Grown up days off.

The truth: the kids went back to school on Thursday and I don’t go back to work until tomorrow. What on earth did Kevin and I cook up to do with that extra time? Clean the house? Take down the tree? Go to the casino?

No on all three accounts. We rearranged furniture. (I’m looking at you, Mom) I took over the dining room and turned it into a sewing room. I’ve been talking about it for a month and I finally just bit the bullet and did it. We eat in a different room and haven’t used the dining room other than to hold the liquor cabinet for years. I built myself a bit of a hacked cutting table and moved everything over the course of two days. I’ve hardly wanted to leave it since I finished.

Here is the before:

And the after:

Sewing table:

Cutting table – I built this table from two 3×3 cube shelves, non-slip shelf grip, and a hollow, flush door.

Storage for current projects, scraps, patterns, and favorite fabric collections:

My serger has a home, too. Complete with a lava lamp (Thanks, kids!!)

The iron is in the room, too, but that’s nothing to write home about. All in all, I am so happy with how it turned out. Major fabric and yarn storage is still downstairs, but hey – it’s a small room. Overall this is meant to just be a creative space. I can’t wait to decorate it with curtains and new minis for the walls.

I can report that I already love the new cutting table. I cut out my Happy Christmas Quilt and got started cutting out a tree skirt too. I’ve been sewing up a storm and that feels so good. I’m off to work tomorrow after this long vacation, but I definitely feel like I got some good stuff done.


Happy making!

Happy, uh, Christmas?

It is the new year and that means new projects, new ideas, and the same old me. Turning over the calendar always gets ideas sparking for me. Part of that is the general sense of new and fresh that surrounds the start of a new year. The other part is returning from our holiday trip. I don’t typically knit much and it’s usually socks, so the last few years I’ve been dying to start something new and big once I get home.

This year, I had my mind on holiday projects. Every year, I want to make something a bit Christmas-y but by the time my mind heads that way, it’s December and I default to socks. Now, don’t get me wrong, this has resulted in some awfully pretty pairs of Christmas socks. Did I mention I finished my latest pair?

This is CindyLou by Junkyarn. I love these. My dad called me CindyLou when I was little and this color just gives me the warm fuzzies. I cast these on as a bit of a holiday knit and finished them up this week. Anyway, pretty, speckly socks aside, I’d like to make more holiday makes. I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to do much serious holiday crafting in December, so why not spread the love around?

That’s right, this year, I’m making Christmas all year long! Christmas knitting, Christmas sewing, Christmas quilting, maybe even some general Christmas crafting?!? I’ve been thinking about this for a while now, so I was able to hit up some holiday sales and bump up my Christmas stash in general. I’ve amassed some fabric and yarn for this endeavor:

On the list is a quilt, a tree skirt, socks, a holiday sweater (I’m looking at you, Julgran), mini quilts, scrappy little items, and maybe even a holiday outfit! I’m going to try to finish one Christmas item per month. Slow and steady with time to make other things throughout the year.

In classic style, I just couldn’t wait to get started. My first official start of 2020 is a Christmas quilt! Who cares if it’s January? I’m hoping to knock out this big old beast early so it can get quilted and finished. I’ve started the Happy Christmas Quilt by Holly Lesué of Maker Valley. I had a kit for it from Maker Valley and so I thought I’d get started cutting it out last night. It took no time!

Since that was so fast, I thought I’d go ahead and do a wee bit of sewing. You know, just to start. Before I knew it, I had all the green HSTs sewn and the presents and star done!

Sorry for the horrid lighting, but I was pretty excited at midnight last night. I can’t wait to get some more done on this fun quilt. I think this is a pretty good start to a year of Christmas making.

I just love the thought of pulling out handmade holiday items year after year, but they have to get made sometime. 2020 is the year for me: a whole year of Christmas.


Happy {holiday} making!

The final score: WIP Wipeout 2019

Way back in June, I took a long hard look at all of my works in progress. I pulled them all out, posted them on the blog, and challenged myself to finish them off by the end of the year. Well, friends, the end of the year is here. How’d I do?

Completely, totally, all finished:

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Jelly Roll Twist Quilt

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Dresden Mini #1

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Layer Cake Pop Quilt

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Lumen

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Quilted Notions Pouch

Overdyed Mathilde

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Dresden Mini #2

4-Patch Hearts Mini Quilt

Rose City Rollers

Ugly Christmas Sweater Socks

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No Frills Sweater

Circular Sock Machine Socks #2

Circular Sock Machine Socks #3

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Divi Divi Shawlette – after a coffee incident on a plane, this baby got frogged

Kinda finished:  (Off my mental list, but something still needs to be done with them in the physical world, i.e. these need to be frogged)

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Dammejaka Lopa – The verdict is in, we’re going to frog this one. It’s way too big for me and I even sent it to a knitty friend and it wasn’t right for her either. I don’t know if I’ll knit the same thing with the same colors, but I do need to reclaim the yarn.

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Circular Sock Machine Socks #4 – The orange/yellow/black/green tube is very, very wonky. Not sure what happened, but I’m going to try to reclaim the yarn.

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Swirl Dress – This version is just going to have to be scrapped. I’m going to toile the bodice but haven’t. I had thought I could salvage this version, but I don’t think that will work. The fabric can be used for something else, but probably not just to redo this dress.

Axed projects – yep, I still didn’t frog this yarn. One day, probably.

Unfinished, not touched, not no how, not no way:

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Julgran – To be quite honest, I have not been taking great care of myself and the result of that is a definite lack of enthusiasm for knitting a fitted sweater.

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Beauty School Top – ditto to the Julgran. The yarn is frogged and ready to go, but I haven’t cast it back on for the same reason.


Ok, so all in total, thats 14 out of 20 finished. If I were in school, I’d be passing, but barely. Add in the “not frogged” items and that get’s me up to a respectable 18 of 20. Not too shabby. I also started 16 new projects and finished 9 of them. That makes my net progress for the second half of the year 27/36 = 75%. Not too shabby.

I listened to a podcast recently about embracing your WIPs as creative opportunities. One thing I learned over the course of this challenge is that starting something new can be daunting. I don’t love the mental clutter of having tons of stuff hanging around, but it’s also fun to be able to pick among things to work on. As they say, balance is key.

With that, we’ll wrap up the year. Happy New Year’s Eve to you all!  I can’t wait to see what creativity blossoms in 2020.


Happy making!

In which gifts were given.

Well, here we are at the end of the year. Once again, I have gone a bit dark on the internet (this year was a bit of a blackout, to be honest) and just busying myself like a wee elf with gift making.

This year was all about the socks. I gifted a personal high 5 pairs of socks this year! I righteously finished the first pair back in May and tucked them away for my [not quite yet at that point] sister-in-law, Madelyn.

The main, stripy yarn is West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 Ply in Wood Pigeon and the contrast is the same yarn in the Poppy Seed colorway. These were my first ever circular sock machine socks. Back in 2018, I traded someone yarn for circular sock machine services. I cut my tubes up and knit in heels, toes, and cuffs and voila! socks!

I other circular sock machine news, I made Kevin’s mom and my other sister-in-law each a pair. Kevin’s mom, Jackie’s are knit in Miss Babs Northumbria Fingering – a lovely 100% BFL base – in Zombie Prom. Kevin gifted the yarn to me years ago so I love the idea of making socks for his mom out of it.

Crystal’s socks are knit out of Into the Whirled Bukavu Sock, a longwool/nylon blend. They should be nice and hard wearing and I love the short color repeat rainbow effect. The colorway is Timey Wimey Wibbly Wobbly.

My brother Noah’s socks are in Patons Kroy FX in Clover. These socks are so stinkin’ squishy that I want a pair for myself. In general, I knit most gift socks (all three pairs above) the same stitch count and all as mine, I just adjust for foot length. My brothers both have pretty narrow feet and all so I go down a bit. These are knit at 52 stitches on a 2.5 mm needle, where I typically knit mine at 56.

Last, but certainly not least on the sock train, are my brother Judge’s socks. A few years ago, I stumble across some old yarn that used to be spun with possum fur. Knowing that Judge would get a kick out of the thought, I went on the hunt for this yarn. I finally found it on Ravelry destash and snapped up two balls. This is Naturally Waikiwi Prints, a New Zealnad made yarn with an interesting blend: 55% NZ Merino, 20% Nylon, 15% Alpaca, 10% Possum. The colorway is aptly called Greens.

Let’s count the socks in the picture above. How many do you see? If you said four, you’d be right. That’s right my friends, this pair of socks was knit twice. I cast these on in August, and finished in October. I kept telling myself that things were fine, that it would block out. Of course it didn’t. The socks I had knit were completely different sizes. I think the first sock got stress knit at a stranglehold gauge. Once I came to terms with this result, I frogged them and washed the yarn. The second try was much more successful and now my brother’s feet are warmed by possum socks. In case you’re curious, yes he thought this was hilarious.

The last, and I do mean very last, gift I made this year was a quilt for my mom. I finished sewing the binding the night before we left for our holiday trip. So late that I didn’t even get a picture of the thing. That turned out ok, mom agreed to help with the picture.

This is the Fat Quarter Flowers Quilt, a free pattern from the fat quarter shop. I used all Art Gallery prints and solids, the fabric is just so fine and crisp, it makes a lovely quilt.  The back is a gorgeous navy print with feathers all over. I think she likes it.

That was the extent of my holiday crafting this year. I’ve got big plans for holiday making next year in the non-gift department, but it’s always fun to gift a bit of cozy to my loves.


Happy making!

 

Hawksbill.

One of the first booths we stopped in at the Shennendoah Valley Fiber Festival was Cozy Color Works. I had never heard of this dyer, but they had the softest yarn and some of the best samples. I haven’t paid too much attention to samples before, but I found them inspiring this go round.

My friend and I were both taken in by a sweet and simple t-shirt sample. In a DK weight it seemed like a great wardrobe staple. After we walked around the whole festival, I still had that t-shirt on my mind.

I cast on a week later and knit this little beauty up in a bit over two weeks. This is Hawksbill by Christina Danaee. Overall, I’m satisfied with the pattern but I made several modifications. To be honest, looking at the pattern pictures I don’t think I would have been drawn to the it without seeing that sample. I think it’s the pocket that pust me off, but patch pockets are easily omitted.

I reversed the decreases and increases as they were written in the pattern. I prefer decreases to “lean in” and increases to “lean out” so I went with that. I also made significant modifcations to the bottom. I really thougth I would like the curved hem, but once I knit the back panel I realized I was wrong. Just wasn’t the look I was going for over my rear. I ripped back and did about a quarter of the called for short rows and I’m much happier with the length and fit now.

The yarn is beautiful. This is Cozy Color Works Merino DK in the Rag Doll colorway. It’s a creamy natural color with navy speckles and a hint of a purple-y burgundy. It reminds me of blueberry muffin mix, when the blueberries break as you stir and you get subtle smudges of purple. I am excited to add this to my wardrobe, it pretty much goes with every handknit shawl I own.

I am thrilled to have a simple, go-with-everything, handknit t-shirt – just like I envisioned thanks to that sample knit!


Happy making!

After the thrill is gone.

Sometimes it feels so good to really get so into a knit that you can’t think about anything else. You just want to get back to it, just one more row, one more repeat. That’s how I felt about Winter Honey. I just could not stop knitting it.

And once I started really obsessively working on this shawl, in no time it was finished. This is Winter Honey by Andrea Mowry. I knit it in the called-for yarn, Brooklyn Tweed Shelter, in the Hayloft colorway.

Now, I like to finish things. Really, I do. I love the feeling of binding off those last few stitches, weaving in the ends, pulling it off the blocking mats. But to be honest, I was a little sad when this one came to an end.

The thought of an all over (seriously) cabled shawl was a bit daunting, but the rhythm of this shawl was so enjoyable. This may be my favorite process knit to date.  That’s to say nothing about how much I love this big squishy, cozy, piece. It feels like a sheepy hug.

Once I finished this shawl, I dove right in to two new projects. One, Hawksbill, I thought was going to get me back in that must-knit groove. I cast it on and got the sleeves separated last weekend and then… well, I just kind of petered out. I’ve knit on it a bit here and there, but really it’s a DK weight sweater and should be going pretty quick.

Don’t get me wrong, I really like this yarn–Cozy Color Works merino DK in Rag Doll–and I think it’s going to be a lovely addition to my wardrobe. It’s just not calling to me. With Hawksbill firmly on the needles, I cast on something small, thinking I needed a bit of texture in my life.

This is Gully by Jared Flood. It’s a brioche cowl, knit flat and then seemed. I’ll be honest, the texture of the brioche and the yarn–Brooklyn Tweed Vale in the Cobbler colorway- is heaven. It really is beautiful. But laceweight brioche does not exactly fly off the needles. I also found a mistake last night, and being a fairly novice brioche knitter, I just ripped back to before the mistake. So there’s that.

I feel like I’m just in a weird place right now. I think I would be fine if I hadn’t just come off of such a fantastic process knit. It makes other things seem a bit dull in comparison. Maybe I’ll start something new to continue this cast-on party I seem to have started. I’ve still got holiday makes on the brain, so that’s another creative avenue I can try.

In the meantime, I’ll just bask in the afterglow of my new shawl. Maybe I should knit another one…


Happy making!

Can’t put it down.

As I mentioned when last we spoke, I cast on a new shawl. I have honestly not thought about much else since. Well, that’s not completely true. I’ve though about a lot of things, but I haven’t knit much else.

Last Saturday, I had the pleasure of joining a friend for the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival. We had, quite honestly, the best time. It was a great festival, lots of variety and lovely vendors and wasn’t too crowded. The lunch lines were it bit much in the hot sun, but the brisket was worth it. We topped the day off with an iced coffee before heading home. I picked up a beautiful fair-trade basket, several projects worth of yarn, and the cutest sheep mug I’ve ever seen.

As you will see, the cats are big fans of the basket. All of the yarn is from dyers I hadn’t ever heard of, which is very exciting. I’ll talk about each yarn as I knit it. I got home from the festival and settled in for our d&d game and got right back to my shawl. That honeycomb cable stitch is addictive.

I usually try my best to knit cables without a cable needle when it’s a 1×1 or 2×2 cross like this. I learned the trick when I knit my Zweig pullover. I still feel like my cables on that are a bit sloppy, so I’ve tried other methods since. I have finally found the trick! It’s the method used in the Beeswax hat pattern and is outlined on this website. I promise this will have you flying through 1×1 cables!

One of my purchases at the festival was yarn for a DK weight t-shirt. One of the first booths we stopped at had a gorgeous sample knit up and at the end of the day, I still couldn’t stop thinking about it. On Sunday I took my only break from the shawl to date, and swatched for the sweater.

I had thought that I would cast it on this week, but nothing has been able to tear me away from the shawl. I only have a few rows and the bind-off left and I am finishing it tonight! The border is 2×2 cables which slow me down a bit, but with I’m still plowing ahead with no cable needle. The contrast between the body and the border cables is spot on though, I just can’t stop squishing it.

Another obligatory cat+basket picture, every time I get it out, they are all over it!

Once this baby is off the needles, I am committed to at least starting one holiday gift. I also want to get that sweater on the needles and maybe cast on a new cowl… My hands have been busy with only one thing, but mind has been wandering to a million other makes! Perhaps a bit of startitis is warranted this weekend.


Happy making!