Saturday, June 13, 2009

Worldwide Knit in Public Day

Today is Worldwide Knit in Public Day. Although I knit in public just about every day during my lunch break at work, at a LYS, a coffee shop, and sometimes even a bar, I felt compelled to represent my fellow crafters by checking out some new yarny stomping grounds with one of my knitting groups, the Northwest NJ Knitters. We met at the Panera in Phillipsburg and headed to Bethlehem, PA to visit two yarn shops and have lunch. Bethlehem is pretty close to New Jersey, just a hop, skip, and a jump over the Delaware River.

The first shop we visited, Kraemer Yarns in Nazareth, had their own yarn line, which seemed to dominate their stock. While browsing this store we discovered one lone skein of The Sanguine Gryphon, some Dream in Color, lots of baby yarn (yawn) and pondered the usefulness of sock blanks. Not for me, thanks. Even though I think she was kidding, I liked Jeanne's suggestion of adding an afterthought heel, a toe, and a seam instead of actually knitting from the blank as intended. Overall this was a pretty cute store. There were several tables for knitters to sit at, and the staff was very helpful. I did buy two skeins of yarn (Kraemer's own wool/silk/silver blend undyed sock yarn and some Conjoined Creations laceweight soysilk in the colorway "Lonely Bull"--I kid you not) and some buttons (wood with little sheepies on them), but I'm not sure if I'd make the trek out there again.

Next we had lunch at the Apollo Grill in Bethlehem, PA. I don't usually quote the teeth-grittingly annoying Rachel Ray, but YUM-O! I had fish tacos with salsa fresca and guacamole, and some of us split a bottle of Sea Glass Savignon Blanc, a yummy fresh-tasting (i.e. herbal/vegetal/citrus--not very sweet) white wine from Santa Barbara County. Barbara (no relation to the country in CA), who lives in Allentown, told us that the Apollo has a pretty popular happy hour. From the classy ambiance, yummy food/drink, and extensive appetizer menu, I can see why! Too bad my office is so very far east.

Here's my sock in progress (SIP) with my food:
WWKIP Day:  My sock with my fish tacos at the Apollo Grill

That sock sure did get around! I think she may have a story to tell...

Our final stop of the day was Knitter's Edge, also in Bethlehem. Despite being momentarily disturbed by the building's resemblance to a funeral home (sorry, but I couldn't get that association out of my head!) I had a good time there. The open space and natural light in this store is phenomenal. Even with a storm rolling in, there was plenty of light streaming in the gigantic bay window that framed the cozy sit-and-knit area. I took more pictures for my Sock Knitter's Anonymous WWKIP Day Scavenger Hunt, and if I hadn't specified otherwise it would look like we were sitting in someone's living room! This store had a pretty large selection of different weights and fibers (too much babyand novelty yarn IMHO but I am probably alone in that thought), but there wasn't a whole lot that grabbed me. That was probably a good thing, because I still managed to find some sock and lace yarn that I couldn't live without. Some of it was even on sale! I probably would return to this store, especially if they were having a sale! Or perhaps to pick up a sweater quantity of that Plymouth Llama Silk...or a skein of the Eco Cashmere...

Here is the day's haul:
The two skeins on the left are the previously mentioned yarn from Kraemer's, the four skeins in the middle are Plymouth Happy Feet (on sale for $3 a piece!), next is an au natural skein of Plymouth Baby Alpaca Lace and two lovely skeins of Prism Merino Mia, which I could not put down. That picture does not do the color justice, so here's another!


That brown and blue/green combo slays me every time.

If we didn't get hit with such a rain storm in the late afternoon and evening, I would have gotten more fun pictures of my sock, but I still have quite a few. Perhaps I will share them tomorrow.

Friday, June 12, 2009


It is hard to believe that nearly 6 weeks have gone by since my last post. I have been keeping myself very busy with knitting, work, and some new friends and time has just flown. It brings to mind a quote I recently read in one of my sock groups on ravelry:

How did it get so late so soon? 
It's night before it’s afternoon. 
December is here before it’s June. 
My goodness how the time has flewn. 
How did it get so late so soon? - Dr. Seuss

I don't have socks to share today, but I do have some other gorgeous FOs to show you. These shawls and shrugs are just the thing to keep my shoulders warm in over air conditioned buildings or cover up the decollete created by my summer tank tops.

Here is my Whisper Cardigan, which I whipped up in about 3 weeks of on and off knitting so I could wear it at this year's NJALA conference this week. It was so warm in the conference center, I couldn't wear it at all! I know this sweater will get plenty of play this summer.



Yarn is Malabrigo Lace in Butter

These photos are pretty bad, but I was very anxious to share this finished knit with the web, almost as anxious as I was to wear it. That is probably why you may notice that I made this cardigan a big shorter than some other people. The whispery little tails are almost invisible from the front thanks to my chest, but I'm still very happy with the sweater overall. I think the flowy, cropped back actually lengthens and whittles my busty, boxy figure. I can't wait to make another in a dark color!

Here are my second and third
Ishbel shawls.



The multicolor one (Malabrigo Lace in Azalea) is mine and the solid gold one (Claudia Handpainted Yarns Silk Lace in Honey) is my coworker Maria's. Both are modeled here by my sister, whose long, lean physique looks good in everything. See how much better I am at photographing other people? I suppose our backyard is a far better setting than the library's staff bathroom!

Hopefully I will have more finished knits to show you before even more time has "flewn" by.

Friday, May 1, 2009


It's a strange feeling when ending something that should be pleasureable is a relief. Of course, it's not strange if that thing that should be fun or enjoyable is neither. My last post, Pushing Through, is sort of my unintentional life philosophy. Just keep going if you've made a mistake. No one will notice except you. Just keep going and it will turn out ok in the end. This is why I incurably got lost until I bought a GPS navigation system for my car, why most of my knit or crocheted FOs have tiny mistakes in them, and why I've been involved with a certain someone for more than two years. This week I found myself in this position where I just could not keep going and hoping that everything would turn out all right in the end. I frogged my February Lady Sweater and broke off things with that certain someone. To my surprise, I found that when I came to each decision, it was easy to take that step. I ripped it all out; said those words "I can't do this anymore." Of course I will miss him, just as I am slightly disappointed that I don't have anything physical to show for the past 6 weeks of on and off knitting on my FLS. Nevertheless, now that I'm starting from point zero, I am confident that this time I will pay attention to the pattern and the feeling in my gut that I have been ignoring for quite some time. I need to constantly remind myself that I am not smarter than the pattern designer, the thousands of people who have knit this sweater before me, or the intuitive feeling that it's time to move on.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pushing Through

It's been more than two weeks since I've completed any of my knitting projects, and I am getting antsy. I like to have a steady stream of FOs to keep me motivated and interested in what I'm knitting. When a project takes too long, I often set it aside and it ends up hibernating for weeks, months, or even years. That is a bad habit I am trying to break. For the past few months I've been pretty good at not casting on more projects than I can finish, but during Malabrigo March I really went cast on crazy. I also attempted to knit two (2!) sweaters. One of them, my Silken Scabbard, is my first pullover with sleeves. Actually, it's my first full sized sweater, period. I've knit short sleeved cardigans and shrugs, but never a full sweater. It's been a bit of an undertaking. I cast on on March 1, and here I am six weeks later, still not done. Here it is.


Isn't she pretty? Please tell me she's pretty. After this lenth of time and knitting and cabling and broken harmony needle cables and split dpns I don't think I could handle it if she's not pretty. See how I've personified the darn thing? I may be losing my mind. In fact, I may be losing my mind because of this.


See that? It's a sleeve. Or more accurately, half of a sleeve. See that yarn there? Those two wimpy balls, all together less than 3/4 of a skein? That's not enough to finish knitting the sleeve. I've ordered another skein from Eat.Sleep.Knit, and I can only pray that the dye lot is not too too different. I know it will be differnent because dyelots for Malabrigo Silky Merino are quite small, but I've been alternating skeins throughout (at one point I was working with 5 balls of yarn at once! Yes, I am nuts. But I'll be nuts in a pretty sweater with no pooling.) so I think I can just blend the new one in. Sigh. So this sweater is on pause. Again. Maybe we'll have a really cold summer and I can wear it then.

At least I got to the lace on my Garter Ishbel. That project is turning out to be quite pretty. As long as I don't work on it while drinking. Or in a movie theater. Or at a staff meeting. Or while talking to anyone. No really, it's a pretty simple, quick lace pattern by the lovely Ysolda Teague, and I would recommend it to anyone.


Hopefully next time I will have something completed to show you! Will it be a sweater, a shawl, or perhaps a cowl? Hmmm...wait and see.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Alchemist and Barrister

Last night was the fourth meeting of my brand new knitting group, Stitch and Sip. We definitely had a smaller turnout than I expected, but I am still really pleased with the way everything played out. We met at the Alchemist and Barrister in Princeton, which is one of my favorite towns. I want to live there. The downtown area is so quaint and pretty--it's a breath of fresh air in the midst of this stifling suburban sprawl of split levels and strip malls. In the block I passed from the A&B to the BoA on the corner, I passed by four yummy looking independent coffee shops and restaurants, not to mention a number of adorable shops. Even if I don't move there, I must spend more time in that town.

Anyway, the A&B had a very nice atmosphere. The dining room, where the hostess wanted to put us, was very fancy and not exactly what I had in mind for this group, but luckily we were able to push some tables together in the bar area and hang out in a cool little booth. The food was great. We shared Spinach and Artichoke Dip and Calamari, which was fresh and delicious. I drank Blue Moon, my old stand by, and I was very pleased to see that it was served with an orange for a garnish. That's they way it was served at the BU Pub, and that's the way it should be. As I left I found myself wishing I had tried a glass of wine or two, but there's always next time.

As for the knitting, I didn't get a whole lot done, but I still feel good about it. I failed at knitting the lace of my
Garter Ishbel from a chart in the bar, which was to be expected, so I worked on one of the sleeves of my Silken Scabbard (still not done!) Of course, SnS is more of a social event anyway so I think my priorities were in line. I hope Katie and I didn't scare away Gina and Christine, who are newer knitters, with our bigger projects! Next time we'll be doing karaoke at Harvest Moon in New Brunswick, so newbies and vets alike will have the fiber playing field leveled by the microphone.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Slouchy, slouchier, slouchiest!

Here I am, back from Malabrigo March! It would have been really fun to blog consistently last month and share the craziness of knitting as much Malabrigo as I could, but I was just too busy. So instead, I will share some of my accomplishments with you now. I went from perfect posture to ultimate slouch as you can see from my hat progression here:

Star-Crossed Slouchy Beret

Ravelry Link: Star-Crossed Slouchy Beret
Pattern: Star-Crossed Slouchy Beret (sorry non-ravelers, it's only hosted on Ravelry)
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted in Vaa
Needles: US 9 for the ribbing and US 11 24" Addi Turbos for the body
Mods: None. I would have used US 8s fo the ribbing and knit the cable pattern longer if I did this one again.

Meret from the back

Ravelry Link: Charrua Meret
Pattern: Mystery Beret "Meret" by Wooly Wormhead
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted in Charrua
Needles: US5 for the brim and US8 for the body
Size: M/L hybrid, extra extra slouchy
Mods: None, and I'd do the same thing again, I love it!

Porom from the back

Ravelry link: Porom
Pattern: Porom by Jared Flood
Yarn: Malabrigo Silky Merino in Green Gray
Needles: US 5 for the brim, US 8 for the body
Mods: I inadvertanly knit the body longer, making the hat much slouchier, but if I did this hat again (and I probably will) I would knit it to pattern and not block it.

I wore Porom two weekends ago when I visited some peeps in the city, and I felt so chic and city cool. I just may be too cool for suburbia.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Six weeks ago I promised myself that I would blog at least twice a week and post every FO of 2009 on my blog. I've almost made good on that first resolution. Well, not really. But here's to trying! In an attempt to not completely trash my second resolution, I present to you a parade of FOs!

First I'm actually going to show off something from last year, but it goes hand in hand with a 2009 FO.


Ravelry link: For His Pleasure
Morningside Neckwarmer by Brooklyn Tweed
Dream in Color Classy in Cocoa Kiss
Needles: US 8
Notes: Once I taught myself brioche and frogged this sucker about 7 times (no joke) it was easy and quick. The plus side to my frustration and slow start: I learned that DiC Classy frogs really well.


Ravelry link: For Her Pleasure
Morningside Neckwarmer by Brooklyn Tweed
Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Hand Dyes in Light Blue
Needles: US 11
Notes: Even though I used twice as much yarn, this one went by so much more quickly than the first. What they say is true: the brioche stitch is addicting. May I also share my surprise and pleasure with these sexy photos? I took them late one night before bed sans all makeup and with slightly dirty hair. Am I cute or what?
120_0058 Ok, so the picture is slightly scary, but I'm impressed by how even my skin tone is when it's naked.

Up next is a gift for my youngest brother's birthday:


Ravelry link: Too cool for handknit mitts mitts
Pattern: Made up from a bunch of different "parts" in the book
Folk Mittens by Marcia Lewandowski This was a great reference, and I'm going to have a hard time giving it back to the library!
Knit Picks Swish Worsted
Needles: US 6
Notes: KP Swish Worsted has surprisingly become one of my favorite yarns. I made socks for my whole family out of it for Christmas, and they've held up well (albeit look a little worn) to many wearings and washings. It is super soft to work with and wear. One of my brothers even asked for a hoodie made out of it. This is the second or third time he's asked me to make him a sweater. All previous requests have been for cashmere, so this should reflect well upon goood old Swish.

Next, a FO from a 2008 UFO


Ravelry Link: Melting Snowballs
Popsicle by Nicole Hindes
Yarn: Hip Knits Cashmere Sock Yarn (I couldn't find a link to this one--it may be discontinued)
Needles: US 2
Notes: This fun pattern "melts" off the side of your foot, so each sock is different. This was the first time I used
Cat Bordhi's riverbed architecture. It was interesteing to knit the gusset in a different way, but I say "meh, who cares?" It does make the side of the instep a little prettier and smoother, I guess.

Next, more cashmere:


Ravelry link: Pure Scrunchability
Scrunchable Scarf by Susan McConne
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Pure Cashmere (discontinued)
Needles: US 9
Notes: This scarf is suuuuper warm and light. However, I had barely enough yarn, so I did felted joins as to not waste any scraps. I would have like to have another skein or two to make this a little longer, but it's still great as is. This picture shows how short it really is with the scarf wrapped around my face but under my hair once:


More socks:


120_0149 120_0153

Ravelry link: Azalea Orchid Loops
Froot Loops by Kristi Geraci
Three Irish Girls Kells Sport Merino in Azalea Orchid
Needles: US 1.5
Notes: This was the first club shipment for the Three Irish Girls Sock Yarnista club. I love it, and I call it my birthday yarn because it arrived the day after my birthday!



Ravelry link: Another Alpaca Cowl
Pattern: co 60 and knit in the round until you run out of yarn. Thanks,
Blue Sky Alpacas Brushed Suri
Needles: US 13
Notes: Simple and satisfying.

There! Now we're all up to date.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Paper Cranes for Neil

I've been quiet for a while, partly because I've been busy, and partly because I have so much to say I don't know where to start. I'll begin with some horrific turned good news. Most of you probably don't know this, as I couldn't bring myself to blog about it, but about three weeks ago one of my sister's best friends was in a bad car accident. On January 23, 2009, he was driving home with another friend on a narrow, winding country road near our houses. No one knows exactly what happened, but somehow he lost control of the car, spun around, and hit a tree on the driver's side. The passenger came home from the hospital the next day with a concussion. He still won't/can't talk about the accident. The driver, Neil, the sweetest kid I know, was airlifted to Robert Wood Johnson hospital in New Brunswick, where he remains in ICU with severe head injuries. For a while his future was uncertain, but I am so happy to say that for the past few days he's been opening his eyes, trying to focus on people's faces, and moving his right hand and leg. Today he showed the most hopeful signs of progress and moved his eyes toward sounds. His parents have been blogging about Neil's journey here. His family is really wonderful. They're so generous, kind, and full of honest loving faith. I've been thinking about them and Neil a lot, and now I'm so relieved to have something more than hope or a prayer to hang on to.

My sister has been organizing some of their friends to make origami paper cranes for Neil. Here's a link to the
facebook group. According to the Japanese, one thousand paper cranes = one thousand good wishes. Neil's father spent some time living in Japan, so this custom has special meaning to the Stone family. So far Sarah has between 100 and 200 cranes, which still make lively and colorful decorations, but it's far from 1000. If you'd like to make some, email me for our mailing address and we'll add yours to one of our garlands for Neil's room. The doctors and nurses say that Neil will be able to move to a rehab facility soon. Hopefully there he will have even more room for our good wishes!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

I might even be a rockstar

Januray 20, 2009 was a day for celebrations, and celebrate I did. I met up with this group I joined, Drinking Liberally, at a bar/restaurant in New Brunswick called Delta's. Being of the Tri Deltas, the name intrigued me even though I'm pretty sure it refers to the Mississippi River Delta, not the Greek letter and best sorority ever. This place specializes in Southern cuisine, and it was great! Of course, I only ate about two pieces of cajun calamari, but it was delicious. I know my calamari, and this stuff tasted fresh or very high quality and well prepared frozen. The martinis and wine were good too. The atmosphere was also more multi-cultural or at least multi-racial than most of the places around here, which was very nice.

I met a bunch of new people, and they even ADMIRED MY KNITTING!!! No, I was not actually knitting in the bar. It was far too crowded and dark for that. At one point during the evening, I was sitting with a bunch of DL buds and some new people. This guy who I had been talking to for a while asked me what my hobbies were. I sheepishly told him that I knit a lot, and instead of running away or making some joke about how I looked a little young to be a grandmother, he asked me what kinds of things I make. Rather than just telling him, I pulled my Bella Mittens out of my bag. This got the attention of the whole group. Of course, I know my mittens are beautiful, but I don't always expect a bunch of hipster 20somethings (Some people might say that I fall into this category, but I don't think so. I'm a little too Future Homemakers of America to be hip.) to admire them too! I mean, they are gorgeous...don't you agree?


The peekaboo finger slots really won the crowd over.


Since the flood gates had already been opened, I pulled more of my woolies out of my giant purse, and soon everyone was passing around and trying on the above mittens, my Jacqui Hat, and my Jacqui Scarf.


Two people were practically begging me to make similar hats and mittens for them. It made me feel like a rock star instead of a freak with lots of wool in her large purse. It was so nice to be myself and have people intrigued and engaging instead of just polite. I wonder if I can maintain this kind of celebrity when the mercury creeps above 50 degrees. I guess time will tell!


This week went by in such a blur. I had a wonderful inauguration day, as I am sure most of the country did. One of my favorite lines from his speech was in regards to hostile countries. I can still hear the words echoing in my head, "We will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist." I even quoted him a few nights ago when my dad and sister were having a big argument. It's interesting to see what lines stuck with people, and I think it says a bit about who we are. There was my favorite line, about resolving conflict and building bridges. Here are two of my friend's favorite lines:

Worldy Mili, who has lived in and traveled to more countries than I can keep track of: "Our patchwork heritage is a strength..."

Practical Jane, who is studying for her Ph.D. in psychology at Brandeis: "We will restore science to its rightful place."

What was your favorite line? I'd love to hear about it.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Level 5 Mitten Alert!

Level 5 Mitten Alert! [Side note: I stole that phrase from a New Jersey 101.5 caller. It is the sort of silly phrase I'd come up with, but I guess I'm just not that clever today. Oh, and 101.5 isn't my usual radio station of choice, in case you're wondering. I was in the car with a coworker. That's my excuse.] That's how cold it is today. In Bridgewater right now it is 16 degrees and sunny. Doesn't sound so bad, right? Oh, well, I forgot to tell you about the wind chill factor. It feels like it's 4. Just 4. 4 degrees. Lonely little 4. Ok, I guess you get it. It's cold.

Luckily, I finished knitting my new favorite mittens last night. Let me tell you, these are some Serious Mittens. A full 14" long and knit out of lovely Malabrigo Chunky Merino with some nice whale spine cabling detail, these babies are warm and cozy to the max. The pattern is Bella's Mittens (ravelry link) by fellow blogger subliminalrabbit. I highly recommend it! I knit mine on larger needles though, cause I just can't imagine chunky yarn on a US 8. I cast on fewer stitches for the cuff, but the hand has the same stitch count as the pattern. Full mods and deets are on my ravelry page. I'd LOVE to show you a picture here and now, but when I went to turn on my new baby camera (it's a baby cause it's only 17 days old), it didn't work! It just won't turn on, and yes, I'm sure the batteries work. Camera-breaking problems aside, the next place I'd turn for a picture would be my cell phone, but alas, i abandoned it outside last night after a few drinks (I was drinking, not my cell phone) and it is still warming up. Of course, i did not do anything as irresponsible and reckless with my brand new camera. That young'un just up and died on its own...

I just knew that I should have listened to the negative reviews on Best Buy's site, as the problems that several other consumers have had appear to be exactly what I'm experiencing. I am very afraid that Best Buy will screw me out of a refund or even exchange, as their website states that refunds may be given for digital cameras within 14 days. I'm going to enlist the help of a very level-headed friend (thanks, Scott) to try and exchange this silly little Kodak at Best Buy. You see, when things go my way I'm as sweet as a barrel of honey, but when someone tells me I can't have or do something, I am either a total pushover or a scary bitch. And I can often go from sweet to bitch or even pushover to bitch in about two seconds flat. Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Book Review: The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken by Laura Schenone

I have had the luxury of knowing my family history on my mother's side back to 1621 or so when, ten generations ago, Thomas Jenkins and his family arrived in Baltimore from Wales. One of my great uncles, among his many accomplishments, traced our family geneology back to his parent's native Wales and Ireland. I haven't had that good fortune on my father's side of the family. I know my great-grandparents' entrance papers from Ellis Island are somewhere in my aunt's house, so I could embark on that quest for family answers if I want to. That bug still hasn't bitten, but after reading about Laura Schenone's own personal quest for family history, I have definitely thought about it more. Overall, I enjoyed Schenone's memoir, Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken. At times I found her pretentious and ungrateful for the living family members she had, but her acknowledgement of these weaknesses tempered my annoyance.

The book began with Laura making Christmas ravioli alone in her kitchen. She and her husband had chosen to forgo the big family Christmas that year. At first I found this bold decision refreshing, but the more I thought about it, the more I wondered how you can justify cutting your living family out of Christmas while you are grasping at ways to be closer to the great-great-greats that you never met and a land you've never seen. This sense of dissatisfaction with her "family of today" was even further illustrated when she scoffed at her Great Aunt Tessie's ravioli recipe because it contained cream cheese, not a traditional Italian soft cheese. However, her dissatisfaction did launch the quest for her own personal grail, without which we would not have this book.

I was intrigued by Schenone's questions about the origins of a person's predisposition towards a particular cuisine or natural setting. For example, she has a strong affinity for chestnuts and the seaside. Her Italian ancestors hail from Genoa, a coastal community rich in chestnut trees--so much that many residents make their own chestnut flour instead of spending hard-earned money on typical wheat or grain flour. Can culinary preferences or tolerance for a certain climate be programmed into your genes? These questions yield inconclusive findings, but it's great food for thought, especailly for this evolution-loving girl.

At times the book was saved by the majestic, delicious descriptions of Northern Italy and its generous, hospitable people. More redeeming qualities include further explanations of Schenone's relations with her immediate family and eventual reconcilliations. The narrative's flaws were not enough to keep this reader away, and they even taught me a lesson. If you feel like you are missing something in your life or your family, you are probably not going to find it halfway around the world with people you've never met.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

First FO of 2009

Originally uploaded by jacquiknits
Well, here it is: my first FO (that's finished object for all you non-knitterly folks) of the year! Being that it's January 7th, I know it's really not that spectacular that I've finished one Amanda Hat being that it's such a quick and easy pattern. However, I actually had this baby done in the wee hours of the morning on January 2nd. I took a looong nap on New Year's Day and subsequently could not sleep at all that night, which was just perfect considering that I had to go back to work the next day. That's probably why I look stoned in these pictures, taken in my office the next day.


Anyway, here's the pattern info:
Pattern: Amanda Hat by Gina House
Yarn: Multi: Araucania Aysen in colorway 803
Solid: Malabrigo Worsted Merino in colorway Dark Earth
Needles: US9 16" Addi Circular
Modifications: accidently did an extra crown decrease, which makes the hat a bit boxier and roomier (a happy accident!)