Sunday, January 25, 2015

january socks

I'm sorely afraid that my January socks will end up being just a lonely January sock. I had an unfortuitous start when my yarn cake immediately turned into a yarn snarl. I've never had this happen before, and I haven't had the patience to untangle it yet. Instead, I just cut the yarn and kept knitting, which is fine until I run out of yarn.

So then I was knitting away, only it turns out that colorwork is not nearly as enjoyable on double-pointed needles as it is on circular needles. Or maybe it is once you get the hang of it? Obviously, I do not have the hang of it because my tension was too tight to begin with. The sock was then put in time-out for a week while I wondered if I needed to rip it out and begin again in a larger size, but I decided that I since I could get the sock on and it didn't cut off circulation, I could live with it.

Three weeks into January I finished my first sock, and even with all the issues, I love it. I really think it's a thing of beauty, one of the most impressive things (to me) that I've made with my own hands. And I considered framing it and calling it art and most importantly, calling it finished.

But no, I couldn't help myself. I've got another cuff on the needles and less than a week to finish. Hope springs eternal.

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I'm joining the Monthly Sock Challenge, trying to make a pair of socks each month for a year. Needless to say, I'm thinking worsted weight for my February socks.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

pinecone and mulberry hat

A few weeks before Christmas I won two skeins of Woolfolk Får from Monarch Knitting. The giveaway was through the Woolful podcast, which I hope you're listening to already (if not, check it out).

This yarn is cushy soft and a pleasure to knit. Knitter's Review did a great review if you're interested in learning more. The color was much more my sister's style than mine, so I set to work making her a hat (breaking my self-imposed no-Christmas-knitting rule, but it felt manageable because it was the only holiday knitting I did and I had promised nothing, so there was no pressure).

I used Melody's Pinecone and Mulberry pattern because the texture paired nicely with this plush yarn and I could make a hat from a single skein, leaving another skein to play with. This was actually the second Pinecone and Mulberry I've made. The first I made from a wool/acrylic blend I had in my stash, but knitting it in 100% wool was much more pleasurable and made that popple-textured swath knit up much more easily (for reference, I worked on the wool/acrylic hat on and off for nearly 3 months because the yarn was splitty, whereas this wool version took me 2 days).

I imagine there will be more Pinecone and Mulberry hats in my future. Well, at least one. I need one for myself, after all.

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Thursday, January 8, 2015

new year intentions and a marigold marin shawl

Oh my goodness, it's the new year already! My new year so far is full of good intentions. I am always a dreamer and a resolution-maker. This year I've chosen the word nourish to carry me through the year. I feel like I've been wearing myself thin, and I'd like to take better care of myself. Sleep more, take more hot baths, do more yoga, drink more water, light more candles, read more. Nourish seems to encapsulate those intentions.

Of course I have crafting goals too. I (always) hope to sew more. In particular I'd like to make a Scout Tee and a Dottie Angel frock when she releases the pattern. I'd like to try drop-spindling again. And I'm making a realistic list of things I hope to knit this year. Uniform is definitely on the list, along with a couple of sweaters for my boy to wear in fall. I'll also be knitting a hat for the Mystery Hat Swap (there's still time to join if you haven't already!).

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I've been logging as much knitting time as I can on this beauty of a shawl. Every night I think, "Tonight is the night I finish the shawl," but somehow those garter stitch rows deceive me, so that at the end of the night I finally give up and think: "Tomorrow!" Maybe tonight is the night.

The yarn makes the shawl, for sure. This brilliant yellow is Liesl's marigold-dyed yarn. I'm excited for her to open her shop, but in the meantime I've got a skein of undyed yarn and a bag of marigolds in my freezer that are calling my name. Maybe I better add that to the list.

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Did you choose a word for 2015? Or set any craft goals? I'd love to hear.

My past words include: brave, resourceful, action, and intent.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

stockings were hung by the chimney with care


Wishing you happy holidays and good cheer!

P.S. December socks are complete and on my feet, keeping me snug this Christmas morning. 

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.

 * * * 

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.


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