Tag Archives | knitting

Shoji Cardigan and experiments in natural dyeing.

It’s not too often that I finish a knitting project, and so it’s a celebration when I do. This Shoji cardigan (pattern by Norah Gaughan) is a project that I started back in December 2016, and I finally finished it a few weeks ago. Yay!

I loved the project as soon as I saw it in a Brooklyn Tweed collection a while back. Living in Florida can make knitting challenging at times, because it’s never cold enough to warrant a ton of knitted stuff. What I liked about this design was that it looked like a cozy blanket that you could layer over whatever else you’re wearing. This seemed appropriate for how I tend to dress in the winter here. Plus I was intrigued by the shape and construction. It’s knitted as a long rectangle that gets sewn together and added a collar.

The yarn I used underwent quite a transformation after being fully knitted and dipped into a natural dye bath of cutch with my friend, and expert dyer, Kim Eichler-Messmer. Below are some of Kim’s very helpful samples dyed from a variety of things. They aren’t a promise for what will happen, but good approximations of what all can happen. My Shoji, a swatch and extra yarn pre-dyed are there at the bottom. It’s very different, right?

Natural Dye samples with Kim Eichler-Messmer

The yarn was a fun color to start with, but even though I alternated skeins every row the color variation was too much over the course of the entire project. It looked super patchy, and I wasn’t totally convinced by the shade of pink. As it was, I didn’t think I’d ever wear it outside of my house. I figured it was worth a shot to see what could happen with a little experimenting.

The color came out more gorgeous than I could have ever imagined! That’s it on the left. (We tried some other dye baths as well.) For some reason I figured the only fate for this sweater would be to become navy or black. Brown was not something I’d even thought of as possible, but after seeing her samples, I knew that’s what I wanted to try. I figured it could be a good fit.

The sweater fared the dying process surprisingly well. I know that it probably grew a bit, which is fine–it is still cozy. I ended up tightening up some of the seaming that was loosened during the process, but otherwise not much else needed to happen.

Now that I’m officially done with my Shoji, I can a) wear it(!), and b) get back to work on another knitting project that I started over a year ago. The front and back are done, and I’m working on the sleeves.

pattern: Shoji by Norah Gaughan

yarn: Tosh DK in Pink Clay Optic, overdyed with cutch (and the critical help of expert Kim Eichler-Messmer)

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SockSacks in Friedlander and Euclid.

I love a good gift-worthy project, and these SockSacks in my Friedlander and Euclid fabrics are some recent gifts that I made after being given one myself.

Sock Sacks in Friedlander and Euclid fabrics . Carolyn Friedlander

It all started when a friend made this one for me.

Sevenberry Sock Sack

I was immediately smitten with the fabrics and quickly fell deeper for it when I realized how perfect it is for transporting a lot of things. Obviously, it’s awesome for knitting–there are two interior sections divided by a zippered pouch. But it also works well as a travel bag for other things–like snacks and tea–both of which I travel with often. The compartments hold what you need, while keeping them divided and sorted nicely. Plus, it’s so darn pretty! (Fabrics in this one that was gifted to me are Sevenberry and London Calling from Robert Kaufman.)

Sevenberry Sock Sack

Since I’ve been loving mine so much, I decided that I needed to make a few more for some friends.

This one has some euclid on the outside…

Sock Sacks in Friedlander and Euclid fabrics . Carolyn Friedlander

Some of my newest stuff on the inside and at the top

Sock Sacks in Friedlander and Euclid fabrics . Carolyn Friedlander

A little bit of carkai and more new stuff

Sock Sacks in Friedlander and Euclid fabrics . Carolyn Friedlander

Here’s a better pic inside. You can see the snap tabs, which are really great for keeping your yarn in check. I’m working from 2 skeins with my current knitting project, and the tabs are keeping everything anchored and tangle-free. Yay. Plus, the zippered section. You know that’s handy.

Sock Sacks in Friedlander and Euclid fabrics . Carolyn Friedlander

Picking fabrics is always one of my favorite parts. This project is fun for that because there are places large and small, meaning plenty of possibilities for print and color play.

Sock Sacks in Friedlander and Euclid fabrics . Carolyn Friedlander

Sock Sacks in Friedlander and Euclid fabrics . Carolyn Friedlander

The other one that I made has this print on the outside, this one at the top, and this and this one the inside.

Sock Sacks in Friedlander and Euclid fabrics . Carolyn Friedlander

I followed the instructions for both without making any changes, including not using interfacing. In general, I like things to have structure, but I also liked the idea of making these first two as instructed to see how I liked the weight. Of course I knew that using Euclid in the first version would give it more structure–and it does, but the quilting-weight-only version works out just as well! It’s a soft bag that isn’t likely to be put under much stress, so it makes sense. I did, however, elect for lawn in both of the drawstring casings. Lawn was used in the version given to me, and I really liked how lightweight it made it. The cord cinches everything up nicely, and while I’m sure quilting weight would work well for that part too, I was eager to embrace using the lawn.

Sock Sacks in Friedlander and Euclid fabrics . Carolyn Friedlander

Pattern : SockSack by Ramona Rose (I made the largest size, but after making that, I realized the size that I was given is the medium size. Both are nice! I’ll bet the small size is super cute.)

Fabrics : Euclid, Carkai, Friedlander and Friedlander Lawn

Sock Sacks in Friedlander and Euclid fabrics . Carolyn Friedlander

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hello new year!

I’m feeling quite refreshed after taking a break. I had my computer turned off for at least a solid week, which is nothing short of a miracle. I did sneak a moment here and there on my ipad, but overall my effort to disconnect was successful, and my chi feels good.


While unplugged, my biggest goal was probably not to obsess over my schedule, making lists, or filling every moment with something productive. Aside from a couple of personal projects in mind, I just wanted to let go and enjoy. Some highlights were getting lost in good reading, knitting on a project that had gone totally dormant, spending time with family and friends, baking, sewing, and even getting lost in a 24 marathon. It’s been good.


Cue the visuals.


Shrug update: She’s being blocked, which means I’m closing in on the finish line. It’s always amazing to me how much lace opens up when blocked–a good reminder since I’m always tempted to skip this step. (Try to ignore the heinous pink towel and shoddy blocking system.)


blocked shrug


Single girl‘s got some new additions. It’s fun being able to work in some architextures.



single girl rings

I’ve been page-turning to Kaffe Fassett, vegan ultramarathoning, and industrialized fashion (not pictured). All very enjoyable.


reading book pile


Craft-wise, I’ve got a stack of flagged pages and projects from some recent acquisitions. (Apparently I’ve got a Japanese obsession going on. What can I say?)


craft book pile


And I’ve even gotten a start on a tunic from the Stylish Dress book (on top). I need to work out a few alterations, so it’s gonna hang for a bit while I ponder on that. The tea calendar was something I picked up at Quilt Market from Spoonflower. All it needed was some architextures binding to finish it off, which miraculously felt like the thing to do one afternoon.


tunic in the making


So, lesson learned that breaks are good. I’m feeling pumped to start a new year off with some energy and excitement for whatever it may bring. I’ve taken time to review the good stuff of 2012 and will continue to map out goals for 2013. I do love my goals.


Hope you are able to do some of the same. Happy New Year!



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