Summer of Socks

I have fallen in love with knitting socks. It took me all summer last year to knit my first pair, but after that I was hooked. I enjoy the process, playing with colorful yarns that maybe I wouldn’t want a full sweater of, and love how portable they are. As everyone is declaring their summer plans and listing camisoles and tanks, I would like to say knitting those things doesn’t really appeal to me. I think it’s because I can easily find fabric and sew up those things much faster than I could knitting. So while I have a few sweaters I might cast on in the coming months, I think my attention is mostly going to be on socks! I thought I would share the patterns I am considering making. You can always check out my Ravelry project page to see what I’m currently knitting!

Before I talk about my plans, I thought I would share three sock options perfect for beginners! First up is the I’m So Basic Socks from Summer Lee Design Co. This is a free pattern and the first pair of socks I ever knit! The instructions are in depth and there are videos on her youtube channel to walk you through each step. You’re going to see a lot of Summer’s designs in this list, her patterns are very well done!

The Crazy Sock Lady has a great Youtube channel and she has multiple tutorials walking you through different variations of vanilla socks step by step. These tutorials are free but you can also purchase the written patterns on Ravelry. This was my first really well fitting sock that I made!

Finally, Ready Set Sock! is a great book that walks you through multiple sock patterns starting with an easy vanilla sock. I’m enjoying working through this book and each pattern offers multiple variations with the cuffs, heel, and shows you how to customize your socks. Highly recommend! The Copeland socks (in both 4ply and DK) are the first, easier socks in the book.

Ok, on to my plans!

First, I really want to try these Trusty Toe Up Socks by Tanis Lavallee. I would like a vanilla sock pattern that is worked toe up and this one looks good. It is a free pattern and the designer looks to have multiple other patterns as well.

I want to make shorty socks this summer! Perfect for cooler weather and also quicker to knit up. I want to try two designs by Summer Lee Design Co, The Little Black Socks and The Weekend Shorty Socks. There are quite a few ways to mix and match these and the weekend shorty looks to be a great scrappy sock option as well.

Another pattern by Summer Lee, this time one I’ve made before and want to make again! The Totally Rad Ribbed Sock is a fun pattern to knit and I have some bright yarn I want to use to play around with those stripes. I made this earlier this year and made the foot a hair too short for me (it fits my daughter!) and would like to try again and make a pair for myself.

I’m going to try the next sock from Ready Set Socks and knit up the Glover 4ply and Glover DK. I like the texture on this pattern and think some of my variegated yarns will look beautiful as these socks.

Finally, one more pattern by Summer Lee that just came out. The Wide Rib Sock Set is adorable and looks very cozy. I could see myself making these for all three kids and maybe even as gifts in the future.

Before I can begin all of these, I want to finish my Shadow Box Socks by Helen Stewart. These are the first release from her Handmade Sock Society 5 that I recently joined. I’m hoping to use the month’s pattern with my monthly sock subscription as they come in.

That’s a lot of socks!! I don’t really think I can get all of them done, but I like having options. I’ll keep you updated which patterns I love and would also like to hear your favorite sock patterns or sock designers. There are so many on Ravelry! It’s hard to know where to start.

Happy Summer of Socks everyone!! And if you don’t already, be sure and play along with Summer Sock Camp and The Crazy Sock Lady. I didn’t know about this annual event but it sounds fun and I’ve enjoyed seeing people already posting their socks.

Summer Manifesto!

It’s officially Summer vacation over at our house and I’ve been looking forward to this change of seasons so much. Spring was incredibly full for us and I’m so thankful. We saw so many friends and family, we had so many celebrations, and there were so many sports! It was wonderful!

But I’m ready for Summer. I’m ready to slow down, to soak it all in and that’s just what I plan for my family to do. Here is our Holley Summer Manifesto for 2023!

It may sound silly, but taking the time to sit with your family and decided what you want your life to look like is really helpful in actually making those things happen. You’ll find out what everyone wants and be able to make plans so those things actually get done. Let me know what’s on your agenda this summer!

Summer 2023

Lots of shooting hoops, sitting outside, finishing our deck, growing a garden, going on hikes, exploring Denver, knitting socks, watercoloring together, watching old movies, journaling, reading 30 minutes a day, inviting friends over to play, going swimming, writing, making comic books, intentional play with Sam, sewing up scraps, using what we have, buying less, meal planning, farmer’s markets, visiting Missouri, visiting Santa Fe, going to the beach, painting our nails, wearing lots of sunscreen, letting the kids cook, everyone helping out with chores, dance parties, bubble parties, library time, hammock time, date nights, concerts, weekend trips, spending time together!

New Patterns I’m Excited About

There have been a few new patterns released that I’m excited about and would love to hear what you will be making. There is a new Simplicity website that now has all of the Big 5 (7?) companies in one place, which makes it very easy to search patterns. Vogue hasn’t released anything since early spring, and while I did like some of those, I didn’t buy any and won’t be making them. If they have a fabulous summer release that we need to talk about, we will!

I also have a few new indies, but as these typically don’t release by season, there are less of those in this round up. Let me know any new indie pattern- whether it’s been released or you’ve seen it teased!- as I would love to check it out.

Indie Patterns

The Lora Dress by True Bias

I bought this dress when it came out! I think the bodice shaping is so beautiful and love all the fun sleeve options. I would love to make this near the end of summer.

The Sommar Camisole by Paradise Patterns.

I also bought this one the second it came out. So many people have tested it on Instagram and have made multiple versions. I love that it has a shelf bra and that it’s such a great basic. I have a pile of knit scraps I want to sew up in this pattern very soon.

Chantal Bodysuit and T-shirt by I Am Patterns

This one caught my eye as a simple t-shirt but then also the option to make it a bodysuit. What makes it special is that the bodysuit can still be a t-shirt, meaning not super fitted. I have never seen this as an option in a sewing pattern before. I haven’t bought this one but may keep it in mind when I’m needing some tees. Lots of variations to choose from as well!



This is the only pattern I purchased from the new McCalls release. I love the lines on the skirt and slit and also that it is kind of a sexy t-shirt dress. There’s a cool cut out in the back and it’s just not like anything I have and seems really wearable. I hope to make this up this summer!

Know Me Patterns


The only Know Me Pattern I bought, I saw this teased on Instagram and just loved it. The shape of the pants is very cool and I like the top options. The color blocking is something I’ve never done before and I just love the idea of these in a way I can’t really explain! I would love to make this over the summer.


While I didn’t buy this one, if I had an occasion to wear it I might! I think it is a very pretty dress with interesting lines around the bodice and in the back and could be made up to be more formal or casual depending on your fabric. I see this one as having a lot of potential to be the perfect summer dress.


Another one that if I found a reason to need to make this, I would. A beautiful jumpsuit that could be really fun to play around with fabric- whether color blocking or print mixing. You could absolutely tone this down or go crazy and make it a complete showstopper. I loved that this was unlike anything I had seen before.



I think this little corseted summer dress is so cute! I love the back and the different length options. No plans to buy or make currently, but no promises when this goes on sale that I won’t snatch it up.


I wanted to highlight this pattern because I have a similar old Vogue pattern that I want to remake this summer (mine is even bright yellow). This is such a great knit dress and it’s sexy without being too scandalous. I love that it has sleeve and length options and this one will be more size inclusive than my older pattern.


I love this pants pattern. I think it has so much versatility and it’s the first cargo style option I’ve seen recently that I think I would consider buying. Love the high waist, the paper bag option, the wide leg option, and then those joggers with the cargo pocket details just seem really wearable. Will be picking this one up when it goes on sale.


I love when Simplicity does these unisex patterns. I have a sweats one and it’s one of my favorites. This one has some great shorts options. I’m thinking my son and husband would like them more, but my daughter might be into a pair as well. I’m having trouble finding pants that fit my tweens in sizing and style right now, and I think this would be very useful to own.

Ok there you go! My most favorite patterns from the recent releases, although there were quite a few more that I liked. Just knew I didn’t need them! Tell me your faves or which ones I missed.

Pattern Review/// V8994

Today I thought I’d share my experience making Very Easy Vogue 8994. This is a dress pattern from 2014 that I couldn’t find on the Simplicity website, but there are a few on Etsy if you want to go searching for it.

The pattern is described as a “pullover, lined dress (close fitting bust) has back neck band, cut-in armholes, shaped hemline, and narrow hem, wrong side shows.” It comes in sizes 8-24 which is a 31 1/2 inch bust to a 46 inch bust.

I bought this pattern years ago because I love an easy, pull on dress. This one has an interesting neck line and the back is a bit racer back which is a silhouette I like to wear. It is lined so this dress could be more formal if you wanted to go that route. I thought the neckline lended itself to a sportier feel.

Once again, Very Easy Vogue only used illustrations so it’s hard to get a good read on what this is supposed to look like on an actual human, but I do think mine turned out as I had pictured it.

This is a simple sew, there are only a few pieces, and it came together in an afternoon. I made a size 10 in the shorter version and had to take it in quite a bit at the bust. I didn’t do the lining as I chose this lovely linen blend from Blackbird Fabrics (I’m sorry it’s no longer available, I bought it last year!) and I wanted a breezy summer dress and thought the lining would be too much for what was in my head. Without the lining it’s even easier to sew, but I did take the time to finish the inside with French seams.

The shape of this dress is what drew me to it and while I don’t have plans to make it again any time soon, I do think I will keep it in mind for a more formal dress. I love that it lets the bold print of this fabric shine and if you had a special fabric you wanted to showcase, I think this would be a great dress to make in it.

I plan to wear this one all summer long with sandals. I think it could work well transitioning into cooler months with some layers and I may try that, but for me this will be a ‘throw on on a hot day’ kind of dress.

Mostly I’m happy I used stash fabric and a pattern I’ve had for a long time to create something I think will get a lot of wear over the coming months! Feels good to empty out that stash bin.


The twins turned twelve- TWELVE! It’s so weird to write!- this week and I have so many thoughts that I’ve been trying to sum up. Not in a blog post or a social media post, but also just in my brain. I thought I would try and write them here.

On the one hand, how was it twelve years ago that these two beautiful souls entered the world? It’s really true, it goes by in a flash. On the other hand, I feel like I’ve been there for it all. Yes, some times were harder than others, I was very tired there at the beginning, and I was by no means perfect in my mothering, but even if I can’t remember specific days or every funny thing they said, I remember ‘it.’ I remember what baby hood was like, the feelings in toddler life, what preschool children in my home was like, how the shift into elementary school kids happened, and now I’m here on the cusp of teenageness and I gotta say, I love it the most. I love these two people Chris and I made and I love and enjoy them in my life.

Yes, I miss their sweet chubby hands in mine, their silly little voices, and the routines we had when they were small. But in the same breath I say I miss it I am so thankful for curling up and watching not horrible movies together. Talking to them about bigger things or finding out the big things to them are really still pretty simple and cute. Watching them try out new things, being able to cheer them on from the sidelines, and running them around to 556 activities every single week. I actually love all this too.

Parenting older kids gets harder and I know when they become teenagers and young adults, we will have whole new paths to carve out, but in this moment as I reflect on that day twelve years ago that may be the happiest day of my life, I can say with relative certainty that there’s nothing I’d do over, nothing I’d change. I’m so thankful for someone out there deciding I could handle two at a time and I can’t wait to hang out with them tomorrow and then tomorrow and then the next day after that.

Charlie and Harper if you ever find my weird place on the internet years from now, I hope you see this in writing and know I mean it, having you was the best thing that ever happened to Dad and me and every day we get to spend with you has been a good one. You are my favorite people. Happy Birthday!

Currently/// May 2023

A little check in with what I’m currently…

Watching: If I’m being one hundred percent honest, I have been going to bed super early lately and have not been watching much. As a family we watch the NBA playoff games and Chris and I are slowly making our way through the final season of Succession. I started Daisy Jones and the Six when we were traveling and would eventually like to finish that. It’s not the greatest thing I’ve ever seen, but I think they did a good job of making the book a show and the fashion is incredible. I like the songs too!

Reading: While I’ve been getting in bed early, I have been reading! I finished A Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell last weekend and started Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld. I’m also listening to The Inheritance of Orquidea Divina by Zoraida Córdova  and am enjoying it. I started an Instagram account that is all books and my reviews if you would like to follow me there. I still use Goodreads as well, but probably won’t be reviewing as much on that site.

Listening: Besides my audio book, Chris and I are both loving the newest album from Manchester Orchestra. Beautiful songs and we got tickets to see them at Red Rocks and I think their music will fill that space so well and be amazing live.

Making: I’m trying to finish up my Spring Capsule plans! I have a dress and a pair of pants to go as well as all my knitting that I shared last week.

Feeling: Ready for summer! This spring has been wild! Lots of travel and events as well as all the sports, I’m ready for the slower pace of summer. We have to wrap up the kids’ school years (always feels like so much gets crammed in with that) and then we will be in summer mode.

Planning: What summer mode looks like! While I want to have a lot of room in our days, we need some structure. Looking for fun things down in Denver to explore as well as stuff we can do around the house together.

Loving: This spring weather. We got an actual spring this year! It’s been rainy (not snowy! Although I’m probably jinxing this by typing it out!) and cool and all of a sudden everything is green and gorgeous. While I’m looking forward to summer, I’m trying to enjoy the business and growth that is right now.

Pattern Review///V9343

I don’t usually make clothes for big occasions. One, I have very few ‘occasions’ and two, I’m not usually that prepared or organized to make it happen. This year I knew going into April that we would have two weddings to attend, one at the beginning of the month and one at the end, and I decided to try and get a dress sewn up for at least one of them. I gave myself plenty of time but still somehow managed to be finishing up last minute before the wedding at the end of April! It all worked out though because I ended up with a very fun party dress that I love. Let’s discuss it!

This is Very Easy Vogue 9343 and it came out in 2018. I don’t think they are making the Very Easy line anymore at Vogue, which is kind of a shame because I always like these patterns.

This dress is a ‘fitted, unlined dress with length variations has back zipper and hook and eye, pleated bodice, circle skirt with stitched hem and pockets. Purchased bias tape finishes armholes.” It comes in sizes 6-22 which is a bust measurement of 30 1/2 inches to 44 inches. While I always like these patterns, they have never been size inclusive.

Very Easy Vogue always has illustrations instead of models, so sometimes things can’t be seen that would show up on a real body that maybe get lost or taken out in line drawings. This dress pretty much looked like the drawing when I was finished minus a couple of issues with the bodice. There is a lot of ease on this dress so I’ll discuss what I would change with sizing farther down, but on the illustration it looks like the skirt hits at the natural waist. I would say it’s much lower and I might shorten the bodice if I ever made this again. I am 5’9″ so shortening bodices is not something I usually have to consider and would want people to be made aware of going in to make this one! Any easy enough modification, just something to keep in mind!

This was a fairly simple dress to make and the instructions were clear and concise. I don’t know that a beginner would enjoy putting this together, but and intermediate sewist could easily tackle this one. If you’ve make pleats and inserted zippers, you could handle this one.

When I first saw this pattern I called it the Dirty Dancing dress. It reminds me of the white dress Baby wears to their first dance (the one where they don’t do the jump!) I thought it was fun and the bodice shape is one that works well on my figure. I bought it once when it was on sale, knowing I could find some reason to make it up!

I really love the bodice of this dress, it has more details than first meet the eye. The pleats are lovely and give it a great shape, there are darts in the front and back for shaping, and the full back with the collar turns the front into almost a shawl collar. It is finished nicely with a facing and was an interesting construction that helps keep this dress from feeling too naked.

The fabric is this beautiful Atelier Jupe Layered Floral Collage Coral Rayon. I loved the print and am really happy with the weight of it. It is rayon so there is drape but it also has a little bit of weight to it that makes it hold the pleats as well as make the circle skirt extra swishy.

I made a straight size 12 of version A (the shorter version) which fit perfectly in the waist (hips didn’t really matter). I ended up having to take in quite a bit of the bodice. With the low cut and blouse like drape, it was way too big. If I made this again or if I was talking to someone about to make it, I would tell them to go off their bust measurement for sizing and maybe even size down one. I think it would be fairly simple to keep the circle skirt the size you need and grade the bodice too it or open up the darts, there was plenty of ease to make it happen. I also tacked down the blouse in the front as it was a little too open for me for a daytime wedding. This is easy enough to change and when you construct the bodice, you can decide where you want it to go with easy modifications.

I had so much fun wearing this at a friend’s wedding, it was a great dancing dress! I don’t know that I will get a ton of use out of it, it seems like a pretty specific dress between the style and the fabric, but I will definitely keep if for a party dress in the future.

A really fun make that was also fun to wear. I’m happy I finally got to sew this pattern that I’ve loved from the moment it came out!

So Close to that Shitty First Draft

Back in November I made a bold proclamation to have a rough draft by New Years. Well, I don’t know if you know this, but November is the start of a very busy time, add in a renovation and moving back into our house, plus a few illnesses and unexpected snow days, and my writing time was slowly chipped away.

I made a new goal (you’re totally allowed to do this by the way. It isn’t a failure, just regroup and make it happen!) to have my shitty first draft done by the end of May. My thinking being that I could take the summer off, read a lot of books for inspiration, and then take a look at it again in September. In September all three kids will be in school full time and the prospect of a genuine, regular writing time is very very real.

So here I am, halfway through May, and I’m so close to having what looks like a shitty book. I just wrote out some plans for next week, factoring in all the life stuff I have going on, and I think I can make this happen. Will let you know come June 1st and also hope to share the books I plan to read as research!

And don’t worry, I’m not being disparaging. Anne Lamott says the shitty first draft is the hardest but not to stress- literally no one has to read it. Just got to get it out of your head and onto the page.

Current Works in Progress

Knitting takes forever (at least for me) but half the fun is in the process. It just makes it sometimes a little tricky to share about, as the finished piece is usually the prettiest part to take pictures of. I thought I would share my four current WIPS that I have on my knitting needles and I hope in a few weeks (months?) I’ll be sharing the finished makes here with more details. For now, what I am knitting on.

The Copeland DK socks from the Book Ready, Set, Sock by Rachel Coopey

I have one of these socks finished and will start the other one soon. I am starting at the beginning of this book and am going to slowly work my way through. Sock knitting for me is really satisfying. I love working with variegated yarns, seeing the patterns form as I work through the sock. I also love how portable it is and that I can take a sock with me in carpool line or even on a walk. I am using some of my Sock Squad yarn that I got in February from the Farmer’s Daughter Fibers monthly subscription.

The Shadow Box Socks by Helen Stewart.

To help me work through my monthly sock subscriptions, I joined the Handmade Sock Society 5 on Ravelry and will be getting a new pattern by Helen Stewart every month until October. I’m interested in trying out texture in socks and think it will be a fun challenge to keep up with her releases. So far I’m loving how she writes her pattern and am finding myself picking this one up more than anything else.

The Reverb Wrap by Two of Wands

I got this as a kit off of the Lion Brand website because I wanted to try this Color Theory range of yarn. This isn’t quite a mindless knit, so it keeps me interested, but it’s easy enough to work on while I watch tv or hang out with the kids. I like have a longer term project like this on my needles and am finding shawls with a little more interest are my comfort knitting.

Give me the Tee by Jenny Ansah

I recently picked up the 52 Weeks of Easy Knits book and decided to just start at the beginning and try out the patterns. I am using the yarn recommended, Isager Bomulin and Mohair, and am enjoying trying a new designer as well as new yarn. My thought is that I will keep working through the book, but we will see. This is one I would like to finish up and wear by early summer.

Those are all my WIPS! Obviously I’m a multiple knitting project at a time kind of gal. I like having options of what I can work on and each project satisfies something creatively for me. I’d love to hear what you have on your needles!

It’s Not A Sweatshirt Pattern Review

Today I’m reviewing my latest knitting finished object. I’ll try and cover all the things, but please leave a comment if I leave something out or if you want any more info! I hope to have regular reviews up of all my makes, so if I’m leaving something out that would be helpful in future posts, please let me know.

This is the It’s Not A Sweatshirt from Knitting for Olive.

The description of the pattern is “It’s Not a Sweatshirt is a simple and basic staple sweater with a relaxed fit, inspired by the classic sweatshirt. The sweater is worked seamless top down in the round in stockinette stitch. It begins with a folded ribbed neckband, and continues with short row neckline shaping and raglan increases to the underarms. Sleeve stitches are then placed on hold to be worked after the body has been completed.

It’s Not a Sweatshirt is knit with two strands together throughout, one strand of Merino and one strand of Soft Silk Mohair. You can easily add your personal and unique touch to this basic sweater by mixing and matching colors and choosing your own combination. The possible variations are endless!”

The sizing goes from an XS- 4XL which is a finished bust measurement of 37 3/4 inches to 60 3/4 inches with a recommended positive eace of 1 1/2- 5 1/2 inches. I would call this a size inclusive pattern and found it worked up true to the measurements given.

One of my only quibbles with this pattern is the lack of photos on a human body that the company shows. There are 108 projects on Ravelry so you can make sure you like the fit and shape of the piece, but I do wish they had a couple of photos showing the fit as intended on their pattern page. The neckline on this is a little wider than I expected. Looking at the photos, it does appear to be the same, it’s just hard to really decipher when it’s only shown on a hanger. Now that I’ve worn it a bit, I like the neckline, but it wasn’t quite what I was expecting.

The instructions were simple, not a lot of fuss, but there are plenty of links to tutorials on the Knitting for Olive page if you needed them. It’s a top down raglan, so fairly simple construction, and not a lot of hand holding is needed. I think a newer knitter could absolutely tackle this one.

What drew me to this pattern is that it lives up to its name. It really has the fit and wearing ease of a sweatshirt and is incredibly comfortable and cozy to throw on.

Knitting for Olive is a yarn company so that is what they recommend for this sweater. I was dying to try the Peer Gynt yarn from Sandes Garn in the Jelly Bean Green colorway ever since I saw it on the Spring Sandes Garn Catalog cover. This is a 100% Norwegian wool that was really nice to knit with on my wooden Lykke needles. It is a little more rustic, but after blocking it has a nice drape and softens up. I wouldn’t call it soft exactly, but it doesn’t bother me next to skin.

I bought yarn at both Scratch Supply Co and Mother Knitters. I bought 9 skeins at $8 a skein and ended up with 2 and a little over half of one leftover. I’m thinking I could use it for a great hat or maybe whip up something for my baby niece.

I made the size small and it fits really well. I love the body length and the amount of ease, I do wish I had lengthened the arms. Please just remind me from here on out that I need to lengthen all arms at least an inch!

I could see myself making this pattern again, I’ve even considered making it for my kids. It’s simple but well done and would be cool in different variegations or playing with a rainbow of colors. It came together in a little less than 2 months (and that was with a lot of travel and not bringing it with me) so it will definitely be one I consider when I’m looking for a simple make.

I love this with jeans and also how much it pops with my white jeans. I think it will be fun to play around and wear it with some of my more colorful bottoms as well as just be able to throw it on like I would a sweatshirt.

Every sweater I knit gets better, stitches are more even, fit is better, and this one is my best sweater yet. I enjoyed the whole process and am glad I branched out a little with a bold color. This is the perfect sweater for spring here in Colorado and I’ve been wearing it a lot ever since I finished it!