Blue Ribbon Beanie

This went really fast and I love it. It’s the perfect beanie: a little tam, a little slouch, but not too much to be a beanie.

And I love the color!

Yarn: Malabrigo Arroyo DK Matisse Blue

Needles: 1 size US 4 16″ circular, 1 size US 6 16″ circular, Size US 6 double points, or size needed to obtain gauge

Gauge: 5 stitches per inch on larger needles

Begin Pattern:

Cast on 100 stitches on the smaller circular needle size. ( I use crochet cast on for elasticity.)

Place marker and join to knit in the round.

Begin K2 P2 and continue for 2 inches.

Change to larger circular needle and knit in stockinette stitch for 5 inches (total length 7 inches).

Begin decreasing on next round: K 18 K 2 together 5 times (until end of round).

K 1 round

K 17 K 2 together 5 times (until end of round)

Knit 1 round

Continue decreasing in this manner (decreasing 5 stitches every other round) until you are at K 12 K 2 together, or 65 stitches total.

Switch from circular needles to double points when stitches become too small for the circular needle.

Begin decreasing in the same manner EVERY round, starting with K 11 K 2 together, until you have 10 stitches total left on needles.

Break yarn, and use darning needle to run the tail through the remaining stitches. Tie off and weave in loose ends.

Voila! Blue Ribbon Beanie. Enjoy!

Down with Bad Stuff

I do not like summer. I have never liked summer. I don’t like the heat. I don’t like the break in routine. Summer makes me grumpy. Summertime is when I like to stay indoors in the AC and read and knit. Down with Summer.

Bob and I walked to the library yesterday and I browsed the knitting books, while also picking up more Tudor books. I can’t seem to get enough of the Tudors — fiction, nonfiction, audiobook, proper book, well written, badly written… it really does not matter. And what’s fascinating is every author has a different take on the subject!

Anyway, I enjoyed browsing the knitting books and bringing a few home, noncommittally. In the past, I would only check out the knitting books if I thought I could learn something from them or if there was a pattern inside that I wanted to knit. I was in my same old rut — looking through knitting books that I thought were pretty but would never knit anything out of — when I realized it was okay. It is totally fine to check out a knitting book, flip through it and enjoy the eye candy, and then return it. It’s even okay to do it intentionally! Down with self-limiting arbitrary rules!

“Protest Knits” has a very enjoyable Trump Pincushion crochet pattern, but I will never make it. Maybe I will make the Down with Bad Stuff water bottle holder!

I have a HUUUGE water bottle (see what I did there?) and I never take it hiking because it’s too darn big! But this would solve that problem and be fun, albeit rather vague.

I started my Blue Ribbon Beanie. It is a beautiful shade of deep cerulean Malabrigo DK. It’s 2X2 rib. I’m not sure how I will decrease at the top yet. Ribbing can be tricky to decrease.

Honestly, I started the beanie because I’ve lost the verve for my FIVE sweaters I have on the needles, and even Celtic Myths feels a little fussy right now. So I’ve fallen back on hat knitting just to try to stick with it.

I had to give up a few things this Summer. I gave up the herb business. It needed more than I could give. I gave up some of my blog subscriptions. I couldn’t keep up. But I only gave up on the ones where I felt there wasn’t a connection. I have had to give up pleasure eating and drinking wine and margaritas. I gained a lot of weight last year and even exercise couldn’t help me keep it off, so I signed up for Noom and am counting every calorie and even steps! I had to give up sewing for a while, until I no longer needed to use my studio as an office.

But I got my office back, which means I also got my studio back. I got to participate in an art show. I got my teeth cleaned today, which included a new toothbrush, floss, and props for excellent hygiene. I’ve lost 2 pounds in 5 days. My garden is producing scrumptious tomatoes. Up with good stuff, amiright?!

FibreShare and a Q&A

I signed up for FibreShare! I’m suuuuuper excited about it because I’ve wanted to participate for a while now!

Karen posted a Q&A, my favorite!

Q. What item did you make that was a complete win? You loved making it, using it and got compliments on it.

A. I’m just going to say hats. I seem to do really well with hats in general.

Q. How about a project that was a half win? You either loved making it and didn’t use it or hated making it but loved using it.

A. I loved making my Magenta Le Smoking, but I don’t wear it. There is no shaping in the shoulders, and it is too small to really wear comfortably. I love the color. I’m still thinking about frogging it.

Q. Have you ever resurrected a UFO, finished it and loved it?

A. Just the Birds of Blendon hat.

Q. Is there a technique that you’ve used in the past that you’ll never do again? How about one that you avoided and ended up liking? Do you use the items?

A. I tend to avoid intarsia. I don’t hate it, but I don’t love it either. I prefer knitting that has an intuitive rhythm to it. I haven’t knit intarsia in a long time. It was a sweater for my oldest son that had a star on the front. He really liked it. I guess I would knit intarsia again if there were a really good reason for it and I liked the finished product enough. But I think it’s clear that I’m more of a process knitter.

I need to get cracking on my Ohio Star Cowl. I skipped the last Knitting Season creative assignment, which consisted of knitting a stranded colorwork design in different colors, in favor of finishing up my Otter Ferry. I can see the point of the assignment, but my Knitting. Time. Is. So. Precious.

Do you prefer to spend your time knitting towards a finished object? Or are you happy to knit experimentally? Do you swatch a lot? Or just enough to get the gauge?

I’m in the latter category. What was it I said about being a process knitter? Maybe I am a product knitter, or a combination of both?

Otter Ferry Hat Success

I finished my Otter Ferry Hat from Kate Davies’ Milarrochy Heids!

I really love this design. It’s jaunty and fun, but still grown up, and is flattering on.

I had difficulty choosing the best contrast color to go with my Megs Levesseur button – Stockimuir (green) or Ardlui (blue) – so in the end I went with both!

This was the first time I had ever knit an icord bindoff. What a simple way to create a nice finished edge! I love it when I learn something new. I’ve been knitting so long, it’s not often that I do.

I’m so glad it’s Friday. January has been a rough month for me. I think I’ve been sick for two weeks straight. I look forward to February. Luckily it’s right around the corner!

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.

Wednesday Off

I took today off for some self care after my whirlwind inventory tour for work.

I can’t decide if I should get out of bed or not.

It’s finally snowing. I love the snow and would be very sad if we didn’t get at least one good blizzard. It’s only flurrying today, though, so not enough to keep me from going to the gym and running some errands. If I can get out of bed, that is.

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.

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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Christmas Knits

I finished all my Christmas knitting by the end of the day. That counts, right?

Harald’s sweater is massive, but he loves it and wore it all day. I suppose we could felt it a bit and shrink it a tad, but I think he really likes it as is. The stripes ended up looking okay as the entire back is like that.

I had to modify the Goats of Inversnaid hat pattern in order to use the Milarrochy Tweed yarn. I ended up knitting two more repeats of goats before starting the crown. (Look at me learning from my mistakes and listening to myself.) I really like how long and narrow the beanie is. It looks a little more trendy this way. And I’m pleased with how the crown came out.

We had a great day of Ethiopian food for dinner, presents, and Christmas movies. I’m surprised by how many we watched this year: Elf, Rare Exports, Krampus, A Christmas Horror Story, Christmas with the Kranks, A Charlie Brown Christmas, A Christmas Story, It’s a Wonderful Life, Black Adder’s Christmas Carol, SCTV Christmas Special, and Scrooged.

Merry Christmas! I hope your day was jolly!