Saturday, 21 January 2017

personal and political

There are lots of reasons I knit, most of them are the usual ones that I share with many others: the love of crafting and making, the need for a creative outlet, the need for clothing.  This week I also knit to make a statement.  I knit a hat inspired by the Pussyhat Project.  The hats are made to be worn today, January 21, in the National (or international) Women's March in Washington.  The purpose is to bring women together to advocate for women's rights, human rights, and respect for all.  The hat symbolizes the power of women, the importance of solidarity, and the belief that each person matters.  I cannot go to a March today, and I didn't finish one in time to mail it to someone who will be going.  So I have been wearing it out and about:

Not with a phone in front of my face, of course.  I've been asked about the hat, and when asked I tell the story of why I have knit my hat but more importantly, why so many women have knit hats for today.  I feel that it's important to speak up, speak out, and act every day. 

Being an ally (standing and speaking with others) and being an advocate (standing and speaking for myself) is not something we should save for special days, special parades, or special events.  I'm advocating every time I wear my hat.  Including today.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Plans in the midst of winter

January is hard.  Back to work after the Christmas holidays feels like being hit by a brick wall of stress-causing elements.  The cozy hibernation of two weeks off quickly gives way to the frenetic pace of school in 'report card season'...  My knitting in December was fast but with a feeling of accomplishment.

 January started with lots of plans and lots of time.  I finished a pair of mittens from PomPom Quarterly's Autumn 2015 edition.  This is newly available in my LYS and I love all of the magazines (went back and bought two more).  The patterns are fresh but not trendy, modelled by women of varying ages.  They will fit well into my wardrobe - at school and on weekends I think.  The Mitts are Woodland Mitts knit in Rowan Superwash DK:

I also started the most challenging knit I've done in a long time.  It's a pullover in DK - Clio by Elizabeth Doherty.  I'll have to do a post on the entire project when it's done, it's the most uniquely constructed garment I've made to date.  I'm hoping to finish by the end of January, but that may be a bit ambitious of me!


Next up I have a bulky pullover that I've wanted to knit ever since I saw the pattern:  Wolf River.    I've bought Cascade Eco in Red, and plan to cast on soon.  I also plan to make a shawl as part of a Berroco knit along:  Mrs Watson   It's knit using short rows and garter stitch to make the leaf pattern. I'll cast on in February.


January is dark and cold, my least favourite time of year.  I'm looking forward to spring, or at least more daylight!  In the meantime I'm moving along with my plans and hope that I can finish a few things this winter.

Saturday, 31 December 2016

2016: my favourite things

I knit a lot this year.  Many accessories, and a few sweaters.  My favourites:

Paloma - pattern Babycocktails, yarn LionBrand Wool-Spun
Love the fit, the colour, the warmth. Easy to style, cozy to wear.  Perfect.

Four Seasons - pattern Never Not Knitting, yarn Briggs and Little Regal

First Mystery KAL - Love the final product, which is interesting as I wouldn't have chosen this to knit had it not been a complete surprise! 

Twin Leaf Loop - pattern Never Not Knitting, yarn Diamond Luxury Baby Alpaca
Love the yarn, easy pattern, cozy cowl.  I find alpaca a bit itchy but not unwearable.  Haven't knit with pure alpaca before.  I knit two of these this year, but the second is from different yarn and has a denser feel.

Sitka Cowl - pattern Tin Can Knits, yarn Cornelia Hamilton Yarns Heaven's Hand Classic Wool
I 'hacked' this hat to make a cowl.  Love the tree images, but the twisted stitches were very hard on my hand joints.  Would love to knit the hat and mitts as a set but may not be able to manage the pattern. 

#7 Fair Isle Hat - pattern Vogue Knitting Fall 2016, yarn various DK weights from stash, mostly Patons Superwash DK, Loyal DK

I knit mitts, hats, cowls, a pullover poncho for a friend, and finished several things I'd started well before 2016.  Still several WIPs on the go as I head into 2017, but I'm quite happy with all of the knitting I've done this year.  I tried new techniques from complex (mosaic knitting) to simple (making a tassel).  I've knit a mystery project and 'hacked' a pattern.  I've knit a lot from stash, but also purchased yarns with projects in mind.  I have lots planned for 2017 - some already shared in my post about Botanical Knits, others still in the works.  Looking forward to another productive and creative year!








Sunday, 18 December 2016

Gifting - tis the season to knit faster!

I'm a week away from Christmas Eve, and have most of the knitting done.  My ongoing 'gift bin' that gets filled with accessories throughout the year helps.  We go searching for teacher gifts, or a small thing to go with a gift card, so that it's not as much 'on demand' knitting in December.  This year's gifts:

Antler Mitts - pattern TinCanKnits, yarn Briggs and Little Heritage
Blue Devil - pattern BabyCocktails, yarn Madelinetosh DK


Cambrian Cowl - pattern Never Not Knitting, yarn Borgo De'Pazzi Luna

A Twin Leaf Loop - pattern Never Not Knitting, yarn Borgo de'Pazzi Luna
Northward - pattern TinCanKnits, yarn Borgo de'Pazzi (blue), Misty Alpaca (orange)


Just have to finish up one last one - a 'hack' for TinCanKnits "hackathon2016".  I'm turning the Sitka Spruce Hat into a cowl.  Yarn is Heaven's Hand Wool Classic.  Love how it's turning out, but the twisted stitches are killing my hands. 

When it's done, I'm determined to knit my Sambuca that I started in the fall, and finish up my vest that has been  WIP for over a year.  Both will be great holiday projects for the upcoming Christmas vacation.  Then, my Botanical Knits that I have queued up will be started!

Monday, 21 November 2016

stash plans once the gifting is done

I'm knitting gifts until mid-December.  Then, I'm knitting up my stash using my Botanical Knits book.  I have plans for almost all of the patterns in the book, and have already knit one, my Twin Leaf Loop:
Up next I have yarn for 2 sweaters and the rest of the accessories (minus the socks - I can't knit tightly enough to get gauge for socks in sock weight yarn):






Think I'll start with the accessories while I finish my Sambuca sweater since it will be cozy and warm for winter and I'm (just) on the body now, having finished the raglan shaping.  I'm determined to knit them within the year.  I love the patterns, love the yarn I have, and need to take action!  All of the patterns have unique elements, so I'm excited to get going.  Think Oak Trail will be first as the construction interests me, and I love the yarn I have for it.  Now, off to knit another hat for Christmas!

Sunday, 6 November 2016

slow October still to fast for me... and some FOs

I tried to keep up with the pace of Slow Fashion October, but it still went by too quickly for me.  I did get some knitting done, as I powered through a pair of mittens.  Sticking to my goal of using patterns I own and stashed yarn, I knit a pair of Portland Mittens from the book New England Knits.  I've owned the book for a few years, and this is the third project I've knit from it.  I knit a Brattleboro Hat, and a Montague vest.  These mitts were made with stashed Lopi-Lite yarn that I had in my stash.  I ran out of the light gray colour, so I made the tips with the contrast blue instead.  I'm happy with them and will likely gift them this Christmas.
I also used some Berroco Vintage from a sweater I frogged to make a baby gift - a Flax sweater for a friend, a Tin Can Knits pattern.
Up next, I'm using some leftover Briggs and Little Regal from my Four Seasons shawl, pattern by Alana Dakos, to make some Paved boot toppers.  Another Tin Can Knits pattern, this one for me.
Feels great to make a dent in my stash, and to use patterns I've purchased but never knit up.  I'm hoping to finish up the other WIPs by the new year, and then re-evaluate what I want to make next.  Despite the slow blog, I've been knitting faster than I thought!




Sunday, 16 October 2016

USED - Slow October accessories

I don't shop at thrift stores often.  Lots of reasons why, mostly that the thrift stores in my area aren't stocked with the things I'm looking for.  We have a Value Village, and a couple of small stores, but I've yet to find things I want.  I have no aversion to things that are used, or worn.  My children wear second-hand clothes all the time, and use second-hand sports equipment.  I just haven't found what I'm looking for often enough and admit I never go into thrift shops any more.

I do own a fabulous purse made from recycled seat belts:
The company that makes them is Canadian - U.S.E.D. or "Unlimited Supplies from Everyone's Discards".  I love my purse.  It has a long shoulder strap, is so durable that it still looks new a year later, and has a sturdy buckle (seatbelt buckle, of course!).  This company has links to recycle child car seats that expire every few years, and also makes tote bags from shade sail cloth.  They also make leashes for pets and other products.  The website explains how they source their material, and the philosophy behind the company based in British Columbia (they do ship world-wide!).

To me, this is the kind of product I want to look for and invest in when I'm shopping.  I won't be making all of the things I wear and use, but I can look for things that fit with a conscious spending mindset.