Posting schedule! I re-evaluate the posting schedule every year to see where I am in my life, what the stats are telling me and if I get any general comments about posting. Blogging is an interesting experience because you pour out bits of your soul, put blood, sweat and tears into it and you generally feel like you are blindfolded, talking into an empty room. There is a sense of a presence here and there, but until you get comments, emails or actually run into someone at a craft show, there is a huge sense of “Hello? Is this thing on?” (If anyone feels like they must take action immediately to quash these feelings, we have a Ravelry group where everyone can connect)
This past year has been crazy for me personally, as well as with Stitch Please, Stitches be Slippin’, KNITmuch and Addicted to Sock Knitting; not to mention a personal life that happens somewhere in there. I am a schedule-y person and I like structure, but I feel like I need to give the blog a bit of an organic life of it’s own. When I am knitting a lot, I will write about it, when I am not really knitting, I will post less frequently. I think this is going to keep my posts fresher. One of the things my blog stats were telling me is Wednesday posts were the ones everyone was most interested in. Those are the ones where I wrote about what I was knitting, how things were going with it, likes, dislikes, general plans for future knitting. Those are the posts I really enjoy writing and it seems like everyone enjoys reading them, so I’ll do more posts like that.
Since this is going to be a new format, if there is anything anyone wants to read about, wants me to try, has suggestions at all, please let me know. I am on twitter, Instagram, Ravelry, Facebook, email. Most social media platforms have a way to personal message people, just in case you don’t want to make a public comment.
I’ll also make sure to keep everyone apprised of upcoming shows, events, when I am writing other places. I hope everyone has an excellent New Year and keep on knitting!
I know, it’s been a while, but it was a good time off! I’ve started a hat, kept knitting on a sock sample, I got suckered into knitting something for a secret Santa at work. It ended up being not too terrible and I got to try a pattern that I wanted. I am going to start with that since it is the thing that was most recent and fresh in my mind.
At work, I am kind of the token member of the department. There are 9 people and they all work together, but I work alone. I am just stuck onto the side in order to be part of some kind of department. This being the case, I only know a couple of them on a personal level. Of course I had picked the name of a person who was A) new to the department and B) someone I had next to no interaction with. The whole crux of this secret Santa was that the gift had to be handmade. I may or may not have laughed in a maniacal manner when they said it had to be handmade. I was so prepared for this!
Usually I have a small amount of gifts that were already knit up for just such a purpose as this! Unfortunately I didn’t have anything that would work. I was watching my victim… I mean… giftee, to try to attain the perfect knitted accessory for her. I didn’t have time to do a sweater and she is very fashion forward. I decided to do something in a neutral colour in a shawl for her. That way it would match with everything! The fact that I’ve been dying to try out Hunter Hammersen’s Curls patterns was just a happy coincidence. I picked one of the easier patterns because I really didn’t have time to make something complicated. There was only a week’s worth of time to get it ready and there was a lot of actual Christmas shopping to do before then. I used some yarn from the stash and it worked out really perfect.
That’s not to say I didn’t go through a couple different variations. I tried two different types of yarn before I got the perfect one. I was slightly attached to this yarn, because there was some alpaca in it and it was so SO SO soft. It was black and white and I knew these weren’t colours that I would wear. Finally conceding that this was for a good cause and it would be selfish of me to keep yarn just for the purpose of feeling it up. The curl itself actually could not have turned out more perfect. There were two balls of this amazing yarn so I kept knitting on it right up until the night before I was supposed to give it as a gift. I just needed to do two rows in garter stitch then bind off and block, so I made it as big as I could have. The only photos I have are of it blocking and soaking. I never managed to get a photo of it on her or anything, but it saves me the extra step of attempting to explain what the photo was for and getting her permission to have her image displayed here. I really loved knitting this curl and I really hope I get the opportunity to make more in the future!
The hat I was working on is a colour work hat I have been intending to make for about 2 years… possibly 3? It’s one of Tanis Fiber Arts Four Seasons Hat kits, I bought two just before they were out of production. I love colour work. I could work colour until the cows came home, left, then came home again, so it isn’t really surprising that I was all over this like white on rice. I think my gauge might be a little small though. All the people who have ever taken a class from me will gasp in horror that I DIDN’T DO A GAUGE SWATCH!! I know. Take a deep breath, it’s going to be okay. I am really hoping none of my students are actually reading this and if they are… this is one of those “do as I say not as I do” moments.
I think I can block it a little bigger. I am not worried that it won’t fit or anything, but I originally wanted it to be a bit roomy. We will see. I always have the next one if this one doesn’t turn out exactly as I planned. Now that I’ve been keeping my hair short I really appreciate all the hats and scarves that I have knit in the past. Having long hair actually keeps you rather warm, I never realized how much. Mind you, I really don’t miss it. I dislike being too warm, so layering scarves and hats really suits me.
The sample sock I’ve been working on is something of a prototype for self striping Christmas colours. I am not sure if I want to share it yet, I am going to release it next year. I was thinking about trying to get it out before Christmas this year, but I really didn’t have the mental space to do it.
Look out for my next post talking about the scheduling of blog posts for the next year! If you miss me, it would make my day if you commented or emailed and let me know! I know I missed you!
This technical Tuesday is not going to be as technical in a knitting sense. As you might have noticed, last week I completely lost track of time and managed not to do any posts. I wasn’t heading into the office on Wednesday, so I definitely forgot to write my posts until Wednesday because I thought it was the weekend. Then I just would have had Thursday’s post up, but at that point it seemed a little pointless as Thursday is my off-topic day.
The latest self striping sock I dyed for Halloween. Colour name: Witches Britches.
Every January I re-assess the blog, what I am writing, when I am writing etc; I am going to be doing that again this January. I do this to keep up with my needs and what is working for me at that point in time. The past two months have been so crazy busy that I am going to take the rest of November and December to go back and just post when I feel like it.
Schedules are great and I am definitely a fan, but when you’re too dependent on the schedule sometimes content starts to feel too planned. I am going to take some of the time I would be writing and put that time into knitting. Then WRITE ABOUT it! It probably won’t be a whole lot at first, but I do have some fun things still planned. I’ve been sent a product to review, so that will be coming up very soon. I’m currently still testing it out!
As most of you know, the current kitty count went down by one a few months ago. Recently, Paul and I have welcomed two kittens home. The story is kind of twisty, but it starts by getting added to a Siamese cat breeder’s waitlist.
There wasn’t originally supposed to be an opening until early 2016, but as it turns out there were a few people on the list ahead of us who wanted to wait. Paul and I went for a meet and greet and picked out our little kitten. We picked her out in the middle of September, but had to wait till she was 12 weeks to bring her home; that landed us on October 30th. Over the next few weeks, we decided to name her Luna, because the Thai name of Siamese actually translates to moon diamond; so it is fitting.
In the beginning of October Paul and I were talking about Luna and when she was going to come home when Paul made the suggestion that perhaps she would need a friend. Our other cats were all a similar age, within a year of one another, so they all got along and had a similar energy level. They’re older, and introducing a kitten now would be a bit of a different story. I started looking for kittens at shelters who were Siamese or Siamese mixed. Siamese cats have a very high energy level which lasts past the kitten stage, I was hoping for two kittens with a fairly even energy level.
I had sent quite a few emails about kittens, but most were already adopted or there was an adoption pending, when I finally found this guy.
On the Petfinder page his name was Caleb, I immediately sent an email about him and set up a time to go see him. The lady who was fostering him told us about his past situation, he was rescued from a hoarders house who had 40 cats. He wasn’t socialized very well so he would take some time to come around. We brought him home on October 24th and decided to name him Solaris. He was very nervous and hid under the bed in our spare room, I realized that he wasn’t socialized well so he wasn’t going to come out on his own when either Paul or myself was in the room. We started to handle him more; pick him up from under the bed and sit beside him and give him lots of pets. The very first time we did this, he started purring almost instantly. He is a very sweet boy who loves to play. He slid in with the other cats almost seamlessly, if one of them hisses he moves away but is totally unfazed. In the week we had him, he went from hiding under a bed to running around and playing like he owned the house.
On October 30th we picked up Luna; this could not have gone more differently. She was fine in her room with Paul or I, but as soon as one of us would leave she would start screaming. It’s amazing how such a loud sound can come from such a small cat. We followed along the steps for integrating a new cat into your house, but whenever we got to the point of seeing other cats, even if there was a gate between them, she was hissing, spitting and growling like crazy. I wasn’t sure what to do because, when we weren’t with her, she was either hissing and spitting at the other cats or yowling about being alone in a room. She would not calm down either, I tried to let her cry a bit to see if she would settle down, but she just got more and more worked up. So we let her out.
Took out the gate separating the cats because the larger cats weren’t hostile towards her, she was the one making all the noise. The other cats just looked at her like’ you don’t even weigh a pound, what are you talking about?’
Solaris was a perfect little gentleman and would follow Luna at a distance, when she noticed she would turn around and hiss at him. He would lay down where he was and when she started walking again he would keep following her. He wants to be friends so badly. He finally got tired of being patient and he would run up to her and pounce, then run away. She finally realized that he wasn’t hurting her and chasing each other around was actually fun. They’re totally friends now. Playing and running around. Paul thinks they were cuddling the other day, but got up when he walked in the room.
It’s all a happy kind of chaos and the older ladies are just happy the kittens have each other to entertain themselves.
Well all the shows are now complete, it’s been an absolutely crazy two months. I feel pretty burned out from all the prep-work of getting these shows together so I haven’t been working on too much knitting. There have been a lot of mundane things like cleaning the house, restocking the cabinets, a lot of meal prep for the next couple months. I’ll write about that on a Thursday though, I am way too proud of myself to keep that from you!
I have been working on socks, of course, what else would I be working on? The purple gradient sock I dyed is starting to knit up nicely, the colour-shift near the toe is a bit harsh, but we will see what it looks like on the other one. I would post photos of it but Paul has ABSCONDED with my knitting yet again.
I should be fair, this is the sock that I keep in the car. I always knit on it when we are in transit from one place to another. I don’t know if I have mentioned, but Paul and I work at the same office. The other day, he had some training at another office location. This presented something of a problem because we drive to work together; I would have no way home. Thankfully there was someone there who goes home the same way as me and she was able to give me a lift. The crucial part of this story comes when I went out to the car to grab my knitting, so I could knit on my lunch break. Paul had left a half hour before I thought he was going to, so he went to do this training with my knitting in tow.
Instead of sitting and knitting on my lunch break I was now sidelined to surf instagram and the like. Which leads to online shopping, which leads to stash enhancement, which leads to needing a larger house. Let’s just say there is no good ending here! When my knitting friend came across me and noticed I was NOT knitting, I had to inform her about Paul ABSCONDING with my knitting bag.
As I write this post, Paul has taken the car with the knitting in it. I guess this is the downside of car knitting. There usually isn’t a great time when you’re in the car to take photos, but when you want to show off your work, you have to make sure you’re able to grab it out of the car. I am sure this sock will be completed soon and I’ll be able to show FO photos of at least one sock!
I also wanted to mention a couple of prospective projects I am thinking about. I heard about this one on the Knit1Geek2 podcast. A Little Knit Music by Julia Blake. This is a sweater that you knit the treble clef into the yoke of the sweater and put beads where the notes would be. The best part is, they actually make up a melody. As Maggie and Karen suggested, you could knit your own adventure with a melody that means something to you. Their suggestions fell on the geek side, which I heartily approve of, but you could really do it with just about any song!
I also want to get going on a couple hats I have the yarn for. I’ve had this yarn for two years and have been meaning to knit up fair isle hats, but just haven’t had the time or motivation. I’ve got short hair now and it doesn’t cover my ears. I am thinking hats will be an essential staple of my wardrobe this year. I have a few different patterns that I am going to try out. I am going to do two of the Four Seasons hats by Tanis Fiber Arts and give the Whale Watch hat by Kate Gagnon Osborn a try as well. Those are just a couple that I have picked out of a line up. I have sooooo many saved in my Ravelry library, I feel like this will be a slippery slope.
One of the first skills you realize is important is weaving in the ends. Its something that can take your garment from looking home-made to hand-made. Everyone strives for the hand-made look; we’re talking fine Italian suits that are $1000 made by nuns, not a garment that was glue-gunned together in someone’s kitchen.
There is a different kind of weaving for many different kinds of stitches so I’ve also linked the Very Pink Knits videos for garter stitch.
If you’re anything like me and hate to weave in ends at the end of a project, you can always weave them in as you go.
If you’re having problems with your ends staying woven in, check out that first video for sure. It’s an excellent technique and very well explained. It’s almost like back-stitching in sewing. You’re going back to the previous stitch and locking that yarn in even tighter. This is one of those things I learned the hard way, but once you’ve got it, you’re golden!
I know it is a little bit past, but October 18th, Paul and I celebrated our one-year anniversary! It was on a Sunday and that was the day after Creativ Festival and Woodstock Fleece and Fibre, so we mostly celebrated by NOT doing any yarn things.
It doesn’t seem like that long ago that we were in full wedding craziness. There were a few weddings that year in a short period of time, and we were first, which I am glad about. I was able to attend those other weddings and just relax, no worrying about deadlines or getting things done.
I was also able to attend with my husband. Paul and I were engaged for almost three years, so it was high time we actually planned a wedding and tied the knot. Our wedding day was everything I could have dreamed for and I got to marry a very good man, who puts up with a lot of sarcasm and yarn.
The marketplace at the Creativ Festival was really good; huge. We were placed right beside Biscotte Yarns. I had heard of Biscotte Yarns before and their sock-of-the-month club is actually on my wish list. It was really great to be able to sit beside them the whole time and get to know the ladies working the booth. Their yarn is really stunning, especially the self-striping, but everyone here knows about my soft spot for self-striping yarn.
I also took the time to jaunt over to A Needle Pulling Thread and say hello. Everyone there was busy, but I still got to say hello and check in with them. I also took some of their awesome KNITmuch cards back to our booth. There was a ruler on the edges and I thought that was extremely clever. We actually ended up having to tell people that they could take them. Customers would walk by, pick one up, look at it and then put it back. I think they thought it was something we were selling.
I know we are light on photos again, but there are lots and lots of links to look at!
I wasn’t personally at Woodstock, but I had a quick re-cap from my booth bunnies. We were right beside the Alpaca, but nothing got eaten, so I count that in the win column.
One thing that everyone was pleased about was the premier of a new colour! I decided that people had been asking long enough and dyed some yarn a plain black. We called it ‘you never go back’. So many people wanted plain colours to mix with all the really bright yarn, so I’m branching out a bit. Watch the shop for a couple more neutrals in the near future.
I’m lining up all the shows for next year and getting all the pre-orders from the past shows sent out. There will also be an Etsy update soon as well. I have to put up the latest self-striping, Witches Britches, and the newest colour, You Never Go Back. If you’re not signed up to our newsletter, here is a link. I’ll definitely be announcing these things in the newsletters!
I had a really good question on our Ravelry group about pockets! Pockets are something that is inherently scary with knitting. There are a lot of fears around putting them in and the stretching that could happen. I wouldn’t suggest carrying anything too heavy in them.
There are quite a few videos out there and I picked these three, but if you’re not able to get what you want from these, just search pockets in knitting. There will be a lot of information that comes up!
I’ve got three videos about how to put in pockets, but the placement is important too. There are generally instructions about pocket placement, but if you’re looking to place them yourself I would add the pocket in after the garment is finished. That way you can look at where it would make sense to have pockets.
If anyone has any specific questions feel free to email me or ask about it on our Ravelry group! There is a thread specifically for things people would like me to look up!
Show season is finally over for this year! I usually really enjoy going to shows and talking to people, but this year there were a lot in a small amount of space and customs wasn’t helping either. I am talking postal service customs and not flight customs.
Last weekend was the Creativ Festival and Woodstock Fleece and Fiber. I don’t think I will ever voluntarily do two shows at once again, but it is a good learning experience to try once.
At the Creativ Festival I was teaching Tuesday-Friday and the marketplace was open Thursday- Saturday. Driving all the way to Toronto to set up was not as terrible as you would think, we’re only about 45 minutes to 2 hours away… depending on traffic. Paul and I also decided to go home each night instead of staying in the hotel. The show was open till 8pm Thursday and Friday as well so that makes for a long day.
Perfectly packed bag for many many classes… it did not look at good by the end.
All my classes went extremely well. I really enjoy teaching and making sure that everyone got what they came to learn. It’s one of my favourite parts of this show. Especially since CF isn’t a knitting-only show; the people taking my class aren’t already expert knitters. This means I get to shape them a little bit. I can plant some of my own ideology of knitting into them and have a hand in the knitter they become. I really attempt to implant fearless knitting and the idea that nothing is ‘too hard’ some things aren’t for you, definitely, but they’re just not a strength. ‘Too hard’ is not a reason that should keep you from trying something!
The classes I taught were Intro to Fair Isle, Don’t Fear the Steek, Cast On’s and Swatch It; with a lecture on using colour in knitting around the middle there somewhere.
Sorry, this post is going to be light on photos because I really didn’t take all that many this past weekend. I feel like I didn’t get a chance to even attempt photographic artistry.
I am still winding down from the crazy busy weekend so I am going to attempt to order my thoughts and write about the Creativ Festival marketplace and the Woodstock Fleece and Fiber Fest later. For now, I’ll say that everyone survived and there was copious amounts of coffee involved.