Post #3050: Meditating the morning of….

I’m not going to say what it’s the morning of, because we all know, and many of us are unhappy about it, and the world seems inching closer to the edge as a result of what will happen later today.

And yet.

And yet when I rose this morning I got on my knees to meditate in the dark dawn of 6 am. I took refuge there in the stillness, the cushion supporting me, the trees of my island breathing in and out alongside me.

Towards the end of my sitting this quote bounced up into my mind:

Acceptance does not mean fatalism. It does not mean capitulation to some slaughtering predestination. Those who follow Tao do not believe in being helpless. They believe in acting within the framework of circumstance…. Acceptance is a dynamic act. It should not signal inertness, stagnation, or inactivity. One should simply ascertain what the situation requires and then implement what one thinks is best. As long as one’s deeds are in accord with the time and one leaves no sloppy traces, then the action is correct. Deng-Ming Dao

I take refuge for exactly this reason – so I can get up and face the world as it is, while still holding faith in the capacity for compassion, renewal, sanity. This is the only practice that stops me from becoming paralyzed by the grief held inward like a breath that can’t be properly expelled, decaying and stale.

I will not watch the news today – acceptance does not also mean that one must stare at the train wreck. I will knit a silly pink hat and plan to join in the collective of women around the globe tomorrow. Knitting, meditating, chanting, and changing. This is my world. The one I accept. The I take refuge in and from. Breathe in. Breathe out.

Post 2090: First finished of the new year (sweater!)

IMG_20160111_213516It still needs a soak and a blocking, but I’m proud to announce the finishing of my first-even knitted sweater! I’ve crocheted a few (three successful, one not so much), but I really wanted to get a knit sweater under my belt since learning how to knit in June (I started the sweater in August). This has some issues – I’m not sure what exactly possessed me to start with a fingering weight pattern on size three needles as my first project – and you can see a map of my stitching improving as I go. But it’s *so* soft (Cascade Heritage) and it fits me in a nice, relaxed way. The sleeves are longer than the pattern called for (I believe it should have had 3/4 sleeves) so I really should have done another couple decrease rounds on the sleeves towards the wrist – but I do like that they are loose and easily rolled up.

All in all, this sweater makes me happy, and though it won’t win any knitting awards, it has an immediate spot in my wardrobe. Now that this is finished, I get to start on my next sweater project which I am lucky enough to be knitting in Brooklyn Tweed (for my husband’s birthday in May). Between that and working on the second Aspen legwarmer, I’ve got my needles pretty full for awhile.

Post 2081: A little knitting catch-up – finished objects, wips, and new year plans

While there has been no sewing since earlier in the fall, airplane travel lends itself particularly well to knitting and crochet – so while I’ve been in the air, in hotels, and passengering in vehicles – lots of knitting has happened since the last thing I posted (The Beacon Shawl). The featured image is my current WIP which is a gift-in-the-making so I won’t tell you too much about that. Instead feast your eyes on the following finished projects (click for larger pictures):

The Cowls and Mitts are knit up in Malabrigo Arroyo, and the Hot Pad and Mitt use Galway Worsted and Chunky yarns. Looking for patterns?

Other projects on needles include the never-ending Paulie Sweater (which is just hours from being finished but I keep setting aside for quicker gifty projects), the gift project up above, and a second Imperial Hot Pad to use up the leftover yarn from the first. Once those are done I plan to do some steeking practice and then start Andrea Rangel’s latest version of the (Knitters) Dude Sweater for my husband, plus I’m going to make the Aspen Leggings for myself out of Briggs and Little. Oh! And I just bought the kit for this fabulous shawl (the Favorite Boots Sierras Polydactyl Set and Simee Dimeh Pattern) as well:

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Looking at the pattern, this seems very advanced for me – but I’m game because it’s so stunning, and it gives me lots of practice in stitch variation. I’m planning for lots of lifelines as I go.

But before anything new is started, I vow to finish what’s on the needles right now. For real. That’s what I am going to do next.

 

Post #2072: Finished items and new projects – from knitting to radio.

That up there is a picture of me wearing the Beacon Shawl to work yesterday. That is my third finished object from the materials documented in the top left photo below (which I blogged about back here in September) :

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For the record, the above items are a Woodland Stroll Cape, a Cappuccino Dress, and the Beacon Shawl. All three have now been worn – the first two on more than one occasion. Although we still have six more weeks of fall – this feels like the culmination of my autumn projects and that everything afterwards constitutes winter. This is probably true in that my current WIPs probably won’t be finished until winter officially starts in December!

Since the dress, my sewing has been at a bit of a standstill, though my knitting continues apace. On the needles currently are a Paulie Sweater (I’m halfway done the second sleeve!), a Christmas gift cowl, and the Cowichan-style vest that I blogged about a couple of posts ago. I’ve got a very busy travel schedule coming up and so I am not starting any new sewing projects – and really am not interested in anything that isn’t portable at this point.

In other project-y news, after some recent realizations about radio-worthiness, Brian and I are embarking on a new project together – the Live from the Urban Crow podcast. While we still have to figure out how to make our recording devices work (we own two, and a mixing board, plus computers – but have never made a serious study of audio) – we’ve got some big plans for a bi-weekly show featuring a lot of what this blog covers: making, recipes, how-tos, interviews, throwing great parties – and so on. The difference will be that you get to hear Brian and I in conversation about these topics, which might be hilarious (or not). So far we’ve got a bunch of segment ideas plotted, so stay tuned and when we learn how to use our equipment I’ll let you know.

It’s been awhile since we did a new project together (if you don’t count the fact that our whole life is a project together) – and while I have thought about doing a podcast before, I never thought of asking Brian if he would be interested in doing something like that with me. Turns out, he is very interested – and when we canvassed our friends for subject-matter yesterday, we realized that they are also excited by the idea. So I’m encouraged that this might actually happen, and soon.

We’re headed to the cabin tomorrow – and I’m really looking forward to seeing (and sharing) all the work that’s been done this fall.

Post #2069: Knitting on the edge of the Salish Sea.

I’m sure everyone reading this knows that today is election day in Canada – and it’s important! By tomorrow morning we’re either going to have a new government or a constitutional crisis on our hands – and either way it looks like voter turnout is high. (In case you haven’t been following along, Canadians really, really don’t like the current government, but we’ve been having some trouble getting our shit together to vote them out).

But since all of us Canadians are on the edge of our seats and will be until sometime tonight – let’s not talk about that. Instead, I want to talk about another Canadian thing that I’ve been learning about recently – and that thing is Coast Salish style knitting. That hat above is an example of the knitting technique which produces something that many of us on the west coast grew up with – the so-called “Indian Sweater” also known as Cowichan knitting even though it doesn’t particularly originate with the Cowichan band (one group of Coast Salish people). As the style was practiced by many people along the BC coast, it is most rightfully known as Coast Salish style because that’s inclusive to all the peoples who practiced it (and doesn’t reduce all native people to a single band, which they are not).

Anyhow. I grew up on Vancouver Island in the seventies and eighties – during which time pretty much every household had a toque or a sweater in this style. Made of bulky wool, in a base of three shades (black, white, grey) – I can’t say I thought about them too much. Like any colonial legacy, Coast Salish knitting was just part of what was, not noticeable even though a very rich history and tradition surrounded these items.

For a full history of this style of knitting, I recommend that you pick up Sylvia Olsen’s book Working with Wool: A Coast Salish legacy and the Cowichan Sweater from your local library – which is the only account that I know of and full of fabulous historic documents and photographs.

Anyhow. I have been learning to knit (since June of this year) and one of the things I love about learning a totally new craft is that it doesn’t matter if I’m bad at at it. That is, I’ll try everything knowing that it’s probably going to have some problems, because everything new has problems – this is a liberating thing! So at the end of September, I signed myself up for the Fringe and Friends Knit Along which I thought looked pretty straight forward. I mean, I hadn’t done colourwork before – but still, how hard could it be to knit a Cowichan-style vest?

The answer to that, of course, is mixed. No, it’s not particularly hard, but if you don’t know the technique for trapping floats *and* you knit continental – well – there just aren’t a lot of people out there who can show you how. Also (as I learned on Friday) true Coast Salish knitting requires that you trap the floats with every stitch, creating a backside to the fabric that is pebbled and where no strands are carried without being trapped – and there are no videos online that show that (but there will be soon). So I started out on the vest, trying at first to do a gauge swatch and trap the floats – and pretty much immediately got stuck. I just could not see it from the Fair Isle You Tube videos. Also, I was working with bulky yarn and big needles – something I found much harder than I thought I would – so rather than powering through, I set the whole thing aside and figured I’d get back to it next year.

Cue: Perfectly timed workshop.

Early last week I noted on Ravelry that Sylvia Olsen was coming to Vancouver to teach some Coast Salish knitting workshop *and* one of them happened to be on Friday night when I had nothing else planned. So I signed up (how could I not – that was stupidly fortuitous) and went over to Wet Coast Wools to learn about this knitting form that was so dominant in the place where I grew up. Sylvia got us started with the knitting project, and while we were doing the unstranded grey brim of the hat, told some of the story of her history with Coast Salish knitting, and the colonial relationship that it developed out of. So we learned both the style and some of the history of what is Canada’s *only* indigenous knitting practice (by which I mean something that emerged from Canada in a singular fashion, Coast Salish knitting is the fusion of European-brought knitting and Coast Salish weaving traditions).

While I can’t say that I trapped my floats perfectly – I think I’m only averaging every other one here:

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IMAG1654_1I did start to get the hang of the technique and by the end of the class I had started the colourwork and was on the way to my hat. Saturday allowed me lots of knitting time and fueled by my desire to practice I powered through to a finish!

Not only that, I wore it out of the house on Sunday when I went to pick up chickens from our friends who raise meat-birds in the interior, and everyone in that little hunting/farming crew of ours were very impressed. It’s not hideous! But nor is it perfect.

Yesterday I pulled out the KAL project again and since we were having a lazy Sunday after errands, watching TV and eating moose meat tacos for dinner (such an easy thing now that we have a freezer full of the stuff) – I got lots of knitting time in to start off the project. Again, this has some issues – the bottom band cable got screwed up and I was well into the project before I noticed, and it’s hard to get even stockinette on large needles with bulky yarn – but it’s really just another piece on which to practice Coast Salish knitting techniques so that I can prep myself for a really large project like a sweater for Brian.

This vest requires that I knit and purl (it’s knitted flat) which mean that part of yesterday’s practice was figuring out how to trap the floats on the purl side – which I think I’ve got down now that I’m partway up the back panel of the vest.

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Election watching at the bar tonight means that I’m not going to get anything done on this today – but I’m finding the colourwork process addictive – and I’m hoping that this panel will be finished by the end of this week (I’ve got a ferry ride to the island on Friday and one home on Sunday – that’s several hours right there!), plus Brian is out of town for a few days….. Not to get too carried away, but I could have this vest done before the end of October if I dedicate myself to it (and abandon my other sweater project for a couple of weeks)….

If you are interested in this style of knitting, or want to know more about Sylvia Olsen’s workshops, books, and stories – please check her out at her blog – she told us in class that she will be posting some technique videos to YouTube in the next couple of weeks – which I am looking forward to. In-person workshops are great, but videos really help to reinforce the learning.

As a final note, I want to acknowledge that the Coast Salish knitting techniques come out of a brutal colonial relationship which my people were a part of perpetuating in the interior of British Columbia (as homesteaders in Secwepemc territory), and which I perpetuate as a white person living on unceded native land. This does not erase the fact that I am from this land, and that Coast Salish knitting has a strong resonance for me and my family because is is such a place-based form of handwork – and so I learn it in respect of the people who have always lived here, and in the hopes that we can change future relationships through acknowledgement, reparations, and mutual governance of this place where we live.

 

Post #2064: Slow fashion and slow food – another way of saying elite consumer?

While thinking about the slow fashion/clothing movement a couple of weeks ago, I watched the documentary “The True Cost” (available on Netflix) which is about the textile industry and the transition to clothing as disposable consumer items over the last three decades – its really a catalog of environmental catastrophe and labour abuses worldwide and I think that everyone who has every bought a $5 t-shirt and thought yes! what a deal – should watch it. Actually, everyone who wears any mass produced clothing should watch it – just to be informed about what it really does cost all of us to have an endless parade of cheap garments.

Part of that documentary, however, focused on the switch to fair trade products and companies such as People Tree which has environmental and ethical sourcing policies for its clothing – and makes beautiful and fashionable things. I immediately went to their website after watching the documentary to see what they had on offer for dresses – and I loved them! I wanted to buy several right away… because they are great, and not *too* expensive, and with the halo of “doing good” it almost seems like one ought to buy some more things to support this venture – right?

Well – from my perspective on making and slow fashion, my reasons for it – no. And its something I struggle with all the time – because like everyone, I want new things for my wardrobe – but I don’t need nearly the amount of clothing that an endless procession of new things would generate. Whether I purchase ethical, or not, I am still faced with the issue of too much stuff. Too much for me, and too much for the planet to bear – even with the most ethical sourcing policies possible.

And while I see a place for fair trade/local making when it comes to garments, food, and other items – I am afraid that too often “slow” as in slow food and slow fashion, is just another way of saying elite. This is really exemplified in food writing – as pointed out in an article in The Atlantic a couple of years ago – which details the celebration of gluttony by many writers who also espouse “slow food” as an ethic. It’s a real nice bit of hypocrisy to, on the one hand celebrate less overall consumption for everyone, while also stuffing oneself to the point of near-illness. I don’t think the point is lost here when it comes to fair trade shopping either. Too often, people who feel that they can afford to shop fair trade (people like me, for example, a middle class income earner), still purchase far above their actual level of need. And when they are done with those clothes, because they are middle class, they probably donate them to thrift rather than sell them – contributing then to the problem of global over-supply of goods which then destroy local textile markets in the global South. That is, over-consumption is a problem, whether we are talking about $5 t-shirts or $200 dresses. And while the lowest income folks are most definitely consuming the most mass-produced goods, they are still consuming way less goods overall than most of us who have greater disposable incomes (or who are wealthy).

While I believe that systemic change is necessary in order to grapple with the real problem of too much resource use on a finite planet (ie – capitalism is a terrible way or organizing ourselves for sustainability) – on an individual level, I still want to find a way out of this trap of wanting, and having, and discarding. When I started making clothes a few years ago, it was really motivated by a bunch of different impulses – making, body image, learning, creativity – but as I have worked with textiles, I have come to think a lot about the process of the garment industry – both textile making and ready-mades – and how that applies to me.

Garment-making is physically challenging work, and often very dusty, bringing one into contact with chemically treated fabrics and threads. The recognition of this alone has helped me to pare way back on my purchase of ready-made clothing. And when I stick to making my own clothing, I tend to acquire a lot less clothes overall. In a given year I might make two skirts, two dresses, one sweater, maybe a blouse, and some accessory items. This is still quite a lot of stuff (it adds up when I look at what is in my closet from five years of making clothing) – but nowhere near what I would consume in an Old Navy during a sale (I still purchase jeans, underwear and tank tops ready made – and $100 in a place like Old Navy gets one crazy amount of stuff).

But even then, I don’t feel like I’m really doing my part to combat over-consumption – as the act of making, alone, accounts for a huge amount of consumer action. The community of knitters, sewists, and other makers is just as prone to excessive consumption as any other social group – although everyone trumpets their ability to “use every last scrap” a lot of people are very proud of their yarn and fabric stashes – some of which take up storage lockers and whole rooms in a home. Although I purchase a lot of yarn and fabric through thrift stores and de-stashes – I still do my fair amount of new purchase as well. And I did just re-do my sewing room from top to bottom which involved a lot of money spent on Ikea furniture. As makers, we often find ourselves caught in the conundrum of spending resources in order to conserve resources – which in the end cancel each other out. It really points us back to the base problem of living in a system which values growth over life – and its very difficult to get off that wheel individually and collectively.

This post isn’t going to end with an answer, or even an avowal that I will do better. I will try to do better, as I move away from ready-mades, thus limiting the amount of new garments which come into my life on an annual basis. But I see, all the time, that I am still consuming way more than I need, most North American consumers are. Whether we espouse slow and local, or ready-made – the real trick is in living with less — way less.

Post #2062: Blogging along with #slowfashionoctober

Coming off of Wednesdays’s post on mindfulness and creativity, I feel compelled to join in with October’s blogging theme over at Fringe Association which is Slow Fashion (#slowfashionoctober). Some of you may have noticed that this blog has recently developed two strong themes which are growing from my current interests: meditation/mindfulness/zen and creativity/diy garment-making/textiles. I see these two areas of focus as linked in many ways – and as my meditation practice has developed, so has my approach to making garments and other handworked items.

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The first quilt I ever made on my bed in Gibsons, BC (circa 2004).

But just to back up, for those who might be visiting through the #slowfashionoctober hashtag, a little bit about me. I am self-taught in quilting, sewing, crochet, and (most recently) knitting – though I did not start to develop these skills until I was in my early thirties owing to the fact that I was told from a young age that I did not have a natural aptitude for anything that involved scissors. While I’ve come to realize that was never the case, what was true is that I did not possess the patience for learning these skills when I was younger – it really took a spell of living on my own in a rural community to find the time and space. Somewhere around 31 I bought a sewing machine with the intention of making some basic household items, took a quilting class in which I learned how to make a potholder, and then proceeded to make a queen-sized quilt as my next project. Super-basic though that quilt was, it still is used in my household, eleven years later.

What I realized at that time is that I wasn’t going to sit down and be creative, or make things, for the sake of it – the items I was/am most interested in producing needed to be somehow useful in addition to bringing beauty or ornament into my life. I made quilts then, and pillows, stitched large tapestry cushions, and sewed up tablerunners and (lots of) potholders – but I never believed I would make garments because I felt that was beyond my skills.

About five years ago something shifted and I bought some fabric and a sewing pattern – and made my first skirt.  Following that was a dress, some more skirts, and another couple of dresses. I sewed a lot in 2011/12 – trying out different items, choosing patterns that I thought would be quick to make, and rushing to finish them.

In the summer of 2012, I also learned to crochet, and started making sweaters and accessory items for myself and my family. This past summer I added knitting to my repertoire and am currently working on three different knitted garment items (a sweater, a shawl, and a outdoor vest for my husband).

So really, I haven’t been at the garment making very long when I think about it. I have a goal of a wardrobe that is at least 75% handmade – which I am working towards, though slowly. Although I have made a number of garments, only a few of the early outfits are in my wardrobe still. A lot of them have gone to thrift because either I didn’t know how to choose a pattern that worked for me, or the item had poor fit/wrong fabric issues. On the other hand, I have several items that get weekly wear, including my roses dress (can’t find a picture at the moment), which was made with 2.5 yards of sale fabric, costing me a total of $15. Yesterday I wore a me-made skirt and a me-made sweater to work, in addition to carrying a me-made bag.

The point is that, after five years of making garments, I pretty much have something on or carried every day that was made by my own two hands – and that is pretty satisfying. In the next few weeks, I am going to write more about the whys and hows of my own process and why the movement around *slow* everything is important to me.

I don’t have any particular goals for this month except to add one or two new items to my wardrobe which I’ll write about (as I always do) – but given that I’ve also been thinking a lot about consumer waste – I am going to put some thought towards up-cycling/re-cycling a thrifted garment or the fabric from one. We’ll see if that happens, but it’s not something I’ve had a ton of success with in the past – partly because of my own impatience – but as I’ve developed a more mindful approach to making in the past year, I think it’s time to revisit this.

Post #2060: When it comes to creativity, “to be everywhere is to be nowhere”.

Brian left on Saturday morning for a 9-day hunting trip up North, which coincided with the start of my intensive Zen practice period, and so the house has been very – very – quiet. While I normally fill the empty spaces by listening to podcasts, music, and sometimes netflix while working in the kitchen or sewing room – I started out on the day that Brian left by turning on nothing at all in the early hours before I went to the Zen-do. This was repeated on the Sunday morning, when I rose at six to work in the sewing room before attending another day of sitting – watching the light rise outside in the silence of morning as I worked on the bits and pieces that have been catching my interest lately. The photos above represent my work of the weekend and last couple of days – prepping the embroidery piece, natural fabric dying with some textual experimenting, binding the seams on the Cappuccino dress after basting them by hand. I have done most of this work in silence.

Sometimes the story in my head tells me that I must multi-task, or without *entertainment* the process of making is otherwise boring. I don’t know where that story came from, but it is lodged there, and so I keep a stash of podcasts and audiobooks just for when I’m sewing. I do most of my knitting at night while watching netflix or on the bus to work. My making is rarely done without the influence of other activities, in other words, and I rarely stop to question that impulse.

But in the last few days of minimizing other distraction in the sewing room, I’ve noticed how much my work style changes when I am simply on my own, listening to the voice in my own head, instead of channeling someone else’s words, ideas, or sounds. Sometimes I sing to myself during the rote parts of making (I’m working on memorizing some songs for an upcoming show) – but otherwise I have allowed myself to simply be in the moment with whatever I am working on. What that seems to mean is that rather than staying in one place (sitting at the sewing machine, tracing out a pattern, etc) there is much more flow to my working style and I am inclined to work on something as long as it captures my interest and then seamlessly moving onto something else, and then back again. So I do a bit of rote work like tracing, then I get up and go to the kitchen and mix up a batch of whatever natural dye I am experimenting with and cut up cloth to go in it, then I jot down some notes for a letter I am writing (and hope to incorporate into some textile art), then I organize supplies for a project that is in-process, and then perhaps I trace a bit more of my embroidery pattern before finishing up. Each task takes as long as it takes, without any other task overlapping – the nature of hands-on work.

This is counter to what I think of as my normal work-style, where I pick one task, turn on a program of about the length of the task and then sit and listen/work for the time period I have allotted. There is rarely time for creativity in that process, and I don’t find myself inspired to pick up another thing or intersperse activities. I am simply sewing/knitting/stitching and listening – and my brain is too full to do much else (like allow an idea to float in and then make some notes about it – which would be two other brain tasks in addition to the two already going on). This is not to say that I am not creative, but I tend to think about projects when I am in other modes of life, without my hands on the tools, rather than letting intuition guide my next movement in the place of process-making.

There have been a rash of studies and articles that demonstrate that most of us can’t really multitask as much as we think we can, and that our brain is just rapidly switching between one thing and another, which gives us the idea that we are able to handle more than one thing at a time. This means that we are forever balancing one brain process against another, and while it doesn’t matter much when doing a rote task (like endless rows of stockinette stitch on number three needles), it’s not conducive to the process of having new thoughts and then being able to follow them up with an action. That is, it impedes our ability to move fully into a creative mode, even while we are in the act of making. This experiment of the last few days – of intentional silence – is a reminder of that for me anyway.

I am not saying that I am going to give up listening to podcasts and music in the sewing room – we all know how much rote work we must engage in that truly does become tedious. Hand-basting miles of bias tape to seams is definitely made better by watching a bit of television! But part of my practice focus right now is to spend more time being *just* creative, and that means more time in silence when I’m at work on some or another project. I have some deep creative welling going on at the moment, and I figure the least I can do to honour that (and myself) is to listen deeply to that process rather than another round of This American Life.

(Quotation in the title is Seneca, the famous Roman Stoic and statesperson – he meant this in the physical sense – the full quote is “To be everywhere is to be nowhere. People who spend their whole life travelling abroad end up having plenty of places where they can find hospitality but no real friendships.” – but I think it applies psychically as well.)

Post #2054: Some knitting notes.

My fall has started off full of lovely things, but as usual – it isn’t leaving much time for sewing or making, except what I carve out during the weeks. This past weekend was no exception – I had a concert, a four-hour meditation class, a dinner party, and band practice – as well as some much-needed hang out time with Brian. So I haven’t progressed on my current sewing project at all, though I did manage to fit some sweater knitting in during the TV-watching phase of hanging out on Sunday.

The Paulie sweater body is now about four inches from being done and I am very pleased with the fit – it’s hard to tell from this photo, because the stockinette is curled under, but it comes together to within a half inch when pulled out – and there are still button bands to be added. I think it’s going to work with a few more increases around the hips – and if anything, it might be a bit bit (which I don’t mind as long as it doesn’t bag out):

Sweater in progress. #isabellkraemer #pauliesweater #knitting

A post shared by @arturkra9vi on

 

The Beacon Shawl is also moving along, but there is really nothing to show there because it is just endless garter stitch in one colour right now. Once I start on the gradient, it will get interesting again.

knitalongAnd finally, I’ve decided to participate in the Fringe Association 2015 Knitalong to create a Cowichan-style vest for Brian. I owe him something besides the winter scarf since he so amazingly painted the sewing room – and this item will be a cozy throw-on at the cabin. I’m planning to knit this in super-bulky on Size 15 needles – a huge contrast from the fingering weight Paulie knit on size 3s – and besides the fact I have never done colourwork, I expect this to take shape much faster than the other two projects I am working on.

I’ve ordered the yarn from KnitPicks – an Alpaca/Wool blend (pictured) – which I hope will arrive next week so I can get started on this. In the meantime I’m going to practice some stranded colourwork techniques to see if I can get the hang of two-handed knitting, or what method I might prefer to work in. This pattern is knitting flat (not in the round and then steeked) which makes me a bit more confident – cutting my knitting feels a little too advanced for me at this juncture.

I’ve been at this knitting thing now since June and I am pretty happy with my progress on the skills front. I can now knit an even stockinette stitch on small needles, I know how to pick up a dropped stitch using a crochet hook, and I have a basic idea of how gauge works when it comes to knitting (versus crochet). I am not a super-speedy knitter, but I don’t think I ever will be – speed isn’t really my goal – but I think I move along at a respectable pace. I’m looking forward to another skill-building project in the form of this KAL – which includes helpful notes and thoughts from a panel of really experienced knitters and knit-wear designers.

I am feeling the need to get back to crochet at some point in the very near future as well – I’ve got a thread-weight curtain in my queue which offers me months of time with the hook in my hand – but at the moment I’m a bit knitting-obsessed.

 

Post #2049: Work in progress

My in-progress shots from this week. The featured image above is my first ever knit sweater project – pattern is Paulie by Isabell Kramer. All I can really say is so far, so good. It appears that it will fit me, and my stockinette stitch is getting less bumpy the further on I go. It will definitely look like a learning piece at the end – but that’s what it is! I’ve already got two more Isabell Kramer designs picked out for my next sweater projects – I love her aesthetic.

And here is the cape effort from last night: All lining cut out, interfacing attached, lining and cape exterior assembled. When I get back from the cabin I will sew the lining and cape together and then work on the finishing. By the end of the weekend, or Monday at the latest, I should have a finished garment:

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Happy Friday everyone!