Knit and Crochet Blog Week 2012 - Colour Lovers 3KCBWDAY1

This is the first in a series in participation with Eskimimi's Knit and Crochet Blog Week 2012. Day one everyone is writing under the theme "Colour Lovers".

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Knitting with yarn is a physical experience of color. Usually, you experience color only with your eyes, but knitting takes your favorite color and gives it character; lends it a 3D story that you tell with your hands and then wear on your head, arms, or feet, touching every stitch along the way. Sure, you can eat your favorite red strawberries or raspberries, but you don't necessarily eat those fruits because they're red. You eat them for the taste and even that taste is such a fleeting sensation that it is only as satisfying as the next strawberry, or blueberry or pomegranate. The process of knitting conjures the physical sensation of a color and prolongs it.

Knitting with a favorite color is a hundred-thousand stitch marathon that turns into a living history. A pink shawl that took a year to knit might be worn to a series of summer weddings. An orange pair of socks knit in a weekend might warm your feet through a few difficult winters. In knitting, the appreciation of a color only continues once the knitted garment is completed.

Since color is such an important consideration, how does one choose a color in a yarn?

Look for Yarns in Your Favorite Colors

My all time favorite colors somehow remind me of my favorite treats, and not highbrow ones. I'm not thinking of cupcakes or petit fours. I'm talking your favorite sweets found in gas stations.

Blue Icees

blueicee
Photo by Jeffry B

Bottles of Grenadine

I love grenadine so much that I've been known to dye my hair this color. (ok so you don't find those at the gas station, but you can find Hawaiian Punch)

You can see these colors borne out in my knitting:

The blue icarus shawl, which was made with Fiddlesticks Knitting Jaggerspun in "Aegean", which we used to refer to as "Angela" blue.

icarus3

Going through my many projects I knit with a lot of pink:

pinksweater1

 

pinkishclapotis

Sometimes you get lucky and you get all of your favorite colors in one skein as I did in Lorna's Laces Desert Flower.

swirlblanket

swirl2

There are other reasons to choose a color in a yarn:

  • The yarn you need to use doesn't come in your favorite color.
  • Your favorite color isn't your dad's favorite color (because he really doesn't need a fuchsia v-neck vest).
  • Your favorite color doesn't actually look good on you.
  • You are sick of knitting with pink

Whatever the reason you choose the color you knit with, you know it's a special commitment because this knitted garment won't just last through your knitting, but it also has the potential with proper care to outlast you. Think of all of the knitted artifacts out there. Clapotis scarves that may be passed down to children and grandchildren. Swirl blankets that might be loved by your children's children. Knitting is a love affair with color with the power to last through the ages, so choose carefully.

3KCBWDAY2 - Photo Challenge Day


buddhaknittingnirvana
Knitting Nirvana


This photo is part of Day Two of the Knit and Crochet Blog Week.
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3KCBWDAY3 My Craft Hero is Mary Lou

This post is for Day 3 of Eskimimi's Knit and Crochet Blog Week where we had to talk about our craft hero, someone who inspires us.

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It took me a while to figure out who my craft hero is mainly because I don't really love the notion of a craft hero. As mentioned last week, there's so much talk about celebrity crafters that I kind of have a hard time relating to the real world equivalent.  A craft hero suggests to me someone who has to be brave to do something. Sure there are a ton of crafters who are fantastic at what they do who can encourage you to be better at your craft. They can introduce you to new techniques and yarns, but the kinds of heroes that appeal to me are the ones who have to overcome adversity.

This is why my friend Mary Lou* is my craft hero. I've never met her, but because of her I am going to Burning Man this year and will be joining her group, where we will be showing people how to dye silk scarves (in the desert!) that they can take home with them. I've always wanted to try my hand at dying clothes and fibers. As soon as I found out that this group existed I had to become a part of it. Forget that I didn't know anyone in the group. Forget that I've never been to Burning Man. Mary Lou and her friends welcomed me with opened arms and have been a tremendous example of the Burning Man tenets. Before I get to the desert, I have to do some dying so I know what the heck I'm doing. So in that way she's inspired me to branch out, get off my butt and try this new craft... but that's not the reason she's my hero.

She's my hero because she is sharing her struggle with stress.

We have all been in dark places. There have been times where you've been stuck somewhere emotionally and not known how to get out. There have been times where making any decision could change your life in ways that you're too scared to even consider. There are times when things beyond your control are affecting your life and you have no way of fixing them. However we don't always share our experiences of these times. Anxiety is something that is still stigmatized and sometimes we all pretend that everything is perfect in our lives, when in reality we're struggling. That is why I admire it when people forego that secrecy and tell their friends and family that they are having trouble. It's even more admirable when they find a way to write about their stuggles in a way that is accessible and relatable. Soon, Mary Lou will be starting a blog about her struggle. I've gotten a preview of her writing and it's absolutely compelling. I cannot stop reading.

I'm going to send her a learn-to-knit kit because I believe firmly that learning to knit can change your life. I know Mary Lou is strong, she is brave and that very soon she's going to be kicking ass again. At least that's what I'm visualizing. It wasn't so long ago that I was in a tight spot. I was in an unhappy marriage, having married for the wrong reasons. I was stucker than stuck, with seemingly no options, just to keep on keepin' on, which was unacceptable. There was anxiety. There were medications. One day I made the decision that I was going to do things to make myself happy and not care about the consequences. It didn't seem like I was answering my problems, but the simple act of doing the things that made me happy made me realize that living an unhappy life was my choice and that I didn't have to live that way. It was going to take enormous change, a lot of discomfort, but the alternative was to let my individuality die. I considered that we only have one life that we are known to live and I couldn't waste it and suddenly making changes seemed simple.

Knitting was a quiet way for me to embrace my own happiness. It quieted my mind while busying my hands. It evened out my breathing and smoothed down my pulse. Knitting quieted the voices of guilt and obligation, allowing the sounds of possibility to percolate in my brain. That's what I wish for Mary Lou, peace of mind that engages an onslaught of amazing possibilities and I know that knitting might help make that happen.

Happy Knitting

*Not her real name

3KCBWDAY4 A Knitter for All Seasons

This post is for Day 4 of Eskimimi Makes 3rd Annual Knit and Crochet Blog Week. Today's theme is A Knitter For All Seasons.

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For me this topic should be "A Knitter For The Winter That Never Comes". I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and it never snows here. The weather never gets colder than 40 degrees at night. That doesn't stop us from thinking it's colder than the arctic. I used to live in New England, where it does actually get cold and you have 4-6 months of frozen hell wintery weather. I used to laugh at people putting on hats and mittens in 40 degree weather, but now I am one of those people. Twenty years of living in the Bay Area will do that to a person. However, we only ever wear these hats and mittens for a few days a year, which makes me feel a bit silly because I still knit lots of hats and mittens.

I rarely knit anything for the summer. Well, I've knit a cotton scarf, a few shrugs to go with summer dresses, but my first summer project so completely put me off warm weather knitting. It was a ribbed tank top in Rowan All Seasons Cotton and it was one of my early knitting projects. I did the decreases all wrong and out of whack with the ribbing and it looked ridiculous. I never wore it, it sits in my mother's basement, a pile of knitted shame. Shame!!!!! So I'm a little reluctant to do some summer knitting projects. That doesn't stop me from hoarding cotton yarn. Go figure.

Here are some of the hats and mittens I've knitted that haven't yet been worn. One of these days my family will end up somewhere snowy and we'll have to use them. I just like to think of myself as well prepared.

purplehat

stripedmittenss

tanhat

redmiteredsquare

The funny thing about the Bay Area is that it never snows here, but our daily microclimates change from hour to hour so you always need a sweater, or a scarf on you at any time. Of course when you actually put on your warmer layers suddenly the sun pops out and you're suddenly too hot and you end up carrying your extra layers around. These days having babies hanging off of me most of the time means that I don't really need an extra layer. Either I'm wearing a baby who keeps me warm or chasing after another babie that I'm rarely ever chilly for long. This means that many of my favorite scarves and shawls have been living in the big basket of knitted stuff, but soon enough they will come out of hibernation and get some love.

What kind of knitting works for your local climate? Do you long to knit lightweight cotton items in a cold climate? Do you wish you could wear warm sweaters in Southern California? Let me know in the comments.

3KCBWDAY5 Creative Post A Visit to A Verb For Keeping Yarn

Today is creative post day and I spent all day today working on this post to finally have it ready for this evening. I did a video blog post. I was all excited to go to Verb, but there was one small hiccup. Watch the video to see what happened.

 



What you don't see in the movie was how blinded I was inside Verb... blinded by all the knitting designers! I didn't feel comfortable just shooting video of everyone, especially since I didn't know them very well and they were all there to see Stephen West who was there showing off his amazing collections of designs. I had a limited amount of time to shoot and what I really wanted was to check out Cirilia from Skacel who was offering Addi Click interchangeable knitting needle sets to try out.

I spent a lot of time getting video for the next installment of The Interchangeable Knitting Needle Guide. I'll be publishing that next week. I'll tell you which Addi Click set I think is the best and how Addi Clicks set themselves apart from all the other interchangeable knitting needle sets. Stay tuned!

As to the creative blog post, I was sooooo excited to finally get a chance to video blog. I learned a lot, like I needed to stick to a plan and have more time. I wish I spent a little more time filming the specific yarns on hand at Verb and getting interviews with the owners and if I had even more time get some interviews with our knitting writers and designers. Maybe next time and there will definitely be a next time because Verb is truly one of the gems in the spectrum of bay area yarn stores (and there are so, so many great stores here). It's totally worth making the trip to Oakland if you're in the area.

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