Seasons Greetings

I am usually by no means a seasonal creator. I knit, sew, spin, and mess around all year long but this summer has been a different kind of season. It has been so new and unexpected that the swarm of color saturated thoughts that usually cloud my mind have been absent. This summer was my final summer as a student, at least for a few years (maybe someday an MFA will seem useful). This summer was my first as a corporate pawn. This summer was my first spent living with my boyfriend and first time signing onto a lease and paying real adult bills. This summer was a ferocious turning point in my life and it has been felt in all aspects of my being. Combine these monumental adult changes with several complete project failures, this summer turned out to be one lacking in motivation to make anything.

The turn of the season and golden glow of my impending college graduation is helping me get back on track. I’m starting to remember what my hands are good at and learning what they are not. I’ve learned I’m an intuitive knitter and can read a piece of knit fabric as easily as I can read a novel. I cannot read a sewing pattern in the same way and that is something that I look forward to conquering soon. Knowing the scope of my limitations and abilities allows me to concentrate on the strides that can be made within my skill set rather than keeping me focused on the failed projects and attempts of the past.

As the colder seasons approach my list of things to make grows longer every day. My aim in making creating such a large part of my life is to make it a reliable source of clothing and income. By building skills now, I hope to make handmade garments as normal as possible in my life and those around me. Rejuvenating handmade culture even in a local manner is my goal and it is time to get back to it.

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Lackluster Spree

The increasing heat, moving to Chicago, and starting a new job have taken their tolls on my motivation to do anything productive lately which really bums me out. I’ve been thinking less, making less, and doing less which really is not so positive. I think it is an adjustment period that will dissipate soon but it is still pretty odd and annoying. And of course at the beginning of every summer it can be tough to reintegrate your body to the warmth so many things crafty fall to the side.

In hopes to reverse this lackluster spree of existence I’ve set some goals and bought some tools. This summer I want to make at least five really and truly wearable garments including one pullover sweater, one cardigan, one skirt, one dress, and one top. Sewing my own clothes is something I have been wanting to work on for a while and right now I just need to jump in and do it.

 

These two patterns are the top contenders for the project.

As for the two sweaters I’ve just upgraded my interchangeable knitting needles from the flimsy and melty plastic Denise needles to the sleek and pretty Knit Picks Rainbow wood set. These new needles have me itching to make something lovely but I’m lacking specific direction at the moment.

DSCN9984I’ve also completed spinning about 200 yards of springy thick and thin (bulky to dk) 2-ply Polwarth yarn so I am on the hunt for a pattern that will highlight the texture of the yarn. Any suggestions for what to make would be amazing! I haven’t knit much with thick and thin yarn so I’m not sure what it will look best as.

For now, I’m slogging through some boring projects in order to clear my WIP conscience so I can purchase some new patterns and materials and rekindle my drive to create.

The Importance of Using Rad Project Bags

So I pinned a few tutorials on how to properly make a boxy bag and decided to make a few for project bags for my current WIPs. I’ve been using a drawstring canvas bag for my portable projects and though it has been functional I have been wanting something more flashy. I’ve been waiting all week for some free time to get cracking on these bags and today I finally had some.

I used some sparkly black material for the outside, red flannel for the lining, and a heavy duty jacket zipper not because it needs to be heavy duty but because it makes a cute little knitting project bag into a bad ass little knitting project bag.

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Outside

Inside

Inside

This little guy is the perfect size for a travelling project and a few necessary notions.

I’ve also got a finished object to show this week. I’ve been working on these socks on and off for a month and half. They are in the University of Wyoming colors for my Mom. She works at the University and the people of Laramie, WY are constantly showing their support of the school through their apparel. I made a reverse of this pair in November (gold foot and brown heel, toe, cuff).

DSCN0060They are a worsted weight superwash wool and are incredibly smooshy.

2014 Goals and Knitting in Music

As this year draws to a close I have been working on a new list of goals for the upcoming new year and reflecting on the goals I set for myself in the past year. Last year at this time I set two goals and managed to follow through with both of them. They were to document all of my projects on Ravelry with photos, yarn choices, and patterns and to learn how to spin. I am happy to report that I learned to spin in July and have faithfully kept up my documentation of my projects! Woo!

For next year my goals remain in the same focus as the past year’s goals. Next year I hope to:

1) Spend more time spinning and learning new and proper techniques. I’d love to up my skills enough so that I can take on a fleece processing project and feel confident in what I am making.

2) Continue documenting all of my projects on Ravelry. I love going through my documented projects and seeing how my color tastes and skill levels have changed.

3) Release at least three patterns on Ravelry. I have one up at the moment and it has been so fun seeing the projects other people have made from my simple design.

4) Become a better sewer, both in the quilting and apparel making categories. At some point I’d love to take a year off of buying clothing and only wear things I’ve made. I want to be able to clothe myself and do it skillfully.

5) Get some writing published. No matter the subject matter or where it’s published, it just has to be somewhere besides this blog.

In the next year I hope to become a more socially and ecologically conscious fiber crafter. There is nothing more fulfilling than making something useful with your hands and  want to be a part of the making process in every way, shape, and form.

On that note I’ve been exploring some great music and a couple of them just so happen to feature groovy tunes and even groovier knitwear.

Typhoon–Young Fathers
This is the newest video from the orchestral pop-folk band and it features some very sculptural knitwear and textile laden costumes.

Childhood-Solemn Skies
I just found this psychedelic pop band on one of NME’s ‘Best of 2013’ countdown lists and I fell in love with their goofy video and incredible fashion and sweater choices. Hold on till the end for joy-filled frolicking in delicious fair-isle sweaters.

What are your goals for the upcoming year (fiber or non-fiber related)?

 

A Few Updates

I have successfully created a skein of hand spun yarn! It is about 55 yards of thick and thin (unintentionally thick and thin) ranging from dk to bulky weight. Since I was just testing things out I spun until my spindle was full and split that single into two separate balls. One ball was an incredibly even dk weight. The other ball was the stuff I had spun first so it was much more wonky. The two combined for a really interesting texture, though. I plied the singles on my drop spindle.

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Remember that cabled teal cardigan I was working on like six weeks ago? Well, I frogged it. I was a bit leery of the pattern to begin with because all of the pieces were worked separate and flat. I hate that. I also tried to make too many alterations to the pattern so the sizes of the pieces just didn’t match up. I’m using the yarn to make a mitered square crochet afghan instead. It is much less time consuming and I know it will fit.

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The scrap busting granny square afghan is well on its way also. I finished the 154 squares and have pieced together four of the eleven rows. I am using a granny stitch join to avoid the ridges of a single crochet join. This is going to be the largest project I have ever completed! My calculations suggest it is going to be about the size of a double bed. (I hope.)

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I’ve also had this tremendous urge to sew and buy fabric. Now that I am back at school and reunited with all of my sewing tools I can’t wait to get cracking on some quilt tops. I picked up all of these little half yards and yards for a buck a piece!2013-05-29 02.38.22