New year, new challenge(s), new socks.

With 2018 fresh and new, I’ve been thinking about what the new year would mean to me. Last year, I embarked on a wonderful journey, my year of making, and I started this blog to chronicle that journey. Now that it’s over, I find that I don’t want to stop. I want to continue making every day. I find that I am wanting just a bit more.

I am intrigued more and more at the the idea of challenging myself in my making. I want to grow as a maker. Growth would certainly mean different things for my different crafts. For sewing, I want to learn simple things, like grading patterns or inserting zippers. Quilting is a bit more complicated, I’d like to take the next step with the longarm or get a bit more adventurous with my pattern choices. With sewing and quilting, I am still such a beginner that there is a lot of room to grow.

Knitting, however, is another story. I want to do everything! Garments, cables, colorwork, you name it and I am probably interested in it. I think I’m a good knitter, but a pretty vanilla knitter. I knit a lot of simple projects and I’m ready to change that. Perhaps not altogether–you’ll need to pry my vanilla socks from my cold and lifeless hands–but a bit.

In thinking about the best way to challenge myself, I thought about what made my year of making work. I think the big things were that it was a simple and easily definable challenge–and it was realistic.

To that end, I’ve come up with 6 challenges for myself for 2018. I’m not planning to put a timeline to any of these, I will most likely be working on a few of them at the same time. In no particular order–and with planned projects or inspiration pictures–my 6 challenges are:

A knit that incorporates fair isle

pixelrise

Image courtesy Kemper Wray

A cabled shawl a la Winter Honey by Andrea Mowry

winterhoney

Image courtesy Andrea Mowry

A knitted garment – finally

An English paper pieced mini quilt

heximini

Image courtesy Sew and So

A whole cloth quilt for experimenting on the longarm

quilting

Image courtesy A Few Scraps

A skirt with a zipper – it makes me smile how simple this one is

ginger

Image courtesy Colette Designs

I would love to cross each of these challenges off by the end of the year. I do have a few other goals in mind as well. I want to continue on with my Wardrobe Architect project, and part of that means being intentional with my fabric, yarn, and pattern choices for the above projects. I’ve got a few languishing projects from before the gift-making extravaganza that I want to wrap up before any other big cast ons:

IMG_20171108_151949.jpg

Boho Blush, on hiatus since sometime in mid November

IMG_20171006_083131_049

Love Ewe Baby, barely started on and on hold since mid October

And if all of that isn’t enough to get me started, I have sock plans. I want to participate in the Box O’ Sox knitalong again, and knit myself 12 pairs of socks. This year, I want to have a specially curated box full of soft colors. I’ve been leaning more and more towards softer, less saturated colors recently and I think a light box o’ sox is just what’s in order. I pulled out all the yarns that I want to knit up into socks:

IMG_20171210_153828.jpg

That lineup slays me! I can’t wait to see that picture turned into a box of squishy socks. My birthday and halloween socks are even included in the list! I’m casting on my first pair today:

I’m enjoying a day off at home with Kevin and the kids and a little bit of making. A nice cozy start to 2018 with lots of looking forward to this fresh new year.

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.

img_20171220_084044.jpg

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.

IMG_20171228_140658.jpg

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:

yom2017

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!

A little motivation.

I have felt extraordinarily motivated in my making lately. The plan is–so far–doing an amazing thing. I’m so excited to get to everything that I have planned, I’ve been highly motivated in my knitting. I couldn’t think of anything else until I got this cowl off the needles:

IMG_20171022_100627.jpg

This is Slipstream by Maria Montzka. I knit it out of Quince & Co. Lark in the Mist colorway. I only needed about 5 grams out of the third skein, I knit 2 full repeats of the pattern. I really loved knitting this. I don’t often knit things that are so lacy, especially not anything that’s overall patterned. It gave me a lot of confidence in my abilities and patience. It also felt good to knit something in a single, solid color. I’m incredibly happy with this finished object.

img_20171024_171348.jpg

IMG_20171026_082714

This is my first make from my plans with my wardrobe architect project. It’s exciting to get started on that and I can’t wait to get to more of those plans!

I got started on a new hat for Astra. She had two requests: orange and mohair. I am more than happy to knit both. I cast it on last weekend. It’s ridiculously fuzzy and soft and squishy. And quite orange, if I do say so myself.

IMG_20171022_100904_545.jpg

I wound up staying up late the other night watching old movies and finished the hat. It’s so squishy and fuzzy, and Astra really likes it. This is Bumble by Tin Can Knits and I held one strand of Knit Picks Swish (100% merino) DK in Clementine together with one strand of Knit Picks Aloft (mohair silk blend) in Koi.

IMG_20171025_084912_156.jpg

Since I can’t seem to keep the socks off of my needles, I finally gave in and put some time into my Halloween socks. During the first football game of Sunday, I finished the first sock and cast on the second:

IMG_20171022_173235_867.jpg

Through my Steelers game and Monday Night Football, I managed to knit to about half way through the gusset. These kind of felt like were just falling off the needles. After the night of finishing the hat, I stayed up the next night and finished the socks!

IMG_20171026_165350_913.jpg

These were fun to knit up. They’re knit out of Hedgehog Fibres Sock Yarn in the Flytrap colorway. This was one of the September club colorways. I really never knit anything with black, but I’m digging how these turned out Halloween-y in a not super Halloween-y way. These are my fourteenth pair for my Box O’ Sox.

Whew! It’s not often I have 3 finishes in week but I’ve got so much that I want to get to, I’ve really felt like finishing things. I’ve started in on a bit more secret making (I can’t seem to help myself) and I’ve got yarn on the way for a new shawl. I just know I’m going to want to cast it on immediately.

I don’t really like having tons of projects going at once–IĀ  know you can’t tell with how much I’ve been casting on lately–and I want to be in the mindset to just give myself over to the new shawl. It’s one of the ones I talked about last week–I can’t wait to tell you all about it!


YoM Day 293-294: Cowl knitting – finished Slipstream!

YoM Day 295-296: Sock and hat knitting

YoM Day 297: Hat knitting – finished Astra’s hat!

YoM Day 298: Sock knitting – finished Halloween Socks!


Happy making!

It’s tough to know what you don’t know.

I’ve been thinking about learning to sew garments for a while now. I am really enjoying sewing and learning, so this seems like a natural next step. There are also a lot of inspiring knitter/sewists out there, and I’d like to join their ranks!

After a fair bit of research, I settled on the Sorbetto top by Colette Patterns. It’s a free pattern and advertised to be very beginner friendly. It is beginner friendly in that it is very simple, you only cut out two pieces and the instructions are written very well.

With all that said, I had no idea how much I didn’t know about garment sewing. I had to google and youtube nearly every step. How do you arrange the pattern? How do you cut it out? (hint, I still did that sort of wrong) Why is my fabric bunching up so badly? How do you handle darts? How do you finish seams? Much less, how do you do them separately? Here are my lackluster, yet finished seams:

IMG_20170909_144118

It was at this point that I discovered that, years ago, Colette Patterns hosted a sewalong for this very pattern. My game really stepped up after that. They had even more detail and instruction in the sewalong than the pattern. I still had to google a few things, but I was at least moving a long better.

It finally came time to attach the bias binding that I made to the neckband and armholes. I could not get it to look right! So I started back to googling. Evidently there is a handy foot that helps with edgestitching, but not a good one for my machine. While I was practicing and googling and looking at the sewing machine manual, I realized something.

It would appear that I have been threading my machine incorrectly for over a year. I’m always cursing the tension and the stitches look uneven and it’s a huge pain. Well, I had been not using the last thread guide the entire time. It is now well employed, and my stitches look so much better. I’m trying not to kick myself too much for that one. With that, I set to work finishing the neckband and armholes.

IMG_20170914_002730_813

I thought I would really like that part. I love binding quilts. Turns out it’s not the same. I am not a fan. But with that and a hem, it’s all done.

IMG_20170914_114942

It’s a real top! It even goes on my body! The fit could use a bit of work and there is lots of room for improvement, but my first garment is finally complete. Some of the details:

IMG_20170914_115010

I really like it. I like the style, the fabric, and most of all that I made it! I did learn about a million things in the process of making this top. I am really excited to make my next garment and utilizing those skills plus learning new ones. Making is such a process!


YoM day 250-251: Sock and shawl knitting

YoM day 252: Sock knitting, quilting, sewing

YoM day 253: Sewing

YoM day 254-257: Shawl knitting


Happy making!