Creation Hive Knitters

This week I’ve been at Creation Hive looking at products and talking product development. Today we talked woolens, and as I had suspected, they are accomplished knitters!

Jane, middle, and Jacqueline, right, picked up my Bousta Beanie in Milarrochy Tweed and carried on where I left off. Jane then cast on her own hat using locally produced wool yarn. They don’t have circular needles here, but we’ve found a source for them.

I have great faith in these ladies developing a line of Fair Trade woolens in Kenyan merino wool yarn! It will support their textile economy as well. It’s a great solution and I’m thrilled to have played my little part in it. I can’t wait to see their creations and to bring them to the US through Global Gifts!

Kenana Knitters

On the way to Eldoret we stopped at Kenana Knitters. Unfortunately we were there on a Saturday when the workshop is closed, but the Manager, Susan, met us and the founder, Patricia, came to meet us. I was able to interview both of them for The Just Craft, and I can’t wait to share it with you!

Susan and Patricia showing me one of their handmade spinning wheels made with a repurposed bicycle wheel.

They use locally produced wool for their yarn, and dye it with native plants! As you can imagine, I was totally geeked out.

They don’t allow photos of their products, but if you go to their website you will see what they make. It’s a wonderful workshop offering gainful employment and empowering programs for the local women.

I finished my first hat in Kenyan wool. What do you think about the tassel? Two tassels? No tassel? Pompom? I like how the tassel looks like a thistle and I am calling it my Thistle Tassel Hat. It’s a tad big (I have a big head) so it needs to be taken down by a couple of stitches. But it’s simple and a novice knitter could accomplish it easily, I think. I might add another tassel.

Vintage Is as Vintage Does

Yesterday I received The Vintage Shetland Project in the mail. What a glorious book! Quiteayarnblog had posted about it and I knew it would be for me. It has knitting, history, and patterns! But my real reason for mentioning it is I want to ask you a very important question. Do you think I can pull off wearing puffy sleeves?

I know we all say, “You can wear anything you want!” But honestly, I think I may feel ancient if I dress in — what appears to me to be — a rather old fashioned style. I loved to dress vintage when I was younger, and it was easy for me to pull off. I think I may also have had a sweater like this when I was in my 20s.

Maybe I’ll start with the mitten pattern and use my Fairlight Fibers gift card. I’ll add it to my queue anyway.

Aren’t pics of images funny? How they distort and skew but seem real? There’s an art project in there. Postmodernism at its finest. It’s probably been done.

Today I was thinking I might challenge myself to sketch a design for a knitting pattern every day. That would be good practice.

Here’s a knitting fashion quiz for you:

1. Do you think it’s true “if you wore it the first time around, you shouldn’t wear it the second (or third) time around?”

2. Do you believe there is a “first time around” anymore? Have you seen fashion produce anything new lately that you would like to wear?

3. Do you knit things you would never wear just because you want to knit them? Do you gift them afterward?

Here are my answers:

1. As I get older, my experience is that I don’t look (or feel) good in retro or vintage styles like I did when I was younger. I look and feel better in classic and/or modern but more sophisticated clothing. In other words, my Mother was right.

But I will never get rid of my overalls!

2. I haven’t seen anything new in fashion since the 80s. Everything is a rehash, except the jeans with the clear plastic over the butt cheeks and I wouldn’t wear that. (ETA: Bob thinks this was only in a movie, but I thought someone tried to make it a fashion after that.)

3. I only knit apparel I have in mind for someone to use and enjoy. I love beautiful things but I am prosaically practical. I do occasionally knit art that is for looking at and contemplating, although it’s been a while.

Please leave your answers in the comments, or on your blog and let us know!

Coasting on Friday Eve

Thursday always feels like going downhill. Like when Treebeard said in Lord of the Rings that going south feels like going downhill.

I am almost finished with Hans’ Tread. He wants an extra pattern repeat to make sure it covers his ears.

After that I will swatch for my Farmhouse Cardigan. I can’t wait to get my hands in the Black Welsh Mountain yarn. Maybe I will swatch for my Gryffindor Winter Ferns hat as well.

Then it’s Linen Stitch Cowl all the way to Kenya and back. Sounds like a trip to Naivasha is on the itinerary to meet the ladies with the wool!

Are you curious how I managed to afford the Black Welsh Mountain yarn? Basically I had $500 tied up in a savings account I didn’t have access to. I went to the bank and closed the account, moving the savings to our checking. And when I recalculated how much I needed for the cardi, it went from 1400 yards down to 1200, so that brought it down to $350. I still discussed it with Bob because that’s a lot to spend on yarn! But he agreed because it’s an investment in my happiness and cheaper than therapy if you divide it by hours spent knitting. I didn’t even have to use that last argument to persuade him.

It’s time to start thinking about the spring planting. Here’s a quiz from KathyB!

Have you gotten a seed catalog yet?

Yes, Seed Savers Exchange

Are you planning to plant by seed this year?

Probably, I usually do. Although last year we purchased some plants from a local urban farm.

Are you still giving away zucchini bread made from last fall’s harvest?

Nope, I didn’t grows Zukes last year.

When is the last time someone gave you flowers?

My Mother and Sister sent me a beautiful bouquet for my birthday last year.

Who taught you to garden?

My Grandmother

Are you months from these decisions, as I am, and just clinging to the rest of our blog pals photos of greenery and blossoms?

Since we may be moving, I’m holding off on gardening plans.

Did you know you can get gorgeous anemone in a flower bouquet?

I did not! What’s an anemonemonemeny? (Ok. Ok. Don’t hurt yourself.)

Have you ever knitted or crocheted a flower?

I don’t think so.

Sundee

This is my Sunday: knitting, reading, cozy cat on quilt, and hemming some pants. I may stay in my PJs all day.

Yesterday I sewed a bag for Liz (part of her giveaway prize) based on this bag sewn for me by Sarah. I am thinking of it as friendship bread, the sewing version.

The Juki machines are nice. I am enjoying my sewing again. I still have a lot to learn about them.

I started my Hogsmeade Cowl. I really wanted to make a linen stitch cowl but didn’t have enough for Jessica Jones. I realized I had the power. I knit a swatch in linen stitch. I did math. I cast on. This will be my Kenya knitting. I will knit until I’m almost out of yarn, and then I’ll bind off.

In the upper left of the photo above, you will see a book by The Alchemist. I am savoring it, especially the photos of the gorgeous vases and the intro to Raku at the beginning. I will learn more next week as I have an interview with the artist for The Just Craft. One day I will buy a vase. I have my eye on Jovian Moon. Although A Horse with No Name and Apollo’s Song have also taken my fancy. Housewarming gift for myself? I have to buy a house first. Priorities!

I received some very nice hand-me-down clothing from friends for my household, and the boys are taking their picks. I have also claimed three pair of trousers for myself. I think I prefer men’s trousers. They are loose and comfy and high waisted for people with no waist. That’s me! Maybe I’ll start tucking in my shirts again.

I hope you have a wonderful Sunday. My main goal today is to not think about work so I can be fresh for tomorrow’s challenges!

Friday Eve

Work has been crazy busy, but I found time on Sunday to start my Billie Jumpsuit.

The bottom is looking and feeling very like kid PJs. About 12 years ago, I was sewing a lot and selling my wares at craft shows, and a friend suggested I should design children’s clothing. Maybe she was right?

I am hoping once I get the top on, it will look more like something a grown up would wear in public. If it doesn’t, I’ll add some feet and own it!

My sewing machine is giving me tension trouble. I thought I had fixed it with the use of the correct bobbins, but I was too optimistic. My old Singer has the same problem.

I think I’ll go ahead and get a new sewing machine and a serger. I’ll test them out on Saturday to make sure I like the Jukis I’ve heard so much about. I don’t want to damage my expensive fabric on a cheap machine. It isn’t worth it! Plus it’s frustrating and sucks all the joy out of my sewing time. Maybe I will find someplace to donate my old machines.

On the knitting front, I’m finishing up another Tread. I will start my Jessica Jones cowl before my trip so I can knit on the plane. I heard we struck wool in Kenya, and was told to bring my needles! I’m excited!

Craft Corner

Bob and I got rid of an old couch we don’t need anymore and turned a corner of the living room into my craft corner. I’ve already broken it in with some jeans hemming. I foresee the shelves on the right slowly being taken over by craft supplies.

Just in case you were wondering, this is my tassel maker set from Katrinkles. I don’t make tassels very often, but these are so adorable I had to have them. I also signed up for her stitch marker of the month club!

Thanks to everyone who suggested I should color in the Winter’s Fern chart. Since the gold is my favorite color of the three, I made it the main color.

You would think someone with a degree in art would spend more time coloring, drawing, and sketching. But that is never something I think to do. I will try to do more of it when I am planning projects.

I’m going to finish up my Tread Hats and then start my Jessica Jones Cowl. What are you working on?

All the Updates

Hello!

I thought you might enjoy seeing the pattern I picked out for my plaid flannel fabric.

Eh?

I’m pretty excited about it. If I like it for winter in plaid flannel, I’ll make a linen one for summer.

Will I try to match the plaid, or will I funkily mismatch it? Probably the latter but I’ll have to see how it looks.

My orchid is blooming again. Apparently I’m good at orchids now. Who knew? Maybe I’ll try ferns again this summer. I have been a notorious fern killer.

I’m in a bit of a dither with knitting and not sure what to do next. I was going to knit a hat out of recycled t-shirt yarn as a sample for our artisan partners in Kenya, but it sounds like they will be banning the import of used clothing soon. Good on you, Kenya! We’ll figure out products that will support their textile economy. They are having a wool renaissance like we are, so maybe that will work out.

Maybe I’ll finish up the two remaining Tread hats, and then start Winter’s Fern. What knitting will I take with me to Kenya? Maybe the Jessica Jones cowl?

I adjusted my meds so I am now back on a low dose of one med (instead of two) that I take at night. It was good to get off them completely to see what my baseline is and readjust, and better for me physically. The side effects were killing me.

This pic is for my Mom. Hi Mom! I got my hair cut recently and I asked them to take my photo. They took me back to a little studio area where they do glamour shots. I started looking around for props. I would’ve taken someone down for a feather boa!