gulf shores socks

Last weekend was spent at one of my all time favorite places in the world, the beach! Gulf Shores, Alabama to be precise. We had a grand time lounging in the sun, making and destroying sand castles, and floating in the surf. But for me, relaxation wouldn't be complete without some form of knitting! So I brought along a skein of some gorgeous Knitting Knotions sock yarn I picked up at Stitches South in an appropriately beach-themed colorway (Mediterranean) and set out on attempt number two to make some Monkeys (Rav project link). This time, much more successful than the last attempt! These photos don't do this colorway justice. This yarn is stunning. Subtle greens, and shades of blue ranging from turquoise to periwinkle blue. It really reminds me of the colors of the sky, mixed with the colors of a blue-green sparkling ocean. My favorite colors! Between the pretty yarn and the fun pattern, I predict these socks will be finished in no time!

zucchini love

Lately, my house has felt like a zucchini bread factory. Over the past two weeks, I have come into possession of not one, not two, but four monster-sized zukes like the one above. These babies were massive. Seriously--after prepping and shredding two of them, I had 12 cups of shredded zucchini. With most recipes averaging one cup of shredded zucchini per loaf, I was reeling at the number of loaves that would translate into. In one of those crazy serendipitous moments, I picked up the summer issue of Knitscene to realize it included a recipe for Selma's Chocolate Zucchini Bread. Since the recipe calls for a ton of zucchini and produces nearly four loaves in one batch, I knew I had found my solution for dealing with my zucchini windfall.

The verdict? Yummmmm .... I highly recommend! Selma's Chocholate Zucchini Bread is definitely going to become one of my regular go-to recipes. I ended up making one batch, which produced two large loaves, one regular-sized loaf, and several mini loaves. The rest of the zucchini is hanging out in the freezer, frozen in two cup increments, ready and waiting for a craving for zucchini bread to strike this winter.

The Tapered Tote Pattern

I'm proud to announce the release of my first felted bag pattern, the Tapered Tote!

The Tapered Tote is constructed seamlessly, leaving you with no pesky finishing to do at the end of your project! The straps are knit one at a time and then grafted together at the top using a three-needle bind off. Full instructions are provided for felting the bag in your washing machine. This pattern is an excellent beginner’s felting project. Felting is a fun and easy technique that you’ll find quickly becomes addictive!

Yarn: Cascade 220, two skeins (note: you will only use 2/3rds of your second skein)
Needles: Size 10.5 32-inch circulars, one set of 10.5 dpn

Techniques utilized: knit, purl, pick up stitches, decrease, three-needle bind off.

Yarn Recommendations:

  • Most animal-based fibers will felt. Wool is the most commonly used fiber for felting, but alpaca, angora, and mohair will felt as well. You can weave in decorative yarns (fun fur, etc.) in your projects, as long as you hold them double with an animal-based fiber that will felt.

  • Cautionary note: AVOID SUPERWASH YARNS (these have been treated so they won’t felt when washed!)

  • Fiber mixtures (i.e. part wool, part acrylic) have mixed results—if you aren’t sure if it will felt, knit a swatch and test it first!

  • Any time you mix different types of feltable yarn, knitting a test swatch is a good idea, since different yarns felt at different rates. You’ll have the most success if you combine yarns that felt at the same rate.

  • ANOTHER CAUTIONARY NOTE: White and off-white colors are notoriously difficult to felt with. The bleaching process to achieve a white color strips the scales on the wool that cause the felting process to occur. Do test swatches for any white colored felting project!

the Tapered Tote, $1.99

WIP Wednesday

My Monkeys and Jaywalkers may be giving me fits, but my Key Lime Knotted Openwork Scarf is going swimmingly! The photo below doesn't do the color justice, but gives you a better idea of what the pattern looks like. It's easier than it looks!

sock woes, cont.

This feels slightly heretical to type this, but am I the only one who is not completely in love with Grumperina's Jaywalker socks? If you've read my blog for any amount of time, you know I have fallen in love with String Theory's awesome self-striping yarn. I was itching to cast on with this colorway (Galactic Ghoul), but I wanted to try a pattern that manipulated the striping. Jaywalker seemed perfect--who doesn't like huge zig zags of color? And looking at this photograph, I do love the effect. But the feeling in my hands was much different. The fabric the stitch pattern created was so stiff and really had no give. The other thing that bugs me is the look of the two-stitch decrease in the middle of each zag. I'm probably crazy, but it just doesn't look neat to me. So as much as I like the zig zags, I've come to the realization that I'll never wear these socks if I don't like the way they feel. So these socks, along with my Monkeys, have both come to a screeching halt. Has anyone tried Broadripple? They look like a promising alternative ... and tomorrow, on to happier topics with WIP Wednesday!

sock woes (get outta my pool!)

Let's play a quick little game ... how many differences can you spot between these two pictures?

Excluding the background, the eagle-eyed among you will have noticed two major differences. These are the Monkey socks I gleefully cast on for during Stitches South back in April. I picked these guys back up this summer, knit happily away until I got to the heel flap, and was marveling over how fast these socks knit up until I realized that I was missing a fourth needle's worth of stitches. *smacks forehead* No wonder they were going so fast ... I was only knitting 3/4ths of the sock! I still can't believe I omitted an entire needle from the cast on ... I blame it on the intoxicating fumes of all things fiber that permeated Stitches South. Clearly, I was in some form of fiber-induced coma that temporarily disabled my counting abilities. So that was major difference #1 ... in the second picture I have frogged and re-cast on using the appropriate number of needles. I was happily determined to quickly re-knit the progress I had lost, until I encountered major difference #2 ... the dreaded pooling.

I have to admit, this is my first encounter in which the pooling became dreaded. In the past, I've been lucky enough that I liked or didn't mind any pooling that's occurred. So now I feel a little stuck. I really love this colorway, but I prefer it as it appears in the first picture ... I'm not in love with the khaki color enough to tolerate huge pools of it in my socks. Any suggestions? I've found one pattern, Everyone Outta The Pool that claims to effectively break up unwanted pooling. Any other suggestions? I'm currently using size 2 needles ... the size of the pooling is so large that I'd be surprised if I could break it up by switching to size 1's, but I haven't tried that yet.

Unfortunately, this is only part one of my sock woes ... tune in tomorrow for part two ...

start-itis (WIP Wednesday)

I've come down with a huge case of start-itis this month. I think it's the realization that it's already June (cringe) and that if I want to get my huge list of crafting to-do's done this summer, I'd better get going! So right now that means a mix of fun, fast and brainless projects to grab when I want a break from the projects that require more mental energy. My favorite pattern for easy, brainless, but stunning? The knotted openwork scarf (free pattern!). It only takes one skein of mohair/silk blend, which makes it a great way to justify those so-pretty-I-must-take-you-home-but-you-are-way-too-expensive-to-justify-purchasing-more-than-one-skein moments we all sucumb to in yarn shops. With purl "rest" rows, it only looks complicated.

And my project that requires some brain power? I'm turning this swatch into a felted bag pattern. Hopefully *fingers crossed* it'll be done by the end of this month!

2021 year in review

  Who would have thought that the second year of a pandemic would be worst than the first, in terms of crafting mojo? Not I. But this chart ...