Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Creative Recap

Welcome to the annual recap, where I learn that I was more productive than I thought I was.

According to ravelry, this year I knit 7 pairs of socks (3 of which had extensive stranded color work), 2 shawls, 2 cowls, 1 scarf, 1 pair of fingerless mitts, and at the very end of December, 1 hat. Not a bad showing. I feel like I knit more, but I think that is because I ripped many of my socks back multiple times.

This year I also got my blanket back from the weaver. I'm in love with it. It has become a kind of comfort blanket. Lucky for Connor, it is big enough to share with him.
The glorious blanket with me in Lassen Volcanic National Park

There were fewer pattern releases this year than previous years. I did manage to put out the Septet scarf and Fern Canyon socks. More were designed, but are still going through the process of being tested and photographed. I have high hopes for next year's output. I have 2 pairs of socks, 1 pair of fingerless mitts, and 1 cowl that will be released. And I have plans for sweaters. Lots of sketching has been taking place in the last two weeks.
The Fern Canyon socks taking a hike

This year I also had the opportunity to work with Carol Buchholz of Still Stranding. I've started with formatting her new patterns. We also spent a day together not too long ago doing a photo shoot for many of her upcoming patterns. You should check out her Hand Gussets and Offset Cubits Cowl in particular. We worked together to get both out. She's one to keep an eye on.
Offset Cubits Cowl

I'm hoping that this year I'll have continued opportunities to work with more designers to help them get their patterns out and businesses streamlined. It's a joy for me to see designers get their work out there.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A Hat For You, A Hat For Me

I have good news! Connor and I both found our hats. Mine was at the bottom of a backpack I take to knit night and his was in a pocket of a coat he doesn't wear every often. Obviously our hats were too big for the gnomes. But Alicia asked a good question in the comments. What kind of knitter owns one hat? Well.... apparently me. But I'm working to fix that now. I had Connor dig around in the stash with me and we emerged with a skein of Crystal Palace Yarn's Sausalito in the Big Sur color way and Little Wool Co's 4-ply wool in the Chocolate color way.

Simultaneously, we looked at patterns and settled on Wei Siew's Slipped Hat. We both like the colors chosen and the pattern, so if one of us loses a hat again, we have a backup hat that both of us like.

So I had myself a little winding party yesterday. I have grand plans for all of this yarn. Socks, sweaters, cowls, you name it. I thought I would cast on all the things yesterday too!

But once I cast on for that hat, I just couldn't stop myself. So I knit and knit and knit. I just can't help but be a monogamous knitter. It feels like I finish things faster. I mean, I do finish things faster, but it feels faster too.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

It's The Most Seasonal Time Of The Year

You know that song, "It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year" by Andy Williams? It goes, "It's the most wonderful time of the year/ With the kids jingle belling/ And everyone telling you be of good cheer/ It's the most wonderful time of the year." It got stuck in my head the other day, but I was singing to myself, "It's the most seasonal time of the year!" for a bit before I realized I'd gotten the words wrong.

Well, during this most seasonal time, I've taken a moment to update my Silent Snow pattern.

I wrote the pattern a few years ago, but I've learned a thing or two since about making patterns look more attractive. I felt that the previous images really didn't show off the stocking or ornament as well as I had hoped.

And as I've been exploring what might make a pattern stand out, I felt that the traditional look of putting it against a fireplace or by a tree wouldn't do me any favors since the grey seemed to blend in too well with both locations. I thought that photographing it by brick would echo the feeling of a fireplace while still giving the yarn the contrast it needed.

So I know that it is a wild time for all the knitters out there, but if you find yourself needing a little stocking ornament or an extra stocking for a family member.... for example a new spouse... then you can find the pattern on ravelry or on the bear-ears website.

As a slight aside, I was redoing the images for this pattern while my index finger was still too sore to knit. I picked out this sprig of berries, not realizing that there were hidden thorns. I can verify that, Pyracantha, also known as Firethorn, lives up to its name. My thumb was indeed on fire and I was unhappy to have both my left thumb and left index finger out of commission. Also, I didn't know that this was called Firethorn until I rapidly googled things to make sure my thumb wasn't going to fall off. I'm fine, but I would highly recommend leaving Pyracantha well enough alone.

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Gnomes Are Warm Now

This past Saturday Connor and I went on a yarn crawl. I needed a skein of Tosh Sock in Onyx to match a skein of Tosh Sock in Tart that I bought last week. So we battled traffic and drove to several far-away shops in search of the elusive skein.

At Avenue Yarns, formerly known as K2Tog, I found a skein of Hedgehog Fibers' Twist Sock in the Budgie color way. I'd been wanting to try out Hedgehog Fibers for awhile, but I don't really like to buy hand dyed yarns unseen, so when I saw this skein, I knew it had to be mine. I like Katalogi's Pucker, so I may have to dedicate this skein to my own pair of Pucker Socks.

Then we headed to A Verb For Keeping Warm where I saw some of Brooklyn Tweed's new line of yarn called Quarry. Connor and I discussed what color we might like to wear. We both like burgundies, so Hematite won. Then, with only and hour and a half left before Nine Rubies closed, we crossed our fingers and drove over. Traffic was heavy and we had to pay a bridge toll, but we made it with 20 minutes to spare. We rushed in to learn that they didn't have any Onyx!!! I had misunderstood what I saw on their website. As it turns out, their Black Friday sale had cleared them out. Ah well. I still have two tasty skeins to play with.

In other news, we don't own hats anymore. Sometime during the weekend, we both managed to misplace our hand knit hats. I think the house gnomes have stolen them. I hope they are warm now.

Friday, December 11, 2015

And My Heart Grew Three Sizes

I used to be a Christmas Grinch. My family didn't celebrate, which was a point of pride and hurt. Other kids would look at me and wonder, "Why didn't Santa visit her house?" I was a pretty good kid. I always wanted a tree and at least one present, but not because I wanted a present. It was so I could write those wretched "What Did You Do For Christmas" papers we had to do in school. This is one from when I was 8 or so.

So to cope with a lack of writing material, I would spend time scoffing at everything that had to do with Christmas. That was until two years ago. 

Two years ago I had my very first tree. And I have to say, I'm hooked. Last year I joined Connor's family as we cut down the tree ourselves. But this year is the first year I've had my own household to take care of, so this is a special Christmas tree.
We have Christmas sloths!

I liked the way I had done my first Christmas tree, so Connor and I used lights, popcorn, and wooden beads made to look like cranberries. I don't want to collect and store very many ornaments, but I was fond of this cardinal. Turns out the cardinal is the Kentucky state bird. It matches my Kentucky husband.

I also found some felt mistletoe. Connor noticed it immediately when he got back home from work.

I've added little decorations here and there, and I'm so pleased with how our house is looking. And every time I go out to the store, I enjoy browsing the Christmas do-dads.

I still don't like Christmas music very much though. I think I'll just stick to the candles.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Sometimes The Rain Lasts Longer Than You Thought

I've tried and been unable to write much this past month. Everything seems either like I'm sharing too much or pretending that nothing bad ever happens. Two months ago I talked about how "It's Going To Be Alright" and I have to say... it hasn't come right just yet. I have high hopes that it will, but we aren't there quite yet.

I can confidently say that nothing tragic has occurred, but small and medium stressors have built up in a way that has left me feeling stuck, uninspired, and a bit sad. For example, not being able to knit for three and a half weeks has been the most frustrating because the income I bring in is dependent on being able to knit. Also, all my planned holiday knitting went out the window. I had grand plans, but they will just have to wait another year.
Oh! The agony of not being able to knit. Or: I want to knit you so bad, but I can't.

Of course, I can't sit still, so my inability to knit manifest itself in our new place being put together quite rapidly. I plan to have future blogs show some of the things I managed to accomplish without my left index finger.

But on to a silver lining: my finger has finally healed enough that I can pick up the needles again. I am now knitting away on new patterns.
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