You’ll have to excuse my few days of absence. Last week was one of those weeks where all you want to do is hide from life on the couch with a big cup of tea and some really good knitting, when you want to give hugs to everyone you know. When you’re feeling pain and sorrow, nothing can snap you out of it like a good sock. Of course, those rough weeks are also the ones that keep you too busy to sleep let alone get some stitching in. The end of summer has been hectic for my family and I was hoping that it would begin to settle down after Labor Day weekend. I was wrong, I’ll leave it at that.
I still feel dizzy with all of the work that I left unfinished over the past few days, there’s just so much to catch up on, and of course, there are plenty of deadlines looming. But I’m excited to say that I’ll be filling up my month with lots of great projects. It’s going to be a heck of a ride and as much as I stress, I love the feeling of importance that comes from one too many commitments.
Anyway, where did we leave off?
I finished the first sock just before the holiday weekend and immediately cast on for the second. I had so much time in the car and having a drink that by the end of Labor Day weekend, I’d already turned the heel and was working my way towards the foot. It all happened so fast. It was like an inverse second sock syndrome. The second sock just kind of happened like magic.
I finally turned to my knitting Friday night, just exhausted and drained, and was so happily surprised that I had just a few more inches to go before my sock was complete.
Together, they are so soft and comfy. These are definitely my new favorite sock and I look forward to purchasing more yarn from Jill to make a second pair. Maybe those will be gifted. Maybe.
Knitting, my friend’s mother (a fellow knitter) told me in college, is something that control freaks love to do. We love being able to preside over every inch, manage the perfect fit, and obsess over tiny stitches. Sometimes when life becomes that blur, when things happen that we can’t change, when we are thrown those proverbial curveballs, it is huge therapy just to sit down with needles, to make something as perfect as we need them to be, and to feel that peace that comes with completing a pair of socks.
Did you finish your socks? Don’t forget to post photos! Judging starts tomorrow!
The summer is winding down. It’s gone by so quickly! The past few months have been all about craft experimentation for me. It’s been really exciting getting outside of my comfort zone and buying lots of new craft supplies. (Let’s be honest, buying craft supplies is the best part of learning a new craft!) I’ve done some embroidering, a little cross stitch, stuck my toes deeper into the water of design, and even played around with my neglected sewing machine. I just added another craft to my repertoire and I can’t stop thinking about it.
Aunt Sherry made me this adorable little needle felted lamb for my birthday. (Remember the alpaca she made?) Isn’t he sweet?
And as part of my birthday present, she taught me how to needle felt! I wasn’t sure I’d be into it but I can totally see why she’s taken it up as her newest hobby. Needle felting is right up my alley. You basically stab at pieces of wool and then they get turned magically into little animals! (There’s a little more to it than that but that’s the gist.) My first needle felted project is this little cow guy from Purple Moose Felting.
I have a lot of work to do on my technique but I’ve been thinking about lots of other needle felted projects ever since. Best of all, I had a really lovely day hanging out with Aunt Sherry and my mom learning something new (and eating barbecue. We at barbecue)! It reminded me of when I was a kid and she’d teach me how to make origami Christmas ornaments even though I was super impatient. Although I’ve probably gotten less patient with age.
What are your favorite needle felt projects? Any tips for novices?
Did anybody guess that the mysterious WIP I posted hints to on Monday was a boat mobile? It was a pretty tough one. In fact, making this thing, I was a little stumped myself.
Jon’s brother just had another baby and I promised I wouldn’t make a big, time consuming gift. That lasted about five minutes. I guess cruising Etsy got the idea of making a mobile stuck in my brain. Jon’s brother is obsessed with fishing so he loves nautical themes. (I’ll take a moment here to admit to the selfishness of giving a handmade gift. While putting lots of time and love into the things that I make for others is very very important to me, nothing beats that rush that you get when the giftee unwraps what you’ve made and likes it!)
I originally wanted the little fishes to be caught on the string by their mouths like some tiny people were fishing them out of their tiny boats but I think that’s a little morbid.
I picked up a pack of fat quarters in different blues at Purl Soho. I did a really rough template for the boats and just started cutting fabric and figuring things out. I ended up sewing all of the sails to the boats by hand. The more I worked on these boats (and by that I mean laying on the floor in front of my sewing machine wondering aloud, “How do I put these together!?”), the more I realized that I am nowhere near as good at sewing as I am at knitting. Sewing is terrifying and unwieldy and I am clumsy and backwards.
That being said, I think the whole thing turned out well and I’m especially pleased with the little anchor.
Putting this all together was a lot of fun. I like to think of myself as a crafty girl but I’m rarely gluing and repurposing things in the projects that I make on the regular. I hot glued cotton masonry twine to the inside of an old embroidery hoop. I like how the twine looks like mini ropes. I threw together some macrame to hang the hoop. I must admit that I never learned macrame when I was in camp. It’s so fun! I’ve been missing out. I decided to use figure 8 knots (and a dab of hot glue, naturally) to attach all of the pieces.
All in all, I’m happy with this guy. I definitely need more practice sewing.
Do you think garments are easier to sew than toys? What am I doing wrong?
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
Tags: birthday, brunch, discount, eye of patridge, hand dyed, hand knit, heel, heel flap, hermione's everyday sock, Jill Draper, jill draper makes stuff, knit, knitalong, kollaboar, kollabsockalong, ship in a bottle, slipped stitch, sock, sock knitting, sock splendor, turn heel
I’ve been working on so many secret projects recently, I can’t tell you how hard it is to keep all of these things under wraps! I thought it might be fun to just put out some hints.
All I can say is, this is a sewing and hot glue kind of project. It’s something I’ve never made before. And it’s full of stuffing. Here are some photos:
Any guesses? I’ll have real photos of the whole FO later this week!
ps. Speaking of secrets, check out my post on the Holla Knits blog to find out more about my design for the upcoming collection!
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.
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!
Today I want to talk about my FAVORITE pop culture knit of all time. That’s right, this is a big one! I honestly have never wanted to write about it because I’ve always dreamed of making one of my own but I know that it will be a while before I’ve got the chance. So, without further ado, Danny’s Apollo 11 sweater!
The Shining is definitely one of my favorite films. It scares the crap out of me and I love watching it on a snowy day. Kubrick is amazing, Nicholson is fantastic. Steadicam inventor Garrett Brown, that crazy brown/red/orange carpet, and the titles that just say the word TUESDAY but still make me scream every time I see them. I really don’t need to go into all of the things that make this film so great and so terrifying and I certainly wouldn’t be the one to do it with any eloquence.
I’ve always been in love with the sweater Danny wears in the film. It’s really cute and childish. It’s very late 70s which I like a lot. I love that it’s very in your face. Danny could have worn any sweater in any color or pattern but this bold graphic with words really catches the eye. It’s an interesting choice and I really have no idea why Kubrick and costume designer Milena Canonero went with it. (I have a feeling it’s not from the book but I haven’t read it so I guess I haven’t done my homework here!) But either way, I really like it. (Did you know some conspiracy theorists believe that the Apollo 11 sweater is a wink to Kubrick faking the space landing for the government? Yeah, I don’t even.)
(Somewhat-related story: I made a set of Grady twins dolls as a final project for a Horror Genre class I took in college. No idea where they ended up and I have no photos of them. But they were fun to make. When you go to art school you get to take classes where you just watch scary movies and you’re graded on knitting dolls inspired by the films! Moral of the story is: I paid how much for college?)
One day I will make an Apollo sweater of my own and I will wear it always. Until then, I’ll be having nightmares about the ash falling off of Wendy’s cigarette.
photos via The Overlook Hotel
ps. Don’t forget to cast on your socks for the KAL!
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!
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.
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!)
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!!!
When I wrote about the lack of good craft shows on television, I mentioned The Fiber Factor briefly. It’s a really fun web series that I’ve been enjoying. Skacel and Addi have come together to make a show that’s (sorry, I hate comparisons like these but!) kind of a Project Runway for knitwear design. Twelve contestants are given challenges with a range of yarns to work with and their pieces are judged by a panel of industry experts. It’s obviously done on a small budget, there’s a lot of great design going on and it’s so inspiring!
While I certainly haven’t had time to be swatching along, I am inspired by the challenges and themes. Nothing like a good theme to get me thinking. Throughout the first three competitions, I’ve really been routing for Meghan Navoy. I’ve admired her work before the competition but I’m loving her submissions to TFF. I love her style and simplicity.
I recently caught up with Meghan to find out more about her fiber follies.
Tell me a little about your background in knitting.
I started knitting in high school (so 5 years now) and I was really bad for the first like 2 years I learned. My first project was similar to many other beginner knitters of a garter stitch acrylic that was probably 6 inches at one end at 20 inches by the time I finished it! I would probably still be knitting very basic scarves and things if it wasn’t for my internship at Wool and the Gang freshman year of college. I learned a ton there (normal stuff like slip the first stitch of stockinette, etc) and got a glimpse into the design process.
Why did you decide to compete on The Fiber Factor?
The Fiber Factor sounded like a great opportunity to me when I first read about it because I had been wanting to design my own patterns more and this was the perfect push to get me to really do it. I have always struggled to find something on ravelry that I actually wanted to make because not many patterns are really my style or geared towards ‘younger knitters’. Now I have more ideas for knitwear than ever. I love having someone give me parameters of what to make. The hardest part of design for me is not even knowing where to start!
What’s the most challenging part of The Fiber Factor?
The most challenging part of the Fiber Factor is having to quickly decide which yarn you’d like to use for the project. Luckily they give us generous amounts so if you decide to go another direction you have some leeway. Generally we are given about 24 hours or less to hear the prompt and then not only decide what we are going to make but calculate how much yarn is needed for the project as well.
They definitely picked a variety of different knit designers for this competition, which I think has been interesting. I know I haven’t been doing great in terms of judging but I’m still really glad I did it and have learned a lot from being a contestant!
What are your post-Fiber Factor plans?
After Fiber Factor, I would really like to continue designing my own patterns. I’m hoping to start publishing some of my own patterns. I would also like to be able to devote more time to my Etsy shop A Wool Story which has kind of been put on hold while I work on the Fiber Factor.
Thanks for giving us a little insight into your competition process, Meghan! And good luck in the upcoming challenges! The fourth challenge will be announced on The Fiber Factor site tomorrow!
Have you been watching The Fiber Factor? Have you swatched at all?
Back in June, I stumbled on an exciting Olek yarnbomb in my own neighborhood! I’m obviously a big fan of her work and I’d always dreamed of happening upon some of it but I hadn’t expected to see anything so close to home since she’s always bouncing around the globe. But here it was! And there she was, walking down the street, wearing a crocheted skirt and embellished bag. I thought about running after her but I totally chickened out. Regrets, guys, regrets.
I took a few photos (including the one above which I’ve been using as a background on my phone). I was pretty psyched that I was up close and personal with one of her pieces.
But I am SO envious of everyone that’s gotten to see Olek’s newest creation: this yarnbombed train!
The train is located in Lodz, Poland. I can hardly imagine how many hours and yards were involved in this insane piece of art. It’s fantastic. I have no words, just so much respect!
Olek is quoted as saying “If the natural progression is to make bigger better pieces, what should I make next? Can someone give me a plane? Or should I go to the moon?” It reminds me of the Pendragon magicians (I was obsessed with becoming a magician in elementary school) who once disappeared a space shuttle (I was also obsessed with becoming an astronaut). Yarnbombed space shuttle, please!
What should Olek bomb next?
train photos via HuffPost