5 things on friday

Why hello there! Can't believe that it's already October, my favorite month of the year. I've been having a little case of writer's block for the past few weeks so I'm hoping to jumpstart the words by writing a list of things that are making me feel all of the good fall time vibes:

Halloween Pixel Rise socks. So gruesomely fun to knit, especially when using the frankensocks Halloween edition kit by Havirland. She's a talented indie yarn dyer based here in Maryland.

Midori Traveler's Notebook. This is the planner/ journal/ scrapbook of my dreams! Even though I love the culture & style of the hobonichi planners, it was a total fail. Mainly because all of the pages are dated (of course they are! It's a daily planner duh!) which meant that I felt pressured to write something down every day. And of course I fell behind and ended up with a lot of blank pages. Which caused more guilt and avoidance etc etc. But the neat thing about the MTN is that it has different paper inserts which you can choose to customize it to your journaling/planning style. The inserts are easily removable and you can combine several different ones in the notebook. (Mine are all non-dated). All of which is held together by a beautiful leather cover which seems to get wonderfully aged with use. It feels good to be excited about journaling again.

Rhinebeck socks. No I'm not going. But a girl can dream. And wear cute stripey fall socks while she's at it.

A new weeknight mealtime game plan. One of my favorite food bloggers has just come out with her first ebook. It is filled with easy weeknight dinner recipes paired with the perfect side dishes for each. Also includes lots of yummy desserts. I think that my two guys are even more excited about this book than I am since they gobble up everything that I've ever cooked from Mel's website.

My favorite hangout spot (trader joe's) + my favorite month = everything pumpkin.

Hope that you are finding lots of reasons to celebrate this beautiful season!


playing catch up

So happy to report that the transition to middle school has been pretty smooth and the little guy loves his new school and teachers. Such a big sigh of relief. I've been hesitant in the past to go into detail about my son's special needs but school & learning has many times been a struggle despite all of our efforts to make it fun and as pressure-free as possible. Transitions are especially stressful but so far so good. Now that we are getting used to the new school routine and schedule, there's a little breathing room to start playing catch up in other areas. Well, what I should really be doing is cleaning/de-cluttering my mess of a house in preparation for a visit from my MIL but where's the fun in that, right? What I want to do is show you my finished Vanilla is the New Black / Skyp socks:

This Strong Heel is such a cool feature of these socks and I absolutely loved knitting it. Very easy & intuitive. But most importantly, they fit great and the socks are so comfortable to wear. Probably the best fitting pair of socks I've made so far. The sunny summery yarn is wsk aspen sock in the flirty owl colorway. It's funny that there is just a little bit of pooling in each sock in the exact same spot, so it was meant to be a design feature ;)

In other sock news, I am currently participating in a monster sock KAL on Instagram. The hashtag is #mskal16 if you want to check out all of the scary monster goodness. I was kind of worried that I wouldn't have enough variety/contrast in my sock yarn scraps to make a decent pair since I've only been knitting socks for less than a year. So after a little bit of brainstorming, I decided to go with alternating stripes of solid/tonals and speckles/variegated yarns. These socks are so addictive and I find myself knitting on them way past my bedtime. However, I am making a conscious effort to stop and weave in the ends as I go along otherwise the final finishing would be truly monstrous :)

I hope that the entry into September has gone smoothly for you as well. Have a great week!


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?