A Crafty, Crafty Christmas & A Reflection of 2015

Well, it’s almost 2016 and as I sit here and reflect back on 2015, I have to say that I’ve accomplished a lot with regards to my crafting – both new and known.  Earlier this year,  I taught myself how to draw (better) and even learned how to paint with watercolor – all thanks to Creativebug.  It was both awesome and fun.  It’s always nice to have other creative outlets to break up the monotony of the usualities of knitting/crocheting.

Mid-way into the year brought me to try my hand at a few other things: a Kickstarter campaign, knitting my first short-sleeved summer sweater and my first Custom Fit sweater, learning how to hand-card punis (spinning fiber), and having my very first ombre gradient sock yarn wholesale deal with Natural Stitches in Pittsburgh.

Moving into Fall was awesome because it was filled with 3 more completed sweaters!  I was pretty addicted to knitting the Oatmeal sweater by Jane Richmond so much so that I made 2 and am currently working on a 3rd!  I also got to pick raspberries and can my own jam which is what I’ve been longing to do for a while now.  And lastly, I tried Periscope.  I lasted 3 scopes before it got to feel more like a chore.  Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.  But it did help me discover that I may one day start my very own video podcast….stay tuned 🙂

And last but not least, we are here.  The end of December. While I feel like 2015 lasted a good bit, the month of December sure felt like it flew by.  Maybe that’s because I was on a complete hand-made mission.  I spent many a December night up until sometimes 1 / 1:30 am making these gifts.  I had 10 days off of work for the holidays and my time off , every day of it, was spent doing some sort of Christmas crafting.  This year was also the first year I decided to hand-make my Christmas cards and was so thankful that Creativebug had some awesome watercolor how-to videos that I was able to put to great use.

For the past 2 years, I’ve been gifting my family with hand-made crafts.  In 2013, it was Christmas wreathes and no-sew blankets, and in 2014, it was crocheted ornaments and hand-made spa goodies.  For this year’s theme, I decided to go with “comfort” items.  I decided on cozy hand-knit slippers (another awesome class on Creativebug), hand-poured soy candles, plaid infinity cowls, and home-made raspberry jam.  I gifted each of the women in my family with these items and they loved them! Altogether, I cranked out 12 pairs of slippers, 6 plaid infinity cowls, 12 jars of jam, and 15 candles.  Lastly, I cranked out 4 painted reindeer feet canvases for the grandparents from my son and for my sister’s son.

Crafting is such a big part of my life and I am so thankful for it.

So thank you, 2015, you were great.

Stay crafty, my friends & here’s to an even craftier 2016!


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Thanksgiving Sweater

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

I began knitting my most recent sweater, Flax by Tin Can Knits, on September 12th.  It took 2 months + 2 weeks to the day as I feverishly knitted away these past few days hoping I would finish just in time for Thanksgiving dinner at 4 pm today.  I’m so glad I finished!

First, I’ll talk a little about the yarn used for the sweater.  This is Woobu by Blue Moon Fiber Arts in the colorway Pond Scum.  If Thanksgiving could be described by only one color, I would say this would be the color in my opinion. At first glance in the skein, it is very unassuming, but once it is knit up into fabric, it transforms into an entirely different look.  I like this sweater best with navy or medium colored blue jeans, but I think it would also look wonderful with hunter green, burgundy, and many other fall colors.  Anyone familiar with Woobu knows it comes with great yardage for the price – 620 yds. per skein! So needless to say, you can make a nice sized average adult sweater with only 2 skeins. That’s my kind of yarn.  More bang for your buck! I had 142 grams left to the second skein and figured out that I used about 850 yds. So, I still have about a little less than half a skein left.

Second, I’ll talk about the pattern.  Flax is part of Tin Can Knits free patterns that they offer. It is a very well written pattern.  But, you will notice my sweater is knit up differently than the way Flax is written.  I definitely didn’t intend for that but totally my fault because instead of paying attention to only making a center panel of garter stitch for the sleeves, I knit the sleeve caps in full garter stitch.  So when I determined that, I was at a bit of a standstill because I didn’t quite know what I wanted to do for the rest of the sleeve.  For fear that my arms would look too bulky, I decided to just knit the rest of the sleeve in stockinette stitch.  While I would have loved to knit the Flax the way it was written, once I realized my duh moment, it was too late and I had to make the best of it. And I can say I’m happy with my choice.

Next, I will talk about my lesson learned.  While this is my 5th sweater I’ve knit for myself this year..4 for me and 1 for my sister…I will say that this sweater enlightened me about gauge swatching.  Yes. Always make a gauge swatch for any garment that needs to fit you nicely.  What I learned was something very elementary when it comes to gauge swatching but what always confused me.  Since Flax calls for a worsted weight yarn and I was using a sport / light worsted, I knew my gauge was gonna be off right from the get go.  I was getting 22 stitches over 4 inches when the pattern gauge called for 18 stitches over 4 inches. I thought no big deal, if it’s a little big then great…if it’s a little small so what, it’s meant to be form-fitting.  Well….well…………..well.  Here’s where my kick myself moment comes into play.  When I measured the body, I got between 14-15″ across which converts to a 28-30″ bust. I’m 36″ across. Whoops.  I was able to quickly steam block it to a size 33/34″ so that it could be worn today.  I’m hoping that when I block it for real and soak it that it will block to a size 36″.

Big lesson learned- if you are getting more stitches per inch than the gauge, your garment will end up smaller because the stitches are smaller so you would need to go up in needle size.  If you get less stitches per inch, then your garment will end up bigger than intended because the stitches are bigger and therefore you would need to go down in needle size. I can’t believe I didn’t ever realize that!  But in my defense, a prior sweater was a custom fit sweater by Amy Herzog 🙂 so I didn’t have to worry about it and my summer short sleeve sweater I had gotten gauge on the first go around.  Another lesson I learned was that I need to pay better attention to the yarn weight the pattern calls for and use the same weight or at least do some math if I use a different weight of yarn.

Here is a great article that explains some of the above and hopefully can help someone in this predicament.

Now it’s time for me to start my Christmas knitting.  Luckily, I don’t have much to complete, but I will be returning to sweater knitting afterwards.

Happy Holidays!


Plush sock Fall Colorways

Here are some new Fall colorways on my Plush sock base which is 75% Superwash Merino & 25% Nylon.

Major squish factor goin’ on with this yarn and great yardage for the price, too!

462 yds. to each skein; perfect for a cozy pair of socks, a small shawl, or what about a light weight sweater?!

Available in the shop!

Candy Corn 


Autumn Harvest

  Deep Forest

Burnt Toast with Butter



CashSilk Luxe 

I’m offering a new base by special order only.

It is called CashSilk Luxe and it is 437 yds. of lace weight yarn. Made of 70% Cashmere and 30% Mulberry Silk, this yarn is as soft as a cloud!

I’ve recently had the pleasure of custom dyeing gradients using this base for a couple of my customers and it takes the dye beautifully.

This affordable little luxury is available in my Etsy shop.

Blueberries & Cream Ombre Gradient 

Olive Ombre Gradient  

I’m calling this one ‘Cream of Wheat’

I recently made a purple Oatmeal sweater and loved it so much that I made one for my sister at her request.

However, I’m calling this one “Cream Of Wheat”.

The yarn used is the same yarn as called for in the pattern, Lion Brand Wool Ease Chunky.  

I have to admit I like this sweater better than my purple Oatmeal because the yarn is not as bulky as the purple yarn which was Paton’s Classic Wool Bulky. 

I find that super bulky yarn just adds weight and bulk to my frame. Thanks, but no thanks…

I made one slight modification in this sweater by knitting the bottom ribbing a few inches shorter than what the pattern called for.

After a visit to a local Pat Catan’s yesterday, I picked up more yarn to try for a 3rd Oatmeal!  This time I will be using Bernat’s Roving and I will be incorporating stripes.

Here is my sis modeling it:


Purple Oatmeal

I’ve been in a sweater knitting mood lately and when I went on a quest to find the perfect quick knit sweater for fall, I was not disappointed when I came across Jane Richmond’s Oatmeal Pullover on Ravelry.

Scrambling through my stash, I found the perfect yarn for the pattern and conveniently already had knitted up a gauge swatch that little did I know already matched the gauge of the pattern perfectly!

The yarn I chose was Paton’s Classic Wool Bulky in the colorway Aster Purple. I love the color- it’s such a nice, rich color for fall.  Purple is not normally a color that I wear but when I do, it’s usually this shade.

Let me tell you a little bit about the yarn itself.  It is 78 yds. to a skein and is 100% new wool.  The pattern calls for a similar weight yarn – Lion Brand Wool Ease Chunky – but Lion Brand Wool Ease Chunky is primarily acrylic with a little bit of wool.  I used 6 3/4 skeins for my size, or just under 546 yds.

Now on to the fit of the sweater.  Jane points out that the garment is meant to have negative ease which means it will be close fitting.  Now of course, if you prefer to have it looser, you can knit a bigger size, but in my case, I knit for the 36″ size.  Overall, I am very pleased.  I may block it just a tad to give me a little bit more fluidity within the arms and torso areas, but I won’t block it so much so that it changes the overall size.

And that is why I’m glad I used 100% wool – for the blocking aspect of it.

Continuing on my quest for a kick ass fall sweater wardrobe, I just started another Oatmeal Pullover.  This time I am using the yarn that Jane recommends in the pattern and I’m using the exact same color, Wheat.

While I still want summer to hang around for a little while longer, I’m so ready to break out my fall wardrobe and drink apple cider at the pumpkin patch!

Is anyone else on a sweater knitting kick or just ready for fall?


Summer Cap Sleeve Lattice Sweater

Back in the beginning of June, I went stash diving for yarn that would be good for Purl Soho’s Cap Sleeve Lattice Sweater which proved to be a bit challenging…at first.

I stumbled upon the 5 skeins of Berroco Maya that I had which is a dk weight and 85% Pima Cotton / 15% Alpaca mix.  The yarn was originally intended for a Rayures cowl that never got made.

When I realized that I likely wouldn’t have enough of the cream color I wanted to use for the base of the sweater, that’s when I devised a plan to put in some simple, thick stripes. I ended up arranging the stripes from light to dark or dark to light (if you view it from top to bottom).

So after about 7 weeks, here is the finished sweater:



For more details on the pattern/yarn, check out my project page for this sweater on Ravelry.