Thursday

I have been exhausted all week. I don’t know if I’m coming down with something, but other than working, all I really want to do is sleep.

I am still working on this Ohio Star Cowl which may be better suited to a giraffe once I finally get the short rows done on the front. I really want to finish it!

The bad news is… Kate Davies had to put the Knitting Season Club on hold due to health reasons. I’m not sure where that leaves the design contest.

The good news is… my first Ottobre arrived! There are a few things I would like to make, but that means I would have to buy fabric! That wouldn’t be so bad, but I already have sewing projects lined up.

I recently read this article which has me wondering why I always want to turn my hobbies into a job. Granted, when I was home with kids making and teaching and selling my wares at craft fairs, that line of reasoning made sense. But now I have a job, a good job I love, and I seem to be good at it. So why don’t I just let my hobbies be hobbies and enjoy them? I don’t have to justify or monetize them, do I?

Tea and Books, and a Swatch

I’ve noticed knitting blogs also have a tendency to run toward tea and books, so I thought I would share my new favorite tea.

I have been drinking Level Ground coffee for a couple of years, but this is the first time I’ve tried their black tea. It was on sale at work so I stocked up. It’s delicious!

I was worried about drinking black tea on top of coffee, but I notice I sleep better when I drink black tea. Bob says it’s the Theanine. I remember my ADHD psych telling me that if I’m not sleeping well, I’m probably undercaffeinated. I thought that was hogwash, but now I’m starting to wonder.

I am looking through stitch dictionaries to help me with my designs. Believe it or not I also owned the Vogue Knitting ones in addition to these -Interweave and Walker. I donated the Vogues to a knitting group for a potluck swap. The recipient was very happy. I got an Encyclopedia of Embroidery Stitches, so I was also pleased.

I do sometimes read non-knitting books, but not as much as I’d like. Right now I’m listening to Leviathan Wakes on Bob’s recommendation. Pam mentioned fandoms and I decided if I was going to have a “thing” I wanted to share it with Bob. So we’re trying to make The Expanse our thing and we’ve started watching the show. I’m a little disappointed with the show because I don’t feel it represents the diversity and social justice issues as well as the book, though I should probably give it more than two episodes.

I’m starting to wonder if we should make Godzilla our thing like Skeinherder. Honestly, I’m pretty sure horror is our thing.

I spent all of my knitting time yesterday working on this swatch in the round. I did a fair amount of improvising. I’m not 100% pleased but it’s a start.

If you have a holiday today, enjoy! If not, Happy Monday. 🙃

Friyay -All the Things

I received my first installment of the School of Wool Club from Knitspot.

It’s a skein of sport weight Targhee! How did they know I love the squishy sponginess of Targhee?

Look at this beautiful yarn inspired by the coloring of the female cardinal:

(📷 copyright cornbreadandhoney)

And check out this Harry Potter inspired knitting themed enamel pin!

Did you hear Kate Davies is having another design contest? I want to enter but I have zero ideas at this point.

I’m so glad it’s Friday.

Remember When I…

Today’s blog post brought to you by Knitting Season Journal prompt, Facebook memories, and lunch time naval gazing.

224627_1047377836452_6791_n

Remember when I turned the front room in my house into my first studio? The walls were a cheerful green, and I had Ikea cubes full of yarn, fabric, fiber, patterns, books, tools, sketchbooks, colored pencils, there’s even a statue of Indra up there. It was a very creative and prolific time for me. I was knitting and sewing, designing garments and knitting patterns, teaching, and making artwork, most of it knitted.

 

I had to scroll back through a decade of old Facebook photos to get these – back through other memories and times when I hurt so bad that I hurt all the way through, all the time. I felt that phantom heart pain as I scrolled – and tried to scroll faster so I wouldn’t feel it! Anyway, these dresses. I loved this dress so much I made two for friends and one for me. I wish I still had mine, the linen one on the right.

 

I made a lot of fun things. All of the things I’ve shown here, with the exception of the hand dyed, hand spun mulberry silk yarn and the linen dress, were birthday gifts for friends in my Mother Artists at Work group. It was friends that got me through those dark times. Thank you, friends!

Expand and Contract

This is my new Cascade 220 Sport for The Oa.

A friend and I were talking and she mentioned expansion scares her. Change is challenging for her. Not me, I love change, but lately I’ve been feeling a similar way. I expanded a lot in 2018. But now I’m feeling anxious and like it’s time to shrink back into myself. No more clubs, goals, or new things! Just knit on what you got, girl!

I signed up for FibreShare and it’s really fun, but it’s hard (for me) to know when to stop. I’m new at this, and when I hear what others are doing I think I’m not doing enough! Anyway, I have to ship international priority, and there’s a limit to what I can squeeze into that Tyvec mailer!

Are you a Valentine’s Day celebrator? Here’s a quiz for you, either way. I’ll go first.

1. Did you celebrate Valentine’s Day at home with your parents when you were a kid? If so, how did you celebrate?

My mom usually had some kind of Valentine’s Day treat for us when we were kids: candy, cookies, or cupcakes. One year she bought me a little doll I wanted with a pink dress. It was when I was almost too old for dolls, but not quite.

2. Did you give and receive Valentines at your school when you were a kid? If so, what is your happiest memory of it?

We decorated our own mailboxes at my school, and I remember one year I papered mine with aluminum foil. I thought it was really nifty. I also think I gave KISS Valentines one year, and of course I thought that was super cool.

3. What was your favorite Valentine’s Day treat when you were a kid? What about now?

When I was a kid I remember liking those cherry flavored, heart shaped suckers. Now I love chocolate cherry cupcakes and red wine.

4. Do you craft for Valentine’s Day? If so, what do you make?

No. Not anymore. Although I thought about knitting a red scarf this year with that lovely yarn from Karen.

5. Do you have a bad Valentine’s Day memory you would like to share?

I have two but I don’t wish to share them.

6. Do you have any special plans this Valentine’s Day?

No, I will be traveling for work. But I will get some candy for the kids.

I look forward to reading your answers! Please leave them in the comments or a link to your blog if you respond there. ❤️

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?

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

img_2153

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:

img_2155

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:

knitting season hat.jpg

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.

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.

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!

img_1474

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

img_1469

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

img_1470

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!

img_0917

Knit Like the Wind

Time to watch the Joe Bob Christmas horror marathon on Shudder and knit like the wind!

Sleeve number two is underway!

I only have one sleeve to knit, then I have to sew it on, then finish a hat, in two days! Do you think I can do it? I think I can do it. I’d better stop blogging and start knitting.

Also, Joe Bob was complaining about cranberry sauce, but it’s clear to me he’s never had homemade, whole cranberry sauce. I would eat that year round. Maybe I’ll extend cranberry sauce season to include New Year’s alongside black eyed peas and greens.