Happy, uh, Christmas?

It is the new year and that means new projects, new ideas, and the same old me. Turning over the calendar always gets ideas sparking for me. Part of that is the general sense of new and fresh that surrounds the start of a new year. The other part is returning from our holiday trip. I don’t typically knit much and it’s usually socks, so the last few years I’ve been dying to start something new and big once I get home.

This year, I had my mind on holiday projects. Every year, I want to make something a bit Christmas-y but by the time my mind heads that way, it’s December and I default to socks. Now, don’t get me wrong, this has resulted in some awfully pretty pairs of Christmas socks. Did I mention I finished my latest pair?

This is CindyLou by Junkyarn. I love these. My dad called me CindyLou when I was little and this color just gives me the warm fuzzies. I cast these on as a bit of a holiday knit and finished them up this week. Anyway, pretty, speckly socks aside, I’d like to make more holiday makes. I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to do much serious holiday crafting in December, so why not spread the love around?

That’s right, this year, I’m making Christmas all year long! Christmas knitting, Christmas sewing, Christmas quilting, maybe even some general Christmas crafting?!? I’ve been thinking about this for a while now, so I was able to hit up some holiday sales and bump up my Christmas stash in general. I’ve amassed some fabric and yarn for this endeavor:

On the list is a quilt, a tree skirt, socks, a holiday sweater (I’m looking at you, Julgran), mini quilts, scrappy little items, and maybe even a holiday outfit! I’m going to try to finish one Christmas item per month. Slow and steady with time to make other things throughout the year.

In classic style, I just couldn’t wait to get started. My first official start of 2020 is a Christmas quilt! Who cares if it’s January? I’m hoping to knock out this big old beast early so it can get quilted and finished. I’ve started the Happy Christmas Quilt by Holly Lesué of Maker Valley. I had a kit for it from Maker Valley and so I thought I’d get started cutting it out last night. It took no time!

Since that was so fast, I thought I’d go ahead and do a wee bit of sewing. You know, just to start. Before I knew it, I had all the green HSTs sewn and the presents and star done!

Sorry for the horrid lighting, but I was pretty excited at midnight last night. I can’t wait to get some more done on this fun quilt. I think this is a pretty good start to a year of Christmas making.

I just love the thought of pulling out handmade holiday items year after year, but they have to get made sometime. 2020 is the year for me: a whole year of Christmas.


Happy {holiday} making!

The final score: WIP Wipeout 2019

Way back in June, I took a long hard look at all of my works in progress. I pulled them all out, posted them on the blog, and challenged myself to finish them off by the end of the year. Well, friends, the end of the year is here. How’d I do?

Completely, totally, all finished:

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Jelly Roll Twist Quilt

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Dresden Mini #1

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Layer Cake Pop Quilt

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Lumen

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Quilted Notions Pouch

Overdyed Mathilde

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Dresden Mini #2

4-Patch Hearts Mini Quilt

Rose City Rollers

Ugly Christmas Sweater Socks

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No Frills Sweater

Circular Sock Machine Socks #2

Circular Sock Machine Socks #3

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Divi Divi Shawlette – after a coffee incident on a plane, this baby got frogged

Kinda finished:  (Off my mental list, but something still needs to be done with them in the physical world, i.e. these need to be frogged)

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Dammejaka Lopa – The verdict is in, we’re going to frog this one. It’s way too big for me and I even sent it to a knitty friend and it wasn’t right for her either. I don’t know if I’ll knit the same thing with the same colors, but I do need to reclaim the yarn.

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Circular Sock Machine Socks #4 – The orange/yellow/black/green tube is very, very wonky. Not sure what happened, but I’m going to try to reclaim the yarn.

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Swirl Dress – This version is just going to have to be scrapped. I’m going to toile the bodice but haven’t. I had thought I could salvage this version, but I don’t think that will work. The fabric can be used for something else, but probably not just to redo this dress.

Axed projects – yep, I still didn’t frog this yarn. One day, probably.

Unfinished, not touched, not no how, not no way:

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Julgran – To be quite honest, I have not been taking great care of myself and the result of that is a definite lack of enthusiasm for knitting a fitted sweater.

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Beauty School Top – ditto to the Julgran. The yarn is frogged and ready to go, but I haven’t cast it back on for the same reason.


Ok, so all in total, thats 14 out of 20 finished. If I were in school, I’d be passing, but barely. Add in the “not frogged” items and that get’s me up to a respectable 18 of 20. Not too shabby. I also started 16 new projects and finished 9 of them. That makes my net progress for the second half of the year 27/36 = 75%. Not too shabby.

I listened to a podcast recently about embracing your WIPs as creative opportunities. One thing I learned over the course of this challenge is that starting something new can be daunting. I don’t love the mental clutter of having tons of stuff hanging around, but it’s also fun to be able to pick among things to work on. As they say, balance is key.

With that, we’ll wrap up the year. Happy New Year’s Eve to you all!  I can’t wait to see what creativity blossoms in 2020.


Happy making!

Hawksbill.

One of the first booths we stopped in at the Shennendoah Valley Fiber Festival was Cozy Color Works. I had never heard of this dyer, but they had the softest yarn and some of the best samples. I haven’t paid too much attention to samples before, but I found them inspiring this go round.

My friend and I were both taken in by a sweet and simple t-shirt sample. In a DK weight it seemed like a great wardrobe staple. After we walked around the whole festival, I still had that t-shirt on my mind.

I cast on a week later and knit this little beauty up in a bit over two weeks. This is Hawksbill by Christina Danaee. Overall, I’m satisfied with the pattern but I made several modifications. To be honest, looking at the pattern pictures I don’t think I would have been drawn to the it without seeing that sample. I think it’s the pocket that pust me off, but patch pockets are easily omitted.

I reversed the decreases and increases as they were written in the pattern. I prefer decreases to “lean in” and increases to “lean out” so I went with that. I also made significant modifcations to the bottom. I really thougth I would like the curved hem, but once I knit the back panel I realized I was wrong. Just wasn’t the look I was going for over my rear. I ripped back and did about a quarter of the called for short rows and I’m much happier with the length and fit now.

The yarn is beautiful. This is Cozy Color Works Merino DK in the Rag Doll colorway. It’s a creamy natural color with navy speckles and a hint of a purple-y burgundy. It reminds me of blueberry muffin mix, when the blueberries break as you stir and you get subtle smudges of purple. I am excited to add this to my wardrobe, it pretty much goes with every handknit shawl I own.

I am thrilled to have a simple, go-with-everything, handknit t-shirt – just like I envisioned thanks to that sample knit!


Happy making!

After the thrill is gone.

Sometimes it feels so good to really get so into a knit that you can’t think about anything else. You just want to get back to it, just one more row, one more repeat. That’s how I felt about Winter Honey. I just could not stop knitting it.

And once I started really obsessively working on this shawl, in no time it was finished. This is Winter Honey by Andrea Mowry. I knit it in the called-for yarn, Brooklyn Tweed Shelter, in the Hayloft colorway.

Now, I like to finish things. Really, I do. I love the feeling of binding off those last few stitches, weaving in the ends, pulling it off the blocking mats. But to be honest, I was a little sad when this one came to an end.

The thought of an all over (seriously) cabled shawl was a bit daunting, but the rhythm of this shawl was so enjoyable. This may be my favorite process knit to date.  That’s to say nothing about how much I love this big squishy, cozy, piece. It feels like a sheepy hug.

Once I finished this shawl, I dove right in to two new projects. One, Hawksbill, I thought was going to get me back in that must-knit groove. I cast it on and got the sleeves separated last weekend and then… well, I just kind of petered out. I’ve knit on it a bit here and there, but really it’s a DK weight sweater and should be going pretty quick.

Don’t get me wrong, I really like this yarn–Cozy Color Works merino DK in Rag Doll–and I think it’s going to be a lovely addition to my wardrobe. It’s just not calling to me. With Hawksbill firmly on the needles, I cast on something small, thinking I needed a bit of texture in my life.

This is Gully by Jared Flood. It’s a brioche cowl, knit flat and then seemed. I’ll be honest, the texture of the brioche and the yarn–Brooklyn Tweed Vale in the Cobbler colorway- is heaven. It really is beautiful. But laceweight brioche does not exactly fly off the needles. I also found a mistake last night, and being a fairly novice brioche knitter, I just ripped back to before the mistake. So there’s that.

I feel like I’m just in a weird place right now. I think I would be fine if I hadn’t just come off of such a fantastic process knit. It makes other things seem a bit dull in comparison. Maybe I’ll start something new to continue this cast-on party I seem to have started. I’ve still got holiday makes on the brain, so that’s another creative avenue I can try.

In the meantime, I’ll just bask in the afterglow of my new shawl. Maybe I should knit another one…


Happy making!

Just a few things.

I don’t feel well, but I’m knitting and making and sharing. So here we go for a very brief share. Happy fall and fall alergies, y’all!

On Saturday, I cast on a new hat for Kevin. I am trying to get into the tradition of making Kevin a hat every fall, so here’s this year’s entry. He picked the pattern and the yarn.

On Saturday night and Sunday morning, I appliquéd the 3rd and 4th (bottom two) blocks for my Granny’s Garden Quilt. I really love the way these are coming out. Applique is pretty fun, but I may need to take a look at my thimble situation.

It really was no time until I finished Kevin’s hat. This is the Chapelfield Hat by Kari-Helene Rane, knit up in Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in the Snowbound colorway. I knit the medium size to the pattern exactly. Once it was finished, ends woven in and all, and Kevin tried it on and quietly asked how much trouble it would be to make it just a few rows longer.

Ripping back finished work is never something I relish, but as I told Kevin–my goal is that he wear the hat. If it doesn’t cover his ears like he likes, he won’t wear it, and that’s no fun. So I ripped out back about a fourth of the hat and knit one extra repeat in the first crown shaping section. This added soemthing like a half inch, which was perfect.

And last, but certainly not least, once I was on the Shelter train I didn’t really feel like getting off. I love this yarn. I’ve been wanting to knit a Winter Honey shawl for several years but had just kind of been collecting the yarn for a while. I finally procured my final skein and couldn’t wait another minute. Almost. I decided to swatch for the shawl because I was afraid of the cables making the shawl to tight and small, or of going the other way and having an overly loose fabric. So I swatched.

Well, that was less brief than expected. A wee bit of crafty recap for this Wednesday night and I am back to my new shawl cast on.


Happy making!

Beeswax Hat.

Many moons ago, I saw this hat on The Fat Squirrel podcast. I loved it then and have thought about knitting it many times. I purchased this skein of yarn to try out the color, really thinking it wouldn’t work on me even though I like it.

Looking at the pattern and the yarn, they really seemed to be right for each other, so after I finished my sweater, I thought I’d cast it on. This yarn is Quince and Co. Chickadee in Honey – one of their iconic colorways. I thought, given my recent gold/green/mustard obsession, that I would like it but I didn’t expect to love it like I do.

The pattern is Beeswax Hat by Amy van de Laar. I am obsessed with these cables and this pattern. The way the ribbing works up into the main pattern? Genious. Those decreases? Perfection! The pattern is written for DK and Chickadee is a sport weight, but I didn’t really change anything and it worked up fine. I had 5g of yarn left from one skein.

Yeah, I love this hat.


Happy making!

No Frills Sweater.

It is finished and fuzzy and fantastic! 

That’s right, my No Frills Sweater is all done. This is the coziest, softest, and warmest thing I own. I can’t wait to wear it this fall and winter.

The pattern is No Frills Sweater by Petite Knit. It is knit holding one strand of fingering double with one strand of mohair. I used Lichen and Lace  Marsh Mohair in Natural and Hue Loco Spun Sock (her merino/cashmere blend) in Pop Sugar. Between the cashmere and the mohair, let me tell you – this sweater is soft.

I actually got the Hue Loco yarn in a mystery bag… She posted mystery sweater quantities one day and I decided to take a chance. It was three skeins of the same color for a great deal. I indicated in my order that I like pastel pink and mint. I could not have been happier when I opened the package, this color is amazing!

I knit everything to pattern, no modifications. I got gauge by going down a needle size and knit the size small. I’m very pleased with the length in both the body and the sleeves. I have to say that holding the two yarns double slowed me down a bit as you had to be paying attention so as not to drop the mohair strand. But the effect is definitely worth it in the end!

I alternated skeins throughout the body, using the helical method. Check out the tutorial here if you haven’t seen this method before, it’s a bit of a miracle. I’ve never really minded alternating skeins, but this really made alternating in the round so much easier and seamless looking.

This is one more project off my WIP to-do list. I am so glad I picked up again, it really didn’t take much time to finish up the body and knit the sleeves. I was hoping to get a cozy, handknit sweatshirt effect with this sweater and I think I landed sqarely in sweatshirt territory.


Happy making!