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.

f.o. | boot socks.

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The doc loves these boot socks from Purl Bee (and so do I!). I’ve made a couple pairs for him–they are perfectly bulky for those freezing, winter days. And because they are knit in worsted weight yarn, you can make a pair in one sitting, pretty much. Sometimes they take two days, but in the world of socks, that’s great timing.

The color combinations are endless and you can use scraps of yarn for the heels and toes–something I often have just enough of not to want to get rid of but not much else I can do with them. The doc lucks out–more boot socks.

I have since knit him a DK weight Madelinetosh version for Valentine’s Day; stay tuned for those.

These boot socks are knit using Malabrigo Rios in azul profundo for the main and little bits of Rios in glazed carrot for the heels and toes. He’s since worn them a pile and they still look killer.

See more of my boot socks here. Check out my ravelry project notes here.

f.o. | resist hat no. 1

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I have been eyeing this Resist Hat by Mild Woman for about a year–and the pattern was finally released last month. So of course, I dropped everything currently on the needles and knit this one up in a day.

The main color is Brooklyn Tweed Loft in soot and the color work is done with Madelinetosh Tosh Lite in gemini twins; both yarns I had laying around in my stash, so I’m psyched I was able to create this as a complete stash buster. This hat was actually gifted to the doc because the fit was a little large for my head; he has spent a lot of time in this hat over the course of the last month.

Since I completed this (fittingly on MLK Day), I have finished two more of these–one in light purples and one in mauves. Snaps of those to come, soon.

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This is definitely one of my favorite patterns so far this year. Knit one! See my ravelry notes here.

make | batik take two.

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A few years back, I somehow managed to teach a batik class to a bunch of reluctant middle school students even though I had no idea how to batik. And while I figured it out–and quickly–let the record show that just because you love making doesn’t mean you can just, poof!, make something in the ways its intended.

I recently had the opportunity to become a “student” of a batik. I thought it would be a great opportunity to revisit this craft not as teacher who had no idea what she was doing, but as passenger seat learner. Instead of using hot wax, we used glue. I thought it wouldn’t work; I couldn’t get fine detail–something I had trouble with using wax and paint brushes.

Stay tuned for finished results.

f.o. | withrow hat.

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This is, by far, one of my favorite finish off’s so far this year. I know we are only a few weeks into 2018, but I can already tell this hat is going to remain a favorite as I add to the f.o. catalog.

Withrow is a brilliant color work hat that’s featured in the new Cascades collection for Quince and Co. by Whitney Hayward. I decided to knit it exactly as the pattern called–with three skeins of Quince and Co. chickadee in the following colors: audouin, sabine, and delft.

I realized this hat was going to be far too tall after blocking for me (even though I love a tall hat, I’m not a huge fan of a slouchy look–it needs to really stand up if it has height) so I ripped back the decrease section at the top and modified it for a decrease every row. The only problem with this is that the top is a little more puckered than the original, but it fits like a dream after blocking and it doesn’t negatively alter the final look of the color work.

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As soon as I finished, I scooped up a handful of other colors of chickadee to try my hand at different palettes. I’m thinking grays, greens, and reds. Stay tuned.

I love the Cascades collection so much, I plan to knit everything in it, which is rare for me. I already purchased yarn for the Eugene color block pullover, and again, in the exact palette the pattern called for.

This collection is clearly shaping up to be a memorable favorite on my year–consider my need for blues and grays in my wardrobe high.

 

f.o. | stripes, again.

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These hats–they just never fail me! Here’s yet another Stripes Hat for the doc; I finally got to use some Blue Sky worsted hand dyes I had in my stash for years–so long, that this butterscotch colorway has since been discontinued. The worsted hand dyes is more aran weight than other yarns I’ve used for this hat, so I had to modify the amount of stripe repeats and go down a needle size. Despite that, it turned out nicely for doc’s big head and he said it fit comfortably.

The stripes are done in bits of Malabrigo merino worsted in black forest and Madelinetosh tosh vintage in the found pottery colorway. Finally, some speckled yarns. I’ve long desired to use these but never seem to find the right project (here’s is one that was perfect for speckles, and another).

I love that this was, yet another, complete stash busting project. And, what’s more, this pattern allows for endless stash busting and color combinations because you only need little bits for stripes, could make every stripe a different color if you wanted (there’s a new idea!) and the hat itself doesn’t make a significant dent into one skein, depending on yardage. Cheers to that.

read | challenge 2017.

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In 2017, I agreed to take on a Reading Challenge. I don’t normally participate in those kinds of things because I like to read what I want, when I want, but this one seemed interesting and reasonable and maybe a challenge is good for me.

The 2017 challenge prompted a read every two weeks or 24 books on the year in various categories, including a book translated from another language, one from childhood, one from school days, something more than 500 pages, a book that takes place somewhere you traveled that year…and on.

I started off slow–my first read was Tolstoy’s classic War and Peace, a 1300 page sweeping epic that actually took me well over 2 weeks to complete. And so, I got behind. I picked up steam in the summer, reading well more than a book every two weeks. But, still, it wasn’t enough to make up with starting a new job and picking a number of 500+ page novels.

I came really close. I missed completing the challenge by 5 books. And it prompted me to start a reading journal, in which I keep track of everything I read, when I read it, how long it took me, whether it was a library book, a kindle book, or a book I own, and some general musings on what I liked or didn’t like about it. I’m pleased it pushed me to really start keeping track of my reads in a unique way, and I’ll carry on.

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How do you keep track of the books you read? Do you at all? I never used to. And so, in this space, I’m going to also keep track of that process, too. Because this blog, while I hope I have a reader or two, has been a great long term companion to me, my makes, my likes, my pursuits.

See more (a sample) from my reading journal here. 

 

wip | waves.

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The past two weeks in the Boston area have been a blend of intense, deeply debilitating snowstorms, and–polar vortexes. Most days, the temperature hovered at 0 degrees, with a real feel well below.

So for that, we were stuck inside. A lot. And so, I baked bread and tackled charts. These Waves mittens by Tin can knits have been in my queue for awhile--featured in Making Vol. 3, Dots. I’m knitting the smallest size because I have tiny hands, hand knit mittens never fit me correctly, and a lot of knitters claimed these mittens were extra long.

The smallest size seems to be knitting up the right size for me, which I’m pleased about. I’ve finished the mitten gusset on one but put them down to work on a hat project when I can’t concentrate on complex charts.

Otherwise, these are shaping up to be a quick knit and a total stash buster–I’m using Knit Picks palette I had on hand in a blue and off white.

The recipe is Maida Heatter’s Mile High Cinnamon Bread from Food52.

What are you knitting–or baking– in the new year?

f.o. | karusellen.

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I’ve made this hat before and loved it. So, when you love something, go for it again, right? For some reason, while I love pom poms, I opted against one for these hats and am pleased with the end result.

Pattern is Karusellen by Erica Smith and this version is knit up using one skein each of Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in the fossil and almanac colorways. I’m pleased with the height this hat has–if you know me, you know I love a high hat.

See my project notes here. And more of my hats here.