A Distraction

I took a little break from sock knitting last week to finish off a shawl.

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This is the Hap for Harriet pattern by Kate Davies. It’s an easy pattern and quite good for travel knitting or car knitting. It does require some good light when you get to the lace parts, so it is not good for knitting in the dark, but there really isn’t much call for that in my life lately. I used a new wool from Bare Naked Wools called Chebris. It’s a blend of wool and yearling mohair and it was lovely to knit with.

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As usual, the shawl was a bit scrunchy while I was knitting it, but it blocked beautifully. The stitch definition with this yarn is fantastic. I love how crisp it looks. It fluffed up a bit as well, and all those garter stitch ribs will trap lots of heat in the colder days to come.

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It was not too cold the day I finished and got these pictures taken, but I look forward to wearing it when the weather turns. Or, maybe I will give it away. I am not really sure yet. I do have one more skein of Chebris, so I could give this one away and make myself another one.

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But, I got a little distracted again and have already cast on another shawl in this super light and soft cashmere. Socks? What socks?

Vacation, Socks, and More

We’ve been on vacation. It was great to get away from home for a bit. Mostly, I did this.

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While the boys did this.

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It wasn’t long before I had this.

And this.

Lest you think all I did was knit on vacation, we also did a lot of this.

There was ice cream almost every day. But, I also ate this.

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And this.

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Now that we are back, we are enjoying a more relaxed summer pace of life. It’s given me a chance to update my etsy shop with lots of new stitch marker sets, including a unique design for a removable marker.

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This design came about from frustration, mostly. All the removable markers I had ever tried either fell out easily or were fiddly to use or so heavy that they tended to distort the stitch it was marking. This is not a locking stitch marker, so it is possible that it could fall out. However, I have been using one on a shawl for the past few weeks. It’s lace weight and it has been dragged around and scrunched in a bag and shaken and it has clung faithfully to its stitch.

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I have looked around a bit and have not seen anything like these being sold anywhere. The boys love the idea that no one else has these for sale. We are having a special offer in the shop for the rest of July. Any order of $20 or more will include 2 free removable spirals of our choice. We are excited about these and hope everyone will love them.

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As you can see, we’re ready!

How is your summer going?

July is for Socks

Now that the weather has heated up and we are out of the house more with summery activities, my knitting has turned portable. It is too hot to be knitting a sweater in one piece unless it is made out of lace weight yarn or possibly fingering. I do actually have a couple of those in mind to make, but since I have just finished a couple of big sweater projects, I decided to concentrate on smaller things for the month of July. Specifically socks.

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This year has been light on the sock front for me. I blame it on those small double pointed needles. Something about the cold winter we had made my hand rebel against stitches that were too tiny or too big. Now, though, my hands feel ready to do some little knitting.

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As soon as I was free from my knitting obligations, I cast on the Gabriola Socks. This great pattern is written by a friend of mine and is just right for those colorful sock yarns you always see. It is written to help prevent the pooling and flashing that sometimes happens with those types of color combinations. I think it looks great so far on this Lorna’s Laces yarn that I got last year for finishing Camp Loopy. The colors reminds me of the flowers we saw last year on our Rocky Mountain vacation. The pattern is easy to memorize and make great tv knitting. The first half of this sock just zoomed by.

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Also, I could not resist this mystery sock knit along by verybusymonkey. I have admired this designer’s patterns for awhile and thought this would be a good introduction for me. So far, I am enjoying the pattern and the yarn. These socks will be for the husband as they are, in what I call, a boring man color. He will love them, though!

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Speaking of mystery sock knit alongs, I totally abandoned the one I started way back in May when other knitting obligations took over. Well, I also had made a series of mistakes when I was caught one day without the pattern and I was waiting for the boys to finish something. It was the only thing I had with me to work on and so I just decided to wing it from memory. That turned out to be not such a good idea and I put it aside until a few days ago. After I ripped out about ten rows, I was able to get myself back on track and now I am moving along at a better rate. I will have to do some modifications of this pattern, though, because I do not like big cables on the tops of my feet. My plan is to transition into some sort of ribbing, but I will have to see how it goes. It’s a beautiful pattern called Tree People, but it is much more heavily textured than I am used to. I am absolutely loving the yarn, though. It’s Hazel Knits artisan sock and there will definitely be more of this in my sock future.

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Lastly, for those times when I have no ability to remember or follow a pattern, there are always the plain socks. Recently, these came with me to the dentist and helped me get through a fairly stressful appointment. There might be a couple of super tight rows in there as a momento from that time, haha!

My plan for July is to concentrate on these socks and maybe work a little on some shawls if I need a break. We are traveling for half of the month and the other half is quickly filling up with fun activities with the boys, so I will need lots of portable knitting. What’s on your needles this summer?

Summer Happenings

Summer has officially arrived here. School is done for now (well, except for a couple of things that we year round). To celebrate, we took the boys to Hershey Park for a day of stand-in-line-for-an-hour followed by a minute-of-excitement. The husband and I seemed to be the only ones who minded this imbalance.

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I actually got a little bit of knitting done while we were at the park. The boys went to play at the water playground by themselves, much to the anxiety of my mother’s heart. They are really growing up fast!

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Back at home, I have been making good progress on my ruby red test knit. I am quite loving this breathless dk yarn by Shalimar and am really looking forward to being finished with this project. We’ve had some days over 90 degrees recently and that’s just too hot to have a pile of wool in my lap!

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In other summery news, I have decided to take the plunge and open an etsy shop! For now, I am selling stitch markers. In my first few days, thanks to my loyal Ravelry friends in the ThreeBagsFull group, I sold almost the entire stock I had prepared, which was really surprising and exciting and scary to me.

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The shop is called 1514Homemade, a name that the older son came up with years ago. I can’t remember how it came about, but we were discussing some baked yumminess that I had made and how we could sell them. That lead to a discussion on what we would name the shop and he suggested 1514Homemade, which incorporates our house number. I considered naming it after myself or the blog, but really, every one here in this house has a hand in the things that get made. The boys have helped me a lot with the stitch markers by threading beads and helping with organization. The husband is an invaluable resource on all things related to materials science and production processes. Any venture that happens is truly a group effort here.

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Right now, the shop has a few items left, but if you look at the sold items and see something that you want, you can always submit a custom order request. For now, I am thinking of updating the shop once a month or so. Eventually, I may try selling other things besides stitch markers as well. Quilts or pillows, maybe? Or the odd knitted item. We’ll just have to see where this leads me. I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

So, how is your summer going? What new things are you trying?

More DIY Stitch Markers

Ever since I started making my own stitch markers, I can’t seem to stop making them. This week, I got tired of the boring silver colored rings and went looking for other colors. All I found were gold and copper ones, which were nice, but I was craving color with a capital C. I found some great colored wire and decided to get some to play with it and see if I could make my own jump rings.

After a little bit of trial and error, mostly with tools, I ended up raiding the husband’s tool set and found just the thing I needed. To do this, you will need wire cutters like you see below, (basically ones that let you cut wire right at the tip) and 20 gauge wire in whatever color you want. Make sure you get something that won’t tarnish, though. Begin by getting a pencil and wrapping your wire around the barrel of the pencil in a coil-like fashion, like so.

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Then, take your wire cutters and position them so that the end of the coil is right next to the blade (this is to make sure you get a nice ring), and then cut one ring from your coil.

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Keep going until your coil is all cut up into little rings. You may have to stretch the coil a bit to be able to cut just one ring at a time. I found that I could slip on a bead and close the loop by hand since the wire was more malleable than the jump rings I bought. For gluing and more detailed instructions on how to finish, go to my previous post about making stitch markers.

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Aren’t they fun? I am already making plans to go back to the store to get more colors. Pretty soon I am going to be swimming in stitch markers! I wonder, would anyone be willing to buy some? If there is enough interest, I may look into opening an etsy store, if it isn’t too much trouble. So fun!

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