A small subset.

As you may have seen, I’ve been casting on a lot of new things. I don’t tend to work on that many of them actively, so I’ve been making progress on just a few.

First up, I finished my Selbu Mittens. I knit them in just over a week, but I was by no means committed that whole time. I think they could be a solid weekend knit, they fly! They are a fun, fast knit, even for a colorwork newbie like me.

img_20180617_091714

img_20180617_084456.jpg

img_20180617_084444.jpg

These are theΒ Selbu Mittens, by Skeindeer Knits, in Quince & Co. Chickadee in the Egret (natural) and Storm (grey) colorways. They are my fifth finished object in my 2018 make nine. I have several notes about the project:

  • The pattern is written for a DK weight yarn and Chickadee is sport, but she says to adjust the size by adjusting the gauge. Since I’m a loose knitter and my yarn was more fine, I went ahead and went down a couple of needle sizes. My gauge wound up being 7 stitches and 7 rows per inch. It’s not exactly perfectly even all the time, but close.
  • The fit turned out pretty good. I was worried they would block out to be too big, but they didn’t. Blocking mostly just made them look really nice.
  • After reading some recommendations, I knit them on 9″ circulars until the decreases made me switch to magic loop. That worked amazingly!
  • Chickadee made for a great first colorwork yarn – it’s so springy and soft, and just wooly enough to make the colorwork not too slippery. I’d imagine Quince’s other wools would work as well.

img_20180617_091646.jpg

All in all, pattern and yarn were both phenomenal and a fantastic pairing. In other news, we’re into the second colorwork chart on my Zweig. Oh my goodness, y’all, I’m dying. I love this color pairing so very, very much.

img_20180617_084853.jpg

The lace was, honestly, a lovely knit. Every row is lace and every row is different, but the repeats are intuitive and simple enough that once I knit the first repeat I didn’t really need to look again for the rest of the row. And it turns out sooo pretty. My goodness.

The only other project that’s been getting any attention is my June rainbow socks. These are my favorite so far. Two pink stripes! I can’t stand it. I finished them this morning.

img_20180617_085046.jpg

The yarn is Knitterly Things Vesper Sparkle in Sum-sum-summertime, the June 2017 Rainbow of the Month club colorway. They’re my 6th (halfway!) in my rainbow box o’sox. I knit a–much–longer rib on these and I wasn’t sure if I liked it, but I’m digging it now that they’re done.

img_20180617_090128.jpg

img_20180617_090208.jpg

So that’s it. Now that the mittens and rainbow socks are finished, I’m really concentrating on the sweater. I’ve still got another pair of socks to knit this month and another sweater I want on the needles, so it’s time to get a wiggle on.

Happy making!

If at first you don’t succeed.

One of my challenges for this year was to learn to knit colorwork. I love the look of stranded or fair isle knitting and I felt like I was to the point where I could learn a few things in knitting.

I got started with this challenge fairly early in the year, with the Pixel Rise Cowl :

img_20180131_081150-e1517447297407.jpg

A little puckery, but the bigger issue was that my colors weren’t very suited to the pattern. All the work I was doing was dissapearing into the speckles. Frustrated, I ripped it all out and took a step back from colorwork for a while. The next foray was the Sunset Highway pullover:

img_20180321_200558-e1521733168918.jpg

Really, really puckery. This was my second attempt. Try as I might, I could not get the floats to lay well. I was carrying my yarn in both hands. Normally, I’m an English style knitter, meaning I carry my yarn in my right hand. I really struggled with learning both to knit with my yarn in my lefthand and do it while also knitting with yarn in my right hand. And so I ripped out the project and stepped away from colorwork again.

I considered for quite a while that maybe this wasn’t the year for colorwork. Too frustrating, it’s been a waste of scarce crafting time, just not working out for me.

Fast forward to last weekend. As I scrolled through Instagram, I came across a few posts tagged #howiknitcolorwork showing knitters–fair isle designers, even–using only their right hand and dropping and picking up each color as needed. I was fascinated. I kept going back to those videos and watching them, intrigued.

With that, I decided it was time to try again. I cast on for the Selbu Mittens, a pattern designed to be a first go at colorwork. I worked on them for a while and it was as if a miracle was occurring! It was working! Not horribly slow, which had been my main fear, and I was able to keep my tension loose enough.

img_20180607_114549.jpg

Before I knew it, I’d knit most of a mitten. Oh my goodness, can you even stand it? This was so much fun, I was immediately obsessed with it. I’m knitting these in Quince & Co. Chickadee in Egret (natural, undyed) and Storm (grey).

And then I started thinking about sweaters again… I am still a bit scared of jumping right into to a full colorwork yoke sweater. So I compromised and have now cast on a Zweig, by Caitlyn Hunter. It has to small-ish bands of colorwork in the yoke, and then is just single color everywhere else. I’m just past the first colorwork band now, and holy smokes. It is just so pretty.

img_20180610_095936

The yarn is Skein Top Draw Sock in Japanese Slipper (teal) and Nice & Knit Sock in Old Bay (pink). I’m digging the combo.

I don’t want to jump the gun, but if I can continue to practice and get better with stranded knitting, the possibilities are endless. There are soooo many beautiful patterns that I’ve dismissed in the past, because I “don’t knit colorwork.” I’m so excited to be finally in the process of changing that.

At the moment, I’m just working on finishing up these {gorgeous} mittens.

img_20180609_133132

Happy making!

Wrapping up.

My knitting drive is at quite the high at the moment. I’m getting a lot of peace and joy out of my knitting, both the process and the products.

After my last blog post, I was inspired to get some things finished up. First on the docket was that hat. As I mentioned, I cast it on on Christmas vacation and then sort of, well, forgot about it. Upon re-discovery, I remembered how amazing the yarn is and so I knit a few repeats on Sunday morning.

img_20180520_131228_547

After this though, I was so entranced that I just finished the whole stinkin’ hat. It knit up like lightning, and I recalled how great this pattern is.

img_20180520_193445_788

This is Olive and Jack by Sarah Stevens. I knit another one back in December. For this version, I knit to the length specified in the pattern and I like it a lot. Not too slouchy, not too short, really just right. The yarn is Junkyarn DK in the Barbie colorway.

img_20180521_182222.jpg

img_20180521_182225-e1527099233926.jpg

img_20180521_182244.jpgSo good, the pink and orange and purple and peach… So good.

In other news, I have recently become intrigued with the Beekeeper Cardigan. This is a knitalong where the idea is to knit an entire sweater in 4 days. 4 days! I was curious, to be sure. I have a DK sweater quantity on hand that would fit the bill for the pattern so I caked up a skein and waited for the swatching info to come out on Monday.

img_20180522_163835

I knit the swatch, washed it, blocked it, and… I’m not a fan. The pattern just doesn’t really appeal to me. I found myself waffling about it, but then finally buttoned up my resolve. My goal for this year is to be intentional with what I do, what I make. Knitting a sweater in a pattern I’m meh over doesn’t really follow that spirit. And so, I won’t be knitting this sweater. I do adore the yarn though. It’s a great mauve. This is Madeline Tosh Longrider DK in the Scout colorway. It will become something beautiful at some point, and I’m looking forward to figuring out what it should be.

img_20180521_095513_221

Once I finished the swatch, I set my sights on socks. This pair have really been my waiting socks, keeping me company through a lot of time when I might have gone bonkers. Such was the case yesterday, more waiting with my socks:

img_20180522_115807

I finished the toe in the waiting room and came home to cut in the heels:

img_20180522_171655.jpg

With that, I was done with these pretties:

img_20180523_083715.jpg

These are my May rainbow socks, pair #5 in my rainbow box o’ sox and the 11th pair of socks finished this year. The yarn is Knitterly Things Vesper Sparkle Sock in the Time and Tide colorway–the May edition of the 2017 Rainbow of the Month Club.

img_20180523_083740.jpg

They are pretty fun, if I do say so. That chartreuse stripe again, love it!

Now that I’ve got these two projects off the needles and that swatch out of my head, I’m ready to get back to my Madewell. I’ve got a cuff, a sleeve, and a button band to go. My goal is to get that wrapped up by the end of May. That’s eight whole days. We’ve got family coming into town for a major birthday, but I still think I can do it. Wish me luck!

img_20180519_142420_695

Happy making!

 

Stress knitting.

To be honest, I’ve been stressed out lately, and when I’m stressed I tend to knit like a bit of a nutter. Stacy of StressKnits named her podcast and business after her habit of stress-knitting; I definitely know what she’s talking about. There’s a lot going on around here so grab a cup of something delicious and let’s have a bit of a recap.

The first order of business was finishing up some socks.

img_20180512_074251.jpg

I knit down from the ghostie down the toe and then the entire second sock in about a day and a half. I really love this yarn. The colorway is Minty Fresh Graffiti from Casual Fashion Queen, on her Plush Sock base. This is pair number 9 for the year and pair 5 of my light box o’ sox.

IMG_20180512_154657_416.jpg

With that, I went back to the stripey rainbow socks. We’re done with one sock tube and cast on to the second. I’m digging the long ribbing I did, but I don’t know if I have the fortitude to do that more often.

IMG_20180514_153804

In sweater news, my Madewell is humming right along, I’m down to the bottom hem and then it’s sleeves, ho! I did shorten it by quite a bit, hopefully that works out.

IMG_20180514_154217

Ugh, I really do love it. Since we haven’t heard much about it in a while, the pattern is Madewell by Joji Locatelli and I’m knitting it out of the cashmere sock yarn from The Wool Barn. The colorway is Smitten, and I am.

I cast on one new thing this weekend, and I’m trying not to go into full obsession mode. First, the yarn:

IMG_20180508_175723_749.jpg

Duck Duck Wool silky singleton base in Sky Cover (grey), Wear Your Mittens (mint), and Single Scoop (cream with pink). I cast on Saturday night:

IMG_20180514_153953

I finished the first section of the Baubles Shawl by Andrea Mowry, and then stopped myself. I’m going to go back for the brioche (squee!) after I finish that sweater hem.

While I was gathering up these WIPs, I found something behind my desk bookshelf… It was a project bag. Opened it up and viola! Hat brim:

IMG_20180514_153714

I cast on this hat over Christmas vacation and had completely forgotten about it! I don’t think it ever even made it to the blog. The yarn is Junkyarn DK in the Barbie colorway.Β  I’m really excited to find it though, that pink is killer.

IMG_20180514_154501

I’ve got plenty to keep myself busy with this pretty little pile. Happy making!

 

 

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.

img_20180430_155918.jpg

We rearranged the back deck and got it all done. I love it! I have 8 different herbs, a jalapeΓ±o, 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:

img_20180430_135611.jpg

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.

img_20180427_090017_1162094286283.jpg

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.

IMG_20180430_135430

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.

img_20180430_135532.jpg

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!

img_20180430_1723021811180624.jpg

Happy making!

Sometime in April.

I believe spring has sprung. The weather is warming up, we spring cleaned the bedrooms, and a delightfully spring-y colored pair of socks has fallen off of my needles.

IMG_20180425_073044

These are my April rainbow socks, pair #4 in my rainbow box o’sox. The yarn is from Kntitterly Things, from the 2017 Rainbow of the Month Club. This is the April colorway, called “Sometime in April.” I love them. They are so pretty and pastel and wonderful.

img_20180425_073100.jpg

I get a fair number of questions about how I knit my socks, so let’s talk details. For stripey socks, I have a pretty standard recipe. I cast on 64 stitches using a 2.00 mm (US 0) needle, either magic loop or a 9″ circular. I will say that if you are new to knitting socks, it might take a bit of experimentation to find a good fit for your foot and leg. I experimented quite a bit before I settled on this needle and stitch count. I know it works for me with pretty much any standard sock yarn (around 400 yards to 100 grams).

As for the actual construction, I knit top them top down, starting with a German Twisted cast on. I knit a 2×2 ribbed cuff, at least 15 rows, maybe more depending on where the stripes fall. I knit a straight sock tube until it measures between 11″ and 13″ from the cast on edge, again depending on the length of the stripe repeat, how the stripes fall, and how I’m feeling about finishing fast. I decrease for the toe and kitchener, then cut in heels a la the Kirbywirby video–check out that video, this method is my favorite for an afterhtough heel. I decrease for the heel identically to the toe, kitchener, and done!

For this pair, I used one of the alternative decrease methods from Susan B. Anderson’s Smooth Operator Socks. That pattern is a veritable encyclopedia of sock knitting ideas and methods, I’ve referenced it a lot.

You might know that I love knitting socks, I could write about them all day. I’ll just leave you with one more picture of these beauties and we can get on with things.

img_20180425_073140.jpg

Moving right along, I’ve got a new cast on! I just felt like casting on something new, so I did.Β  I am enjoying everything about it.

img_20180425_083339.jpg

This is the beginning of my Windswept, a pattern by Molly Klatt of A Homespun House. I have had this pattern in my queue, the yarn in my stash, and the shawl on my mind for quite a while. I was finally enabled by Chelsea, of Legacy Fiber Artz, on her latest Naptime Shortie. I am so glad that I cast this shawl on. I’m knitting it out of Quince & Co. Chickadee in the Peacock colorway, which I purchased last fall at the outset of my wardrobe architect project.

img_20180425_083345.jpg

The combination of the color, the yarn, and the texture pattern is giving me life. I just want to knit this all of the time.

Happy making!

The waiting is the hardest part.

Since I’ve been home from our spring break trip, I’ve been itching for my favorite parts of spring and summer. Fresh veggies, farmer’s markets, canning… you get the gist. All the way home, I expected it to be time to get planting and time to hit up the farmer’s markets. Maryland is hot, right? Surely the produce stand would be teeming with plants ready to come home with me.

Of course, none of this was the case. It is chilly and early spring-y, the last frost is still a week away, and our county farmer’s markets don’t start till May. After this news, I spent a bit of time planning out my prosective container garden but it would seem that there are only so many ways one can make lists of plants. And so, I finished up the last ten rows and bound off my Half Moon Oracle shawl.

img_20180406_101700.jpg

Ugh, it’s so pretty. The shawl is blocking now, and I can’t wait to wear it.

With that done, I still had some time on my hands this week. To occupy myself, I thought I’d clean up the kitchen to get ready for the canning. I started and had a difficult time stopping. I won’t bore you with all the details but even the freezer got cleaned out. I reorganized my canning accoutremont and have some pretty cabinets and clean jars all ready to go.

With all of that finished, I still felt like preserving something. Anything. And so I turned to sauerkraut. A quick pick up of some cabbage and I was ready to go. My favorite kraut from last year was a recipe from Ferment Your Vegetables, Ava’s Hot Pink Kraut.

IMG_20180407_123236.jpg

I shredded my cabbage and salted it, and started working it.

img_20180407_124706.jpg

After some elbow grease, time, and more elbow grease, it was ready to start packing.

img_20180407_134845.jpg

To pack the would-be kraut into the jar, you need to really tamp it down. As you’re going along it kind of looks like there is no way it will all fit. To help get the job done, I use a “Pickle Packer” and I love it. It really makes the job easier.

img_20180407_135407.jpg

Once all the cabbage was in, I added the weight:

img_20180407_140408.jpg

And finally, the airlock.

img_20180407_140443.jpg

And now, we wait. That seems to be my destiny around here. Wait for warmer weather, wait for the shawl, wait for the kraut. At least I have a sock to knit.

img_20180407_153406.jpg

Happy making!