The best laid plans.

Let’s talk about what I said at the end of my last post. Brimming with hope about all I had accomplished that morning and excited for a long plane ride full of knitting, I wrote about how I’d like to come home with a finished object or two. And then the crafty fates just laughed and laughed.

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I got on the plane for San Jose on Saturday afternoon and knit on my Fairyhill until we landed. I knit and knit and knit and got so much done! Well over half of the border finished. It was a nice flight, but I was pretty tired by the time I made it to the hotel. I had some supper in the hotel bar and went to bed.

Tired or not, because I’m always on east coast time, I woke up at 5:15 a.m. on Sunday morning. I called my mom to wish her a happy mother’s day and we talked for a little while. I then settled in for a nice little knit and some coffee. I managed to finish the first sock tube of Joshua’s socks, just in time to get ready for work. On my way out the door, Kevin called to wish me a happy mother’s day and I talked to Joshua, too.

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Someone is going to have to weave all of that in. Someone.

While I wanted to get a bunch of knitting done, I also wanted to check out the local area around my hotel. I had heard of some great bars with great food, which is right up my alley. On Sunday, I went to Original Gravity Public House. They are a craft beer joint with great housemade sausages. I had supper and took a pint back to the hotel to enjoy with my knitting.

After work on Monday, I came back to my room and thought I’d cast on my next revival socks. I literally knit three rows before my stomach was rumbling so I put the teeny cuff away. I decided to check out Paper Plane. I love making old school cocktails at home, but seldom find a place to order them out. This bar was just the ticket. I described the kind of cocktail I like, gin and citrusy, and Christian whipped something up for me:

I could go on and on about this cocktail. I’m planning to make it for Kevin and a friend of mine this weekend. I probably will go on and on about it then, wink wink.

I got back to the hotel, got things ready for the next day and settled in for a little shawl knit. Now by this time, it was all of 10 p.m. but I was so very sleepy. It takes me days and days to get used to another time zone, so I was all out of whack. I knit one row and was nodding off over the shawl, so I just went to bed.

As I went through my last day at the convention center and finally flew back home, I developed a pretty nasty cold. I think I’ve probably knit all of about 100 stitches in that time. I don’t remember the last time I felt too sick to knit. My year of making compelled me to try and put the effort in, but the sneezing and wheezing made me put the needles down half a row in each day.

Now I’m home and still feeling pretty awful. I pulled out my shawl this evening and noticed that something seemed off. It seems that what I knit while falling asleep and while sick did not go so well. So I tinked back and we’re ready to move forward again. This is the status of the shawl and the revival socks:

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Yep, not much there.

I didn’t get nearly all the knitting done that I had hoped on this trip. As much as I travel for work, you might think I would learn that I don’t actually get that much free time. At least this time I had a great cocktail.


YoM day 133: Sewing, shawl knitting

YoM day 134: Sock knitting

YoM day 135: Shawl knitting

YoM day 136: Sick barely sock knitting

YoM day 137: Sick barely shawl and sock knitting

YoM day 138: Sick barely shawl tinking


Happy making.

100 days of making.

On each of the last one hundred days, I have put time into making. Some days, it’s been hours and hours of knitting or sewing and others it’s been just a few rows on a sock before I fall asleep. All in all, it’s been a great experience so far. I’ve become much more mindful of my time and it’s become easier to squirrel away a few minutes to myself no matter where I am.

I keep track of what I do each day in a little spreadsheet. According to the spreadsheet, I have knit on 88 of the last 100 days. 88! That’s a lot of knitting. I think it’s easy to see where my passion lies. 77 of those included sock knitting. If you’ve read this blog before, you probably aren’t surprised—I do love my socks. There was a bit of shawl and hat knitting thrown in there as well. The rest of my days were spent sewing, quilting, and cross stitching, with one evening of kraut mixed in.

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This is my first 100 days worth of finished objects. It’s a pretty happy lot to look at, if you ask me. I am by no means prolific, but I’m happy with my progress. In the first one hundred days of last year, I had made three pairs of socks, a shawl, and a hat. This year, I’m up to 16 FO’s! That’s quite the increase.

I always think of myself as a product maker. I want the thing—the shawl, the quilt, the jam—so I make it. It makes my heart soar to see all of the projects I’ve finished, to use them and love them. But one thing I’ve learned over the last 100 days is that the process is equally as heartwarming. Making de-stresses me and stokes my creativity. Writing this blog has helped me see all of the stories that are woven into every project I make and that has been a wonderful discovery.

I can’t wait to see what the next 100 days has in store for me. We’ll be well up into July at that point so I hope there is a fair bit of canning alongside the socks in my next collage.


Year of Making Day 100: Sock knitting, what else?


Happy making!

Snowmelt Shawl.

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Thank you to Joshua for the photography!

Much like winter in Maryland, the shawl is finished. My very first mystery knitalong and my biggest project to date. All done. I couldn’t be happier. The pattern, Snowmelt Shawl by Helen Stewart, is just divine. So easy to follow and well written. I loved knitting it, even when it got to be in the 500+ stitch range.

The yarn is all by Peepaloo Fields, and boy am I huge fan of hers now! The soft but fun colors of these yarns really tug at my heartstrings. I’ve been joking about how even my subtle colors turn out loud, but I think the overall effect is soft and sweet. Up close it’s a symphony of mint and pink and lilac and yellow. These yarns are all the 80/20 base, Sensible Sock in (A) Smitten, (B) Bumble, and (C) Smokestack.

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It really bothers me that that one point is turned under, but the light’s gone now.

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Untitled design

It took me a little less than two months of not being overly faithful to this project to finish it. I’ve been a little listless without a big project on the go, but luckily I have two quilts that are begging to be cut and pieced.

I hope you are enjoying the season and any sunshine that you may be having. For me, this snowmelt shawl and the sunshine we’re having fit very well together to brighten my day.


YoM day 93: Sock knitting

YoM day 94: Sock knitting


Happy making!

Linking up to Sew Fresh Quilts

Sock Revival.

This weekend I’ve been wanting to finish things up. Maybe it’s the spring cleaning bug—which certainly hasn’t extended to the house or laundry. Either way, I finished a pair of socks and my snowmelt shawl. More about the shawl later, but here are the socks:

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The Lemonade Shop, Sweet, Sweet Candy

This pink hurts my teeth it’s so sweet and pretty and these are pair 5 in my box o’ sox. After finishing two projects, I was in the mood to cast on but still on the finish-old-projects tear. Enter the ghosts from the graveyard of abandoned socks:

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These were all declared dead due to fit issues, most of them being too small. I had a weird period last summer of ill-begotten socks with major gauge issues. It was as if I was strangling the life right out of the yarn. I managed to fix that problem—still not sure how, beyond just relaxing—and my socks have fit just fine since. The unfinished socks have not rested easy, however. Since all of these sock projects are around a year or more old, they kinda feel new. Bam! Two birds with one needle, er, stone.

 

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Yarn Ink, Martini, a club colorway from early 2015

 

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Into the Whirled, Wibbly Wobbly, Timey Wimey

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Marigold Jen, main is Lazy Days, contrast is Sunbeam

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Gale’s Art, Rockstar Rainbow

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KnittyandColor, Milky Way

My plan is to knit a pair of these each month through Sepetember. I’m going to start with the KnittyandColor pair. That—completely finished—sock is so small. So skinny that I can’t get it all the way on my foot, let alone up over my ankle. Oh well. I think there’s enough in the cakes to knit a whole pair so I’m going to try that. Then I’ll unravel the sock and wash the yarn for minis.

I’m excited to turn all of these zombies into alive and happy socks. I remember purchasing all of the yarn and it all still makes me happy to see, so I can’t wait to add them to my box o’ sox!


YoM day 89: Sock knitting

YoM day 90: Sock knitting

YoM day 91: Snowmelt shawl, started a new quilt top, and finished sock pair 5!

YoM day 92: Sock knitting and finished Snowmelt Shawl!!


Happy Making!

Not a quilter.

Today, we’re going to have a story. Years ago—about 9—I decided I wanted to make a quilt. When I was a little girl, my mom had done some quilting and I just knew in my heart that I wanted to hand-sew and hand-quilt a log cabin quilt for my bed. So I mentioned this to my mom and I’m sure she said something about that being a bit ambitious. But off to the local quilt shop I went.

It turns out, hand sewing is a long process. Hand piecing log cabin squares is very long process. Now, certainly, people do it. For my first foray, I was not having much. Talking with my mom, she—I’m sure very gently—suggested that maybe using a sewing machine would be ok. So back to the quilt shop we went. I talked to that same lady and she suggested a “Turning 20″ quilt—a simple pattern with large pieces that wouldn’t take a ton of cutting or piecing. I was sold.

With her help, I picked out all the fabric and she encouraged me to bring the top in when I was finished. Back home I went and got started cutting and piecing. Well, this was just flying along! So much so, that I snuck out and got some more fabric for another quilt. A double Irish chain, I think—I’ve lost the pattern now—with something like 1000 2.5” squares. I cut those out, too.

I finished the quilt top and was so proud. Honestly, so proud. So happy at completing it and so happy with how darned pretty it was.  I happily packed it up, ready to go to the shop and show off my prized work of art. At the shop, someone else was working but I was eager and unfolded my top to show her.

She was not impressed. Not remotely. She pointed out that the points didn’t match up, where the border wasn’t straight, where the seams were wonky. She told me that it would be very difficult to quilt, and I should consider redoing the whole thing.  I was crushed. I remember taking my top back home and feeling so down. My mom was encouraging, but in my head I started thinking that quilting might not be my bag.

Over the next weeks, I slowly packed up the fabric and quilt top and notions, putting them in the closet. Over the years, I gradually realized that I am a knitter and not a quilter. When I moved, I gave all of the stuff to my mom, saying that I’m just not a quilter. A few years after that, I got the itch to sew. Make some curtains or a project bag or something. My mom happily dug out all of my old stuff and I went through it, eventually pulling out that old quilt top.

At that point, last summer, I was a much more experience crafter. I feel like I’m a pretty good knitter and I taught myself all of that, so I feel more confidence in trying new things. I looked at that old quilt top and essentially said to myself that I might as well figure out how to make it into a real quilt, one way or another.

Off I went to my new local quilt shop, here in Maryland. I took a class on long-arm quilting and brought my quilt in.  I was still awfully sheepish about bringing in my “crappy quilt top,” but Leticia—the staff person helping me for my first long-arm session—was undaunted. “Let’s get it on the frame, you can quilt it and you will snuggle under it and you will love it.”

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After all of that, I still put off binding it. A mental road block, maybe? I’ve even started and completed another quilt since:

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But last weekend, after finishing another quilt top, I decided to go ahead and finish it up. I’m tired of moving it around the craft room and just wanted it out. So I attached the binding and got to work.

I cannot put into words how good it feels to get this quilt finished. It was a big hurdle in my crafting life, something weighing me down, pulling at me. It took me 9 years to finish it, but now I don’t feel like I am not a quilter. I know that I am a maker.

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Pattern: Turning Twenty Into Diamonds by Tricia Cribbs

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The moral of my story is, don’t be discouraged by discouraging people or even by your own insecurities. Maybe that lady was having a bad day, maybe lots of things, but I didn’t have to take those words to heart and let them define me. I didn’t know then, but I certainly do now, that the crafting/making world is full of encouragement, advice, blogs, videos, forums, and all sorts of help. It’s out there for the taking. All you have to do is make things that make you happy, and a maker you will be. A knitter, a stitcher, a baker.

Even a quilter.


YoM day 85-88: Quilting


Happy making!

Linked to My Quilt InfatuationCrazy Mom Quilts, and Sew Fresh Quilts

Finished, nonetheless.

I did not finish the socks in time. I’ve come to terms with that fact. I’ve decided that really February is a short month and doesn’t count, right? Right.

All jesting aside, I just couldn’t get it done. I didn’t have the knitting mojo for it at the beginning of the week. I did learn that I can knit a complete heel flap on the train from College Park to Tenleytown and back.

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The knitting mojo was back on Wednesday with a vengeance and  I finally finished them Thursday evening. I just adore the finished pair. The colorway is a little out of the box from my typical palate, warmer I think, but that’s one of my favorite parts.

The yarn is Tempting Ewe Yarns in the Rainbow Brite colorway. It’s on their Ewe So Happy sock, which is a plump and squishy 90/10 merino/nylon. These may be the squishiest pair of socks I’ve knit. Ewe So Happy Sock comes in an over-sized skein of 125 grams. I had about 57 grams leftover after these, which is plenty to make another pair of socks with! I am thinking about making a pair for my sister-in-law, the colors remind me of her.

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I decided to do a contrast toe for these and picked out a mini I had received from a friend a while back. The yarn is Countess Ablaze in Orange Fizz. I was a little afraid of running out, since I only had 6 grams of it so I did a mini contrast toe.I just knit the first three decrease rounds before adding in the orange. Normally, I’d put in the contrast for the first decrease row, but this was a cute change.

These are my fourth pair in my box o’sox. It makes me excited to be a third of the way to a full box already. I remember the year where I just couldn’t get 12 pairs done and that feeling of progression is nice. I  do just love knitting socks and it brings me joy to see them in my box. I’m considering not wearing them until next year, having a whole box of pristine new socks at the beginning of next year is awfully tempting.

My next pair is already on the needles. The yarn is from The Lemonade Shop in Sweet Sweet Candy. I’m enjoying these but also thinking about my Snowmelt shawl, the last clue is out!


YoM day 58: Sock knitting

YoM day 59: Sock knitting

YoM day 60: Sock knitting

YoM day 61: Sock knitting


Happy making!

Just when you think can’t.

I just knew that this would be the week I wouldn’t finish anything. I knew it.

I finished a sock last week and cast on the second. I got through the cuff and then decided that maybe I should try on the first one. The sock is too small. Too short, to be specific. Why on earth, how in the world would I knit it too short? Did I get impatient? Not measure correctly? Fudge it and fool myself? Well the sock is too short and so into timeout it went. I am still a little mad at it, but I’m coming around to the thought of ripping the toe out. It will have to be done because I love these socks already, the yarn is heartbreakingly rainbow.

And so, I pulled out my hat. This past winter I made hats for both kids, both brothers, and Kevin. I cast on a hat for myself at the beginning of this extravaganza. I received this skein of yarn from Baerenwolle, it was her speckled surprise club for September. The colorway on the far right below is Coral Reef and I just positively adore it. So much so that I wanted it to be front and center, right on top of my head.

I cast on for a sockhead hat, wanting to let the yarn shine in something simple. I really hated knitting that hat. Don’t get me wrong, the pattern is straightforward and just fine. But there is something about knitting 4 inches of ribbing and 5 inches of stockinette in fingering weight yarn. Ironic, I know, since I spend 90% of my craft time knitting vanilla socks. But still.

Anyway, after my socks went into timeout, I pulled out the hat. I have to have some mindless knitting for our Friday D&D games, so the hat was perfect. That was until I reached the point where you put the stitches on DPNs, and realized that I didn’t have the right sized needles. I’ll be honest with you, there was cursing. After the cursing, there was Knit Picks. I ordered the requisite needles—and their crochet kitchen kit, but that’s neither here nor there—and waited. They magically arrived 5 days early—about 2 hours ago—and I immediately opened them up and finished my hat.

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I am so happy that I actually had a finish this week and that it’s this hat. I’m so pleased with it. I especially love how it looks on. The pattern, the color, the squish: perfect. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t contemplating another one already…

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I’m squaring myself up to rip out that toe. Maybe in time for my mindless knitting tomorrow night? Maybe.


YoM day 41: Hat

YoM day 42: Hat and cross stitch

YoM day 43: Socks and cross stitch

YoM day 44: Socks and campaign writing

YoM day 45: Socks  and campaign writing

YoM day 46: Socks and campaign writing

YoM day 47: Socks and campaign writing and finished my sockhead hat!


Happy making!