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!

20170129_110135

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!

pcp2_ig_2_small2

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!

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!

 

Happy New Year, but first

I, like many people, was more than happy to put 2016 to bed.  What a year!  I noticed on New Year’s Eve a few of my friends started posting collages of their favorite moments of 2016 which focused on the good and not all the bad.  With that said, I wanted to look back on my knitting year.

Checking in with Ravelry – I had 27 finished objects.  This is not entirely correct as I doubled up on a few projects which takes the number up to 31 and I also did 3 mermaid blankets that are not on my page so we can say 34.  I made 8 tiny Christmas ornaments for my cousins that is listed as one project so we can go ahead and bump it up to 42 which is really good!  Hats off to me!

20161208_130227

Ornaments made from various patterns using Lemonade Shop Omaha colorway

Next, I went back and checked my goals I listed in the first post of last year – here’s what I found:

  1. Cold Sheep
  2. Finish all of the Projects that Time has Forgotten
  3. Mittens
  4. Online hashtag projects
  5. Knit the Sky project
  6. Test/sample knitting
  7. Refocus on selling finished objects
  8. Work on developing a class to teach kids to knit
  9. Make a few changes to the blog

Well, I did okay with this list.  I failed miserably at Cold Sheep.  I actually had a conversation with my parents last night as we were talking about moving around some furiture about my stash.  My mother suggested I only buy yarn if I’m going to use it right away. I explained that is the only time when I buy yarn but it doesn’t always happen (or it ends up in the ever growing pile of UFO’s).  I did triumphantly declare I had not bought any yarn this year to which my dad looking at me and said “it’s only the 6th”  Small steps, dad, small steps.  Same rules for Cold Sheep this year – travel is exempted and I do have a trip planned to L’Oisive The and possibly Loop London this summer so yarn will be coming home with me!

I did finish all of the Projects that Time has Forgotten but more on that next week.  I did make myself a pair of mittens and I love them!  I’ve been engaging more on Instagram with hashtag projects which is fun.  Nothing from Knit the Sky.  I did more test knitting and I expanded that into tech editing which will be more of a focus here on the blog this year.  I did some selling of finished objects and feel I have a better plan for this year. Nothing on teaching kids to knit yet and no changes to the blog but they are coming! Overall, a mixed bag but that’s okay

Other notes of importance – I went to Rhinebeck!!!!!!  I went with a bunch of friends and met up with more friends at the festival and it was a whole lot of fun.  I went to our local sheep and wool festival.  I had a really fun yarny adventure during my trip to Colorado.  I participated in #knitterspayitforward which was uplifting and reassuring during a very dark time.  And, I started my tech editing business which is super exciting!

With that, I think I can officially put 2016 to rest.  More on my goals for 2017 next week!

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!

il_570xn-262323774

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.

20161215_095540

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!

20161217_095444

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!

 

 

What’s on My Needles This Weekend

The exciting news is all of my deadline knitting is off the needles!!!  That includes another Mermaid Tail blanket and the only Christmas present knitting I was doing.  I’m focusing on fun projects for the remainder of the month and will dig back in come January.

One of things that started making the rounds in the days following the election was Project Peace which is being hosted by The Healthy Knitter

A March Through Time_Campbell_2015

I used a gift certificate to my LYS to purchase some yarn for this KAL.  The notes had said that the stitch pattern would show up better with a solid or tonal yarn.  I really don’t have much in the way of solids in my stash (and will try to focus on that in the future).  It calls for kind of a weird yardage so I was having problems finding what I wanted.  I finally settled on 2 skeins of Woolfolk Sno as I have been known to stop and pet it often during knit night.  I chose a very light gray. The yardage was going to be very close to just enough but I figured I could figure something out.

When the pattern update came out I read that there is an option to add an i-cord edge. After the great picot bind off of October I feel that I may live to regret this decision but I think I’m going to go for it!  And, I think I’m going to use a different color for a little pop around the edges, which solves my somewhat short amount of the main color.  That leads me back to my lack of solids in my stash.  And, then, lightbulb, I had leftovers from my 3 Color Cashmere Shawl.  Now, I’m trying to decide which color to use for the edging (if I ever get that far)

20161209_175802

I think I know which one I’m leaning towards but feel free to let me know if you have a favorite!

The pattern is free which makes me filled with peace!  It’s a simple waffle stitch cowl.  My biggest hitch was casting on 318 stitches, which is a lot.  Luckily, I waited until knit night and I was talking about my plans for the i-cord edge.  My friends quickly replied that I should do a provisional cast on (as they laughed at the thought of an i-cord cast off on 318 stitches).  I never really got a grasp on the provisional cast on so they were kind enough to show me how to do a crochet cast on.  Now, I’m terrible with a crochet hook and my friend G is not the most patient person.  It did not take long before she asked if she could just do it for me because watching me struggle with the crochet hook and the knitting needle was too much for her.  She got about halfway through before she had to go but it gave me a good start.

I had decided I would knit a couple of rows straight to avoid twisting all of those stitches. I did that and then ended up joining in the round on the wrong side but I carried on.  The pattern is a 4 row repeat and I was about halfway through the second repeat when I realized my stitches were twisted.  #*@&@!  I stopped and thought about it but eventually decided it would bother me enough that I should go ahead and tear it out.  I was able to salvage the cast on and I’m back on track (I also moved it to 60 inch needles to avoid any future issues).

We can also use a little extra peace this year so if you haven’t joined in yet, check it out!

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.

screenshot_20161204-103323

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!!!