Crafters giving back: Yarn and design resources

I’m really inspired by the number of knitwear designers and yarn dyers who have developed products to raise money for causes that they believe in. Here are some patterns and yarns that might be interesting for some of you who are looking to funnel some of their craft dollars to good causes (while also feeding your stash). Feel free to link to more that you’ve found in the comments.

Knitted Witt Love is Love Colorway 10% of sales go to organizations that support the LGBTQ community.

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Infinite Twist Love Still Wins Kit $5 from each sale goes to the Lambda Legal organization, which seeks to achieve “full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people, and everyone living with HIV through impact litigation, education, and public policy.”

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The Sight Is Life collection is a pattern collection that funds eye surgeries in the Congo. It features a bunch of wonderful designers and patterns.

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The Peace de Resistance Mittens by Bristol Ivy. Bristol Ivy is donating proceeds from the pattern sale to a rotating list of charities. There are also several yarn companies providing kits for the pattern, and they are also donating to local and national charities.

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Tin Can Knits most recent collection Heart on My Sleeve is a collection of sweater patterns by different designers, and part of the proceeds are going to the Against Malaria Foundation.

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There are countless others who are, similarly, putting portions of their proceeds toward causes that matter to them.

 

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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!

To Gift Knit or Not to Gift Knit? 

I am always fascinated by knitters’ reactions to the thought of gift-knitting. Some people go wild, while others are measured or vehemently against knitting gifts. 

I have never been particularly for or against it. I have a few friends who are reliably grateful for their hand knits. I have a few things on my list for Little One this year. She is always a happy recipient of handmade items, so I’m happy to fulfill a few requests. 

Girly needs new mittens, so a pair of the Maize mittens by Tin Can Knits is on the needles. It is a free pattern, which is always a plus. They’re in the car with me and knitting up quickly. 

  
Despite a complete lack of need for any more stuffed items, Little One has requested a few knit toys. I am contemplating Frances the Sock Wearing Fox and Sweet Sheep. They are both so cute. 

   
 
A few more items may make the list for Little One’s teachers, but nothing is planned quite yet. 

How is your holiday knitting (or lack thereof) shaping up? 

Garter Stitch 

When I first learned to knit, I didn’t have much appreciation for the beauty of garter stitch. It seemed to me that to be a “real knitter,” I needed to learn to do the complicated projects. Now, it seems, that garter stitch is making a real comeback. There is real beauty in it’s simplicity. 

Here are some of favorite finds/knits that incorporate garter stitch: 

Cirriform by Lisa Mutch of Northbound Knitting. I knit this up in Little Brother by YOTH.  

 
Laurel Cowl by Carrie Bostick Hoge. This is actually one of my current WiPs

  
Here’s a hat I made/designed with a garter stitch band. Ridges Hat

  
I also have the Charlotte Cardigan on my list of upcoming projects. 

What are your feelings on garter stitch? Love it, or leave it? 

Pattern resources

It seems like there are limitless options for finding patterns out there.

When I first got started knitting, I used to buy books. I soon found I knit a pattern or two out of them at best, so they were just taking up a lot of space in our tiny house. I think one or two good book sources are great, but I find I don’t need much beyond that. My original Stitch n’ Bitch copy is completely falling apart, but it is probably my favorite. I recommend it to just about everyone I teach. Do you have any favorite knitting books?

Then came my discovery of PDF patterns on Ravelry and Etsy. They are tremendously convenient and so much less expensive. Ravelry is particularly great because of all of the free patterns. My favorite designer/store, who is on both is on both Etsy and Ravelry is The Velvet Acorn shop. Her designs are beautiful! Here are a few things I’ve made from her shop:

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And, then of course, Pinterest came along. I get lost in endless pattern inspiration there. (Follow me! http://www.pinterest.com/mrsolsenboblitt/).

More recently, I stumbled upon Craftsy. I find it harder to browse and search their site (particularly on iPads). But, a lot comes up through Facebook. They also end up with really good deals on some pattern and yarn kits. I knitted this from one of their kits:

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Where do you shop/find patterns? Who are your favorite designers?