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!

Home.

When we spoke last, I was about to head home from Denver to my sweet family for a trip south to see more sweet family. And that is exactly what I did.

Kevin and the kids picked me up from the airport and I came home and unpacked and repacked my suitcase. We got up the next morning and headed out. On the way, during Kevin’s driving turn, I worked on my hat.

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We met up with Kevin’s parents at a sweet little house on Watauga Lake in Tennessee. It was so much fun! We cooked and ate and fished and talked and Kevin’s amazing parents even invited my family to come hang out with us. It was wonderful.

Every morning and every night, I did a bunch of knitting. My very first order of business was to finish that hat, which is what I did on our first night of the trip.

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This is the Bray Cap by Jared Flood, knit out of Malabrigo Rios in the Pearl colorway. I love everything about this knit. The yarn is perfect, it knits like a dream and the color is everything. I want a sweater in this grey. The pattern is a whole other story. It’s so pretty and stunning, and such a pleasure to knit! I’m digging wearing either way, slouchy or folded up beanie style.

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This hat was one of my proposed wardrobe additions, from my wardrobe architect mini-project. I really wanted a nicer, neutral hat that would be appropriate for work. I’m happy to say that I’ve already rocked it on a few cold mornings to the office.

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Once the hat was done, I had nothing else with me to knit but my Christmas socks.

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I have, so far, thoroughly enjoyed knitting on the 9″ circulars. I’ve finished the first sock and I might be sold. I was skeptical about the heel, but it works like nothing doing. My only thing is that you have to switch back to DPNs or magic loop for the toe decreases, but I think it might be worth it. Final verdict to come.

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Mmm, that Christmas sock is just precious.

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I’ve started the second one, but I’m deep into holiday preparations so I’ve mostly been doing things I can’t show. I’ve got an itch to get to a few other projects, including my marled magic… I think it’s been quite a while since I’ve shown it–I finished section 7:

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And then nearly immediately picked up and knit section 8.

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It’s so squishy. My goodness, so squishy. With that, the shawl is nearly done! It’s definitely to the doesn’t-fit-on-needles-and-very-hard-to-photograph stage, but Cosi likes it just fine.

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I now have only to bind the thing off. I’m going to do that this weekend, come hell or high water. I’ve picked out a few pastel-y soft skeins for the bind off and I’m ready to go:

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I really want to knit all of the things. Sew everything, too! I’ve been feeling inspired lately, I have a lot of ideas for new projects.

All in all, it’s been a great week. Visiting all of our family warmed my heart and soothed my soul, and now I get to be home with my little pack of sweethearts.

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Happy holiday season, from my darlings to you and yours.


YoM day 326: Hat knitting – finished Bray Cap!

YoM day 327-334: Sock knitting plus 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!

A little motivation.

I have felt extraordinarily motivated in my making lately. The plan is–so far–doing an amazing thing. I’m so excited to get to everything that I have planned, I’ve been highly motivated in my knitting. I couldn’t think of anything else until I got this cowl off the needles:

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This is Slipstream by Maria Montzka. I knit it out of Quince & Co. Lark in the Mist colorway. I only needed about 5 grams out of the third skein, I knit 2 full repeats of the pattern. I really loved knitting this. I don’t often knit things that are so lacy, especially not anything that’s overall patterned. It gave me a lot of confidence in my abilities and patience. It also felt good to knit something in a single, solid color. I’m incredibly happy with this finished object.

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This is my first make from my plans with my wardrobe architect project. It’s exciting to get started on that and I can’t wait to get to more of those plans!

I got started on a new hat for Astra. She had two requests: orange and mohair. I am more than happy to knit both. I cast it on last weekend. It’s ridiculously fuzzy and soft and squishy. And quite orange, if I do say so myself.

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I wound up staying up late the other night watching old movies and finished the hat. It’s so squishy and fuzzy, and Astra really likes it. This is Bumble by Tin Can Knits and I held one strand of Knit Picks Swish (100% merino) DK in Clementine together with one strand of Knit Picks Aloft (mohair silk blend) in Koi.

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Since I can’t seem to keep the socks off of my needles, I finally gave in and put some time into my Halloween socks. During the first football game of Sunday, I finished the first sock and cast on the second:

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Through my Steelers game and Monday Night Football, I managed to knit to about half way through the gusset. These kind of felt like were just falling off the needles. After the night of finishing the hat, I stayed up the next night and finished the socks!

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These were fun to knit up. They’re knit out of Hedgehog Fibres Sock Yarn in the Flytrap colorway. This was one of the September club colorways. I really never knit anything with black, but I’m digging how these turned out Halloween-y in a not super Halloween-y way. These are my fourteenth pair for my Box O’ Sox.

Whew! It’s not often I have 3 finishes in week but I’ve got so much that I want to get to, I’ve really felt like finishing things. I’ve started in on a bit more secret making (I can’t seem to help myself) and I’ve got yarn on the way for a new shawl. I just know I’m going to want to cast it on immediately.

I don’t really like having tons of projects going at once–I  know you can’t tell with how much I’ve been casting on lately–and I want to be in the mindset to just give myself over to the new shawl. It’s one of the ones I talked about last week–I can’t wait to tell you all about it!


YoM Day 293-294: Cowl knitting – finished Slipstream!

YoM Day 295-296: Sock and hat knitting

YoM Day 297: Hat knitting – finished Astra’s hat!

YoM Day 298: Sock knitting – finished Halloween Socks!


Happy making!

Making the making happen.

After all of this thought and consideration, I came to the realization that this is a ginormous project. It will certainly take me a long time to make an entire wardrobe, even though I’m not going to make things like jeans and shoes and purses. This will be multi-year at a minimum, but really since it’s also my hobby, I think it will be ongoing.

As a new sewist, I’m looking at sewing patterns that are on the easier end of the sewing spectrum. Things like simple dresses, skirts, and tops. I have a starter list of sewing patterns that fit the bill:

I’ve made the Moneta in a lovely dark grey, and purchased fabric for everything–except the Blackwood–in a neutral or nearly neutral from my palette:

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I’m hoping this will be a good start towards some basics in my wardrobe. I plan to make these 6 patterns several times, both for practice and to build up the wardrobe staples.

I’ve also spent a fair amount of time on Ravelry thinking about what sort of knitted staples I envision. A lacy cowl, a couple of really cozy, big shawls, a cabled hat, an easy wearing triangle shawl. That’s just a start, of course. Knitting is my first love and I could pick out a million patterns. The top of my knitting queue is currently

Ugh, I want to knit all of them right now. I did make a few yarn purchases… Now, if you know me and my stash, you’ll know that solids are really not my M.O. We’re talking wardrobe staples though, so solids and tonals it is. I got in my very first yarn from Quince and Co. this week. This is for the Slipstream Cowl and the Windswept Shawl:

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I was so excited when this package arrived, Kevin came in to see what the yarn looked like. “It’s solid…” was his reaction. It’s definitely a big departure for me! I couldn’t wait to get started so I’ve already cast on a new thing!

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With all of that, I feel like I have a fairly rounded out slate of sewing and knitting. I think it will be a nice little start to the wardrobe once all of this is finished. I hope you have enjoyed this week’s little mini-series about my wardrobe architect project. This has been a fun way to start this journey of thoughtfully planning my making.


Happy making!

What about the yarn?

I have a yarn stash, it’s true. I’ll be honest, it’s a pretty serious stash. I love it and dig through it often. Sometimes looking for yarn for a particular project, sometimes sock yarn, sometimes just looking and petting. I also purchase yarn from time to time…

As I mentioned at the beginning of this little series, I’ve been a sucker for the shiny when it comes to yarn. I love a lot of dyers, I love color, and new and fun combinations always seduce me.  Once I narrowed down my color palette though, I wondered what that meant for the yarn.

I thought and thought.  I decided to pull out all of the yarn that fits the new color palate. It’s not that much, when compared to the whole.

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Once I separated all of that out, I had three categories for what was left:

  1. Yarn that just isn’t me anymore, for various reasons
  2. Sock yarn. This could be anything and everything, but all of it will wind up socks. Eventually.
  3. Yarn I like but doesn’t fit the color palette – there isn’t much of this

I put all of the yarn that just isn’t me for whatever reason up on Ravelry as de-stash. That was easy. The sock yarn was easy, too–it stays–I love to knit socks and will continue to wear any crazy pair.

The yarn I like but that doesn’t fit is more difficult. After a lot of thought, it’s going on Ravelry de-stash too. If someone else really wants it, they should have it. I may still knit with some of it if the mood strikes, that option will still be there.

One big realization for me in all of this is that I don’t intend to stop knitting fun and crazy color combinations. I enjoy those things and I think they can always squeeze into my wardrobe with the jeans and t-shirts, if nothing else. Knits like my Marled Magic or Love Ewe Baby, those are creative, process knits and I love them for reasons other than putting them into my curated wardrobe.

This has really helped with my yarn buying habits. As I mentioned, I feel a strong pull toward the “shiny!” This is evidenced in the overwhelming quantity of single skeins of sock yarn that I own. It’s really helped me think about what I want to purchase and why. I have tons of fun yarn to play with and knit with. But I don’t have very much that checks the boxes for my planned wardrobe.

One of the things I thought about when I was working on my core style, was where being a knitter and maker fits in. Part of that is pretty easy, I would prefer to sew the majority of my clothes. But as far as knitting, how does that fit in? I’ve thought a lot about that. I want to knit some feminine, cozy, simple, and/or classic items in my new found color palate. Tomorrow, we’ll explore how I’m working on making all of that making happen.


Happy making!

Color story.

I love color. I don’t think that’s any secret. From my love of rainbow to my fascination with neon, I love it all.

This last year, though, I’ve noticed that my color choices have been slowly shifting.

Colorful, but much softer. I’ve really felt a strong draw to softer, subtle color.

This shift made me very excited for the next step in my Wardrobe Architect journey… color. After all, color was really what got me started thinking about all of this. I’ve been wondering what my shifting tastes in color mean, if anything. Well, I likely spent the most time of the whole process thinking about color.

The exercises direct you to look through your closet, your stash, and the internet for inspiration. Always keeping in mind my core words–feminine, cozy, simple, classic–I started looking around.

The first place I went is my stash. There are only about a trillion colors there. Most notably a lot of rainbow, minty blues, and pinks from hot to sweet. I looked in my wardrobe, but that’s where some of this whole issue started–nothing cohesive there. So, like I’ve done all along, I went to the internet:

This all just feels feminine and cozy to me. I love the feeling these colors evoke.

My next step would be to put together three palettes. Neutrals, nearly neutrals, and statement colors. For neutrals, I’m kind of across the board. Part of that is because I’ll probably stick to classic brown and black for accessories like shoes and bags. The greys and creams will go into my wardrobe for clothes and accessories.

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The idea of “nearly neutrals” is possibly the most interesting to me. These are colors that you plan to wear as neutrals. I’ve chosen 4 colors that I think I could make work in every season, which is fairly important to me. I plan to make a good number of items in these colors.

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As for my statement colors, I chose these for a few different reasons. I think these colors in different combinations with the nearly neutrals can really evoke different seasons. These are colors I like a lot and I think will give some nice variety and versatility to the neutrals above. I love hot pink and I’ve fallen hard for mint. I don’t wear much true red, but it can be effective in small doses. And on your nails.

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This was so much fun. I love my color palette and the story it creates for me. Tomorrow, I’ll talk about what all of this has means for the yarn stash. This gives a whole new meaning to the question, what’s your favorite color?


Happy making!


P.S. mine’s grey

The shape of things.

The next steps in the Wardrobe Architecture series (read my intro to this series here) had me exploring a topic that I know quite well, but rarely follow through on. That topic is silhouette.

I know my silhouette.  No matter my weight, no matter my age, it’s one thing that really hasn’t changed in a good 20 years. I am definitely on the pear side of hourglass.

This causes a fair bit of trouble when shopping, since pants and skirts large enough to accommodate my hips will invariably be too large on my waist. Likewise, dresses can be difficult to find, I’m generally a different size on top and bottom. Add to that my general dislike of skinny jeans and I haven’t been clothes shopping in several years.

During the wardrobe architect process, I thought a lot about the shapes and silhouettes in clothes that make me feel best. I feel a bit of kinship with the a common silhouette from the 1950s. Those fitted tops and wide skirts are just everything.

For dresses, I love that shape. I have always liked wearing wrap dresses and dresses with a fitted bodice and wider skirt. I also like fitted pants and jeans with a trouser leg that helps de-emphasize my hips. With all of that in mind, I created a collage of silhouettes:

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Armed with these outfit shapes, I started combing the internet for patterns that fit these ideas. I mean, the whole idea is become a more informed and intentional maker, after all. I put together a list of patterns that would give me the following shapes:

  • Full or fullish skirt with tailored top
  • Knit, shirt, or wrap dresses – fitted on top with wider skirt
  • Casual t-shirt and jeans
  • Tailored top and slacks
  • Cardigans, both fitted and cozy/casual

I’ve created a Pinterest board of all of the sewing patterns I found. They are for various levels of expertise, so some will definitely come before others. Of course, I also plan to knit a cardigan or two, somewhere down the line.

I went ahead and sewed up the Moneta by Colette Patterns. I still haven’t gotten a picture of myself in it, but boy do I feel like a million bucks in the thing. It’s fitted on top and wider in the skirt and I just adore it. It makes me feel curvy in the best way possible.

And that’s a shape I can live with.

Tomorrow we’ll talk about my favorite subject in making.


Happy making!

At the very core.

I’ve been doing some thinking.

I feel as if I am a “SQUIRREL!” maker. I generally purchase yarn that fits my mood at the moment. I generally make patterns that are new and shiny or just fit a skein of yarn I want to use. I feel myself going that direction with sewing garments, as well.

Recently, I’ve been very inspired by several makers. Maria at Stitched in Sweden has a cohesive style, and the things she makes always seem to fit that vision. Jennie, tinypaperfoxes on Instagram, is working on a project to have a handmade wardrobe in 4 years and she’s another person whose makes just seem to shout that she made them. Now that I’m moving into some garment making, I’ve been thinking a lot about that sense of a cohesive style, especially as it relates to my making. I certainly don’t think I have a style beyond the fact that I wear black pants to work everyday, so I took to the internet.

Enter the Wardrobe Architect series on the Colette Blog. It’s a series of blog posts with activities designed to help you define, guess what? Your own core style! I’ve gone through the whole process, and boy! was it ever eye opening. I found it fun and inspirational.

After a fair bit of thought and reflection on things like your history, body image, and style icons, you’re asked to list words that you associate with your answers to the questions and reflections. I really like word association type activities, I think it helps crystallize your thoughts. After you create that big list, you are asked to condense it down into 3-5 words to describe yourself and your core style. Mine are:

Feminine, cozy, simple, classic

Armed with those words, the next step is to create a visual inspiration board to represent those words.

It makes me happy just to look at these images, and my entire inspiration board on Pinterest. These first steps in learning and crafting my own core style gave me a great deal of inspiration for the next steps. Tomorrow, we’ll explore a little about silhouettes.


Happy making!