14
Jan

FO: Purple Socks Two Ways

Written by Sarah. Posted in FO, knits, socks, yarn

So I’ve completely lost track of things. I just have to get that out there because I keep kicking myself and I think you all have sympathetic ears. I gave myself some time off for the holidays and I just haven’t been able to get all of my plates spinning again. What a mess. I have just a pile of 2013 stuff still going on in my brain and none of it is complete. One thing at a time, though, right?

Anyway, let’s talk about stuff that is finished so I can feel a little bit accomplished, shall we? These are the only two knitted holiday gifts that I gave this year. I am pleased to announce that they were both completed on schedule. (Which doesn’t mean that they had time for proper pictures. What can you do?)

purple

When I received three skeins of this purple Candy Skein sock yarn in a Yarnbox (Jon got me a subscription for my birthday, more on that sometime soon!), I immediately started working on a pair of socks. I figured they’d be socks that I would gift since I’m not so fond of purple and I had about 1200 yards of it. Regardless of the color, I loved working with the yarn and the dyeing looked fabulous.

froot loop

Jon’s grandmother lost her husband just a few months ago and when Jon asked me to make her something extra special this year, I really wanted to do my best. Socks aren’t much when it comes to mending a broken heart but I do find that there is something to them as a gift as opposed to other pieces of knitwear. They say, I really want you to be warm and comfortable.  They’re simple and often unseen so they are very personal. For her, I knit the Froot Loop socks. The cables had been calling out to me for a long time.

cabled sock

Of course, you can never just knit a holiday gift for one person. I knew I should knit socks for my own grandmother because she is an amazing woman who is a total badass. You hear about a lot of grandmas that are tough as nails, mine would put them to shame. I searched all over Ravelry for a pair of socks with celtic-looking cables. (This year I thought it would be best to stick to a pattern instead of improvising as I often do with socks.) She received a pair of Oden socks. I kinda wish I’d gone with green so you could really get the Irish feeling from them but purple was happening. Maybe next year, Grammy.

I think I’ve gifted socks more than any other knit. I just really love them. I’ve said it a billion times: They’re quick and portable and kind of mindless but still interesting because there’s lots to play with (color work, cables, lace, etc). And they’re just so special. I am lucky to have a wonderful grandmother who checks the seams on my sewing and recites old sayings and never takes no for an answer. Who always had jello pudding waiting for me in those fancy dishes and watched interior decorating shows with me when I was a kid. And now I am doubly blessed to have Jon’s grandmother in my life, who rattles off intricate recipes from memory for me to recreate (if I can find a pen before I forget whether she said teaspoon or tablespoon). Socks alone can’t let these two know how special they are to me.

What do you make for the women you look up to?

ps. Who’s going to be at Vogue Knitting Live this weekend? I’m working desperately to finish Faro in time on top of everything else. I think it’s possible. These events always stress me out (I’ll say it every time) but I’m really looking forward to this year’s show.

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06
Jan

Pantone’s Color of the Year 2014

Written by Sarah. Posted in knits, yarn

It’s a new year so it’s time for a new Pantone color. Last year was all about Emerald but 2014 is for Radiant Orchid. Lots of gem tones going on recently! Great for bold sweaters or bright accessories.

I found some yummy purple yarns for you!

orchid

 

1. Spud and Chloe Sweater in Jellybean
2. Quince and Co Puffin in Sorbet
3
. Skeinny Dipping Ranchero in Cranberried
4. Lorna’s Laces CashSilk Lace in Boysenberry
5. Madelinetosh Prairie in Venitian

What orchid knits will you be making this year?

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02
Jan

WIP: The Selfish Sweater

Written by Sarah. Posted in knits, sweater, WIP, yarn

Happy New Year, everybody! I hope you all forgot your old acquaintances and drank tons of champagne.

While I’ve made lots of goals and plans for this year, I’m going to be a little selfish this month. I was totally floored by the amount of work I completed in 2013. Most of that work I haven’t been able to share with you guys yet but, trust me, I was busy! The last time I finished a knit that was purely for my own enjoyment and wear was back in the spring (remember the Poolside test knit?). I spent the second half of the year just designing my little heart out and I loved it. So making something just for me feels like a guilty pleasure but every once in a while, I need to indulge! (I also bought myself a pair of new boots. All of my shoes have holes in them so when I say “every once in a while” you know that I mean RARELY. It’s time!)

I have really been dying to get Faro on my needles for a few good months now but I was halfway through a big (secret) project when it came out. Then I had to work on design swatches. Then the holidays happened. Now Faro is happening. It’s jumped the queue, in front of all of the sweaters and socks I’ve been promising to knit for Jon (and, not to mention, in front of some real work I should be doing) but I don’t care. It’s happening.

Choosing a color is always a difficult task for me. I love wearing blues but when I knit, I try to stay away from navy and turquoise so I can change up my wardrobe. Anyway, I went looking through my Pinterest board to see what kind of sweaters were living in my hopes and dreams to get some inspiration. I found a few photos of apricot cabled sweaters so I figured that was the way to go.

faro inspiration

I decided to go with Quince and Co’s Osprey in Apricot. It’s just the right color and a fabulous yarn to work with. It’s soft yet sturdy and chunky but light. And it’s working up so quickly.

faro wip 2

Since casting on, I had a few issues. It’s really embarrassing that I was mis-reading the chart. Then I worked about four inches before I realized that the under arm increases were supposed to be worked into the chart pattern. Then after knitting up the arm I realized that, though I thought the half sleeve would work since I’m short, I really wanted a 3/4 sleeve. I did a lot of ripping but I never felt discouraged and I am SO happy that I didn’t just let some of the mistakes slide as I usually might. Note to self: Go back and do things right!

And even after all of my mistakes, I feel like this sweater is coming together insanely fast!

faro wip

This pattern is really fun because it’s worked from sleeve to sleeve. So what you’re seeing above is a sleeve on the left, the back is up top and the front is where I’m working on the bottom. Then they’re going to be rejoined after the neck opening and the other sleeve will be worked. After seaming, ribbing will be added to the bottom to lengthen the garment. It’s so ingenious. I’ve never seen another pattern execute that construction as elegantly as Amy has here.

Now, as usual, I’m paranoid that it’s too small. Maybe I should just start knitting a size up so I stop freaking myself out. Also as usual, I’m assuring myself that blocking will help. Besides, I already ripped out the first sleeve about fifteen times so if I have to re-knit the sweater, I probably won’t even notice at this point. Just kidding. Blocking will fix it. I don’t mind if it’s a little cropped since I plan to mainly wear this over a button down. I plan outfits for my WIPs way in advance, don’t you?

What are you knitting for yourself these days? Do you knit mostly for you or for others? Have you knit a sweater sleeve to sleeve?

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31
Oct

Rhinebeck 2013: The Goods

Written by Sarah. Posted in DIY, holiday, knits, life, Rhinebeck, yarn

Alright, I’ve held out on you long enough. It’s time to show you what I snagged at Rhinebeck!

I was a really good girl this year. I think that looking my stash directly in the face (that’s for another post) the week before Rhinebeck along with the pressure of numerous deadlines really helped me put things into perspective. I really love yarn. But I seriously need to be careful about what I’m purchasing lest things get more out of hand. (I’d also had my hopes that I was getting a big bonus at work the Friday before but that got postponed so my budget was a little tighter. Probably for the best! Custom couches don’t just pay for themselves, you know.) On top of it all, I felt like I was chatting and catching up so much on Saturday that I hardly had time to shop. Shopping was not the goal for the weekend, as I mentioned before, I felt super pumped after spending the day with all of my friends. I was literally still browsing through what was left at Into the Whirled when they announced that the fairgrounds were closed and I didn’t have to go home but I couldn’t shop for more yarn here. So I only bought two skeins of yarn for myself!

Within my first fifteen minutes, I’d already gotten a lovely compliment on my sweater (oh, Rhinebeck, you always know how to make a girl happy) and fallen deeply in love with this skein of DK BFL dyed by Jan Marek Raczkowski. It’s a gorgeous pink with just a little bit of red. I didn’t want to buy anything until I’d made my rounds so I waited until the end of the day to pick this up but I was thinking about it all day. It’s soft and squishy and the color has me swooning. I’m planning on making the Hierro mitts from Pom Pom’s Autumn 2013 issue and I had my eye out for the right yarn. This is it.

Jan Marek Raczkowski

 

I’m really excited to start those mitts and I’m already thinking that I want to get more yarn from Jan Marek Raczkowski. Apparently he only sells at shows, nothing online! Although a little birdie did tell me that I could email him to order. I’ll definitely be thinking about that!

into the whirled

 

The other skein I bought is by Into the Whirled. Now, I was a little bad. After going through my stash, I realized that I have enough sock yarn to last me a hundred winters (possible slight exaggeration but it’s serious). I’ve said again and again that I love buying sock yarn because it’s a great way to purchase yarn without worrying about having the right quantity for a random project- one skein of sock yarn is enough for a pair of socks. I love knitting socks! But, alas, I’ve seemed to have followed my own advice  a little too closely and now I have a billion skeins and zero minutes to cast on socks. Then Lisa showed me these yarns and there was just no turning back.

But when I saw this color way, I just really couldn’t say no. It’s Inara and it’s in the SW merino/nylon base. It’s just so pretty. I might make socks for Jon with it. I think that is what I say every time I buy a skein of sock yarn. And he only has one pair of socks that I ever knit him. Poor thing.

The more I think about it, the more I’m regretting not also picking up a skein of Bigger on the Inside because the colors are just gorgeous and who doesn’t want Doctor Who-themed socks?! Maybe next time. I really was trying to be good!

Did I do good? Or should I have really broken the bank this time? What did you buy?

ps. Happy Halloween! I’ve been so busy, I’ve forgotten to be festive. Last year I wrote this Halloween poem so check that out.

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11
Oct

ICYMI: Bobble Plant Cozy

Written by Sarah. Posted in accesories, apartment, blog spotlight, design, DIY, FO, interior, knits, KYC Presents, pattern, photos, yarn

When Meredith at One Sheepish Girl was looking for guest bloggers while she prepares her book (!!!), I raised my hand really high and went “Oo oo oo pick me!” I absolutely love her blog and adorable style.

plant cozy

I wrote up a really fun pattern for a Plant Cozy to share with her readers. You should go check it out (along with the rest of her blog) here!

Do you dress up your plants?

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30
Sep

WIP: Holiday Knitting Already!

Written by Sarah. Posted in DIY, gift, holiday, knits, socks, WIP, yarn

I don’t have big plans for holiday making this year. I know that I just don’t have the time for it. But I did want to make one or two gifts. I mean, come on, what’s the point of being a knitter if you don’t make a gift? I figured a few gifts would be manageable (Christmas is still a few months away, right?) until I found out that Chanukah is the same week as Thanksgiving this year.

So now I’m a little stressed out. Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines!

I feel like hand knit socks are amazing gifts. They’re warm and lovely and they look really complicated like you spent a long time on them but they’re actually pretty quick. Something about giving a gift to keep your toes warm makes me really happy.

Luckily, socks make great car knitting and there will be plenty of opportunities for that in the near future (Rhinebeck!). Also luckily, Jon got me a subscription to Yarnbox for my birthday so last week I received some beautiful of Candy Skein yarn. Everything about this yarn is perfect for socks.

fruit loop socks

I love solid colored fingering weight yarns! Especially for cables. I was trying to find a pattern slightly more challenging than Hermione yet easy enough that I could put down for a few days and not get lost. Also a big must was doing a pdf or web-based pattern because I need something I can carry around on my phone. I don’t like fumbling around with books while I’m in the car.

When I went over my Ravelry queue, I found the Froot Loop pattern by Kristi Geraci. I can’t believe I haven’t knit this pattern sooner. It’s really really easy without being boring but it looks really gorgeous and the cables are super satisfying. It doesn’t require a cable needle so it’s the best for knitting on the fly. (I’ve knit cabled socks on the subway before. It gets messy.) It’s basically just exactly what you’d want in a sock.

The pattern knits up so quickly, I’m not nervous at all about finishing in time for the holidays. Socks, you are the best! (Sorry, sweaters, nothing personal.) Now I just need to keep my sanity until Thanksgiving.

Have you already started your holiday knitting? Do you have big plans or are you staying small?

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18
Sep

Pumpkin Spice Yarn

Written by Sarah. Posted in DIY, food, holiday, knits, life, photos, Rhinebeck, want, yarn

Once the weather gets the slightest bit of chill in it, I am craving pumpkin. Pumpkin soup, pumpkin coffee, pumpkin pie. From September 1st to December 1st, I am annually on a mission to ingest as much pumpkin as possible.

Maybe this season we can wrap ourselves in pumpkin-colored sweaters, too! Here are some spicy, warm, and sweet yarns in your favorite flavor!

PUMPKIN

 

1. Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in Embers
2. Juniper Moon Farm Yearling in Butternut
3. Quince and Co Puffin in Nasturtium
4. Luna Grey Fiber Arts Orion in Pumpkin
5. Jill Draper Makes Stuff Mohonk in Rust

I’d love a big cowl or maybe a pair of mittens in pumpkin. But a wooly pair of socks sound nice too! There’s just too much pumpkin and not enough time.

What’s your favorite pumpkin treat for the fall?

ps. The winners of the #kollabsockalong were announced yesterday! Congratulations and thank you to everyone who participated!

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28
Aug

WIP: #kollabsockalong

Written by Sarah. Posted in holiday, knit-a-long, knits, kollabora, socks, WIP, yarn

Today is my birthday! So let’s talk about socks!

Well, first I want to talk about brunch. And we will because (did I mention) it’s my birthday! I had a really lovely brunch at my place over the weekend with a bunch of my best friends to celebrate (and also as a very belated housewarming). I just felt super lucky to have so many people that I love there and FINALLY being able to have a proper party since we decorated a bit. It felt kind of grown up and lovely! My friend Holly made me a birthday cake which was so super special. I think that as long as I’m surrounded by awesome friends and family, this is going to be a great year!

birthday

Anyway, you’re here for the socks. I’m pretty happy with the way my first Hermione sock is turning out. It’s been a few months since I’ve worked on a sock, boy, I love sock knitting! Did I mention that before? I just love the tiny little needles and the shape. They’re so simple yet so complex!

Speaking of complex, I ripped out the heel flap four times before I was happy. I think that I was reading the pattern wrong but I  ended up knitting the WS on the RS (kind of wish that the pattern had specified which rows were which) a few times and then I was worried that it didn’t look right. I was thinking that it should look like a regular slipped stitch heel (so, more like a faux ribbing) than the eye of patridge (more of a dimple texture). Jill and I chatted about it and she set me straight. I was just over-complicating things.

heel

I’m not much of a top-down sock knitter. I really love my toe-up socks. But this pattern is starting to sway me. The garter stitch edge to the heel flap makes picking up gusset stitches seamless. Everything looks so neat. I absolutely love it! I will be making all of my heel flaps with garter stitch borders from now on, thank you very much.

heel2

Now, I want to talk about turning the heel. Turning a heel is just like knitting magic. It’s like turning a boring tube or a flat piece of fabric into a three dimensional object. I mean, it was always 3D, obviously, but I mean something that goes from being just a blob of stitches to being an actual recognizable garment. It’s like origami with needles. Is there any other knitting technique that is as satisfying and simple yet clever and ingenious!? I’d love to hear what you think. I don’t really know how to explain it but if you’ve done it before, you know what I mean.

The best comparison I’ve got for you (and it’s not very good but, hear me out) is that moment when building a ship in a bottle (I’ve never done this but I’ve seen it on TV) when you pull the string and the whole thing stands up and you’re like, “Yay! Look it’s a ship! Magic!” That’s what turning a heel feels like. (Yes, I Youtubed ships in bottles. It’s my birthday, you cannot judge.)

Long story short, I hope you’re all uploading your sock progress to Kollabora! I want to see more sock photos! I demand sock photos! My birthday wish is more sock photos and world peace and to eat a piece of chocolate cake for dinner. Three birthday wishes!

Also, and possibly most importantly of all! Jill is still offering free shipping to everyone in the US using code KOLLABORATION13. It is not too late to cast on a pair so check her shop out!

How are your socks coming along?

ps. Since we’re talking coupon codes, turns out Bristol Ivy and I have the same birthday! I must encourage you to buy one of her gorgeous patterns since she’s having a birthday sale! 28on28 for 28% off! Happy birthday, Bristol!

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22
Aug

CO: Getting Started on #Kollabsockalong!

Written by Sarah. Posted in knit-a-long, knits, kollabora, socks, WIP, yarn

I’ve already cast on for my KAL Hermione socks and I’m making good progress. It’s been a few months since I’ve knit a sock and I’ve forgotten how fun they are! I really love love love working with small needles although my wrists aren’t so happy about it anymore. I guess it’s time to break out the support gloves! (Do you guys use those? Do they work?)

I used this tubular cast on for the socks. It’s a really clear description To be completely honest with you, I don’t use tubular cast ons as often as I ought to. They’re a lot of work and I always manage to screw them up. That being said, there’s something so satisfying about the clean, finished edge it leaves. It’s definitely worth using for socks.

kollabsockalong

Of course, I was very busy watching Ghostbusters and totally stopped paying attention to the stitch pattern and screwed everything up. This always seems to happen to me when it comes to knit/purl patterns. I can knit huge cabled insanity and eye-straining faire isle without batting an eye. But P1, K3 needs extra attention from me. After about 1/2″ of wonky stitching I realized that I was reading half of the chart backwards and the other half forwards. I know. Like, the pattern is so simple it doesn’t even merit me reading a chart.

Anyway, I ripped back to the ribbing and now everything is beautiful. And knitting with Jill’s yarn is absolutely amazing. It’s fab.

How’s your sock coming along? It’s not too late to cast on!

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15
Aug

Knit-a-Long with Kollabora and Jill Draper (and me)!

Written by Sarah. Posted in knit-a-long, knits, kollabora, socks, WIP, yarn

New York has been wonderfully cool this week. The weather has me day dreaming about big comfy sweaters and apple cider. And socks! I can’t think of a better occasion than this autumnal preview to announce this knit-a-long! I really love making socks and I want to make them with you!

Kollabora has partnered with Jill Draper Makes Stuff to organize a fun sock knit-a-long to ring in the fall. 

So here are the details I’ve been promising! We’ll be knitting the Hermione Everyday Sock pattern which is available for free under that link. The KAL begins Monday (August 19th) and will end around September 9th. Jill will be helping to select her favorite executions and there are prizes! Three winners will receive Jill’s newest yarn Esopus, a hand dyed fingering weight 100% superwash merino at 500yds/4oz.

scarffacesHermione’s Every Day socks by Scarffaces

I’m really excited to have Jill involved in this KAL. Her yarn is absolutely gorgeous and filled with love and she is just lovely. She recently announced some big changes to her brand and I think it’s going to be wonderful. All Jill Draper Makes Stuff yarns will be entirely sourced and spun in the US. Hooray for keeping small farms and the American textile industry going! I must say that I highly recommend casting on for this with some of her yarn. (Check the update below for ordering info!)

jill draper

To participate, upload your Hermione socks to Kollabora. It’s really that simple. Be sure to post WIP pictures, too! Go crazy, make them your own, and have fun!

And, dear lurkers (hello!), if you’re maybe nervous about starting a sock for the first time but possibly ready to take the plunge maybe! Kollabora has just added this really cool feature for those of us in need! Besides WIP and FO statuses, if you’re having trouble, you can mark you projects as “Stuck” and the lovely people and community at Kollabora will lend you some advice. I am totally loving this feature. It’s such a fantastic way to encourage online knitters to help each other out and hopefully to get those that are tentative to dive in! We’ll be your life jacket!

I’ll also be doing some sock-centric posts along with WIP photos in the upcoming weeks to help you along so check back for more!

So, will you join us? Tell your friends!

Quick update! Jill is offering free shipping in the US for KAL-ers with coupon code KOLLABORATION13. Do it!!!

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