Tag: knitting

DFW Fiber Fest Recap

I am very lucky that my job affords me the opportunity to attend a lot of fiber events, but one experience I’ve never had is going to a big event as a yarn civilian. So, when I saw the teacher line-up for this year’s Dallas-Fort Worth Fiber Festival I decided to take the plunge and sign up. I had a full weekend of classes (7 of them!) and managed to sneak in some marketplace time as well. Here’s some of what I learned during this lovely weekend.

These are my swatches from Knitting for Speed and Efficiency with Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (bottom) and My Aching Wrists with Carson Demers (top). In the former class I learned a ton about the history of knitting before we talked about how we can improve our personal knitting rate. It was interesting to take at this particular time in my life as a sick person, because the disability community talks a lot about not measuring our worth in productivity and my brain was really trying to figure out how to hold onto an interest in knitting quickly with not feeling like it reflected on me. I learned that I knit 28 stitches per minute, which is mid to top of the average range for North American knitters: 10-40 stitches per minute. We talked about a very efficient way to knit if we’re willing to learn a new technique, as well as ways to increase speed in our current knitting style. You can’t really practice both, you have to pick one, and I’m still undecided which I’ll do when I’m done with one of my current projects and am ready to take on a speed-practice one.

I put these swatches together for the picture because they both show the same tendency – when I start practicing a new knitting technique my gauge gets smaller. I am a very loose knitter, often needing to go down 3 needle sizes to get gauge, and I finally learned why in Carson’s class. When I make a stitch I do so on the shaft of the needle, so my stitches are the diameter of two of the needle size, not one like it would be if I formed the stitch on the tip. I don’t have a problem with being a loose knitter so I’m not sure if I’ll attempt to change this practice of mine, but it is nice to understand why I have to knit on such tiny needles.

I also took my first two weaving classes this weekend – Knitting for Weavers with Deborah Jarchow and Saori Weaving with Kathy Utts. Above are my samples from the former class. It was such a great set up – there were half a dozen different types of beginner looms in the class. We each warped the one in front of us and wove a sample on it, and then moved around the room and tried out other looms we were interested in. It is amazing how different the models can feel in your hands, and how tiny style differences make using it harder or easier for your body. During the entire time we were warping I was thinking how glad I was that I took a class and didn’t just buy a loom, because this activity was not for me. And then the moment we started weaving, as I saw cloth being created in front of me, I had such a visceral reaction – I was part of an ancient textile art, sisters with the Goddess Arachne. Now that the fumes have worn off I’m still not sure I’ll take it up as a hobby, I don’t know if I have the mental energy to properly learn a new kind of making, but I also don’t know if the siren call will overwhelm my senses at some point.

My favorite class experience was definitely Saori weaving. I love everything about the philosophy – it is about creating imperfect art and knowing ourselves in the process. Sitting at that loom felt so good, as did playing with techniques and making up my own. The Saori way is to machine wash your weavings, which puts fear in my stomach but I am going to do anyway to really go through the process. After that is done, I cannot wait to hang this piece that I love in my office. It’s definitely not in my budget to buy a Saori loom anytime soon, but I may visit the local studio and take some more classes.

I can’t believe it, but I didn’t take any pictures while I was there! So just imagine a picture of a great marketplace full of interesting vendors. I also really liked the hotel/conference center set up – they’re across the street from each other and right next to a bunch of restaurants. My favorite was Nosh and Bottle, a deli/market. I had one of the best sandwiches of my life there and will definitely eat there again next time I’m in Dallas. Maybe for next year’s show? If so, hopefully I can convince some of my knitting group to come with me!

FO Friday: Snowshoe Hat Cowl

FO Friday: Snowshoe Hat Cowl

Pattern: Snowshoe by Amy Miller for the cowl, the hat I improvised based on the cowl pattern

Yarn: Foxhill Farm Cormo Silk DK in Natural

Needles: US8 (5.0mm)

Size: 58” long and 9.25” wide

Ravelry Link: the cowl and the hat

Started: March 8, 2018

Completed: September 8, 2018

I love matchies. I love matching mom and daughter sweaters. I love matching kid and doll clothes. So it is no surprise that I love a matching hat and cowl set. What is surprising is how few of them I had in my wardrobe, so I set out to fix that with these accessories.

I fell in love with the Snowshoe cowl pattern as soon as I saw it – a big reversible cable and garter stitch are what my knitting dreams are made of. I went shopping specifically for this pattern at Rhinebeck 2015 and came home quite happily with 2 skeins of Foxhill Farms Cormo Silk. It is a luscious yarn, soft and drapey and such a gorgeous natural shade. I looked a little bit for matching hat patterns, but quickly decided I’d rather make up my own based on the Snowshoe pattern so they’d match perfectly. I’m so pleased I did, I adore how they go together.

Are you the kind of maker who loves a neutral matching set, or do you love the opportunity to show off lots of different colors and textures at once?

2019 Plans

Hello! At the start of 2018 I didn’t want to set any goals or make any plans. I was living with a lot of unknowns and wanted to avoid adding self-made responsibilities to my plate. As 2019 dawns I have answers to many of those questions and they make me want to approach this year differently. I try to keep this space devoted to my crafting, but I’m going to briefly share an update on my health, as it’s the motivation behind all of this. I have chronic colorectal cancer, which means that my at least with current medical treatments my disease cannot be cured. I’m going to be doing chemo every other week for the foreseeable future. There’s a rhythm to the cycle, and I’m ready to have some goals to work towards, wherever I may be each day.

Reading

I love crafting books, and I’ve amassed a huge collection of unread ones. This year I’d like to get through all my unread paper books, most of which are craft books. You can see the list of all these books on the associated Goodreads shelf here. I’ll be sharing some of my favorites on the blog, starting with Kate Davies’ Handywoman later this month.

Sewing

Thanks to a night of sleeplessness earlier this week, I went through my entire pattern and fabric stashes and set up an exciting queue for myself. Sewing has been hard for me the past year – between pain and exhaustion it has seemed out of reach to accomplish the physical tasks involved in getting projects going. With the mental work of this queue done, I am ready to tackle my fear and go for these projects. At a sewing weekend later this month I’m hoping to add some much-needed knits to my closet with a new dress and a couple new tops. My goals for the year include a jumpsuit and pants, both firsts for me.

Knitting

My knitting was side-lined last year when I developed carpal tunnel (Listen to your bodies, y’all! Don’t push through pain!). I took 2 months off entirely, and since then have been working on it in PT. I can do some knitting know and hope to increase my stamina in the coming months. For the Ravelry Project Challenge I set a goal of 6 projects – definitely on the list are a bunch of boxy cropped sweaters and I’d also like to knit up some accessories with some kits and other perfectly matched skeins in my stash.

Blogging

To make sure I hit new year’s blog post bingo, I have to include that I would like to blog more regularly this year 🙃. But truly, it is one of my goals to get back to weekly posting. I’d like to include more writing about crafting, and not just my personal projects. If you have something you’d like to hear my thoughts on, you can tell me in the comments below or email me from the contact section!

Looking forward to another year with you, dear readers! And, if you do want to keep up with my health, you can read about that on my cancer blog at bearingthewait.com.

Fireside Cardigan

Fireside Cardigan

Pattern: Fireside Cardigan by Kate Oates

Yarn: Windham by Jill Draper (colors weren’t labeled)

Needles: US6 (4.0mm)

Size: Newborn

Ravelry Link: ta-da!

Started: December 1, 2017

Completed: January 2, 2018

When one of your best friends is pregnant you want to send as much love as you can. When that friend lives in another city you have to be crafty in finding ways to send your affection. I knew I couldn’t be there in person to snuggle Mary Heather’s baby, so I decided some special knitwear was the next best thing.

I started with yarn, selecting my favorite – Jill Draper’s Windham. I think merino is generally overrated, but this one is so bouncy and just pleasant to feel in your hands as you work. Jill is a mutual friend of Mary Heather and I, so adding some more friend-love to the gift was a bonus. I selected a mixed color bundle at Rhinebeck; I was so excited by all these yellows and the chance to make a bright baby knit.

Choosing a pattern worked out similarly – Mary Heather and I both love garter stitch, babies in shawl collars are adorable, and Kate Oates, the designer, is another friend of ours. I was short on white yarn for the collar so it’s a little sad, I wish I had had a bit more to beef it up with. I love the detail of the knit stitch column at the sides, like you can see in the photo above. The pattern is written for a solid and I just picked a random number of rows to knit to make the stripes. The other modification I made was to reduce the number of sleeve decreases because they looked tiny.

The best of knitting a love-filled sweater for your best friend’s baby is that you get pictures of said baby in said sweater. It was thrilling to see sweet Adisa grow into (and eventually out of!) the sweater. I’m mostly a selfish knitter, but this baby/mom pair is quite knitworthy. Have you made a beloved project for a friend far away? Tell me about it below!

FO Friday: Ninilchik Swoncho

FO Friday: Ninilchik Swoncho

Pattern: Ninilchik Swoncho by Caitlin Hunter

Yarn: The Farmer’s Daughter Fibers Craggy Tweed in Pukuni, Elk Antler, Paul Newman and Napi

Needles: US6 (4.0mm) & US 4 (3.5mm)

Size: 1

Ravelry Link: here!

Started: January 4, 2018

Completed: September 5, 2018

When I first saw the Ninilchik Swoncho (sweater/poncho) pattern last year I remember thinking that kind of colorwork design is so not my style – I wore simpler designs. But I found myself continuing to visit the page. To look at different color combinations. Then the designer of the pattern and the dyer of the suggested yarn came to my LYS for a weekend. I tried on the sample and it was all over, I immediately began picking out colors from the trunk show. I went late in the weekend and my options were limited, but I could not be happier with the color combination I ended up with. I do wish I had switched the white and the tan in the colorwork but it doesn’t detract from my heart-eyes feelings about this FO.

I adore the shape and fit of this sweater. It feels good to move around in, the low sleeves are not in any way restricting. I expect that this will become my new woolen to throw on when I head out for school pick up, keeping me warm during after school play. I also love how this fits in perfectly with the style I have been cultivating for myself recently. I can lift my arms and get a more cropped shape. And the ease makes me feel good about the space that I take up. It feels like the warning displays and coloration of the animal kingdom – I am big and brightly colored, do you want to mess with this poisonous giant?

I want to hear about the clothes that make you feel badass like this – handmade or not. Share in the comments below!

FO Friday: Riley Tee

FO Friday: Riley Tee

Pattern: Riley by Amy Christoffers

Yarn: Berroco Corsica in Cork and Conch

Needles: US5 (3.75mm) & US 3 (3.25mm)

Size: 3

Ravelry Link: here!

Started: June 16, 2018

Completed: August 10, 2018

I lost my mind over the Summer 2018 issue of Pom Pom Quarterly, it is all striped patterns and there are so many gorgeous summer knits in there. I knew I would make more than one project from the issue and chose Riley to start with. I love the log cabin construction – how it makes a really beautiful sleeve shape and has the visual interest of stripes going in different directions.

I made some modifications to the pattern – I shortened it by 6.25” and raised the neckline 1.5”. I shortened it because I wanted a cropped silhouette. I wish I had knit it an inch or two longer, so it fell over the button of my pants rather than above it. It’s knit in cotton so I might try drying it hanging the next time I wash it to see if it stretches and lengthens a bit, but I have a feeling the log cabin construction is going to keep it pretty stable. I like where the neckline ended up.

Overall I really love how it turned out, though; I feel so cool in this silhouette. I talked earlier this year about how my style has changed and this piece makes me feel like I am really finding a new look that works for me and that I love.

FO Friday: Golidlocks 2.0

FO Friday: Golidlocks 2.0

Pattern: Goldilocks by Justyna Lorkowska

Yarn: Anzula Cloud in Taffy

Needles: US 3 (3.25mm) & US 2 (3mm)

Size: 5

Ravelry Link: here!

Started: March 20, 2018

Completed: May 29, 2018

Four years ago I knit my daughter a dress. I had some yarn leftover, so I whipped up a matching version for her lovey. Thus began a long career of making matching versions of all of Marlowe’s dresses for her best stuffed friend, Monkey. This pink dress was particularly beloved and was still an integral part of Monkey’s wardrobe after Marlowe outgrew hers. Soon my daughter began asking for a new pink dress, tears welling in her eyes as she told me how sad it made her that she couldn’t match anymore. So of course I agreed to knit her an even larger light fingering weight dress and called my LYS to order two skeins of the same colorway.

This version of Goldilocks came out longer than I meant, but it means she will be able to wear it for a very long time. While it was a labor of love to knit this second dress, I love this pattern and wasn’t sad to make it again. It has the perfect amount of detail and then the stockinette lets the pretty details stand out.

In this picture you can see the one issue I had with the pattern – I think I picked up too many stitches around the sleeve when adding that last bit of garter stitch and it flares a bit.

Marlowe loves her new dress and her ability to match Monkey again and I feel like a pretty awesome Mom for providing her with that joy. Have you ever made something because you were, ahem, pressured into it? Did it go as well as this project? Let me know below!