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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Sunday Off

Tonight I knit the neck ribbing on Harald’s sweater. I think I may have picked up a few too many stitches in the front, what do you think? Maybe it will block out? Maybe it’s because I chose mock cable rib for the chest panel? Maybe it’s close enough and I should move on?

Look at those lines from the kettle dying below the chest. I saw them when I was knitting them but decided it didn’t matter. I am still okay with it because it’s hand dyed yarn and a hand knitted garment. I hope he will be too. I might be in denial about myself being okay with it.

A friend of mine introduced me to Color Street nail polish strips. I never paint my nails because ugh! What a pain. But these are cute and really easy to use. Check out my “Fleece Navidad” Christmas sweater nails.

So fun. And you don’t have to wait for them to dry to start knitting again! Because they are already dry! I think of them as being like window clings when I am putting them on. It was my first time and I did pretty well.

It might be a little early for Christmas nails, but I rationalize it by calling them Fair Isle nails.

Today was my only day off this weekend. I tried to relax and do fun things. Middle Child and I watched Season 5 of Vikings since the new season comes out later this month. I am loving this cold weather and looking forward to a big Thanksgiving.

I see many bloggers knitting Christmas gifts. I am not ambitious enough to do that. What about you? Are you knitting any gifts this year?

Still Knitting!

My hat is still coming along. I had a stroke of genius on how to fix the top. (Just move the decrease over one stitch, duh!) I’m not crazy about the second bird section where they are left facing. Can you see them? Let’s just say they are high up in the trees and flying in the sky so they are harder to see. The rest of the motifs after bird and tree rows are diamonds and crosses that make me think of snow.

I’m getting ready to go out of town for work. I feel like I should bring some knitting but I’m not sure what. Something small and mindless, but I never did start those socks.

What’s your favorite travel knitting project?

Cats Like Bird Knitting

I am still pottering away at my Birds of Blendon Hat. I don’t get much knitting time, which is my own fault, I guess. JoJo likes to play with my yarn while I knit, so here’s another gratuitous kitty pic, only a little staged as I obviously don’t leave my knitting lying around like this for her to get into.

I’m falling for all the Carbeth hype. Everyone is doing it, and now I want to do it too. I’m only human. I think I should lengthen it a bit though, since I’m short-waisted. I might also add a hood. Why not? I love the color Between Weathers. I am a sucker for blue.

I’ve decided I need to learn to knit and walk, and although I don’t typically like sock knitting, a nice plain stockinette sock sounds like just the thing. I found a plain sock pattern I want to try, now I just need sock yarn. What is your favorite sock yarn? Inquiring minds…

On a personal note, my oldest son just moved into his own place. I’m so proud. My middling son will also be leaving the nest in a few months. Luckily my youngest son has a few years left at home. He is tinkering with a song on the pan flute right now. I wonder where he gets that pottering-tinkering inclination from?

And then the kitty couldn’t hold her head up any longer. It just fell “plop!” On my lap.

I love how there are already Black Panther patterns out there!

Sorry for the randomness. Do leave me some sock yarn recommendations though, if you please.

Birds of Blendon Hat

I spent some time knitting this weekend. I do love stranded colorwork and following charts. Very Zen. I should knit more Fair Isle patterns so I have a better idea how the colors should work together when designing.

This is coming along OK. As you can see I am not following the colors as I started charting them. Instead I wrote my color plans in the left margin.

I did a good job designing the motifs. It’s quite enjoyable to knit. If I don’t like the way the colors come out on this one, I could always try it again with a different color combination.

What do you think? It’s still early days.

Color Theory!

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I really enjoyed my Color Theory class at Yarn It and Haberdashery, Look at Esther! Can you imagine a better person to learn from about Color Theory?

The best tip of the evening was learning to use colors that are opposite (or almost) on the color wheel but also using cool tones against warm tones to really make them pop. I can’t wait to get my Milarrochy Tweed yarn to see how the palette works together!

In the meantime, I will make some black and white copies of my chart and color in some potential options.

I also purchased a new skein of yarn to start on Brassica, which I fell in love with while swiping through my Ravelry app. Although I would have loved to have used the Cascade called for, I found instead a skein of Berroco Ultra Alpaca Chunky in – guess what color? Grey.

Last night, I confessed to the fun and funky ladies at class that I’m a boring knitter. Esther corrected me and called me an “Over the Pond” knitter. Her shop is filled with bright and fun colors, and everyone is knitting speckled yarn. She says that’s what the Americans like. But not me. It’s true. I follow KnitBritish. I like natural fibers in neutral colors. I like cables and texture work, and if colors, then stranded Fair Isle or Nordic colorways. One time I took a “What kind of knitter are you?” quiz, and the answer was “Purist.”

I waxed rhapsodic about my navy stockinette pullover I will knit for myself one day. There were a lot of eye rolls.

I’m exaggerating a bit, but I do think it’s interesting. I like the history of knitting. I like the tradition. I want to hug sheep.

Speaking of, I have an exciting field trip this week which I can’t wait to blog about next weekend!

Will I blog tomorrow and make this a two-blog weekend? I guess we will find out tomorrow!

Progress

img_2741Words cannot express my joy at finally (mostly) finishing the design for the West Highland Way hat contest and ordering the yarn!

I posted this in black and white because I’m not finished with the color design. I need to see the yarn in person to really know how I am going to use it. But I did finish the top decreasing which I think will work out okay, and I chose colors which remind me of that winter’s day at Blendon Woods and the birds in the snow.

I also ordered 2 extra balls of the color Bruce (black) because I am going to knit myself a textured hat with this. What can I say? I like wearing black and I like knitting hats.

Also, the yarn is my Valentine’s gift from Bob. ❤ Thank you, Bob!

(Checks weekly blog post off to do list.)

Heavy on Design, Light on Knitting

I haven’t felt much like blogging this week. I didn’t get much knitting done so there is nothing to show off. But I did work on my design for the WHW hat contest.

After getting reacquainted with my eraser, I decided there had to be an app for that (charting designs) and of course there is!

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I used to have an entire software suite devoted to knitting design. I paid a pretty penny for it. I’ve lost it since, and it was so long ago, I think it may have come on floppy discs.

I still have to figure out how to continue the design along the decreasing at the top, so this will change. I did start on the colorwork, but color design is my weakness.

I went to a post-modern conceptual art school, where IF we talked about color, it was only in relation to how it made the viewer feel. It was never discussed in a design context.

I think I did take a class or read a book once about the color wheel and complementary colors, but I have to admit this is just not a strong suit. I have tried to observe and be inspired by the colors in nature for this project, and see if I can work them in together in some way. I feel really insecure about it, though, so I signed up to take a color theory class in February at Yarn It and Haberdashery. I guess I’ll muddle through until then.

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What else? I started a Serenity Stitch at Preserve, a local tea and herb shop. It’s like a Stitch and Bitch, but with a focus on mindfulness and relaxation. I’m not sure if we will do exercises or just sit and stitch and drink tea and enjoy each other’s company. I will wait until the first meeting to see what other people need in their lives.

I expect there will be some teaching of knitting, though, because that is what people keep asking me to do. Teach them to knit! And I’m TOTALLY JAZZED about it!

 

New Year’s Day Round Up

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I finally get to hang up my Goats of Anarchy calendar. I’ve had it since September!

I didn’t blog every day between Christmas and New Year’s, but I did knit almost every day. Here are some project updates.

My J&S swatch is coming along. It’s time to experiment with the cables. I was pleased I could jump right back into 2-color stranded knitting, although my tension was a little off on the purl row back. Luckily the sweater should be knit in the round.

Here is a tip. If you want to manifest something into your life, put it on your blog! Look what I got for Christmas!

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One of my presents from Bob was also to sign me up for Kate Davies’ West Highland Way Club – patterns only, but I will certainly be saving my pennies for some yarn as well. I’m very excited about it and can’t wait for it to start!

I did swatch the J&S Shetland while watching Shetland a second time. (I had to for tongue-in-cheek purposes.) I tried to take a photo but couldn’t get one worth sharing. In the first episode, one of the characters is wearing Kate Davies’ Peerie Flooers hat. When I saw that, I remembered I was introduced to Kate Davies Designs through the show the first time I watched it. I think that moment was the spark that rekindled my love of knitting last year. (Hmm… that hat is knit with J&S jumper weight… Hmm…)

Although, I will probably knit the Goats of Inversnaid hat first. What can I say? I really love goats. And so does my youngest. He might get a goat hat, too.

I’m off to make a digital vision board for 2018 full of knitting hopes and dreams.  Happy New Year! What are your aspirations for 2018?