Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Episode 6: People Before Things

I've been so busy organizing I was late getting this out. At least I'm taking de-cluttering seriously :)

This is where I record the eleventy billionth knitting podcast.

On my blog: www.myso-calledhandmadelife.com
On Instagram as @mysocalledhandmadelife: https://www.instagram.com/mysocalledhandmadelife/
On Ravelry as mamatronic: https://www.ravelry.com/projects/mamatronic

Episode 6: People Before Things

My questions for you:

Are you finding yourself caught in a cycle of consumer culture?
What would you say is at the root of your mindless consumption?
Any tips for combatting mindless consumerism in the crafting community and/or in life in general?

Which do you think is the best forum for discussion: Youtube comments or a Ravelry group?

Stuff I mention:

The Slow Home Podcast: https://slowyourhome.com

Natalie Merchant's Ophelia: http://www.nataliemerchant.com/albums/ophelia/

My The Edge sweater by Gift of Knitting Designs: http://www.myso-calledhandmadelife.com/2018/02/best-sweater-pattern-ever.html

Next one to be knit in Cascade Eco+: http://www.cascadeyarns.com/cascade-Eco+.htm

Katy Bowman Nutritious Movement: https://nutritiousmovement.com

Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Art of Tidying Up: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KK0PICK/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

Courtney Carver's Soulful Simplicity: https://www.amazon.com/Soulful-Simplicity-Living-Less-Lead-ebook/dp/B06XZJFDWJ/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1520892203&sr=1-1&keywords=soulful+simplicity

More La Leche League Maxims: https://www.facebook.com/LaLecheLeagueUSA/posts/852499994778548

McMilne Shawl by Jane Richmond: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/mcmilne-shawl

Bag by Rose and the Wren Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ROSEandtheWREN

Acadia National Park: https://www.nps.gov/acad/index.htm

Sexy Vesty by Teresa Gregorio: https://www.ravelry.com/projects/mamatronic/sexy-vesty

Saturate Shawl by Mara Catherine Bryner: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/saturate

Photo overload of my Oh My Bear! by Tiny Owl Knits: http://www.myso-calledhandmadelife.com/2014/04/oh-my-smokey-bear_15.html

The Chimney Tops in Smoky Mountain Ntnl Park: http://www.hikinginthesmokys.com/chimney.htm

Humulus by Isabell Kraemer: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/humulus-2

Birch by Pam Allen: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/birch-12

Rose City Rollers by Mara Catherine Bryner: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/rose-city-rollers

My Weekender by Andrea Mowry: https://www.ravelry.com/projects/mamatronic/the-weekender

My The Bulky Easy One by Joji Locatelli: https://www.ravelry.com/projects/mamatronic/the-easy-bulky-one

Both are for Stranded Podcast's #Commercial KAL: https://www.ravelry.com/discuss/stranded-podcast/3721485/1-25

Friday, March 2, 2018

Episode 5: The Slow Life

I realize I didn't give you guys much time to respond to any questions from Episode 4, or leave feedback in general, but that one took FOREVER to edit and upload.  So, I practically had a new one ready the next day.  Please leave any thoughts about either episode here or on in the comments on either episode in Youtube.

And don't forget, I'm giving away a copy of the sweater pattern you see here in this episode!!! Isn't it incredible?

This is where I record the eleventy billionth knitting podcast.

On my blog: http://www.myso-calledhandmadelife.com
On Instagram as @mysocalledhandmadelife: https://www.instagram.com/mysocalledhandmadelife/
On Ravelry as mamatronic: https://www.ravelry.com/projects/mamatronic

Episode 5:

My Questions for you:  Are you doing the whole slow living thing yet?  What does slow living mean to you?  How are you incorporating it into your life?

Stuff I mention:
The Edge sweater by Gift of Knitting Designs: https://www.ravelry.com/projects/mamatronic/the-edge

Photos of The Edge on my blog: http://www.myso-calledhandmadelife.com/2018/02/best-sweater-pattern-ever.html

Alina's patterns on Gift of Knitting: http://giftofknitting.com

My Journey: https://www.ravelry.com/projects/mamatronic/journey

My Reindeer: https://www.ravelry.com/projects/mamatronic/reindeer
The Year of Less by Cait Flanders: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0767XNB47/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

The Slow Home Podcast: https://slowyourhome.com

Kirsty Farrugia of The Art of De-Cluttering Podcast: https://theartofdecluttering.com.au/podcast/

Annihilation without the commentary ;): http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2798920/

A Stillness of Trees by Sylvia McFadden: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/a-stillness-of-trees

Sol Alpaca Yarn: https://www.solalpaca.com/store/product-category/accessories/yarns/

Knitscene Spring 2018 90's Collection: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/knitscene-spring-2018

The Easy Bulky One by Joji Locatelli: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/the-easy-bulky-one

Humulus by Isabell Kraemer: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/humulus-2

Birch by Pam Allen: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/birch-12

Durumi by Isabell Kraemer: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/durumi

Treysta by Jeniffer Steingass: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/treysta

Encircled Collection from KnitPicks: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/encircled

Especially the Bistort Pullover by Courtney Spainhower:

Weekender by Andrea Mowry: https://www.ravelry.com/projects/mamatronic/the-weekender

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Episode 4: On Mission

This is where I record the eleventy billionth knitting podcast.

On my blog: http://www.myso-calledhandmadelife.com
On Instagram as @mysocalledhandmadelife: https://www.instagram.com/mysocalledhandmadelife/
On Ravelry as mamatronic: https://www.ravelry.com/projects/mamatronic

An abnormally long Episode 4 that you might want to watch in bursts:

Questions for you:  Have you joined the slow living movement?  What does "living slow" mean to you?  How are you making it a part of your work, home, and crafting life?

Stuff I mention:

Canary Knits: www.canaryknits.com

Great Northern Knits: www.greatnorthernknits.com

My Muddlings Podcast: https://www.youtube.com/user/anneofjulie

The Rose and the Wren on instagram: @roseandthewren
and on Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ROSEandtheWREN?section_id=21549790

Very Pink Tutorials- www.verypink.com

Stitch N Bitch- Debbie Stoller: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/stitch-n-bitch-the-knitters-handbook

The Year of Less- Cait Flanders: https://www.amazon.com/Year-Less-Shopping-Belongings-Discovered-ebook/dp/B0767XNB47

All You Knit is Love Podcast: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdUK767mQ3-ReQU36daxHKg

Wild Handmade Shop on Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/WildHandmadeShop

Peppermint Mocha sock yarn- Sweet Sparrow Yarns: https://www.etsy.com/shop/SweetSparrowYarns

The Slow Home Podcast: https://slowyourhome.com/the-slow-home-podcast/

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Lagoon_(geothermal_spa)

Sk√≥gafoss Falls, Iceland: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sk√≥gafoss

The Cocama Project: http://www.cocamaproject.org

Water for All well type: https://www.waterforallinternational.org

More photos of the trip on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/BfhRivNg9GE/?taken-by=mysocalledhandmadelife

The Story Cloth: https://store.imb.org/bible-storying-cloth-scarf/

Fair Isle, the place: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_Isle

My WIPs:

The Edge- Gift of Knitting Designs: https://www.ravelry.com/projects/mamatronic/the-edge

Weekender by Andrea Mowry: https://www.ravelry.com/projects/mamatronic/the-weekender

Sunset Highway by Caitlin Hunter- https://www.ravelry.com/projects/mamatronic/sunset-highway

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Best Sweater Pattern Ever

I did not write this post title lightly.  I say this knowing that, according to Ravelry, I have knit 68 sweaters, many of which I loved.  I say that knowing I still have tons of really great patterns to work through this year.  But for now, if I consider both product and process, this is my favorite sweater pattern to have knit.  Guess why?

Giant. Bulky. Cables.  Did I have you at cables or bulky, or maybe giant?  If you removed one, or even two, of those factors, I'd still probably have wanted to knit this.  But with all three together, I couldn't resist.  When Alina asked if I'd like to test knit, I knew I'd be going away and have to rush it, but I could not resist.  Actually, it worked up so quickly, I had the body and a sleeve knit before I left.  When I got back, I dealt with a migraine for three days but still finished it by the release day, which is today Feb 25th.  I wish I'd been a better tester and had it done earlier, but I just can't regret getting to knit this.  It was my favorite.

Like I said, it is out now, so you can totally get this pattern today.  And you owe it to yourself to knit something so completely fun.  Even the sleeves were interesting because of the chevron stitch Alina added to the elbows.

And bulky. Bulky, people.  It knits itself through a few episodes of Dark.  This is a big part of the allure.  I've shared before that bulky knits on wooden needles put me in a happy, nostalgic frame of mind.  It is the solution to peace through many difficult situations I face.  For all I know, it could be the solution to world peace- picture Middle East Peace KALs.

Now, I'll tell you that I wish I'd knit a size up.  I knit the 41" bust and did block it out to that measurement, but when I put it on, the Cascade Eco tends to lengthen and I lose some of the boxy look that I love so much on Alina's version.   Maybe that's a fiber issue, but I've also decided that while my broad shoulders didn't affect sizing so much several years ago, they do now that I'm carrying extra weight in my upper arms.  My chest measurements would lead me to choose the size 41", but I think more width in the shoulders would have given me the full modified drop-shoulder effect.  I'm thinking this is why every time I go to knit an extremely oversized sweater, I tend to end up with just mildly oversized.

There's definitely a place in my wardrobe for mildly oversized too, so it's all good.  I feel great about this sweater and I did have just enough Eco to knit the size small.  I wouldn't have had enough for a medium.  I'm also feeling empowered by having figured out what I need to look for on schematics when choosing my size in sweaters and how I might be able to modify patterns for a better fit in the future.  I usually add to the depth of the armhole, but I need to keep the broadness of my shoulders in mind too.

Details: I knit the second size (small) with Cascade Eco and US size 6 and 7 needles.  It took only two skeins of Eco.  Two skeins!! When they are on sale for $11 each, that's not a bad deal for an intricate-looking hand knit.

Modifications: I added 6 stitches to each sleeve, as I often do to handle the disproportionate measurements of my chest and upper arm.  (What can I say- I'm ripped) As I said earlier, after knitting this, I think I should start knitting a size up due to the arms and the whole broad shoulder thing.

I love this as is!!  It feels comfortable and casual.  Please, please let us have some more cold weather so I can enjoy it without a sweaty upper lip!

As much as I love it, I want one in a size medium, immediately!!  I think I'd love all that extra billowy cabledy goodness, even if it did swallow me up.

(This one looks like a senior photo pose.  More on ravelry, kollabora, instagram, and flickr)

Another blog post on this sweater is here. And I mention it in podcast episodes:  Doing it with Ease and First Knits.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Plane Knitting

What an easy, relaxed knit!  I pull The Weekender, by Andrea Mowry, out when I want the ease of stockinette so I can just relax and chat or watch tv.  I think it'll be a good knit for my flights, too.  As I write this I'm reminding myself to go ahead and ball up the yarn so the people sitting next to me won't hate my guts.  But I have a feeling I will run out of time.  I'm scheduling a couple of blog posts like it's my job.  Meanwhile I need to water plants, write notes for my husband to remember stuff, and (most importantly) decide what projects I'll be bringing.

I've heard if your projects have already begun, airlines are more likely to let you bring them in in your carry-on.  I know things have relaxed in the last 5-7 years, since I last flew, but I'm still traumatized by that time Lima Airport's customs confiscated my Denise Needles.  I was too shocked to even ask if I could unscrew the cord and at least keep it.  I don't even use Denise needles anymore, but the pain is still fresh.

So, I'm taking Clover bamboo needles and packing a couple things in my carry-on and a couple in my checked bag.

This trip isn't the kinds where I'll be lounging about, knitting.  But I can't stand the thought of flying with nothing to busy my hands, unless my book gets really good.

This is a link to the Cocama Project website that shows the process we will be using to dig a well for a village in Peru.  Hopefully I'll have some good photos for you when I get back.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Test Knit, I Know I Know

I realize I said in my first podcast episode that I wouldn't be doing any deadline knitting projects, no gifts or test knits.  Famous last words.  When Alina of Gift of Knitting sent me these photos of a super cabled, bulky sweater, I could not resist.  Could you?

These cables are so addictive.  I hate that I keep getting distracted from them by silly things like people needing food and love from me.  Now, I'm leaving them behind for a trip because I don't think large projects will fit in my bag.  I''m going to the Amazon and this is my only real packing worry- what knits can I bring.

Well, I'll look forward to finishing it when I get home.  It looks fitted in images, but it should block out to have a nice 5-6 inches of positive ease.

(more on ravelry, kollabora, instagram, my podcast, and flickr)

This will be my first sweater to start this year.  I like that it's designed by a friend and the epitome of my favorite knitting scenario: bulky, major cables, and budget Cascade Eco that I happened to have run my stash when Alina messaged me about the test.  I don't think I could've done it otherwise.

It's called The Edge, so you can look for testers photos via instagram with #the_edge_sweater.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

With Ease

With Ease is my first project from Sylvia McFadden's Gentle Armour.  This shawl was exactly what I thought it would be.  It was interesting, but not so hard I couldn't indulge in conversation.  It also had me thinking about my life as I worked on it.  That's an unusual reaction to a knitting pattern, but this is from an unusual pattern book.  If you've seen the first two episodes of my podcast or my Vlogmas, you know I'm obsessed with Sylvia's book and all the designs in it.

Details: I used size US 6 needles and Brooklyn Tweed's Shelter (yeeee! first time and I love it.) in Faded Quilt to make this.  The only modification I made was to knit another pattern repeat as it looked kind of small.  Now, she instructs to block it aggressively, which I tried to do, but I had the yarn so I decided to add the repeat as a precaution.  One knitter on instagram told me she added three repeats to get a generously sized With Ease.  I decided to just add one, but was appreciative of her mentioning it to me because it gave me confidence to add on.

Now I need to say, one more time, how great Gentle Armour is.  The whole inspiration of the collection sounds, to me, like taking care of yourself- making healthy choices, creating good, gentle boundaries.

So, as I worked on this shawl, I considered what things I have learned to do with ease.  One of the biggies is saying no, and learning to live with displeasing people.  I don't think that happens too often, but it still can.  I used to want to make people happy.  I felt like if I was physically capable of doing something they wanted, I should.  As if my seeing the need was the equivalent of a calling to fill it.  It was like I was made to make other people happy.  When you're mostly around people who are decent and kind, that seems to work out great.  But, it can't always be a nice, safe, little bubble of like-minded sweethearts, you know?  What if they aren't satisfied?  What if they see me as a different sort of person than I believe I am?  The anxiety this used to give me was all internal.  No one would've known it was there.  (Hopefully, my children didn't pick up on it and carry a similar tendency because of it.)  However, it definitely impeded my happiness.  I couldn't totally relax if someone hated me.  How could I be happy if they thought I was... (insert a negative adjective).

That's when I really struggled with how difficult it seemed to get along with certain people.  I was okay with giving things like control of the conversation, access to my strength, more respect than received, etc.  But I was started to feel emotionally depleted, physically worn, and angry about it.  On top of that, it never really soothed anyone.  Eventually, boundaries had to be drawn.  It took me a while just to identify how unhealthy my attitude toward making others happy was.  I was created to make God happy, and last I checked, He didn't require the weird things that were being asked of me.  That's when my frustration that they wouldn't just be satisfied was exposed for what it was- too much focus on myself to avoid conflict.  It was actually prideful to think I could take care of things in such a way as to resolve conflict.  I mean, a true absence of conflict wouldn't leave me seething, would it?  So, I started stepping back and trying to look at scenarios through a balanced perspective- whatever that was.  Slowly, I started to see where I should and shouldn't act.  This was all accompanied by lots of prayer. It felt wrong at first, like trying to get de-programmmed from a cult.  It felt so awkward to know someone was annoyed with me and to do nothing about it.  I imagine people coming out of codependency feel much the same way.  After a few months, the change in my sense of calm and my clear headedness were undeniable.   I have tried to make sure I stay balanced and still be willing to "give in" when it's good to do so.  Maintaining this healthy boundary, one that is healthy for everyone involved, has gotten much easier since then.

The only thing I can add to all of this deep, pondering, is:  Look at this pretty yarn!!!!! You know a yarn is special when an 18 year old boy says flowery words like, "Yeah, that is neat." instead of the usually grunts from where his head is buried in his elevensies snack plate.

I love the little flecks of bright blue in it.  Isn't Faded Quilt just the perfect name for this shade of blue?  And for a shawl that wraps around me like gentle armour?!  It makes me think of a much loved, family heirloom that's been washed a lot, but still had some of it's old luster shining through.  Like a quilt my great-grandmother might have made, if anyone ever actually took it off the rack and used it.

I want to be Brooklyn Tweed's biggest fan, but I can't justify more until I knit through all of my stash of good, but budget, yarn.  I do have another few skeins for Quill's Arrow, though.  I think an entire sweater in Shelter or Loft would be so luxurious- in the way rustic, woolen-spurn wool can be a luxury.

(more on ravelry, instagram, flickr, and kollabora)