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.”