Wednesday WIP and a Color Quiz

Foursquare Cowl in Chinook Fleece Artist Yarn

I needed a project change so I picked up my Foursquare Cowl, designed by Whit. The variegated yarn is the Celtic Colours yarn I purchased in Nova Scotia last October. The purple is the same yarn but a different colorway. I think these colors are really gorgeous and I’m looking forward to wearing this cowl soon! Fall colors are my favorite. Or are they?…

This is the perfect segue into Karen’s latest quiz about color!

We are all artists. We use our supplies be they fiber, yarn, beads or whatever to create pieces that express our vision. This vision can have texture or color. Let’s talk about color.

What is your favorite color? How is this color reflected in your crafting?

My favorite color changes. It was cerulean blue for a long time. But right now I’m really into orange and red. My favorite color to wear, however, is grey.

Do you prefer bright colors or more subdued shades?

I like deep, rich colors, especially jewel tones. But I feel more comfortable wearing neutrals. So whenever I’m choosing colors for myself, I vacillate between those two options.

Does your color mood shift with the seasons? Do you carry one color all year and just change the accent color?

My color mood shifts, especially in the spring when I favor white, pink, icy blues and pale greens.

Is there a color you avoid? Or maybe it’s underrepresented in your crafting?

Like others, I tend to avoid yellow. I really like yellow, but it’s a color I can’t see myself wearing.

When you pick out your crafting supplies how important is color to you? Is it the first thing you consider or is it a bit further down the list?

I rarely choose to knit something based on color. I’m more interested in the fiber content, garment construction, stitch pattern, and how the yarn feels. Color is usually the last thing I choose, and it’s a difficult decision for me. I’m not naturally gifted with an understanding about how colors work together, or how a color will make me feel when wearing it. So I deliberate over color choice. Unless it’s stripey socks, and then it’s all about color!

Do you ever consciously choose a different color palette just for the change?

If I try to consciously choose a different color palette, it becomes a very unnatural sort of 180 degree knee jerk move that usually doesn’t work out. That’s why I joined a yarn subscription, so I can be surprised by new colors and try them.

I’d really like to knit something in a rich chocolatey brown. Brown has been out for a while, and I’d like to see it make a comeback.

Feel free to answer in the comments or if you’re answering on your blog leave a link so we can all read about your opinions on color and how it pertains to your crafting.

A Quiz About Gifting

Bob in the gansey I knit for him, which has since been washed and felted a bit and no longer fits. I told him it will fit me now, but he won’t give it up.

This quiz is from Karen at Nothingbutknit2. I love her quizzes.

Do you gift your handmade items?

Sometimes, if I feel inspired.

Do you have limits around who you gift to or what you gift?

Only family and very close friends. I also have a rule about being able to let go of the gift. Meaning, whether they use it or not has to be unimportant.

What type of things do you like to make and gift?

Hats, scarves, sweaters. I think I’m adding socks to the list.

Have you received handmade items?

Yes, from my Grandmother. And last year I received two handmade gifts from people at work, which I really treasured.

Have you ever asked for a gift back?

No.

Do you gift handmade items for holidays?

Yes, for the kids occasionally. I had an idea to knit a pair of socks for all the kids, plus Bob, for Christmas this year. Marilee talked me down. But I would like to do this some day.

It’s Saturdee! We have neither a theme nor a plan for Saturdate. Arachne is almost done and I’m ready to start the cuff on my PSL sock. I sketched an idea for a felt painting! It’s a long weekend, so maybe I will get a chance to start it. It’s cool and fallish outside. Virtual Knit tomorrow!

A Quirky Quiz

Karen posted a quirky quiz on her site. I do love a quiz!

Do you have any quirky decorative pieces that you just love?

My house is full of quirky art and quirky handmade and quirky fair trade and quirky vintage. I don’t even know where to start. But I think my Christopher Walken nightlight sums it up.

Do you have quirky food habits? What is the quirkiest?

Other than allergies and intolerances, my quirkiest food habit is probably texture. I don’t like anything crispy and crumbly, like Halva. Crumbly is okay. Crispy is okay. But not both. Bugs. That’s why.

Everyone has a favorite shirt. Do you have a favorite quirky piece of clothing? Maybe it’s super comfortable. Maybe it’s your favorite color.

I love to wear overalls, or bibs, as they are called here.

We all love to craft. Do you have quirkiness involved with your crafting?

Yesterday, in honor of Sock it to Me Monday, I knit on my Pride sock as I walked the bike path. It wasn’t a stellar experience, but I think I will do it again. It felt like something that will improve with practice. Quite frankly, I would love to knit in public more often.

I like wood needles. I don’t like knitting with metal or bamboo or casein. I like that there are casein needles with glitter in them. But I would probably just look at them and not knit with them. And, no, bamboo is not wood. Bamboo splits. Wood doesn’t. And I don’t like the little join at the end of the needle on the circular needle sets. I guess I like my knitting experience to be smooth (wood), but not slick (metal). I think of this as being fussy, though, not quirky. I’m also fussy about natural fibers both in knitting and sewing and anything I’m wearing next to my skin. And I like my shoes to be leather, or wool for slippers, because I want my feet to be able to breathe. Canvas is okay, too, but I usually have to wear cotton or wool socks with canvas shoes. What was the question again?

I hope you will play along and tell us all about your quirks!

A Quiz!

Karen posted a quiz and I need a prompt!

What one thing has kept you from losing it entirely the last couple of months? It can be crafting but feel free to step outside that box.

Work has kept me steady during the pandemic. It’s what gets me up in the morning and keeps my brain sharp. It has been stressful because of all the change. But knowing we support artisans and producers — who were already at risk of poverty before COVID-19 — who depend on our orders, well… it keeps me motivated. I’m glad we can reopen stores this week, although we are taking steps to ensure everyone’s safety. I am hoping I can take some time off later this month, though.

Secondarily, knitting and the Talking Tudors podcast have kept me going during downtime. I may have also purchased a little more yarn than I absolutely needed.

What meal is your absolute favorite? Be as vague or specific as you wish. Include an appetizer, dessert and drink if you wish.

If we’re living in fantasy land, it’s My Pi Pizza. It was a restaurant from my childhood in Tulsa, Oklahoma which served the gooiest, cheesiest, doughiest, thickest Chicago-style pizza I have ever eaten. I’ve never been able to recreate it and now that I am gluten and dairy free, forget about it.

If we’re living in reality, I think it might be a salmon and tuna poke bowl from Hai Poke with their ginger green tea.

When you think back to your childhood, what is your fondest memory? Again feel free to be vague or specific.

Most of my fondest memories happened at my Grandparents’ farm: shelling peas on the porch, walks down the dirt road to get the mail, Grandma teaching me how to sew and embroider, feeding the cows with Grandpa, picking blackberries, horseback riding, and going fishing. I’m thankful every day for the time I had with my Grandparents and I miss them so much.

Do you plant a vegetable garden or a flower garden (or both!)? What is your favorite thing to grow? Do you ever experiment with what you grow? What was it?

I usually plant vegetables and herbs. I’ve held off this year since we’re hoping to move. Last year I purchased plants from an urban farm instead of starting them myself from seed. I think they performed a little better since they had a longer growing season. I want to plant a hummingbird garden at the new house this year, assuming everything goes as planned. We are still waiting to hear back in the appraisal.

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.

Quiz Deux

Here’s another quiz from Karen via Hannah! Why not?!

1. Are you named after somebody?

I’m named after my Mother. Her name is Alethea, but mine is Alissa. It’s pronounced Alisa. I think I’m going to start spelling it the Finnish way, Aliissa. That way everyone will know how to pronounce it.

2. When is the last time you cried?

Today. I’ve decided to get off medication so right now everything is making me cry.

3. Do you like your handwriting?

No. It’s a mess. Maybe I should slow down and write more mindfully.

4. What is your favorite lunch meat?

Egg salad

5. Do you have kids?

Yes!

6. Farthest place you have traveled?

France

7. Do you use sarcasm?

See question number 1

8. Do you still have your tonsils?

Nope

9. Would you bungee jump?

Hell no

10. What is your favorite cereal?

Mesa Sunrise

11. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?

If required

12. Do you think you’re strong?

Emotionally I am. It doesn’t always feel that way, but this life has thrown a lot at me and I still manage to show up everyday. I’m not that interested in being physically strong. This may change if we start a sheep farm.

13. What is your favorite ice cream?

Honestly, I’d rather have a cupcake. Anyway, I can’t eat ice cream. I am casein intolerant, yet surprisingly fine with lactose.

14. What is the first thing you notice about a person?

Eyes

15. Football or Baseball?

No

16. What is the least favorite thing you like about yourself?

My sense of humor. I amuse myself.

17. What colour pants are you wearing?

Navy sweats

18. What was the last thing you ate?

A piece of salted caramel chocolate

19. What are you listening to right now?

The soft rumbling of the furnace accompanied by the shrill shooshing of the toilet refilling.

20. If you were a crayon, what color would you be?

Cerulean

21. Favorite flavour?

Rosemary

22. Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone?

My friend Iderah

23. Favourite sport to watch?

Bob trying to keep all the Tupperware from falling out of the cupboard

24. Hair colour?

Silverrrr

25. Eye color?

Sort of golden brown with a ring of olive green (BROWN)

27. Favorite food?

Any form of potato

28. Scary movies or happy endings?

Scary movies, of course

29. Last movie you watched without falling asleep?

Little Monsters. Really adorable zombie movie. I highly recommend. “One two three! Eyes on me!”

New Year’s Quiz

Yay, a New Year’s Quiz from Karen!

How will you spend the last night of 2019? Will you party all night? Will you go to bed early?

I will knit on the couch while watching TV and then go to bed early. I wish I lived near Karen. We could do that together!

Do you have any little superstitions about ringing in the new year?

Black eyed peas must be on the menu New Year’s Day.

Do you have craft plans for 2020? Are you hoping to try new things or improve your current set of skills?

I’m hoping to set up a new craft area in my house since I have moved out of my studio. I’m also hoping to primarily knit and sew from stash.

Do you have resolutions for 2020? If so what are they? If not do you have a word or goal for the new year?

Both. I will journal every morning, a practice I’ve already started. I think my word for 2020 will be “mindful”, as in mindful exercise (walking, yoga,) mindful eating, mindful planning of my day. Being mindful is a great way to slow down and savor life, as well as take care of yourself and act in accordance with your core values. At least, that’s what I’m hoping will happen. 😆

I’m almost finished with Twilight Toujours. I can’t wait wait to post a pic!

A Holiday Gift Quiz

I seem to be all about the quizzes these days. Karen posted another one!

For these questions money, storage space and time is no object. My answers below.

List 3 things you would like to receive as a gift. Go all out for at least one of them.

I would love a new bird feeder pole that allows me to hang multiple feeders. My set up right now is not ideal, although I love seeing the birdies outside my office window.

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2. I’m in love with this jacket from Studio Donegal.

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It is crazy expensive, but totally worth it as it is hand woven from Ireland. I think this is going to be one of those things I’ll just dream about the rest of my life. If someone gave it to me, I would probably feel too guilty to wear it. I mean, that’s a lot of fed mouths for a jacket I don’t need. Maybe someday the Universe will conspire to put a used one in my path? This ranks up there with the Manitobah Mukluks I would love to have, but really don’t need and can’t afford.

3. I would like a new sewing machine. Mine is fine and basic, but I would like an upgrade so I can sew jeans, jackets, and bags. I would also like a serger.

List 3 gifts you’d like to give. You don’t have to mention who it’s for.

I would love to give Bob a real MacLean wool tartan kilt, either purchased or handmade. I doubt he would wear it, though. He would probably think it is itchy as it has to be wool to be authentic.

I would like to give JoJo a Corgi puppy as a sibling. I’m not sure she would appreciate it, though.

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I would like to give cars to all our kids. Some of them have cars, but they don’t run very well. I think my oldest is the only one with a reliable vehicle, but he wants to travel, so I think he needs something a little bigger.

List 3 food gifts you’d like to give or receive.

Since I can no longer eat pecans, I would love a divinity roll but with pumpkin and sunflower seeds on the outside.

I would love to try a real Christmas pudding, just once. With the holly stuck in it and everything!

I would like to donate some food this year. We volunteer at a local center, and I would like to put together a collection of nice foods for the holidays to donate. Totally doable.

Feel free to answer in the comments or leave a link if you’ll be answering on your blog.

Black Friday Quiz

Karen at nothingbutknit2 posted a Black Friday quiz. You know I can’t resist a quiz.

1. Do you shop the sales on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and/or Cyber Monday? What is your favorite way to shop?

I do not shop on Black Friday. I’m not someone who looks for deals. I prefer to shop my values, which means paying a fair price for a quality item. I like the idea of shopping the day after Thanksgiving with family and friends to enjoy the season, but I’ve learned it is not enjoyable on that day. I may try to do a little shopping on Small Business Saturday to support our local businesses, although I try to do that year round. I do shop online but if it is related to a deal like Cyber Monday it is an afterthought so any discount is a bonus. My favorite way to shop is at our local small businesses. I enjoy browsing as long as it isn’t overly busy with people.

2. Have you started your gift shopping/crafting?

Yes, we are nearly done with our shopping as our children are mostly grown and we are still helping some of them get on their feet financially. We are also saving to buy a home. So this year we’re only filling stockings. My Christmas gift crafting is modest this year and I have started but not finished.

3. Are you one of those people who has all your gifts wrapped and ready to go early? Are you a last minute shopper and final moments crafter?

I am someone who has most of it done early. I am still looking for those final special items up to the last minute, though. I’m a thoughtful gifter and I like to take my time with it.

4. Do you have a tale from shopping trips past that you wish to share?

One year when we were terribly poor, I followed the conventional wisdom that I needed to go out and get items at a discount early on Black Friday. I needed to get coats and a couple of special toys for my (then little) boys. I was out at the crack of dawn and waited in line for hours to pay. It was a horrible experience and I realized the deals weren’t any better than on a regular shopping day. I’ve never shopped on Black Friday since then, except once when I nearly had an altercation in a mall parking lot over a parking space. Another reason to just say no to Black Friday.

I’m not a Black Friday hater, though. People should shop the way they like, although I saw this image on Instagram today and want to share it here.

I don’t want to act like I’ve got it all figured out. Shopping is something I struggle with as it is a way I nurture myself. You can see the problem there. So I am working toward saving more and spending less and being happy with the experience of shopping without necessarily buying something. This is tough when you work in retail! When I shop for myself I like to buy used when I can, and for new items I try to buy fair trade and/or handmade.

At work this weekend we have a coupon going out, but mainly we’re focusing on rounding up to help our artisan partners in Kenya buy a new kiln. We have a Small Business Saturday promotion with a tote bag giveaway in stores, and we’ll offer a Cyber Monday discount via email. This is a way to have some fun and reward our best customers. We’ll ask for donations for Giving Tuesday. As a small nonprofit, and as a fair trade organization, we can’t afford to offer deep discounts. Anyway, most of those deep discounts out there are just a discount off a steep markup. We don’t do that.

Before the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade the Today Show highlighted alpaca blend throws originally $350 going for $79 for Black Friday. At our store, alpaca blend throws are always around $79, often less.

So shop small this season, my friends. Shop fair trade if you can. Go to your local craft shows. Check out your local small businesses. If you have a small budget, make it count with a few good items.

I know when kids are little they have big expectations at Christmas time. I’m not suggesting you should make decisions that interfere with their happiness. I’m not sure where Legos are made, but I know there is probably a small mountain of Legos in a landfill somewhere because of us. No judgments.

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” — Maya Angelou

I’m still working on the doing better part!