Spring is officially here in Seattle, and it is beautiful around here. Daylight Savings has made it easier to be out later and get to enjoy nature. I have been doing a lot of yard work to prepare the garden for Spring and Summer. It has been very meditative to work in the garden, I will admit that digging in the dirt is not my favorite but getting to put new plants in the ground and shape and trim the hedges has been rewarding.
I admit I haven’t spent as much time on my knitting lately, I am not sure if it is the beautiful weather or the fact that my current project feels like a slog. I have to be honest I am too stubborn and too far along on the hat to frog it or put it aside.
This time next week I hope to have a new hat off the needles to share…. and hopefully I will be casting on for my next project.
Recently one of my “work in progress photos” got “regrammed” on Instagram by Brooklyn Tweed. To say that I “geeked” out would be an understatement. Most people know that BrooklynTweed’s aesthetics is beautiful, their work is always a must look at when they publish a new collection. A couple of years ago I began to get into photography so having a company that takes exceptional knitwear photos take not of one of my pictures meant a lot.
The item I am knitting is Ilia by Michele Wang for Brooklyn Tweed. This pattern is all cables and all the time.
Last year when Michele Wang visited Tolt Yarn and Wool last year to promote her new Capsule Collection for Brooklyn Tweed I went nuts because everything in the collection was so good. I knew that I had to knit the sweater on the cover, Ilia. Okay, I might have given myself a pep talk to knit this pattern because it requires 4400 yards of fingering weight yarn to knit it (in my size), this would be a stretch for me, but I thought I would give it a whirl and cast on. I am giving myself permission to knit this up as a longterm project.
I realize that this pretty wordy and goes in a bunch of directions but I promise you that there is a purpose. I saw the comments on the regrammed photo and thought I would answer some general knowledge about cables in case these are “new to you” techniques:
Stitch Markers: I do like a good stitch marker, but when cables are traveling or moving over stitches within a row I don’t use them If I did use them me reverence point would keep changing, and I would keep having to move the stitch marker.
Memorizing the Pattern: There are a couple of tricks here, the biggest one is to realize that you only actually need to memorize half the pattern. Most of the cable patterns I have seen have you knit the knits and purl the purls on the wrong side row after you make cables. Simply put if it is a 30-row pattern you only have to remember 15 rows or the right side of the fabric that you are working.
Memorizing the Pattern: I do like to occasionally look at the pattern but a lot of this occurs during the 1st repeat of the cable motif. I tend to look closely at the first cable motif so I can turn my knitted fabric into my reference chart for what I am knitting, that way I can read which way to cross the cables and when the cables need to be knit
Marking the spot: If you happen to have a pattern that has traveling cables it can be really easy to figure out where you left off if you put the project down for a couple of months…. the trick here is counting how many stitches a cable has moved from a particular place on the cable chart.
So I know these tricks are;t mindblowing me but they do help me get through a pattern with cables.
That yarn chicken is an ugly bird, but it is motivating. So…. I thought I would have a finished hat to post until I realized that I did not have enough yarn to finish it. While it was the tiniest bit sad, I did manage to finally get rid of the yarn, in addition, this weekend I finished 2 ounces that were on my spinning wheel, tried to spin up some fiber ( bought at the Madron Fiber Festival) which din;t go well and after a fair amoung of looking at my queue I wound up some cashmere to knit up a shawlette by Andrea Mowery.
The written word is a tricky thing. Context and tone can be difficult to convey when typing a post.. so I need to stress this I have found a newly appreciated way for watching people go to a yarn convention (I cannot call it a knitting convention because when I go, very little knitting actually gets accomplished).
In past years when I have been watching the Instagram feed and living vicariously through others texting friends, I have missed out on the gloriousness of finding a quiet full-service bar with a good menu and enjoying a glass of a nice wine with some sides of pasta.
I hope this doesn’t sound depressing, but let’s talk about all of the positives here:
There is not the loud noise of being in an acoustic box and hear 400-500 people have multiple conversations
There is no pushing or bumping
You are not weighed down toting a large bag around all day and multiple purchases.
There is wine
Your family is not around and there is no one asking anything from you…. In fact, the bartender is asking what he or she can do for you.
No achy feet, you are sitting.
There is good food, no hotel food or cafe food.
No rush or waiting to get a table.
There are no people… this sounds callous but if you recognize yourself for what you are an introvert this is actually a good thing. This means that you won’t feel drained by the end of the day or for the couple of hours that you are out at a restaurant.
The retreat is clean and there is no clutter. When watching Instagram at home it can be distracting to see the Legos on the floor or an unmade bed….. let’s face it it is also less painful if there are no legos to step on.
Knitting time… I love seeing friends but there does seem to be the familiar exercise when you go home are greeted by your spouse and see the “ I have had the kid all weekend. Tag your it” and then get the question” Did you have a good time knitting” when you are secretly thinking “What time knitting? I went out with friends and bought yarn, I have had no time to knit”
Sure, going to these fiber festivals and yarn conventions is great place to see your friends and hang out, but I think this year I have figured out a way to maximize my enjoyment if I don’t go to one #illhaveanotherglass
I am happy and It is cold in Seattle, extremely cold.
There were snow flurries this past weekend and it has continued on and off through the week. The cold is my major motivation for casting on a new project. I am really trying to maximize my stash, my queue, and patterns. Surprisingly it is not limiting, in fact, it is oddly freeing. I picked projects and yarn and I am finally getting a chance to enjoy them.
I am going to out myself here and admit that I have a couple of bowls of yarn in my living room that just sit there. Most of these house partial skeins. I don’t really photograph them, but I think eventually I will use them. Funny thing about my intention to do this because I just haven’t followed through with it, the yarn just sits there. These partials have too much to be thrown away and too little to be used on a one skein project. This seems to be one of the downfalls of my colorwork knitting. I always seem to think that when I have about 70-100 yards, I should save the yarn for colorwork project I will do later.
The amount I had saved was perfect for casting on Izel. It is a pattern by Veronica who co-owns YOTH with her brother. It has been in my queue for a while and I paired it with some gradient handspun I have along with a skein of Heather Aran I bought last September when I visited Jamieson’s in Shetland. I am going to trash what every remnants (I see this as progress) I have left after this project and then I am contemplating using some Shelter by Brooklyn Tweed (in the bowl filled with yarn) and casting on another hat. I figure that 2 projects out of 4 skeins should make it look like I made the tiniest dent in the bowl currently housed in my living room #winning.
A belated happy New Year to everyone. It has been a wonderfully comfortable start to the new year on the knitting and crafting front. As mentioned in earlier posts I am going to take it a bit easier than usual. I have never been so “chill” with my knitting time. It is really freeing to just knit a few rows when I have time. It is a bit of a foreign concept for me to try knitting this way. I usually get sucked down the rabbit hole of seeing how many things I can finish or want to try out a pattern that I had “favorited” on Ravelry.
I am slowly chugging along on the Ilia sweater and finished a recent test knit. I have also been watching the last custom orders of yarn come in from 2017, which while numerous, feels okay since I am “cold sheeping” in 2018.
Trying not to buy patterns has been harder than not buying yarn, but when I realize I am only focusing on a couple of projects this year, it really feels like I haven’t lost anything. I can always buy the pattern or yarn next year. This level of moderation seems oddly freeing, and I don’t feel I am deprived of anything. I really wish I could transfer this methodology to my relationship with food.
Its been a bit of a yarn buying bonanza lately… I think even that word may be under emphasizing how much yarn has been going into my house. I am thinking that 3-4 bins won’t even cover the amount of yarn. It’s like the prettiest softest storm of cashmere, infact if I lived on the East Coast I would call it a Nor’easter.
So while I may have yarn coming in 2018, I have paid in full for all of the purchases in 2017 and while it will really really hurt I am giving up buying any new yarn until October 2018. Yes, that means even Viola and even fiber… It almost hurts writing this blog post, but it needs to happen. At last count I have 97 skeins headed to a little cottage in Seattle, WA….. I think I may be experiencing some tightness in the chest as a type that number… but who am I kidding this is going to be it for a while right? I am sure that everyone who talks about coldsheeping has some success, right?
I have been strategizing how I am going to blow through as much yarn as possible in preparation for the big delvieries. I have a couple ideas, mainly quick knits that require me to hold thicker yarns double. I have a pillow or some slippers planned but I am thinking that a pillow might be the biggest bang for the buck so to speak with removing the largest cubic volume out of the stash. OMG I am know referring to my stash in cubic measurements….. that surly is a sign of someone addicted to yarn right?
But seriously this holiday season has been one that has allowed for little knitting time. I am thankful though because everyone seems healthy and I have managed to get 2 WIPs off the needles, okay hopefully 2 by the time this gets posted. I am so close on my Lowbrow Cowl by Thao Nguyen. I think I might have about 11 more rows and then it is ready to be blocked. I also decided to from a sweater by Veera Valamaki that has just been languishing, so my WIPS will roughly go from 10 to 8… So I think it is time that I cast on Illiya by Michele Want for New Years Eve, I had skipped the Christmas Eve cast on and it will feel good to cast on something new for a change, even if it is a ling term project.
Its been an investing year of trying new things. There have been a few things that were purchased in the name of “science” that quickly became raves. Here are a list of the items over the last year that have become frequently used and loved items in my home. She may be ideas for gifts to be given but others are pure inspiration for items to enhance one’s own fiber adventures.
Pink Hazel’s Bucket: I cannot say enough about this bag. I like many have been using some of the common or highly favored project bags out there but think this is the best one I have seen so far. I have two and I already want more of them. What makes them so great? Well, they are self standing and well renforced so that with a bit of wear they don’t (at least not yet) get floppy. They colored fabric front has a place where you can put the tools on the outside. I found this handy as yarn won’t get caught on the tools if they are on the inside of the bag, it also makes them easier to see on the outside. The bag also has a separator in the middle which while at first I found odd, I now think of awesome. there are countless times that yarn I have carried with my project gets tangled on the needles. The separation allows for one to keep the yarn you want to use separate and tangle free from one;s project.
Pink Hazel does have online updates and she does stock her product through some LYSs.
Making Magazine: I have subscribed to this for the last three years and while the knitting patterns eventually are for sale on Raverly after the issue is published, the articles and other craft projects are really excellent. There are so many that I want to make.
Subscriptions are available directly through them or paper copies of the published issues will be stocked in select LYSs.
Bookshelf: My bookshelf in the living room runnth over and this year I bit the bullet and bought a vertical shelf form ” Design Within Reach when they were having their semiannual sale. Not only did it free up so much space in the living room but it gave me a easier and new way to organize my knitting, crochet and spinning library.
Lumio and Mini Lumio (Not shown): So I actually had a mini one last year but it broke. Full confession these are not cheap, but I waited for a sale. I have found that both MOMA and Design Within Reach have sales on their websites that can have 20% off in addition to free shipping. What I love about these is that they are so portable and so bright. If you are sitting on the couch you don’t need to have a flat surface or area to plug it in. It is easy to decide how much want to open the light source, they are USB rechargeable, and they are compact and look like books when they are not in use.
Di Gilpin’s Lalland: I raved about this yarn when I returned from Scotland. There is not much more I can say. A soft versatile yarn that can do cables, lace, and colorwork. I find the yarn reasonable priced and it comes in balls and not in skeins.
I bought from Di Gilpin directly and she has a website.
Viola Yarns: There have been countless times that I have commented on Emily Foden’s yarn. She is not only a genius with color but also with her bases. I very much appreciate her commitment to keeping her business model to one she feels comfortable with and her hands on approach to her customers. She has gotten more attention in recent years and her yarn can be difficult to obtain but it is worth it and when you can get some you treasure what you get.
Emily’s yarn was previously available on Etsy but has recently moved to her website,
Woollenflower pouches (Not shown): These tweed pouches are wonderfully made and if knitting notion bags could be considered an “heirloom” I would put these in that category. Made from tweed that might come from scraps or from older tweed garments these little pouches are strong and sturdy. I have removed most of my enamel pins I have had on my Field bags by Fringe and moved these to my Woollenflower notions pouch.
She sells direct and through some on-line retailers.
The new year is just around the corner, as a knitter I think of time a little differently, not the concept of time but rather the year. Fall, is the beginning of what I like to call the “Knitter’s year”. In my mind this runs September to August, because well, it is the start of “sweater weather” season.
I got sidetracked this year and have lapsed on planning for my annual goals so I have decided to fall back to using the calendar year for 2018 ( yeah its not really thinking outside of the box). I have been thinking about goals, and all that keeps going through my head is ” I know what I should do”…. I have a real challenge with this because it’s not very “joyful”, and am procrastinating the planning of my annual projects because I don’t want to make it the year the year of ” I should”, to me that is a guaranteed way to lose ones ” knitting mojo” I mean I don’t think I have a stockpile of “knitting mojo” but I don’t want to jeopardize what is there. So here is what I have come up with:
Iilya by Michele Wang
Lerwick by Marie Wallin
A bunch of hats
Donner by Blue Bee Studio
Make and effort to push through my holiday project
A few rows on the granny stripe blanket
To be honest that is a crap load of knitting, I am going to take adopt the approach of a tortoise this year and just “plot along” slow and steady. I mean keeping the “mojo” going should be the number one priority, so I am just going to wait and see how things turn out in September, hopefully I will actually have at least one sweater to wear to a fiber festival.
No joke it has been a really tough year, I cannot overstate that enough. The highs were really high and the lows were really low. To be honest I am kind of in the middle of a low right now, but I need to hit the “pause” button because even when things have gotten crazy I realize how lucky and thankful I am for the things in my life. There have been some years where I kind of go through the motions during Thanksgiving but feel thankful more than ever this year. I see people in similar situations and while things look bleak and exhasuating, I realize that there are some people who are not dealing with my same situation and would trade places in a heartbeat.
When I think about that and the fact that there are being slow improvements it makes me hopeful. Through it all there has been knitting, spinning, photography and getting to express myself on this blog. Somedays it is enough and others its not but getting to have them in my life is a blessing. Life is a journey and if your reading this thanks for letting me share a little bit of my journey with you.