Finally festive.

I’ve been really slow to get into the holiday spirit this year. Between travelling and car shopping, it feels like I haven’t been able to catch my breath yet.  But with less than two weeks until Christmas vacation, if I was going to deck the halls, I had better start now.

This week at work we had a little office decorating party. I had found a teeny little spruce tree for my desk space, so I decided to decorate it. I crocheted–I know!–a little star and garland for it. The star took me over an hour. I’m pretty sure Kevin’s mom, a crocheter extraordinaire would have have had it done in about three and a half minutes. But it looks like a star and it’s done, so I’m happy.

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I used a scrap–seriously, about a gram–of MarigoldJen yarn in Sunbeam and about 3 grams of my Christmas sock yarn (Baerenwoole) for the garland. I think it turned out perfectly. The tree is hanging out at my desk with George the succulent, who has his very own sugar cookie to celebrate.

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At home, I finally put up some lights early this afternoon:

A snowy, quiet day was just what I needed to feel like decorating. We put the ornaments up this evening.

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Other than the decorating, I’ve been finishing up the loose ends of my teensy bit of holiday making. I’ve got one thing to wrap up and then it’s full speed on my selfish holiday making. First of all, I want to finish up Christmas socks, they’re getting close:

IMG_20171209_124848.jpgI am so sold on the 9″ circs. I’m really enjoying how quickly the straight knitting goes with them, it’s amazing. It took a little bit to get used to, it definitely feels different in your hands. But no more so than the difference between magic loop and DPNs.

The other thing I’m making myself is, drumroll please, a Christmas hat! I recently won a knitalong in the Tilting Planet Ravelry group. I won this amazing package of goodies, and I just can’t stop thinking of knitting the yarn up into a holiday Olive & Jack hat.

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I’m all settled in now with a cup of coffee and a little holiday making to finish up. The tree is decorated, there’s snow on the ground, and my heart is full of holiday spirit.


YoM day 340-343: Sock knitting and secret making


Happy making and happy holidays!

 

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Home.

When we spoke last, I was about to head home from Denver to my sweet family for a trip south to see more sweet family. And that is exactly what I did.

Kevin and the kids picked me up from the airport and I came home and unpacked and repacked my suitcase. We got up the next morning and headed out. On the way, during Kevin’s driving turn, I worked on my hat.

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We met up with Kevin’s parents at a sweet little house on Watauga Lake in Tennessee. It was so much fun! We cooked and ate and fished and talked and Kevin’s amazing parents even invited my family to come hang out with us. It was wonderful.

Every morning and every night, I did a bunch of knitting. My very first order of business was to finish that hat, which is what I did on our first night of the trip.

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This is the Bray Cap by Jared Flood, knit out of Malabrigo Rios in the Pearl colorway. I love everything about this knit. The yarn is perfect, it knits like a dream and the color is everything. I want a sweater in this grey. The pattern is a whole other story. It’s so pretty and stunning, and such a pleasure to knit! I’m digging wearing either way, slouchy or folded up beanie style.

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This hat was one of my proposed wardrobe additions, from my wardrobe architect mini-project. I really wanted a nicer, neutral hat that would be appropriate for work. I’m happy to say that I’ve already rocked it on a few cold mornings to the office.

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Once the hat was done, I had nothing else with me to knit but my Christmas socks.

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I have, so far, thoroughly enjoyed knitting on the 9″ circulars. I’ve finished the first sock and I might be sold. I was skeptical about the heel, but it works like nothing doing. My only thing is that you have to switch back to DPNs or magic loop for the toe decreases, but I think it might be worth it. Final verdict to come.

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Mmm, that Christmas sock is just precious.

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I’ve started the second one, but I’m deep into holiday preparations so I’ve mostly been doing things I can’t show. I’ve got an itch to get to a few other projects, including my marled magic… I think it’s been quite a while since I’ve shown it–I finished section 7:

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And then nearly immediately picked up and knit section 8.

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It’s so squishy. My goodness, so squishy. With that, the shawl is nearly done! It’s definitely to the doesn’t-fit-on-needles-and-very-hard-to-photograph stage, but Cosi likes it just fine.

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I now have only to bind the thing off. I’m going to do that this weekend, come hell or high water. I’ve picked out a few pastel-y soft skeins for the bind off and I’m ready to go:

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I really want to knit all of the things. Sew everything, too! I’ve been feeling inspired lately, I have a lot of ideas for new projects.

All in all, it’s been a great week. Visiting all of our family warmed my heart and soothed my soul, and now I get to be home with my little pack of sweethearts.

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Happy holiday season, from my darlings to you and yours.


YoM day 326: Hat knitting – finished Bray Cap!

YoM day 327-334: Sock knitting plus secrets


Happy making!

Time to myself.

I’ve been on travel for work for six days. That means a lot of me time. While I have spent time at meals with coworkers, time on skype talking to Kevin, I’ve also spent a great deal of time alone.

I’ve filled that alone time much the same way I fill any other time, with stitches. I finished the secret make that I was making and am quite happy with it. I also managed to put quite a bit of time into my socks.

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And yesterday morning, over my early early coffee, I finished them.

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I love these. That brown toe, it just kills me. Both main yarn and contrast are from Wee Chickadee Woolery. The main yarn is their 80/20 sock base (which I adore) in the Lost Coast colorway. The contrast is on their gold stellina base in the Golden Oak colorway. There isn’t much to say about them other than that they are beautiful. I love how speckly they look all knit up.

I’ve also had a bit of a cast on party up in my hotel room. I brought two WIPs and two skeins of yarn on this trip. I wasn’t sure that I’d really be able to finish both and cast on both the new projects before I got home. But now I have two smashing new WIPs and it’s fabulous.

I cast on the Brae Cap by Jared Flood. I opted not to do the tubular cast on called for, mostly because I was tired. I’m hoping to get a good chunk of the ribbing done on my way home, but at the moment I’m only a few rows in. the yarn is Malabrigo Rios in Pearl.

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And since a pair of socks came off the needles, I had to cast on the next pair immediately.  For these though, I’m giving 9″ circular needles a try. I’ve tried them at some point before but wasn’t a fan. Since then, I’ve heard that the ChiaoGoo 9″ circs are the way to go. So here we are, having a go at them.

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I’m pleased to say that I really like using them. It does just zoom around and around when you don’t have to rearrange stitches. I’m going to hold final judgement until the sock is done, but so far so good. The yarn, by the way, is a one of a kind–One of a Baer–from Baerenwolle. It’s so perfectly Christmas-y that I can’t stand it.

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I’m finishing my early coffee and then I’ve got a few hours of work this morning. After that I hop on the plane back across the country. I cannot wait to get back home to Kevin and the kids. We’re headed immediately to visit family for the Thanksgiving holiday and I couldn’t be more excited.

I’ve enjoyed the time for quiet knitting and reflection, it’s been a good trip for that. But right now I’m really looking forward to getting back to the buzz and joy that surrounds my knitting at home.


YoM day 323-325: Sock and hat knitting


Happy making!

The art of the photograph.

For some makers, including me, a make isn’t finished until it is photographed and documented. I love having a visual record of my making.

Going back to when I first started knitting, I wasn’t on Instagram yet and really didn’t take any progress pictures of things. As I got more into Ravelry and Instagram, I started taking a few pictures. Very often, they were very dark. My desk is black and that doesn’t provide the best backdrop:

Not terrible, but I’ve gotten to where I like my pictures a bit lighter. I’ve tried different things, from white walls to carpet to the back of a white box:

Once we moved into our current house, I found my absolute favorite spot. The floor by the back porch doors gets the perfect amount of soft light twice a day, and it is my go to for progress and finished object shots.

The only trouble is, not everything is best displayed lying flat on the floor. Now, I am by no means a knitwear photographer. But with a lot of Instagram scrolling and looking at other people’s pictures on Ravelry, I’ve learned new ways to place and pose items. It’s take a bit of practice and patience! Sometimes a finished object will sit for days waiting for sunshine, or for me to be home during daylight to get a picture.

Shawls can be tough because they are so large:

Hats can be a bit tricky to photograph on your own head:

And then there are mitts. For other people? Easy peasy.

On myself? Another story. This past weekend I finished up the mitts I’ve been working on for the last week or so. Since we had family in town, I enlisted Madelyn–she takes excellent pictures–to help. Except when she said move your feet and legs back, I didn’t go back enough and you can see my football Sunday sweats.

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Back to the drawing board. How about holding a coffee mug? Well by this time, I had to take the picture myself. so we’re one handed…

Not quite right, not loving the coffee mug from the top. How about if I set a timer and hold the phone under my chin?

 

Ugh. I took one last go with the aerial view.

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I’m ok with this one. And so, until I take a photography course, get a tripod, or hire a photographer… here are some pictures of the mitts lying flat on floor.

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I must say, these are fantastic. The alpaca is so rustic, they feel like I should go out and shovel snow with them on. This was yarn given to me by Judge and Crystal for my birthday. It’s from Apple Hill Farm in Banner Elk, NC. 100% alpaca from a sweet guy named Frosty, and this is his natural color. The pattern is Raw Honey by Alicia Plummer. I highly recommend this pattern. It’s easy and the chevron is lovely. I’d imagine it would equally well in a smooth, round merino yarn.

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I’m still learning and working to get better at photographing my makes and my making process. It is definitely fun to look back at how far I’ve come in that regard.


YoM day 306: Sock and mitt knitting

YoM day 307-308: Mitts plus some secrets!

YoM day 309-312: Sock knitting and secrets


Happy making!

 

A little motivation.

I have felt extraordinarily motivated in my making lately. The plan is–so far–doing an amazing thing. I’m so excited to get to everything that I have planned, I’ve been highly motivated in my knitting. I couldn’t think of anything else until I got this cowl off the needles:

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This is Slipstream by Maria Montzka. I knit it out of Quince & Co. Lark in the Mist colorway. I only needed about 5 grams out of the third skein, I knit 2 full repeats of the pattern. I really loved knitting this. I don’t often knit things that are so lacy, especially not anything that’s overall patterned. It gave me a lot of confidence in my abilities and patience. It also felt good to knit something in a single, solid color. I’m incredibly happy with this finished object.

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This is my first make from my plans with my wardrobe architect project. It’s exciting to get started on that and I can’t wait to get to more of those plans!

I got started on a new hat for Astra. She had two requests: orange and mohair. I am more than happy to knit both. I cast it on last weekend. It’s ridiculously fuzzy and soft and squishy. And quite orange, if I do say so myself.

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I wound up staying up late the other night watching old movies and finished the hat. It’s so squishy and fuzzy, and Astra really likes it. This is Bumble by Tin Can Knits and I held one strand of Knit Picks Swish (100% merino) DK in Clementine together with one strand of Knit Picks Aloft (mohair silk blend) in Koi.

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Since I can’t seem to keep the socks off of my needles, I finally gave in and put some time into my Halloween socks. During the first football game of Sunday, I finished the first sock and cast on the second:

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Through my Steelers game and Monday Night Football, I managed to knit to about half way through the gusset. These kind of felt like were just falling off the needles. After the night of finishing the hat, I stayed up the next night and finished the socks!

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These were fun to knit up. They’re knit out of Hedgehog Fibres Sock Yarn in the Flytrap colorway. This was one of the September club colorways. I really never knit anything with black, but I’m digging how these turned out Halloween-y in a not super Halloween-y way. These are my fourteenth pair for my Box O’ Sox.

Whew! It’s not often I have 3 finishes in week but I’ve got so much that I want to get to, I’ve really felt like finishing things. I’ve started in on a bit more secret making (I can’t seem to help myself) and I’ve got yarn on the way for a new shawl. I just know I’m going to want to cast it on immediately.

I don’t really like having tons of projects going at once–I  know you can’t tell with how much I’ve been casting on lately–and I want to be in the mindset to just give myself over to the new shawl. It’s one of the ones I talked about last week–I can’t wait to tell you all about it!


YoM Day 293-294: Cowl knitting – finished Slipstream!

YoM Day 295-296: Sock and hat knitting

YoM Day 297: Hat knitting – finished Astra’s hat!

YoM Day 298: Sock knitting – finished Halloween Socks!


Happy making!

Making the making happen.

After all of this thought and consideration, I came to the realization that this is a ginormous project. It will certainly take me a long time to make an entire wardrobe, even though I’m not going to make things like jeans and shoes and purses. This will be multi-year at a minimum, but really since it’s also my hobby, I think it will be ongoing.

As a new sewist, I’m looking at sewing patterns that are on the easier end of the sewing spectrum. Things like simple dresses, skirts, and tops. I have a starter list of sewing patterns that fit the bill:

I’ve made the Moneta in a lovely dark grey, and purchased fabric for everything–except the Blackwood–in a neutral or nearly neutral from my palette:

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I’m hoping this will be a good start towards some basics in my wardrobe. I plan to make these 6 patterns several times, both for practice and to build up the wardrobe staples.

I’ve also spent a fair amount of time on Ravelry thinking about what sort of knitted staples I envision. A lacy cowl, a couple of really cozy, big shawls, a cabled hat, an easy wearing triangle shawl. That’s just a start, of course. Knitting is my first love and I could pick out a million patterns. The top of my knitting queue is currently

Ugh, I want to knit all of them right now. I did make a few yarn purchases… Now, if you know me and my stash, you’ll know that solids are really not my M.O. We’re talking wardrobe staples though, so solids and tonals it is. I got in my very first yarn from Quince and Co. this week. This is for the Slipstream Cowl and the Windswept Shawl:

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I was so excited when this package arrived, Kevin came in to see what the yarn looked like. “It’s solid…” was his reaction. It’s definitely a big departure for me! I couldn’t wait to get started so I’ve already cast on a new thing!

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With all of that, I feel like I have a fairly rounded out slate of sewing and knitting. I think it will be a nice little start to the wardrobe once all of this is finished. I hope you have enjoyed this week’s little mini-series about my wardrobe architect project. This has been a fun way to start this journey of thoughtfully planning my making.


Happy making!

What about the yarn?

I have a yarn stash, it’s true. I’ll be honest, it’s a pretty serious stash. I love it and dig through it often. Sometimes looking for yarn for a particular project, sometimes sock yarn, sometimes just looking and petting. I also purchase yarn from time to time…

As I mentioned at the beginning of this little series, I’ve been a sucker for the shiny when it comes to yarn. I love a lot of dyers, I love color, and new and fun combinations always seduce me.  Once I narrowed down my color palette though, I wondered what that meant for the yarn.

I thought and thought.  I decided to pull out all of the yarn that fits the new color palate. It’s not that much, when compared to the whole.

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Once I separated all of that out, I had three categories for what was left:

  1. Yarn that just isn’t me anymore, for various reasons
  2. Sock yarn. This could be anything and everything, but all of it will wind up socks. Eventually.
  3. Yarn I like but doesn’t fit the color palette – there isn’t much of this

I put all of the yarn that just isn’t me for whatever reason up on Ravelry as de-stash. That was easy. The sock yarn was easy, too–it stays–I love to knit socks and will continue to wear any crazy pair.

The yarn I like but that doesn’t fit is more difficult. After a lot of thought, it’s going on Ravelry de-stash too. If someone else really wants it, they should have it. I may still knit with some of it if the mood strikes, that option will still be there.

One big realization for me in all of this is that I don’t intend to stop knitting fun and crazy color combinations. I enjoy those things and I think they can always squeeze into my wardrobe with the jeans and t-shirts, if nothing else. Knits like my Marled Magic or Love Ewe Baby, those are creative, process knits and I love them for reasons other than putting them into my curated wardrobe.

This has really helped with my yarn buying habits. As I mentioned, I feel a strong pull toward the “shiny!” This is evidenced in the overwhelming quantity of single skeins of sock yarn that I own. It’s really helped me think about what I want to purchase and why. I have tons of fun yarn to play with and knit with. But I don’t have very much that checks the boxes for my planned wardrobe.

One of the things I thought about when I was working on my core style, was where being a knitter and maker fits in. Part of that is pretty easy, I would prefer to sew the majority of my clothes. But as far as knitting, how does that fit in? I’ve thought a lot about that. I want to knit some feminine, cozy, simple, and/or classic items in my new found color palate. Tomorrow, we’ll explore how I’m working on making all of that making happen.


Happy making!