finished

Finished: Exploration Station

Two cat vomits and hours of work later, my Exploration Station is finished and ready for its public debut!

It was worth the time investment, though, and believe me when I say it's less daunting to knit than it looks. Each section is written clearly, so it was easy to both understand and memorize after a few rows. Plus, new techniques (like the brioche stitch, for me) are linked to well-explained tutorial videos conducted by the incomparable Stephen West himself. He does move a bit quickly in sections, but that's what the "pause" button is for.

This was my first time knitting an i-cord border and bind-off, and I have to tell you how much I love the final result; however, the bind-off was a bit time consuming, especially since I wanted it done at that point. It was worth it, though. Just anticipate plopping down for a bit while you're finishing the border and weaving in ends.

Now, all I have to do is wait for the temperature to dip below 90 degrees with humidity and I'll be all set. I'm starting to see a few signs of fall around, mostly in grocery stores who have been selling Halloween candy since the beginning of July, so I'm sure the day of wearing my shawl will soon arrive!

Guess I should start on all those Christmas gifts I've been planning...

In the meantime, I'm...

Knitting: Vanilla Latte Socks
Reading: All the Light We Cannot See
Listening: Last Song (feat. Matt Berninger from The National)

Finished: Vanilla Latte Socks

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Well, that didn't take long. I was able to bang these puppies out in less than two weeks, partially thanks to my husband being stuck in the hospital all day for gall bladder surgery. After having to check in at 5AM and not getting dismissed until 3:30PM, it's easy to see how I got so much done. Including several naps in a pretty uncomfortable plastic chair.

Anyway, he's home and resting now, and I'm loving my new finished socks - only my second finished pair! I haven't accomplished any of my other goals for 2015, but at least I'm blowing through my one goal of "finish one freaking pair of socks". Now I've got two off my needles :)

For more information, or to download the free pattern, click here to visit my project page. This is such a great pattern for beginners and experts alike, and has enough design features to keep you interested in knitting around and around and around for 7" (or sometimes more!)

In the meantime, I'm...

Knitting: Anne's Sweater + Another Pair of Vanilla Latte Socks
Reading: To Kill a Mockingbird
Listening: Chappo - What Are You Kids On?

Finished: Rose City Rollers Socks

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And they're done! My first pair of finished socks. Turns out all I needed was a bad week full of frustrating experiences to make me focus on anything other than the axe wound that is my life. Oh, and it helps that the leg on these socks barely exists, so it's essentially just turning a heel and making some toes.

Indeed, Rose City Rollers is the perfect sock pattern for newbies. It's straight-up stockinette stitch, so you don't have to worry about purling if that's not your thing. Also, the pattern goes into enough detail that you begin understanding basic sock construction, and two toe options are provided so you can alter the sock to either fit your foot or visual preference.

I flubbed up a bit on the toe, but I'm pleased nonetheless. I even managed to almost perfectly match the stripes. As a result, I've officially been bitten by the sock-knitting bug, as I've already cast on another pair in some Knit Picks Felici that I scored from their latest limited stash release (which is nearly sold out, so get it while the gettin's good).

In the meantime, I'm:

Reading: Lady of Hay
Knitting: Vanilla Latte Socks
Spinning: More Hobbledehoy fiber on my new AaronMakesStuff spindle (review coming soon!)

Finished: Crochet Vines for the #100WomenProject

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So poop - I totally forgot to talk about my participation in the #100WomenProject. Well, we're changing that now!

More than a few months ago, I was asked to crochet some vines for inclusion in a University of Richmond student's Honors Thesis Exhibition. The artist, Amy Reader, sought to engage women around the world for a large display comprised of smaller, crocheted pieces resembling wisteria vines. The pieces could be crocheted (or knit!) in any color and almost any length, and would be installed to look like a forest of wisteria trees.

The photo above shows me with my two vines, which I promptly mailed out in early April to make the submission deadline. I was honored to not only be asked, but to also have been part of an exhibit that showcased women and a craft that's often tied to our assumed domesticity. I say "assumed" because I knit and crochet with such passion, but I can't sew worth a lick and my house is a childless disaster area. So to me, the combination of over 100 women crocheting art appealed to my feminist side (and gave me a chance to put my undergraduate art degree to good use - we creatives need to stick together).

If you want to read more about the exhibit, then make sure to visit the website. Or, if you want to find out why Amy decided on a women-only project, read her article here.

Finished: Handbrake

Pattern: Handbrake

Designer(s): Kay and Dan Jones from The Bakery Bears Podcast

Yarn: madelinetosh vintage

Colorway: Neon Peach

Notes: It's finally finished! I say finally because I started this on my trip to San Francisco in April, which just-so-happened to coincide with the complete loss of my knitting mojo. I managed to get it done and cast off while we were at the beach over Memorial Day, though, so here are the pictures I procrastinated on taking (of course, part of that is because I needed to soak the cowl since it's made with madelinetosh and I didn't want to wear it before getting any extra dye out).

The pattern is $1 on Ravelry and all proceeds go toward cancer research. It's such a versatile pattern that you really have no excuse not to make one! It's perfect for beginners who know the extreme basics (casting on, knitting, purling, and binding off), plus it comes with instructional videos from Kay. For more advanced knitters, it's quick, fun, and perfect for any stash yarns you have that need to be shown off with straight-knit designs.

If that hasn't sold you, you'll also get an exclusive edition of the Bakery Bears Podcast. I watched it on my plane ride to SFO (while knitting the cowl, of course!) The great thing about podcasters is that we're all real people, not typically paid advertisers who are talking about products we love or hate just to make a buck. We love what we do and letting people into our lives - we're genuine, and that really shines through in this special edition podcast episode!