Our little shishi.

The first maker I ever knew was my mom. When I was a little girl, she made me dresses, sewed up costumes and curtains, made quilts, and cross stitched samplers that I can still picture in my head. Fast forward more years than either of us care to tell and she is still a maker. Today, she makes journals and art and generally beautifies her surroundings. She also knits the cutest little woodland creatures:

screen-shot-2017-08-07-at-4-35-06-pm.png

Darwin

Her woodland creatures inspired me to knit one for her for her birthday, his name is Seamus.

IMG_20170803_180459

He’s awfully chubby and cute, which meant he needed a basket, obviously:

Another maker was inspired this year, the very person who made her a shishi. Joshua has gotten into cross stitch so he stitched up a little owl for her:

IMG_20170803_180646

I glued the work to a teeny canvas and attached fabric to the back, but the stitching is all Joshua. His stitches are probably better than mine. The owl is 1.5″ x 2″ and the whole canvas and stand comes to about 5″ tall. It’s precious. All together, I’m proud of our birdy present.

IMG_20170803_180539

We weren’t able to be there for her birthday, so we wanted to make this extra special little package up for her. Today we got to see her and celebrate both of our birthdays and several other family milestones.

My mom is one of the most creative people I’ve ever known. She taught me the basics of sewing, quilting, and cross-stitching as a little girl. As I’ve grown up, she’s been a big part of the inspiration to become the kind of maker that I am today.

IMG_20160729_184026

Happy birthday to my mom, the maker and the shishi.


YoM day 220: Sock knitting!


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!

Canning day.

Well, it’s here. A bit late for me, but here all the same. The first canning day of the summer dawned bright and early for Joshua and I today. We headed out to our local you-pick farm for some tart cherries.

The farm had two varieties, Montmorency (American) and Bayleton (Hungarian). After tasting a couple of each, Joshua made the call. Bayleton it would be.

The berries are a darker red and have a bright, tart cherry flavor. We picked about 6 pounds. The trees were laden with ripe berries, so it didn’t take too much time.

img_20170624_093859.jpg

I had promised Joshua a cherry pie if the tart cherries were in, so that was our main goal. Between you and I, cherry pie is my favorite pie, so it wasn’t exactly a hard sell. Of course, I also have a burning desire to preserve, so I decided if we had enough after pie I’d jar the rest up.

IMG_20170624_135834

Joshua manned the cherry pitter for the pie cherries and I went after the rest with a paper clip. A paper clip is surprisingly fast on sour cherries and leaves the cherry intact for preserving.

With the prep out of the way, I set to work making the pie. Now, pie dough and I have never been best friends. I can make it taste good, come out nice and flakey, but it never looks the best. Today was no exception.

I used a recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens red checked cookbook. It’s my go to for basically anything. It came out looking, well… like I made it.

IMG_20170624_162658

“Rustic”

With the pie out of the way, I got to preserving. I used Marissa McLellan‘s recipe out of Preserving by the Pint–which is an amazing book, btw–for Sour Cherries with Bourbon. Now, if you know me, you know that is right up my alley. I did some brandied cherries a few years ago and they were heaven.

IMG_20170624_160148

The smell of bourbon wafting out of this pot was everything.

It’s a very easy preserve and was in the water bath in under half an hour. I used Bulleit Bourbon,  a good standby that’s not too expensive. I took a picture of my little canning setup:

IMG_20170624_160444

I love my kitchen for canning. I’ve canned in some tight and far less than ergonomic spaces before, so it always pleases me to have all my canning accoutrement laid out. While the jars processed, I googled things to do with cherry pits. I had a hard time thinking about just throwing them away. There are lots of options it seems, cherry pit vinegar and cherry pit liquor among them. Three guesses as to which way I went.

I didn’t really find a recipe for any of these things, but a few bloggers mentioned what they did, sort of. So we’ll see how this experiment goes. I had about 1 cup of cherry pits and I combined them with 2.5 cups bourbon. I put it in a dark cabinet and will test every month to see how it’s doing. I’m guessing it will be 3-4 months before it’s where I want.

IMG_20170624_163118

Now I am to that lovely part of a canning day where everything is done and I have a cold beer and my feet are up. There was a little bit of the sour cherries with bourbon left over after canning, so that may make it’s way into a cocktail in the next few days. And of course, I can’t wait to cut into the pie tonight!


YoM day 173-174: Sock knitting

YoM day 175: Sock knitting, baking, canning


Happy making!

Grainbow Revival Socks

Pair 2 of the sock revival is off the needles! I will admit, I was getting a bit weary of these by the end. I just kept eyeing my stash and thinking of what socks I was going to cast on next. But when I slipped these on to check fit and take a picture… Well, let’s let them have their day in the sun.

img_20170610_174045.jpg

The yarn is by MarigoldJen in two colorways that I honestly can’t remember and can’t find the tags or names for. I reeeaaaalllly hate that, but I guess I’m going to need to accept it. The colors are beautifully variegated, a wonderful gloomy grey with the rainbow. I was a bit skeptical of my choice of yellow, but I think it complements the main yarn nicely.

IMG_20170610_173907

These socks feel and fit amazing. The yarn is her BFL/nylon, and the contrast is her merino/nylon. I think they work nicely together. The socks feel sturdy and squishy at the same time. I couldn’t be happier with the fit. Tried and true, the Kirbywirby method for cutting in heels comes through again!

IMG_20170610_173947

I was a bit of a cast-on addict last night, and started a new pair of socks. PS. If you haven’t tried Peepaloo Fields yet, I highly recommend her yarn. It is achingly pretty:

 

And finally, I started my Waterlily! I knit two more gauge swatches. The pattern calls for 4.0 mm/US 6 and that definitely didn’t work. I went down to 3.75 mm/US 5 and measured wrong, so I also knit a swatch on 3.5 mm/US 4. Bizarrely the 3.75 mm and the 3.5 mm swatch are remarkably similar. I went with the 3.75 mm and wound up my skeins.

I cast on and got halfway through the second row before I fell asleep. It’s not much to show, but I’m proud anyway.

IMG_20170611_095144

We are in serious birthday mode over here in our corner of Maryland. On Wednesday, it was dear boyfriend’s turn. I fixed steaks–truly my best go at steak to date–and made cake, and we had a little celebration, just the four of us. I think he had a great day. I’m currently up to 3 birthday cakes in the past 2 weeks, and I’ll bake 2 more before the next 2 weeks are out. Whew!


YoM day 156: Swatching!

YoM day 157: Swatching and socking

YoM day 158: Sock knitting

YoM day 159: Sock and Shawl knitting

YoM day 160: Sock knitting

YoM day 161: Sock and sweater knitting


Happy making!

Birthday Socks.

Today is Joshua’s birthday. He is twelve years old and we have celebrated. I made him a pair of socks:

IMG_20170526_183228_095

Main yarn is from a mini skein set, Friendship is Magic, by Vivid Yarn Studio. Heels are in Candy by KnittyAndColor.

These came out beautifully. As always, Joshua’s design choices astound me. He picked the order of the stripes, but I decided how wide and how many repeats. He also wanted pink heels. Pink heels! I would have never thought to do pink heels, but they work perfectly! I love letting Joshua take creative control of the things I knit for him. We’ve had two amazing stripy hats in the past, all designed by Joshua.

While the finished product was definitely worth it, I’m not dying to knit any more mini skein striped socks. That was a lot of work and a ton of ends. By the end I think I wove in 56 ends! I cut the heels in and I was scared to death after all that joining and weaving.

IMG_20170526_092949_566

All in all they turned out beautifully. If you’re curious, I did a 15 row 2×2 ribbed cuff and then striped the minis every 11 rows. I was going to do 10 but because I can’t seem to count, 11 it is! I used the back join method to join and cut in the heels a la Kirbywirby. He loves them and I’m pretty sure he had a great birthday.

We went home to North Carolina and spent a relaxing weekend with family. One of my brothers made some homemade sausage that was delicious and may inspire me to try my hand at sausage seasoning. We ate a lot, played outside, and shot off fire crackers. My sister-in-law and I made a raspberry lemon birthday cake and we had a lot of fun with the trick candles I had brought. It honestly took Joshua forever to blow them out.

We’re back home to Maryland now, some of us enjoying our new presents, others of us continuing our car knitting:

IMG_20170529_121134_014

These are my second pair of revival socks and I’m about ready for the toe. It’s been a great weekend, wonderful to celebrate my not-so-little sweetheart.

IMG_20170529_174019_040


YoM day 146-149: Sock knitting


Happy making!

Sock-Monogamous

After I finished my goldfish socks, I was debating what to start next. I want to knit—several—rainbow socks for the rainbowalong next month, but I don’t want to cast them on until after Feb. 1st to qualify for the Grocery Girls sock bash. I waffled over starting a new sock, wondering if I could finish it before the end of the month. I don’t have to, of course, but I think my preference is to be sock-monogamous. So, I pulled out a project bag from the shelf of forgotten project bags. Inside was a ball of yarn, a 3.25 mm circular needle, and this:

wp-1485362857900.jpg

Well, there you go, I thought, I’ll cast on the second sock and that will give me something to satisfy the sock craving for the rest of the month. And then, the next day, this happened:

wp-1485361521409.jpg

I couldn’t help it. I felt compelled like a madwoman to finish it. It took nearly no time, being knit out of DK weight, but boy did I love watching it fall off the needles. The pattern is the Spree Socks by Kemper Wray and I highly recommend it. I used Date Night on sparkle DK by The Lemonade Shop.

Finishing this sock made me feel like a sock powerhouse, so I cast on another pair for January. I am in love with them. The yellow contrast makes me smile every time I look at it. I’m planning to do afterthought heels, so I’m up to one tube plus the second cuff.

I also started a cross stitch project, but that’s a whole other post in the making.


YoM day 19: Sock

YoM day 20: Cross stitching and sock – finished Spree Socks!

YoM day 21: Cross stitching and sock

YoM day 22: Cross stitch

YoM day 23: Cross stitch

YoM day 24: Sock


Happy Making!

Work Weekend

One of my motivations for participating in a year of making is to remind myself to take a moment every day, to make and think. I often listen to music as I sew, listen to an audio-book while I knit, or talk to the kids while I cook. But sometimes I find myself making in the quiet of my thoughts and those moments can be so calming and centering.

And so, for my first work weekend of the year, I made sure to take a moment to myself each day. That isn’t always easy and a 13-hour conference day certainly makes it difficult, but I took my socks on the trip—and I knit on them.

I had—perhaps too much—fun taking pictures of my progress with various beverages that I enjoyed on the trip. On the plane out, I managed to knit nearly a whole sock! Thanks, strong head winds: you made my hind end sore but gave me lovely sock time.

wp-1484663141137.jpg

At the hotel, I woke up a wee bit early to get some coffee and knitting time in and finished the first sock in short order:

And then, when the conference was over, I enjoyed an adult beverage or two and cast on the second sock:

The plane ride home was much shorter, but I managed to get a fair bit of knitting in—and earned the silver marathoner badge on Audible for listening for 5 hours straight!

wp-1484663181192.jpg

I did see another lady knitting, which is a pretty rare sight for me. I didn’t get the chance to ask her about it, but it was white and lacy and quite pretty. I love seeing folks making in public!

I am off today and have a lot of plans to make lots of things: finish these socks, start some kraut, maybe even a new notions pouch… We’ll see how productive I can be after a big travel day.


YoM day 13: Sock knitting

YoM day 14: Sock knitting

YoM day 15: Sock knitting—finshed the first sock!

YoM day 16: Sock knitting


Happy making to you!