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:

IMG_20161216_103211

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:

img_20171211_090818.jpg

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.

IMG_20171211_090600.jpg

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

IMG_20171210_133232_799.jpg

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

IMG_20171211_091020.jpg

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:

IMG_20171213_082710.jpg

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.

IMG_20171213_082812.jpg

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!

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.

IMG_20171118_070306.jpg

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

img_20171118_081246.jpg

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.

IMG_20171118_114102.jpg

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

IMG_20171118_105904.jpg

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:

img_20171118_105539.jpg

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

IMG_20171118_110417.jpg

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:

IMG_20171118_120311.jpg

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.

IMG_20171118_120326.jpg

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.

IMG_20171118_091235.jpg

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.

IMG_20171118_120514.jpg

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

IMG_20171118_191720.jpg

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!

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.

unravelanelephant-1510188272868.jpg

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.

IMG_20171113_072812.jpg

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.

IMG_20171113_195543.jpg

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.

IMG_20171113_224844.jpg

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

IMG_20171113_224832.jpg

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

IMG_20171116_090501.jpg

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.

IMG_20171116_090513.jpg

Bonus little brother picture from back in 2015:

file0_medium2

Happy making (and fixing)!

Better than flowers.

Friday night was date night. I got home and met Kevin before heading back out for supper. As we were heading out, I noticed a big box had arrived. Kevin asked me to bring it in and open it for him while he put his shoes on. I was curious and a bit confused but opened it up and…

IMG_20171030_082151.jpg

I’ve been going on and on about wanting a serger and he surprised me with one! I still can’t believe it. Besides making me feel ridiculously spoiled, this was so very sweet of Kevin to have thought of me and wanted to do something so nice for me. So sweet. I haven’t had the chance to play with it yet, but I’m planning on firing it up this week.

We had a lovely date night followed by a lazy weekend. I finished two secret making projects and then set my sites on an ongoing WiP: Kevin’s socks. The Saturday night football game was really stressful and that helped me finish the second of the sock tubes.

IMG_20171029_101955_362.jpg

After that, it only took me about the first half of Sunday night football to cut in the heels.

img_20171030_074155.jpg

The yarn is The Lemonade Shop Mighty Sock in Tang. I knit them toe up on 2.25 mm (US 1) needles. They were a bit of a trial and error process. I tried a toe up heel flap and gusset, but really really hated doing it, so I decided on my tried-and-true cut in heel. I’ve decided–again–that I hate knitting toe up socks, so now that I know a needle size and stitch count that works, I’ll knit the next pair top down. All the nitty gritty details are on my Ravelry project page.  These are the first pair of socks I’ve knit for Kevin and I’m happy to report they fit and he loves them.

 

img_20171030_083851.jpg

img_20171030_083915.jpg

He says they feel great and are really warm, which makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.

IMG_20171030_083839.jpg

I love this guy.


YoM day 299-300: Shawl knitting

YoM day 301-302: Sock knitting and secrets


Happy making!

Catching up.

Visiting home often means catching up on things. Always it’s catching up with loved ones–updates on life, work, family, and news great and small. This year, I’ve also been playing catch up on birthdays. Partly I can’t get my act together to finish things in time to mail them and partly I like to give gifts in person. That might be selfish, but it’s the truth.

On our visit home for Judge and Crystal’s anniversary party, I was able to see sweet Madelyn for the first time since her birthday. I got to hang out with her a teensy bit and chat, and finally gift her a mini I made, mostly just because I thought she would enjoy it.

The design just struck me as something she would find sweet. As I got the pieces laid out, I was really struck at how clever the design is. The pattern is the Patchwork Apple Mini Quilt by Sassafras Lane Designs. It’s a free pattern and I highly recommend it.

IMG_20170926_205427

I sewed one leaf wrong, but luckily fixed the other one. I think I only had to unpick one row and resew it — that’s a lot of teeny pieces and seams!

IMG_20170929_130548

I just love the scrappy, patchworky look of those apples. And the apple core slays me! So cute. I added a yellowy-mustdardy backing because that’s Madelyn’s favorite color and some soft yellow polka dotted binding. I think the finished product is pretty stinkin’ precious. Madelyn is also pretty stinkin’ precious, so it works.

I did do one new thing on this little guy. I added corner pockets to the back to make it easier to hang. This one fits a ruler pretty nicely, so hopefully that works well for Madelyn.

IMG_20171006_105509.jpg

IMG_20171006_105430.jpg

It was great to see Madelyn on Sunday and get to catch up with her, even if it was just for a little while. I always love talking with her. Happy birthday, Madelyn!


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:

30737

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.

IMG_20170708_185759

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.

IMG_20170707_170255

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.

IMG_20170826_141546.jpg

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.

IMG_20170922_172739

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.

IMG_20170829_082028_448

IMG_20170903_100045

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!

IMG_20170826_192624_643

img_20170907_174556.jpg

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.

IMG_20170904_130520_743

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.

IMG_20170906_201905_441

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…

IMG_20170903_100258

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:

screen-shot-2017-08-07-at-4-35-06-pm.png

Darwin

Her woodland creatures inspired me to knit one for her for her birthday, his name is Seamus.

IMG_20170803_180459

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:

IMG_20170803_180646

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.

IMG_20170803_180539

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.

IMG_20160729_184026

Happy birthday to my mom, the maker and the shishi.


YoM day 220: Sock knitting!


Happy making!

Birthday.

This year’s birthday has come and gone, but I’m still riding pretty high on the warm and fuzzies that it brought.

For the actual day of my birthday, Kevin and I both took the day off from work. I woke up early and had some knitting time with my coffee, my favorite way to start my day. Kevin gifted me a new chef’s knife and paring knife. I was incredibly surprised and touched by how thoughtful the knives were. He took me out to a special lunch and then gave me the quiet time to take a little birthday nap. That night, we ordered pizza and I knit and knit to my heart’s content.

 

All in all it was the perfect birthday. Lots of well wishes from friends and family, plus calls from both brothers and my mom. It really felt special and was so relaxed and just plain nice.

IMG_20170802_185340_406

I did not finish the birthday socks on my birthday. I knit them quite a ways, though, and got up early the next morning and finished them.

IMG_20170803_152626_277

The yarn is from Wee Chickadee Woolery and is called Sprinkles on Top. I won the skein in a giveaway on Andi’s blog, My Sister’s Knitter. The soft blue and pink background with violet and hot pink and orange and neon green speckles just calls to me. This yarn is speckled to perfection. I loved knitting these socks! They are pair number 11 for the year.

That next day we spent mostly in preparation for our Giant Family Road Trip. I did manage pick out the yarn for my second pair of birthday socks and get it wound up for the trip, an essential in the packing process.

IMG_20170722_165302

Sprinkle, Peepaloo Fields

I’ll say it again, it was a great day. I took some time to think about the turning of my own year to the next. At the beginning of 2017, I decided to start this blog and commit to a year of making. For my birthday, it felt like another beginning, another changing of the guard, my own year melding into the next. What do I want this year to look like? I don’t have a hard and fast answer, like I did at New Year’s. But I have been thinking about some changes that I’d like to make. Maybe they will surface in more clarity later, but right now things are just ruminating around. Do you think about things like that around your birthday? This is kind of a first for me.

Anyway, now we’re on vacation! More on that later–spoilers, it’s a lot of sock knitting.


YoM day 214-218: Birthday sock knitting.


Happy making!

Pineapple!

My friend Holly loves pineapples. Like, she really loves pineapples. So when her birthday was rolling around, I knew exactly what to do. I pulled and cut out some scraps…

img_20170729_151607.jpg

I arranged them in that ever so cute shape…

IMG_20170729_161610

And then I sewed it up!

img_20170729_170917.jpg

At this point, I was in love with it. And then I got to looking closer. Thinking, something seems off. After a bit of thought and comparison with the progress pics, I realized I sewed the second row upside down. I was so upset! Once my blood pressure calmed down, I broke out the seam ripper and pulled off the borders and the top two rows and fixed them. Much better.

IMG_20170729_191409

I quilted up the little cutie and bound it in no time. The pattern is from Sassafras Lane Designs. The mini finished at about 8.5″ x 11″ and is pretty darned cute, if I do say so.

IMG_20170730_161212

 

IMG_20170730_161217

img_20170730_161225.jpg

The hardest part of this quilt was waiting to gift it to Holly. I got to gift it to her today and I’m pretty sure she liked it a lot. This is one of my secret projects I’ve been working on, so it’s fun to finally get to share it, too!


YoM day 212-213: Birthday sock knitting – spoiler, I haven’t finished them


Happy making!