The most wonderful time of the year.

Happy May, y’all! Spring has sprung for real around here. I’m finally planting my back porch containers planted and I’ve been enjoying beautiful evening walks after work. May is one of (and might just be) my favorite months. The weather here in Maryland is perfect, everything is in bloom, and of course the month culminates in the birthday of one of my favorite people. School is winding down and the anticipation of summer is at it’s peak. Mother’s day was last weekend and my sweet child treated me to the nicest evening with a fun dinner out and a lovely walk around the lake.

Of course, not to be forgotten, the first weekend in May is the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. On Saturday, I went with a dear friend:

We had a blast talking, petting sheep, and just generally enjoying a sunny day surrounded by fiber friends. On Sunday, I went back with Astra:

We had a blast too! I think we looked at every stall!

This is Astra’s haul – yarn for hats, some charms, custom made earrings (the lady made them right there in front of us!), and of course, some goodies from The Bee Folks. The yarn here is – (pink/black) A Hundred Ravens NTOA base in the Styx colorway and (blue/black) Canon Hand Dyes William Merino DK base in the Neon Rainbow: Poolside & Black (2 color stripes) colorway.

And here’s my two day yarn haul. I also picked up some honey from a few local apiaries – The Bee Folks and Snyder’s. The yarn is (left-right) Canon Hand Dyes Bruce Yak Fluff in Naked Bruce and Beatrix Alpaca Silk in Fuzzy Bunny, Feederbrook Farm Entropy DK in Qu, and Bumblebee Acres Fiber Farm Squishy Sock in Longbottom Leaf. The grey and purple are all destined to be a Rad Plaid Cowl – a fun new pattern by Andrea Mowry that I can’t wait to cast on.

Speaking of knitting – I’ve got a few projects to share! I’ve finished two of my make nine projects so far and only just taken nice pictures of them – look for posts on those projects soon.

My next make nine start is the Mount Pleasant top. I’m knitting it in Backyard Fiberworks Prairie in Shell. This is my second attempt. I decided not to swatch because I’ve recently knit two sweaters on the same weight yarn at the same gauge. I got about 3 inches into the body before realizing it was coming out way too big, so I frogged it and started over. I’m now only a few inches from the sleeve separation – I can’t wait to wear this over the summer!

I’m on the home stretch of these sweet little socks – I used the Blueberry Waffle pattern (a fantastic free sock pattern) and this is a Woolberry Fiber Co. sock set in Moody Pumpkin.

Last but not least, we watched The Fellowship of the Ring and so I cast on a pair of socks for movie knitting. you can tell that we haven’t watched the next movie yet because there isn’t much done on this sock. This is A Homespun House yarn in Hobbitses. Fitting, right?

There you have it, a peak into what I’ve been up to this spring. I hope you are having a little sunshine wherever you are in the world.

Happy making!

Mindless knitting, mistakes, and other thoughts.

I hear crafters talk about it often, the joy of a mindless project. It’s often hard for me to slow down with making, I am so often squeezing it in while I do something else. A big favorite during the winter is hanging out on the couch in the evenings and knitting or sewing. Some projects require more focus, some require less, and some need more focus than I give them.

After I finished the Pink Fizz sweater, I decided to knit my January baby siblings some socks. For some unknown reason, I cast on the later birthday gift first but many they flew. After all that lace and alternating skeins and carrying the mohair, I just couldn’t put these down – the joy of stockinette was strong.

The yarn is from Bumblebee Acres Fiber Farm in the Gathering Eggs colorway, which came as a set with the contrast color, Golden Hen. The finished socks are just beautiful. I know I knit socks all the time, but some pairs stand out as particularly well done and these definitely fit that bill.

Since I started the earlier birthday’s pair second, I was putting a bit of pressure on myself to finish them fast, just like the first pair. I cast on the first sock and knit the whole thing in about a day. I don’t really recommend that, but sometimes the mood hits. The next day, I eagerly cast on the second and got rolling. Something felt off, so I decided to slow down and give myself some breathing space. I worked on it the next evening and finally started comparing the socks – they were definitely different sizes! It took me forever to realize it but I had used the wrong needles! I knit the fist one on a 2.5 mm and the second on a 2.0 mm – big difference!

Once I figured that out, I pulled that cuff and leg out and started again. One thing I really try to practice is to rip back or fix the problem as soon as I find it. It’s really tempting to put the project on hold, but I try to fix the issue first and then pause it if I’m still frustrated. More often than not, by the time I’ve corrected the problem I’m back in a good mood with my project and will continue on.

A few days later and ta-da! new little brother socks. This is Patons Kroy in the grey marl colorway. It’s so simple but I adore how these turned out. It’s a heavier weight yarn, closer to sport weight, so I like the texture better on a 2.5 mm needle, 2 sizes larger than my usual sock needles.

After finishing all of those socks, I found myself in a really stressful time with work and struggling to focus properly on my Zelda Crop. That colorwork definitely needs attention. So, I did what I love to do, I cast on some more socks.

I’m trying out a fully ribbed sock – it looks so funny and skinny! This is Dark Side EPV #9 from Must Stash Yarns, very very deep stash.

I had a bit of a lull while I was deciding the contrast color for the Dark Side sock’s heels so I started another pair of socks. I’m thinking about trying to work through yarn scraps and already balled up skeins – maybe that’s 2024’s year of? Anyway, I am digging textured socks at the moment so I started some Blueberry Waffle socks in Woolberry Fiber Co’s Moody Pumpkin sock set.

After all of that, I have been plugging away at my sweater. It is not a quick knit by any means, some of the 3-color rows are a slog. As so often happens, I really started flying once I got past separating for sleeves. As you might pick up with this theme, flying meant I made a mistake.

I missed a whole row! It’s tough to see here but at the top there should be a dark green stitch underneath that pink stitch. I’m not really sure how that happened, I checked it off and everything. I had one little moment where I thought of just leaving it, but I went ahead and frogged the two rows back and fixed it. Much like the socks, I was really in a pique when I found that error but by the time I pulled it back and picked up the stitches again I was ready to knit.

Now, I’ve only got about 20 rows of colorwork and then the ribbed hem left before the body is done. The sleeves are only about 8 or 10 rows or something, so the sweater is really close! As this sweater has been chugging along, I’ve really been thinking about my other make nine pieces – specifically the Gypsum Skirt. I’m excited about this little spring outfit.

I had a bit of free time the other day so I really dug into pattern tracing and cutting out fabric. I’ll dive into more detail later, but I hoped to use the leftovers from the Metamorphic Dress to make the skirt, so I needed to cut that out first, which meant I needed to muslin the dress bodice before that… it was a rabbit hole but just the right kind to keep my mind focused and mindful during some quiet time. I didn’t even listen to music or a book, just enjoyed the quiet rhythm of my hands and the feel of the fabrics.

In all honesty, I love a fast project – I like the comfort of a mindless project to keep my hands moving. I’m working on learning to love slow projects as well. We’ll get there, slowly but surely. Today I’m grateful that crafting provides me the opportunity for both.

Happy {whatever speed you need} making!

Sweet Nothings.

One thing I’d really like to work on is creating my own fabric pulls over using bundles and designer collections. I’ve made lots of quilts with jelly rolls, fat quarter bundles, specially curated bundles, kits… you get the picture. I love those quilts and I learned a lot from making them now – now I’m ready to flex my creativity even more with fabric choice. I’ve been reorganizing my sewing room lately and I’ve got my stash all organized by color and it is just so very inspiring! Year of stash, indeed!

So back in December, I applied to test a new quilt pattern for Tera of The Quilting Smith. I was selected and spent quite some time on my fabric pull. I went back and forth for days, y’all. Finally I decided that I’d start with my favorite color, pink, and go from there. I pulled out my trusty color wheel and decided on a three color scheme to keep things simple. I wanted the pink to pop, so I planned to use it for two fabrics in the quilt pattern.

This is my original pull – pink, blue green, and yellow green. I edited it down from here a bit to simplify the cutting but this is pretty much it. I tried to have a mix of scales and values to keep things interesting. On a side note, go check out Just Get It Done Quilt’s color series – she’s amazing and I have probably watched most of her videos twice, at least.

With that I got started cutting and even labeled everything! The pattern is so straightforward and easy to follow, I loved having everything laid out like this!

I loved making all these cute green hearts, though in my mind I was calling them apples.

The blocks all came together so quickly! At this point, I was really focused on distributing the pink colors evenly. I had a mix of low, medium, and high value pinks and planned them to be even across the quilt top – remember this, it’s relevant in a moment. Before I knew it, it was time to lay everything out.

I loved how prominent the pink is in the final layout. At this point, I started having a sneaking suspicion that I could have done the layout a bit better. It was a snap to sew up the rows and then I was done!

And there she is! This is one cute as pie little quilt. As this was a test quilt, I’ve had a bit of time to think about the layout and my color choices. The final effect is not exactly what I had in mind. Since I used the same color for two fabrics in the pattern, I wound up losing the contrast between the flying geese and the little checkerboard squares. I could have kept it all pink and maybe done the flying geese in the high value fabrics and made them pop a little more.

I love learning about color, value, and pattern by doing – I’m thrilled with the finished quilt top and now it’s fun to think of lessons I learned along the way. By the way, those green hearts and the teal squares are slaying me right now.

All in all, this is a fantastic pattern that resulted in a lovely quilt. This is the Sweet Nothings Quilt by The Quilting Smith – it comes in two sizes and I made the throw size. The throw finishes at 60.5″ square – I used various scraps, fat quarters, and yardage from stash. I can’t recommend the pattern enough, Tera walks you through every step and explains everything so well. I love how she breaks down the blocks – it made really easy for me to pick it up a chunk at a time during my very busy January.

At the end of the day, I can’t fault myself for incorporating so many beautiful pink fabrics – it’s what I love. I can’t wait to get it quilted and get to enjoying it – it’s so sweet it hurts my teeth.

Happy {learning and} making!

Wardrobe dreams.

From time to time, I find myself looking back over a particular year of making. Something will spark my memory or interest and I’ll reread the blog or scroll through my instagram grid and reminisce. I found myself deep in the long ago of 2018 Cortney’s making adventures the other day and came across my finished Make Nine from that year. There’s just something about a little grid of completed projects that is so satisfying.

The idea got to rolling around in my head and I pondered doing one this year. Of course it would all need to come from stash but I’m not really hurting on that front. In all of this mulling over I had the thought that nine items could be a bit of a mini-capsule wardrobe. I’ve got some patterns in my library that have been waiting for me to try them out as well, so… I went stash diving, as one does.

I started with a pretty big initial pull and edited from there (something I am learning in quilting). I pulled everything in my apparel fabric stash that went in this mauve, purple, olive, mustard palette and that felt right together. By that I mean, the fabrics themselves are all soft knits and sturdy but drapy wovens – no fluid challis here. The yarns came from sweater and shawl quantities that seemed to work with these fabrics.

I arranged and futzed and thought and looked at patterns and thought some more and then, after one terrifying moment where I considered doing two make nines, I made some decisions. The plan:

Margot (cardigan) by Along Avec Anna in Plies and Hellhounds (old stash from before her business name change) Rose Gold

Zelda Crop by Olga Putano Designs in Stress Knits Yarn in (l-r) Mountain Mama, Eucalyptus, and Dusk

Mount Pleasant by Megan Nodecker in Backyard Fiberworks in Prairie (I don’t think they’re dying anymore)

Canopy by Melody Hoffman in Woolfolk in Gold

Blackwood Cardigan by Helen’s Closet in a dusky purple possibly terry knit? picked up at JoAnn’s a few years ago

Hinterland Dress by Sew Liberated in a 30/70 linen viscose blend from Blackbird Fabrics in “Olive”

Metamorphic Dress by Sew Liberated in a 30/70 linen viscose blend from Blackbird Fabrics in “Dark Mauve” and “Wysteria”

Gypsum Skirt by Sew Liberated in a 30/70 linen viscose blend from Blackbird Fabrics in “Wysteria” (planned for leftovers from Metamorphic Dress)

Stasia Dress / Tee by Sew Liberated – here’s we’re things get a little hinky – This pattern has a tee option and a dress option, I want to do both so I’ll likely start with the tee as a bit of a muslin/test case and then go on to the dress. I’ve got a handful of stretchy knits from all over the place so if I like the pattern, I might make multiples.

And there you have it! Nine projects to make one dreamy, cozy wardrobe of layered dreams. I’ve already started my first project! After my Pink Fizz, I was just itching to start another sweater so I did! This is my Zelda Crop – so pretty already!

Happy making!

2023: The Year of Stash

Happy New Year! New Year’s around here is never much of a loud celebration, just a soft transition. I love this quiet, dark, chilly time for reflection and planning. For my making life, I’ve had my “year of” idea brewing for quite a bit. It honestly started with the satisfaction of my Thanksgiving outfit that came purely from stash. It made me think of all the beautiful materials in my craft room and how much joy it would bring to use them. You guessed it, 2023 will be a year of stash!

That’s right friends, we’re going to knit, crochet, sew, and quilt from stash this year. In addition to just the pure joy of using the beautiful materials around me, I also want to focus a bit on curating my collection. Like most of us, I don’t have infinite storage and it’s bursting at the seams a bit right now. My plan is to use what I love and destash what’s not in my wheelhouse anymore.

I am actively not setting any quantity goals – this is intended to be a joy and not a slog. I do have a few rules, of course, because you know I love rules. I have already cancelled all my subscriptions and block-of-the-month clubs. I do plan on another vacation with my mom and if there’s a vacation cast-on, that’s an a-ok purchase. No other incoming fabric or yarn is to be had. I’ll purchase necessary notions: thread, zippers, interfacing, etc. I’m only planning to purchase binding fabric if I really can’t find anything in stash to work at all. Other than that, I might purchase fabric or yarn for gifts but there I want to be really careful about picking up only what I need. I’ve got too many random fat quarters or spare 1/2 yards lying around because I over-purchased.

I’m really excited for this year in my making journey. I’ve learned a lot over the years about my style, color palette, and what kinds of things I want to make. It feels like the right time to put that knowledge and all the great shopping past Cortney has done to good use. Cosi and are ready to dive in!

Happy making!