Monday, April 7, 2014

Stagnation and Rust

Well hello there. Here we are, almost a month of silence. March was a super busy month for me, with the North Shore Yarn Crawl, the collaboration with Thea, and an anniversary event at JP Knit & Stitch. But in the middle of the bustle I also started to feel a growing weight, and a creeping sense of stagnation. Then my friend Liz of Made in Lowell started talking about clutter busting.

Her post resonated with me so much that it felt like I had written these words myself: "I have always been what I consider a pack-rat. I knew I collected too much stuff, but I didn't understand how living with so much stuff that I didn’t love or use was crushing my spirit, quietly, daily." She talked about her positive experiences with Brooks Palmer in re-evaluating the objects in her life. This is the part that really got to me: "Brooks tells us that when we start to let clutter go, any amount, it creates room in our heads for new ideas to come in. That clutter, even clutter hidden away in boxes or closets, emits a low distracting hum that fogs our thinking, saps our energy, and makes decisions difficult." And so I realized that I had to come to terms with my own truth: we moved into our home 4 years ago, but gave up on the process when we became overwhelmed by clutter. We sort of hid it away, and lived with boxes of unknown stuff weighing on us. I did something I hadn't done in years: I put my knitting down for a full 8 days, and started sorting and purging. I tackled all the boxes I had been so afraid of. We've taken away several carloads to donation centers. The work is far from done, but I finally feel the fog lifting. I've picked up my knitting needles again, but I am working on the clutter daily. It feels great. If you're looking for a push to get some purging done too, Liz did a great interview with Brooks.

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So with much ado, here is what I am working on. My love of wool is no secret, but this spring I am allowing myself to play with some different fibers. I'm embracing my affection for rusty colors and doing two projects in similar tones. The first is with Quince and Co.'s new linen, Sparrow. This color is Paprika, and I'm working on the Lida shawl, which is also by Quince and Co. I admit I miss the natural friction of wool whenever I put this project down and the stitches slide off my needles, but the linen is lovely and has been softening up the more I work with it. I look forward to wearing this soon.

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Right now it looks like a scrunchy mess, but I have faith that it will be perfect after a good soak and block.

This week I start my second rust-colored project. I am re-evaluating my dislike of knitting with cotton to work on a Spring Garden Tee. If you're local, I am leading a knit-along for this project, which you can check out here. This week I'll be doing every knitter's favorite activity: gauge swatching (and if you're one of my students: I know it's boring, but it's important. Trust me.). This yarn is Cascade Ultra Pima cotton, also in Paprika.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Timey Wimey Socks!

I finally finished that sock pattern I told you about, and just in the time for the Yarn Crawl!

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This design was inspired by one of my favorite episodes of Doctor Who, "Blink." When trying to explain time as a non-linear phenomenon, he sums it up as “timey-wimey wibbley-wobbley stuff.” The design featured series of neat lines moving up the foot and weaving into a “tangled mess” at the top of the sock, as a nod to the Doctor's non-linear time travel.

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The pattern features three sizes, and the length is easily adjustable. The toes and heel are constructed using short rows, so no grafting! Grab a copy of the pattern here. Until midnight tonight, enjoy $1 off with coupon code "precrawl2014". Then come join me at the North Shore Yarn Crawl starting Thursday!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Creme de Menthe, a Collaboration!

If you've been following me on Twitter, you know I've been getting ready for the North Shore Yarn Crawl. Can you believe it's next week??

I will be hosting my trunk show at Seed Stitch Fine Yarn again, but this year my yarn will be there all four days, March 13th through 16th. On Saturday, March 15th, jewelry designer Kim O'Brien and pattern designer Leslie Scanlon of Mac and Me will be joining me with their trunk shows.

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But perhaps the most exciting news: Thea Colman of BabyCocktails and I collaborated on the Official Shawl of the 2014 Yarn Crawl this year. In celebration of the 5th anniversary of the yarn crawl, organizer Courtney Heath wanted to focus on local. Thea and I discussed yarn and color, and she came up with Creme de Menthe, a luscious shawl design inspired by my Single Worsted yarn in Isa. Here is Creme de Menthe.

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Thea asked me to model for the photo shoot, and we had a fun (and freezing) day walking around downtown Salem scouting locations.

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Creme de Menthe Shawl

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Grab a copy of the pattern here and the yarn kit here. See you at the yarn crawl!

Pattern photos by Thea Colman. Photos of Thea by me.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Knitting, knitting

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I am constantly juggling my "work knitting" with my personal knitting. I always have at least one of each on the needles, it keeps the creative juices flowing! In the middle of my Dark and Stormy cardigan, I took a break to design a new sock pattern. The sock pattern now is in the hands of several lovely test-knitters and is on track to be released by the Yarn Crawl. Now I can focus on my cardigan again!

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I finished the sleeves first because I plan on adding a few inches to the body length and wanted to make sure I don't run out of yarn. I've only used 4 of my 8 so far, so I think I'll have at least one skein leftover. I'm also adding extra shaping to the waist, and adding width to the hips to accommodate my pear-shaped figure.

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I can't wait to finish this! I am anxious to wear it, and I've got some more new design ideas brewing.

What are you making this month?