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!

 

Birthday.

Today is my birthday. Oddly enough, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten more into my birthday. I used to not set much stock in my own birthday, but now I think I’ve learned the value in taking a day for yourself and letting it be special.

Kevin treated me to chocolate this morning with my coffee and I started the day by casting on my birthday socks.

I finished the ribbing before it was time to get Joshua out the door:

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This yarn is Tilting Planet in the Cosmic Cake colorway. I’ve been saving it for about a year for my birthday socks, and I just love it. The yarn is dreamy and squishy and the pastel pink and lavendar wtih hot pink and neon orange pops just slays.

For my birthday, Kevin graced me with a gift card to Quince & Co. I’ve been mooning on about their yarn since I knit my Windwept in Chickadee. That yarn is amazing. Thanks to sweet boyfriend, I’ll be knitting up a cardigan in it as soon as possible.

In even more happy day news, my Zweig is dry! I finally got to try it on with two sleeves and everything!

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Pardon the house, it’s raining so no pretty outside pictures today. I am so pleased with the fit of this sweater! I love how it is relaxed but not oversized, just perfect.

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I didn’t really modify this sweater at all, except to knit the body 1″ shorter than called for. That seems to be fairly standard for me, and I think it worked well here.

This is Zweig, by Caitlin Hunter of Boyland Knitworks. I used Skein Yarn Top Draw Sock in the Japanese Slipper for the main color, and Nice & Knit Sock in Old Bay. The Old Bay was a special colorway that the Nice & Knit ladies dyed up for MDSW trunk show at The Knot House this year. Both of these yarns are luxurious and soft, they make a lovely, cozy sweater. I was skeptical of my color pairing abilities, but I think these worked perfectly.

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All in all, I’m incredibly pleased with this sweater. It is definitely my favorite sweater, and one of my favorite knits ever. I sort of wish my birthday was in October or something so that I could wear it out. But August is always nice and humid, so no sweater wearing for me.

We’re headed out tonight for some sushi and a low key family evening. It’s been a great day to just relax and enjoy time with Kevin and Joshua, and take the time to indulge in some lovely knitting. Nothing crazy, just special.

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Happy {birthday} making!

 

Four sweaters behind me, four thousand more to go.

I’ll just come right out and say it. I love knitting sweaters. I don’t know where they’ve been all my life. I think that I want to have a sweater on my needles at all times. There are so many beautiful patterns out there! At the beginning of the year, I had knit zero sweaters. I’m now up to four. Four! Yes, that means that I finished a sweater.

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Zweig is almost dry and then we’ll be ready for some pictures and I’ll call it done. I knit the whole second sleeve on Saturday and Sunday, it just seemed to fly. Since I can’t seem to stop myself, on Sunday morning–before finishing the sleeve–I swatched for the next sweater. It’s nice and warm here in Maryland, so the swatch was dry by the time the Zweig was taking a bath. I immediately wound up my yarn and cast on a new sweater.

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This is my third (yes, there was a first and second) attempt at the Sunset Highway by Caitlin Hunter of Boyland Knitworks. The yarn is all from Peepaloo Fields on her simple sock base, the 75/25 merino nylon. Left to right, Hush, Delicate, Blue Bird, and Tide. I’m so excited about this one I can’t stand it. I really love the deep teal and how it’s working with the paler blue.

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I could be farther into the yoke of the sweater, but last night I got a bit distracted. I’ve been planning to knit Void by Melanie Berg for quite a while and something just came over me last night. I cast it on and knit two repeats before bed. I woke up this morning and knit another half repeat before Joshua came and made me get up to go to work.

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I feel an addiction coming on strong. This yarn is the absolute perfect pink and so round and bouncy it is heaven flowing through your fingers. The yarn is MadelineTosh Longrider DK in the Scout colorway. I believe this base is discontinued, I purchased the yarn on a ravelry destash. The Longrider DK is a fairly heavy DK which works well since this pattern calls for worsted. This yarn has tried to be a cardigan and a pullover but I think it is perfect for this shawl. The stitch definition on those little cables is divine!

In other news, I’m starting to feel the sewing bug coming on. In particular, I’ve been thinking about sewing up some camis to go underneath all of these sweaters. I’ve also got a bit of an outfit in mind for the fall. I purchased this yarn first, then found the fabric and I think they are a match made in heaven. I’m going to sew a Hollyburn Skirt and knit a Mount Pleasant top to go with it.

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Cloud 9 Sweet Nothings poplin and Woolberry Fiber Co. in “Hayride”

And finally, I’ve wound up the yarn for my August socks. I’m over the moon about my soon to be birthday cast on! I’ve been saving this pretty pink skein of Tilting Planet for a year, just waiting. The colorway is Cosmic Cake. Perfect. The other pair will, of course, be rainbow socks. I’m digging this murky, speckly rainbow.

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I think that’s it. I’m taking the day off for my birthday on Thursday and I think I will just veg out and knit on my birthday socks. As one does.

Happy making!

One thing after another.

As July comes to a close, I had a few small goals in mind. I wanted to finish my socks and my Zweig. So far, one of those things has happened. I’ve had a few snafus that have both helped and hindered my knitting.

First, the hindrance. You might know that I tend to drink a lot of coffee. Well, on Tuesday evening I was doing just that. Chugging iced coffee and knitting sleeve cuff ribbing like it was my j-o-b.

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I was moving along at a great pace. Bound off the sleeve and immediately picked up the stitches for the next one and got rolling. I was just starting the first round of cabled x’s when I reached for something and knocked over my iced coffee. It went everywhere. All over my desk, soaked the zweig pattern, in my headphones, under the keyboard, all over me, and yep, you guessed it, all over the zweig. I shrieked in horror.

While Joshua got towels to clean up the desk, I went into triage mode for the sweater. I used paper towels to blot most of the coffee, and moved the live stitches onto some waste yarn. Took out the metal stitch marker for the beginning of round and replaced it with plastic. Into a cold, wool wash sudsy bath went the sweater. I’ve been holding my breath for a few days waiting for it to dry–it’s humid here–and today was the moment of truth.

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No coffee stains. Thank wool, no coffee stains. And I’m pleased to report that I’m really digging the post-blocking fit, too.

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Now that the sweater crisis is averted, I’m ready to get back to the sleeve. I think there’s a chance I could finish that sleeve by Tuesday. I was not pleased to lose days of sweater knitting to an impromptu bath.

As for snafus that helped my knitting, on Thursday evening I went to see the Eagles and James Taylor. The Eagles have been my favorite band for most of my life so I was incredibly excited. I left as early as possible, thinking I’d take my knitting along to knit in my seat while I waited for the concert to start. Well, I did knit in my seat…

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The seat of the one hour uber ride I had to take when the metro broke down. I turned the heel and just managed to make it to my seat as James Taylor took the stage.

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The concert was amazing, better than I could have ever hoped for. Last night, I settled in for some more sock knitting and Kevin and I got to talking and before I knew it, these sweeet socks were off the needles and in their box.

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These socks are pair 7 in my light Box O’ Sox. The yarn was a sock set from Hooker’s Corner in her Twisty Sock base. The main color is Tippy Toes and the contrast is Marina. This yarn was yummy, I adore how the specles knit up so speckly. They look like funfetti cake. I used the colorwork pattern from the Dale socks by Molly Klatt of A Homespun House. I followed my own general recipe though I knit them on 2.25 mm to help keep the colorwork loose. I cast on 60 stitches (my usual is 64 stitches on a 2.0 mm) and did a Fish Lips Kiss Heel. These socks are just perfect in my book, they bring a smile to my face every time I look at them.

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While the sweater dried, I did manage to get some gift knitting done, but now I’m full-sleeve-ahead! Keep your fingers crossed that I can keep my coffee in my glass and my sweater on my lap.

Happy making!

The Bear and the ShiShi: a birthday gift.

About a year ago, I had an idea. For the sarcastic among you, yes, I’ve had ideas before and since, but today we’re talking about this one in particular. The idea centered around the cute woodland animals that my mom knits:

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Darwin the Bear

I thought that the story of how they came to live with my mom would make a cute children’s book. The idea sort of came and was dismissed–I don’t write children’s stories–but it stuck with me for a while. I daydreamed about it, ruminated about it, and finally gave it enough traction to wonder what would happen if I did write this story. What would I do with it? I finally settled on the thought that I could write it for mom…

Last summer when we visited my family, I–very nervously–posed the idea to my sister-in-law, Crystal. Crystal is an amazing and very talented artist (links to her work at the end of the post)Β and I was hopeful that she would be interested in collaborating with me. Crystal was excited about the idea, so I went home and wrote my story. I sent it off–again, very nervously–to Crystal and she got to illustrating. We worked–she drew, painted, scanned, I edited and edited and edited–and finally got the book printed up in book form.

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The story follows Darwin the Bear as he takes a journey to find himself and become a real bear. Darwin travels through many lands, from Connetet and Merryland, all the way to Nor Caroline. Along the way, he meets people who try to help him and they eventually tell him to find the ShiShi.

Eventually Darwin makes his way to the ShiShi, and she teaches him that all he needs is love and that he is just right the way he is.

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A little bit of behind the scenes: The people that Darwin the Bear meets are my family: Noah and Madelyn in Connecticut; Kevin, the kids, and me in Maryland; Judge and Crystal in North Carolina. The ShiShi is, of course, my mom.

ShiShi’s birthday was last week so Joshua and I drove down to celebrate. We took the book and Crystal and I gifted it to her, Saturday night.

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I’m happy to report that she was very suprised and loved the book. This has been such a magical experience, collaborating with Crystal on such a special gift. I’m lucky to have a mom that is so inspiring.

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The next morning, I went and picked mom up for a little birthday breakfast (which turned into birthday lunch) and some much needed mother-daughter time.

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It was a happy trip, a happy birthday, and I think we left her a happy ShiShi.

Happy making!


I’d like to take a moment to credit the amazing work of Crystal Hurt. Beyond being an amazing sister-in-law and friend, she is a talented artist. She has been comissioned to create artwork for albulm covers and other fun works. She focuses on the natural beauty of our home, the Blue Ridge Mountains. You can see more of her work on her instagram, @artbycrystalhurt, or her website, crystalhurt.com.


 

A little bit of everything.

Tomorrow morning, Joshua and I are getting up at the crack of dawn and heading to North Carolina. A few days ago, it was my mom’s birthday and we are going to go and celebrate. She has graced the blog before, my sweet little mama, Joshua’s ShiShi:

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IΒ  can’t wait to see her! Since we’re leaving tomorrow morning, I thought I’d do a little recap of the current state of affairs.

This weekend, I’m most likely just going to take my socks, I don’t expect to get much knitting done among all of the hugging and celebrating. The socks are coming along, though–one is finished and I’m down past the colorwork on the second:

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So cute! I think my colorwork is improving, my tension seems more even. This makes me excited to knit all the colorwork!

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In sweater news, I’m definitely marooned on sleeve island. I thought it was going quickly, but I got out the tape measure last night and that changed my mind. I need to knit the sleeve to around 11-12″ and we’re only down to about 7. Sigh.

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My knitting in the round tension is slightly tighter at small circumferences–sleeve versus sweater body, for instance–and so it’s taking me more pattern repeats than expected. They do breeze by pretty well on the 9 inch circulars, though, so the situation is not all together bleak.

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On an entirely different note, my friend and coworker Holly recently travelled to Europe. She found these mittens in a market in Estonia and brought them back for me! They are so cool. I don’t know if I can stand to wear them–they are too precious–but they are currently hanging on my craft room wall where I can admire them anytime.

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Finally, we haven’t had a garden update in quite a while! In general, the container garden is going off like gangbusters. I did have a devastating setback when some villainous wildlife ate my jalepeno plant, but I trimmed it back and it’s chugging along. We’ve been making pesto, enjoying fresh dill in tuna salad, and having fresh herbs in salad dressing–quite a lot.

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After my California trip there were lots of flowers to pinch off–they make a great addition to, well, everything. The star of the garden, however, has been the tomato. We started getting tomatoes about a month ago and have picked a few every few days since. They are small, so we’ve had them mostly in salads or sliced on burgers.

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The tomatoes are delicious! So sweet and flavorful. I went out to the garden last night and noticed that the plant itself is really growing! Seems like everyone is getting taller than me these days.

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I suppose that’s enough rambling for a Friday evening. We’re heading out pre 5 a.m.–don’t tell Joshua yet!–so I’m going to head to bed fairly early. I’ve got a really exciting collaboration to share next week, so I’ll see you then!

Happy making!