note: majority of links in this post lead to pages on Ravelry.com:
my daughter’s still a little too young, but we have a skein of chunky purple roving yarn we’ve been fingerknitting a little with here and there… Lion Brand and Martha Stewart these days, apparently. Yarn is HIP.
mostly Paloma’s been playing with blocks a lot while i knit tho – she doesn’t last long with fingerknitting, as at this point it’s me knitting and her holding her hands out. She’s only three though, so the attention span for fiber arts isn’t entirely there yet – she does, however, repeatedly ask me to teach her to knit, which makes my knittin’ mama heart sing.
it’s been raining like crazy here in Mount Shasta, which is funny because Portland, Oregon, where I onced lived, is actually covered in snow.
The lack of snow is definitely hurting my business (i own a kids’ consignment shop – snow gear is what we generally sell a lot of this time a year, but not this year). So I am knitting a lot. I am doing paperwork, I am updating old knitting patterns, and basically ignoring the giant heap of clothes sitting behind me that need to be tagged and put on the racks. Yeah I am blogging this from my shop.
Anyway… Lately I knit a fuzzy little heart, then i knit a Quaker yarn stretcher that needs to be blocked – that was a good “knit night” pattern, because it was actually pretty boring after a second, but it turned out beautifully and i look forward to gifting it.
As much as I’d love to focus on creating some of my own knitwear designs again, I am actually enjoying being a “lazy knitter” – meaning, just knitting from someone else’s patterns, these days – picking the yarn and perhaps making a minor modification here and there and otherwise just doing what i’m told, pretty much. And i’m leaning, heavily, toward projects that don’t require a lot of thinking (this also makes them good for our knit night, which is comprised of five or six forty-something kinda-hippie chicks who chatter a lot – so knitting requiring thinking or excessive counting or concentration is out).
Most recently, I started another “thinking-free” pattern – it’s a beautiful throw, and a free pattern from Red Heart called the Squared Shades Throw (yep, you heard correctly, I said Red Heart). While I am not using Red Heart yarn to knit this throw, I actually DID buy a couple of skeins of their suggested yarn for this recently. It’s called Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable, and it’s a long-pattern, self-striping acrylic that’s spun to look like single-ply wool – and it might just be the prettiest, coolest yarn Red Heart has dealt with.
Yeah, acrylic makes me cringe a bit strictly for the fact that it’s a petroleum product and we’re pretty much killing ourselves off in the name of petroleum projects, but seriously, this is a cool yarn. I wish it could be made from recycled plastics or something.
I’m not using it for this throw tho, I’m using another cheapie available at Walmart.com called Elegant Yarns Kaleidoscope (though I got mine on Ebay). The ill on this one? It’s actually WOOL and would probably be really fun to felt as it’s a nice splitty single-ply, but my beef with this one (other than the fact that I have to buy it at Walmart now since i bought up the last of the ebay seller’s stock) is that it’s made in China. No telling what kind of animal cruelty went with that one. China is horrific in its commercial treatment of animals. I could go on for days.
All this is to say that as much fun as I’m having knitting, I’m really also starting to focus more on how my favorite hobby can contribute to some bad things in this world, and how things like the concept of S.A.B.L.E. (Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy) really kind of gross me out. It’s easy to get caught up in fondling yarn, saying silly “eee” words like “yummy, cardi, squishy” etc., and forgetting that there are often environmental and ethical costs to our luscious habit – not to mention the fact that stocking an ENTIRE ROOM IN YOUR HOUSE full of yarn is really kind of… well honestly? sure, nothing can be more fun to me than opening up my overstuffed plastic bin full of yarn and fondling the crap out of the alpaca, but still…
In the meantime, I’m going to knit up this 8 skein pile (oh, the biggest single-purchase project for me ever – until this blanket I haven’t EVER knit something that required 8 skeins!) of probably-unethical yarn into this beautiful throw. Here’s what it looks like so far, in the “Confetti” colorway:
Can you blame me?
I’m also using Knitter’s Pride Cubix birchwood needles for this project. I had NO size 9 needles in my needle stash, so I used a Jimmy Beans Wool gift certificate I had to buy a set of interchangeable size 9 along with cables in all sizes. The cables are only $2.30 apiece, but the needles range anywhere from eight to fifteen bucks a pair. But I do love me some square needles, and I really, really love these, so I will probably start filling in as needed (i would LOVE to get rid of my scattered collection of fixed circulars in larger sizes, since they just take up so much space and are mostly Clover bamboos). They are, especially for wood, deliciously pointy – just perfect enough, especially for a splitty, single-ply yarn. And the cables, while they are pretty stiff and plasticy for a second, soften up nicely with a little hot water treatment and some use. I really like them.
And so that’s that. I’m off to edit Japanese Garden and reupload it in a few places, and perhaps do some actual work here at my shop. Perhaps.
How this has gone for four years without mention is beyond me, but I will be updating this pattern as soon as I have the chance.
For now, please check the errata page for info. Row 3 has been addressed, as well as a new link provided for how to perform the C2F and C2B stitches via a YouTube video that will hopefully have more longevity than the original link I provided (a yarn shop site that disappeared).
I have so much more to blog about here when it comes to yarny things, but for now, just a note – I don’t honestly spend a lot of time on Etsy most of the time anymore, so I had no idea until I was viewing another seller’s shop that you could offer instant digital downloads these days – so i have updated my shop there!
Now you can instant-download my patterns on Ravelry, Etsy, AND Craftsy. No more of me having to ship them off my phone!
So yeah it has been in the single digits here in Shasta, so needless to say it has been fun knitting lots of things (you can just assume from here on out that all links in this post will lead to Ravelry). Celestine proved itself to be a little difficult to take to knitting night so in search of an “easier” pattern I picked out Starghan, using Cascade’s Pacifica – a superwash wool/acrylic blend that I LERVE – except that this pattern and I seem to be a bad mix. Mostly I spend nights knitting a few rows, and then unknitting them. I have put it aside, and am actually thinking perhaps to frog what little has been solidified, and reknit it using some chunkier needles.
What sparked that? I knit a star-crossed slouchy beret for my cousin with some good ole Cascade 220 and I decided using size 11 needles and watching a hat appear in a couple of hours with some awesome softness to the fabric was a place I enjoyed being… And perhaps I could watch this blanket expand at a faster pace…
My wrists are killing me tho – the cold, the repetitive motion… And repetitive it is, because I have just worked up a Pekin Watch Hat for a friend. I keep finding myself frustrated that I paid for this pattern when it is so basic – but I did learn something when doing the tiny chunk of short rows that I can utilize in a hat of my own design later on (and what, exactly, is a “Pekin Watch Cap”? I am very curious – google provided nothing except a link to a small town in the Midwest – is that it?)
And because I am not entirely sure how I feel about this hat and whether it’s prospective wearer will actually like it, I am following this with a Twigs earflap hat – I’ll decide when they’re both finished which one he gets, or I’ll then move on to designing my own using elements of both, because neither of these are exactly what I am looking for but there are elements in each that could be put together once I know some basic structure. And I have to do that by knitting it…
So there may be a plethora of hats around here, and maybe eventually a new pattern here to share too. Who knows.
In other news, I finally blocked the little triangular scarf I knit a while back and once it’s dry I will block the simple lace scarf I knit my dad’s wife last winter. I mention these things because they have been hanging out in my Ravelry projects as 95% complete and there is that feeling of well, completion, that comes from actually COMPLETING SOMETHING and marking it as such, moving it away from those “works in progress”. That and I wanted to point out that one of the encouraging factors that lead to getting around to blocking this stuff was finding some foam blocking king squares from an Ebay vendor that were like, eight bucks for a set of ten. Well, thirteen after shipping. Still cheaper than many other options. No grids or anything like that, but fine for simple wet/mist blocking needs.
Yeah they come from China and good god the smell is bizarre when you first open them – sort of minty, sort of disinfectanty, lol… But I didn’t feel like spending three times that much to buy them from Knitpicks. But you can buy all sorts of different configurations of “floor mat puzzles” here and use them as blocking mats that you can shape to your needs. I am happy. They will get a lot of use between me and my daughter
And now, back to it. Once my daughter goes to sleep I will clean up the magic wand making materials, take Strawberry Shortcake out of the DVD player and head back into Breaking Bad. waldorf family we are not, despite our wholesome eating habits, magickal crafts and nature altars. Sometimes we need cartoons. Her imagination is still just awesome, thanks very much. Oh, and today she asked me if I was going to teach her to knit. Awesome.
(Speaking of knitting and Waldorf, that’s a connection i super enjoy – I’ll be looking to Waldorf handwork teaching techniques to begin teaching my daughter when the time is right – so if you are reading this and you’ve got some inside on this, get to me – and no, sending her to a waldorf school is out of the question. There isn’t one here.
I have been knitting little projects like Trudi and now I am knitting up the grooviest thing – it’s called Celestine (PDF file on Berrocco website) and i am stash busting AGAIN – using one of the Regia Kaffe Fasset 4-plies I bought ages ago with sock dreams (the colors in this exotic clay colorway are just AWESOME).
Here is what I have discovered about fingering-weight sock yarn, knitting plush toys, and the needles I’m using…
A) I will never knit socks. I hate knitting two. Perhaps if I learn the two at a time, but that also involves investing in some more needles. Mostly I love using striping sock yarn, and I like it for knitting other things. I am really getting into knitting plush stuff even if I still need to perfect the actual stuffing part (I am using raw cotton I bought off an Etsy vendor, as well as kapok, which rocks – I am not into the idea of stuffing my toys with fiberfill – also known as polyester, also known as “petroleum product”). Unless I am pulling it out of an old stuffed animal, I am not going to promote the use or production of more of it.
B) I love Bryflex needles and was happy to get them out again for this project. I decided to see if there was a Ravelry fan group, and what I discovered is that the needles were discontinued last year, but a little company took over, called them Pearls, and is manufacturing them start to finish in Oregon.
Unfortunately the company doesn’t sell to consumers, but i will figure out a way to get myself more of these, as I find them so much easier to knit with than anything else when it comes to tiny sizes (for example I am using a US2 on this Celestine – and between the ease of the Bryflex-now-called-Pearls awesome scoopy tip, as well as the magic of watching self-striping geometric patterns appear as I knit a geometric shape come plush toy, this is actually fun, when knitting at this tiny gauge never used to be for me. Yay for Pearls (and for Kollage square needles, my other recent needle obsession). Some people collect more yarn than they will ever possibly knit, but I have a feeling I have more of tool fetish, myself (I also bought a pair of a chaiaogoo reds recently, which i have yet to try, but that pointy tip looks appealing).
Yesterday, too, I actually got in the stash bin and pulled out a couple of ancient UFOs. I finally gave up on the Yogini sweater I started back then, using a subbed yarn that acted nothing like the yarn the designer used to knit the original. Even BEFORE I got pregnant and had a baby and stuff moved all over the place, the body of that sweater, which I had completed, barely fit me and would have been more suitable to someone’s ten year old daughter. It felt good to frog that thang so I could use the yarn to knit… Plushies.
I have come to this – small projects I finish quickly and can carry around are best for me – I knew this from the beginning and STILL I have attempted here and there, a sweater or a slightly more complicated shawl, never to be finished.
Expect more pics soon once I figure that out on an iPad – since I have had this thing since last February tend never taken a single picture with it, it might be more trouble than it’s worth but maybe there is some embedding action I am missing out on. For now, lots of links. And we have a knit night to die for here in Shasta now, so I am feeling so much more motivated. There are some awesome women in it!
So that’s that. I have always cringed when I hear someone refer to their knitting forays as “adventures” because quite honestly when I think of adventure, I think of, oh, you know, ADVENTURE – traveling in amazing countries that have been producing textiles for thousands of years, for example (which I have done). But sitting on my couch fiddling with DPNs? Well, that’s more of just.. I dunno, an inquiry… But referring to my knitting inquiries as “inquiries” sounds about as boring as most knitting blogs are, anyway…
But I am knitting. Yes, I am knitting.
It has been a long while since I have updated here.
A lot has happened. I now have a 2.5 year old daughter, I moved to Mount Shasta, California, and I own a little children’s consignment shop called Little Doves (yes, I named it after my daughter, whose name means Dove in Spanish).
The business was a mess when I bought it – it has taken nearly a year just to clean it out, but it is now going well, and now that it isn’t exhausting me and taking up whatever mental capacity is left between a shop and a toddler, I am knitting again.
I am not designing ANYTHING. I am stash busting like mad (with the exception of the Cascade 220 skein I bought to knit up some Jeff’s Mitts (Ravelry link) fingerless gloves for babydaddy’s birthday), and enjoying the simple ease of following other people’s patterns for a while.
Here is what I have discovered:
Size 4 might be my favorite needle size. Especially using Kollage’s square needles, which I am now addicted to. Since it was revealed to me, a total stranger, via email, I am going to reshare what I was told when I sent them an email simply to tell them that I loved the squares and that they should consider designing an interchangeable set.
Yes, you guessed it, it is already in process. We are looking at the beginning of 2014 for their arrival and I will be among the first in line. Made in the US, too.
I was such a hiya hiya girl and I do love my set from them, but this Kollage set is already on my get-me-something list and I will happily pass along my Hiya interchangeables and and many of my dpns when it happens. I am sold. Square needles rock, especially when in the fumbly beginnings of a round project, and they truly do seem easier on my hands as they claim to be and my stitches seem more uniform, too.
I have also knitted a Graham hat (another Ravelry link), which turned out great, using a skein of yarn I found in my stash box that had no label but was eventually determined to be a skein of discontinued Wisdom Yarns Poems.
And I knit a “shawlette“, something I never thought I’d attempt again after a failed attempt at one last year that still sits as a UFO because I used a yarn that is impossible to unravel. And it’s true, the only thing that kept me going was yet another discontinued yarn from Wisdom called Limerick. It wound up striping pretty beautifully, but I have yet to weave in the ends and block it because I haven’t figured out where in my house this can actually happen. The pattern itself? Well, let’s just say we are lucky it ended when it did because I was just about to get bored to tears…
I think I prefer hats above all, but everyone I know already has plenty, and so my newest obsession is now toys (again – I approach he’d this before too – and was terrible at stuffing them). As soon as I finish up daddy’s mitts, we are stash busting and making a little turtle. I want to learn some new knitting skills. For the upcoming toy making endeavor, we also ordered a pound of organic, unbleached cotton stuffing from an Etsy vendor. I imagine it will arrive about the time I need it, too.
So there it is – yes there are a few free hat patterns here that have kept everyone visiting this blog in my extended absence, and yes I it’s true I am knitting again, and no, I don’t honestly know how frequently I will post or whether I will be designing anything else on my own any time soon. The design process is a lengthy one for me, and right now, toddlerhood and small business ownership are what take up most of my time. I’ll be sticking with a lot of instant gratification projects for the time being.
Just for fun, I’m having a 50% off sale on my knitting patterns for a little bit – ONLY in my Etsy shop!
Just enter the coupon code “FWYAY” (without quotes) when checking out. You will receive your patterns within 1-3 business days (generally, however, it happens within a few hours). If you purchase the 10 For Twelve washcloth pattern set, you’ll be receiving a zip file.
I’m not sure how long this sale will run – a couple of days, probably.
There will be a different promotion offered on Ravelry sometime soon, too.
Yep, vague! Like I said, it’s all just for fun.
You can follow this blog if you’d like to keep up with my random pattern sales! I really enjoy doing these and it’s been a while.