Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Madie's Crochet Bun Hat

I rarely jump on fiber and stitching trends, but thankfully I have cool young family members like my cousin Madie to keep me on my toes.

Madie messaged me after Christmas with a photo of a bun hat. She wanted to know if I could make her one, so I said sure.



Pattern: Easy Peasy Messy Bun Hat (FREE!)
Yarn: Red Heart with Love Solids in Bubble Gum

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Knitting, Grieving, and Making Connections

Alex frequently sends me articles about the health benefits of knitting, but it wasn't until recently that I really started to appreciate those benefits.

My uncle Billy passed away last week and as I usually do when we're going on a trip, I brought my knitting with me for our trip to see my family in Kentucky. Knitting at a time like this seems silly, but I didn't realize what a comfort it would soon be.



I'm currently working on Little Cabin by Caitlin Hunter, but really I could've been knitting an endless swatch of stockinette stitch and it would've still been helpful.

When someone I love passes away, I'm looking for a distraction and a break from feeling the weight of the sadness. Knitting provides just that. I'm counting stitches, I'm looking at charts, I'm reading directions, I'm feeling that back and forth movement of the needles. And it's comforting. I don't know why, but it's comforting.



Death brings up so many terrible feelings, and I'm not saying that we should avoid or ignore them. But sometimes those feelings are overwhelming and so painful. Knitting can bring a temporary peace and calm that can help us feel better even if it's just for a few minutes.

I was talking to Alex about Billy's talent as a mechanic and his love for old cars when Alex brought up an interesting point that bridged my knitting with Billy: my family is full of people who do things with their hands. Mechanics, electricians, sewers, crocheters -- we all love working those fine motor skills, and we're good at it. I never really thought about that before, but it made me feel that much more connected to other members of my family.

At first I was worried that every time I look at this sweater, I'll think of my uncle Billy and be sad. But I think it might just do the opposite: I think it will serve as a little tribute to him every time I wear it.

If you're interested in reading more about the health benefits of knitting, whether it's for grief, depression, anxiety, or anything else, check out some of these articles:


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Knitting Trials and Tribulations of the Options Cardigan

Holy moly. I've been through it with this sweater.

I'm a huge fan of Amy Herzog's designs, so I was really excited to start this sweater. I didn't plan it out super well -- funny, since that's the fit tip Amy so constantly drives home. The lack of planning caused me to take soooo long to finish this.

But it's all good now.


Yarn: Rowan Pure Wool Superwash DK in Marl
Pattern: Striped (or Not) Options Cardigan by Amy Herzog

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Dotted Ray Shawl + Meeting Stephen West

Earlier this year (yeah, I'm a little late in relaying this exciting info), I found out that Stephen West was visiting Black Mountain Yarn Shop. Cue the freak out.

Stephen was in Black Mountain last year, and the tickets sold out in minutes. I was so bummed that I missed him. But he came back one more time (the man is forever traveling everywhere), and it was a simple meet-and-greet event.

I was almost as nervous to meet him as I was when I was approached by Conan O'Brien. (That's a story for another day.)


Pattern: Dotted Rays by Stephen West
Yarn: SO many yarns!! Most were sock yarn scraps.

A lot of the ladies at the yarn shop were working on Stephen's patterns. I had been working on this Dotted Rays shawl and wanted to finish it so I could wear it to the shop, but I didn't finish in time. (Story of my knitting life.)

Instead, my friend Sami had the great idea to just bring the project and work on it at the shop. I felt like a little kid, holding up my art for Stephen to praise.


A rare selfie of me wearing the shawl for the Instagram #YarnLoveChallenge I participated in.


Here's Sami and me with Stephen. (Sami knit that sweater she's wearing. Isn't it awesome?) My mother-in-law had recently visited Stephen's yarn store in Amsterdam, and she brought me this book. I brought it for him to sign, and it was his first time seeing the European version.

Also, please notice that Stephen is wearing a leopard print onesie. The coolest.


At first I was really careful about choosing colors for the shawl. But then the shawl kept getting bigger, and I just thought well screw it. Let's just randomly start using yarn. Alex helped me pick a couple of colors, too. He really loves digging through those drawers full of yarn.


I was definitely creeping on Stephen's knitting projects that he had at the table. He was walking around, so I casually did some snooping. (It was cool, though. He eventually told us what he was working on and is all about letting knitters touch it.)


If Stephen ever returned to Black Mountain, I'd probably go again. And again. And again.

Have you ever knit any of Stephen West's designs? I'm ready to start another one. I just can't get enough of those colorful shawls -- like I need another shawl.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Black Light Knit Socks for Alex

When I was in high school, I was all about the black light posters. I had a couple of them in my room, and I lived for the day when we drove the couple of hours to the mall (any mall!) so I could go to Spencer's and get more.

So when I spotted this black light yarn at the Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair last fall, I freaked out a little. Of course, I knew Alex would like it, too, and he had asked me to pick up something fun for him. I was also trying not to spend a lot of money on yarn or add to my already-overflowing stash, so this was my solo purchase for the day.


Pattern: Amanda's Basic Sock Pattern
Yarn: Wild Hare Fiber Studio Pinnacle Sock in Neon Lights

Clearly, the cat is jealous of Nietzsche's usual guest spot in the sock photos. Yes, she always looks that evil.

The socks remind me of the Rainbow Road race on Super Mario Kart for Super Nintendo. Ah, good memories.

We haven't tried the socks under a black light yet, but we're planning to visit my parents soon so we're going to test them there. (That's right. My room is still pretty much in tact aside from my niece and nephew's toys and my mom's sewing machine.)


The funny thing about me buying this sock yarn: my friend Erica spotted this yarn when she went to SAFF and said she thought of me. She was going to tell me about the yarn, but I bought it and posted it to Instagram before she could even tell me about it! She knows my yarn preferences well.



Now that Alex has these socks, I'm jealous and want to make some of my own. I weighed the yarn and discovered that I only have enough to make one and a half more socks, so I'm going to add another color for the heel and toe to try and make two pairs. Stay tuned!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Spring Knits! Silvermine Shawl

Yep, another shawl. I just can't seem to get enough of these!

I first saw this shawl on Instagram. Christina Danaee of Appalachian Knits, the designer of the shawl, posted a call for test knitters. I immediately thought about this super special yarn and knew it would be perfect for this.

Christina is actually a designer local to Asheville, so it was cool to do a test knit for someone locally.


Pattern: Silvermine Shawl by Christina Danaee
Yarn: Siidegarte Siide-Fideel in Stiefmueterli and scrap gray yarn from my friend Emily


I've been doing a great job using up yarn that I already have. This beautiful wool-silk blend purple yarn was a gift from my mother-in-law. She went on a knitting cruise in Europe, and not only did they get to go to all kinds of awesome yarn shops, but the yarn also came to them.

The yarn seller boarded the boat and sold all kinds of awesome yarn to the knitting cruise group. My mother-in-law knows I love purple, so she chose this for me.


I love the little bobbles on the shawl that form these berry-like clusters. Once I got further along in the pattern, though, those bobble rows seemed eternal!


Before I even started knitting, I knew I didn't have enough of the gorgeous purple yarn to finish. But I did have a bit of gray yarn that my friend Emily sent me, and it looked lovely next to the purple. There's just something about purple and gray...


I got to the last few bobbles and discovered that I didn't have enough of the gray yarn. Ugh. I was so close to the end. I didn't have any gray fingering-weight yarn, so I ended up splitting a heavier yarn and using the split plies to finish it up. I don't think you can really tell! (It was pretty successful -- so successful that I'm writing a Craftsy post about it!)


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Little Stinker Skunk and Fox Crochet Taxidermy

I bought Crochet Taxidermy by Taylor Hart on a whim one night when we were in Malaprops, our local independent bookstore here in Asheville.

I first thought I would make these as Christmas presents for lots of friends, but I then realized that wasn't going to happen. (I ended up going for fox brooches instead for many of my friends,which was much faster.) I made the skunk as a gift, and then Alex persuaded me to make the fox for our house.



Pattern: Sly Fox by Taylor Hart from Crochet Taxidermy
Yarn: Red Heart Super Saver in Carrot and Lily Sugar'n Cream in White (both from my stash)



Pattern: Little Stinker by Taylor Hart from Crochet Taxidermy
Yarn: Black acrylic from my stash and Red Heart Buttercup in White

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Colorwork-Crazy Vespergyle Mittens for Jessica

I've been making my friend Jessica hand knit gifts for a long time. We met in a group fiddle lesson in Brooklyn, and we lived just a block apart. Even though we both left BK, we still keep in touch -- and we still exchange crafty gifts every year.

Last fall, Jessica told me about a pair of mittens she bought from a handmade market in Norway. She lost them, and she was pretty upset about it. Since she purchased them from a lady at a random market, they were practically impossible to replace. So I agreed to try and make a replica.

The result: Vespergyle Mittens.


Pattern: Vespergyle Mittens by Elinor Brown (Free Pattern!)

My colorwork wasn't perfect throughout the entire mitten, and this was my first time making a mitten where the thumb is increased slowly off the side of the mitten, rather than added later with picked up stitches. I think this type of thumb is way easier to knit.


The colorwork makes the mittens warmer, and it also looks super cool:


I don't think I successfully replicated Jessica's original mittens, but I hope these will be just as warm (and never lost!).


Here's a photo of Jessica's lost Norwegian mittens:


You can see they were a little felted and probably much warmer. But I think we did a pretty good job finding a pattern that is similar!

Here's a funny video of Jessica modeling her new mittens. Go, Jessica!


video

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Alex's Latest Knit Crazy-Colored Socks

Alex is forever requesting that I knit him a pair of socks. You probably realize this already, since his legs grace the opening of practically every sock post. He's so spoiled now that he wears a pair of hand knit socks practically every day. (That's thanks in part to his mom also knitting socks for him.)

This latest pair came about by accident. My friend Jo's mom kindly unloaded part of her stash, and Jo brought over a whole bag of yarn for a few of us to go through. I chose my yarn, and after everyone left I found a lonely skein of sock yarn that had fallen off the table.




No one else claimed it when I asked, so I kept it! (Couldn't let such a lovely yarn go to waste.)

Thus was born Alex's latest pair of socks, requested for Christmas but delivered a teensy bit late.

Pattern: Waffle Rib Sock by Carolyn (Jill) Ferneau
Yarn: Schoppel-Wolle Zauberball®Crazy (I think it's color #1537, but not entirely sure)



I've made this same sock pattern several times. It's one of Alex's favorites, but I share the waffle love with all. Here are the other socks I've made with this same pattern:





I'm also really digging the Eye of Partridge heel. It has such a neat texture and makes other heel types look so boring.


When I didn't know what the yarn was, I worked up this tiny little swatch and put it through the washer to see what happened. I love how such a cool yarn can look so inconspicuous when it's worked in such short rounds.


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Pretty Winter Snowflake Embroidery

I'm always sad when we have to put away the Christmas decorations, so it's nice to have some general winter-themed crafts that we can leave up through January (and hey, maybe even February). Snowflakes are a definite January decoration for me, and this Winter Snowflake embroidery is a perfect example.



Pattern: Winter Snowflake by cozyblue

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Mollie Makes Foxy Felt Brooches for Foxy Ladies

When I try to make something handmade for lots of friends, it's always a fail. So this past holiday, I looked for a gift that I could give lots of people. For inspiration, I went back through my Mollie Makes archive and found this adorable fox brooch kit that I hadn't even touched.

I made the foxes assembly-line style and was able to whip up quite a few in just several hours while I watched embarrassingly crappy Christmas movies on Netflix. Yeah! Handmade gifts for all!


Supplies: Felt, pin backs, and embroidery floss -- all from my craft stash! Woohoo!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Dad's Waffle Rib Christmas Socks

I knit my dad a pair of Christmas socks two years ago, and then last year I switched it up and made him a pair of knit gloves instead. This year, he kindly requested another pair of socks.

I like it when people request specific DIY things, because that means they will definitely love and wear them. When I take a guess at what people might want, I worry that they won't wear the gift or use it.



Pattern: Waffle Rib Sock by Carolyn (Jill) Ferneau
Yarn: Malabrigo Sock in Fresco Y Seco