Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! I used to think that I hated this holiday, but I’ve come to terms with my gooey, squishy marshmallow interior. For example, I’m wearing a pink/red shirt today! I ordered adorable heart-shaped stitch markers for the shop! And look at these lovely little knit hearts by Susan B. Anderson that I found on Ravelry!

© Evan Anderson

But seriously, I do like Valentine’s Day — I just like to celebrate it my way. No heart-shaped boxes of candy for me, no diamond-studded jewelry, and definitely no trip to the movie theater to watch the latest installment of pre-packaged “romance”. Instead, I’m going to spend quality time with the people I love the most. My mom and sister were my valentines every year when I was growing up, and we always gave each other silly cards and high-end chocolate. (I’m a firm believer in Galentine’s Day, too. True friends are always there for you, and deserve to be celebrated.) Tonight, myself, my family unit, and my most excellent, breakfast-in-bed-making partner are going out for cocktails and tasty appetizers.

This holiday places so much emphasis on a narrow Hallmark definition of love. But I want to encourage all of us to embrace a broader idea of Valentine’s Day. We can celebrate it any way we want — by showing love for ourselves, the planet, our friends, our pets, or humanity in general. With that in mind, I’d like to invite you all to join me in a bit of charitable giving. I’m going to donate the cost of a movie ticket to New Hope for Women, an organization that works against domestic violence in our area. The inspiration for this donation is my frustration with the romanticization of abuse in popular culture. I could talk your ear off about it (and if you want to discuss it with me, let’s grab a drink and talk!) but suffice it to say that I have $10 in my pocket, and would rather give it to New Hope for Women than go watch the glorification of stalking, possessiveness and controlling behavior for 1 hour and 58 minutes.

Let’s share the love, y’all. <3

Sometimes an Experiment is in Order

When I knit something that will be felted later, I tend to prefer using a yarn I know will wet felt by hand very well. While I do love how much easier it is to throw things into the washer and dryer, I don’t get as much control over the shape the piece gets felted into as well as I would like. Since I knit a lot of dolls, I often use my hands to sculpt the wool as it felts. For this reason, I normally lean towards using yarns from Quince&Co.– particularly Lark and Chickadee. As I’ve been knitting and felting test swatches of all the feltable yarns around the store (an ever ongoing project of mine ), these ones have remained my favorites so far. 

There is one, however, that I wasn’t entirely sure would felt, and if so, how well: Tern. Some of you may be familiar with this Quince yarn. For those of you who aren’t, it’s a lovely fingering weight yarn made of wool, but it also includes a fair percentage of silk. I simply had to make a test swatch. The verdict?

Knit on US 0s

Tern absolutely felts, and much more than I thought it would. I’m sure if I had used a washer and dryer rather than some vigorous hand rubbing it would have felted more. 

I’m A Hat Person

The Rock City hat.

Hello! My name is Lauren, and I’m a hat person. I’m crazy about hats. Every kind of hat*. Why did hats ever go out of style as an essential fashion accessory? Some people seem to think they can’t pull off hats, but I am convinced there’s a hat for every woman and every man.

* Almost every kind of hat: I do believe it’s possible for a hat to be too big, too small, or too weird.

  Too big. Image Source.

  Too small. Image Source.

Too weird. Image Source.

 

I’m sure this is not an unpopular opinion, but I think the best hat styles of all time were invented in the 1920s. They’re sleek, stylish, with embellishments that are often understated (though maybe flashy by our ho-hum hat standards these days). They feature clever asymmetrical designs. They’re flattering on almost every head. The pleats, ruffles and ruches are my favorite. And the Art Deco geometric details. These 1920’s hat illustrations inspire me to no end. I could admire them all day.

 

Obviously, these drawings aren’t depicting knitted hats, but my question is why ever not? Yesterday, I felt inspired to go home and knit myself a 1920’s turban-style hat (yeah, I sat down and knit this hat for 8 straight hours). This side-to-side design with a ruched side and a little knotted tie has been on my mind for a while. Maybe it was the snowy weather that made me do it finally. To tell you the truth, I feel pretty cute in this hat. And I’m feeling fired up about trying to capture more of the details I love about 1920’s hats in knitted hat designs. Maybe I’ll try some more hand-felting (but ow, my arms) or maybe I’ll try some little crocheted or needle felted or beaded details. We’ll see how that goes. Sometimes I don’t even know where my knitting whims are going to take me.

Ok, now the office selfies are getting a little awkward.

My love of hats isn’t limited to this particular era, of course. The other day, I was captivated by a hat I saw on the head of a woman at Rock City Cafe while I was having lunch. Fortunately, she was facing away from me, so I was able to stare at her hat discretely. I loved how the triangle-wedges formed perfect little spots for buttons down the side, and I loved the petite rolled brim. I drew a little schematic doodle on a sticky note so I’d remember what her hat looked like. Then I knit myself one and topped it off with a furry pompom. When I get around to writing up a pattern for this hat, I’m going to call it the Rock City hat. I have to tell you, the other thing I love about hats is that I can finish them quickly. It’s quite satisfying to have an idea become a physical object within a day or two.

I think it’s safe to proclaim hats are my favorite thing to knit. For now. Who’s with me – are there any other Hat People out there?