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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Marled Magical Mystery Tour.

Last weekend, I spent all my free time finishing up my Marled Magic. That’s right. Read it again. I said finishing up my Marled Magic. It’s all done.

I hadn’t really wanted to knit this shawl. Until I saw a few on podcasts and the like, I hadn’t been able to envision a color palate for myself. And then it hit me, pink and mint seemed like a match made in heaven.

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I threw in some bits and bobs of a few related colors and was off to the races.

 

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I loved this section with the bright pink with different colors marled in, so fun. I held a strand of Candy by KnittyandColor and striped in other yarns. The next section somehow even made me enjoy seed stitch. Maybe the rhythm, maybe the squish factor, I had fun knitting this one.

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After that very first blip of green I decided to keep with a light and bright color scheme for this section. I adore how it turned out. For the next section, I tried two new things. Brioche:

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And mohair:

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I cannot think of a better combination. I immediately fell in love with both! I loved the mohair so much, that I just kept right on going with it:

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That mint section may not look fuzzy from here, but it is mohair-licious. I kept picking lighter colors for each section, including number five–the wedge shape on the corner:

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I wound up wanting to go a bit more towards a murky, minty green for the next section so I held a strand of grey mohair and a strand of Hedgehog Fibres in Fly together and then striped in other colors.

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For a while, I had been a bit bothered by that bright, loud pink section in the middle. I kept gravitating towards lighter colors and it seemed out of place. I thought maybe I could balance it out by doing another similar-feeling pink for section seven:

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With that bright pink on one side, I thought a minty fresh section would be perfect for the opposite wing:

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The final choice was the bind off. I was leery of picking the wrong thing, knowing it could all go south if the color wasn’t right. I thought and thought and came to two conclusions: pastel and rainbow:

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(l) Peepaloo Fields in Sprinkle (r) YarnInk in Martini

I think pastel rainbow was the way to go.

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The last thing to do, was to braid and tasselate those crazy ends I’d been dragging around. I was scared to get started but it turned out to be quick and super easy.

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And now, it is finished. It has been quite the journey. I took me over 6 months to knit. I was certainly not being monogamous, it was a little difficult to stay focused with it. I would figure out what I wanted to do for a section, obsessively knit that section until it was done, and then waffle over the next choice for a month or so.

It’s about eight feet long all together. It’s still unblocked at this point. I’ll definitely wash and block it sometime, but it’s big enough for the moment. I used a lot of yarns: scraps, stash, minis, and some mohair I purchased just for this project. Not including the minis, the shawl used 2664 yards of yarn. Now, that is held double throughout, so I really knit 1332 yards. That’s over three quarters of a mile!

By the way, this is the Marled Magic Mystery Shawl, by Stephen West. You can get a link to the pattern and have a look at all the (non-mini) yarns I used on my project page.

Worth every stitch:

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I love every part of it, even if it is tough to fold.

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I’m head over heels for the thing. Kevin laughs a bit when I put it on, I don’t really know how to wear it other than blanket-style. I don’t even care. This was the most fun knit I’ve ever knit. The textures and shapes were so enjoyable, and playing with color in this way taught me a lot.

For now, I’ll just be over here basking in its glory.

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YoM day 335-337: Sock and shawl knitting

YoM day 338: Sock knitting and secrets

YoM day 339: A wee bit o’ chrochet


Happy making!

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!

Saturday.

I had a nice day today. I’m on a work trip to Denver, Colorado and while I had some work to do today, I also had a bit of time to myself.

I am terrible at adjusting to a different time zone, but sometimes that isn’t so bad. I woke up early this morning, went downstairs for some coffee. I came back to my room and watched the sky grow lighter while I sipped coffee and knit on my sock.

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I knit until I had turned the heel and picked up the gusset stitches.

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After the sock heel, I felt like getting out a bit. One of the first things I do when I find out I have a work trip on the horizon is research local yarn shops and figure out if I’ll have time to visit them. As luck would have it, there is an amazing shop not to far from my hotel and I had the time to stop by. Today was nice and chilly so I got all bundled up and headed to Fancy Tiger Crafts.

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If you are ever in Denver, I highly recommend this shop. It’s like a wonderland.

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I only managed to get pictures of the yarn, but the opposite wall is filled with equally beautiful fabric and patterns. They had the cutest knit caterpillars:

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And even a whole giant stack of swatches of the yarns they carry:

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That pile makes me so happy. I could have spent a fortune at this shop. They had absolutely everything you could want. I settled on just a few things:

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I picked up two remnants of fabric. The green is chambray and the brown is a chambray-hemp blend. They are destined for a bit of secret make, more on that later. I purchased a set of Tulip Milliner’s needles. I’ve heard great things about those needles and since quilt binding is one of my favorite parts of quilting, I thought I could treat myself to nice needles. The chalk line pen came recommended from one of the staff members at the shop, I hope it helps in my pattern tracing–I’ve been struggling with that.

Now the yarn, oh the yarn. It took me ages to make a decision. I was looking for a couple of skeins of sport or DK weight, or maybe a pretty skein for a hat or something. I finally settled on two gorgeous skeins of Titus by baa ram ewe. I’ve never seen it in person before, but boy is it lovely. It’s a blend of 50% Wensleydale Longwool, 20% Bluefaced Leicester, and 30% UK Alpaca. The colorway is Bramley Baths. The color is a gorgeous watery, murky mint.

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I purchased this yarn to knit Canopy by Melody Hoffman. I’ve had my eye on that pattern for a while, but it’s hard to find the right blend of soft and rustic yarn that I had in mind for it. This fits the bill beautifully.

After I came back from my little shopping jaunt, I had a bit of time before work. I settled in for a bit of a knit and managed to finish the secret make that I brought with me.

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After I finished that project, it was time to head to the convention center. I didn’t take any pictures, but my booth is set up and ready for tomorrow. When I got back, I did take some fun shawl selfies, rocking my Whispering Pines.

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Now that the day is done, I’ve been curled up on the bed, knitting the gusset of my sock.

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It’s all done now, so I feel good about finishing it soon. I really want to cast on my Christmas socks. It would be so fun to finish two projects and cast on the other two while on my trip. I won’t have near the free time the next few days, though. It will be busy busy once the conference gets underway. I’ll definitely enjoy some knitting in the evenings though.

All in all, I’ve had a lovely Saturday.


YoM day 320-322: Sock knitting and secrets


Happy making!

Finally fixed.

Way back in the dim, misty recesses of the past I knit a couple of pairs of mitts. These were knit for my sweet little brothers, in the hopes of keeping their hands warm through the winter months.

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Sources report that these mitts did just that. They were so warm and snuggly that some $%#$ mouse decided that the wool would make a perfect winter blanket.

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The horror! Luckily, I had plenty of yarn leftover. This pattern, by the way, is Roost Mitts by Melissa Stajda. It’s perfect for a quick and cozy pair. The yarn for both pairs of mitts is Ewe So Wooly Worsted by Tempting Ewe Yarns. This red is the Princess Bride colorway, and the blue is Tight Pants.

Now, in fairness, Judge–the owner of the red pair–asked me to repair these last Christmas. Sure, I said. It’ll take me a couple of hours, no problem, I said. And it did only take me a couple of hours. Monday night, November 13, 2017. Yep, it took me almost eleven months. But fix them I did.

I tackled the worst one first. I picked up stitches one row before the top ribbing and then cut the ribbing right off. I then unraveled back to the row I had picked up, attached new yarn and reknit the rest of the mitt.

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Both mitts needed a new bind off on the thumbs and that’s all the other mitt needed at the top, so I picked out the bind off and pulled back a row or two. Picked them back up with new yarn, knit a bit of rib and voila! All done.

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I picked out, cut off, and pulled back quite a lot of yarn.

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But they’re all finished now, with a fresh bath and everything.

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I’m looking forward to taking these to Judge next week for Thanksgiving. I hope it will be a pleasant surprise now that it’s turning cold again.

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Bonus little brother picture from back in 2015:

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Happy making (and fixing)!

Nothing to see here.

I am heading out today for a work trip. I’ll be gone until Tuesday–if you’re keeping score, that’s two days before Thanksgiving– and then we’ll leave Wednesday morning to go see family for the holiday.

So in the face of a six-day work trip followed by a five-day family road-trip, what did I do last night? Well, to be honest, a fair bit of laundry. But I also managed to stay up far too late making this:

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Gah, I just adore it. Let’s look at those animals a bit closer:

They are so cute. I can’t even stand it. Mom got me these two fat quarters when we went fabric shopping for my birthday. I had planned on making an autumny/wintery/holiday bag with them and I finally got around to it.

I used a kind of mash-up of Erica of Confessions of a Homeschooler‘s two project bag tutorials: the Squishy Project Bag and the Drawstring Bag. I resized it a bit, to make it more of a sock sized bag. I wish I had written down the dimensions, it’s perfect! But at 1:30 a.m. that would have been a stretch. A single skein fits perfectly:

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That yarn, by the way, is my future Christmas socks. It’s wound up and ready to go to Denver, just in case I finish the other sock I’m taking. The yarn is a one of a kind colorway from Baernewolle. She calls these colorways One Of a Baer.

I love that yarn more and more every time I look at it. But back to the bag. I think this is my favorite project bag I’ve made so far. I just love the style and fabric and size. I can’t wait to make more!

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In other news of very important work trip preparations, I cast on a second sock.. I finished the first last weekend and added this sweet little brown toe:

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Wee Chicakadee Woolery, main color: Lost Coast, contrast: Golden Oak

I always try to cast on the next sock and get through the ribbing right after finishing a sock. It helps me stay motivated since the ribbing is my least favorite part. Last night before bag fever struck me, I got fairly well down the leg.

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My little bag collection is all ready to be packed. I’m taking four projects on this trip. Two of them aren’t cast on yet, and I’d love to finish the two WIPs I’m taking while I’m gone. I’m getting a bit of a thrill out of productivity these days. Well, creative productivity. I don’t find much thrilling about all that laundry.


YoM day 314-318: Socks and secrets

YoM day 319: Sock knitting and sewing


Happy making!