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!

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!

Daunting.

Sometimes, a part of a project will make me take a step back. Sometimes it’s the part of the process I don’t like, such as cutting fabric. Sometimes, it’s a mistake I’ve made that means I’ve not only got to figure out what the mistake was–I’ve got to undo a bunch of work in order to fix it. Sometimes, it’s none of those things and yet, I feel daunted by the next steps.

Last week, my boho blush had me feeling daunted. For some reason, I had no desire to start the lace section. Now, the lace section is super short, with only 3 remotely lacey rows, and still. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Finally, armed with coffee, I broke down and got started. On the second repeat, I realized I’d made a mistake. This brought in another of those step-away-from-it feelings, and I just stuffed the thing in its bag.

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As I knit on other things, I felt a bit guilty that the boho blush was getting no love. I tend to knit mostly monogamously on larger projects, and I really like seeing them grow. And then I saw an Instagram-story by Jennie–tinypaperfoxes–talking about knitting to milestones. She was saying that she has more projects than usual on her needles and wanted to work on all of them while still feeling like she was making progress. That struck a cord with me. I decided to think about my projects in milestones.

I told myself that once I reached a certain point in one of my secret makes, I’d get the boho blush out and just work on it just until I finished the next two sections. That little bit of a mental game with myself certainly seemed to work. After putting some serious work into a secret, I got out the shawl and fixed/finished the lace and last night got through that next section, too. I’m happy to report that the shawl and I are back to the honeymoon stage. I’m head over heels.

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I’ve been wanting to get out the serger, but that had two things working against it. First, it’s brand new and I’ve never used one before. Second, I had to cut out fabric for the top I was going to sew up with it. Well, I finally cut out the fabric. I’m 99.9% sure I cut it in the wrong direction, but it still stretches so we’re not thinking about that right now. With my fabric ready to go, I fired up the serger, and did some test serging. The practice seemed to be going pretty well.

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It goes far faster than I ever expected, and I am really un-used to the foot pressure needed for slower stitching. So, I got out pattern pieces and started sewing. Everything seemed to be going pretty well. I serged the shoulders together, and started putting in the neckband. Disaster.

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Would you look at that? Now I get to learn how to unpick serger stitches and redo the neckband. I may use the sewing machine for it, just because controlling the stretch of the neckband, while not stretching the neckline, while trying to serge slower without stopping… maybe a bit much. My goal is to finish it off this weekend so I can wear it on an upcoming trip.

 

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In other news, I’m still working on socks. I’m trying to get more done on other things, so these are coming along slowly, but they’re always good for a nice comfort knit if you need it. Sometimes when all the other makes feel difficult, a little sock gusset can bring you around nicely.


YoM day 313: Shawl knitting, socks, and secrets


Happy making!

A few new things.

With the recent finishing party that’s been happening around here, I had to cast on some new things. Absolutely had to.

First thing, I cast on for a new shawl. It’s the next in my wardrobe architect knitting list: the Boho Blush by Andrea Mowry. It looks so big and squishy and cozy and romantic, I absolutely cannot stand it. When I thought about knitting this shawl, I knew that I wanted it to be the cozy and soft feel I’m looking for and a sweet, romantic blush. Since it takes about 1000 or more yards of a single color, I had to find the perfect yarn.

The resultant search led me to The Wool Barn. It’s a new to me yarn, but I took the plunge and ordered some for the shawl. Plus a few extra skeins, because I was already paying for the shipping, right?

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To me, this color is the definition of a nearly neutral blush. This is the cashmere sock base, and it is oh. so. very. soft. I’ve gotten started on it, and I’m through section 3 of 11. It’s going to be a serious shawl. Ugh, I just love it.

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My second cast on, is actually a re-cast on. But first, let’s talk about the yarn. For my birthday this year, my brother and sister-in-law gave me a box of home. They gave me beer, a bluegrass cd, soap, and yarn, all from somewhere around the mountains of North Carolina. There is an alpaca farm in the town I lived in before I moved to Maryland and that is where they got the yarn. It’s a worsted weight, un-dyed yarn. The fleece came from an alpaca named Frosty, who is apparently an elegant grey fellow.

Judge and Crystal didn’t know if I could make much with it, but thought I would enjoy it. After I got home I started squishing it and it seemed to say to me that it would make my hands oh so warm. So a few weeks ago, I cast on some Raw Honey mitts, in the medium size. I got about half way through the first mitt and tried it on. Too big. Way too big. I have a bit of an issue with picking the larger size even though I’m a loose knitter. Anyway, I ripped them out and this week re-cast on in the small size–for reference my wrist measures 6.25″ around.

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I love how rustic they are and I think the simple pattern works really well with the yarn. Since I took this picture this morning, I’ve picked up and finished the thumb and I love this mitt! I’ve never knit myself anything for my hands before, so I’m really excited for the finished object. A knitter with cold hands is a very sad thing, after all.

My last cast on is a pair of socks. No one should be surprised, but I just need a pair going all the time. I don’t care when they get finished, but I also really wanted to get using my new bag from Rosebud and Penny. This yarn is Wee Chickadee Woolery smooshy sock in the Lost Cove colorway. Seriously, y’all. The speckle game with the ladies at Wee Chickadee is on point.

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Once I finish the mitts, I’m going to cast on a hat for myself. I’ve also got to fire up the serger! There is only a wee bit of holiday making going on, since we’re trying to keep that reasonable. We’ll see if it works. For now, it’s fun to have a few new projects to talk about.


YoM day 303-305: Knitting socks and mitts!


Happy making!