Christmas in July

Last year, I really kicked around the idea of doing some kind of Christmas project that my daughter would have forever.

I have had the idea on my mind since I saw the Yarn Harlot’s advent tree that she did back in 2014. I loved it, but I wasn’t a confident sewer, and I had a one-year-old at the time, and it just seemed a little out of reach for what I could accomplish at the time. Also, I already had an advent calendar with a scene of Santa and Mrs. Claus that had a tiny mouse that you moved from pocket to pocket. It was given to me by my Granny, so it’s very special to me, and I had passed it down to BK. I thought she was covered for an advent calendar, because I want her to have fond memories of that one, too, and it was a wonderful thing we could share.

So I started looking for alternatives. Last year, the 12 Days of Christmas Mitten Garland KAL caught my eye. It was appealing because it only involved 12 things, not 24, and also you had two weeks to complete each small mitten, which seemed very reasonable. It was also very beautiful. But I ultimately decided not to make it, because even though it was lovely, I struggled with where it would go in amongst my Christmas decorations. I also explored the Mitten Garland Advent Calendar by the same designer, which is also lovely. I also considered a garland of little stockings, but didn’t want to commit to finding treats to put in each one of them, since BK usually already has a store-bought calendar with chocolates in it.

Eventually, this year, I got back around to the idea of the Yarn Harlot’s tree. And I figured if I’ve been thinking about it for 3 years, that’s probably what I really want to make. And that BK probably had enough room in her life for two advent calendars, since last year she had three (the mouse one I gave her, a chocolate one, and one with mini Thomas trains in it).  I started digging around for ideas on what to put on the tree, and made a rough list of what I would like to include. I’m still finalizing exactly which 24 things will be on it. BK and I have a had a few conversations over what to add and what to remove, and the list is very fluid at the moment. I’ve started on a few, and since I still have 4 months, I’m sure I can get it done for this Christmas (famous last words, right?).

tiny ornament for advent calendar

Above, you’ll see one of the finished items. It’s a tiny Christmas ornament, made from this pattern in one of my favorite books, Handknit Holidays. I’ve made the full-size version several times (I got a little excited about this pattern when I first learned to knit in the round), and all I did for this one was start just as the patten calls for, but didn’t increase the full number of times. When I finished it, I then picked up three stitches on the top in the gray yarn and made a tiny i-cord for the top of the ornament. The main part of the ornament is Tiny Toes by BaH Yarns. I’m not sure they make this color way any more, because I bought it when they first started. Heather is a good friend, and I love everything she and Brenda make. I originally purchased this yarn with the intention of making BK socks, but since she hates all socks (handmade and store-bought) and prefers to be barefoot, it seemed like a waste of good yarn. So she’ll still have something made out of this beautiful yarn, and it doesn’t have to be on her feet. 🙂

Wish me luck on getting all this done before December! And I’ll keep you posted on which 24 ideas make the final cut.

P.S. – Happy Birthday, Harry Potter.

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WIP: Passage and new knitting needles!

My LYS recently had a sample of Passage hanging up in the store. I’ve always secretly wanted something with a little batwing to it, but thought I’d look silly in it. Since there was an actual sample, I was able to try it on and see how it looked, and it turned out that I loved it! So I was sold.

I’m using some repurposed Venenzia Sport. I had completed a Wildflower for myself in this yarn, and hated it once I got it on my body. I could see all the imperfections in it, and the neckline looked terrible on me (which I should have known it wouldn’t be flattering on me before I cast on, but I foolishly went ahead anyway). The one time I wore it out of the house was for 5 minutes at knit night to show everyone how much I hated it. Then I unraveled all of it and wound it back into balls.

The yarn was so kinked when I started this new project that my knitting looked like I had done it completely and totally drunk (which I unfortunately was not). So I followed these instructions on how to reuse yarn. I soaked each skein for nearly an hour, and it still didn’t relax as much as I thought it should, but it actually seems to be knitting up OK after it has dried thoroughly.

passage-wip

This is also the first project that I have used my new Knitter’s Pride Marblz needles. I saw them a while ago on the Tanis Fiber Arts blog and fell in love with them. I finally bought myself the large set last month. So far, I love them! I was a little worried about them being acrylic because I usually use metal needles, but it isn’t bothering me at all. They are really pleasant to knit with, and I’m finding an enormous amount of joy in knitting with these lovely bright red needles! Though I have to say, I can’t wait to make a project that requires one of the pink needles. I may have to plan my next project around that. 🙂 I also have my eye on the 16” set because I want to use them all the time. I might just be a sucker for these beautiful colors.

marblz-upclose

And finally, we ended up with an unexpected nap time this weekend (those happen so rarely these days!), and we decided it was time for tea. I took mine with a side of knitting Passage, and Mr Snips took his with a side of making an R2D2. Someone at work gave it to him, and it’s turned out to be a rather labor intensive process of glueing together a zillion pieces of paper. He’s determined to finish it to make it the world’s most impressive centerpiece at BK’s birthday party (she’s pretty hardcore into Star Wars), and I think he’s secretly enjoying it. It was really lovely to have a crafty break together.

passage-crafting

New yarn

I’ve picked up a few beautiful skeins recently that I wanted to share with you.

So… no surprise… I found a yarn shop while we were in Sedona. Knit Wits was a super lovely shop. I could have stayed much longer than I did, but I did stay long enough to pick out this absolutely beautiful purple yarn from Mary Gavan, who is a local dyer. I was asking Mr. Snips which color he liked best and he said, “It depends. Do you know what you’re going to knit with it yet?” And I laughed and said, “Of course I don’t. I just want it!” Since then though, I’ve been thinking of a plan – it may end up being a French Cancan, which has been in my queue for a long time. But then I saw this loose-gauge sweater pattern last week… and I might be swayed. We’ll see where I land!

knitwits-purple-yarn

The color is lighter and brighter in person. Trust me, it’s beautiful.

Also, my friend Heather from BaH Yarns had a trunk show near me a couple of weeks ago, and I snatched these two absolutely awesome skeins of “Cowabunga” (in fact, I may have talked her into dying it)! One is fingering weight (the slightly deeper color to the left) and one is DK – the slight color differences are because of the base – but I think they are both equally gorgeous.

cowabunga

My little girl is a HUGE TMNT fan, and I promised her some winter accessories out of the DK skein (hat, mitts, cowl – I’m a bit undecided at the moment). The fingering weight skein is all for me, though. I couldn’t resist having my own very special TMNT project, because I’m pretty fond of the Turtles myself. We’ll be full of Turtle Power by fall for sure!

What’s new?

Well, now that we’re approaching spring (I won’t say it’s here yet, it snowed yesterday!), it’s time for some new starts and some updates!

I’ve got a few projects on the go right now. Recently, Mr. Snips and I traveled to Sedona, Arizona for a little winter sunshine and relaxation, and I took two knitting projects with me.

Sedona

One is this super simple striped cowl. I bought these two skeins of yarn (Mrs. Crosby Carpet Bag in Spangled Cotinga and Squid Ink) because I fell in love with them at my LYS. Though I didn’t know what I was going to make with it, I knew I had to have them. Then I found this pattern was a nice way to showcase the beautiful colors, and it is terrific mindless TV knitting! I opted to make more stripes than the pattern called for, because I wanted to use every bit of the yarn. I’m not sure it’s going to work out quite perfectly equal… but we’ll see once I cross the finish line on this. Here’s a photo of when I was working on it at our lovely little hotel, which had its own fireplace. It was a little chilly while we were there, and the fireplace was the perfect touch! Plus, it made such a cozy atmosphere for reading and knitting.

cowl

The other was digging into my skein of Brenda and Heather Yarns in Who’s Socks. I LOOOOOVE this yarn. I’m a little biased, because Heather is my friend, but she and Brenda are making really beautiful yarns that I just can’t resist. And, this yarn is Doctor Who themed, so what’s not to love?! I originally thought I would make mittens out of this so I could see it more often on my hands than my feet, but I finally settled on Jaywalker because I thought the stripes would look awesome in this pattern. And I was right! Here they are on our beautiful drive back to the airport.Jaywalker

Fun fact – I joined Ravelry because of this pattern! Back in the dark ages (I think 2007?), I was searching for knitting patterns online and came across Ravelry. It was during the time you had to request access and wait. I saw the Jaywalkers on the home page of Ravelry, and knew I had to sign up – I wanted to knit those!! I had never made a sock before, and honestly, it was a little beyond my skill level at the time. But shortly afterwards, I started one. It took me six months to do the first sock. Mostly because I was terrified of the heel turn and stuffed it in a closet for four of those months. And since I had no experience with sock yarn, I used way too much on the first one, and the second one had to be a lot shorter. I took a picture for Ravelry with my legs crossed in hopes no one could see the discrepancy. Lol. Because I for sure was not taking out a whole sock’s worth of work! This was also in the days before I had an LYS, and I didn’t have much “in real life” support (my mom isn’t a sock knitter). I wouldn’t even think twice about trying a new technique now, not just because I’m more experienced, but also because I know so many great knitters I know I could get help with anything.

So now we’re home, I’m knitting along on these two things a couple of others… and I’m looking forward to my next vacation. 🙂

 

FO: Fall in a Ball Shawl

You guys! I finished my Fall in a Ball shawl before fall was over!

Fall in a Ball shawl close-upI know, I’m surprised, too.

That was my goal though. My big goal was to have it finished by Halloween; my fall-back goal was to be able to wear it for Thanksgiving. And I blew both of those deadlines out of the water! I finished it a week ago Friday, and put it in to Soak immediately. It was fully blocked and dry in time for work on Monday.

I wore it all week like this:

How I've been wearing Fall in a Ball

I LOOOOOVE it. It makes me feel so seasonal, and happy.

Fall in a Ball Shawl back view

The yarn is Dream in Color’s September club colorway (I told you about how I fell for it here) and I knit with size 7 needles. The pattern is Bella Vista. I followed the pattern exactly.

Life has been… hectic, so I’m feeling pretty great about having this done in less than a month. This is the busy season for Mr Snips at work, which has thrown our schedules off quite a bit. We’ve been helped immensely by my mom and dad (BK and I owe them A LOT for all the help), but knitting time is still at a super premium.

Things are finally slowing down now, just in time for the leaves to be in their absolute most amazing fall glory. We’ve had a couple of days of fantastic weather, and I’m hoping we get to hold on to this perfect autumn weather for another week. Bring on Halloween!

Monday Musing: Fall in a Ball

Oh, my friends. I have an obsession. And this is it:

Fall in a ball - Bella Vista shawl in progress

I call it “Fall in a Ball.” But what it really is is Dream in Color Smooshy sock weight in the September 2014 club colorway.

Right before I left knit night this week, the Evil Temptress Susan (aka – the LYS owner) brought out the newly delivered club colorway, and there happened to be a few up for grabs. It was so beautiful, and seemed like “fall in a ball” – all of the beauty of my favorite season in one skein.

Now, I have told myself no more highly variegated sock yarns, because I have been sucked in by so many, and it’s often difficult to find the right pattern to that shows off the yarn and has some pattern, but a pattern that won’t get lost in all that color.

But this, this I could not resist. Autumn is my favorite season, and I just loved, loved, loved it and imagined it as a shawl to keep me warm in my constantly freezing office for the season.

I didn’t opt for the pattern that came with the club colorway, but I found this absolutely gorgeous pattern that I thought would be just right. I managed to cast on and do a few rows Sunday, and I can’t wait to make more progress!!

Sweetest knitting bag ever + new project!

Look at this adorable little bag!!

Cath Kidston cottage knitting bag

I picked it up back in May when I made a pilgrimage to the Cath Kidston shop in London. When I saw this knitting bag that looks like a cottage, I had to have it!

Not only is it super cute, but it is LARGE. I currently have 6 skeins of Cascade 128 superwash in it (a bulky yarn that takes up a lot of space!) and still have plenty of room to spare.

There are no inner pockets to this, but there is one large one that runs the span of the back with a Velcro closure. There’s so much room inside, though, that I haven’t used it yet. The only trick I think they missed was that the back and inside are plain red. If the inside had some coordinating print, I think it would take it over the top!

I don’t see the bag online any more. It went on super sale about a week after I got home (figures!) and then it disappeared. Cath Kidston still has some cute stuff in her craft range though.

Cath Kidston cottage knitting bag with Roseberry in progress

And what is that large amount of red knitting you see, you ask? It is the Roseberry that I started a couple of weeks ago for dear Baby Knitsnips. I found this pattern very early on in my pregnancy and favorited it. I was just obsessed with it. And I still am. I love the hood. I love that it is made with cozy bulky yarn. But most of all, I love the cables.

As soon as I saw this pattern, I instantly thought it should be red. It just felt like a Little Red Riding Hood sweater. I felt so strongly about it being red, that in my mind, the project on Ravelry was red. I was astonished when I went back to buy the pattern and the picture was of a BEIGE sweater. When did it turn beige? It didn’t change, of course, I just had a real vision for this sweater.

It’s a Ann Kingstone pattern, who I first found through these incredible Gryffindor socks (I love them! Who wants to knit them for me?! I both adore them and am terrified to knit them at the same time!). I’m excited to be knitting one of her patterns now, and I also have my eye on Ilkley Moor (maybe for my Irish yarn?).

I am using some of my favorite bulky yarn, Cascade 128 superwash, on size 10 needles for this project.  I’m making the 2-3 size, even though BK is mostly wearing 18 months clothes, and a very few 24 months, just to make sure we can make it through the winter. If we’re lucky, she may be able to wear it next winter, too! Regardless, it will be well-worn and loved. BK spent most of the winter last  year in sweaters instead of a coat, because I felt like they were more comfortable for her and they kept her warm for our quick trips between the car and stores. I anticipate this sweater may end up being one of her most used this winter. I can’t wait to see that cute little face in this beautiful sweater!