Yarn from Love Knitting and a Hoodlet Beginning

I really love the patterns in the Woodland Knits book, both those created for the book and those that existed prior to the book being published. Several of the patterns in the book were designed with Rowan Big Wool. This yarn isn’t carried by any of my local shops, and it’s pretty easy to substitute another super bulky yarn in its place for the patterns in the book, but I found myself really wanting to knit some of the patterns with that specific yarn. I found the colours very appealing, and I’m always on board for 100% Merino.

Rowan Big WoolRecently a friend of mine ordered a different Rowan yarn from Love Knitting, a UK-based online yarn shop. The shipping–standard airmail–took a while, but on the whole she was very satisfied with her order. They offer an fantastic referral discount (15% off!). (Here’s a link for the referral discount.) Last weekend I saw that the yarn I had in mind was restocked in numerous colours and slightly discounted, so I placed an order–lots of skeins in a pale green, a few in a pale blue, and one in a darker green.

The ordering system is really smooth~ I like the overall graphic design of the website, visually, plus I find that it responds well. I had a confirmation email very soon, and shortly after I received a shipping notification. That was the tricky part, because I couldn’t track my package and I just had to hope it would arrive. I have notoriously bad luck with receiving mail without incident…but luckily everything worked out!

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Care of Magical Creatures Mini-Skeins Arrival

It’s no surprise that I really adore the patterns from Tiny Owl Knits. I spend a lot of time in the Tiny Owl Knits Group on Ravelry. One of the patterns that caught my eye when it was first released is the adorable Care of Magical Creatures Charm Bracelet (charm pack 1, charm pack 2, and charm pack 3)~ I loved it from the release of the first charm pack–but buying so many different colours of yarn just to knit teeny-tiny charms doesn’t really make sense for me. I don’t have scraps to use, and I don’t like having scraps.

Thankfully, in September 2013 another group member proposed a group order of the suggested yarn, splitting the yardage and the cost among participants. It was an immediate success, with group members signing up and providing their portion of the cost. However, the group organizer suffered from unexpected health issues in November and was unable to continue. Months passed, and I started to think that I had wasted money and would ultimately not receive the yarn for this project. I’ve participated in group orders before, never for yarn, and the risk of getting screwed over has always been pretty high. I kept that in mind when I decided to participate, but it was still not the ideal outcome and definitely not what I was hoping for.

In March, several moderators of the group stepped in–including Ms. Tiny Owl Knits herself! She soon organized a winding party for the mini-skeins, coordinated receiving the yarn from the original organizer, and hosted a night of winding, parceling, packaging, and mailing! I was incredibly surprised and grateful that she decided to step in and ensure that the group order for the yarn was resolved positively. ♥ How frequently does that sort of thing happen??

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5KCBWDAY7 – Looking Back, Looking Forward

If you took part in last year’s Knitting & Crochet Blog Week, look back on your Day Seven post. One year from now, when the 6th Knitting & Crochet Blog Week rolls around, where do you hope your crafting will have taken you to?

Looking Back

I did not participate in last year’s Knitting & Crochet Blog Week, so I’m going to look back to the Knitting Techniques Meme that I filled out in June 2013.

Overall, I am most proud of myself for successfully knitting a sweater. In fact, I’ve knit more than just one sweater–and that feels great. I love those sweaters a lot more than I do sweaters that I merely purchased, and I’m proud to have completed those projects.

I’m also happy to have made progress with stranded colourwork. I’m not proficient with it, but I was able to manage with it well enough to not only knit a project, but also unravel and re-knit that project without a tangled mess that could not be righted.

Techniques aside, I am very proud of myself for making serious progress on eliminating my stash. Right now my “stash” has very little in it. The very last bit of “old” yarn is the yarn from Ireland, being rapidly worked into my sweater. Other than that, there’s some new yarn that I just bought–already working on projects with that. If I keep up the flow of “yarn in < yarn out," I'll be doing fine.

Looking Forward

By this time next year, I would like to have at least four knit projects completed that I made just for the thrill and joy of making those projects, without any kind of obligation. I’m already heading in that direction, and it is so much fun that knitting because I feel like I “must.” I don’t have a captor tormenting me with some kind of “knit or die” scenario, but my feelings of obligation towards yarn and projects interfere with the amount of fun that I have. There are still a few “obligation” projects in my queue for the year, but I’d like the other projects to vastly outweigh those.

I want to keep my yarn under control. I don’t want to grow a new stash in the absence of the old.

I’d also like to buy some new knitting needles~ I really love having a collection of needles of different types and sizes. In a dream world I’d get some Lantern Moon ebony interchangeables, but more realistically the ChiaoGoo interchangeables and more of the fixed circulars are a good idea.

What’s Knitting and Crochet Blog Week?

5KCBWDAY6 – Views of Others, Views of Yourself

Write about another knitter or crocheter that you admire. Next, think about if anyone has ever told you how they feel about your knitting, positive or negative.

Views of Others

I have a huge fibre crush on Franklin Habit. I first discovered his writing when I was looking up Victorian-era knitting patterns. He regularly writes Stitches in Time for Knitty, and that was one of the most intriguing sources for patterns from roughly that era that I found when searching. The first pattern that I saw from that column was the Lady’s Travelling Cap. I was specifically looking for bonnet patterns, and that came up in one of my searches.

From there, I read his other historical pattern articles… and then the blog… and then I checked out his book from the library… and so forth. I particularly enjoy his writing for the tone of humor and honesty. Even a entry on something like misplacing yarn or tools, obviously a knitting tragedy, comes across as interesting, insightful, and fun~

I also appreciate his pattern writing and skillful execution of patterns. When I see any of his work, whether it be a new design or his rendering of another’s pattern, it always look crisp and even. I admire that he’s comfortable taking risks and trying something that doesn’t work just to see what could be possible. Vintage patterns take a lot of finagling to figure out! I am very uncomfortable trying something out if I don’t feel certain that I know what I should be doing, as the thought of undoing hard work is a serious deterrent, but when working with old patterns that were written differently or may have errors, sometimes that’s the only way to discover the right method.

I’ve been lucky enough to see him speak on knitting once. He is an engaging and lively speaker, very friendly and open towards the class, has a lot of humor to share and enjoy, and is very knowledgeable on his subjects. It’s always frustrating to watch someone present on something they haven’t prepared for sufficiently, but that was absolutely not the case. I hope that I’ll have more opportunities in the future to see another lecture or maybe take a class that he’s teaching~

Views of Yourself

I’m always surprised by the disconnect in what I think about my own knitting and what other people tell me about my knitting. Very recently I was in a group of knitters that I had not met before. We were all working on projects and talking. Someone was describing some of her past projects and what she hoped to make this year…and then she said something that really shocked me: “I mean, I’m not a knitter of your skill.

At that point I was holding my needles thinking, “Whaaaaaaaaaaaat?” o____________o

You could basically cue me falling off the chair, despite it already being nice and low to the ground.

I don’t think I’m a skilled knitter. I think I’m decent, but that’s about it. There are numerous techniques that I haven’t tried. (I’ve only ever knit gusset heels; only used the stranded method for colourwork; never touched laceweight yarn…) I regularly make enormous, catastrophic mistakes in proficiency or judgment. I have ripped out many a project, weeping softly, thinking that if only I had studied the instructions more I wouldn’t be in this sad shape.

I consider myself to be an acceptable level of knitter, with lots of room for improvement. Sometimes I like to think about Medieval knitting guilds and the projects that had to be completed to be accepted to the guild and titled a Master Knitter. I often wonder, “What would be my masterwork?” (I don’t know what I’d do with an elaborate knitted carpet/wall-hanging if we’re keeping with strict historical accuracy.) I think I’m going to be an “apprentice” for a long time~

What’s Knitting and Crochet Blog Week?

5KCBWDAY5 – Something A Bit Different

It’s the annual challenge to blog in a way different to how you normally blog.

Today’s ♥♥Loves♥♥

  1. Rowan Big Wool. I am obsessed. Ever since that bundle arrived in the mail, I keep thinking about more patterns I could make with more of it to justify buying more of it. I dream of hoarding it and sitting on the wooly pile like Smaug.
    Smaug

    This is what I aspire to, just imagine the silly “treasure” as a much more valuable bounty: soft, beautiful, Merino yarn~ ♥

  2. Tiny Owl Knits. This ties in nicely with the above, because so many of her patterns are designed to use the yarn of my current obsession. I already have that yarn in supply for three patterns from Woodland Knits: Woodland Hoodlet, Dragon Watcher’s Hood, and Tiny Violet Hand Puff. But what about Grimm’s Cottage???
    Grimm's Cottage by Tiny Owl Knits

    I have not forgotten about you, Grimm’s Cottage. I am merely temporarily distracted because your pattern is not in the Woodland Knits book… and I am desperately trying not to spend additional money.

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5KCBWDAY4 – Conversations between Workers

Start by writing a few short paragraphs from the point of view of one of the tools you use for your craft. Then, write a dialogue between yourself and this item.

Stork Scissors

Life as Alice’s knitting scissors is not all sunshine and rainbows, but I take pride in dedication to my work. I was not born to a rich family; my humble beginnings started at a nearby craft store. Although I have a noted resemblance to more expensive stork scissors, I cost less than five dollars. Despite this rough background, my work has always been stable and reliable. Am I really defined only by the price tag associated with me? I am much more than the sum of my base metals, for my blades are sharp enough to cut yarn in a single snip and I have not yet accidentally stabbed my mistress.

I sniff and sneer at the collection of paper and “common” shears in this house; I am above them. I may have begun as a budget pair of hobby scissors, but I am a tool with tenure in the knitting bag. For this I demand respect from the other yarn craft tools. (I am not going to mention the attitude of the Clover Chibi yarn needles, who seem to think that they deserve the highest rank in the tool bag. Although they are used frequently, they have not served as long as I.)

I believe we are ready to begin the interview. Proceed.

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5KCBWDAY3 – Experimental Photography

Refresh your skills at creating attention-grabbing pictures.

Palette Rainbow

I had a hard time with this challenge. “Attention-grabbing” is something that conceptually I struggle with. I’m never really sure what grabs my attention, and thus extracting what grabs the attention of other people is difficult.

I decided to focus on colour. Colour is one of the things that draws me to yarn and knitting, but I don’t often consciously think of colour when I take a picture. I tried to consider palettes and combinations when I was setting up a picture.

In the end, I carefully arranged skeins of Knit Picks Palette–freshly arrived as part of a group order–in a harmonious order. I adjusted several times until it seemed to come together as something rainbow-esque without being a literal rainbow.

What’s Knitting and Crochet Blog Week?

5KCBWDAY2 – Dating Profile

Write a dating profile for one of your past finished projects.

WarmHandsWarmHeart2012

Alice's Reading Mitts

Seeking Someone to Warm Up

Hello, I’m Susie. I moved to the Midwest from Texas in late 2011, but it wasn’t until late 2012 that it really felt like home. Now, I love Chicago; it’s my own “sweet home” because it’s where I realized what I would become. (It doesn’t hurt that my opportunities to warm chilly hands are numerous here with the fickle weather and long winters.)

My size is on the smaller side, but I’m tough with excellent stitch definition. I’m gray, but I’m not gloomy–there’s a rainbow of colours shining under that overdye if you’ll just give me a chance.

I’m a little vain, so I’m not interested in activities that might make me snag. I tend to pill under pressure; it’s embarrassing, but it’s true. I’ve got tight twist, so I knit up a little stiff, but I softened up after some quality time washing and blocking. That’s the best way to get to know me–talk to me sweetly and soak me in wool wash and cool water, then lay flat to dry. If I’m acting grumpy, it’s a good way to get me back in shape and good humor. It’s also fantastic as a treat any day just to show me that you care. It’s a spa experience that I never get tired of.

My favourite way to spend an afternoon is cuddled up with someone special and a good book. I’m just the right length to avoid interfering with page-turning, and I won’t obscure your fingers, but drafts won’t be a problem. I love to cozy around a mug of warm tea or coffee, absorbing the heat and relaxing. It’s a warmth that you’ll feel even when the beverage is gone, because I’ve got the power of wool on my side.

Once we’re together, you’ll wonder how you managed so long without me. Cold hands with frozen fingers will be a thing of the past.

Alice's Reading Mitts

What’s Knitting and Crochet Blog Week?

5KCBWDAY1 – A Day In The Life

Describe a day in the life of a project that you have made, or are in the process of making.

It is day twenty of the expedition to the Upper Sock Drawer to learn the secrets of the rare and elusive hand-knit sock. I have been fascinated with this mighty beast since childhood, and I am hopeful that this trip will finally allow me to face my dream of seeing the hand-knit sock in action. Equipped with our ground-breaking experimental scientific equipment, I believe our chances for success are significantly higher than those of expeditions before us. However, I am humbled by the sacrifices taken by those brave explorers from so many years ago, who paid the ultimate price to provide us with what currently forms the basis of our knowledge of this amazing monster.

The trip to the Upper Sock Drawer was relatively calm and easy, although I had to wait to begin for today’s attempt until I got home from work. If only I could devote my life solely to the call of science, but alas, my funding options are meager and I must toil to continue to finance these events.

To reach the Upper Sock Drawer, one must traverse the beige low-quality wall-to-wall carpet desert. This is an arduous journey, reminding one that one’s battle with the vacuum cleaner will be endless and never will the matted plastic fibers look as they did when the carpet was first installed. Then, the Great Closet Door must be opened. This requires far less effort than the earlier leg of the journey, as the knob turns easily from years of constant use. From there, mount the steep cliff face known as “White Particleboard Dresser from Childhood” until the uppermost region has been surmounted.

But soft! I catch a scent on the breeze…. yes, yes, it is wool. There may be hand-knit socks about! Quickly, gentlemen, take your positions to observe these creatures if they should appear!

I do catch a hint of artisan colourings, indicating that these hand-knit socks are not merely the offspring big-box store brand sock wool, but perhaps the progeny of indie dyers.

Wait. Something is wrong.

Sock Safari

These are not the hand-knit socks we seek, frolicking in their daily activities. These socks seem… listless. Potentially, lifeless. The fibers look exhausted. Several pairs, non-matching, collapsed together above the Upper Sock Drawer…. What’s that? The soles… have visible dirt.

Oh no!

These are the hand-knit sock community’s cast-out worn socks, awaiting resurrection. They dream of the blessed bath of wool wash and cool water; that eternal place of rejuvenation that all hand-knit socks believe in. It is a cornerstone of their mythology, almost as much as the tales of The Hand That Darns, able to heal a sock of any hole.

It pains my heart to see them this way. How long have they laid here, separated from their brethren as pariahs of the thriving sock drawer below?

I… I am a man of science, hardened by my trials in the heartless wilderness, but I cannot turn away from such suffering. Men, we will collect these weak hand-knit socks and bring them back to camp. We shall nurse them back to health, and eventually release them back into the wild to join the rest of the hand-knit socks of this region. Perhaps, someday, we can observe them happily walking about with the other socks, whole and beautiful.

What’s Knitting and Crochet Blog Week?

5th Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2014

2014 Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week on Eskimimi Makes

I spotted this on another blog, and it was too cute to pass up! I really like the idea of a themed week of posts for knitting and crochet blogs. I’m a little bit behind (I’ve already “missed” day one, which I’ll just be posting late), but I’ll make up for it~! (I’m so glad it didn’t require sign-ups or any other prerequisites.)

Details about the 5th Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2014 are here.

Topics for the 5th Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2014 are here.

Post tags for the 5th Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2014 are here.