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}!

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!

Judge and Crystal.

My little brother married the woman that nobody can imagine him being without ten years ago. We were all much younger then and a lot has happened since. In some ways, I think we all finished growing up together. Sometimes it seems bizarre that it’s been ten whole years that they’ve been married. At the same time, I can’t really remember a time when Crystal wasn’t a part of our family.

I love them both dearly. Judge was my very first partner in crime and Crystal has come to be a sister to me. They are incredible people and have a beautiful relationship. The two of them have done so much for so many, and I can never thank them enough for everything they’ve done for me and mine over the years. Judge and Crystal are special in a way that is hard to put down in words, but if you met them, you’d understand.

I wanted to make them something special for their anniversary and so I decided to stitch an anniversary sampler for them. Of course, I had a difficult time finding the right pattern. I found one pattern that I really liked, but of course it had nothing to do with love or anniversaries:

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Photo courtesy everythingcrossstich.com

This is the Autumn Band Sampler, from Little House Needleworks. I love the colors and the squirrels and everything about it. I decided to hack the pattern and personalize it for Judge and Crystal. I went to the library got a giant stack of cross stitch pattern references and printed out some graph paper. It took a surprising amount of time to come up with a final layout that I really liked, but I drew out the pattern substitutions and got to work.

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I started stitching it up in early July. I kept having problems with miscounting my threads and was having trouble focusing on my work. I followed Kevin’s mom’s advice and got myself an Ott light, which is a daylight LED crafting lamp. That helped a lot, but I still couldn’t really focus well on the work. I wound up going to see an eye doctor, and two retina specialists. The uptake is that I have reading glasses for crafting now and can see tiny cross stitch a lot better.

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With my light and my reading glasses, I really got moving on the project.

I am a very slow stitcher, so it took me the better part of six weeks to finish. During that time, the only other things I worked on were socks and mom’s birthday present. I made mistakes and had to pull out stitches more than once or twice. There’s an acorn that I stitched four times before it was all done! But done it is and I took it to get it framed at my local cross stitch shop.

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I am so pleased with how it came out. I’m a little scared to really look at it, lest I discover something that is misspelled, but I think it’s pretty great. It really pushed my creativity, which is a great feeling. I’ve never designed anything, much less a cross stitch pattern. It’s also my second cross stitch finish… Kevin always says I jump in feet first with my projects.

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We celebrated Judge and Crystal yesterday with countless family and friends. It was a great day and my heart is truly full.


Happy making!

Scattered.

Over the last week or so, I’ve been dabbling. A little of this, a little of that. Some secrets, some projects that I can shout from the rooftops.

I’ve been working on my 13th pair of socks. They’re on the back burner for a few other things at the moment, but I’ve knit one and am nearly to the heel of the second. The yarn is Hedgehog Fibres, Twist Sock, in Down By the River. Twist is the BFL base, and I’m in love with it for socks.

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In a little over a month, we’ll travel to North Carolina for my little brother’s 10th anniversary party. I’m very excited and so of course, I’m knitting a shawl to wear. I’m also planning to make a dress to match, but more on that once the details are flushed out. The shawl is Rising Dawn by Stephen West and I am shamelessly copying someone’s else’s idea and using the Sunday Morning colorway by Gauge Dyeworks. I can’t wait to get to that clay color!

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I had a flurry on Saturday night where I decided to get all of my projects back in working condition. I had dropped a stitch in the above Rising Dawn shawl, decided to change out the mohair color on the next section of my Marled Magic, and had a couple of mini quilts on the brain but no idea where to start. I made a cup of coffee and ripped back to the offending stitch, pulled out the whole section with the mohair, and did a fabric pull for the minis.

It did the trick. I had been in a bit of a funk, not wanting to pick up any project where I wasn’t raring to go. Doing all the troubleshooting in one fell swoop made me feel free to pick up anything and everything on Sunday morning. I started with the Marled Magic, because it’s just too fun to put new yarns in. I’m now holding a strand of Hedgehog Fibres in Fly with a strand of Ito Sensai in Silver and striping in other colors.

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Last in knitting news, but certainly not least, I did something I’ve never done before. I cast on a sock for Kevin. I’m knitting it toe up so that I can try it on him as I go and I went up from my usual 2.0 mm needles to a 2.25 mm. The yarn is from The Lemonade Shop in the Tang colorway.

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I also got a teensy start on the new mystery stitch-a-long from The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery, The Black Hat Society. I love their patterns, so cute! I’ve never finished one, though I have several. This one came as a kit. The fabric is beautiful but not super easy to stitch on. I love the start of this pattern, can’t wait to get a little more stitched than hats. Maybe I could even finish this clue before the next one comes out on the 15th…

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I also worked on one of my mini quilts, but it’s for a swap so I can’t show it just yet. It’s nice to have projects that I enjoy working on so much. It feels a little scattered because I’m usually a bit more monogamous but, I’m having a good time with each of them in their own way.


YoM Day 238: Sock and shawl knitting and cross-stitching

YoM  Day 239- 246: Sock and shawl knitting

YoM Day 247: Sock knitting and sewing

YoM Day 248-249: Sock and shawl knitting


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!

All over the place.

Lately, I’ve finished a couple of things and worked on bunches of others. Today,  I thought I’d share a bit of the making mish-mash. There is a fairly large chunk of my time missing from this post, where all of the secret making would go. But it is there, and I am really and truly loving it.

I’ve actually been doing a lot of sewing over the last week and a half. I finally made a pillow out of the practice block I made:

Joshua picked out the fabrics for the block, so I sewed up a little Orioles back and made him a pillow. I also made myself a precious Petit Four basket:

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This little cutie was so fun and quick and easy, and is so useful! It’s sitting at my sewing machine, making things neater and prettier as we speak.

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I think I might make a whole bunch for all around the house. As for this one, I loved the color scheme so much that I started myself a project bag out of it. It’s all cut out and ready to sew up, except that I don’t have a coordinating zipper on hand. Definitely going to need to bite the bullet and stock up on some zippers. The other big sewing project I’ve been working on is the Bubblegum Kisses Quilt. It’s a mini quilt pattern that came with the amazing Sew Sampler Box for June.

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I loved this box. Everything in it is adorable and the fabric and pattern are just exactly my speed. I cut up the fabric in relatively short order:

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On the fourth of July I sewed up all the first step blocks:

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I love how they are a cute little rainbow!

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Fabric is from Lori Holt’s Bee Basics line

The other night, I finished sewing up the final blocks and laid them out:

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They are not sewn up yet, but I’m going to have this bad boy finished before my next box comes. We’re headed out of town for the weekend, but I think I’ll finish the top and quilt it on Sunday and Monday night.

I have, of course, been knitting, but not all that much to tell the truth. I started the next shawl in the Shawl Society, the Vila Wrap, it’s stripy with a bit of lace. I picked out my yarn for it, but I am not sold on adding the pink. I think it would be incredibly versatile in the two grays:

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Barenwolle Everyday Merino

And last but certainly not least, I finished another section of my Marled Magic. I’m on to section 6, now, but not sure about the hot pink mohair for this one yet.

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In all of this madness, I also taught Joshua to cross stitch. His stitches are pretty darned nice and he does a good job at crossing the same direction all the time.

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Whew! That’s a lot going on. And to think, there are two projects not even there. I feel a bit all over the place lately. I have a drive to start tons of new things which is a bit unlike me. My birthday is on the horizon though, and I’m giving myself free reign for the month of August. I plan to cast-on with abandon and start sewing projects at will.


YoM day 191: Quilting

YoM day 192-194: Sock and shawl knitting and secrets


Happy making!

Half way.

Yesterday was the half way point in my year of making. It’s crazy to think I’ve been doing this for a solid six months! I am still really enjoying this project. I have found it easier and easier to be sure to set aside making time each day.

Let’s have a bit of a check in!

Year of Making 2017

182 days, 12 pairs of socks, 3 shawls, 2 pincushions, 3 bags, 2 hats, 2 quilt tops, a quilt,  a mini, a cat quilt, sauerkraut, and cherry preserves. I’ve cast on a sweater and have another shawl and socks in progress.

More important that the quantity of what I’ve done, the feeling these projects give me is so lovely. I’ve learned soooo much. What I love in shapes and color families, I feel that I am coming into my own. And I’m actually knitting something purely for the process of it! Kevin asked me the other day how often I’ll wear one of the items I’m knitting, and I was surprised to hear myself say that I don’t care. I’m loving the knit and that’s what’s important.

As for the halfway day itself? Well, I knit. I knit a lot. I put a whole section on my Marled Magic Mystery Shawl:

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The new minty section is a mini from Tempting Ewe Yarns held together with the pale pink Rowan Kidsilk Haze. 

I finished the gusset of my second sock:

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Evidently, I couldn’t go to bed without finishing the toe. And so, I finished my 9th pair of socks for my Box O’ Sox. I just love the subtle colors with the pops of neon green and purple. The yarn is Purr by Peepaloo Fields on her simple sock base.

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I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t an ulterior motive for finishing those socks… I think Purr is the perfect color for the next section of my shawl. At this point, I’m pretty much constantly thinking about what yarn should go into my shawl next. That and, “What could I put mohair in?”

Here’s to the second half of the year!


YoM day 181: Sock knitting

YoM day 182: Shawl and sock knitting


Happy making!