(Mostly) Never before seen WIPS!

Well, now that it’s been three weeks I suppose we’re do for a bit of an update. I’ve been all over the place. Between the new sewing room, kicking off the year of Christmas, and a healthy audiobook obsession – I’m been doing quite a bit of making.

I am reasonably confident that the only active WIP that has even made a blog appearance is my Happy Christmas Quilt, so let’s do a montage. The current state of affairs of my crafting is as follows:

I cast these socks on over our holiday trip. My goal was a pair of utility socks, I love Patons Kroy yarn for hard wearing socks. I’m not in love with the color combination (Mexicali Stripes), but the socks will do their job.

I made Kevin a pair of pijama pants last year out of this flannel and he asked if I had enough left over to make him a pillow for the couch. I barely did, but I think it turned out cute.

I finally started these gorgeous socks this month. This is Gauge Dyeworks in the colorway All Together Now. I had some yarn management woes and a great deal of indecision with what color I wanted to start with, but they are kniting up quite nicely. This yarn is a plump dream to knit with, by the way.

I finished all the blocks for my Happy Christmas Quilt and here it is all laid out. I’ve since sewn all the rows up and just need to sew them together. For the beady eyed among you, yes, I fixed the mistake in the border before sewing. Thank goodness! I am in love with this one.

I made the top for a tree skirt, too. I’ve been talking about making a tree skirt for years and have, unsurprisingly, put off purchasing one because of that. So we have gone without a tree skirt for a long time. No more! This is a jelly roll pattern, which I thought would make it very easy, but the bias seams got me in the worst way. That was tough.

Since I started my year of Christmas with a quilt and a tree skirt that may as well be a full quilt, I thought it would be nice to get a bit of instant gratification. Enter the mug rug. I love making mug rugs and micro minis. They’re like snack sized quilts. This one included a paper pieced tree, which was a new skill to me. It was pretty easy and quite fun. I love the result! This is a free pattern from ThreadBare Creations and I used scraps from the Happy Christmas quilt and a bit of random stash.

The mug rug is my first project and the January entry in my year of Christmas. I think we’re off to a good start!

In the last few weeks, I’ve been obsessed with a couple of audiobook triologies. Nothing makes me quite so dedicated to a long knitting project as something compelling to listen to. Enter Marley. I cast it on in October, but hadn’t made much progress until about 10 days ago. Now I’m now only a few rows until the finish.

I’m still only halfway through the current amazing trilogy, so I decided to start another long project. This is not my first try at crochet, but it’s definitely the farthest I’ve ever come. I’m really enjoying the rhythym of it.

So that’s it. Quite a bit of variety these days. I’ve got some non-holiday ideas for the sewing room, we’ll see when I get to them. I’m also hoping I’ll be back very soon with a finished shawl and maybe even a finished quilt top.


Happy making!

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 Lesué 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:  (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!  I can’t wait to see what creativity blossoms in 2020.


Happy making!

After the thrill is gone.

Sometimes it feels so good to really get so into a knit that you can’t think about anything else. You just want to get back to it, just one more row, one more repeat. That’s how I felt about Winter Honey. I just could not stop knitting it.

And once I started really obsessively working on this shawl, in no time it was finished. This is Winter Honey by Andrea Mowry. I knit it in the called-for yarn, Brooklyn Tweed Shelter, in the Hayloft colorway.

Now, I like to finish things. Really, I do. I love the feeling of binding off those last few stitches, weaving in the ends, pulling it off the blocking mats. But to be honest, I was a little sad when this one came to an end.

The thought of an all over (seriously) cabled shawl was a bit daunting, but the rhythm of this shawl was so enjoyable. This may be my favorite process knit to date.  That’s to say nothing about how much I love this big squishy, cozy, piece. It feels like a sheepy hug.

Once I finished this shawl, I dove right in to two new projects. One, Hawksbill, I thought was going to get me back in that must-knit groove. I cast it on and got the sleeves separated last weekend and then… well, I just kind of petered out. I’ve knit on it a bit here and there, but really it’s a DK weight sweater and should be going pretty quick.

Don’t get me wrong, I really like this yarn–Cozy Color Works merino DK in Rag Doll–and I think it’s going to be a lovely addition to my wardrobe. It’s just not calling to me. With Hawksbill firmly on the needles, I cast on something small, thinking I needed a bit of texture in my life.

This is Gully by Jared Flood. It’s a brioche cowl, knit flat and then seemed. I’ll be honest, the texture of the brioche and the yarn–Brooklyn Tweed Vale in the Cobbler colorway- is heaven. It really is beautiful. But laceweight brioche does not exactly fly off the needles. I also found a mistake last night, and being a fairly novice brioche knitter, I just ripped back to before the mistake. So there’s that.

I feel like I’m just in a weird place right now. I think I would be fine if I hadn’t just come off of such a fantastic process knit. It makes other things seem a bit dull in comparison. Maybe I’ll start something new to continue this cast-on party I seem to have started. I’ve still got holiday makes on the brain, so that’s another creative avenue I can try.

In the meantime, I’ll just bask in the afterglow of my new shawl. Maybe I should knit another one…


Happy making!

Can’t put it down.

As I mentioned when last we spoke, I cast on a new shawl. I have honestly not thought about much else since. Well, that’s not completely true. I’ve though about a lot of things, but I haven’t knit much else.

Last Saturday, I had the pleasure of joining a friend for the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival. We had, quite honestly, the best time. It was a great festival, lots of variety and lovely vendors and wasn’t too crowded. The lunch lines were it bit much in the hot sun, but the brisket was worth it. We topped the day off with an iced coffee before heading home. I picked up a beautiful fair-trade basket, several projects worth of yarn, and the cutest sheep mug I’ve ever seen.

As you will see, the cats are big fans of the basket. All of the yarn is from dyers I hadn’t ever heard of, which is very exciting. I’ll talk about each yarn as I knit it. I got home from the festival and settled in for our d&d game and got right back to my shawl. That honeycomb cable stitch is addictive.

I usually try my best to knit cables without a cable needle when it’s a 1×1 or 2×2 cross like this. I learned the trick when I knit my Zweig pullover. I still feel like my cables on that are a bit sloppy, so I’ve tried other methods since. I have finally found the trick! It’s the method used in the Beeswax hat pattern and is outlined on this website. I promise this will have you flying through 1×1 cables!

One of my purchases at the festival was yarn for a DK weight t-shirt. One of the first booths we stopped at had a gorgeous sample knit up and at the end of the day, I still couldn’t stop thinking about it. On Sunday I took my only break from the shawl to date, and swatched for the sweater.

I had thought that I would cast it on this week, but nothing has been able to tear me away from the shawl. I only have a few rows and the bind-off left and I am finishing it tonight! The border is 2×2 cables which slow me down a bit, but with I’m still plowing ahead with no cable needle. The contrast between the body and the border cables is spot on though, I just can’t stop squishing it.

Another obligatory cat+basket picture, every time I get it out, they are all over it!

Once this baby is off the needles, I am committed to at least starting one holiday gift. I also want to get that sweater on the needles and maybe cast on a new cowl… My hands have been busy with only one thing, but mind has been wandering to a million other makes! Perhaps a bit of startitis is warranted this weekend.


Happy making!

Just a few things.

I don’t feel well, but I’m knitting and making and sharing. So here we go for a very brief share. Happy fall and fall alergies, y’all!

On Saturday, I cast on a new hat for Kevin. I am trying to get into the tradition of making Kevin a hat every fall, so here’s this year’s entry. He picked the pattern and the yarn.

On Saturday night and Sunday morning, I appliquéd the 3rd and 4th (bottom two) blocks for my Granny’s Garden Quilt. I really love the way these are coming out. Applique is pretty fun, but I may need to take a look at my thimble situation.

It really was no time until I finished Kevin’s hat. This is the Chapelfield Hat by Kari-Helene Rane, knit up in Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in the Snowbound colorway. I knit the medium size to the pattern exactly. Once it was finished, ends woven in and all, and Kevin tried it on and quietly asked how much trouble it would be to make it just a few rows longer.

Ripping back finished work is never something I relish, but as I told Kevin–my goal is that he wear the hat. If it doesn’t cover his ears like he likes, he won’t wear it, and that’s no fun. So I ripped out back about a fourth of the hat and knit one extra repeat in the first crown shaping section. This added soemthing like a half inch, which was perfect.

And last, but certainly not least, once I was on the Shelter train I didn’t really feel like getting off. I love this yarn. I’ve been wanting to knit a Winter Honey shawl for several years but had just kind of been collecting the yarn for a while. I finally procured my final skein and couldn’t wait another minute. Almost. I decided to swatch for the shawl because I was afraid of the cables making the shawl to tight and small, or of going the other way and having an overly loose fabric. So I swatched.

Well, that was less brief than expected. A wee bit of crafty recap for this Wednesday night and I am back to my new shawl cast on.


Happy making!

Only the beginning.

I’m doing it. I decided to take a huge leap in my making and dive right in to a fully appliquéd quilt. I have long loved the look of appliqué but much like colorwork knitting, I thought it was out of my grasp. Well, it seems I was wrong. At least so far.

I have started the Granny’s Garden quilt, by Lori Holt. It is so gorgeous I cannot stand it. I took some time reading through Lori’s other sewalongs and appliqué tutorials and it seemed like I could do it with some practice, so I decided to dive right in. And let me tell you, the water is deep and the shore is far.

I decided to go ahead and get all the cutting over with in one fell swoop. That turned out to be a monumental task. All in all, the fabric, background, and interfacing took me about 18 hours to cut. I also organized everything into baggies by block. Don’t worry, I’ll be saving the bags for the next inevitable huge project like this!

Apologies for this photo! I think it’s time for a more photogenic bedspread in the guest room. In the 18 hour marathon of prep, I also made about 8 yards of 1/4 inch binding for the stems. I like my little card with them all wound up!

That prep took me a whole weekend. I couldn’t even stand to think about sewing after that, and I’d done a pretty good number on my shoulder. So I took the night off and went for the first block after work the next day. Now, this is a cool appliqué trick. Lori has you sew the interfacing onto the fabric and then turn the pieces. This was my first heart, a little wonky at first.

A few minutes with my handy point turner and, voila! a heart!

After turning the rest of the shapes, I pin basted everything to be sure I liked the arrangement. I followed the pins with a nice little glue-baste to secure everything.

I’ll be honest, it took me a minute to get the hang of the appliqué technique. While it’s certainly nowhere near perfect, I think my stitching is starting to look pretty good.

I like the way stitching looks on the back of the piece, all the colorful outlines.

And that’s a finished block one! I think it turned out pretty well, though there’s a bit of wrinkling going on. At any rate, it’s super cute. I think I’ll try and prep more than one block at a time, since the hand sewing is the fun part.

I am way behind on the actual sewalong, she’s doing four blocks a week. With my skill level, free time, and multiple other projects that was just never going to happen. Kevin’s comment was that this quilt will take me forever. I think that’s mostly fair. I would love to complete it in year! My goal right now is to finish one block per week. At 42 blocks plus the appliquéd borders, that should be about right.

It’s really fun to learn a new skill like this. It’s challenging and takes a while and can be frustrating, but I’m hoping this quilt will really give me some good practice. After 42 blocks, I should be an old pro!


Happy making!