Summer Check-In

Summer Patio 2016

Wow. Where did the summer go? Oh yeah… knitting! So here’s just a quick re-cap and check-in on what I’ve been knitting this summer. (Hint: it’s all the socks and a shawl.)

RAvelry Project Page Links
  1. Ghosts in the Cobblestones Socks: Cobblestone Socks by Mina Phillips, knit in Ghostbusters by Lolodidit. Currently knitting for the Lolodidit Sock KAL.
  2. Northern Pines Shawl: Whispering Pines Shawl by A Homespun House, knit in Sansa by Sweet Sparrow Yarns.
  3. Sylvia’s Pebbles Socks: Pebbles Socks by Mina Phillips, knit in Sylvia by Junkyarn.
  4. Have We Done the Zombies Yet? Spoilers… Socks: Spoilers Socks by Javapurl Designs, knit in Zombies!! by Lolodidit. Knit for The Knitting Broomstick’s Doctor Who KAL. (Eee! I got a giveaway prize!)
  5. Driftwood Dollhouse Socks: Driftwood Socks by Mina Phillips, knit in Dollhouse by Hedgehog Fibres (June Sock Club color way).

And there’s a new project I’m starting while I finish up my Ghosts in the Cobblestones Socks: my Morning at the Dragonfly Inn Shawl.

Morning at the Dragonfly Inn Shawl

This is the Coffee Date Shawl from the Coffee with C.C. book (which I’ve talked about before) and I’m double dipping into both the Coffee with C.C. KAL and the Gilmore Girls KAL for this one! I’ve discovered Gilmore Girls this summer. I am so excited to knit up a shawl inspired by that wonderful show. Because of the New England collegiate/prep school setting of the show, I opted for Sweet Sparrow Yarns tweeds (Julie’s House Wren base). I had this picture in my head of how this should look. To help that dream come true, Julie was so sweet and dyed up a custom color way for me! Quiet Morning is the custom color and it’s a perfect fit with the gorgeous tonal browns of You Can Do It, Brucie! and the stunning Robin’s Egg blue. (Tangent: Brucie is inspired by one of my favorite moments from Matilda! He eats ALL the chocolate cake!)
Sweet Sparrow Yarns Bundle

Anyway, I hope you’re all having an amazing summer and that you’re staying cool in the insane heat we’ve been having! I hope to check in more frequently this autumn. Thanks for stopping by!

 

The Queue vs The Knitting Broomstick

Sweet Sparrow Yarns: Mary in Magpie

Well friends, my knitting queue has been officially hijacked. Not only have I discovered sock knitting… I’ve discovered the wonderful world of knit alongs (aka. KALs) and podcasts. Once I decided to participate in The Knitting Broomstick’s Coffee with C.C. KAL, my summer making plans took a sharp detour! So, yeah, in the battle of The Queue vs The Knitting Broomstick? TKB for the KO!

Backing up here…. The Knitting Broomstick is an awesome YouTube video podcast hosted by Jilly (@veganjilly on Instagram and Ravelry). She has a love of all thing literary and geeky—basically, she’s a girl like me! I love her friendly, enthusiastic way of presenting her WIPs and FOs (not to mention new acquisitions!). But the best thing about her podcast is the way she actively works to build the community and engage her viewers with giveaways, themed KALs, and lively discussions.

One of the KALs she’s hosting at the moment is a year-long KAL to knit the entirety of Coffee with C.C. by C.C. Almon. The book contains six sock patterns and one shawl. Doable by year’s end! And these socks are amazing! I really do want every single one of them on my feet this fall. I have the first pair finished as of last night.

Coffee with c.c. 1: I love you more than pumpkin spice
FO Pumpkin Spice Latte Socks

Finished Object Pumpkin Spice Latte Socks

These are my “Mary’s Pumpkin Spice Latte” socks. The yarn is from Sweet Sparrow Yarns in the Magpie base in the Mary colorway. Cute Julie (@julierosesews) themes all of her yarn after books! Mary comes to us from The Secret Garden in an array of golds, browns, greens, burgundy and pink. Like a garden coming to life. The Magpie base is 75 Superwash Merino, 20 Nylon, and 5 Gold Stellina. Oh yes… that means this yarn sparkles like crazy! It’s warm and golden like a September afternoon. This yarn was magical to work with; I kept going just to see what the next color was going to be and how it would work into the sock.

The pattern itself kept things interesting with its crazy cable up the front and twists on either side. That cable was a doozy… I messed it up multiple times. Luckily, you can’t really tell. I also screwed up the bind-off on the first sock, but it still fits up over my heel, so it’s all okay!

Modifications? I dropped down to size 1 needles, knitting 72 stitches. My magic vanilla sock strategy is size 0 needles with 72 stitches. So, I kept the stitch count, but couldn’t get the cast-on just right on size 0 needles. On my next pattern in the book, I’m keeping the size 1 needles, but dropping to 64 stitches to get a slightly slimmer fit. They don’t feel like they’re going to fall down or anything… they could just be a little snugger.

Lessons learned from this: do not start a new technique, whether it’s a new cable, a new cast-on, or a new bind off, until you’re sure you know what the outcome is supposed to look like. I had to watch three different videos on the Judy’s Magic Cast-on technique before I understood fully what was going on. But now that I get it, I’m converted to toe-up socks for life! I just need to practice on those size 0s.

HO Pumpkin Spice

Half Object Pumpkin Spice Latte Socks

 And now of for the double-dipping…. Another podcast I adore is A Homespun House with the amazing Molly, who is hosting a KAL for knitting with Stellina. One pair of socks. Two knit alongs. Done and done!

Next up…. I’m hoping to do the Espresso Macchiato socks on Sweet Sparrow Yarns’ Miss Honey (Matilda!) colorway in the Nuthatch base. The yarn does stripe, but probably not as pronounced as I’ll need for this particular pattern. I’ve cast on the toe and I’ll know by the time I reach the full 64 stitches whether or not I can Macchiato with this yarn. (BTW… Macchiato is totally a verb.)

I still plan to get Jordan’s Bitty Breeze cardigan finished by autumn; but any additional knit shirts or cardigans I’d planned for me this summer have been de-queued in favor of SOCKS! (Notice I said knit there… I’m still sewing.) I’m also planning to do a lace shawl from the first issue of Making. More queue-jacking there! Perhaps that will be my Ravellenic Games entry this year. Mmmmm.

Making Zine Tulip Shawlette

Making Zine Tulip Shawlette

FO: Rosemont Cardigan and #wewearknitbot

Rosemont 2

This month, one of my favorite knitwear designers, Hannah Fettig, celebrated the one year anniversary of her amazing book, Home & AwayThis collection of knitwear features sweaters and accessories meant for cozy days at home or adventures out and about. My favorite Simple Hat is from this book! Yay!

In honor of this anniversary, Hannah hosted an Instagram fashion show! This was my entry: my Rosemont cardigan from Home & Away, knit in Quince & Co Lark. I chose my favorite Glacier colorway for this heavyweight springtime cardigan.

Looking back, I probably could have (should have) knit a smaller size (maybe two?). But… I really wanted an oversized shawl cardigan. Yeah, so it’s a bit on the “drowning” side. But it’s so cozy, I only sort of care. Like when I’m having my picture taken. I care much less about the largeness of this sweater when I’m curled up on the couch. Then? Oh, then it’s just right! So, while I chose to go out-and-about with this sweater (to the library!), it’s more of a “Home” than an “Away”.

April Queue Check & Goals

With March done (and DONE!) let’s take a quick peek at the Spring 2016 knitting queue….

Alpinism by Maria Krebs

Finished last weekend! My sister Jen texted me and asked for a sporty headband to keep her ears warm while she trains for an upcoming 5k with her daughter. So this was a last-minute addition to the Spring 2016 queue. Knit up in Sweet Georgia Tough Love Sock yarn for extra durability.

Rosemont by Hannah Fettig

Blocking! I had this one in the queue for next fall… but then Hannah announced an Instagram fashion show with lots of awesome giveaways for the anniversary of her Home & Away collection (which I so love). Yeah, this was another one that moved up the queue unexpectedly. More on this project by itself once it finishes blocking. Really hoping to make the 4/10 deadline!

SCHOOL GIRL SOCKS BY CABINFOUR

This is the one thing that was actually in the queue heading into March! This pair of socks fits great inside my Madewell ankle boots, and keeps my feet cozy but not hot. Awesome! I used some leftover yarn from Jen’s Simple Hat to make myself a pair of “Peacock Girl” socks. That makes me smile probably more than it should.

Next up? A pair of Favorite Socks by Voolenvine for Chris and a Bitty Breezy Cardigan by Hannah Fettig for my niece Jordan, both of which I cast on this week.

Singer Stylist - New

In other making news, I got my sewing machine! I’ve been practicing with it and ran through a Tilly & the Buttons Make Friends with a Sewing Machine online workshop to get a handle on things. I’m happy to say that it was mostly a refresher, though I know I’ll be referring back to the troubleshooting and cleaning section in the future.

I’ve purchased some nice fabric (a light chambray and a Brussels Washer woven)  from Fancy Tiger Crafts in Colorado and a Tiny Pocket Tank pattern from Grainline Studio.  I’m planning on making two basic tanks to wear under my knit cardigans for this season and then expanding my skills for Summer.

Making Plans - April 2016

How are your Spring craft goals coming along? Do you prefer to plan things out or wing it? I’m definitely a planner: as long as I have a plan at any moment, I’m good. That plan can change, but I just need to have a plan… any plan. Ha!

Hope you’re all having a great week!

FO: The Snowy Shore Cardigan

It’s another Finished Object (FO) day! Today, we’re taking a look at a Little Shore Cardigan that I knit up for my friend Lisa’s daughter. Lisa you may know from her outstanding sewing and crafts blog Mabey She Made It. That girl is so darn talented! I’m so proud to know her. And I’m thrilled to contribute to her daughter’s handmade wardrobe. Without further ado….

Snowy Shore Cardigan 4

Let me just say: I adore this cardigan. Everything about it. The color, the high-low hem, the rustic yet soft wool-alpaca blend. Seriously, I’m smitten. This pattern was designed by Carrie Bostick Hoge, the mastermind behind the Annabel Babe Cardigan I knit for Megan’s daughter back in February. Just like the Annabel Babe Cardigan, this top-down sweater features simple construction with clean lines. But, the added detail of the a-line shaping and high-low hem make this design something extra special.

Snowy Shore Cardigan 2

I worked it up in the suggested Quince & Co Owl, and I’m so very glad I did. That recommendation was absolutely the best possible choice (in my mind) for this design. The yarn has a beautiful loft to it and a subtle halo that adds softness and a bit of sheen without taking away from the crispness of each individual stitch. Plus, Owl is a joy to work with on the needles. If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you’ll know I got gauge for this piece on the first try and fell in love when I blocked the swatch.

Snowy Shore Cardigan 3

It was lovely working with a sewist on this particular project! Lisa had all of Saige’s measurements and I was easily able to determine that I should knit a size 6, which would give her 3″ of positive ease. Suggested ease on this pattern is 1-3″ and I like opting for more ease on this design to create a swingy a-line rather than a more fitted look. So much fun! Lisa brilliantly paired the cardigan with brown leggings and riding boots to show off that swingy style.

Check out my project page for the Snowy Shore Cardigan to see more photos of this gorgeous cardigan. And take note of the Collaboration page for my Mabey She Made It knits. I’ll be updating that page with each collaborative garment I create for Lisa.

A special thanks and shout out to Lisa for her stunning photography! {Grins!}

FO: Abigail Cardigan & Spring at Wheeler Farm

Spring is just around the corner, and we are feeling it! Last weekend, it got up into the high 50s with glorious sunshine and we’ve been hovering in the low 60s this week. Okay, sure, it’s stormy and gloomy today, but it’s not cold, which makes me a happy camper.

But last weekend? We had this….

Wheeler_Mtn_1

Which meant it was time to take the Abigail Cardi on its first outing to Wheeler Farm, which happens to be just down the street from my house.

Abigail Cardi_1

This cardigan is definitely my lucky cardigan… not because good things happen to me while I’m wearing it (too early to tell), but because it’s a freaking miracle that the thing fits! Here’s why: I started this cardigan back in 2012 and I didn’t swatch. I. Didn’t. Swatch. What was I thinking? Oh yeah…. I was a newbie knitter who didn’t know any better. Darn you, past Kim!

Well, present Kim decided to pull this project out of the back of the linen closet and try to salvage it, in the name of aiming for a Stash Less 2016. I figured if it ended up not fitting—and I resigned myself to the fact that it probably wouldn’t—I could always give it to my niece. So, I took a deep breath, finished the last sleeve, soaked it in my fave Twig & Horn Lemongrass wool soap, and pinned it out on the blocking mats.

Once it was dry, I tried it on…. and sat on the floor next to my blocking mats, giggling like a crazy person. It fit! And it was ever so soft and lightweight. It was perfect. The Fibre Company’s Canopy fingering weight yarn gives each stitch beautiful loft and a subtle halo, thanks to the 50% baby alpaca fibre content. The rest of the yarn is made up of bamboo and merino wool, which means it’s sturdy, has a bit of sheen, and lovely drape.

Side Note: The Conifer color way that I used here appears to have been discontinued. Good thing I bought enough back in 2012!

Side view so you can see what I mean about the drape…. Forgive the squinting into the sun….

P1010908

We had an amazing afternoon hanging out in the sunshine and seeing all of the animals, who seemed to be as happy as we were about the weather.

P1020003

Think they know I’m wondering if someone’s going to spin their wool into yarn?

P1010990

And one last image of the farm… Come on, spring!

P1020027

I have a planner full of springtime knits to make and share with you, as well as some fantastic guest models and photographers. It’s going to be a great season!

Knitting for Babies and FO: Annabel Cardigan

jacksoki1-annabelFive quick true-to-me facts about knitting for babies….

  1. Awwwww….
  2. Fast, small knits make for fantastic travel companions! These are my go-tos for public/travel knitting. I can tuck one in my carry on and have another in my suitcase, in case I finish the first on the way there and need something to start in the hotel.
  3. Baby garments are great conversation starters. Want to make friends in an airport? Work on a baby sweater. Your neighbors will talk your ear off!
  4. Handmade wardrobes for babies are so much fun! Sure, they’ll grow out of the garments, but the items can easily be passed down or passed along to another child at daycare.
  5. PSA bonus: In our quick-fashion society, this little person has something to wear into which someone put effort, care, and mindfulness. To me, that is worth so very much.

jacksoki3-annabel

Case in point: the Annabel Babe Cardigan by Carrie Bostick Hoge,  today’s FO (finished object), modeled by the adorable Lauri Grace, Megan Hoeppner’s daughter. I knit up the cardigan in a 6-month size, since I’d heard mention that Lauri’s 3-month clothes were starting to wear a little tight. Plus, who cares if a cardi is a tad over-sized? It’s comfy! And it should get her through the cool, spring days.

jacksoki6-annabel

Now, Carrie (aka Madder) is one of my favorite knit designers: her simple garter-stitch baby garments  often feature top-down construction, making them quick to knit up and hard to mess up… even when you’re sitting in the middle seat on a plane from Philly to Phoenix. The Annabel Babe Cardigan is no exception: this sweet little sweater went together about a week, with some distracted knitted. I’m not a monogamous knitter: I have so many projects on the needles! I’m trying to be more focused, and transitioning my blog to more of a knitting space is definitely helping with that! Plus, by knitting for other people, I’m able to self-impose deadlines much more effectively.

jacksoki8-annabel

Let’s talk about the yarn…. once again I’ve used Quince & Co Chickadee for its delightful squishiness, cost-effectiveness, high-quality, and gorgeous color. This sweater is 100% American-made from farm to closet! (Totally a thing, right?)

This Valentine pink is their Pomegranate color way, and I used just over two skeins. I purchased three skeins, so I have enough left for a Simple Hat or a small pair of mittens.

PS. All the photos in this post were taken by the super-talented Megan! Thank you so much for joining me today!

The Simple Hat Project: Hoeppner Girls

Hello, hello! I’m back to share a quick look at another participant in the Simple Hat Project! As many of you know, I used to work with the fabulous Megan Hoeppner, and am lucky to count her among my friends. This Christmas, I surprised her and her girls with a trio of Simple Hats! Of course, she was kind enough to immediately take some photos of the girls and give me permission to share them with you. Aren’t they too cute for words? 
SimpleHat-MaggieLauri-02102016

Here, we have two darling hats in child and baby sizes, knit up in shades of pink, perfect for little girls’ adventures in the snow. Coincidentally, Maggie’s beanie matches her snow pants! I know, right?!

SimpleHat-MaggieLauri-02102016B

Thanks for stopping by! Learn more about the Simple Hat Project, and find out how you can participate, too. Have a lovely long weekend, if you’re here in the States!

The Simple Hat Project: Introduction

I’ve started a new knitting project: a Simple Hat Project. The idea? Make Simple Hats from Hannah Fettig’s Home & Away collection and give them away as gifts, including sending out One-to-Wear/One-to-Share packages. These hats knit up so very quick and take very little yarn—they’re perfect for this idea! I knit four hats for family members for Christmas, as a proof of concept on how fast I could get these out. Each of the hats in this project will be knit in Quince & Co’s Chickadee, an American, 100% wool, sport-weight yarn. Unlike a lot of sport-weight yarns, Chickadee has some delightful squish to it!

A brief interlude on squish. Pick up a skein of yarn and squeeze it. Does it feel pillowy and bounce back? Is it soft and does it make you smile? Do you want to hug it? You’ve found a squishy yarn! Back to the hats.

Simple Hat - Jen

First up is the hat I knit for my older sister, Jen. Her hat is knit in Peacock, a gorgeous deep teal. One of the things I love about Quince & Co is their colors: vibrant, consistent, and beautiful. I prefer to knit with solid colors rather than variegated yarns. For me, it boils down to the fact that I wouldn’t wear something variegated: it’s just not my style. I’ve knit projects with variegated yarns before (see previous projects) and I’ve avoided wearing the resulting sweaters for that reason. Anyway, Peacock is a great color for my sister’s blue eyes!

Simple Hat - Jordan

I love Hannah Fettig’s patterns. They’re always so beautifully written and easy to follow and the results are something that I would auto-reach for in a store. This particular pattern has a range of sizes: Baby, Toddler, Child, Adult, and Large Adult. Jen’s hat was an Adult size with an extra inch added for slouch. Here, I’ve knit a standard Child hat for my niece Jordan. Not pictured? My niece Cali in her hat. She’s a teen going through a “don’t take my picture” phase. (Sad!) But her hat is also a child size, with an extra inch for slouch. The Simple Hat is insanely versatile!

Simple Hat - Jill

Speaking of sizing, my mom’s hat is an adult large with no extra slouching. This created a nice beanie with plenty of room, which fits my mom’s personal style. Adding extra length to get slouch in a Simple Hat is an easy way to customize the hat for the wearer’s personality!

Each of these hats took between 1-2 skeins of yarn and Chickadee prices out at $7.85 per skein. I’ve been able to get both a child’s hat and a baby hat out of a single skein. Yes, you can have super affordable, high quality, made in the US hats! You just gotta make them yourself. PSA over! Alternatively, you could be a part of the Simple Hat project!

Join the Simple Hat Project

If you would like to be part of the Simple Hat Project (and get a hat!), here’s what you need to do: Leave me a comment through the link to the left (or below depending on how you got here). Tell me who you would like to give a hat to, and why…. Make sure to include your e-mail in your poster profile so I can reach you! If you’re selected, I’ll be in touch. Easy peasy! Caveat: You have to be willing to share photos of you and your “share” in your hats!

The Simple Hat Project will continue throughout 2016, and I’ll be sharing photos and stories of people in their hats. I would love to have hats all over the country! A girl can dream, right? I hope you join me for this fun project!

Ravellenic Games 2012

So I recently discovered that whenever the Olympics roll around, knitters get crazy! It all has to do with the competition on Ravelry formerly known as the Ravelympics (thanks for the name change, IOC…). It’s pretty simple: cast on during the games, finish during the games. In addition to the Ravelry competition, one of my local yarn stores, Unraveled Sheep, is holding its own contest. I’m a sucker for a good knitting competition (prizes!!), so I cast on Gudrun Johnston’s Norie hat, using some ultra-squishy wool, silk, and cashmere yarn I purchased last month at a trunk show, Anzula Dreamy.

This yarn is incredible. After talking with the fabulous gals who make this yarn, I knew that it was a heavy fingering that’s almost a sport-weight yarn. It actually worked really well as a substitute for the DK weight called for by the pattern. Usually, I’m a stickler for using the yarn weight specified, but I really (really, really) wanted this hat in this yarn. I knit up a gauge swatch and got gauge pretty quickly with a needle adjustment and went to town.

The pattern is absolutely a joy to knit. Enough detail to keep it interesting, but not so difficult that you completely screw up while watching gymnastics. Hee! Okay, I had to rip out a whole lace section and redo it, but overall not too shabby.

Time: 3 days from cast-on to weaving in the ends.
Difficulty: 4.5
Total score: 24.9999

I know. Dork. Hee!