Knitting, outdoors

Meet Tucker

This is Tucker. He is my new woodland buddy. He makes me smile. And laugh. A lot!

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As you can see, he’s an adorable and thoroughly cheeky little squirrel with the sleekest fur and bushiest tail imaginable.

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For a while now, I’ve been wondering who has been taking bites out of my decorative corn (left over from Fall)… Turns out it’s Tucker! (And I think we can all tell which flavor he likes best!)

Tucker likes to run up onto the back deck, under the kitchen window and grab a mouthful of dried corn kernels. Then he runs back across the deck, climbs up onto the railing, and perches there to enjoy his snack!

I happened to see him through the kitchen window, doing this over and over early one morning as I was making coffee. Now we meet up for coffee & corn breaks most early mornings and late afternoons.

I haven’t yet figured out whether he’s told all his friends & relations about the free handouts on my back deck, or whether he’s keeping it all to himself… ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here’s a quick peak at what’s currently on my needles…

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Another baby blanket. This one is a sample in a smaller size as I would like to offer a couple of different size options in the pattern.

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And this is a new pattern I’m working on for a Spring/Summer weight shawl!

What’s been making you smile/laugh lately? And what’s on your needles/hooks/wheel/loom? I’d love to hear all about it!

Happy Knitting!

Knitting, outdoors

Beautiful Cozy

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What a lovely, cozy, December day it has been! I feel so blessed to be surrounded by such beauty – indoors and out.

For the last week, I’ve been participating in a black and white photo challenge on social media, which has been a lot of fun! I’ve found it’s really opened my eyes to see beauty in unexpected places, and given me a profound sense of gratitude for the smallest of everyday blessings. Here’s a link to the album if you’d like to see: Black & White Photo Challenge.

This afternoon I’ve been cozied up with a warm cup of good coffee and some deliciously textured knitting! I’m nearly finished with the center section of a baby blanket I’m designing for a friend. I’m loving a new challenge, the textured stitches, and this soft, gorgeous yarn! (It’s Cascade 220 Superwash Merino in color # 31 “Baby Blue.”)

What’s making you happy today? What are you working on? I’d love to hear all about it! ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy Knitting!

 

Family, Hats, Knitting

Most Loved Project

The topic for Day 3 of the Yarn Love Challenge this month was “Most Loved Project.” This threw me off for a few days as I have difficulty determining which of my projects I love most! ๐Ÿ˜‰

But then it occurred to me that looking at this question from a Handknit Recipient’s perspective might be interesting. So now I’ve got a slightly sarcastic but humorous take on “Most Loved Project” to share with you! ๐Ÿ˜„

…Not long after we were married, I wanted to knit something practical for Hubby that he would enjoy wearing. Naturally, a hat came to mind!

When asked what kind of hat I should make for him that he would actually wear, Hubby said: “Black, and plain. No cables, no patterns, no colors; just black and plain.”

Of course, I thought: ” BORING!!” But I wanted to knit him something he would like, so I tried my best to knit him the black, plain, BORING hat! But…

I couldn’t resist adding a red angora lining! “Angora is so soft, and no one will see it on the inside,” I thought…

Hubby was dubious, but he did bravely wear the hat – all of one time, to a family gathering (my family of course)! Unfortunately, a bit of red fuzz from the angora lining emerged and remained mingled with his facial hair. It wasn’t glaring, so I didn’t notice it, and probably no one else did either. But Hubby was SO mortified when he noticed it in the mirror that night, that he refused to ever wear the hat again!

So the infamous black, plain, not-so-boring hat became mine and has been well loved and much worn despite the fact that it is too big for me! ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

Do you have a fun “Most Loved Project” or Handmade Gifting story to share? We’d love to hear it!

Happy Knitting!

Knitting, Stash

In Progressย 

I’ve been working away and making good progress with my yarn stash organizing and cataloging! It feels good to see my Yarn Stash Notebook filling up with yarn samples and data, and to see my Yarn Stash becoming more orderly, accessible, and therefore useable!

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Progress on the Yarn Stash Notebook!

I do take frequent breaks to do some actual knitting though! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Right now, I’m loving knitting the sample for my newest design (coming soon!!)! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Lacy, stripy chevrons…!

The yarn I’m using is Knit Circus Greatest of Ease in “Over The Rainbow Speckles,” and Expression Fiber Arts Resilient Superwash Merino Sock in “Pistachio.”

I’m also really enjoying my “just for fun” knit…

The very start of my Leaves of Grass shawl!

The pattern is “Leaves of Grass” by Jared Flood (Brooklyn Tweed)…

Feeling like I need to switch to a longer cable soon…!

The yarn I’m using is Madelinetosh Pashmina in “Thoreau.”ย It’s super soft and squishy and feels lovely in my hands as I knit. I can’t wait to snuggle up in this shawl on those cool Autumn evenings (they are still a long ways off, so I have plenty of time to finish!) ๐Ÿ™‚

This is the very first time I’ve ever knitted a circular shawl, and I’m finding that I’m really taken with the ease and simplicity of the Pi Shawl construction! At the beginning of this project, the one piece that I had absolutely no idea how to do was the circular cast on. This tutorial by Knit Picks was super helpful, and I quickly discovered that it’s not as hard as it looks! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Working on Leaves of Grass with grass for company! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Something I’m really enjoying with this knit is the excitement whenever I finish one chart and move on to the next! It’s fascinating to see how the different motifs fit together, play on each other, and seem to grow together! (This effect with the stitch patterns will be easier to see after blocking!)

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Leaves of Grass shawl.

Now that I’m on the second-to-last chart and have completed the last increase round, I have a total of nearly 600 stitches on my needles! Even though each round now takes a while to complete, I’m still excited and enjoying working this shawl! I can’t wait to see it finished! (And I’m sure I’ll be knitting another circular shawl before long!) ๐Ÿ˜‰

And last but not least, I’m trying out something new – knitting with beads!

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Practice Swatch: Arrowhead lace with beads.

This is just a little practice test swatch I’m working with some leftovers of a gorgeous alpaca yarn and some seed beads I have on hand. It took me awhile to decide where to place the beads with this Arrowhead Lace stitch pattern, and I’m still not quite sure I’m happy with the result. I think I’ll knit on it a little more and then block it and see what I think then. ๐Ÿ™‚

Of course, I’d love to hear your thoughts too! ๐Ÿ™‚ Where would you place the beads in this stitch pattern? Have you ever used beads in your knitting before? If so, what do you think of the technique? Do you like the effect?

I’d also love to hear about whether you’ve knitted or considered knitting a circular shawl before! If you’ve made one before, did you enjoy the experience? Why or why not?

As always, best wishes to each of you, and happy knitting!

~Sarah

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Knitting

When Life Gives you Lemons…

Knit like crazy! ๐Ÿ˜€

We all have our “off” days. It’s part of life. Every day can’t be totally awesome, or there’d be no such thing! I’ve had a lot of awesome days recently, so I guess I was overdue for anย “off” day…

Usually when I’m having the occasional “off” day, it’s the little stuff that can get under my skin and irritate me, even while I’m doing my best to handle it well. ๐Ÿ™‚

And then there’s the entirely unexpected stuff that can just jump out and smack you (sometimes rather hard) when you’re not expecting it! That’s (literally) what happened to me the other afternoon!…

Arriving back from a lovely grocery shopping trip with two of my sisters, I was rushing to get those groceries in the house (we live a good distance from town, so time is a factor with those refrigerated items…). Both hands full with eggs, milk, and meat, I was booking it towards the front steps, and then… One of my flip-flops caught on the concrete steps as I was on my way up to the front door. Thinking I could catch myself with my other foot on the next step in time to restore my balance, I tried to take that next step up real quick,… Misjudging the height (the steps are not quite standard size), I caught my other flip-flop and catapulted (rather awkwardly) first into the front edge of the storm door that we had propped open, and then onto the concrete stoop…!

Rather bruised and battered, (but much wiser regarding the dangers of flip-flops and concrete steps plus hurrying with both hands full), I am utilizing the best comfort and coping strategies I know:

  1. Knitting…Lots and lots of knitting this evening – as much as I want! ๐Ÿ˜€
  2. Doggy cuddles…Lots and lots of doggy cuddles (while knitting of course)! ๐Ÿ˜€


I’m already feeling a lot better! Even my slightly bruised ego is recovering. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Do you use knitting as a comfort and /or coping strategy on occasion? I’d love to hear about how knitting has helped you get through something difficult as well!

~Happy Knitting!ย 

baby, Christmas, Family, Knitting

Foxy Hat

One of my favorite knits in 2016ย was a little fox hat for my two year old niece, Vera.


The pattern is Foxy & Wolfie by Ekaterina Blanchard. I (clearly ๐Ÿ˜‰) chose to make the Foxy version! The yarn I used is Cascade 220 in red/orange and cream.

Foxy is a really fun hat to knit…


…I especially enjoyed the unusual construction and shaping methods used…

The hat is knit in the round…

…sometimes circular needles are used,…

and sometimes double-points.


The intarsia and shaping are accomplished using short rows…

…even for the ears!


After shaping the ears…


…you connect the top/back of the hat to the front/face of the fox hat…

…using a three needle bind off and keeping a number of live stitches in the center…


…to knit the nose!ย A very unique and very fun knit!

I had gotten some really cute animal eyes to use,ย but discovered that the stem of the eyes would poke through the hat too far and be uncomfortable when worn…


So I used buttons from my button stash instead!

A personalized label is the finishing touch…


I sewed the label on the outside of the hat so as to avoid any possibility of discomfort due to its presence.


Vera’s parents (my brother, Joel, and sister-in-law, Annalies), loved it!

But due to a sudden and unanticipated (by me) growth spurt, this little Foxy Hat turned out too small for sweet little Vera! ๐Ÿ˜ข (Or maybe my gauge was off? It’s possible…)

So I’ll be giving this Foxy Hat to my one month old niece, Claire; and knitting a larger Foxy for Vera! (When your aunt is a knitter, sizing issues are generally fixable in one way or another!)

Note to self: Always size up more than you think you need to when knitting for children! ๐Ÿ˜Š

What was your favorite knit of 2016? Have you knit a Foxy or a Wolfie hat? What did you think of the process? Do you knit for children? How do you handle the possibility of sudden growth spurts? Feel free to share with us in the Comments, we’d love to hear from you!!

Family, Knitting

In Progress

I’ve always been the sort of knitter who prefers to focus on one project, watch it grow, customize it along the way, block it with a flourish, and then move on to the next project.

But I have not been true to form lately. Before I’ve finished one project, I’m starting another, and then another…

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A pile of works in progress!

I don’t think I can honestly claim to be a one-project-at-a-time knitter any more becauseย I currently have:
… four shawls,

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Lacey Leaf Shawl
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Echo Flowers Shawl
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Serape Shawl
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Willow Shawl, worked in brioche stitch

… one pair of socks…

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Daisy Field Socks
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The second Daisy Field sock making some progress

… and a baby blanket on the needles…

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Simple garter stitch baby blanket with picot edging

With a baby sweater just about ready to be blocked!

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Yarn for baby sweater – Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Celedon and Fallen Cloud
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Baby Wrap Cardigan in progress!
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Just need to sew on the ties & block!

Waiting in the wings are: several pairs of mitts for friendsย , various baby itemsย for my newest niece or nephew on the way, and two toy rabbits!

All in all, I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed and quite behind with my knitting. As much as I hate to do it, I think it may be time to work on bringing my knitting expectations back into line with reality again… ๐Ÿ˜‰

What does your To-Knit list look like? Are you a knitter who enjoys working multiple projects at a time, or do you prefer to focus on one thing at a time?

Family, Knitting, Maryland Sheep and Wool

Maryland Sheep & Wool 2015

I’ve been looking forward to sharing with you all about one of the biggest highlights of my year: The Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival! ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ

Mom and I go every year; it’s sort of become our Mothers Day tradition. ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ’• This year, my sister in law, Annelies, and little niece, Vera, came too!

It was so nice to have them along, and we had suchย a marvelous time!

And yes, I stayed up late the night before, blocking my Lace Leaf Shawlย on the floor of my parent’s guest room so that I could wear it to the festival! ๐Ÿ˜‰




There was a lot of fabulous yarn bombing going on at the festival, and I am a huge fan of yarn bombing!…

There were beautifully yarn bombed trees and fences…


… all along the path leading into the festival…


…and adorable little knitted and crocheted sheep dotted about here and there…

…even the entrance itself…

…was decorated with colorful knitting!

Here is one of my very favorite things about the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival – so many fiber-arts-loving people relaxing outdoors and working on their projects together! I always find myself wishing that I had brought my camp chair so I could sit down and join in!

There were more vendors than I could count, and they were all amazing!…


The sheer range of colors on display was staggering!



This vendor (Woolbuddy, I believe) had adorable and fascinating felted items; and just look at that enormous felted giraffe!!

Many vendors had items made from their yarns on display; this particular vendor (Scandinavian Weave and Knit) would give you the pattern for free with your yarn purchase!

In addition to those outdoors under tents, there were also many vendors inside the vast tunnel-like buildings…

Aren’t the colors amazing?!

We could not get over these booties! Aren’t they precious?! We would have gotten some for Vera, but she’s growing so fast that they would have been too small in just a week or two… Nevertheless, they are totally adorable!

Another thing I absolutely love about the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival is the people. All the many people wearing lovely handknit or crocheted garments they crafted themselves, or perhaps were gifted by a friend or loved one…


We met these two lovely ladies and their gorgeous handknit shawls just inside the entrance!


Just look at these amazing hats! Aren’t they fab?!

I love the colors, shapes, and textures on her vest…

…and this lovely lace knit sweater!


This stunning circular shawl had to be the most spectacular sighting of the day, though!

And then there were the animals, the wonderful animals!

We saw angora goats…

…keeping cool in the shade…

…lots of lovely sheep…


This friendly little guy just wanted to play!

And it looks like he found the perfect buddy! ๐Ÿ˜Š

Sheep are very social…

…clearly,ย they like to be together! โ˜บ๏ธ

And let’s not forget the angora rabbits!…






And what treasures, I’m sure you’re all wondering, did I bring home with me from the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival?…



These lovely gradients are from the Fiber Optics booth! I’m planning to knit an Echo Flowers shawl with the lace weight neon gradient, and the lovely fingering weight raspberry gradients are going to be a pink and white shawl for my sister Melody!


These beauties are from the Scandinavian Weave and Knitย booth! Their yarns were absolutely stunning, and so were all of their knitting patterns! It was really hard to leave their booth… I haven’t yet decided exactly what to make with these gorgeous skeins…ideas…suggestions…?


I’m good at spinning in the worsted style, and nowย I’m learning to spin in the woolen style. I picked up these gorgeous balls of roving from Riverside Farm’s booth and plan to spin some nice soft yarn once I get a bit more practice in!


These are some lovely gems I picked up at the festival as well…

This lovely glass bead was hand made by Kris Schaible. Isn’t it stunning?! I got a second one for my aunt-in-law who is into beadwork, and she loved it! Kris was kind enough to mount both beads on lovely ribbons for me so they’d be ready to wear!

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This lotion is the best!

It’s all natural, smells heavenly, and feels even better! It even works wonders for sunburn! ๐Ÿ˜Šโค๏ธ

Does anyone else enjoy the Maryland Sheep & Wool?ย If so, we want to hear all about it!ย What do you like best?