Learning curve.

One of the challenges that I set out for myself for this year was to sew a garment with a zipper. It seemed like a pretty easy challenge, to be honest. Low hanging fruit, one might say. As I mentioned last week, I was right on the cusp of inserting said zipper in my second try at the Hollyburn skirt.

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Well, I finally settled in to insert the zipper this weekend. It went very smoothly. Putting in that zipper was actually pretty simple. Looked nice all sewn in, and everything. I pulled it off the machine, zipped it up… and the waistband didn’t line up. At all. I’ll save you the pain of a long explanation of the 5 hours of insanity that ensued and boil it down to a simple list:

  1. I took out the zipper, re-sewed it. Still out of whack.
  2. I took out the zipper, ripped out the back seam, redid both. Still out of whack.
  3. I took out the zipper, pinned it in again, and noticed that the shape of the two back pieces seemed different. Turns out I had put one back piece in backward.
  4. I ripped out the back seem, part of the waistband, the back panel, and about three miles of serged finishing. Re-sewed it all.
  5. Inserted the zipper. Still out of whack, but not nearly as bad as before. The top of the waistband lines up, so I’m going with it.

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This is the finished top of the zipper/waistband. You can see how the top of the waistband lines up, but not the bottom. From the best I can tell, things got janky when I did the waistband in the first place. But it’s wearable and cute, and to be honest, I love it.

This is the Hollyburn Skirt by Sewaholic Patterns, in Kaufman Chambray Union Worn Indigo. I made view B with the belt loops from view A. I cut a straight size 10 and made no modifications. Although, let’s be honest, I don’t know enough about anything to make modifications in garment sewing yet. I do want to point out that all of my frustration has nothing to do with the pattern itself. It is clear and well written, nothing was confusing or over my head. Total user error.

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This was quite the steep learning curve. This one turned out better than my first attempt, and I hope to solve the waistband issues with the next one. After struggling with the skirt half the weekend, I turned to my ultimate comfort make… socks.

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And, I finished them. These kind of happened without me noticing. I just needed to work on a project that wouldn’t be frustrating, something I know how to do. So I knit that second sock over the weekend and we have a pair.

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The yarn is Knitterly Things Sparkle Vesper Sock in Misty Mountain Rainbow, the August 2017 rainbow of the month colorway. I did 29 rows of 2×2 rib (one full stripe repeat) and cut in my afterthougth heel at 6.5″ down from cast on edge. For the heel and toe decreases, I used one of the options in the Smooth Operator Socks pattern.

This is pair 8 in my rainbow box of socks, and pair 16 overall for the year. Not too shabby. I really like these socks, the speckly stripes remind me of that hazy look things get in August when it’s just too hot and summer has gone one a bit too long.

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Whew. Two finished projects: one extradordinarily frustrating and one amazingly comforting. I love having both possibilities. I’m not planning to start any more socks until September 1, but I do have the replacement fabric from my first Hollyburn attempt. Maybe this one will go even better.

Happy making!

Birthday socks and other pretties.

As must happen every year, my birthday has passed. It was a good one though, and I’ve got some lovely yarny goodness to show for it.

First up, I finished my birthday socks last night.

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This yarn is Tilting Planet Apollo Sock–an amaszingly squishy 75/25 base–in the Cosmic Cake colorway. These are my eighth pair in my light box of socks, and my fifteenth box o sox pair overall. I don’t have very much more to say about them, but they’re beautiful so let’s look at them a bit.

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Cosi’s toes are cuter, but the socks don’t fit on him. In other birthday news, I received a few wooly gifts in the mail this week. One from Kevin and one from me. The gift I gave myself was a complete surprise, I had ordered the Hey Sister Yarn Co. August club colorways. I had no idea what would be arriving in the mail, other than one “color” and one “neutral” club colorway. Boy, was I pleasantly thrilled to open up these pretties!

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The neutral club color (left) is Taupe Frost and the color club color (right) is Lucid. They are both so pretty and I love how well they go together. I see a two color shawl in my future. As for what Kevin treated me to… he really treated me to a birthday afternoon of yarn shopping from the shop of my choice. I chose Quince & Co. and I’m glad I did.

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I’m in love with this color palette! In this mix are a hat, cowl, mittens, and a cardigan! Ever since I knit my Windswept, I’ve been itching to make a sweater out of Chickadee, Quince’s sport base. Well, Kevin helped me choose the color and it’s happening! I wound up a skein as soon as I got off work and got right to swatching.

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I’m planning to knit Empire, a cardigan by Gudren Johnston. I’m trying to resist the urge to cast it on tonight. Luckily, my Sunset Highway is doing a pretty good job of keeping me occupied. I’m nearing the end of the first contrast color.

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That’s it for me, this year’s birthday is tucked away with those pretty pink socks. I’ll bring it out next year and we’ll see how things look with another year on them.

Happy making!

Typecast.

As I read my sock knitting comrade Andi’s latest blog post yesterday, I got to thinking. Andi talked about her penchant for knitting socks and asked if other’s had unintentionally typecast themselves as a particular type of knitter.

Of course, socks were the first thing that sprang to my mind as well. I’ve branched out quite a bit in recent years, and socks are down to around just half of finished projects. But generally when anyone other than Kevin sees me knitting, I’m knitting socks.

This weekend, Kevin’s parents have been in town and so what have I been working on? You guessed it, socks. My birthday socks, to be specific. They arrived–with Astra in tow!–on Saturday afternoon. We grilled out and spent then evening talking. I woke up the next morning for coffee with Kevin’s mom and finished the the first sock.

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Jackie’s a crocheter, so after some lunch and a walk, we settled in for a bit of a craternoon before heading out to supper for her birthday.

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The last few nights, I’ve just been plugging away on my sock while we talk. I’m down past the heel and into the gusset increases, this pair of socks just seems to be flying by.

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In the background of all this sock knitting, I do have other projects going on. But colorwork, cables, or managing multiple balls of yarn just don’t make the cut when I’m trying to hang out and talk. Socks are just always my answer – portable, one ball of yarn, nothing to think about or check other than a quick leg or foot measure.

Maybe one day I’ll be confortable enough with sweater knitting to tote a cardigan around for my in-public knitting. Socks are pretty tough to compete with so I don’t mind if people just see me knit socks. Thank goodness I love them.

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Happy {sock} making!

 

Birthday.

Today is my birthday. Oddly enough, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten more into my birthday. I used to not set much stock in my own birthday, but now I think I’ve learned the value in taking a day for yourself and letting it be special.

Kevin treated me to chocolate this morning with my coffee and I started the day by casting on my birthday socks.

I finished the ribbing before it was time to get Joshua out the door:

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This yarn is Tilting Planet in the Cosmic Cake colorway. I’ve been saving it for about a year for my birthday socks, and I just love it. The yarn is dreamy and squishy and the pastel pink and lavendar wtih hot pink and neon orange pops just slays.

For my birthday, Kevin graced me with a gift card to Quince & Co. I’ve been mooning on about their yarn since I knit my Windwept in Chickadee. That yarn is amazing. Thanks to sweet boyfriend, I’ll be knitting up a cardigan in it as soon as possible.

In even more happy day news, my Zweig is dry! I finally got to try it on with two sleeves and everything!

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Pardon the house, it’s raining so no pretty outside pictures today. I am so pleased with the fit of this sweater! I love how it is relaxed but not oversized, just perfect.

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I didn’t really modify this sweater at all, except to knit the body 1″ shorter than called for. That seems to be fairly standard for me, and I think it worked well here.

This is Zweig, by Caitlin Hunter of Boyland Knitworks. I used Skein Yarn Top Draw Sock in the Japanese Slipper for the main color, and Nice & Knit Sock in Old Bay. The Old Bay was a special colorway that the Nice & Knit ladies dyed up for MDSW trunk show at The Knot House this year. Both of these yarns are luxurious and soft, they make a lovely, cozy sweater. I was skeptical of my color pairing abilities, but I think these worked perfectly.

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All in all, I’m incredibly pleased with this sweater. It is definitely my favorite sweater, and one of my favorite knits ever. I sort of wish my birthday was in October or something so that I could wear it out. But August is always nice and humid, so no sweater wearing for me.

We’re headed out tonight for some sushi and a low key family evening. It’s been a great day to just relax and enjoy time with Kevin and Joshua, and take the time to indulge in some lovely knitting. Nothing crazy, just special.

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Happy {birthday} 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.

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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.

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

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

A little bit of everything.

Tomorrow morning, Joshua and I are getting up at the crack of dawn and heading to North Carolina. A few days ago, it was my mom’s birthday and we are going to go and celebrate. She has graced the blog before, my sweet little mama, Joshua’s ShiShi:

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I  can’t wait to see her! Since we’re leaving tomorrow morning, I thought I’d do a little recap of the current state of affairs.

This weekend, I’m most likely just going to take my socks, I don’t expect to get much knitting done among all of the hugging and celebrating. The socks are coming along, though–one is finished and I’m down past the colorwork on the second:

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So cute! I think my colorwork is improving, my tension seems more even. This makes me excited to knit all the colorwork!

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In sweater news, I’m definitely marooned on sleeve island. I thought it was going quickly, but I got out the tape measure last night and that changed my mind. I need to knit the sleeve to around 11-12″ and we’re only down to about 7. Sigh.

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My knitting in the round tension is slightly tighter at small circumferences–sleeve versus sweater body, for instance–and so it’s taking me more pattern repeats than expected. They do breeze by pretty well on the 9 inch circulars, though, so the situation is not all together bleak.

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On an entirely different note, my friend and coworker Holly recently travelled to Europe. She found these mittens in a market in Estonia and brought them back for me! They are so cool. I don’t know if I can stand to wear them–they are too precious–but they are currently hanging on my craft room wall where I can admire them anytime.

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Finally, we haven’t had a garden update in quite a while! In general, the container garden is going off like gangbusters. I did have a devastating setback when some villainous wildlife ate my jalepeno plant, but I trimmed it back and it’s chugging along. We’ve been making pesto, enjoying fresh dill in tuna salad, and having fresh herbs in salad dressing–quite a lot.

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After my California trip there were lots of flowers to pinch off–they make a great addition to, well, everything. The star of the garden, however, has been the tomato. We started getting tomatoes about a month ago and have picked a few every few days since. They are small, so we’ve had them mostly in salads or sliced on burgers.

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The tomatoes are delicious! So sweet and flavorful. I went out to the garden last night and noticed that the plant itself is really growing! Seems like everyone is getting taller than me these days.

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I suppose that’s enough rambling for a Friday evening. We’re heading out pre 5 a.m.–don’t tell Joshua yet!–so I’m going to head to bed fairly early. I’ve got a really exciting collaboration to share next week, so I’ll see you then!

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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Happy making!