I’ve been quiet recently about my Half Granny Shawl, but I’ve been working on it a lot and I am ecstatic to say it is done!
I love how it came out. In the skein the yarns reminded me of sunrise and sunset, but worked up they make me think of ripe peaches and plums in a woven basket sitting on a wooden table with dappled sunlight falling through leaves. Yummy!
It’s a little smaller than I would normally make a shawl, but it completely used up the 2 skeins of yarn I had (from stash!). Any extra yarn I put in the tassels. Perfect.
Yarn: Araucania Nuble – 2 skeins (273 yds each) – 75% merino/ 25% silk – Colours: Yellow-Peach-Grey and Sienna-Magenta-Purple
Hook: 4.5 mm
This was the first year that I participated in Me Made May. I was really surprised that I was able to wear something I had made every day in May – some days I even wore more than one me-made item. Getting dressed some days was hard, though. I realized that I have a me-made wardrobe gap: I see clothing style in a continuum of how casual or dressy it is. The continuum looks like this: casual, medium casual, business casual, professional, dressy. At home I wear mostly casual clothes – jeans or shorts and a t-shirt, or even pajamas. At work I like to dress on the nicer end of business casual. But most of the clothes that I have made fit in the medium casual range, so I don’t always want to wear them at home or at work. This tells me that I need to make more t-shirts and truly casual wear so I can be comfortable at home. I also need to make more business casual clothes so I can feel comfortable at work. I will still wear my medium-casual clothes (both around the house and on the job), but changing what I make will eliminate the time I spend standing in front of my closet wondering what to wear.
I’d like to build a wardrobe that is truly functional and beautiful. Part of that vision is wearing sleeveless shirts with cardigans to be wearable in all seasons. I see lace cardigans over simple sleeveless tops worn with pants in fun colours. Or coloured tops with black or grey pants. Or black tops with grey or coloured pants. I’m still working toward this, but finding the Wiksten tank pattern is a huge step in the right direction. I like how the pattern can be made with nice fabric to dress it up, or in simple cottons for everyday wear. I also have yarn for 3 cardigans now, so I guess I should get making.
There is nothing like being interviewed to make you feel like a “real” designer. I started working with Cyndi Tiedt recently when I asked her to tech edit my next pattern (It’s called Raindrops and Wildflowers, and I’m releasing it in the beginning of July). She got the pattern back to me super quickly and had some really helpful feedback. If you are thinking of designing and need a tech editor Cyndi is the person you want.
Cyndi recently started a new series on her blog where she interviews some of the designers she works with. She kicked the series off by interviewing me.
- Where do you get your inspiration for designing?
I find inspiration in so many places. Sometimes a yarn will inspire me or a stitch pattern that I just can’t not use. I studied music in college and I’ve thought about doing a series of patterns based on operas.
- What are your favourite items to design? Accessories? Garments? Toys?
Right now my ideas are mostly for accessories. Hats, cowls, and mitts are easier to design than sweaters, but I’d love to work up to some sweater designs.
- What is your favourite design that you’ve made? Why?
Currently I have only published one pattern: the Chevron Lace Headband. It’s free on Ravelry, and a delightful knit if I do say so myself. I’m working on a second pattern that I plan to release in July.
- Do you prefer using textural stitch patterns or colour to highlight your design features?
Right now I’m favoring textured stitches. I’m always amazed at how much a single colour can bring to the table when paired with different textures.
- If you were on a desert island and could only bring ONE project to work on, what would it be?
I believe the standard answer is a wedding ring shawl since this would take forever to knit. That sounds like a great option to me, especially since you wouldn’t need anything very heavy to wear on a desert island.
- If there were a house fire and for some reason you had enough time to dive into your stash, but you could only grab ONE skein to save…..which one would it be and why?
I recently spun 575 yards of beaded silk in a mustardy colour. It was a pain to spin, especially with the beads, but the result is stunning! I don’t know if I can bear to knit with it ever (but if I do I will probably make the Aeolian Shawl).
The Quick 10:
- Colour or neutral? Colour, but not too bright.
- Cashmere or silk? Silk
- Wool or alpaca? Wool
- DPN’s or Magic Loop? DPN’s all the way!
- Seamless or seamed? Seamless wherever possible
- Straight or circular? Circular all the way
- Continental or English? Continental
- Wood or metal needles? Wood, except for DPN’s size US2 or under. Then I prefer metal.
- Lace or cables? Lace
- Socks or shawls? Both.
This month I participated in Me Made May. I’ve seen this in the past and wanted to participate, but didn’t really know how. I looked it up this year, and basically Me Made May is a challenge to wear the things you have made every day in the month of May. I wasn’t sure if I had enough handmade clothing items to do this, but I decided to try. It ended up being a great way to find things I had made that I had forgotten about and to try different clothing combinations. I will definitely do this again.
One dress, three ways: I love my Alabama Chanin inspired grey dress. I feel very cute wearing it, and it is so easy to style!
Tank Tops: May is warm where I live, so I wore my tank tops a lot. One is self drafted and two are Wiksten tanks (one of which I upcycled from a shirt my husband had torn).
Socks: I wore my Fraternal Slytherin socks a lot. As in every time they were clean. Also, I finished my Pink Floyd socks this month and they have been a bright addition to my handmade wardrobe.
Accessories: The Chevron Lace Headband is my first published pattern (and it’s free). I’m about to publish a pattern for this cowl as well – it will be called Raindrops and Wildflowers and I’m planning to publish it in July. I also wore my Wedding Shawl and a ribbon rose hair clip I had forgotten about.
Other: I don’t wear skirts as much as I used to, so I had forgotten how much I loved my Joseph skirt. I wore my Lace-Back vest, and my long sleeve Alamaba Chanin t-shirt for the odd cold day.
My yarn store had a sale. I thought about not going because I have
enough a lot of yarn (no one ever has “enough yarn.” There is no such thing). But then I conveniently remembered that I needed a knitting needle for a project that I already have yarn for. “I’ll just go and see what they have, maybe buy a skein or two.” Famous last words.
So shall we see what I got?
1 skein Feza Harvest Sock in Rubia
1 skein Reywa Fibers Bloom in Coral
1 skein Fyberspates Vivacious 4 Ply in Dove Stone
3 skeins (a sweater quantity) of Yarn and Soul Superfine 400 in the evocatively named colour 6675
4 skeins Fyberspates Vivacious 4 Ply in Copper Tones
And the needle tips I needed
It was a good day.
Sometimes I struggle with being a crafter. The things I do for fun seem so small and insignificant. I knit and sew and bake bread. My husband studies chess and economics in his free time (And for the record, he has never said anything about how I choose to spend my free time. He is so supportive of all the crafting that goes on). I struggle to see how knitting fits in to the world we live in today.
Part of the problem is that textiles have become so, so cheap. In the past people made things to save money or because that was the only way to have a sweater or socks or a new dress. These days crafting is a privilege and is often more expensive than buying something ready-made. Now that doesn’t take into account individual taste or fit – many of the things that I make could not be found in a store, and I can craft to my own measurements and colour preferences; but I can find many things I truly like at the store.
Making things is not mainstream. Not that that has ever bothered me, but it makes me wonder why. Why don’t people make things anymore? I make things because I have to: I have to have some sort of artistic expression. When I was in college I studied music. Now I knit and sew and dabble in all sorts of other art forms.
Why do you make things? Do you ever feel like making is insignificant?
Felicia of The Craft Sessions says all this and more way better than I can here.
Aren’t they beautiful?
Yarn: The Fiber Seed Sprout Sock – Rainbow in the Dark, Sunflower for heels, Noir for cuffs and toes
Needles: US 1/ 2.25 mm
Pattern: Vanilla socks with afterthought heel