Sock knitting: improvisation

I usually know what I’m doing when I knit socks. Leg, heel, foot, toe – I know how long I like them, where to put them, and how to knit them. Sometimes though, the unexpected hits and you’ve got to roll with the punches.

A few weeks ago, I found myself frantically running out of the house and anticipating a lot of waiting. So I did what any sane person would do, instead of putting on makeup or drying my hair, I wound up a skein of sock yarn.

Everything I had on my needles was either not mindless or was close to completion – neither stressful waiting appropriate. So I grabbed this happy skein of rainbow and wound up. Threw it into a bag with a 9″ circular and a 32″ one, just in case I knit like crazy and got to a toe.

I cast it on, got through the ribbing, and just knit round and round. If you’re a knitter you probably know how calming that knit knit knit can feel: meditative and repetitive. Once I got a bit down the leg of the sock, I remembered one crucial fact about this skein of yarn: it is one single, very long rainbow repeat.

I immediately went for my project bag and – nope! – no measuring tape, no extra stitch markers, none of my usual sock-figuring tools. So then a light bulb popped on in my head, thinking about how the yarn was one long repeat I realized that obviously I’d want to see all of the colors. But I hadn’t weighed the yarn before hand (and even if I had, it has a built in contrast color included) – so I had no idea how long to knit the first tube.

I thought and thought and realized – we could meet in the middle! Knit the other sock from the other end of the ball and put in the toes when there is just enough yarn left for them. EUREKA! I moved the first sock to the long circulars, wound off the contrast color, and cast on the second sock.

Once I got home, I kept going with them, pretty excited about the socks. This way the legs are mostly cool colors, while the feet were likely to be the warm pinks, yellows, and oranges! Cool stuff, if you ask me. So I knit…

and knit…

Until I had about 9 grams of yarn left between the two and was at the end of a stripe on both socks. Each sock tube measured a whopping 15.5″ at this point! I put in the toes and wound up with just over 3 grams once they were done. All in all, I’m pretty proud. I think there is about 3/4s of the last two stripes left – you can just see that stripe starting at the tips of the toes.

With that, I used the contrast grey that had been included to knit the heels and we’re done! These are some pretty snazzy socks, if you ask me.

I think you just can’t help but smile. They are so happy!

This yarn is from Gauge Dye Works and is the Colorstudy colorway. I knit my usual 64 stitchs on 2.00 mm (US 0) needles. I used the KirbyWirby method to cut in the heels and knit my toes according to the usual toe pattern in the Crazy Sock Lady’s designs.

I wound up using 82g of the 85g of striped main color and about 6g of the included grey contrast. I really adore how the stripes worked up, it is very subtle as you knit them but the overall effect is pretty stunning.

These are the 95th pair of socks I’ve knit and it was really fun to have to think a little and improvise away from my normal sock knitting routine.


Happy making!

Happy Christmas Quilt

I really like pretty much everything I make. I know I throw around a bunch of loves, amazings, and gorgeouses around here but buckle your seat belt – I’m really about to gush.

Could it be better? I am honestly in love. This is the penultimate holiday quilt to me. I’m really pleased with how everything came together and the finished object is just bright and shiny and joyful.

  • Pattern: Happy Christmas by Holly Lesue of Maker Valley
  • Top: scrappy kit from Maker Valley
  • Back: flannel from Sugarplum line by Heather Ross
  • Binding: ginghma print from Lori Holt
  • Quilting: by Nicole of Kwilt It!

Let’s take a closer look at the quilting, that may be my favorite part – and I didn’t even do it! Nicole did such an amazing job, the pink thread is just too good! The pattern is called simple snowflake and the texture is perfect.

If you recall from a few days ago, this beauty has been sitting around the house just waiting for me to finish the binding on the back. I finally finished it up, and I’m really pleased with how this has turned out. These are my best corners ever!

I’m getting pretty excited to have some Christmas-y handmades around the house this year. If you’re keeping score, this is make #6 for my year of Christmas. Maybe I’ll catch up and maybe not, but I can’t seem to care when I’ve got this beauty and her baby bro in my house.

I really just cannot. How are they both cuter when they are side by side? I wondered if I was being silly making the mini version of a quilt I’d already done and I can say now that I have no regrets. Worth every stitch.

Happy making!

A summer update in two parts: progress

As promised yesterday, I’m back to talk about all of my current works in progress. I’m focusing on the projects that are actually getting attention lately, so the languishing will continue languishing.

Back at the very beginning of August, I decided to try a new strategy with my slowest WIP and applique for 30 minutes every day. Overall this has worked really well, I made pretty steady progress on my Granny’s Garden quilt for several weeks.

I’ve finished fourteen blocks now. My routine got out of whack towards the end of August with some family stuff, but I’m working on getting back on track. Things have been a little more hand-sewing every day since I need to prep some more blocks, but I’m not mad.

I spent a bit of time with a practice piece learning the basics of big stitch hand quilting and once I was a little comfortable with a technique, I moved on to the real deal. I’ve basted my Norah quilt and started by quilting the center block. It is definitley slow going, but the look and feel is worth it.

I’ve been experimenting with machine binding to some success so I thought I’d give it a go on my Happy Christmas quilt. It didn’t go so well so I’ll be back to smaller practice projects for some more project. All I really got out of this try was a two hour date with my seam ripper.

I have since moved on to hand sewing the binding and this is my last corner! I have to say, the flannel backing makes for a pretty easy, smooth hand sewing experience.

Since I’ve been making such good headway with those other quilts, it seemed reasonable to start a few more, so here we are. This is a quilt pattern called Green Gables, a fun rainbow log cabin quilt in Liberty Fabrics. I “participated” in the block of the month club for this project from Duckadilly, but we should use participated loosely here. Let’s just say I’ve started, at least.

My other new start is another sewalong – the Quilter’s Cottage quilt by Lori Holt. She’s fast becoming a favorite designer of mine! This one is a weekly sewalong and I’m completey caught up and on pace! I am really proud of this project.

I decided to go ahead and assemble the quilt as I go – I’ve learned that assembly and sashing are my least favorite parts of the process. This method has the added bonus of fun in-progress shots like this one! I’ve only got 4 weeks to go, which will be the final row and some borders. I’ve cut out the blocks for the final row already.

A few months ago, when I finished the quilt top for my Fat Quarter Pile Up quilt – the kids loved it. Both loved the big blocks of pattern and the big throw size. Later on, Joshua specifically asked for a Christmas quilt and so I told them they could each pick out fabric and I’d make them holiday snuggle quilts. Once I finshed my bright and cheery version a few weeks ago, I spent a half day on a Sunday putting together their quilts.

This is Astra’s quilt – fabrics from the Polar Magic line from Lemonni.

And this is Joshua’s – fabrics from We Whisk You a Merry Christmas by Kimberbell. Seriously, this is the fastest quilt I can imagine. It’s a really fun canvas for some fun quilting and we went a bit nuts with the backing – you’ll see! My kids never ask for anything so I’m pretty happy to oblige when they put in a request.

Moving from quilts to blankets – my blanket grows. This is 55 rows out of a probable 120 or so and it’s folded into quarters width-wise. It’s postively massive. I’ve gotten much quicker with practice and have been putting several rows on each week. The nice thing about crochet is that it’s usable as a blanket all the time, so it’s cozy to work on.

And finally, I’ve got a pair of socks I’ve been working on. A few weeks ago I had some very stressful waiting time on my hands, so I grabbed the most rainbow skein of yarn in my stash and just started knitting. I got pretty far and didn’t have a tape measure or scales so I switched needles and started knitting from the othe side. I’m hoping to use all the yarn for the tubes and then I’ll cut in some contrast toes. Gosh I love a good rainbow. This is Color Study by Gauge Dyeworks.

I’ll leave with you a sweet shot of my crafting buddy in the quilt hoop. Cosi has been a constant companion with all this sewing going on. I think we’re all caught up and some of these things will be getting finished up soon, so until then.


Happy making!

A summer update in two parts: finishing

As seems to be usual these days (this year) it has been quite a while since we last spoke. That always leads me to a bit of a conundrum as to what to write, whether to pick up where I left off or just give a current state of affairs. I’ve been thinking about my goals with this blog and one is to have a bit of a diary, so I don’t want to leave things out.

With that in mind we’re going to do this in two parts. Today, we’ll have a bit of a F.O. parade. We’ll just waltz down the memory lane of projects I’ve completed this summer. Tomorrow, we’ll have a (much longer) chat about what I’m working on. You’ll need your favorite beverage on hand for that one, I’ve got a lot going these days. Without further adieu, let’s dive in!

Back in June, I was deep into sock knitting mode and was pretty far along on this pair. They were finished in pretty short order and have been getting quite a bit of wear. The yarn is ONline Supersocke 4-fach Neon Color in colorway 1721 – deep, deep stash from about five years ago.

Continuing on the sock train, I knit another pair of Rainbow Connection socks! I really love this pattern and this yarn combination really spoke to me. I knit a pair of socks in this amazing self-striping yarn last year and I am pleased to have used up even more of it. The self-striping is Tiny Human Knits (I don’t think she’s dying right now) in Cumberbund and the main color is The Wool Barn in Eden. The pattern is by the Crazy Sock Lady.

It was around this time that much of time was taken up by a super secret project – details in my last post. Once that monster was shipped off to the long arm quilter, I began taking a look a around the sewing room, looking for a quick finish.

Enter my Happy Christmas Mini! I started this one in the spring and finished up the top and quilted it in May, intending for it to be my fifth project for my year of Christmas. Well, the year of Christmas has gotten pushed to the wayside a bit and I hadn’t finished any holiday projects since April – until I finally got around to binding this one. I tried out machine binding for the first time and was pretty happy with the result.

It was a bit of a learning curve, but I thought it was a good time to try since it’s just going a wall! Speaking of, I wound up using some old stash that’s not my fave for the backing – we’re not going to see it much while it’s hanging on the wall. I’ve been lax at showing the back of my quilts, but I like to see what people choose for backing, so here you go!

My quilting mojo was full tilt at this point in early August, so I started and finished this sweet little mini all over a few days. This was a kit I had purchased from Maker Valley, the pattern uses a single block from her Pineapple Love pattern. It was a really fast make and turned out pretty stinkin’ cute. As advised in the kit I used scraps from the top to make the binding and used that same black polka dot fabric for the back.

These socks were knit very slowly over nearly three months and, to be honest, I really only finished them because I needed their needles. The yarn is from A Homespun House in the Whale Belly colorway. They are lovely peachy-pink that is dreamy and I’m happy to have them in my sock drawer. I’m in this place where I want tonal and solid socks, but I don’t really want to knit them. Not that I’m knitting that much, but more on that soon.

My final F.O. for now is my Fat Quarter Pile Up quilt. Yep, this baby has been quilted and sitting around for months. I finally just decided to bite the bullet and machine bind this one as well, so it took me about 2 hours to finish it. It’s so bright and happy! I used a bundle from Mkaer Valley, some orange fabric for the back and some pre-made binding that was laying around here. Since I had it quilted by Nicole at KwiltIt! (who is amazing, by the way), this one only has about 6 hours of my time in it. Talk about a fast project! My machine binding was a little less satisfactory on this one, but I’m chalking it up to a learning experience.

Last, but not least, I crocheted a dishcloth. Something came over me and I decided I needed a finish in the crochet department since my blanket is, umm, taking a while. This is Spread the Dishcloth Joy, a free pattern, using Knit Picks Dishie Multi in Aquarium. Mine came out to be about 9″ x 9″ but I really don’t know anything about gauge in crochet. I used the recommended size hook and followed the pattern except that I don’t know how many rows I did. I went on until it was square and it seems to have worked out.

Well, there we have it. A summer’s worth of completed projects. I’ve been flitting around a lot between various projects so we’re less finishing and more progressing around here – but sometimes that’s how it goes.


Happy making!

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 though, it was way out of my usual wheelhouse and I am 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!