The Last Word.

This weekend was lovely. It was cold and dreary and I was still recovering from a fairly nasty cold, but it was lovely all the same.

A dear friend of mine came into town to spend a day with us. We had cocktails Friday night and had a deliciously lazy Saturday. We made french toast, took a long walk, and played scrabble all afternoon. Perfectly lovely.

Sunday morning, I slept in for the first time in weeks and weeks. I woke up refreshed and ready to finally finish my Fairyhill shawl. I only had a few rows to go and finished the knitting over coffee. The bind off, simple as it was, took me forever! I’m not particularly fast at anything, and binding off 399 stitches is a job for me.

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I finished the binding off and settled in to weave in the ends on the shawl–4–and the ends on Joshua’s first birthday sock–around 20. Still, I actually like weaving in so it wasn’t too bad.

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Once those were done, I set in to block the shawl and start the second sock. I used to be pretty bad about putting those things off–second socks, weaving in ends, blocking. But I find that I have the most gusto for those steps as soon as they are called for, so I try to go for the finishing immediately.

To finish off the weekend, I made an amazing cocktail last night. I’ve been doing a bit of research on how to recreate the delicious cocktail I had in San Jose, the Last Word. I seem to be doing a fine job of it, as Kevin is definitely a fan.

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All in all, it’s a simple cocktail. Only four ingredients, mixed in equal parts. Two of those ingredients are rather special: green chartreuse, a very herby liqueur, and maraschino liqueur, which is surprisingly un-sweet. They blend with gin and lime to give a flavor both light and deep. On a side note, did you know that the color chartreuse is named for the liqueur?

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If you would like to give it a try, combine ¾ ounce each gin, green chartreuse, maraschino liqueur, and fresh squeezed lime juice. Shake very well and serve in a chilled cocktail glass. Cheers!


YoM day 139: Shawl knitting

YoM day 140: Shawl knitting

YoM day 142: Sock and shawl knitting, finished Fairyhill shawl!


Happy making!

The best laid plans.

Let’s talk about what I said at the end of my last post. Brimming with hope about all I had accomplished that morning and excited for a long plane ride full of knitting, I wrote about how I’d like to come home with a finished object or two. And then the crafty fates just laughed and laughed.

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I got on the plane for San Jose on Saturday afternoon and knit on my Fairyhill until we landed. I knit and knit and knit and got so much done! Well over half of the border finished. It was a nice flight, but I was pretty tired by the time I made it to the hotel. I had some supper in the hotel bar and went to bed.

Tired or not, because I’m always on east coast time, I woke up at 5:15 a.m. on Sunday morning. I called my mom to wish her a happy mother’s day and we talked for a little while. I then settled in for a nice little knit and some coffee. I managed to finish the first sock tube of Joshua’s socks, just in time to get ready for work. On my way out the door, Kevin called to wish me a happy mother’s day and I talked to Joshua, too.

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Someone is going to have to weave all of that in. Someone.

While I wanted to get a bunch of knitting done, I also wanted to check out the local area around my hotel. I had heard of some great bars with great food, which is right up my alley. On Sunday, I went to Original Gravity Public House. They are a craft beer joint with great housemade sausages. I had supper and took a pint back to the hotel to enjoy with my knitting.

After work on Monday, I came back to my room and thought I’d cast on my next revival socks. I literally knit three rows before my stomach was rumbling so I put the teeny cuff away. I decided to check out Paper Plane. I love making old school cocktails at home, but seldom find a place to order them out. This bar was just the ticket. I described the kind of cocktail I like, gin and citrusy, and Christian whipped something up for me:

I could go on and on about this cocktail. I’m planning to make it for Kevin and a friend of mine this weekend. I probably will go on and on about it then, wink wink.

I got back to the hotel, got things ready for the next day and settled in for a little shawl knit. Now by this time, it was all of 10 p.m. but I was so very sleepy. It takes me days and days to get used to another time zone, so I was all out of whack. I knit one row and was nodding off over the shawl, so I just went to bed.

As I went through my last day at the convention center and finally flew back home, I developed a pretty nasty cold. I think I’ve probably knit all of about 100 stitches in that time. I don’t remember the last time I felt too sick to knit. My year of making compelled me to try and put the effort in, but the sneezing and wheezing made me put the needles down half a row in each day.

Now I’m home and still feeling pretty awful. I pulled out my shawl this evening and noticed that something seemed off. It seems that what I knit while falling asleep and while sick did not go so well. So I tinked back and we’re ready to move forward again. This is the status of the shawl and the revival socks:

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Yep, not much there.

I didn’t get nearly all the knitting done that I had hoped on this trip. As much as I travel for work, you might think I would learn that I don’t actually get that much free time. At least this time I had a great cocktail.


YoM day 133: Sewing, shawl knitting

YoM day 134: Sock knitting

YoM day 135: Shawl knitting

YoM day 136: Sick barely sock knitting

YoM day 137: Sick barely shawl and sock knitting

YoM day 138: Sick barely shawl tinking


Happy making.

Pack it up, pack it in.

At the end of my last post, I was wondering if I wanted to stay true to my Fairyhill shawl or if I wanted to cast on a million other things. It turns out sort of both and neither. I did not cast on anything new, but I cheated on the Fairyhill a bit anyway.

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First things first, the Fairyhill. It’s coming along beautifully. I’ve added the second color, Refresh by StressKnits, and I’m nearly at the 60% mark. It needs a touch more concentration now that I’m to the lacier section, but it’s still a really relaxing knit. I’m flying to California today, so I’m taking it on the plane. I would love to come home ready to block it.

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I’ve also been working on Joshua’s birthday socks. They are so fun and colorful, I can’t wait to give them to him. He picked the order of the colors but I haven’t let him see them after that. He wanted shortie socks, so I’m knitting a wee sock tube and I’ll cut in an afterthought heel later.

This week, I’ve been doing a little bit of sewing. And by a little bit I mean I’ve been making little things. I finally got some crushed walnut shells in, so I’ve been itching to make a new pincushion. I used some corner scraps from my Layer Cake Pop Quilt. They were little half-square triangles so I just sewed them together, trimmed them to 1.5″ squares and made a 9-patch. I quilted the little thing with straight, diagonal lines and used a random charm pack square for the back. I filled it with 50g of crushed walnut shells, but I think it could’ve use more.

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The side that I closed after filling it is wonky, but it’s super cute anyway. In more sewing news, last night I was looking at my Halloween notions pouch and decided it was time for something fresh on that front. I got started on it but decided to go to bed when I sewed the zipper in without bobbin thread. This morning I finished it before my coffee got cold.

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It’s so cute! I’m a complete novice with zippers, they give me a fit! But at least this guy turned out ok. I made my mom an identical little pouch for Christmas and I’m glad I finally made myself one. I used a tutorial from Jedi Craft Girl.

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Now I’m in the middle of packing for today’s trip. Of course, I had to throw in my next pair of socks… just in case. I tend to over-pack the knitting, but heaven forbid I ever ran out on the other side of the country. These are my second pair of revival socks. Both yarns are from Marigoldjen, but I’m going to have to do some research to figure out the colorway names.

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Well, here’s everything going to California today. This is a work trip, but I won’t have any coworkers there so I’m planning to put all of my free time into knitting. I’d love to come home with an FO or two, ready to cast on something else fun. Now to go get a shower and finish the suitcase. At least the important stuff is packed.


YoM day 129: Shawl knitting and sewed up a pincushion

YoM day 130: Shawl knitting

YoM day 131: Sock and shawl knitting

YoM day 132: Sock and shawl knitting


Happy making!

No regrets.

On Friday night, Kevin said, “This weekend is like your Christmas, I want you to enjoy it.” He was right, and I sure did. My weekend of fiber joy actually started on Thursday and then cruised right on through Sunday. I knit a lot, saw a lot, bought a lot, and planned a lot. I hope you’ve got a minute, this could be a long one.

Things started off on Thursday with the release of the Fairyhill Shawl by Helen Stewart. I had been looking forward to it’s release since the announcement at the beginning of April. I’ve had my yarn picked out, made a bag for the project, and generally sighed wistfully in anticipation. Well, it certainly did not disappoint. It’s a gorgeous, sweet, lightly lacy shawl. I’ve gotten a good start on it and it honestly flies by, Helen’s patterns are written so well. I’m past this point now, but here it is at the 20% mark:

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After work on Friday, I took off and drove up to Knot House Yarns in Frederick, Maryland. Now, I won’t go into great detail, but I work in College Park–putting Frederick about 60 miles away along the beltway in Friday afternoon traffic. Suffice it to say, it wasn’t quite a quick jaunt. It was, however, well worth it. The Knot House was packed with two things: people and yarn.

 

I met a lovely dyer, Carol of Swift Yarns, and fell in love with her colorways. Check her out, and if you’re on the East coast, even better–it seems she’s been hitting the road with events and trunk shows from Virginia to Pennsylvania. She is the sweetest thing and chatted and helped me pick out colors, even thought it was packed. I was in the mood for a few skeins of single ply yarn since I haven’t really knit with it before. She also had a very pretty cowl pattern she had written and was giving away. Carol was modeling it and it looked so nice! I thought a soft pink would make it a nice staple for me.

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The other two skeins of Swift I bought for a two color shawl that she had a sample of (I know, sometimes I have my own ideas, but Carol’s were so good I didn’t have to!) called the Cupcake Shawl

Saturday morning I awoke to a text message from my little brother saying that he would be stopping in for the night. It was a welcome surprise and we scurried through the house to get the guest sheets done and clean the inexplicably messy kitchen. With all of that done and with Kevin’s blessing, I left–alone!–to go enjoy myself at Maryland Sheep and Wool. I toured all of the vendors and stopped in at a few. There were some lovely things there, really something for every fiber artist.

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I had never stopped at the Jennie the Potter booth before, her stuff is precious! I loved her jewelry and stitch markers, but really wanted the tumbler. I had been seeing the pattern on instagram and those leaves and branches are just stunning. Things went rather sideways when I hit Marigoldjen, at one point I had 6ish full skeins and a ton of halfsies in my arms. After some serious conversations with myself, I settled on yarn to make three pairs of socks. Reasonable, right? My last purchase of the day was 4 skeins of O-Wool O-Wash Fingering in Watermill. I have gotten it into my head that I just have to knit a Waterlily top.

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The color of this yarn seems so perfect to me. I think it will look good on my skin and it is soooo soft. I believe it will feel being swathed in a cloud. After that, I came home. Little brother arrived and we settled in for a lovely evening of tacos and catching up. We–finally–opened up some of last year’s salsa. It was a revelation! Need to make tons more this year.

Brother’s a mathematician and came armed with a question for us to work on: How many pizzas would you have to eat to raise the temperature of the oceans by 1 degree Celsius? With a lot of assumptions and even more laughter, we came up with an answer. Perhaps not a right answer, but an answer.

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About 1 trillion pizzas, if you’re curious. And if you can convert pizza calories into pure thermal energy.

The next morning, the boys went on a long bike ride and I made breakfast. After sending little brother off with hugs, the kids and I headed back over to the fairgrounds for their day at the festival. We had a darned good time:

At one point, the kids got lunch, but I wanted a lamb burger–from another, much longer line. We decided that they would eat and then we’d run into the main barn to look at the felted animals and then I could grab food and eat while we walked back to the car. Well, that was all well and good until I ran across Backyard Fiberworks. I opted to forgo lunch and buy yarn instead.  I regret nothing:

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I hit the local brewery stand on the way out for a treat for Kevin and I. All in all, it was one of the loveliest weekends I’ve had in awhile. My only problem is I want to knit my Fairyhill all the time, but I simultaneously want to cast on all the things. Ah the eternal, conundrum. Monogamy or startitis?


YoM day 123: Sock knitting

YoM day 124-127: Shawl knitting

YoM day 128: Sock knitting


Happy making!

 

Mojo.

I’m in a lovely mood of finishing things and starting new things all over the place. My knitting mojo is raring to go.

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To start off, I finished my seventh pair of socks for the year. This yarn, BAERfoot sock from Baerenwolle, is the squishiest yarn I’ve ever knit. I felt the same way when I knit my sockhead hat. The socks feel so soft and squishy and lovely. Plus the colorway… that color combo, man.

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In related news, the leftovers from the socks are headed straight for my Marled Magic Mystery Shawl. I finished clue 1 and got started on clue 2. I’m not in a rush, but it is a fun project to pick up when I feel like playing. In case you’re wondering, the yarn is currently being carried around on the lid of my scrap bin. It seemed fitting.

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At the moment, I am positively vibrating with anticipation over the first installment of the Shawl Society II. The pattern comes out Thursday, May 4, but the other day Helen released the name of the shawl, the Fairyhill Shawl. I love it and cannot wait to get started. I’m so excited that I made my Fairyhill Shawl a shiny new project bag:

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The bag is from the Lined Drawstring Bag pattern from Jeni Baker. I love this pattern. The free tutorial takes you step by step through making the bag but I do think it’s well worth purchasing the full pattern for all of the different sizes. Jeni’s patterns are very well written and so well thought out. I made the project bag size, which is a nice 2-skein bag.

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As if all of this isn’t enough on my plate, I’ve balled up some minis to get started on some birthday socks for Joshua’s birthday. They will be quite scrappy, using a set of My Little Pony minis from Vivid Yarn Studio. The set is called Friendship is Magic:

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L-R: Rarity, Applejack, Fluttershy, Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash, and Pinkie Pie. (I only knew Rainbow Dash, had to consult the kids for the rest)

I’m also casting on my next pair of revival socks. I am having so much fun knitting and making these days, the bright sunshine has really livened up my motivation!


YoM Day 120: Sock knitting

YoM Day 121: Sock knitting and sewing

YoM Day 122: Finished socks, more sock knitting, plus some sewing!


Happy making!

 

Resistance is futile.

I thought it was interesting. A fun idea, but not really for me. I was intrigued but never saw myself diving in. I’m talking about the Marled Magic Mystery Shawl by Stephen West. I was not going to knit this shawl. Too much yarn, not my jam, just not me. And then…

And then I saw the shawl that Molly of A Homespun House finished and something clicked. Suddenly it seemed an opportunity to learn, a chance to push myself, a reason to throw myself headlong into the color obsession that seems to be eating at me.

What color obsession, you may ask. This:

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The Lemonade Shop, mini in unknown colorway

Pink and mint is everything I want. Any variations of this seem to suffice but I love it so much. My current socks are even a sweet and soft pink and minty fresh green and blue combo:

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Baerenwolle in Crush

And so, I decided to go for it. I spent a lovely evening diving through my stash, coming up with anything from full skeins to minis to leftover scraps. It was a lot of fun to take Stephen’s advice to heart: “More is more and less is a bore.” I added anything that called to me and then edited out a few that detracted from the whole. In the end, I wound up with this lovely hoard:

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I’m so in love with it I could barely wait to wind up the skeins before starting. I made myself wind everything up, though, knowing that it would be most fun to be able to just grab and go as I knit. I am nearly halfway through the first clue and enjoying every row. I was skeptical of the whole marl concept, but it’s a thrill to see how different yarns change the feel of this steady pink.

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Of course, much like everyone else in the knitting world, I want some mohair for my shawl. Just a little fuzz to liven up one section. So this morning, I took a detour on the way to the grocery store to hit up my LYS, Cloverhill. I was planning to just pick up a skein of kidsilk haze, but then remembered that I still haven’t used the gift-card that Kevin so sweetly gave me for Christmas. Well, don’t worry, I flat out destroyed that gift card this morning:

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Hedgehog Fibres in l-r Monet (2), Boombox, and Teacup. Malabrigo Rios in Pearl, and Rowan Kidsilk Haze.

In other news, I’ve swatched for my very first sweater. I was inspired by Amy over at Crazy Mom Quilts to knit the Harvest cardigan. I have a sweater quantity of Knit Picks Preciosa that was meant for a pullover, but this cardigan is calling my name. My swatch is too big though, so I need to go down a needle size and swatch again.

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All of this and the first pattern of the shawl society will be released on Thursday. I had better get knitting!


YoM days 111-115: Sock knitting

YoM day 116: Shawl kntiting

YoM day 117: Sock knitting and a swatch

YoM day 118: Sock knitting

YoM day 119: Sock and shawl knitting


Happy making!

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!