Weaving?

Here I go down a new crafting rabbit hole. Whoops. My folks came out to visit and long story short, the weather was terrible, flights were canceled and they drove from NY to UT with a vengeance. Which meant they had some room in the truck for extra necessities. Like a loom from 1972.

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My neighbor gave me this last winter, it was her loom and she said she hasn’t used it since the golden age of plaid and feathered hair. So the yarn on there is authentic 70’s acrylic. It was so nice of her to give it to me, and I was disappointed that I didn’t use it last year. Now that my yarn stash and I are together once more, I think I have the perfect yarn to use. My sister Emily has been kind enough to bring me back wool the last few times she has come home from Chile. Some of the yarn is soft enough to wear next to your skin, and some of it is more rustic. What I’ve got left is the latter, and I’ve been thinking about knitting a rug out of it, but now I’m gonna weave a rug.

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But I’m used to using two sticks to make stuff, and this loom has an awful lot more than two sticks going on. There seem to be a lot of delicate parts, things that move, and things that are mysteriously attached to the rest of it. It’s fairly intimidating and I have no idea what I’m doing, but that’s never stopped me before!

When all bets are off, plow forward in ignorance. -Ancient Chinese Proverb

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I’d love to hear your tips or resources for beginner weavers. There is a direction booklet that came along in the package but I am a Millenial after all, and I’m sure there are excellent learning tools available online.

I’m also looking for tips on how to take pictures somewhere with terrible lighting because my landlord has inexplicably decided that a strange mix of bizarre brown paint colors and minimal windows really adds a certain je ne sais quoi the house.

I’m excited to learn how to weave and judging by the enthralled look the lady on the package has, I’m going to have a hell of a lot of fun doing it. Or maybe it’s the jaunty poncho she’s wearing that’s got her so excited. Hard tellin’ not knowin’.

Blankies

All I’ve been knitting since I got reunited with my stash are blankies. I’ve been taking a pretty good crack at my Beekeeper’s Quilt but wanted something with a little more instant gratification.  I cast on Garter Squish by my main man Stephen West and have been absolutely HAMMERING on it. As much as you can hammer on soft wool and wooden sticks anyway.

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Beekeeper’s Quilt

It’s a free pattern and the idea of the blanket is super straightforward. Using scraps or leftover yarn, you hold a neutral color with another color and knit row after row of garter stitch, slipping the last three stitches to create a tidy looking icord edge. Pretty easy.

Garter squish blanket knitting blog

As moving makes one do, I did a lot of sweating and swearing while picking things up and putting them down somewhere else. I thought I was more or less a minimalist but I took a good hard look at the amount of stuff I’ve been schlepping around for the last five years and it is too much.  Unnecessary things must go, or be made into something else. I’ve been hanging onto bizarre skeins of unidentifiable yarn that I’ve had since I first started knitting, and now they finally have a permanent home that’s not in another bin of yarn that will require lifting at some point.

Piña, who has gone from street dog to the purveyor of all things soft and luxurious in just one short year, deems it adequately cozy.

I wrote lots more excellent sentences filled with knitting related humor but I accidentally saved the wrong draft and writing talent like this can’t be forced, also I don’t want to write it again.  You’ll just have to imagine them and laugh at how hilarious those sentences would have been.

Reunited

You may have gleaned from my last post that I am no longer in Arizona. The snow was probably a give away. Last month I got a job in Utah, and moved back to Salt Lake City in a hurry. I am working as an SEO Content Writer which I am really enjoying. I can make grammar jokes at work and people laugh which is mind blowing. It’s also helping me get my comma splicing habits under control. It’s good being in the company of fellow nerds.

 A couple of my excellent friends let Piña and I stay with them for a while. Piña mostly terrorized their dog while we were there. If you can imagine the scene in The Princess Bride where Wesley takes down Andre the Giant with quick moves and mosquito-like persistence, it looked an awful lot like that every day. 

Poor Odin was ready to have his lazy lifestyle back, so we found a house to live in. We tricked our good friend Emma (who I’m pretty sure reads this blog yaaaasssss kween) into living with us again. With our combined addictions, this duplex could turn into a craft studio in a hurry. Which I am obviously pumped about. 

Maybe the most exciting part of renting a new house is that there is more room for all the yarn. Piña and I took a road trip to CO to pick up our things at my man friend’s folks’ place and we’ve been reunited with our treasures. But the light here is terrible, sorry for the picture quality. 

Collection of hand knit sweaters
My sweater collection
Hand embroidered pillow from Guatemala
A hand embroidered pillow I bought in Guatemala
Cute dog
Piña thinking this rug is for her. It’s not.
Handwoven rug from Chiapas, Mexico
A naturally dyed hand woven rug I bought in Chiapas, Mexico
Beekeeper's Quilt
The start of my Beekeeper’s Quilt.
Yarn stash
So. Much. Yarn.

Turns out you can quash the impulse to buy more yarn when you’re reunited with your stash and everything seems new again. If you need me, I’ll be knitting hexipuffs until my fingers fall off. 

Still We Rise

Friday I choked back tears at work. I watched smug and intolerant people snatch power and offer empty words and callous actions in return for what they took. I didn’t feel the same shock and despair that I did the day after the election, but I did experience an ache that became sharper every time the camera panned to the Obamas. 2008 was the first election I could vote in , and the night Obama won was the most joyful, inspiring time to be an American that I had ever felt. Until yesterday.

Women's march on Washington, Park City ChapterA small swell of hope began with the women wearing pink scarves on stage at the inauguration as a subtle symbol of resistance. Yesterday, that small feeling grew into an overwhelming pride and love for my country and people, which continues to buzz completely through my core. My fingers are alight with potential and I feel like anything I can do to provide even the smallest bit of change is valid.

The PussyHat Project showed us that knitting clearly can be that change. In the first days after the election I struggled. Like so many people around the country, I felt like rather than being stabbed in the back, I’d been slapped in the face by someone I thought was a friend. So I turned to knitting, my main source of comfort.

Yesterday, I got to wear my hat with pride and solidarity. I’ve gotten more requests for hats than I can possibly make, but I would love for more women to be able to keep their nasty little heads warm. So. I’ve got the bones of a pattern, but I need help. I’m not a knitwear designer and I’ve spent a lot of time trying to perfect this pattern and add the chart to the pattern draft but I haven’t been able to get it right. If there are any designers, tech editors or formatting witches out there, I would so appreciate your help.

Line waiting for bus to women's marchWomen's March on Main, Park City, UTIt’s my intention to sell this pattern and donate all proceeds to the ACLUbecause Nasty Women come in all genders, races, orientations, religions, and persuasions. I have plans to knit these for friends that have asked for them, and have requested that however much money they would normally spend on a hat they donate to their human right’s charity of choice. Please let me know if there’s any way you can help, whether it’s explaining the intricacies of excel,  knitting a hat for yourself, or passing this on to another nasty woman you know–I appreciate it.

Nasty Woman Hat, Women's March

I am filled with hope, resistance, and motivation for the future.

Still we rise.

 

 

 

 

Places You Could Knit During 2016

Renaissance Man, Video Girl, Briocheur Extrodinaire, and Personal Hero, Stephen West, is a damn inspiration in terms of places you can knit. Stephen has taught me that A. More is more in terms of accessories. B. Your fridge is acceptable for yarn storage. C. Wool crop tops duh. D. That you can knit literally anywhere. 

Indeed, there were a lot of places you could knit during 2016.

On the couch with a dog.
In a truck at 14,000 feet.
On your lawn.

On a/in a lake

On a dock.
At Horseshoe Bend.
In the desert with your dog and your fella.
In a frenzy, after your country loses its mind.
In a truck camper.
Next to the ocean in Mexico.

I can only hope 2017 will live up to Westknits standands. Stephen, I live to serve. 

What’s Your Magic Number?

Of WIPs, that is. How many works in progress make the stars align, the hummingbirds hum, the atmosphere buzz, and all that? I’m certainly not a monogamous knitter, but I think I’ve got a few too many side chicks at the moment. 

Works in progress

I think my magic number is not a hard and fast rule, but more of a guideline–one of each. One shawl, one pair of socks, one hat, one sweater, one blanket. They each require different skills and attention spans, which seems ideal. 

At the moment, my WIPs are all over the place. I have two pairs of socks, two sweaters, a shawl, and two blankets (which are physically and mentally in storage). This may not seem excessive but it’s too many choices for me. It’s the multiple of each project that’s the issue. I have come to the realization that I need to re-start the sleeves over on my mom’s sweater, but I can happily avoid doing it by knitting on a another sweater. I almost have a pair of socks finished, but I didn’t feel like knitting the heel, so I started knitting another pair of socks and then BAM. I suddenly had two pairs of socks that needed heels knit. Oy. 

Are these dire problems? No, definitely not. But I could do with a little more knitting harmony. 

Better go cast on another shawl. 

Christmas Cables

Along with the yarn for my mother’s sweater, I bought some yarn for a classic Aran sweater at the Southern Adirondack Fiber Fest. Like every other knitter on the planet, I’ve got a slow burn for a heavily cabled, cream colored sweater.

 I’ve had Stonecutter by Michelle Wang in my queue forever, and Snoqualmie (also by Michelle) made it to the top of my queue when it came out. 

Stonecutter sweater
Stonecutter, copyright Brooklyn Tweed
Snoqualmie sweater
Snoqualmie, copyright Brooklyn Tweed

I’ve got a desperate need to make Snoqualmie, but I want to make it in the yarn it’s intended to be made with and it may take me a good decade to be able to buy that much Brooklyn Tweed at once. So on the back burner that one sits. 

The chart for Stonecutter has got to be a work of art in itself, but it’s not really a classic Aran sweater. I would still love to knit it, but my yarn doesn’t seem like a perfect fit. 

Oh yes, the yarn. I was on a wild goose chase for the perfect wooly rustic yarn to knit my sweater with and I found it at the booth of a yarn store in Greenwich, NY –called Yarn (they don’t have a website?). It’s Adirondack DK, grown and spun right in the Adks. So obviously I was pretty smitten with it. Yarn was having a sale on it which was excellent because I watched a sweater’s worth slide in under my budget with the same apprehension that you watched your Aunt Ethel shimmy under the limbo stick at your wedding. Relief all around.

Lots of yarn

So I hunted for a pattern and looked mainly at Brooklyn Tweed, who I’ve been showering with my love and appreciation for years. I found Bronwyn by Melissa Wehrle which is written for worsted weight, but decided to do the math to make it work with my yarn. 

Bronwyn sweater
Bronwyn, copyright Brooklyn Tweed

I typically knit a 34-37 inch bust for myself depending on what I want in fit. the sweater is written for 4 to 5 inches of ease for an oversized fit. I was having a hard time choosing between 37.75 and 40.5 for a size and decided to swatch. I started with one needle size down because of my yarn weight and didn’t love the cables, so I sized down another needle and the fabric was perfect, but the gauge was way off. I decided to use those Math Skills I taught the Youth of America and found that if I knit the 44.5 inch size, I would end up with a sweater between the 37 and the 40 inch sizes.

Since that sounded too good to be true I knit a sleeve as a test for my theory and holy smokes it worked! I’m casting on for the body today. I don’t think Christmas knitting can get any more perfect than white cables, do you?