Existential Blog Questions

I’ve had a glorious summer, and I hope all of you have as well!

Last week, I was sitting with a friend, and she asked me “do you read blogs anymore?” and it made me think about my blog reading habits and my blog writing habits.

My reading habits: I read some blogs casually, mostly when I see them pop up in a Facebook feed. But, there aren’t any that I subscribe to and read religiously. I’ve become more accustomed to listening to podcasts on my commute and getting short snippets on Instagram. I will also turn to blog information if I need to learn a new technique, and one of the google results happens to be a blog.

My Writing Habits: I’ve found myself writing blogs about things that I don’t necessarily go to blogs for. I tend to write about current projects, yarn acquisitions, and other fiber related stuff. I enjoy exploring the political aspects of crafting and making, but that can only provide so much content.

My Question for readers: How often do you read craft-related blogs? Why do you read them? Would you be more interested in the type of content that I offer in another format (podcast, just IG or FB)? Would you be interested in more instructional content (e.g. sharing techniques that work/don’t work for me)? I don’t think I’m ready to let this space go completely, but I think I am ready for it to take on a new shape.

And now, just a few photos of some of the things I’ve been up to this summer:

I’ve been knitting shawls, I’ve taught myself to embroider and crochet, and I’m diving into more weaving. Lots of exciting things!

 

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2017 LYS Tour & Weekend Projects

Last week was the LYS Tour in the Puget Sound. I didn’t make it to as many shops as I had hoped, but I stopped at some of my favorites. I tried to show restraint, but some yarn and fiber was just too lovely to resist. 

Tolt Yarn and Wool 

Fiber from Homestead Hobbyist (Mad Cow Yarn)

From Weaving Works for a small weaving project. 

I also managed to start a few new things and get some yarn finished over the weekend. 

Dyed yellow and gray braid for my Etsy shop. 

Doing a little knitting in the sunshine and my new mug from Spincycle Yarns. 

New handspun shawl on the needles. The pattern is the Quaker Yarn Stretcher by Susan Ashcroft. 

3-ply natural gray Finn yarn. 150 yards, 2.9oz. This was super lovely spin, and it made a really smooth, dense yarn.   Also available in my Etsy shop. 


WiP Wednesday: Growing Shawl, hats, & new dye books

My brain is going in a lot of different directions this week. I’m feeling a rush of excitement to finish things and start new ones. 

My Hitchhiker Beyond Shawl/scarf is growing! I’m a little worried that I’ll be playing yarn chicken, but what’s life without a little risk? I’m knitting this out of handspun, and I couldn’t be more excited about how it is knitting up. The colors scare and excite me all at the same time! 

As a fun, quick project, I’m making some hats that’ll be going with a local mill-owner to our local farmers market. (No pictures yet…)

I’m also planning a lot more natural during in the coming days/weeks. I’ve added a few books to my library, and I’m so excited to dig into them. Next on the dyeing schedule is nettle-dyed roving and yarn. 

Keep an eye on my Etsy shop for updates (in the past week, I’ve added in a skein of madder-dyed yarn and some recycled yarn). 

I’ve also re-started a Facebook page for my sites, so you can find me there if you’re interested, as well! 

Yarn BOB Facebook

Baking, spinning, sewing, and knitting, oh my!

I am continuing to experience a great deal of making-mojo. 

I finished 388 yards of handspun from a braid that I bought from Three Waters Farm.  The colors are outside of my usual comfort zone, but I really love it. 

I have been more motivated to explore bread-making recently. There’s something so satisfying about being able to make bread. I used the recipe for challah from the latest issue of Taproot Magazine, and I am so happy with how it came out. I’m looking for more recipes to try, so any suggestions are totally appreciated. 

Little One was on spring break last week, so I took a few hours while she was relaxing to sit back down at my sewing machine. The pattern for this is the Lil’ Knot Bag. The top stitching around the handles was a little tricky, but I’m pretty happy with the result. It was nice to sit back down at my machine, and this project was a good one for working on some skills. It was much more manageable than some of my other endeavors at the sewing machine have been. After a little more practice, these might appear in my Etsy shop. I’m still developing the direction I’d like to take my shop in, but I have some ideas in the works. 

I’m working on some mitts from handspun. Working with handspun has been hugely satisfying for me lately, as well. 

I also found these super cute little charms at the craft store the other week, so I made some stitch markers. I bought some extra, and they’re available on my Etsy shop. I’m getting ready to do some yarn and fiber dyeing, so keep an eye out for updates! 

Flurry of finished objects! 

I’ve finished quite a lot over the past few weeks. This, seemingly, never-ending winter has done wonders for my knitting mojo. It is feeling more like spring this week, but I’ve got lots in the works still, too.

Wildberry Shawl – I couldn’t be happier with this baby. I love the yarn and the pattern. I might have to knit another.


Gumshoe Cowl – This is a pattern by the ladies of Spincycle Yarns, and it was pretty well-suited to handspun. This is some yarn that I spun using a mixed BFL dyed by Port Fiber and some natural dark brown from Abundant Earth Fiber. This was my first two-color brioche project, so I’m pretty pleased with it.


Tread Hat – This is from the Within Collection by Jane Richmond and Shannon Cook. The yarn is Woolfolk Far. The yarn is unique and super soft. I was playing a little bit of yarn chicken with this one (it was a 50 gram skein), so next time I think I’ll get an additional skein to make it a little slouchier.


Quill Hat – I was so excited to knit this hat! I had the yarn, but had to spend a bit of time waiting for my issue of Taproot to arrive. It was worth the wait; I love it. The yarn is a 60/40 Rambouillet/dehaired llama blend milled at Abundant Earth Fiber. I will definitely be knitting this hat again.

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WiP Wednesday: Vacation Knitting

We were lucky enough to take a trip to Hawaii over the last week. I brought a number of knitting projects with me, but I’ve mainly been knitting on the Wildberry Shawl. I’m knitting it out of Josef & Anni, which is a local-to-me yarn by Abundant Earth Fiber. I could not be happier with how it is coming out! The pattern is totally addictive, and the yarn suits it perfectly. 

Finished Objects: Cowl and Handspun

It’s been a little while since I’ve made an FO post. It’s not for lack of FOs, really, but more a lack of things to say about them. 

I finished my Oats cowl. I needed some basics, so this is the first piece of some everyday scarves and cowls I’m adding to my wardrobe. The yarn is Malabrigo Rios. It took me quite a while to finish, but it was an easy project to pick up and put down. 


I finished some fiber that I was hoarding for spinning on my new wheel. This is 4.9oz of a BFL in the Hummingbird colorway. It was a nice spin (although a bit of a slog toward the end), and I am pretty pleased with the result. My plan is to use it with some dark brown handspun for a brioche project. 


I also finished a few hats for some friends and others who are participating in some marches that are coming up. 

I’ve got quite a few more projects in progress and lots of goodies to work with, so hopefully I’ll have a lot more to share in the coming weeks. 

Newly Casted On: Two Color Brioche Shawl

I have officially been bitten by the brioche-bug! After successfully finishing a hat, I decided that I would try a two-color project. I decided on the Marley shawl by Andrea Mowry (who I happen to be pretty obsessed with; her patterns are gorgeous). It took a few tries for me to get the increases right, and early on, I made some mistakes that I decided I couldn’t live with, so I ripped out a few times. Now, I am starting to get the flow a little more, and I am happy with how it is working up. There is one area where I contemplated tinking back, but the mistake is high up in the shawl, so it’ll be pretty bunched up once it is on, and it is only noticeable from one side. It is bothering me a tad, but I am using it as an opportunity for growth. In all, working with two colors is far simpler than I thought it would be. I am working with KnitPicks Palette yarn, which is an inexpensive 100% wool fingering weight yarn.

If you are looking to explore brioche more, take a look at Craftsy; I found the class I signed up for to be really helpful for both the two and single-color techniques. Most people mention the class by Nancy Merchant, but I actually preferred the look of the projects offered with this class a little more.

Does anyone else have any favorite brioche projects or resources for knitting in brioche?

Craftsy

Madrona 2017

Large events put me way out of my comfort zone. I don’t know many other knitters locally, so I am often left with attending fiber events on my own.  I am pretty introverted and anxious, so big events filled with unfamiliar faces make me so uneasy that it is hard to enjoy them. Therefore, I usually tend to skip out on them. Finding my niche in the fiber community is still something I am working on, and I am determined to find a little tribe.

I had heard of Madrona Fiber Arts previously, but the long drive and lack of knitting buddies to attend with made me uneasy about going. This year, I offered to help a friend who was vending, so I made the journey down to Tacoma for the marketplace on Friday. I worked for a few hours, and then I took the opportunity to do a little bit of stash enhancement at the marketplace. I think next year, I’ll try to take a class.

The marketplace was big and a bit overwhelming. I did a few passes before deciding on what to buy. There was so much beautiful yarn and fiber. My strategy for shopping is to buy things that are not otherwise available to me at my LYS and/or buying for specific projects. So, I bought some yarn from Local Color Fiber Studio. It is naturally dyed on Bainbridge Island, and it is hard to find in local yarn stores aside from Tolt Yarn and Wool or online. I think these two skeins will become a simple two-color brioche cowl. I don’t have a pattern in mind, but there are quite a few out there. I have been needing a square gauge ruler, so I picked one up from Sincere Sheep. I also got a skein of Wool Folk to make the Tread Hat from the Within collection. I am super happy and excited about all of my finds.

After the marketplace, I made a quick visit to see a friend who lives in Tacoma. After a long drive back north (Friday commute…ugh), the wait for the ferry was over two hours! Thankfully, I was able to drop my car off and walk to the ferry. The afternoon ride home was glorious, especially when I was able to bypass the big wait.

Knitting for fun versus knitting for function

When I’m choosing yarn and projects, sometimes I face the dilemma of whether I should be knitting for fun or for function. There are certain pieces that I wear all of the time; they are staples.

The Farmhouse Shawl is one I wear ALL of the time in the winter. It is a nice, neutral color, so it goes well with pretty much everything.

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I also wear a cowl that was gifted to me by a former client (and knitter). Again, it’s plain and goes well with just about everything. It is so simple, but it is one of my major go-to cowls, even though I have others to choose from.

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I also love the couple of sweaters I’ve finished over the years, and I wear them pretty often. With something that takes as long as a sweater, I am much more mindful over wearability and color choice, but even that has taken some time to learn (really, once I knitted a Burgundy tube top).

As I continue to knit and build a wardrobe of accessories and garments, I am finding myself gravitating toward patterns that I want to knit, but I question their function and wearability. I am a pretty plain-Jane when it comes to fashion, so dark colors, solids, and neutrals are what I wear most. But my eyes, gravitate toward patterns and color, even though they might not be practical.

Take for instance, the Hudson Shawl, which I am finishing the knitted-on-border for now. It has stripes and eyelets, which are totally out of my usual comfort zone, but the pattern and product just looked so tempting! The colors are still pretty earth-toned, but I keep asking myself what I am going to wear with it (despite having plenty of plain shirts that it’ll go perfectly well with).

And then, there are hats. I love knitting hats. But a girl, her husband, and her daughter only need so many. They’re a great single skein project (especially since I am NOT a sock knitter), but I tend not to wear them during the week because hat-hair is not a good look for the office. I keep finding myself wanting to knit hats, but I have one for almost every day of the winter.

 

I don’t think I have a great solution to this dilemma, but I am curious how others balance knitting for fun and function. I am trying to be mindful not to accumulate stuff that I don’t wear, but when there is so much lovely yarn and so many lovely patters, that can be a tall task. For now, I am happy with the wardrobe I am knitting, and I’ll keep examining what gets worn and what doesn’t. With the things that don’t get worn, I am allowing myself to be okay with giving it to someone who will love it more than I do, or I am doing myself the favor of ripping it out to repurpose into something that I will love more.

Is this something you think about when you are buying yarn and patterns? Or, do you allow yourself the pure enjoyment that knitting should bring? Either way, I’d love to know what others think on this.

 

Happy knitting!