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:
on Instagram as @mysocalledhandmadelife
on Ravelry as 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:
One of my vintage bikes:
Carson Demers Knitting Comfortably:
@Blueshineart instagram painting challenge:
Lovely Bicycle:

LB Handknits:
Song and Dance:
Fisherman's Muse:

#NutidenFuse KAL

My Color Craze by Tamy Gore:
in A Homespun House Rustic Minis:
and Hawthorne Silverton:
Also by Tamy Gore -Milu:
Minis and Me:
Sweet Soul:

The Endless:
Movie knitting- Smooth Operator socks in Wood Pigeon:
in West Yorkshire Spinners Signature  4 Ply from Woolly Thistle:

Woolly Thistle 52 Weeks of Socks KAL

Doomsday Knits by Alex Tinsley:
Fennec by Sharon Fuller:
Ditch the Tech by Jennette Cross:
Bulletproof by Alexandra Virgiel:
Oryx by Jennifer Dassau:

Summer Tops:
Lacy Sweater "Villanelle":
knit in Berroco Remix Light:
Zelda Crop by Handmade Closet:
A Summer weight Love Note Sweater by Tin Can Knits:
Into the Wild by Alexandra Tavel:
Argil by Clare Lakewood:
Ginkgophyte by Emily Greene:
DanDoh patterns:
like Shaina by Yumiko Alexander:
Elemental Dolman:

Golden Willow by Lesley Anne Robinson:
in Stroll Tonal colors- Inverness, Thunderhead, and Eucalyptus:
Float Tote by Knitty Natty:
in Lion Brand Re-Up yarn:
Yarn Cozy Lite:

Fun TikToks cause what else are we gonna do?:

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.