Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Letter to Alicia Re: Wyeth

Dear Alicia,

Thank you for letting me test knit your incredible Wyeth Pullover. I needed this sweater, with it's addictive, textural arrow pattern. Then, there were stockinette sleeves for tv watching. Oh and there was a lot of tv watching with this knit. It sat beside me through hours of the kind of news we have all been alternately worn down or motivated by. As events unfolded in front of me each evening, there sat my Wyeth, in my lap. Then, when I found I couldn't focus or even remember to knit, it just sat beside me. You were incredibly understanding with your test knitters.





When I "came to" and remembered I needed to finish those sleeves, I had enough time to be done for release day. But then there would be blocking....which led to the discovery of a harsh line between mixed dye lots I didn't even know I had that necessitated re-knitting the entire right sleeve. Since I was already behind I went for the re-knit so I would at least have normal photos to show what a lovely project this is.

I may  have mixed feelings about my performance as a tester, but I have no regrets about asking to test this. It is special to me. Beyond being a beautiful sweater I will enjoy wearing for years, it was a comfort to me and a tangible reminder of clinging to hope in hard times. The phrase "Move forward" has been in my head for months, and I find these arrows, on stockinette relief, brought it to mind many times as I worked.


Thank you, Alicia, for putting your creative stuff out there in the world and for letting me test knit it. And, seriously, this will never happen again.

Love Michelle


Details: This is deeeeeep stash. It is actually the same Patons color as my husband's bulky sweater- the one I wanted to steal, but really need to de-pill. Well, now I have my own, making theft unnecessary.

I used US needles size 0 and 2.5 to knit this with 4 skeins of Paton's Classic Wool in the Jade Heather colorway. I originally wanted to use some Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in the Old World colorway for this, but decided the stitch pattern would be more apparent with this yarn that I've had since 2008 or so. It feels very good to use old stash.

However, old stash can come with caveats, like missing ball bands. I don't know how I mixed dye lots. This is usually a yarn that is consistent across lots, but even so, I thought I bought this batch all at once. When it was blocking, I saw the color change was two inches from the sleeve pick up, I decided it would be better to rip the whole sleeve out and start over using only the darker shade for the whole sleeve. I also didn't have enough of the lighter one to knit a whole sleeve. The seam in the fabric, where the sleeve is picked up, along with the difference in direction the stockinette lays, masks the color change well. At least I think so. Sigh. I make noob errors regularly.

I followed the pattern as instructed. This would be an easy knit to lengthen with an arrow repeat, or crop further, for that matter.

Because of the deeper neckline, I chose my sweater size based on bust size. I didn't want it to be gaping or hang on me, however I could have modified this to have larger armholes, because I often like to do that. I didn't because it was a test, but it may be something you'd want to consider if you are like me and your arm and chest sizes don't always match up to one single pattern size. My sleeves do fit fine, and I will say that I think the sleeves are meant to be fitted.







Now go make your own!
 (More on Ravelry, Instagram, and Flickr)

Friday, May 15, 2020

Color Craze for a Rainy Day

Today I want to share a comforting knit I finished  a few months ago. It was the kind of project you pick up on a rainy, cold day and work on it for hours until you must reluctantly set it down to feed your resentful family. This is Tamy Gore's Color Craze and is my new favorite shawl. It's a good weight for our winters.


All of her patterns have the perfect mix of elements to keep a knitter interested while still being a chill knit. With Color Craze it is brioche, striping, eyelets, and garter. It's all in there but not daunting. It was totally enjoyable. There was no fretting or worrying about fixing mistakes because the pattern camouflaged them really well.



This pattern sat in my library a while as I pondered what mini skeins I would get in the right yardage to match the sample. Then I saw Molly of A Homespun House talking about hers and how she simply used one of her 10 gram mini sets in place of the four varying amounts of contrast colors recommended in the pattern. Rather than worrying about starting a new contrast color where indicated in the pattern, she just worked the first mini skein in her set for any section that required a contrast color until it was used up, then tied in the next mini in the set to use as the CC until it was used up, etc. She did this through the whole set and it looked fine, even where their was a mini skein color change mid-brioche section.

This is my kind of laid back knitting. So I wound up a magic cake of my Rustic Mini set, using magic knots to tie one skein to the next. Can I just say that making a magic cake is a special kind of satisfying. I paired it with some Knit Picks Hawthorne Tonal in Silverton from stash and began knitting.




At first I planned to pair it with some lace weight  mohair/ silk yarn, but I felt it muted the depth of these tonals too much, so I ripped the bit I'd knit back and omitted the lace weight yarn. This let the subtle variance of each mini skein and the Silverton shine. Silverton is one of my favorite colorways from Knit Picks, but I pretty much love everything in the tonal Hawthorne line.

Details: I used a US size 3 needle and about 1 1/3 skeins of Knit Picks Hand Painted Tonal Hawthorne in the Silverton colorway along with a set of ten 10g Rustic mini skeins from A Homespun House.

This photo sums up how I feel about my yarn/ pattern combo. It makes me think of a rainbow on a drizzly day: calm and subdued, but comforting.


I did finish my last mini skein just a few rows shy of the end of the shawl, so I just used the main color yarn as a border edge. I actually like the way that looks, so it was all good.
I also was super responsible and wove in my ends as I worked for my #EndweavingParty. 

What I love about Color Craze: 
I like the fact that you can be flexible about where to change your contrast colors and the shawl still looks great. I also love that it has the right balance of brioche and garter for conversation knitting. Another plus is that I can wear it upside down (my preference) or wrong side out and it still looks good.



In my last podcast episode I talked about the significance of Tamy's business name, Narrow Path Designs and how meaningful it is to me. You can find the episode here. But, in short, I'll just say I've never been disappointed by anything I've found along the way on the Narrow Path, either figuratively or literally, and it's cool to make something with that in mind.  Below is an example of one such rewarding, literal narrow path we took in the Grand Tetons. The other type is visible in positive changes I see in myself and a growing love for other people.



Which of Tamy's patterns have you knit? 

I can't decide which one I want to do next. I've had my heart set on Milu for some time but it would be a very vibrant color combo, whereas right now I'm liking the idea of some soft spring colors from Six and Seven Fiber mixed with all of the texture and lace of Ashbrook. This would also leave me with some leftovers to add to my scrappy granny stripe blanket, which I've pulled out again because... quarantine netflix with subtitles.


You can find more about my Color Craze in My So-Called Handmade Life Podcast: 
Episode 37: Totally Baked
Episode 48: Summer Knits Roundup

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Episode 48: Summer Knits Roundup

I edited and edited to make my jumble of thoughts more coherent. Then I gave up. Have fun decoding, friends. Also, I look just a bit disheveled, but consider it quarantine fashion.



on my blog: www.myso-calledhandmadelife.com
on Instagram as @mysocalledhandmadelifehttps://www.instagram.com/mysocalledhandmadelife/
on Ravelry as mamatronichttps://www.ravelry.com/projects/mamatronic

My questions for you: 1) How has your thinking changed due to quarantine, any lifestyle changes you've made or want to make?
2) Have you experienced Imposter Syndrome or something similar? How did/ do you work through it?

Article on Imposter Syndrome: https://time.com/5312483/how-to-deal-with-impostor-syndrome/
One of my vintage bikes: http://www.myso-calledhandmadelife.com/2013/02/spiffed-up-little.html
Carson Demers Knitting Comfortably: https://www.ravelry.com/projects/mamatronic/color-craze
@Blueshineart instagram painting challenge: https://www.instagram.com/blueshineart/
Lovely Bicycle: http://lovelybike.blogspot.com

LB Handknits: http://www.lbhandknits.com
Song and Dance: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/song-and-dance
Laitís: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/laitis
Néalta: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/nealta
Moinéar: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/moinear
Fisherman's Muse: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/fishermans-muse
Spleodar: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/spleodar

#NutidenFuse KALhttps://www.ravelry.com/discuss/lb-handknits/4026609/1-25#14

My Color Craze by Tamy Gore: https://www.ravelry.com/projects/mamatronic/color-craze
in A Homespun House Rustic Minis: https://ahomespunhouse.com
and Hawthorne Silverton: https://www.knitpicks.com/yarn/hawthorne-tonal-hand-painted/c/5420312
Also by Tamy Gore -Milu: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/milu
Kaliya: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/kaliya-wrap
Adira: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/adira-2
Minis and Me: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/minis-and-me
Sweet Soul: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/sweet-soul
Ashbrook: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/ashbrook

The Endless: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_endless
Movie knitting- Smooth Operator socks in Wood Pigeon:
in West Yorkshire Spinners Signature  4 Ply from Woolly Thistle: https://thewoollythistle.com/collections/wys-yarn

Woolly Thistle 52 Weeks of Socks KALhttps://www.ravelry.com/discuss/the-woolly-thistle/4029524/1-25#7

Doomsday Knits by Alex Tinsley: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/doomsday-knits-projects-for-the-apocalypse-and-after/patterns
Fatigued: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/fatigued
Fennec by Sharon Fuller: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/fennec-2
Ditch the Tech by Jennette Cross: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/ditch-the-tech
Bulletproof by Alexandra Virgiel: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/bulletproof
Oryx by Jennifer Dassau: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/oryx-2

Summer Tops:
Lacy Sweater "Villanelle": https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/lace-sweater-villanelle
knit in Berroco Remix Light: https://www.berroco.com/yarns/berroco-remix-light
Zelda Crop by Handmade Closet: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/zelda-crop
A Summer weight Love Note Sweater by Tin Can Knits: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/love-note
Into the Wild by Alexandra Tavel: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/into-the-wild-tank
Argil by Clare Lakewood: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/argil-2
Ginkgophyte by Emily Greene: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/ginkgophyte
DanDoh patterns: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/dandoh/patterns
like Shaina by Yumiko Alexander: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/shaina
Harmony: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/harmony-35
Elemental Dolman: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/elemental-dolman

Golden Willow by Lesley Anne Robinson: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/golden-willow
in Stroll Tonal colors- Inverness, Thunderhead, and Eucalyptus: https://www.knitpicks.com/yarn/stroll-tonal/c/5420134
Float Tote by Knitty Natty: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/float-tote
in Lion Brand Re-Up yarn: http://www.lionbrand.com/re-up-yarn.html
Yarn Cozy Lite: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/yarn-cozy-lite

Fun TikToks cause what else are we gonna do?:

https://www.tiktok.com/@creationsross/video/6811635997495889158?u_code=d8995cj5gh8353&preview_pb=0&language=en&_d=d8995eb1lf63fj&timestamp=1588876252&utm_campaign=client_share&app=musically&utm_medium=ios&user_id=6736747838087218182&tt_from=sms&utm_source=sms&source=h5_m

https://www.tiktok.com/@creationsross/video/6811635997495889158?u_code=d8995cj5gh8353&preview_pb=0&language=en&_d=d8995eb1lf63fj&timestamp=1588876252&utm_campaign=client_share&app=musically&utm_medium=ios&user_id=6736747838087218182&tt_from=sms&utm_source=sms&source=h5_m

https://www.tiktok.com/@trinmilliman/video/6813363519547788549?u_code=d8995cj5gh8353&preview_pb=0&language=en&_d=d8995eb1lf63fj&timestamp=1588876138&utm_campaign=client_share&app=musically&utm_medium=ios&user_id=6736747838087218182&tt_from=sms&utm_source=sms&source=h5_m

Friday, May 1, 2020

Kia Socks Love Fest

These are my Kia Socks by Dawn Henderson. They are a free pattern that was offered at a time when all of the knitters online were starting to confront racism in their virtual and real lives. Not that the movement began then, just that January of 2019 seems to be the moment it really broke through to everyone.



See how the raised purl ridges form a an equal sign (=) and serve as a reminder that we're all valid, deserving of respect, and a voice. It was a meaningful design and also something beyond a vanilla sock to accompany all of the reading and soul searching so many of us were doing.

I have strong feelings about this design, the time it was released, the designer, and even the yarn dyers who dyed up this beautiful colorway.


I'm not sure when I first saw Dawn's feed on instagram, but I knew her as a photographer, stay-at-home mom, and sometimes knitter. Her family was younger than mine, so her snapshots of family life moved me and brought me back to a time when the walls of our home, and the circle of family members within it, constituted our world. All of my memories from that time have a golden, dreamlike glow about them. I still get bits of that world when we can all be together, but I dream about it constantly.

Dawn was in the thick of it, making the most of those tender family years and relating some of her everyday joys on instagram. I loved her for that. Sometimes her feed made me just a little heartsick for those days, but mostly it made me smile.


Seeing her thoughts about possibly trying to design /do something creative and challenging for herself touched me because I could identify. I have lived a life very focused on other people the last several years and I've often thought about doing something, just for me, with this blog or with knitting but would then think, "Oh that ship sailed while you were focused on your kids graduating." "Or if this were 8 years ago, yeah, sure, you'd be relevant, but now? Nah." There were loads of other phrases and cliches like "saturated market" or "You're kind of wrung out now." and "Aren't most blogs just ads now anyway?" that come to mind.

You get the point. I wonder if Dawn had similar thoughts to combat when she released this first design? When I look at her designer page on Ravelry, I see how much work she has produced in such a short time! It is completely inspiring. And this little sock pattern seems to be where it all started. Thank you Dawn for sharing it with everyone for free and thank you for sharing that this new creative endeavor was an intimidating, emotional effort. It was a choice you made to challenge yourself through self expression, despite discomfort. These are things I always seem to need to hear.

The love fest doesn't end there. The yarn I used for this pair of socks came from the Friends Yarn Club by Mockingbird Fiber Co, two sisters that have become very dear to my heart due to our shared love of making and shared family experiences. Did I mention that their yarn is incredible? I love every colorway I have seen and I have more finished objects in it to show you as soon as I can catch up on posts.


This colorway is Monica's Apartment. Can you picture it from the set of Friends? Purple with little blue accents. In this post the production designer talks about his color choices for the walls, if you're a nerd and like that sort of thing.



The funny thing is when I told my husband the colors were based on Monica's apartment, he immediately said, "Yeah, and the yellow is like the little frame she had around the peephole." That was weirdly accurate.


Monica's windows and funky kitchen were what I remember from the show. You can see where the blue speckles in the yarn came from. When the show first aired, I often thought how ridiculous it was that she had such a great apartment at her age and with her lifestyle. This article in Scene Therapy talks about what an apartment like that would cost per month.



Details: So I used US size 0s and magic loop to knit these up. The yarn base from Mockingbird Fiber Co is called Scrummy sock, which is 80% super wash merino and 20% nylon. The colorway is Monica's Apartment, with a bright yellow contrasting mini skein for heels and toes. This yarn is soft and easy to work with. I gotta say it was hard to put these down because I was subconsciously waiting for another blue speckle and would just keep going and going.


This is my favorite length of sock leg, but it is really hard to make myself stop when I have quite a bit left of a color I enjoy looking at. I do, however, now have a little ball of Monica's Apartment to add to my Scrappy Granny Stripe Blanket, so that's cool.

(more on ravelry, instagram, flickr)

I talk about my Kia Socks on lots of Podcast Episodes. From 26: That DIY Mixtape Ethos all the way thru Episode 34: A Beach Tee, where they were completed.  

Have you tried Mockingbird Fiber Co yarn yet? They are hosting a sock KAL at the moment on instagram.

And which of Dawn's patterns have you worked up? I think her Lyne socks may be my next knit to try, but I also love Bembe from 52 Weeks.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Episode 47: So Much Drama

Hope you are all doing well! I am back after a little quarantining, a little soul searching, and some drama, as you will see. I talk all about my Love Note from March and way too much tv knitting. Theres even some crochet in there!



This is where I record the eleventy billionth knitting podcast.

On my blog: www.myso-calledhandmadelife.com
On Ravelry: https://www.ravelry.com/projects/mamatronic
Our Ravelry group: https://www.ravelry.com/groups/my-so-called-handmade-life
On instagram as @mysocalledhandmadelife: https://www.instagram.com/mysocalledhandmadelife/
On flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mamatronic
 
Stuff I mention on Episode 47:

Love Note by Tin Can Knits: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/love-note
knit in Chasing Rabbits Fiber Wildwood color way: https://www.chasingrabbitsfiber.com

Travelers Loop by Dawn Barker: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/travelers-loop
in Chasing Rabbits Fern, Joy and Violet Vale: https://www.chasingrabbitsfiber.com

Crossbody Canteen Bag by Alexander Tavel: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/crossbody-canteen-bag
crocheted in Lion Brand 24/7 Cotton with a Lion Brand strap: http://www.lionbrand.com/24-7-cotton.html

My Wood Pigeon Socks: https://www.ravelry.com/projects/mamatronic/smooth-operator-socks-10
knit in West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 ply Self-Striping, Wood Pigeon: https://www.wyspinners.com

Wall Hanging on Ravelry: https://www.ravelry.com/projects/mamatronic/knitting-in-the-hills-wall-hanging
knit in Berroco Macro: https://www.berroco.com/yarns/berroco-macro

Sockhead Hat by Kelly McClure: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/sockhead-slouch-hat
Mockingbird Fiber Rustic Sock base in Delta Dawn: https://www.etsy.com/shop/MockingbirdFiberCo

Summer Tops:
Sweetpea Top by Rachel Misner: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/the-sweetpea-top
Callisto by Nasja Hornby: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/callisto-4
Into the Wild by Alexandra Tavel: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/into-the-wild-tank
Lacy Sweater "Villanelle" by Olga Grishina: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/lace-sweater-villanelle
Pomelo Bag by Claire Lakewood: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/pomelo
to knit in Willow Field Yarn, in Lobster and Warmth: https://www.willowyarns.com/product/willow+yarns%26%238482-+field+yarn.do

Craft Book Suggestions:
Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmerman: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/knitting-without-tears/patterns
Stitch N Bitch by Debbie Stoller: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/peppermint-twist
includes The Manly Sweater by Kate Wisson: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/the-manly-sweater
Skully by Samantha Bliss: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/skully
and Under the Hoodie by Kristin Spurkland: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/under-the-hoodie
Peppermint Twist by Becky Delgado: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/peppermint-twist
The Happy Hooker by Debbie Stoller: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/stitch-n-bitch-crochet-the-happy-hooker/patterns

includes: Doris Daymat by Faith Landsman: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/doris-daymat
Granny's No Square by Diana Rupp: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/grannys-no-square
Jolly Roger by Lynn Zykowski: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/jolly-roger
Short and Sweet by Angela Best: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/short-and-sweet
Prepster by Fay Lin: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/prepster
Bedfellows by Camilla Engman: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/bedfellows

Greetings from Knit Cafe by Suzan Mischer: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/greetings-from-knit-cafe
includes: Chanel-ish Cardigan by Mary Heather Browne: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/chanel-ish-cardigan
Classic Sweater for Guys: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/classic-sweater-for-guys
Lacy Skirt with Bows by Kat Coyle: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/lacy-skirt-with-bows
Judy's Grandmother's Baby Sweater by Judy Spector: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/judys-grandmothers-baby-sweater
Slouchy Cardigan by Helene Roux: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/slouchy-cardigan
WEHO Bikini by Julia Trice: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/weho-bikini
Canyon Hiking Socks by Julia Trice: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/canyon-hiking-socks
Red Carpet Gown by SweaterBabe: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/red-carpet-gown

Strangebrew by Tin Can Knits: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/strange-brew
includes Cartography: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/cartography

52 Weeks of Socks by Laine:
includes: Heartichoke by Josephine & the Seeds: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/heartichoke
Unity by Nina Tanskanen: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/heartichoke
Imker by Apella.Knits: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/imker
Stone by Tatiana Kolikova: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/stone-4
Turning Point by Zyaparova Masha: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/turning-point-3

Too much TV:
The Decline: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt10307440/
Killing Eve: https://www.bbcamerica.com/shows/killing-eve
The Iliad- It's free!: https://epdf.pub/the-iliad-richmond-lattimore-tr-university-of-chicagod8c84111c3b05379d457d233a230ff5171506.html
Attack on Titan: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2560140/
Fetch the Boltcutters by Fiona Apple: https://www.democracynow.org/2020/4/28/fiona_apple_fetch_the_bolt_cutters

Fun links:
Depression Era Cooking with Clara: https://www.youtube.com/user/DepressionCooking
Y-Yo Ma and his sister's first performance in the US: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7G2QKzp78Zs
The Queen's Green Dress: https://www.marieclaire.com/celebrity/a32051285/queen-elizabeth-green-dress-meme/

Other new and/or free patterns:
Pangolin by Anna and Heidi Pickles: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/pangolin-3
Social Distancing by Lucinda Iglesias: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/social-distancing-2m-6ft
Perfect-Pockets Shawl: Sonja Hood: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/perfect-pockets-shawl
From Anna Johanna's Shop
Surprise Stripes: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/surprise-stripes-3
Scrap Yarn Sock Advent Calendar: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/scrap-yarn-sock-advent-calendar
Eazy: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/eazy
Harmas: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/harmas

Love Note to Me

Do you have an old, worn box of love notes stashed somewhere in your house? Maybe it's folded, construction paper cards your kids made or a quick note your spouse scrawled on a napkin left by the coffeepot. It could be positive thoughts you sticky-noted to your bathroom mirror or the end of your yoga mat. Possibly they're elaborately folded pieces of faded college rule paper from someone whose name you might could almost forget, were it not for the fact that it's signed in No. 2 pencil at the bottom.






I get what Tin Can Knits is trying to evoke with the name they gave this design. It is soft mohair, delicate lace, and a quick jot of a project. When I wanted something special to bring to the Knitting in the Hills Retreat in March, I set aside my gift knitting for a week and chose to make a Love Note for myself.


In the same way I have laid out a pen and the perfect card or notebook many times in the past to write for someone else, I now sifted through my stash and picked a favorite colorway from one of my favorite dyers, Chasing Rabbits Fiber. Wildwood is a rich, earthy color that I was immediately drawn to the first time I saw it. This is saying a lot because it was at Hill Country Weavers, who have an almost overwhelming selection to choose from.

Like the really good love note, there's a little risk involved in the composition. If you only repeat the same old things and play it safe with your thoughts, it's not likely it will make it into the rumpled box of letters in the back of the closet. So I took a chance on my own behalf and used mohair held with fingering weight for the first time on a sweater. I know, it's like a warm hug and you've all done it, but I live in a warmer climate and have never wanted to gamble on it before. Risks for love, my friends.

And like the best of letters, I let the inspiration hit me on the spur of the moment, beginning it with only ten days until the retreat and sacrificing a little sleep while making it for someone I love.


The result was one of my favorite makes to date. It is the perfect combination of color, fiber, and style to be a gift to myself.  One of the big gifts being that I didn't have to knit full sleeves or body in stockinette. That's fortunate because I only had two skeins of the fingering weight Fern base. And it was dry at exactly the time I would need to be wearing it to head to the retreat.


Just to prove, love is worth taking chances, I'll tell you it was very cool that weekend and I was quite comfortable in my sweater.

Are you bored with my letter writing analogy yet? Okay, here are the details:

I knit a size medium, at a slightly tighter gauge ( 4.5 stitches, 7 rows per inch) using sizes US 5 and 8 needles. It only required 2 skeins of the Fern base from Chasing Rabbits Fiber, but I did use every but of it. I did have quite a bit left over from my 2 skeins of Gossamer silk/mohair lace weight. Both yarns were in the Wildwood colorway.


I thought the mohair/ silk might tone down the richness of the colorway too much, but I'm pleased to say it didn't. However, I'd really like to knit something out of Wildwood in just the Fern base, to compare the two in color depth.


I did knit the body to the longer size indicated in the pattern, but it is still very cropped due to my gauge difference. I made my sleeves a longer 3/4 length, also.

What I loved about this knit: The yarn!!! I also loved the lace yoke and how clear the motif is even with the mohair yarn. It's just the right amount of intricate. I also like the cropped high/lo hem.


So do I feel special because I made something luxe for myself? Um, yeah! I needed a little boost. It is laying folded in the cherished sweater wardrobe waiting for next Fall. This isn't like some crumpled napkin note...and I'm back to making something special for someone else :)

More on Love Note can be found on My So-Called HandMade Life Podcast episode 46, which talks about the retreat, and Episode 47.



(more images on Ravelry, instagram, and Flickr)

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Episode 46: No Worries!

This is where I record the eleventh billionth knitting podcast.
On Ravelry: https://www.ravelry.com/projects/mamatronic
The blog: www.myso-calledhandmadelife.com
On instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mysocalledhandmadelife/



Digital Wellness Journal by Christie Archer Design with Coupon Code HANDMADE50: https://www.etsy.com/listing/704886880/digital-wellness-journal-planner-insert?ref=shop_home_feat_3

My questions for you: How are you coping with semi or full quarantine? How are you filling your time?

Stuff I mention in Episode 46:

Movies: Finding Vivian Maier, Chasing Ice, #Chicacogirl, The Good Lie, The Dropbox, Dark Waters
TV: Black Spot

Current WIPs:
Sockhead by Kelly McClure: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/sockhead-slouch-hat
Aquarian Baby Blanket by Lavanya Patricella: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/aquarian-baby-blanket

Retreat inspired pattern mentions:
Hill country Rain by Caitlin Hunter: not on revelry yet
SoCo State of Mind by Lori Olfers: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/soco-state-of-mind
 Seismic by Romi Hill: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/seismic-2
Lanes by Julie Hoover: not online yet
On the Fence- Kennedy Berry: not online yet
Fairlight Shawl by Dawn Barker: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/fairlight-shawl
Studio Sampler by Lesley Anne Robinson: https://thefarmersdaughterfibers.com
Soka'pii by Farmer Daughter Fibers: https://thefarmersdaughterfibers.com
Archive Loop by Dawn Barker: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/archive-loop
to knit in Serenade on Fern and Indigo on Gossamer: https://www.chasingrabbitsfiber.com
Traveler's Loop by Dawn Barker: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/travelers-loop
The Rose that Grew from Concrete by Mara Nicole: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/the-rose-that-grew-from-concrete
Kuffel by Alexis Winslow: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/kuffel
to knit in Julie Asselin Leizu Dk: https://www.julie-asselin.com
Engle by Caitlin Hunter: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/engle-2
Golden Willow by Lesley Anne Robinson: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/golden-willow
Emi's Shawl by Lesley Anne Robinson: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/emis-shawl
or Coffee at the Grand also by Lesley: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/coffee-at-the-grand
to be knit in LITLG, Autumn, Wheat, and Andisol: https://www.ravelry.com/yarns/brands/life-in-the-long-grass

FOs:
 Lovenote by Tin Can Knits: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/love-note
knit in Chasing Rabbits Fiber Fern and Gossamer in Wildwood: https://www.chasingrabbitsfiber.com
Campfire Blanket Scarf by Alexandra Tavel: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/campfire-blanket-scarf
knit in Fisherman's Wool in Oatmeal, Brown, and Oak Tweed: http://www.lionbrand.com/fishermens-wool-yarn.html
Cholla Cowl by Dawn Barker: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/cholla-cowl
knit in Chasing Rabbits Fiber Dk and Gossamer in Olivine: https://www.chasingrabbitsfiber.com
Wall Hanging by Jill Lehrmen in Berroco Macro: https://www.berroco.com/yarns/berroco-macro

Your upcoming or current knits:
Anu by Junko Okamoto: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/anu-sweater
X Factor Cowl by  Isabell Kraemer: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/x-factor-cowls
Garri Sweater by Védís Jóndóttir for Istex: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/garri-2

Free or discounted pattern  resources:
Two of Wands Blog: https://www.twoofwands.com
free ravelry patterns
knitty: http://knitty.com/ISSUEss20/index.php
Espace Tricot: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/espace-tricot/patterns
Eksperimentet- Pia Trans: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/eksperimentet
Anna Lange's sock and cowl patterns: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/fishhead-creations/patterns
Atenea Midnight Top by Elsye Machon (1/2 off with code in link at top of notes): https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/atenea-midnight-top
Regia Yarns: https://schachenmayr.com/en/our-collections/regia
Opal Yarns: https://www.simplysockyarn.com/opal-yarn/
All free knitting: https://www.allfreeknitting.com
Purl Soho patterns: https://www.ravelry.com/designers/purl-soho
like Elementary Wrap: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/elementary-wrap
keep an eye out for Joji's sweater pattern in Lion Brand Wool Ease: https://www.instagram.com/p/B844hRLhUdH/
Vanna's Choice by Lion Brand: https://www.lionbrand.com/nsearch/?q=vannas+choice+yarn
On the Porch by Tracie Millar: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/on-the-porch-2
Solidarity by Shireen Nadir: https://thebluebrick.ca
Andi Satterlund pattern free with code: https://www.instagram.com/p/B95LtGmJLCP/
Xandy Peters discount on instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/B9aorsLp7vA/
Bristol Ivy 25% off discount thru March: https://www.ravelry.com/designers/bristol-ivy
Christina Danaee 36th birthday discount: https://www.ravelry.com/designers/christina-danaee
Bohochicfiberco all patterns discounted: https://www.instagram.com/p/B-AC_dvBjEP/
Els Machon discount in her Episode 4 for Atenae Midnight Top: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQlNqXyt-Xo
Knitty Natty Coupon code: https://www.instagram.com/p/B9PLHGXJ_IU/
Knitty Natty Float Tote: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/float-tote
Caitlin Hunter 4 Year Anniversary discount: https://www.instagram.com/p/B9y_lhClp90/
Dawn Henderson's patterns free for a time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQlNqXyt-Xo
Alicia Plummer discounted Knotted Pine Hat: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/knotted-pine
And mitts: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/knotted-pine-mitts
Horus shawl by Courtney Spainhower: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/horus-shawl
Jenise Hope free pattern with code VIRUS: https://www.ravelry.com/designers/jenise-hope
Whitney Hayward's patterns with Harrisvillle are free for a time: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/harrisville-designs-on-ravelry/patterns

Ways to help other people's burdens:
Children's Adult Friends in Denmark
Big Brothers and Big Sisters: https://www.bbbs.org
Refugees Welcome: https://www.refugees-welcome.net
Open Homes: https://www.airbnb.com/openhomes
Warm Hands Network: http://www.warmhandsnetwork.org
Operation Stand Down (look up your local chapter): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Stand_Down
8 Practical Ways to help refugees article: https://ideas.ted.com/8-practical-ways-to-help-refugees/
Nobody Left Outside: https://www.unhcr.org/en-us/nobody-left-outside.html
St Vincent De Paul Conference: https://www.svdpusa.org/Assistance-Services
How you can help during the outbreak: https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/03/21/how-you-can-help-during-coronavirus/?arc404=true

Fun Stuff:
@blueshineart instagram art challenge: https://www.instagram.com/blueshineart/
Dog serenade: https://www.instagram.com/p/B8P0P-Fhrjn/
PA man captures all types of on log bridge: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyrbqiCokdw
Best way to get rid of people: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8846PMaWl4
Pearl Bodean's yodeling, lol starting at 4:04 and 9:10: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rO8drVXOf4E
You can't stop Debbie Downer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfE93xON8jk
Accidental Motivational speaker (cue to 7:30): https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x4vj3xl
Ferrets!: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCW6VA59CPo
Phil Hartman and Chris Farley: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xv2VIEY9-A8
The IT Crowd Season 2, Episode e The Dinner Party: https://www.netflix.com/watch/70120051?trackId=200257859
Busted: https://www.instagram.com/p/B7zdPbcBhzn/
Some of my favorite Crazy Ex Girlfriend Songs:
Greg: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUuU99c_9mY
Paula: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtKtmXzeyqs
Rebecca: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkAjUBtn_TM
Josh and his feelings: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZJrP8qeFhc