Birthday.

This year’s birthday has come and gone, but I’m still riding pretty high on the warm and fuzzies that it brought.

For the actual day of my birthday, Kevin and I both took the day off from work. I woke up early and had some knitting time with my coffee, my favorite way to start my day. Kevin gifted me a new chef’s knife and paring knife. I was incredibly surprised and touched by how thoughtful the knives were. He took me out to a special lunch and then gave me the quiet time to take a little birthday nap. That night, we ordered pizza and I knit and knit to my heart’s content.

 

All in all it was the perfect birthday. Lots of well wishes from friends and family, plus calls from both brothers and my mom. It really felt special and was so relaxed and just plain nice.

IMG_20170802_185340_406

I did not finish the birthday socks on my birthday. I knit them quite a ways, though, and got up early the next morning and finished them.

IMG_20170803_152626_277

The yarn is from Wee Chickadee Woolery and is called Sprinkles on Top. I won the skein in a giveaway on Andi’s blog, My Sister’s Knitter. The soft blue and pink background with violet and hot pink and orange and neon green speckles just calls to me. This yarn is speckled to perfection. I loved knitting these socks! They are pair number 11 for the year.

That next day we spent mostly in preparation for our Giant Family Road Trip. I did manage pick out the yarn for my second pair of birthday socks and get it wound up for the trip, an essential in the packing process.

IMG_20170722_165302

Sprinkle, Peepaloo Fields

I’ll say it again, it was a great day. I took some time to think about the turning of my own year to the next. At the beginning of 2017, I decided to start this blog and commit to a year of making. For my birthday, it felt like another beginning, another changing of the guard, my own year melding into the next. What do I want this year to look like? I don’t have a hard and fast answer, like I did at New Year’s. But I have been thinking about some changes that I’d like to make. Maybe they will surface in more clarity later, but right now things are just ruminating around. Do you think about things like that around your birthday? This is kind of a first for me.

Anyway, now we’re on vacation! More on that later–spoilers, it’s a lot of sock knitting.


YoM day 214-218: Birthday sock knitting.


Happy making!

Bubblegum Kisses and Sprinkles on Top.

After the sock frenzy to finish up the green socks, I didn’t know how much sock knitting I’d be up to. Turns out, quite a bit. I cast on my first pair of birthday socks early in the week, getting a bit of a head start.

IMG_20170723_171403_391

I knit on them most of the week and finished the first sock on Thursday night. I cast on the second and have now gotten through the ribbing:

IMG_20170730_113533_854

Sprinkles on Top, Wee Chickadee Woolery

I haven’t worked much on them this weekend–since, among the secrets I’m working on, I became a bit driven with the thought of finishing this:

IMG_20170729_113131_863

I got up yesterday morning and finished sewing together the quilt top. I have to say this pattern with these fabrics–Bee Basics by Lori Holt–is just so adorable. I spray basted the quilt this morning and got set to quilt it.

I spent some time thinking about how to quilt it, and decided on cross-hatching. I did the diagonal lines at a 45 degree angle to the top of the quilt and put the lines at about one and an eighth inches apart. I didn’t want them to echo the lines of the x’s, so I tried to have them a bit offset.

IMG_20170730_135238

Once I finished the first set of diagonal lines, I rather liked the way it looked. This was in no way influenced by not wanting to do another set of diagonal lines. Ok, maybe it was a bit. But I really do like the way the diagonal lines echo the direction the x’s are crossed. It probably wouldn’t look too busy with the lines the other way, but I’m satisfied with it.

IMG_20170730_141805

IMG_20170730_144737

I sewed the binding on and hand sewed it to the back. I love it! I’m so happy with it. It’s so cute and sweet and fun. The pattern is Bubblegum Kisses by Lori Holt.

 

img_20170730_201202.jpg

img_20170730_200752.jpg

IMG_20170730_200809

Please ignore the cat hair. 😦

All the fabrics for the top and the binding came in the June Sew Sampler Box. This was far and away my favorite Sew Sampler ever. I love fabric and the pattern, and it was a lot of fun to make. I have a fair bit of the binding and background fabric left, plus a bunch of scraps leftover from the charm pack. I picked the cross stitch themed fabric for the back because, well, you know.

All in all, I’ll call it a good week. I’m still trying to finish the socks before my birthday so I can start a whole new pair of birthday socks. I’ve got a few more secrets to work on and then I’ll even start sharing a few of them! I can’t wait to share them with their recipients and you.


YoM day 204-210: Birthday sock knitting

YoM day 211-212: Quilting


Happy making!

Motivation

Once again, I’ve been obsessed with quite dedicated to the secret project. So much so that I didn’t touch knitting all week. All week, that is, until I was faced with a waiting room.

IMG_20170721_163133_664

Like many knitters, I  almost love a waiting room. On Friday afternoon, I knew I’d be spending my afternoon in a waiting room and thus, with a sock. I managed to finish the cuff while sitting there. That evening, during our Friday night D&D game, I managed to drop and turn the heel and pick up for the gusset. I was rather pleased with myself.

When I woke up yesterday morning, I had the crazy thought that if I finished this pair this weekend or early in the coming week, I could reasonably go ahead and start my birthday socks. Birthday socks? Oh yes, birthday socks. I’ve been thinking I’d cast on a new pair of socks or two, for my birthday. I had a couple of skeins that were calling my name, particularly birthday themed to me. And then…

img_20170722_165302.jpg

This came in the mail yesterday. It’s Sprinkle by Peepaloo Fields, and it’s heavenly. And it reminded me of this…

IMG_20170721_184338_077

This skein of Sprinkles on Top by Wee Chickadee Woolery had come earlier in the week. I won this gorgeous yarn–and that amazing looking tea–in a giveaway over on Andi’s blog, My Sister’s Knitter. Her blog is just beautiful and incredibly inspiring. I love her knitting aesthetic. So with all of these sprinkle skeins in mind, I dug into the stash and…

IMG_20170722_170306_846

(l-r) Sprinkle by Peepaloo Fields, Sprinkles on Top by Wee Chickadeee Woolery, Birthday Cake by Baerenwolle, Cosmic Cake by Tilting Planet, and Courtney by Junkyarn

I pulled out all of my “birthday yarn” and became incredibly motivated to finish the green socks and get started on all of this loveliness. Now, I know that my best time is two pairs in a month, so 5 pairs in 5 weeks is not really what I’m aiming for. I’m going to at least knit two of these for my birthday month. Luckily, this kind of cake and sprinkles doesn’t spoil.

With all of that, I knit and knit and knit a little bit more yesterday. And, even with cooking three meals and not totally ignoring my family, I managed to finish the green socks.

img_20170723_095827.jpg

IMG_20170723_100020

The yarn is a corriedale/nylon blend from Lamby Toes Yarn in the colorway Experiment 078. It has a lovely tough, yet squishy feel. I really like corriedale blends. These were supposed to be my St. Patrick’s Day socks, but we can see how well that went. I’m pleased to have them finished, the bright kelly green is a bit out of my usual color palate, but these are really pretty socks. They are pair 10 in my box o’ sox.

IMG_20170723_105649_361

Today, I’m casting on my first pair of birthday socks. I may do other things, but there’s a strong possibility that I’ll just knit these all afternoon.


YoM day 195-197: Sock knitting

YoM day 198-201: Secret making

YoM day 202-203: Sock knitting


Happy making!

All over the place.

Lately, I’ve finished a couple of things and worked on bunches of others. Today,  I thought I’d share a bit of the making mish-mash. There is a fairly large chunk of my time missing from this post, where all of the secret making would go. But it is there, and I am really and truly loving it.

I’ve actually been doing a lot of sewing over the last week and a half. I finally made a pillow out of the practice block I made:

Joshua picked out the fabrics for the block, so I sewed up a little Orioles back and made him a pillow. I also made myself a precious Petit Four basket:

IMG_20170702_172826_767

This little cutie was so fun and quick and easy, and is so useful! It’s sitting at my sewing machine, making things neater and prettier as we speak.

IMG_20170702_172046

I think I might make a whole bunch for all around the house. As for this one, I loved the color scheme so much that I started myself a project bag out of it. It’s all cut out and ready to sew up, except that I don’t have a coordinating zipper on hand. Definitely going to need to bite the bullet and stock up on some zippers. The other big sewing project I’ve been working on is the Bubblegum Kisses Quilt. It’s a mini quilt pattern that came with the amazing Sew Sampler Box for June.

IMG_20170627_100922

I loved this box. Everything in it is adorable and the fabric and pattern are just exactly my speed. I cut up the fabric in relatively short order:

IMG_20170702_215414

On the fourth of July I sewed up all the first step blocks:

IMG_20170704_144230

I love how they are a cute little rainbow!

IMG_20170704_145106_724

Fabric is from Lori Holt’s Bee Basics line

The other night, I finished sewing up the final blocks and laid them out:

IMG_20170710_231602

They are not sewn up yet, but I’m going to have this bad boy finished before my next box comes. We’re headed out of town for the weekend, but I think I’ll finish the top and quilt it on Sunday and Monday night.

I have, of course, been knitting, but not all that much to tell the truth. I started the next shawl in the Shawl Society, the Vila Wrap, it’s stripy with a bit of lace. I picked out my yarn for it, but I am not sold on adding the pink. I think it would be incredibly versatile in the two grays:

img_20170706_180540.jpg

Barenwolle Everyday Merino

And last but certainly not least, I finished another section of my Marled Magic. I’m on to section 6, now, but not sure about the hot pink mohair for this one yet.

IMG_20170713_213407_883

In all of this madness, I also taught Joshua to cross stitch. His stitches are pretty darned nice and he does a good job at crossing the same direction all the time.

IMG_20170704_125458_293

Whew! That’s a lot going on. And to think, there are two projects not even there. I feel a bit all over the place lately. I have a drive to start tons of new things which is a bit unlike me. My birthday is on the horizon though, and I’m giving myself free reign for the month of August. I plan to cast-on with abandon and start sewing projects at will.


YoM day 191: Quilting

YoM day 192-194: Sock and shawl knitting and secrets


Happy making!

I mean, they are my favorite.

Blackberries. I love them. Blackberry cobbler is my favorite dessert. Last year’s blackberry jelly is, in my opinion, the best thing I’ve ever canned.

Joshua and I went out first thing this morning to pick some blackberries. “How much are we aiming for?” he asked. My answer: a meager 5-6 pounds. Nothing strenuous, just enough for a batch of jelly and a cobbler, maybe some snacking for the afternoon. As we walked through the field, I worried that we might not find that much. And then we found them, bushes laden with plump, dark berries. We picked and picked, and when the box looked like it was full enough we headed back.

IMG_20170709_100805

As we walked back to weigh and pay, we wondered how much we had picked. Joshua guessed it was more like 7 or so pounds, and I said we could always freeze another cobbler’s worth if so. We plopped our box down on the scales… 11.54 pounds.

IMG_20170709_101536
“What are we going to do with all of those?” Joshua asked and I wondered. I was thinking how I’d inadvertently picked myself a whole day’s work. When we got home, I pulled out all the canning books, opening them to the blackberry pages, if they had them. After a bit of hemming and hawing, I made a mental plan and got out my scales.

IMG_20170709_114706

Turns out it was just enough for 2 batches of jelly, 2 cobblers, a batch of experimental syrup, and a teensy dish for snacking. I set out to work:

I followed the recipe for Old Fashioned Blackberry Jelly from the book Canning for a New Generation by Liana Krissoff. It really does make the best jelly and doesn’t use any added pectin. For the syrup, I made the Strawberry Syrup from Food in Jars by Marisa McClellan, I just used blackberries in place of the strawberries. Hopefully that turns out!

While one of the batches of berries drained, I managed to finish a sock! I started this one way back in March and just never picked it up after finishing the gusset. I didn’t want this one to be a revival pair next year, so I’m working on finishing them up.

IMG_20170709_153132_486

Yarn by Lamby Toes on her corriedale base in an experimental colorway.

I froze enough blackberries to make myself a birthday cobbler next month and made a cobbler for tonight:

IMG_20170709_175001

7 jars of jelly, 3 jars of syrup, and a blackberry cobbler for good measure.

The cobbler just came out of the oven and I’m relaxing with a victory beer. When I woke up this morning, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to trek out to pick berries. When I picked way too many berries, I wasn’t sure that I had it in me to process them all today. But now they’re done, and I’m glad it all worked out the way it did. They’re my favorite, after all.


YoM day 183-189: A ridiculous mix of sewing, quilting, sock and shawl knitting, and super secret making!

YoM day 190: Canning and sock knitting


Happy making!

Half way.

Yesterday was the half way point in my year of making. It’s crazy to think I’ve been doing this for a solid six months! I am still really enjoying this project. I have found it easier and easier to be sure to set aside making time each day.

Let’s have a bit of a check in!

Year of Making 2017

182 days, 12 pairs of socks, 3 shawls, 2 pincushions, 3 bags, 2 hats, 2 quilt tops, a quilt,  a mini, a cat quilt, sauerkraut, and cherry preserves. I’ve cast on a sweater and have another shawl and socks in progress.

More important that the quantity of what I’ve done, the feeling these projects give me is so lovely. I’ve learned soooo much. What I love in shapes and color families, I feel that I am coming into my own. And I’m actually knitting something purely for the process of it! Kevin asked me the other day how often I’ll wear one of the items I’m knitting, and I was surprised to hear myself say that I don’t care. I’m loving the knit and that’s what’s important.

As for the halfway day itself? Well, I knit. I knit a lot. I put a whole section on my Marled Magic Mystery Shawl:

IMG_20170701_155930_759

The new minty section is a mini from Tempting Ewe Yarns held together with the pale pink Rowan Kidsilk Haze. 

I finished the gusset of my second sock:

IMG_20170701_190530_600

Evidently, I couldn’t go to bed without finishing the toe. And so, I finished my 9th pair of socks for my Box O’ Sox. I just love the subtle colors with the pops of neon green and purple. The yarn is Purr by Peepaloo Fields on her simple sock base.

IMG_20170702_085633_638

img_20170702_084853.jpg

I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t an ulterior motive for finishing those socks… I think Purr is the perfect color for the next section of my shawl. At this point, I’m pretty much constantly thinking about what yarn should go into my shawl next. That and, “What could I put mohair in?”

Here’s to the second half of the year!


YoM day 181: Sock knitting

YoM day 182: Shawl and sock knitting


Happy making!

It all happened so fast.

Last Sunday afternoon, I decided to go ahead and cut up some strip sets I had sewed together ages ago. They have been ready to cut for… 2.5 months? Yep, time to cut them. Once I got started though, I couldn’t stop myself. In what felt like no time, I had sewn up all the blocks!

IMG_20170611_181109_530

This is another of The Fat Quarter Shop‘s amazing shortcut quilts. So, no surprise, as advertised the blocks came together lickety-split. I spent an inordinate amount of time arranging these on the sunroom floor, trying to get a nice distribution.

IMG_20170611_192512

I like the final arrangement. I went to the sewing machine to sew it up, thinking I would finish it that evening. I sewed the first couple of blocks together and was horrified to find that my seams didn’t match! And they didn’t match by a lot. I ripped out the seams, measured the blocks, and was baffled. The blocks are the right size, all pretty darned even, especially for a newbie piecer like me. I went back to the video and watched it again. It turns out that the seams aren’t supposed to match. Silly me.

The only seams you really need to match up in the whole quilt are when you sew up the rows, the seams between blocks need to match up. Which I was very careful to pin a million times and do my best with. There’s something so pleasing about seams that interesect. This week, I’ve put in teensy bits of time, sewing a row up and adding it on here and there. This evening, I decided to add the last few rows and get it done. And then this:

IMG_20170615_132039

My sewing machine has an offset needle position by default, but my quarter inch foot only has a teeny hole for the needle in the center. Normally I’m really good about turning on my machine and automatically moving the needle position, but not today! So, the end of the quilt got a nice, fresh needle and I was off and running. I finished it up!

IMG_20170615_143645

My second quilt top of the year is all done. This is the Jelly Roll Twist, available for free at The Fat Quarter Shop. I used a jelly roll from the Eden collection by Tula Pink and a Bella Solids charm pack in white. That’s all the top needed! It finished at about 51.5″ x 60″.

I have to say, I love these shortcut quilts. It’s very satisfying to finish a top, and the projects are very manageable. I feel like the two I’ve made have really been great ways to practice my piecing skills without biting off more than I can chew. I’m on a definite sewing kick at the moment!


YoM day 162-165: Quilting/sewing, sock knitting, sweater knitting

YoM day 166: Quilting/sewing


Happy making!