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.

tracking journal | knitting + makes.

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I’ve been tracking the days I make something (a new recipe in the kitchen, a textile art, beaded jewelry) and the days I knit, so I can gain perspective on how much I actually do create in a given year.

It’s been a fruitful process because when I’m feeling like I haven’t been creative, I can go back to this book and see that I’ve been more creative than I realized. Maybe some day, I’ll be able to categorize what I make on those days, too.

I love how much impact this has–I can see I was making more than knitting in May, and that in June, I’ve picked up my needles again.

Do you track your makes?

handmade | bioplastic buttons.

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I’ve been teaching a Materials Lab at my school, which explores how to use food waste and other natural objects to create new materials–think bioplastics, mycelium bricks, and chewing gum soles for shoes.

My exploration has largely focused on natural dyeing, natural fibers, and its convergence with bioplastics. My final project in the exploration is to hand knit a garment that features my handmade buttons and my hand dyed yarn using indigo and chili peppers as my dye agents. It’s been a really intriguing exploration.

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These are my bioplastic buttons. I made them using spoiled milk as my food waste material. Essentially the process requires a breaking down of the proteins in the milk to create a sort of chunky whey, which you then squeeze the liquid out of, roll like dough, dye (in this case with indigo) and then cut into whatever you like.

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I used a straw to cut out small circles and a toothpick and needle to create button holes. These buttons have been drying for a few weeks and are nearly cured completely. I never thought I would make my own plastic buttons.

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Once I knit the sweater (which I think will be a Henley style with the smaller buttons along the v neck collar), I’ll snap finished product photos and wax poetic on the entire experience. Until then…

make | peyote stitch earrings.

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I’ve been obsessively making these 3D peyote stitch triangle earrings for a few weeks now. I’m in love with the statement they make and the endless color combinations.

I also tried my hand at turning one into a large pendant that can fit through a chain around your neck and gifted it to my mum for Mother’s Day. I think she liked it and it’s end result makes me want to try my hand at another one.

Should I list some of these in my shop? Would you buy a pair?

cook | niçoise porch life.

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Salad niçoise is one of my go-to’s for back porch summer dinners, especially with guests. I like that guests can mix and match–add anything to their salad they like, and leave off stuff they don’t care for. It’s a win win.

And now that we’ve finally got back porch weather, bring on those entree salads. What are some of your go-tos?

block print | mini circles.

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I haven’t been block printing at all this year. It was a real craze of mine last winter and spring and I don’t know why, but it took a backseat, mostly to reading. I’ve had quite the year of books. It made me feel like I was in my early 20s again, when I absorbed two extremely fat classics a week. For years, I was consumed by reading young adult authors to make my better at my job as a school librarian—and while I still get a ton of those in (to continue to be good at my job), I found that the summer between two jobs and a 2017 reading challenge really found me reading for me again.

And so, the other week, I found myself taking a stab again at small prints–each of these circles is its own individual block. In general, I’m pleased with the pattern, but would like my cuts to be a little more refined.

What should I print this on?

sketchbook | reading journal.

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Here’s another entry in my Reading Sketchbook. I love that I’ve kept up with this little project of tracking my reads. Here’s what I record:

Page length, completion date, how long to complete, whether it is an owned book, a library book, a kindle book, an audio book, or something completed in the serial reader app, whether I loved it or hated it (often “liked”), whether it fulfills a reading challenge selection, was it a recommendation, and my thoughts/musings on the experience and story.

It has kept my reading grounded and moving forward. I love to look back and reads and recall certain details about the book and to remember when I finished it and how long it took.

Here’s, also, a peak inside my books completed shelf in my tracking journal. I’ve kind of become obsessed with tracking what I make, when I knit, when I read, how long I read for, and what books I’ve finished. I’m hoping, when I feel like I’m not finding creative space or down time, I can look back on this and realize when and where I was able to fit it in.

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What should I add to my to be read list?

See more of my tracking journal here. And my reading journal here. Oh, and of course, there’s a knitting journal, too.