A Year of Projects: Week 3

No Kitten, time for a YOP Update!

Last week. Phew! I made a little progress on sewing through my fabric stash. I finished a pair of socks. I am working on the first test round of my Until We Win: Fight Shawl.

I wrote about my socks here and my sewing here, just in case you missed it. The socks are recent stash- they count toward my “Use 100 balls of stash yarn in 2021” and knit 3 pairs of socks for YOP 21/22. The shawl uses repurposed frogged yarn, and is part of Pattern Development and using stash yarn goals.

This morning, there were birds eating my zinnia mature flower seeds! I saw 4 total, but only captured a picture of 1. I’ve seen humming birds enjoying the nectar, but this is the first time I saw non-nectar eating birds out there in the flowers. The picture isn’t the best, its taken from my iPhone, Zoomed in 10x, THROUGH a window that should be cleaned inside and out.

Its a bird. A small bird. Like a finch or a warbler or something. I can identify like 4 birds, and this isn’t one of them.

Felt Like: Fall

All the Autumn Feels

After last week’s hurricane blew through, the temperatures have been significantly cooler. We’ve turned off the AC and have opened up the house. While its not all sweatshirt weather all the time yet, its a pleasant prelude to come.

This morning I left the house in full fall regalia. My socks, my clogs, and a shawl! I wore a tissue-weight hoodie- still too warm for fleece. I grabbed a Pumpkin Spice cold-brew and headed to the Farmer’s Market.

Finally getting to rock my Until We Win: Fight Shawl!

I’m so excited to get this shawl through testing and released! I’m knitting a second version in super old frogged stash currently. I don’t know the yardage of the frogged yarns I’m working with, so I have no idea if I actually have enough. LIVE DANGEROUSLY.
You can’t see it too well, but I used a thin, unadorned wrap-and-snap bracelet to secure the shawl. It worked, because it stayed in place for me all morning.

Shoddy Seamstress Adventures: Mini Zip Pouches and a Crazy Quilt

I spent my morning at the sewing machine today. Which is sometimes exactly what I want to do. Some of my projects are fun. Others are functional. Today’s projects were both. And inspired by ice cream.

Last week, my kids wanted me to send money to buy ice cream at lunch. Being a pushover, I said yes. I got together the 90 cents for each child (because I had a $20 in my wallet and didn’t trust them to bring me change). When it came time to give the kids said change, it occurred to me, I didn’t actually have anything to put this change in. Into a plastic sandwich baggie it went. A completely inelegant solution.

I looked at a number of different “change purse” ideas on Pinterest. I wanted it to be small. Zippered. Be made with available materials on hand. And relatively easy to put together. I liked the idea of a little triangular pouch; I have one I purchased for knitting notions years ago. I gathered up some reclaimed zippers (that were from my Grandmother’s house), fabric, iron-on fusible fleece and set to work.

I started by using the cardboard insert of a fat quarter as a template, it measures 5″x5.5″. I cut out 2 pieces of fabric (1 for the outside, 1 for the liner) and 1 piece of interfacing. I used the same fabric for inside and outside. I trimmed down both pouches to be closer to 3″. The banana pouch has a piece of bias tape encasing the inside seams. The Spiderman one I just used the zig-zag stitch to finish up the seams. I like the bias tape enclosing the zipper better, and if I made more of these, will use that.

These zippers being ancient (reclaimed sometime 20 to 60 years ago), they are metal as opposed to nylon. I like sewing nylon zippers better- I can sew right over the zipper teeth. I had to maneuver to avoid sewing over the teeth.

I wasn’t quite ready to put away my sewing machine. I had cut out the outside and liner fabric for a pouch earlier this summer. I decided today was time to put it together. I added a little wrist strap out of bias tape. I still am rubbish at sewing on zippers. Practice makes PROFICIENT.

It’s the right size for a small project, like socks!

Nope. I still wasn’t done. I worked on putting more pieces on my “crazy quilt”. I guess this would be considered a crazy quilt. Its random pieces of scrap fabric from all the projects I’ve worked on in the past 18 months (and before).


This whole fabric project has been a lot of fun. I can recall the purchase of most of the fabrics, which were fat quarters, which were from OTHER sewing projects, and which were purchased for projects that never came to fruition. The oldest fabric in the quilt was purchased in 1994, the most recent fabric purchased in August 2021.

At this time, I am approaching the limit of my fabric scraps. Many of those remaining are rounded and quite small. I trimmed my sections as I went to square them off. Its a tremendously busy piece of fabric, a testament to my love of bold colors. I will back it with fabric I already have. I know I have a queen batting I can cut down. I also have some regular poly-fleece that would make a suitable low-loft batting. I want to use as much repurposed or stash materials as possible.

A bit of background on the fabric/quilt project: Crafting creates A LOT of waste. Some waste, like treads, has no practical reuse value; if I put it outside, it could be dangerous for birds and wild life. I’ve used fabric scraps to stuff amigurumi, as it makes a heavy dense stuffing for decorative applications. My community does not offer textile recycling, which I would utilize if there was! Textile waste in landfills is growing to be a major waste stream. My salvageable scrap pieces are made into tiny sewing projects: mini-pouches and pen holders. Oh, and one of the dozens of masks I made last summer. Other pieces have been stitched into my “crazy quilt”. No rhyme, reason, or matching present.

FO and Storm Aftermath

Yesterday afternoon Hurricane Ida moved through the area. You wouldn’t know by today’s shining sun, however the aftermath is apparent by looking at the ground. I haven’t been beyond my yard today, but regionally, there’s been a lot of property damage from rain, flooding, and tornadoes. The district closed school today; I think this is the earliest inclement weather closure of any school year yet! There were a number of roads closed this morning because of flooding and trees down.

The district caught a LOT of community flack for yesterday’s dismissal disasters across the county. A bus with 10 kids on it had to be rescued from flood waters. The sheriff’s department ordered all busses off the road and back to schools yesterday. Parents and guardians needed to go get kids, and some schools had pick-up lines multiple hours long because of this. No worries, we had no issues, just damp elementary schoolers.

My zinnia were bowled over by the heavy rains. This is not a surprise. They had gotten quite leggy, and I had been thinking of replanting the beds with mums next week anyway. I broke my kitchen shears clipping the stalks back and then did what I should have done to begin with: went to the shed and got the pruning shears. I didn’t break the pruning shears. Tomorrow, I’ll go out and get another pair of kitchen shears; which ironically I was looking at when I was in Home Goods the other day.

Today WAS going to be a sewing day. With the kids home, that didn’t happen. However. I DID finish my socks this morning!

This yarn is the $7 yarn I purchased from Darn Good Yarn earlier this summer, it was 260 yards total, and I used all but 3 or 4 yards. Its back up at the $30 price now. I used a size 2/2.75mm for the body and a size 1/2.25mm for the ribbing. I had enough yarn to do another pattern repeat above the ankle, instead of doing 30 rounds of 2×2 ribbing. I thought 130 yards would make below or at the ankle socks on my size 9.5 (eu 40) feet. The stitch count is 64. Toe-up with a short-row heel, and a k2tog bind-off. I was going to do a sewn bind-off, but changed my mind last minute.
Pros: the stripes are almost perfectly matched (within a dozen stitches). Just enough yarn for a pair of socks. No leftovers. Vibrant. A REALLY good value when you catch a sale. Already caked up and ready to go (no prep required). Cute box packaging keeps things neat and would present nicely as a gift.
Cons: I wouldn’t pay full price, not nearly enough yarn for the $30 asking price. They yarn is a little splitty, not a tight spun yarn. If you like to knit socks on size 1 or smaller needles and/or have larger feet, this might not be enough yarn to make socks without contrast heels/toes/cuffs

Not the yarn’s fault: the pattern stitch got lost. I recommend the most basic or stitches: stockinette or rib. A bias construction would look really cool.

I like the stitch pattern, and have IDEAS for a semi-solid version with contrast toes/heels/cuffs. Instead of constructing it toe-up, I have an idea for top down.

A Year of Projects: Week 2

Make Stuff!

I didn’t get to work on EVERYTHING I wanted to work on this week. But guess what, I’m a going to go with the flow! Let’s focus on what I DID accomplish.

Not YOP, but still an accomplishment: Yesterday I moved around some “organization” stuff in my daughter’s room. I use the word organization loosely, because she is seven. I have admitted defeat, officially. Expecting her to sort her stuff into labeled tiny bins and containers when she puts her toys away is unrealistic. Kids like the chaotic dump, cram, and stuff method of storage/cleaning. We now have half a dozen undifferentiated bins in an easy to access bookcase. She seems thrilled. I am horrified by the wanton disregard of any semblance of order. But I can see the floor of her bedroom and closet and there isn’t a bunch of stuff crammed under her dresser and inside her dollhouses. Looks like we all win.

I finished the cotton version of my PlumBody top! I still haven’t washed/blocked it yet. But all the ends are woven in and the shoulders are kitchener-ed up. It is too warm and heavy to wear on a hot and humid day. The pattern is written, next up is final diagrams and test knitting! I really love this design, and I’m so excited to finally be at a stage to share it. It is a SUPER easy, SEAMLESS knit with some interesting construction bits. Its worked on size 7/4.5mm needles and uses DK/Lt Worsted/Worsted weight yarn.
This version had a bit of yarn chicken built into it, but also modifications taken into account of the fiber. I shortened the sleeves and I made the body a bit more cropped. In retrospect, I could have also made short-rows to bring down the front body an inch or so (my chest hikes everything up). I’ll wait to wash/block to determine any recommendations.

I decided to knit a pair of socks out of the Darn Good Yarn kit I got earlier this summer (I’ll talk about the yarn in the future). I am working a textured stitch called “Dragon Scales” from Oh La Lana. Honestly, I think these have a diamond shape reminiscent of my Say Yes To Pie Socks (Rav link- because that’s only where it is for now), but bigger. Working title: Mother of Dragons Socks. The self-striping is not the best ever choice (the texture gets lost) but I’m 100% going to knit these again in the “leftover” orange from the Say Yes To Pie socks with contrast heels, toes and (possibly) cuffs! But I might make them top down because I want to see if tubular cast-on “fixes” my issue with top-down socks.

No pictures, but I watched a little video on how to install my walking foot on my sewing machine recently. This past week, I installed the foot on MY machine (swapped the needle for a ballpoint needle) and tested it on a super stretchy knit piece. FRIJOLES!! It worked! MY machine didn’t try to eat the fabric! No puckering either. So coming up I have 1 PJ dress (for girl child), 1 PJ dress (for me), and 1 pair of PJ pants (also me).
I have also been sewing my scraps into a larger fabric. It may become a quilt or a throw. a top or back to a larger project. No idea yet.
Piecing all these random pieces together is a bit time consuming; I’m trying to make my sewing a lower waste endeavor. I don’t want to contribute to the textile problem plaguing landfills. Textile recycling isn’t readily accessible in my area.

That been my YOP week!

Shoddy Seamstress Adventures: Oh Look. More Masks.

A “small” batch of masks waiting to go to their new homes.

We are back to school in our county! We are about a week into the new school year, and all seems well-ish. COVID is still an issue, particularly with those who are unvaccinated, so this means: masks! I made my kids some new ones and pencil pouches recently, so these recent onces are destined for other recipients.

It all started when my neighbors texted me and asked if they could commission some masks for their grandson, just starting school for the first time.
Then I was talking to a friend of mine, who mentioned her great-grandson (who she is raising) starts with Head Start this week. And I immediately asked her if she wanted me to make him some reusable masks for school, you know, since I was already going to have my machine out. I made some adult sized ones for her too. She is ALWAYS out helping the community, bringing some of the extra produce from the Hungry Harvest market to people in need, volunteering at community gardens, and being a genuine source of light and hope to everyone she encounters. Ms. Linda is such an amazing person, and everyone who knows her is so fortunate.

You would THINK I would be a super pro at making these masks, having made SO many of them (a hundred of this style, at least). Alas. It is still slow going. Nothing is perfectly lined up. Or perfectly symmetrical. Guess I’ll just keep practicing, and then when I get better, change my sewing features to Mediocre Seamstress Adventures!

A Year of Projects: Week 1

A New Hope.

My esteemed fellow humanoids! I am kicking off my SECOND Year of Projects participation right now!! What is Year of Projects (known as YOP herein)? A loose blog collective group on Ravelry that shares their progress on an individually created goal list for roughly 52 weeks running. We are an active and supportive group; in our crafty endeavors as well as in “life stuff”. The great thing, you can join anytime (most members are in week 8 currently, some run Jan-Dec). The group is currently in its ELEVENTH year.

My lists last year looked a lot like my “Ideas” page. I just wrote down all the stuff I wanted to accomplish, which in turn made me feel unsuccessful when the list grew instead of shrunk! This year, I have some categories that I can fill in, helping keep me on track for overall GOALS, while my idea pipeline/to-do list can roll over, grow, seed new designs where there are no “failures”. I might modify this if I get a better idea. And I have socks on there twice. Maybe I need to knit 6 pairs of socks? I think that’s accurate.

I did a project update yesterday (Poly-Projects) and I shared some starts and project updates. Today I haven’t gotten in much knitting. I have been working on masks. Again. But they aren’t for us, I worked on those a couple weeks ago. I decided to use pinking shears on the seam allowance to have the curve lay better. This required a trip to Joann to get some pinking shears. I wanted the Gingher ones, but they were locked up and I didn’t feel like interacting with another human at that moment, so I just went with the Fiskars ones. And saved myself $30. They perform as expected; but I won’t call them beautiful.

After I wrote yesterday’s post, my spouse got home from is work trip to Alaska. I was the recipient of some REALLY GREAT goodies- all Alaska made! An awesome project bag stuffed with yarn and stich markers!! I’ve got some ideas already about this yarn!

Next week I hope to have some updates to share (besides my update framework)!!


So exciting!!

We have wrapped up back to school week in our house! The kids seem to have enjoyed going back to school and seeing their friends (in person). This week my spouse also had a work trip (lucky him!!), so I found myself feeling a little more stressed by this than usual. Don’t worry, we survived. And everyone ate fresh fruits and veggies everyday, because fresh food is good for you.

A bunch of dknitting projects.

This past week also gave me a major case of start-itus. I cast-on a second Until We Win: Fight and a pair of toe-up socks from the inexpensive yarn I purchased from Darn Good Yarn. So far, the stripes are SUPER even, the yarn is nice to work with and looks plump on a size 2/2.75mm needle. I’m at 64 stitches, and will be transferring for magic loop on the next round- once I pick out a texture/pattern stitch for the top of the foot. The top left is my PlumBody to Love super seamless, short-sleeved, slightly (or very or not) cropped sweater. The bottom right is a top-down, funnel-necked sweater/vest out of a bunch of languishing handspun. I’m thinking about doing something “weird” with the sleeves. NO RULES!!

I also made a crochet water bottle holder for my son’s bestie (upon request). Next week will definitely bring another Shoddy Seamstress Adventure! Spoiler: it’ll be mostly masks.

This week may have brought a lot of starts and not much progress on anything, but I was still a bit busy. Wednesday we were gone most of the afternoon. Thursday, with both kids at the school, I did a LOT of stuff around the house. Friday was a mix, I cut out more masks, did stuff around the house, but also went on a walk with the littlest (he only had one day this first week, a full week starting next week).

Tomorrow will be my YOP year 2 start! Excited to share that with all of you.

Shout Out!!

Picture from the school principal’s twitter feed and cropped. (From last winter)

Its the morning before back-to-school here! The kids are so excited to go back and see friends, and learn all the new things. Back-to-school night was yesterday, and we got to see the classrooms, and meet this year’s teachers! We also got to see last year’s teachers, which was also great. The kids’ school has such an amazing team of educators, and so many of the senior teachers take on grade-team mentorship rolls. They truly are the heart of our community, and genuinely love their jobs and the families they teach.

With the kids going back to school, I have high hopes to get things accomplished while they are gone! Purging closets, toy boxes, PAPERS. Deep cleaning, the kind that you break a legit sweat doing. Organizing MY creative stuff- its gotten out of control lately. Pattern writing! I have quite a few patterns that are in the works- stay-tuned! Self-promotion. Not going to lie, this is my least favorite. However, its the most important if I want to be a “real” designer doing design work as my Job.

I have a test knitter for my first draft of Until We Win: Fight. My first section, I thought I couldn’t mess up and never did a line-by-line row count, the HUBRIS. WELL, as “luck” would have it, I forgot 2 (!!!) increases. Which threw my count off going into the second section. SO thankful for Jen catching my error! And for giving me humility- lesson learned. Always work out the row-by-row count and verify. Which prompted me to do a spreadsheet with the counts and a checklist for the rows worked. AND correct the issue by making a 2 stitch modification to the garter tab.

This prompted me to move up my re-knit of the shawl; which was already an intension. Just in case I encounter other errors, I can easily work them out in real time. I’m using a solid and a variegated that are frogged/deep stash. The not solid brown is Colinette Jitterbug– at least, I’m 98% certain of this. I don’t know what the brown is. I thought it was Louet Gems, but now I’m not so sure.

Year of Projects: Week 52

Wrap it up, B!

Let’s toot this horn!

Welcome! This post culminates my first year participating in YOP (Year of Projects), a Ravelry group loosely affiliated in sharing goals and accomplishments via blog for 52 consecutive weeks. The group is in its 11th year; I will participate for another year.

I’m going to call my first year goal ambitious. And completely unattainable! I Finished 21/37 for the first half and 9/36 for the second half. 30 items complete out of 55 unique line items. About a 54% completion rate. AWESOME. I know what your thinking 37+36 is 73 not 55- I had carry-over items from my first to second list. Thumbs up me.

As part of my yearly goals, spinning/designing, the Lightening Fast Hat was born. The pattern is available FREE on the blog. The original was knit with handspun, but 2 strands of worsted held double or your favorite bulky yarn is equally suitable. I was able to knit each hat in about 3 leisurely hours. The marled version I used a slightly too long circular that gave me slightly longer rows; I am always amazed when I don’t have a circular in both size and length desired. My metal size 11/8mm DPNs were suitable.
I like the idea of this hat for donations, as it works up quickly and is unisex. I played yarn chicken and lost on the roving version, the very top is a different yarn. I’m going to make a giant pom-pom to plunk on top- then it won’t be as noticeable.

I played Yarn Chicken, and lost.

This week I also have been working on my PlumBody to Love pattern. I wear my version 1.0 all the time. Version 2.0 sports a more relaxed neckline, I’m using a cotton/acrylic blend, blown tube construction yarn this time (version 1.0 is a Z-spun acrylic). A part of me is wondering if I’ll actually wear two of the same sweater, and then I remind myself that they are worked in very different colors and materials. For giggles, I have a 100% wool one on my mind too. Version 2.0 has been great for making sense out of my original notes and carrying the grade to every size. I’m so excited about this top because its super seamless and is as comfortable as sweats (seriously).

For all intents and purposes, its a drop sleeve top without the seam between the body and the arms.

I finished the body of the Hobbit Throw!! I have ends to weave in, a door knob to sew on, and I’m going to make some flowers to flank the base of the door. No rush on finishing, so I’m going to take my time to really visualize the flower placement. I am also really HAPPY that I ripped out my attempts at squaring the circle, it looked awful.

I’m really in love with the finished project!!!

I had to purchase another ball of the grey for 10 stitches. I was NOT about to rip out the round and re-do it. I’m not counting the purchase as acquiring new yarn, since after finishing the hobbit throw, it immediately crocheted a hat using most of the remainder. This is also the contrast used at the top of Lightening Fast and the remainder will become a giant pom-pom. None of the skein is going into stash… so it doesn’t count as a purchase??

My other crafting this week was just back to school masks and a pencil case. School starts this week, and masks are mandatory (I am VERY relieved the district made this choice, btw). I made the “big kid” size for both kids- just so I know they have adequately sized masks for the school year. And I don’t want them to run out of masks mid-week (or before I get laundry put away). I made my daughter a pencil case back in June (in banana fabric), this week I finally got around to making my son’s. His is my best yet. Even if the zipper color doesn’t coordinate very well.

Next week, I’ll unveil my 21/22 YOP plan and my new graphic! With the kids returning to full-day, in-person, school, I am cautiously optimistic I will have time to pattern write and format. Spoiler: My pattern backlog is a BIG part of my 21/22 YOP goals!

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