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!

Progress and plans.

Yesterday, I got up pretty early for a Saturday to see Kevin and Astra off for a trip. Joshua and I stayed home and had a fantastic evening with my brother’s girlfriend, who was stopping through on her way north. We took a long walk, made supper, and stayed up late—for us—knitting and talking.

Before our lovely evening Joshua and I ran a few errands, one of which was a very important trip to my LQS. I’ve had it in my head for a while to make myself some spring bags, but mostly was looking to replenish my stock of solid white yardage. They were out of the solid white, but I did find some fun prints to stoke my creativity. I picked a solid to go with each and got out of the shop before any serious damage was done.

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I dug into the sunshine and clouds fabric this afternoon. I just love the sweet take on grellow. I made a lovely little project bag a la Jeni Baker’s tutorial on her blog, In Color Order. The tutorial is a great guide to making this cute little project bag, she takes it step by step with clear pictures and explanations. I am quite pleased:

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In knitting news, my revival socks are coming along really nicely. I’m falling in love with the yarn all over again, and can’t believe how different the new sock (top) looks from the old sock (bottom).

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I’ve also signed up for the second season of Helen Stewart’s Shawl Society. I didn’t participate last year, but I enjoyed the Snowmelt so very much that I decided to take the plunge this time around. The Shawl Society is a six-month club, with one shawl pattern released each month. I’m challenging myself to knit all six, let’s hope my steam holds out through September! Yarn hints for the first shawl come out tomorrow and I can’t wait to go stash diving.

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Finally, tomorrow marks my first 100 days of making! I’m going to do a bit of recap and I’m looking forward to taking a moment to reflect on this project.


YoM day 95-98: Sock knitting!

YoM day 99: Made a project bag and some sock knitting


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

Ending on a high note.

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? March has turned out to be quite the whirlwind. Between two personally difficult weeks and a week long work trip, it’s been a bit hard to keep up the making mojo. Often, I’ve found myself crawling into bed and knitting a few rows of a sock in silence before sleep.

I cast on a new sock for my work trip, thinking a bright green sock would be perfect for a trip over St. Patty’s Day. The yarn is Lamby Toes in a one of a kind dye lot, on her corriedale base. For a relatively short flight, I was productive. I knit slowly, but steadily through the week. This work trip was for our annual meeting and is the busiest week of my year. Not much time for knitting, but by the time we touched back down to Maryland, I had picked up and started the gusset.

The trip itself was to New Orleans. I would love to go visit the city one day when I could explore the Garden District and other areas in the daytime. As it was, all of my free time was either early in the morning or late at night. We did manage a late night vampire tour, an early morning walk to Cafe du Monde, and a pre-flight afternoon walk through the French Quarter.

Since I’ve been home, I’ve been a ball of stress and have found it difficult to knit for some reason. I was home Wednesday evening and fretting about what to do craft-wise. I thought I might sew, so I spent some time perusing different small projects I’ve been bookmarking. Nothing was really catching my eye, so I went into the craft room for some inspiration.

A month or so ago, I stumbled across the Layer Cake Pop quilt pattern and thought it might be a good thing to hone my skills on, so I purchased the fabric for the top. It’s a free pattern and uses a teensy bit of fabric—really, half a layer cake and a jelly roll. I saw the fabric sitting on the shelf and decided that I could at least get started cutting it out. An hour and a half later, I had finished all the cutting. I don’t know what came over me, but it was so enjoyable.

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I started piecing it and it just seemed to magically grow. It is supposed to be a shortcut quilt, and I’m telling you—it flies by! I finished the top this afternoon. I never even took any progress pictures, I just made the thing!

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The fabric is a Lecien layer cake in Retro 30’s Child Smile and a Moda Bella Solids jelly roll in white. You can find the pattern here, I highly recommend it, I’m really pleased with how it turned out. My piecing is certainly not perfect, but this was a good size project to practice on.

I’m feeling the sewing bug coming on strong, so we’ll see what happens this week. It felt great today to finish the quilt top, after such a busy couple of weeks. I can’t wait to quilt it!


YoM day 69: Sock knitting and snowmelt shawl

YoM day 70-80: Sock knitting.

YoM day 81: Quilting

YoM day 82: Sock knitting and quilting

YoM day 83: Sock knitting and quilting

YoM day 84: Finished Layer Cake Pop quilt top!


Happy making!

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!