At least it’s a pretty rabbit hole.

Tiny things. Pretty things. Tiny, pretty things. I am a woman possessed by the small and the cute and the sweet at the moment. I don’t believe my sewing mojo has ever been quite so strong.

I happened upon a few new folks to follow on Instagram–check out bobbypinbandit and cloudtori but beware the amazinginess–and the rabbit hole of inspiration has turned out to be deep. It started with a simple sewing kit.

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Look at that ridiculous squirrel. I love him.

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This included my very first appliqué and very first attempt at fussy cutting:

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The pattern is Strippy Sewing Kit from the book Scrap Happy Sewing by Kim Kruzich of the Retro Mama blog. It turned out so cute! I love all the little details. I do not, apparently, love bias  binding–nor does it love me–but perhaps with practice we’ll come to an understanding.

Another foray on Instagram–I get bored waiting for the coffee pot to boil–led me to the #tinydresdenparty. I don’t like to use this phrase lightly, but I can’t even. So many variations, so many sweet makes! I had to get in on the fun. I wanted to make a really sweet, pastel dresden.

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This is my first effort. I appliquéd it down and then made the circle for the center. And then I discovered the circle is too small.

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It just won’t cover all the raw edges. This was a big disappointment, but not to worry, I’ve got more of this fabric on the way–there are so many cute little animals in this print! Undaunted, I set out to make another tiny dresden. I cut the blades from different strawberry fabrics:

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The start to this one looks better, I think, a bit more even. I also used a ring from a mason jar to cut the template and fabric, so I knew it would fit. I think this one is going to be a mug rug when it’s finished.

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I love it so. These are incredibly fun to make, and not nearly as fiddly as I expected. I used a great tutorial on making these tiny dresden plates, she explains everything and there are templates for cutting, as well. I’m not done yet, I have ideas to make tons more.

In other news, I haven’t exactly been neglecting my knitting. The sweater is coming along, I’m only a couple of inches from joining  the front and back and (finally) getting to the knit in the round part. Right now, it looks like a shapeless mass of fabric:

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I’m over halfway on my Canopy shawl now, and I adore how it’s turning out. I had doubts about the pattern and the yarn, but now I think the combination is a match made in heaven.

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And finally, I procured some new shelves and separated out the stashes. It’s so nice to have everything laid out and easy to see and reach.

It really is an inspiring space. Every day, I can’t wait to get in there and get a little sewing done before retiring to my knitting. I am riding this creative high as far as it will take me, and at least at the end I will have mug rug or two.


 

Happy making!

True Colors

Well, for the first month, I have done it. I managed to knit two pairs of socks, one light and one rainbow:

 

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This vibrant rainbow is so pretty and so true, it’s no wonder the colorway is called “True Colors.” This is the January 2017 Rainbow of the Month from Knitterly Things. I finished the second sock tube over the weekend, and had thought that I’d wait to cut in the heels.

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But I just kept thinking about them and how it would only take a bit of knitting to finish them up and so finish them up, I did. I love them. Rainbow socks and I go way back, I’ve knit a pair of rainbow-y socks in each of the last three years.

This year, the plan is definitely to up the rainbow intake by a long shot. I can’t wait to get to the next rainbow, but February’s colorway will be waiting until February. Until then, I’m working on a few other projects and some sewing. And only every once in a while stopping to admire my new socks.

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Happy making!

Goody Goody Binding Kit.

Last week, I found some sewing inspiration. It all started on Instagram and now I feel a wee bit of obsession coming on. Ideas seem to be popping inside my head like little fireworks. I’ve got lots of little projects on deck, I can’t wait to get started on them!

With all of this inspiration, the first thing I realized was what a mess my sewing corner had gotten to be. My fabric stash was a mish-mash and the whole area was kind of depressing, to be honest. Not the inviting space I am looking for:

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So over the weekend, I spent little bits of time organizing. I pulled out all of my fabric:

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I culled out anything that wasn’t quite my style any more, sorted everything into scraps and yardage, and then sorted by color. That’s all organized back on the shelves–now the yarn looks a mess, of course. I went on to organize my little desk, separate all the backing and batting scrap from my quilts, and get some bins to corral all of that. The current state is much, much better.

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I’ve still got a few things I want to do in there, but it’s pretty nice to work in now. Which led me to finally getting around to making binding and attaching it to some languishing quilts I’ve got hanging around:


Once those were attached, I thought about hauling all of my stuff for binding out and then I realized it was finally time. Time to make myself a Goody Goody Binding Kit. If you haven’t seen these, check out that link. It’s a free pattern and an excellent, step-by-step tutorial. The whole project was lovely from start to finish. The hardest part was picking out the fabric. I finally settled on something sweet and cute:

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It took me a couple of hours–I’m slow–to get all of the pieces done and ready for assembly:

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And then last night, I assembled the kit. I’m really proud of it. This was my first time installing snaps–I used a snap instead of the velcro–and that’s pretty cool. Definitely going to need to use more snaps. Overall I think it turned out nicely.

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I couldn’t think of what I would put in that last pocket and then last night as I was binding this kit, I realized. Reading glasses are a must!

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This is my first sewing finish of the year, and I love it! It’s so sweet and I think it will be very handy. Now to get those quilts finished up… or start a couple of those little projects that are swimming around my head.


Happy making!

A bed of swatches.

I have been dancing in my pants to start knitting a sweater. I want to knit a garment more than I ever have. It’s probably the one of my challenges that I’m most excited about.

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Image copyright Rafael Delceggio

I’ve wanted to knit Puntilla, by Joji Locatelli, for a very long time. I love the soft femininity of it, the lace detail, the over-sized coziness. Puntilla hits my core style buttons on all cylinders. Feminine, simple, cozy, classic. It’s all of those things and knitting it in a sweet and soft mint color just seals the deal.

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You may recall that I purchased this yarn for a Waterlily; I even swatched and cast the thing on. I didn’t make it far before getting mired in a huge gift project. I never picked it back up and eventually pulled it off the needles. No big loss, as I’d probably only knit about 5 rows of ribbing.

So this weekend, I decided it was finally time to start a sweater. As I started to swatch, I thought that since I’m usually a pretty loose knitter, I’ll start a needle size down. Seeing that it wasn’t right, I bound off and went down another size. After 20 or so rows, I realized I went the wrong direction and should have gone up a size. So I knit another swatch. Washed and blocked it and it was off. Stitches a bit too small. And so, I went up a needle size. Washed and blocked it. Gauge was correct, but I didn’t like the fabric.

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There they are, in all their glory. I finally decided to go with the 3.5 mm (US 4). I like the fabric better. I’m knitting the medium size, to get between a small and a medium. I’m satisfied with the fabric I’m getting and the planned sizing. Hopefully this all works. I feel a little silly that I have so many swatches, but better safe than sorry, right? It looks a bit worse if you add them to all the swatches I knit for the Waterlily…

Yes, that’s right. 56g of yarn in swatches. Thank goodness I bought an extra skein of this yarn! At least I could always rip out the swatches, soak the yarn, and have… 8 mini skeins. Let’s hope that’s not necessary. At any rate, I’ve started the sweater and have finished the neck shaping at the back.

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Because I had a fair bit of time waiting for swatches to dry, I also cast on a new shawl! It’s a wonder what frogging does for your mojo. I started a Canopy shawl by Melody Hoffman. I’m knitting it up in the baa ram ewe I picked up in Denver a few months ago.

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I am thoroughly enjoying this knit, it’s pretty simple but interesting.  The yarn is lovely, the pattern is gorgeous. The only thing is the yarn doesn’t have a lot of stretch to it and I find that my hands tire after knitting it for a while. That’s not too much of a problem, though, since I always have socks to keep me company.

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Have I ever mentioned that I love rainbows? Since the Rainbowalong is coming up, I’m only going to knit the sock tubes and wait till February to cut in the heels.

That’s about the shape of the knitting for the weekend, I think I’m just going to go curl up on a bed of swatches and enjoy my evening.

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Happy making!

 

Intentional.

intentional (in-ˈtench-nəl) adj. done with intention or on purpose; deliberate.

I’ve been thinking about one little word for 2018. A little late to the party, perhaps, but here I am. I’ve been tossing around a few words over the last few weeks. From my new year’s blog postchallenge sprang to mind. But that’s not exactly what I want my whole year to be about. What about flourish? Closer to the mark, but still not quite there.

I want something that will encompass my whole life, not just my making and crafting. What do I want to focus on, holistically, for the entire upcoming year? I thought about the things I want for myself.

For my making, I’m interested in challenging myself, choosing projects that will nurture my craft in some way, and (for things I will wear) curating a style and color palate. At home, Kevin and I are working on a commitment to spending time with friends and with the kids each weekend. Personally, I want to renew my commitment to nourishing my body.

And so, with all of that in mind, I have settled on a word. Intentional. I want to spend this year being deliberate. Doing things on purpose. Being intentional.

At home and personally that means being intentional with my time and how I treat myself. Choosing to spend each Sunday morning with the kids, making brunch and playing games. Choosing to eat the foods that make me feel well. Choosing to get a good night’s sleep.

For my making, that means choosing projects that have a purpose. Perhaps that purpose is to grow my skill as a quilter and sewist. Maybe the purpose is to continue the wardrobe architect project. Maybe the purpose of a project is simply to fulfill my love of socks:

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Can’t stop, won’t stop.

I have spoken a great deal about my goals for a handmade wardrobe. The wardrobe architect project has already helped me a great deal to be more intentional with what I purchase and the projects I choose. I have worked on a few projects that fit those goals, and have more on deck. I’ve been working on one, however, that just isn’t ticking the boxes.

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Boho Blush by Andrea Mowry, photo copyright Andrea Mowry

The Boho Blush shawl is beautiful. The color, the drape, the coziness. However. I keep going back and forth on the style. I love the look, but I don’t think it fits in with my overall goals for my style. It’s the fringe. I don’t think I would wear it nearly enough with the fringe. But to me, the fringe makes it! It completes it. In thinking about being intentional, I don’t want to “accidentally” make something that just doesn’t fit in with the vision. My time and the yarn would be much better spent on another project that does check all the boxes.

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It hurts a bit to rip out something like this (especially when I was just talking about finishing it up), but it feels empowering as well. It also feels good to be decisive and free myself up from projects I am unsure about.

I am excited about my one little word. It really feels right and that feels great. I hope to look back at the end of 2018 and see how being intentional shaped my year.


Happy making!

Socks, socks, and more socks.

Well, I have two finished objects for the first week of the new year. Both cast on and off in 2018, both are socks. I wish we were all a little more surprised, but who am I kidding?

You may recall that on New Year’s Day I cast on a new pair of socks. The first sock knit up so quickly I had whiplash:

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Honestly, I knit all but the toe on New Year’s day! The next day after work I finished the sock and Noah came to stay. He told me he had a request for a birthday gift–his birthday is in a few weeks. Of course, I couldn’t say no. He wanted a pair of yoga socks to help keep his ankles warm while he practices this winter. I dug out a pretty blue skein of yarn and cast it on.

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I started with 44 stitches, decided that looked too big. Pulled back and cast on 36. Way too small. Back to 44. Nope, definitely too big. 40. 40 was the way to go. From there on it was a lot of trial and error, as I was just making up things as I went. Once I got the first one done, though, the second flew:

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I used worsted weight yarn and a 3.5 mm (US 4) needle. I cast on 40 stitches but, as demonstrated, your mileage may vary. I wrote down notes about what exactly I did on my project page. The yarn is Fading Tardis by June Pryce Fiber Arts. I think they turned out pretty nicely, hopefully they keep his ankles nice and toasty.

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I also managed to put a little dent in my New Year’s Eve socks–but I’m in no rush on these pretties:

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Since I can’t seem to put the socks down, I’ve finished the New Year’s day socks. I just couldn’t seem to stop. I did think about stopping when I started the heel only to discover I had dropped a stitch right after the cuff and had to rip out the whole leg. I almost put them away. But I powered through and now I’ve got my first pair of the year done!

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So pretty. This pink and green with speckles is killer. The yarn is also my first mohair sock yarn and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Looking forward to seeing how these wear. The yarn is Pistachio Rose Frosting by Nox Yarn on her Flora Sock base.

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In other news, I don’t think I’ve really talked about it here but I joined the Knitterly Things Rainbow of the Month club last year. So each month, I received a super fun skein of rainbow, self-striping sock yarn. I haven’t knit any of them, but I think now might be the time. Once I got the final installment, I lined them all up to take a picture of them together:

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Oh my goodness. I was, admittedly, a little skeptical of how varied and interesting 12 skeins of rainbow stripes could be–but boy did Julia prove me wrong. They are all so different and beautiful. Seeing them all lined up got me thinking… what if I knit them up over the course of this year? I don’t know if I can really keep up 2 pairs of socks a month, but I can certainly try, right? I think I’ll cast on January tonight:

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This is “True Colors” and I think it’s a great way to kick off! If you’re curious, I got the club on the sparkle base. Can you even imagine 12 pairs of sparkly rainbow socks all in a row? I cannot. By the way, sign ups for 2018 are still going on. It’s definitely a lot of fun.

I’ll probably pick up something other than socks at some point soon. Probably. Maybe after I finish the cuff of the rainbow pair. Maybe.


Happy making!

New year, new challenge(s), new socks.

With 2018 fresh and new, I’ve been thinking about what the new year would mean to me. Last year, I embarked on a wonderful journey, my year of making, and I started this blog to chronicle that journey. Now that it’s over, I find that I don’t want to stop. I want to continue making every day. I find that I am wanting just a bit more.

I am intrigued more and more at the the idea of challenging myself in my making. I want to grow as a maker. Growth would certainly mean different things for my different crafts. For sewing, I want to learn simple things, like grading patterns or inserting zippers. Quilting is a bit more complicated, I’d like to take the next step with the longarm or get a bit more adventurous with my pattern choices. With sewing and quilting, I am still such a beginner that there is a lot of room to grow.

Knitting, however, is another story. I want to do everything! Garments, cables, colorwork, you name it and I am probably interested in it. I think I’m a good knitter, but a pretty vanilla knitter. I knit a lot of simple projects and I’m ready to change that. Perhaps not altogether–you’ll need to pry my vanilla socks from my cold and lifeless hands–but a bit.

In thinking about the best way to challenge myself, I thought about what made my year of making work. I think the big things were that it was a simple and easily definable challenge–and it was realistic.

To that end, I’ve come up with 6 challenges for myself for 2018. I’m not planning to put a timeline to any of these, I will most likely be working on a few of them at the same time. In no particular order–and with planned projects or inspiration pictures–my 6 challenges are:

A knit that incorporates fair isle

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Image courtesy Kemper Wray

A cabled shawl a la Winter Honey by Andrea Mowry

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Image courtesy Andrea Mowry

A knitted garment – finally

An English paper pieced mini quilt

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Image courtesy Sew and So

A whole cloth quilt for experimenting on the longarm

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Image courtesy A Few Scraps

A skirt with a zipper – it makes me smile how simple this one is

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Image courtesy Colette Designs

I would love to cross each of these challenges off by the end of the year. I do have a few other goals in mind as well. I want to continue on with my Wardrobe Architect project, and part of that means being intentional with my fabric, yarn, and pattern choices for the above projects. I’ve got a few languishing projects from before the gift-making extravaganza that I want to wrap up before any other big cast ons:

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Boho Blush, on hiatus since sometime in mid November

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Love Ewe Baby, barely started on and on hold since mid October

And if all of that isn’t enough to get me started, I have sock plans. I want to participate in the Box O’ Sox knitalong again, and knit myself 12 pairs of socks. This year, I want to have a specially curated box full of soft colors. I’ve been leaning more and more towards softer, less saturated colors recently and I think a light box o’ sox is just what’s in order. I pulled out all the yarns that I want to knit up into socks:

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That lineup slays me! I can’t wait to see that picture turned into a box of squishy socks. My birthday and halloween socks are even included in the list! I’m casting on my first pair today:

I’m enjoying a day off at home with Kevin and the kids and a little bit of making. A nice cozy start to 2018 with lots of looking forward to this fresh new year.

Happy making!