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.

knit | road trip.

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I just returned from two weeks on the road, camping. I brought with me four skeins of Quince and Co. Sparrow in the rille colorway (a salt and pepper marl yarn) for a Purl Bee Notched Hem tanktop.

And while I’m rounding the finish line already on this garment, I mostly read on the trip. In fact, I’m also rounding the finish line to Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy and I started it just about two weeks ago.

Hurrah for accomplishments, knit and small, big Russian literature and short memoir.

What are you knitting? Reading?

journal projects | tracking makes.

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I’ve really gotten into tracking things. Coffee consumption, cool ideas, how much I make things, how much I read things, etc. I’m not into tracking other habits of mine and find that some can be a bit too much and unsustainable, but I’ve found a rhythm for me.

One journal to track when I make something, when I knit, when and how much time I spend reading every day, what books are on my to be read list, which books I’ve completed and when, how much coffee I’m drinking every day (it’s a lot and I don’t plan on changing), what gigs Sean and I go to and what venues they were at, a headline for each day of the month, a savings tracker and a wish list and rewards system, and things I’m crushing on every month.

One journal to track the books I’ve completed, when I completed it, how long it took me to read, whether it was a recommendation or my own choice, if I loved it or hated it, whether I own the book, musings on it, and my own artistic rendering of the book’s cover.

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One journal to track the specifications and color stories of my knits (and in the future– my sewing projects). It includes a drawing of the item I knit, the color palette I want to use, the yarn used, the needle size, and any notes about the pattern itself.

This has been a goal of mine for awhile; to have some tangible proof of the things I do, and how to do them better, more often, or to know when things get crowded in my life–whether I’ve had to back off on some of my passions. It’s a barometer and also a log of the things I make. And I hope it makes me a more thoughtful maker and consumer.

What do you keep track of?

You can see my tracking journal here. And my reading journal here. And my knitting journal here.

wip | python.

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O.k. Let’s talk about the Python Shawl. My obsession with the endless color combinations and the ability to color block this in tones has really intrigued me for a few months. So, I finally bought some soon to be discontinued Madelinetosh sport in tones of gray with a pop of clay, and boom here we are.

However, section 4 is throwing me for a loop. Listen, I consider myself a pretty expert knitter; but for some reason, section 4 is beating me. I’ve pulled it out twice. It’s a straight forward set of instructions for German short rows. But for some reason, I am not creating a triangle. I’m creating a kind of triangle, where one side, which is suppose to be the point of the triangle, is just coming out larger and less pointy, hence it’s not even a triangle. I have never had this trouble. What am I missing? I’ve racked my brain. I’m assuming its something in my interpretation of the repeats that I’m just straight up missing and its obvious and right in front of me.

This is, in my mind, a simple garter shawl pattern. I’ve created triangle shawls before. What the heck gives? Is it my brain space for knitting right now? Is there something in the German short rows that are owning me? NO ONE, seriously, NO ONE, on ravelry has mentioned any difficulty–errata in the pattern was for the next section, and everyone else’s look PERFECT.

I have resorted to writing to the pattern designer, Emilia Jensen, (a perk of ravelry and its power in the making community) and am embarrassed by asking–she responded right away and I can’t blame her for having little advice for me. I wouldn’t have advice for me, either.

Has this happened to you? Where you have pattern block for one part? Where it seems simple but you can’t get it down even if you consider yourself pretty much an expert? Expert I am not, right now.

Ripping back for a second time. And wondering what I got myself into, since I barely–if ever–wear the scarves I knit, or any scarves at all, these days.