Knit: March 2017

It was a lighter knitting month (heavier reading month – 7 books read!), but I’ve immensely enjoyed what has been on my needles throughout March.

FO (Finished Object)


Pattern: Easy Baby Booties
Cost: Free!
Needles: US 6 & US 8 DPNs
Yarns: Ella Rae Lace Merino Yellow-green, Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light – The Radness, Koigu KPM White
Recipient: Sunday School friend’s baby

I’ve knit so many pairs of these baby booties, but I never get tired of them! I was going to try a (free) baby sandals pattern on Ravelry, but after almost completing the first one, I didn’t like the look and how it might fit. Instead I picked out three squishy, merino sock yarn leftovers for a May baby, and whipped up another pair for my go-to, standard baby gift!

WIP (Work in Progress)


Pattern: Find Your Fade
Pay for pattern by: Andrea Mowry
Needles: US 4
Yarn: Hedgehog Fibres Sock (Pollen, Fools Gold, Bramble, Salty Tales, Pheasant, Dragonfly, Bali)
Recipient: I’m keeping this one!

This was also a February WIP, but as March ended, I’m now in Section 9 working with color E (Pheasant). The beginning colors were my favorites to see fade, but even though I’m now working with some drastically contrasting colors, they do all compliment one another and I’m committed to using the yarn I bought specifically for this project to achieve my original color vision.

It did accompany me to Branson on Spring Break (after ripping back a significant chunk because I thought I had too many stitches on my needles…when I probably just counted a YO row, which was a silly mistake), remains a very easy pattern to follow, I love the simple garter sections, and really hope to be finished by the end of April so I can wear it during some remaining cooler spring days!

Knit: February 2017

FO (Finished Object)

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Pattern: Void shawl
Pay for pattern by: Melanie Berg
Needles: US 7 and US 8
Yarn: Quince & Co. Lark, Chantrelle (6 skeins)
Weight: 29 g.
Recipient: I’m keeping this one!

February was a fairly monogamous knitting month for me, and while I only succeeded in finishing one project this month, it’s a big one and I’m proud!

Even though I’ve been knitting over 10 years now, projects like this one remind me of the life-lessons knitting teaches me: patience, perseverance, knowing when to exert a little more effort, and when to take a break and come back later with a refreshed perspective.

There were at least two starts/stops/rip-outs/start overs, but eventually my brain connected with the pattern and am glad I saw this shawl through to completion. While it’s been unseasonably warm at the end of February, we still have had a few colder days, so I’ve already gotten some wear out of it!

And as I shared last month, my inspiration and motivation was one knitted with the same colorway of Quince & Co. by the beautiful Katie of the Inside Number 23 podcast.

The project bag is the toffee colored Field Bag by Fringe Supply Co.

WIPs (Works in Progress)

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Pattern: Find Your Fade
Pay for pattern by: Andrea Mowry
Needles: US 4
Yarn: Hedgehog Fibres Sock (Pollen, Fools Gold, Bramble, Salty Tales, Pheasant, Dragonfly, Bali)
Recipient: I’m keeping this one, too!

I’ve seen so many knitters “find their fade” throughout January and February via YouTube channels, Ravelry, and Instagram. They have all been so colorful and creative, and when I heard garter stitch (knit) was used to comprise much of this shawl, it tipped the scales for me to buy the pattern and buy the yarn. I loved brainstorming what colors would fade well together, based upon colors in my wardrobe and I’m thrilled with my selection! As the month ends, I’m in Section 4 working with color B (Fools Gold). This will be the perfect accompaniment during our Spring Break road trip!


Pattern: Granny Stripes
Cost: Free!
Hook: Size E
Yarn: various sock/sport weight bits & pieces
Recipient: I’m keeping this one, too!

Between finishing the Void and beginning to find my fade, the granny stripe afghan hasn’t received much attention, but it’s still beautiful to behold!

As shared in January, after seeing granny stripe crochet blankets being made on YouTube channels like YarnGasm, the Yarn Hoarder, and LegacyKnitz, I was inspired to pick up a crochet hook after a long time and have been completely fine in “designing” my one-of-a-kind blanket without a firm plan about yarn colors or amounts. This will probably be a WIP for the indefinite future, which is fine, and now that I am finding my fade, I’ll have seven more colors of sock yarn left over to add!

For all you knitters, crocheters, and crafters out there, I hope your creative endeavors  have been filled with learning and joy throughout February!

Knit: January 2017

This first month of the new year has already proven to be filled with FOs (finished objects), opportunities to learn new knitting skills, and WIPs (works in progress)!

FOs


Pattern: Easy Baby Booties
Cost: Free!
Needles: US 6 & US 8 DPNs
Yarn: Premier Wool-Free Sock yarn, Berry Bush & a lavender acrylic
Recipient: friend’s baby

The mother-to-be works at our local Braum’s store (if you don’t have a Braum’s in your town, you don’t know what you’re missing!), whom I’ve gotten to know over the past few years when I stop in to buy milk or eggs on my way home. We’ve chatted about her college course load, work schedule, etc., but after she told me she was expecting a baby I immediately wanted to knit her a pair of baby booties, having the inkling that she may not have any people in her life to give her child a homemade gift. After dropping off the booties at the store on a night she wasn’t working, she took the time to come by my library office to personally thank me the following week. I can’t say I know this young lady very well at all, I don’t even know her last name, but I just felt the Lord impressing on me this was the right thing to do. This was a reminder that being faithful and generous as I exhibit Christ’s love to those in need never gets old.


Pattern: Copy.Cat C.C beanie
Cost: Free!
Needle: US 7, 16″ circular Knit Picks Karbonz
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash, Doeskin Heather
Recipient: TBD

I’ve recently seen the store-bought version of these hats all over the place! Friends, students, and various young ladies in Branson at Christmas wearing these slouchy knit hats caught my eye. After seeing a close friend wearing one, I asked if I could take a look at it because I thought, “I could totally make that!” Even though they aren’t very expensive, the finishing was atrocious (looked like it was machine knit flat and then sewed up,evidenced by the poorly matching seams), so make one, I did! It fits a bit smaller than my friend’s store-bought CC hat, but the end result looks much more polished (in my opinion).

(Also wearing Hitchiker by Martina Behm with Lost City Knits yarn.)

New skill learned: Twisted Rib Stitch for the 1×1 ribbing made for a more open and loose brim.


Pattern: Basic Baby Hat
Cost: Free!
Needle: US 6, 16″ circular Knit Picks Rainbow fixed circular needles & US 6 DPNs
Yarn: Plymouth Yarn Encore DK, Light Brown
Size: Newborn (although it turned out bigger…)
Recipient: TBD

The library remained open on the MLK holiday even though our students were out of class for a volunteer day of service. Since I had to work, I wanted my contribution and act of service to be knitting a hat to donate to the nursery of a local hospital. Using left-over yarn from the wedding afghan I knit for friends, I cast on this hat at the local Monday morning knitting group and finished it a few days later. Now to pass along this and a few other hats to fresh and new little babies!

Pattern: Basic Baby Hat
Cost: Free!
Needle: US 6, 16″ circular Knit Picks Rainbow fixed circular needles & US 6 DPNs
Yarn: Gale’s Art Valentine’s Day double sock blank (2016) & Lion Brand BabySoft Solid – Baby white pompadour
Size: Preemie (although it turned out bigger…)
Recipient: TBD (maybe SSK 2017 KAL donation?)

I made socks for myself from this double sock blank last year and kept wondering what I would do with the rest. After knitting the brown hat, and with Valentine’s Day coming up soon…voila!

Added note: I spent time knitting both of these in a weekly university-wide meeting where, once more, I received comments about my ability to communicate and knit simultaneously. Score one for continental knitting!


Pattern: Big Red Dog
Pay-for pattern from: Knit Simple, Winter 2008/09
Needle: US 7 DPNs
Yarn: Crafter’s Secret, Red
Recipient: Hannah

There were many errors I found when first knitting this pattern a few years ago, which I then re-wrote based on my corrections made along the way. Since then I consult my notes and love making these puppets and giving them as a gift along with a Clifford the Big Red Dog book.

After hearing from the recipient’s Daddy that she was hugging the puppet after her Mommy read her the story during bedtime of the night of her party, this is a good indication our dear friends’ little girl will enjoy this throughout her 3rd year of life as she plays, imagines, learns, and grows!

Another added note: since the body of the puppet is knit in the round on DPNs, I took this with us to the movies when we saw Hidden Figures (so good – HIGHLY recommend!). It was my first time knitting completely in the dark! Score two for continental knitting!

WIPs


Pattern: Granny Stripes
Cost: Free!
Hook: Size E
Yarn: various sock/sport weight bits & pieces
Recipient: I’m keeping this one!

After seeing granny stripe crochet blankets being made on YouTube channels like YarnGasm, the Yarn Hoarder, and LegacyKnitz, I was inspired to pick up a crochet hook after a long time and have been completely fine in “designing” my one-of-a-kind blanket without a firm plan about yarn colors or amounts. This will probably be a WIP for the indefinite future, which is fine, and gives me the bug to start buying mini skeins to add after I’ve exhausted all the color combinations of yarn I’ve previously used (some of which I’ve used every single bit)!


Pattern: Void shawl
Pay for pattern by: Melanie Berg
Needles: US 7 and US 8
Yarn: Quince & Co. Lark, Chantrelle
Recipient: I’m keeping this one, too!

My inspiration and motivation was the one knitted with the same colorway of Quince & Co. by the beautiful Katie of the Inside Number 23 podcast. While others have raved about this pattern, it has required tremendous amounts of concentration to execute everything perfectly. There have been at least two rip-outs/start over again/set it aside for now and come back to it when I don’t want to throw it out the window moments.

Project bag is the toffee colored Field Bag by Fringe Supply Co.

New skill learned: picking up dropped purl stitches. I already knew how to pick up dropped knit stitches, but parts of this pattern have purled sections and I wanted the rows to be consistent. Therefore, this method worked perfectly!

To view more details and photos of my FOs and WIPs, visit my project page on Ravelry.

2016 Favorites & 2017 Projections

Favorite Reading:

Click on the links below for a more detailed review from when I read these throughout the past year.

DarkMatter
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

capture
How We Got to Now by Steven Johnson

coldtangerines
Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist 

ReadyPlayerOne
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Total books read: 56

Favorite Knitting:

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Title & Pattern: French Cancan
Recipient: me!
Yarn: Araucania Huasco DK: Grass
Needles: US 7

Green complements our University’s main color and the cabled border is a show-stopper!

coffeebeans
Title & Pattern: Little Coffee Bean Cardigan
Recipeint: Elias
Size: 6 month
Yarns: Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash: White, Malabrigo Yarn Rios: Glitter
Needles: US 7 & US 8

Such a pleasing and quick knit, which was so appreciated by my friend, the mother of the baby!

Total knits: 46 items

Hats: 12     Baby booties: 9 pair     Socks: 4      Dish cloths: 3     Various household items: 3 Adult afghans: 2     Mittens: 2      Fingerless mittens: 2     Coffee Cozies: 2     Cowls: 1         Shawls: 2     Baby sweaters: 1       Baby blankets: 1     Princess Crown: 1     Other toys: 1

2017 Ponderances:

  • When recently reading this Modern Mrs. Darcy blog post, I began pondering what it would look like for me to think on purpose this coming year. Rather than have my mind flit from topic to topic, a more diligent approach to my conscious thoughts will allow me to think more deeply, practice more logical reasoning, and perhaps see different angles to a given situation.
  • Practicing the art of hygge –  a Danish term defined as “a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” Pronounced “hoo-guh,” the word is said to have no direct translation in English, though “cozy” comes close. From The New Yorker.
  • Finally knit a sweater! If I can knit a baby sweater, I know my skills allow me to be capable of knitting an adult size sweater. I’m pondering several patterns on Ravelry, so the goal is finding the right one and pairing it with the right yarn…
  • All the while remembering less is more. When I was in grad school and made peanuts for a salary, I was completely content to not buy new clothing, books, yarn, or other creature comforts very often at all. Somehow over the past few years this mindset has shifted, especially when I have seen so many beautiful yarns, striking patterns, or engaging descriptions of books, it makes me feel like I need to buy/read/make the same thing. I want to remember I can still buy/read/make these things, but more in moderation (quality vs. quantity) and to think on purpose if I will really enjoy it in the long run, and if not – to vicariously enjoy other people’s photos, descriptions, and creations.
  • Possibly re-read the Bible (If so, this will be my 4th re-read). I found the process of reading through the Bible this year (ESV) was greatly assisted by the narration feature on my Bible app, which would be again be used if I endeavor to make this spiritual journey again.

“But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 3:13b-14 (ESV)

 

Christmas Knits 2016

Now that Christmas has come and gone (avoiding posting spoilers beforehand!), I’m happy to share some gifts from the heart I made for loved ones this year.

gardenwaffle

Title: Garden Waffle Socks
Pattern: Blueberry Waffle Socks
Recipient: Momma
Yarn: Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light: Mansfield Garden Party
Needles: US 1, 40” Addi Turbo Sock Rockets
Method:  Two-at-a-time (magic loop), toe up
Heel: Fish Lips Kiss Heel
Sock Blockers: Squire Country Crafts (Size: women’s small)

hermione

Title: Blue Hermione Socks
Pattern: Hermione’s Everyday Socks
Recipient: Dad
Yarn: Cascade Yarns Heritage Silk: Marine Blue
Needles: US 1, 40” Addi Turbo Sock Rockets
Method:  Two-at-a-time (magic loop), toe up
Heel: Fish Lips Kiss Heel

policebox

Title & Pattern: Police Box Sox
Recipient: The Optometrist
Yarns: Cascade Yarns Heritage Solids: Marine, Koigu Premium Merino: Black & White
Needles: US 1, 40” Addi Turbo Sock Rockets
Method:  Two-at-a-time (magic loop), cuff down
Heel: Fish Lips Kiss Heel
Toe: Hermione’s Everyday Socks

gingerbread

2016 Christmas Ornaments
Title & Pattern: Felted Gingerbread Ornaments
Recipients: various family & friends – smallest star and smallest heart
Yarns: Stonehedge Fiber Mill Shepherd’s Wool Worsted: Roasted Pumpkin & Cascade Yarns Sunseeker: White
Needles: US 13, 24″ Hiya Hiya Bamboo

forall

Title & Pattern: Mittens for All
Recipient: Josiah D.
Yarn: Hobby Lobby I Love This Yarn! Tweed: Red Tweed
Needles: US 5 & US 6 DPNs

worldssimplest

Title & Pattern: The World’s Simplest Mittens
Recipient: Gideon
Yarn: Plymouth Yarn Encore DK: Gray
Needles: US 5 & US 7 DPNs
Size: Child
bonbon

Title & Pattern: Bonbon
Recipient: Olivia
Yarn: Hobby Lobby I Love This Cotton! Carousel Ombre
Needles: US 6 DPNs

purlsoho

Title & Pattern: Super Easy Lap Blanket
Recipients: Lauren & Max (New Year’s Eve wedding afghan!)
Yarn: Knit Picks Brava Worsted: White, Clarity, Dove Heather, Silver, Cobblestone Heather, Asphalt Heather, Black
Needles: US 10, 47″ Addi Turbo

 

A Passel of Baby Booties

So, while January was hat knitting extravaganza, February has turned out to be a month of knitting a passel of baby booties.

My talented mother-in-law, who is a fellow knitter, shared with me the Easy Baby Booties pattern she found on Ravelry, which is also available via the designer’s website. I then found modifications from Napavlydeb on Ravelry, who converted the pattern to where you knit most of it in the round and only sew up the sole of the feet. This is the pattern and method I’ve come to love and they are such a quick knit. It takes me about two hours to knit them both, a perfect companion while we watch a couple episodes of NCIS on Netfilx.

We have several friends through church and work who are expecting babies throughout the spring, and since I love this easy pattern, it’s been fun to whip these up. It’s also been rewarding to dig through remnants of yarn and pair colors together, especially tripling fingering or sport weight yarns to create a thicker, colorful fabric. The Optometrist hand delivered *three pair to mommies-to-be at his work last week.

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*Cascade 220 Superwash: White (baby’s gender not yet known)

*Vanna’s Choice Lion Brand Patchwork Grey (baby’s gender not yet known)

Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage Badlands

Cascade 220 Sport: peacock blue; Ella Rae Lace Merino: white and yellow-green (these unintentionally turned into Seattle Seahawks colors!)

*Koigu Painter’s Palette Premium Merino 602P; Ella Rae Lace Merino red and white (baby girl)

And I believe at least two more pair of baby booties still need to be knitted by end of summer/early fall, but is that a problem? Goodness, no!

Otherwise, these are my current projects currently OTN (on the needles):

  • a pair of Mitt Envy fingerless mittens
    Koigu Premium Merino – 1112 light peach (I think it’s more pale pink than peach)
  • Hudson Bay Wedding Blanket
    Plymouth Encore Yarn DK – Cream, 520 Charcoal, 1444 Brown Heather, 6002 Light Brown, Medium Gray
  • Valentine’s Day socks – vanilla pattern, magic loop, toes up, TAAT
    Gale’s Art Double Sock Blank

 

The Unexpected Blessing of Teaching a Friend how to Knit

The Unexpected Blessing of Teaching a Friend how to Knit

It’s been years since I’ve attempted to share my passionate hobby of knitting, but last week I brought a friend into the fold. Earlier this winter she saw me knitting in public and expressed interest in learning how to knit, to which I promptly replied, “Why, I’ll be happy to teach you how!”

First, let me tell you a little bit more about my friend. A few years ago The Optometrist and I sat through a Dave Ramsey course with her at church, and then last fall she attended one of the ladies Bible study classes I taught, allowing our spiritual connection to deepen. Since this friend knows us both and had never been to our home before, I thought inviting her over would be a more comfortable and inviting option to learn how to knit around our kitchen table. (She’s also an animal lover, so she was quite taken with our affectionate kitty Sylvester.) Like I mentioned, it’s been a while since I’ve taught someone to knit, and she’s old enough to be my mom, so I wanted to be patient, concise, and encouraging. But I was still a little bit nervous.

You see, my friend’s husband has a very important, high profile job. He’s the president of our University, ultimately my boss.

He’s a busy man, and therefore, she’s a busy lady. They have notoriety in our community, simply because of his academic position, and we both hold them in high regard as individuals and leaders.

And yet, my friend doesn’t “put on airs,” as we say in the Ozarks. She’s genuine, gracious, and open with those she meets, when she has every right to be snobby, elitist, and disconnected from people. While I’ve never asked her, I get the impression that she and her husband are totally fine with her being who she is – someone who doesn’t pretend to appear perfect and whose bubbly personality draws people to her naturally.

So because of her lack of pretense, I felt I could comfortably teach her how to knit, not as the president’s wife, but as my friend.

She has crocheted in the past, which is always helpful when picking up knitting, but I hoped I could convey the basics in a way that she would understand. I instructed her to purchase size US 8 needles and some 100% cotton yarn so we could make a dishcloth; a great beginner project. We worked together for about 2 hours and during this time I was so proud of her ability to understand and execute the long tail cast on, the knit stitch, and was getting the hang of the purl stitch by the end of our evening together. As we wrapped up our session she thanked me, gave me a hug, and we walked her outside. For the past few days I kept thinking I needed to check in with her about her progress, then today, this arrived at work.

teacupflowers

It’s a dainty flower arrangement, with pale pink roses, in a tea cup with a saucer! It couldn’t be more me.

I thought The Optometrist had sent me belated Valentine’s Day flowers, but then I read the card and was almost moved to tears.

thankyoucard

While she’s the thankful one, I am the one who has received the blessing. When you share something you love, that’s a gift in and of itself. And the fact that she’s enjoying knitting and wants to learn more? Pure joy!

But more importantly, I am reminded from my friend’s thoughtful demonstration of how it’s always good to be open to learning new things from others; how being generous, authentic, and kind never goes out of style. As I look to her example, I not only want to be more like that when I grow up, but want to be more like that right now.