The Sock Bug

Simple Socks #4: Wooly Mastadon

After all of these, ‘life happens’ posts, you guys are probably wondering what’s up. Is she really knitting? What is the point of looking at the blog? Well, the truth is, I hear ya. I don’t like blogs that forget their purpose, so lets remedy that shall we. As of late, I have been knitting socks like nobody’s business. Now, I’m not cranking out socks like other people on the interwebs (I mean, the Knit Girllls, seriously, I can’t keep up), but for me this is a record. In past years I have knit like 5 pairs of real socks total, and 3 of those were slipper/dorm socks that I couldn’t wear out of the house. I just didn’t get it. I had collected several sock books and sock yarn because duh!, it doesn’t count in the stash. Yet, I wasn’t knitting socks. My two pairs of socks knitted with sock yarn sat in my drawer lonely and neglected. I was afraid to wear them because I only had two pairs. I didn’t think I could knit more. I got second sock syndrome half-way through the first sock.

Last fall, it clicked. I picked up a pair of socks I had started knitting (gasp!) months before. They were the Skype Socks by Adrienne Ku (project here) and the pattern was great, the yarn was fun, but I just got stuck. Little did I know that when I would pick up these socks later that fall during a weaving class, everything would change. In that weaving class, my professor did not mind if I worked on a project. After all, it was a fiber class and I always paid attention (perhaps more than others). One day I found my socks and brought them in. The pattern clicked and I knitted away. Before I knew it. January was here and my socks were done. That was all I needed. I had caught the sock bug, and I was ready for more.

The next step in my adventure was to find someone to knit socks for. I felt selfish keeping all of the socks I knit, so once again, I turned to my Mom. I had her pick out a yarn on a KnitPicks sale, had her pick out a pattern from one of my books and went off. A little over a month later the socks were complete. I kept going.

Yet, I wanted something different. I had heard about after-thought heels and simple sock recipes. I felt it was time to find my own. I compiled a sock recipe from several patterns and went to work. My first pair of plain toe-up socks was born. They were so easy and travel-friendly. I saved the heels for home so I could knit my socks without looking, put the waste-yarn in for the heel and go on my merry way. It was wonderful. (Ravelry project pages here, here, and here)

…And it hasn’t stopped. People think I’m strange, that I’m crazy for willingly knitting something that goes on my feet with expensive yarn and tiny needles. They see this as tedious needless work and a waste of time. I see it as fun, as a stress reliever for a hard day, as therapy for the storms in life. I see it as sanity in a ball of sock yarn and some tiny size 1 needles. I knit everywhere on my socks now, and I feel naked without a pair of socks on the needles traveling with me to work, church, family and friend’s houses and outings. I knit during my breaks and lunch breaks at work. I knit during church get-togethers. I knit during game nights with friends. I knit while visiting with family. I knit and I love every minute of it.

This year alone I have completed 4 pairs of socks (not counting the Skype socks I started the year before). I am close to putting the waste yarn for the heel in the first sock of my next pair. Many people make goals for the number of pairs they want to knit in a year. I will simply just look on 2014 in amazement as the year that sock-knitting clicked. This will be the year that without a goal I blew my old sock knitting record of 5 pairs of socks over around 5 years out of the water. Most importantly, this will be the year that I became more comfortable knitting in front of strangers, and actually feeling proud to do it. When I look at these socks, they will not only remind me of how far I’ve come with sock knitting, but also the community it brings along with it.

~Stay Inspired

Feeling Thankful

New Growth: Wooly Mastadon

As this week progressed I realized that I wouldn’t be able to post what I had planned. Thus, look forward to some fun reviews in the coming weeks. Until then I just thought I’d stop in and share some of my recent feelings, mostly of being thankful. Last week when I got my schedule for my part-time job, I had a bit of a start, first because I thought I was fired when I ddin’t see my name on the usual place on the schedule, and second when I realized I had gotten what added up to a promotion within my department. It is a small thing, but when you are cashiering at a grocery store (right out of college), are still in your probation period with that store, and they promote you, it feels good. I’m only moving from being a basic cashier to working at the service counter, but it has quite a bit of responsibility attached to it, including supervision over the other cashiers and how the front end of the store is run. I have to say, I am actually enjoying my job now.

Yet, there is a part of me that does not want to admit that. I am a graphic designer and a college grad, and I am supposed to have a high-standing job with a design firm by now, or started my own business, or have gone to grad school, or… All of societies expectations have been pushing down on me, telling me I’m not doing the right thing, that I should be doing more; mainly, that I am a failure because I am not enjoying a cushy job in my field of study. But all of these feelings have been weighing on me as of late. I had not been entirely happy with my part-time job. I haven’t had a ton of design work, my internship has been on and off, and my fiber has been highs and lows. This week, with an unexpected boost from my part-time job, I am starting to rethink things.

The world and society should not dictate what I want to do with my life. Maybe I enjoy my part-time job and the people I work with. Maybe I like having the freedom to take on varying kinds of freelance work in different fields. I am not sitting idle waiting to do something or find a job. I have these things, and they are not a failure, but a start to life.

Mainly, I should be thankful. I shouldn’t always be worrying about what other people think, of how society views me. Instead I should be thankful that I have been given the chance to do more at my part-time job. I should feel thankful that I actually enjoy this promotion. I should be thankful that I am still able to do design work and fiber work. I should be thankful that I am healthy and able to do all these things. I should be thankful. It is important to stop, every so often, and realize what you have is a blessing. Perhaps you are not following the standard path. Perhaps you are not where you thought you would be. But you’re somewhere, and just that statement should make you feel thankful. It has been a long week, and I am tired from all the running around, but it has been a good week, almost an amazing week because of a small thing that doesn’t have anything to do with my college degree. Sometimes blessings come in strange packages.

~Stay Inspired

Works in Progress (WIPs): The Elder Tree Shawl

Elder Tree WIP: Wooly Mastadon

It’s Friday, and once again I’ll stop by to share my thoughts. I’ve had a UFO (unfinished object) lingering…no hibernating in my pile of UFOs for a few months now. It is the Elder Tree Shawl by Sylvia Bo Bilvia, a free pattern on Ravelry. I had started it at the beginning of April and hadn’t really touched it since. I’m using some beautiful yarn, not fancy mind you, but the colors are lovely (find more info here: lilwestie’s Elder Tree Shawl). It’s on size 8 needles and is lovely to work with. I just stopped. Now, I do have some background with UFOs. After knitting a relatively ugly fluffy pink blanket over all of around three years, I had decided I did not want projects to linger. Despite all that, I had created plenty of reasons in my head as to why I just didn’t have time to pick up this project.

  • It will take too much time.
  • The lace is too complicated.
  • i just can’t get into the stitch pattern.
  • I have to work in absolute silence.
  • I’m too tired after work.
  • etc……

Finally, about a two weeks ago, I decided to pick up that shawl. I love the color and the yarn, and knew I just couldn’t let it sit or frog it. One night, I sat down and knit 2 rows. That’s it, 2 rows. But that was all I needed. Those 2 rows showed me many of my excuses were wrong. At this point, it doesn’t take too much time. The lace is simple with every other row being a rest row, and I immediately was able to ‘read’ my knitting. I could work with music playing in the background, even music with words. I’m not too tired for this. Things have fallen into place.

I’m at a point in the shawl where 4 rows only takes me around 30 minutes. While I know that won’t last long as the shawl grows, I still have learned a few things about shawl knitting and myself in the process.

  1. Yes, lace takes effort and attention, but it’s doable.
  2. Knitting lace shawls is soothing. It takes just enough attention to keep you busy but still allows you to enjoy the process, the quiet, and the background music.
  3. If forces you to have a little uninterrupted knitting time which can help relieve stress from the day.
  4. The rest rows allow your mind to wander and help you calm down.
  5. You come closer to your knitting, you understand it.

Mostly, it helps me find some peace in my day, especially when I don’t have a routine. A big reason I didn’t pick up this project was because between my part time job, my internship, my freelance projects, and family and friends, I just didn’t have a schedule. Things were hectic and not being able to plan ahead gives me a headache. Slowly, as I learn this new lifestyle, I am getting back into things that I thought I just couldn’t start up again; music (my clarinet), friends, the shawl. It is helping me stay sane in the insanity that is life.

Its a lesson that I wish I had learned sooner…well, maybe I had learned it, but it got lost in the chaos and clutter. I have dug it out and with my shawl things are falling into place…for a little while at least.

~Stay Inpsired

Housekeeping…I’ll come back later then.

Housekeeping: Wooly Mastadon

First, I’d just like to say, if you got that obscure reference in the title, I love you (and no, it’s not dirty, just super geeky). Anyway, I hope your week is going well. I just wanted to pop in and take care of some housekeeping. This blog has only been around for a short while but I feel it’s time to share a few things. As you may have noticed, new posts will appear on Fridays as a rule. I’ll be sharing projects, thoughts, reviews, etc. As time goes on, I may share additional posts, like I am doing this week. I’ll do those when I’m feeling the need to share, when something is really amazing, or not so great, and needs to be out there NOW. Eventually, I might add to the regular schedule but for now that which is life dictates that once a week is a decent amount.

Part of the incentive for starting the blog was to build a community and I’d like to do just that. What would you like to see on this blog as it grows and changes? What types of projects do you like to read about? Are you solely interested in fiber or are you also interested in my graphic design ventures as well? I started this blog to share and sharing isn’t a one way street. There has to be someone on the receiving end, and all creative ventures need inspiration. Let’s grow together!

P.S. I love obscure Harry Potter references and quotes, both from the books and the movies…you know, I just love obscure book/movie references in general, haha!

~Stay Inspired

Sweater Mod: Complete!

 

$5 in Paris: Wooly Mastadon

I know it isn’t Friday, but my skill level in the patience department is at an all-time low and I just had to share this project. I actually finished modifying my $5 in Paris early last week but I never was home when there was good light to snap a photo (I apologize for the undead look, I wanted to share this sweater right away and it is that kind of day today), and finally punted waiting this morning (there is no hope for decent lighting in the near future, hello rain). Here it is! I am so excited, I can finally wear this thing. I started this sweater over a year ago (see this post) and just haven’t been able to wear it. Now I can.

Some quick stats:

  • I had leftover yarn from my original project that I saved for this purpose but it is Caron Simply Soft in a color with no dye lot so I wouldn’t have been out of luck if I had to purchase more
  • I couldn’t remember what size needles I knit the sweater on so I jumped and knit the mod in my size 6 (4 mm) KnitPicks interchangeables
  • The sweater was knit top-down. My mods would be knit bottom-up
  • The decreasing would all be done in the ribbing so the goal was to keep the stitch pattern symmetrical

I ended up picking up the stitches on the collar and cutting the cast-on yarn. This was an endeavor because I didn’t think and forgot that I would be knitting in the opposite direction that the original sweater was knit. Almost 2 hours later, I had all of the stitches on my needles and was ready to go. I decided that the best way to decrease was to slowly decrease the ribbing over the shoulders symmetrically into a single line. I just worked organically and decreased when I thought it looked good. trying on the sweater as I went. Knitting up and making the neck hole smaller didn’t take very long and sooner than I thought I was binding off again and presto, my sweater fit! I know this all sounds so easy, and trust me, the picking up of stitches was a nightmare, but I would be lying if I said that knitting up and decreasing was hard. It just worked for me, perhaps because my frustration with this sweater has been around for so long that I either wanted to fix it or have to scrap it because I really screwed up. Math comes easy to me and working organically does as well so everything fell into place. I was lucky and with future ventures probably won’t be but I’ll take it for this sweater.

Regardless I finished the sweater in time for the cold weather which will be next week (maybe that’s an exageration but seriously, they are forecasting and early winter starting in September for the UP of Michigan so this could get interesting). I can’t say how happy I am and even thought there are tons of flaws, by golly I’m going to wear this thing!

~Stay Inspired

A Spinning Update!

Wonderland Handspun: Wooly Mastadon

Yay, a spinning update. I didn’t see this coming but I actually made some serious progress on my current spinning project that has been going on for a little over two months. It is some merino fiber that I had purchased at a fiber swap to support my local community art center. It is in somewhat muted purples and greens and it was relatively easy spinning. It has just taken quite a bit of my patience, the singles were spinning a laceweight and the plied yarn is around a light fingering. I love how it turned out, complete with barber-poling. This is my first attempt and weighing out the yarn into to halves, spinning the singles and plying them together.

Plied Yarn on Bobbin: Wooly Mastadon

Here are the stats

Fiber: Merino (4 oz)

Weight: Light Fingering

Yardage: 1019 yd (yelp!)

And because no spinning project is perfect, and especially not one of my first thought-out projects, here are some downfalls and things I learned.

  • Be careful with over and under spinning. I was guilty of both of these on the singles and the plied yarn is most certainly energized to be nice. The length this project has taken has certainly helped me progress and make my twist more even but I most definitely will have to get a little more even.
  • Really thin singles break, and if your tension isn’t great when plying, it will happen A LOT. I encountered this when plying because some sections of my singles were very thin and/or underspun. Thus I had breakage. Hopefully this will improve with practice, but only time will tell.
  • It isn’t worth trying to save every piece of fiber. There were some serious fuzzy spots that I didn’t pick out when I spun the singles. Now I have serious flubs in the plied yarn. I could harness this, but for the most part, I’ll pick out the flubs in the next time.
  • Don’t rush. This is when even evenly spun, perfectly twisted yarn will break. It’s a pain in the butt.
  • CAREFULLY measure out your fiber before spinning. In fact, wait a half hour, pre-draft your fiber, and then weigh it again. I was so off on my spinning I had a small ball of yarn that I had to wind into a center-pull ball and spin from both ends.
  • Try to spin your singles at an even weight. I did not do this (newb mistake) and my bobbins had drastically different yardage on them.

Center Pull Ball: Wooly Mastadon

Now, you might be wondering how I got a light laceweight single into a center-pull ball without the fibers breaking. Well, let’s just say that process took several hours. First, I took some doweling and sanded the daylights out of it to create my own nostepinne. Then I started winding a center-pull ball by hand. I did this mostly because I don’t own a ball winder but also because even if I did I know that it would have broken my singles many times. Lesson for the future: make sure you weigh out your fiber carefully and spin evenly sized singles.

I pulled the singles from both ends of the yarn and I connected them to the end of the other plied yarn so I’d have two skeins as opposed to two and a mini skein of yarn. I’m sure I broke a cardinal rule somewhere but it worked and I’m happy with it. Now that my fiber is washed, I am sure this skein is destined for a lace shawl, but I think I’ll just admire it first. I know that spinners typically critique their yarns to bits, but I am not going to allow myself to do that with this skein much more than what I have above. It’s my first thought-out project, and compared to a little over a year ago I am so blessed to a) know how to spin, and b) own my own spinning wheel. I critique my design work all to harshly so the fiber will get a reprieve. After all, what better way to go into fall than with a new hobby, a lovely spinning wheel, and beautiful handspun yarn.

~Stay Inspired

Thoughts on Creative Highs and Lows

Creative Highs and Lows: Wooly Mastadon

I have been thinking about creative highs as of late. If you’re a creative, you know what I’m talking about. It’s those days when you have a vision to create something, and have to start it NOW. You get to it and are in the zone, time stops, and your creative juices flow so perfectly that your project just seems to come into being. There is no struggle, there is no headache, there is no creative block. You just create and when you’re done, it works. I haven’t had any major successes since I randomly decided to design my Etsy shop website that I was so sure I was going to code right away (but, newsflash, I didn’t…cue this space here for the time-being). On the fiber end, my last success was creating the slouchy hats with bulky yarn, I just went and, tada, it was done.

But back to those amazing times, the times when everything just works. As of late, those minutes, hours, of creative bliss just haven’t come. I’m not in a rut, so to speak, but I am most certainly starting my slippery descent down a mountain that has very few footholds. If I don’t find one soon, I might just slide into the depths. Yet this feeling has caused me to think, what is really causing me to slip? Is it my lack of drive, is it stress, is it loneliness, is it lack of creative stimulation? It’s hard to tell, but in the end, it’s all and none of these things.

I’ll start by addressing stress. On the graphic design side of my life, there have been a few pieces that became just draining. I wasted time on them, and neither me nor my client/boss were happy with the result. There was a unnecessary time crunch and bad feelings all around. Recipe for success…well maybe failure. This is the first time I have ever actually hated a project (and yes, the strong word is needed). It’s frustrating and draining. Cue next part.

Friends. I love my friends, and this is the first time in my life that I have actually spent time with them, the first time I get out of the house almost weekly and go out to eat, or go bowling, or go to a friend’s apartment for board game night (and no, don’t read into that, it’s exactly as it sounds. I don’t drink, not that I’m against it, I just typically don’t like the taste of anything and it’s expensive). I had never really done this, and i love it. I get to talk with fellow artists, my friends about everything. But that’s the problem…i had never done this. I’m getting used to it, but until I get more into it, it can be just plain exhausting. Granted my part-time job at a grocery store is forcing me to interact with waaayyy more people than I’m used to, getting together with friends is amazing, but it takes my energy. I like to whole up in my house with my pooch, podcasts, my computer, and my fiber. Quiet, alone, simple. I’m changing my lifestyle and my nonexistent social life is starting to exist. It can be draining, but good.

Loneliness, well that can be self-explanatory. But wait, you say you have started getting together with friends? That cant’ be right? It’s a different kind of lonely. It’s the kind that makes you think, did I do that right? What if I screw up and no one will talk to me. It’s purely self-doubt. I think everyone battles with that at some point, or often, and I find that I’m on the often end of the spectrum. My friends think I’m outgoing at times, that I can get away saying everything no matter how blunt and people will still laugh. Yes, sometimes this is true (thanks Dad for all you taught me) but it can also be exhausting. It’s a way to hide how embarrassed or self-conscious I am. I’m a klutz, and can be an idiot as much as everyone else. I laugh it off in public to save myself but never doubt that sometimes it means crying at home at night after I really blew it. All these feelings have a place, but if they start to overcome everything else, i start to slide further down my slope.

Lack of stimulation? I doubt that that is the cause, as I live on Pinterest, and in vacation land that is the UP. Or is it? Getting out more helps, but I always slide back into my routine and routine can drain your ideas just as much as it can give them. Routine can let your mind wander, but when your mind wanders to a place that tells you you need change, then it’s time to do just that. I am making changes, especially to create a social-life and a career, and all these things come into a giant UNKNOWN. It can be amazing but in mass quantities it won’t even let you slide off that slope. It pushes you off the mountain.

Maybe I need to be pushed off the mountain and forced to do something so different I won’t even know where to start. Maybe my creativity is there, in that crevice that I am so afraid to enter. But maybe, the adventure is just beginning. I’m not going to school next week, I graduated. I can create my own path, there is no one telling me I have to finish something, or start something to create my life. I’m here creating my life as I go. Perhaps that realization is all I need to bring my creativity back.

~Stay Inspired

A Sweater Mod

$5 in Paris Sweater Modification

Originally I was going to post about my victory finishing my tdf spinning and having two lovely skeins of yarn to show you, washed and ready to go. Then life happened. There was still hope. I thought, you know, I still have time. And then work happened and on top of that my design internship got interesting. That is when I realized that I was pushing it. Despite some dissappointment, life happens and you keep going and doing what you love. Thus, the fiber will have to wait and I will share what I currently started this week in the large project department: a sweater mod.

A little over a year ago I knit $5 in Paris by Anna Maliszewski. The pattern is well written, and for a first time knit sweater (I had already crocheted a vest) I thought it would be easy. It is in fact extremely easy so for a new sweater knitter, or a new knitter in general, I highly recommend the pattern. Fair warning: the pattern is almost solid stockinette so if that drives you nuts, it might not be the pattern for you. However, I didn’t mind it and felt comfortable adjusting the pattern to fit me. Yet, in those original mods, I overcompensated. I had to adjust the pattern to be slightly larger, so I added to the collar/shoulder area. I thought it would be fine, but I ended up making it HUGE. I added so many stitches that the one time I wore the sweater, I had to safety pin it to my shirt underneath. It’s supposed to be a dropped shoulder swaeter and I love it, but it falls off.

Cue an afterthought modification. I have been sitting on this sweater for a while, as I said over a year, and have just not known what to do with it or how to fix it. I thought about taking the fabric in a tacking it at the shoulders, but the more I considered that option, I knew it wouldn’t work. That would just create unsightly lumps that I don’t need to add. I thought about sewing up the sides smaller and cutting out the excess; again unsightly lumps would ensue. Finally the other night, after a long day, I just couldn’t calm down. I took my sweater out of the closet(where it had been hibernating for months) and looked at it. Then it hit me, I need to either invest a good piece of time to this sweater or call it a casualty of the modifications gone wrong. I opted for the former.

Upon inspection of the sweater I knew what to do. My plan of action would be to pick up the stitches just below the cast-on at the shoulder and put in a life-line. Then I would rip out the cast on and knit up, decreasing the ribbing strategically on the shoulders so that it would come together into the pattern while making the neckline smaller. I also opted to use smaller needles to help this process. Of course, the night I came up with this I just had to pick up the stitches.

So that is where it stands; stitches picked up, life-line installed. My next step is to (gasp) cut and pull out the cast-on edge and go from there. I want to be able to actually wear this sweater when the cool weather arrives, and in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, that will be very soon. I’ll post an update when I finish, but until then you officially know two things: I’m crazy, and I have a lot of things I want to do.

~Stay Inspired

Book Haul(ish?) and Current Projects.

Book Haul

It’s that time. I should post about yarn/book hauls. The truth is, I never foresaw this kind of post, but when a KnitPicks book order came in the mail, I knew I had to share. It has been a crazy bust-through-the-stash summer and this is only going to feed that. Random thought, I think I must finally be an adult. I got the package in the mail today, and had known about it since Monday, but when I finally got my paws on it, I didn’t rip it open immediately like I normally do. I waited until after work and dinner and laundry to open it. That’s what an adult with self-restraint would do, right? Well, that is the extent of my self-restraint, haha. Anywho, back to book awesomeness and the stash-busting bug.

As far as book hauls, I restrained myself but only a bit. I ended up getting three books, Knitting by Design by Emma Robertson, Spinning and Dying Yarn by Ashley Martineau, and Woodland Knits by Stephanie Dosen. I also got the kit for Hedgehog Mittens by Spilly Jane, two skeins of lace-weight yarn (because I’d rather get yarn for the price of shipping than pay for shipping) and the kitten drawstring project bag which was a free item with a promotional code. I nearly squealed with excitement when I opened the package to the pretty yarn and books (yes, I know some of you will say, it’s just KnitPicks, but hey, in this town, I pretty much need to order any books I want because there isn’t anywhere to buy them locally). On purusing the books, I am thinking that they are all amazing but with different uses.

When I ordered Knitting by Design, I knew that many people didn’t like it because it was too basic, only for beginners. I decided to ignore that and I am glad I did. Although many of the projects are extremely basic, I feel that the book will be an amazing resource for teaching others to knit, even my friends in their 20s (like me, spoiler alert, haha). The layout is eye candy. My only complaint is , graphic designer rant alert, that some of the words in the section headers and titles, even if the title to the section was only one word, were hyphenated and cut onto another line. That is ridiculous! You NEVER do that, especially in a header, no matter how much you like the size of the type-face. My graphic design brain spasmed for a second there. End rant, thank you very much. In the end, I love the book, and even just the photos are enough to make me happy owning the book. I need to go into more depth in the future, but until then, these are my initial thoughts.

Spinning and Dyeing Yarn was a book I found out about in a magazine and knew I wanted asap. The only problem was when I found out about the book, I didn’t own a spinning wheel, so I held off and just stalked the book on Amazon and other forums, dreaming of its loveliness (well, maybe not dreaming, but it was on my mind). When I ordered the book, I didn’t realize it was hard-cover, so when it came in the mail I was super excited. I have just barely paged through but I think it might become a favorite, and I might have to report back on this with a full-blown review!

Woodland Knits was one of those oh-I-should-order-that moments. I didn’t have it on my book list (yes, I have a list and it has all kinds of books on it, novels, diy books, fiber books, etc. and it never shrinks but grows) but I knew I wanted to order it. Once again, I was excited about the book but I didn’t realize just how much it would have in it. I had stalked the Ravelry pages for the patterns and knew the photography would be wonderful, but I had no idea just how big the book was and how many pictures it would have…pure heaven. It’s lovely and you better believe that that deer hat will be cast on soon enough, winter comes quickly in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula!

All of these are first impressions of the books (notice all the comments of photography, haha). I have been wanting to get them and can’t wait to dive into each one cover to cover. I always get so excited when I have new reading material and reading material that feeds my fiber obsession is the best kind.

Slouch Hat by Victoria Schwanke

And now for stash-busting; it’s summer, what more can I say. I inevitably find time to dig through my stash; all of it, every single piece. It always makes me realize just how much yarn I have and that I need to work through that stash, especially deep stash. I was perusing some of my yarn, wanted to knit a hat, and found some old Bernat Super Stripes in an orange and black colorway from my high school days (school colors). I don’t wear those colors anymore, but I thought they’d make a cute bulky slouch hat, so that is what I did. I cast on and knit away. It worked so I made another and have started on a third in blues that I might just keep for myself. I also started another scrap afghan. Just about every summer I start one and this one has stalled. I really need to pick it up, but haven’t for a month even though I have at least 15 of the crochet motifs done. Ah well, it’s not going anywhere. That urge to bust through stash is holding strong, however. I kind of want to make a ton of slouch hats with all of my somewhat novelty bulky yarn. We’ll see. I just need time to actually work too, haha.

Well, that’s the update. I think I’ll post more about different books in the future, old and new, maybe even magazines. We’ll see. Until next time. Good luck stashbusting.

~Stay Inspired

The Knitting ‘Stigma’

Because hiding behind the hat helps...no actually the fact the my Ravely photos include me is a huge step in the right direction.
Because hiding behind the hat helps…no actually the fact the my Ravely photos include me is a huge step in the right direction.

 

This has been long in coming in my life and I think it is finally time to bring it up. There is a stigma to knitting/crochet/fiber crafting in public. It seems at times as if a brick wall is put in place between you and the passerby…then again no, it’s not a brick wall, it’s a glass window. People who understand might look, smile, or even ask what project/yarn/needles you are using. It’s all fun. Yet, those are not the people I would like to address today. I am talking about those people who give you “a look” or blatantly stare at you in shock with a ‘how-could-you-possible-be-knitting/crochet/fiber-crafting-in-public…at-your-age?!’ expression. This is the look I often get.

But wait, let’s back up a bit. Before I get into this topic and stand on my soap-box, I would like to tell you a story. When I first learned to knit and crochet, I was very excited and was willing to bring it with me to certain places (but goodness not school, that stigma had been pre-ingrained in my brain). I was happily working on a scarf and a family-friend came up to me with the question “Are you practicing to be a Grandma? ‘snorts’”. I sat there somewhat surprised and thankfully came up with the comeback, “When do you think they learn?” After that I spent the next 5 years of my knitting/crochet life in secret only allowing those I knew would respect me into my hobby and slowly growing obsession. That comment hurt, and all through high school I hid my hobby or joked about it to those who brought it up as to hide it and say that oh, it really didn’t matter. “It’s just something to do.” “It’s okay, it passes the time.” “It’s a way to use up some of that stupid yarn I got as a gift.”  The list goes on. Most of those comments were lies. I evaded those who were interested. Then finally at then end of my senior year in high-school, I started to open up. One of my close friends started to knit and was struggling on a large puffy scarf. That was the moment I could share my knowledge of knitting in a different style that would help her figure it out. I started to learn that fiber “obsessions” as I like to call them, were perfectly okay.

It wasn’t until I got into college that I truly realized that I didn’t care if people knew I knit/crocheted and that I wanted to be seen working on my projects. I was a freshman, the scared quiet student in the back that watched and listened and learned and behaved. Blending in was key. Yet, I started to notice that a few of my fellow classmates were knitting in classes. They would work on socks, lace shawls, hats, scarves, everything. Because it was an art school, nobody cared and in fact, some professors encouraged it because they knew that those people would listen better if their hands were busy. It was an epiphany. Those who quickly become friends were showing it was okay, and even awesome to stand out and knit publicly. I took that to heart and started knitting in classes, sharing my work, and even putting up random creations around the building.

Fiber became a way for me to stand out, to combine my skills in graphic deisgn with my fiber and create something new was known and almost expected. All art students have their thing and mine became a side-project in fiber.

And now, I just don’t care how I might appear when I knit or crochet. I knit in the break-room at work, I knit at church functions. I knit during classes and events. I knit whenever I have a few spare minutes while I wait for something to start. I even knit in front of that family-friend. I just do it.

It didn’t happen overnight, but I slowly began to accept who I am and what I had become with my hobby. This is where I would like to share my thoughts. It’s okay to knit in public. It’s okay to share your own fiber obsessions publicly with the world. It’s okay…in fact, it’s more than okay. It is important. Don’t let your own friends/acquantances/family bring you down. Keep up the hobby. Don’t be ashamed. Be awesome. Keep creating…it’s a way of life and I’ll be here cheering you on in the process.

~Stay Inspired