When Knitting is Beautiful: A Reflection

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It’s been a while since my last post, and I’ve had a hard time gearing up for this one.

Today I’m not writing about how we create beautiful things, but why we feel drawn to it. Why creating with our hands and our hearts is nourishing to the mind and the spirit. Why there’s a peace that comes with the process that brings comfort and joy.

Over the past few months, I’ve mentioned that my mother has been battling cancer for three years. During the month of April, I had the opportunity to spend last few weeks of her life with her. The time we had together was filled with some of the most beautiful and difficult moments of my life, and I am so grateful for it.

Many of those moments, she would be asleep on the sofa and I would knit. Watching her breathe, praying for peace for her, sitting and thinking about the times we shared… I wouldn’t trade those quiet moments for anything. The picture above is a tiny glimpse of one of those moments. Her asleep, me knitting. Just silence, just us.

Knitting helps me to stay quiet and open during difficult times. When other things are beyond my control, I can take a stitch at a time and turn it into something beautiful..something forever bonded to the memory of that moment. When this sweater is done, I will always remember it for the time I had with Mom before she passed away..and for that I am grateful.

Knit on, my friends, knit on.

Next on the Needles…

It’s a bit ambitious, I’ll admit it..but I’m starting this:

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It’s the channel cardigan which is one of Jared Flood’s designs. I’m pretty stoked about it since I haven’t knit with Brooklyn Tweed’s Shelter yarn yet, and I do love the rustic look.

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My latest “on the road again” pic..this time from a train heading down to Portland. Makes for very scenic knitting. I’m using the colorway “embers,” which is gorgeous. The yarn is very nice, beautiful tweed colors. However, it is a very fragile yarn..a quick tug and it breaks. I won’t use it for seaming, that’s for sure. (It does felt and splice back together well though 🙂 )

Have you done any Brooklyn Tweed patterns? Let me know your thoughts…I’ll be working on this one for a while! And when I get back home..an update on the amazing fleece I have been washing!

Spin on!

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My visit to Cooke Creek Sheep Company!

  

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     Most of you know that a year ago I started a quest to get my yarn as locally as possible and them learned how to wash it and process it, which led to this epic tale.  In the process of this, I really wanted to connect with a local farm that I could get to know and trust so that I could share stories about where the wool came from. I had some disasters along the way, because just showing up at a farm isn’t quite as simple as it sounds. I would research different farms, and look for ways to get a sample if their wool. All the things that you need to do when you live in a small two bedroom condo. I had sheep fleeces that were shipped to me that weighed more in poo than they did in wool, fleeces that were just low grade quality, and fleeces that were really nice. I learned that for the urban lifestyle, washing a full fleece at once can put your marriage on shaky ground. (just kidding, my husband is super supportive, but I do think he winced the first time he saw a murky brown mess in the bathtub!)

     All that to say, I finally found an amazing farm about two hours from where I live, so I visited last weekend to see where this awesome wool was coming from. 

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     Cooke Creek Sheep Company is run by Jami and her husband Larry and they are amazing, welcoming people who are passionate about what they do.  They are in lambing season right now, so as you can see from the top picture, (my favorite picture in the whole world), I got to hold a 4 day old lamb. I posted that pic on Facebook and one of my friends immediately added the thought bubble..which as quite appropriate.

     If you are looking to do the whole fleece thing, I can’t recommend them highly enough. And, if you are more of an urban spinner, I’m going to create test spinning packages for my etsy shop, so stay tuned. I’ll do it at cost and anything I add on for labor will go to support Awamaki like the rest of my products on the site. 

I’ll be starting that project with wool from this sheep..meet “Socks.”  He’s a Border Leicester sheep and I just started washing some of the 10 pounds of fiber I bought! 

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     As a final lovely picture, Jami also has yarn that she has from their sheep. It was from a similar fleece that I spun up last summer, and I was thrilled to see that the millspun looked like mine! Definitely a good confidence booster. It’s quite sturdy yarn, so I dyed it to create a weaving pattern for the farm. Here’s a sneak peak at the dye job:Image

     So, that’s a full post with tons of fun info! If your interested in learning more about the urban spinner packages I will be assembling, let me know below. 

     Have a great weekend and spin on!

 

Hey Urban Spinners!

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I have been doing a TON of knitting recently, mostly due to a crazy travel schedule. Last weekend though, I got some good wheel time in and it was so refreshing! I’ve spun my way through several fleeces this year and I’m on the last bit of my remaining one. The pic above is dyed with ferns from our local park, and the fleece is from a farm about two hours away. Talk about local!
On Sunday, we’ll be driving back from Oregon and will stop by the farm I order from for the first time. It will be great to see the sheep and pick out the fleeces first hand instead of ordering. Here’s a pic of what I have left:

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I have a plan, too..for urban spinners like me, so if you are interested in learning more about fleece processing, stay tuned. I’ll make the announcement next week!
In the meantime, I’ll be posting pix of the farm visit after Sunday. I heard a rumor some lambs have been born..can’t wait to see!
Spin and knit on!

Saturday Morning Daydreams

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It’s hard to believe I was at Vogue Knitting Live a week ago. The experienced itself was worth every penny, and now I am just thinking through all that I saw and learned. I really didn’t know what to expect, since I haven’t been to one of these events before. My motivation for getting there was the design class I took with Josh Bennett, which was outstanding. That was nine hours of the weekend, and I’ll share more about it in another post.

In the meantime, here were some highlights:

The yarn above. One is Brooklyn Tweed’s Shelter. I was happy to buy it in person because I really wanted to see the colors and get a sense of the texture. It’s. Amazing. I also literally turned around and bumped into Jared Flood, the owner/founder of Brooklyn Tweed and an amazing designer. What a neat guy..very fun to meet in person. The other yarn is an Irish merino that’s tweedy, textured, and soft. I totally fell in love with it…and the color.
And then there was the gallery. Inspiring and weird! Check out this glasswork art:

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And this crazy thing..I think it scares me.

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But wait, there’s more. I’ll leave you either this short video. Watch ing people looking at this display was just as fun!


Have a great weekend! Spin and knit on!

Aisance Cardigan

20140317-140021.jpgSo much to update on the blog! I have stories from Vogue Knitting Live (it was awesome..) but today needs to be a FO day, because I think Mondays need that. 🙂

I had two cross country flights in in the span of 8 days which meant tons of knitting time that looked like this:

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20140317-140352.jpgbut I ended up with this:

20140317-140450.jpgAnd I love it! It was blocked and dried in time to wear to day 2 of Vogue Knitting Live and tons of people asked about the pattern. Here’s the scoop and why I liked it. Link to pattern: Aisance Pattern and I used cascade 220 heathers, which I really like in terms of affordable and wearable yarn. Not much pilling and the drape is great on a size 8 needle.

The design was awesome because you knit the ribbed collar along with the top down raglan, so it was interesting and I had about four ends to weave in when I was done. The long part in the front is short row shaping and the sleeves were simple and fast..and by then I was ready to be done.

Really enjoyable knit, but I gotta say..one of the most fun and practical cardigans that I have made! Definitely one of the longest cardis, that’s for sure!

What’s on your needles? Anything that’s a marathon project like this one?

Knit and spin on!

Confessions of a first time swatcher..

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A few days ago I posted about going to Vogue Knitting Live this coming weekend (yeah!!!!), and I am excited to have prepared the first two parts of what I need for the class I am taking on sweater design.

The first was sketching the design. Check. Not a masterpiece, but an ok concept sketch. Second was doing a swatch. I am not joking when I say I have never swatched. Ever. That’s dumb, I know. But for the class I knew it would be necessary.

My yarn arrived the other day:

20140310-190109.jpg I knew I needed to go for it. I cast on for about six inches so I could test the plaid pattern. Within a few minutes I was so glad I did. I intended on the purple being the horizontal stripes and the green bring vertical. However, the purple all but disappeared into the grey as a horizontal stripe. I started over and did the green as the horizontal. In the picture at the top the purple is actually way more vibrant looking than in real life. So, I ordered another skein, one shade more intense. (I wish the camera was more accurate so you could see the shade I am actually dealing with.) Even my husband said it was a shame the purple got lost. But the photo shows what my intent is, so that’s good!

And I know my gauge. The pattern is reverse stockinette, and it’s cool how the purple doesn’t show on the stockinette side. My gauge was loose, compared to what the yarn skein said. Mine = 16 per 4″ and the label said 18 per 4″.

Final learning is that the hand sewn vertical stripes add a bit of tightness in the length of the swatch. Again, good to know before designing!

Almost ready for Saturday! I want to re-sketch the design and do my second swatch with the new purple.

But in between I have one more business trip, so I will have done serious plane knitting on my Aisance Cardi.

More soon! Spin and Knit on!

WIP Wednesday

20140305-163113.jpg I love this cardigan..called Aisance from Quince and Co. And I am so excited to be going to Vogue Knitting Live in a week and a half that I decided I needed a highly motivating WIP to get me through the next few days. I’m also traveling for work for the next week so I have tons of airport and flying time. Not worth the Jetlag..but hey, at least I will be productive with my travel time!

I’m a little bit farther than this photo shows:

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Wonder if I will be closed to finished by the 15th…any bets?

What’s your current favorite WIP?

Spin and Knit On!

Tarian Sweater DONE!

I don’t know whether to start with the “wooooot!” or the photo! This has been one of the most engaging projects I have ever done. Friends..meet the Tarian Sweater:

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I started it in December, then took a break. Not a super fast knit, but I learned some new stuff..like:

1. I can hang with a pattern that has single cables crossing at every stitch. (There was some doubt about that when I started).
2. I do not have second sleeve syndrome..I love sleeves!
3. I LOVE textured knits. I was not ever bored..at all.
4. My favorite new skill..short row capped sleeves!!! It’s a bit time consuming (think like turning a heel, but shoulder sized).

Yarn: Quince and Co: Lark, color: honey, skeins: 8
Pattern: Tarian Sweater This was published in Twist Collective, Winter 2013

Notes:
1. Quince and Co yarn is lovely..and it grows a lot after blocking. The sleeves alone are about 3 inches longer than what I knit. I knew that and planned for it, and the fit is perfect.
2. I did not do the waist shaping because the single cables have a stretchy rib effect. Clearly it doesn’t need it!
3. My dog was a tad jealous and wouldn’t let me photograph it! I can forgive him because I hadn’t washed it yet and he’s so dang cute!

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Spin and Knit on!

Fiber Friday: Little Giant & Moss Stitch

20140131-101055.jpgI am traveling this week, so I took an easy sweater for the trip, and since it’s SUPER bulky it’s moving along very quickly. The pattern is another Wool and the Gang pattern, Little Giants. I’m already done with the front and the back, and I can’t wait to do the sleeves and seam it up! Cozy!!! Plan on wearing it for the Superbowl! Go Seahawks!!
Until then, here’s a lovely pile of knitted goodness:

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Spin (and knit) on!