Happy, uh, Christmas?

It is the new year and that means new projects, new ideas, and the same old me. Turning over the calendar always gets ideas sparking for me. Part of that is the general sense of new and fresh that surrounds the start of a new year. The other part is returning from our holiday trip. I don’t typically knit much and it’s usually socks, so the last few years I’ve been dying to start something new and big once I get home.

This year, I had my mind on holiday projects. Every year, I want to make something a bit Christmas-y but by the time my mind heads that way, it’s December and I default to socks. Now, don’t get me wrong, this has resulted in some awfully pretty pairs of Christmas socks. Did I mention I finished my latest pair?

This is CindyLou by Junkyarn. I love these. My dad called me CindyLou when I was little and this color just gives me the warm fuzzies. I cast these on as a bit of a holiday knit and finished them up this week. Anyway, pretty, speckly socks aside, I’d like to make more holiday makes. I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to do much serious holiday crafting in December, so why not spread the love around?

That’s right, this year, I’m making Christmas all year long! Christmas knitting, Christmas sewing, Christmas quilting, maybe even some general Christmas crafting?!? I’ve been thinking about this for a while now, so I was able to hit up some holiday sales and bump up my Christmas stash in general. I’ve amassed some fabric and yarn for this endeavor:

On the list is a quilt, a tree skirt, socks, a holiday sweater (I’m looking at you, Julgran), mini quilts, scrappy little items, and maybe even a holiday outfit! I’m going to try to finish one Christmas item per month. Slow and steady with time to make other things throughout the year.

In classic style, I just couldn’t wait to get started. My first official start of 2020 is a Christmas quilt! Who cares if it’s January? I’m hoping to knock out this big old beast early so it can get quilted and finished. I’ve started the Happy Christmas Quilt by Holly LesuΓ© of Maker Valley. I had a kit for it from Maker Valley and so I thought I’d get started cutting it out last night. It took no time!

Since that was so fast, I thought I’d go ahead and do a wee bit of sewing. You know, just to start. Before I knew it, I had all the green HSTs sewn and the presents and star done!

Sorry for the horrid lighting, but I was pretty excited at midnight last night. I can’t wait to get some more done on this fun quilt. I think this is a pretty good start to a year of Christmas making.

I just love the thought of pulling out handmade holiday items year after year, but they have to get made sometime. 2020 is the year for me: a whole year of Christmas.


Happy {holiday} making!

The final score: WIP Wipeout 2019

Way back in June, I took a long hard look at all of my works in progress. I pulled them all out, posted them on the blog, and challenged myself to finish them off by the end of the year. Well, friends, the end of the year is here. How’d I do?

Completely, totally, all finished:

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Jelly Roll Twist Quilt

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Dresden Mini #1

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Layer Cake Pop Quilt

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Lumen

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Quilted Notions Pouch

Overdyed Mathilde

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Dresden Mini #2

4-Patch Hearts Mini Quilt

Rose City Rollers

Ugly Christmas Sweater Socks

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No Frills Sweater

Circular Sock Machine Socks #2

Circular Sock Machine Socks #3

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Divi Divi Shawlette – after a coffee incident on a plane, this baby got frogged

Kinda finished:Β  (Off my mental list, but something still needs to be done with them in the physical world, i.e. these need to be frogged)

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Dammejaka Lopa – The verdict is in, we’re going to frog this one. It’s way too big for me and I even sent it to a knitty friend and it wasn’t right for her either. I don’t know if I’ll knit the same thing with the same colors, but I do need to reclaim the yarn.

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Circular Sock Machine Socks #4 – The orange/yellow/black/green tube is very, very wonky. Not sure what happened, but I’m going to try to reclaim the yarn.

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Swirl Dress – This version is just going to have to be scrapped. I’m going to toile the bodice but haven’t. I had thought I could salvage this version, but I don’t think that will work. The fabric can be used for something else, but probably not just to redo this dress.

Axed projects – yep, I still didn’t frog this yarn. One day, probably.

Unfinished, not touched, not no how, not no way:

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Julgran – To be quite honest, I have not been taking great care of myself and the result of that is a definite lack of enthusiasm for knitting a fitted sweater.

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Beauty School Top – ditto to the Julgran. The yarn is frogged and ready to go, but I haven’t cast it back on for the same reason.


Ok, so all in total, thats 14 out of 20 finished. If I were in school, I’d be passing, but barely. Add in the “not frogged” items and that get’s me up to a respectable 18 of 20. Not too shabby. I also started 16 new projects and finished 9 of them. That makes my net progress for the second half of the year 27/36 = 75%. Not too shabby.

I listened to a podcast recently about embracing your WIPs as creative opportunities. One thing I learned over the course of this challenge is that starting something new can be daunting. I don’t love the mental clutter of having tons of stuff hanging around, but it’s also fun to be able to pick among things to work on. As they say, balance is key.

With that, we’ll wrap up the year. Happy New Year’s Eve to you all!Β  I can’t wait to see what creativity blossoms in 2020.


Happy making!

In which gifts were given.

Well, here we are at the end of the year. Once again, I have gone a bit dark on the internet (this year was a bit of a blackout, to be honest) and just busying myself like a wee elf with gift making.

This year was all about the socks. I gifted a personal high 5 pairs of socks this year! I righteously finished the first pair back in May and tucked them away for my [not quite yet at that point] sister-in-law, Madelyn.

The main, stripy yarn is West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 Ply in Wood Pigeon and the contrast is the same yarn in the Poppy Seed colorway. These were my first ever circular sock machine socks. Back in 2018, I traded someone yarn for circular sock machine services. I cut my tubes up and knit in heels, toes, and cuffs and voila! socks!

I other circular sock machine news, I made Kevin’s mom and my other sister-in-law each a pair. Kevin’s mom, Jackie’s are knit in Miss Babs Northumbria Fingering – a lovely 100% BFL base – in Zombie Prom. Kevin gifted the yarn to me years ago so I love the idea of making socks for his mom out of it.

Crystal’s socks are knit out of Into the Whirled Bukavu Sock, a longwool/nylon blend. They should be nice and hard wearing and I love the short color repeat rainbow effect. The colorway is Timey Wimey Wibbly Wobbly.

My brother Noah’s socks are in Patons Kroy FX in Clover. These socks are so stinkin’ squishy that I want a pair for myself. In general, I knit most gift socks (all three pairs above) the same stitch count and all as mine, I just adjust for foot length. My brothers both have pretty narrow feet and all so I go down a bit. These are knit at 52 stitches on a 2.5 mm needle, where I typically knit mine at 56.

Last, but certainly not least on the sock train, are my brother Judge’s socks. A few years ago, I stumble across some old yarn that used to be spun with possum fur. Knowing that Judge would get a kick out of the thought, I went on the hunt for this yarn. I finally found it on Ravelry destash and snapped up two balls. This is Naturally Waikiwi Prints, a New Zealnad made yarn with an interesting blend: 55% NZ Merino, 20% Nylon, 15% Alpaca, 10% Possum. The colorway is aptly called Greens.

Let’s count the socks in the picture above. How many do you see? If you said four, you’d be right. That’s right my friends, this pair of socks was knit twice. I cast these on in August, and finished in October. I kept telling myself that things were fine, that it would block out. Of course it didn’t. The socks I had knit were completely different sizes. I think the first sock got stress knit at a stranglehold gauge. Once I came to terms with this result, I frogged them and washed the yarn. The second try was much more successful and now my brother’s feet are warmed by possum socks. In case you’re curious, yes he thought this was hilarious.

The last, and I do mean very last, gift I made this year was a quilt for my mom. I finished sewing the binding the night before we left for our holiday trip. So late that I didn’t even get a picture of the thing. That turned out ok, mom agreed to help with the picture.

This is the Fat Quarter Flowers Quilt, a free pattern from the fat quarter shop. I used all Art Gallery prints and solids, the fabric is just so fine and crisp, it makes a lovely quilt.Β  The back is a gorgeous navy print with feathers all over. I think she likes it.

That was the extent of my holiday crafting this year. I’ve got big plans for holiday making next year in the non-gift department, but it’s always fun to gift a bit of cozy to my loves.


Happy making!

 

Whatever I feel like.

What happened to August? It felt like a whirlwind and here we are, a whole week into September. The kids are back in school and I’m back to cooking in a way that makes me feel good. Something has switched with me this week and I’ve felt motivated to make. Let’s catch up.

I finally finished my Christmas socks! The yarn is Lattes and Lllamas BFL sock in Ugly Christmas Sweater. That’s one off the #wipwipeout list.

I decided to try needle turn applique on soem clambshells. I’m using the tutorial from over on the Sunny Day Supply blog. I still need practice, but they’re super cute.

I finihsed a quilt top! I cut it out and sewed up the rows over my birthday weekend and then finished sewing the rows together a couple of weeks later. I really liek this quilt top, the pattern is great. It’s Arthmetic by Jeni Baker, I did the 4″ square version.

Pretty much as soon as the Arthmetic top was done, I started sewing up some rainbow strips for a bargello quilt. It’s still in the sewing strips together phase at this point.

I did wind up casting on another pair of socks, but these are a gift so I won’t say much.

I’ve been spending a fair bit of time in the sewing room and the stash shelves were starting to look pretty rough. That’s the before…

And this is the after! It’s pretty nice, if you ask me.

As I mentioned, the kids started back to school this week. This was at 6:30 right before Joshua walked off to his first day of high school. Astra was up early for breakfast with us, but her first day of fifth grade was hours away at this point.

Something made me want to pick up my No Frills and knit a row or two and now I’ve been obsessed. I’ve only got a couple of inchs to go till the ribbing now!

And last, but certainly not least, I have started an Everest of a project. This is the first block of my Granny’s Garden quilt, a fully appliqued monster of a quilt. I’m excited but this is definitley a long term project. I’ll have to ellaborate in another post, but let’s just say it took me about 18 hours to cut the thing out. Yeah.

Well, there you go. Not very much making for six-ish weeks but I’m trying to have peace with that. I do what I feel like doing and that’s ok. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I don’t have some quota to meet every year.

Making feels a bit all over the place at the moment, but I’ve really been just picking up whatever feels fun at the moment. At any rate, I’ve got some enjoyable projects going on right now, and I’m digging it.


Happy making!

Off the list, one way or another.

Do you ever notice how life just seems to get slowly, inexorably busier all the time? At least that’s how it seems. Somehow, I am making progress on projects. I have crossed some more things off my list–four!–all in the last few days. Last week, I wanted to finish my 4-patch heart mini quilt and get my No Frills Sweater past the split for the sleeves. I knew that I was headed on a work trip and that the sweater would provide all of the endless, mindless knitting I would need.

First, I started quilting the mini quilt. I decided to try something new, and not do all over quilting. It was really all going well until I thought I would try a bit of free motion quilting around the hearts. Hard nope. It took me about 2 hours to pick it all out, but I finally did. I wound up going with a very nice grid instead.

On Sunday last, I finally gave up the dream of finishing the mini and got back to the sweater. The rows had gotten long and felt like they took forever so I tried to just plow through. I finally got to the split on Sunday night. I wound up more yarn to take with me on the trip and… decided not to take the sweater. It was just too much bulk with the extra yarn. I had to carry on my luggage–which I hate–and it seemed like I should just take something else.

Enter the Divi Divi Shawlette. This is one on the list that I have been hemming and hawing about. I thought this would give me a chance to really put a dent in it and try to just get it off the needles, even though I wasn’t sure that I even wanted to knit it. I don’t think I did really want to knit it, I was trying to slog through, but it was a struggle.

And then, about 2 minutes after this picture, the lady in front of me dropped something behind her and proceeded to swat around and spill this cup of coffee all over me and the shawl. Decision made. The yarn got soaked pretty good with coffee and we were early in the day of travel, so it dried on. I will try to save the yarn but I’m done with the shawl. Cross it off the list, it’s out of my mental space now. Thank goodness that wasn’t my sweater! I’d probably have cried.

With the rest of my plane trip there and back again, I worked on socks. I’ve not had much sock mojo, as we know, but it was good to just kick back with a good book and put some rows down on a vanilla sock. I finished that first sock and pulled out my rose city rollers. I knit and knit on them and… ran out of yarn.

On the plane, I cast on the second sock for the other pair. When I got home that night, I pulled out a mini and knit the last threeish rows in pink and finished up my shortie socks.

These are Rose City Rollers, a free pattern by Mara Catherine Bryner. I used the last of some Tempting Ewe Yarns in the colorway Saftayy. The mini is from Miss Babs, in the color Hot Shot. I didn’t bring scissors or neeedles on the flight, so I also kitchenered the toe of the holiday socks once I was home.

Once the socks were in order, I went straight back to binding that mini quilt and managed to finish it up. This is the 4-Patch Hearts Mini Quilt by Jedi Craft Girl . I used the same fabric as the pattern, but I had a charm pack instead of a jelly roll. It worked out, although I didn’t have as much red in my quilt.

I love it so much! I am pretty proud of this one. It’s been tucked away in a box for about a year and half because the first block I made came out super wonky. Now my blocks and points are much better. I used some yardage of the same fabric line for the backing. I just can’t get enough of this print.

I also really went out of my comfort zone for the quilting. I really like the effect. I even washed this one to make the quilting stand out. I usually don’t wash minis, but this one was just begging to crinkle up!

Once on the binding train, I couldn’t really get off. I pulled out my bunny mini dresden and finally got it all bound and finished off. This was my first try at binding a circle. It’s a wee bit poofy but overall pretty good. I think it is adorable.

I had made the whole thing strawberry themed, inspired by how much the bunny loves his strawberry. I think this one will be a mug rug for my desk at work. I just love seeing this bunny hanging out. The back is a pretty little strawberry print.

I think that’s it for now. I’m working on my sweater and contemplating a few new sewing projects. I’m down to 8 WIPs and I have been feeling pretty diligent so I’m ready for a bit of freshness.


One other thing, in completely un-crafty news, I saw the pacific ocean! I worked a lot on this trip, but did manage to walk out to the water a couple of times. I’m a mountain girl at heart, but the ocean is just so peaceful.


Happy making!

Hello darlin, nice to see you

It’s been a long time…

It has been a hot minute hasn’t it? Suffice it to say that I’ve not felt like blogging for several reasons and have no idea how much I’ll feel like it moving forward. But we’re here today, so let’s recap.

I have been quite non-prolific over the last few months. A lot of that is that I’ve been working on lots (for me) of larger projects and a lot of that is that I’ve just had less time. Since we last spoke, I’ve finished two knits. The first is a sweater for Astra:

This is Flax by Tin Can Knits. I knit it out of Red Heart Super Saver in Pumpkin. The pattern is very simple, it would make a great first sweater. I will say that I’m not over the moon about the neckline, if I knit another for Astra I’d cast on fewer stitches there to bring it in a bit.

I also finally finished up my navy Hollyburn skirt! This one had been waiting for a zip for months, but it’s done and in my closet now.

I’ll confess I haven’t even worn it yet – partly because it’s been so cold and partly because I feel like I don’t have much to wear with it. So, to get something to wear with it, I cast on a new sweater. I finished all the knitting and blocked it a month ago, but I just ordered buttons this week. I’m sewing those on this weekend!

This is Populuxe by Andi Satterlund. I knit it out of Sweet Sparrow Yarns in the Butterbeer colorway. It was heaven to knit, which is good, because I knit a fair bit of it twice! I’ll tell that story once this beauty is properly buttoned and finally complete.

In other news, I’ve been plugging away at my Audra Wrap. It’s nearly half way finished but I don’t take many pictures of it since the sections all look the same.

Over the last couple of months I cast on a few other things, a new sweater:

This is Damejakka Lopa and I am pretty stinking proud of that colorwork. I’m using some of the Rauma FinulPT2 that Kevin got me for Christmas. I’ve been moving a little slow on it now, but I’m in no rush. It’s pretty pleasant to work on the flea stitches now. I also cast on a Lumen out of some Jill Draper Makes that I picked up at Maryland Sheep & Wool last spring. I zoomed at first, but the lace has some p3tog that really slow it down and make my hands a bit sore. I haven’t picked it up in a bit.

A couple of weeks ago, I found that I was not knitting all that much. Work has been pretty stressful so I was coming home all brain-fried and frazzled. I couldn’t wrap my head around lace or colorwork or anything. After a bit, I realized that I was really missing vanilla socks. I hadn’t cast on any the whole year but I finally broke down and boy, did it feel good.

These have been wonderfully comforting and easy on my mind. Not to mention they are gorgeous! Speaking of gorgeous, I participated in Fibreshare again this spring. My partner really hit the nail on the head with what she sent, I don’t know if I could love it more.

She had posted a teaser to her insta-stories saying that I would die over that far right hand skein – she couldn’t have been more right. It is the absolute perfect shade of greeeny-goldy mustard and I love it. It is a merino/silk/yak blend by Happy Hank and the color is English Mustard. I could not stop myself and within 24 hours of opening the package, I cast that sucker on.

I cast on for another Spindrift Shawl. It’s been a bit less than a week and I am almost finished with it. I cannot wait to have this color in my shawl collection! And the yarn is buttery soft. It’s been an amazing knit and very difficult to put down.

I think that pretty much sums up my crafting for the year so far. In addition to all of that, this week I’ve started a muslin (read, practice version) of a new dress that I’ve been dreaming about for months and months. I think I might be ready to cut out the real fabric pretty soon.

With all of that, I suppose I have been keeping my hands busy. I’ve felt that my crafty productivity is really low these days. I am trying not to compare myself to last year, but sometimes that’s tough. I hope that finishing that cardigan and getting it in my wardrobe, finally breaking out my new skirt, and maybe having a new dress to wear will help me feel the fruits of my labors a bit more.

That and writing. It has felt good to sit down and write this evening. I love to talk about making, talk about yarn and patterns and my sewing woes. I was nervous to get back into it, but this has brought me a great deal of joy tonight. And that is what this making hobby is all about.


Happy making, darlin!

Wrapping Up.

As one might imagine, a lot of things can happen in a month. Particularly if that month is December. I am sitting here at Kevin’s parents house on the last day of the year, having a cup of coffee in my bear mug and thinking over the last month and the last year. First, let’s do a quick (not so quick) photo montage of December.

At the beginning of the month, I went to California. On the plane ride, I finished this shawl. Color Field by Kemper Wray, knit in Primrose Yarn Co. Jasper DK in Hermione (light pink) and Maple Leaf (green).
I took Joshua out to a special breakfast as a congrats for working so hard and being recommended for honors classes for high school next year. Captain Crunch french toast is amazing, by the way.
I finished my last pair of Rainbow Socks. This is Fireside Hearth Song on Vesper Sparkle Sock by Knitterly Things.
With that, all 12 pairs of rainbow socks are complete! This is the 2017 Rainbow of the Month club by Knitterly Things. So rainbowy and stripey and wonderful.
And so, my 2018 box o’ sox is complete. 20 pairs of socks all ready to go for the new year.
Since we travel so long for the holidays, we celebrate Christmas a bit early at our house. This year, we made homemade hot chocolate that turned out amazing.
Every year, my brother and SIL send out a special card that they design and print. This year, we got to witness the entire process. So much work goes into them, but they are so beautiful.
We spent Christmas at mom’s cabin and we got some very rare and precious knitting time.
My mom knitted us all into little birds! They are ridiculously cute.
The birds: Me, Kevin, Judge, Crystal, Noah, and Madelyn
This was all of my holiday making for this year. I knit a Stillwater Cardigan for mom, Eureka Cowls for Crystal and Madelyn, socks for Noah and Kevin’s mom, and made a Strathcona Tee for Judge. I started back in July so it was pretty low pressure. I am very pleased with how it all came out. I have some super knitworthy people in my life.
In the holiday madness, I cast on a patterned sock! Whitethorn Socks by Lindsey Fowler.
Over the visit, we had a family D&D night complete with a cheese ball and a benevolent gold dragon. Many thanks to Kevin for DMing the madness!
Now we are all back in Tennessee and even managed to catch a UT basketball game. Go Vols!
A while back, Astra asked for an orange sweater – so I cast on an orange sweater.
And finally, because I had to have something mindless, I cast on a Spindrift Shawl.

These are just some of the highlights. Overall, it has been an amazing trip full of love and light. We head home tomorrow on the first day of a fresh new year. I am ready for 2019. There have been ups and downs this past year, but to be perfectly honest the downs were some of the hardest yet. I am ready to greet a new year tomorrow, full of possibility.

I hope that you all are finishing your year out with joy.

Happy making.