My First Giveaway!

I’m so excited about this!  I have a beautiful dpn cozy to giveaway here on the blog!!

The origin of this giveaway started over on Instagram.  I’ve been following MayBea Crafted (I’m not sure how or why I started following her) but she makes lovely project bags and dpn cozies.  A few weeks ago she posted a pic of some dpn cozies she was working on in some really cool feminist fabric so I left a comment about how awesome they were.  She then asked what I like or don’t like in dpn cozies.  I told her I had never used them but was thinking of trying one out and I’d keep an eye out for her next shop update.

Side note, before I continue, I had recently been thinking about dpn cozies after listening to the Yarns at Yinhoo podcast.  Sara mentioned she had never really seen a need for them (and I was agreeing with her).  I did not really understand what they were for what they did.  When Sara said they kept her dpns in place that she carried around with her I started rethinking my position on dpn cozies.  This is what led me to leave the comment on MayBea Crafted’s Instagram post.

Well, a few hours later I got a dm on Instagram from Tanya (the talent behind MayBea Crafted) offering to send me a dpn cozy to try out and let her know what I thought.  I was so blown away by her kind offer.  I sent her my address and mentioned I would be sure to feature on the blog.  That’s when she offered to send two so I could keep one and give one away!

I’ve tried mine out – I swapped out my work socks so that my pair on dpns was thrown in the bag.  Also in the bag is yarn and needles for the little ornaments I work on at lunch to sell at craft shows this fall so this bag gets a workout during the week.  I’ve loved it so far! Despite best efforts to safely place socks back in a project bag, somehow it seems like I often pull them out with one needle missing a row of live stitches to be placed back on the needle.  Using the dpn cozy all my needles and stitches were right where I left them.

I really thought the length of the cozy was just right.  It was long enough to hold the needles but not so long that it did not fit in my project bag or to allow the needles to move around in the cozy.  The snap closures were a little tight but I’m sure they will loosen up with use.  It was beautifully sewn and I love the fabrics.

I’m totally sold on using these cozies and I’m sure I’ll be buying another one from Tanya. Along with the cozies she sent two notepads and the loveliest note that reminded me again why the knitting community is the best!!!

Now, to enter to win – leave a comment on this post telling me whether or not you use dpn cozies and if you do use them what you like and dislike about them.  Contest will close in 2 weeks on April 25th.  I’ll use random number generator to chose a winner – good luck!!!

March FO’s

Well, I’m working my way through the list of 17!  I finished my 5th UFO this month which meant new cast on (more on that later!).  Back to the FO’s, I’ll start with what else has been crossed off the list.

First up is The Turtles’ Journey Shawl by Heather Anderson.  I started this as part of a KAL in 2015 and definitely did not finish it before the KAL ended.  It reminded me of my trip to Hawaii and I just loved it.  I used Blue Sky Baby Alpaca that was part of one of my rummage sale hauls.  I had a lot of it so I decided to make the larger size (bad move!).  This thing is gigantic and still needs blocking but at least the knitting is done.  It’s a fun knit but does require concentration.  And, while I thought that a picot bind off was my least favorite, I think a knitted on border is my least favorite cast off, especially on a shawl of this size!

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Next thing I finished from the list is the Head in the Clouds hat by Jess Kallberg.  This was one of those patterns that swepts through my knitting group like a 24 hour bug.  It calls for Madeline Tosh Unicorn Tails and is a really fun, really quick knit.  Once I picked it up I finished it in a weekend.  It would also be a good way to use up scraps or other mini skeins that you have hanging around.

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Last, but certainly not least, I finished 2 preemie hats.  I’ve talked about the Into the Wool Fiber Retreat I will be attending in September.  As part of that retreat there are a number of pre-retreat KALs going on.  The charity KAL is collecting preemie caps for a local NICU. So, no pattern involved here, I just found some acryllic in my stash and cast on and knit until it looked big enough.  You will see my sizing varies, but so so the sizes of babies’ heads 🙂  I’m hoping to get a least one done per month leading up to the retreat.

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I’m hoping to get a few more things done in April but I’m on track to get rid of that never-ending UFO list by the end of the year.  I’m also hopeful that in April I can get back to my usual posting schedule and reading time – fingers crossed!

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.”

Last Post of the Year

Well, I guess this is going to wrap up 2016.  The next 2 weeks are Christmas and New Year’s so I will be taking a brief break.  I will be spending that break trying to recover from the year that was 2016 which will require copious amounts of knitting and tea!

Most of my FO’s so far are gifts so in my first post in the new year I’ll do a wrap of December FO’s, take a look back at 2016 and a look forward into 2017.

I do enjoy covering trending topics and if you haven’t noticed recently the ponytail hat is wild right now.  I first noticed this last week as I was checking out the Hot Right Now on Ravelry.  I think there were 1 or 2 patterns in the top 20 and I wondered what the deal was with the hats.  Well, just a few hours later I get a text from a friend with a picture of a crocheted ponytail hat and a request to knit her one (we’ll leave out the obvious issues with this, she is not a crafty one).  I had no idea where the picture came from but I’m sure you’ve seen it by now.  Here’s the link to the Etsy store with the pattern listing and it’s all over Facebook.

After I got her text I saw the above link show up on a friend’s Facebook page with a suggestion that she might like it.  And then Knitgrrl posted it on her Facebook page and a lively discussion ensued as she also has a pattern for such a hat, that she wrote in 2005.  Proof that all things old are new again.  There were some great comments in that group, including one that mentioned that her teenage niece was 5 when that pattern came out (side note – what???  how was 2005 that long ago???) so these are new to today’s teens.

And then there was this beauty!

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Oh, so much fun in this one picture!  Takeaway – they were knitting ponytail hats in the 1950’s.  Everything old is new again!  There are currently 5 different patterns on the first 2 pages of Hot Right Now on Ravelry.  I feel like a new one pops up everyday.

Back to the request to me, I ended up downloading the Holey Hat by SlipStitch Design.  It was free and seemed to have the flattest top. A few of them kind of build up around the ponytail and I wasn’t crazy about it.  This hat called for bulky yarn and size 10 needles so I knew it would be quick.  I had no bulky yarn but I did have the right colors in worsted weight so I held it double and got started.  But then I didn’t like it.  The picture causing the craze is crocheted so stockinette doesn’t cut it.

I then did a little search for a knit stitch that looked like crochet.  I found a five round pattern on LoveKnitting.com so I gave it a go and I loved the results.  Here’s the FO.

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Things I was not completely crazy about were the top – I wish it was flatter.  It also turned out to be a very stiff fabric and the holes were quite large. My friend loves it so that’s what important but I’m taking these notes as I move forward.  I had been posting in progress pics on Instagram and another friend requested them for her two teen daughters.

I started the next hat and I went down to just worsted weight and am using size 7 needles and I really love how it’s coming out.  The lighter weight yarn really shows the stitch definition and the holes are much smaller which I think will make for a better hat!

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How fun are these colors???

I never understand how certain knit/crochet end up going viral and ending up in and on all of our social media but it does always make me laugh and a lot of time it ends up making me money which is fine by me!

With that, I would like to wish everyone a happy, peaceful, healthy holiday season! Thanks for reading and I have a lot of good stuff planned for 2017 so stick around to see what’s coming!

 

 

2nd Annual Christmas Inspiration Bundle

Last year I put together a bundle on Ravelry of Christmas inspired knitting ideas (you can find that post here)  I thought it was a lot of fun so this morning I took some time to look through Ravelry and see what I could find for this year.

I did a search with the term “Christmas” and then sorted from newest added to Ravelry so I would find all the recent stuff.  I do love just doing random searches on Ravelry and eliminating the “hot right now” default search order because you can see some really interesting stuff.  There’s something out there for everyone is always my take-away.

Some of these will knit up really quick so if you’re looking for last minute gift ideas there are some great ones in this bundle.  Here’s the link.

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The Victorian Yuletide ornaments are by Jenn Sheelan who did the jar cover I did earlier this year in the panda yarn. I love her stuff and she has a couple of collections of ornaments.  Colorwork seems extra popular during the holidays and I loved the cowl and the fingerless mitts.  The Christmas present hat is adorable that that designer had a whole line of super cute holiday hats.  I’ve never seen a mug cap before but it seems like a good idea and might go well paired with a mug mat and a cute mug.  The Polar Bear Pouch is so adorable and I need to find a little person who would love it!  Sunny the Snowman is by Susan Claudino who did the pattern for Patch who I knit in October and who was my Rhinebeck trip mascot.  I will definitely be knitting a Sunny soon!

A couple more patterns to point out that are not in this bundle.  It’s not too late to join in on the Project Peace which is being hosted by the Healthy Knitter.  You can find more info on her blog but it’s a lovely free KAL.  I’ve started and the end product is a cowl and her hope is to bring a little peace into the world with knitters everywhere focusing on peace while knitting this cowl.  She offers daily reflections on her blog and I think the last count I saw was 19,000 knitters.

Another pattern I’ve been knitting is #Errnaments by PBJ Knits.  This is a $2 pattern but she is donating the profits to ChildAid, a nonprofit that helps children in Central America. It was created for the Just One More Row podcast and they are quick and simple mini sweater and stocking ornaments that make great gifts!  I bought the pattern for myself and gifted one to my friend Becky.

Hope you find something fun and festive to knit!!!