February FO’s

Another month and two more FO’s!  That makes 4 for the year and I’m almost to five which means I can cast on something new.  At this point, I’m still getting a finishing high so while I have my eye on a few things I’m planning on keeping it up.

My first FO is the Kindness Shawl by Jaala Spiro.  This was designed for her Knit Circus gradient yarn, and as much as I really want to get my hands on that I stuck to my “use stash” rule.  In my stash I had a gradient kit from Fiber Optics Yarn that I bought at Estes Park in the Wild Thyme colorway.  I had been waiting for just the right thing for it and this was it!  The pattern called for 415-430 yards of fingering and the gradient set had 450 yards.

This was my first time knitting with a number of mini skeins and I thought I was going to run out of yarn the whole time I was knitting.  Those little skeins don’t seem to go so far but I had plenty.  I wanted to make sure I used all the colors so I added an extra lace repeat and ended up with a teeny, tiny ball left so it was perfect!  Wild Thyme goes from a blue/purple to a bright, light green.

The pattern is free!  I’m not sure if it was the mini skeins or the pattern or the combo but it was a really fun knit.  The nice folks at Knit Circus are running a KAL for the pattern and are donating to two different charities for the first 100 finished shawls through March 1st. Spreading more knitting kindness through the world.

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I still need to block out the lace but it’s pretty even before blocking!!!

My other FO is a little less exciting.  I’m hoping to replace all my worn out (and poorly knit) dishclothes.  I did this one real quick – it’s the Citrus Slice Dishcloth by Bernat.  I used some kitchen cotton from my stash.  I saw on Instagram Colorado Knits is knitting a montly themed dishcloth each month for a friend and I loved this idea so I may get some more cotton and figure out some more monthly themes.  I think this lemon slice is perfect for June!

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So, quick list update:

  • SBB Mitts – which was part of the 2016 Indie Designer Gift-A-Long – DONE!
  • Rainy Season Mitts – a test knit I did last year but only had to complete one mitt
  • Turtle Journey Shawl – a KAL I started in 2015
  • Werifesteria Shawl – a KAL I did last year
  • Striped socks – started these over the summer
  • Shiney Penny Cowl – I cast this on last year with handspun I got from a friend
  • Derecho – the bain of my existence, I cast this on in May, 2014
  • I Smell Snow socks – these are my work socks and I started them late 2016
  • Christmas socks – cast on during Advent 2016
  • Peace Cowl – this was the Peace-A-Long that was held during December
  • Pussy Hat – for the Women’s March!!! – DONE!
  • Sunny the Snowman – new pattern by Susan Claudino
  • Baable hat – cast on in 2016 because I could not resist the kit put together by Knerd Shop
  • Kindness Shawl – this is a KAL being hosted by Knit Circus – DONE!
  • Cabled Cowl – I had this picked out and ready to go with yarn I got in Hawaii in 2014
  • Citrus Slice dishcloth – I need new dishclothes and I will talk more about this during the year – DONE!
  • Head in the Clouds Hat – I bought yarn for this sometime last year so decided to get it cast on so it could be part of the 17.

Moving right along!!  Bonus – no new cast ons this month and no yarn bought!!  Yes, I’ve gone 2 whole months so far!!!

Reconsidering

I’ve never actually reconsidered a project but that’s what I’ve been doing this weekend. Being a process knitter, I usually just plow through a project.  So, let’s back up.  As I mentioned last week I’m participating in the #loveyouryarnchallenge on Instagram (along with everyone else in the knitting world) and Friday’s prompt was your oldest stash. (Side note – if you’re looking for a nice distraction check out that hashtag.  One prompt was where you knit and that day was filled with beautiful nooks, another day was travel knitting and that had pictures from all over.  It’s a great place to just relax and enjoy yarn)

Anyway, oldest stash.  I had been thinking all day at work about what that might be.  I had a couple of things in mind (and also thought it might be time to destash those as I have no interest in knitting them).  It then came to me – the bag that is my Barn Raising Quilt. And then it occurred to me that this is where the stash began.

I started the Barn Raising Quilt sometime prior to July, 2008.  I know this because it was my travel project during my trip to Australia.  I also know that because it was around 2008 when I started going to my current LYS which is where I got the book and the yarn for the project.

I started knitting in 2003 and for those first five years I was basically a buy yarn, knit project, go buy new yarn type of person.  I had collected some leftovers from projects but really didn’t have a “stash” per se.  The Barn Raising Quilt is in a book called Knitalong: Celebrating the Tradition of Knitting Together.  It might be one of the first few knitting books I bought.  I think I bought it for the Pinwheel Blanket which is a fun baby blanket because it’s round!

I decided to start the Quilt as I knew it would be a good travel project.  Here’s the funny thing – the project talks about how you can use your leftovers to make the squares.  I had none so I bought a ton of sock yarn to start the blanket.  Hence, I now refer to this as the starter stash, you know like a sourdough starter or a friendship bread starter.  In 9 years, I’ve knit 9 squares and they are different sizes because at some point I changed needle sizes.  When I pulled it out to photograph I really started to think about it.

What I thought was – I hate knitting these squares.  They are very fiddly to start with and they are actually very large so knocking one out in a night is not always an option.  This might explain my lack of progress.  Also, it turns out it’s a terrible travel project. I always lose a dpn or a stitch marker and trying to start one while moving is not fun.

I haven’t decided what I’m going to do with the existing squares but I am going to put the yarn in with the rest of my stash.  I can say that my color sense has not changed much over the past 9 years.  I still love all this yarn, it just needs to be something different.  So, with that, I will hold a minute of silence for my Barn Raising Quilt, and then move on to something new.

January FO’s (a few days late)

Is it just me or did those last couple of weeks of January hit everyone like a sledgehammer???  Outside of the general craziness here in the US, I was struck down with the office plague and then there was just stuff.  I’m going to use this week to do a little January wrap up and a look forward.

January FO’s

4 Pussyhats!  That’s one item off my list of 17.  I talked extensively about these in my last post so I’ll move on.

I finished a pair of fingerless mitts which are a gift for my best friend who is moving to Belgium in a couple of weeks.  A couple of months ago I went to visit her and we hit all my favorite Ann Arbor stops including Spun Ann Arbor.  Why Not Fibers was having a trunk show and I had to buy!  I found this beautiful yarn that was raised, processed, and dyed in Michigan.  I thought it would be a nice reminder of home when she moves. This was the same trip where she asked if I would make her a hat and picked out Malabrigo Caracol in Paris Nights (I had already picked out this colorway!)  It is on their Shoreline base which is a 50/50 BFL blend/Alpaca and is an Aran weight. I really loved this yarn – it was so soft and easy to knit with.  I think it’s going to be really warm too (because BFL/Alpaca!).    The pattern is SBB Mitts by Amanda Scheuzger. It was part of the Indie Designer Gift-A-Long but I clearly missed the deadline! They were an easy, fun knit and I can’t wait to give them to my friend next week! This is another item off my 17ufosin2017 list so 2 down!

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Goals

I finished 2 items from the list of 17!!!  The only thing I’ve cast on since the 1st of the year is a gift that I need to have done by spring.  Likewise, the only yarn I’ve bought is yarn for said gift so I’m rocking those goals so far!!

As far as tech editing goes, I’ve participated in some Instagram challenges and did get a new client but I need to keep plugging away on that.

A couple of patterns that I tech edited were published yesterday!  You will definitely want to check out Point/Counterpoint Vol. 2.  This is a fun concept and collaboration between Kino Knits and Prairie Girl Susie from the Prairie Girls Knit & Spin podcast.  They each started with a yarn and designed an original pattern and then exchanged yarns and a photo of the FO and designed something based on that photo.  I worked with Mary on her two patterns which are the Springs to Mind hat and the Lean Into the Wind cowl. I love the cowl and Susie’s shawl but if you like knitting hats and are looking for some interesting hats to knit you really need to check out this collection.  Both Mary and Susie’s hats are super interesting and beautiful.  Mary’s flower motif screams spring to me and I could use a little spring!

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Events

I have some events to share!  First up, I signed up for the Into the Wool Fiber Retreat.  It’s being held in Tennessee in September.  It is put on by Dana from Unwind Yarn Company and the Just One More Row podcast and Tiffany.  I understand there might still be a few spots so if you’re interested you can check out the info thread in their Ravelry group.  It’s only $300 and it’s all inclusive – meals, lodging, and fun!!!  The Ravelry group is quite chatty and I fear they may force me to learn how to spin while I’m there but we’ll see!

My LYS announced this week that they are hosting Bristol Ivy for a weekend in April.  I’m super excited about that.  She is teaching 4 classes and I signed up for the Reading Your Knitting class.  Honestly, I’m terrible at reading my knitting and I thought it might be useful in my tech editing work as well.  It was hard to choose, she was also teaching Short Rows, Blocking, and a designing course.

If you’re on Instagram and haven’t fallen to peer pressure yet, the lovely ladies from Ravelry are hosting a #yarnlovechallenge photo challenge and everyone, I mean everyone, is participating.  It’s lots of fun and very yarn focused (go figure!) so easy to play along with, I’m really enjoying this one.

I think that’s about everything from the last few weeks.  Hopefully February will be a little less crazy!

And so I Knit

Knitting is what I turn to when I’m happy, when I’m sad, when I’m mad, and when I’m anxious.  I’m sure this is mostly because I can always control my knitting and even when my knitting attacks it can always be tamed (it might require a little help from my friends but it’ll be up and running again).  It makes sense that I’ve spent the last week obsessively knitting pussy hats.

I have to say that the Pussy Hat Project is everything I love about knitting (community, knitting for others, and a kick in the pants) and I took to it like a bee to honey.  I’m not a marcher, I don’t enjoy making phone calls, I have a limited budget, but I can knit.  I had a whole skein of Malabrigo Worsted in my stash and pulled it out and cast it on.  (As an aside, I think we all know if you ask knitters to knit something and send it somewhere you should be prepared for an avalanche.  We are nothing, if not, an obessive people)

A few days later I got a message from a friend who dyes yarn who had dyed up a special batch of pink and was offering me free yarn to knit more hats.  (Come on, who says no to free yarn???)  I call her the yarn fairy as she wishes to remain anonymous but it was lovely and I was happy to knit with it.  Why was she giving yarn away you might ask?  She was concerned about losing customers if she promoted it through her shop.  This made me so sad but I understood and respected her decision.  (Later, her decision would prove correct. I saw another dyer who did promote her pink yarn and suffered the wrath of the angry social media mob)  And, really, I can’t think of anything more American than taking advantage of selling something that is in high demand!!!

I was hoping to find someone headed to DC so I could have more knitting time and before the week was over I had more offers to take hats than I had hats.  My hats (and those that my mother and knitting friend knit) went with another friend of mine who was headed down with 4 other women.  I found out she was going to the march (she’s not a knitter) and I texted her and said “do you need a pussy hat?”.  She’s also not an online person so I was worried after I sent her the text that she would not know what I was talking about. But she texted me back with an enthusiastic Yes!!!  She took 5 of my hats and I dropped the 6th one of with a friend who was heading down as well and is not afraid to hand a complete stranger a hat.

As the project grew, so did the opposition voices.  There was an op ed in the Washington Post (I won’t even supply the link) that basically said wearing pink hats was dumb and we needed power and passion.  This completely excludes the idea that we can have plenty of power and passion and wear a pink hat.  And then the Freedom Hat popped up on Ravelry which is not a Pussy Hat (don’t go look at it, it’s a blue Pussy Hat).  There was the Buzzfeed story about an older lady who posted a picture of her grandson in a Pussy Hat and was accused of child abuse.  She got those people back and I would suggest you check out that story – it’s awesome!  I think we knew it was going to be big when Whoopi Goldberg put one on during the View.

Here’s the thing – on Thursday I dropped off the one hat with my friend.  I left her house and by the time I got home she had posted a picture of herself wearing the hat I gave her. Nothing else in the post – just her wearing the Pussy Hat.  And, in the comments, it was clear that people understood that she was going to the march and it was clear many of those people did not know of her plans prior to the posting of the picture.  The hat had become a symbol of those who were marching.  And, that’s it – the hat unifies everyone, kind of like a uniform.  Why do you think sports teams hand out free t-shirts or rally towels at play off games?  It’s so everyone has something to rally around.  Likewise, my non-knitting friend came and picked up her 5 hats Friday morning and was so excited that she put one on right away.  It’s that uniform that says “I’m here!”  I feel like this is the point that haters of hat (but supporters of the march) are missing.  We want something to say we’re part of this thing.

When my hats were done and in the hands of marchers I have to say I was a little sad. Knitting those hats was giving me a purpose and letting me do my part.  I’ve always loved stories about women (and men) knitting during war times but never thought I would actually be “knitting for the cause”.  Likewise, I never thought I would be liking artwork that talks about “joining the resistance”.  That’s the stuff I read about in those YA dystopian novels, not my real life.  But, here we are.

So, what happens next? One look at the Hat Tracker page will tell you that we still have much work ahead of us. (anyone else notice that gaping hole in the middle of the country???)   There are some awesome people out there who want to continue this knitting activism.  Follow Donna Druchunas – she has put out a free e-book on Ravelry called Knitting as a Political Act.  There is a Facebook group called Compassionate Craftivists.  Christine Campbell (The Healthy Knitter) is continuing her peace knitting in the new year.  Knit Aid just opened a US address to send items for the refugees.  We all need to find where our place is in trying to make a difference now and I know my place is with these brilliant crafters.

As I type this, marches are going on all over the world and all of the photos that are coming in are full of pink hats.  Every time I look at Instagram I end up with tears running down my face.  I still find so much comfort in my Instagram feed, although, it keeps leading me to believe we can make some changes (until I read the hate comments which always bring me crashing back down to reality). And seeing the support from all over the world is really humbling.  (Did you see the post from Arne & Carlos?)  From what I can see the Pussyhat Project was successful beyond what anyone could have thought when it started which is so heartwarming.

Why the title of this post?  Well, I had a lunch with one of my best friend’s on Thursday who happens to be a woman and part of the LGBT community, her worries are many.  As we exchanged stories over the course of our lunch I kept knitting on my Pussy Hat and I kept saying with each, awful, news item we talked about “and so I knit” because, in these times, I don’t know what else to say or to do and so I keep knitting.  I close with the words of the wise Elizabeth Zimmerman “Knit on with confidence and hope, through all crises.”

Everyone Knits

Here’s another little knitting related story that happened to me last week.  One of the things I’ve been doing since being laid off is volunteering for medical studies where I get paid.  Last week I had a study appointment at the Cleveland Clinic which involved taking some dexterity tests to help improve assessments of patients with MS.

There was time to kill during the testing and the study nurse and I were talking.  One of the tests measured how much time it took to put pegs in a board with your dominant hand and then with your other hand.  The nurse commented that I was pretty good with my left hand (I’m right handed).  I told her I thought that might be from my knitting as I’m used to actively using both hands.

She then told me how one of the neuropsychologists on the team (and a really smart lady, she made sure to add) had started a knitting group for their office.  The nurse was contemplating joining as she wants to knit a baby blanket for a friend.  I told her she should do it!  I’m adding this info to the “knitting is good for you” file.

2017 Focus

In thinking about what I wanted for 2017, the one word that kept popping into my head was Focus.  So, I guess I have a word of the year!  I think my plans for 2017 really stem from this word and I will try to remember it as the year goes on.  I’m going to break this down by area.

  1. Stash and Projects: I’m going to focus on what I have, both in my stash and in my land of Forgotten Projects.

Rules

  • I’m only buying yarn if I need it for a commissioned piece or gift.
    • Exception: Travel yarn, because I might be going to L’Oisive The this summer 🙂
  • I have to finish 5 UFO’s before I can cast on something new for myself – NO exceptions!

To help with this area I’m participating in 17ufosin2017 which is being hosted by pomegranate and chintz so here’s my list:

  • SBB Mitts – which was part of the 2016 Indie Designer Gift-A-Long
  • Rainy Season Mitts – a test knit I did last year but only had to complete one mitt
  • Turtle Journey Shawl – a KAL I started in 2015
  • Werifesteria Shawl – a KAL I did last year
  • Striped socks – started these over the summer
  • Shiney Penny Cowl – I cast this on last year with handspun I got from a friend
  • Derecho – the bain of my existence, I cast this on in May, 2014
  • I Smell Snow socks – these are my work socks and I started them late 2016
  • Christmas socks – cast on during Advent 2016
  • Peace Cowl – this was the Peace-A-Long that was held during December
  • Pussy Hat – for the Women’s March!!!
  • Sunny the Snowman – new pattern by Susan Claudino
  • Baable hat – cast on in 2016 because I could not resist the kit put together by Knerd Shop
  • Kindness Shawl – this is a KAL being hosted by Knit Circus
  • Cabled Cowl – I had this picked out and ready to go with yarn I got in Hawaii in 2014
  • Citrus Slice dishcloth – I need new dishclothes and I will talk more about this during the year
  • Head in the Clouds Hat – I bought yarn for this sometime last year so decided to get it cast on so it could be part of the 17.

Here they are in photos!

The plan is to get one of the “little” things done each month and continue to chip away at the bigger, shawl type projects.  I finished my Pussy Hat so one down, 16 more to go!

2. Tech editing – I’ve finished 2 of Joeli’s classes to learn how to tech edit and I’m going to be able to have her as a mentor for this year so I want to really focus on building my business.  Expect more on this as the year progresses!

3. Other ventures – I will still continue to sell items.  My plan for this year is to really focus (there it is again) on tech editing and then I can continue to add to it.  There are a couple of small craft shows in town and I’m going to try and participate in at least one with my hand knit, Cleveland sports teams themed ornaments.  There are still some other things I would like to do but focus!

 

Knitting Ditties – Story 1

There are many times where I find or enounter a cute little knitting story that is too long for Twitter and too short for a full blog post so I decided this year I would publish these little stories as a new feature – Knitting Ditties.  It won’t be every week but as these stories present themself I will use this chance to share.

Today’s story comes from New Year’s Eve.  I have standing plans with one of my friends and we’ve had these plans for many years (i.e. pre-kids).  We have dinner and now we hang out with her 2 girls. I’ve taken to bringing some knitting to work on as we play games and watch tv.  As I pulled out my knitting this year the 5 year old became very excited and started whispering to her mom.  She told me she had seen a moose knit.  What this translates to is the new special on Amazon – If you Give a Mouse a Christmas Cookie.  There is in fact, a moose knitting.  And, I have to say the animation in the special is really beautiful. The special is very non-demonational or every demonation depending on how you want to say it but it’s good for all.  I was so impressed that she put the two things together.

Last year “Santa” aka me knit the girls mermaid blankets.  My friend mentioned they needed some attention as the girls use them all the time.  She pulled them out so I can attempt to fix them.  Her 5 year old proceeded to tell me how Santa had brought them.  I told her that Mrs. Claus must be a really good knitter and maybe I should get a job at the North Pole.  As I continued to knit, she told me she was teaching herself and showed me a string and a straw.  I might need to get those girls knitting this year!