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!

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!

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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!

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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!

 

 

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

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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)

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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!