Super Secret Summer Sew

As you may have heard, this summer has not been what any of us expected. When last we spoke, I was deep into a sock fog and I’ll admit my knitting mojo has not come out of that haze yet.

One thing has happened as expected, Astra’s summer visit out of town. A few months ago, I saw a pattern on sewing blog that I just knew had to be made for Astra – but she’s probably the hardest to make a secret make for. The boys are easy, mostly because they sleep in, but my little early-riser is tougher. Enter the super secret summer sew: The Minecraft Quilt!

I gathered up the fabric and got started about a week after Astra left. The pattern is less of a pattern and more of a tutorial/guide from the Seriously… I think it needs stitches blog. I started with Steve and progressed on through. I made the face blocks in batches, cutting out 3 blocks at a time and chain piecing my little heart out.

It took me about a week to cut and piece all 20 face blocks. I did have a bit of advice from Joshua for a few modifications. Block 17 became Diamond Steve and block 18 subbed in the chicken. All in all I enjoyed the process quite a bit.

I knew I wanted to do the Ender Dragon for the back so I checked all my measurements when I was trying to decide on sashing and border widths. Turned out, unless the sashing was bizzarely wide – that dragon would be wider than the front of the quilt. And so I did what any normal quilter would do… I made more blocks for the front.

I decided we’d do her name down the side to widen it out a bit. Next came the dragon. Much like eating the proverbial elephant, the dragon came one bite at a time. The tutorial broke it down into three sections, with 10-15ish blocks in each section. I think the whole dragon alone was something like a 12 hour project. For reference he finished at 70″ wide and 27.5″ tall.

I finished this guy up last Sunday, and from there it was just sashing and borders for the front and a whole lot more purple for the back. In the middle of the week I picked up my new sewing machine and that made the final bit of the process fly. I’ve packed it all up and sent it off to be quilted. When I get it back, I’ll just need to spend a few nights hand sewing the binding before tucking it away for Christmas.

The top finished at 74″ x 80.5″ – a really generous throw. I used the recommended Moda Fabrics fat quarter bundle with a few scraps from my stash thrown in. I also purchased additional black, light, medium, and dark grey, and a ton of purple – all from Moda as well. The fat quarter bundle isn’t available any more but the list is provided here – I didn’t use all of the colors. I also used less than a half yard extra of the greys, an additional 3.75 yards black and about 5 yards total of purple.

Overall, I enjoyed the process and I’m super proud of how it came out and that I finished it and shipped it out before Astra’s home. I do have to say thought, it was way out of my usual wheelhouse and I was beyond ready to get back to the pretty, floral lights and brights that I usually sew with. That was a lot of solid purple and black!


Happy {super secret} making!

Comfort food.

I’m not going to dwell on world events today, suffice it to say that 2020 is not how any of us expected. I’m a cheerful introvert at the best of times, but I’ve been feeling quite withdrawn from everything over the last few months. I stopped writing here, I stopped posting on social media, and I nearly stopped knitting.

The only crafty pursuit I’ve been up to at all is sock knitting, and I’ve not even picked it up on some days. I do have a bit to catch up on with you here, as it’s been two entire months, but for weeks it has been socks and socks only. Here goes nothing, the last two months:

I finished my mini Happy Christmas Tree Quilt. This guy and the full sized one are sitting around here now, all quilted, binding attached — sometime I’ll get around to sewing the binding down on both of them.

Vanilla socks — “Electric Feel” by A Homespun House

Don’t look now, but this was another patterned sock finish! The pattern is Rhinebeck Roomies by the Crazy Sock Lady. I used Skein Yarn in the Early Morning Mist colorway.

Vanilla Socks — “Where does the good go?” by StressKnits

Joshua turned 15 in the midst of all of the quiet stay-at-home time, but we had a nice day. He had a mask wearing walk with a friend, we hung out and listened to records while I baked his cake (see below), and we just had a generally lovely day.

Ok, friends. This is hands down the best strawberry cake I’ve ever had. The recipe is pretty amazing. We enjoyed cake for breakfast for a couple of days after this and I’m not even a little sorry.

Yep, your eyes do not decieve you! Another patterned sock, another design by the Crazy Sock Lady! This is Heel Toe Do Si Do in Peachy Keen by The Cozy Knitter.

I cast on this cuff, started a pattern, messed it up, and started another pair of socks. Now that I’m almost done with those, I think I’ll come back to these. I actually think I might switch gears and knit this pair vanilla and cast on another pair of Rainbow Connection socks in something else for my pattern fix. This yarn is “Whale Belly” by A Homespun House.

Last but not least, the aforementioned other pair of socks. These have been surprisingly enjoyeable. This another pair of what I deem workhorse socks, turns out they’re awfully nice when you’re at the house all the time. This is yarn is ONline Supersocke 4-fach Neon Color in color 1721. This is some deep stash, so it’s nice to finally knit it up.

That gets us up-to-date. Thankfully, I’m feeling the funk fade a bit over the last few days. I’ve got a secret project for Astra for Christmas that I want to start and I’ve got 3!! quilts to finish (4 if you count the tree skirt). Other than that, I’m not minding the sock train one bit. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again — I’ll always come back to socks, my very own crafty comfort food.

I hope you are safe and well.


Happy making!

I don’t really do patterned socks.

Honestly. I did the math and less than 5% of my finished socks have been patterned. I even currently have a patterned sock on the needles that I’m mostly making no progress on. I cast on patterned socks from time to time, and I often frog them.

Recently, I was watching the Crazy Sock Lady podscast when she revealed a new pattern: the Rainbow Connection Socks. I always like the look of Kay’s designs, but rarely give in because, well, you know. But these socks just intrigued me and I couldn’t get them out of my head. So, I did what I soemtimes regret doing – I cast them on.

The pattern uses a main color and mini skeins or self-striping yarn for the contrast. I had received these minis in “little box of hygge” from A Homespun House in March and they just called to me. The main yarn is a merino/cashmere/nylon from Woolberry Fiber Co. in the Snow-kissed Mountains colorway. I got started and the next day…

I was so in love. I just couldn’t stop and so two more days…

I was in full swing by Friday. On Saturday, I momentarily came to my senses and put some work into finishing my Norah Quilt top. Come Sunday though, I finished up the toe before we were done slaying orcs in D&D.

I am telling you, I could not have enjoyed knitting this pair of socks any more. The pattern and the yarn were just a perfect match and it was highly enjoyable. I’m already looking around for some other pairings to knit more. I’m looking at you rainbow sock leftovers…


Happy making!

The most fun I’ve had at a sewing machine.

About a year ago, I spied a sew-along on instagram that took my heart. It was from the ladies of my favorite fabric shop, Sunny Day Supply, and was for a quilt called The Norah Quilt.

The quilt is simple: a single block log cabin. I’ve ooh-ed and ah-ed over all the Norahs out there and this year decided to join in. The sew-along started last Friday and I was off for the day, so I started early. I had already cut the fabric and was ready to play.

I decided to go similar to the original and do pink, neutral, mint, and blue for my logs with fussy cut, offset center. I got going on the center but wasn’t quite happy with how I started.

I realized I wanted more navy than yellow and this arrangement was going to give more yellow. So I unpicked all of the seams and started over. A wee rearrangement later, we were off to the races.

Things went pretty quickly at first, I honestly didn’t have much rhyme or reason but went round and round adding strips. I tried not to concentrate any one thing in an area: no pools of lights or darks, balanced large and small scale, that sort of thing. Over the last week, she grew and grew:

Until today, I headed outside to snap this quick in-progress picture and decided it was awfully close to plenty big enough. I wound up adding another 3 rows after this point and called her a day. The quilt top finished at 66″ square and is a crazy mish mash of fabrics. So much fun!


Happy making!

Like a variety show.

I’ve honestly been a bit all over the place. Something about being at home all the time has me flitting from project ot project, craft to craft. I am managing to finish some and have only started a few, so I suppose I’m keeping some level of balance.

After finishing up my Happy Christmas quilt top, I was in a bit of a mood for something quick and easy. Enter Fat Quarter Pile Up:

This was a fun little quilt pattern is by Knot & Thread Design and I used a fat quarter bundle that was curated by one of my fave’s Maker Valley. I barely had to think about this one and it came together in a little under 4 hours. It finishes at a really generous 57″ by 70″ and uses 12 fat quarters with extremely little waste. I’m goign to use some random stash yardage for the backing and call this one a day.

After this lighting fast start and finish, I made the mistake decision to list out all of my current WIPs. It’s not a short list, so I was looking to cross some things off. My Magical Girl socks were an easy target as they were close-ish to done. I also pulled out my little matchbox quilt since it only needed to be quilted and bound. I tried out hand quilting and really love the texture it delivered.

Once that little guy was hanging up in my sewing room, I started looking around at what else to work on and I landed on my applique. I’ve had quite the hand sewing mojo lately so I went with it.

Blocks 5-8 of my Granny’s Garden Quilt are now done. I also traced all the shapes out for the rest of the quilt, but that’s not very exciting to look at. Once those were done, I turned my hand to sewing the binding on my Arithmetic Quilt.

I started this quilt way back over my birthday weekend last summer. I don’t know what takes me so long to finish quilts, but I finally got around to binding this one. It’s so big and fresh and bright! I love it.

The pattern is by Jeni Baker and I used all fabrics from the Daisy Chain collection by Annabel Wrigley. I sent this one off to be quilted by Nicole of Kwilt It! – she did an excellent job and I already have two more pieces with her to be quilted. This quilt finished at 74″ x 80″ – I made twin size with 4″ squares. I highly recommend this pattern! A super fun finish.

Other than that, I made a mask for my weekly grocery trip — I used the Missouir Star Quilt Company tutorial, it was incredibly easy!

I’m still plugging away at my second pair of Christmas socks this year. I’m hoping to finish these soon — and by soon, I’m hoping for today — they’ve been on the needles for quite a while.

Looking now, that may be a tall order for today, I’m only just started the decreases! Well, we’ll see I suppose. Finally, I started a new quilt. I’ll talk more about this one soon — it certainly deserves it’s own post. Suffice it to day, my Norah Quilt has begun.

That’s been pretty much it around here. I’ve been working, playing with makeup, watching movies with the kids, and making up a storm. All in all, we are well and I hope you are too.


Happy making!

Measure twice, cut once.

Well, I finally did it. I cut in the heel of a sock at the wrong spot.

If you take a very close look at last the first sock, I cut in the heel between the speckled stripe and the purple stripe. Fast forward to me late one evening, working on the second sock — cut in the heel and cruise on. Until…

Oh, what’s that? Is that the speckle and purples stripes, nestled right there together? Ah yes. I cut the heel in a stripe too late. I pulled the heel out and debated what to do. I had a brilliant idea to just graft the stithces back together so I tried that.

It just didn’t look right. I worked it and worked it and it just wasn’t turning out. So I finally did what I’d really known I’d have to have to do all along. I ripped all the way back and rejoined the yarn.

And so that is how I knit about half of the second sock twice. They’re worth it though, because these are some awfully sweet stripes.

This is Gynx Yarns in the Magical Girl colorway. She doesn’t dye anymore so I’m pretty pleased to have a pair of socks in some of her yarn.

Don’t they just make your teeth hurt? I love this yarn, ithe colors are absolutely perfect for the first breath of spring that is creeping into Maryalnd. They were worth it to get right, but it’s a good reminder to really check what you’re doing before you snip that yarn!


Happy making!

A lost blog post?

I wrote this post back on February 29, right before I left for Denver. I appartenly never hit publish, but I hate to lose all this chatter, so here you go!

At this time last week, I had three (knitting) works in progress. Today, I have six. Things just… happened this week. And no, I am in no way thinking about casting on something else. At all.

First things first, the three wips. One is my Sizzle Pop; surprise! I haven’t gotten much done on it. Last week I had just cast on and knit the cuff of a new pair of patterned socks. They’re chugging along, if a bit slowly. I’m enjoying the texture and rhythm though, so I’m not bothered.

And the third is my oldest WIP, which is surprising since it’s a hat. I usually knit hats pretty quickly, but, well, I’ve been distracted. The hat is adorable though and that’s why it’s earned a trip to Denver today. I’m heading out on a work trip and I think it will be my plane knitting in hopes of some serious progress. The hat is Skiff by Jared Flood, I’m knitting it up in Quince & Co. Lark in the Petal colorway.

Something just came over me last weekend and I wanted a bit of floof in my life. I waffled for a quite a while and finally cast on a cowl with a bit of mohair. I’m not too far, but this is Calan Mai by Voolenvine. I couldn’t resist the reference to one of my favorite book series, A Court of Thorns and Roses. I’m knitting it up in yarn from A Homespun House, the mohair is Winter’s Kiss and the other strand is Snowy Woods.

With all the patterning, brioching, and cabling I was doing, I thought it high time that I cast on a pair of vanilla socks. Taking the first cake that caught my eye out of all my caked up sock yarn, I pulled out this old old old skein of Prim from Hey Lady Hey, a now retired yarn dyer.

I’m to the heel flap of the sock but the beady eyed among you may notice that’s a pretty short leg for me. I’m having a hard time pushing through this one and I think I know why. For years now, I have exclusively knit socks on 80/20 merino/nylon yarn. That and stellina yarn have been pretty much it. I shunned 75/25 a long time ago. I had thought maybe I was past that feeling but here we are. I think it just doesn’t do it for me. I do knit 75/25 into other things just fine, but for socks? No, thank you.

I decided to pull out an 80/20 skein to compare. So plump and round! It’s crazy that it makes that much difference but it feels so much better. I’m willing to admit that may be all in my head, but knit what you want, right?

The yarn I cast on is a pretty little self-striping number called Magical Girl, by Gynx Yarns – another retired dyer. These are also going to Denver, gotta have something easy and mindless on a work trip.

So that’s it, all my works in progress. Most are pretty far from the finished object stage, but for some reason I’m already thinking about a few new projects. One is another hat, which is not getting started until Skiff. The other is a brioche and lace shawl that I don’t know if I will have enough willpower to resist after this trip.

I waffle between wanting to clear off all of my needles and wanting to cast on a million things so it’s easy to pick up and just work on anything. Clearly we’re in the cast on a million things phase at the moment. I’m feeling lately like wips are opportunities. I’ve got stockinette socks, patterned socks, cables, brioche, and floof and I dig it.


Happy making!

One month later…

Well, I’d venture to say it’s been a fairly crazy March for us all. Four weeks ago today, I arrived in Denver for my organization’s annual meeting and it was canceled that evening. It’s been crazy with work ever since, and now I’m working from full time with the kids and Kevin all in the house. I know it’s a crazy, scary, uncertain time for many. I’ve been really finding joy and comfort in the simple motion of my hands creating things, so I thought we’d have a little photo montage of the last month.

My only finished object since we last spoke, and I don’t really have a picture of it! I need to attach the pompom and take some real photos, but the knitting on my Skiff is all finished up.

I’ve put a bit of work into these socks but not much. I still don’t have much drive to knit patterned socks, but these are sooo pretty that I really want to finish them. One day. The pattern is Rhinebeck Roomies by Crazy Sock Lady.

My first cast on of the month was the Calan Mai cowl. I completely misread the pattern and had to rip back about 3 inches, but now we’re moving on it.

I finally decided to frog my Prim socks, I spoke about my dislike of the yarn base last post. I dug some trusty 80/20 out of my stash in these fun stripes and they kind of zoomed for a while. This is Gynx Yarn (a retired yarn dyer) in the Magical Girl colorway.

Completely out of character for me, it seemed that two pairs of socks weren’t quite enough so some Christmas socks went on the needles! This is Once Upon A Corgie Handmade in the Marie Cutie base (a squishy corriedale nylon blend) in the Christmas like it’s 1882 colorway.

In this flurry of startitis, I also managed to cast on a sweater! I’m knitting the Rosemont Cardigan in Quince & Co. Lark in the Pea Coat colorway. I’m looking for a cozy go-with-everything cardigan and I think this fits the bill.

And then last weekend, I finally finally finally finished up my Happy Christmas quilt top. I’m so pleased with how it came out! This is a pattern from Maker Valley, and I got the scrappy kit from her as well. This cutie is out getting quilted and I can’t wait to get it finished up.

Once I was in the sewing room, I haven’t been able to leave much. I decided to throw together a cute little mug rug for my #yearofchristams plans and this one came together pretty quickly. It’s a single block from Lori Holt’s granny square inspired quilt pattern. I used random scraps of Lori Holt fabric and I think it’s just precious!

While I was at it in the sewing room yesterday, I finally, months and months later, attached the binding to my Arithmetic quilt. Now I’m ready for my favorite part of quilt making, hand sewing the binding!

Last, but certainly not least, I’ve been rather obsessed with my Granny Stripe blanket. I figured out a few weeks ago that is way wider than I intended. That discouraged me for a while with how long it might take. I had a really inspiring talk with Kevin the other night about the process of my making and now I just can’t stop. I’m really enjoying the rythm and the slow progession.

Well. that’s it in pictures. I’ve been kind of all over the place these days with making all sorts of things — I’ve even picked up my applique a few times! — but I’m letting it take me wherever my heart and hands need to go.


Wherever you are, be well and happy making!

Once you get through the ribbing.

I’ve often felt that once I get through the ribbing of a sock, it’s practically done. The rest it just seems to fly by. I don’t hate ribbing, but I don’t really love it so it is always nice to get through it on anything. I’ve recently realized that brioche feels a whole like ribbing: yarn forward, yarn back and all that jazz.

So, once I finished Marley, I looked around at my WIPs and realized I had created a little slice of ribbing hell. My first order of business was to finish up my other brioche project, Gully.

This is a pattern by Jared Flood, knit in Brooklyn Tweed Vale in the Cobbler colorway. I love the finished object, but knitting laceweight brioche flat is a bit of a slog. The texture of the yarn is a dream for the squishy brioche though so it was definitely worth it.

Once I finished the cowl, I was really down to it on ribbing. Two second socks to start and a massive hat brim to finish. I set myself a goal to finish all the ribbing on one big Sunday rib-a-thon.

It took me a hot minute, but I got it done. From there, it’s always so easy to pick up the socks and knit on them throughout the week. I woke up last Saturday and assesed my sock situation.

With last weekend being a long one for us here in the states, I set myself a new goal of finishing both pairs over that weekend. I’m not really sure how but I finished them both that day!

I just love love love this pair. I knew after seeing this yarn that I’d have to knit it up, being the avid rainbow lover that I am. Add to that the Beatles reference in the name and I was a goner. This is All Together Now, from Gauge Dye Works.

The other pair are knit out of Patons Kroy in the Mexicala Stripes colorway. I don’t love the pattern but they’re a bright and cheerful pair of socks. I knit these to have another pair of hardwearing utility socks and that’s just what they are.

Once I finished those socks, I realized I was in danger of getting to the end of February without finishing a Christmas project. I thought that if I started a pair of socks, I could likely finish them over the next couple of weeks. And so I cast on another pair of socks last Sunday, intending to at least get through the ribbing.

By the time I went to bed that night, I had knit most of the darned sock already. This sweet yarn is from A Homespun House, in the Whobilation colorway. Not wanting to burn out, I decided to cast on a new large project. I spent a great deal of time playing in my stash, scrolling throuh Ravelry and Instagram.

I finally decided on a pattern I’ve had in my libary for quite a while and with some help from Kevin, chose a yarn pairing that is a bit out of my usual comfort zone.

I started Sizzle Pop, a shawl pattern by Lesley Anne Robinson. I know, I know, it’s brioche. I just can’t seem to stop myself. I’m using Mood Ring by Hey Sister Yarn Co. for the background (grey) and Tough Titty by Stitch Together Studio for th emain color (pink).

I am really enjoying this one, but it does require quite a bit of focus and pattern reading. So that pushed me back into the arms of the Christmas socks and before I knew it, I found myself kitchenering up the second sock last night.

Who knew I had this much sock mojo left? Finishing three pairs of socks in a week had me looking at my stash yet again this morning. One thing that bugs me is all the caked up yarn I’ve got hanging around from projects that stalled out for various reasons. I’d like to get it all knit up, but that’s a big undertaking. So I pulled out a subset: sock yarn:

That’s 10 skeins of sock yarn that were caked up for various projects (mostly not socks) and then abandoned for some reason or another. I’m going to make these my next 10 pairs of socks, excluding Christmas socks. I already got started, casting on the cuff of the first pair:

The yarn is from Skein, in the Early Morning Mist colorway. I originally cast this on for a Spindrift shawl over Christmas a few years ago. I never picked it up again and frogged it last year during my WIP Wipeout. The catch with this pair of socks is that I’m (gasp!) using a pattern. The whole thing will essentially be ribbed. Who am I?

I might need to go cast on something garter just for a bit of sanity, but who knows. Maybe I don’t dislike ribbing as much as I thought.


Happy making!

Marley.

Back in the fall, I had the idea that I wanted a big, brioche shawl in a neutral-ish color. I wound up at the Shennendoah Fiber Festival with a friend and we found the yarn. Low contrast, pink and cream, neutral enough, speckled in the best way… just perfect. I snapped it up and with encouragement from another dear friend cast it on a few weeks later.

I really enjoyed knitting it, but other things got in the way. Holiday knitting, traveling, and that nagging feeling that this shawl was going to take forever. After a couple of months, I was only about fifteen percent in.

I’ll be honest, it may have been particularly slow because I spent a lot of time just looking at it. This was one of those times when I was utterly entranced by two colors paired together. The speckles and variation in the colorways really is everything. But alas, I put it away again.

And then… as I mentioned in my last post, something just clicked. I was obsessively listening to a book series and I just flat out put some stitches down. It took me about two weeks once I really got going and…

Here she is in all her squishy glory. The shawl turned out to be massive; it’s well over six feet across the top. I was looking for a brioche schlanket, and friends, this is it.

This is Marley by Andrea Mowry, knit in 29 Bridges Studio Sock Single. I used Coral Reef (cream) for the main color and Sugar Cookie (pink) for the contrast color.

I knit it exactly to pattern. It’s a pretty simple pattern, easy to memorize and very well written. I can’t stop gushing! It’s just so stinking pretty.


Happy making!