In which gifts were given.

Well, here we are at the end of the year. Once again, I have gone a bit dark on the internet (this year was a bit of a blackout, to be honest) and just busying myself like a wee elf with gift making.

This year was all about the socks. I gifted a personal high 5 pairs of socks this year! I righteously finished the first pair back in May and tucked them away for my [not quite yet at that point] sister-in-law, Madelyn.

The main, stripy yarn is West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 Ply in Wood Pigeon and the contrast is the same yarn in the Poppy Seed colorway. These were my first ever circular sock machine socks. Back in 2018, I traded someone yarn for circular sock machine services. I cut my tubes up and knit in heels, toes, and cuffs and voila! socks!

I other circular sock machine news, I made Kevin’s mom and my other sister-in-law each a pair. Kevin’s mom, Jackie’s are knit in Miss Babs Northumbria Fingering – a lovely 100% BFL base – in Zombie Prom. Kevin gifted the yarn to me years ago so I love the idea of making socks for his mom out of it.

Crystal’s socks are knit out of Into the Whirled Bukavu Sock, a longwool/nylon blend. They should be nice and hard wearing and I love the short color repeat rainbow effect. The colorway is Timey Wimey Wibbly Wobbly.

My brother Noah’s socks are in Patons Kroy FX in Clover. These socks are so stinkin’ squishy that I want a pair for myself. In general, I knit most gift socks (all three pairs above) the same stitch count and all as mine, I just adjust for foot length. My brothers both have pretty narrow feet and all so I go down a bit. These are knit at 52 stitches on a 2.5 mm needle, where I typically knit mine at 56.

Last, but certainly not least on the sock train, are my brother Judge’s socks. A few years ago, I stumble across some old yarn that used to be spun with possum fur. Knowing that Judge would get a kick out of the thought, I went on the hunt for this yarn. I finally found it on Ravelry destash and snapped up two balls. This is Naturally Waikiwi Prints, a New Zealnad made yarn with an interesting blend: 55% NZ Merino, 20% Nylon, 15% Alpaca, 10% Possum. The colorway is aptly called Greens.

Let’s count the socks in the picture above. How many do you see? If you said four, you’d be right. That’s right my friends, this pair of socks was knit twice. I cast these on in August, and finished in October. I kept telling myself that things were fine, that it would block out. Of course it didn’t. The socks I had knit were completely different sizes. I think the first sock got stress knit at a stranglehold gauge. Once I came to terms with this result, I frogged them and washed the yarn. The second try was much more successful and now my brother’s feet are warmed by possum socks. In case you’re curious, yes he thought this was hilarious.

The last, and I do mean very last, gift I made this year was a quilt for my mom. I finished sewing the binding the night before we left for our holiday trip. So late that I didn’t even get a picture of the thing. That turned out ok, mom agreed to help with the picture.

This is the Fat Quarter Flowers Quilt, a free pattern from the fat quarter shop. I used all Art Gallery prints and solids, the fabric is just so fine and crisp, it makes a lovely quilt.  The back is a gorgeous navy print with feathers all over. I think she likes it.

That was the extent of my holiday crafting this year. I’ve got big plans for holiday making next year in the non-gift department, but it’s always fun to gift a bit of cozy to my loves.


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!

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!

They just go together.

At the moment, my little brother and his fiance spend most of their year more than a few states apart. When I was thinking about holiday gifts this year, I thought about making a quilt for Noah and Madelyn. But who would get custody of the quilt? I, admittedly, flatter myself that this would be a tremendous problem for them.

Ok, then, what about two quilts? I came up with the thought of making them each a quilt. Browsing FQS late one night, I came across a new fabric line that just seemed like it would be a lovely fit for either of them. I started thinking about making them each a quilt out of the same fabric. That way they would each have a quilt, but when they live together the quilts will match.

I picked out two patterns that felt like they fit each of them. I resized each pattern just a bit, to better fit my idea of lap quilts. I like a lap quilt that is somewhere around as long and wide as I am tall.

These were both fun quilts to make. I don’t usually take many progress pictures of quilts, but here a few from along the way.

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All the cutting done!

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The layout

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On the long arm!

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I was so pleased, the other renter took a picture of me with it

After the quilting, it was just a bit of binding and we were done.

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I think this is the best binding I’ve ever made.

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This is Madelyn’s quilt, the Jolly Bar Jazz. It’s a free pattern by the Fat Quarter Shop. The pattern is supposed to be a 3×4 grid, I adjusted it to be 3×3.

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This one is Noah’s quilt, the Layer Cake Lattice. It’s another free pattern by the Fat Quarter Shop–how’d you guess? I added another column of blocks to fatten this one up a bit. The fabric line is Fragile by Zen Chic.

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I really love this pair of quilts. I’m really excited for Noah and Madelyn, their future, and all they have to look forward to. Much like these two quilts, they just go together.


Happy making!

Handmade Holiday

Happy holidays! I was a busy little bee over the last month or so, and now I can finally talk about what I’ve been up to!

I’ll try not to drone on and on, but you can always find more info about my knits on their respective project pages on Ravelry.

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My first holiday finish this year is a super squishy cowl for my mom. It’s the Fingering Brioche Bandana Cowl by Lavanya Patricella. I knit it out of two skeins of Barenwolle BAERfoot sock in the Pixie and Plum Tart colorways. I really love how it came out.

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Next up on the list is a shawl for my sweet sister-in-law, Crystal. The pattern is the Yowza Weigh It Shawl 3 by Susan B. Anderson. I knit this out of Miss Babs Yowza, in the Don’t Be Crabby colorway–the 2016 Maryland Sheep and Wool festival colorway. I’ve knit two of these for gifts so far and really have got to get around to making one for myself! It’s a great, simple and cozy shawl.

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After knitting a cozy hug for my mom, I really wanted to make something cozy for Kevin’s mom as well. Enter the Bandana Cowl by Purl Soho. I found a great chunky, ultra soft yarn in her colors and I was off. The yarn is Plymouth Yarn Baby Alpaca Grande Hand Dye in color 28. This cowl is so squishy!

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I started this pair of quilts for Noah and Madelyn first, but finished them a little late in the game. There are full details in a blog post all about these two. I love how they came out and now I’m itching to finish the three lap quilts of mine sitting in my craft room.

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The very last make of the season is a pair of socks for my brother, Judge. These are my very first colorwork–they certainly won’t be my last–and I think they came out pretty smashing. No pattern, just my regular sock recipe. The yarn is Patons Kroy in the Flax and Muslin colorways.

I’ve been settled into a lovely and lazy holiday vacation for quite a few days now. There has been great food, exchanging gifts, and best of all, lots of time for spending with family. We still have a few days to go and I’m happy to report that my Christmas vacation socks are humming right on, even in the snow.

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Happy making and happy holidays!

Making Christmas.

I usually don’t make anything for myself around the holidays. Last year I was very preoccupied with finishing up the quilt I made for Judge and Crystal:

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Gorgeous, huh? This time last year, I wasn’t finished with it.

This year, I was a wee bit more on my game. I was thinking that I didn’t do quite as much holiday making, but I don’t believe that is true. Either way, as of Sunday morning, all that I could do and had planned was done. So I settled in for a bit of selfish holiday making. First on the docket, I finished my Christmas socks:

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The yarn is a one of a kind colorway, One of a Baer: green and red by Baerenwolle. As always, this yarn is so squishy and lovely, I adore anything knit out of it.

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Once those were off the needles, I cast on for my Christmas Hat:

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I couldn’t stop knitting on it and by the time the Steelers had won, I was halfway through:

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When Monday rolled around, I finished the hat before the Dolphins finished the Pats. After a wash and block, the hat was dry this morning so I added a big floofy pom:

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Holy wow, I love this hat. It is definitely my favorite hat I’ve made. I can’t wait to make more. The pattern is Olive & Jack by Sarah Stevens. It’s a deliciously quick and easy all over cable that just can’t be beat. I did make one modification to make it more beanie style than slouchy, details on my project page. The yarn is another one of a kind skein, the colorway is Holiday Checklist by Tilting Planet. I won this skein of yarn, along with some other amazing goodies.

With all of that done, I was thinking about a new fun project to start for myself when I realized that the materials for a gift still haven’t arrived. I’ve decided to scrap that idea and repurpose those materials when they eventually make it to Maryland. And so, at about 10 p.m. on Monday night, December 11, I started another holiday making project. Fingers crossed that this one will get done in time. I’m not sure how I’m in emergency mode once again, but maybe that’s the nature of the beast?

Perhaps next year, I’ll start making gifts in January. Probably not. Maybe September? October? For now, I’m just enjoying these sweet little Christmas-y makes and the spirit of the season.

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The ornament was made by mom about 25 years ago. She made me a set of three in this style and they are some of my most treasured ornaments of all.  


YoM day 344-345: Sock and hat knitting and a new secret!


Happy making and happy holidays!

Finally fixed.

Way back in the dim, misty recesses of the past I knit a couple of pairs of mitts. These were knit for my sweet little brothers, in the hopes of keeping their hands warm through the winter months.

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Sources report that these mitts did just that. They were so warm and snuggly that some $%#$ mouse decided that the wool would make a perfect winter blanket.

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The horror! Luckily, I had plenty of yarn leftover. This pattern, by the way, is Roost Mitts by Melissa Stajda. It’s perfect for a quick and cozy pair. The yarn for both pairs of mitts is Ewe So Wooly Worsted by Tempting Ewe Yarns. This red is the Princess Bride colorway, and the blue is Tight Pants.

Now, in fairness, Judge–the owner of the red pair–asked me to repair these last Christmas. Sure, I said. It’ll take me a couple of hours, no problem, I said. And it did only take me a couple of hours. Monday night, November 13, 2017. Yep, it took me almost eleven months. But fix them I did.

I tackled the worst one first. I picked up stitches one row before the top ribbing and then cut the ribbing right off. I then unraveled back to the row I had picked up, attached new yarn and reknit the rest of the mitt.

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Both mitts needed a new bind off on the thumbs and that’s all the other mitt needed at the top, so I picked out the bind off and pulled back a row or two. Picked them back up with new yarn, knit a bit of rib and voila! All done.

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I picked out, cut off, and pulled back quite a lot of yarn.

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But they’re all finished now, with a fresh bath and everything.

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I’m looking forward to taking these to Judge next week for Thanksgiving. I hope it will be a pleasant surprise now that it’s turning cold again.

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Bonus little brother picture from back in 2015:

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Happy making (and fixing)!