Back in the saddle.

When I was around 10 or 11, my cousins got a go-cart. Judge and I were eager to try it out and being the oldest and bossiest, I went first. I promptly slammed my foot on the peddle and ran the go-cart straight into a tree. With a busted chin and bruised ego, I swore I’d never ride another go-cart. My dad told me in no uncertain terms that I was, in fact, getting back on the go-cart. He told me that if you fall off of a horse, you get right back in the saddle and show yourself and the horse who’s boss.

Fast forward a decade and I had a major car accident. I was in various hospitals for a while and eventually came home and went to stay with my dad for a while. I had not driven a car for over a month, not since the accident. I was so afraid to drive again, but my dad once again told me, back in the saddle you go. I managed to live through the harrowing 3 mile drive to my aunts and I’m happy to tell you, I’m still driving to this day.

1916389_1174680690637_3097788_n

Fast forward another decade plus and I am happily not wrecking any vehicles. But still, I’ve been balking at the idea of getting my serger back out. The last (and only) time I used it, it didn’t go very well. Well, I finally dredged up my dad’s advice and got the serger out this weekend. I’ve eased into things with some practice and have now been doing a bit of finishing. Finishing what, you may ask. Garments!

My first try at getting back into garment sewing and using a serger to finish raw edges:

img_20180819_125629_839

img_20180819_124202.jpg

Not too bad! It was slow going, but I made it work, more or less. This is the Ogden Cami, by True Bias patterns. The fabric is some Art Gallery quilting cotton I had lying around. This fabric is far from ideal with very little drape–I wanted something stable and sturdy and easy to work with for this first try.

This is a great little pattern, pretty easy to do with some new techniques for me. After whipping this one up on Sunday morning, I thought I’d have a go at another Ogden in drapier fabric Sunday afternoon. And voila!

img_20180819_172452

This is some “silky chiffon” from Joanns that I found on sale. It’s definitely drapier, so it was good practice. I’m not completely convinced of the fit. I think you can see that it pulls across my back a bit and the front seems pretty voluminous.

I wore this one to work today. I’m still undecided about the fit. Maybe the fabric is still not drapey enough? I don’t know if I should try to adjust the pattern or look for something else. After making these two tops, I thought I’d step it up to a bigger project. Enter the Hollyburn Skirt, by Sewaholic. I had some navy poplin that I had purchased just to give this skirt a try. This pattern has a lot of finishing involved, so I kept going with serging seams to finish them. They were looking pretty snazzy, if I do say so.

img_20180820_103027.jpg

On the very last seam before installing the zipper, the worst happened. I caught a bit of the skirt fabric in the serger… and it serged.

img_20180820_103050.jpg

The kids find this hole in the seat of my skirt much funnier than I do. I was so frustrated. I had to take a step back from sewing. It’s scary to think of trying again and ruining something else. So I did the safe thing. I worked on a sock. With the serger safely in the craft room, I knit on. But in my mind I could hear my dad telling me to show it who’s in charge. And so, with trepidation, I cut out another skirt and got to work. I’m pleased to say that it’s going even better than the first skirt, serged seams and all.

img_20180821_174548.jpg

img_20180821_174605.jpg

This will be hopefully by my first finished Hollyburn. I can’t wait to get it done!

I’m proud of myself for sticking with it.  I’ve got no issues with go-carts and cars these days and I’m happy to add sergers to the list.


Happy making!

Four sweaters behind me, four thousand more to go.

I’ll just come right out and say it. I love knitting sweaters. I don’t know where they’ve been all my life. I think that I want to have a sweater on my needles at all times. There are so many beautiful patterns out there! At the beginning of the year, I had knit zero sweaters. I’m now up to four. Four! Yes, that means that I finished a sweater.

img_20180731_071346

Zweig is almost dry and then we’ll be ready for some pictures and I’ll call it done. I knit the whole second sleeve on Saturday and Sunday, it just seemed to fly. Since I can’t seem to stop myself, on Sunday morning–before finishing the sleeve–I swatched for the next sweater. It’s nice and warm here in Maryland, so the swatch was dry by the time the Zweig was taking a bath. I immediately wound up my yarn and cast on a new sweater.

img_20180731_071654

This is my third (yes, there was a first and second) attempt at the Sunset Highway by Caitlin Hunter of Boyland Knitworks. The yarn is all from Peepaloo Fields on her simple sock base, the 75/25 merino nylon. Left to right, Hush, Delicate, Blue Bird, and Tide. I’m so excited about this one I can’t stand it. I really love the deep teal and how it’s working with the paler blue.

img_20180731_071248

I could be farther into the yoke of the sweater, but last night I got a bit distracted. I’ve been planning to knit Void by Melanie Berg for quite a while and something just came over me last night. I cast it on and knit two repeats before bed. I woke up this morning and knit another half repeat before Joshua came and made me get up to go to work.

img_20180731_071103

I feel an addiction coming on strong. This yarn is the absolute perfect pink and so round and bouncy it is heaven flowing through your fingers. The yarn is MadelineTosh Longrider DK in the Scout colorway. I believe this base is discontinued, I purchased the yarn on a ravelry destash. The Longrider DK is a fairly heavy DK which works well since this pattern calls for worsted. This yarn has tried to be a cardigan and a pullover but I think it is perfect for this shawl. The stitch definition on those little cables is divine!

In other news, I’m starting to feel the sewing bug coming on. In particular, I’ve been thinking about sewing up some camis to go underneath all of these sweaters. I’ve also got a bit of an outfit in mind for the fall. I purchased this yarn first, then found the fabric and I think they are a match made in heaven. I’m going to sew a Hollyburn Skirt and knit a Mount Pleasant top to go with it.

img_20180730_173806

Cloud 9 Sweet Nothings poplin and Woolberry Fiber Co. in “Hayride”

And finally, I’ve wound up the yarn for my August socks. I’m over the moon about my soon to be birthday cast on! I’ve been saving this pretty pink skein of Tilting Planet for a year, just waiting. The colorway is Cosmic Cake. Perfect. The other pair will, of course, be rainbow socks. I’m digging this murky, speckly rainbow.

img_20180731_071801.jpg

I think that’s it. I’m taking the day off for my birthday on Thursday and I think I will just veg out and knit on my birthday socks. As one does.

Happy making!

One thing after another.

As July comes to a close, I had a few small goals in mind. I wanted to finish my socks and my Zweig. So far, one of those things has happened. I’ve had a few snafus that have both helped and hindered my knitting.

First, the hindrance. You might know that I tend to drink a lot of coffee. Well, on Tuesday evening I was doing just that. Chugging iced coffee and knitting sleeve cuff ribbing like it was my j-o-b.

img_20180724_185111.jpg

I was moving along at a great pace. Bound off the sleeve and immediately picked up the stitches for the next one and got rolling. I was just starting the first round of cabled x’s when I reached for something and knocked over my iced coffee. It went everywhere. All over my desk, soaked the zweig pattern, in my headphones, under the keyboard, all over me, and yep, you guessed it, all over the zweig. I shrieked in horror.

While Joshua got towels to clean up the desk, I went into triage mode for the sweater. I used paper towels to blot most of the coffee, and moved the live stitches onto some waste yarn. Took out the metal stitch marker for the beginning of round and replaced it with plastic. Into a cold, wool wash sudsy bath went the sweater. I’ve been holding my breath for a few days waiting for it to dry–it’s humid here–and today was the moment of truth.

img_20180728_104546

No coffee stains. Thank wool, no coffee stains. And I’m pleased to report that I’m really digging the post-blocking fit, too.

img_20180728_104728

Now that the sweater crisis is averted, I’m ready to get back to the sleeve. I think there’s a chance I could finish that sleeve by Tuesday. I was not pleased to lose days of sweater knitting to an impromptu bath.

As for snafus that helped my knitting, on Thursday evening I went to see the Eagles and James Taylor. The Eagles have been my favorite band for most of my life so I was incredibly excited. I left as early as possible, thinking I’d take my knitting along to knit in my seat while I waited for the concert to start. Well, I did knit in my seat…

img_20180726_181151.jpg

The seat of the one hour uber ride I had to take when the metro broke down. I turned the heel and just managed to make it to my seat as James Taylor took the stage.

img_20180726_184404.jpg

The concert was amazing, better than I could have ever hoped for. Last night, I settled in for some more sock knitting and Kevin and I got to talking and before I knew it, these sweeet socks were off the needles and in their box.

IMG_20180728_105136

img_20180728_105126.jpg

These socks are pair 7 in my light Box O’ Sox. The yarn was a sock set from Hooker’s Corner in her Twisty Sock base. The main color is Tippy Toes and the contrast is Marina. This yarn was yummy, I adore how the specles knit up so speckly. They look like funfetti cake. I used the colorwork pattern from the Dale socks by Molly Klatt of A Homespun House. I followed my own general recipe though I knit them on 2.25 mm to help keep the colorwork loose. I cast on 60 stitches (my usual is 64 stitches on a 2.0 mm) and did a Fish Lips Kiss Heel. These socks are just perfect in my book, they bring a smile to my face every time I look at them.

img_20180728_105016.jpg

While the sweater dried, I did manage to get some gift knitting done, but now I’m full-sleeve-ahead! Keep your fingers crossed that I can keep my coffee in my glass and my sweater on my lap.

Happy making!

Definitely not all three.

As I made my Sunday morning coffee this weeekend, I thought about what knitting I wanted get done. Actively on the needles were my Zweig and my July rainbow socks. I knew that I wanted to finish the socks first thing, but where to go after that?

I have, of course, another pair of July socks just waiting to be cast on and that sweater has been calling my name. I really want to be done with both before the end of the month. August is my birthday month and this year I want to cast on birthday socks and a birthday sweater. However, finishing socks, casting on socks, and finishing the body of a sweater is a tall order, even for a Sunday. I decided I’d have to pick a couple.

Over that first cup of Sunday morning coffee, I finished up the July rainbow socks. These socks have been good travel companions. but it felt good to get them wrapped up.

IMG_20180715_101918_917

This is the 13th pair in my Box O’ Sox and the 7th pair of rainbow socks for the year. The yarn is Knitterly Things Vesper Sparkle Sock in Prisma, the July colorway from the 2017 rainbow of the month club.

img_20180715_095545.jpg

So pretty and summery. I’m starting to get really excited to see how the fall rainbows knit up, but we still have August to knit. Moving right along, I opted for casting on the next pair of socks. I’d rather keep the sock train going. We’ll be traveling over my birthday so the birthday socks will be first on the docket in August, anyway.

My July light socks came with a contrast mini. I wasn’t really feeling like doing heels, toes and cuffs, or even just heels and toes. I tend to just do contrast toes and don’t even do that very often. However, with my new found love of colorwork, I had an idea. What about adding a little contrast in on the leg?

img_20180715_165839.jpg

Oh. My. Goodness. This, this I cannot stand. I took the heart motif from Dale by Molly Klatt of a Homespun House. I’m not following the rest of the pattern, but those hearts! I love the teal with the speckles, these are so much fun! The yarn was a sock set from Hooker’s Corner in the Tippy Toes colorway.

With those cast on, I turned to my sweater. I don’t think I’ve shown it on the blog in quite a while, but mostly I’ve just been trundling down the body knitting little cable x’s. And so that’s what I decided to do last night. A few more repeats, trying to get close to finished. I knit the body to about 1″ shorter than called for, tried it on and voila! Perfect length. I think I have a short torso. I’ve been shortening everything.

img_20180716_000617.jpg

Anyway, I knit the ribbing and tried two different bind off methods. I wound up with a simple bind off in pattern and I think it looks nice and clean. I got the whole thing bound off and ends woven in before bed. I can’t believe I checked all three boxes! I thought surely something would get left out.

img_20180716_075140.jpg

Sigh. I just adore it. I am so glad I did the texture pattern. It really adds something special to the sweater. Everything about this is magical so far. The pattern is Zweig by Caitlin Hunter of Boyland Knitworks. My main color is Skein Top Draw Sock in Japanese Slippper and the contrast color is Nice & Knit Sock in Old Bay.

IMG_20180716_075253

IMG_20180716_075411

It was difficult to want to take the thing off this morning. But it isn’t destined for cap sleeves, and I’m having so much fun knitting the thing, anyway.

IMG_20180716_075427

Happy making!

Midterm Progress Report.

It’s hard to believe, but the year is at the halfway point. I’ve been thinking a lot about assessment and progress, and about the goals I set for myself six months ago.

I started this year with the idea of challenging myself with my making. I set out six specific challenges and I’ve accomplished two: a knitted garment and a colorwork knit. As for the rest, my sewing mojo has left the building. All I want to do is knit. And that is a-ok by me. One day I’ll get around to those sewing challenges. Probably.

My make nine is plowing right on ahead. We’re halfway through the year? I’m just over halfway through those nine projects. The links for the finished objects will take you to my project pages. The yarn plans have changed for a couple of the others, so we can take a look at those as well.

Madewell — Joji Locatelli

img_20180608_081723

Dotted Rays — Stephen West

Eureka Cowl — Jessica Gore

IMG_20180319_090836

Sunset Highway — Caitlin Hunter

img_20180630_154230

Peepaloo Fields Twist Sock in (l-r) Tide, Bluebird, Delicate, and Hush

Void — Melanie Berg

Selbu Mittens — Skeindeer Knits

img_20180617_091646

Windswept — A Homespun House

IMG_20180508_174449

Coastal Walk — Joji Locatelli

IMG_20180315_072420

Box O’ Sox

IMG_20180630_084556

A bit more on my Box O’ Sox. I’m marking it finished for the make nine since it’s a dozen socks completed. But really, deep down in my heart, I know it’s only halfway done. I’m keeping the good times rolling on the sock train, more about that in a previous post.

In addition to all of that, I’ve got a fair number of other finishes. They look awfully pretty all piled up together:

IMG_20180630_085047

Six months of making, right there. Not pictured are a project bag, a tiny pouch, and a pair of yoga socks that have been gifted.

I feel that my word for 2018, intentional, is really helping me this year. I’m starting to feel like I’m building a wardrobe with my knits, creating garments and accessories that integrate into the style that I aspire to. I’m feeling rather inpsired by my new color palate, and really moving towards that ideal. With my larger projects that’s meant some teal, mint, grey, and a whole lot of mauve:

IMG_20180630_084146

So good. I just love these colors. My favorite accomplishment of the year is taking the plunge into garment knitting. I love knitting sweaters and can’t wait to get to more. Especially if they are mauve, apparently.

I think that’s it for everything I’ve made this year. There was that little bit of sewing and then it’s been a ton of knitting the rest of the time. I’m really excited for the next six months, I cannot wait to see what comes off my needles!

Happy making!

Sock Status.

I like to knit socks. If you don’t know, they have kinda been my thing for a while. I have participated in the Box O’ Sox knitalong–Voolenvine’s knitalong to fill a box with 12 new pairs of socks for yourself in year–for three years now, and my 2018 box is full.

IMG_20180630_084556

Oh my goodness. Can you stand it? I certainly can’t. Way back in January, I decided to knit 2 dozen socks, 2 boxes if you will, half rainbow and half light. I think we’re really onto something. While this box is full, I still have a whole dozen pairs to go!

For the rainbow socks, I’m knitting my way through my 2017 Rainbow of the Month club from Knitterly Things. I’ve completed January through June:

img_20180617_085511.jpg

It just keeps getting better! I love seeing all the rainbows together. As for the light socks, back at the beginning of January I pulled out all the softer, lighter colored yarn I wanted to knit up into socks. Now we’re six pairs in:

IMG_20180630_090207

The beady eyed among you may notice that there are 7 skeins of yarn left. There’s a potential for 2 pairs of birthday socks this year, we’ll just see how that goes. I’m seriously considering saving one skein for next year. We’ll see how the sock mojo moves me.

These last couple of weeks, that sock mojo has been down in the dumps. I pushed myself to finish my last pair of socks, even though I love the yarn and love the socks. But I woke up early this morning to make breakfast for Noah and Madely before they headed up to Connecticut. Perfect time to knit a toe! So they are all done now, pair 12–pair 6 in the light box o’sox.

IMG_20180630_080915_257

I do love these. That creamy base with brown and hot pink speckles. My gosh. The yarn is Hedgehog Fibres Twist Sock–the bfl base–in the Teacup colorway. I see now why Teacup is such a coveted colorway. It’s divine.

IMG_20180630_075341

As I said, my sock mojo has been down, but something about getting out all my finished pairs and looking at all the potential in the skeins… has me excited to cast on the next pair. Luckily, July socks are right on deck and ready to get wound up.

IMG_20180630_091839

I mean, how could a sock addict look at all this goodness and not get excited? Here’s to the next six months of socks!

IMG_20180630_091138

Happy {sock} making!

Knitcation: sweater accomplished.

Well, I did it. I knit a sweater over the weekend. To be fair, it was a long weekend. With Kevin and Astra heading out of town, I took the day off on Friday and crafted myself a wee knitcation. Joshua certainly didn’t mind, he was busy with camp, bike riding, and as many video games as he could con me into allowing.

I cast on Thursday evening and really got moving. I didn’t stay up too late but got the back and one of the front pieces finished.

 

img_20180621_235302

I woke up Friday morning to take Joshua to camp and came home and settled in to knit the other front piece. Once that was finished, I discovered that I had missed an increase on the right side and so I ripped back and reknit it correctly. I joined to knit the body and had it going pretty well. By the time I went to bed that night, I was just past the waist decreases.

img_20180622_235957

Since I was lengthening the sweater, I had worked out a lot of math about adjusting the waist shaping. Sometime on Friday night, I decided that it was going to be too tight at my waist and hips, so I re-math-ed on the fly. I decided to do even less waist shaping and no hip increases. At this point, I had mixed feelings about being able to finish by Sunday night. I had thought I would be farther along by this time but Joshua motivated me along. He said that even if I didn’t finish it by Sunday, I’d be really close.  And no matter what, in the end, I’d have a sweater. And that would be awesome. And so on Saturday morning, I pressed on.

img_20180623_100127

As I kept working up the body and trying it on, I decided that maybe it did need a bit of hip shaping. So once again, I re-math-ed. I added in some hip increases and finally bound off the body in the afternoon.

img_20180623_162649_189

I started to get pretty excited about the sweater and picked up the stitches for the first sleeve. Joshua and I watched a movie and I powered on and stayed up a bit too late, but finished the sleeve.

img_20180624_074825

Come Sunday morning, I felt like a rockstar. I just knew that I’d have the sleeve and the button band done by the time we went to the airport at 5. I knit the second sleeve, no problems, maybe even a bit faster than the first. And then I started picking up stitches for the button band. Of course, I had lengthened the sweater considerably, so there were a good deal more stitches to pick up. I also really hate picking up button band stitches–I have to remember to do a selvedge stitch there and save myself some heartache next time. At any rate, I got them picked up and knit the first row of ribbing.

img_20180624_150912_874

At this point, I had 2 hours until time to leave for the airport. I had thought I could power through, but I had not eaten and my hands were just… tired. The sweater got pretty heavy in the end–wrestling it around for ribbing was not exactly quick and easy.  So I took a break. Made myself lunch, scrolled through instagram, relaxed. And as I was relaxing, Kevin texted to say his flight was delayed. Fine, I thought, I’ll knit a row. His flight was delayed a bit more… another row. You see where this is going. When he texted to say they were finally departing, I texted right back to say I had finished the sweater.

img_20180624_183233

I wove in the ends before we headed out to the airport and gave the sweater a bath while Kevin recapped his weekend. It’s still on the blocking mats now, things take forever to dry in our frigid basement. Once it’s done, I’ll post some proper pictures and all the details of my modifications and whatnot. If you’re curious now, feel free to check out my project page.

This was a fun experience. Very challenging, but fun. I definitely spent every free minute knitting for about 72 hours. Fun to do for a weekend, but a little too much even for me. The focus and motivation to work with such dedication on one project was awesome. It feels great to have finished a sweater so quickly. It’s not something I’d focus on all the time–speed sweaters, as Kevin called it–but definitely a fun diversion. And I got a sweater out of it!

All in all, my own personal 4-day sweater challenge was fun. I can see the interest in doing it periodically–maybe next year I’ll take another knitcation and see what I can accomplish.

Happy making!