last days of summer

We have been soaking up every last bit of summer these past few weeks. Next Monday is the little guy's first day of middle school, so in between....

visits to the beach

bike rides on the island trail

and local camping trips

....there has been some behind the scenes preparations for what looks to be a fun school year. I love back to school season and all of the excitement that it brings. New beginnings & possibilities. Also, to be honest, a little anxiety. And, thank goodness, always a little mindless knitting  to help with that last bit.

Notice the cute project bag? It's the Rosemary Bag from Della Q and since receiving it to try out, it's accompanied me on all of our end of summer adventures. I love the smooth lightweight fabric, the cute dumpling shape and the just right length of the handles. It even has a handy outer pocket and is the perfect size for my current favorite on-the-go project, socks. I also started a Cancun lacy box top with some sparkly rayon yarn in the stash which matches the pretty colors of the bag. Love when that happens :) The top was an impulsive cast-on but I am really enjoying the simple lace stitches. It will probably be put on hold until next summer though, because with back to school season comes the alluring call of wool. Right now there is an improvised top-down sweater knitalong happening over at Fringe Association which you can follow on Instagram using the hashtag #fringeandfriendskal2016. Lots and lots of lovely ideas and projects. Here's how mine is shaping up so far:

I hope that you are all finding time to enjoy these last few weeks of summer. Hugs go out to those of you who are saying goodbye to your first-time-away-from-home college kids. I can't even imagine! I know that I will be wiping away some tears on Monday and it's just middle school!


freckles & butterflies

sock school goodies from little skein in the big wool

Wish we had this kind of summer school when I was a kid! For this KAL, I wanted to challenge myself by attempting my first pair of toe-up socks. There were some frustrations right out of the gate with learning how to cast-on for the toe. I don't recommend trying out a new knitting technique while on the beach with the sun beating down on you. But the light bulb finally clicked on. Judy's Magic Cast-on is truly magical! I caught myself stopping to admire the neat looking toe all while knitting the first of the pair. The fun speckled yarn is two sisters big sky base in the Pippi's Freckles colorway. The contrasting toes & afterthought heels were knitted with some stroll brights (pickle juice, pucker, hot tamale & razzleberry) that were in the stash. For the stitch pattern, I went with the same one that I used in my bowknot tabi socks. It's interesting how this pattern looks slightly different knitted in the opposite direction. More butterfly-like. I'm glad that I gave toe-up socks a try even though it felt a little strange to be knitting everything in reverse. And most importantly, I love wearing my mismatched Pippi socks:


geek/smooth operator hybrid

One of the many things that I love about knitting socks is how easy it is to combine elements of different patterns together. For this pair, I incorporated the simple slip stitch chart from Geek with the afterthought heels and toes from Smooth Operator. I love how these turned out! The slip stitch pattern kept the knitting interesting and works really well with self striping yarn (these were knit with knitpicks Felici in the Nassau colorway). This was my first time knitting top-down afterthought heels and I was impressed with how clearly the Smooth Operator pattern presented the various steps needed for creating this type of heel. There is currently a KAL going on for the Smooth Operator Socks (#SOSkal) which you can read more about here.

Next up is a hybrid of one of my favorite sock patterns (Simple Skyp Socks) and Vanilla is the new Black which features a new-to-me Strong heel:

This sock knitting adventure continues to be such fun :) What types of projects are you currently enamored with?


wildflowers & honeycomb

If socks could evoke an image, these would definitely bring to mind a charming English cottage garden, the kind that has hidden winding paths & is left to run a little wild. I could just picture myself wearing my wildflowers & honeycomb socks while enjoying afternoon tea in such a setting *sigh* Okay, back to reality (and my dried out pitifully neglected garden).

Lots of firsts with this pattern: I love the star toes (wonderfully comfortable fit) and the interesting honeycomb stitch pattern used on the heels. This was also the first time that I knitted a lace pattern for socks. Which is probably why it took me so long to finish the pair since lace knitting, even if it's an extremely easy eyelet pattern, is hard for me to memorize and knit without having to refer to a chart. I found that the pattern worked surprisingly well with this variegated SpunRightRound yarn (colorway = Levitate). There are lots of pretty color combos on Ravelry & Instagram.

I've recently been on a little staycation. Really enjoyed some downtime with the little guy while the hubby was in New York at a motorcycle rally. We ate takeout every day, took long walks to all of the local beaches, hit every single ice cream/frozen custard/froyo stand and pretty much chilled out at home. I had lots of crafty plans to start a cross stitch project, catch up on my journal and swatch some interesting stitch patterns from a new Japanese stitch dictionary. But pretty much all of my time was spent catching up on Outlander & Game of Thrones, reading and of course, sock knitting. Which is all good since my little sockcation has resulted in 3 finished pairs of socks. I hope that your July has been filled with lots of summer fun as well! Can't believe that it's almost over!


bowknot tabi socks

I don't know about you, but as soon as the warm weather hits, out come the flip-flops. They are my favorite summer accessory. I can remember many childhood summers spent cycling, climbing, fishing and even playing tennis in my trusty flip-flops. It was a wonder that I didn't end up with a sprain ankle! Later, when my college boyfriend (now the hubby) went to Japan to study/teach, I became slightly obsessed with collecting various styles of zori and geta. So when I had the opportunity to try out a skein of Saucon Sock by Kraemer Yarns, my first thought was designing a pair of fun tabi socks to wear with them. The fiber content of the yarn consists of cotton, acrylic and nylon which makes it an excellent no-wool and warm weather knitting option. It is available in many pretty colors (I am currently eyeing the carnation, coral, ginger & turquoise colors for a cute stripey version). This particular colorway is called Sea Blue and has a lovely and subtle marled effect achieved by combining a ply of azure blue with a ply of purple. The socks were knit cuff down using a simple textured stitch pattern that resembles little bowknots. I used a mystery yarn from the stash for the contrasting ribbing on the cuffs, heels and toes. If I can make heads or tails of my jumbled notes for the split toes, I will post the pattern here for anyone interested in knitting a pair. I hope that everyone is enjoying their summer so far. We just came back from a relaxing oceanside holiday where I did nothing but lazed in the sun, eat, read, knit and repeat. I just love the laid back rhythm of summer.