My favorite holiday – part one.

If knitting had a holiday, it would be a sheep & wool festival. Full of community, excitement, sheep, and the tools of our trade. For me, it’s the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival–which just so happens to be this weekend. I’ve had a fantastic weekend so far, some me time, some time with the kids, and some major yarn time.

Thursday night I got to thinking that I might have some line-standing time, and it would be nice to have a little sock tube on some 9″ circs for knitting-while-standing ease. I went ahead and cast on my May rainbow socks and knit a whole repeat for the cuff. I usually run out of patience to do that, but I’m pleased with the result.

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Things finally kicked off Friday after work. I headed straight to Needles Up, a pop-up shop in Columbia. It was a really lovely event. Never packed, the crowd control made it a nice experience. The event was very nicely curated with yarn, fiber, bags, sock soap, and charms. I sampled a bit of it all.

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Well, everything except the fiber. I’m so excited about this bag, it’s from Fat Squirrel Fibers and is sweater sized. I thought it was high time my sweaters got their own bag, usually they just have a cubby at my desk.

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Though it was over ninety degrees out, it was chilly inside, so I was able to rock my Half Moon Oracle for the first time. I even got to meet several podcasters and makers that I’ve been following for a long time. Everyone was so sweet! All in all, Needles Up was a blast.

From there, I headed straight to Frederick for a pop-up shop at The Knot House. I had a nice time walking around Frederick before I got in line–I was second!

It was a bit of a madhouse in the Knot House. It was just choc full of gorgeous yarn and knitters ogling it. I got the chance to show Carol, of Swift Yarns, my Half Moon Oracle that I knit out of her yarn. She snapped a fun picture of me putting it on.

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After that, things became a bit of a blur. I had lovely chats with Sandra, of Duck Duck Wool, and Claire, of Autumn and Indigo, and with several knitters while we waited in line. Luckily, the line wasn’t a quarter as long as last year.

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All in all, it was a great day. I made it home just in time for Kevin’s amazing burgers and a quiet night of planning our day over at Maryland Sheep & Wool. Stay tuned for a recap of all the fun we had over there, and happy wooly holiday!


I’ll talk about the yarn as I use it, but if you have any questions feel free to leave a comment or get in touch with the contact form. I am always happy to chat!

 

Plants, plans, and progress.

I may have started every single blog post in April with some comment about how ready I am for spring to really be here. Well, it’s here, friends. Today is the last day of April, and I think we’re really there.

First of all, I finally planted my wee container garden. It was a gorgeous, sunny afternoon and my little brother is in town for the evening, so we headed out to the local produce stand and greenhouse to purchase my plants.

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We rearranged the back deck and got it all done. I love it! I have 8 different herbs, a jalapeño, and a tomato. Among the herbs are 10 basil plants… I think Noah was a little aghast at the sheer volume of basil, but we like our basil around here. I have visions of pesto and marinara dancing in my head.

 

Another key spring component is imminent–the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. It kicks off this weekend. Feel free to look back at my festival experience from last year, but suffice it to say this is practically a holiday in my house. I’m planning to go to two pop-up shops on Friday, Needles Up and The Knot House, and then take the kids for an all out festival day on Saturday.

I’ve been daydreaming about all of the yarn I’ll squish and what is going to follow me home. I don’t want to come out with single skeins or yarn that I don’t know quite what to do with, though. And so, I’ve been planning. Checking out patterns, scheming on sweaters, dreaming up shawls. I made myself a pretty little information sheet, with yardages on a few key patterns and other things I want to look for.

 

Now, I do not plan on buying yarn for all of this. But I find that when I’m staring at a wall of beautiful yarn, I get overwhelmed if I don’t have any patterns in my mind. And so, the cheat sheet was born. I’m really interested to see how this sheet will compare to the haul by the end of the weekend.

Somehow, thinking of all of these potential projects has gotten me in the mood for doing some major knitting on my other projects. I want them to be pretty far along before the any post festival startitis sets in. I’ve gotten down to the gusset on the next pair of socks:

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This yarn is by Casual Fashion Queen in the Minty Fresh Graffiti colorway. I am digging this colorway and the yarn is that perfect 80/20 squishiness that I adore.

In sweater news, I am now past the waist shaping on my Madewell. I tried it on a few days ago and I’m absolutely in love.

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I really need to reclaim the yarn from my abandoned Boho Blush. I want to use up all the bits and bobs on the body of the sweater and use the last skein for the sleeves and collar.

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My true obsession, however, is my Windswept. I love it so much. I realize that it doesn’t look very different from the last time I showed it, but we’re getting there. It’s honestly been difficult to want to knit anything else, I love it so.

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I’m really happy that the container garden is planted, because frankly, all I want to do is knit and think about knitting. Although, I’ve already been out to check the garden about a half dozen times. Hooray for spring!

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Happy making!

Half Moon Oracle

Let’s have a wee story. Last year, on the eve of Maryland Sheep & Wool, I went to a pop-up shop at The Knot House. There, I met the lovely Carol, dyer behind Swift Yarns, and promptly fell in love with her yarn.

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I picked out a soft pink to make a single skein, lacy something, and a hot pink and a speckle for a two color shawl. As Carol took the picture above, she told me that she thought those three would look great together. Internally, I scoffed a bit. I knew these were destined for separate projects, that the three together just wouldn’t work for me.

And yet. That though of all three of them together stuck with me. I tried to follow my first instinct but nothing seemed to strike a chord. And then, the Half Moon Oracle was slated to be released. Beautiful and perfect for three colors with a bit of contrast. I had a hard time waiting for it though, and cast on something else in the meantime. But that didn’t stick either.

I kept coming back to these three colors in a Half Moon Oracle. And so I did it. I ripped back the first project, and cast the new one on, knit on it slowly, a section here and there until full on obsession hit about two weeks ago.

 

I finished it Friday and wove in the ends and blocked it on Saturday. It blocked out ginormous. I don’t often talk about blocking but what a magical step. From this:

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To this!

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I used blocking wires along the top and then pinned out the edge as suggested in the pattern. I was pretty aggressive with the lace, too. The shape could be a bit more circular on the edge, but I don’t think you can tell when it’s on. Oh my heavens. I don’t think it can be stood. I think this is the brightest and most fun shawl that I own. I was a little worried that the hot pink would be too much, but who am I kidding? That hot pink is everything.

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Pattern:  Half Moon Oracle by Kristen Lehrer

Yarn: Swift Yarns, Swift Simple – 100% Superwash Merino single ply

  • Color A – Tropical Vintage (speckle)
  • Color B – Marilyn (hot pink)
  • Color C – Princess Bride (soft pink)

I am absolutely smitten. The pattern is very well written and easy to follow. This was also my first foray into knitting with singles and I am looking forward to getting my hands on more! I can’t wait to wear this beauty out, it’s such a happy shawl!

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Spoiler alert, in a few weeks I’ll be visiting the pop-up shop again and plan to make another stop over at the Swift Yarn wall. I can’t wait to see what color combination I definitely won’t knit this year!

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Happy Making!

Socks, socks, and more socks.

Well, I have two finished objects for the first week of the new year. Both cast on and off in 2018, both are socks. I wish we were all a little more surprised, but who am I kidding?

You may recall that on New Year’s Day I cast on a new pair of socks. The first sock knit up so quickly I had whiplash:

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Honestly, I knit all but the toe on New Year’s day! The next day after work I finished the sock and Noah came to stay. He told me he had a request for a birthday gift–his birthday is in a few weeks. Of course, I couldn’t say no. He wanted a pair of yoga socks to help keep his ankles warm while he practices this winter. I dug out a pretty blue skein of yarn and cast it on.

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I started with 44 stitches, decided that looked too big. Pulled back and cast on 36. Way too small. Back to 44. Nope, definitely too big. 40. 40 was the way to go. From there on it was a lot of trial and error, as I was just making up things as I went. Once I got the first one done, though, the second flew:

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I used worsted weight yarn and a 3.5 mm (US 4) needle. I cast on 40 stitches but, as demonstrated, your mileage may vary. I wrote down notes about what exactly I did on my project page. The yarn is Fading Tardis by June Pryce Fiber Arts. I think they turned out pretty nicely, hopefully they keep his ankles nice and toasty.

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I also managed to put a little dent in my New Year’s Eve socks–but I’m in no rush on these pretties:

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Since I can’t seem to put the socks down, I’ve finished the New Year’s day socks. I just couldn’t seem to stop. I did think about stopping when I started the heel only to discover I had dropped a stitch right after the cuff and had to rip out the whole leg. I almost put them away. But I powered through and now I’ve got my first pair of the year done!

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So pretty. This pink and green with speckles is killer. The yarn is also my first mohair sock yarn and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Looking forward to seeing how these wear. The yarn is Pistachio Rose Frosting by Nox Yarn on her Flora Sock base.

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In other news, I don’t think I’ve really talked about it here but I joined the Knitterly Things Rainbow of the Month club last year. So each month, I received a super fun skein of rainbow, self-striping sock yarn. I haven’t knit any of them, but I think now might be the time. Once I got the final installment, I lined them all up to take a picture of them together:

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Oh my goodness. I was, admittedly, a little skeptical of how varied and interesting 12 skeins of rainbow stripes could be–but boy did Julia prove me wrong. They are all so different and beautiful. Seeing them all lined up got me thinking… what if I knit them up over the course of this year? I don’t know if I can really keep up 2 pairs of socks a month, but I can certainly try, right? I think I’ll cast on January tonight:

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This is “True Colors” and I think it’s a great way to kick off! If you’re curious, I got the club on the sparkle base. Can you even imagine 12 pairs of sparkly rainbow socks all in a row? I cannot. By the way, sign ups for 2018 are still going on. It’s definitely a lot of fun.

I’ll probably pick up something other than socks at some point soon. Probably. Maybe after I finish the cuff of the rainbow pair. Maybe.


Happy making!

Saturday.

I had a nice day today. I’m on a work trip to Denver, Colorado and while I had some work to do today, I also had a bit of time to myself.

I am terrible at adjusting to a different time zone, but sometimes that isn’t so bad. I woke up early this morning, went downstairs for some coffee. I came back to my room and watched the sky grow lighter while I sipped coffee and knit on my sock.

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I knit until I had turned the heel and picked up the gusset stitches.

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After the sock heel, I felt like getting out a bit. One of the first things I do when I find out I have a work trip on the horizon is research local yarn shops and figure out if I’ll have time to visit them. As luck would have it, there is an amazing shop not to far from my hotel and I had the time to stop by. Today was nice and chilly so I got all bundled up and headed to Fancy Tiger Crafts.

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If you are ever in Denver, I highly recommend this shop. It’s like a wonderland.

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I only managed to get pictures of the yarn, but the opposite wall is filled with equally beautiful fabric and patterns. They had the cutest knit caterpillars:

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And even a whole giant stack of swatches of the yarns they carry:

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That pile makes me so happy. I could have spent a fortune at this shop. They had absolutely everything you could want. I settled on just a few things:

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I picked up two remnants of fabric. The green is chambray and the brown is a chambray-hemp blend. They are destined for a bit of secret make, more on that later. I purchased a set of Tulip Milliner’s needles. I’ve heard great things about those needles and since quilt binding is one of my favorite parts of quilting, I thought I could treat myself to nice needles. The chalk line pen came recommended from one of the staff members at the shop, I hope it helps in my pattern tracing–I’ve been struggling with that.

Now the yarn, oh the yarn. It took me ages to make a decision. I was looking for a couple of skeins of sport or DK weight, or maybe a pretty skein for a hat or something. I finally settled on two gorgeous skeins of Titus by baa ram ewe. I’ve never seen it in person before, but boy is it lovely. It’s a blend of 50% Wensleydale Longwool, 20% Bluefaced Leicester, and 30% UK Alpaca. The colorway is Bramley Baths. The color is a gorgeous watery, murky mint.

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I purchased this yarn to knit Canopy by Melody Hoffman. I’ve had my eye on that pattern for a while, but it’s hard to find the right blend of soft and rustic yarn that I had in mind for it. This fits the bill beautifully.

After I came back from my little shopping jaunt, I had a bit of time before work. I settled in for a bit of a knit and managed to finish the secret make that I brought with me.

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After I finished that project, it was time to head to the convention center. I didn’t take any pictures, but my booth is set up and ready for tomorrow. When I got back, I did take some fun shawl selfies, rocking my Whispering Pines.

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Now that the day is done, I’ve been curled up on the bed, knitting the gusset of my sock.

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It’s all done now, so I feel good about finishing it soon. I really want to cast on my Christmas socks. It would be so fun to finish two projects and cast on the other two while on my trip. I won’t have near the free time the next few days, though. It will be busy busy once the conference gets underway. I’ll definitely enjoy some knitting in the evenings though.

All in all, I’ve had a lovely Saturday.


YoM day 320-322: Sock knitting and secrets


Happy making!

Nothing to see here.

I am heading out today for a work trip. I’ll be gone until Tuesday–if you’re keeping score, that’s two days before Thanksgiving– and then we’ll leave Wednesday morning to go see family for the holiday.

So in the face of a six-day work trip followed by a five-day family road-trip, what did I do last night? Well, to be honest, a fair bit of laundry. But I also managed to stay up far too late making this:

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Gah, I just adore it. Let’s look at those animals a bit closer:

They are so cute. I can’t even stand it. Mom got me these two fat quarters when we went fabric shopping for my birthday. I had planned on making an autumny/wintery/holiday bag with them and I finally got around to it.

I used a kind of mash-up of Erica of Confessions of a Homeschooler‘s two project bag tutorials: the Squishy Project Bag and the Drawstring Bag. I resized it a bit, to make it more of a sock sized bag. I wish I had written down the dimensions, it’s perfect! But at 1:30 a.m. that would have been a stretch. A single skein fits perfectly:

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That yarn, by the way, is my future Christmas socks. It’s wound up and ready to go to Denver, just in case I finish the other sock I’m taking. The yarn is a one of a kind colorway from Baernewolle. She calls these colorways One Of a Baer.

I love that yarn more and more every time I look at it. But back to the bag. I think this is my favorite project bag I’ve made so far. I just love the style and fabric and size. I can’t wait to make more!

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In other news of very important work trip preparations, I cast on a second sock.. I finished the first last weekend and added this sweet little brown toe:

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Wee Chicakadee Woolery, main color: Lost Coast, contrast: Golden Oak

I always try to cast on the next sock and get through the ribbing right after finishing a sock. It helps me stay motivated since the ribbing is my least favorite part. Last night before bag fever struck me, I got fairly well down the leg.

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My little bag collection is all ready to be packed. I’m taking four projects on this trip. Two of them aren’t cast on yet, and I’d love to finish the two WIPs I’m taking while I’m gone. I’m getting a bit of a thrill out of productivity these days. Well, creative productivity. I don’t find much thrilling about all that laundry.


YoM day 314-318: Socks and secrets

YoM day 319: Sock knitting and sewing


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!