As a creature of habit, I cannot let Autumn get underway without also putting together a new mix of music to listen to in the car. Naturally ☺🍂🍁
The word “Crisp” works on many levels at this time of year. Just off the top of my head, there’s the crisp morning air, crisp leaves underfoot, and the ever important apple crisp.

Note to self: bake some apple crisp.

Of course, you don’t need to limit your listening to the car. It’s also nice to play it loudly in your living room while burning a pumpkin spice candle and knitting a cozy sweater (guess how I know that, LOL!). Additionally, I would imagine that listening to it through ear buds while taking a walk through crunchy leaves is a nice way to pass the time.

Without further ado, allow me to share Crisp:

Crisp from lclarke522 on 8tracks Radio.

It’s my usual mix of newish indie pop / folkey songs, with a handful of older (late ’80s, early ’90s) tunes thrown in there for good measure.

Happy listening, and happy fall!

Vertical Hold Wrap knitting pattern

Vertical Hold Wrap knitting pattern at Polka Dot Cottage

It’s the end of September, and that means chilly mornings. I’ve been wrapping myself up in my Hitchhiker or my Vertical Hold when I leave the house, and they’ve been a perfect way to keep comfortable until the day warms up.

Vertical Hold is my own design, and one I was eager to publish. The reason I have been leaving the house in the mornings is that I enjoy writing ebooks in coffee shops. I concentrate better there than I do in my living room in my pajamas. I think part of it is that I am racing against a dwindling laptop battery when I am away from home, and there is a sense of urgency to the work. No time for daydreaming or for getting distracted by my household to-do list!


Whatever the reason, I’ve managed to get this ebook pattern done pretty quickly, and I’m happy to be sharing it here today!

Vertical Hold could not be simpler. Truly. It is super beginner-friendly. You need to know how to cast-on, how to do a knit stitch, and how to bind off. There’s not a purl in sight. You also need to know how to change colors at the beginning of a row, but that is essentially just a matter of picking up a different strand of yarn and knitting with it. Super simple.

Vertical Hold Wrap at Polka Dot Cottage

I am so happy with this teal version of the wrap. This yarn is luscious and squishy, and it feels so nice to wear. Not to mention the color. The color could not be more perfect for me.

Still, I felt like maybe this colorway wasn’t giving you the best sense of the stripe pattern here, so I knit up another one using some Berroco Remix from my stash. It wouldn’t be my first choice for a wrap like this, but it was the only yarn that I had in enough colors, and it does a fine job of illustrating my point.

27_fall_09_ul 27_fall_11_ul

Have I sold you on giving this one a try?

Vertical Hold Wrap - Just the Pattern!
Vertical Hold Wrap - Just the Pattern!

No tutorial, just the 4-page pattern PDF.

Price: $2.99

I’d like to also publish a crocheted variation on this idea. I’m thinking I may have to call it Horizontal Hold. (If you’re getting these references, you’ve watched TV in the 70’s or earlier…)

Any interest in a crochet pattern next? I’ve already picked out more of the lovely June Pryce yarn, so I think maybe you’re in for a crochet version no matter what! I’m having trouble resisting the lure of the hook after all of this knitting!

TWiP: Stripes

This Week in Pictures (TWiP) at Polka Dot Cottage

I used to have a really nifty tradition of baking pumpkin bread in mini loaves to give away as First Day of Fall gifts. I’ve let that tradition slide in recent years, and some seasons I don’t get around to making the bread at all, let alone giving some away. It’s too bad because it is probably the best recipe I have ever come up with.

I did set aside yesterday afternoon for some purely selfish pumpkin bread baking. Technically it was a day late, but it doesn’t need to be the actual first day of fall if they’re just for me and my guys. I made them into muffins, and since we each have our own taste preferences and dietary requirements, I customized them a bit and sprinkled chopped walnuts on some of them and chocolate chips on some others.

The family reviews are in, and they are favorable as usual. (Don’t tell them that I healthified these and that they are made entirely with white whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose – it’s surprisingly unnoticeable!)

I’ve just had one of the walnutty variety for my breakfast, and it was just the perfect bite of autumnal goodness. Mmmmmmmm. I could eat these all day, but my waistline might have something to say about that.

Today is my Dad’s birthday and we’re visiting tonight. If I were a nice person, I’d bring some of those muffins with me to share with the rest of the family. I am a nice person, but I haven’t decided yet if I am that selfless 😜

I have a cup of pumpkin puree leftover, by the way. Any suggestions for how I should use it up? Usually I let it sit in the fridge until it grows a nice little pile of mold on top of it, and then I throw it away. I was thinking maybe this year I’d try to put it to somewhat better use…

BTW, this week? All about the stripes. And a little bit about the poisonous front yard fungi, too.

So, what is This Week in Pictures?

It’s a roundup of the photos I shot for Project 365 (one image each day for all of 2016), plus some snapshots I posted on Instagram during the previous week.

📷 = taken with my Canon DSLR
📱 = taken with my Samsung phone

Ready? Cast your mind back to this time last week…


365 📱: 2016 261/366 – I spent about an hour at TMC’s grand opening. Here’s my little section of the store. [Taken at TMC’s Boutique in New Providence, NJ.]

Instagram 📱: I have two observations to make: 1. The number of times I can walk past a pair of earrings I like and not buy them is three. Today it was my fourth time seeing these @made.with.clay beauties at @tmcsboutique and my resolve just melted. 2. My new earrings match my drink. I 💚 green. [Taken at Starbucks.]


Instagram 📱: A #pdcmaybabyblanket off the hook, blocked, and ready for its new home 💙

Instagram 📱: So, I had an idea for a new shawl using the @juneprycefibers I bought at last weekend’s #njsheepandfiberfestival and I cast on last night. So far, so good. Not sure yet what I’m going to call it, but if it comes out as nice in Real Life as the idea is in my mind, I will name it and publish it 😊

365 📷: 2016 262/366 – Sunday back yard patio knitting. It’s a Good Thing.


365 📷: 2016 263/366 – These fungi on the front lawn were about half this size yesterday!

Instagram 📱: Oh, this rainy Monday! ☔ I resisted the temptation to sit around sipping coffee and knitting (strong as that temptation was) and instead took myself to Starbucks (aka my mobile office) to accomplish some of the important business tasks on my list. Now that I’ve been productive, I can treat myself with a few rows of knitting on this still unnamed shawl while I slurp up the dregs of my second blonde roast ☕


365 📷: 2016 264/366 – The front lawn fungi continue to mutate. Usually by this time Neil has kicked them over, but we kinda both want to see where they go from here.


Instagram 📱: I finished my shawl! And these colors are just perfect. I still need a name for it before I can publish the pattern. Any suggestions? [Update: I am calling it “Vertical Hold” and I blogged about it here.]

365 📷: 2016 265/366 – I finished my shawl. I loooooove these colors! I’m going to write up a pattern, but first I will probably knit another sample in different colors so you can better see the striping design.


Instagram 📱: The job hunt continues. And it does so in a coffee shop wearing a new knit scarf and shiny shoes, because I was having trouble focusing on the task while at home in my PJs ☕ [Taken at Starbucks.]

Instagram 📱: I started another #pdcverticalhold wrap in colors that will help to demonstrate the striping pattern. I’m glad this is a quick knit, because I usually have very little patience for making the same thing twice in a row 😊

365 📷: 2016 266/366 – Only 100 more days left in 2016 – that’s hard to believe! I started this new project, and while it will eventually have five distinct colors in it, right now it looks lind of like a bumble bee…


Instagram 📱: But first, coffee☕. And maybe a few rows of knitting 😊

365 📷: 2016 267/366 – I’ve had this little sewing corner set up for a few months. I keep telling myself I will put it away when I finish the one little project I still wanted to make. And yet, I haven’t touched that one little project. I think I need to pull the plug on that idea and put this stuff away once and for all. I need the space to work on some new polymer clay stuff ☺

Thanks for taking a peek at this week’s photos! If you want to see this stuff as it happens, please feel free to follow me on Flickr and/or Instagram.

I may already have plans to blog about some of these things in greater detail over the coming week, but be sure to leave a comment if there’s something in particular you want to know about!

SAME WEEK PREVIOUS YEARS (2008, 2014, 2015)

38-2008 This Week in Pictures This Week in Pictures (TWiP) at Polka Dot Cottage

Vertical Hold

Vertical Hold Wrap at Polka Dot Cottage

I designed a shawl and named it after an obsolete TV knob…

Friends, please say hello to “Vertical Hold.”

Vertical Hold Wrap at Polka Dot Cottage

Vertical Hold Wrap at Polka Dot Cottage

Vertical Hold Wrap at Polka Dot Cottage

I love it. I’m eager for a few crisp Autumnal days so that I can wrap myself up in it’s cozy teal goodness!

The yarn is from June Pryce Fiber Arts, and it came in a 6-pack of graduated shades. This colorway is known as “Arctic Ice.” Aren’t they just the most beautiful teals?

Vertical Hold Wrap at Polka Dot Cottage

Vertical Hold Wrap at Polka Dot Cottage

The front of the wrap has well-defined stripes, while the back is a little more gentle about its striping. I like both looks, so it doesn’t really matter which way it’s worn.

[I’m going to publish this pattern. Already done. See below!] It’s very simple, suitable for beginners, and theoretically it’s scalable to any size yarn with any size needles.

Before I do that, though, I plan to make another in different colors. As much as these teals take my breath away, I find that using graduated shades (especially ones where the three darkest colors are nearly indistinguishable from one another) makes it hard to see the stripe pattern clearly. For instructional purposes, it’s probably better if you can easily tell where one color ends and another begins, wouldn’t you say?

I am feeling so prolific lately! If I’m going to keep it up, I will need to go install myself in front of a good British mystery tonight and get cracking on Vertical Hold Wrap #2 right away 😍

Vertical Hold Wrap - Just the Pattern!
Vertical Hold Wrap - Just the Pattern!

No tutorial, just the 4-page pattern PDF.

Price: $2.99

Quiet Time again

Quiet Time 3 - a new playlist at Polka Dot Cottage
I unleashed a third Quiet Time playlist on the world (or, at least, my own little corner of the world) last night. This one has been brewing since the last one was finished. It’s what I do: as I get tired of the songs I start replacing them one by one until I have a whole new mix.

I suspect this is my last one for a while. Three really feels like plenty, and I’m running out of songs, too, that give me the very specific feeling I want these playlists to evoke. It’ll take me some time to collect enough other tunes.

So, here it is. If you want to listen to it as you’re falling asleep, like I do, you can listen through the 8tracks phone app and set the app’s sleep timer to 60 minutes. All of my Quiet Time playlists are roughly an hour, so it works nicely. The app turns itself off just as the playlist is wrapping up. (If you don’t set the sleep timer, 8tracks chooses another playlist for you to listen to when mine is over and just keeps going).

Quiet Time 3 from lclarke522 on 8tracks Radio.

Happy Listening!