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!

Handmade Holiday

Happy holidays! I was a busy little bee over the last month or so, and now I can finally talk about what I’ve been up to!

I’ll try not to drone on and on, but you can always find more info about my knits on their respective project pages on Ravelry.

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My first holiday finish this year is a super squishy cowl for my mom. It’s the Fingering Brioche Bandana Cowl by Lavanya Patricella. I knit it out of two skeins of Barenwolle BAERfoot sock in the Pixie and Plum Tart colorways. I really love how it came out.

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Next up on the list is a shawl for my sweet sister-in-law, Crystal. The pattern is the Yowza Weigh It Shawl 3 by Susan B. Anderson. I knit this out of Miss Babs Yowza, in the Don’t Be Crabby colorway–the 2016 Maryland Sheep and Wool festival colorway. I’ve knit two of these for gifts so far and really have got to get around to making one for myself! It’s a great, simple and cozy shawl.

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After knitting a cozy hug for my mom, I really wanted to make something cozy for Kevin’s mom as well. Enter the Bandana Cowl by Purl Soho. I found a great chunky, ultra soft yarn in her colors and I was off. The yarn is Plymouth Yarn Baby Alpaca Grande Hand Dye in color 28. This cowl is so squishy!

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I started this pair of quilts for Noah and Madelyn first, but finished them a little late in the game. There are full details in a blog post all about these two. I love how they came out and now I’m itching to finish the three lap quilts of mine sitting in my craft room.

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The very last make of the season is a pair of socks for my brother, Judge. These are my very first colorwork–they certainly won’t be my last–and I think they came out pretty smashing. No pattern, just my regular sock recipe. The yarn is Patons Kroy in the Flax and Muslin colorways.

I’ve been settled into a lovely and lazy holiday vacation for quite a few days now. There has been great food, exchanging gifts, and best of all, lots of time for spending with family. We still have a few days to go and I’m happy to report that my Christmas vacation socks are humming right on, even in the snow.

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Happy making and happy holidays!

Making Christmas.

I usually don’t make anything for myself around the holidays. Last year I was very preoccupied with finishing up the quilt I made for Judge and Crystal:

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Gorgeous, huh? This time last year, I wasn’t finished with it.

This year, I was a wee bit more on my game. I was thinking that I didn’t do quite as much holiday making, but I don’t believe that is true. Either way, as of Sunday morning, all that I could do and had planned was done. So I settled in for a bit of selfish holiday making. First on the docket, I finished my Christmas socks:

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The yarn is a one of a kind colorway, One of a Baer: green and red by Baerenwolle. As always, this yarn is so squishy and lovely, I adore anything knit out of it.

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Once those were off the needles, I cast on for my Christmas Hat:

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I couldn’t stop knitting on it and by the time the Steelers had won, I was halfway through:

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When Monday rolled around, I finished the hat before the Dolphins finished the Pats. After a wash and block, the hat was dry this morning so I added a big floofy pom:

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Holy wow, I love this hat. It is definitely my favorite hat I’ve made. I can’t wait to make more. The pattern is Olive & Jack by Sarah Stevens. It’s a deliciously quick and easy all over cable that just can’t be beat. I did make one modification to make it more beanie style than slouchy, details on my project page. The yarn is another one of a kind skein, the colorway is Holiday Checklist by Tilting Planet. I won this skein of yarn, along with some other amazing goodies.

With all of that done, I was thinking about a new fun project to start for myself when I realized that the materials for a gift still haven’t arrived. I’ve decided to scrap that idea and repurpose those materials when they eventually make it to Maryland. And so, at about 10 p.m. on Monday night, December 11, I started another holiday making project. Fingers crossed that this one will get done in time. I’m not sure how I’m in emergency mode once again, but maybe that’s the nature of the beast?

Perhaps next year, I’ll start making gifts in January. Probably not. Maybe September? October? For now, I’m just enjoying these sweet little Christmas-y makes and the spirit of the season.

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The ornament was made by mom about 25 years ago. She made me a set of three in this style and they are some of my most treasured ornaments of all.  


YoM day 344-345: Sock and hat knitting and a new secret!


Happy making and happy holidays!

Finally festive.

I’ve been really slow to get into the holiday spirit this year. Between travelling and car shopping, it feels like I haven’t been able to catch my breath yet.  But with less than two weeks until Christmas vacation, if I was going to deck the halls, I had better start now.

This week at work we had a little office decorating party. I had found a teeny little spruce tree for my desk space, so I decided to decorate it. I crocheted–I know!–a little star and garland for it. The star took me over an hour. I’m pretty sure Kevin’s mom, a crocheter extraordinaire would have have had it done in about three and a half minutes. But it looks like a star and it’s done, so I’m happy.

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I used a scrap–seriously, about a gram–of MarigoldJen yarn in Sunbeam and about 3 grams of my Christmas sock yarn (Baerenwoole) for the garland. I think it turned out perfectly. The tree is hanging out at my desk with George the succulent, who has his very own sugar cookie to celebrate.

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At home, I finally put up some lights early this afternoon:

A snowy, quiet day was just what I needed to feel like decorating. We put the ornaments up this evening.

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Other than the decorating, I’ve been finishing up the loose ends of my teensy bit of holiday making. I’ve got one thing to wrap up and then it’s full speed on my selfish holiday making. First of all, I want to finish up Christmas socks, they’re getting close:

IMG_20171209_124848.jpgI am so sold on the 9″ circs. I’m really enjoying how quickly the straight knitting goes with them, it’s amazing. It took a little bit to get used to, it definitely feels different in your hands. But no more so than the difference between magic loop and DPNs.

The other thing I’m making myself is, drumroll please, a Christmas hat! I recently won a knitalong in the Tilting Planet Ravelry group. I won this amazing package of goodies, and I just can’t stop thinking of knitting the yarn up into a holiday Olive & Jack hat.

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I’m all settled in now with a cup of coffee and a little holiday making to finish up. The tree is decorated, there’s snow on the ground, and my heart is full of holiday spirit.


YoM day 340-343: Sock knitting and secret making


Happy making and happy holidays!

 

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!