sketch | summer knitting projects.

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I’ve mentioned before that in 2018, I began keeping track of my knits and the color inspirations for them in a knitting sketchbook. What started on a tiny whim has turned into a project I can’t ever see myself stopping–visualizing the garments I’m making and the potential color combinations I want to use is not only helpful and informative, but I’ve loved looking back on previous entries to see what projects I gravitated to, and what colors, at a given time.

I’ve used ravelry to keep track of my knitting for a decade (or more?); that won’t stop because the knowledge gained from other knitters there is invaluable (yarn substitutions, other color interpretations as inspiration). But to have something tangible to go to is huge.

Here is my most recent f.o. (a Flax sweater for my oldest nephew) and my current project (a Eugene sweater by Whitney Hayward). Clearly, after creating a bunch of top down stripes for my nephews, I wanted to add one to my wardrobe.

See more from my knitting sketchbook here.

make | loom beading.

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I received this amazing beaded loom kit from Purl Soho last week and decided to teach myself a new craft. I’ve done a ton of peyote style beading but never tried weaving beads on a loom.

I’m really pleased with this pattern; once the loom was set up (abysmal process), the beading work is done up really quickly. In a few short hours, I’m about halfway done with this bracelet.

Snaps coming, soon. I can’t decide if I’m going to bead on a loo regularly or not… yet.

knitting | scrappy flax sweaters.

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My sister in law loves a matching outfit on her three boys. I usually knit them all the same pattern and add personal flair for each of them (my oldest nephew, Tyler, loves yellows and greens; my middle nephew, Ryan, likes pink and orange; and my youngest nephew, Grant, likes anything you put on him at this point).

Enter their Christmas presents this year–scrappy Flax sweaters. This is my first time knitting this pattern and I have no idea what I was waiting for. It’s simple but has some interesting details to keep you entertaining, and unending sizing in good chunks for little kids so that my nephews can wear these this winter, but also grow into them further (win, win!).

I have loads of bits and ends of really super yarns like Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage and Malabrigo Rios (oh, I can’t forget the TINY bit of Tanis Fiber Arts) laying around and figured I could use them up if I made these Flax sweaters in bold stripes. Plus, if you can’t wear a yellow and pink sweater at 3 years old, when can you?

I did make a little mistake on my oldest nephew’s version–I didn’t leave the center sleeve stitches in garter stitch, instead somehow managing to use it all the way around the sleeve stitches. Whoops. The knitting hive mind has assured me it’s a small detail and no one will notice; I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to rip back when I didn’t notice this mistake until I’d basically finished the body.

At least his will be most unique, right?

The yarn is the aforementioned in colors like espadrilles, copper penny, frank ochre, azul profundo, yerba, lettuce, glazed carrots, and chris gray. It was the perfect use for a bunch of scraps in my stash.

Here’s to hoping my nephews love them. Finished snaps, soon.

summer | read.

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This was me, literally all summer. I avoided a laptop for 8 weeks (minus prepping for one conference presentation) and dove headlong, all day, into books. My best friend and pooch, Jackie B. Lee, joined me in all those stories and relaxation.

As a result, the only knitting projects I got to this summer were three kind of matching, scrappy, striped sweaters for my nephews. I read so many great stories. You can see what I was reading at my reading sketchbook here.

Any recommendations for me to read this fall?

cook | spicy linguine with clams.

I love making linguine with clams–and I like to change it up; sometimes a red sauce, sometimes a white wine one.

This one was made with some leftover tomato sauce I had in the freezer and needed to use up. I added white wine, garlic, spicy red pepper flakes, parm, and a little basil before simmering the clams in it all.

It’s a super quick way to use up leftover sauce and easily transform it. It will be exciting that get back into cooking mode once the weather turns. That’s the only great thing about losing those summer days—new dishes.

knit | julie hoover sweater club #2.

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I’ve had this incredible Julie Hoover sweater club box awaiting me for months. I purchased back in early spring and have yet to crack it and start it because I’ve been disciplined in trying to get more laborious Christmas gifts out of the way early.

What’s more, my knitting tends to drop off in summer–part of it is the weather and part of it is I have 8 weeks of vacation where all I want to do is read as many books as I possibly can get in during that times, which leaves little room for other handiwork.

And so, this fall, I’m finally going to tackle this one. The pattern is Jesper and I’m knitting in in this gorgeous natural tan. I love it.

Has anyone participated in a Sweater club? Did you fear casting on because you didn’t want to ruin that highly coveted and beautifully boxed pattern?

knit | scrappy sweaters.

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I always have a ton of odds and ends from various projects–little bits of really nice yarns that I can’t bear to throw out and don’t know what to do with because the leftovers aren’t quite enough for a hat or other small accessory.

I decided to use all my fancy bits of Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage and Malabrigo Yarn Rios for some scrappy, striped sweaters for my three nephews; they love bright colors and figured it was a way to get really nice, superwash merino wool garments on them!

I’m using Tin Can Knit’s Flax Sweater pattern because its so great for stripes and the garter details on the sleeves gives it a bit of interest and is a little less boring to knit than a straight stockinette stitch. Also, I’d never used this pattern before and it’s been on my list forever. Every knitter needs a few Flax sweaters in their life, right?

Here is my 3 year old nephew’s sweater in progress–he loves pink and I thought this bright pop of tosh in espadrilles would be much appreciated by him. His little brothers features blues and coppers and grays, and the oldest boy’s will be greens and maybe orange. I love how these are coming out. I tested out my color stories in my knitting journal to see if I’d like the way they looked. It’s a great way to visualize before you knit.

You can see more snaps of my knitting journal here.

How do you use up the rest of your yarn?

knit | notch hem tank.

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Another tank top? In linen yarn? Why, yes! It’s summer, after all. This is Purl Soho’s Notched Hem Tank and I love it.

I knit this using Quince and Co. sparrow in the new salt and pepper marle color way called rille. And it’s a dream. I love the details on the side of the tank that create some visual interest and contrasting texture. Plus, it’s a perfect fit.

I haven’t actually worn it anywhere yet despite finishing it in April, but now that we are finally in the throws of summer weather, I should break it out.

You can read my project notes here. And check out more photos of the tank here.

knit | kai tank.

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I’m on a linen yarn kick and I love making tank tops. This summer seemed to take forever to get here; and so while I begged for warmer skies this spring, I knit up a Kai Tank top using Quince and Co. kestrel linen yarn in the graphite color way.

The only modifications I made was to not do the color block contrasting color at the bottom and I ripped out the neck edging because for some reason, I couldn’t get the tank top over my head with it! I made size two and my gauge was spot on–so I don’t know why my edge was so tight and didn’t work. Luckily, I think it’s ok without it.

This is the second linen tank I’ve made this year–both bottom up designs with nice split hems, which I think are really flattering. You can get more details about my project here.

sew | willow tank.

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I’m a terrible sewer. I don’t know why it doesn’t come easy for me, at all. But, it doesn’t. It’s still important to work on things that don’t come easy; to hone a new skill, to keep trying.

And so, I recently finished this Willow Tank from Grainline Studio. It’s a beginner pattern–a very basic tank with some nice darting at the bust. It was my first time making darts.

I think it came out pretty nicely and only took one day to complete, but it was still a struggle for me. Next up, a skirt in the same pattern to make it a lovely matching outfit. But, I’ve been avoiding since it is so hard for me. Maybe I’ll have a skirt by the end of summer.

knit | let’s dress crazy birthday socks.

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I always knit some birthday socks for the doc because he loves them so much. These ones are my favorite, The After Thought Heel Socks, and they fit like a dream.

Knit up with Quaere Fibre self-striping sock yarn in the Let’s Dress Crazy colorway. I love this small batch fiber–I’ve used more than one color way and they always come out smashing even when knitting something simple like stockinette stitch.

Check out more of my socks. Here’s another pair knit in Quaere.