Estes Park Wool Market

I went to the Estes Park Wool Market and had a great time with yarn, sheep, and border collies. | withwool.com

Early this year I started putting together a list of 100 things I wanted to do. There are small things like riding my bike around town and big things like taking a trip to Yellowstone. I am no where close to even having 100 things I want to do written down, let alone completed, but a big chunk of that list is fiber arts related. No surprise, right? Well, I wrote “Go to a fiber festival” and I was finally able to do just that on Saturday at the Estes Park Wool Market.

I went to the Estes Park Wool Market and had a great time with yarn, sheep, and border collies. | withwool.com
I went to the Estes Park Wool Market and had a great time with yarn, sheep, and border collies. | withwool.com

There were sheep, goats, llama, and alpacas. Some of them really hammed it up for the camera.  

I went to the Estes Park Wool Market and had a great time with yarn, sheep, and border collies. | withwool.com

I tempted the Bearded One to come with me with the promise of herding dogs. We were able to see amazing Border Collies at work, and then we got to pet them! They were such a sweet bunch too. This handsome guy’s name is Bruiser.

I went to the Estes Park Wool Market and had a great time with yarn, sheep, and border collies. | withwool.com
I went to the Estes Park Wool Market and had a great time with yarn, sheep, and border collies. | withwool.com

There were so many venders with beautiful yarn and fiber, and I couldn’t resist enhancing the stash. I fell hard for 200 yards of bulky 100% alpaca spun together with metallic thread. So soft and cuddly. Then I broke from my usual color scheme and bought a wild variegated skein of pinks mixed with dark, muted colors by Traci Bunkers. And I got an awesome wool/bison felt hat from The Buffalo Wool Co. It kept the sun out of my face for the rest of the day. Looks good too. 

I went to the Estes Park Wool Market and had a great time with yarn, sheep, and border collies. | withwool.com

The last thing I bought was an orifice hook for my wheel. I’ve only been trying to find one that would comfortably fit my hand for literally years. I found this one at Clemes & Clemes. It’s made of hand turned maple with a long hook and a spot to attach a charm or lanyard. Tried it out when I got home and it’s perfect. 

Wool Market was a great first fiber festival and I’m looking forward to going again next year. Hopefully, I’ll remember to sign up for a class or two before the deadline. I’m also thinking about submitting a skein or two to the handspun competition.     

Saturday also happened to be World Wide Knit In Public Day. I made sure to get my knit on during a side trip to Rocky Mountain National Park. 

I went to the Estes Park Wool Market and had a great time with yarn, sheep, and border collies. | withwool.com

New Pattern: The Odd Couple Shawl

Tame wild, variegated yarn with slip stitches and the Odd Couple Shawl. | withwool.com

Odd Couple combines simple auto-pilot knitting with slip stitches and texture to tame wild, variegated yarns.

The shawl can be worked with any weight of yarn, be it sock yarn, bulky, or anything in between. The pattern starts with a small number of stitches and keeps increasing so you can make a shawl as big or small as you please.

Tame wild, variegated yarn with slip stitches and the Odd Couple Shawl. | withwool.com

I’m absolutely thrilled to finally share the Odd Couple shawl! It’s been many months in the making, so it’s great to have it off the needles, blocked, and ready to wear. The inspiration for this shawl was a beautiful skein of hand dyed Corrie Sock by Happy Fuzzy Yarn in a few of my favorite colors. The yarn matched my favorite coat, so it was destined to be a shawl. But what kind? I had a few ideas. It had to be asymmetrical with a little texture, and nip pooling colors in the bud. Oh, and if it were auto-pilot knitting, things would be even better. 

Mixing all those things together turned out to be a tall order. Even with an idea in my head and sketches on paper, I spent way to long frogging to figure out the shape and construction. The time was well spent though, and lead to a shawl that had every thing I wanted. 

Tame wild, variegated yarn with slip stitches and the Odd Couple Shawl. | withwool.com

Odd Couple starts at the bottom with a tiny number of stitches and keeps on growing. You can make it big or small, and bind off when you’re ready. Use any yarn that you like - it doesn’t even have to be variegated. A solid color would beautifully show the texture from the slip stitches. 

To celebrate the release, Odd Couple will be on sale through Sunday, October 2. Use coupon code ODD to get $1 off. Put Odd Couple in your Ravelry cart (no account required), click add coupon, and type in the code. Happy knitting!

Tame wild, variegated yarn with slip stitches and the Odd Couple Shawl. | withwool.com

Odd Couple

Yarn: Your pick of yarn in any weight. 

  • Fingering Weight: 400 - 800 yds
  • Sport Weight: 450 - 750 yds
  • Worsted Weight: 400 - 600 yds
  • Bulky Weight: 350 - 570 yds

Needles: Circular Needle 32” or longer to match yarn

Notions: 1 stitch marker, and a tapestry needle

Review: Stranded Magazine #1: Warm Weather Issue 2016

Stranded’s first issue, Warm Weather 2016, was released in April and it’s a wonderful new knitting e-mag. Check it out!  Review: Stranded Magazine: Warm Weather 2016 | withwool.com

I first heard about Stranded Magazine back in March when I was reading Andi Satterlund’s blog Untangling Knots. I’ve enjoyed reading Untangling Knots for years and I’m always interested in knitting magazines, so I signed up for the Stranded mailing list. When the first issue was released I went through the look book. The photos were beautiful and the styling hooked me since it reminded me of my own recent cross-country trek through the Southwest desert. There was a good variety of patterns ranging from shawls to tops to mitts. A few clicks later and it was downloading.

On The Pages

Stranded opens with all the usual magazine content and then gets down to business with an interview with Cirilia Rose about designing commercial yarn. There’s a tutorial about cabling without a cable needle, an essay about the perils of packing the right knitting for trips, and a 101 about how to start English Paper Piecing. The photos for the tutorials are clear and large enough that I can zoom in to get all the un-pixelated details. There are also ads but there only 6 in the entire issue.

The bulk of the magazine is all about patterns. It is very clear, even just skimming through, that the 6 patterns are part of a collection. There is a unified color palette of warm oranges, yellows, and blues that definitely evoke a summery vibe. They’re also geared toward’s being road trip knitting. There are small and large projects, simple and complicated projects. That said, the patterns appeal to both warm and cold weather knitters. 

Stranded’s first issue, Warm Weather 2016, was released in April and it’s a wonderful new knitting e-mag. Check it out!  Review: Stranded Magazine: Warm Weather 2016 | withwool.com

The Rabbitbrush - a cropped, short-sleeved cardigan - is exactly what I picture when I hear Andi Satterlund’s name. It’s perfectly styled as an extra layer over a dress. Satturlund has one other pattern in the collection, Median, which looks plain from the front but has a lace panel running down the back. 

Stranded’s first issue, Warm Weather 2016, was released in April and it’s a wonderful new knitting e-mag. Check it out!  Review: Stranded Magazine: Warm Weather 2016 | withwool.com

The Route 99 - a turban-inspired hat that uses slipped stitches - couldn’t be from anyone except Lee Meredith. It’s a bold and graphic take on a simple technique that’s been pushed to a new level by an interesting construction. 

Stranded’s first issue, Warm Weather 2016, was released in April and it’s a wonderful new knitting e-mag. Check it out!  Review: Stranded Magazine: Warm Weather 2016 | withwool.com
Stranded’s first issue, Warm Weather 2016, was released in April and it’s a wonderful new knitting e-mag. Check it out!  Review: Stranded Magazine: Warm Weather 2016 | withwool.com

I’m usually drawn to triangular and crescent-shaped shawls, but Bottle Cap by Erin Birnel has gotten my attention. The lacy stripes seem like the perfect showcase for a variegated yarn or one with a long gradient. Pit Stop, a pair of fingerless mitts also by Birnel, have grown on every time I’ve flipped through the mag. The pattern uses less than 100 yards and I can’t help but think I’d like a pair for when my hands get cold at the keyboard. Plus, I can think of a few people that would like a pair.  

Stranded’s first issue, Warm Weather 2016, was released in April and it’s a wonderful new knitting e-mag. Check it out!  Review: Stranded Magazine: Warm Weather 2016 | withwool.com

The Interchange Socks by Ariel Altaras was the first pattern to catch my eye in this issue. I am firmly in the toe-up sock knitting camp and the socks are cuff-down but the pattern seems easy enough to flip around if you’re so inclined.

Every single one of the patterns includes a clear schematic in metric and imperial as well as several “lifestyle” and close-up detail photos. It’s nice to see that all the pieces actually seem to fit the model too. There’s no weird bunching or sagging where there shouldn’t be. The patterns are written in a mix of line-by-line instructions and charts as needed. Thankfully, the more complex charts take up an entire page so they’re easy to read. If you hate working from charts, fear not, they’re all written out line-by-line too. With the exception of the mitts and shawl, all the patterns include a number of sizes. Both tops are written in 7 sizes from XS to 3X and the Route 99 hat is easily customizable for both circumference and depth. I would have liked to see a third size on the Interchange socks though. 

When you want to print the patterns and stuff them in your project bag, all the ink eating, extraneous stuff - photos, schematics, descriptions, and supplies - is kept to the first few pages so you can print just the instructions. There’s even a handy note in the table of contents so you can print what you want without scrolling through the entire magazine - that’s a small detail that I really like. 

Screen Time

So, since this is a digital magazine, how does this all look on the screen? Initially, I set it up to view as a 2-page spread on my 13” laptop and full-screened it so I could get the magazine experience. The photos were beautiful, but the text seemed small and occasionally cramped. I had to zoom in to comfortably read the articles, then zoom out to see the full-page photos which killed the typical magazine experience for me. However, reading the magazine on a tablet or phone as the 1 page spread was a much better experience. The photos were beautiful and easy to read. On a tablet, the text was much easier to read and I’m used to zooming in to read text on my phone anyway. 

Final Thoughts

There were two reasons that I bought this issue. The most obvious is that I liked the patterns and wanted to make a few of them. Good, relatable styling helped too. The second is that I wanted to support a magazine with a model that I would like to see flourish more often in the knitting industry. When you buy a copy of Stranded, you get every article, tutorial, and pattern included in it’s pages for $16. Getting 6 patterns for $16 is a pretty good deal with you do the math. What’s more, is that every designer get’s a portion of that $16 from every magazine sold in addition to their flat payment for creating the pattern. Yes, it’s a more expensive than the usual knitting magazine but both the knitters and the pattern designers win.

I’m looking forward to the second issue, Mild Weather 2016, and to see how Stranded evolves in the future. Definitely take a look whether you like to knit for warm or cold temps.


Title: Stranded Magazine: The Warm Weather Issue 2016

Released: April 2016

Schedule: Published 3 times a year

Format: Available only as a PDF download - no print option - and only through April 2017

Price: $16

Where to Buy: Directly from their website, strandedmag.com, or through Ravelry (no account required)

*All photos copyright Andi Satterlund. 

Interweave Yarn Fest 2016

I had an great time at Interweave Yarn Fest 2016 and my stash is pretty happy too. :) - Interweave Yarn Fest | withwool.com

Normally I hear about an interesting yarn/spinning convention/festival, find out it’s a day’s drive away, decide NOPE, and do my best to forget about it. Not this time. I’ve been looking forward to The Interweave Yarn Fest since I realized I’d be able to go without needing to spend a day in the car or book a hotel room. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to take any classes this year - and a few of them were really tempting - but that didn’t stop me from doing a little stash enhancement. 

I walked into the marketplace with a vague plan. I was looking for yarn and buttons for 2 projects and new types of fiber to spin. There was no shortage of yarn or fiber, but after doing my first walk around it was all fiber that really caught my eye. Then I got caught up in a whirlwind of yarn fumes until I escaped out the front door. I stuck to my shopping list, but looking at all of my fiber purchases now, I’ve realized that I bought something that satisfies every reason why I love to spin. 

I had an great time at Interweave Yarn Fest 2016 and my stash is pretty happy too. :) - Interweave Yarn Fest | withwool.com
I had an great time at Interweave Yarn Fest 2016 and my stash is pretty happy too. :) - Interweave Yarn Fest | withwool.com

I love trying my hand at spinning new fibers. I’ve spun lots of wool but only a few ounces each of cashmere and alpaca. So, one of my goals for this year is to expand my fiber repertoire, and now I’ve built the stash to do it. I’ve got yak/silk, llama/silk, and merino/silk. Apparently, I really wanted to spin silk this year and didn’t know it until now. The blue roving is 100% mohair. I even splurged on an ounce of ultra soft paco-vicuna. Looks like I’ve got a pretty full year ahead of me.

I had an great time at Interweave Yarn Fest 2016 and my stash is pretty happy too. :) - Interweave Yarn Fest | withwool.com

I love spinning color. I was walking by the 100th Sheep booth when I spotted this amazing blue and rust colored roving. There was no way those colors weren’t coming home with me. The 6oz of blended roving looked amazing spun up and I couldn’t resist it either. Note: The ball of roving is a big as my head.

I had an great time at Interweave Yarn Fest 2016 and my stash is pretty happy too. :) - Interweave Yarn Fest | withwool.com

I love learning new yarn constructions and new techniques. The handy Fiber Preparedness Kit packed full of punis, dyed locks, and roving seemed like a good way to branch out from my usual 2-ply. As for the firestar, there’s a drum carder coming my way and I want to make some sparkly batts. 

The market was also full of handspun and handspun-looking yarns. Inspiration and motivation was everywhere you looked. There was handspun with beads and coils. There was handspun that showcased color. There were absolutely gorgeous crepe constructed yarns that I want need to learn to spin. 

I had an great time at Interweave Yarn Fest 2016 and my stash is pretty happy too. :) - Interweave Yarn Fest | withwool.com

I love fun spinning and batts are fun spinning. This absolutely giant 8 oz batt (Ysolda’s Mousie for scale) fit the bill perfectly. I can’t wait to start tearing into that thing. 

I had an great time at Interweave Yarn Fest 2016 and my stash is pretty happy too. :) - Interweave Yarn Fest | withwool.com

I only bought 3 skeins of yarn and none of them were for projects on my list. One of them was a secret gift and the other two, well, I’m a sucker for beautiful grey -  Stone Walk by Western Sky Knits - and a good gradient - white to purple by OgleDesign. Enough said. 

Now that the yarn fumes have faded, I’m happy I went. I came home with yarn, fiber, ideas, a ton of inspiration, and even a pair of earrings. Looking forward to going back to Yarn Fest next year. Until then I’m going to keep an eye for other fiber events to go too. What are your favorite festivals?

Handspun Present Cowl

Once upon a time, I got a text message from a friend of mine. We live on opposite sides of the country so texting is the main way we keep in touch. Most of the time we talk knitting and yarn. She also reads this blog. After reading so many posts about my spinning and my ready-to-knit skeins of handspun, she asked if I had ever knit with any of it. A perfectly valid question. I referred her to Exhibit A, a pair of mitts knit from my first 3-ply yarn, and a shawl I was ripping out. Out of the dozens of skeins I’ve spun over the years, I’ve only knit with 2 of them. After I hit send, she threw down the gauntlet. Knit with my handspun or face the consequences. I’m not really sure what those consequences were, but I’m sure they were dire.

I choose a freshly spun skein and went looking for a pattern. I had enough yardage for a cowl and eventually picked the Present Cowl by Mademoiselle C. The cowl was a quick knit where the handspun was the star of the show. I knit it up last year but took my sweet time to block it. Still wore it though with the ends tucked out of the sight. When I flew back to Birmingham for a visit, the cowl came with me so I could prove that I actually had knit my own handspun. Consequences averted. Whew.  

When I dunked the cowl into the water, I was curious if blocking would change the gauge and drape of the piece. Before knitting, the handspun got it’s own bath to set the twist when it came off the bobbin. Would that soak be enough to prevent changes in the knitted fabric? Nope. After blocking, the stitches noticeably relaxed. The fabric had more drape and the cowl grew taller and wider. It’s still the right size to wear without collapsing so I’m happy. The moral of the story is swatching is important whether you’re working with commercial or handspun yarn.

The finished cowl is warm, comfy, and looks great with my favorite coat. It’s also good protection from all the wind whipping through my neighborhood. Now I just have to wait for the temperature to get cold enough to wear it.

Since knitting up this skein, I’ve knit one other project with handspun which I’ll be sharing soon. I also have my eye on another handspun skein that I wound but never knit. So, I’m passing the challenge on to you. Have tons of handspun that you’ve never knit with? Grab a skein and knit it up! The consequences of #handspunchallenge will be fun, wooly, and anything but dire. 

Pattern: Present Cowl by Mademoiselle C

Yarn: 2 ply handspun Malabrigo Nube - Arco Iris

Needles: US 8 (5 mm) circulars

Dates: August - September 2014

@Ravelry

Lessons From 50 Days Of #YearOfMaking

During the last few months of 2014, I started hearing about #yearofmaking from Kim Werker. As I become familiar with the one rule behind the project - just make something everyday - I started seriously considering taking on the 365 day project. The only thing holding me back was my previous attempts at a daily projects. I’ve tried daily drawing and photography projects that topped out at 31 days but rarely kept up. 

So, why commit to 365 days of making then? Besides from reading about Kim Werker’s creative adventures, I also read about Crystal Moody’s. Her blog, documenting her daily attempts at drawing and making art, was the only one that I went back through the archives and read from the first post. Over 2014, I saw her art steadily improve and her thoughts about making art mature. I wanted to gain similar improvements for myself. I also just wanted to make stuff since I spent way too much of 2014 distracted by video games and stuff on the internet. I needed to knit, to spin, to draw, to make, and to learn again. 

On January 1st, 2015 the only rules I set for myself were to make something every day and post of a photo of to Instagram to keep myself accountable. I could make anything I wanted. On Day 1, I blocked a shawl. Day 4 saw me stacking cairns at a park in Arizona. Over the past 50 days I’ve knit socks, added inches to a cabled scarf, started doodling again, made lots of tasty food, practiced photography, and spun yarn. I haven’t missed a day so far, not even while I was sick, and it’s been an amazing part of my year.

Besides from making stuff, I also wanted to learn new things. So, what have I learned?

  • Making stuff is awesome and I rather like it. Simple? Yes, but I forgot during the funk that was 2014.

  • Accountability is key. If I wasn’t tracking my progress with Instagram and my Bullet Journal, I’m sure I would have slacked off and skipped a day here and there. Since I’m creating that record and making it public, I’m always thinking about what I’m going to be making which has been liberating instead of stifling. I’m not waiting for inspiration to find me, I’m going looking for it.

  • Variety is the spice of life. Looking through my photos, there are long streaks where I just knit on a pair of socks for a week at a time before getting bored. I don’t feel tied to any one project or craft. When I was bored of the socks, I switched over to spinning and got some lovely alpaca handspun when I finished. A few days ago, I felt like pulling out my sketchbook and doodling so that exactly what I did. Not tying myself to a specific craft is why I’m going to be able to make something 365+ days in a row. 

  • Keep learning. Once finished, that new pair of striped hand knit socks is going to be great. I’m also rather fond of the meditative process involved in knitting ribbing for that long but I’m not learning anything new. After the sock knitting excitement wore off, it felt like I was just calling it in. Tired? Don’t want to do anything? Knit on the sock, post a photo, done. Sometimes you need that but it gets boring day after day. Push yourself to try a new technique or a new skill. Doesn’t matter if that day’s making isn’t perfect. You still tried, made, and learned something new. 

  • Making is more than you do with your hands. Most of what I see when I search for the #yearofmaking and #yearofcreativehabits tags are physical items. There’s painting, knitting, soap making, scrapbooking, dinner, crochet, pottery, and the list goes on. What I don’t see are word counts for essays & stories, photography practice, or other less physical things. Are those things lacking because they’re harder to photograph? Is it because there’s a different group of people doing them? Is there a hashtag I haven’t heard about? I don’t know. What I do know is that making is an intention and a thought process. While the end result is different, whether I’m spinning alpaca or fiddling with the ISO and aperture on my camera, the creative drive is the same.

What am I going to learn in the next 50 days of #yearofmaking? No idea, but that’s what makes it exciting. 

2015 is the #YearOfMaking + Resources

I started seriously thinking about what my theme/word would be in 2015 last week. I can stick to a theme/word much better than I can to individual resolutions. (Learn more about the word idea here.) A few weeks ago I was pretty sure that 2015 would be the Year of Handspun but I wanted to do more than spin yarn, fun as it is. I also want to write, draw, knit, take photographs, and whatever else comes to mind. I want to become a better photographer. I want to learn and use my hands. 

One word just didn’t seem like enough to cover all of those things. I was wrong though because the perfect word, MAKE, snuck up and smacked me upside the head. Make will let me write, draw, spin, knit, or whatever. It’ll let me do things with my hands. It will help me research and learn. It will prod me get stuff done. It’ll make me happy. Mix all of that together and MAKE is a wonderful thing.

In order to get myself making January 1st and keep on going through December 31st, I’m going to do the #yearofmaking challenge. The only rule is to make something everyday whether it’s cooking a tasty dinner or updating my site or knitting a single row on a scarf. All are perfectly valid. To keep myself accountable, I’ll be posting a photo of the day’s progress to Instagram. Please call me out if I don’t post anything! There will also be the occasional blog post and, #yearofmaking will be the first thing on my to-do list. 

Resources To Start Your Own Year Of Making

#yearofmaking didn’t come from nothing. It’s been something that I’ve been thinking about for months since I came across Year of Creative Habits by Crystal Moody. Everyday she made something and everyday she posted it to her blog. I looked forward to reading about her journey and seeing her art so much that I went back to start from the very beginning. Her thoughts and questions on creativity and daily making are thought provoking and worth reading. 

Another resource that helped me make the final leap was Kim Werker’s new ebook, Year of Making. Werker recounts her own reasons for doing a Year of Making in 2014 and gives tips for starting and maintaining the making habit. Also included are several worksheets to help you figure out what your passions are, what you want to do during the year, and what you want to try. She also details an example spreadsheet to track your progress which I’ll definitely be using.

Shoot for progress, not perfection. - Elise Blaha

I also picked up this wonderful progress tracker from Elise Blaha which will give me get the pleasure of crossing out boxes and seeing a year’s worth of daily progress at a glance.

MAKE in 2015! 

Wander the Web 56

Got a couple of bobbins to empty before Spinzilla. Chain plying these beauties. 

Got a couple of bobbins to empty before Spinzilla. Chain plying these beauties. 

Inspiring, fun, thought-provoking, and crafty links to round out the week and jumpstart your brain.

Cute sticky page markers by Duncan Shotton

Simon Heijdens turned a room into a giant kaleidoscope that you can walk around in. 

Yoke in a bag kits used to be a thing.

Sunken Apple and Honey Cake - This cake intrigues me.

Love these embroidered tents and cabins by Stephanie K. Clark.

Tell the bigger story.

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Spun-Right-Round-Color-Bot-Single.jpg

Inspiring, fun, thought-provoking, and crafty links to round out the week and jumpstart your brain.

I’ve been sneaking in bits of spinning and knitting into my day to help keep my sane. The last few days have been the most I’ve spun since Tour de Fleece. It’s nice to see the bobbin slowly fill up and do something with my hands besides from clicking buttons.

How to turn a file folder into a book. Why have I not made this yet?

How hiring a handyman is like buying a crochet (or knitting) pattern.

And a little deeper, thoughts on (knitting) pattern pricing from Ysolda Teague

NASA developed origami style solar panels.

The Shape of Ideas by Grant Snider

Nina Lindgren’s Sprawling Cardboard Cities

Wish I’d been able to read this article when I first unboxed my spinning wheel

On Comparison 

Wander the Web 40

Had a fun idea for a new pattern. After copious notes, sketches, and knitting, all I have to show for it is frogged yarn. Time to cast on again. 

Inspiring, fun, thought-provoking, and crafty links to round out the week and jumpstart your brain. 

Pejac’s Canvases and Street Art

Adorable felted mushrooms

Love peeking into an artist’s studio

How to Kick Monkey Butt - Focuses on drawing but is good advice no matter what your medium. 

Gif-iti

Sound Blogging Advice

Wander the Web 39

Inspiring, fun, thought-provoking, and crafty links to round out the week and jumpstart your brain. 

I was on the hunt for a washcloth pattern that would look great in variegated yarn and decided to try something that’s been on my knitting bucket list for awhile, Entrelac. The Garterlac Dishcloth was a great and addicting introduction to the technique. Pretty sure that I’m going to be making a lot more of them. 

Sprawling Ink Cityscapes by Ben Sack

Coconut Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies might be on the menu this weekend. 

Romain Laurent’s Looping Portraits 

Learn about circuits and electronics with conductive play dough. The site includes “recipes” for the dough and tutorials for building circuits that would be great for kids of any age. Totally going to make a batch. Science is awesome and occasionally unexpected.

Checking In

Way back in January, which isn’t as far away as it seems, I shared my pattern design goals for 2014.  The last day of March seemed like as good a time as any to check in, take stock, and stay accountable.

I only had one major goal, to design and release 1 pattern every 2 months. We’re 3 months into 2014 and I haven’t released a single knitting pattern. Good thing I didn’t push myself to release a pattern a month or I’d be really dejected right now. The thing is, I’ve been putting in the work. The first pattern I worked on this year is finished aside from the final necessary steps - the layout, proofreading, editing, and photography stuff. Still a lot of work to be done but those tiny little balls of yarn are proof that the knitting is finished. The pattern itself won’t be released until Summer is on it’s way out. Maybe I can come up with a name by then. Why does coming up with a good name have to be so hard?  

The second pattern of the year was a set of kitchen towels and washcloths that I submitted to Holla Knits. These towels were the first pattern that I’ve ever submitted for publication by someone else. Submitting a design was a goal I’ve had for a long time and a hidden goal for this year. Dropping the swatches in the mail box was exciting and nerve-racking at the same time. The set wasn’t accepted but it’ll be showing up here just as soon as I finish the samples and put the finishing touches on the pattern. Just might be my first release of the year. 

As for other patterns, I’ve been sketching and taking notes as soon as the ideas popped into my head. A few skeins of my recent handspun have been brilliant inspiration. I’ve even resurrected a few older patterns from my notes and WIP bin. Some of them I’m ripping out because they’re just not as exciting or likable since the novelty wore off. Still others have reclaimed some brain space so I can get back to puzzling out the details. The next few months are going to be busy with pattern knitting and writing. Plenty of ripping too. I’m sure of that. 

Even after 3 months, I still feel like I’m just getting started but at least I’ve got some momentum. There have been more small successes behind the scenes to keep me going then there have been disappointments to hold me back. When I was feeling complacent and lazy, this interview with Alex Tinsley over on the Loopy Ewe blog was a swift kick in the pants. I’ve read it several times and I’m sure I’ll be coming back to it when I would rather be be a giant, lazy lump. Until then, there’s no time like the present to get serious and get things done. So, I’m sticking with my original goal of releasing 1 pattern every 2 months. It’s not going to be easy or quick but it’s worth the effort. 

Wander the Web 32

Looking along the beach towards Venice and Santa Monica.

Looking along the beach towards Venice and Santa Monica.

A collection of fun and interesting links from the week. 

Double Chocolate Banana Bread

The amazingly bright paper sculptures of Zim&Zou

Such an adorable baby sweater.

Mini Citrus Tarts; Might be the perfect use for all those meyer lemons in my fridge.

DIY: Twill Woven Stool; Thinking about doing this with yarn instead. Maybe even handspun.

Being a beginner is hard.

Pom-Pom Love: A tutorial

On Blogging 

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A collection of fun and interesting links from the week.

Knitted wall art and a great use for leftover yarn. 

OpenKnit - an open source knitting machine

Crazy Stripes! It’s amazing what a few increases and decreases can do.

The Shop Talk Series by Anna Hrachovec, the creative force behind Mochimochi Land. She’s written about how she got started designing patterns, self-publishing, burn out, writing books, online marketing, and tech editing. Definitely worth a read. 

The Frilled Standard Bind Off. If you knit a lot of lace and need a stretchy decorative bind-off, this might be the method for you. 

Wander the Web 19

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Thanksgiving is sneaking up next week and I’m just sitting here with my Christmas knitting. 

The wooden Tryllemromler Installation looks like a giant strip of lace. 

Deconstructed Video Game Controllers by Ballen Photography - Part 1 & Part 2

A different take on the old fashioned Hot Chocolate Recipe

Why swatches (sometimes) lie.

How to Spin Variegated Top in Progression

Cauliflower with Brown Butter Crumbs

Partly Cloudy by Grant Snider 

Wander the Web 18

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I’d forgotten how wonderful it is stand on the beach and watch the sun set over the Pacific Ocean. 

DyeYourYarn.com

DIY Button and Crochet Necklace - I really want to blow up the scale and make an extra long garland. 

Take-Out Fake-Out: Chicken Lo Mein

Cranberry Orange Breakfast Buns - Can never have too many recipes for early morning sweets. 

Five Ways to Find Inspiration Offline - I’m really fond of getting out of my own four walls and going for a long walk. 

Kelpies, Giant Horse Head Sculptures in Scotland

The Knitting Collection of Loes Veenstraand 

Hypnotic Kinetic Sculptures by Anthony Howe - "What matters is putting human feeling into your design."

Wander the Web 14

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My bobbins have been empty for long enough. Time to fill them up again and try something new. I’m going to try my hand at an intentional slub yarn. Well, that’s my weekend plan. What are you up to?

Knit, Purl, Sow - A wonderful exhibit of knitted flowers and plants going on through January 2014 at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. I’d love to see this in person. 

Abandoned: Mark Twain Public Library in Detroit

Drawings of Dustin Harbin

DIY Watermelon and Pineapple pom-poms! - Would it be weird or awesome to cover a tree entirely in pineapple pom-pom ornaments?

Knitted Fungi by Brome Leighad Martin - I’d love to walk across these mushrooms in the woods.

Wander the Web 13

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Spinzilla is already half over and I’m still spinning along. I’m over halfway through 6 oz of Perendale which smells delightfully wooly. Hope it’s all spun up by Sunday! During the moments I haven’t been producing yardage, I found some interesting links. Got to give my wrists a break some time. Good luck, fellow Spinzillians! 

Observing Earth: Satellite Photos from European Space Agency

Handknit Socks in Space!

Interview with knitting extraordinaire Leethal AKA Lee Meredith 

Learn a little about Foula Sheep

An emergency home built in 5 hours to last 15 years 

The Yarndale Bunting - Over 6,200 crochet triangles from 31 different countries decorated the Yarndale Wool Festival. The before and after photos are wonderful. (via KnittyBlog)