In Which The Blogger Is A Magpie

Happy Thursday, friends!

Thank you to all those who have commented about Tom’s jeans! Being able to share things (successes and failures alike!) with such a great and varied community of people makes sewing that much more rewarding as a hobby: you guys rock!

Since my last post, I have finished and delivered the two L’il Sharks to their new home. All that’s left now is for their tiny humans to arrive, which should happen in the next several weeks. Yay! I forgot to take photographs of them (#sosorrysostupid) but I used the free pattern provided by Cation Designs here. It is SO CUTE and makes very adorable little hammerheads for the shark enthusiast or baby in your life. (Or your softie-loving dog, if you care to put this much effort into something they can trash in 10 seconds.) The little sharks were very easy to make, and the tutorial linked above is very helpful if you aren’t sure where to start putting everything together. I am certainly grateful to Cation Designs for making her pattern available to the rest of us, and promise to only use my shark-producing powers for good (i.e., I will never make them for profit, per her request). I ask that you please do the same, if you decide to try her pattern. (In other words: Don’t be an asshole.)

The giant shark (using M7103) for the same couple’s toddler is now finished; it will be a birthday gift for her. (Welcome to Toddlerhood: have a shark.) Isn’t it cute?!?!?


Sherk MkII (Mulder added for scale)


View from above


Squishy underbelly!



I can’t get over how amazing this pattern is–I love it so much! Someday, I shall have a Sherk of my very own. 🙂 I had briefly considered using View B–the Hammerhead version–to coordinate with the baby sharks I made for the gift recipient’s future brothers, but ultimately opted to make the Great White again. (It is the biggest one, and therefore the best.) #noragrets

The plaid fleece I used for MkII (who I am affectionately referring to as sHERk) was a pain: unbalanced and not really on-grain (as far as fleece goes, that is). I realized these things AFTER painstakingly matching large intersections with pins, naturally. Since that part took 2 hours, I decided to just cut it out as-is and not worry about it. I decided to put the fins on the bias for effect, since I couldn’t really match them properly with the body. Had I bought double the recommended yardage, I could have matched everything. But this is a fleece object, and I don’t need extra fleece flopping around my house. I have plenty of scraps left from all this Sharking as it is! (And if I’m honest, this was part of my bias fin motive: do a wasteful layout to use up that fleece!!) And really, this is for a little kid to beat up on and drag around the house: it didn’t seem worth beating myself up over the plaid as long as she enjoys playing with it. I’ll save my sewing stress for clothes! 🙂

So apart from Sharking and summer wardrobe planning/starting (hopefully I’ll be back soon to share some results!), there has been one other BIG, HUGE time-suck happening at the “Mads” House: knitting. Let me repeat that: KNITTING. That’s right folks, this dimwit has learned to knit!!! Aaaaaahhhhh!!!!

Although knitting prowess runs in the family (my grandmother–the same one who quilted proficiently–and my oldest sister were/are both very talented knitters), I never had the desire to learn until very recently. There are two reasons for my sudden interest: Sock People and fucking Brooklyn Tweed.

I follow tons of sewing folks online, and have noticed that many of them also knit; plenty of those who knit like to knit socks, and they waggle those beautiful, toasty tubes of wooly goodness in my face seemingly every day. And as someone who wears socks to bed and inside my boots in the Fall and Winter, I quickly began to covet the pretty socks that everyone was making. When Ginger Makes posted about her foray into sock knitting, I realized that the only way to resolve my bitter jealousy toward these Sock People would be to learn to knit them myself; I even made a declaration of intent in the comments on that post! But somehow, that still didn’t motivate me to start learning immediately. That took the release of Wool People 10, which set alight a dormant lust for big, almost-certainly-frumpy, intricately cabled sweaters that I could no longer suppress. I sent a text to my sewing friend (who is an accomplished knitter as well) stating my intention to learn, starting with socks, on circulars, two-at-a-time. (Hey, I learned to sew on vintage patterns: I would rather jump right in with knitting, too!) And because she is a saint, she volunteered to teach me.

That very weekend, we set out for our local yarn store and got me a set of circulars and 100g of sock yarn. Saint Friend kindly did the cast-on and toe increases for me (stating that it would be too frustrating for my first try) and set me up for two-at-a-time socks; she does them that way too, so it took her all of 5 minutes. Here are a few in-progress shots up to this point:


Week 1 (aka “Toe Warmer Stage”)

IMG_20160524_123700 (1)

Week 2


SO big!!


Happy feet + pet hair

Aren’t they too cute?!?!? UGH sock yarn is so awesome. I want ALL OF IT. Already, I have 4 pairs worth of sock yarn stashed in addition to the pair I’m working on now. This week, Saint Friend will be showing me how to do the heel turns; hopefully I remember the immortal words of RuPaul as I work! While my saintly friend worked on the cast-on and toe, she handed me some (already cast-on) thick yarn and straight needles and let me just knit back and forth to get the idea. Since, you know, I had literally NEVER KNIT A STITCH before then. O_O I still have that rig in my possession, and plan to use it to practice new stitch patterns…provided that I can tear myself away from my socks! (This first pair is all stockinette, but the self-striping and overall “new-ness” of the experience has been enough to keep me ALL CAPS EXCITED about them.)

Here are some things I have learned so far:

  1. I am a tight knitter. Very tight.
  2. Also, very slow with moderately clumsy mechanics.
  3. Righties teaching Lefties to knit gets complicated.
  4. I need to figure out tension for the first and last stitches in each row on socks, because they turned out loose as hell despite Thing #1.
  5. Knitting makes a great lunch hour activity.
  6. Always keep a crochet hook in the knitting bag in case of dropped stitches.
  7. Saoirse is as good at “helping” with knitting as she is with sewing.
  9. 2-at-a-time forever.
  10. Self-patterning yarn forever.

I am desperately excited about this new hobby of mine, you guys. I sleep in socks damn near every night of the year, and can’t wait to have a whole drawer full of adorable hand-made foot cozies to wear. And the craft itself is interesting and complex, which makes it more exciting. Having said that, I don’t know how much of my knitting I will share here apart from occasional pics of the finished things; it’s hard to stop what I’m doing and take a picture, you know? But I’m determined to make a go of knitting, so watch out, Sock People: I’m one of you now! 😀

Do you knit? Any advice for a newbie? Have you ever picked up a whole new hobby because there was One Thing you really, really wanted to make? 



20 thoughts on “In Which The Blogger Is A Magpie

  1. Still love the sharks and still haven’t made one! I have to put that somewhere on my list. And that hammerhead pattern is adorable! As for knitting… sigh… I have wanted to start knitting for several years (after experiencing intense jealousy as well!) but have still not done it. I always wonder if I can HANDLE 2 hobbies as well as everyone else seems to! Now I am very curious to check out these circulars of which you speak! Socks were on my list back in 2013… :/

    • Aww, thank you! I just got commissioned to do 2 more sharks…it’s a good thing I love the pattern so much! 🙂 You should totally learn to knit socks–if I can learn, anyone can, LOL. Circular needles are magical and I don’t know if I’ll ever go for DPNs.

  2. I have never yet managed to knit a garment. One day I will learn. I think your socks are sensational. The thing I loved was a silk tie, painted in the most beautiful colours. I learnt to paint on silk as a result and love making my own textiles.

    Love the new sharks. And sharks in general. We made a shark cake for my grandson’s birthday.

    • Kate, I love that you learned to paint on silk because of an inspirational tie: that’s incredibly cool! And you are excellent at it, which seems a bit unfair to the rest of us! 😉 I am glad you enjoyed the sharks–I never would have guessed I would be making *those* in multiples, LOL.

  3. I don’t knit and although I do want to (there are so many beautiful friggin patterns out there…did you see Closet Case Heather’s sweater that she had her aunt make? SWOON), I am coming to terms with the fact that I can’t *sew* all the things I want to because I don’t have the time so what makes me think I could knit all the things I want. lol But good on you for doing it!

    • Oh man, I definitely get the time factor. I am fortunate to have a lunch hour at work, so I do the bulk of my knitting then and keep my evenings and weekends (mostly) for sewing. I have delusions of moving on to sweaters someday (I definitely saw the sweater you mentioned and OMG that’s the kind of work I want to do) so I’m sure lunch hours won’t be enough then!

  4. One of us! One of us! Welcome to Team Sock People… we always have warm toes! Seriously, good on ya for starting out with socks- that’s so ambitious and you’re doing an amazing job! I definitely made some fugly stuff when I first learned to knit so I hope you’re super proud!

    But… yeah… sock yarn is MEGA addictive. 😀

    • I am proud to be one of the Sock People, LOL. And you are so right about sock yarn…it’s only a matter of time before the gov’t classifies it as a Class 1 substance!! I have 12 pairs worth of yarn already and haven’t even finished pair 1. O_O

  5. Oh my word that shark is adorable!! You socks look amazing too – and sock yarn is super addictive! I think knitting socks is awesome because they knit up pretty quickly and they’re super portable! Plus there’s nothing like wearing handmade socks.

    • Thank you so much! And YES to the portability and quick knit-up factors; those have been really exciting as a new knitter. I have never actually worn handmade socks, but I have a feeling that I will never want to go back once it happens, LOL.

  6. Yay another sherk! I love that tie-dye belly. It actually reminds me of blood splatters… which is expected of a sherk but, meh, still appropriate for a toddler! 😉 I hope she loves it! I know I would as a child. Over-sized toys are the BEST.

    And yay for a new hobby! I’ve thought about trying knitting out, but I don’t want anything to get in the way of my sewing time… not yet, at least. Plus, Arizona isn’t a place where you want knitted wool socks all the time. But I look forward to seeing the many pairs you’ll make! Good luck!

    • Well her father reacted like a kid at Xmas when he saw the Sherk, LOL. She was a little nervous because it was so big but I think she likes it. And I LOVE using tie-dye for the bellies–it looks very aquatic. (And yes, in the right colorway, it looks menacing, hehehe.) I have two more of them to make now; maybe I should start telling people I am a “Shark Artist” when they ask what I do!

  7. “they waggle those beautiful, toasty tubes of wooly goodness in my face seemingly every day” GAH i love your writing so much.

    not to mention your endlessly excellent work!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.