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

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Image courtesy Kemper Wray

A cabled shawl a la Winter Honey by Andrea Mowry

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Image courtesy Andrea Mowry

A knitted garment – finally

An English paper pieced mini quilt

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Image courtesy Sew and So

A whole cloth quilt for experimenting on the longarm

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Image courtesy A Few Scraps

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

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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:

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Boho Blush, on hiatus since sometime in mid November

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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!

They just go together.

At the moment, my little brother and his fiance spend most of their year more than a few states apart. When I was thinking about holiday gifts this year, I thought about making a quilt for Noah and Madelyn. But who would get custody of the quilt? I, admittedly, flatter myself that this would be a tremendous problem for them.

Ok, then, what about two quilts? I came up with the thought of making them each a quilt. Browsing FQS late one night, I came across a new fabric line that just seemed like it would be a lovely fit for either of them. I started thinking about making them each a quilt out of the same fabric. That way they would each have a quilt, but when they live together the quilts will match.

I picked out two patterns that felt like they fit each of them. I resized each pattern just a bit, to better fit my idea of lap quilts. I like a lap quilt that is somewhere around as long and wide as I am tall.

These were both fun quilts to make. I don’t usually take many progress pictures of quilts, but here a few from along the way.

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All the cutting done!

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The layout

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On the long arm!

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I was so pleased, the other renter took a picture of me with it

After the quilting, it was just a bit of binding and we were done.

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I think this is the best binding I’ve ever made.

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This is Madelyn’s quilt, the Jolly Bar Jazz. It’s a free pattern by the Fat Quarter Shop. The pattern is supposed to be a 3×4 grid, I adjusted it to be 3×3.

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This one is Noah’s quilt, the Layer Cake Lattice. It’s another free pattern by the Fat Quarter Shop–how’d you guess? I added another column of blocks to fatten this one up a bit. The fabric line is Fragile by Zen Chic.

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I really love this pair of quilts. I’m really excited for Noah and Madelyn, their future, and all they have to look forward to. Much like these two quilts, they just go together.


Happy making!

Marled Magical Mystery Tour.

Last weekend, I spent all my free time finishing up my Marled Magic. That’s right. Read it again. I said finishing up my Marled Magic. It’s all done.

I hadn’t really wanted to knit this shawl. Until I saw a few on podcasts and the like, I hadn’t been able to envision a color palate for myself. And then it hit me, pink and mint seemed like a match made in heaven.

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I threw in some bits and bobs of a few related colors and was off to the races.

 

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I loved this section with the bright pink with different colors marled in, so fun. I held a strand of Candy by KnittyandColor and striped in other yarns. The next section somehow even made me enjoy seed stitch. Maybe the rhythm, maybe the squish factor, I had fun knitting this one.

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After that very first blip of green I decided to keep with a light and bright color scheme for this section. I adore how it turned out. For the next section, I tried two new things. Brioche:

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And mohair:

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I cannot think of a better combination. I immediately fell in love with both! I loved the mohair so much, that I just kept right on going with it:

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That mint section may not look fuzzy from here, but it is mohair-licious. I kept picking lighter colors for each section, including number five–the wedge shape on the corner:

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I wound up wanting to go a bit more towards a murky, minty green for the next section so I held a strand of grey mohair and a strand of Hedgehog Fibres in Fly together and then striped in other colors.

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For a while, I had been a bit bothered by that bright, loud pink section in the middle. I kept gravitating towards lighter colors and it seemed out of place. I thought maybe I could balance it out by doing another similar-feeling pink for section seven:

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With that bright pink on one side, I thought a minty fresh section would be perfect for the opposite wing:

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The final choice was the bind off. I was leery of picking the wrong thing, knowing it could all go south if the color wasn’t right. I thought and thought and came to two conclusions: pastel and rainbow:

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(l) Peepaloo Fields in Sprinkle (r) YarnInk in Martini

I think pastel rainbow was the way to go.

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The last thing to do, was to braid and tasselate those crazy ends I’d been dragging around. I was scared to get started but it turned out to be quick and super easy.

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And now, it is finished. It has been quite the journey. I took me over 6 months to knit. I was certainly not being monogamous, it was a little difficult to stay focused with it. I would figure out what I wanted to do for a section, obsessively knit that section until it was done, and then waffle over the next choice for a month or so.

It’s about eight feet long all together. It’s still unblocked at this point. I’ll definitely wash and block it sometime, but it’s big enough for the moment. I used a lot of yarns: scraps, stash, minis, and some mohair I purchased just for this project. Not including the minis, the shawl used 2664 yards of yarn. Now, that is held double throughout, so I really knit 1332 yards. That’s over three quarters of a mile!

By the way, this is the Marled Magic Mystery Shawl, by Stephen West. You can get a link to the pattern and have a look at all the (non-mini) yarns I used on my project page.

Worth every stitch:

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I love every part of it, even if it is tough to fold.

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I’m head over heels for the thing. Kevin laughs a bit when I put it on, I don’t really know how to wear it other than blanket-style. I don’t even care. This was the most fun knit I’ve ever knit. The textures and shapes were so enjoyable, and playing with color in this way taught me a lot.

For now, I’ll just be over here basking in its glory.

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YoM day 335-337: Sock and shawl knitting

YoM day 338: Sock knitting and secrets

YoM day 339: A wee bit o’ chrochet


Happy making!

Home.

When we spoke last, I was about to head home from Denver to my sweet family for a trip south to see more sweet family. And that is exactly what I did.

Kevin and the kids picked me up from the airport and I came home and unpacked and repacked my suitcase. We got up the next morning and headed out. On the way, during Kevin’s driving turn, I worked on my hat.

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We met up with Kevin’s parents at a sweet little house on Watauga Lake in Tennessee. It was so much fun! We cooked and ate and fished and talked and Kevin’s amazing parents even invited my family to come hang out with us. It was wonderful.

Every morning and every night, I did a bunch of knitting. My very first order of business was to finish that hat, which is what I did on our first night of the trip.

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This is the Bray Cap by Jared Flood, knit out of Malabrigo Rios in the Pearl colorway. I love everything about this knit. The yarn is perfect, it knits like a dream and the color is everything. I want a sweater in this grey. The pattern is a whole other story. It’s so pretty and stunning, and such a pleasure to knit! I’m digging wearing either way, slouchy or folded up beanie style.

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This hat was one of my proposed wardrobe additions, from my wardrobe architect mini-project. I really wanted a nicer, neutral hat that would be appropriate for work. I’m happy to say that I’ve already rocked it on a few cold mornings to the office.

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Once the hat was done, I had nothing else with me to knit but my Christmas socks.

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I have, so far, thoroughly enjoyed knitting on the 9″ circulars. I’ve finished the first sock and I might be sold. I was skeptical about the heel, but it works like nothing doing. My only thing is that you have to switch back to DPNs or magic loop for the toe decreases, but I think it might be worth it. Final verdict to come.

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Mmm, that Christmas sock is just precious.

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I’ve started the second one, but I’m deep into holiday preparations so I’ve mostly been doing things I can’t show. I’ve got an itch to get to a few other projects, including my marled magic… I think it’s been quite a while since I’ve shown it–I finished section 7:

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And then nearly immediately picked up and knit section 8.

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It’s so squishy. My goodness, so squishy. With that, the shawl is nearly done! It’s definitely to the doesn’t-fit-on-needles-and-very-hard-to-photograph stage, but Cosi likes it just fine.

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I now have only to bind the thing off. I’m going to do that this weekend, come hell or high water. I’ve picked out a few pastel-y soft skeins for the bind off and I’m ready to go:

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I really want to knit all of the things. Sew everything, too! I’ve been feeling inspired lately, I have a lot of ideas for new projects.

All in all, it’s been a great week. Visiting all of our family warmed my heart and soothed my soul, and now I get to be home with my little pack of sweethearts.

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Happy holiday season, from my darlings to you and yours.


YoM day 326: Hat knitting – finished Bray Cap!

YoM day 327-334: Sock knitting plus secrets


Happy making!

Time to myself.

I’ve been on travel for work for six days. That means a lot of me time. While I have spent time at meals with coworkers, time on skype talking to Kevin, I’ve also spent a great deal of time alone.

I’ve filled that alone time much the same way I fill any other time, with stitches. I finished the secret make that I was making and am quite happy with it. I also managed to put quite a bit of time into my socks.

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And yesterday morning, over my early early coffee, I finished them.

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I love these. That brown toe, it just kills me. Both main yarn and contrast are from Wee Chickadee Woolery. The main yarn is their 80/20 sock base (which I adore) in the Lost Coast colorway. The contrast is on their gold stellina base in the Golden Oak colorway. There isn’t much to say about them other than that they are beautiful. I love how speckly they look all knit up.

I’ve also had a bit of a cast on party up in my hotel room. I brought two WIPs and two skeins of yarn on this trip. I wasn’t sure that I’d really be able to finish both and cast on both the new projects before I got home. But now I have two smashing new WIPs and it’s fabulous.

I cast on the Brae Cap by Jared Flood. I opted not to do the tubular cast on called for, mostly because I was tired. I’m hoping to get a good chunk of the ribbing done on my way home, but at the moment I’m only a few rows in. the yarn is Malabrigo Rios in Pearl.

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And since a pair of socks came off the needles, I had to cast on the next pair immediately.  For these though, I’m giving 9″ circular needles a try. I’ve tried them at some point before but wasn’t a fan. Since then, I’ve heard that the ChiaoGoo 9″ circs are the way to go. So here we are, having a go at them.

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I’m pleased to say that I really like using them. It does just zoom around and around when you don’t have to rearrange stitches. I’m going to hold final judgement until the sock is done, but so far so good. The yarn, by the way, is a one of a kind–One of a Baer–from Baerenwolle. It’s so perfectly Christmas-y that I can’t stand it.

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I’m finishing my early coffee and then I’ve got a few hours of work this morning. After that I hop on the plane back across the country. I cannot wait to get back home to Kevin and the kids. We’re headed immediately to visit family for the Thanksgiving holiday and I couldn’t be more excited.

I’ve enjoyed the time for quiet knitting and reflection, it’s been a good trip for that. But right now I’m really looking forward to getting back to the buzz and joy that surrounds my knitting at home.


YoM day 323-325: Sock and hat knitting


Happy making!

Saturday.

I had a nice day today. I’m on a work trip to Denver, Colorado and while I had some work to do today, I also had a bit of time to myself.

I am terrible at adjusting to a different time zone, but sometimes that isn’t so bad. I woke up early this morning, went downstairs for some coffee. I came back to my room and watched the sky grow lighter while I sipped coffee and knit on my sock.

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I knit until I had turned the heel and picked up the gusset stitches.

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After the sock heel, I felt like getting out a bit. One of the first things I do when I find out I have a work trip on the horizon is research local yarn shops and figure out if I’ll have time to visit them. As luck would have it, there is an amazing shop not to far from my hotel and I had the time to stop by. Today was nice and chilly so I got all bundled up and headed to Fancy Tiger Crafts.

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If you are ever in Denver, I highly recommend this shop. It’s like a wonderland.

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I only managed to get pictures of the yarn, but the opposite wall is filled with equally beautiful fabric and patterns. They had the cutest knit caterpillars:

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And even a whole giant stack of swatches of the yarns they carry:

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That pile makes me so happy. I could have spent a fortune at this shop. They had absolutely everything you could want. I settled on just a few things:

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I picked up two remnants of fabric. The green is chambray and the brown is a chambray-hemp blend. They are destined for a bit of secret make, more on that later. I purchased a set of Tulip Milliner’s needles. I’ve heard great things about those needles and since quilt binding is one of my favorite parts of quilting, I thought I could treat myself to nice needles. The chalk line pen came recommended from one of the staff members at the shop, I hope it helps in my pattern tracing–I’ve been struggling with that.

Now the yarn, oh the yarn. It took me ages to make a decision. I was looking for a couple of skeins of sport or DK weight, or maybe a pretty skein for a hat or something. I finally settled on two gorgeous skeins of Titus by baa ram ewe. I’ve never seen it in person before, but boy is it lovely. It’s a blend of 50% Wensleydale Longwool, 20% Bluefaced Leicester, and 30% UK Alpaca. The colorway is Bramley Baths. The color is a gorgeous watery, murky mint.

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I purchased this yarn to knit Canopy by Melody Hoffman. I’ve had my eye on that pattern for a while, but it’s hard to find the right blend of soft and rustic yarn that I had in mind for it. This fits the bill beautifully.

After I came back from my little shopping jaunt, I had a bit of time before work. I settled in for a bit of a knit and managed to finish the secret make that I brought with me.

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After I finished that project, it was time to head to the convention center. I didn’t take any pictures, but my booth is set up and ready for tomorrow. When I got back, I did take some fun shawl selfies, rocking my Whispering Pines.

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Now that the day is done, I’ve been curled up on the bed, knitting the gusset of my sock.

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It’s all done now, so I feel good about finishing it soon. I really want to cast on my Christmas socks. It would be so fun to finish two projects and cast on the other two while on my trip. I won’t have near the free time the next few days, though. It will be busy busy once the conference gets underway. I’ll definitely enjoy some knitting in the evenings though.

All in all, I’ve had a lovely Saturday.


YoM day 320-322: Sock knitting and secrets


Happy making!