Practice

Today I backtracked a little on my Knitting Season Club assignments. I used the provided chart and tried experimenting with the colors and patterns. My main goal was actually to see if I could get gauge for The Oa with the Scout DK yarn, and as you can see, I did.

This is on size 3 needles and 7 stitches per inch! So I suppose I could have gotten 6 stitches per inch on a size 4 needle. But the fabric was stiff with no drape so I’m glad I didn’t try that.

The Buachaille yarn the pattern was written for yielded a much nicer fabric. I was somewhat surprised by this exercise. I expected the red and orange to run into each other, but the orange actually popped up a bit. I quite like it against the red and blue.

So I practiced. I think I botched the chart some, but since it was just an exercise I left it.

I thought I might try to design my own sweater with all over stranded colorwork for the Scout yarn, but now I’m not even sure I like the green and gray with the purple well enough. Although I just saw the Tensho Pullover and thought these colors might work well with a pattern like that.

My Ohio Star Cowl is coming along, but I am afraid I will run out of yarn.

Maybe “practice” wasn’t a great choice for my word of the year, as it seems 2019 wants to hold me to it.

I did order some Cascade 220 Sport for knitting The Oa, in silver, dark plum, and granny smith green. I hope I like the colors together!

Yeah, no.

I made a mistake when I bought this yarn for the Oa Hoodie. I probably could get 6 stitches to an inch with a DK, but would I want to wear that fabric? Stranded colorwork? Nope. I knew better. I can only blame myself.

My hope is to go ahead and purchase the yarn from KDD with my club discount and find something else to do with this lovely DK.

ETA: The yarn this pattern calls for is DK, but the pattern itself calls for sport weight. Very confusing! So maybe it’s a DK yarn knit tight at sport gauge? I tend toward loose knitting, so I’m not sure I would be able to get gauge with that yarn even if I tried.

I will be so glad when January is over. This month has really kicked my arse.

Enjoy some pics from my studio.

Cogs are Turning Again!

My new year got derailed by the stomach flu. But I am feeling myself again, and am back at my Knitting Season journal.

I set myself a number of goals for 2019. They include knits to make by other designers, knits to design myself, and a list of challenges.

Look at these cute and tidy pages.

Number one on the challenges list is to salvage yarn from a garment and reknit it into something new. I had imagined finding something at the thrift store, but talking about my magenta Le Smoking made the cogs start turning in the old noggin.

I really like the new Weel Riggit design that we received as part of the Knitting Season Club, but I’m not in a place to purchase a large amount of yarn right now, and I already have two sweaters ready to cast on waiting in the wings.

Then I realized the magenta Le Smoking is knit from aran weight yarn, some old Fingerlakes Soft Wool 3Ply.

Then I started looking around for something I could knit with it in the lice pattern. I don’t have to follow the pattern explicitly. (She uses four colors.) I can just be inspired and make my own pattern with two colors.

Then I realized I was looking at a multi yarn with magenta in it.

Then I realized I have an old wool sweater Bob’s Mom gave to me that has a little magenta in it!

What do you think? There is definitely some mohair in this yarn, but I think that might give the lice stitches a nice halo.

There might also be some acrylic in this, but I gave it the burn test, and it all burned and smelled like hair. So if there is any acrylic, it isn’t much. I guess that glisten could be the mohair.

I took the depiller to it to make it easier to pull out. Does anyone remember/still have one of these? Mine is from when I was still living with my Mom, so it’s from the 1980s!

Also, I might have gotten over treating my journal like it is precious. This is my Ohio Star Cowl design in progress. (Write, knit, rewrite, rip out, reknit.)

Wow, I blogged twice today!

Don’t Get Your Knitting in a Twist!

I was cranking right along on this design this morning (math + math = math!) and there it was… I’d gotten my knitting in a twist! Luckily I wrote down everything I did as I went along. Time to frog! 🐸

We have plans today even though we’re expecting Snowmageddon: White Out of Death 💀. It’s Date “Night” and we’re planning to go to an artist talk in town, and after that, dinner.

What are your plans this fine Saturday?

Hi. My name is Alissa and I look like my Grandma.

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This was an accidental selfie that happened while I was trying to take a good selfie so I could show off my Carbeth and Brassica Hat with my new favorite flannel shirt. I was like, wow, there’s a photo of my Grandma. My sister says I’m her doppleganger.

The good side of this is I loved my Grandmother. I still love my Grandma, even though she is gone. I honestly can’t think of anyone I loved and trusted more. She was crafty (check) brusque (check) loving (check) controlling (check) funny (in her own way, check) and her hindsight was better than her foresight (check.)

The bad side is it is difficult to watch yourself age. 10 years ago I could take a selfie and feel pretty good about what I saw. Now every photo is, “Who is that old lady?!” I’m trying to accept it because there is only so much I am willing to do about it. I am focusing on my health and fabulous handmade, fair trade style… and not much else.

Here’s a photo of some yarn, just to keep this post on topic:

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Isn’t it yummy? This is what I am thinking of making the Ohio Star stranded colorwork design with, which will probably be a cowl and a hat. However, the new Knitting Season design came out today, and just look at it in all its loveliness and glory:

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Photo © Kate Davies

I could see this hat in my Better Breakfast fingering, couldn’t you? It would be a subtler differentiation.

I will probably stick to my original plan because I have an entire palette of Milarrochy Tweed with which to make this hat! I also want to make Peerie Flooers, so, my queue keeps growing.

I’ve been struggling all week, and I’ve finally hit a wall. TGIF.

Weds WIP… in Bed

Do you ever play that fortune cookie game where you read your fortune aloud, and then punctuate it with “in bed”?

I did make it to my studio today, but not for very long. Although I am feeling better, I fatigue easily. I came home, ate dinner, relaxed in a lavender bath, and crawled into bed.

I resketched my Ohio Star Bandandit Cowl. (This is what I call it in my head as I imagine wearing it over my nose and mouth like a bandit.) I think I’m ready to cast on. I’m not gonna lie, I saw the Purl Soho Bandana Cowl months ago on Ravelry and thought it was a clever idea, but I did not look at the pattern because I knew somewhere way deep down in my heart I was going to design my own one day.

I didn’t even link to it. So there. You can search.

The first pattern in the Kate Davies Knitting Season Club is a lovely sweater with a simple motif. The design challenge was to create your own motif. I think my Ohio Star qualifies, even though it is texture and not colorwork. I do love the sweater but will probably wait to decide if I will knit it, and if so, how.

I had forgotten what it is like to have to slow down to accommodate my body. I had been doing very well for a year or so.

I’m going to try to go to the gym tomorrow. Fingers crossed…

What are you working on? I think I’ll check out my reader and see what you all are up to…

Invisible Illnesses

Today started off wonderfully with an early trip to the sledding hill in hopes of being the first ones there- and we were!

Although my GERD was flaring up, I took some medication and hoped for the best. I wasn’t going to let it spoil my fun. And we did have a grand old time, howling with laughter and screaming down the hill as fast as we could make our little plastic toboggan go.

It was over in an hour, as my stomach and constitution couldn’t handle any more thrills. I had hoped for a good day of sledding, an aromatherapy event for Haven Herbs, and then some time in my studio.

Most of my days are good days. It’s rare now when I have to adjourn from life to the couch or my bed to wait while the worst passes.

I don’t know if it was something I ate or the accumulation of stress over the week, or most likely a combination of things, but I’ve had to accept that studio time isn’t going to happen today. And luckily I wasn’t needed at the aromatherapy event.

I wanted to work on my Ohio Star cowl, and I did spend some time with an app while I lay on the couch.

The gauge here is spot on for my Better Breakfast DK. The chart isn’t perfectly symmetrical as the top half is shorter than the bottom. That can be fixed.

The Ohio Star is a quilt block pattern, and I remember my Grandmother showing it to me when I was young. Because I now live in Ohio and the yarn is from Ohio, I started exploring this design for my cowl. I wanted something intrinsically American, and after perusing different First Nations and early American motifs, I decided this was a natural fit.

I also want to work it in stranded colorwork with the same yarn, but in fingering weight colors of Poppy Seed and Daybreak.

As you can see, I made the best of it.

Invisible illnesses are not only difficult because of the illnesses themselves, but also because it’s so easy to get into the “just shake it off” mindset, which doesn’t work and is psychologically unhelpful. Today I kept thinking I was going to feel better, and as the day wore on, I grew worse and worse.

I do a lot. I have many passions and I’m not the kind of person who can ignore the desires that drive me. But in order to do all the things I want to do, I have to know when to slow down, take care of myself, listen to my body, and let it all go… not forever, but for later.

So I’m back in bed with a cup of herbal tisane. Even knitting feels like too much. I may try a book.

Scrummy Studio Time

I’m getting ready for a marathon work inventory progress, so I treated myself to some quality time in my studio today.

I made a colored pencil palette In my Knitting Season journal for Milarrochy Tweed yarn, as was suggested by Kate Davies and other club participants. Once I started coloring, I didn’t want to stop, so I recharted my Birds of Blendon hat.

I also finished the brim on my Otter Ferry hat from Milarrochy Heids. I’m not sure I’ve posted about this project yet, but I have the loveliest ceramic button from artist Megs Levesseur I am planning to use. I’ll include a pic of the button next time. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, I’ve misplaced it. I’m sure it will turn up.

Practice Makes Perfect

Kate Davies posted a helpful article about getting started with your journal. Yesterday, I made my first marks in it.

Rudimentary, but a start. This is a 2 ounce cake of Better Breakfast DK in Poppyseed from Bare Naked Wools. I want to knit a cowl with it, and it’s my first design of the year. My ideas for this design are still pretty half baked, but getting a sketch done and a gauge swatch is helping me inch forward.

Yesterday felt like I was playing house, only playing knitting designer in my studio, because this was very much an exercise. And that’s why my word for 2019 will be “Practice.”

My next entries in my journal will include a list of knitting projects in my queue, and a completed color chart of the Birds of Blendon hat.

But today, today is for hiking!

It’s Good to Have Goals

When I decided to lease a studio space for the coming new year, I made a commitment to myself to set creative goals. One of those goals is to start designing knitting patterns again.

Although I never had much success selling my patterns or kits, I did have some success in making, showing, and selling my designs and artwork, and in teaching sewing, knitting, and felting classes. At the time, it was my way of trying to build a career for myself in the arts while also staying at home raising our young children.

Life happened while I was busy making other plans. I needed to earn an income – fast – and I started over, building another career in business. I am grateful and I feel fortunate to have been able to support myself and my kids, and wholeheartedly love my work in fair trade. I recognize how lucky I am to be able to earn a living wage while helping others do the same with handmade goods.

One of the boundaries to creating my own knitting patterns is the plethora of patterns out there. If I want to knit something, all I have to do is search for it on Ravelry, and there is usually something that fits the bill. This year, however, I’m not going to do that. My challenge to myself is to sketch what I want to make, take the measurements, swatch, do the math, and knit it (if I still want to make it.)

It doesn’t mean I’m not going to knit other designers’ patterns. I have a whole list of knits I want to make that will last me well into next year, and I’m sure there will be more! But when there is something that I am envisioning, I am challenging myself to create my own pattern for it.

I’m also setting goals to sketch one design per week, and create a pattern draft for one design per month. That doesn’t mean I have to knit it. But I do hope to knit at least four of my own patterns next year. I will also make patterns available for free to people who would like to test knit them for me.

In order to meet these goals, I am dedicating 8 hours each week to studio time: 3 hours on Wednesday evenings, and 5 hours on Sundays. This is a lot on top of a 40 hour work week, family time, Haven Herbs time (5-10 hours per week), gym time (1 hour per week,) hiking, phew! There’s so much I want to do! Luckily I’m one of those people who wakes up at 5AM and is finished with half my work before breakfast!

I also still need to fit in art making time at my studio, as I need to create work for another group show taking place in July 2019. I have old artwork on display in my studio, and another fear I have is of going down the artmaking road more than the design road. So I’ve got to be sure to balance these things if I really want to create my own designs.

Wow, thanks for reading all of that if you are still with me. Here’s your reward, some photos!

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Here’s me being impatient to try on my Carbeth sleeve. I’m ready to start sleeve number 2.

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Here’s my favorite 10 year old being creative with glitter. I love how scientific her approach is to creativity.

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Here’s my Christmas gift to Bob. He’s lived in the US so long, he does not have a passport. If he leaves the country, he can’t return. So I put together a little kit of (almost) everything he needs for his Canadian passport. The only thing I didn’t do is fill out the form for him. We are hoping to travel to Nova Scotia in October to visit his family.

Here’s a Q&A for you, my first! You can answer questions in the comments or post them to your blog. If you post them, please leave a comment so we can go read them!

  1. Do you set New Year’s Goals or Resolutions for yourself?
  2. Do you have any creative goals for the new year?
  3.  Some people like to set a goal for a certain number of things to make for the year. For example: 18 in 18. Do you do this? If so, what is the number? How do you decide the number of things to make?
  4. Do you have blogging goals for the new year? If so, what are they?
  5. What is your favorite thing you’ve made in 2018? Post a pic!

Now I have to answer my own questions.

  1. Yes, I do.
  2.  Yes, I listed them above.
  3.  I did create a number of designs I want to create in the new year. I came up with the number by trying to decide what was realistic, but still challenging, based on the time I am setting aside.
  4. My blogging goal for 2019 is to blog two times per week, although I hope to blog more.
  5. My favorite thing I’ve made in 2018 is my Birds of Blendon Hat!

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