Tuesday, March 21, 2017


I did something last week that I have never done before.  I always thought that it was hard, annoying and looked awful.  Bur then, as I learned, I came to understand the reason why so many people do it. 

What am I talking about?

Granny Squares!

Ok, laugh away. Until last week I had NEVER made a Granny Square.  Partially because I really do think they look tacky and annoying and partially because I just never had a reason to. But then our knitting guild was asked to yarn bomb some light poles for a local art fair in April (I'll share more about that when it happens!) and several of the other ladies were whipping out granny squares for it like crazy. 

It took a lot of patience from two of my fellow knitters before I finally got the hang of it - you should have seen my first attempt.  But after doing some diagram sketches and thinking of ways to memorize it in my head, I finally caught on.

For someone who rarely crochets and even more rarely crochets in the round, picking up this new skill took a lot of baby steps and several "maybe I should just stick to knitting" before it was finally mastered.  I will say, they are easier than I ever thought and I completely get the hype behind them now, especially for yarn bombing.  But will I be making millions and millions? Probably not.  After this yarn bomb project is over I'll likely retire the hook and crappy yarn for awhile, and forget how to even make them once again.


Have you made any granny squares in you day? Do you like them? Why?  Tell me what you think :)

Have a fabulous week!


Monday, March 13, 2017

On the Needles - March

We're midway through March already, and it's Spring Break for many schools down here in Texas, mine included.  As for my plans, well there will be lots of knitting, spinning and painting happening in my downtime.  After all why not use the extra time to the fullest?

I figured it was about time for an "On the Needles" update, so today I am sharing with you all the projects I am currently working on.

First up is my March socks - which I am calling "Lucky Stripes".  March is for St.Patrick's Day and St. Patrick's is known for green.  So I found the most green yarn I had and decided to make my socks with it.  The yarn is called Rico Design Superba Poems and came from the UK via a traveling relative a few years back.  The stripes are long, even longer than Zauberball, so I decided to stripe it within itself by dividing up the yarn and switching between two balls every ten rows.

The second project is one that has been on my list for awhile, Sev[en] Circle, with is a simple necklace type project that involves stockinette stitch rolling upon itself to create coils.  I loved this when I saw a friend wearing one last fall and knew that I wanted to make it many many time, although this will be the first one for me.  The yarn is some leftover Vinni's color, which was (ironically) given to me by the same relative as the sock yarn, this time from Africa.  I'm pretty sure I don't have enough for all seven circles, but the patterns is written to where I can stop when needed.

The lunch ladies at the school found out I know how to knit and have asked me to make them some converse booties for their children.  While most of the patterns are crochet, I was lucky to find one for knitting that I think is working.  Once I finished the first, the rest will be smooth sailing, as it's a pretty easy pattern.  The yarn? My standby - Caron Simply Soft.

The final thing on my needles won't be done for awhile, as our knitting guild is doing a year long Mystery Knit Along.  With one part of the pattern being released each month, it's a slow go.  The pattern is one that is already on Ravelry and I had the honor of picking it as and dividing it up.  So technically I know what it is, but I'm not going to tell.  And if you recognize it ever, don't tell either! ;) ;)

The yarn I chose was given to me in a swap - Merino Cashmere Fingering by Skein. It is so soft and scrumptious, that I knew it had to be something other than socks. 


Any new projects on the needles for March? Any knit alongs happening? Any major projects you fear will never be complete? Share away my friends and have a great week!


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Spinning Stories

On top of knitting, painting and teaching, there are several other hobbies that I thoroughly enjoy.  One of those things is spinning yarn.  I will admit that I don't spin as much as I knit or create, but my wheel isn't the most portable thing on the planet.

Gifted to me almost two years ago, this vintage handmade wheel was passed on to my by a lady in my knitting group who had received it from someone else.  Apparently it's had three or four different owners.  Given than I have never owned a wheel (due to expenses), I felt so honored to be trusted with this gem.

My first skein on the wheel was a bit loosely spun, but still a nice beauty.  This was a 2 ply with blue merino from my stash paired with a bat of orange/blue with sparkle.  I really like the color on this one and for a first try it turned out nice.

Probably my most successful to date is these two skeins of handdyed BFL from my LYS.  I loved how the colors pooled and slowly changed.  It plyed up really nice too.  Something I've learned from wheel spinning is that I definitely prefer BFL - or any animal with a long staple - over Merino. 

This yarn is also the first wheel spun I've knitted into something, for it became one of my favorite shawls - gnarled oysters - which I wear on a weekly basis. 

A nice thing about wheel spinning is that (I believe) it's easier to try out new techniques.  One of those for me was Navajo Plying.  I had never tried it before but the rainbow stripes on this BFL made me want to preserve that.  The result was a yarn that ended up a bit tight and springy, but still very fun. 

This last skein was a total experiment for me.  1-ply is a dyed purple alpaca, which spun up very nice.  The second ply is some matching solid deep purple merino which I held with some sparkle thread throughout.  The end result is a lofty 2-ply yarn that really shines in the light.  I haven't decided what to make with this, but I know I want to make something soon.

This past weekend I pulled out my wheel, oiled her up and started another spinning project.  I'm taking the leftover blue and violet merinos from some of the above skeins and holding them together to create the first ply.  Once all the singles are done I'll likely just ply it back on itself.  It's spinning up really nice, so I hope that I do it justice in the end. 


I hope you enjoyed this journey with me.  Spinning is something I wish I could do more. Are you a spinner? Or maybe some other fiber craft besides knitting?  Share below, I'd love to hear your stories!
Have a fabulous week :)


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Perfect Pair

Well here we are, the end of another month, what is happening with time?

With my February Socks done, it only feels fitting to dedicate today's post to them in all their pink glory  But as I started taking photos I realized that I have something else I can discuss: Shoes.  We all have our favorite pair(s), for running, working, relaxing.  But do we all have a favorite pair for showing off our handknit socks? As knitters, I hope the answer is a resounding "Yes!".

My current go-to pair for pretty much everywhere is this woven pair of CCResort shoes.  The woven design is super fun and the denim color matches my jeans as well as several skirts I own.  Plus the open top is perfect for showing off some socks.  I will definitely be ordering more pairs of these in the future. 

What better way to show off handknit socks then with knitted shoes? Haha ok so they aren't actually "knitted", just drawn with the knit stitches by yours truly.  If you look at my photo close enough you'll see that this pair has gotten tons and tons of wear.  But they're still so much fun to wear when I have the chance.  
(want your own pair? Click here!)

This pair of black, flat shoes is one of my standards for work, seeing as we have to dress business casual. Although I somehow get away with pair them with crazy socks.  Maybe that's because I'm the art teacher??? Either way, this pair works well with bare or socked feet and was a clearance pair at Payless last fall.  Total score!

But some days I just want to sit around with no shoes, showing off my crazy socks in all their glory.  

I finished the watermelon socks this past Sunday, just in time to get cracking on a pair for March (haven't decided what to use yet though).  I really like the fit that I was finally able to get and the pattern plays nice with this yarn.  There is just enough minty green in these to accent the various shades of pink and the photo above is the best representation of color I've been able to get. 

What about you guys? Do you have a favorite pair of shoes for your handknit socks? Or a favorite pair in general? I'd love to hear more!
Happy March!


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Selfish Designing

I consider myself a pretty good designer.  Not that I've been in any publications or want to give up my day job, but sometimes the bug just bites and I'm able to design something better than what I can find online. 

After finishing my latest "self-design" (see bottom of post), I realized that I have a lot of things on Ravelry that I designed and never published a pattern for.  Some of them I swore I would, others I just didn't have time to write up.  And then deciding if you want to get it tested and proofed.  It all just takes so much time! And so today's post is dedicated to projects from the last 2-3 years that were designed by me but never published as patterns. 

Starting with the oldest is Stricken Socks, "Stricken" meaning "knit" in German. The design came about when I found a triangle motif that I adapted to look like enlarged knitted V's.  The yarn used was Blue Ridge Yarns, Subtle Shades in a violet color.  Sadly these socks came out a bit tight (the yarn was really thin) and also the color has since become patchy-faded from washing.  I do like the motif though and may re-work it into a pair this year. 

Next up on the list is my Woven Colors Shawl, made with two skeins of Ella Rae Lace Merino Worsted that I bought on a road trip. I love these two colors together and wanted a way to play with them.  I love my woven design, but the overall shawl didn't really work out. It's heavy and I attempted this weird sleeve thing.  I keep saying I'll rip it out and try something else but I haven't yet.  

More colorwork, this time with some local alpaca, the Alpaca Weave hat and mitts set was fun to do. I wanted to play again with the idea of the colors interacting and chose to use a mosaic technique to create the squares. I don't actually remember the exact way I did this, but I would love to publish it someday (Guess I need to be looking back through my journals for the chart!)  And see the ribbon? The ranch that made the yarn took a bunch of projects from our knit group to an event and I won a ribbon. 

Maybe you saw an earlier post this year about the playfully titled Unicorn Farts that I made with some rainbow wool.  I have really gotten into the idea of using mosaic knitting when it comes to two colors and that showed up again in this one.  If I were to publish or write this one up, I'd do it with different yarn (maybe from the blue/yellow above??) just because both of these yarns were super random.

The main inspiration for today's post was Eagle's Wings, a two colored half-pi shawl I started last October with my school (I teach at) colors.  The purple is actually left over from those Stricken Socks, while the gold is a clearance skein of Shibui Staccato.  I started with stripes of purple stockinette and gold drop stitches, but because I had less purple I ended up running out and chose to do a gold feather/fan border with beads.  It's not as massive as I wish, but I also was in a hurry to finish it up.  My knitting group thinks I need to publish this one.  I'm not sure if I will. 

Anyone reading ever design? Do you publish your designs or keep them to yourself? Do you find yourself taking an already published design and changing things up? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Have a fabulous week.


Monday, February 13, 2017

The Art of Journaling

Notebooks. Diaries. Journals.  No matter what you call them, we probably all have some form of physical paper that we write our thoughts on.  Whether it be personal secrets or quick notes, sometimes it's fun to have something to write and doodle in. 

My topic this week is inspired by the art of journaling, specifically when it comes to my knitting.  I was recently inspired by MySistersKnitter to start a knitting journal for the year, chronicling each project I do in it's pages with stats, photos, doodles and yarn. The hope is that at the end of the year I can look back and remember everything I did with a smile.

The timing seemed right to try out this endeavor, as my good friend Laura made me this lovely felted journal for Christmas, equipped with enough blank pages to fulfill my mission. 

And fulfill I will, as I have already added to four pages, two of which are my 12 in 12 sock challenges.  I had to make a couple pages after projects had already been completed, but now that I have started I plan to write notes as I work.

Above are two more fabulous journals that I have, both gifted by my wonderful friend Ivy. The first is especially nice because it is loaded with sturdy grid pages as well as helpful knitting tips and tricks in the back. The second is also gridded and was even bound by her.  Both tend to get used when I'm working on design ideas and need a place to keep my thoughts. 

I taught myself how to bind books about a year ago, and began designing my own covers to go with them.  The one below is a good example. I've had it for about two years, using it as a calendar/day planner, although I gave up on that last November because I couldn't be consistent with my planning.  So now it sits on a shelf.  The nice thing though is that, if I want, I can take apart the book and rebound the covers for another purpose.

Do you keep a journal? For knitting, crafting, writing or planning? What sort of pages do you prefer?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Have a fabulous week :)


Monday, February 6, 2017

The Problem with Socks

We all have our vices, especially in knitting.  Mine is socks. I love them and then I hate them, and then I love them again.  It's a cycle that never really ends.
I decided that for 2017 I want to knit 12 pairs - approx. 1 a month - but am keeping it open in case life gets in the way.

Upon deciding this I started my second pair this past week.  Dragonfly socks by Jocelyn Sertich was the perfect pattern for my watermelon colored yarn.  I'm doing it toe up with a fish lips kiss heel so in theory I'm just using her motif, as the pattern is written cuff down.

I've done short-row toes before and really enjoy the ease and look.  Something I haven't done before is use the fish lips method for toes.  As it turns out, doing that technique for toes tends to end with a longer, pointy version. I can handle that, but I probably won't do it again (except on the second sock!)

Out of excitement for my new goal, I've been knitting on these like crazy, so much that I made it all the way to the heel as of yesterday.  I measured it against my cardboard foot, it was perfect and so I went to town on the heel. 

Then this happened. Somewhere along the line I ended up an inch too long! I'm still unsure if it was that my heel ended up longer than expected or that I did my foot pattern too long.  Either way, I guess I need to rip out the heel and start over.  Sigh.  The heels are always the most annoying part and I've been known to say "The math for fish lips can do no wrong!" I guess I'm eating my own words now.

When I finally decide to pick these up again I'll be ripping out and starting the heel again, and hopefully getting on with the cuff.  How awesome would it be to finish the first sock in just over a week? I think that would be a new record.

So the problem with socks.  Well it's always the math.  Somehow I almost always end up with a pair that is too loose or too tight or too tall or something.  Does this ever happen to you? 

Hope you have a fabulous week!