Saturday, August 9, 2014

Sock Addiction

Can you believe I've been knitting almost a year?  I can't.  I picked it up last September: two skeins of Madtosh DK in Calligraphy were all it took to reel me in.  Now it's a full-blown obsession, and I spend more time on Ravelry than is probably healthy.

I've tried to dabble and make different projects so I don't get stuck.  I also like to learn with each project, because otherwise I'm going to get bored and toss it aside.  I've realized that I love making just about anything; my current project is my most favorite.  I really enjoy making sweaters, because I just like sweaters, and I like shawls because they're always so pretty and feminine, even if they aren't the most practical.  I think my most favorite projects, though, are socks.  A lot of knitters would agree, and an equal number would probably say socks are too scary.  That's cool; I always thought that too.  But once I made my first pair, I was hooked, and suddenly had a justification for buying all those single skeins of variegated yarns.

I'm an amazing photo stylist.  Look at those props!
The first two pairs of socks I made were for Nick.  I'm not ashamed to admit he was the push for me to get into socks.  The man loves a good wool sock throughout the year, and he loves it even more if his wife spends a month of her life working on it.  I chose Lorna's Laces Solemate for his first pair because they have Outlast in them, and he was always complaining that his feet were still cold at work.  No more complaints with these babies!  I'd like to buy more Solemate to make him more socks, but that's not really a priority.  Selfish knitter over here.


Both of his socks were made with the book Socks From the Toe Up, which is an invaluable resource.  I followed the gusset-heel sock pattern from start to end for his socks and felt comfortable after those to move onto more challenging patterns.  PS, his second pair was made with Miss Babs Cosmic in Coffee Break, chosen solely because my Nicholas loves coffee.  It worked out well.

Of course, after finishing up Nick's socks, I realized I needed to build up my own sock drawer, especially after I bought a new dresser and had an actual drawer available to devoted just to hand-knit socks.  I didn't just want plain socks, though, because endless stockinette gets boring and I was already avoiding a cardigan due to the stockinette, so I found some Louise Tillbrook patterns on Ravelry and chose those for myself.




These are the Bleaberry Tarn socks made with Skein Merino Cashmere in Sci-Fi.  I originally bought this colorway for Nick but then saw a project on Ravelry made in this color and decided I wanted it for myself, dammit.  I love how the slight variegation worked with the cables.  And the socks fit so well!


I made these out of the Louise Tillbrook Seed Pods pattern and Hedgehog Fibres Sock in Pod--partnered solely because of their names.  Obviously the color pooling doesn't help the pattern, but who cares?  I love the colors and honestly the socks fit so well because the pattern is great.


I also started a new vanilla sock this past week, made without a pattern and mostly just a plan.  I wanted some socks to work on between my 16" of stockinette on my latest sweater, and I'm feeling extra fall-y lately (I'm always a pretty high level of fall, but it gets fullblown around this time of year), so I'm using some GnomeAcres Halloween House Gnome in Witches' Brew.  I'm not sure if this was a 2013-only color or not, but I bought it last year.  I love these.  They're so ridiculously Halloween, they're perfect.  I'm much further along than the picture above, and let me tell you--I won't take them off once October hits.  And then I can wear Christmas socks!

Do you knit socks?  What's your favorite sock yarn?  My favorite is all of them.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Two New Mini Quilts

I recently moved into an office from my cubicle and immediately set out on a decorating adventure.  I don't love blank walls--especially blank walls that are painted a cement color, bleh--so I knew I'd make mini quilts to cover the boringness.  And let's not mention the 16-pack of dry erase markers that found their way into my Amazon cart, along with a pair of gingham-print scissors and a coffee mug with Lucy Van Pelt on it.

I had time last weekend to start on my mini-making adventure.  It's been a long time since I was able to make something for me, especially a quilt.  I've been so busy prepping for the Indie Craft Parade that I've only focused on project bags for the last two months.  My WIPs are gathering dust.  It felt so good just to crank something out for me.

First is Carolyn Friedlander's Shirts pattern, which is entirely paper-pieced.  I've been wary of paper-piecing--so fussy, so exact--but I'm taking a class at QuiltCon all about it, so I should probably get some practice in, right?



Well...it turns out I love paper-piecing.  Seriously.



I used Denyse Schmidt prints and Moda Bella solids for this mini quilt.  The solids were a bundle from FQS in 2012--they're QuiltCon colors, which go surprisingly well with Denyse Schmidt.  I'm sure that's no coincidence.

The other quilt I made is another Modern Maples quilt.  I've done these before--a full-size and a mini--but decided to mix up the layout so I'd have some varied sizes and shapes on my new walls.






I was able to cut into a lot of my stash for this mini, including my newly-acquired Cotton + Steel and 1canoe2 fabric.



The back is a Martha Negley print with gingham to help lengthen it.  Doesn't it make you want fall right now?  It's been overcast and rainy here for weeks, yet very hot.  It's so deceiving.  It helps to be in air conditioning all day, so I can still comfortably drink hot tea.

I bought two other Carolyn Friedlander patterns, so I'm hoping to get those on my walls soon.  What have you been up to?

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Sparkly Yarn!

I added some sparkly yarn to the Honeycomb Yarns shop this past weekend.  And can I say?  I am in love.

Terrible Love

I tend to be a glitter girl as it is.  I've owned more than one pair of shoes covered in sequins or glitter.  For our new home, much to Nick's chagrin, I'm seriously considering using the glitter paint I recently found at Lowe's.  (Nick is really dreading this.  I still haven't worked out the details yet.)  I just love sparkles.

Terrible Love
So it was only natural that I dyed some yarn with Stellina in it.  This is sock yarn with a bit of nylon, and the silvery Stellina bits are woven into the fibers.  They're subtle, but when I had everything drying outside (yay for living in the South), the sun caught every little bit of sparkle and my heart soared.

Heart of Glass
I was playing around with the colorways for this one, too.  It's tempting to go dark with these, dyeing them all black or navy (which is fine!  I love me some navy and charcoal gray), but I felt like it was time to go big or go home.  Out came the hot pink.

Heart of Glass
It's definitely girly.  It's a little in your face.  But sometimes you need to go all in.  That's my motto--we're here to go all in.  (I saw that on an Emily McDowell poster, which I need to buy for my new craft room.)

Dilworth II
I did some planning and experimenting with these skeins.  Some turned out exactly how I planned; others, not so much...but that's not a bad thing.  I do like the outcomes, though, no matter how they turned out!

Looking for Astronauts
Can I also say how important it is to have iTunes open when you're naming skeins?  I'm absolutely terrible at naming things.  My mom is better, but she's also safe, so I think some of these colors kinda took her by surprise.  Again, not a problem!  Someone will love how crazy they are, or I'll get to keep them!

So go check them out in the store!  As an update, we're moving in T-19 days.  We have about seven boxes packed.  Better than nothing, right?!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Finished: Wrapped in Leaves Shawl

Some projects just put themselves together.  You buy the yarn with a pattern in mind (or vice versa), you breeze through the knitting or sewing, and before you know it, you have a finished project to show off in real life.  It doesn't linger in your WIP pile, it doesn't come with a million unforeseen issues.  This is one of those projects.


Ravelry notes here.  The pattern is Wrapped in Leaves, found in Alana Dakos' Botanical Knits.  It's a really pretty pattern, but I tend to like streamlined, simple designs (which is why I'm not a lace knitter!).  However, when I found the yarn--which is Miss Babs' Yowza! in Crawdad--I just knew it had to be this shawl.  Whatever that feeling is (kismet?), it happened, and I cast on almost as soon as I received the yarn in the mail.


The pattern is wonderfully written.  It's not too detailed and assumes you know the basics, but it doesn't leave you scratching your head anywhere either.  I will say adding the leaf edging had me a bit confused, but it was one of those things where you had to just do it to understand it.  Stop reading and thinking about it; just pick up the needles and do it.


The yarn is ridiculously wonderful too.  The colors are gorgeous and deep without being too dark for me, and the masculine palette brings down the feminine leaves a bit.  I haven't worked with Yowza! before, but I should've known it would be amazing--every skein of Miss Babs I've ever knit with (or even touched!) has been my most favorite skein yet.  It's a good thing I have a stash of her yarn!


Is it bad that I'm already looking forward to fall so I can wear this?  Yes, it is.  It's finally warm, I should enjoy it!


What have you knit lately?

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Finally Finished: Lucky Quilt!

Okay, brace yourselves, folks: I have two finished projects to show you this week!

Things have been so crazy lately.  We bought a house and close in less than a month!  Kelby visited this weekend!  Nick's dad is visiting next week!  My mom and I started a yarn dyeing business!  Oh, and we're still going to our day jobs everyday!  Needless to say, time is at a premium, but everyone is busy so I have very little right to complain.  How are you?

Let's talk about my first finished project, my Thimble Blossoms Lucky quilt.  I don't think I ever blogged about these blocks, but I know I posted some pictures on Instagram and Flickr.  Basically, I won a one-yard bundle from Leah Duncan, celebrating the release of her first collection with Art Gallery Fabrics, Tule.  (She's about to debut her third, so it's about damn time that I finish this.)  I had also purchased a FQ bundle of the collection, and I knew I wanted to use it somehow in our home.  The colors are a bit saturated for Nick, as he is a wimp when it comes to color, so I decided to focus on the guest room instead of our bedroom.  I had also bought the Thimble Blossoms Lucky pattern and it was just sitting in my Google Drive, waiting for a match.  Thus, a quilt baby was born.

Did you know Nick hasn't touched either of his guitars in over four years?  Yet we're about to move them for the third time?  Now you know.

Again, I started this quilt last September.  Really.  It's all HSTs with sashing, so it isn't like the piecing is super intricate.  I just moved onto other things for some reason.  I started knitting, I focused on Christmas presents, and Lucky got tossed to the back of my sewing closet.


Let's not focus on the negative, though, okay?  It's a really pretty quilt and the colors are so happy.  I used all Art Gallery solids with the blocks.  I think I bought them all from Hawthorne Threads, but I'd be happy to figure out the names if anyone wants them!  I backed the quilt with a plain white sheet from Target: not only is this thrifty ($13.99 vs. five yards of quilting cotton) but it also makes the quilt super soft and luxe.  Because this quilt is for a bed and won't be stored in a cabinet or on a quilt ladder, I needed to make sure the quilt will withstand the use but also will drape right.  I think it looks pretty good for a sheet!


I quilted with the orange thread from the Thimble Blossoms Aurifil set--I can find out that number as well, if anyone wants it.  It matched the peach in Tule perfectly!  Again, this is a bed quilt, so I wanted it to be soft and snuggly.  I quilted about 2.5" on either side of one diagonal throughout the quilt.  I know my quilting is boring but it served a purpose and also went really fast!  I quilted and bound this in about three hours.  



My main reason for suddenly rushing on this was because Kelby visited this weekend!  I wanted the guest room to be as done as it's going to be, until we move and make a new guest room.  We had a blast--we visited the Mint museums, walked through the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens, ate everywhere (including Tupelo Honey--my favorite!) and had so much fun together.  She got to meet Nick and the animals, who all loved her, especially the cats!  Schnoz loved her too, despite freaking her out by licking her knee.  He's kind of a weirdo.


Part of finishing the guest room was hanging new art--the "Yay Summer" print is by Emily McDowell and the other two prints are by Nan Lawson.   I have some of their prints picked out for our new house too.  When is it too soon to start buying things?!

Finally!  I just wanted to mention Kelby made beautiful yarn labels for us:


I took all new pictures of the yarn today, trying out a new background and showing off the labels.  Check it out!

So that's it!  Lucky quilt: Check!  Come back later this week for a new knitting project!
 
Images by Freepik