Catch Up and Q&As

“Three tomatoes are walkin’ down the street. Papa Tomato, Mama Tomato and Baby Tomato. Baby Tomato starts lagging behind, and Papa Tomato gets really angry. Goes back and squishes him and says: Ketchup!” — Pulp Fiction

I feel a little like Baby Tomato these days.

I finished my Emerson Pants. I’m pleased overall, but would like to suggest for the waistband that you fold it under on the inside and finish it by hand rather than what the instructions say. Because the pleats are thick I ended up with serger trauma.

It had been so long since I had sewn a waistband I didn’t think ahead on this one. I doubled-down on the stitching. Here’s hoping it survives the washing machine.

I am almost finished with the sleeve section on Cricket Hitofude and plan to be on to the next section today, unless my lilac heather cumulus blouse lures me away with its misty seamless stockinette lull. I finished one chart repeat on the edge of Celtic Myths, and it is so pretty. I look forward to diving into that monogamously at some point soon.

I bought two dress patterns from Grainline Studios and a custom fit jeans pattern from Bootstrap Fashion. I think I have enough natural linen left over to sew one of these dresses, but I’m hoping for an Etsy gift card for my upcoming birthday so I can order more linen from Lithuania.

This week I worked in my studio on some samples for our artisan partners in Kenya. I really enjoyed it and I’m hoping to be able to do more design work in future.

Today is my only day off this week so I’m parked on the couch with my knitting. Here are two Q&As from Karen and Kathy!

1. You’re sitting in your crafting chair or crafty couch, what else are you doing? Do you like to watch TV or maybe a movie? What are your favorites? Do you watch things more than once? Do you listen to podcasts? Do you prefer an audiobook?

I am usually watching a movie or tv show, preferably horror, sci fi, or UK/Euro mystery with beautiful scenery. I have recently started listening to audiobooks. The Shetland mysteries are my current favorite and I enjoy trying to say “murrrderrrr” like the narrator, and failing miserably every time.

2. What is your preferred drink? Are you having coffee, tea or maybe a tall frosty glass of beer? Do you have a snack? Do you like to reward yourself after a particularly long row or repeat?

Coffee or wine, depending on the time of day. I also like tea and shortbread cookies if it is afternoon. Sometimes I like herbal tea.

3. Do you craft alone or are you surrounded by your family and pets? Do they talk or whine while you’re counting? Are they understanding about the time you spend on your craft?

If I am crafting at home I am usually on the couch with Bob and our cat, JoJo. In the studio, where I do the majority of sewing and designing, I am usually alone.

1. What’s your favorite Pet movie?

I do not have a favorite pet movie.

2. Have you, do you play video games?

Not if I can avoid it. When the boys were younger they were always asking me to play video games with them, and I would only do so begrudgingly.

3. Discussing air travel with a friend recently, made me think about this question. Do you like take off and landings?  Do you enjoy the cruising time on a plane?

I enjoy the adrenaline of the take off and landing. I also enjoy the knitting/reading/sleeping time of the cruising. I enjoy air travel, except the waiting in line at the airport time.

4. Mason Dixon recently asked, Do you prefer fair isle or Duplicate stitch? So I’ll ask that of you as well.  Which do you prefer?

Fair Isle, of course.

5. Did you see the SNL skit last weekend about women who hate to shop for clothing?  It was spot on!  Do you like to shop for clothing?  Google it: The Shopping Experience for People Who Hate Shopping….

I did not but I will google it.

6. Some people love those interchangeable needles.  Do you?

I hate interchangeable needles because the yarn always gets caught on the join.

7. Have you ever called the Fire Department?

No, thank goodness.

8. Do you know anyone who had a home birth?  ( how random is this? at least the question is not did you call the fire department during your home birth.right?)

Yes I’m pretty sure I know several people who have had a home birth. My first two were born in a freestanding birth center, which was very like a home birth.

9. Boiled egg, Cadbury Egg, or Marshmallow Egg?

Marshmallow Egg.

10. When was the last time you rode on a bus?

Probably last summer. I enjoy riding on the bus!

Dang, now I wish I had a marshmallow egg.

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?

A Crafty Q&A from Karen

Karen, over at nothingbutknit, posted a Q&A! Here are her questions and my answers:

Q. What are your crafty plans for 2019? Are you going to try something new? If you could learn one new thing this year what would it be?

A. My crafty year will consist of knitting, wet felting, sewing, and beading- embroidery on an art piece I have been working on since 2015. Or, rather, an art piece I haven’t worked on since 2015 is what I should say. For something new, I am seriously considering learning macrame jewelry. I ordered two macrame necklaces on Etsy and I have two cabochons (moonstone and labradorite) that I would love to make into pendants or bracelets. I feel like this is something I should learn how to do. Maybe I will also try to knit wire jewelry again, but so far I have not liked the results.

Q. Do you have a special project planned for 2019? Are you going to make something special for yourself or someone else?

A. This year I have a few sewing projects in mind for my wardrobe. A pair of wool, wide legged pants (which I have loved ever since I bought my first pair from the J Peterman Company in the 1980s) a summer dress, and a summer tunic with pockets. I already have the fabric and patterns, and now that I have the space, I can make them! I have sewn the bibs from the Rosie the Riveter pattern twice before, but I have outgrown both pair! This year I’ve decided to grow a bit in maturity and sew the trousers. I purchased the dress pattern in 2012 because I had intended to use it for my wedding dress, but instead opted for another pattern.

Q. I’ve been wondering if you’ve ever donated something you’ve made to charity. Is it something you’d consider doing? Why or why not?

A. I would love to knit for charity, but I have such a long queue of selfish projects, I never get to it. I blogged about that time I knit a Peace Shawl as a silent auction donation, which left me feeling unappreciated. I’ll probably never do that again. But knitting garments for those in need is a very different thing. Maybe next year I’ll set a goal to knit one item for charity. I will never complete my projects planned for 2019 as it is.

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After blocking, I’m in love with my modified Carbeth even more and am wearing it over my second favorite flannel shirt today! I forgot to mention that I added a few inches to the body. I love this knit so much, I am considering ordering a Carbeth Swan Dance kit in a few months, once I have saved some pennies. That blue is just gorgeous. And although I love the styling of the rolled neckline, it would not flatter me, so I’ll stick with the plain rib.

Also, look how my hand dyed Targhee stripes just like the Manos Maxima on Harald’s sweater! Isn’t that funny? I am now thinking of this as a design element.

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As you can see, blocking didn’t improve the ease. Maybe it would be better if I didn’t wear it over a flannel shirt? Nevermind, it is so comfortable and wearable, I really don’t care.

Also, my underarm grafting did not turn out as well as I would have liked. Although the kitchener stitching worked out fine, and I even picked up a stitch or two on each end to graft, those loose corners get me every time. I ended up mattress stitching them on either side of the grafting, but it doesn’t look as nice as I want it to. I’m all about making a garment look as good on the inside as it does on the outside unless, of course, it doesn’t work out that way.

Today is my first full day back to work, so here I go!

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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Knitting Q&A

You know I can’t resist a Q&A! This one is from nothingbutknit2.

Q. You’re given a magic yarn bag that will supply one skein at a time as needed. You reach inside and pull out a skein. What is this yarn? Be specific or not.

A. Cerulean Wool DK. It’s similar to a yarn I’m working with now. I almost said cashmere, but cashmere is too limp and floppy. I like my yarn to have some body. Also I prefer a local yarn. So maybe Targhee, although I don’t know that much about sheep. And maybe a tweed with some flecks of navy, olive green, and burnt orange.

Q. When you enter a yarn store how do you work the space? Does it vary if it’s your regular store or a new to you store?

A. I will head directly for the worsted. Then I will backtrack and go up and down the rows. If it is a new-to-me store I will stand in a place with a good view of everything for a minute to assess the layout, then do exactly the same.

Q. Have you ever knit or crocheted something that you swore you never would? What was it? Why did you never want to make it and why did you?

A. Yes, big knitting. It was that big knit ruff/cowl. I think that big yarn is absurd and not fun to knit with. But that particular yarn was so scrumptious I really wanted to make something with it. Also, I really wanted to knit something for my favorite then nine-year-old and I didn’t have much time.

Q. What is your next project going to be? Do you have a planned queue or do you make whatever strikes your fancy at the moment?

A. I’m going to cast on for that Carbeth in the red Targhee soon. I also have socks in blue Knitting Goddess yarn that I haven’t started. I was going to make them plain but now I think I’m going to use a pattern from this Hunter Hammersen book that feels like it was created specifically for me:

Knitting and plants and vintage botanical illustrations! I haven’t picked a pattern yet.

I’m also going to knit another Brassica hat out of the same yarn as before, but in green:

I over-edited this photo in Snapseed in an attempt to make you feel as in love with this color as I am.

As you can see, I mostly plan my projects, but sometimes I linger over the planning stage because the fortuitous unexpected will happen, like the Hunter Hammersen book. That’s fun to say! Hunter Hammersen.

Holiday Q&A

I love these Q&As. I got this from nothingbutknit2, but it was originally posted by compassionknit. I hope it’s okay I jump on the bandwagon!

Have you asked your kids to do something you wouldn’t do?

I can’t think of anything. At work, one of my staff told me she respects me because I do not ask them to do anything I am not willing to do myself. I guess I’m that way with my kids, too.

Do you understand: Football, Bridge, or Cricket?

If by Football we mean the same thing as Soccer, then yes. I also understand the basics of American Football. I do not understand Bridge or Cricket. I also do not watch sports as a rule, unless my children are marching in the band during half time. I have never played Bridge. I am fascinated by Rugby and Curling, though.

Have you talked to your family about Organ Donation?

No, I am a registered organ donor, though. It’s a little scary signing up because I always think about Monty Python’s “Meaning of Life” movie when they come for the man’s liver while he is “still using it.” I almost included a link to the video on youtube, but you know what? It is so gruesome, if you really want to see it, you can google it.

Did you knit something that you thought you might not be able to this year?

I think I can knit anything, and I probably have knit almost everything, at least once. There are some things I choose not to knit because I do not enjoy it. The fact that I am knitting at all at this point is pretty remarkable, because I had almost given it up. I’m so glad I clung to knitting!

I-phone or Samsung?

I have an iPhone. It’s fine.

Do you put bows or trinkets on your packages?

We wrap gifts in reusable holiday fabric bags that I made. So, no.

Do your pets get a Holiday treat?

Yes, if we remember. Thanks for the reminder.

Do you use headphones, earbuds or nothing when you watch something on your phone, computer or tablet?

Earbuds.

If you could take a craft/knit/crochet class in January for free, what would it be?

Weaving. Jewelry casting.

Have you ever made a traveling knit? (you knit part and send it on?)

No, but I would love to do that. I participated in an Exquisite Corpse art exhibit where my part of a piece was wire knitting. Here’s a pic!

exquisite corpse hannon, dorsey, head

I guess I couldn’t get away from the gruesome today.