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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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

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And finally, the airlock.

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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.

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Happy making!

Spring Break

This past weekend, Joshua and I took a road trip back home to visit with our family for his spring break. Very little actual knitting occurred, but that’s ok. We had the loveliest long weekend. Fair warning, lots of gushing and fun pictures ahead.

Kevin and Astra were going to visit some of their family, so the plan was to leave as soon as we dropped them off at the airport. Before heading out, there was coffee and selfies–Joshua had to show that he’s taller than me.

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We got out the door by 4:30 a.m., dropped Kevin and Astra off at the airport and headed straight to my mom’s.

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We picked her up and whisked her away to my brother’s house. The day before, Mom had texted me asking if I could teach her to knit socks and if so, did I have any yarn. Well, we all know that I have some yarn, so I set out to make her a sock knitting kit.

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All the things needed to knit a pair of socks. If you’re curious, she wound up knitting with the HiyaHiya’s–a woman after my own heart. She’s already a knitter, so we were really learning sock construction and knitting magic loop.

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She’s now done with the ribbing, and after much discussion will be proceeding to knit a sock tube. The plan is that when I’m down for Joshua’s birthday in May, we’ll learn about cutting in a heel.

I did a wee bit of sock knitting, by the fire:

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Late at night, with Hendrix the kitty:

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And even on a mini road trip we took, more on that here:

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All in all, I managed to just knit the heel and gusset over the course of the trip:

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I’ll be honest, some mornings, the most fulfilling thing to do was wake up early for a fireside cup of coffee in my pj’s and a little chat with Judge and Crystal:

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Joshua spent a fair bit of his time learning and practicing guitar with Uncle Judge:

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Seeing that just squeezes my little heart. I found a bit of my own inspiration, in the form of seedlings:

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Judge and Crystal’s tomatoes sprouted while we were there. On our first night, this little hexie landscape was bare dirt and a few days later… plants! After a lot of brainstorming with Crystal, looking in their gardening books, and encouragement from Judge, I’ve decided to try a back porch herb garden once again. Maybe with some lettuce. And tomatoes…

We’re back home now, and I’m just teeming with ideas. As spring is springing, I’m thinking about my potential herb garden, canning, fermenting, and general “putting up.” Not to mention itching to get back to my knitting and cast on a new sweater.

All in all it was a wonderful trip. Other things of note included an impromptu Easter party and egg hunt and I even snuck out to Johnson City to see my best friends! Joshua and I had a great time on the drive there and back again, and it filled my heart to get to visit with friends and family. Joshua even brought a (borrowed) souvenir home for a bit more practice.

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Happy making {music}!

 

Cut your losses.

This week has been a study in patience. We had a lovely snowstorm here in Maryland, which meant a fair bit of time working in a house full of kids. In my free time, I started, ripped back, started again, and frogged a sweater.

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The sweater in question is my Sunset Highway pullover. When last we spoke, I had discovered that I had made an error and was planning to start over, which I did. I worked and worked on it and thought it was going fairly well.

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I love the colors, the mint and grey are perfection. A few rows past this, though, and I was getting increasingly suspicious of my floats. The floats in the mint yarn–carried in my left hand–were actually pretty good. The floats in the grey–carried in my right hand–were looking far too tight. I popped the yoke onto some waste yarn and sure enough, it was a puckery mess.

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And so, I decided that it’s time to frog. I don’t want to put all that time and yarn into something I’m not happy with. Probably time, also, to practice colorwork on a smaller project. I think some mittens are in my future.

For now though, I am really in the mood to knit a sweater. Perhaps something a bit simpler, single color. The other sweater in my make nine is the Madewell by Joji Locatelli. It’s a lovely, simple cardigan, knit top-down with raglan sleeves.

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The swatch is beautiful, if a little on the big side. I’m thinking about trying out a needle size down to see what the fabric is like. You know me, I apparently like to swatch 100 times.

Miraculously, with all this sweater knitting and unknitting, I’m still making progress on my socks. They’re humming right along–only a foot and a toe to go!

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I’m surprisingly happy to have decided to frog the Sunset Highway again. It was beginning to stress me out. Last night I was thinking that maybe colorwork isn’t for me and considering revising my make nine. But I used to be bad at knitting socks and I had never knit a sweater at all before a month ago and maybe I just need to practice.

Letting the sweater go with the resolution to get a bit of practice under my belt and revisit it felt good.  Cutting my losses and starting a new sweater that I feel more confident was just what I needed.

Happy making!

Arbitrary Goals.

I was watching the Stranded Podcast this weekend and the host, Amy, said something that really struck a chord with me.

I love setting arbitrary goals for myself!

I really love setting arbitrary goals in my making. The kind of goals that feel great to achieve but have no real or major consequences if you fail. You just revise and move on.

On Friday evening at supper, I remarked that my weekend goals were to a) finish the Eureka Cowl, b) finish the sock I had  going, and c) cast on my sweater. Kevin said that seemed like an awfully tall order. I said I planned to do an awfully lot of knitting over the weekend.

First up, I finished the cowl.

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This is the Eureka Cowl, by Jessica Gore. I knit it out of Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in the postcard colorway. I absolutely adore the yarn and the pattern, I can’t wait to wear this one. I was very gentle in the blocking, but I may need to pin out that point next time. This little cowl is a great shape, it looks like you’re wearing a triangle shawl bandana style, but with a simple back that fits well.

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That’s one weekend goal down. Speaking of goals (arbitrary or not), this is also another of my Make Nine projects for the year. And with the addition of mauve to my color palate, it’s definitely a simple and cozy addition to my wardrobe architect project.

The next order of business was that sock. My sock mojo has not been running very high, so I made a plan to knit down to the heel on Saturday so that I could just run with the foot during D&D on Sunday. Luckily, D&D was very intense and my stress knitting enabled me to finish the sock late Sunday night.

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That leaves the sweater cast on. I was derailed in my sweater plans with the need of swatching again. This left me some time do something else so as I mentioned the other day, I finished the next brioche section on my Half Moon Oracle.

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This really is squishy and lovely. On to last night. I decided to go ahead and at least cast on the sweater. It went so quickly that I dove into the colorwork, head first.

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I love the yarn and the colors so much! This wasn’t quite the weekend, but hey, it was arbitrary anyway, right?

I have, of course, now discovered that I did the short rows wrong. I’m ripping out the whole thing and starting over from scratch. I’m really not very pleased with the cast on I used–long tail–and may go up a needle size for the ribbing. I also think this a great opportunity to do a better job with the colorwork, it’s a bit puckery and I want to work on that. Chalk it up to experience, right?

All in all, I’ll call it a success. I’ve now managed to cast on the second sock and do the frogging on the sweater. Now to come up with my next set of arbitrary goals.

Happy making!

Did someone say mauve?

I’ll be honest, I’m not really sure what color mauve is. Pink? Purple? Grey? Taupe? The answer to all those questions seems to be yes. Whatever color it is, I am into it.

I think–I hope–it’s a good color for me. In my wardrobe architect project I selected blush and peach and coral and hot pink, but I believe we’re going to need to officially add mauve to the mix. Mauve seems the embodiment of feminine and cozy. I am full steam ahead into some delightfully mauve-y goodness.

The first order of business is my Coastal Walk. It’s all finished and lovely.

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It was a fairly quick knit. I puttered about on it here and there, working up the lace section. The garter border, which comprises about half of the shawl, only took me about a day of knitting to finish. The pattern is Coastal Walk, by Joji Locatelli. As usual, her patterns are impeccably written, easy to follow, and a joy to work up. My only modification was to stop after 3 full garter rows at the end of the border. I was afraid of running out of yarn, but I probably could have gotten another row or two done.

Regardless, I am incredibly pleased. As I’ve mentioned, this is a great knit. The lace is easy to knit but beautiful and the texture of a DK weight shawl is unbeatable. The yarn is listed as a sport weight, but I feel like it’s closer to a light DK. This is Traipse Sport from Tuskenknits–I don’t believe she carries the base anymore. The colorway is Belle Starr and is utterly perfect. The subtle tonality, the soft and sweet speckles–gorgeous.

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Coastal Walk

 

After I finished this shawl and my socks and cast on the next pair of socks, I needed something else. Something new and exciting and fun. Something that won’t take forever since I have two trips coming in the next month. Something like a cowl.

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Enter the Eureka Cowl, a pattern by Jessica Gore. I saw this cowl knit up on Inside Number 23 and just knew that I would need to cast it on as soon as possible. I managed to snag a bit of Brooklyn Tweed Shelter off of Ravelry destash, this is the Postcard colorway. I had a lot of motivation to knit this cowl in this yarn. Firstly, it’s beautiful. The yarn and pattern combination are just stellar. Second, I wanted to try out Shelter with a low investment project. I’m eyeing several quite large projects with this yarn which will be a big commitment in the yarn budget. I wanted to make sure I love the yarn before I go down that path. The good news is, I do love it so far. It’s positively gorgeous.

By the way, Coastal Walk and the Eureka Cowl are two of my Make Nine projects for the year. It feels good to really be moving on my goals.

In other mauve news… it’s leaking into my ready to wear wardrobe too.

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#workselfie

I’ve got a mauve sweater planned for this year as well, but it will probably be a bit before I start that. I’m dying to cast on the Sunset Highway. At this point, I think I’ll live through it’s lack of mauve.

Happy making!

What was I thinking?

Oh sure, I’ll just hop on a plane for the busiest work week of my entire year and come home with an FO or two. Yep, that’s the plan. Boy, what was I thinking? Last week in L.A. I, of course, had nearly zero knitting time.

On the plane ride there, I managed to finish the first sock in my Boombox socks.

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I thought I was really rocking at that point, I just knew that I’d have the next one done in no time. And then work started happening, over and over and over. Sunday through Tuesday were a whirlwind of bell to bell at the convention center. After that, I did manage to settle into a bit of a routine with some early morning knitting and a bit of fun mixed in here and there.

By the time I got to the airport to head home, I had knit the cuff of my second sock. I did do a bit of knitting on the plane but actually slept quite a lot. I don’t generally sleep on planes but this time I couldn’t help myself.

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And so, I landed in Maryland with nothing but a HO to my name. I thought I’d finish up my socks over the weekend but somehow I managed to get full on obsessed with my Coastal Walk. I knit and knit and knit on it. Every minute not doing laundry or taking jet-lag naps was spent on that garter border. And then…

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I stayed up too late Sunday night but bound off this beauty. It’s nearly done blocking now, so I’ll write about it later. With the shawl off the needles, I turned back to the socks. I’d gotten down the gusset on the plane, so it was pretty quick work to get these all wrapped up. I adore how they came out. My gauge on the first sock is a fraction of a stitch bigger, which is odd, but they still fit.

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The yarn is Hedgehog Fibres Twist Sock, their BFL/nylon base, in the Boombox colorway. This yarn is just dreamy for socks.

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This color is just great. It’s probably one of my brightest for my light box o’sox, but it’s super fun. This is pair #3 in the light box and pair #5 for the year. Trucking right along!

Although I finished nothing on the trip, it feels good to get home, get settled in, and get some things off the needles. I’ve got another pair of socks to get too, my make nine to keep moving with, and sweaters on the brain. So much knitting and so little time!

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Happy making!

My very first sweater.

I can’t believe it’s done. It felt like I was knitting it forever. Like an ocean of stockinette and sleeves were all that I did for a very long time. Hindsight is 20/20 though, and now I know that it wasn’t quite so dire as all that.

From swatching to wearing was exactly six weeks. Not terrible. But I remind myself that it was not all I did. In that six week span, I completed eight other projects. Kind of crazy to think that I worked on that many other things while I had the sweater on the needles. I also continued to feed the kids and keep up my responsibilities during this time, which strikes me as an accomplishment itself. As my dad always said, “think about what you’d accomplish if you really buckled down.”

I’ve talked about the sweater a fair bit over the last few weeks, it’s been kind of a constant hum on the blog:

 

And then, magically, last weekend, I finished it. I wove in the ends and tried it on before throwing it in a nice, sudsy bath and laying it out on the blocking mats.

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I’ve been a bit worried as it was drying that it was blocking out a bit too oversized. It’s superwash, so I could throw it in the washer but once I put it on I fell in love.

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I was so excited to put it on this morning and wear it. Today I wore a sweater that I made! I roped my sweet friend, Holly, into taking a few pictures of me in it. By the way, she took these pictures with her phone and in about 3 seconds and they came out so cute! I definitely want to hire her for real pictures. She’s an incredibly talented photographer — check her out at hollycroftphotography.com

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Overall, I’m in love with this sweater. It’s the perfect relaxed, snuggly, rainy day sweater. For the details, this is Puntilla by Joji Locatelli. It’s a great first sweater–this is my first–her instructions are very clear and easy to follow. The yarn is O-Wool O-Wash Fingering in the Watermill colorway. I purchased it at Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival last year. I used almost 3 skeins in the sweater, a bit more than that if you include swatching. This yarn is a dream, I highly recommend it.

I knit the sweater on 3.5mm/US 4 needles. When I swatched with those I got

  • Before blocking – row gauge: 30 st = 3 7/8” – stitch gauge: 24 st = 4”
  • After blocking – row gauge: 30 st = 3 1/2” stitch gauge: 22 1/4 st = 4″

My gauge was a bit off what was called for, so I calculated that knitting a medium would give me a body circumference of 45″. Measuring the sweater today, it’s exactly 45″. Crazy. I’ve got a bit more about my swatching, my measurements, and determining size on my project page. On another note, this the first in my list of challenges for 2018 to get crossed off — a garment!

The moral of the story is that I love my first sweater. I can’t wait to knit more, but this one is definitely keeping me warm in the mean time.

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Happy {sweater} making!