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!

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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.

 

At least it’s a pretty rabbit hole.

Tiny things. Pretty things. Tiny, pretty things. I am a woman possessed by the small and the cute and the sweet at the moment. I don’t believe my sewing mojo has ever been quite so strong.

I happened upon a few new folks to follow on Instagram–check out bobbypinbandit and cloudtori but beware the amazinginess–and the rabbit hole of inspiration has turned out to be deep. It started with a simple sewing kit.

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Look at that ridiculous squirrel. I love him.

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This included my very first appliqué and very first attempt at fussy cutting:

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The pattern is Strippy Sewing Kit from the book Scrap Happy Sewing by Kim Kruzich of the Retro Mama blog. It turned out so cute! I love all the little details. I do not, apparently, love bias  binding–nor does it love me–but perhaps with practice we’ll come to an understanding.

Another foray on Instagram–I get bored waiting for the coffee pot to boil–led me to the #tinydresdenparty. I don’t like to use this phrase lightly, but I can’t even. So many variations, so many sweet makes! I had to get in on the fun. I wanted to make a really sweet, pastel dresden.

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This is my first effort. I appliquéd it down and then made the circle for the center. And then I discovered the circle is too small.

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It just won’t cover all the raw edges. This was a big disappointment, but not to worry, I’ve got more of this fabric on the way–there are so many cute little animals in this print! Undaunted, I set out to make another tiny dresden. I cut the blades from different strawberry fabrics:

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The start to this one looks better, I think, a bit more even. I also used a ring from a mason jar to cut the template and fabric, so I knew it would fit. I think this one is going to be a mug rug when it’s finished.

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I love it so. These are incredibly fun to make, and not nearly as fiddly as I expected. I used a great tutorial on making these tiny dresden plates, she explains everything and there are templates for cutting, as well. I’m not done yet, I have ideas to make tons more.

In other news, I haven’t exactly been neglecting my knitting. The sweater is coming along, I’m only a couple of inches from joining  the front and back and (finally) getting to the knit in the round part. Right now, it looks like a shapeless mass of fabric:

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I’m over halfway on my Canopy shawl now, and I adore how it’s turning out. I had doubts about the pattern and the yarn, but now I think the combination is a match made in heaven.

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And finally, I procured some new shelves and separated out the stashes. It’s so nice to have everything laid out and easy to see and reach.

It really is an inspiring space. Every day, I can’t wait to get in there and get a little sewing done before retiring to my knitting. I am riding this creative high as far as it will take me, and at least at the end I will have mug rug or two.


 

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!

Year of Making: 2017.

On the first day of this year, I decided to commit to one small thing: “put energy into a making project every day.”

At first, that meant a conscious decision to sit down with a project every day. Sometimes it meant sleepily knitting a few rows before bed so that I would keep my commitment. As I went on, it became easier and easier. As I got more in the habit of doing something everyday, I found myself reaching for my projects more and more.

I’ve kept track of what I’ve worked on in a spreadsheet. I’ve been more than a little curious to see how the numbers would shake out. It’s no surprise that I spent 342 of the last 365 days knitting. I tend to reach for my knitting more than anything else. On 266 of those days, I worked on socks. I love knitting socks so it’s not much of a surprise that three quarters of my knitting days involved socks.

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I finished my box of socks a few months ago, but that didn’t stop me from continuing on. I’ve finished five more pairs of socks for myself since then. I love the look of them all laid out. This last pair was knit on Christmas vacation, so it hasn’t made it home to meet it’s new sock drawer mates.

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When I wasn’t knitting on socks, I knit up shawls, hats, mitts, and even a tiny owl for my mom. I’ve spent a significant bit of time cross stitching, quilting and sewing. There were even a few days of canning, fermenting, and crochet thrown in. Looking back it feels like a productive year:

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There is something about looking at a year’s worth of creating, thinking about how my hands knit every stitch, cut all the fabric, pitted every cherry. More than just the products of my hands though, my makes all feel like teeny time capsules, moments of my life molded into something tangible. Knitting socks at the beach with my family, figuring out how to sew my very first garment, picking cherries with Joshua.

Writing about everything has really crystallized that notion that there is a story in each of my makes. I love thinking about that and having the blog to look back at all of it.

Now that my year of making is coming to a close, I don’t believe I’m finished with it. I’m not sure that I will keep track of things daily like I have been, but that idea of putting “energy into a making project every day” still rings true for me. It’s exciting to think about a future full of years of making.

At any rate, I’ll be right here tomorrow, the first day of the new year, spending a bit of my day creating something.


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!

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!