Wednesday, November 9, 2016

5 Sock WIP's...Wednesday!

That's right folks, I currently have FIVE socks wips going! Four of them are cast-on's for my trip to Rhinebeck, and the other one was cast-on for LoveSockWool Twelve Socks of Christmas KAL! Yay! More KALS!

Obviously I'm really excited to participating in KALs still. All my socks are knit on US 1.5 needles with either 64 or 68 stitches, heel flap and gusset and traditional wedge toe!

I have my Stephen socks in special edition Hedgehog Fibers from my summer Yarn Along. This gorgeous speckled heaven was in a shawl but the yarn really needed to be socks so I frogged the shawl and cast on these amazing socks!

My second sock WIP I brought on my trip is my Fairy socks out of Peepaloo Fields I am so in love with this colorway! The best part is I have two more hanks for a shawl!

The last sock WIP I brought to Rhinebeck with me is the Lorna's Laces sock yarn inspired by The Hobbit! This actually is a variegated yarn that spiraled into these amazing colors, I'm not usually a fan of pooling but this came out so well.

Once I got back from my trip I had to cast-on this fall inspired sock yarn that was given to me. I'm finding the yarn a little thin but so nice to knit with, it's a BFL, cashmere, silk blend and I can't wait to have them on my feet.

Last week I cast-on for the 12 socks of Christmas KAL. The first sock is Cascade Heritage Prints Holidays colorway. We are knitting these as a KAL in the yarn shop I work at, out Thursday night knit group ladies are all knitting socks out of this yarn. So the shop KAL plays nicely with the KAL for Sara @ LoveSockWool.

These definitely aren't my only WIPs but they are the ones that have my main focus. Joining Ginny and Frontier Dreams with their "Along's" I've just started reading a new book about the history of knitting during war time and I've paused my reading of Harry Potter until I can give the illustrations a little more time.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Indie Dyer in the House!

Just like the title says, a new indie dyer is in the house...not really! In the last two months my mom and I have been experimenting with dyeing our own yarn! (Not that I really needed more yarn to add to stash) It's been an extremely fun way to dive into another part of this wonderful yarn universe.

We've started off using icing dyes purchased from Michael's and blank yarn from Knit Picks (merino/nylon and merino/nylon/stellina) which have worked out perfectly for us!

I've only dyed yarn one other time before my mom and I had started. The first was with my friend Andrea, Luna Purl, who owns an etsy shop and is a dye master! So, my mom and I are essentially newbees to everything but the internet is a great resource!

This is our first time using the dye pots. We wanted Halloween yarn to make some socks! It was a success and a fail at the same time, we got some dye but not enough vinegar so it didn't set well. The colors ended up a bit light for us so I set about doing some more research.

This is try number 2! We dyed the yarn outside instead of the kitchen, added WAY more vinegar and had smashing success! We dyed sock blanks first and set the dye in the steamer, so much easier than letting it heat in the pot. While those were setting I attempted speckles but got more of a splashy effect so we tried a different speckling technique for my moms and the speckles were perfect!

The last time I used the dye pots was just me out in the backyard. This was the first time I dyed two hanks to look the same and the first time I was over-dyeing a previously dyed hank of yarn. I have to say, they turned out very close! This was also the first time I tried for variegated yarn (this is one I tried dip-dyeing with) which is the pink and yellow hank. So far the yarn dyeing adventure has been super fun! I need to purchase more blank yarn to experiment with...and maybe some new bases too!

Sunday, October 9, 2016


So, this is my introduction post for slow fashion October. If you haven't heard anything about the movement here is the original post and idea maker Karen Templar (link).

I find slow fashion kind of a tricky topic to address, not because of the idea behind it but because of my own feelings toward my purchasing habits and making. I love the idea of a streamlined wardrobe that matches my personality, making, and creativity. My hang up is, I don't know my style. I know what I might like it to be, I know what I find I 'mood board' about but it's not one cohesive style. I fall into two 'categories' if you will, modern vintage and casual crafty.

Most days I'm dressed in high-wasted skirt and top or a knee length dress. Other days you'll find me in a cute top, jeans, Birkenstock's and hand knit socks. I guess I'm not really sure how to 'make' for this wardrobe.

Slow fashion for me is knowing who my yarn and fabric come from. Not so much as what plant they were produced in, but what shop/family/business am I supporting when I make a purchase. Is it some nameless big box or a small local shop on my travels or the area I live in?

Money, for me, is a significant factor on where, when, and who I can buy from. This month for #slowfashionoctober I will be focusing on cultivating my style so my purchasing and making head towards a capsule wardrobe that will last me for years. Instead of making impulse and fast fashion/fad purchasing. Even knitting has fads and popularity trends that may look great now but won't hold my interest for the future.

For myself, I'm coming to the realization that my wardrobe doesn't need to look like everyone else. My capsule wardrobe doesn't have to be black, tan, gray, and cream. It can be army green, cranberry, cream, and denim. I just need to find what works for me not what works and looks good on others.

I'm me and I'm proud of that, so I need to figure out where I fit in this industry not where I think I should fit. Other than finding my style over the month I'm searching for the answer to this question:

          What do you do with your hand knits where they've become too worn?

Slow fashion October is a shift in mindset, and shift in making, and a shift in purchasing. I need to remember this shift wont happen in a month. This is a lifetime commitment that will flow and change and take some getting used to.

I think I'm up for the challenge.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Feeling Moody

I've been a bit moody about my knitting lately. Nothing has really inspired me to work on it; I'm not loving any of the patterns, none of the colors are speaking to me, everything is just...meh. I think its this period of transition into fall. It's not really summer any more but definitely not fall yet.

I'm ready for:

1. Cool weather (give me grey skies!)

2. Wearing handknits season (this goes hand-in-hand with cool weather)

3. Cozy up under a blanket and read a book (again cool weather)

4. RAIN!

I need Fall!

So with this restless feeling taking over and my knitting not fulfilling, I've started sewing. I work full time at a yarn shop but we're actually one business with a quilt shop! We have two different store fronts but one name and one staff. This has given me the opportunity to be surrounded by AMAZING fabrics.

My ultimate goal is to be able to sew my own clothing but I'm going to start off with some project bags and a small quilt first. I'm currently borrowing a Janome sewing machine from one of my favorite customers at the shop. She's looking to sell and I'm looking to buy, so far the machine has been great. And I've made three project bags!

The first bag was made with great aid from my friend and co-worker Claire. She makes the project bags that we sell in the shop and they are amazing quality in the perfect sizes. I made a nice large one with a few pockets for a large shawl and small blanket.

The second and third bags I made on my own. Everyone I know who sews has been handing off fabric and rulers like they are going out of style. I'm currently swimming in fabric that I don't have time to use yet :) One set of fabric was Halloween/Fall fabric! I've been eyeing Halloween bags on Etsy and I'm so excited that I got to make my own!

Ta Da! Yay! Halloween bag for me and enough leftover fabric to make my mom one too! The thrid bag I made was a simple draw string bag that was supposed to have a round bottom but I made kind of squircle, but cutting the corners off of a square. I also started a new fall inspired sock project to match my new bag!

So my Friday's off have been spent in the sewing classroom at the quilt shop working on my new skills! Yay for self teaching! I'm joining Ginny and Frontier Dreams in the Yarn Along for the week. I'm slowly making my way through the illustrated Harry Potter and the Sorcerer Stone but The Chamber of Secrets came out today!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

SSKAL Completed!

I finished my sweater! Yay! Woop, woop, woop! And it fits perfectly! Isn't that every knitters worry that their sweater won't fit when they finish? I definitely worried when I adjusted what size I was going to make because my gauge was larger than what the pattern called for. Had I used a smaller needle my sweater would have been bullet proof.

But my adjustments ended up being exactly perfect!

 I can't wait to be able to wear this on my trip to New York in a few weeks! I'm hoping the weather cooperates and it's actually cold enough. As a reminder the pattern is Chimney Fire and the yarn is Blarney Woollen Mills Aran Handknitting Wool.

The only adjustments I made intentionally was lengthening the body by an inch and go up a needle size when I started knitting in the round. I believe I had two extra stitches on the right arm in comparison to what the pattern called for. It didn't make any difference until I got to the cuff, then I had to decrease two extra stitches for the ribbing pattern to match up with the cables.

While blocking, the arms got a touch long so I've folded the cuffs to the correct length. I think I'll live with this for my trip to NY and if I don't like it throughout the trip I'll rip back and bind-off a little earlier. All-in-all I'm ecstatic about my sweater and very proud. I think, this sweater is the most impressive looking piece I've knit so far, but not necessarily the hardest. It really was basic sweater constructions with a few extras thrown in to keep you interested :)

My reading for this week has been the illustrated version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer Stone. So many childhood memories are coming back with this comfort read. The illustrations are just what you  would expect from a Harry Potter novel. Though I was sad there was no illustration of the letter flying through the chimney for Harry! Joining Ginny and Frontier Dreams for the Yarn and Craft Along this week!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Rosie Ley Lines

Joji Locatelli for the win again! I always love how simple yet stunning her designs are, and Ley Lines fits right in with that description. This is an interesting shawl with a unique and fun construction. I started it for the Olympic KAL but obviously didn't finish it until now!

The pattern starts at one end and then increases (and some decreases) are added to certain areas to give the ribbing shape. I didn't find this shawl difficult just something I had to pay attention too, there were a few times I had to rip back because I missed increases.

This blocked exceptionally large, just the way I wanted it to. I can wear this wrapped around my neck (as per usual) or draped over my shoulders (I find this fiddly and don't do it very often.) And the color! I am so in love with Lost City Knits yarns and their bases. This is the Foothill fingering base, 100% Merino. There yarn is light and lofty 2-ply but so soft!

I found towards the end of the knit I ended up bored, repeating the sections became somewhat tedious. Though now that it's finished I'm glad that I added this to my fall wardrobe. When I weighed out my leftover yarn I found that I used about 100 yards less than what the pattern called for even though I'm pretty sure I followed it exactly. I don't have size issue though so I'm not going to worry about it. Yay for fall accessories!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

SLO Yarn Crawl

I'm very lucky as a knitter that I live within 5 hours drives of about 30 yarn stores! My knitting group and I joined a formal Yarn Crawl and drove down the coast to San Luis Obispo CA! See ya later 100 degree temp, hello 72! I was able to wear a shawl!

We stopped at a few yarn stores that weren't part of the crawl on our way down. If you ever have a chance to visit Monarch Knitting in Pacific Grove, do it, what an amazing shop! It will be one of my visit a few times a year shops; I would move to Pacific Grove just to have that as my local yarn shop.

We spent the night in an amazing hotel and had a knitting sleepover. This was a great prep-trip for Rhinebeck next month (24 DAYS!) sidenote: my sweater just needs the last sleeve and ends woven in!

The first shop was Yarns & Beads (in Grover Beach) who was having an Anzula trunk show, most of my knitting group is now ready to do a beaded shawl. We made a little beach pit stop first; in our excitement we arrived way before opening.

Then we moved on Yarns...At the Adobe. They also had a few local dyers there for a trunk show and snacks for everyone. Marilyn, in my knitting group, just found out she won their door prize!

The next shop we visited was Never Not Knitting! I'm am so excited that we got to visit this shop! They shop is tiny but stuffed full of amazing yarn and treasures! I didn't buy any yarn but ended up with fun little treasures. And Alana had an amazing gift bag for everyone who visited the shop!

We had two shops left to visit, the first was Ranch Dog Knitting and the last on our fun journey was Ball & Skein & More.

We had a total blast! I really enjoy visiting other shops, seeing their samples, trying new yarn. I came home with a couple hanks of yarn and other lovely yarn goodies. Can't wait until my local fiber fest the first weekend of October! 

I'm joining Ginny for the Yarn Along and Frontier Dreams in their Craft Along this week. I'm currently reading the illustrated version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer Stone! It's making me so happy to hop back into this world and the illustrations are lovely! Still chugging along on my Rhinebeck Sweater, I'm so close to done I can almost taste it! 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

HP all Over

With all the hype of the newest Harry Potter book release and play I'm got Potter on the brain. I just finished reading the new book and have the illustrated version prepped and ready to read. My knitting just seemed to follow along. My latest FO is Bellatrix Socks by Monkey Toes.

This sock pattern is part of my 12in16 club (mentioned here and here). This is pair #5 and I'm so in love with them!

The yarn I received as a graduation gift and I didn't have much of a plan for it. The yarn is Done Roving Yarns, Frolicking Feet in the Razzberry Brambles colorway. Frolicking Feet is a 100% Merino base and so springy! This yarn was so nice to knit with! I love the way the colors work in the dropped stitch sections, this was a perfect yarn for the pattern!

I did find that the drop stitches made the leg a bit loose. Because of this I decided not to use the drop stitches on the top of the foot. I used my regular US 1.5 needles and Eye of Partridge heel flat and turn, this combo couldn't be better for my foot shape! Toasty feet for fall for me!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

SSKAL Update #2

My sweater is cruising right along! I've finished the body then picked up and knit a few inches on the arm! For a recap, the pattern is Chimney Fire using Blarney Woollen Mills Aran Handknitting Wool. I worked on this project for the Summer Sweater KAL along with This Knitted Life Olympic KAL.

Now back to your regularly scheduled knitting talk. I fell a bit behind in the original finish date for the SSKAL, so a lost some of my motivation to work on my sweater. Everyone in the KAL so kindly voted to extend the finish date! Yay! So I started working on the arm of my sweater. I decided I won't decrease in the arm as fast as the pattern calls for, I don't want the arms to end up too tight! I'm going to wear my sweater more as a jacket so I would like a layer or two underneath.

To adjust for the fact that I knit tighter in the round than flat I went up a needle size. I used an US 8 for the body and I switched to a US 9 for the arm. I need to get to work! I'm a just a tad further along in the arms that my pictures show; I'm just to the elbow now.

In other news, the Olympic KAL I mentioned above wrapped up at the Olympic closing ceremonies. When everything was added up and counted I won a prize! Yay! Competition you are such a great motivator!

Andrea from This Knitting Life sent me this beautiful skein of Swan Island fingering weight yarn. This is a beetroot base dye that is just gorgeous, such a tonal purple. I can't wait to find the perfect project for this! Thanks Andrea!

I'm joining Ginny for the Yarn along and Frontier Dreams. I just finished Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, 3 out of 5 vote for me. I went in thinking that it wasn't an original HP book so I wasn't too disappointed. I'm glad that I read it but I won't need to again.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Lacey May

Social events, for me, aren't always fun. I'm great with yarney people, we speak the same language. I'm not always the best with non-yarney people who are new to me. Knowing this, I always bring what I call 'social knitting'. A non-thinking, easy to knit, don't look at my hands project. Plain. Vanilla. Socks.

Mid August we had a family friends baby's first birthday! Ms. Lacey May turned one! 


I cast on plain vanilla socks, 64 stitches, US 1.5 needles, 9 inch circulars; my really basic formula. Brought these to the birthday party and made a significant amount of the cuff and leg. I worked on them furiously the whole week, mainly because I hand-dyed the yarn! Yay me! I'm so happy with how the dye job turned out!

I have a yarnie friend, Andrea, who owns an etsy yarn dyeing business, Luna Purl Yarns. She invited me over to come dye experiment, yarn science as she calls it. I was inspired by yarn I was coveting from etsy and took a stab at dyeing a similar colorway. I'm so in love with how the yarn turned out!

I finished them a week to the day. I went on a yarn crawl with some of my knitting group to a few of the local yarn stores. Lucky me, I wasn't the driver. Which means I had plenty of knitting time! I finished up the last toe and kitchenered in the car! 

Happy feet for me! 

I put these into Grocery Girls second sock summer, pair number 7 or 8 I think. The original base of the yarn is Sweet Georgia that I over dyed. Think this works for the Canada KAL? Let me know!

I'm joining Ginny this week with the yarn along, I just finished reading The Martian by Andy Weir. I really enjoyed a more in-depth view of the story than was in the film, but I also enjoyed the fact that I could pictured the actors in the film as the characters. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is next on my bed-side table.