Month: December 2018

make nine 2019 | the one with the grid

Curating a Make Nine photo grid feels so official. It screams I’m going to make this stuff no matter what! But for me, it’s more of a general “I want to make this stuff, but if I don’t, that’s okay.” I’m using it as a pared-down version of my queue, the things I want to make first. These are the top-priority knits for 2019. But if I change my mind and no longer want to knit something, I won’t force myself to make it for the sake of the challenge. That’s just silly.

Quick note before I get started: my only rule for this challenge was that I have to already have everything for each knit (see this post) because I’m not buying any yarns or patterns this year.

Let’s get into the grid!

I’m going to start in the very middle, because I’m SO excited about this sweater! This is the Cottonwood Sweater by Tayler Harris. It’s the exact sweater I’ve been looking for. I actually contemplated designing one when I stumbled upon this one on Instagram. I immediately bought the pattern and, knowing I didn’t have the appropriate yarn, ordered a sweater’s quantity of Purl Soho Good Wool, which is what Tayler used in the pattern! They were having a sale so I got the whole shebang for under $50! I cannot wait to knit this and I’m so glad I don’t have to take a stab at designing a sweater!

Clockwise from top left:

  • Solstice Sunset by Flock Fiber Studio – These just called to me and I want to make my first pair of scrappy socks, so here we are! I have a bunch of minis I plan on using for these… I’ve actually already cast on!
  • Birds and Ships by Caitlin Hunter – There’s something about this pattern that I was immediately drawn to. I have a gorgeous skein of 100% merino from Woolberry Fiber Co. to use for this one.
  • Tied Knots by Justyna Lorkowska – I’ve never knit an intricate cabled hat and I’m not great at knitting cables, so I want to try to sharpen my skills in that area. This hat seems like the perfect way to do that!
  • Glacier Park by Caitlin Hunter – I swear I tried not to fill my grid with Caitlin Hunter patterns, but I’ve wanted to knit this for so long. I ordered a kit from Woolen Boon for this knit.
  • Tamitik by Shannon Cook – It’s a chunky hat. Need I say more? I love Shannon and this hat looks perfect.
  • Fox Isle Socks by Life is Cozy – This is a carryover from last year’s Make Nine that I didn’t get around to, but still want to knit.
  • Zweig by Caitlin Hunter – This didn’t immediately strike me when it was published, but after seeing thousands of gorgeous projects, I bought a kit from Machete Shoppe and I’m ready to cast on!
  • Cornflower Mittens by Paige Buursma – Finally, this is another carryover from last year. I realized how much I needed them when we got nearly a foot of snow a few weeks ago and I had to pull on my husband’s gloves (which were horrendously too long in the fingers). So back on the list they go.

That’s it! What’s on your Make Nine 2019 list?! Are you committed to sticking with it or are you gonna go with the flow?

I hope your year is full of love, happiness, and lots of knitting!

box o’ sox 2018 | the big reveal

I’m about to share with you my biggest knitting accomplishment to date… no big deal. It’s 3 days until Christmas and instead of wrapping gifts or actually shopping for the few presents I still need to buy, I decided to finish my December socks while watching The Innocent Man on Netflix (have you seen it? So good!) this morning. #noregrets.

Last time I shared about my Box o’ Sox, I had just completed my pair for May. So we have some catching up to do! But first, a quick synopsis of the box. I hand-knit twelve pairs of socks for myself this year. Two toe-up, the rest cuff-down. They represent eight indie dyers, including four pairs from my own hand-dyed yarn company, Mockingbird Fiber Co. I knit nine pairs with the Fish Lips Kiss Heel (by far my favorite), one afterthought heel, one heel flap and gusset, and one German Short Row heel. They all have a longer leg (at least 5 inches) and a rounded toe. Half a dozen are vanilla socks and the other six are patterned. Although I’d make a few changes, I’m happy to have learned so many new techniques and I love every single pair!

So now for the big reveal… my first ever Box o’ Sox!!

I got this adorable photo box and Michaels for a few dollars and it perfectly fits 12 pairs of socks!

I can’t remember when I decided to commit to this knitalong or it just happened organically, but it is one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever finished in my knitting life!

The box starts at the bottom left, goes up, over, and back down, ending at bottom right. I’ll link to each project page if you care to read more about each pair, but I won’t go into graphic detail here (you’re welcome). I added an asterisk (*) beside my very favorite pairs.

January*: Vanilla socks with Candy Skein Tempting Sock in Blue Shave Ice
February: Smooth Operator socks with Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in Hippity Hop
March*: Sugar Frost Socks with The Fawn & The Fox Doe in Old Fashioned
April: Blueberry Waffle Socks with FIber for the People Gilded in Peach Pit
May*: IfThen Socks with Knit Picks Felici in Spaceman
June: Vanilla socks with Woolberry Fiber Co. Simple Sock in How Rude!
July (top right): Late Night Socks with Knit Picks Hawthorne Fingering, hand-dyed
August: Vanilla socks with Fiber for the People 2-ply Sock in Gotta Lava Mauna Loa
September*: Vanilla socks with Nomadic Yarns Trusty Sock in Mischief Managed
October*: Snowfall Socks with Mockingbird Fiber Co. Scrummy Sock in Brushfire Fairytales
November*: Slack Tide Socks with Mockingbird Fiber Co. Rustic Sock in Lady in Red
December: London B. Ridge Socks with Mockingbird Fiber Co. Sparkle Sock in Jingle Bell Rock

And that’s it! Phew. I haven’t worn a single pair yet and most of the ends are woven in. Don’t judge me.

My biggest goal for sock knitting this year wasn’t actually to finish a box of socks, at first. I just wanted to try all sorts of heels, toes, cuffs, cast-ons, bind-offs, etc. to find how I like to knit socks. As it turns out, I just like to knit socks! I enjoy both toe-up and cuff-down. I do like a rounded toe and the FLK heel, but I find it nice to switch it up now and then. Sometimes I enjoy a pattern and others I just want a vanilla sock. And I found my perfect “vanilla sock” recipe, so I don’t have to even look anymore – I just cast on and go! I love that. I love knitting socks. And I still can’t believe it!

shifting focus & getting serious | a look at 2019

Oh hey! It’s been a minute since I’ve blogged. And by “minute” I mean over 2 months! And really, unbelievably, it’s been more like 6 months since I’ve blogged about something I’ve knit. Geez Louise.

In that time, my sister and I have started a hand-dyed yarn business, Mockingbird Fiber Co., and a podcast (Mockingbird Fiber Podcast on YouTube), plus I’ve been knitting a lot, so the blog has fallen by the wayside. But Michelle of My So Called Handmade Life, whose blog I’ve been reading for years, has inspired me to write more in this space.

So here I am, once again looking back at a year of knitting and contemplating what’s to come. One year ago, I resolved to make 8 sweaters in 2018. Umm… yeah. I made 2 of those sweaters and made hardly any progress on the one WIP that was in there. The truth is, my body isn’t exactly where it used to be and I haven’t wanted to make all the sweaters.

So, I didn’t finish my #2018yearofthesweater resolution – not even close! I also didn’t finish my Make Nine 2018 (or 2018 Make Nine or whatever it was called). Five out of nine ain’t bad right?! Honestly, I’m not upset that I failed. Actually I don’t really see it as failure. Goals change and gears shift.

Instead, I am on track to finish my first ever Box o’ Sox, which is possibly an even bigger accomplishment, since (as I’ve lamented more than once) I used to hate knitting socks. I’m officially a sock knitting convert! But my goal for next year isn’t necessarily another box full of socks. What are my goals, then? you might ask.

Well, they’re more lofty than ever. Mainly because I am resolving to not buy yarn (except for the business or as a gift/to make a gift) for the entirety of 2019. That’s a big one for me. But if I’m being honest, my stash is bigger than I ever imagined, and it feels so wasteful to let it all sit there while I covet the new and shiny. So knitting from stash (really this time) is my main goal. To that point, I also have loads of patterns in my library – more than I could ever knit. So no patterns for me either. This one is kind of a big deal too, because I find myself purchasing a pattern at least weekly. But patterns aren’t going anywhere. Sales will come around again. So I’m swearing off buying new patterns, too.

Since that combination will so narrow down what I’m actually able to knit, it will allow me to truly focus on finishing or frogging WIPs (didn’t get much of that done this year either, though I did frog a couple of things). I also want to focus on weaving more of my yarn and if Santa brings me the sewing machine I asked for, I want to learn to quilt!

Basically, I’m kind of sick of “stuff”. Stuff that just sits around without a purpose, taunting me and clouding my brain. Knit the yarn you like; destash what you no longer love. Use the patterns you’ve purchased. Find renewed inspiration in the things you possess. That’s going to be me in 2019.

This appreciation for what I have has also brought about change in how I view my queue. At one time, I had over 50 things in it. Every time I looked at my queue, I saw it as a daunting to-do list. It still has over 30 items, but they’re sorted by socks, sweaters, shawls, etc. and I won’t be adding anything I don’t have yarn for. I may add to and take away from my list, but the goal is to keep patterns in my queue that I actually intend to knit.

And speaking of intention, 2019 is going to be chock-full of it. I recently dug out all my hats and took a photo, only to count them and realize I have over 20 that I have no plans on giving away. Twenty hats. I live in Tennessee and it does get cold in the winter, but even I admit that may be too many hats for one person. I want to focus on knitting things that loved ones or I will get good use out of. I actually love gift knitting for the knit-worthy in my life, so I’ll be doing more of that too.

And I plan on showing up here more. A lot of times I make modifications to a pattern, type in a quick note on Ravelry, and never really explain what I did or why. I want to pick up my camera (for which I just got a new lens) more and explore the world of photography as it relates to my knitting. Exciting stuff (to me at least)! Hah! I hope you’ll keep coming back. Honestly, I hope I keep coming back. The written word is lost so much in the fast-paced world of social media. I want to slow down here, to have a space that is mine in which I don’t have to worry about followers and likes.

Merry Christmas to you, friend! Here’s to the coming year! See you soon 🙂

xoxo,
Andrea