NYC Pop Up Yarn!

StarcroftKnitters! Crocheters! If you’re in NYC this week, you’re in for a treat (and, hey, a lot of you will be there because VKLive!)

For the first time, Jani of Starcroft yarn brings her beautiful yarn to the big city. You can find her and the yarn of your dreams at lf8elevate January 13-18, 80 East 7th St., between 1st and 2nd Ave. I’m especially excited to pick up a few skeins of the new DK yarn, Tide.

This isn’t just any pop-up shop, though. C’mon, knitters are involved. Thursday 6-9 p.m. and Saturday 3-6 p.m. drop by for knitting gatherings with Jani and Kay and Gale and all the fabulous people. Gale’s photographs will be available, too…check out more details here.

This morning, I wound a skein of Starcroft’s Nash Island Light. I’ll be swatching for the sweetest sweater, Ellen Mason’s Lorna Suzanne. Yarn and pattern match perfection!

Hope to see you at the pop-up!


Craft Friday

You don’t need me to rant about Black Friday, consumerism, or whatever irks you about the cultural expectation that U.S. citizens will arise in the wee hours the day after we’ve given thanks for all we have (health, loved ones, material goods, etc.) to shop, to use credit cards to buy things made cheaply in awful circumstances just to conform to some one else’s idea of holiday festivities.

What if we rebel? Not in the quiet way we crafters have always rebelled, stitching our hearts out to make hats from locally produced yarn, buying a pattern from a designer on Ravelry, spending our time instead of racking up debt, striving for sustainable, for heirloom quality, for real joy as a giver and for our recipients, but in a Craft Activism sort of way: doing what we do, crafting what we craft, and letting the world KNOW ABOUT IT?

I thought you’d like that.

On Twitter this morning, I declared Black Friday will be Craft Friday instead. The tremendous response to the idea made me think we should make this a thing. You know, with a hashtag (#CraftFriday, natch), a Flickr group, maybe even a shared Pinterest board.

Let me know if you’re in by leaving a comment. And if you have a blog, write a declaration–you don’t have to spill the beans about what you’re going to make if your recipients read the blog, but how about you share WHY you’re inspired to make instead of shop? We’ll have a Craft Friday Declaration Post Party this Friday, November 22, and I’ll add a link round up here so you can feel the support and love of our community.

You in? Yeah, I figured you would be.

Glove Love

the start

It started last year when Drew texted me with a request for knit gloves. A teenager asking me to knit? How could I turn him down? 

He had this color scheme in mind, and I happened to be at Webs, where I selected the exactly right shades of Cascade 220.

Then Christmas knitting got in the way, then it was too warm to need gloves, and they fell to the bottom of my crafty to-do list.

Around November, when I picked up the 2012 Christmas knitting pace, I cast on for gloves. I wasn’t satisfied with patterns I found, but I knew I needed a ribbed cuff, and I figured I could hack together a few patterns to muddle through the rest.

I texted Drew a photo of the cuff, and he decided to forgo the stripes, requesting solid blue gloves instead.

Three times I ripped out that first glove. Finally I had to put it aside to finish the holiday knits. My sister called to see if Drew could spend a few days of his winter break in CT, which motivated me to get it together with the gloves. I mean, how hard could they be? Six tubes. That’s all gloves are. I refined my pattern search and settled on Patons Basic Gloves, adjusted slightly for my gauge.

I was fine until I got to the fingers, when I simply could not make sense of the pattern. I resorted to a Very. Basic. Tutorial. If you’re struggling to grok how to knit the fingers, if your glove patterns don’t offer quite enough detail, the price of this pattern with video support is worth it. It’s an excellent reference.

travel gloves

Drew arrived, tried on the gloves, fingerless still, and deemed them a perfect fit, so with thumb gussets in place, I brought them along for train knitting. We spent Thursday in Manhattan, where we had loads of fun, especially at the Beatrix Potter (Drew is an indulgent nephew) and Matisse exhibits.

I finished the first glove’s fingers while we were hanging out last night. Drew tried them on as I worked, which led to a pretty nice fit.

Drew gloves

Here’s the thing about this project, and I’m sure you have similar projects. These gloves are more than just hand warmers. They’re about communication with one of my favorite young men–texting with him about the gloves (and other things) keeps us connected as he enters a busier stage of life. They’re about memories–we had a lot of fun together during our NYC journey, which I hope he’ll remember when he puts on the gloves. They’re about love–Drew knows I knit every stitch with thoughts of him in my heart.

When he wears these gloves, he’ll be wearing symbols of not me alone, but us, together.

And, dudes, that’s why I knit with pleasure for the teens in my life.


Postscript: Drew was on to something when he asked for gloves a year ago. Gloves seem to be enjoying a lot of attention. To whit: Rock + Purl’s Butterfingers (I’ve got the yarn queued up for these) and Purl Soho’s latest, the Gem gloves. How about you? Any plans to knit gloves?

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Each year I give my four godchildren an ornament for their Christmas tree. For the first time, I’m making the ornaments. Take a look:

I crochet much faster than I knit, so these are a less-than-one-evening project. The pattern is on Joann’s website. I followed the instructions for the green and white stocking (I used Ella Rae Classic superwash and Classic Elite Lush), but I disliked weaving in all the ends. For the red one, I used the Lush and carried along red Kid Silk Haze.

These would make great gift card holders, too!

What are your favorite ornaments to make? I think there may be more hand crafted ornaments in my godchildren’s futures!

Holiday Cards Repurposed

This rainy Saturday morning I sipped coffee and repurposed holiday cards received by cutting them into gift tags. I enjoyed taking a look at last year’s cards. To make the tags I used a plain one as a model, traced it strategically on the card fronts, and cut. Add a punched hole, and voila! A stack of fancy gift tags at no cost other than an hour’s pleasant work.

Any clever holiday crafts planned for the weekend at your house?


Little Scallops Hat for Adults

I saw Miss C’s Small Waves or Little Scallops (depending on translation) hat for kids, and I just had to make one for grown ups. After messing around and adapting it, I asked her if I could post the pattern on Ravelry, and she graciously gave me permission. Want to make your own Little Scallops Hat? Here’s the Ravelry link.

I am all about hats this season. What are you all about?

Garter Jacquard: the New Black

Last weekend I switched roles from teacher to student when I took Franklin Habit’s garter jacquard class at Webs. I’m smitten with this technique, which allows the knitter to produce fair isle-style color work in garter fabric. Want to see a beautiful example? Check out Franklin’s garter jacquard Tomten.

Information about the technique is limited, at least when searching Ravelry and Google. Franklin, however, has not only developed an excellent class on the method, but we all know what an effective writer about and translator of historic patterns he is. I suspect as more knitters take his class and time allows him, we may see some exciting patterns and articles. I woke up Monday morning with a pattern idea, which I’m going to sketch and work up between holiday knitting projects.

Being a student is one of the great pleasures of my life. I love the feeling of discomfort that new information and skills brings, and I am over the moon when that feeling turns into recognition and understanding. Franklin is a first-rate teacher. His explanations are clear and accurate, and his written materials are excellent. He’s willing to demonstrate technique to a room full of eager knitters as many times as necessary. He’s funny, kind, and patient. Guess you could say: I am a fan. I’m eager to take another class with him on, well, pretty much anything he’s teaching!

What new technique have you learned that has you excited?

Sleeping Weather

Summer Friday
We’ve had perfect weather the last few days. Warm, sunny, humid-free days and cool, breezy nights. Good sleeping weather, everyone says with a grin. Sleeping in air conditioning relieves the hot, humid nights of July, but sleeping with windows wide open is so much nicer, don’t you think?

I’ve been spending time with a good book and West Knits Mystery Shawl. I vacillated on colors for a while, but consultation with Irene from SnB and Jodi from my LYS led me to the perfect orange yarn, and I think my book’s cover may have influenced me a bit, too.
Book and Shawl
I’ve been doing a lot of crochet design work, which I can’t show you quite yet, and I’ve discovered that knitting is a fantastic way to take a break from the hook. I’m a rather severe hooker (oh, I can’t wait to see what the search engines do with that!), but a loosey goosey knitter, so knitting relaxes my wrists a bit.

I hope you have good sleeping weather, too. What have you been crafting when you’re not sleeping?

Hairpin Lace!

Guys! I’ve been doing loads of hairpin lace design work this summer. Loads! I can’t show pictures yet, but I can tell you about something pretty exciting:

I’ve started a website all about hairpin lace!

I’ll be adding more patterns, more tutorials, and more information about my gateway craft. Let me know what else would be useful in my quest to bring HPL back!

Lookie here!