summer finishes: 12 sweaters in 2018, sweater #4

Now I'm officially ready for Mississippi State University's women's basketball season! (that's when I'll finally want to wear this one, lol!) This sweater was finished in May, but I only took photos in July! Ooof. It's my second Carbeth Cardigan, and I adore it as much as my first. My favorite detail is the neckline at the back of the sweater (see below).

Yarn: Malabrigo Mecha (colorway: Jupiter) used 7.06 skeins = 918.8 yards
Needles: Size 10.5 for body, size 9 for ribbing. Addi Turbo's.
Mods: Added four inches in length to the body below the underarms (knit for 12" instead of the 8" pattern called for).

on my needles: two sweaters and a sock

I blinked and summer disappeared! But I never stopped making, so prepare yourself: it'll be an onslaught of catch up posts this week. But first things first--what am I working on now? Two sweaters and a pair of socks.

Current Project #1: aki sweater 

This sweater is a test knit for Ambah O'Brien, and it is divine. Two strands of lace weight yarn are held together: one is merino, the other a mohair/silk blend. Feels like a fluffy cloud! I'm using Spirit Trail Fiberworks in Clotho (colorway: pinkie tuscadero) combined with Hedgehog Fibres Kidsilk Lace (colorway: pinky swear). This photo doesn't do the Hedgehog Fibres yarn justice, it is gorgeous! Here's a sneak peek at the finished sweater pattern, which will be released in September.

Current Project #2: school day socks

These are my go-to toe-up socks for my daughter! She requested new socks, and I'd love to make socks for the first day of school a new tradition. This is a new-to-me self-striping indie dyer, Lori Wilson at the Yarn Jar. This is her "Belle" colorway and it just makes me happy! As for the pattern, these are vanilla toe-up socks. I'm using Wendy Johnson's serpentine sock pattern without the stitch pattern since the numbers work for my daughter's foot.

 Current Project #3: octopus garden stripey sweater

Now this one is embarrassing--I really should have finished this sweater before we commenced with an epic road trip in July. I stalled out once I realized I needed to rip this sleeve out and start over. Pattern is Veera's square and stripe pullover, and so far the fit is perfect. This will become a go-to base pattern I'm sure. Yarn is Long Dog Yarn Merino DK in the octopus garden colorway, along with Mary Maxim Mellowspun DK for the stripes. This I'll be able to finish quickly once I'm done with the first day of school socks!

addicted to stripes

What is it about knitting stripes that is so addicting? Socks that I knit with self-striping yarn fly off my needles, while non-striping socks will linger in unfinished limbo for years. This is my first sweater that has a regular striping pattern, and I'm finding myself feeling that self-striping sock deja vu all over again. Internally I'm chanting "one more stripe, one more stripe" as I knit. And I'm drawn to this project like a moth to flame--when I see it sitting on the table the project sings to me like a siren. I want to work on it in a way I haven't felt toward my knitting in quite some time. "Just one stripe, just one stripe" I tell myself when really I should be working on something else. 


Yes, I love this yarn. This yarn is indie-dyed and much coveted by me. It's deliciously speckled Merino DK by Long Dog Yarns in the colorway Octopus Garden. This picture does not do it justice--imagine oceanic turquoise, with spots of periwinkle and deep ocean blues mixed with lavenders and lilacs. Oh, and a sprinkle of neon green here and there to mix things up. I have coveted this yarn for two whole years while I was on a strict no-yarn-purchases diet. It was one of the first things I bought when I fell off the wagon this year. 

And yes, I love the interplay of the colors I chose for my stripes. I found the perfect periwinkle blue and lilac yarn in my stash for the stripe section. Not only are the colors perfect, but they were from my late grandmother's stash and that adds a level of sentimentality to incorporating them into the project.

But the real reason I find striping projects so dang addicting? I suspect that it is the internal progress marker of achieving another micro-goal every time I finish a stripe. Like getting a sticker for good behavior, I see that stripe and think, "look what I did!" And I can count the stripes and visually see that I'm making progress. And I feel myself knitting faster as I see that stripe count grow … 

We'll see how fast this sweater finishes. This may be a new personal record for me. Are you as addicted to knitting projects with stripes as I am?

#100dayproject stitching

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly slow, daily progress adds up. Last Wednesday I posted an update on my #100dayproject stitching. And here's where I stand as of Sunday morning this week--all that empty space you see below? That's all that remains! Seriously! Which I am floored by, because I started this project a year ago last May. And in less than two months of stitching a teeny tiny bit everyday I am almost finished. Which is good, because I have an even older needlepoint I stalled out on that I need to finish next! I'm racing to finish this by the end of May, but hopefully by the end of this week!

catch up

With the semester over and one week until public schools let out, summer is rapidly approaching here in Mississippi (it even feels like it with 90+ degree temps lately!). The prospect of summer means time to try new things, to dive head first into new crafts, and to set outrageously lofty goals for crafting. Basically, I want to make.all.the.things! Those who know me well will not be shocked by this at all. I've been so busy jumping right into my normal summer crafting mania that I've done a bad job of documenting my creations!

I'm still plugging away on my crazy stretch goal of knitting 12 sweaters this year. I'm about half-way finished with sweater #4. Does it look familiar? It should, since I'm making a second Carbeth Cardigan in a dark maroon color.

I've been faithfully stitching a little bit everyday, continuing my #100dayproject goal of stitching for 100 days consecutively. I've been making good progress on a large needlepoint project I started in May 2017 and I also finished an adorable bee embroidery (below) for an end-of-the-year teacher present.

Last Wednesday I took a weaving class, and dove head first into a new hobby. We wove hand towels in the class. I still need to finish knotting the ends and then complete the finishing process. I can definitely feel myself falling hard for this new craft!

And the other new craft I'm diving into is using a punch needle! I have the Amy Oxford punch needle, which I first learned about on Instagram. It looked like a fun way to use up stash yarn--so far it has been a delight!

Anyone else have craaaazy goals they hope to achieve this summer? I know I'm not the only one!

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12 sweaters in 2018: sweater #3

This week I finished my third sweater of 2018, my Carbeth cardigan. It needs a good blocking to smooth the button bands before I take some photos modeling it, but suffice to say I haven't really taken it off since I finished weaving in ends and sewed on buttons!

This pattern is knit with bulky yarn using LARGE needles (size 10.5). So this sweater should have been finished sooner--but I added length to the body and subsequently ran out of yarn. And then ran out of yarn again. So I'm calling this one my "big purple yarn eater." But the wait was definitely worth it. The best part of this pattern are the details. I'd never knit an i-cord edging on a ribbed button band before, but wow what a difference it makes. But my favorite detail is the collar. It's what makes this sweater super cozy and comforting--ribbing folded over on itself. It wraps your neck in a cozy hug. What drew me to the pattern were these structural details--the distinctive collar and decrease lines on the front and back of the sweater. I'm positive I'll be making this sweater again ... probably soon since I have another sweater quantity of Malabrigo Mecha sitting in my stash!

Pattern: Carbeth Cardigan (link to my Ravelry project page)
Needles: Size 10.5 Addi Turbo's
Yarn: Malabrigo Mecha (colorway: dewberry), used 7.64 skeins (764 grams)
Mods: Added four inches in length to the body below the underarms (knit for 12" instead of the 8" pattern called for).
Verdict: PURE LOVE!

sunday's stitches 2018, vol. 4

sunday's stitches: a moment to slow down and savor
whatever your stitching on

See my progress from week to week on past sunday's stitches.

hitting snooze on my sweater

So I'm running out of yarn. Again. This sweater is turning into the big purple yarn eater. Now, I know that I created this yarn eating monster by adding a significant amount of length the body. The original pattern is cropped--but I'm just not a cropped sweater kind of girl. I measured my smallest favorite cardigan and the body length was 12 inches from under the armpit. This pattern calls for only 8 inches. Sooooo ... I added four inches of length to the body. And I loooooove it. But I'm ready to finish! So I've temporarily hit "snooze" while I wait for the extra skein of yarn to arrive. I'm tempted to finish off the remaining yarn I have, but .... common sense tells me the new yarn will be different and I'll want the option to alternate skeins. So I'm forcing myself to be patient.

In the meantime ... my crochet hook is calling me! This is an old WIP I started in December, my seventh time making Moogly's Artfully Simply Infinity Scarf. The yarn is Dream in Color Smooshy in the colorway Ruby River.

FO Friday: sweater #2 of 12

So in January I set a super crazy stretch goal for myself: to knit 12 sweaters this year. I promptly finished my Weekender sweater (which I'm still loving!), and then knit this sweater for my daughter during the Olympics. And then it sat, patiently waiting for buttons. For weeks. Ooops. This is a bigger version of the last sweater I made her, which she has worn since November 2015. I can't tell you how happy that makes me--a solid 2.5 years of wear! This one I knit purposely with ample room. With luck, it'll last a couple years as well. This project qualifies for my unofficial #knityourlibrary challenge for myself, since it uses a book I've owned since 2013. Ann Budd's Handy Book of Top Down Sweaters. It's a great one if you like to make simple sweaters, top-down (with little seaming) and just want to buy yarn and do something straightforward with it.

Pattern:  Basic Raglan Sweater - Child by Ann Budd (link to my Ravelry project page)
Needles: Size 8 Addi Turbo's
Yarn: 2.25 skeins of Hobby Lobby I Love This Yarn (colorway: Fruit Salad)
Mods: None! Knit size 28" chest, using 5 stitches per inch gauge.

WIP Wednesday: sweater edition

Sadly, this is not all that I have on my needles at the moment. But this project is my top priority, as it is the closest to being finished! This will be #3 of the 12 sweaters in 2018 goal. The pattern is Carbeth Cardigan, and the yarn is yummy yummy Malabrigo Mecha in the Dewberry colorway. I should have finished this sweater last month--it's bulky yarn knit on size 10 needles! But I stalled out once I realized that I would need to buy additional yarn to finish this project. Being in denial, I waited a week or so before ordering more yarn. And then I needed to wind the yarn. And then it just sat there because I knew I would need to alternate skeins, since the new yarn does not match the old yarn. At all. (Hence the three balls of yarn you see in this photo--those are all attached to the body right now!). And let's face it, alternating skeins is annoying. But I have two sleeves done! And I'm a few short inches away from finishing the bottom of the body. So the end is definitely in sight! And I know I will love this sweater!  Linking up for old time's sake with Ginny at Yarn Along.

free quilt recipe: easy monogram baby quilt

It has been so long since I've sewn something--my best intentions to "sew something every month" have fallen by the wayside since I made that New Year's crafting goal. But when a dear friend requested something special for a newborn niece, I couldn't say no.

If you follow my Instagram feed, then you saw this quilt in progress last weekend. It came together super quickly--I pieced the top on a Friday, put the sandwich together on Sunday, and had the quilting done within four hours. With a sewn-on binding, this whole quilt took less than 12 hours. Ahhh, the speed of a crib-sized quilt with zero real piecing!

Hands down, this was the most successful and most "artistic" machine quilting I've ever done. The "M" is for Maeve. I started by taping out the M with washi tape (since that's what I had on hand). My plan was to quilt next to the washi tape, using it as my guide line. By pure luck I had picked a main fabric with a grid pattern--that helped a lot when mapping out the M. I measured the half-way point between my two vertical lines and used a ruler to eyeball equal angles on both sides. When I started quilting, the washi tape quickly detached. So I stopped and grabbed my disappearing ink embroidery pen and marked the corners of my M. Then I just used the pattern on the fabric as my guideline to create straight-ish lines. And breathed a HUGE sigh of relief when the first "M" was finished! From that point it was a lot less stressful, since I could follow my original M as my guideline. I alternated between approximately and 1/8" and 1/4" spacing for each subsequent line of the "M."

I've learned the hard way that if I don't record the details, I'll be sad later--little things like, how wide was that binding I cut? The fun part of this quilt was that it used stash fabrics--the zoo border fabric has been in my stash for almost ten years now.

Main background fabric: Heather Bailey Free Spirit fabrics, Nicey Jane Cherry Hop Dot (used approximately 1.25 yards)
Border strip fabric: Alexander Henry 2-D Zoo (used a little over 3/4 yard) 
Backing fabric: Heather Bailey Free Spirit fabrics, Nicey Jane Welcome Road (used approximately two yards)
Binding fabric: mystery hot pink and white polka dots (used approximately 1/2 yard)
Construction notes: Cut the border fabric into 7" strips. Cut binding fabric 3" wide. Used 1/2 inch seam allowances throughout. Quilted the M first, then did quilting around borders. Attached binding with 1/2" allowance from quilt edge (normally I attach at 1/4 inch allowance) with intention of wider visible binding on the front of the quilt. This did work, but left less material for sewing through on backside of quilt (and more stressful binding sewing). Next time will cut a wider binding (try 3.5 inch strip) if I attempt this again. 

washing up

Nothing says spring like spring cleaning, right? And what makes cleaning more fun? An adorable wash cloth! In all seriousness, I would never do grimy cleaning with washcloths that are this cute. These will be reserved for washing my face and light-duty cleaning! I seem to go in phases where I want to knit all the wash cloth patterns--these mosaic patterns knit up quickly and are super fun. If you are a beginner knitter and want to start playing with more than one color I cannot recommend mosaic knitting more as a way to get started. Your finished work will look impressive and complicated, but you are only using one color each row (you slip stitches to create the illusion of stranded colorwork!). No one will ever know that it wasn't as hard as it looks!

Pattern:  Bunny Nose Dishcloth by Cassandra Bibler (link to my Ravelry project page)
Needles: Size 6 vintage straights
Yarn: 100 yards of cotton, this was Lily Sugar 'n Cream in Hot Pink and an unlabeled cone of white cotton.
Mods: None!
Finished size: 10 inches by 10 inches

(a peek at the backside)

Pattern: Frog Prince of the Pad by Amy Marie (link to my Ravelry project page)
Needles: Size 6 vintage straights
Yarn: 43 yards of cotton, this was Peaches and Crème in Forest Green and an unlabeled cone of white cotton.
Mods: none!
Finished size: 8.5 inches by 8 inches

Two different designers, and two dramatically different wash cloth sizes! It amazes me how two inches difference in length and width meant that the bunny wash cloth required double the yardage. 

first sweater of 2018

Not my first finished knit of 2018, but my second! This is my first in my overly-ambitious goal of knitting 12 sweaters this year. One down, eleven to go. This sweater knit up fast, but my progress was also enabled by a three-day weekend that turned into a five-day weekend thanks to two local snow days! Woo! I was also knitting faster since I was anxious I wouldn't have enough yarn at first--but my fears were for naught, as this project only took 3.5 skeins of Sanguine Gryphon Traveller (a DK weight yarn). This was dipping into some of my precious stash, as Sanguine Gryphon yarn is no longer available to purchase. As luck would have it, I had four skeins that varied widely. But with the reverse stockinette you can't even tell. Normally I'm not a fan of knitting sweaters bottom up, but this one knit so quickly and fits so comfortably I'm sure I'll be knitting this pattern again and again. This sweater is going to become the sweatshirt I reach for every time! 991 yards used out of my stash.

Pattern: The Weekender, by Andrea Mowry (link to my Ravelry project page)
Yarn: Sanguine Gryphon Traveller (colorway: In a Lonely Place, used 3.5 skeins)
Needles: Size 9 for body, size 8 for ribbing
Mods: None!

sunday's stitches 2018, vol. 2

sunday's stitches: a moment to slow down and savor 

whatever your stitching on

See my progress from week to week on past sunday's stitches.

sunday's stitches 2018, vol. 1

sunday's stitches: a moment to slow down and savor 
whatever your stitching on

See my progress from week to week on past sunday's stitches.

2017 year in review

January - March

April - June

July - September

October - December

And the grand total is .... 55 projects knit or crocheted this year! Almost exactly half of my output in 2016, interestingly! This year I was distracted by needlepoint in the first half of the year, and just not as crafting obsessed as years prior. That's okay! I should call 2017 the year of crochet, as I've never crocheted more in my life--20% of my finished projects were crocheted! 

So how did I do on those crafting resolutions I set back in January? Eh, mixed. Some big achievements, but definitely big fat NOPEs on several of them. That's okay. There's always another year!
2017 Crafting Resolutions:
    • Goal #1: Going for year two of ZERO yarn purchases. Results: COMPLETED! That makes TWO FULL YEARS of not purchasing yarn for myself! Amazing!!
    • Goal #2: Sew at least two quilts. Results: One quilt completed!
    • Goal #3: Knit 50 charity projects. Results: NADA. 2017 apparently was a selfish year of knitting for me. To be fair, our knitting guild had pushed really hard on this for the two previous years and we all needed a break.
    • Goal #4: Knit at least three sweaters for myself. Results: One sweater knitted. Better than zero!
    • Goal #5: Devote more time to needlepoint/cross-stitch projects. Results: WIN! Definitely got back into needlepoint and stitching in 2017. Not a ton of finishes though.
    • Goal #6: Learn how to crochet toys! Results: NADA. Oops.
    • Goal #7: Dye my own self-striping yarn. Results: NADA. Oops.
    • Goal #8: Continue my Love Your Library project! Results: Completed 19 projects from patterns in my library! That's 34% of my 2017 projects!
So what do I want to achieve in 2018?
  • Goal #1: Going for year three of ZERO yarn purchases.
  • Goal #2: Knit twelve sweaters. 
  • Goal #3: Make 18 hats for charity.
  • Goal #4: Sew one project every month. 
  • Goal #5: Devote weekly time to needlepoint/cross-stitch projects.
  • Goal #6: Learn how to crochet toys!
  • Goal #7: Dye my own self-striping yarn.
  • Goal #8: Continue my Love Your Library project!
It feels silly to repeat so many goals, but I really do want to do those things--2018 will be the year! And I'm officially declaring 2018 the year of the sweater ... I have way too many sweater quantities of yarn that have sat in my stash for much too long! And I also commit to resurrecting this poor neglected blog in 2018--I really enjoy looking back at my projects, and I miss blogging!

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 ...