Into the Void.

Well it took a month to knit, two weeks to finally block, and four days to dry. She’s done and she is glorious.

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This is Void, a beautiful pattern by Melanie Berg. The pattern is very well written and I can see how so many people enjoyed knitting it. I did follow her note in the pattern to do an extra yarnover after the first stitch of every row, but after the first repeat or so, I started doing a double yarnover. I’m really glad I did. It was tough to get the edge completely straight but I think the extra stretchy cast on edge helped a lot.

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I also followed the advice of some other folks who knit the pattern and modified the left leaning twist or cable a bit to make it more even. Details of that modificiation are up on my Ravelry project page. This is number 7 of my make 9 for 2018.

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I used madelinetosh Longrider DK in the Scout colorway. The patern is written for worsted weight yarn, but the Longrider DK is a pretty plump yarn to me. I think this base is discontinued. I used more yardage than the pattern calls for, I think. The odd thing about this yarn is that there is no weight listed on the ball band. It says 250 yards, but that’s it. A little frustrating, but I’ll overlook it in light of the gorgeous color that is Scout.

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This is the lovliest tonal, dusty, dirty, mauvy pink that I’ve seen. Absolute heaven. I cannot wait to bundle up in it this winter! Speaking of bundling up, it’s a heck of a lot of shawl to wrap around yourself. It turned out to be about 8 feet long.

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All told, I’m rather pleased over this one. The color and the texture just sing. I love when knitting turns out so lovely.

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Happy making!

 

Killing me softly.

Socks. I talk of them often. A self proclaimed sock addict, I have a pair on my needles at all times. But lately, I find these oh-so-light-and-portable projects are weighing me down.

You may recall at the beginning of the year, I set out to knit two pairs of socks every month. One rainbow and one light colored. Well, I have faithfully kept up to that, I’ve knit two pairs every month. Now that I find myself staring down the fall and the end of the year, I find myself looking longingly at other projects.

I’ve got holiday gifts on my mind, a new hat for Kevin, and this year I’ve promised Astra a sweater! Of course sweater knitting for myself is a high priority. I pulled out my Sunset Highway and have been giving it a bit of love the few days.

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I’m about 3″ into the 11″ or 12″ I’ll need for the body of the sweater. I’m actually kind of looking forward to the sleeves for this one, since there’s a bit of colorwork to be had. Of course, I can’t forget the swatch for my next cardigan, I pet it every day.

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And in yet more sweater news, I caked up yarn to swatch for a new top, Mount Pleasant. This is Woolberry Fiber Co. in the Hayride colorway:

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It’s dreamy and I really want to have this top for the fall before it’s too cold, but I was deterred by having no 3.5 mm needles free and the thought of these socks:

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Every time I’ve picked up these socks this week, I’ve been bummed out. It’s a little bizarre, the yarn is so pretty and squishy and I love how it’s working up. But really, I want to be working on other things. My sock committments are really dragging on me at this point. I think I will compromise with myself and finish out the rainbow socks for the year and just pick up on other socks as I feel like it.

On the one hand, I feel a bit disappointed in myself that I’m giving up. But on the other hand, I knit because it brings me joy. If something makes me sad or bummed, why am I working on it? Do you ever set goals for your making and then feel down about not reaching them, or giving them up for something else?

With the decision to set these socks aside, I feel lighter. I am excited for all the other knitting I can finish in the time I would have devoted to those other 6.5 pairs. So little time and so many projects.

Happy making!

Like bees.

We have been a wee bit busy around our household. Typically we don’t do much in September, leaving that time to get back in the swing of things with the new school year. Such has not been the case this September, though! We’ve had friends over to stay and have taken the first of two trips to Tennessee for the month.

With all of that, I haven’t had a terrible lot of time for making. Lets have a bit of a recap in pictures, shall we? That always helps me get up to speed and back in the swing of things, blog-wise.

First up, I wore my Hollyburn to work! I was a bit nervous, since this is not my usual style, but I loved it.

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Void progress, about halfway through the border.

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Joshua earned his red belt!

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Two weekends ago, some wonderful friends of ours came to stay over Labor Day weekend. It was also the first weekend of college football, so Kevin and I were up early and decked out:

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Of course, it was also September 1, so I cast on my next pair of rainbow socks:

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We headed over to Savage Mill to do a little walking and lunch before game time. We walked through an antique shop and I stumbled across this amazing quilt. Entirely hand-pieced and hand-quilted, the craftmanship was excellent. I was tempted to take this beauty home with me, but resisted.

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On Sunday, we got up bright and early and headed down to D.C. for a museum day. We had a blast and even managed a picture of the whole group!

Labor day morning, I was up early for some quiet binding off time with my Void.

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It’s all finished now, but I still haven’t blocked it! That might show you just how we’ve been running around, I’m usually pretty quick on the turn around with blocking.

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School started for the kids, who were very excited to take pictures together in the yard at 7 a.m. Just kidding, there was a lot of groaning involved.

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We had several appointments that week, which afforded me some sock knitting time.

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And then, this last weekend, we took a road trip down to Knoxville to take the kids to their very first Vols game. Once again, we were up bright and early to get our orange on and head to campus for gameday festivities.

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We saw all the sights Kevin wanted to see and the kids even had fun at the game, lightning delay and all! A very good day, indeed.

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On Sunday, I finally slept in late. It was glorious. I resolutely parked my rear end on the couch to indulge in an entire day of football and sock knitting. The socks went better than the game did. I had to cast on a new pair, since I evidently can’t knit a heel while watching Roethlisberger throw a million interceptions.

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On the way home, I put heels in both socks before it was my turn to drive.

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Now we’re home, mostly recovered from all the fun, and I have one completed sock. This yarn, by the way, is Autumnal Equinox by Knitterly Things. The other sock, above, is Petal by Baerenwolle–sadly, she doesn’t dye yarn anymore so no link to be had.

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It’s been a fun month so far. We’re going to a concert and a wedding still yet, so the fun hasn’t stopped. In the meantime, I’m hoping to put some stitches down on my WIPs.

Happy making!

 

Learning curve.

One of the challenges that I set out for myself for this year was to sew a garment with a zipper. It seemed like a pretty easy challenge, to be honest. Low hanging fruit, one might say. As I mentioned last week, I was right on the cusp of inserting said zipper in my second try at the Hollyburn skirt.

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Well, I finally settled in to insert the zipper this weekend. It went very smoothly. Putting in that zipper was actually pretty simple. Looked nice all sewn in, and everything. I pulled it off the machine, zipped it up… and the waistband didn’t line up. At all. I’ll save you the pain of a long explanation of the 5 hours of insanity that ensued and boil it down to a simple list:

  1. I took out the zipper, re-sewed it. Still out of whack.
  2. I took out the zipper, ripped out the back seam, redid both. Still out of whack.
  3. I took out the zipper, pinned it in again, and noticed that the shape of the two back pieces seemed different. Turns out I had put one back piece in backward.
  4. I ripped out the back seem, part of the waistband, the back panel, and about three miles of serged finishing. Re-sewed it all.
  5. Inserted the zipper. Still out of whack, but not nearly as bad as before. The top of the waistband lines up, so I’m going with it.

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This is the finished top of the zipper/waistband. You can see how the top of the waistband lines up, but not the bottom. From the best I can tell, things got janky when I did the waistband in the first place. But it’s wearable and cute, and to be honest, I love it.

This is the Hollyburn Skirt by Sewaholic Patterns, in Kaufman Chambray Union Worn Indigo. I made view B with the belt loops from view A. I cut a straight size 10 and made no modifications. Although, let’s be honest, I don’t know enough about anything to make modifications in garment sewing yet. I do want to point out that all of my frustration has nothing to do with the pattern itself. It is clear and well written, nothing was confusing or over my head. Total user error.

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This was quite the steep learning curve. This one turned out better than my first attempt, and I hope to solve the waistband issues with the next one. After struggling with the skirt half the weekend, I turned to my ultimate comfort make… socks.

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And, I finished them. These kind of happened without me noticing. I just needed to work on a project that wouldn’t be frustrating, something I know how to do. So I knit that second sock over the weekend and we have a pair.

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The yarn is Knitterly Things Sparkle Vesper Sock in Misty Mountain Rainbow, the August 2017 rainbow of the month colorway. I did 29 rows of 2×2 rib (one full stripe repeat) and cut in my afterthougth heel at 6.5″ down from cast on edge. For the heel and toe decreases, I used one of the options in the Smooth Operator Socks pattern.

This is pair 8 in my rainbow box of socks, and pair 16 overall for the year. Not too shabby. I really like these socks, the speckly stripes remind me of that hazy look things get in August when it’s just too hot and summer has gone one a bit too long.

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Whew. Two finished projects: one extradordinarily frustrating and one amazingly comforting. I love having both possibilities. I’m not planning to start any more socks until September 1, but I do have the replacement fabric from my first Hollyburn attempt. Maybe this one will go even better.

Happy making!

Back in the saddle.

When I was around 10 or 11, my cousins got a go-cart. Judge and I were eager to try it out and being the oldest and bossiest, I went first. I promptly slammed my foot on the peddle and ran the go-cart straight into a tree. With a busted chin and bruised ego, I swore I’d never ride another go-cart. My dad told me in no uncertain terms that I was, in fact, getting back on the go-cart. He told me that if you fall off of a horse, you get right back in the saddle and show yourself and the horse who’s boss.

Fast forward a decade and I had a major car accident. I was in various hospitals for a while and eventually came home and went to stay with my dad for a while. I had not driven a car for over a month, not since the accident. I was so afraid to drive again, but my dad once again told me, back in the saddle you go. I managed to live through the harrowing 3 mile drive to my aunts and I’m happy to tell you, I’m still driving to this day.

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Fast forward another decade plus and I am happily not wrecking any vehicles. But still, I’ve been balking at the idea of getting my serger back out. The last (and only) time I used it, it didn’t go very well. Well, I finally dredged up my dad’s advice and got the serger out this weekend. I’ve eased into things with some practice and have now been doing a bit of finishing. Finishing what, you may ask. Garments!

My first try at getting back into garment sewing and using a serger to finish raw edges:

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Not too bad! It was slow going, but I made it work, more or less. This is the Ogden Cami, by True Bias patterns. The fabric is some Art Gallery quilting cotton I had lying around. This fabric is far from ideal with very little drape–I wanted something stable and sturdy and easy to work with for this first try.

This is a great little pattern, pretty easy to do with some new techniques for me. After whipping this one up on Sunday morning, I thought I’d have a go at another Ogden in drapier fabric Sunday afternoon. And voila!

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This is some “silky chiffon” from Joanns that I found on sale. It’s definitely drapier, so it was good practice. I’m not completely convinced of the fit. I think you can see that it pulls across my back a bit and the front seems pretty voluminous.

I wore this one to work today. I’m still undecided about the fit. Maybe the fabric is still not drapey enough? I don’t know if I should try to adjust the pattern or look for something else. After making these two tops, I thought I’d step it up to a bigger project. Enter the Hollyburn Skirt, by Sewaholic. I had some navy poplin that I had purchased just to give this skirt a try. This pattern has a lot of finishing involved, so I kept going with serging seams to finish them. They were looking pretty snazzy, if I do say so.

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On the very last seam before installing the zipper, the worst happened. I caught a bit of the skirt fabric in the serger… and it serged.

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The kids find this hole in the seat of my skirt much funnier than I do. I was so frustrated. I had to take a step back from sewing. It’s scary to think of trying again and ruining something else. So I did the safe thing. I worked on a sock. With the serger safely in the craft room, I knit on. But in my mind I could hear my dad telling me to show it who’s in charge. And so, with trepidation, I cut out another skirt and got to work. I’m pleased to say that it’s going even better than the first skirt, serged seams and all.

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This will be hopefully by my first finished Hollyburn. I can’t wait to get it done!

I’m proud of myself for sticking with it.  I’ve got no issues with go-carts and cars these days and I’m happy to add sergers to the list.


Happy making!

Birthday socks and other pretties.

As must happen every year, my birthday has passed. It was a good one though, and I’ve got some lovely yarny goodness to show for it.

First up, I finished my birthday socks last night.

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This yarn is Tilting Planet Apollo Sock–an amaszingly squishy 75/25 base–in the Cosmic Cake colorway. These are my eighth pair in my light box of socks, and my fifteenth box o sox pair overall. I don’t have very much more to say about them, but they’re beautiful so let’s look at them a bit.

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Cosi’s toes are cuter, but the socks don’t fit on him. In other birthday news, I received a few wooly gifts in the mail this week. One from Kevin and one from me. The gift I gave myself was a complete surprise, I had ordered the Hey Sister Yarn Co. August club colorways. I had no idea what would be arriving in the mail, other than one “color” and one “neutral” club colorway. Boy, was I pleasantly thrilled to open up these pretties!

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The neutral club color (left) is Taupe Frost and the color club color (right) is Lucid. They are both so pretty and I love how well they go together. I see a two color shawl in my future. As for what Kevin treated me to… he really treated me to a birthday afternoon of yarn shopping from the shop of my choice. I chose Quince & Co. and I’m glad I did.

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I’m in love with this color palette! In this mix are a hat, cowl, mittens, and a cardigan! Ever since I knit my Windswept, I’ve been itching to make a sweater out of Chickadee, Quince’s sport base. Well, Kevin helped me choose the color and it’s happening! I wound up a skein as soon as I got off work and got right to swatching.

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I’m planning to knit Empire, a cardigan by Gudren Johnston. I’m trying to resist the urge to cast it on tonight. Luckily, my Sunset Highway is doing a pretty good job of keeping me occupied. I’m nearing the end of the first contrast color.

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That’s it for me, this year’s birthday is tucked away with those pretty pink socks. I’ll bring it out next year and we’ll see how things look with another year on them.

Happy making!

Typecast.

As I read my sock knitting comrade Andi’s latest blog post yesterday, I got to thinking. Andi talked about her penchant for knitting socks and asked if other’s had unintentionally typecast themselves as a particular type of knitter.

Of course, socks were the first thing that sprang to my mind as well. I’ve branched out quite a bit in recent years, and socks are down to around just half of finished projects. But generally when anyone other than Kevin sees me knitting, I’m knitting socks.

This weekend, Kevin’s parents have been in town and so what have I been working on? You guessed it, socks. My birthday socks, to be specific. They arrived–with Astra in tow!–on Saturday afternoon. We grilled out and spent then evening talking. I woke up the next morning for coffee with Kevin’s mom and finished the the first sock.

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Jackie’s a crocheter, so after some lunch and a walk, we settled in for a bit of a craternoon before heading out to supper for her birthday.

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The last few nights, I’ve just been plugging away on my sock while we talk. I’m down past the heel and into the gusset increases, this pair of socks just seems to be flying by.

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In the background of all this sock knitting, I do have other projects going on. But colorwork, cables, or managing multiple balls of yarn just don’t make the cut when I’m trying to hang out and talk. Socks are just always my answer – portable, one ball of yarn, nothing to think about or check other than a quick leg or foot measure.

Maybe one day I’ll be confortable enough with sweater knitting to tote a cardigan around for my in-public knitting. Socks are pretty tough to compete with so I don’t mind if people just see me knit socks. Thank goodness I love them.

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Happy {sock} making!