Make nine.

If you have stopped by this blog before, you may know that I sometimes set up making goals for myself. I don’t always follow through (I’m looking at you, light socks) but when I do accomplish a goal, it feels awfully nice.

Back in February, I jumped on the #makenine bandwagon. I put a lot of thought into my plans, wanting some staples, a few sweaters, and to dip my toe into colorwork.

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I picked out all of the yarn, though my plans changed a bit mid-way through. The final yarn selections were these:

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Now here we are nine months later :

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I’ve talked about all these projects a bunch so I’ll just list them now:

  1. Madewell by Joji Locatelli in The Wool Barn
  2. Dotted Rays by Stephen West in Primrose Yarn Co.
  3. Box O’ Sox in various
  4. Eureka Cowl by Jessica Gore in Brooklyn Tweed
  5. Sunset Highway by Boyland Knitworks in Peepaloo Fields
  6. Void by Melanie Berg in MadelineTosh
  7. Selbu Mittens by Skeindeer Knits in Quince & Co.
  8. Windswept by Molly Klatt in Quince & Co.
  9. Coastal Walk by Joji Locatelli in Tusken Knits

I love them all. I’ve already worn a few of them a bunch–pretty good considering I knit the bulk of these projects in the warmer months. I worried a bit that I was biting off more than I could chew, especially with sweaters and colorwork mixed in.

I’ve been thinking about this make nine project and whether I will revisit it next year. While I really enjoyed it this year, and I’m glad I followed through with all of these knits, I don’t think I’m going to participate again in 2019.

I’ve typed out about seven different explanations but it really just boils down to this: I don’t want to set up big year long goals for myself next year. I want to knit what I feel like, when I feel like it. My making goals next year are likely to be quite vague and loosey-goosey. Things like “up my skirt game” and “knit tons of sweaters” will likely factor in heavily.

At any rate, while I’m not planning to do it again – it was a fun goal this year! There is something really satisfying about turning a grid of designs and ideas into a grid of my own finished objects!

Happy making {nine}!

Go with it.

I’ve sat down to write this post a dozen times over the last few days. I’m feeling a bit scatterbrained with my making and can’t really seem to synthesize all that’s happening into anything coherent. Let’s come at this from a different angle. The current state of affairs, in pictures:

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Joshua assures me that our latest breakfast bar is the best so far. Jammy Baked Oatmeal from Food in Jars.

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I don’t eat the cupcakes, but I bake the cupcakes. Recipe from The Kitchn.

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For about 30 seconds, this was the only project on my needles. I managed to brioche the brioche.

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June rainbow socks are on the move. I think I knit the cuff too long. Le sigh.

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I went to The Knot House for a Junkyarn trunk show. This dude stepped right into my awkward selfie and then I was too excited once inside to take any more pictures.

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Junkyarn haul. (l-r) Lady Murasaki (mohair), Rosemary, Brigitte, and Amalthea. Not pictured, I might have picked up a little something for my FibreShare partner, too.

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That yarn never even saw the stash before I wound it up. Also – cilantro flowers are pretty.

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I only just cast it on, but I really couldn’t resist casting it on. Audra Wrap by Ambah O’Brian.

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With the Madewell blocking, I finally got back to my swatching plans. And then I swatched something else, too.

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Tomatoes!

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Swapped destash yarn for sock cranking and received this–nearly 8 feet long–sock snake back this week. Afterthought everything, here we come.

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It’s time to make pesto, again.

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I finished the secret make, but can’t show that–so here is a gratuitous mohair floof shot.

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The Beekeeper Socks have been frogged and the Cyril Socks cast on.

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I’m casting on some more colorwork as soon as I can get to it, wish me luck.

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Sweater swatches!

Happy making!

Year of Making: 2017.

On the first day of this year, I decided to commit to one small thing: “put energy into a making project every day.”

At first, that meant a conscious decision to sit down with a project every day. Sometimes it meant sleepily knitting a few rows before bed so that I would keep my commitment. As I went on, it became easier and easier. As I got more in the habit of doing something everyday, I found myself reaching for my projects more and more.

I’ve kept track of what I’ve worked on in a spreadsheet. I’ve been more than a little curious to see how the numbers would shake out. It’s no surprise that I spent 342 of the last 365 days knitting. I tend to reach for my knitting more than anything else. On 266 of those days, I worked on socks. I love knitting socks so it’s not much of a surprise that three quarters of my knitting days involved socks.

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I finished my box of socks a few months ago, but that didn’t stop me from continuing on. I’ve finished five more pairs of socks for myself since then. I love the look of them all laid out. This last pair was knit on Christmas vacation, so it hasn’t made it home to meet it’s new sock drawer mates.

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When I wasn’t knitting on socks, I knit up shawls, hats, mitts, and even a tiny owl for my mom. I’ve spent a significant bit of time cross stitching, quilting and sewing. There were even a few days of canning, fermenting, and crochet thrown in. Looking back it feels like a productive year:

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There is something about looking at a year’s worth of creating, thinking about how my hands knit every stitch, cut all the fabric, pitted every cherry. More than just the products of my hands though, my makes all feel like teeny time capsules, moments of my life molded into something tangible. Knitting socks at the beach with my family, figuring out how to sew my very first garment, picking cherries with Joshua.

Writing about everything has really crystallized that notion that there is a story in each of my makes. I love thinking about that and having the blog to look back at all of it.

Now that my year of making is coming to a close, I don’t believe I’m finished with it. I’m not sure that I will keep track of things daily like I have been, but that idea of putting “energy into a making project every day” still rings true for me. It’s exciting to think about a future full of years of making.

At any rate, I’ll be right here tomorrow, the first day of the new year, spending a bit of my day creating something.


Happy making!

Our little shishi.

The first maker I ever knew was my mom. When I was a little girl, she made me dresses, sewed up costumes and curtains, made quilts, and cross stitched samplers that I can still picture in my head. Fast forward more years than either of us care to tell and she is still a maker. Today, she makes journals and art and generally beautifies her surroundings. She also knits the cutest little woodland creatures:

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Darwin

Her woodland creatures inspired me to knit one for her for her birthday, his name is Seamus.

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He’s awfully chubby and cute, which meant he needed a basket, obviously:

Another maker was inspired this year, the very person who made her a shishi. Joshua has gotten into cross stitch so he stitched up a little owl for her:

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I glued the work to a teeny canvas and attached fabric to the back, but the stitching is all Joshua. His stitches are probably better than mine. The owl is 1.5″ x 2″ and the whole canvas and stand comes to about 5″ tall. It’s precious. All together, I’m proud of our birdy present.

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We weren’t able to be there for her birthday, so we wanted to make this extra special little package up for her. Today we got to see her and celebrate both of our birthdays and several other family milestones.

My mom is one of the most creative people I’ve ever known. She taught me the basics of sewing, quilting, and cross-stitching as a little girl. As I’ve grown up, she’s been a big part of the inspiration to become the kind of maker that I am today.

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Happy birthday to my mom, the maker and the shishi.


YoM day 220: Sock knitting!


Happy making!

I mean, they are my favorite.

Blackberries. I love them. Blackberry cobbler is my favorite dessert. Last year’s blackberry jelly is, in my opinion, the best thing I’ve ever canned.

Joshua and I went out first thing this morning to pick some blackberries. “How much are we aiming for?” he asked. My answer: a meager 5-6 pounds. Nothing strenuous, just enough for a batch of jelly and a cobbler, maybe some snacking for the afternoon. As we walked through the field, I worried that we might not find that much. And then we found them, bushes laden with plump, dark berries. We picked and picked, and when the box looked like it was full enough we headed back.

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As we walked back to weigh and pay, we wondered how much we had picked. Joshua guessed it was more like 7 or so pounds, and I said we could always freeze another cobbler’s worth if so. We plopped our box down on the scales… 11.54 pounds.

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“What are we going to do with all of those?” Joshua asked and I wondered. I was thinking how I’d inadvertently picked myself a whole day’s work. When we got home, I pulled out all the canning books, opening them to the blackberry pages, if they had them. After a bit of hemming and hawing, I made a mental plan and got out my scales.

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Turns out it was just enough for 2 batches of jelly, 2 cobblers, a batch of experimental syrup, and a teensy dish for snacking. I set out to work:

I followed the recipe for Old Fashioned Blackberry Jelly from the book Canning for a New Generation by Liana Krissoff. It really does make the best jelly and doesn’t use any added pectin. For the syrup, I made the Strawberry Syrup from Food in Jars by Marisa McClellan, I just used blackberries in place of the strawberries. Hopefully that turns out!

While one of the batches of berries drained, I managed to finish a sock! I started this one way back in March and just never picked it up after finishing the gusset. I didn’t want this one to be a revival pair next year, so I’m working on finishing them up.

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Yarn by Lamby Toes on her corriedale base in an experimental colorway.

I froze enough blackberries to make myself a birthday cobbler next month and made a cobbler for tonight:

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7 jars of jelly, 3 jars of syrup, and a blackberry cobbler for good measure.

The cobbler just came out of the oven and I’m relaxing with a victory beer. When I woke up this morning, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to trek out to pick berries. When I picked way too many berries, I wasn’t sure that I had it in me to process them all today. But now they’re done, and I’m glad it all worked out the way it did. They’re my favorite, after all.


YoM day 183-189: A ridiculous mix of sewing, quilting, sock and shawl knitting, and super secret making!

YoM day 190: Canning and sock knitting


Happy making!

Canning day.

Well, it’s here. A bit late for me, but here all the same. The first canning day of the summer dawned bright and early for Joshua and I today. We headed out to our local you-pick farm for some tart cherries.

The farm had two varieties, Montmorency (American) and Bayleton (Hungarian). After tasting a couple of each, Joshua made the call. Bayleton it would be.

The berries are a darker red and have a bright, tart cherry flavor. We picked about 6 pounds. The trees were laden with ripe berries, so it didn’t take too much time.

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I had promised Joshua a cherry pie if the tart cherries were in, so that was our main goal. Between you and I, cherry pie is my favorite pie, so it wasn’t exactly a hard sell. Of course, I also have a burning desire to preserve, so I decided if we had enough after pie I’d jar the rest up.

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Joshua manned the cherry pitter for the pie cherries and I went after the rest with a paper clip. A paper clip is surprisingly fast on sour cherries and leaves the cherry intact for preserving.

With the prep out of the way, I set to work making the pie. Now, pie dough and I have never been best friends. I can make it taste good, come out nice and flakey, but it never looks the best. Today was no exception.

I used a recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens red checked cookbook. It’s my go to for basically anything. It came out looking, well… like I made it.

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“Rustic”

With the pie out of the way, I got to preserving. I used Marissa McLellan‘s recipe out of Preserving by the Pint–which is an amazing book, btw–for Sour Cherries with Bourbon. Now, if you know me, you know that is right up my alley. I did some brandied cherries a few years ago and they were heaven.

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The smell of bourbon wafting out of this pot was everything.

It’s a very easy preserve and was in the water bath in under half an hour. I used Bulleit Bourbon,  a good standby that’s not too expensive. I took a picture of my little canning setup:

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I love my kitchen for canning. I’ve canned in some tight and far less than ergonomic spaces before, so it always pleases me to have all my canning accoutrement laid out. While the jars processed, I googled things to do with cherry pits. I had a hard time thinking about just throwing them away. There are lots of options it seems, cherry pit vinegar and cherry pit liquor among them. Three guesses as to which way I went.

I didn’t really find a recipe for any of these things, but a few bloggers mentioned what they did, sort of. So we’ll see how this experiment goes. I had about 1 cup of cherry pits and I combined them with 2.5 cups bourbon. I put it in a dark cabinet and will test every month to see how it’s doing. I’m guessing it will be 3-4 months before it’s where I want.

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Now I am to that lovely part of a canning day where everything is done and I have a cold beer and my feet are up. There was a little bit of the sour cherries with bourbon left over after canning, so that may make it’s way into a cocktail in the next few days. And of course, I can’t wait to cut into the pie tonight!


YoM day 173-174: Sock knitting

YoM day 175: Sock knitting, baking, canning


Happy making!

Grainbow Revival Socks

Pair 2 of the sock revival is off the needles! I will admit, I was getting a bit weary of these by the end. I just kept eyeing my stash and thinking of what socks I was going to cast on next. But when I slipped these on to check fit and take a picture… Well, let’s let them have their day in the sun.

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The yarn is by MarigoldJen in two colorways that I honestly can’t remember and can’t find the tags or names for. I reeeaaaalllly hate that, but I guess I’m going to need to accept it. The colors are beautifully variegated, a wonderful gloomy grey with the rainbow. I was a bit skeptical of my choice of yellow, but I think it complements the main yarn nicely.

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These socks feel and fit amazing. The yarn is her BFL/nylon, and the contrast is her merino/nylon. I think they work nicely together. The socks feel sturdy and squishy at the same time. I couldn’t be happier with the fit. Tried and true, the Kirbywirby method for cutting in heels comes through again!

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I was a bit of a cast-on addict last night, and started a new pair of socks. PS. If you haven’t tried Peepaloo Fields yet, I highly recommend her yarn. It is achingly pretty:

 

And finally, I started my Waterlily! I knit two more gauge swatches. The pattern calls for 4.0 mm/US 6 and that definitely didn’t work. I went down to 3.75 mm/US 5 and measured wrong, so I also knit a swatch on 3.5 mm/US 4. Bizarrely the 3.75 mm and the 3.5 mm swatch are remarkably similar. I went with the 3.75 mm and wound up my skeins.

I cast on and got halfway through the second row before I fell asleep. It’s not much to show, but I’m proud anyway.

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We are in serious birthday mode over here in our corner of Maryland. On Wednesday, it was dear boyfriend’s turn. I fixed steaks–truly my best go at steak to date–and made cake, and we had a little celebration, just the four of us. I think he had a great day. I’m currently up to 3 birthday cakes in the past 2 weeks, and I’ll bake 2 more before the next 2 weeks are out. Whew!


YoM day 156: Swatching!

YoM day 157: Swatching and socking

YoM day 158: Sock knitting

YoM day 159: Sock and Shawl knitting

YoM day 160: Sock knitting

YoM day 161: Sock and sweater knitting


Happy making!