As July comes to a close, I wanted to check in and share some recent projects I've been working on, as well as a few that I've completed. I also wanted to share some creative-focused podcasts I've been enjoying, and some musings about crafting in community and future plans for knitting, sewing, and a brand new, very-beginner skill for me: crochet!
Since my last check-in, I've finished four(!) pairs of socks. One pair is a Christmas gift, so I won't share them yet, but I will share the others.
Spring neutrals socks
I had this yarn in stash for awhile before deciding on the right time to cast it on. I wanted a pair of simple, vanilla socks for when we took our trip to Texas in May. They're simple, knit with a contrast heel using a mini I had, and I'm really pleased with them. I knit them on 9" circular needles, since those are the most "plane-friendly," at least in my mind. More details can be found on my Ravelry project page.
DK leftover socks
Last year, I knit two pairs of socks from a 150g self-patterning worsted skein of Regia yarn (this pair first, and then this pair). For the second pair, I used some pink yarn as a contrast, and it was so satisfying to used up nearly 100% of the patterned skein. I knew I wanted to do the same with a DK-weight skein of Regia yarn. I actually knit the foot of the second sock twice, after realizing that I missed some decreases. And I had planned to make them to match, but somehow I started knitting from the other end of the skein for the second sock(?) and so the patterning is actually in reverse order on the socks and I can't be bothered to fix it. I added in a little bit of ribbing to give these a really nice fit, and again, I chose a shorter leg length. More details can be found on my Ravelry project page.
Summer nights socks with folded cuff
I've been enjoying trying out a few variations with my sock knitting (see my brain dump about sock gauge and needle preference below), and after seeing a folded cuff on socks knit by Stephanie on the Edible Thoughts Makes podcast, I wanted to try it. These socks are knit from a "micro sock set," which is a 50g skein of the main color and a 20g skein of the mini, which is plenty of yarn for a pair of average sized socks, and I like how much less yarn I have leftover. The folded cuff felt a little tedious, but I'm very pleased with the result and the fit. They are very comfortable. Next time (and there will be a next time), I'll try this cuff with a slightly shorter leg (maybe 10 rows instead of 20). More details can be found on my Ravelry project page, including the video tutorial from Stephanie for how to knit this cuff.
I currently have three knitting projects that are in progress, which feels like my upper limit, but each one fits a set criteria for any setting I may find myself wanting to knit.
Lilac Corran cardigan
I've made some progress on this in the last week or so. I'm currently knitting the second sleeve, and then all that remains is the button band. I will say, I like the look of the sweater, but I will have to see when it's finished if it really feels like me. I ordered the yarn online and was expecting it to be a medium pink, and it's actually very purple/lilac. And I've never knit an all-over lace garment before. On one hand, this lace pattern is at a large gauge and grows quickly, but it does take a little bit of thought. And with any garment that I've knit, I always stall when it comes time to make a decision about body or sleeve length. I've pushed through that now, I just need to knit the second sleeve the same as the first. And I do think there are so many cute version on the hashtag (#corrancardigan on instagram), so I want to finish this and block it and see how I might wear it! And for reference, and since it's hard to see, I'm knitting the long-sleeved, v-neck version. Finn helped me try it on today. ;)
Birch Musselburgh hat
After lots of patterned knitting, I wanted to cast on a project that I could knit without looking at (after the initial increases) and could just pick up and take wherever, so the Musselburgh hat fit the bill. This hat pattern is incredibly popular, and for good reason. This is my fourth, as I love the process (tons of stockinette stitch, so it's a soothing knit), and the finished product is incredibly wearable with the folded cuff. I will likely run out of yarn near the end, in which case, I'll finished out the inside layer with some DK-weight leftovers. I'm in no rush to finish it, but I'm making steady progress. I even took it with me to the movies when Nicholas and I went on a date to see the new Mission Impossible movie. So fun, and I knit over four inches during the movie (and had sore hands the next day, whoops).
Neon socks for Cooper
We got the unfortunate news that our beautiful local yarn store is closing. It's been such a sweet store to visit with a staff that is perpetually friendly and welcoming to me and the the boys, since they were usually with me. They have a big sale right now, so we went this week and Cooper picked out some (bright!) yarn for me to knit socks for him. These are not my typical colors, but I also want to let him have some say in the colors I use for socks he will be wearing, so here we are: neon socks! The yarn does feel very fun and summery. I'm just knitting a 52 stitch sock (numbers from the Tin Can Knits Rye Light pattern for the child-size sock) and I added in the blueberry waffle stitch pattern, to add some extra elasticity to the socks. I know he won't wear them a lot in the next month or so, and it would be ideal if maybe he could wear them for most of the winter, so I wanted some wiggle room. These are fun and should knit up quickly.
Knitting, general thoughts and plans
Speaking of socks, and in the spirit of the ongoing Summer Sock Camp knit-a-long, I am finessing my gauge and tweaking exactly what works with both my tension and the gauge of the yarn with socks and I think I've settled on these guidelines (for me, Andrea) for my sock knitting preferences:
- For light fingering weight (75/25 blends, yardage around 463 yards), I prefer a US 0. For slightly plumper fingering weight (and even borderline sport weight yarns), I prefer a US 1.
- 9" circular needles are my favorite for vanilla socks and for on-the-go. I do like magic loop for socks with an allover stitch pattern, although Finn's fingers tend to yank out stitches if I knit during a contact nap ;) Even though I have knit on dpns a lot in the past, right now, after a few incidences of mildly impaling myself with a needle in the leg (yikes, I know) I'm gravitating toward magic loop and 9"circulars.
I have lots of ideas and excitement for upcoming projects, including personal knits, as well as many gifts. The trick will be to plan them out realistically, timeline-wise. And of course, plans change. But as of now, here are some project I would like to have on the needles in the near future:
- A sweater for Cooper, knit in some beautiful British wool. I'm leaning towards a crewneck and something textured, along the lines of Ingrid Sweater Junior or Moby Sweater mini. I would like to try out some new stitch patterns and construction, and I love that this is a smaller scale in which to do it.
- Various Christmas gifts, likely including a cowl in boucle yarn, socks, and fingerless gloves. Ideally, I can gradually chip away at Christmas gifts in the next few months, so that late fall can be spent sweater knitting.
- Speaking of sweaters, I am very interested in knitting a Slightly Sassy V in a linen/wool/cotton/silk/nylon blend from my LYS, or a Coloring book Tee in a fingering weight wool yarn that I won in a giveaway (so exciting!)
- As the weather cools off, I'll turn to some heavier weight knits, but these lighter-weight sweaters might be perfect for the warm weather of the next few months.
Podcasts I've been enjoying recently:
- Edible Thoughts Makes – I learn a lot from Stephanie about yarn management, wardrobe planning, playing with gauge to suit your own preferences, etc. And she sews all her own project bags that are very inspiring. I really appreciate the detailed discussion of her projects.
- NE knits – Amy's podcast is newer to me, but I really like hearing about her garment knitting, and she does a lot of great project planning and thinking about what colors suit her and knitting with a wardrobe in mind, as well as planning projects for the season ahead.
- Emma Robinson of Wooly Mammouth Fibres – Emma is a natural dyer and develops very specific, local yarns from her home of Northern Ireland. She shares about her projects, but also vlogs about hikes along the ocean and her gardening and dyeing. And she recently shared a video about a summer holiday in rural France that has me wanting to visit there.
- Laura Penrose – Laura is funny and has a very approachable style to her videos and sharing her knitwear projects and designs. She shares a lot about her daily life, as well.
- The Crazy Sock Lady – Kay, the host of Summer Sock Camp, has a great podcast mainly about her sock knitting, but also any other projects, including crochet and crosstitch sometimes, and I always want to knit socks after watching.
Learning the very basics of crochet & a girl's craft night
My dear friend Kathleen is an avid and accomplished crocheter. She mentioned an interest in learning to knit, and I've wanted to learn how to crochet for a long time (I attempted a couple of times with videos and was unsuccessful). For months, we talked about the idea of teaching each other our own skills and we finally made it happen this past week!
We drank tea and had sourdough cinnamon rolls and she taught me to crochet and I taught her to knit and somehow we managed to fit all of that into one really wonderful, really fun night, alongside plenty of time to chat.
It was interesting to me to see some slight overlap in just general yarn knowledge and how to make a slip knot, etc, so of course Kathleen got the hang of it immediately.
So far, I can chain and do single crochet, and Kathleen recommended this video for double crochet. I plan to add a border to the dark blue-grey swatch (now a square) and use it as a coaster. And very I'm excited to gradually add to my crochet skill set, knowing I have an excellent friend and resource.
Nicholas finished a new desk! I'll share more about in an upcoming "Life lately" post. Consequently, that means he's currently refinishing his previous desk top and when that is done, we will set it up in the basement as a sewing workstation for me, since there is the perfect amount of room for my regular machine and my serger to sit side by side. I'm very exited to have a more permanent sewing setup, since that is a primary hurdle to me wanting to start any larger sewing projects.
Finished pieced project bag
In mid-June, I sewed a pieced project bag. I followed the dimensions of the bag I shared in my last check-in, and just did a pieced front for the bag, using blue, white, and red fabrics I had. Many of these fabrics have been used in two previous quilts, so that feels nostalgic. And it's a fun, summery bag.
Sewing, future plans
And here are some sewing projects that are still at the top of my list:
- A Towns bag, my parents gave me this pattern and kit as a very early birthday gift. I will need to learn some new skills and get acquainted with sewing with a heavier weight canvas, but I am very excited for this project.
- An Orchards dress, which would be perfect to wear right now in summer and wonderful to layer in the fall. I already have a blue cotton/linen blend set aside, just need to work up the courage (I think I'm nervous about the buttonholes, honestly).
- A striped skirt, pattern TBD, but using some summery striped cotton in stash
- I can't get the idea of sewing a squeeze pouch (tutorial by Bookhou) out of my head. They look so fun!
And there you have it! Quite possibly the biggest creative brain dump I've ever written. I'll be sure to share any projects as I work on them.
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