For all the time I spend making things, very little ever gets made (or mended) for me. I may sew for a living, but my wardrobe is riddled with holes, frayed cuffs, and is frequently held together with safety pins. In what was quite a departure for me, as well as an excercise in discipline, I decided to both knit down my stash and be the beneficiary of the enterprise.
My sweater is off the needles, though yet to be blocked— and it needs it. It is something of a bastardization of the beautiful Hiro pattern. I used inappropriate yarn, lengthened the cuffs and added thumb holes, widened the collar, eliminated any waist shaping. I still plan on adding pockets, but I haven’t decided where or what style yet. I made it ridiculously large to wear cross country skiing over leggings finished just in time for — ummm— spring.
Knitters, quilters, hookers, and other hand-workers of all sorts and skill levels–come gather in the bucolic setting of Dandelion Spring and Straw Farm in Newcastle, Maine. Join us for an afternoon of companionship, laughter, and progress on all your UFO’s surrounded by the fields, animals, busy farmers, and an abundant farm stand. While this is not a class, I’m happy to answer questions to the best of my ability—dabbler as I am in many things… And truly the best thing about a bee is the community and shared creativity. It is a time to be inspired by and to both learn from and teach each other.
It should come to no one’s surprise that when I say that I need to knit down the stash or de-stash it is really me just readying an excuse to buy more yarn. “It’s a mental illness,” to quote a friend. Yep. And I’m refusing therapy.
This week the studio is filled to the brim with my first shipment of Manos del Uruguay yarns. I’m thrilled to be carrying so many beautiful skeins and am itching to begin designing with my new fiber friends. Somehow I ended up grown up enough to be showing a little bit of restraint, though. I’m intent on finishing up the pattern for the Fisherman’s Bunting, a project that requires much counting and my wrists are filing complaints against cables, but even still my days are busy with no idle hands and my imagination is running wild with new designs to come.
Things happen when I’m home alone on a Sunday. Getting dressed involves an oversized sweatshirt from high school and leggings. Not feeling particularly well put together, I decided to accessorize. My needle doodles turned into leg warmers, and I can assure you that once my ensemble was completed, I was way cuter. You can be, too, because the pattern is ready!
Big sigh of relief. This pattern is finally complete! It’s the most challenging pattern I’ve written to date. That is, challenging to write, literally. Hopefully, I’ve devised a pattern that is easy as pie for you to read and knit. There are detailed instructions for less experienced knitters, and those of you who have a few more miles of knitting under your belt should be able to take it and run. Lots of pictures (and big thanks to Sara Jensen Photography for the best ones!), helpful links, and in the end you will have one cute topper for your favorite babe.
I’m thrilled to report that upon my husband’s return from some extensive travels, I have managed to not kill a single houseplant (or fish). And my reward, you ask? The darling guy brought me home a sack of mineral dyed yak yarn from a carpet studio in Tibet. And when I say “sack”, I mean sack. As innovative as men tend to be about these things, he very thoughtfully wrapped the whole lot up in a pillow case for me to unveil—and it was a clean one, too!
One of the most irksome parts of knitting is attaching a new skein of yarn after finishing the first. This is especially true for me since I do so much knitting in the round. I rarely have a seam I can hide a tail in. Then the clouds parted, the gloom lifted, and yarn join nirvana descended from the heavens. I was in love.
I can only guess that the Russian Join originated if not in Russia, then at least someplace in Eastern Europe (a quick Google search failed to elucidate me). That could explain why this Polish girl gravitates towards it. In truth though, everyone should add this simple technique to their repertoire as it offers a near invisible yarn join for so many different types of yarn. In the example below, I’ve used two different colors of cotton yarn for visual clarity. Other than that, the only tools you need are a yarn darning needle and a pair of scissors.
I kid you not. I have been waiting for this yarn shipment since November. Well. Maybe it was October. And, finally! Finally! It is here! And it is simply gorgeous. My heart is palpitating. The colors are just amazing, as their names would indicate: mood indigo, teal bosque, lemon drizzle, verde spring, coral sunset, sweet sage, wild rose, and cornflower creek. I’m not sure if I should knit with these yarns or just eat them up, they are so yummy. Talk about eye candy. Spring arrived in a package from UPS yesterday.
This is my favorite organic and fair trade yarn. The dyes are the epitome of environmentally responsible, and many of the colors are even vegan. I can barely wait to get this yarn washed up and ready to knit. I’m having visions of little baby leg warmers, cotton cozy toes, elegant shawls, and funky fingerless gloves. If only my hands could knit as fast as my imagination comes up with these things.
Let’s face it. The whole point of making something and then making it available for sale is to, well, sell it. How novel! I’m lucky that that part of my business plan seems to be working. It’s just that lately, I’m sending off pieces of my work that I had grown rather fond of. And it goes beyond the particular beauty of a fabric or stitch pattern or even the overall success of the end product. Each piece is a marker for me capturing a little slice of my life. When I look at a bag or a sweater or a bunting that I’ve made, I can vividly tell you what book I was listening to while I worked, what the weather was, and what home improvement project I was avidly avoiding—“Sorry, honey. I’m on deadline.” Frequently even, I find my materials and supplies when we’re out on long weekends or visiting friends. Looking at a picture of one of my baby bonnets, I fondly remember the impromptu getaway complete with charming b&b, great little breakfast place, and the fab fiber festival where I found the yarn–a beautiful handspun hand-dyed little number the color of marigold sunsets. Hmmm. It is true. A picture is worth a thousand words, but also thousands of scents, sounds, and emotions. And, hopefully, my little bits of this and that that find their way out into the world, will go on to find their places in someone else’s photo and become part of their stories, too.