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) 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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I  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!

Definitely not all three.

As I made my Sunday morning coffee this weeekend, I thought about what knitting I wanted get done. Actively on the needles were my Zweig and my July rainbow socks. I knew that I wanted to finish the socks first thing, but where to go after that?

I have, of course, another pair of July socks just waiting to be cast on and that sweater has been calling my name. I really want to be done with both before the end of the month. August is my birthday month and this year I want to cast on birthday socks and a birthday sweater. However, finishing socks, casting on socks, and finishing the body of a sweater is a tall order, even for a Sunday. I decided I’d have to pick a couple.

Over that first cup of Sunday morning coffee, I finished up the July rainbow socks. These socks have been good travel companions. but it felt good to get them wrapped up.

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This is the 13th pair in my Box O’ Sox and the 7th pair of rainbow socks for the year. The yarn is Knitterly Things Vesper Sparkle Sock in Prisma, the July colorway from the 2017 rainbow of the month club.

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So pretty and summery. I’m starting to get really excited to see how the fall rainbows knit up, but we still have August to knit. Moving right along, I opted for casting on the next pair of socks. I’d rather keep the sock train going. We’ll be traveling over my birthday so the birthday socks will be first on the docket in August, anyway.

My July light socks came with a contrast mini. I wasn’t really feeling like doing heels, toes and cuffs, or even just heels and toes. I tend to just do contrast toes and don’t even do that very often. However, with my new found love of colorwork, I had an idea. What about adding a little contrast in on the leg?

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Oh. My. Goodness. This, this I cannot stand. I took the heart motif from Dale by Molly Klatt of a Homespun House. I’m not following the rest of the pattern, but those hearts! I love the teal with the speckles, these are so much fun! The yarn was a sock set from Hooker’s Corner in the Tippy Toes colorway.

With those cast on, I turned to my sweater. I don’t think I’ve shown it on the blog in quite a while, but mostly I’ve just been trundling down the body knitting little cable x’s. And so that’s what I decided to do last night. A few more repeats, trying to get close to finished. I knit the body to about 1″ shorter than called for, tried it on and voila! Perfect length. I think I have a short torso. I’ve been shortening everything.

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Anyway, I knit the ribbing and tried two different bind off methods. I wound up with a simple bind off in pattern and I think it looks nice and clean. I got the whole thing bound off and ends woven in before bed. I can’t believe I checked all three boxes! I thought surely something would get left out.

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Sigh. I just adore it. I am so glad I did the texture pattern. It really adds something special to the sweater. Everything about this is magical so far. The pattern is Zweig by Caitlin Hunter of Boyland Knitworks. My main color is Skein Top Draw Sock in Japanese Slippper and the contrast color is Nice & Knit Sock in Old Bay.

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It was difficult to want to take the thing off this morning. But it isn’t destined for cap sleeves, and I’m having so much fun knitting the thing, anyway.

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Happy making!

Back to California.

I really like to visit California. For the most part. It’s generally lovely weather, the landscape is vastly different, and it’s dry enough that my hair looks pretty good all the time. On the negative side, I can’t really wear my knits, it’s so very far away, and that same dry weather plays havoc with my skin. So it’s one of those places that I love to visit and love to come home from.

This past week, I headed back across the country for another work trip. This one was a wee bit different, though, since my colleagues and I were attending a conference, rather than putting one on. I didn’t really know what to expect as far as time to myself went, so as any knitter does, I overpacked on knitting.

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In an unprecedented feat of reasonable-ness, I only took two of these projects in the end. I woke up early on Tuesday and headed to the airport, where I immediately procured an iced coffee and set in to work on my socks.

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I boarded the plane and knit until we could put our tray tables down, at which point I felt I could cut in the heel. I used to only do the straight knitting when I was anywhere other home. No heels, no cast ons, maybe maybe maybe a toe. But these days, I feel pretty comfortable with all of it.

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I finished the sock and wove in the last end as we touched down in California.

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In case you’re wondering, this yarn is Knitterly Things Vesper Sparkle Sock in the Prisma colorway. It’s the July club colorway from the 2017 rainbow of the month club. Anyway, I called an uber for ~1 hour ride from L.A. to Pasadena, and got the sock cast on but forgot about my backseat carsickness and had to stop after that.

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That afternoon, I did some walking around Pasadena, took a nap, and went to a networking event. With the time change, I was pretty pooped after that so I went straight to bed. The next day I slept in a bit and headed to the conference for breakfast. I won’t bore you with all the details, but it was a good day. I scored some fun swag, including a lei from the fine folks of Hawaii:

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In the afternoon, we toured the headquarters of the Tournament of Roses which, among many things, featured some amazing landscaping.

 

On Thursday, I made myself get up early enough for some early morning coffee, knitting, and reading. I finished my book and the cuff of the second sock.

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That day, two pretty cool things happened. The first was that I got to see Bill Nye, The Science Guy, speak. He was very funny and engaging.

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The second was that I found Mer-Pug. I love him. Evidently this is a thing in Norfolk, VA – which is pretty darned awesome.

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We had a closing celebration that night, which was a lot of fun. I don’t often get to dress up and go out on the town, and I enjoyed it a lot. The next morning, I was up at 3:15 a.m. and while waiting for the uber managed to get in some pre-4-am rows in on the sock.

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On the plane, I started a veritable coffee IV and a new book, all while plugging away on the socks.

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By the time the flight was over, I was nearly at the toe and ready to cut in the heel.

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It was still pretty early when I got home yesterday, so I cut in the heel alongside a little more coffee. The coffee was really just to at least keep me awake until it was time to go pick up Joshua.

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It was a great trip, I really liked Pasadena. Dry heat, great food, and roses everywhere. As a wannabe hermit, though, I am glad to be home. I’ve slept in, played games with Joshua and Kevin, gone grocery shopping, and now I’m ready to finish up those socks.

Happy {travel} making!

On the receiving end.

I posted a while back about Fibreshare, an international fiber artists swap. I joined because I felt I could use an extra dose of joy in my life–and let me tell you, I found joy in spades! I had such a great time preparing the package that I sent, so much fun curating a box of goodness to make another knitter smile.

My partner was lovely from the start. She sent me a few emails, following up with questions that she had. And then one horrid Monday evening, I came home to the sweetest postcard. Just a note to say hi.

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So sweet and thoughtful. Fast forward a few weeks and I check the mail and another sweet note had found it’s way down the east coast to me.

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And then yesterday afternoon, a package arrived. I opened it up to find a letter propped on top of everything.

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Underneath the note and the pretty pink paper–don’t worry, about five minutes after the above picture, I spilled water all over both note and paper–was a big project bag, filled to the brim with goodies.

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The bag itself, handmade my my partner is big and pink and grey and lined with elephants! My zwieg might have to move into this bag sooner rather than later. Inside, was a plethora of parcels–all wrapped in fabric or handmade bags.

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I don’t know what it is, but I loved all the C’s on the tags. See all those cute bags? Once I unwrapped everything, I was left with this stack of precious little sacks–all of them sewed by my partner!

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I unwrapped it all, reading along in her note about each item she had selected. I really can’t believe how well she got me! I absolutely adore everything, no question.

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The yarn is so me, it’s even more me than I think I ever could pick out! In the questionnaire, I wrote that I love soft colors and my ravelry profile it says my favorite colors are grey, pink, and mint. Well, my partner went there in spades. She sent me some lovely yarn from Chelsea Luxe, the house yarn of her LYS, Chelsea Yarns.

In a feat of unparalleled mind-reading, she gifted me a skien of Sweet Sparrow Yarns, a local to my partner dyer that I’ve been obsessing over lately. Her colors are everything, and this skein of Snowberry is no exception.  My partner also graced me with a touch of luxury in the form of some handspun angora. It is the softest thing I’ve ever touched.

But what blows my mind is that she sent me two mini skein sets–one that speaks to my bright color loving soul and one that hits right at my current unspoken obsession with golds and browns. How did she know?

Among all of the bits and bobs of preciousness that she sent my way, there was an alpaca magnet (already beloved by everyone and named Tim), handmade stitch markers, buttons, salt water taffy, coffee, and this beautiful little painting:

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I just cannot. I can’t wait to get a frame, I love it. Last but certainly not least, was one final little hand made item from my partner. I’m still in awe of this piece. She cross stitched me some rainbow socks! There were tears.

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All in all, I’m incredibly touched by the thoughtfulness of this package. I truly love each and every thing, and it is all so special.

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Fibreshare was a wonderful experience. I got to know some amazing kntiters, and got to share in the giving and receiving of the squishy goodness we all love so much. I would highly recommend giving this swap a try, the people are wonderful and the whole community is lovely. I definitely plan on signing up for the next round and really look forward to it. For now, I’m just going to knit on next pair of rainbow socks and enjoy some of my new treats.

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Happy making {friends and socks}!