Sweaters, Hats, and Scarves in the News

As I was eating breakfast and browsing Facebook this morning, an article caught my eye, and I knew I needed to share it with you. It was on an archaeology website (many of you already know that I’m an archaeology nerd), which isn’t my typical source for knitting news. The title of this article on digventures.com was “Guy Knits Jumpers Of Famous Places, Then Goes There And Wears Them” and it’s as amazing as you would hope. The fiber artist’s name is Sam Barsky, and since he started knitting 16 years ago, he has made over 90 sweaters. (I don’t know about you, but I suddenly feel like a slacker.) One of my favorite parts of the post was the statement that, “Sam realised that he didn’t have to stick to patterns, he could just knit whatever was in his head”. You guys, this is what our Boss Board is all about! We want all of our knitters to feel as confident as Sam. It also makes me happy to read an article about a male knitter that isn’t, “Men Can Knit Too!” or “Man Bucks Stereotypes, Knits Sweater”, but instead just treats him as any other (extraordinarily talented and creative) fiber person.

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I’ve also been overwhelmed by the number of you who are knitting pink hats for the Pussyhat Project! I never expected it to take off the way that it has, but it warms my heart every time someone comes in looking for pink yarn. If there are any procrastinators out there (*cough*me*cough*), I’m going to try to order in some pink super bulky yarn for some last-minute hats. All of you have gotten me thinking that perhaps it’s time I took a stand myself and attended the march in Augusta on January 21st. Just now, when I typed “Pussyhat” into Ravelry under “projects”, I got 105 pages of results! That’s 105 pages of strong, confident knitters and crocheters who will not be ignored. Fiber folks are the best.

Finally, my faith in humanity got a nice boost this morning from another Facebook post, this time from Rockland Main Street. Apparently some kind soul has been tying fleece scarves (ok, so not knitting, but give me a break on this one) to lamp posts on Main Street in our town, with lovely notes. These scarves are free, and anyone in need is encouraged to take one and stay warm. This time of year, I worry for members of our community who might not have adequate winter layers. I saw a man walking down the street in shorts a week ago, and desperately hoped that it was by choice and not because he had no other clothes. If any of you know this good samaritan who is working to warm people’s hearts and necks, please give them a hug for me!

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©Rockland Main Street

New Year’s Knitting Resolutions and Reflections

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Some of the things that I knit or crocheted in 2016.

Now that another year has come and gone, I think it’s important to take a moment to reflect. In our reflection, we often love and hate and feel compelled to make New Year’s Resolutions. My friend Andi recently suggested that we make New Year’s Intentions instead, and I think I like that better. That way, there’s less pressure; less pressure can free your mind to think more clearly and creatively, and of course it alleviates potential disappointment and discouragement.

Whatever you call them, I’ve been thinking of my own goals for 2017. Many of them pertain to my knitting life, since knitting is my life. Even if your life doesn’t revolve around knitting, you can set knitting goals for yourself.

Some things you might consider:

  1. How about trying something new? There are always new categories of knits (sweaters, afghans, gloves, and lace shawls are a few things that many people haven’t yet tried). There are always new techniques. There are new fibers (silk, alpaca, cashmere!), new colors (go bold!), and new yarn weights (lace-weight or super-bulky!). There are also new crafts (spinning, felting or weaving!).
  2. How about knitting for yourself if you’re a compulsive knitted gift-giver, or knitting for others if you’re always knitting for yourself?
  3. How about finishing some of the projects that you’ve set aside? We all lose steam or get stuck sometimes. It might feel good to check some things off your list that have been lingering there. Alternatively, how about letting go of things that truly no longer interest you, and unraveling the yarn for a new life?
  4. How about organizing your yarn stash? I’d never criticize the size of your yarn stash, but I think clutter often inhibits motivation and de-cluttering this year might give you a renewed vigor for knitting!
  5. How about facing your fears? You probably have a knitting technique that freaks you out – for a lot of people, it’s steeking (making a vertical cut in a knit-in-the-round item, often used for colorwork blankets and cardigans). Maybe you’re afraid of dropped stitches. Well, you could always drop a stitch on purpose in order to learn how to pick up a dropped stitch confidently!
  6. How about sharing your love of knitting with friends and family? You could teach someone to knit this year, or you could connect over knitting by joining a knitting circle or forming your very own. A common interest in knitting often brings people closer.

As for myself, these are my New Year’s Intentions:

  1. I want to be more generous. Usually, I knit for the sake of knitting or I knit for myself, but this year I’d like to knit gifts for my loved ones and think of them while I knit.
  2. I want to listen better. When I listen to people, I want to be less eager to respond and more eager to understand. This is a sort of sweepingly broad goal, but I interact with a lot of people while working in a yarn shop, and I think listening better will help me help people home in on their own knitting goals.
  3. I want to think creatively. I’d like to knit more experimentally and invent new things. I don’t want to limit myself to things that I’m certain will work out. I also want to work on my photography skills in order to better show off the things I’ve made! 
  4. I also want to think concretely. But I also want to take the time to stop and write down what I’ve done so that I can write patterns and teach other people how to do what I did.
  5. I want to inspire people. I want to do the best I can to instill other people with my enthusiasm for knitting. Why isn’t everyone as hopelessly obsessed as I am? I don’t know. Clearly this is a problem that needs to be fixed.

This New Year, I’m also reflecting on my knitting achievements. Since I only started knitting just over two years ago, I feel like I’ve come a long way in the past year! 

Back in June, I wrote about learning to teach knitting because I felt a sense of gradual improvement as a result of being approached with knitting questions on a daily basis. I’m so grateful to everyone who’s walked into Over the Rainbow Yarn with a question that challenged me to learn something new, because I’ve managed to learn things I might not even have thought to learn otherwise! In November, I figured out how to knit gloves, which involved more stitches on stitch holders and fiddly components than I was used to. I also became a lot fonder of double-pointed needles. I improved my pattern-writing skills by challenging myself to write knitting and crochet patterns for 12 Weeks of Christmas this year. I learned a lot of technical bits and pieces like how needle size conversions are a bit confusing due to their being multiple sizing standards. I think my very favorite thing that I knit this year was the Vernal Equinox Shawl. For now, it’s the only lace shawl I’ve ever knit!

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Starting Fresh For 2017

Happy New Year, everyone! I’m ready for 2017 to be fantastic, how about you? Let’s make it the best year we possibly can.

If projects or tasks are lingering towards the end of the year, I always like to try to wrap them up before New Year’s Eve. It’s always satisfying to complete stuff, and even more so when you have the incentive of a clean slate and a fresh start when the clock strikes midnight. With that in mind, I’m pleased to announce that I have finally completed my Caribou Cowl, and the pattern should be available shortly! (Stay tuned on Facebook!) Made from one skein each of Berroco Folio Luxe and HiKoo Caribou, this cowl is cozy and sophisticated at the same time, and easy-peasy to knit.

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Object in photo may be softer than it appears.

And now… I get to start something new. You guys, I swatched. I did. Usually I skip this rather important step, because I’m impatient/lazy, but today, I decided “New Year, new me”. (Also, I really want this to fit.)

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SWATCH!

Since this is Plymouth Encore Mega on size 13 needles, it took me all of 10 minutes. It’s making me think that I should swatch more often. Also, don’t be like old me — always, always swatch if you’re making a sweater. Be like new-2017-me.

Tonight or tomorrow, this adorable little swatch will be ripped out, and I will CAST ON FOR MY AZEL PULLOVER! At last! It shall be mine! All miiiiiiinnne! (And by “mine” I mean “the store’s”.) Mwahahahahahahaaaa!

Here’s wishing you a triumphant fresh start to this new year. It’s going to be better. We’re going to make it better.