Time to myself.

I’ve been on travel for work for six days. That means a lot of me time. While I have spent time at meals with coworkers, time on skype talking to Kevin, I’ve also spent a great deal of time alone.

I’ve filled that alone time much the same way I fill any other time, with stitches. I finished the secret make that I was making and am quite happy with it. I also managed to put quite a bit of time into my socks.

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And yesterday morning, over my early early coffee, I finished them.

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I love these. That brown toe, it just kills me. Both main yarn and contrast are from Wee Chickadee Woolery. The main yarn is their 80/20 sock base (which I adore) in the Lost Coast colorway. The contrast is on their gold stellina base in the Golden Oak colorway. There isn’t much to say about them other than that they are beautiful. I love how speckly they look all knit up.

I’ve also had a bit of a cast on party up in my hotel room. I brought two WIPs and two skeins of yarn on this trip. I wasn’t sure that I’d really be able to finish both and cast on both the new projects before I got home. But now I have two smashing new WIPs and it’s fabulous.

I cast on the Brae Cap by Jared Flood. I opted not to do the tubular cast on called for, mostly because I was tired. I’m hoping to get a good chunk of the ribbing done on my way home, but at the moment I’m only a few rows in. the yarn is Malabrigo Rios in Pearl.

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And since a pair of socks came off the needles, I had to cast on the next pair immediately.  For these though, I’m giving 9″ circular needles a try. I’ve tried them at some point before but wasn’t a fan. Since then, I’ve heard that the ChiaoGoo 9″ circs are the way to go. So here we are, having a go at them.

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I’m pleased to say that I really like using them. It does just zoom around and around when you don’t have to rearrange stitches. I’m going to hold final judgement until the sock is done, but so far so good. The yarn, by the way, is a one of a kind–One of a Baer–from Baerenwolle. It’s so perfectly Christmas-y that I can’t stand it.

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I’m finishing my early coffee and then I’ve got a few hours of work this morning. After that I hop on the plane back across the country. I cannot wait to get back home to Kevin and the kids. We’re headed immediately to visit family for the Thanksgiving holiday and I couldn’t be more excited.

I’ve enjoyed the time for quiet knitting and reflection, it’s been a good trip for that. But right now I’m really looking forward to getting back to the buzz and joy that surrounds my knitting at home.


YoM day 323-325: Sock and hat knitting


Happy making!

Saturday.

I had a nice day today. I’m on a work trip to Denver, Colorado and while I had some work to do today, I also had a bit of time to myself.

I am terrible at adjusting to a different time zone, but sometimes that isn’t so bad. I woke up early this morning, went downstairs for some coffee. I came back to my room and watched the sky grow lighter while I sipped coffee and knit on my sock.

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I knit until I had turned the heel and picked up the gusset stitches.

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After the sock heel, I felt like getting out a bit. One of the first things I do when I find out I have a work trip on the horizon is research local yarn shops and figure out if I’ll have time to visit them. As luck would have it, there is an amazing shop not to far from my hotel and I had the time to stop by. Today was nice and chilly so I got all bundled up and headed to Fancy Tiger Crafts.

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If you are ever in Denver, I highly recommend this shop. It’s like a wonderland.

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I only managed to get pictures of the yarn, but the opposite wall is filled with equally beautiful fabric and patterns. They had the cutest knit caterpillars:

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And even a whole giant stack of swatches of the yarns they carry:

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That pile makes me so happy. I could have spent a fortune at this shop. They had absolutely everything you could want. I settled on just a few things:

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I picked up two remnants of fabric. The green is chambray and the brown is a chambray-hemp blend. They are destined for a bit of secret make, more on that later. I purchased a set of Tulip Milliner’s needles. I’ve heard great things about those needles and since quilt binding is one of my favorite parts of quilting, I thought I could treat myself to nice needles. The chalk line pen came recommended from one of the staff members at the shop, I hope it helps in my pattern tracing–I’ve been struggling with that.

Now the yarn, oh the yarn. It took me ages to make a decision. I was looking for a couple of skeins of sport or DK weight, or maybe a pretty skein for a hat or something. I finally settled on two gorgeous skeins of Titus by baa ram ewe. I’ve never seen it in person before, but boy is it lovely. It’s a blend of 50% Wensleydale Longwool, 20% Bluefaced Leicester, and 30% UK Alpaca. The colorway is Bramley Baths. The color is a gorgeous watery, murky mint.

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I purchased this yarn to knit Canopy by Melody Hoffman. I’ve had my eye on that pattern for a while, but it’s hard to find the right blend of soft and rustic yarn that I had in mind for it. This fits the bill beautifully.

After I came back from my little shopping jaunt, I had a bit of time before work. I settled in for a bit of a knit and managed to finish the secret make that I brought with me.

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After I finished that project, it was time to head to the convention center. I didn’t take any pictures, but my booth is set up and ready for tomorrow. When I got back, I did take some fun shawl selfies, rocking my Whispering Pines.

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Now that the day is done, I’ve been curled up on the bed, knitting the gusset of my sock.

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It’s all done now, so I feel good about finishing it soon. I really want to cast on my Christmas socks. It would be so fun to finish two projects and cast on the other two while on my trip. I won’t have near the free time the next few days, though. It will be busy busy once the conference gets underway. I’ll definitely enjoy some knitting in the evenings though.

All in all, I’ve had a lovely Saturday.


YoM day 320-322: Sock knitting and secrets


Happy making!

Finally fixed.

Way back in the dim, misty recesses of the past I knit a couple of pairs of mitts. These were knit for my sweet little brothers, in the hopes of keeping their hands warm through the winter months.

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Sources report that these mitts did just that. They were so warm and snuggly that some $%#$ mouse decided that the wool would make a perfect winter blanket.

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The horror! Luckily, I had plenty of yarn leftover. This pattern, by the way, is Roost Mitts by Melissa Stajda. It’s perfect for a quick and cozy pair. The yarn for both pairs of mitts is Ewe So Wooly Worsted by Tempting Ewe Yarns. This red is the Princess Bride colorway, and the blue is Tight Pants.

Now, in fairness, Judge–the owner of the red pair–asked me to repair these last Christmas. Sure, I said. It’ll take me a couple of hours, no problem, I said. And it did only take me a couple of hours. Monday night, November 13, 2017. Yep, it took me almost eleven months. But fix them I did.

I tackled the worst one first. I picked up stitches one row before the top ribbing and then cut the ribbing right off. I then unraveled back to the row I had picked up, attached new yarn and reknit the rest of the mitt.

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Both mitts needed a new bind off on the thumbs and that’s all the other mitt needed at the top, so I picked out the bind off and pulled back a row or two. Picked them back up with new yarn, knit a bit of rib and voila! All done.

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I picked out, cut off, and pulled back quite a lot of yarn.

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But they’re all finished now, with a fresh bath and everything.

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I’m looking forward to taking these to Judge next week for Thanksgiving. I hope it will be a pleasant surprise now that it’s turning cold again.

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Bonus little brother picture from back in 2015:

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Happy making (and fixing)!

Nothing to see here.

I am heading out today for a work trip. I’ll be gone until Tuesday–if you’re keeping score, that’s two days before Thanksgiving– and then we’ll leave Wednesday morning to go see family for the holiday.

So in the face of a six-day work trip followed by a five-day family road-trip, what did I do last night? Well, to be honest, a fair bit of laundry. But I also managed to stay up far too late making this:

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Gah, I just adore it. Let’s look at those animals a bit closer:

They are so cute. I can’t even stand it. Mom got me these two fat quarters when we went fabric shopping for my birthday. I had planned on making an autumny/wintery/holiday bag with them and I finally got around to it.

I used a kind of mash-up of Erica of Confessions of a Homeschooler‘s two project bag tutorials: the Squishy Project Bag and the Drawstring Bag. I resized it a bit, to make it more of a sock sized bag. I wish I had written down the dimensions, it’s perfect! But at 1:30 a.m. that would have been a stretch. A single skein fits perfectly:

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That yarn, by the way, is my future Christmas socks. It’s wound up and ready to go to Denver, just in case I finish the other sock I’m taking. The yarn is a one of a kind colorway from Baernewolle. She calls these colorways One Of a Baer.

I love that yarn more and more every time I look at it. But back to the bag. I think this is my favorite project bag I’ve made so far. I just love the style and fabric and size. I can’t wait to make more!

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In other news of very important work trip preparations, I cast on a second sock.. I finished the first last weekend and added this sweet little brown toe:

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Wee Chicakadee Woolery, main color: Lost Coast, contrast: Golden Oak

I always try to cast on the next sock and get through the ribbing right after finishing a sock. It helps me stay motivated since the ribbing is my least favorite part. Last night before bag fever struck me, I got fairly well down the leg.

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My little bag collection is all ready to be packed. I’m taking four projects on this trip. Two of them aren’t cast on yet, and I’d love to finish the two WIPs I’m taking while I’m gone. I’m getting a bit of a thrill out of productivity these days. Well, creative productivity. I don’t find much thrilling about all that laundry.


YoM day 314-318: Socks and secrets

YoM day 319: Sock knitting and sewing


Happy making!

Daunting.

Sometimes, a part of a project will make me take a step back. Sometimes it’s the part of the process I don’t like, such as cutting fabric. Sometimes, it’s a mistake I’ve made that means I’ve not only got to figure out what the mistake was–I’ve got to undo a bunch of work in order to fix it. Sometimes, it’s none of those things and yet, I feel daunted by the next steps.

Last week, my boho blush had me feeling daunted. For some reason, I had no desire to start the lace section. Now, the lace section is super short, with only 3 remotely lacey rows, and still. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Finally, armed with coffee, I broke down and got started. On the second repeat, I realized I’d made a mistake. This brought in another of those step-away-from-it feelings, and I just stuffed the thing in its bag.

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As I knit on other things, I felt a bit guilty that the boho blush was getting no love. I tend to knit mostly monogamously on larger projects, and I really like seeing them grow. And then I saw an Instagram-story by Jennie–tinypaperfoxes–talking about knitting to milestones. She was saying that she has more projects than usual on her needles and wanted to work on all of them while still feeling like she was making progress. That struck a cord with me. I decided to think about my projects in milestones.

I told myself that once I reached a certain point in one of my secret makes, I’d get the boho blush out and just work on it just until I finished the next two sections. That little bit of a mental game with myself certainly seemed to work. After putting some serious work into a secret, I got out the shawl and fixed/finished the lace and last night got through that next section, too. I’m happy to report that the shawl and I are back to the honeymoon stage. I’m head over heels.

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I’ve been wanting to get out the serger, but that had two things working against it. First, it’s brand new and I’ve never used one before. Second, I had to cut out fabric for the top I was going to sew up with it. Well, I finally cut out the fabric. I’m 99.9% sure I cut it in the wrong direction, but it still stretches so we’re not thinking about that right now. With my fabric ready to go, I fired up the serger, and did some test serging. The practice seemed to be going pretty well.

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It goes far faster than I ever expected, and I am really un-used to the foot pressure needed for slower stitching. So, I got out pattern pieces and started sewing. Everything seemed to be going pretty well. I serged the shoulders together, and started putting in the neckband. Disaster.

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Would you look at that? Now I get to learn how to unpick serger stitches and redo the neckband. I may use the sewing machine for it, just because controlling the stretch of the neckband, while not stretching the neckline, while trying to serge slower without stopping… maybe a bit much. My goal is to finish it off this weekend so I can wear it on an upcoming trip.

 

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In other news, I’m still working on socks. I’m trying to get more done on other things, so these are coming along slowly, but they’re always good for a nice comfort knit if you need it. Sometimes when all the other makes feel difficult, a little sock gusset can bring you around nicely.


YoM day 313: Shawl knitting, socks, and secrets


Happy making!

The art of the photograph.

For some makers, including me, a make isn’t finished until it is photographed and documented. I love having a visual record of my making.

Going back to when I first started knitting, I wasn’t on Instagram yet and really didn’t take any progress pictures of things. As I got more into Ravelry and Instagram, I started taking a few pictures. Very often, they were very dark. My desk is black and that doesn’t provide the best backdrop:

Not terrible, but I’ve gotten to where I like my pictures a bit lighter. I’ve tried different things, from white walls to carpet to the back of a white box:

Once we moved into our current house, I found my absolute favorite spot. The floor by the back porch doors gets the perfect amount of soft light twice a day, and it is my go to for progress and finished object shots.

The only trouble is, not everything is best displayed lying flat on the floor. Now, I am by no means a knitwear photographer. But with a lot of Instagram scrolling and looking at other people’s pictures on Ravelry, I’ve learned new ways to place and pose items. It’s take a bit of practice and patience! Sometimes a finished object will sit for days waiting for sunshine, or for me to be home during daylight to get a picture.

Shawls can be tough because they are so large:

Hats can be a bit tricky to photograph on your own head:

And then there are mitts. For other people? Easy peasy.

On myself? Another story. This past weekend I finished up the mitts I’ve been working on for the last week or so. Since we had family in town, I enlisted Madelyn–she takes excellent pictures–to help. Except when she said move your feet and legs back, I didn’t go back enough and you can see my football Sunday sweats.

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Back to the drawing board. How about holding a coffee mug? Well by this time, I had to take the picture myself. so we’re one handed…

Not quite right, not loving the coffee mug from the top. How about if I set a timer and hold the phone under my chin?

 

Ugh. I took one last go with the aerial view.

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I’m ok with this one. And so, until I take a photography course, get a tripod, or hire a photographer… here are some pictures of the mitts lying flat on floor.

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I must say, these are fantastic. The alpaca is so rustic, they feel like I should go out and shovel snow with them on. This was yarn given to me by Judge and Crystal for my birthday. It’s from Apple Hill Farm in Banner Elk, NC. 100% alpaca from a sweet guy named Frosty, and this is his natural color. The pattern is Raw Honey by Alicia Plummer. I highly recommend this pattern. It’s easy and the chevron is lovely. I’d imagine it would equally well in a smooth, round merino yarn.

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I’m still learning and working to get better at photographing my makes and my making process. It is definitely fun to look back at how far I’ve come in that regard.


YoM day 306: Sock and mitt knitting

YoM day 307-308: Mitts plus some secrets!

YoM day 309-312: Sock knitting and secrets


Happy making!

 

A few new things.

With the recent finishing party that’s been happening around here, I had to cast on some new things. Absolutely had to.

First thing, I cast on for a new shawl. It’s the next in my wardrobe architect knitting list: the Boho Blush by Andrea Mowry. It looks so big and squishy and cozy and romantic, I absolutely cannot stand it. When I thought about knitting this shawl, I knew that I wanted it to be the cozy and soft feel I’m looking for and a sweet, romantic blush. Since it takes about 1000 or more yards of a single color, I had to find the perfect yarn.

The resultant search led me to The Wool Barn. It’s a new to me yarn, but I took the plunge and ordered some for the shawl. Plus a few extra skeins, because I was already paying for the shipping, right?

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To me, this color is the definition of a nearly neutral blush. This is the cashmere sock base, and it is oh. so. very. soft. I’ve gotten started on it, and I’m through section 3 of 11. It’s going to be a serious shawl. Ugh, I just love it.

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My second cast on, is actually a re-cast on. But first, let’s talk about the yarn. For my birthday this year, my brother and sister-in-law gave me a box of home. They gave me beer, a bluegrass cd, soap, and yarn, all from somewhere around the mountains of North Carolina. There is an alpaca farm in the town I lived in before I moved to Maryland and that is where they got the yarn. It’s a worsted weight, un-dyed yarn. The fleece came from an alpaca named Frosty, who is apparently an elegant grey fellow.

Judge and Crystal didn’t know if I could make much with it, but thought I would enjoy it. After I got home I started squishing it and it seemed to say to me that it would make my hands oh so warm. So a few weeks ago, I cast on some Raw Honey mitts, in the medium size. I got about half way through the first mitt and tried it on. Too big. Way too big. I have a bit of an issue with picking the larger size even though I’m a loose knitter. Anyway, I ripped them out and this week re-cast on in the small size–for reference my wrist measures 6.25″ around.

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I love how rustic they are and I think the simple pattern works really well with the yarn. Since I took this picture this morning, I’ve picked up and finished the thumb and I love this mitt! I’ve never knit myself anything for my hands before, so I’m really excited for the finished object. A knitter with cold hands is a very sad thing, after all.

My last cast on is a pair of socks. No one should be surprised, but I just need a pair going all the time. I don’t care when they get finished, but I also really wanted to get using my new bag from Rosebud and Penny. This yarn is Wee Chickadee Woolery smooshy sock in the Lost Cove colorway. Seriously, y’all. The speckle game with the ladies at Wee Chickadee is on point.

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Once I finish the mitts, I’m going to cast on a hat for myself. I’ve also got to fire up the serger! There is only a wee bit of holiday making going on, since we’re trying to keep that reasonable. We’ll see if it works. For now, it’s fun to have a few new projects to talk about.


YoM day 303-305: Knitting socks and mitts!


Happy making!