And just like that it's another year coming to an end! Can't believe how quickly Christmas came and went. It was a pretty low key affair this year since my MIL decided to spend the holidays at her new house in Florida. I also took a nasty spill at work and threw out my back two days before Christmas. Luckily, all the decorating, baking, shopping and wrapping were done so all that was left was the fun stuff i.e. spending time with the family, watching holiday movies and eating a ton of yummy food. There was also some knitting and ornament making:

mistletoe socks (pattern: hermione's everyday socks)

yarn: knitmona in mistletoe colorway

pattern: mitten garland advent calendar

stitchable mitten ornaments by katrinkles

Wishing that I had a few more days of bed rest but unfortunately it's a crazy busy time of year at work. So heading back to the grind tomorrow morning. I hope that your holiday season has been chock-full of family, love and joy! I will be back soon with an end of the year roundup.


stripe happy

Happy last day of November! We had a lovely Thanksgiving filled with family, friends and yummy food. I had to work for part of the day but came home to a delicious dinner prepared by my sisters-in-law. One of the many blessings in my life is having family who live close by. Especially ones who know how to cook and throw a good party :)

I can't believe how fast this year has gone by! Only 3 & 1/2 weeks until Christmas! I know that a few of you have been knitting gifts year round. Wish I had the forethought to do that. There are a few gifts in the knitting basket which are underway. Just small things this year: a bunny which is currently on hold until the baby is born in January. The parents are waiting to find out the gender. As soon as that happens, I can outfit the bunny accordingly. Also some fingerless mitts and a cowl which I am still waiting on the yarn for.

And of course, there has been lots of fun Christmas sock knitting going on. Speaking of socks, I've got a backlog of finished ones to show you all. Presenting my Stripy Socks for All Seasons:





Spring is a plain sock with heel flaps. Fall & Winter are vanilla socks using my new favorite afterthought heel technique without waste yarn. And Summer is a scrappy monster sock with a Strong Heel.


building blocks (westknits mystery shawl kal 2016)

There was quite a bit of controversy in the mkal forum with this shawl. Some knitters did not care for the construction, a few were in an uproar when two color brioche was included in one of the clues, others didn't like the final shape. Guess I'm easy to please because I enjoyed the entire process of knitting my building blocks shawl. I loved seeing how the different colors interacted with each other depending on their placement and the stitch patterns involved. We were essentially blending the colors like paints on a palette. It was also really cool learning how to increase and decrease in two color brioche. Stephen had these funny but very clear and informative videos on the special techniques used in each clue. I especially loved the brioche knitting one and can't wait to knit one of his brioche designs. The final shawl shape is pretty versatile (I made the small size). I like to wear mine either draped over the shoulders with the long ends hanging in front or wrapped cowl-like around the neck. The bat wing shape is admittedly not to everyone's taste (I personally prefer a more curved & rounded shawl). But it's good fun to step outside of my comfort zone every once in awhile.


sweater weather

Yay! It's finally cold enough to comfortably wear a woolly sweater and flannel shirt! To celebrate sweater weather, I wrapped up the finishing touches on my fringe and friends improvised top-down kal sweater. So pleased and truthfully, surprised at how well this turned out, considering that it has been quite awhile since I made anything with sleeves. Here's a visual rundown of the process:

dreaming and planning


suspenseful knitting

randomly adding another design element

the part that gave me a migraine

sleeve island

plotting woolly tattoos (hmmm flowers, unicorns, donuts...finally settled for trees)

happy sweater dance!


5 things on friday

Why hello there! Can't believe that it's already October, my favorite month of the year. I've been having a little case of writer's block for the past few weeks so I'm hoping to jumpstart the words by writing a list of things that are making me feel all of the good fall time vibes:

Halloween Pixel Rise socks. So gruesomely fun to knit, especially when using the frankensocks Halloween edition kit by Havirland. She's a talented indie yarn dyer based here in Maryland.

Midori Traveler's Notebook. This is the planner/ journal/ scrapbook of my dreams! Even though I love the culture & style of the hobonichi planners, it was a total fail. Mainly because all of the pages are dated (of course they are! It's a daily planner duh!) which meant that I felt pressured to write something down every day. And of course I fell behind and ended up with a lot of blank pages. Which caused more guilt and avoidance etc etc. But the neat thing about the MTN is that it has different paper inserts which you can choose to customize it to your journaling/planning style. The inserts are easily removable and you can combine several different ones in the notebook. (Mine are all non-dated). All of which is held together by a beautiful leather cover which seems to get wonderfully aged with use. It feels good to be excited about journaling again.

Rhinebeck socks. No I'm not going. But a girl can dream. And wear cute stripey fall socks while she's at it.

A new weeknight mealtime game plan. One of my favorite food bloggers has just come out with her first ebook. It is filled with easy weeknight dinner recipes paired with the perfect side dishes for each. Also includes lots of yummy desserts. I think that my two guys are even more excited about this book than I am since they gobble up everything that I've ever cooked from Mel's website.

My favorite hangout spot (trader joe's) + my favorite month = everything pumpkin.

Hope that you are finding lots of reasons to celebrate this beautiful season!


playing catch up

So happy to report that the transition to middle school has been pretty smooth and the little guy loves his new school and teachers. Such a big sigh of relief. I've been hesitant in the past to go into detail about my son's special needs but school & learning has many times been a struggle despite all of our efforts to make it fun and as pressure-free as possible. Transitions are especially stressful but so far so good. Now that we are getting used to the new school routine and schedule, there's a little breathing room to start playing catch up in other areas. Well, what I should really be doing is cleaning/de-cluttering my mess of a house in preparation for a visit from my MIL but where's the fun in that, right? What I want to do is show you my finished Vanilla is the New Black / Skyp socks:

This Strong Heel is such a cool feature of these socks and I absolutely loved knitting it. Very easy & intuitive. But most importantly, they fit great and the socks are so comfortable to wear. Probably the best fitting pair of socks I've made so far. The sunny summery yarn is wsk aspen sock in the flirty owl colorway. It's funny that there is just a little bit of pooling in each sock in the exact same spot, so it was meant to be a design feature ;)

In other sock news, I am currently participating in a monster sock KAL on Instagram. The hashtag is #mskal16 if you want to check out all of the scary monster goodness. I was kind of worried that I wouldn't have enough variety/contrast in my sock yarn scraps to make a decent pair since I've only been knitting socks for less than a year. So after a little bit of brainstorming, I decided to go with alternating stripes of solid/tonals and speckles/variegated yarns. These socks are so addictive and I find myself knitting on them way past my bedtime. However, I am making a conscious effort to stop and weave in the ends as I go along otherwise the final finishing would be truly monstrous :)

I hope that the entry into September has gone smoothly for you as well. Have a great week!


last days of summer

We have been soaking up every last bit of summer these past few weeks. Next Monday is the little guy's first day of middle school, so in between....

visits to the beach

bike rides on the island trail

and local camping trips

....there has been some behind the scenes preparations for what looks to be a fun school year. I love back to school season and all of the excitement that it brings. New beginnings & possibilities. Also, to be honest, a little anxiety. And, thank goodness, always a little mindless knitting  to help with that last bit.

Notice the cute project bag? It's the Rosemary Bag from Della Q and since receiving it to try out, it's accompanied me on all of our end of summer adventures. I love the smooth lightweight fabric, the cute dumpling shape and the just right length of the handles. It even has a handy outer pocket and is the perfect size for my current favorite on-the-go project, socks. I also started a Cancun lacy box top with some sparkly rayon yarn in the stash which matches the pretty colors of the bag. Love when that happens :) The top was an impulsive cast-on but I am really enjoying the simple lace stitches. It will probably be put on hold until next summer though, because with back to school season comes the alluring call of wool. Right now there is an improvised top-down sweater knitalong happening over at Fringe Association which you can follow on Instagram using the hashtag #fringeandfriendskal2016. Lots and lots of lovely ideas and projects. Here's how mine is shaping up so far:

I hope that you are all finding time to enjoy these last few weeks of summer. Hugs go out to those of you who are saying goodbye to your first-time-away-from-home college kids. I can't even imagine! I know that I will be wiping away some tears on Monday and it's just middle school!


freckles & butterflies

sock school goodies from little skein in the big wool

Wish we had this kind of summer school when I was a kid! For this KAL, I wanted to challenge myself by attempting my first pair of toe-up socks. There were some frustrations right out of the gate with learning how to cast-on for the toe. I don't recommend trying out a new knitting technique while on the beach with the sun beating down on you. But the light bulb finally clicked on. Judy's Magic Cast-on is truly magical! I caught myself stopping to admire the neat looking toe all while knitting the first of the pair. The fun speckled yarn is two sisters big sky base in the Pippi's Freckles colorway. The contrasting toes & afterthought heels were knitted with some stroll brights (pickle juice, pucker, hot tamale & razzleberry) that were in the stash. For the stitch pattern, I went with the same one that I used in my bowknot tabi socks. It's interesting how this pattern looks slightly different knitted in the opposite direction. More butterfly-like. I'm glad that I gave toe-up socks a try even though it felt a little strange to be knitting everything in reverse. And most importantly, I love wearing my mismatched Pippi socks:


geek/smooth operator hybrid

One of the many things that I love about knitting socks is how easy it is to combine elements of different patterns together. For this pair, I incorporated the simple slip stitch chart from Geek with the afterthought heels and toes from Smooth Operator. I love how these turned out! The slip stitch pattern kept the knitting interesting and works really well with self striping yarn (these were knit with knitpicks Felici in the Nassau colorway). This was my first time knitting top-down afterthought heels and I was impressed with how clearly the Smooth Operator pattern presented the various steps needed for creating this type of heel. There is currently a KAL going on for the Smooth Operator Socks (#SOSkal) which you can read more about here.

Next up is a hybrid of one of my favorite sock patterns (Simple Skyp Socks) and Vanilla is the new Black which features a new-to-me Strong heel:

This sock knitting adventure continues to be such fun :) What types of projects are you currently enamored with?


wildflowers & honeycomb

If socks could evoke an image, these would definitely bring to mind a charming English cottage garden, the kind that has hidden winding paths & is left to run a little wild. I could just picture myself wearing my wildflowers & honeycomb socks while enjoying afternoon tea in such a setting *sigh* Okay, back to reality (and my dried out pitifully neglected garden).

Lots of firsts with this pattern: I love the star toes (wonderfully comfortable fit) and the interesting honeycomb stitch pattern used on the heels. This was also the first time that I knitted a lace pattern for socks. Which is probably why it took me so long to finish the pair since lace knitting, even if it's an extremely easy eyelet pattern, is hard for me to memorize and knit without having to refer to a chart. I found that the pattern worked surprisingly well with this variegated SpunRightRound yarn (colorway = Levitate). There are lots of pretty color combos on Ravelry & Instagram.

I've recently been on a little staycation. Really enjoyed some downtime with the little guy while the hubby was in New York at a motorcycle rally. We ate takeout every day, took long walks to all of the local beaches, hit every single ice cream/frozen custard/froyo stand and pretty much chilled out at home. I had lots of crafty plans to start a cross stitch project, catch up on my journal and swatch some interesting stitch patterns from a new Japanese stitch dictionary. But pretty much all of my time was spent catching up on Outlander & Game of Thrones, reading and of course, sock knitting. Which is all good since my little sockcation has resulted in 3 finished pairs of socks. I hope that your July has been filled with lots of summer fun as well! Can't believe that it's almost over!


bowknot tabi socks

I don't know about you, but as soon as the warm weather hits, out come the flip-flops. They are my favorite summer accessory. I can remember many childhood summers spent cycling, climbing, fishing and even playing tennis in my trusty flip-flops. It was a wonder that I didn't end up with a sprain ankle! Later, when my college boyfriend (now the hubby) went to Japan to study/teach, I became slightly obsessed with collecting various styles of zori and geta. So when I had the opportunity to try out a skein of Saucon Sock by Kraemer Yarns, my first thought was designing a pair of fun tabi socks to wear with them. The fiber content of the yarn consists of cotton, acrylic and nylon which makes it an excellent no-wool and warm weather knitting option. It is available in many pretty colors (I am currently eyeing the carnation, coral, ginger & turquoise colors for a cute stripey version). This particular colorway is called Sea Blue and has a lovely and subtle marled effect achieved by combining a ply of azure blue with a ply of purple. The socks were knit cuff down using a simple textured stitch pattern that resembles little bowknots. I used a mystery yarn from the stash for the contrasting ribbing on the cuffs, heels and toes. If I can make heads or tails of my jumbled notes for the split toes, I will post the pattern here for anyone interested in knitting a pair. I hope that everyone is enjoying their summer so far. We just came back from a relaxing oceanside holiday where I did nothing but lazed in the sun, eat, read, knit and repeat. I just love the laid back rhythm of summer.