Pop Rocket Shawl

Pop Rocket Shawl knit in grey yarn with bursts of yellow-blue areas. On top of the shawl is a skein of Wonderland Yarns Mary Ann in the colorway Dandelion in a sidewalk crack.

There’s nothing new about color burst yarns, they’ve been around for a while and I’ve even worked with them before. That being said, I’ve never done anything special to manipulate the burst in favor of letting the pop of color be just that. In fact, I think I’ve only ever tried to control pooling once (the Pool & Conquer shawl by Martina Behm).

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept of controlled pooling, the idea is that you’re manipulating the yarn to create an effect. This can be done by stacking the color with a specific number of stitches or working a specific stitch whenever you hit a color burst. The Pop Rocket Shawl (free), for example, has you use yarnovers to manipulate the color bursts and accent them further. Other forced pooling projects can be found by searching “pooling” on Ravelry, I have my eye on a few by Dawn Barker.

I highly enjoyed working on the pop rocket shawl. It was simple with just enough of something to do every so often that I never lost interest in knitting it. Definitely has me thinking about what else I should work on that plays around with forced pooling and the colors of Dandelion in a sidewalk crack by Wonderland Yarns goes with almost everything in my wardrobe. The shawl also grew a LOT when I blocked it, which was a pleasant surprise. If I were to knit this pattern again, I think I would manipulate the pattern to use two skeins instead of one for a larger shawl.

Use the discount YARNVIP for 15% off your total purchase from Wonderland Yarns (discount not eligible on sale items, with other discounts, or on yarn clubs) :]

A woman in a black shirt and light green skirt wearing the Pop Rocket Shawl knit in grey yarn with bursts of yellow-blue areas.

August 2022 Book Club: The House in the Cerulean Sea

Cover art for The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune.

This post should probably start by saying this book was a much better read than the non-fiction I attempted last month. For starters, the writing draws you in from the beginning because as much as you don’t want to relate to Linus, it’s easy to. We’ve all had jobs that we do because they’re a paycheck and we’re good at them. They’re safe and easy, why put yourself out of your comfort zone if you don’t need to? Then there’s his desire to fit into society: his dieting, rule-following, and people-pleasing ways. Why stand up to your neighbor if it’s not so bad? You do have to live next to them after all and who’s to say it will improve things? I cheered when Linus stood up and quit his job because I’ve been there. I’ve felt the relief of coming to the decision that I deserve better and the excitement that comes from taking a risk. After all, let’s be clear here, DICOMY would be a toxic department to work for.

Then there’s the children, each special in their own way and each looking to be loved. I think that’s the big thing that Klune is trying to stress as we get to know them, even though they’re different and they don’t quite fit in with the world around them, they’re still just children who are in need of a loving home. It’s a friendly reminder that all children, I’m thinking of those outside the story now, are looking for the same things. They want to feel safe and loved, and when they do they have the ability to really thrive. We see it in each of them – Lucy wanting to feel safe from his nightmares and interact with the world through music, Chauncey dreaming of helping people, then there are dreams of creating beautiful gardens and writing poetry, all different and about being accepted for who they are and what excites them.

Fear is, unfortunately, one of the powerful emotions in this book that is often translated into hate. Linus fears being seen so he hates how he looks and interacts with the world. The villagers fear the children on the island, so they hate them. Arthur fears the children being mistreated, so he hates the idea of them ever leaving the island. Fear and hate hold everyone back, it wasn’t until everyone allowed their bubble to be popped that they were able to move forward and face their fears.

All in all, I love this book because it’s about finding the place you belong and the people you belong with. It’s about popping your comfort bubble so that you can let in those who have the potential to help you grow into the best version of yourself, not the version the world believes you capable of. It’s about letting go of your past hurts so that you can move forward a stronger person that can stand up for themselves. The House in the Cerulean Sea is a beautiful story, I was sad when it reached its conclusion.

Cover art for All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace.

For September, let’s continue our enjoyment of islands and magic with All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace. If I’m being honest, the cover drew me in and the description lead me to decide to read it. So while I’m not judging a book by its cover, it did lead me to pick it up ;]

Set in a kingdom where danger lurks beneath the sea, mermaids seek vengeance with song, and magic is a choice.

She will reign.

As princess of the island kingdom Visidia, Amora Montara has spent her entire life training to be High Animancer — the master of souls. The rest of the realm can choose their magic, but for Amora, it’s never been a choice. To secure her place as heir to the throne, she must prove her mastery of the monarchy’s dangerous soul magic.

When her demonstration goes awry, Amora is forced to flee. She strikes a deal with Bastian, a mysterious pirate: he’ll help her prove she’s fit to rule, if she’ll help him reclaim his stolen magic.

But sailing the kingdom holds more wonder — and more peril — than Amora anticipated. A destructive new magic is on the rise, and if Amora is to conquer it, she’ll need to face legendary monsters, cross paths with vengeful mermaids, and deal with a stow-away she never expected… or risk the fate of Visidia and lose the crown forever.

I am the right choice. The only choice. And I will protect my kingdom.

Into the Cave of Wonders Sock Pattern

One of the most memorable scenes, for me, in Aladdin is when he’s first entered the Cave of Wonders and is slowly making his way down hundreds of steps. Down and down and down until he’s surrounded by treasure, instructed to touch nothing but the lamp. This is an interesting proposition to make when you take into account that a handful of literally anything in the room would change Aladdin’s life forever. “Touch nothing but the lamp” is an interesting way of saying “don’t be greedy”.

When I designed Into the Cave of Wonders for Wonderland Yarn’s deSTITCHnation, this is the scene that came to mind. Smock stitches are meant to illustrate steps working their way down your leg to heels and toes that are made extra colorful by the yarn being held double. The way the stitches provide an extra throw of the color makes me happy.

You can grab a skein of Cave of Wonders from Wonderland Yarns this month!

Into The Cave of Wonders knit in wonderland yarns Cheshire Cat.

Lua Sleep Sack

We had to stop swaddling cold turkey earlier than many sites predicted because our little overachiever taught herself how to roll early. We had a few hand-me-down sleep sacks to get us started, but the more I looked at the construction the more it felt like a missed opportunity to make something. Funny how quickly your brain takes you there once you start crafting. Surely I can make this and surely someone has thought about how to improve the store-bought design.

Dark blue sleep sack with forest animals riding in hot air balloons printed across it.

Enter the Lua Sleep Sack. Originally written to be a wearable quilt, the buttoned straps and side zipper (which as a bonus also means you’re not slicing a beautiful design in half) make it so easy to get little ones in and out of. Plus, it was so easy to use knit fabric instead of woven so that the sleep sack wasn’t as heavy. Combine that with the fact that I made two in less than an hour, it’s hard not to start buying fabric simply to crank them out.

Faux patch quilt sleep sack.

I have a third sleep sack in the works using a gauzy hand-me-down swaddle blanket. With any luck, the mod I used to make the knit sleep sacks (only the upper area is lined) will work for the gauze fabric and we’ll have a light/airy sleep sack to throw her in. If nothing else, it’s more invisible zipper practice.

Real talk: I don’t have a lot of time to sit down at my sewing machine these days and I don’t have the headspace for a lot of complications in my crafting. This isn’t to say that I don’t like to challenge myself, it’s more so that whatever I’m working on needs to be a project that I can pick up, work on for 3 minutes and then put down again. Generally speaking, knitting fits the bill because there isn’t a lot of setup time. Sewing projects tend to sit cut out on my craft table because so much prep work goes into getting ready to sew. The Lua Sleep Sack is the perfect project if you find yourself in this situation and wanting to sew for a little one. I cannot recommend it enough.

Baby Messenger Henley

Teal baby sweater with yellow stripes across the yoke and sleeves. Three purl snaps are used to keep the henley neckline closed.

Let me start by saying a few things:

1) I probably should have done a gauge swatch because I would have learned the correct needle size to use. Using a size 5 instead of a size 4 has left me with a size ~12 months instead of ~6 months.

2) You can’t tell, but I put the outie of the snaps on the wrong part (I prefer the outie to attach to the pearl snap side). That being said, this was my first time attaching snaps to a handknit and I have to say I’m a fan.

3) I cannot get enough of this blue yarn, seriously it’s gorgeous and reminds me of jumping in a cool brook on a hot summer day.

4) Where is this sweater in my size? Do I dare seek out a sweater’s quantity of Mad Hatter in Glow Worm for myself?

When thinking about baby sweaters, blue and yellow are such a classic combination. That being said, I love the depth that Glow Worm adds to the sweater — in fact, it was very difficult to choose which color to make the contrast color and which to make the main color. If one had a really hard time choosing or second-guesses the choice they made, there should be just enough yardage to make two inverse sweaters.

The other thing that I’ve learned to like about any baby top is the ability to create a large opening at the neckline. Pre-baby, this was because babies have large heads. Post-baby, this is because it takes a while for babies to be ok having garments go over their heads and a large head hole makes it quick and easy (and you can take it off by sliding it along their body if you’re not brave enough to go back over their head.

I’m tempted to knit this sweater again using the leftover yarn (this would mean a yellow sweater with blue stripes) for my new nephew, but there’s a crochet baby sweater I’m tempted to try. After all, why not keep working on my crochet skills this summer?

Want to make a Baby Messenger Henley of your own? Use the discount YARNVIP for 15% off your total purchase from Wonderland Yarns (discount not eligible on sale items, with other discounts, or on yarn clubs) :]