One Year Blogging Anniversary!

I’m a little late in writing my 1 year anniversary post – I was traveling in Germany, and I was pretty jet-lagged when I got back. I’ve recovered now, so I wanted to give a few thoughts on how my year of blogging has been. My first post on this blog was on November 28, 2016. My original goal was to write a post once a week. There are 52 weeks in the year, and I wrote 40 posts. So, I wrote a post about 77% of the time. That’s not bad! I’ve really, really enjoyed it so far. It’s so rewarding to see my progress, to keep track of yarn stores I’ve been to, and to have an excuse to take nice pictures of the things I’ve made. Having a project I worked on all year (my block-a-month afghan) was also really fun.

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Block-A-Month Afghan Squares

I also enjoyed taking pictures of a few pieces I’d finished longer ago. I hadn’t worn some of them for a while, but revisiting them, sometimes reblocking them, and creating an outfit to photograph them in really made me appreciate them.

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From left to right – Row 1: Sonoma ShawlFall River ShawlEureka Vest Row 2: Prague CowlNewbury Triangle Scarf  Row 3: Peru WrapMidtown WrapEl Camino Crop Top

I also finished my first two knit garments! And I’m working on my third!

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Left: Hanalei Sweater     Right: Auckland Sweater

My goals for the next year:

  • Continue to post ~once a week
  • Make another afghan
  • (Potentially) Revamp the website
  • Participate in a few knit/crochet-alongs

I also thought I’d share my current WIPs that I’d like to finish up soon (hopefully when I have a lot of extra knitting time over the holidays).

I think I’d like to have these things finished by when I get back from my holiday traveling in early January. Sooooo we’ll see how that goes.

Anyways, having this blog has been great so far! I’m excited for the next year.

 

November Squares

This will be my last month with a post for the squares for my block-a-month afghan – in December, I’ll (hopefully) post the finished afghan! I’m not looking forward to sewing all of the afghan squares together, but I’m really excited to have the finished project. And I’m very happy that I decided to weave in all of the ends as I went along, so I don’t have to do it all at once at the end. I’m pretty sure I would just never have finished the blanket if I had left all the weaving in to the end.

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One of the 12” squares this month is Winter Wildflowers by Stacey Lee. I used Malabrigo Rios in Fresco y Seco, Sunset, and Glazed Carrot. This square took forever to finish, and I think all the flowers are sort of unnecessary, but, hey, at least it’s pretty unique.

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The other 12” square is very simple, but pretty. It’s the Ilmatar square by Sari Åström, and I made it in colorways Purple Mystery, Lettuce, and Archangel.

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And, finally, the 6” square is called Raised Bunchberry and is by Marie Segares. I used Lettuce, Archangel, and Fresco y Seco. Even after making this whole afghan, I love working with Rios. It’s so nice, and all the colors are gorgeous.

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In addition to getting this blanket finished, I have another milestone coming up – the 1 year anniversary of this blog! I wrote my very first post last November 28th. I’ve really enjoyed having this blog so far! I’m going to try to write up a bit of an anniversary post on the 28th, so look forward to that.

I just arrived in Munich for a conference a few hours ago, so I’m also going to be doing some exploring of German yarn in the next week. It’s so cold here, and it might even snow! I’m so excited to get some real winter.

Bly Beanie

Although there aren’t many (any?) days of the year that I really need a warm beanie here in California, I’ll be traveling home for Thanksgiving and to a conference in Germany shortly after, so I wanted to make an awesome, slouchy, cozy hat.

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I chose the Tied Knots beanie by Justyna Lorkowska. It’s a really beautiful free pattern for DK weight yarn. The only modification I made was to go down a couple needle sizes. It knit up very quickly!

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I used some Rowan Alpaca Colour that I got when I subscribed to Rowan Magazine last year. I had 3 skeins of it, and I only used about one and a half for this project, so maybe I’ll make some mittens or gloves to go with the hat. I think Rowan may have discontinued this yarn, but it’s very soft. I’m didn’t really realize that the yarn had such clear stripes before I started knitting it up, and I’m not sure that I love them for this piece. I think I would have preferred a solid color. But I like that it’s different.

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I swear that the trees near where I live are more colorful this fall than they have been for the other three falls I’ve spent here. It’s great! I’ve been trying to take a lot of walks in autumn-y clothes with a tea to go so I really soak in all of the season.

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I’m looking forward to my upcoming travels – any recommendations on yarn stores in Munich?

Fall River Shawl

I’ve been watching a lot of the Fruity Knitting Podcast recently, so I was inspired to do a sort of “From the Archives” post. I haven’t posted about anything crocheted besides my block-a-month afghan recently either, so I thought this shawl would be perfect. It’s actually one of the pieces I wear the most because it’s light but warm, and the color goes with almost everything.

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The pattern is Luna by Bernadette Ambergen. She has a bunch of really gorgeous patterns in her Etsy shop. The pattern is super well written and clearly charted.

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I made this piece before I ever even discovered Ravelry, so I have no idea what yarn I used. It’s a lace weight, 2 ply, probably wool or alpaca with a little silk and and/or nylon. I remember I only used one skein that was like 1000 yards.

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This shawl was a little overwhelming to make. It’s just a giant rectangle, but it’s crocheted along the longer dimension. It’s almost 300 stitches and 12 pattern repeats, so each row takes a while. I really love crochet lace, so it’s definitely worth it. You start in the middle and crochet out to one side of the edging, and then you go back and do the other side. I like the more solid strip across the middle.

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When I was visiting Redding, CA recently, I stopped by the local yarn store – Ewe-Baa Street Yarns. It’s a cozy little shop that I’ve written about before. I picked up this beautiful shawl pin. I’ve been wanting to own more shawl pins. I now have two that I really like!

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I re-blocked this shawl to get nice pictures of it, and I’m so happy I did because now it’s all nice and open and pretty. I should really re-block my shawls more often. It just takes so much time and space.

I’m so excited that it’s finally fall and starting to be scarf weather in California!

October Squares

Still going strong with my block-a-month afghan squares!

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My favorite square this month is definitely the 12” Kirton square by Jacqui Goulbourn. For this square, the corners are made with long chain spaces that are twisted together to look braided. I think that’s so cool and want to make something else (scarf? hat?) with that detail. I’m using Malabrigo Rios for my afghan, and this square is in colorways Glazed Carrot, Teal Feather, and Purple Mystery.

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The other 12” block for October is Cheerful Echinacea by Sari Åström. I made it in colorways Sunset, Lettuce, and Whale’s Road.

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And the 6” block for October is called Spinosa and is by The Loopy Stitch. I used colorways Sunset, Teal Feather, and Whale’s Road.

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I’ve planned out my colors for the rest of the blocks for the year (also – how are there only 2 months left in 2017??), so I think I may start assembling after I finish the squares for November. Then in December, I’m hoping to have a finished afghan before I go home for Christmas. I should also start thinking about if I want to do any sort of crochet-a-long afghan next year. I have been feeling pretty inspired by Amy from the Stranded Podcast‘s granny stripe blanket, so maybe I’ll do something like that. Other ideas?

Reuben’s Favorite Tee

I finished up my Vaara top a few weeks ago (and have actually already worn it once). I got the chance to get some fun finished object photos today. It’s been a little cooler recently in California, and I wanted to wait for some sun since this top is pretty summery. My boyfriend especially likes this one (hence its name).

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For this piece, I used 4 skeins of Stonehedge Crazy yarn. It’s a super awesome sportweight yarn by Stonehedge Fiber Mill – the skeins are self striping and made with random colors. All the skeins are different! In my top, the first skein ends after the dark blue colored stripe, the second skein ends after the yellow stripe, the third skein ends after the brownish stripe, and I used the last skein for the short rows at the bottom, the sleeves, and the neck edging. They all looked pretty different, but I think they ended up going well together. I bought the yarn at the local yarn store near my parents’ home – Mockingbird Moon in Rogers, AR.

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I used a 3.5 mm needle and made the 43.25” bust size. I did make the body slightly longer than the pattern calls for, mostly because I misread the pattern’s 14.5 cm of stockinette in the body as 14.5 inches, and then I didn’t want to rip it all out. I like longer tops anyways.

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The bottom and short rows are made in a semi-ribbed pattern. I think the texture works better on a single color, like the yarn used in the pattern pictures, but it looks nice in the stripes as well.

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The pattern is from Issue 17 of Pom Pom Quarterly magazine. The i-cord edging on the hem, neck, and sleeves gives the piece a very professional looking finish. Also, the top was super quick to knit! I definitely enjoyed this pattern. I’m excited to make more things from Pom Pom.

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I’m also excited to start wearing lots more warm clothes and knit things! And to cast on a few Christmas presents and pieces for myself. What are your fall knitting goals?

Lambtown Festival in Dixon, CA

This weekend I got to go to Lambtown – a sheep and wool festival that’s held every year in Dixon, California. Dixon is a 2 hour drive from where I live, but it was totally worth it, because I got to see a ton of cool things and squish a lot of yarn and fiber.

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Counterclockwise, from upper left: An art yarn spindle by SpinGlitz, adorable yarn bundle by Wonderland Dyeworks, a cute yarn cone tree, and fiber braids by Wonderland Dyeworks.

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From left to right: Yak, camel, and silk fiber braids by Greenwood Fiber Works, rug design samples by Wooly Walkers (it’s like coloring with yarn!), and gigantic knitting needles (aka Weapons of Mass Construction) by SpinGlitz.

I also got to pet a bunch of really cute sheep and learn about different sheep breeds. The sheep were very fluffy and open to being petted and scratched.

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Some sheep types include; Rambouillet, Bluefaced Leicester, Jacob, Corriedale, Romney (may or may not be pictured above – I did not do a good job of keep track of which sheep was which…)

And there were sheepdogs!! They were doing a sheep herding demonstration. It was fun to watch, although I wasn’t exactly sure what the goal was – it sort of seemed like the dogs were just moving the sheep around for the sake of moving them around.

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And, of course, I bought some yarn. I got 2 skeins (595 yards each) of some super soft alpaca from Fanfare Farms in Vacaville, California.

Fanfare Farms Alpaca Lambtown 2017

I think I’ll use this yarn to make the Elibelinde sweater, which I saw in Issue 22 of Pom Pom Quarterly Magazine.

All in all, I had an awesome time at Lambtown, and I will definitely go back next year.

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September Squares

I’m still on track with my block-a-month afghan squares! I’m getting really excited to finish and have a beautiful, unique, colorful afghan.

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Both 12” squares this month were fairly simple and relaxing to crochet. The square on the left is the September Star square by Aurora Suominen. It has a little bit of texture on the central flower, and I like the outer border a lot. I used the Fresco y Seco, Teal Feather, and Whales Road colorways of Malabrigo Rios (which is the yarn my entire afghan is made of).

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The other 12” square is Marigold by Polly Plum. For this square, I used colorways Glazed Carrot, Sunset, and Archangel. The fall colors seem very appropriate for September.

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The 6” square this month is my favorite. It’s a crocodile-stitch-in-the-round flower motif called Croco-Dahlia by Joyce D. Lewis. Crocodile stitch is a little time consuming (as well as yarn consuming!), but I like how it looks, so it’s nice to be able to include it. I also really enjoy how the little lumps around the center turned out. This square is crocheted in colorways Fresco y Seco, Purple Mystery, and Lettuce.

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I’ve been thinking about how to assemble my afghan once I get closer to finishing all the squares. I can’t decide if I want it to be rectangle or something more complex… I have a few ideas. Only 3 more months to go!

 

My First Socks!

I made a pair of socks! I’ve been really wanting to get into sock knitting lately, mostly inspired by the colorful socks of Amy from The Stranded Podcast. I bought the book Socks from the Toe Up recently, and I chose the Dead Simple Lace Socks as my first attempt. It was also my first time using the magic loop – I normally just do dpns, but I sort of wanted my socks to be an on-the-go project, and projects on dpns are harder for me to travel with. And I actually really ended up enjoying the magic loop.

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Since it’s fall now (yay!), I’m excited for all the potential for knitwear in my wardrobe. California never really gets cold enough for a “real” fall outfit (think tall boots, coats, big scarves), but I was thinking that hand knit socks could be a good compromise.

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I also think the socks would be really cute with ankle boots! I’m excited to wear them. A lot of my knitting friends keep telling me that they prefer to wear their hand knit socks around the house instead of out, but I’d really like to use them as real socks. Maybe I’ll make a cozier pair with heavier yarn as around-the-house socks.

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I made these socks with Madelinetosh Twist Light in the Cosmic Wonderdust colorway. I used a 2 mm circular needle. I did a short row heel and toe, but the pattern could easily be adapted for other toes/heels. I wish I had done a little bit more ribbing on the top because I didn’t really think about how the ribbing gets a little shorter when it’s actually stretched around my leg, and I like the way a tall ribbing looks. Oh well, next time.

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I’m excited to get another pair of socks on my needles – I’m going to use one of the skeins I got on my Boston Yarn Crawl. The weather this week looks decidedly summer-like, but I have to go into San Francisco on Tuesday, so I’m hoping to get some clouds and cooler weather then.

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I cast on the Gabrielle tunic by Cocoknits as part of a casual knit-a-long with one of my knitting friends. I haven’t ever tried the Cocoknits method before. So far, it seems a little unnecessarily complicated, but I’m going to try to stick with it. What are you all casting on for the fall?

Brookline Top

I mentioned in one of my recent posts that I finished the Desert Star Top I cast on in mid-July, but I only had the chance to get it photographed today. I’ve actually already worn it several times because I like it so much!

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One of my best friends gifted me the yarn I used for this top for my birthday this year. It’s Blue Sky Fibers Worsted Cotton in the Sleet colorway. I used smaller needles than the pattern recommends – 3.25 mm for the edging and 3.5 mm for the rest instead of 3.75 mm and 4.5 mm. I very nearly ran out of yarn towards the end, but I just did one fewer row for the neck edging, and it looks fine. I used 5 skeins of the yarn.

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I was initially drawn to the top (which is a free pattern by Berroco) because of the unique construction. The back is one large rectangle, and the front is a much smaller rectangle with neck shaping.

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Since it’s sleeveless and because I used a cotton yarn, this piece works well for the insanely hot end of summer that we’ve been having in California. I think it will also be great for fall if I layer it over a long-sleeved shirt.

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In other news, I finished my first pair of socks ever today! I’m hoping to photograph them sometime this week so that I can submit them to my local yarn store’s Finish it for Fall drawing. I just finished the bust increases on my Vaara t-shirt, and I’m really happy with it so far. I also really need to get to work on my September Block-A-Month afghan squares… So much knitting in my future!