Blog Hop – Sharing the Creative Process

Soknitsome was very kind to mention me in a recent blog hop on sharing the creative process. I loved reading her answers, so I guess it’s my turn to take a crack at it. 

1. What am I working on? 

Well… If you want the full list, check out my Ravelry page. I currently have six projects on the needles and four or five in hibernation. Here are the ones I’m most focused on now though. 

Hartford by Julie Hoover for MomIMG_1322

Three Tree Town (aka Limberlost Trails) by MMario for myselfIMG_0208

What Wonder Have We Wrought (aka Chevron Baby Blanket) by Purl Soho for Eleanor CabeIMG_0210

 

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Seeing as I have only dipped my toe into designing so far, I don’t have a very clear answer for that. What I will say is that my knitting choices stem from my obsessive love of color. A prime example would be Andean Sunrise. I was knitting a delightful little hat out of some extra Manos del Uruguay that I had in my stash and plugging along nicely until, all of a sudden, I realized that I did not have enough to finish the decreases. I almost had to bind off too quickly, which would have left it all pinched in the back, but then my eyes came to rest on some variegated Malabrigo that I had lying around. The purple matched the Manos perfectly, so I picked it up and finished off the tam with that. That bright pop of green in the midst of that deep purple is quite possibly the best accident I’ve ever made in knitting. Now, it’s my favorite hat. 

Graham by Jennifer Adams

Graham by Jennifer Adams

3. Why do I write/create what I do? 

I write for many of the same reasons as I knit; I have a compulsion to make things. Knitting usually gets a lot more of my attention, because it creates a tangible result that I can show in my hand. The craft of writing is a little more ephemeral, so it’s harder for me to make myself sit down and write. Still, I take joy in both. Some people are creators, some are fixers, some are destroyers. I’m definitely a creator. It’s my instinct to make something out of raw materials.

4. How does my writing/creating process work?

My writing process mostly consists of me feeling guilty about not writing. My creative process with knitting is much more constructive. I see a pattern or motif that I like and I envision what color and texture yarn would work best. Then I buy far too much yarn and strain my pocketbook, but then comes the joy of diving in and wrestling with a new pattern. I rarely do patterns twice, though I have a few staples. It’s all about stretching myself and acquiring new skills. I try to challenge myself with something new on each pattern. 

 

Now it’s time to share some of my favorite blogs that I feel should get more attention. 

Flip Coast Creations – Californian turned Mainer who loves upcycling and does a lot of cute, quick projects that are great ideas for stash-busting.

String Geekery – As much a mathematician as she is an artist, Naomi literally knits meaning into her work, oh and it’s also gorgeous.

Nearly There – Refers to her blog as a learning journal. She humbly shares both triumphs and stumbles in her adventures in knitting, spinning and life in general. She’s also really good at sharing the work of others she admires and giving credit where credit is due. Awesome resource.

Happy knitting, everyone!

 

 

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Two Sweaters at Once? I Must Be Mad!

I have had my first regular day off, with no catastrophes or major events to handle, in weeks. It was glorious. I still did not complete nearly half of my to-do list, but I did get some much needed R&R while still able to take care of a few things. Meanwhile, I was also able to accomplish a good deal of knitting.

Since I’ve bought my Addi Clicks, I’ve been able to speed up my progress on the Hartford sweater tenfold. I’ve polished off my fourth skein and am at least half-way through my fifth in a matter of days. I took it with me when my mom and I went for a nice long walk on the beach. She drove, so I got to knit there and back and polished off that fourth skein. I only have about another inch and a half left before I can start the shaping.

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I also managed to get a little headway on what I’ve titled my Worn Down Glories jacket. This one I’ve named after a line from James Vincent McMorrow’s song “We Don’t Eat,” which is one of my primary comfort songs. Debbie Bliss’ Generous Jacket is one big, slouchy cloud of offset ribbing and I’m making it out of a cozy, no-nonsense kitchen cotton. I feel as if this is destined to become one of my comfort cardigans that I wear the same rainy days that I listen to “We Don’t Eat.”

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Since Mom’s Hartford is my top priority, I haven’t made much headway on this yet, but I hope to finish it before autumn sets in.

Not only have I made headway on both those larger projects, but I finally finished off my original scarf, Gold Across the River. I bound of in kitchner and wove in the ends last night, then I blocked it this afternoon. It’s already delightfully cozy and looks great, but Manos del Urugay always looks and feels even better after a nice long soak. The blue dye bled a little, the water in the tub turned a brilliant shade of turquoise, and it might have stained one of my white towels, but I think it’s done bleeding. All in all, I’m quite happy with it. I think I will get three more skeins and whip up one more sample before I share the pattern though, make sure I’ve got it down.

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Well my dears, that is all I have to share with you tonight. I’m off to bed and I will hopefully have some progress to share tomorrow night on that new shawl that I started. We shall see.

 

 

I Swear I’m Not Crazy

I feel so neurotic whenever I pull out Endpaper. My knitting guru (aka Amy from Red Purl) recommended I store it in baggies to keep the kidsilk clean and soft. It gets tangled and bedraggled rather easy until it’s knit up. Still, carrying around little plastic bags full of yarn makes me feel even crazier than I already know that I am.

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Despite all that, I am finally making progress. I’ve got to the point in the pattern where it flips and mirrors itself. I can’t wait to see how that turns out. For right now, it just looks like scalloped edging. Eventually it will be the Ostrich Plumes motif from Barbara Walker’s Second Treasury of Knitting. I am loving the pattern so far, even though it gave me a little grief. I’m calling it Endpaper because I hope that when all is said and done it will be slightly reminiscent of the marbled endpapers in old books.

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I am still plugging away at Gold Across the River. It’s a nice piece to bring back and forth to work because it is small, but sturdy and can ride along in my bag with all the other various bits of things that commute with me to work. I’m about a third of the way and I am discovering that I am loving the back just as much as I am loving the front. When I actually publish this pattern, I plan on making it completely reversible.

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Last note, the yarn for Mom’s sweater is in and I’ll be heading to the yarn shop some time next week to pick it up. I’m sure I’ll post pictures on Instagram right away, but I’ll also be sure to write a bit about it as well.

Back to the Grindstone

Well, it’s back to work for me today. I’m feeling worlds better, though I still find myself very fatigued and achy. I think I need to start doing yoga or something to get my body back into balance. There is something funky going on and I can’t quite put my finger on it.

In spite of the distraction of boyfriends and car searches, I did manage to get a few rows of Endpaper done. Then I promptly tore it all out because my count was off on the first row. I’m about six rows in at the moment and it is finally starting to take shape. Have I mentioned lace frustrates me to no end?

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Whenever I get to frustrated to touch the darn thing, I run through a calming row of my Generous Jacket. It’s mindless. The cotton is very forgiving. It’s everything Endpaper is not. Then, once I’ve detoxed, it’s back to the grindstone again. I’m glad I have until August to finish this.

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I Know I’m Sick When I Don’t Even Want to Knit

I’ve hardly accomplished half the things that I wished to accomplish so far this week. My body has been rebelling against me in a big way. I even had to go home ill yesterday. Normally when I call off, I lay in bed and get a fair bit of knitting done. Not so this time around. curled up in bed and immediately fell asleep for FOUR HOURS!!! And then I still slept soundly all night. I don’t like this game.

I picked up a little of Rowan’s Kidsilk Haze while I was at the shop on Sunday. I plan on making a light wrap for my grandmother for her birthday, and it will keep me busy until Mom’s yarn comes in. I started on US 13 needles for a super loose gauge, but I hated how it looked, so I ripped it out (not easy in Kidsilk, let me tell you). Then I recast it onto 5s and I like the look a lot more. I’m debating whether or not to throw a little lacework into it. I’m already doing random striping and I don’t want it to look too busy. I might just add a little edging or something.

ImageI did manage to get Wool Leaves on the blocks this morning. It looks so terrific. I am quite proud of this one. I get the feeling that this will be a staple project for me. There will be a lot of babies in my family with one of these. Just saying.

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In other news, the boyfriend is coming over today and may drive me around to look for cars to replace mine that broke down. Might get some work done on the drive.

Keeping Busy

I actually get a Sunday off for once in my life and it happens to fall on Block of the Month day at my LYS. So, guess where I’ll be spending my afternoon?

Speaking of Block of the Month, Amy has asked me to try my hand at designing and write the pattern for next year. I think I’ve finally decided on all the motifs that I want to incorporate. We decided on a “potpourri” theme so that I can do a kind of sampler of all my favorite techniques and patterns. I’ve got a sketch of the order that I think I will want to do them in. Of course, that order is subject to change at any moment. My ultimate goal is to have a balanced blend of fancy show-off squares and a few mindless textures that the knitters can just whip through quickly.

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I am still waiting on the wool for my Mom’s birthday sweater. In the meantime, I thought I would start something for myself. I decided on a soft-ribbed oversized cardigan from a Debbie Bliss that I’ve had for ages. I finished the gauge swatch last night and got a few rows of the back done. I’m just using a cheep Lion Brand cotton, but it knits quickly and has a nice fluff to it. I don’t know how well it will wear, but it will be a nice, simple, easily washable cardigan for everyday use.

ImageWell, my knitting bag is packed and the dog needs a quick walk before I leave. For once, I’ll actually keep things brief. Happy knitting!

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All the Things! Finished Things!

Welp, I managed to finish Wool Leaves before the yarn I ordered for Mom’s sweater even arrived. It turned out even prettier than I expected. The color is perfect. The yarn is gorgeous and I can’t wait to see how it blocks. That’s on my schedule for tomorrow. Right now it’s about two foot by two foot. I’m hoping to get a little more stretch out of it once it’s soaked. I know it’s for a newborn, but I want it to be large enough to be useful for more than just the first year. Even if it stays small, I am still really pleased with the result.

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Swallowtail just came off the blocks as well and it is looking gorgeous. Rowan Fine Tweed definitely softens a bit after blocking and feels much better next to the skin. I’ll hopefully get a few action shots of it later to show how nicely it drapes around the neck and shoulders. I am in love with that tweedy texture.

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I only have one thing on the needles right now, which feels very strange. It’s that Manos del Uruguay scarf that I was struggling with in my last post. Well, I ripped it back down to the border and started again with Barbara Walker’s seaweed stitch. It’s turning out a lot better than my last attempt. I’ll have to write out the pattern for you all and see what you think. I keep wavering between naming it “Come Rain or Come Shine” after and Ella Fitzgerald song, or “Old Pine” which is a homage to my favorite singer-songwriter, Ben Howard. Oh, or I could call it “Gold Across the River” in reference to Laura Marling’s song “Alas, I Cannot Swim.” We shall see.

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Color Conundrums

Since Wool Leaves is already far too massive to leave home, I have taken to bringing a little scarf project to work with me. It is a lace scarf based on a motif written by String Geekery. The motif is wonderful, but I find that it’s getting lost in the Manos del Uruguay that I chose to try it out in. The Tanager colorway is gorgeous, but it is also very busy. I think I may have to split these projects into two.

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I think Etude No. 1 is destined for a natural, off-white cotton that I’ve had sitting around for awhile. Or maybe my bright green Tosh Merino Light. I have plenty to make a nice length summer scarf with that.

Meanwhile, I have to think of something for this Manos. I know any cables will get lost in it. Also most textures will be useless, unless highly embossed. I think a very simple, repetitive lace motif would be my best bet. You know what that means… It’s time to consult with Ms. Walker!

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I am sure I will find something there that will do the job nicely.

Onward and Upward

After a harrowing six-day work week, I finally got a day off today and made a trip to my LYS for supplies for my next two big projects. I ordered some of Rowan’s Aran Tweed in Dent for a birthday present from my mother and picked up some Spud & Chloë Sweater in Grass.

It is great to have a new big project to start. I finished my Swallowtail Shawl last week and had all weekend to kill. So I picked up my Block of the Month and got caught up on that. Basically Block of the Month is a year-long project where you knit one square foot block of an afghan every month. At the end of the year, you have a nicely sized afghan. At my LYS, Amy writes the pattern every month and gives it free to anyone who buys their material for it from her shop. We all meet on the second Sunday of every month get started on the next month.

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I’m using Green Mountain Spinnery’s Mountain Mohair. Since we’re knitting the blocks in columns of four, I am knitting them in a repeating pattern of three colors; Elderberry, Moss, and Raven. This month was honeycomb stitch, which is a pleasantly mindless motif after all the grief and frustrations of Swallowtail. Cables are my comfort zone. They are the first moderately advanced technique that I learned, and the repetition of CB4, CF4 had a soothing rhythm to it.

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Now that I am once again stocked, I’ve started plugging away at my scheduled pieces. First up is Wool Leaves a new baby that is due to one of my oldest friends. She’s due in September, but the baby shower is at the beginning of July, so I’m trying to get it done by then. Wool Leaves knits up so fast, I don’t think that will be much of a problem. I just started today and I’m already a full rep in. Holding a worsted cotton/wool blend double on US 13 needles makes for a quick knit.

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In fact, I may have time for a little side project for myself. Remember that Manos del Uruguay that I picked up while on vacation? Well, I have a plan for it. I found this lovely etude by the talented String Geekery, who is pretty genius, if you ask me. I think it will transform it into a long, skinny scarf. S.G. was thinking of it as an edging pattern that repeated horizontally, but I want to work it into a vertical pattern. I am trying to work out some variation of Jared Flood’s tubular cast on and slipped stitch edging that I loved so much on Afton. I’ve done the cast on and the broken ribbed border, but my math was wonky and I’m finding it difficult to blend this seamlessly into the etude. I’ll probably have to frog and recrunch the numbers… math… hmpf…

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Mothers Day Madness

This past Saturday, I suddenly came to the realization that Mothers Day was in only about a week! I hadn’t planned anything to make for my mother, and I hadn’t acquired any yarn specifically for the job. I racked my brain for something to make and suddenly remembered a pair of fingerless gloves I’d made for her a year or so back.

ImageI’d been rather proud of them at the time, especially my work on the thumbs, which had been particularly challenging for my level of skill. I made them out of a coral colored Patton’s worsted wool. It’s not a particularly luxurious fiber, but it has good stitch definition. I happened to have about a skein and a half left of it too. So, I decided to whip up a matching hat.

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I used the same pattern that I’d used for the purple hat I made not to long ago (see previous post) as the base and reverse engineered the cabling pattern from the gloves. I finally topped it off with a little hand-painted Malabrigo that I had in my scraps bin to give it a little extra flair.

ImageI’m currently wet blocking it and hoping that the wonky gaps in the cabling work their way out. I’m fairly proud of the thing, but it’s longer than I’d like and I’m hoping that blocking it wide stretches that out a bit. I should have decreased more rapidly, but ah well. it will do.