You are my inspiration!

Well, today’s topic is to talk about a great knitter that inspires you. I don’t think I can answer that…I can’t. Honestly, I have never read a Barbara Walter’s book or an Elizabeth Zimmerman book and I have no real idea as to why they’re considered so amazing. (not that I don’t think they are, it’s just that I am not aware of any of their work specifically…my own doing I guess). I am interested in the modern evolution of knitting (which i know is borne from the past) and the modern inspirations that are made very much available to us in this technological age. I like seeing the pictures of new designs from new designers… I like seeing the yarn and pattern combinations that are endless and amazing on Ravelry. This is what inspires me…I am also wildly inspired by people around me…. Yarnpiggy did a similar sort of entry to this topic and I think she’s right on. (not to mention, SmungkeeBean is on her blog! He’s flattered!). I am inspired by people in my knitting group that have an amazing appreciation for the tool of our trade, yarn. There are girls (sorry boys, I haven’t met any of you yet) who can identify a yarn just by seeing it. There are girls that can hold two different colored yarns together and make bacon! (well bacon scarves, but seriously, it’s pretty awesome!). There are girls that make entire Cowichin inspired sweaters in two weeks. Girls that make shawls and lacey veils and socks! Oh so many socks! If I had to pick which of these people I was most inspired by, I would have to say that it’s anyone in my group (or in the world in general) that can do an immpecable job on colorwork. One of the girls has made argyle socks on the smallest needles i’ve ever seen. In a black background… BLACK!

I think the most inspiring thing about knitters that I know is that they’ve taken a craft that has a stereotype of being for seniors and somewhat untrendy (in both product and in theory) and turned it into a chic, trendy expression of their artistic talent. The patterns they pull off are amazing, their talent for the craft is amazing, their willingness to share and teach and mentor and help and encourage is amazing and they’re all inspiring to me in different ways.

Unfortunately none of you inspire me enough to link your Ravelry profiles or blogs because I’m lazy and I’m at work… You all know how to find eachother!


Blog about a pattern or project which you aspire to. Whether it happens to be because the skills needed are ones which you have not yet acquired, or just because it seems like a huge undertaking of time and dedication, most people feel they still have something to aspire to in their craft. If you don’t feel like you have any left of the mountain of learning yet to climb, say so!

Up until last week I would have said that I was wanting to learn crochet, but I did that this weekend. I think I would have to go with Cardigan. I’m not fussy about which one, but I’d really like to make a nice cardigan. Anything that might use up more than one skein of yarn… well, that’s not fair I guess because I have made things that used more than one skein, but nothing really wearable. Lots of nice accessories and heirloom knitting, but I’m moving to wanting to have something amazing. I think I might try the Central Park Hoodie… I have the skills for the cabling, so that’s not the problem, and I”m learning to embrace purling, which I don’t cherish, but I think the thing that’s going to be the stumbling block is the calculations for measurement, waist shaping, etc… I suppose part of the problem is that I’m not happy with my current body shape/weight so I don’t want to make something for that body… but I know from experience that isn’t a good way to get where you want to go… I’m going to make it I’m sure and then even if I lose weight (when, not if) then it will just be a snuggly oversized sweater. I was planning on making it in KP City Tweed Heavy Weight also, which will require a bit of saving…I think the thing would cost almost a hundred bux in that yarn. I guess the other thing I would want to learn would be short rows. The funny thing is that I’m saying that these things are obstacles for me, but really, everything is an obstacle before you learn how to do it. I didn’t know how to knit a year ago and I learned… cables, or short rows or kitchener, or 3 needle bind off can’t be any harder than learing to knit from scratch because they’re all things done one stitch at a time… it’s just a matter of how that stitch is manipulated… and then the next and the next…

So I’d say my aspiration is to make an article of clothing. Definately doable!

Knit and Crochet Blog Week

Starting Out – How and when did you begin knitting/crocheting? was it a skill passed down through generations of your family, or something you learned from Knitting For Dummies? What or who made you pick up the needles/hook for the first time? Was it the celebrity knitting ‘trend’ or your great aunt Hilda? 

So you’ll be getting 7 blogs in seven days out of me!  I’ve decided since I now know how to knit AND crochet, that I will join in Knit and Crochet Blog Week… get those bloggy juices flowing

So… how did I begin knitting?  I wandered into a local yarn store on a spontaneous walk through a neighborhood other than our own one night and it just happened to be late night knitting night.  I wandered in, gazed in awe at all the yarns and then decided then and there that if I didn’t know how to work with the yarn, I couldn’t HAVE the yarn… so I signed up for a class and the rest is history… well, not exactly… The class got cancelled three times (post poned) and by then I’d already gotten my very first two balls of yarn (Noro Silk something or other… I now know not to throw the tags out, and Malabrigo Worsted) and my needles.  So I sat down with my laptop and taught myself to knit using youtube.  Not too shabby if I do say so!  of course the day I went to my class finally, the instructor asked what the H I was doing, because apparently I was yanking on the yarn and choking the needles with every stitch… as soon as I loosened that up, I was flying!

How did I learn to Crochet?  Well that was just a mere three days ago!  My friend Lara from our knitting group kindly sat with me in a coffee shop for 5 hours and taught me how to crochet so I could put the border on an otherwise semi-successful piece of knitting.  I’m now half way around the circle for the second of three times, and it’s going well!  I have big plans to make a throw, and crochet in laceweight and and and… apparently my ability to stop myself from dreaming wasn’t squelched by my new artistic output.
No one in my family knits… that I know of.  My mom crocheted a giant granny square blanket when I was a kid… white and peach… I wonder if she still has it.  My aunt made this awesome blanket and footstool cover out of some type of crochet flower generator thingy that I’m still trying to find… and that’s it.  Oh, and my sister tried to learn while she was quitting smoking and by the third row on anything I understand that it was so tight she couldn’t get her needle into the next stitch… she may have made a misshapen dishcloth…

So that’s the beginning… it all happened March 2009 and if you look in the archives here you’ll see a selection of items that I’ve made between then and now in my first year of knitting… not to shabby!

See you tomorrow! 

How about a Hip Hip Hooray for the right tools?!?

Okay, so last post I talked about how good I got at spinning… which is true… all of a sudden, it just clicked.  Well guess what happened today when I bought a spindle designed for the yarn I was trying to make.  Magic is what happened that’s what!  This spindle feels like butter, weighs nothing and is the new favorite in the ‘tools’ section of KnittingLand.  Previous faves have included my Harmony interchangeable needles and my lace project bag from my friend PJ!
The spindle is made out of Zebrawood and weighs 30grams.  It’s got a 2″ diameter top whorl and a walnut or zebrawood shaft and it’s amazing!  I also got some new spinning fibre.  Both these items were purchased locally and both are made locally by local artisans.  So while I wasn’t exactly crazy about spending that kind of cash, it’s made my spinning life much much more joyful (and it was already pretty joyful) and it’s put money back into the local artisan community, which is very important to me!
Here’s my new fibre.  It’s called Panda by SweetGeorgia and it feels like I think a Panda should feel.  It’s 60% superwash merino (no felting… yay!), 30% bamboo and 10% nylon.  That kind of makeup will make it durable (nylon), give it a shimmer (bamboo) and make it an easier care finished product (superwash).  It would make nice socks I would think, but we all know I don’t make socks and there’s no way I’m spinning a beautiful fingering weight yarn only to turn it into something I’m going to stuff into my shoes.  I don’t even LIKE socks!

Here’s a picture of the fibre… awesome looking no?

Here’s a picture of the spindle…That’s looking down on it from the top… pretty!

Okay, now your task for today is to go over to my friend Hilary’s site and vote in her contest…
She needs awesome ideas for a mediumish intermediate shawl/stole… not triangular tho!
Merci Beaucoup and stay tuned for pictures of my newly spun yarn on my new spindle… because I know that’s what you’re all dying for!

Holy crap, I got GOOD!

So it’s come to my attention that I have a switch loose in my head and it causes me to want to have forty billion projects on the go at once… but not all the same… nooooo…. I need to have a couple knitting projects going, and some beading things, and apparently I feel the need to make buttons (very fabulous thing coming up that I can’t tell you about yet, because of the ‘IdeaStealers’), and apparently buying yarn isn’t good enough for me (altho, some yarn?  very very good!), so I’ve decided to spin my own.  Just so you know, the valid next step is to put a couple sheep in the backyard, but lucky for us, we’re not quite there yet.

Anyhow, I bought this roving (for you non knitters, roving is the sheep’s hair, cleaned up and in my case, dyed) before I even had a thought about being able to spin… I was going to knit with it (yes, you can!)… and then I found this OTHER roving that I can only describe as the fiber equivalent to the cream cheese icing I make for my home made carrot cake!

It was silk and wool in the most beautiful butter yellow color… So, being me and being that I know that unless you know what to do with something, you can’t have the something, I immediately bought it and a spindle and some ‘test roving’ and set about learning how to spin yarn.  Well let me tell you something… garbage in, garbage out.  I used that ‘test’ roving and it was the crappiest, curliest, ugliest thing in the world.  I don’t know what posessed me to get undyed, but it was cream and brown and not in a good way.  So I spun and spun and cursed and cursed and then gave up.  Knitting came so easily to me, and I could not figure out why spinning wasn’t the same.

Then one day I stumbled upon my very first roving… the stuff I was going to knit with and thought maybe trying to spin with a quality product would be a good idea… since I learned to knit on Malabrigo and Noro… LOL! (very expensive luxury yarn)
And it seemed to work better, but I still sucked and I couldn’t get that ‘click’ that comes when you finally get the hang of something… until tonight!

Tonight I got GOOD!  I took a tiny piece of advice I’d asked for and used it and my common sense and it worked!  I spun a GORGEOUS length of really even, really pretty, really fine yarn!  And the color is unparalleled…

Now that I’m on the road to glory with my spinning, I’ve decided that I need to take a jewelery making class in order to get ‘good’ at beading and wire wraps… Apparently if you want to solder the sterling silver jewelery pieces, you need to use a blow torch… that was all I needed to hear!

So tomorrow, I”m going to my knitting group and I’m going to get someone to help me with joining the pieces of roving and then I’m going to spin and spin until I can’t spin anymore!  yipee! I like getting good at stuff!  It’s awesome!

I’ve arrived… where I’m not exactly sure..

So last year when I began knitting, I did it because I wanted to buy a ball of yarn, but I couldn’t justify the purchase without knowing what to do with it. (on this note, youd’ think I would be able to say I couldn’t buy another ball of yarn without having something specific to knit with it, but it doesn’t not work that way apparently!)  Anyway!  So I went in to the yarn store and enquired about classes… I admit to having it in the back of my mind that this would be like the time I took a pottery class… I’m no potter, so we should all be able to figure out how that turned out!  I thought I’d take this class… muddle along and then be done with it in my never ending search for a hobby.  Turns out, I’m a teeny tiny bit proficient at knitting.  I was a GOOD student.  Prior to the class (which they delayed twice, and I almost cancelled out of once), I bought my yarn (turns out, my first yarn to knit with was one of the most luxurious yarns out there and there’s a whole cult following), bought my needles and turned on youtube.  Taught myself how to cast on (how to get the first row of stitches hanging on to the needles for all you non-knitters) and how to make the knit stitch.  Practiced for a few days and then found out that my manager at work is a VERY good knitter so I dragged all my stuff to work on a Thursday and we shut the door for my one hour 1:1 weekly meeting, blazed through the work stuff and then she showed me two other ways to cast on (there are at least 4 dozen) and helped me….
When it came to the class, I had already known how to cast on and knit, so I was a good student…. I sort of thought this might be something that I would keep up… altho again, in the back of my head, since i was/am a slow knitter, I knew enough about myself to know that I’d probably get bored and frustrated by the slow rate of production and gratificaton and give it up. 
Apparently that wasn’t true either, as I’ve spent MONTHS knitting things… maybe only a row at a time, or maybe a full day stranded in the airport, but either way I knit almost every day and I’m happy to see my items grow and I’m happy to put the work into them every day to see them progress…. Maybe I don’t know myself as well as I thought I did.
Fast forward one year.  I’ve made 3 cabled handbags, 3 lace scarves; 2as gifts (2 of my three ONLY gifts except for whatever Boy wants), 3 lace cowls (two of which have been repurposed, one of which was the third gift… one as a hot water bottle cover and one as a really weird looking tea cozy) 3 triangular lacey shawls (one of which I burned a hole in back in October… good thing I was drunk when it happened… it’s fixed now tho) 1 hat that I made up the pattern for, 1 pair of fingerless cabled mittens, 1 round lace shawl (LOVE), a 2.5′ sock monkey and I’m working on a large lace stole (wide scarf), a 7′ lace blanket and about to start a new triangle shawl and about three dozen cat toys for the spca.

Anyway!  All this is to say that while I knew I wanted to learn to knit, I also didn’t think I’d keep it up and now, look at me!
The icing on this year of knitted cake is that yesterday I was down at my local yarn store and I brought Smungkee in to show them… and he’s now sitting in the front window of the store!  MY MONKEY!  is in the window of the biggest and best knitting store in Vancouver!  What the hell!?!
Here’s a couple pictures of him and then below some pictures of my year of knitting… because I like to toot my own horn!

Below is the round lace shawl… I worked on it for about 8 months off and on.  Below that is a triangle lace shawl that I wear every day… below that is a cabled handbag I made and lined and below that is a close up of a scarf I made my mom for her birthday in which I hand strung hundreds of beads so that it was prettier… the yarn is 100% Angora… BUNNNEEEEEEEE

So there you have it… My little buddy is in the window of a yarn store… a little buddy that I thought a year ago I’d never get anywhere close to making… pretty friggen cool!