks in the US. I’d recommend picking a dark and a light version of the same color family (i.e. a forest/pale green combo, or light blue/navy) for a similar effect.

While Malaga is the only men’s pattern in the issue, there are a ton of other great designs in there. I’m particularly fond of Kiyomi Burgin’s Tongshan Sweater and the Haubergeon Sweater by Featured Designer Emma Welford.

To purchase the Malaga pattern, visit your local yarn or book store for the latest Knitscene issue, or purchase a print or digital copy via Interweave.

Want some more men’s sweater inspiration? Check out my Pinterest Board!

All Photos © Knitscene/Harper Point

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Little Miss Cleaver is, for the most part, a pretty good eater and if there’s one thing she loves to eat above else it’s fruit (unless it’s honeydew melon, because she ain’t having none of that).

She is, however, somewhat picky about the quality and seasonality of her fruit. Watermelon in July – gimme more! Watermelon in a fruit salad in September – no way. So it’s perhaps unsurprising that her favorite outings seem to be our PYO trips, because fruit fresh off the plant? Nothing better than that!

And I tend to agree, our annual Ricker Hill trip is always one of my favorite days of the year. Beautiful views, fresh fruit, apple cider doughnuts, and Steinbeck gets to come too? And this year they even added a hard cider tasting room.

Its was unseasonably warm this year, but everyone still had a great time (even Mr. Cleaver, who we forgot to get in front of the camera!), but I think LMC had the best time of all!

PS – check out the photos from last year, my little one has gotten so big!

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The Cumberland County Fair.

I love the Fair, and I feel like Cumberland County gets somewhat unfairly maligned locally when compared to the earthier Common Ground and more grand-scale Fryeburg Fairs (both of which I also enjoy).

I’ve never been into fairs for the midway or the rides that take up a big portion of the fairground real estate (though I do enjoy a good cheese fry and bit of fried dough), instead for me,  it’s all about the animals and the opportunity to see folks showing off their passions, be it raising rabbits, ox-pulling, quilting, or pie-making and Cumberland excels at this as much as any other fair I’ve been too. It’s also the closest, which certainly doesn’t hurt when you’ve got a 1 1/2-year old in tow and may need to make a quick exit when the tired grumpies strike.

But LMC was enamored with the whole fair affair, and held up for an impressive 3+ hours. And there was a lot to take in in those 3 hours: we saw animals, listened to a favorite local bluegrass band (Tricky Britches), watched 4-H-ers guiding sheep through an obstacle course, visited a petting zoo, tried our hand at train-car pushing, and caught the first part of a junior rodeo.

The feeling that I get again and again is, while this is a fun little jaunt for me and my family, this is a big showcase for the presenters and worth all the pomp and circumstance they can muster, even if it means that almost every major event starts with another rendition of the National Anthem.

So here’s to you young lady who taught us all about the Argente Brun Rabbit, and the kindly gentleman who explained his concerns the effect vacuum tapping technology may have maple trees. Here’s to you Channel 13 Chief Meteorologist Charlie Lopresti and your 990 pound pumpkin. Here’s to you cow-wrestling teenagers and the veteran who played Johnny Cash songs on his harmonica to the goats. And here’s to you 4-Hers who rocked the obstacle course and especially the ones who had to life their sheep over every obstacle – the Fair is yours, thanks for letting my family visit, we’ll see you next year!

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Just your basic salsa, made with the most fresh ingredients possible. My harvest has been pretty small thus far, but definitely delicious. I’ve done two batches of salsa thus far, and expect to have a few more in the coming weeks, though I won’t have enough to can anything. I’ve never been a fan of eating tomatoes out of hand, but I’m in in love with these tomatoes (San Marzano, I think) – so easy to seed and prep and perfect for those tomato-things I do love (sauces and salsa) – where have you been all my life?!

The blueberries have finished their run, but there’s a second (smaller) batch of strawberries on the vine. I’ve gotten two sweet peppers thus far, though it looks like there’s a few more on the way. We also cut our first bit of broccoli and the second set of lettuce is getting close to harvest. I forget that this part of the season is so robust. I guess that’s why the fall is harvest time!

What are you gathering in your garden these days?

Cross Stitch Stocking in ProgressWaldorf DollCross Stitch Stocking in Progress
Waldorf DollCross Stitch Stocking in Progress

Waldorf DollThe end of summer came all too quickly this year bringing with it big changes (LMC started daycare two days a week) and big deadlines (knitting and day-job related), and the sad realization that I should have taken more days off of work. I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed with it all and have found some soothing simplicity in hand-work. Setting all knitting aside for a a few weeks, I’ve been focused on my cross-stitch, and this newly finished Waldorf Doll for LMC. At other times, I would find it all a bit tedious, but for me, for now, it’s just right.

What do you turn to when you need some quietude in your life?

Beech Hill Preserve

Beech Hill Preserve

Beech Hill Preserve

Beech Hill Preserve

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Beech Hill Preserve

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Olson House

Christina and Alvaro

Olson House

Olson House

Olson House

Christina's Garden

Alvaro's Hops

Olson House

I think we saved the best for last. On our way back out of the Midcoast, we made two lovely stops on a beautifully sunny day.

First up was the Beech Hill Preserve in Rockland, which doubles as a working organic wild blueberry farm. This spot was recommended by a coworker of mine, and has some stunning views. It’s also far less trafficked than Mount Battie, thanks to the fact that you have to do a (rather gentle, if you’re not carrying a toddler on your hip) hike up to the top.

Finally we stopped at the Olson House in Cushing. Here I’m glad that Mr. Cleaver had me do some reading up on the Olson’s and Andrew Wyeth’s relationship with them. Without context, the Olson House is nice, if a bit dull, as it’s basically an old empty farmhouse. With context, the place has a lot of resonance.

I mostly read the 1982 book by Betsy Wyeth, Christina’s World, and the first chapter of Richard Meryman’s 2013 Andrew Wyeth: A Spoken Self-Portrait, both of which I found helpful. We also picked up Andrew Wyeth, Christina’s World and The Olson House at the Farnsworth gift shop. I haven’t read it yet, but according to Mr. Cleaver, it tells more about the history of the house, in particular what happened after siblings Alvaro and Christina died.

After wandering the house and grounds, including a visit to the A. Wyeth and Olson graves, we drove back to Thomaston for a nice lunch at a local cafe, then it was back on the road and back home.

Beech Hill Preserve, Rockland
Olson House, Cushing
Thomaston Cafe, Thomaston

View from Mt. Battie

On top of Mt. Battie

View of Camden from Mt. Batty

Up High

Parenting on the Edge

Stone Tower on Mt. Battie

Mt. Battie

Mt. Battie

Laite Beach

Laite Beach

Farnsworth Museum

Flowers at Farnsworth

Farnsworth Museum

Farnsworth Museum

Farnsworth

Day two of our trip took us to see two different kinds of beautiful sights, 1) the stunning views of Camden from the peak of Mount Battie (fortunately very accessible by car) in Camden Hills State Park where we got LMC the first stamp in her Maine State Parks Passport, and 2) the American art at the Farnsworth Art Museum.

The Farnsworth is known for its collection of paintings from all three generations of the Wyeths, N.C., Andrew and Jamie. Mr. Cleaver is a huge Andrew Wyeth fan (I’m most partial to the more fantastical to N.C. myself, but enjoy them all), which was a big part of our decision to visit the area, and the Farnsworth collection, particularly of Andrew Wyeth studies and paintings did not disappoint. I was particularly struck by the 1982 work Adrift.

The day as a whole, made me itchy to do some painting again, which I haven’t touched in far too long. (So many art forms, so little time).

Camden Hills State  Park/Mt. Battie, Camden
Laite Memorial Beach Park, Camden
Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland

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