November works in progress

I mentioned in August that I seemed to be doing some unsettled knitting. Fast forwards a few months, and I’m entering a bit of a pattern: one big project for sitting, one tiny project for knitting on the go, and a few more complicated things for my “nights off” (where I’m not in charge of getting kiddo to sleep). Pre-pandemic, I typically had one on the go project and (sometimes) one bigger home project but since they’re both pretty simple right now, I’m enjoying rotating in a few other things that engage my brain differently.

Big project right now is the Stepping Stones Cardigan.

Terri in a harvest gold Stepping Stones vest.

It’s a boxy open front sweater with nice lace detailing on the front, hem and cuffs. The pattern has a lot of options for customization of the sleeves and I really appreciated those. The lace made knitting the body seem not so repetitive.

Books and knitting the front panel.

I love the yarn, which is Arranmore Light from The Fiber Co in the colour Finian. It’s kind of got a rustic handspun 2 ply feel. It’s also unfortunately easy to tear a single strand if it gets caught on something like a zipper or an over-enthusiastic 3 year old who wants to be in my lap. So I got a new tool to help with that!

This is a yarn ball holder from Hansen (better known for their espinners). I’d coveted it since Tina from Black Sheep Fiber Emporium showed me hers, because it is a beautiful piece of engineering: perfect smooth wood, balanced bearings, thoughtful design. But it didn’t fit into my life then. I’m happy to say that it does now!

Small project right now is socks for my Mom.

It’s the usual Sundae Socks pattern with some mods. I’ve been keeping the yarn colour a surprise, but it’s a matched pair from Must Stash Yarn.

More complicated knitting is the Butterfly Dream Catcher shawl.

This is done in this great special yarn from Black Squirrel Berkeley called ‘sup witches. It glows under black light!

Other alternate night off projects: Crochet

I’ve picked up my Christmas ornament advent from Little Box of Crochet. I got this in 2018 and didn’t plan to finish it all in December, but two years later and I just finished day 6. Whoops. But I need ornaments this year and I didn’t before! Probably should have started earlier than November, though.

Spinning

I’m still spinning but less regularly mostly because I’ve been getting paper books from the library and I can’t read those and spin! I need some more audiobooks. I usually enjoy podcasts but they’ve been kind of getting me down lately.

Craftsy sent me an email offering a full year for $2.49 and I’d wanted to try more of their spinning content so I did that and it’s helping keep my interest up because sometimes I watch spinning videos while knitting. I’m still not blown away by Craftsy. The content I’ve watched is good but the site itself makes it hard to find and doesn’t help you keep track of what you’ve watched, which gets more annoying the more I watch. But for $2.49 I already feel like I got my money’s worth out of it, so that’s ok.

Embroidery

I got a cute Christmas tree set from Dropcloth Samplers, but I haven’t gotten much further than the day I took this picture.

Other

I also finally finished a wooden marble run kit I got to make with my toddler (who I guess is more of a pre-schooler now?). It wasn’t the easiest to do with his help, but we got out the washable markers and he coloured while I built. He coloured most of these not just the scribbles, but sometimes he told me I had to help fill them in if he got bored (and sometimes i did the first scribble and he filled in).

I feel like I have so many things I want to do and so little time before December hits and I switch over to the advent style packages I plan to knit. I might have gone a bit overboard on the advent things this year since I won’t be traveling: I got the ShannaJean Gratitude box, the BySarahS Christmas mkal, and I signed up for the Gnome one too. Plus I got the Katrinkles tool one, though that’s shorter and I don’t have to knit anything.

But on the bright side, Mom’s socks are the only ones I actually “need” to finish in the next couple of weeks if I want to mail them off in time for the holiday! And I don’t have to finish any of the advents on time either!

First finishes for 2020: winter embroidery and walking into winter socks!

Two finishes to share!

Kiriki winter embroidery kit

First off, surprisingly, isn’t knitting! I started and finished this Kiriki Press embroidery kit in 2020 after I got back from Ottawa. This one was a lot faster than the spring one because there was no time-consuming satin stitch. I’m still having fun learning new stitches and also giving my hands a break. I’ve got one more sampler, but I’m finally feeling confident enough to try some of my more free-form embroidery panels. I’ve been collecting some from the Fireside textiles kickstarter for ages now and I’m so excited to start them!

Walking into Winter socks, in A Very Hobbit Christmas colourway

Second, my advent socks! These clever colours are from Must Stash Yarn which is kind of the worst because they drop new colours every Tuesday and you usually have only a few days to buy them before they sell out. It’s… Much too addictive. They do matching pairs which is nice because I’ve lately been enjoying having half skeins in my little purse, and this way I don’t have to break out the scales. And it’s cute if they match, but I’m weirdly more excited about not having to split the yarn cakes myself!

Yarn cakes

Anyhow, the Hobbit Christmas colours are 24 stripes and if I’d been doing it right I’d have been doing a few per day every day before Christmas to get them done in time. I aimed for only one sock, because who needs deadlines, and finished that one on time!

Sock #1, complete!

The yarn does most of the work for you and the pattern, “Walking into Winter” by Sivia Harding, does the rest with an alternating knit/purl per stripe, and some cute garland-stylings at the top. I love the photography in this one.

Yarn on the go

The one thing I might change if I do this pattern again is the toe. My toes are definitely not that pointy! Socks are stretchy so it’s no big deal when I wear them but hey, what’s the fun in slow fashion if you can’t custom fit stuff?

Up next: I’m still working on my other advent project, the Craftvent project from Jimmy Beans. I had to swap out the needles because the full sized metal ones that came with the kit were giving me wrist twinges, but swapping to my favorite short wood seems to have eased my ergonomic problem and I knit on and off today while taking my turns with a very sick toddler. (Don’t worry, his fever seems to have broken now, but we watched a lot of tv today.)

I’ve also got a necklace as a purse project. But it’s nearly done! I don’t have another small project on the go and I’ve been debating what’s next: cast on a small shawl or top down sock for my 2020 fiber goals, or size up my purse and go to town on a few more works in progress that got too big for the small one? Or start my new year-long project and do the first colour? I’ve been loving going through my queue and making plans.

Spring embroidery break

I strained my hand/wrist/arm at the end of socks on vacay (it wasn’t *just* knitting but the short needle setup I was trying didn’t help), so I took a two week break and tried some different crafts while I waited for my body to recover.

Embroidery has been popular in knitting circles. (even punch embroidery, which I haven’t done since I was… 11 maybe?) When my local knitting store was closing down their bricks and mortar location I picked up a couple of Kiriki sampler kits on sale. This one is spring and I also got winter. (And I might have to go order Summer now…)

It’s definitely a hello world style kit, meaning it’s clearly got training wheels intended to help you get started. The kit itself doesn’t have printed instructions, but they’re all on the website.

I’ve done a bit of embroidery for amigurumi and the odd Christmas ornament so it’s not a completely new skill for me, but this was definitely way outside of my skill set. I’m pretty pleased with the results, though! I expect I could get pretty comfortable with this if I practiced.

I wondered early on what I would even do with embroidery skills, but this is actually cute enough that I might try to find a way to display it. It’s clearly meant for a 6inch display hoop, but I kind of like it on a smaller one that doesn’t show the how-to parts. This 3inch is still a bit too big, but I might find something eventually.

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this! I’ve got a few more free-form kits from Fireside Textiles‘ Patreon but I’m going to at least tackle the other sampler I have first.

And speaking of amigurumi and Christmas ornaments… I also did exactly that as my second project:

As the photo says, this was part of last year’s Little Box of Crochet advent calendar. I didn’t get very far in it, but that was expected because eh, life. Hoping to get a bit further this year!

Both of those served as a nice break where I used different muscles. I spent a few days on calls to Japan and needed something to keep myself awake while listening in, but with knitting out I needed to try to branch out. Although I was not exactly thrilled when it took two weeks to recover, it’s better than that time in high school where I didn’t rest enough and had sore wrists on and off for 9 months!

But even if I’m not on a knitting break any more, you can expect me to do some more embroidery and crochet coming up this fall. It was fun!

And yes, in case you were wondering, I do realize the title of this post is a bit punny.