Feb 5, 2016

Goals!

I had very good intentions about blogging again at the start of January especially because I wanted to jot down my knitting goals for 2016. Clearly, those intentions stayed intentions, but I suddenly realized that Lunar New Year is just around the corner so I'll mark this much-loved holiday with notes about my aspirations with yarn and needles.  More than anything, I'm going to keep my goals super simple this year ~ I'm often way too ambitious with my wish list and end up feeling more disappointed than proud.  

So, here they are ~ three simple but still challenging goals I want to achieve:  



(1) I plan to choose my projects much more carefully.  What this means is that I'm going take my time assessing a pattern before it jumps onto my needles.  I don't know about you but I sometimes get I caught up in the frenzy of a popular project that inundates my IG feed and cast on with abandon.  Granted, they often are truly gorgeous, but they aren't always my style or something I would easily (or happily) add to my wardrobe.  So, I'm going to enjoy seeing everyone's beautiful pics, but I'll do some research on the whole project before I decide if it's worth my time, effort, and money.


One such project is the Wolf River pullover which I've been wanting to knit for a while.  I love the stitch pattern that covers the entire body of the sweater and I've been wanting to add a chunky, oversized pullover to my wardrobe for a while.  I've already finished the front, back, and side seaming so I should be able to wear this beauty really soon.

(2) I plan to push myself to try new techniques.  I will definitely spend time perfecting things I already know but what I really want to achieve this year are new-to-me methods like intarsia and set-in sleeves and steeking(!).

(3)  I plan to explore new-to-me yarns.  I don't usually knit in the suggested yarn for a project either because I'm too inpatient (and run to my stash first) or I get cold feet about spending money on yarns that I've never tried before.  In my quest to choose projects carefully, I know that knitting with the suggested yarns will make the whole experience that much more wonderful.  So, I hope I'll be sharing some thoughts soon on yarns that I've only seen you knit with or read about and will now experience first-hand.

An unofficial fourth goal is to create a capsule wardrobe which will mainly consist of hand-knit and hand-sewn garments.  This would be a huge goal if I accomplish it so I hope you'll cheer me on as I would love to do a recap in December of what I made.  

Now onto knitting those sleeves....

Oct 28, 2015

Slow Fashion October ~ Known

My mind has been on overload lately, but this isn't a complaint as much as an acknowledgement. #Slowfashionoctober has inspired a lot of thinking and planning, and I don't see this ending just because I'll be turning a page in my calendar. But here we are at the final week, and I've given a lot of thought to the last prompt: Known, as in knowing the source of my materials. While I wish that I had built a stash of only local and/or sustainable yarn sources, I haven't. My stash has grown from global and domestic travels, fiber festivals, and gifts. On occasion, I've had the thrill of procuring a skein or two directly from a farm or spinner or dyer, and there is something incredibly satisfying about that. But on many more occasions, I've order yarn online or stopped in at a local yarn shop with no thought to where my new goodies have come from.



But here's the thing: over the last few years, I've been dedicated to knitting from my stash and when I started my blog, it was with this idea in mind. I love my stash and can remember how each skein got there. So, in many ways, that's my known and I'm okay with that. Do I want to be more intentional going forward? You betcha! I love the idea of committing to learning more about where my yarn comes from and how it's been processed. I also love the idea of putting my money toward sources that sustain communities and/or makers in concrete ways. So, as the saying goes, it's never too late to try harder and learn more.

As you can see from my photo, I've been busy knitting from my stash. A while back, I designed a fingerless mitt pattern that I'm just returning to and writing up. I've been personally test knitting the pattern and it's almost there so I hope to release it soon. Now I just have to think about who should get all these mitts!

Oct 23, 2015

What's in a Color?

I have to start by saying how excited I was to see my post mentioned on Fringe Association today.  I've been a dedicated reader and follower of Karen Templer's since her early days (do you remember when her blog was called Yarnover?), and through her efforts and writing, I've learned so much about this industry that we all love so much.  Her blog and shop really speak to my own aesthetic, and it was such a treat to have my thoughts on knitting for those I love included in her Elsewhere post.

This leads to where I'm at today with my current project which is humming along but not without its hiccups. As of last night, I finished the back of the sweater and am looking forward to soaking and blocking both pieces before kitchnering (is that even a word?) the front to the back.  This will be a real test to see if what I have in my mind can be applied to a three-dimensional object!


But I must confess that I'm pushing through with this beloved project with a lot of blind faith. I'm going to come clean here and tell you that I might run out of yarn. I realized half-way through the back section that this project needed another two skeins of Manos Maxima so I went to my LYS and bought what looked like my original skeins.  I'm knitting with a natural white and the number on the new tag matched the number on the old tag. But once I got the skeins home and held them up to my knitted fabric, the new skeins were definitely more white than natural.  

What's a knitter to do?  Right, run to the next LYS. I was so excited to see that they had a skein of what I needed but only that ... a skein.  So, I'm hoping against hope that I'll have enough to knit two sleeves because I'm totally in love with how this sweater is turning out so far.  

Oct 20, 2015

Slow Fashion October ~ My Constant

I'm often surprised when I come across articles or posts about how to save money by limiting one's quarterly or sometimes monthly clothing budget.  Um, ... what?  People have a regular budget included in their monthly allowance to actually buy new clothes?  Maybe it's because I grew up in a very modest and frugal home with parents (okay, mainly my mother) who recycled, added length to hems when necessary, and made whatever we had work until threadbare.  Now, don't get me wrong:  I indulge when I fall in love with a certain style of pant, or shoe, or coat.  But, in general, I don't spend a lot of time shopping or replacing my clothes for the next trend, or adding to my wardrobe just because I can.

This week's #slowfashionoctober theme is WORN (i.e. heirlooms / second-hand / mending / caring for things / laundering for longevity / design for longevity (bucking trends, quality materials …). I have a lot of pieces in my wardrobe that I've had for many years, love, and wear season after season, but I couldn't zero in on one thing that fit this concept.  And then I looked down at my one constant.




You see those gold bangles on my wrist?  There are six delicate bracelets there but in the beginning, I was given seven, one for each day of the week.  In an old Chinese custom, mothers give daughters these seven bracelets when they reach puberty, and I've had these bracelets on my right wrist since I was 13 years old.  Once they were placed on my wrist, I never took them off.  Yes, you read that correctly ~ I'm now 52 years old and I've had these bangles on my wrist, non-stop, for the past 39 years. These have seen me through adolescence, college, graduate school, marriage, pregnancies, births, and now perimenopause.  They go with anything and everything that I wear, and I know that I would feel absolutely naked without them.  So, yes, these are my most worn objects, and I'll never tire of them. Oh, and the colorful enamel bracelet is from a recent, magical trip to Barcelona (and I never take this one off now either!).