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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

december socks (in progress)





My December socks are sailing along, thanks in no small part to the addictiveness of knitting those stripes. It's so fun to see another stripe emerge and so easy to think "just one more." The yarn is Tokyo Underground by Quaere Fibre; I've been missing Japan lots lately, so this is a small way to remember my times there and tide me over until we can afford plane tickets back. All that's left now is to knit the second toe, which means I should be wearing new socks by the weekend (or sooner).

This is my third pair of socks for Liesl's Monthly Sock Challenge. I'm still taking it month by month, but I'd love to complete a year in socks. I've already lined up my January and February socks! (A heads-up if you're interested in that January sock pattern: Dianna Walla is offering 25% off all her patterns through the end of December with this coupon code.)

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I've been reading Yokes before bed the past few nights, meting out a little at a time so it will last longer. I bought the print version specifically for reading in bed, and it's definitely worth it. This book combines my love of anthropology, history, and knitting, and it's accompanied by beautiful patterns. My favorite pattern is Cockatoo Brae, the cardigan on the cover with the Shetland tree and star. I'd love to knit it someday--maybe next year!

I didn't notice how similar the colors in my socks and the book cover were until I saw this photo. Unintentional, but it makes me smile. Also, I can't help but hope maybe I am the one in Louisville, Kentucky who inspired Kate to sing. Either that or there are other Kate Davies fans around here that I need to find and befriend, pronto.

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I'm linking up with Ginny's Yarn Along and the Monthly Sock Challenge

What are you working on this week?




Monday, December 15, 2014

larch cardigan



It's coming on Christmas, and I've got a go-to red sweater to keep me warm through the holiday festivities. It's my Larch Cardigan, which I finished knitting last year and then promptly stashed away, unable to bring myself to sew the pieces together. Like a lot of knitters, finishing feels like a chore to me. The knitting's the thing. All I want is that sweet click of needles in hand and rows of tidy stitches manifesting themselves from a simple twist of yarn. Pull out a sewing needle and things get wonky (and whiny--I turn into Paul Rudd so fast).

But--and I wish I had realized this sooner--I don't have to sew up seams to finish things. I can crochet the seams! I like crochet, and it doesn't feel like a chore at all, which makes it my ideal finishing technique. I didn't actually look up how to crochet seams (see Paul Rudd attitude above). I just pinned the pieces together with stitch markers and seamed them with single crochet. It took a while to get right (maybe an hour per sleeve), but in the end I have tidy sleeve seams and, best of all, a finished sweater.

This cardigan has become a wardrobe staple and has made me want to be more intentional with my knitting. In the past I've made things just because I feel like making them, but moving forward I want to consider how the finished product, particularly sweaters, will work with my existing wardrobe. I'm interested in the idea of growing a minimalist wardrobe, and I want to work toward that goal through my knitting. If I'm going to spend hours and hours (and hours!) making something, I need it to be a piece of clothing I can wear for years to come. I think this cardigan fits the bill.

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Do you have any handmade wardrobe staples? I'd love to hear about your tried-and-true pieces.


Friday, December 12, 2014

michigan seems like a dream to me now








This coat will be etched in my memories of my boy's childhood. I finished it in time for our trip to Michigan back in October, and he has been wearing it on every outing since. Now that it's winter we layer a jacket and hat underneath for extra warmth, so he looks like that roly-poly kid in the snowsuit from A Christmas Story.

My memories of him will be as a bundle of navy wool with an elf hood pointing jauntily toward the sky. I follow that little elf as he races to the dogwood, then the maple, and back to the gate. His hands poke out from garter stitch sleeve cuffs as he scatters sunflower seeds for the neighborhood birds (and squirrels and rabbits, he tells me, indicating this by sucking in through his teeth to make a squirrelly noise and then saying "hop, hop").

As soon as we are back inside, this coat comes off. He rushes to hang it in his room, shouting, "Hook, hook!" And then he requests a snack because that's his favorite thing. He loves chocolate and clementines ("little oranges," he says) and cheese because that's what mice eat. He's enamored with mice these days, so I knitted one up for him. He loves carrying it around, and it fits perfectly in his coat pocket, so it can tag along on all his adventures.

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Do you have any special clothes etched in your childhood memories or in memories of your children?

I had a some red pajamas--a matching shirt and pants--that I got when I was three or four years old. I remember thinking I was so grown up with my matching pajama set. My parents called me "Big Al" (my childhood nickname) when I wore those pajamas, so obviously the pajamas meant I was a big kid. ;)

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My notes on the Latte Baby Coat.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

marigold marin



The days here have been gray and cold, and it has been tempting to stay inside all day to be near the cheeriness of multicolored Christmas lights and the warm oven, which I've been filling with cinnamon-y baked goods as often as I can.

We are in the thick of Christmas activities around here. It's all Advent calendars and countdowns and elves hiding. But I am most decidedly not elbow-deep in any Christmas knitting because I've sworn off it this year (thanks to the Knitmores' grinchalong). Instead I'm knitting for myself, just for pleasure, not out of any obligation, and without any finish date in mind.

I've actually found myself actively knitting on only two projects: my December socks and a Marin shawl out of naturally dyed marigold yarn that I'm testing for Liesl. I've knit the Marin shawl before, but I gave it away, so I decided to make one for myself in this sunshine-colored yarn that brings much needed light to these winter days.

I'm devouring Delancey. I love Molly's voice and the way she tells a story. I've been reading her blog for years, and while I often find myself hungry after reading a post, what I've found more lately is that I feel inspired to write (and read). Her post "I got to go back" particularly got to me. I created a reading list based on it and in the last month read About Alice, Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?, and Slouching Towards Bethlehem. So it seemed only natural to follow those with Molly's own book, which has me thinking about career plans and travel adventures (and of course her book makes me want to fly to Seattle and eat pizza).

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I'm joining Ginny's Yarn Along today. 

What are you making and reading? Are you making any holiday presents?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

november socks







My November socks are bright and merry and warm, all the things you'd hope for in a pair of socks to keep your toes snug during this busy holiday season.

I'm trying out new traditions this year, and this morning my boy and I made ornaments from applesauce and cinnamon. He likes pouring ingredients into the bowl and helping mix everything up.

And now it's past noon and I haven't washed my face yet and I spent a good hour this morning with my boy on and off the toilet as he learns to use it and still we ended up with an accident on the floor, but at least the house is warm with the scent of cinnamon and cloves, and my feet are clad in beautiful socks. That's the holidays, right? Overlooking those things that drive you crazy and reveling in those things that make you smile, laugh, love. Or maybe that's just life? Either way, I hope you're finding those good things too.
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P.S. I'm joining in Liesl's Monthly Sock Challenge.

P.P.S. You can find a sneak peek of my December socks here.

P.P.P.S. Just kidding. I'm done.

Monday, December 1, 2014

camilla








My Camilla shawl has been off the needles for a month. I immediately wrapped it around my neck and there it has stayed, keeping me warm on snowy days when my boy and I dash outside for a quick snow fix and then hurry back inside for hot chocolate, and keeping me cozy while I sip tea and listen to podcasts. Camilla is not really a shawl at all in my opinion but instead something along the lines of a shawl-style scarf. It's thick and cushy and those scallops add such a pretty detail.

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There are so many good new podcasts these days.

Melody's new video podcast is so sweet and calming. It feels just like visiting with her, and I love to pull out my knitting and tea and spend time with her.

The first episode of Woolful was so captivating that I can't wait to hear more. I loved listening to (and learning from) the interviews with people in the fiber world.

Of course, go listen to Serial right now if you haven't already. It's a podcast that tells one story each season, and this season they're re-investigating a murder. My husband recently caught me listening to a podcast about Serial (that is, a podcast about a podcast) and said that was too much, but I don't think so. ;)

What are you listening to? Any good podcasts?





Sunday, November 16, 2014

toddler mittens







These mittens lasted all of 10 seconds before he pulled them off, placed them neatly on the ground, and then ran off to play. So it goes.

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If you'd like to make a pair of mittens for the toddler in your life to toss aside, find my notes here.

P.S. I'll have more about his coat in a future post, but if you can't stand the suspense, check it out here.


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