My very first sweater.

I can’t believe it’s done. It felt like I was knitting it forever. Like an ocean of stockinette and sleeves were all that I did for a very long time. Hindsight is 20/20 though, and now I know that it wasn’t quite so dire as all that.

From swatching to wearing was exactly six weeks. Not terrible. But I remind myself that it was not all I did. In that six week span, I completed eight other projects. Kind of crazy to think that I worked on that many other things while I had the sweater on the needles. I also continued to feed the kids and keep up my responsibilities during this time, which strikes me as an accomplishment itself. As my dad always said, “think about what you’d accomplish if you really buckled down.”

I’ve talked about the sweater a fair bit over the last few weeks, it’s been kind of a constant hum on the blog:

 

And then, magically, last weekend, I finished it. I wove in the ends and tried it on before throwing it in a nice, sudsy bath and laying it out on the blocking mats.

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I’ve been a bit worried as it was drying that it was blocking out a bit too oversized. It’s superwash, so I could throw it in the washer but once I put it on I fell in love.

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I was so excited to put it on this morning and wear it. Today I wore a sweater that I made! I roped my sweet friend, Holly, into taking a few pictures of me in it. By the way, she took these pictures with her phone and in about 3 seconds and they came out so cute! I definitely want to hire her for real pictures. She’s an incredibly talented photographer — check her out at hollycroftphotography.com

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Overall, I’m in love with this sweater. It’s the perfect relaxed, snuggly, rainy day sweater. For the details, this is Puntilla by Joji Locatelli. It’s a great first sweater–this is my first–her instructions are very clear and easy to follow. The yarn is O-Wool O-Wash Fingering in the Watermill colorway. I purchased it at Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival last year. I used almost 3 skeins in the sweater, a bit more than that if you include swatching. This yarn is a dream, I highly recommend it.

I knit the sweater on 3.5mm/US 4 needles. When I swatched with those I got

  • Before blocking – row gauge: 30 st = 3 7/8” – stitch gauge: 24 st = 4”
  • After blocking – row gauge: 30 st = 3 1/2” stitch gauge: 22 1/4 st = 4″

My gauge was a bit off what was called for, so I calculated that knitting a medium would give me a body circumference of 45″. Measuring the sweater today, it’s exactly 45″. Crazy. I’ve got a bit more about my swatching, my measurements, and determining size on my project page. On another note, this the first in my list of challenges for 2018 to get crossed off — a garment!

The moral of the story is that I love my first sweater. I can’t wait to knit more, but this one is definitely keeping me warm in the mean time.

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Happy {sweater} making!

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Candygram

I’ve been feeling a little like I’m not getting anywhere on anything. I think this feeling comes from working so hard and so monogamously on one project that still isn’t finished.

That one project is my Puntilla. Sometimes I wonder at the wisdom of a fingering weight, over-sized sweater for a first sweater, but hey, it’s simple and I love it. When last we spoke, I believe I bemoaned the endless stockinette that seemed my fortress and prison. After I wrote that, I immediately cast on for a Coastal Walk shawl:

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And that’s how far I got before I thought, let’s at least try on the sweater:

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The novelty of actually trying on a knitted garment really got to me. I thought I could at least make a bit more progress and then I became utterly obsessed. I didn’t knit a single other thing until I bound off the ribbing:

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Oh my goodness, can you stand it? The color is divine and it’s so soft. I’ve cast on a sleeve and am slowly working on that now. This weekend I’ve been deep into rainbow sock territory. I’m past the heel point in the second sock now:

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Sunday afternoon, I was looking around the internet and stumbled across a couple of quilt patterns that I just couldn’t say no to. The first of these is the Candygram Mini Quilt by Heidi Staples:

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Now, when I say mini, I mean mini. This little cutie finished at 4″ x 12″. It took me a couple of hours–my kind of instant gratification. I can’t wait to get it up on my wall! I used scraps for the top and decided on a sort of incongruous lemur print for the back.

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The second in this bit of mini mania is the 4-Patch Heart Mini Quilt by Amanda Niederhauser. I have the fabric she used in stash and that pink and red and green seems just perfect. I’ve got it cut out, half square triangles made, four-patches done–we’re ready to assemble.

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I think this one will go together fairly quickly. The pattern calls for half a jelly roll, but I’m using a charm pack that I cut up. By the way, both of those patterns are free tutorials and really easy to make. I’m looking forward to freshening up my sewing corner wall with some new minis. It’s definitely been a while!

I’m ready to get the sweater and socks off the needles, but it’s nice to look back over the last week and see that I have been moving forward with my projects. Not to mention casting on/cutting up new ones!


Happy making!

Late to the party.

I think I am perpetually figuring out the fun of the hip stuff after the fact. I tend to get into the hip, trendy projects far after they are the talk of the town. Case in point, I’m just now coming around to the whole “make nine” craze.

This is really a new year’s planning type thing, so of course I’m getting around to it in February. The idea is that you choose nine projects–knitting, crochet, quilting, sewing, or a combination–to make in the coming year. I wasn’t really going to join in, until I realized that my ravelry queue already had eight projects. Add in my sock plans and bam! a ready made #makenine was born.

Since I’m already a month into the year, I decided not to include anything other than socks that has been started already. Without further ado, my make nine:

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Photos copyright designers as linked below.

  1. Madewell — Joji Locatelli
  2. Dotted Rays — Stephen West
  3. Box O’ Sox
  4. Eureka Cowl — Jessica Gore
  5. Sunset Highway — Caitlin Hunter
  6. Void — Melanie Berg
  7. Selbu Mittens — Skeindeer Knits
  8. Windswept — A Homespun House
  9. Coastal Walk — Joji Locatelli

I even have all of the yarn lined up–all current stash except the mitten yarn:

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I’ll talk more about all the yarns and patterns as I start each project. I’m really excited about all of these projects. They all fulfill a bit of my wardrobe architect goals, all are within my new color palate–well, except the rainbow socks, but there can never be enough rainbow socks in my life.

I’m thinking about casting on something new today, I’m currently drowning in a sea of fingering weight stockinette. I won’t show the sweater again, as it largely looks the same no matter how many rows I put into it. My February rainbow socks are part of this stockinette jungle, though they are gorgeous and fun to knit:

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The most likely candidate for a Sunday afternoon cast-on-party is Coastal Walk by Joji Locatelli. DK weight with a bit of lace to keep things interesting sounds lovely at the moment. And the yarn is absolutely calling to me. I’ve been knitting quite a bit in the blue-green/mint family lately and this mauve-y pink is just a siren song:

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So, here’s to stockinette seas, Sunday starts, and suddenly succumbing. I may always be late to the party, but I sure am excited to be here.


Happy making!

No mercy.

Watch out around here. No quarter shall be given, no mercy to be had. If you aren’t doing it for me, your days are numbered.

I’ve been talking a fair bit about intention and planning, and my eye is becoming more and more critical. I mentioned that I plan on frogging my Boho Blush shawl a few weeks ago. Well, the wrath has extended to the wee beginnings of the Love Ewe Baby shawl that I cast on back in the fall:

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While I certainly love this combo, I felt the siren song of the project I had originally wanted to knit with this lovely yarn from Swift Yarns. I had wanted to knit an Oracle Shawl, but just wasn’t quite sold on a full pi shawl. Kristen, the designer, mentioned on her podcast that she was designing an a half-pi version, but I didn’t have the patience to wait. So I cast on something else.

But now, with my ever more critical eye, I knew that I would rather be knitting the Half Moon Oracle. My Snowmelt has made me warm up to half circle shawls and I just couldn’t get it out of my head. And so I got it on my needles:

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Yes, that’s brioche and lace. Need I say more? Since this wasn’t enough, I also decided this weekend was the time to try some colorwork. I wanted to cast on the Pixel Rise Cowl by Kemper Wray. I picked out some pretty pastel yarn:

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I cast on and started to find an ok rhythm. It definitely feels fiddly and unnatural, but I was able to knit through about half of the cowl with no problems. Until I took a closer look.

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And then, I took an even closer look.

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You can’t really see the colorwork. At least, I can’t. I mean, maybe you can a little, if you look really close and know what you’re looking for. But it seems that my pretty and soft speckled yarns are awfully close to each other. It’s mostly looking striped. And so, I’m going to frog it. No regrets, lesson learned, and a bit of practice gained with stranded knitting. At least it looks like the puckering got better as I went along.

I’m enjoying being ruthless with my projects. I’m trying not to fall into the trap of thinking about the lost time that I spent working on things, the sunken cost fallacy is a sticky trap. Knitting is never really lost time, it’s all enjoyable. But I do intend to spend my future knitting time on projects that I love.

Lest anyone think that I’m all hatefulness and frogging over here, I do have a few other things that I’m loving at the moment. I’m still working on my Puntilla. I’ve joined the two front pieces and I’m now knitting in the round! It’s going slowly, but that knit knit knit is so soothing.

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I also managed to finish up my second tiny dresden plate. I think I may quilt it and get it up on my wall in the next week or so. It’s so pretty, I want to look at it all the time!

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One last thing, a little spoiler for you. I finished a thing and I love it.

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More on that later. At any rate, I hope that your making is bringing you joy.

 

True Colors

Well, for the first month, I have done it. I managed to knit two pairs of socks, one light and one rainbow:

 

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This vibrant rainbow is so pretty and so true, it’s no wonder the colorway is called “True Colors.” This is the January 2017 Rainbow of the Month from Knitterly Things. I finished the second sock tube over the weekend, and had thought that I’d wait to cut in the heels.

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But I just kept thinking about them and how it would only take a bit of knitting to finish them up and so finish them up, I did. I love them. Rainbow socks and I go way back, I’ve knit a pair of rainbow-y socks in each of the last three years.

This year, the plan is definitely to up the rainbow intake by a long shot. I can’t wait to get to the next rainbow, but February’s colorway will be waiting until February. Until then, I’m working on a few other projects and some sewing. And only every once in a while stopping to admire my new socks.

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Happy making!

Goody Goody Binding Kit.

Last week, I found some sewing inspiration. It all started on Instagram and now I feel a wee bit of obsession coming on. Ideas seem to be popping inside my head like little fireworks. I’ve got lots of little projects on deck, I can’t wait to get started on them!

With all of this inspiration, the first thing I realized was what a mess my sewing corner had gotten to be. My fabric stash was a mish-mash and the whole area was kind of depressing, to be honest. Not the inviting space I am looking for:

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So over the weekend, I spent little bits of time organizing. I pulled out all of my fabric:

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I culled out anything that wasn’t quite my style any more, sorted everything into scraps and yardage, and then sorted by color. That’s all organized back on the shelves–now the yarn looks a mess, of course. I went on to organize my little desk, separate all the backing and batting scrap from my quilts, and get some bins to corral all of that. The current state is much, much better.

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I’ve still got a few things I want to do in there, but it’s pretty nice to work in now. Which led me to finally getting around to making binding and attaching it to some languishing quilts I’ve got hanging around:


Once those were attached, I thought about hauling all of my stuff for binding out and then I realized it was finally time. Time to make myself a Goody Goody Binding Kit. If you haven’t seen these, check out that link. It’s a free pattern and an excellent, step-by-step tutorial. The whole project was lovely from start to finish. The hardest part was picking out the fabric. I finally settled on something sweet and cute:

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It took me a couple of hours–I’m slow–to get all of the pieces done and ready for assembly:

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And then last night, I assembled the kit. I’m really proud of it. This was my first time installing snaps–I used a snap instead of the velcro–and that’s pretty cool. Definitely going to need to use more snaps. Overall I think it turned out nicely.

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I couldn’t think of what I would put in that last pocket and then last night as I was binding this kit, I realized. Reading glasses are a must!

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This is my first sewing finish of the year, and I love it! It’s so sweet and I think it will be very handy. Now to get those quilts finished up… or start a couple of those little projects that are swimming around my head.


Happy making!

Intentional.

intentional (in-ˈtench-nəl) adj. done with intention or on purpose; deliberate.

I’ve been thinking about one little word for 2018. A little late to the party, perhaps, but here I am. I’ve been tossing around a few words over the last few weeks. From my new year’s blog postchallenge sprang to mind. But that’s not exactly what I want my whole year to be about. What about flourish? Closer to the mark, but still not quite there.

I want something that will encompass my whole life, not just my making and crafting. What do I want to focus on, holistically, for the entire upcoming year? I thought about the things I want for myself.

For my making, I’m interested in challenging myself, choosing projects that will nurture my craft in some way, and (for things I will wear) curating a style and color palate. At home, Kevin and I are working on a commitment to spending time with friends and with the kids each weekend. Personally, I want to renew my commitment to nourishing my body.

And so, with all of that in mind, I have settled on a word. Intentional. I want to spend this year being deliberate. Doing things on purpose. Being intentional.

At home and personally that means being intentional with my time and how I treat myself. Choosing to spend each Sunday morning with the kids, making brunch and playing games. Choosing to eat the foods that make me feel well. Choosing to get a good night’s sleep.

For my making, that means choosing projects that have a purpose. Perhaps that purpose is to grow my skill as a quilter and sewist. Maybe the purpose is to continue the wardrobe architect project. Maybe the purpose of a project is simply to fulfill my love of socks:

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Can’t stop, won’t stop.

I have spoken a great deal about my goals for a handmade wardrobe. The wardrobe architect project has already helped me a great deal to be more intentional with what I purchase and the projects I choose. I have worked on a few projects that fit those goals, and have more on deck. I’ve been working on one, however, that just isn’t ticking the boxes.

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Boho Blush by Andrea Mowry, photo copyright Andrea Mowry

The Boho Blush shawl is beautiful. The color, the drape, the coziness. However. I keep going back and forth on the style. I love the look, but I don’t think it fits in with my overall goals for my style. It’s the fringe. I don’t think I would wear it nearly enough with the fringe. But to me, the fringe makes it! It completes it. In thinking about being intentional, I don’t want to “accidentally” make something that just doesn’t fit in with the vision. My time and the yarn would be much better spent on another project that does check all the boxes.

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It hurts a bit to rip out something like this (especially when I was just talking about finishing it up), but it feels empowering as well. It also feels good to be decisive and free myself up from projects I am unsure about.

I am excited about my one little word. It really feels right and that feels great. I hope to look back at the end of 2018 and see how being intentional shaped my year.


Happy making!