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.

Kenya Day 3: Hell’s Gate

Today we biked through Hell’s Gate National Park.

It was a stunner of a day. We saw zebras, warthogs, water buffalo, eland, impala, Kirk’s Dik-Dik (ok I had to look some of these up.) It was really spectacular.

After that we hired a boat to take us out on Lake Naivasha. If you look carefully at the little lumps in the water, they are hippos.

Most of the birds we saw we’re Cormorants but we also saw pelicans, herons, duck, and vultures! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a vulture before.

On the way to Nakuru we stopped at a spinners and weavers workshop. There were some beautiful wool and cotton rugs and throws, but the looms were empty and I didn’t want to take any pictures because artisans prefer you not photograph (and copy) their designs. Fair enough!

I have been knitting away on what I hope will be a sample hat for our artisan partners. We’ll stop at the woolworks tomorrow to pick up more yarn. It is merino and super soft!

Kenya Day 1

Are you surprised I scored yarn on day 1? We went to a place called Spinner’s Web. It was full of African handmade, including this periwinkle wool yarn! There were textiles, jewelry, coffee, wood carving, bags, clothing, pottery, you name it. I was very reserved and only bought yarn, coffee, a beaded bracelet, and a shopping bag to bring it all home in. They also had a cafe, and I had fresh pulped mango juice. It was delicious!

Afterward we headed downtown to CBD (Central Business District) and did some fabric and supply shopping for the workshop.

This is the view from my balcony. Another night in Nairobi and then we will head to Eldoret. Look at that moon!

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.

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!

Opinion Please

I have my yarn for my Gryffindor Winter’s Fern hat.

You may not remember, but when I was in Guthrie, OK I picked up this yarn in Spun Gold from SWAK. I had no idea what I was going to do with it. I love the color.

Then it hit me that it is Gryffindor gold.

Winter’s Fern is only three colors, and I can’t decide if it’s more Gryffindorry to use black or cream with the gold and red.

Here they are in black and white, which suggests the cream might be a better choice.

What’s your vote?

I’m very excited about making this hat. I love the idea of knitting HP themed projects but am not crazy about most of the designs I see out there. I wanted a decidedly grown up look to my project, one that suggests but does not scream Harry Potter nerd. (Although, I may add a pompom.)

So as not to confuse the issue, I ordered this pin which I may wear on the hat when the mood strikes.

I’m Obsessed

A friend shared these videos with me on Facebook. I am casting them to my TV and watching them on repeat.

I have no desire to make something like this myself. But I am enjoying the magic.

Twilight Toujours is slowly getting finished. We are in transition crunch time at work, which is stressful, but it will be so good when it’s done. I may not get out of my PJs this weekend, though.

I found my coat pattern!

yates coat

(photo credit Grainline Studio)

This is the Yates Coat. It is appropriate for my wool fabric, and it looks like it will be a good choice for my first coat. Not easy, but easy for a coat.

Sarah is making an Oxbow Cardigan this year and wants me to sign on for a Thanksgiving knitalong again. I’m game, even though it’s not on my list (yet)!

I want to make a black cardigan. My wardrobe needs this. I want to choose yarn from an heirloom breed. I found some Black Welsh Mountain yarn and the farm is participating in Shave’Em to Save’Em. I calculated my totals for the Oxbow Cardigan. $450! (insert flabbergasted emoji here)

I know the yarn is worth it, and we need to support our farmers and heirloom breeds. But I simply feel like I cannot afford that. I mean, I’m holding off on buying a new serger and a better sewing machine. That cardigan yarn would be 2/3 of the way to a new machine.

So, I’m going to hold off on any black bulky yarn purchasing for now, but with the full intention of adding Oxbow Cardigan to my list this year.

And maybe if I am very very very good and do not spend any of my crafting allowance on other things and save it up, I could buy the yarn I really want? That’s still a lot of fed mouths. But it could be a sweater that lasts the rest of my life, so maybe a good investment? And I would feel good about the yarn I purchased. I will have a long think on it.

Check out my beautiful son wearing the hat I made him (which makes me happy) but giving me snark.

img_7447

Gotta go. He is introducing me to 8 out of 10 Cats Does Countdown.