8.07.2017

shawls and 80's hair bands

find your fade

I finally finished my Find Your Fade shawl! The journey from 6 skeins of yarn to what you see above was very similar to the plot lines of the hair metal power ballads that were the soundtrack of my youth. In the beginning, it was total infatuation fed by all the gorgeous fades that took over instagram and the blogosphere. The riot of colors were too hard to resist and I quickly jumped needles first into the color party, totally seduced by the fun to be had when each color melted into the next. But as with most large sized shawl projects, the first flush of excitement soon faded into a monotonous poisonous rhythm of garter stitches and yarn overs. But onwards I knitted, until the eventuality of a 7 skein project being knitted with only 6 skeins came to a head: I ran out of yarn with just 10 rows to go. Don't Cry indeed.

There followed a brief moment of intense cursing introspection. The asymmetric shape and massive size of the shawl overwhelmed my petite frame. I had a difficult time finding a comfortable way to wear the shawl since it was pretty heavy. I even contemplated using it as a lap blanket but the yarn was too precious. So I finally decided to cut my losses and keep motoring. But don't feel too sad for me....because here I go again:

exploration station

7.25.2017

sock school 2017

yarn: woolberry fiber co. in the pride and prejudice colorway

school supplies: notions pouch/tuft woolens hand balm/wooden sock knitting tools from little skein in the big wool

pattern: pebble socks

My assignment for this year's sock school is to finally tackle the Fish Lips Kiss Heel. I have had this pattern in my Ravelry queue ever since it was published back in 2013. Coming in at 16 pages, it can appear to be pretty intimidating at first glance, with a lot of detailed explanations on how to create a foot pattern as well as an in-depth review of sock architecture. It also has a visual tutorial on the short row technique used for the heel. The actual pattern for the heel is only 5 pages long and includes both toe-up and cuff-down instructions. I found the pattern to be very clear and easy to follow. The heel knits up so much faster than I had anticipated! Much faster than a traditional flap & gusset. But the true test will be how comfortable the fit is. What is your favorite heel to knit and wear?

(I had planned to publish this post yesterday but at around 1:30am Monday morning, we woke up to a tornado alert on our cellphones. We didn't even have time to make it downstairs to our safe spot before the house started shaking from the impact. It happened so terrifyingly fast. Feeling thankful and blessed that my family and loved ones are safe. My thoughts and prayers go out to those on the island who lost their homes. Thankfully there were no fatalities)

7.19.2017

summer festival socks





Continuing with the seasonal socks theme, I'm thrilled to have my summer festival socks off the needles. These were such a blast to knit, mainly due to the interesting stitch pattern. I find that patterned socks knit up much more quickly for me than vanilla socks. The grey yarn is KnitPicks stroll in dove heather and the brightly variegated contrasting yarn is from KnittyAndColor. Not sure what the name of the colorway is since it was part of a miniskein set. It's funny how these socks came about: I had originally knitted the yarn into my cozy memories blanket but found that the bright colors didn't jive very well with the surrounding squares. I ended up ripping out the square and randomly throwing it in a bag with the grey stroll yarn. Something about the color combination caught my eye and prompted me to go on a Ravelry search where I came across this fun free pattern, appropriately called Froot Loop. It's funny how inspiration strikes like that. I am feeling like my sock knitting mojo is finally returning and can't wait to cast on another pair.

Things here have been pretty quiet of late. The little guy is at summer camp for the first time. He is having a fun adventure and making new friends. The hubby is starting a new venture of his own by exploring how to mine for cryptocurrency. It was hilarious how excited he was to mine $2 worth....in 24 hours. Oh well, it keeps him out of trouble. Meanwhile I've been getting lots of knitting and podcast listening in. My current faves are Little Bobbins, Yarngasm and Inside Number 23. Do you listen to knitting podcasts? Any favorite listens at the moment?

7.09.2017

summer traditions



yes, I started another blanket...more details coming soon!

It wouldn't truly be summer without our annual seaside holiday. There is something to be said about little traditions that stay with you year after year: eating at our favorite off-the-beaten track food joints, making sand castles and knitting at the same lovely uncrowded stretches of beach, resting our heads at night and waking up to beautiful sunrises from a familiar spot. It's always bittersweet to leave but there's a reassuring knowledge that we will be making the same trek next summer. Is there a summer tradition that you look forward to year after year?

6.21.2017

easing into summer


Breathing a huge sigh of relief that another school year is over! Now summer can truly start. We've been keeping it slow & relaxed on our days off: sleeping in an hour later, hanging out at the beach, treating ourselves to Rita's in the hot afternoon heat (totally addicted to their mango ice & vanilla custard gelati) & enjoying some easy summer meals. We even recently found a hidden local gem, a secluded creek with its own tiny deserted island & a dock just big enough for my beach chair. While the guys play with their kayaks & paddle boards, I've been making good progress on my cozy memories blanket.


being kind to my future self by weaving in the ends as I go along

A blanket might not be the most ideal summer project but adding those colorful squares is addictively fun. Keeping it in a lightweight cotton project bag makes the knitting more manageable.


As far as the summer reading list goes, I have a delicious stack of novels just waiting for some attention. I am midway through this one by Alice Hoffman and really loving it. The story is set in New York City during the early nineteen hundreds and is a compelling mix of history, mystery and love story, all of which is my cup of tea.

I hope that your summer is off to a good start as well. We are heading to the ocean next week so I am counting on getting lots of knitting and reading in.

6.06.2017

celebrations



It's been a wonderful week of celebrations around here :) My niece graduated from high school. Hard to believe that the tiny screaming baby that I saw come into the world is now the confident and caring young woman smiling before me. I am so proud of her, but a part of me wishes that time wouldn't fly by so fast.


This past Sunday was National Cancer Survivors Day. One of my closest friends and I marked the occasion by taking a river cruise down the Choptank River. We ate a delicious lunch, watched the gorgeous scenery pass by and laughed a lot. It was a beautiful way to celebrate life and friendship.

This Friday is the last day of school for the little guy. It's been a successful school year and I couldn't help but cast on a celebratory sock.

pattern: froot loop

These are going to be my Summer festival socks to usher in the season. With all of the sad events happening right now, it seems even more important to celebrate and be grateful for the joyful moments that life has to offer, both big and small.

5.31.2017

campside shawl




Wow I can't believe that I have another finished knit to show you two weeks in a row! This is the campside shawl which is a pattern that has been in my queue for a long time now. I honestly didn't know if this gradient yarn (Rifton from Jill Draper Makes Stuff) would be the right choice for it but these spring colors were irresistible and I had to cast on. So glad that I did....the color changes kept the knitting interesting. I love the finished shawl and can't wait to wear it while sitting across a campfire roasting marshmallows. It's a terrific free pattern from pompom quarterly and I wouldn't hesitate to knit another one, maybe in a tonal or solid color next time. I'm so happy to have found a pattern for this beautiful yarn which was purchased a few years ago at Maryland Sheep & Wool. Speaking of which, remember this picture from three years ago?


I had jokingly told my husband after coming home from MSW that I should have let him invest in bitcoins like he had wanted. Well, unbeknownst to me, he had used his own money to buy a few just for fun and today he told me that one bitcoin is now worth $2000.00! That's a whole lot of yarn!

5.21.2017

seasonal socks

Hello and happy Sunday! Just wanted to post a quick sock update. The sock knitting has really slowed down this year, especially since starting two blankets and several shawls. These things tend to go in cycles so I am hoping my sock knitting mojo will return soon. I did manage to recently finish a few that have been hanging out on the needles for way too long.

{Winter solstice socks} pattern: charade, yarn: endoftherowyarns

{Spring wildflower socks} pattern: blueberry waffle yarn: lichen & lace

So I guess instead of a pair a month, my new goal will be a pair each season. Guess it's time to pick out some yarn and a pattern for summer. I can't believe how fast the seasons are changing!

Leaving you with some pictures of my Mother's Day present. According to my little guy, the fairies who live in this garden love to knit, eat pie and drink tea :)


5.07.2017

mini-craftcation

Happy May everyone! I hope that it's starting out bright and sunny for you. I had a little mini-craftcation this past week and was able to finish some longstanding WIP's. Just have to block and take some pics. The weather has been sunny and warm so we've been hanging out at one of our favorite local beaches, Matapeake Beach, which is free and opened to the public. Care to take a peak?

this is the fabulous clubhouse

here's the view of the Chesapeake Bay heading towards the beach

and here's my new blanket obsession & constant beach knitting companion


Now I know why these scrappy sock mitered square blankets are all the rage. They are totally addictive and fun to knit on! It's also nice to have an easy, relaxing and long-term project on the needles to pick up when the mood strikes. This weekend is Maryland Sheep and Wool which I'm bummed to have to miss. I had to work yesterday and we have last minute out of town guests coming today. On the bright side, I'll have more time to knit on my new blanket :) Have a great Sunday!

4.18.2017

spring mix


We are in the heart of springtime here in Maryland and enjoying every minute of this beautiful season. Easter was a quiet affair since I had to work. But the Bunny did stop by to bring the little guy some treats to feed his sweet tooth....and also left a little yarny goodness for me:


Can't wait to cast on a pair of spring/summer monster socks with these speckled mini-skeins from havirland....as soon as I finish the other two pairs of socks that are still on the needles. Still trying to resist the urge to start new projects but it's hard when there are so many pretty patterns and yarns floating around. I finally caved in last week and casted on a Campside with the beautiful Rifton yarn from Jill Draper Makes Stuff that I bought last year at Maryland Sheep & Wool. The colorway is appropriately named Spring and is lovely to knit with.


Here are some other things that are making life grand at the moment:

*Going for nature walks and enjoying some relaxing time with my little guy who is on Spring Break this week.
*Practicing & improving on my lettering skills.
*Spending time at the various fishing piers scattered around the island, especially at sunset.
*Eating fresh & healthy meal bowls like this and this.
*Listening to fun covers of some favorite mid-century songs from this soundtrack.

So, what's currently in the mix for you? Any fun new projects or favorite easy meals?

4.05.2017

the doodler


No this isn't a belated April Fool's joke....I actually finished something :) And it's not a pair of socks! I think this shawl has been on the needles since autumn of 2015. Not sure why it took me so long to finish since the pattern is wonderfully fun to knit. I remember making a mistake on the cabled section which set me behind on the mkal. And then it was cast aside because of holiday knitting. So happy to have it off the needles at last. Now if only my other WIPs could magically be done. It feels like ages since I casted on for anything new! Which leads to me buying All Of The Yarn.



Oh the vicious cycle of a bored knitter :p

3.20.2017

sparking joy


Happy first day of Spring! It seems like this month has been flying along at full speed. I've been trying to unplug from technology a bit and just enjoy the little moments as they present themselves: reading actual books, listening to music on cds, cooking from my collection of cookbooks and knitting on various projects. I also started a granny stripes blanket that is sparking so much joy that Marie Kondo would be proud. Gotta love a project that makes use of all those leftover fingering weight scraps that are taking up precious space in the stash. And watching how these hand dyed yarns are crocheting up is so mesmerizing because the visual effect is quite different than in knitting. This will no doubt be a long term project but that's ok. I'm loving every moment of it so far.

2.26.2017

in bloom


Hello! I hope that you are having a fun & relaxing weekend. We are spending a quiet Sunday at home. The guys are watching movies and playing on video games while I'm happily knitting wildflowers and playing with my new MINI Happy Planner. Can you tell that I'm already dreaming of springtime blossoms and blooms? It's hard not to when the February weather has been unseasonably balmy and warm here in Maryland.

I'm finally on the last color of my winter fade and had planned to finish it this weekend but couldn't resist casting on for a new pair of socks. The pattern is called fine and dandy socks and the yarn is by Lichen and Lace in the appropriately named wildflowers colorway. It's knitted toe-up which is a fun change from how I usually make my socks.

Here's a quick peek inside my planner at next week's spread:


Besides having something new to decorate with stickers and washi tape (always a cause for joy) I am on a mission to become more organized. My usual system of keeping track of appointments, errands, chores and special dates consisted of post-it notes scattered everywhere and half of them getting lost. I knew things had to change when the little guy and I showed up for his wellness checkup two weeks early. I'll go into more details on how I use my planner in another post, but so far it has made a tremendous difference. Do you use a planner and if so, which one? I'm amazed at all the cool choices out there and can now understand the hashtag #planneraddict.

2.21.2017

everyone needs a sock buddy


News flash! I just discovered something even more addictive than sock knitting: kiddie-sized sock knitting! All the fun sock parts but in half the time :) This mini-sized version of the popular vanilla latte sock pattern only took about a week to knit. Just one skein of knitpicks felici in the sweetheart colorway was enough to make both the socks (which should fit a child of 5-7 years old) and a teeny tiny matching sock buddy. Both will be on their way to hats and more for war-torn Syria, a charity knitting group whose mission is to collect warm items & other necessities for people displaced by the conflicts in Syria and the surrounding regions.


The awesome free pattern for the sock buddy can be found here. I followed the pattern exactly but used sock weight yarn instead of worsted weight. I also grafted the body closed instead of using a three needle bind off. I was undecided about whether or not to embroider the smiley mouth so I asked my little guy for his opinion. His answer: everyone needs someone to listen to them when they are sad or worried and the sock buddy looks like she would be a better listener without a mouth. I kinda agree :)

2.12.2017

the lighter side of winter

"Why, what's the matter,
That you have such a February face,
So full of frost, of storm and cloudiness?"

William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing 

And so we find ourselves in February! Trying hard not to hibernate the rest of winter away by injecting as much sunlight and colors into my days as possible. Luckily, adding a little brightness to my knitting is as easy as casting on a new pair of stripey socks in Valentine's Day colors:


And my winter fade is heading into the lighter side of the season:


Any plans for Valentine's Day? We'll probably spend it at home. I'm thinking of ordering lobster, filet mignon & chocolate covered strawberries from a local restaurant to celebrate my two guys. Hope that you are finding ways to brighten your February days as well!

1.31.2017

the comfort of socks

pattern: charades yarn: end of the row

Happy Year of the Rooster! I can't believe how fast this month has flown by. Lately, I've been having a hard time keeping up with everything that needs to get done. Housework and grocery shopping are unfortunately not as appealing and fun as knitting or reading a good book. Actually, I would rather clean the house than go grocery shopping any day. In fact, I have been pestering the hubby into buying an extra freezer but the confounded man thinks that it will end up storing more yarn than food. Hah, he sure knows me well after all these years :)

One area that thankfully is not lacking in effort is my knitting. I am currently making an attempt to organize my to-knit list for this year by grouping yarn and pattern together into project bags. I have about four sweaters worth of yarn ready and waiting for when the mood strikes. Next up is to organize the sock yarn stash into future projects but that task is proving more difficult because there are so many wonderful sock patterns out there! Here is just a smattering of beauties just waiting to be knit up this year:

*charades are similar to my beloved skyp socks but without the purling (currently on the needles)
*whiskey and rye looks so stunning in autumn colors
*this beautiful version of the father's new socks (I even have the exact colors in my stash)
*flying north socks with a variegated yarn (love this pair)
*this gorgeous version of a twist of fair isle
*fun texture with bright pops of color for the (froot loop) win
*one of my favorite stitch patterns reincarnated into the lovely tulsi socks
*quick warm cozy sporty hyak
*bright & colorful jelly rolls
*rye would make a toasty pair of bedsocks
*pretty laule'a proves that simple is far from boring when knit in a pretty color
*every flavor stripy socks make perfect use of leftover sock yarn

my 2016 box of sox

I could go on & on but my current socks on the needles are patiently waiting for some attention. After having a heavy heart all weekend while watching events unfold here in America, I woke up on Monday determined to focus my energy on positive action. I went on Ravelry and found a wonderfully active and welcoming group called hats and more for war-torn Syria. They are collecting warm items and other necessities for those displaced by the war in Syria and the region. It seems that wool socks are in short supply and much needed. Since I love to knit socks but rarely ever wear them, I will be sending my box of sox (with the exception of the stripy monster ones) along with an assortment of hats and mittens. It lightens my heart to know that these items will offer some comfort. And motivates me to knit more socks to donate.

Hope that you are finding even a little bit of time each day to do what you love!

1.17.2017

winter fade


Really excited to show you the progress on one of my shiny new projects for the new year. It's the Find Your Fade shawl by Andrea Mowry. I am sure that many of you who go on Instagram have seen a number of knitters who are either planning out their fade or knitting on this right now. I love looking at all the yarn/color combinations going on out there. For mine, I was really inspired by the colors of the winter season, mainly greys and blues. I wanted a very subtle fade and so decided on a gradient effect:

the uncommon thread everyday singles

I am just loving this project right now. So soothing and relaxing to knit. The yarn is a single ply merino and is heavenly to work with. I've been watching a lot of video podcasts lately and this project is the perfect accompaniment along with a hot cup of tea and holiday chocolates. One of my favorite knitting podcast right now is a homespun house. I can listen to Molly talk about yarn and fiber all day long.

What kinds of shiny new projects are currently on your needles? Are there any particular knits that you would like to focus on this year? I can remember being so excited to knit socks at the beginning of last year. I am hoping to mix it up more this year, with socks, cowls, shawls and sweaters all getting equal attention.

1.09.2017

reflections

Thank you for all of your well wishes. Happy to report that my back is slowly getting better. I ended up taking all of last week off from work after not being able to get out of bed the day after New Year's Day. I overdid it the week before and ended up with a ruptured disc in my lower back which was pressing down on a nerve. It had gotten so painful that I couldn't sit up and could barely walk. So the first week of 2017 ended up being a pretty dull affair with no knitting accomplished. On the bright side, I managed to get a head start on my reading goals. 4 books in one week!

Now that my back is truly on the mend, I'm excited to cast on some new projects. But before looking ahead to what this year will bring, I wanted to briefly reflect on some things that I learned in 2016:






15 pairs of socks, 3 cowls, 2 sweaters, 1 shawl, 1 ornament


Socks Socks and more Socks: I will fondly remember 2016 as the year that I got bit with the sock knitting bug. It has been so much fun learning a couple of different heel techniques (Afterthought & Strong heels) besides the traditional heel flap. Plus I gave toe-up socks a try. Designing a pair of tabi socks was also a highlight. But the number one most satisfying thing that I learned from a year of sock knitting is being able to do the Kitchener stitch without having to refer to written instructions or diagrams ever again.

Improvising a top-down sweater: This was a huge accomplishment for me. Still can't believe that I managed to pull it off. I learned so much in the process, such as the importance of planning but also being flexible when certain parts of the plan didn't work or needed to be changed.

Thank you for all of your support and kindness! Even though my blogging has been sporadic at best this past year, I still treasure all of the wonderful connections that I have made here. Looking forward to what this new year will bring for all of us! Hopefully lots of love, good health, beautiful yarn and shiny new projects :)