Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Sunset Ringer Tee

Is it hot enough yet to show you my knitted summer tee? Kidding- I melted a month ago. It is past time I showed you my Sunset Ringer Tee by Alexandra Tavel. I made it a whole year ago but I've been behind on everything since... 2015.








This pattern was my introduction to Alexandra's designs. It's a fun, nostalgic way to get to know a designer. When I first saw it I immediately thought of all of those OP t-shirts we wore as kids. Or even the 80s revival baby t-shirts of the early 2000s. On top of that beach culture is a thing where I am from because we aren't too far from the beach. Galveston Island is still a regular summer destination, when we aren't in a pandemic. So I had to make it.

(I realize the photos above are askew. Apparently optimizing the interface for mobile reading now means making it unreadable on both mobile and desktop. We will all have to deal with the weird way Blogger is posting images and text until I switch to a new platform.)

Now the sample fit is more oversized, less baby fit, which is completely fine and probably more my style since I tend to freak out if I feel constricted in any way. Another thing I kept in mind was that bamboo does grow after washing, even when blended with cotton. I don't know that throwing it in the dryer will snap it back to it's pre-wash size and I wouldn't try. So I aimed for the fitted type of tee, figuring it would end up a little roomier. It's a win either way.




        

I've only  knit colorwork in cotton yarn once before and never using the duplicate stitch method. So I was very conscious of my tension here. It was actually easy, though the reverse side does look like a mess before dealing with all of those ends, and after dealing with them, if I'm honest.

My Mods: I used US size 3 and 5 needles and a kit from Lion Brand for the smallest size. I am not a size small, but remember I was counting on the fit being a bit larger than the measurements, as many Ravelers said it was. The kit included Lion Brand's Coboo yarn for the body and edging and Bonbons for the intarsia. Coboo, as you might guess is the cotton/ bamboo blend. It does have a light, soft, jersey-like feel that is a little more comfortable than 100% cotton. It feels like wearing a t-shirt.


Bonbons are 100% acrylic, which made me want to be extra careful that I didn't work the sunset too tightly. If the cotton/bamboo body stretches some with washing, I wanted the acrylic design to stretch with it. So no I didn't block before starting the duplicate stitch. I was just too impatient for that nonsense. The whole duplicate stitching process felt very paint by numbers to me, which also caters to my inner child.




Sleeve decreases:  I picked up the number of stitches she has you cast on for underarm. Then I knit sleeve as directed but just before knitting the edge, I decreased three stitches evenly per sleeve. I did this because I feared the sleeves might flare out with washing and I wanted to keep that tighter, ringer tee look.

The edgings:  I knit them all in reverse stockinette by purling the edging before folding it under and I whipstitched it closed. I liked the change in stitch for the edgings.



Alexandra has a knack for making beginner-friendly pieces appeal to knitters of all levels. In the case of Sunset Ringer, I think the duplicate stitch is a bit more challenging than a straight stockinette tee would be, but a beginner could totally do this.

What I found interesting about her designs are how many of them have both a knit and a crochet version. That's a unique niche in pattern design. 

If you watch the podcast, you have seen a few more knits from Alexandra in my collection. I'll be throwing up blog posts on them soon. But the two I have my eye on in the near future are the Magic Hour Sweater, knit to be a tee with 2 big skeins of Lion Brand Comfy Cotton Blend, and Into the Wild  out of Knit Picks Billow (since the pattern dk yarn was held double).  Oh, wait! I also want to make the Waterbury Plaid Blanket Scarf out of various favorite leftover yarns. But a blanket scarf could probably wait until Fall, I say as I wipe the sweat mustache from my lip.


(more on Ravelry, Instagram, and Flickr)


I talked about this knit in the My So-Called Handmade Life podcast: planning it in Episode 32: Doing Nothing, as a WIP Epsiode 33: Hiding Out, finished in Episode 34: A Beach Tee, and a review in Episode 40: The Sweater Experience.


Friday, July 10, 2020

Why You Need to Knit a Bulky Sweater

Do you do bulky? I know you knit socks and I know you knit shawls, but do you knit with bulky weight yarn? Bulky sweater patterns have been a staple in my queue since I started knitting. My first sweater was Big Sack Sweater, in bulky yarn and so is the one I'm currently planning.

Whereas my tastes in other things have changed, going from "Why would I ever knit a shawl?" to spending untold hours digging through stash for various shawl color combos, I don't think my preference for working with bulky yarns will ever dissipate.  It is still my favorite type of project, my favorite little getaway from this stressful world. Enter Strathcona by Tara-Lynn Morrison.



I realize that bulky isn't everyone's favorite yarn type. You insane knitters with your microscopic needles. Cross train your poor hands with some heavyweight yarn! Most of us have never used the needles sized higher than US 10 in our interchangeable sets. I get it. It really isn't super practical for me to knit things in heavyweight wool. Fortunately practicality has little bearing on my craft life. Cough...a hundred plus sweaters..cough...cough... Yet, even I have a few really cold days a year to wear a heavyweight sweater, and when I do, I still feel a bit of amazement that I was able to make a garment that is keeping me this warm. When it's not that cold, I can always rely on a chill when family members slyly bump the air conditioning ever further down in our ongoing Temperature Wars.

Something I've heard about using bulky yarn is, "I don't need to add anything called 'bulky' or 'chunky' to my body." I understand that taste in garment fit is individual, and our choices are personal, but I'm convinced there's a bulky garment out there for everyone's tastes. Hint: try Strathcona.


Most of Tara-Lynn's designs require the heavier weight yarns and she uses them to create garments anybody can feel good in. Her yarn choices are always the very colors I want to work with at the moment and they're perfectly styled. I remember looking at her knits via Etsy, before she was using the name Good Night Day, and thinking her styling was so much better than that of other sellers. I don't see myself as into fashion (You should see what I am wearing at the moment.) yet I love handmade things, unique expressions of self, and good photography. Tara's Good Night Day Knits books feature some really beautiful photography by Arden Wray. They draw me in by creating an environment for this kind of making. Nothing satisfies me more than sinking into my couch with some bulky yarn and one of her designs. I have a neat little collection of all of her printed books on my knitting book shelf, even the first one which still has my penciled notes on what yarns and needle sizes I used to make Markham, Simcoe, and the Pembroke Tank. It's strange to think it's almost been ten years since then. Now these patterns don't just bring me knitting joy, but also a healthy dose of nostalgia. If you've been reading this blog for any length of time you'll know I sort of live for that sweet, melancholy feeling.

It has been exciting to see Tara Lynn's business grow from the sale of finished hand knit pieces to also include very popular pattern collections.  There are so many Good Night Day FOs popping up on Instagram. Let's take a look at them now.

Seriously, click the link and you will see every possible color used and all body type wearing these sweaters. There are multiple variations: long sleeves or not, cropped body, added length, color blocking, stripes, variegated, and fringe. If you do a quick Ravelry search of finished Strathcona sweaters, you'll see over 460 of them on the site as of today. Do you see one that doesn't suit the knitter? You may not love their color choice or the yarn type, but again and again, I find every iteration of this design just works. I think it's the simplicity of it. It is capable of being both a functional wardrobe basic and/ or a bold statement.





Another thing I noticed about the pool of finished Strathcona's was that a third of them were knit in yarns I would consider very affordable. By that, I mean a superbulky sweater that doesn't cost $100, or even $40. There's nothing wrong with moderately priced or luxury yarn. But the price of super bulky yarn can be a deal breaker for a lot of knitters. Here, I'm seeing some knit in Cascade Magnum and Spuntaneous, and some in Lion Brand Thick and Quick. And they're all really nice.


When I was looking for yarn for mine, I really wanted to use 100% wool but was on a budget, so I searched for superbulky wool by price and found this line by Drops sold at Sun Yarn Studios on Etsy. It is about $3.28 per ball at the time I'm typing this. That is $40 plus change, including shipping, for enough yarn to make a Strathcona or another of Tara-Lynn's designs in real wool. This yarn did give me the kind of fabric I have always wanted in a super bulky yarn.


There are other work-arounds for not having the right size yarn or the type of wool you'd prefer. Once, when seeing I didn't have a superbulky yarn in wool for a test knit, I held lightly variegated Aran wool with a bulky synthetic blend for a piece that had a natural feel and some visual interest. That was my Lambton Cowl, another Good Night Day knit, and I'm still enjoying it. What was at first a compromise with my budget, made for a favorite winter walk accessory. You will still find it in my car for surprise cold spells.

I've also doubled up bulky strands to meet the correct gauge of a superbulky yarn and in my upcoming Tofino Cardigan I intend to hold an affordable mohair lace weight yarn together with bulky Wool of the Andes in a similar color to get a look like that of the sample, which was knit in luxe Loopy Mango Mohair So Soft.

So have I convinced you that you too must try a super bulky sweater? Consider one more aspect of this kind of knit: it will make your non-knitting friends want to learn how to knit. I have been asked by friends and my daughter to knit Tara's designs for them more often than any other patterns.  This is the perfect opportunity to say, "Let me help you knit one." The fact that the individual stitches are so clearly visible to them, so fluffy and touchable, makes them more likely to take you up on the request.  And just like that, you could have a knitting friend. 
In all honesty, this hasn't worked so well for me. They just lean on me harder to make it for them, but I've seen enough people under #goodnightdayknits proclaiming it their first knit sweater to know it does work.


Details: 
I used US size needles 8, 11, and 13 along with 9 skeins of Ganstudio Drops Eskimo yarn in the Army colorway. It is a single spun strand, very roving like.

I'm not really sure how well this yarn will hold up, but it feels comparable to Crazy Sexy Wool and Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride. If you're wondering if it will pill because it isn't plied, there's a trick I learned on Ravelry to stop pilling: fill your sink with water that is heated almost to boiling. Put your completed garment in and let it soak until it becomes thoroughly wet and the water has cooled some. Press the water out of it with a towel and let it air dry like normal. It is supposed to be pill free afterward. This is a fairly recent knit so I haven't worn it enough to really test that process (also...Texas) but it is pill-free so far.

Modifications: This is not as bulky a yarn as that used in the sample so I knit on smaller needles and got a slightly tighter gauge for a nice fabric. However, I was able to add 2 or 3 raglan increases to compensate for the smaller gauge.

Fixing gaps: I often have gaps on each side of the sleeve, where stitches are picked up. I used this trick to deal with that: I pick up two stitches more than the pattern calls for, knit around the sleeve to one st before the picked up stitches, ssk (joining a held st with a picked up st) knit to just before the last picked up stitch, k2tog (joining that last picked up stitch with one that was held), then knit around as usual. Sometimes I just have to fiddle.


I made sure to keep my Strathcona cropped. I wanted a cropped body and cropped sleeves, with no shaping to them. All of which could be modified if you wanted.  I love the way my sleeves turned out. They are exactly the fit, and length I wanted.





No doubt that is why it is a retreat-like kind of project for me. I find nothing soothes me more than closing out the noise of the world and working on a chunky sweater and having something substantial to show for that time. In a small way it is something tangible and lasting to hold onto in a time where everything feels strange and in flux. It is somewhat grounding.



(more on Ravelry, Instagram, and Flickr)

You can hear more about my experience knitting Strathcona on My So-Called Handmade Life Podcast: Episode 25: Our Goals , Episode 26: That DIY Mixtape Zine Ethos, Episode 27: My Sweet Little Abomination, and obviously its in Episode 40: The Sweater Experience with all the sweaters ever (Don't judge!)


Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Letter to Alicia Re: Wyeth

Dear Alicia,

Thank you for letting me test knit your incredible Wyeth Pullover. I needed this sweater, with it's addictive, textural arrow pattern. Then, there were stockinette sleeves for tv watching. Oh and there was a lot of tv watching with this knit. It sat beside me through hours of the kind of news we have all been alternately worn down or motivated by. As events unfolded in front of me each evening, there sat my Wyeth, in my lap. Then, when I found I couldn't focus or even remember to knit, it just sat beside me. You were incredibly understanding with your test knitters.





When I "came to" and remembered I needed to finish those sleeves, I had enough time to be done for release day. But then there would be blocking....which led to the discovery of a harsh line between mixed dye lots I didn't even know I had that necessitated re-knitting the entire right sleeve. Since I was already behind I went for the re-knit so I would at least have normal photos to show what a lovely project this is.

I may  have mixed feelings about my performance as a tester, but I have no regrets about asking to test this. It is special to me. Beyond being a beautiful sweater I will enjoy wearing for years, it was a comfort to me and a tangible reminder of clinging to hope in hard times. The phrase "Move forward" has been in my head for months, and I find these arrows, on stockinette relief, brought it to mind many times as I worked.


Thank you, Alicia, for putting your creative stuff out there in the world and for letting me test knit it. And, seriously, this will never happen again.

Love Michelle


Details: This is deeeeeep stash. It is actually the same Patons color as my husband's bulky sweater- the one I wanted to steal, but really need to de-pill. Well, now I have my own, making theft unnecessary.

I used US needles size 0 and 2.5 to knit this with 4 skeins of Paton's Classic Wool in the Jade Heather colorway. I originally wanted to use some Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in the Old World colorway for this, but decided the stitch pattern would be more apparent with this yarn that I've had since 2008 or so. It feels very good to use old stash.

However, old stash can come with caveats, like missing ball bands. I don't know how I mixed dye lots. This is usually a yarn that is consistent across lots, but even so, I thought I bought this batch all at once. When it was blocking, I saw the color change was two inches from the sleeve pick up, I decided it would be better to rip the whole sleeve out and start over using only the darker shade for the whole sleeve. I also didn't have enough of the lighter one to knit a whole sleeve. The seam in the fabric, where the sleeve is picked up, along with the difference in direction the stockinette lays, masks the color change well. At least I think so. Sigh. I make noob errors regularly.

I followed the pattern as instructed. This would be an easy knit to lengthen with an arrow repeat, or crop further, for that matter.

Because of the deeper neckline, I chose my sweater size based on bust size. I didn't want it to be gaping or hang on me, however I could have modified this to have larger armholes, because I often like to do that. I didn't because it was a test, but it may be something you'd want to consider if you are like me and your arm and chest sizes don't always match up to one single pattern size. My sleeves do fit fine, and I will say that I think the sleeves are meant to be fitted.







Now go make your own!
 (More on Ravelry, Instagram, and Flickr)

Friday, May 15, 2020

Color Craze for a Rainy Day

Today I want to share a comforting knit I finished  a few months ago. It was the kind of project you pick up on a rainy, cold day and work on it for hours until you must reluctantly set it down to feed your resentful family. This is Tamy Gore's Color Craze and is my new favorite shawl. It's a good weight for our winters.


All of her patterns have the perfect mix of elements to keep a knitter interested while still being a chill knit. With Color Craze it is brioche, striping, eyelets, and garter. It's all in there but not daunting. It was totally enjoyable. There was no fretting or worrying about fixing mistakes because the pattern camouflaged them really well.



This pattern sat in my library a while as I pondered what mini skeins I would get in the right yardage to match the sample. Then I saw Molly of A Homespun House talking about hers and how she simply used one of her 10 gram mini sets in place of the four varying amounts of contrast colors recommended in the pattern. Rather than worrying about starting a new contrast color where indicated in the pattern, she just worked the first mini skein in her set for any section that required a contrast color until it was used up, then tied in the next mini in the set to use as the CC until it was used up, etc. She did this through the whole set and it looked fine, even where their was a mini skein color change mid-brioche section.

This is my kind of laid back knitting. So I wound up a magic cake of my Rustic Mini set, using magic knots to tie one skein to the next. Can I just say that making a magic cake is a special kind of satisfying. I paired it with some Knit Picks Hawthorne Tonal in Silverton from stash and began knitting.




At first I planned to pair it with some lace weight  mohair/ silk yarn, but I felt it muted the depth of these tonals too much, so I ripped the bit I'd knit back and omitted the lace weight yarn. This let the subtle variance of each mini skein and the Silverton shine. Silverton is one of my favorite colorways from Knit Picks, but I pretty much love everything in the tonal Hawthorne line.

Details: I used a US size 3 needle and about 1 1/3 skeins of Knit Picks Hand Painted Tonal Hawthorne in the Silverton colorway along with a set of ten 10g Rustic mini skeins from A Homespun House.

This photo sums up how I feel about my yarn/ pattern combo. It makes me think of a rainbow on a drizzly day: calm and subdued, but comforting.


I did finish my last mini skein just a few rows shy of the end of the shawl, so I just used the main color yarn as a border edge. I actually like the way that looks, so it was all good.
I also was super responsible and wove in my ends as I worked for my #EndweavingParty. 

What I love about Color Craze: 
I like the fact that you can be flexible about where to change your contrast colors and the shawl still looks great. I also love that it has the right balance of brioche and garter for conversation knitting. Another plus is that I can wear it upside down (my preference) or wrong side out and it still looks good.



In my last podcast episode I talked about the significance of Tamy's business name, Narrow Path Designs and how meaningful it is to me. You can find the episode here. But, in short, I'll just say I've never been disappointed by anything I've found along the way on the Narrow Path, either figuratively or literally, and it's cool to make something with that in mind.  Below is an example of one such rewarding, literal narrow path we took in the Grand Tetons. The other type is visible in positive changes I see in myself and a growing love for other people.



Which of Tamy's patterns have you knit? 

I can't decide which one I want to do next. I've had my heart set on Milu for some time but it would be a very vibrant color combo, whereas right now I'm liking the idea of some soft spring colors from Six and Seven Fiber mixed with all of the texture and lace of Ashbrook. This would also leave me with some leftovers to add to my scrappy granny stripe blanket, which I've pulled out again because... quarantine netflix with subtitles.


You can find more about my Color Craze in My So-Called Handmade Life Podcast: 
Episode 37: Totally Baked
Episode 48: Summer Knits Roundup

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Episode 48: Summer Knits Roundup

I edited and edited to make my jumble of thoughts more coherent. Then I gave up. Have fun decoding, friends. Also, I look just a bit disheveled, but consider it quarantine fashion.



on my blog: www.myso-calledhandmadelife.com
on Instagram as @mysocalledhandmadelifehttps://www.instagram.com/mysocalledhandmadelife/
on Ravelry as mamatronichttps://www.ravelry.com/projects/mamatronic

My questions for you: 1) How has your thinking changed due to quarantine, any lifestyle changes you've made or want to make?
2) Have you experienced Imposter Syndrome or something similar? How did/ do you work through it?

Article on Imposter Syndrome: https://time.com/5312483/how-to-deal-with-impostor-syndrome/
One of my vintage bikes: http://www.myso-calledhandmadelife.com/2013/02/spiffed-up-little.html
Carson Demers Knitting Comfortably: https://www.ravelry.com/projects/mamatronic/color-craze
@Blueshineart instagram painting challenge: https://www.instagram.com/blueshineart/
Lovely Bicycle: http://lovelybike.blogspot.com

LB Handknits: http://www.lbhandknits.com
Song and Dance: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/song-and-dance
Laitís: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/laitis
Néalta: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/nealta
Moinéar: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/moinear
Fisherman's Muse: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/fishermans-muse
Spleodar: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/spleodar

#NutidenFuse KALhttps://www.ravelry.com/discuss/lb-handknits/4026609/1-25#14

My Color Craze by Tamy Gore: https://www.ravelry.com/projects/mamatronic/color-craze
in A Homespun House Rustic Minis: https://ahomespunhouse.com
and Hawthorne Silverton: https://www.knitpicks.com/yarn/hawthorne-tonal-hand-painted/c/5420312
Also by Tamy Gore -Milu: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/milu
Kaliya: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/kaliya-wrap
Adira: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/adira-2
Minis and Me: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/minis-and-me
Sweet Soul: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/sweet-soul
Ashbrook: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/ashbrook

The Endless: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_endless
Movie knitting- Smooth Operator socks in Wood Pigeon:
in West Yorkshire Spinners Signature  4 Ply from Woolly Thistle: https://thewoollythistle.com/collections/wys-yarn

Woolly Thistle 52 Weeks of Socks KALhttps://www.ravelry.com/discuss/the-woolly-thistle/4029524/1-25#7

Doomsday Knits by Alex Tinsley: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/doomsday-knits-projects-for-the-apocalypse-and-after/patterns
Fatigued: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/fatigued
Fennec by Sharon Fuller: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/fennec-2
Ditch the Tech by Jennette Cross: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/ditch-the-tech
Bulletproof by Alexandra Virgiel: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/bulletproof
Oryx by Jennifer Dassau: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/oryx-2

Summer Tops:
Lacy Sweater "Villanelle": https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/lace-sweater-villanelle
knit in Berroco Remix Light: https://www.berroco.com/yarns/berroco-remix-light
Zelda Crop by Handmade Closet: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/zelda-crop
A Summer weight Love Note Sweater by Tin Can Knits: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/love-note
Into the Wild by Alexandra Tavel: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/into-the-wild-tank
Argil by Clare Lakewood: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/argil-2
Ginkgophyte by Emily Greene: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/ginkgophyte
DanDoh patterns: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/dandoh/patterns
like Shaina by Yumiko Alexander: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/shaina
Harmony: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/harmony-35
Elemental Dolman: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/elemental-dolman

Golden Willow by Lesley Anne Robinson: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/golden-willow
in Stroll Tonal colors- Inverness, Thunderhead, and Eucalyptus: https://www.knitpicks.com/yarn/stroll-tonal/c/5420134
Float Tote by Knitty Natty: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/float-tote
in Lion Brand Re-Up yarn: http://www.lionbrand.com/re-up-yarn.html
Yarn Cozy Lite: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/yarn-cozy-lite

Fun TikToks cause what else are we gonna do?:

https://www.tiktok.com/@creationsross/video/6811635997495889158?u_code=d8995cj5gh8353&preview_pb=0&language=en&_d=d8995eb1lf63fj&timestamp=1588876252&utm_campaign=client_share&app=musically&utm_medium=ios&user_id=6736747838087218182&tt_from=sms&utm_source=sms&source=h5_m

https://www.tiktok.com/@creationsross/video/6811635997495889158?u_code=d8995cj5gh8353&preview_pb=0&language=en&_d=d8995eb1lf63fj&timestamp=1588876252&utm_campaign=client_share&app=musically&utm_medium=ios&user_id=6736747838087218182&tt_from=sms&utm_source=sms&source=h5_m

https://www.tiktok.com/@trinmilliman/video/6813363519547788549?u_code=d8995cj5gh8353&preview_pb=0&language=en&_d=d8995eb1lf63fj&timestamp=1588876138&utm_campaign=client_share&app=musically&utm_medium=ios&user_id=6736747838087218182&tt_from=sms&utm_source=sms&source=h5_m

Friday, May 1, 2020

Kia Socks Love Fest

These are my Kia Socks by Dawn Henderson. They are a free pattern that was offered at a time when all of the knitters online were starting to confront racism in their virtual and real lives. Not that the movement began then, just that January of 2019 seems to be the moment it really broke through to everyone.



See how the raised purl ridges form a an equal sign (=) and serve as a reminder that we're all valid, deserving of respect, and a voice. It was a meaningful design and also something beyond a vanilla sock to accompany all of the reading and soul searching so many of us were doing.

I have strong feelings about this design, the time it was released, the designer, and even the yarn dyers who dyed up this beautiful colorway.


I'm not sure when I first saw Dawn's feed on instagram, but I knew her as a photographer, stay-at-home mom, and sometimes knitter. Her family was younger than mine, so her snapshots of family life moved me and brought me back to a time when the walls of our home, and the circle of family members within it, constituted our world. All of my memories from that time have a golden, dreamlike glow about them. I still get bits of that world when we can all be together, but I dream about it constantly.

Dawn was in the thick of it, making the most of those tender family years and relating some of her everyday joys on instagram. I loved her for that. Sometimes her feed made me just a little heartsick for those days, but mostly it made me smile.


Seeing her thoughts about possibly trying to design /do something creative and challenging for herself touched me because I could identify. I have lived a life very focused on other people the last several years and I've often thought about doing something, just for me, with this blog or with knitting but would then think, "Oh that ship sailed while you were focused on your kids graduating." "Or if this were 8 years ago, yeah, sure, you'd be relevant, but now? Nah." There were loads of other phrases and cliches like "saturated market" or "You're kind of wrung out now." and "Aren't most blogs just ads now anyway?" that come to mind.

You get the point. I wonder if Dawn had similar thoughts to combat when she released this first design? When I look at her designer page on Ravelry, I see how much work she has produced in such a short time! It is completely inspiring. And this little sock pattern seems to be where it all started. Thank you Dawn for sharing it with everyone for free and thank you for sharing that this new creative endeavor was an intimidating, emotional effort. It was a choice you made to challenge yourself through self expression, despite discomfort. These are things I always seem to need to hear.

The love fest doesn't end there. The yarn I used for this pair of socks came from the Friends Yarn Club by Mockingbird Fiber Co, two sisters that have become very dear to my heart due to our shared love of making and shared family experiences. Did I mention that their yarn is incredible? I love every colorway I have seen and I have more finished objects in it to show you as soon as I can catch up on posts.


This colorway is Monica's Apartment. Can you picture it from the set of Friends? Purple with little blue accents. In this post the production designer talks about his color choices for the walls, if you're a nerd and like that sort of thing.



The funny thing is when I told my husband the colors were based on Monica's apartment, he immediately said, "Yeah, and the yellow is like the little frame she had around the peephole." That was weirdly accurate.


Monica's windows and funky kitchen were what I remember from the show. You can see where the blue speckles in the yarn came from. When the show first aired, I often thought how ridiculous it was that she had such a great apartment at her age and with her lifestyle. This article in Scene Therapy talks about what an apartment like that would cost per month.



Details: So I used US size 0s and magic loop to knit these up. The yarn base from Mockingbird Fiber Co is called Scrummy sock, which is 80% super wash merino and 20% nylon. The colorway is Monica's Apartment, with a bright yellow contrasting mini skein for heels and toes. This yarn is soft and easy to work with. I gotta say it was hard to put these down because I was subconsciously waiting for another blue speckle and would just keep going and going.


This is my favorite length of sock leg, but it is really hard to make myself stop when I have quite a bit left of a color I enjoy looking at. I do, however, now have a little ball of Monica's Apartment to add to my Scrappy Granny Stripe Blanket, so that's cool.

(more on ravelry, instagram, flickr)

I talk about my Kia Socks on lots of Podcast Episodes. From 26: That DIY Mixtape Ethos all the way thru Episode 34: A Beach Tee, where they were completed.  

Have you tried Mockingbird Fiber Co yarn yet? They are hosting a sock KAL at the moment on instagram.

And which of Dawn's patterns have you worked up? I think her Lyne socks may be my next knit to try, but I also love Bembe from 52 Weeks.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Episode 47: So Much Drama

Hope you are all doing well! I am back after a little quarantining, a little soul searching, and some drama, as you will see. I talk all about my Love Note from March and way too much tv knitting. Theres even some crochet in there!



This is where I record the eleventy billionth knitting podcast.

On my blog: www.myso-calledhandmadelife.com
On Ravelry: https://www.ravelry.com/projects/mamatronic
Our Ravelry group: https://www.ravelry.com/groups/my-so-called-handmade-life
On instagram as @mysocalledhandmadelife: https://www.instagram.com/mysocalledhandmadelife/
On flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mamatronic
 
Stuff I mention on Episode 47:

Love Note by Tin Can Knits: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/love-note
knit in Chasing Rabbits Fiber Wildwood color way: https://www.chasingrabbitsfiber.com

Travelers Loop by Dawn Barker: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/travelers-loop
in Chasing Rabbits Fern, Joy and Violet Vale: https://www.chasingrabbitsfiber.com

Crossbody Canteen Bag by Alexander Tavel: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/crossbody-canteen-bag
crocheted in Lion Brand 24/7 Cotton with a Lion Brand strap: http://www.lionbrand.com/24-7-cotton.html

My Wood Pigeon Socks: https://www.ravelry.com/projects/mamatronic/smooth-operator-socks-10
knit in West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 ply Self-Striping, Wood Pigeon: https://www.wyspinners.com

Wall Hanging on Ravelry: https://www.ravelry.com/projects/mamatronic/knitting-in-the-hills-wall-hanging
knit in Berroco Macro: https://www.berroco.com/yarns/berroco-macro

Sockhead Hat by Kelly McClure: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/sockhead-slouch-hat
Mockingbird Fiber Rustic Sock base in Delta Dawn: https://www.etsy.com/shop/MockingbirdFiberCo

Summer Tops:
Sweetpea Top by Rachel Misner: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/the-sweetpea-top
Callisto by Nasja Hornby: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/callisto-4
Into the Wild by Alexandra Tavel: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/into-the-wild-tank
Lacy Sweater "Villanelle" by Olga Grishina: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/lace-sweater-villanelle
Pomelo Bag by Claire Lakewood: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/pomelo
to knit in Willow Field Yarn, in Lobster and Warmth: https://www.willowyarns.com/product/willow+yarns%26%238482-+field+yarn.do

Craft Book Suggestions:
Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmerman: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/knitting-without-tears/patterns
Stitch N Bitch by Debbie Stoller: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/peppermint-twist
includes The Manly Sweater by Kate Wisson: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/the-manly-sweater
Skully by Samantha Bliss: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/skully
and Under the Hoodie by Kristin Spurkland: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/under-the-hoodie
Peppermint Twist by Becky Delgado: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/peppermint-twist
The Happy Hooker by Debbie Stoller: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/stitch-n-bitch-crochet-the-happy-hooker/patterns

includes: Doris Daymat by Faith Landsman: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/doris-daymat
Granny's No Square by Diana Rupp: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/grannys-no-square
Jolly Roger by Lynn Zykowski: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/jolly-roger
Short and Sweet by Angela Best: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/short-and-sweet
Prepster by Fay Lin: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/prepster
Bedfellows by Camilla Engman: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/bedfellows

Greetings from Knit Cafe by Suzan Mischer: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/greetings-from-knit-cafe
includes: Chanel-ish Cardigan by Mary Heather Browne: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/chanel-ish-cardigan
Classic Sweater for Guys: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/classic-sweater-for-guys
Lacy Skirt with Bows by Kat Coyle: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/lacy-skirt-with-bows
Judy's Grandmother's Baby Sweater by Judy Spector: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/judys-grandmothers-baby-sweater
Slouchy Cardigan by Helene Roux: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/slouchy-cardigan
WEHO Bikini by Julia Trice: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/weho-bikini
Canyon Hiking Socks by Julia Trice: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/canyon-hiking-socks
Red Carpet Gown by SweaterBabe: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/red-carpet-gown

Strangebrew by Tin Can Knits: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/strange-brew
includes Cartography: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/cartography

52 Weeks of Socks by Laine:
includes: Heartichoke by Josephine & the Seeds: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/heartichoke
Unity by Nina Tanskanen: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/heartichoke
Imker by Apella.Knits: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/imker
Stone by Tatiana Kolikova: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/stone-4
Turning Point by Zyaparova Masha: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/turning-point-3

Too much TV:
The Decline: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt10307440/
Killing Eve: https://www.bbcamerica.com/shows/killing-eve
The Iliad- It's free!: https://epdf.pub/the-iliad-richmond-lattimore-tr-university-of-chicagod8c84111c3b05379d457d233a230ff5171506.html
Attack on Titan: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2560140/
Fetch the Boltcutters by Fiona Apple: https://www.democracynow.org/2020/4/28/fiona_apple_fetch_the_bolt_cutters

Fun links:
Depression Era Cooking with Clara: https://www.youtube.com/user/DepressionCooking
Y-Yo Ma and his sister's first performance in the US: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7G2QKzp78Zs
The Queen's Green Dress: https://www.marieclaire.com/celebrity/a32051285/queen-elizabeth-green-dress-meme/

Other new and/or free patterns:
Pangolin by Anna and Heidi Pickles: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/pangolin-3
Social Distancing by Lucinda Iglesias: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/social-distancing-2m-6ft
Perfect-Pockets Shawl: Sonja Hood: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/perfect-pockets-shawl
From Anna Johanna's Shop
Surprise Stripes: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/surprise-stripes-3
Scrap Yarn Sock Advent Calendar: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/scrap-yarn-sock-advent-calendar
Eazy: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/eazy
Harmas: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/harmas