monday reading

and the links continue.

this wouldn’t be a craft blog if i didn’t have an entire post dedicated to crafting links, right?

part of rehabbing my elbow has meant taking a break from things that aggravate it. seems logical but is much harder to do in reality. not spending as much time on my phone has been greatly aided by the new screen time feature…i set a limit of 2 hours and for the most part, i abide by my own rules. another part of this has been…no knitting. yes. it is tragic. especially considering that i had cast on a tecumseh sweater. it is stashed away for now, looking pretty in a rope basket. i will come back around to it. this ravelry thread had been immensely helpful as i ran into questions at the beginning of the pattern.

had i done a little more research prior to starting my tecumseh, i would’ve done these german short rows for the shaping.

gorgeous hand-dyed yarns.

knitting. outer space, huge. perfection.

i love the simple lace work of this cowl.

brioche beauty.

karen has been obsessing over this dickey for probably months now. and for very good reason. i now want/need to make one.

and now for some sewing/embroidery links…

i keep seeing some really pretty double hoop embroideries on insta. here’s a tutorial for making one.

i love the ruffles sara added to her hinterland dress.

and unsurprisingly i love the ruffled version of this pattern.

into this.

i have always been interested in doing a hand quilting project but i always wondered about those pesky knots. suzy made an excellent video, showing exactly how to make your quilting neat and knot-free.

and finally, this is your brain on crafting.

until i can craft again, i’ll keep my eyes open for inspiration.

xo

holi festival socks

Finished object alert!

I finished up a pair of ankle socks! I spotted this yarn years ago on Purl Soho and wanted it for a long while. I would search it on Ravelry and see what people were making with it, trying to get ideas for that *perfect* project. I decided that whenever I got the yarn (I didn't even own it yet), I would make socks. The yarn is too fun to not showcase it well! Eventually, I got the yarn for Christmas, but I was too timid to start the socks.

I would not necessarily call myself a sock knitter. I have made them before, but they had been filled with frustration, counting, not really understanding heel turn instructions, and little holes. They were just so fussy and too many things could go wrong. Plus, they were hard to put on- the bind off is too tight and I had to really pullllll my socks on. 

All that changed when I discovered a couple things. First was the fish lips kiss heel. Second was Jeny's super stretchy bind off. I now understand why so many people think socks are easy. This pair was a breeze to knit up. The day I finished them, I found out that my LYS carries the Sock Ruler, so I purchased that and that made it easier to know when to start the heel turn and when to bind off so it would match the first sock. For the FLK heel, she has you make a cardboard cutout of your foot and you do some math to figure out where to start your heel. I just lined up my foot cutout with the Sock Ruler, and figured out that I needed to start my heel when the sock measured 8.5" from the toe. I like the Sock Ruler a lot and it'll def be less weird to use in public than my foot cutout ha! I have always wanted to be a Sock Knitter™️ and these tools and techniques are definitely making that feel more in reach than ever before. 

Specs:
Ravelry link
Madeline Tosh DK Twist in Holi Festival
Size 4 needle, magic loop
Judy's Magic Cast On- I cast on 16 stitches total
I increased every other round to 44 stitches total
Knit until sock measured 8.5", then started heel
Fish Lips Kiss Heel
Knit until sock measured about 3.25" from heel and then bound off
Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off
Started Feb. 18, 2018
Finished Aug. 11, 2018
Had I really committed to these, they would've been done within a week- the DK means they knit up very fast and I was able to get from mid-foot to finish at a craft night in about 3 hours. Hopefully this will be just one of many pairs of completed socks!

seattle

*I started writing this on April 1. For real. Here I am, finally posting. Enjoy!

Every few weeks at the end of the last quarter of 2017, I'd get an email from corporate. Make sure to use your 2017 PTO! It expires in April! I'd read these emails and promptly delete them. Then I looked at my carryover PTO and I was like "oh wow. I need to go somewhere". I had about a week's worth of days to take off! I started emailing my friend C about a potential trip to Seattle, where she lives. 

Last February, C was diagnosed with stage IV glioblastoma and was given 12 months to live. She did the requisite surgery, radiation, and chemo, and overhauled her lifestyle to reduce her stress and changed her diet. She has had no evidence of cancer ever since! The week before I went to Seattle, she had yet another clean MRI, a huge cause for celebration. 

So this trip was part vacay, part celebration of my friend making it past her bleak prognosis. 

Seattle is one of my most favorite cities. I came to know it via a YoungLife camp in British Columbia, Malibu Club. Malibu is one of the most beautiful places I have ever had the pleasure to see. Every time I went to Malibu, I first had to make my way to Seattle. Every time I am in the PNW, I want to move there. This time was no different! 

Day 1, March 28- arrived in Seattle around lunchtime. I took an Uber to C's house in Fremont. We spent the afternoon walking around town, going to a fabric shop and a grocery store, then headed to the house for a snack. We then went on another walk to her son's preschool to pick him up. After that, it was time for dinner prep, done to the sounds of a great playlist. We then did a little something that became a nightly routine- as C and her husband put the kids to bed, I would foam roll (I've been doing physical therapy again...for my hamstring this time). Then, C would come down with cups of tea for us and we'd craft and watch 2 episodes of Queer Eye as I iced my poor little glutes and hamstrings. At that point, it was about 9:15pm and time for C to take her chemo pill. Then we'd call it a night!

obligatory view-from-the-plane photo

shoutout to the girl sitting next to me who would lean all the way forward when i wanted to take a pic!

the cherry blossoms were in full bloom everywhere and i couldn't help but take tons of pics of them!

Day 2, March 29- Thursday morning we got going pretty early and found ourselves in Downtown Seattle. We walked around for a bit, then headed to Drygoods Design. Ever since I have been feeling better, I have been knitting away, so it should come as no surprise that instead of finding fabric and a dress pattern, I ended up with a skein of Manos in a colorway (Wedgwood) that reminds me of Seattle, and a beautiful pair of Lykke knitting needles. I am determined to become a sock knitter once and for all. We then went to The London Plane for a little tea/croissant/kombucha break, then headed down to Pike Place to look at all the gorgeous tulips. From there, we literally ran to catch a bus back to Fremont, where we enjoyed a lunch at home and then we walked to "old lady yoga". Old lady yoga is just a restorative class, which is absolutely my favorite kind of yoga class. Afterward, we walked home, just in time for the littlest boy to come home. Shortly thereafter, we walked to pick up C's older son from preschool, then headed back for dinner prep. A thing about C- she is a fantastic cook, so all of our meals were SO good! This night's meal in particular was amazing- some kind of grain (we had a different grain every night I was there- it's hard to keep them all straight), broccoli with a Spiral Diner-inspired sauce, roasted yellow cherry tomatoes, topped with a large, warm chunk of feta cheese. After dinner, I brought out Tenzi and Uno and we played a few rounds of each. Then, it was time for our nightly routine. So far, the socks were going well. 

The London Plane

The London Plane

The London Plane has some really gorgeous greenery and flowers as well as food, and these were outside the door. 

The London Plane has some really gorgeous greenery and flowers as well as food, and these were outside the door. 

Classic Seattle pic. 

Classic Seattle pic. 

Pike Place always has the prettiest and cheapest flowers.

Pike Place always has the prettiest and cheapest flowers.

Drygoods purchases.

Drygoods purchases.

Started the socks while C made dinner. 

Started the socks while C made dinner. 

The amazing meal C made! I tried recreating it at home and it wasn't as good, though it was pretty tasty. 

The amazing meal C made! I tried recreating it at home and it wasn't as good, though it was pretty tasty. 

Day 3, March 30- C has been wanting to try her hand at garment sewing, so I told her while I visited, I would help her with that task. Originally, she wanted to make herself a dress, but given our time constraints and my inability to commit to a fabric or a pattern, we settled on making Wiksten Harem Pants for a few babies in our lives. The pattern is super easy and great for a first-time garment sewist. Our pants turned out SO cute!! By the time we were done sewing, it was time for 2 little boys to make their way home. We loaded them up in the stroller and ventured down to a salad restaurant in Fremont. On the way home we passed by the Fremont Troll, as did every other tourist in town. We then made our way to The Book Larder, which is every cook and baker's dream come true- a whole store dedicated to cook books!! It was overwhelming in the very best way. After that, we went back to the house and crafted for a bit. I turned the heel on the sock I brought with me (not my new sock...don't worry, I am not THAT fast!) and it went perfectly well! Then, back to dinner prep and the nightly routine. 

there's nothing better than being in your jammers all morning long while crafting with a friend. 

there's nothing better than being in your jammers all morning long while crafting with a friend. 

I HAVE CUTE AGGRESSION

I HAVE CUTE AGGRESSION

at this point i pretended i was in 10 things i hate about you. 

at this point i pretended i was in 10 things i hate about you. 

cookbooks galore at the book larder!!!

cookbooks galore at the book larder!!!

Day 4, March 31- This will go in history as the most gorgeous day that has ever existed in Seattle, and possibly the whole world. It was a gorgeously sunny day and the temp was utter perfection. My friend K picked me up and we drove down to the ferry terminal. A quick aside about K- we met in 2015 when she was still living in Dallas...we met at a weaving class (of course). It turned out that we also went to the same church and knew several of the same people. We never saw each other in Dallas again, so hanging out in Seattle was literally only the 2nd time I've ever seen her! Luckily she is cool so spending the whole day with her was awesome! We got on the Bainbridge ferry and walked around the sun deck and took photos. Once we arrived in Bainbridge, we went to Cafe Nola for lunch. K had this amazing squash pancake thing. I don't remember what it was exactly, but it was so delicious. We then walked down to Churchmouse Yarns and Teas, aka the best store ever. I have been trying to buy yarn only if I have a project in mind for it, so I did not buy any yarn (shocking), however, I ended up with a beautiful shawl pin and some much needed blocking pins. Then we went to a bakery for some coffee and cookies. We then drove down to Bay Hay and Feed, where there were soooo many beautiful plants in bloom! The air smelled strongly of lavender, which is exactly what Malibu Club smells like, and I found myself feeling incredibly nostalgic. Like, I would look up at the conifer trees and almost start crying ahaha. What can I say, I am sentimental! We found some cute baby chicks and took tons of photos and videos for our instagram stories ha! We drove back to the ferry terminal after stopping at a grocery store, then we enjoyed THE MOST BEAUTIFUL FERRY RIDE THAT HAS EVER EXISTED. I took around 5 million of the exact same photo. The view of downtown was RIDICULOUS. It was so pretty! AND WE COULD SEE MOUNT RAINIER!!! All caps and exclamations points necessary. A better day for a ferry ride DOES NOT EXIST. I came home in time for one last home-cooked dinner, many, many rounds of Uno, and our nightly routine. 

had to get a ferry pic with the space needle in the background duh.

had to get a ferry pic with the space needle in the background duh.

this is def when i was tearing up at the lavender smell while looking at the trees. memories, man.

this is def when i was tearing up at the lavender smell while looking at the trees. memories, man.

WHAT EVEN IS THIS DAY

WHAT EVEN IS THIS DAY

IMG_7333.jpg
OK STOP IT, SEATTLE

OK STOP IT, SEATTLE

Day 5, April 1- This morning was the first that was stereotypically Seattle- it was cold and rainy. But alas, the children had an Easter egg hunt to get to, so we bundled up and walked to the neighbor's house. One of my favorite things about Seattle is that Seattlites don't let the rain ruin their plans. Everyone has the appropriate clothing and just carries on in their rain gear. Having been to the PNW several times, I knew this and packed my raincoat :) Saying goodbye was very bittersweet, as goodbyes tend to be. I was so happy to have gotten to spend several days with C. We picked up right where we left off and it was like old times when we would watch Scandal and knit together while her little one napped. How special it was to do that again and be hopeful that we will get to do it again in the future. 

C and me. 

C and me. 

the taxi line was unlike anything i have ever seen before. it went back FOREVER. 

the taxi line was unlike anything i have ever seen before. it went back FOREVER. 

last peek of seattle. 

last peek of seattle. 

very bumpy flight but it looked pretty cool out the window. 

very bumpy flight but it looked pretty cool out the window. 

in-flight entertainment. 

in-flight entertainment. 

when i saw this i immediately thought of a quilt. it is true: i am a crafter. 

when i saw this i immediately thought of a quilt. it is true: i am a crafter. 

i got quite a bit done on my sock! 

i got quite a bit done on my sock! 

knitting!

As promised, a knitting post this week! I am going to break it down into what I am currently working on and then yarns and patterns/projects I am interested in!

WIPs!
I have been knitting socks and my never-ending seed stitch wrap lately. I am LOVING sock knitting, which is something I would not have said just a few years ago. I have a DK weight sock going and a traditional sock-weight sock going too. In the past, I have done 2 at a time toe-up socks, but this time I am doing one at a time so that I can really get the construction method down pat. I am doing things like taking measurements and counting stitches and all those things you do when you are trying to really understand something. I cast on both socks with Judy's Magic Cast On and have turned heels on both socks with the Fish Lips Kiss Heel. I'll post a proper update of my WIPs eventually, complete with photos. 

Yarns!
In addition to sock knitting, I have been researching eco-friendly yarns. I have come across a few from Woolful and then learned about another one recently. Let's just go in list form, shall we?
-Camellia Fiber Company. I am absolutely swooning over the colors of these yarns!
-Sincere Sheep. Love it when a company can tell me exactly what sheep breed their yarn is from.
-Wing and a Prayer. Of course, a classic! 
-De Rurum Natura. Again, loving the colors. 
-O Wool. Can't forget about good old O Wool. 
-Beaverslide Mule-Spun Yarn. Can we please talk about the beauty that is the Hidden Lake color way?!
-Woolly Mammoth Fibre Company. I just found out about this one this week and I am already in love with their beautiful yarns and instagram. 
-Hey Lady Hey is another one I have been looking into lately, though the shop is currently closed.

Patterns/Projects!
-Like the entire rest of the knitting world, I am OBSESSED with the Tecumseh sweater. LOOK AT THIS GREEN ONE WHAT. 
-Also obsessed with this sweater called Rug. Lurving the colors on this one
-Nikoline socks. Allllll the heart eyes. 
-This has me wanting to make myself a bonnet. 
-I feel like I've already talked about this Kennings Yoke sweater, but it deserves being mentioned again cause of that yoke, yo. 
-Loving these socks
-Gorgeous colors on this Lovella
-Donovan sweater from Quince & Co. 
-Dane cardigan
-Cannot even with Jen's hybrid cardigan.
-Some Time Alone. Big? Lacy? Shawl? OKAY. 
-Black Ice sweater. 
-The colors of Ashleigh's shawl. omg. 
-Love love love these bright colors
-Kirsten Kapur can do no wrong

That was fun! 

latest ravelry faves

I haven't done one of these posts in a while and I thought it might be nice to share some knitting inspo!

I have been alllllll about sweaters lately. I have never before favorited so many sweaters! I think it's because of a few things: first of all, ever since knitting my first sweater last year I have a new confidence in my skill set than ever before. Then there's the fact that I now own a few shawls that I love, adore, and wear regularly, so knitting ALL the shawls isn't as important to me anymore. And finally, practicality. I don't really own very many sweaters and I wish I did. They are such an easy thing to wear in winter and hello, they keep you warm. 

I have also been thinking about, very surprisingly, socks. Y'all know me and my aversions to tiny yarn and needles, but for some reason I can't get the thought of socks out of my mind. I think it might be because I have only ONE(!) wip on the needles right now. That is definitely not my norm! It has me thinking about what's next. I'd ideally like a portable project and one I could add a few rows to easily and quickly and socks are really the best for that! So who knows, maybe this is the year I actually become a sock knitter. I have a vacation coming up soon and I definitely want to take a project or two for the plane and to work on when I am crafting with my friend, so I better decide quick what's next for my needles!

Onto the faves!

Sweaters
Branches and Buds 
Denai Kimono 
Jule
Olympia. This is fingering weight so I am laughing in the face of it. It's beautiful, though!
Georgetown
Kame
Lakeland
Dane
Kennings Yoke

Socks
Midsummer socks
Joluluyöt 
I also want to knit several plain old vanilla toe-up pairs using Judy's Magic Cast On and the Fish Lips Kiss heel techniques so that I can just have it memorized and whip up a sock easily. 

Shawls
Jadis. Bulky weight! Lace! Shawl!
What the Fade
Wallace

Other random accessories
Gold medal hat
Pinwheel mitts. These are STUNNING!
So Faux Cowl. I'm not usually a leopard print person, but this just looks fun!
Bow Knot Scarf
Bittersweet Cowl
Easy Peasy Fade Cowl 

And one last thing- Wool and the Gang has a sock kit out right now that has yarn that makes its own leopard print (or cloud print) pattern as you knit! I LOVE the cloud ones.

So there you have it. All the patterns that are taking up space in my brain. I always think it's interesting to see the similarities (and lack thereof) when I look at my faves. It's looking like a simple oversized garter stitch pullover and/or cardigan is in my future- I have several of them faved! I'll be sure to update whenever I eventually cast something on!

simpatico wrap: a finished object

Y'all! Another finished object! It's been exciting times around here. 

So let's see, how to tell the story of this one? I don't remember exactly when I stumbled upon the Simpatico Wrap, but I know when I did, I was enchanted by its simplicity. I have an affinity for things that are basically wearable blankets and this one definitely fits into that category. I thought about it for a long while, knowing that I would need to find some truly perfect yarns for it, so I would just look at it on Ravelry every once in a while, dreaming of the day when I would find the perfect yarn match. 

Enter the 2017 DFW Fiber Fest in April. I went and explored and found a great solid Madeline Tosh and a speckled Hedgehog Fibres. The only problem? The vendor I bought the Hedgehog from didn't have the colorway I liked in a sock weight. I found 2 skeins of a DK weight and decided to just go with it and got 2 skeins of a DK Madeline Tosh as well. I almost immediately cast on. This was back in my injured arm days (I swear I really will post about this soon), so things were slow going, even though this is a super simple project.

My Hedgehog yarns, being hand-dyed, had some variations in the speckles and I had a hard time deciding which one to cast on with. I ended up ripping out and casting this one on several times! At one point I was alternating skeins but my stranded edge was getting too tight, so I ripped once more and in August I finally decided to just knit with one skein and then switch when I ran out. The variation in the speckling in noticeable only to me, I am sure. 

Soon after, I started treatment for my injury and was able to knit for long stretches again. I finished some other projects and then dedicated all of my energy to Simpatico! It is a very easy knit and it's so fun to see it increasing and then decreasing. This thing was quite the behemoth to block, but it definitely needed it. Mine ended up quite large- 48" square- but I love it and it is so cozy! I am so happy I decided to do DK weight. It's the perfect weight for me. My most-worn wrap is worsted weight, and while I love my sock-weight shawls and they are gorgeous, they just aren't the same as snuggling up in a swath of DK or worsted. This is the perfect project to use some of those special skeins of yarn that you love to look at and pet but aren't quite sure what to do with. It's an excellent showcase and use of a fave!

All the photos!

Specs!
Yarn: Hedgehog Fibers Merino DK in Monet, Madeline Tosh DK Twist in Uma's Thurman (obsessed with the name...unfortunately it's not on the Mad Tosh site), 2 skeins each
Pattern: Simpatico Wrap by Kristine Vejar 
Needle: size 9 Chiaogoo circulars, prob 40" length
I have no idea how many stitches I ended up with at the longest point...I knit with the Hedgehog first since it had less yardage than the Mad Tosh and I knit with it until I was no longer confident that I could get another row with it :) Prob a few hundred stitches. 
Ravelry link
Started April 9, 2017, ripped out several times, started for real in August 2017
Finished February 2, 2018. 

fragment scarf: a finished object

Yes, you're reading that correctly...another finished object! I told you I was hoping to have one very soon. 

A few weeks ago I was perusing Instagram (doesn't it feel like most of my stories start off this way?) and I saw this post. I loved the little bandana scarf in the photo and I thought it would make a great Christmas present for one of my best friends. 

Here's a thing about me: I rarely ever knit for other people. It just doesn't happen. Do you know how much knitting costs?! Or how much time a project takes?! I make things for only the people that I know will truly appreciate and use what I make for them (and who will properly take care of it!). All of that is to say that this friend is a good one and she is deserving of a hand knit :) 

The Fragment Scarf knit up super quickly and towards the end I was able to do the 10-row repeat a few times in one sitting because the decreases made everything faster and faster every single row. The only modification I made was that I did not do the last 4 rows because I 1. hate picking up stitches, and 2. was really worried I wasn't going to have enough yarn to finish. The pattern calls for 163 yds and my skein had...163 yds!!! I used Plymouth Cuzco Cashmere yarn and it was suuuuuuuch a pleasure to work with. It's 40% silk, 40% alpaca, and 20% cashmere and is an absolute dream. I would absolutely knit with it again for a small project (it's pretty expensive per gram). I recently bought some unscented Eucalan for washing and blocking my knits and this was the first project I used that on. It worked great! 

I knit up this project so quickly that I only took 1 in-progress photo of it! That is really saying something about how quick and easy it is! I really want to make it in a worsted weight yarn on slightly bigger needles to make an extra cozy version. 

Specs:
Fragment Scarf pattern
Plymouth Yarn Cuzco Cashmere bought at Fleece 
Size 6 needle
Ravelry link.
Started on December 9, 2017.
Finished on December 25, 2017.

daybreak: a finished object

I am so excited to be able to share a finished object with you guys! I believe the last knitted FO I had was all the way back in February and was the cutest little baby sweater. As I have moaned and groaned about many times on this blog, I was injured for most of the year with a pretty nasty combo of radial tunnel syndrome and lateral epicondylitis (aka tennis elbow). I was in pain nearly everyday for the better part of 10 months and knitting was the number 1 aggravator of the pain, so this project was on hold for most of the year. 

I started this bad boy in January. It had originally began life as The Doodler by Stephen West but it just wasn't working for me. Stephen West is known for his out there designs and if you know me, you know I'm not a very out there person. The Doodler was way out of my comfort zone and I'm sure it would've looked rad, but I wanted something that I knew I would wear. Insert Daybreak by Stephen West. This is one of Stephen's earlier patterns and is not quite so zany. Very wearable and very striped, which is exactly what I wanted for these yarns.

Speaking of the yarns, I purchased them in September of 2016 at Stitches Texas from Steven Be. I knew they'd be perfect as stripes and boy was I right! 

In October I started physical therapy and saw results so quickly and was able to start knitting quite a bit again. I went from barely being able to complete a row on a small project to being able to knit for 2 hours at a time within just a few weeks!!! It has literally been life changing and I will write a (very) long post about my injury progress soon. About half of this project was completed from January to March and the rest of it was done in October and November. So let's just say it took 4 months and not 11 :) 

Without further ado, my Daybreak!

Specs:
Daybreak Shawl I made the large size. 
Hedgehog Fibres Sock in colors Fly, Zephyr, and Skinny Dip.
Size 4 needle
Pattern was very easy (suitable for a beginner with experience with increases, slipping stitches, and color changes at the beginning of a row). 
Yarn is gorgeously dyed but loosely plied- if you have to rip anything out, you will have to be careful to not split the strands when re-knitting. 
Ravelry link.
Towards the end of this project, 1 row was taking about 30 minutes to complete and it took me nearly an entire hour to bind off. I have been told I am a pretty fast knitter, so keep that in mind when gauging your own time commitments! 

Special thanks to my sweet friend Ana from Ana Eloise Photography for showing me the life changing magic of using a gallery to upload photos! This will make my blogging life so much easier! 

I hope to have another knitted FO for you all very soon!

ravelry revelry

Just because I can't knit as much as I'd like to these days doesn't mean that I'm not dreaming of new projects every 5 seconds. I have many many times gotten sucked into the lure of the Ravelry pattern search, adding project after project to my favorites. Oftentimes it would happen like this: I'd be scrolling on instagram and be stopped in my tracks by someone's WIP post. I'd read the caption and screenshot away, storing the info in my camera roll for later. Then one day i'd be wasting time on the web and go through all my screenshots and find and fave all the patterns on Rav. 

And then Instagram cut out the middle man for me! The bookmark! The glorious bookmark that keeps me from screenshotting all the projects. Now I just hit the bookmark button and in addition to having the posts super accessible, my bookmark feed is gorgeous. I recently opened up Rav and my insta bookmarks and got to favoriting away. 

Here are my recent faves:
Stay Soft. Lurrrrve the colors. 
Julia Sweater
Classic Hemmed Crewneck
Torv. UGH. THAT'S ALL I CAN SAY. IT'S FREAKING GORGEOUS.
Waterbirch. So chunky!!
Vertices Unite. In one color!! I love Stephen West but the zaniness of all the colors is a little out there for me sometimes, so this one really inspires me that I can have the West Knits style on my classic and neutral terms. 
Mayu
Void
Dreamsicle Cowl. Love that this is made with Quince! 
Shine Cotton Tee. Garter stitch PERFECTION.

File this under: so many projects so little time. 

redefining creativity

I have mentioned here before that I sometimes get pain associated with crafting, knitting especially, and I am currently in a higher-than-normal period of pain. It had gotten so bad that I decided it was time to pay a visit to my orthopedist, who I have been seeing since I was 14 after a knee injury. A few years ago I had a shoulder injury and when I went to the ortho, she told me that I have lax ligaments and that I'll have issues with my joints for pretty much forever so strength training is especially important. 

I was really worried that she was going to tell me my forearm and hand pain was something really bad like arthritis or carpal tunnel and that I would have to stop knitting. Luckily it is a case of muscle strain, so I can craft again one day, but she advised me to take a break, do some physical therapy, and then resume the crafting, and then to craft only if I am pain free. All of that sounded like common sense to me, and I knew she was going to say all of those things, but I think I needed a doctor's authority to actually follow through! 

All of that is to say that I haven't crafted in a week and that is the longest amount of time I have gone without crafting since the beginning of the year! You see, in January, I made it goal to be creative every day. I downloaded an app, Momentum, to help keep me on track. It was so exciting to see the calendar slowly turn green every time I completed my goal for the day. And I was seeing progress on my projects.

Look at all that green! 

Look at all that green! 

I quickly realized when I started having some more intense pain that I was going to have to redefine creativity if I wanted to keep meeting my creativity goal. My definition of creativity has mostly been related to specific crafts- knitting, embroidery, sewing, messing around with polymer clay, etc. The usual stuff you see on this blog. It is very production-focused, though, and when you're injured, that can be a problem. 

I have started to expand my personal definition of creativity and I'm having to er...get creative...in the process of expanding that definition. As I mentioned last week, I've been having a lot of fun learning French and lately that is fulfilling my creative urge and habit. Using my imagination is also becoming a regular part of my days and is counting toward my goal. Some days the most creative thing I do is read someone else's blog or listen to a crafting podcast. I'm trying to keep my mental crafting muscles engaged while the actual muscles are resting. It's been pretty hard to fight the urge to just pick up a project and go at it, but I want to be able to craft for a very long time and if that means a short term break now, I think it's worth it. Plus, crafting just isn't as enjoyable when it causes pain. 

So here I go, off to check off another day of "be creative!" because I think writing a blog post counts as creativity, don't you?! 

knit itch

Fun fact: it took me 3 tries to spell itch right and there were multiple typos in this first sentence alone. I swear I had only 1 mimosa today! 

And before that mimosa happened, a conversation happened. 

One of my besties recently learned how to knit continental style. She has been an avid crocheter for a long while and knew the basics of knitting, but it never really stuck for her. Within the last several months, she learned how to knit continental, and being a fantastic crocheter, she took to it easily. It has been so fun to see her become passionate about knitting. The other night we hung out and knit on our shawls together! #bestiegoals

This morning she was showing me some of her favorite sweaters on Ravelry and I spotted one that I've been thinking about as well, so we decided to do a knitalong! She texted me later in the day that Craftsy was having a sale on yarn, so I perused and made a decision (which was v difficult). 

And then of course I couldn't be content with just one new project, so I started planning out a couple more. 

So here are all the deets, in their still somewhat not fully formed glory!

Sweater (will be my first adult-sized sweater!):
Pattern: Boxy
Yarn: Cloudborn Highland Fingering in Grey Heather. This yarn is exclusive to Craftsy. I am a little hesitant using it, but I liked the stitch definition I saw on Ravelry, so I'm going to give it a go. 
Notes: I am already planning on lengthening this one. I am tall with a long torso and I hate cropped clothing. I want this sweater to be nearly tunic length. I'm also thinking I will most likely do a split hem and make the back a little longer than the front. Luckily I will (hopefully) have nearly an entire extra skein to work with, so I'm thinking these mods should work out just fine. 

Shawls (yes, more than one, DO YOU EVEN KNOW ME)
Pattern: Drys by Melanie Berg
Yarn: So here's where it gets tricky. The pattern calls for Woolfolk Far and Sno. These are STUNNING yarns and the end result is absolutely gorgeous. Buuuuuuuut. If you use the suggested yarn, you'll be spending over $300. Now listen, I am not saying that I'm not a yarn snob. I 100% am. But $300 is unjustifiable for me at this time. $150? Been there, done that, will absolutely do again. So now I have the difficult task of choosing what to use instead! Far is a chained yarn and I really love the look of the chained yarn (rather than plied) and I think it makes a big difference in the finished look. Because of that, I want to stick with a chained (wool) yarn. A lot of chained yarns have nylon in them and I am not about that life. After lots of researching, I think I am most likely going to go with Cascade Eco Cloud. The Cascade is very similar to the Woolfolk with the added bonus of having alpaca! I'm not sure yet on the color- it will be either cream, ecru, white, or undyed. I'm hoping to find them in a store to compare, but for now, Ravelry has been useful. Drys is double stranded and Sno is a 2 ply marled merino wool. It's plied with a white and a light grey yarn. A good marled sock weight yarn is tough to find and I have considered splurging on the Sno, but I searched Etsy and found a pretty on par sub made with undyed alpaca (yes!) and merino. I'm in conversation with the seller, so we will see what she says before I buy it but I'm hopeful it will work out. 
Notes: This wrap looks super chic and I'm excited to add another rectangular shawl to my collection. One of my favorite things about shawls, and rectangular ones in particular, is that they are essentially like wearing a blanket around, except they are perceived as chic and functional as opposed to slobby and lazy! 

Pattern: Decemberist by Melanie Berg (clearly I have a thing for Melanie Berg...you will too if you check out her Instagram or Ravelry page)
Yarn: Quince and Co. Puffin. I'm debating between the Glacier and Stream color ways. Stream was a new addition this past fall so there aren't any photos of it as a finished object yet, so I'm having a hard time deciding! As with Drys, I really, really wanted to use the Woolfolk, but I just cannot justify the price. It's gorgeous yarn and there are times in my life where I absolutely would have splurged on it, but it just doesn't make sense to do that when I can get an equally great yarn at a much cheaper price. I love Quince and Co. because they are an ethical yarn supplier, they make their yarn here in the US, AND they don't make superwash wool!!! Plus they make very affordable all natural fiber! Literally nothing to complain about if you ask me. 
Notes: I have been wanting to make this ever since Melanie Berg posted some teaser shots on Instagram and I am seriously excited about this knit. 

So there you have it, a brain dump of my soon-to-be WIPs! And of course I'm still working on my Daybreak and Seed Stitch Wrap, so my hands will have lots of options to choose from on any given day!

 

frog it real good

Ah frog it...ah frog it...frog it real good! 

This is new, uncharted territory for me. I frogged a project. I'm all about trying new things with knitting these days, including, apparently, ripping shit out. 

Ripping is the worst, right? You're undoing a lot of hard and long work. But you know what's worse than ripping? HATING YOUR FINISHED OBJECT (required caps). I ripped out like 70 rows of my never ending seed stitch wrap because I wasn't loving how one of the colors was looking. It sucked but I am so much happier with how it's looking. 

And so I knew what I had to do with my Doodler

I wanted to love it, I really did. The Hedgehog Fibres was BEGGING for a crazy pattern like The Doodler. I had exactly enough yarn. I had the assurance that it was a popular pattern that everyone on Ravelry likes (not that that ever matters to me). But it just never felt right to me. And then I messed it up! I was confused by the instructions and it wasn't turning out right, so I ripped back to the first couple of rows. It was going well once I figured out my mistake. 

Buuuuuut I just couldn't get on board with it. It just wasn't doing it for me, ya know? Thus commenced a 3 hour long spree on Ravelry to find a new pattern that would do my yarn justice. And surprise surprise, Stephen West had another pattern that I liked! It seemed only right that I would rip one West Knit out only to replace it with another. 

I took one last picture of my Doodler, then I ripped. It's a sad kind of incredible to realize how weeks and weeks worth of work can be ripped out in just a few minutes. I immediately cast on for Daybreak and immediately felt a sense of excitement that I hadn't felt with The Doodler. I'm going to use all 3 colors that I was going to use for my Doodler. I'm super excited about the stripes! 

Here is the last-ever photo of my Doodler. 

And the first-ever photo of my Daybreak! 

busy baby boy sweater: a finished object

You read that right. The words "sweater" and "finished object". IT HAS BEEN ACCOMPLISHED!

Remember a few months ago when I suddenly had the itch to knit a sweater? And I thought it would be best to start with a baby sweater? Well, I committed to it and did it. 

One of my sweet friends had a precious baby boy last year and his first birthday was January 22. I knew this would be the perfect deadline for my first sweater. So I did TONS of ravelry research (the best kind of research) and hemmed and hawed for months about what sweater to do. I wanted something with raglan sleeves because it would be easiest. I wanted something in separate pieces since I am more confident sewing sleeves on than picking up stitches. I wanted worsted weight so it would be quick...basically, I had lots of preferences. But then I thought to myself...why let picking up stitches stop me? It's a necessary part of knitting and while I don't have a ton of experience with it, the only way I can improve is to just do it. And my mittens turned out really well and they involved picking up stitches. 

I found the Busy Baby Boy Sweater pattern on Ravelry and was obsessed with how cute the shawl collar looked. I knew it was the sweater. I picked out some yarn (Berocco Vintage) and got to work. I was pretty terrified of messing it up or the size being wrong, so I reassured myself a lot through the process. It was going really well and quickly. I did my first ever 3-needle bind off! 

January 9

January 9 again- finished with the ribbing

January 12

January 13

January 15

January 16

January 17

January 19

Look at that 3 needle bind off!!!! Also note the perfectly matching nails. 

And then it was time to pick up stitches. I was terrified. YouTube to the rescue! ***An aside- can we please talk about this youtube video real quick. I died laughing when I saw the opening sequence. It is incredible.*** The video was super helpful and I was now confident that I could do this whole picking up stitches around the armhole thing. AND I DID! It looked great!! I picked up more stitches for the second sleeve and for the collar. I took many, many breaks to squeal in delight and to have cute aggression moments. 

January 19- cute tiny sleeve!!!

THOSE PICKED UP STITCHES THO

January 20- a sleeve!

Commence the dramatic fake crying.

At this point I just fell over and died. 

January 21- Am I me if I don't post a pic of my knitting with tea??? Collar stitches have been picked up.

Continue the dramatic fake crying. 

I gifted it to the sweetest bebe boy and it fit him perfectly!! He looks SO CUTE in it and now I wanna make allllll the sweaters. Between this project and my Norwegian mittens last year, I am gaining all sorts of knitting confidence that I haven't had before and that's super exciting. Who knows what I'll knit next!

January 22- Inside out view of the back. 

Inside out view of the front. 

THAT'S IT, I'M DED

So there you have it, my very first sweater. It was seriously easy (even the picking up of stitches) and I feel inspired to try anything!! I am totally obsessed with the way it turned out! 

Specs: I used about a skein and a half of Berocco Vintage yarn. I used size 6 needles on everything. Instead of the motif, I used plain old stockinette stitch (which means I just knit and knit and knit in the round!). I wanted some texture in the the shawl collar, so I did seed stitch instead of 1x1 rib. This sweater took me 11 days start to finish and that's including a couple of days that I didn't work on it :) It came together super quickly and I am so proud!! Rav link

norwegian mittens!

Back in September, I went to Stitches Texas. It was magical and full of my people, that is, knitters and fiber enthusiasts! It was a blast. I took a class that was definitely out of my comfort zone- Norwegian mittens. Color work has always intimidated me. It looked so hard. So I knew a class was the way to go to learn this skill!

I knit up a mitten in the class which meant that I was then filled with the dreadful second sock/mitten syndrome. In the (very) rare times I have knitted socks, I have always done them 2 at a time because I know myself reeeeeal well and know that doing them one at a time means I will be left with only one warm foot. I was determined to have 2 warm hands this winter and gave myself pep talks like 'it only took one 6 hour class to knit one mitten, so just knit for an hour every day and you'll have a finished pair in no time!' Thanksgiving week came and it was the perfect time to do just that. 

So without further ado, here they are, my very first stranded color work mittens! 

Mitten tops!

Mitten backs!

One of each!

Shoutout to my kind mother who took these pics for me. She doesn't have Insta and needed A LOT of coaching, but she done good!

i have this thing with shawls

As I was writing my previous post, I realized I should explain myself. 

I love shawls. I love knitting them, I love looking at them, and I love wearing them. If you look at my Ravelry favorites list, you know this to be true. Now, I know this may make me sound like a grandma, but I don't care. There are people out there who are sock knitters. I have long envied those people. It seemed so quaint and nice to have a little project that I could just whip out of my bag and work on anywhere. Plus there are all sorts of fun sock yarns available. But as we all know, I hate working with itty bitty yarn and needles. I have tried and failed to be a sock knitter. 

But shawls? I am there. Many shawl patterns do require the itty bitty yarn- but guess what?! Many require bigger (i.e.: size 4 or larger) needles and that is a trade-off I am on board with. 

The shawl obsession really took off during my senior year of college. I was taking a literature class called Victorian Gender and shawls were mentioned many times throughout the various novels we read. Plus there was Hey Porkchop. She has influenced my desire to knit shawls exponentially (and also my wish to be a sock knitter; also she has an amazing sense of color for everything but especially quilts). But those novels were full of images that stuck with me. A shawl waiting for the wearer, draped on the back of a chair. It was something she could grab quickly on her way out the door to throw on to ward off a chill. It was knitted by hand out of love and necessity, passed between mothers, sisters, and friends to warm. It was an experiment in making do and in trying your hand at a new stitch pattern. In a pinch they doubled as a little throw blanket and what is cozier than a blanket? And so I became a shawl knitter. They don't get a ton of use here in Texas, but looking at them reminds me of all the things I love about knitting them. 

I love the ease of knitting a shawl- the way I know that there will always be increases or decreases to achieve the shape, the long, long rows of stitches repeated over and over again, the way that I excitedly knit trying to get to the next part. I also love the difficulty of knitting a shawl- the hundreds and hundreds of live stitches on the needles, the intricate lace details, the counting and the miscounting. And then the moment when you bind off and admire the work, try it on, and envision it accompanying you on all sorts of grand (or not so grand) adventures. 

everly shawl: a finished object

It feels good to have a finished object to post on here!

I started this project all the way back in November of 2014. I had recently returned from a trip to Australia, where it was incredibly hot and humid, and I was itching to have some wool on the needles for the colder months. I came across the Everly Shawl pattern on Ravelry and immediately bought the pattern and the exact yarn that was used in the example. It soon arrived and then my Seed Stitch Wrap happened. I cast on for the Everly only for it to be abandoned until earlier this month. It came together very quickly and was such a satisfying and rewarding knit. I haven't done any lacework in a while so it took me a bit to get back into the swing of memorizing the pattern repeats and focusing only on knitting (even music or podcasts were too much of a distraction for me when working on the lace portion!) but once I did, it flew off the needles.

There are some projects that can be bound off and immediately worn, but this was not one of those projects. There was some serious blocking required...ahhh, yes, the smell of wet wool. But as usual, the blocking was totally worth the hassle. More and more I am realizing that I really love simple and classic knitting designs in neutral colors and this project definitely ticked all those boxes.  

Ravelry specs here

And now for some photos! 

January 18, 2016

January 18, 2016

October 9. (I only just realized how out of focus this pic is! I even had posted it on Insta eeeek)

October 11. 

October 23. 

October 24. Damn, I didn't realize how much progress I had made between the 23rd and 24th! 

October 26. 

October 27. Bath time!

I don't have blocking pins so I used regular old sewing pins 🙃

October 28. All dry and ready to wear! It even looks good with pjs!

stitches texas 2016

Yay! A Stitches recap! Here's how it all happened. The week before Stitches, I woke up thinking about this woven wrap. Yes, this is what wakes me up in the middle of the night- craft projects. This wrap is made on a rigid heddle loom which is very different than the lap looms I have been using. The loom is a somewhat large financial investment, so I was wary of buying it, especially since I had no idea how to use it. I googled "rigid heddle loom classes Dallas" and lo and behold, the website for Stitches Texas popped up and there was going to be a class THE NEXT WEEK. 

FATE. 

I added the class to my cart, and a knitting class for good measure, and then texted one of my close friends about it in case this was a dumb financial decision (the classes at Stitches aren't exactly cheap). She said to think about it for 2 days and look at my bank account and you know, be an adult and make sure there were no big expenses coming up. Did I take her advice? A little bit. I waited an hour. Or maybe a half hour. Definitely not 2 days. I didn't want the classes to sell out! Then I spent the next week longing for Friday. I bought yarn for my classes and did my knitting homework (the best kind of homework). 

my class supplies

Then Friday came! Yay! 

I did rigid heddle weaving with the talented Deborah Jarchow. She was a great and very experienced teacher. The first 3 hours of the class were dedicated to helping everyone choose their warp and weft yarns, turning skeins into balls, and learning to warp the loom. Then there was a lunch break and after that, we wove! It was a lot of fun but tbh a little boring. I'm glad I did the class because Iearned it wasn't as satisfying to me as weaving on a lap loom. I like that you can make longer and wider things on the rigid heddle but I don't see myself investing in one (for now...). 

my chosen yarns

warping the loom!

that's one good lookin' warp if I do say so myself

the red yarn is waste yarn that separates the warp so it is evenly spaced; the pink yarn is my first few rows!

oh yeah looking good

my (mostly) finished scarf! I still need to wet finish it and trim up my stray ends and fringe.

~close up~

Then on Sunday I took Norwegian mittens!!! Beth Brown-Reinsel taught the class. I was SO excited for this class because it was going to be my first foray into stranded color work, something that has always intimidated me. When I've seen other people's stranded projects I've really admired them but thought that I could never do them. A class was the perfect time to try it out so that I could have hands on instruction and help if (when) something went wrong. To my delight and surprise, stranded color work is not hard at all! If you can knit, you can do stranded color work! The hardest part is figuring out how to hold 2 yarns at once and even then, when you get that down, you are good to go! We made most of 1 mitten in class. I need to make the other one and my encouragement is that the first one took only about 8 hours total, so if I just knit an hour a day, I'll have a complete pair in about a week! 

that row on the needles was my first stranded row ever!!! shoutout to all my instagram followers who liked and commented on this pic even though they had no idea what I was talking about 🙃

I was checking to see if it fit- it did!

WHAT SORCERY IS THIS

the palm side

all of the student mittens! (note that I am apparently a super speedy knitter and got further than everyone else...#humblebrag)

I came home, put on my jammers, and finished the mitten!

And it wouldn't be a knitting convention without a little shopping, now would it?! I didn't want my weaving hobby to feel left out so I got some cute tiny weaving tools from the Hill Country Weavers booth for my Hockett loom! I got 2 tiny beaters- one for me and one for one of my weaving pals! This is way classier than the dinner forks we've been using. I also got a cute shed stick and a rad needle. 

I spotted some Hedgehog Fibres yarn at the Steven Be booth on Friday that I really wanted but I talked myself out of it. But then of course I was thinking of its perfection and how it was going to get snatched up if I didn't buy it. So I hemmed and hawed and then on Saturday morning I went and bought it. If you ever need an enabler while shopping, I'm your girl. 

I MEAN REALLY

So there you have it, my Stitches Texas 2016 recap! I loved going and I definitely want to go again next year! I loved walking around and seeing everyone knitting, asking people about their projects, wearing a shawl around and having people compliment it, and doing the same of others! I want my everyday life to be like Stitches! 

sweater weather

Lately I've been itching for new knitting projects. Because my ongoing projects are finished? Of course not. My seed stitch wrap is currently only 2 colors in and another WIP is still in its project bag, longing to be finished. But fall always has me yearning for a new knitting project (or 5). This is a yearly occurrence for me, the searching on Ravelry, the daydreaming of knitting something fabulous, of wearing it when it eventually gets cold. Often it doesn't get past that daydreaming phase. 

Usually my knitting day dreams are about shawls, wraps, scarves. This year, though, I've been bitten by a different bug altogether- the sweater bug. I have never desired to knit a sweater before. In fact, I used to scoff when people would ask me if I had ever made a sweater. But for some reason, this year I have been bitten by this sweater bug HARD. 

I doubt I'll get around to it in 2016, but I'm thinking it'll be a great 2017 goal. I'm also thinking I should start off with a baby sweater for a friend's babe so I can get the technique down. 

IDEAS!

For the baby sweater I'm thinking this:

adorable!!!

And now onto adult sweater ideas. I want something oversized and chunky. If a pattern says something crazy like "size 4 needles" I immediately nope right out of there. I don't have time for that madness. Size 7 and up, I say! That is my general knitting rule. I might consider a pattern if it calls for size 6 but for real size 7 (or even more for real, size 10, 13, or like 50 (yes, I have size 50 needles)) is where it's at. A friend recently asked if I wanted to join her in knitting this and I was 100% on board, but then I clicked over to the pattern and I saw the dreaded "size 3 needles" and I was just straight up like HELL TO THE NO I AM NOT KNITTING THAT. Just thinking about size 3 needles gives me arthritis. But I digress. Onto the sweaters! 

Relax. Even the name is good. 

Worsted Boxy. Worsted weight, YES. They understand me. 

And then here is some Pinterest inspiration:

Can't find original source. Sorry!!! Pinterest source.

This one is from an online store that sells only nude and neutral-colored clothing. MY DREAM. 

You can't see me, but I'm drooling over this one ahhhhh. 

YOU GUYS. AHEIOABPEGAHOVAOEGJEOPWA I HAVE NO WORDS. Pinterest link.

So there you have it, my sweater dreams in picture form. Check back in 2017 to see if I've actually committed to this 🙃

oh heyyy remember me?

 

Oops, no posts for over a month! Oh my! 

Let's see what I was up to...

I did some watercolor weaving:

I wove on my new Hockett loom (for those of you keeping track, that's 4 looms now):

I practiced soumak a lot using this video

I sewed a blanket for my friend's new baby boy! 

I made very slight progress on my seed stitch wrap

I went to camp! And on my break one day I took an obligatory coffee shop photo. 

I tended to some tomatoes. 

I wove some more (of course).

I celebrated my last day of being 26 under the strawberry moon.

And finally, I reignited my love for embossing. #embossallthethings 

Well, that was fun!