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!