Birthday socks and other pretties.

As must happen every year, my birthday has passed. It was a good one though, and I’ve got some lovely yarny goodness to show for it.

First up, I finished my birthday socks last night.

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This yarn is Tilting Planet Apollo Sock–an amaszingly squishy 75/25 base–in the Cosmic Cake colorway. These are my eighth pair in my light box of socks, and my fifteenth box o sox pair overall. I don’t have very much more to say about them, but they’re beautiful so let’s look at them a bit.

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Cosi’s toes are cuter, but the socks don’t fit on him. In other birthday news, I received a few wooly gifts in the mail this week. One from Kevin and one from me. The gift I gave myself was a complete surprise, I had ordered the Hey Sister Yarn Co. August club colorways. I had no idea what would be arriving in the mail, other than one “color” and one “neutral” club colorway. Boy, was I pleasantly thrilled to open up these pretties!

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The neutral club color (left) is Taupe Frost and the color club color (right) is Lucid. They are both so pretty and I love how well they go together. I see a two color shawl in my future. As for what Kevin treated me to… he really treated me to a birthday afternoon of yarn shopping from the shop of my choice. I chose Quince & Co. and I’m glad I did.

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I’m in love with this color palette! In this mix are a hat, cowl, mittens, and a cardigan! Ever since I knit my Windswept, I’ve been itching to make a sweater out of Chickadee, Quince’s sport base. Well, Kevin helped me choose the color and it’s happening! I wound up a skein as soon as I got off work and got right to swatching.

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I’m planning to knit Empire, a cardigan by Gudren Johnston. I’m trying to resist the urge to cast it on tonight. Luckily, my Sunset Highway is doing a pretty good job of keeping me occupied. I’m nearing the end of the first contrast color.

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That’s it for me, this year’s birthday is tucked away with those pretty pink socks. I’ll bring it out next year and we’ll see how things look with another year on them.

Happy making!

The Bear and the ShiShi: a birthday gift.

About a year ago, I had an idea. For the sarcastic among you, yes, I’ve had ideas before and since, but today we’re talking about this one in particular. The idea centered around the cute woodland animals that my mom knits:

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Darwin the Bear

I thought that the story of how they came to live with my mom would make a cute children’s book. The idea sort of came and was dismissed–I don’t write children’s stories–but it stuck with me for a while. I daydreamed about it, ruminated about it, and finally gave it enough traction to wonder what would happen if I did write this story. What would I do with it? I finally settled on the thought that I could write it for mom…

Last summer when we visited my family, I–very nervously–posed the idea to my sister-in-law, Crystal. Crystal is an amazing and very talented artist (links to her work at the end of the post) and I was hopeful that she would be interested in collaborating with me. Crystal was excited about the idea, so I went home and wrote my story. I sent it off–again, very nervously–to Crystal and she got to illustrating. We worked–she drew, painted, scanned, I edited and edited and edited–and finally got the book printed up in book form.

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The story follows Darwin the Bear as he takes a journey to find himself and become a real bear. Darwin travels through many lands, from Connetet and Merryland, all the way to Nor Caroline. Along the way, he meets people who try to help him and they eventually tell him to find the ShiShi.

Eventually Darwin makes his way to the ShiShi, and she teaches him that all he needs is love and that he is just right the way he is.

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A little bit of behind the scenes: The people that Darwin the Bear meets are my family: Noah and Madelyn in Connecticut; Kevin, the kids, and me in Maryland; Judge and Crystal in North Carolina. The ShiShi is, of course, my mom.

ShiShi’s birthday was last week so Joshua and I drove down to celebrate. We took the book and Crystal and I gifted it to her, Saturday night.

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I’m happy to report that she was very suprised and loved the book. This has been such a magical experience, collaborating with Crystal on such a special gift. I’m lucky to have a mom that is so inspiring.

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The next morning, I went and picked mom up for a little birthday breakfast (which turned into birthday lunch) and some much needed mother-daughter time.

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It was a happy trip, a happy birthday, and I think we left her a happy ShiShi.

Happy making!


I’d like to take a moment to credit the amazing work of Crystal Hurt. Beyond being an amazing sister-in-law and friend, she is a talented artist. She has been comissioned to create artwork for albulm covers and other fun works. She focuses on the natural beauty of our home, the Blue Ridge Mountains. You can see more of her work on her instagram, @artbycrystalhurt, or her website, crystalhurt.com.


 

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}!

Sharing is caring.

About a month ago, I signed up for the most recent round of Fibreshare. If you are unfamiliar, it’s an international swap for fiber-y crafters. Weaving, spinning, crocheting, and you guessed it… knitting. Sign ups opened up back in May after a particularly stressful week and I decided I could use a little extra joy in my life.

Once we received our partner details, I was off to the races. My partner is a fan of bright colors, stripey sock knitting, and chocolate. A woman after my own heart, in many ways. I had two skeins of yarn in my stash that seemed to fit the bill perfectly, and then I started scouring the internet for the perfect extras. In the end, I also wound up asking Kemper of Junkyarn to help me pick out a skein of her yarn for my partner. She picked the brightly speckled “Leslie” colorway. Perfect.

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After finding the yarn, the extras, the chocolate, the final touch was sewing up a special project bag. The Weebrawbag by Laura Zuckerkuss seemed the perfect thing for a fellow sock knitter. Big enough for a sock project but small enough to take anywhere, it even has pockets for notions! The hardest part was finding fabric. Once I saw this socks on a clothesline pattern, though, I knew.  I also knew that I wanted one too, and if I didn’t make them in tandem, I’d never get around to it. And so, I made two.

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Arne’t they adorable? They are pretty tiny, so I gave my partner’s bag a test run with a skein of yarn:

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Plenty of room! I really enjoyed this project and the finished object is just lovely. The only modification I made was to use fusible fleece instead of the interfacing called for–solely because I purchased the wrong interfacing. If I made this again, I might make the channels wider, they’re a bit tight. Once the bag was complete, I assembled the package.

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I wrapped everything up–tied with yarn, of course–and shipped it out. I’m pleased to report that my partner was happy. All in all, it was incredibly fun to put together a package for another knitter. I don’t really get to put together crafty gifts for others often, and I really enjoyed it.

All in all, I had so much fun putting the package together–including the cute bags. And I get to keep one!

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Happy making!

Super Secret Socks.

I’ve been knitting a pair of socks under top secret conditions for a month. Why the spy-level stealth? One simple reason. They were for Kevin.

Kevin and I hang out most of the time. We’re both introverted and like to do our own thing a good bit of the time, but we like to do it near each other. And so, he generally sees everything I knit at some point. Surprising him with a hand knit was going to be a challenge. But I wanted to surprise him with a new pair of socks.

I picked out the yarn at Maryland Sheep and Wool, a lovely and sturdy BFL sock yarn from Marigold Jen. The colorway is called Sherlock.

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In order to knit them in secret, I knit these socks only before 8:30 a.m. each day. Kevin sleeps a bit later than I do usually, so I just used that time to my advantage. I wound up the yarn and cast them on the day after the festival. I decided on a Blueberry Waffle sock, to make them extra cozy. The going was slow, but I made progress over the mornings. I had fun taking a picture every day as I worked on them:

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I finished them on Sunday and gave them to him tonight for his birthday. They fit.

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He was really surprised that I could knit anything without him knowing. Mission accomplished!

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Happy Birthday, Kevin!

Happy {secret} making, everyone else!

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!