Rules for Feeding the Stash

Friday, September 30, 2016

Sweater Weather!

I might be all about the accessories right now, but sweater season is coming fast, and I have some hardcore sweater plans for this fall! I want to thank everyone for their input regarding my second Amiga cardigan, and I've made a decision. The insanely wonderful and intelligent Julie said: "perhaps before frogging, have a trip through the Ravelry patterns section and see if you can find another pattern that you would be excited to knit with it?"

Well, I did just that, and I realized that the biggest reason this yarn's been failing me is because I've been knitting cardigans with it. Most of my cardigans are actually pretty tame, and this yarn is just too loud for a cardigan. But I definitely rock a wild and crazy pullover, and that's exactly what I'm going to do. I'm going to put this in my WIP basket for now, and when I get around to it, I'll frog it and knit up a pullover (right now the plan is to use Allyson's Adventure Tee pattern). Stay tuned.

I've got a few sweaters on the needles now-my Cormac and an Audrey in Unst, as well as a Sweatshirt Sweater for my mum.  My main focus right now is my mum's sweater-she's ready for full woolies before me, and I want to get this done quickly for her. After that, I'll probably try to bang out Cormac so it's not lingering forever-Audrey's been hanging tight for a while, and she might end up being a February-March project to transition out of winter.

I have two more sweaters for me planned for this year: I decided to frog my Winter Helmut and use the yarn to make a modified Vianne instead. I'll go over more details later, but ultimately I decided that I have better things to do than knit patterns that make me want to rip my hair out, and Andi is a fantastic pattern writer, and Vianne has pretty much everything I wanted for this yarn (or, it will once I make a couple quick mods).

The last sweater is a new design project that I'm actually really excited for. It's a squishy cozy (worsted weight!!!!) pullover, and I have a picture in my mind of being able to wear it Xmas morning, so I'm really gonna have to get over my accessories kick soon and get my sweater mojo on!

**LAST CHANCE! My Birthday Sale ends TONIGHT! Use code "HB26" to get 26% off everything until Midnight US Central Time!**

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Fall Into Knit Accessories

I'm sure this comes as no surprise, but I really freaking love fall. We're probably still due a couple of warm days in my neck of the woods, but the mornings are nice and chilly and I am happily settling into tights and giant grandpa sweaters.

The change in weather is also making me really excited for my other great love-knitted accessories. I've brought out my shawls, and I'm dreaming of new hats and cowls and mitts (oh my!). I've got a nice little pile of yarn destined for new accessories, and I'm super happy that the time has come to start knitting them up.

Currently I'm working on a Volcano Cowl in some Road to China Light, but I don't have any pictures yet (because it is also the season of darkening evenings). It's a bit slow going so far, since my lunches are spent knitting socks for my mum and my evenings are taken up with my current design project, but once those are done this cowl will be another gorgeous accessory to cozy into for fall and winter.

Linking up with Yarn Along

Monday, September 26, 2016

Worth Fixing?

I've been going through and organizing my stash and some old projects and I came across my second Amiga cardigan. I knit this back in 2013, and it was the second time I'd knit this particular yarn-originally it had been a Kaleidescope, but that was a poor pattern choice for a cotton/silk blend, so I reclaimed it. This pattern worked a lot better for this yarn, but I've only worn it once or twice, and I'm really not happy with it overall.

The colors are a bit overwhelming, the sleeves are way too long and too loose for a cropped-sleeve sweater, and the sweater is just way too short overall. I still have some of this yarn left over, so I'm now debating if it's worth trying to fix this sweater. I'd rip the sleeves back to elbow length, and keep them more fitted to my arm, and I'd lengthen the sweater as much as possible-hopefully to the hip.

My main debate right now is whether it's worth trying to fix this-I'm hoping that these mods would make it a lot more wearable, and I'm counting on being able to rock the wild colors with a pair of jeans once the sweater is a better shape. On the flip side, it's a lot of work to go through to end up with a third unwearable sweater if it doesn't work out.

So help a gal out-is it worth it to rip back and maybe (finally) get a wearable sweater?

Also Remember:
 My Birthday Sale continues through this Friday, September 30 at midnight US Central Time. Get 26% off all my patterns with code "HB26" 

Friday, September 23, 2016

More On Bodies

Bear with me please, this is a longer post, and it kind of wanders, but I really needed to get some of this stuff written out here.

One thing that I've heard several times since I released Finn is, "Thank you so much for using a model that's shaped like me," and that's stirred up some feelings. My thoughts on bodies (and how cool they are) are on record, but there's still a part of me that recognizes that every time I take a picture of myself for a pattern or for the blog or for Instagram I am making a statement. I have complicated feelings about that.

I wish we were better about body diversity in knitwear (I wish we were better about diversity in general, but I can really only talk about body size from a firsthand perspective). Things are already so much better than they were when I started knitting, but there's still work to be done. There are still designers who won't grade a top above a 40-inch bust, and most knitwear models are on the smaller side. There are a bunch of inter-tangled reasons for this, and I've heard a lot of them. This conversation comes up a lot in the industry. I'm a bit guilty of it myself-I've more than once found myself thinking "I could knit sweaters so much faster if I was X-inches smaller."

I made the decision early on in my design career that I would model the majority of my samples. Part of it is convenience-I like to wear the things I make. But a lot of it was the recognition that I am one of the smallest knitters in my knit group in town. I'm in the smaller half of the group that meets up for Our Common Thread. I have a 44-inch bust, thank you very much, and many of the knitters I know are my size or significantly larger. So, I thought to myself, I could be alienating a lot of knitters if I made all my samples a size 36. I still think that's true, and given that I've heard "seeing a model that's close to my size/shape makes me more likely to buy this pattern" more than once since the Finn photos went up, I'm probably right.

I feel validated whenever someone thanks me for using a "model that looks like me-" I like to think that putting my self and my body out there is the right choice, but I also feel a bit sad that it should be so novel to see reflections of ourselves in the knitting industry. And honestly, there are tons of diversity issues in knitting other than body size, and I hate the thought that this wonderful thing that brings so many of us together ends up looking so much more homogeneous than it really is. And I don't want to sound like the knitting industry is getting everything wrong, because it's definitely not, I just would love even more of it, and I hate how the act of taking and posting pictures of myself is something that people feel they ought to thank me for.

I don't really have a nice way to wrap this up. It's a problem, and it's been a problem for a long time, and it will continue to be a problem unless we keep working through it as a community and figuring out how to showcase the diversity of the knitting community within the knitting industry. Conversations like this are hard, and fraught with emotion and history, but they are important.

Ultimately, what it comes down to for me is something I said in my last On Bodies post: "since all bodies are perfect and amazing and beautiful, everyone deserves clothes that fit them and that they feel comfortable in." I'd like to add to that: since all bodies are perfect and amazing and wonderful, everyone deserves to see images and reflections of themselves from within the industry.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

New Pattern: Finn

Well, it took a while, but Finn is out in the world and I couldn't be happier. It took us much longer to get to this point than I'd planned, but it feels good to be here, and I am so overwhelmed with the positive response Finn has gotten so far.

Finn is my perfect lightweight sweater-the eyelet mesh on the sleeves and upper body is just enough coverage for a slight chill without feeling stuffy, and it's simple enough to wear with anything. I love the garter stitch against the stockinette and mesh, and it was so much fun picking out the perfect buttons.

The sweater is meant to be worn with 0-2in/0-5cm of negative ease, but it should also look good a little looser if that's your jam.  There's a bit of waist shaping, and the whole thing is totally seamless.

It's now available in the wayward knitter shop, on Ravelry, and on Craftsy, and if you buy it on Ravelry, it's eligible for my Birthday Sale-just plug in code "HB26"!

Linking up with Yarn Along

Monday, September 19, 2016

NCFF Was...

I don't even really have words for how much fun NCFF was this year. There were, of course, hiccups (I realized after I arrived in Watertown, SD for the fair that I'd made my hotel reservation for Watertown, NY instead!), but the great thing about fiber people is they're all willing to help a gal and her unicorn out (we ended up staying with the absolutely lovely Celeste, who I'd met before at the Our Common Thread retreat).

I spent Friday night and Saturday morning knitting up some samples for The Dyeing Arts/Cloud 9 Fiberworks booth. My crochet class was cancelled, but Shaina managed to make it up for Saturday and Sunday and walked me through the crochet hexagons and we are both confident that I can make a blanket. (There were many unkind words said about crochet. I don't understand how people can do that for relaxation.)

There were sheep, goats, alpacas, and angora rabbits this year (so fluffy I'm gonna die!!), and I got to catch up with all my fiber friends and meet some great new people. I got plenty of yarn (suprise), and I actually have plans for a lot of it. I got to talk shop with some of my favorite yarnies, and 2017 is shaping up to be a great design year, and I'm super excited. I also got plenty of fun stuff to play with, and approximately a metric crapton of sock yarn.

Basically, the weekend was full of late nights, early mornings, lots (and lots) of coffee, lots of cheap Mexican food, amazing people, great yarn, fluffy animals, laughing, smiling, hugging, and all that great stuff that makes a truly amazing Fiber Fair. I did not get nearly enough sleep this weekend, nor did I eat nearly as many vegetables as I ought to have, I am exhausted and have weird acne developing, but I enjoyed every minute and I can't wait until next year.

Linking up with KCCO

**REMINDER: It's my birthday all month long! Save 26% off all my Ravelry patterns with code "HB26"**

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Stick a Fork in Her

There's Finn, totally off the needles. She's taking a quick bath now, and then I'll lay her out by the dehumidifier and smoosh her into shape so she's not totally wrinkly, and hopefully she'll be dry by Thursday afternoon and I'll be able to grab pictures before I head up to Fiber Fair.

I have a lot of feelings wrapped up in this sweater, and I'll go more into them later, but I am so happy to finally have this done and I am so proud of the work that went into it. I just know it's going to be the perfect lightweight sweater and I'm going to wear it to pieces. I've also got a ton of leftovers-enough for another sweater! So I'll have to think about what to make with those :)

This was my last major goal in terms of finishing up some WIPs, and now I get to focus on what knitting to bring to Fiber Fair this weekend. I'm taking a class from my friend Shaina for her Busy Bee Throw pattern (What?? Kat? Crocheting??), so I'll be bringing the yarn for that, and I'll bring a new shawl sample (pink lace! Oh how I've missed you!), my Cormac, a new Sweatshirt Sweater for my mum, and some fingerless mitts for my BFF Caitlin. That'll give me something new, something small, something easy, and two somethings that I have to pay just a little attention to, which should cover all my bases for the weekend.

**REMINDER: It's my birthday all month long! Save 26% off all my Ravelry patterns with code "HB26"**

Linking up with Yarn Along

Monday, September 12, 2016

Finning Along

I've been working on the second sleeve of Finn while watching tv in the evenings, and while it's definitely going faster than the first sleeve did, it's still a little bit of a slog. The pattern for this is hanging out with my editor now, and I'm hoping to get the sample finished this week so I can wear it to Fiber Fair this weekend. But as there's still about half a sleeve to go...well, we'll see.

I'm so excited to be getting finished with this cardigan. I have new sweaters for my mum and myself planned, I have two new shawl designs in the works, and my next sweater design is going to be in worsted-weight yarn (so quick!) and perfect for drinking cocoa in front of the fireplace. Enough teasing, though. There are some awesome new knits on my horizon that are just waiting for me to finish this last finishing spurt, and I'm super excited to be getting to them.

**REMINDER: It's my birthday all month long! Save 26% off all my Ravelry patterns with code "HB26"**

Linking up with KCCO

Friday, September 9, 2016

I'm Ready

Well, today is my birthday, and to be honest, I'm really ready for it. Every year, I try to think if there's anything I absolutely need to do before my birthday-there never is, but it's a habit I started in high school. I had my 17th birthday party the day before my actual birthday, and I was in Blockbuster with my friends picking out a movie for the party and I commented that I'd never seen Grease, and one of my friends just stopped, grabbed the movie, and put it in my hands. "You can not turn seventeen without having seen Grease!"

And while I haven't had any such shortcomings this year, it feels like 25 has been a rough age, and I'm ready to try being 26. I'm sure there are multiple reasons for this-I scaled back on designing this year, both by plan and by necessity, I spent several months in a major depressive episode, and then a couple months rebuilding from it, and we had a couple of health scares with Mystic. Ultimately, 25 was hard, even though it wasn't all bad.

Yesterday I ended up going home sick, and I decided to use my unexpected free time to try to pick some of my favorite things from being 25. I've made even more awesome knitting friends from all over, and I am super happy and grateful for that (because you're all amazing and fantastic and super cool!). I did my first KALs, and I liked them so much that I did a few more. I read (and re-read) some really great books. I watched murder mysteries, snuggled my dogs, sang karaoke, laughed at bad jokes, made new theater friends, drank an obscene amount of coffee, and did all the little things that I do every day to make it enjoyable. And really, 25 wasn't bad, but it's done now, and I'm really excited to see what 26 is like.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Knitty Twisting

I managed to (finally) get stuff picked up during the long weekend, and I found the bag with Knitty Twist in it! It turns out that it was buried under a different mess than I thought it was, so I am very glad that I did a full tidying session. This is my lunch knitting this week, because I'd really like to get these socks done for mum before the temperatures start to dip.

It's been so long since I've worked on these, I'm wondering if I'll be able to finish this one and plow through the next one without running into second sock syndrome. I love the little cables on these-it's so much fun watching the pattern grow!

**REMINDER: It's my birthday all month long! Save 26% off all my Ravelry patterns with code "HB26"**

Linking up with Yarn Along

Monday, September 5, 2016

Off the Needles

I managed to get caught up on blocking this weekend, so I have TWO FOs to share with you all! Both patterns are by the delightful and brilliant Allyson Dykhuizen, and they're both KAL projects! (I guess 2016 has become the year of the KAL, oh well.)

First we have my Windy City MKAL Shawl, and I am so in love with it. Seriously, you guys, look at how those colors go together. I don't like to toot my own horn too much, but dang did I do some spot-on color pairing there or what?? This was such a fun knit-it was my first MKAL, and while I have been hesitant about MKALs in the past, this was a blast. I think if Allyson does another MKAL in the future, I'd totally be in.

Ravelry Page: Windy City MKAL
Pattern: Windy City Mystery Knit Along by Allyson Dykhuizen
Yarn: Cloud 9 Fiberworks Altocumulus "After the Crash" and Cirrocumulus Sock "New Leaf"

Next, we have my Choose Your Own Adventure Tee! I love this tee so much-I already have yarn for another cropped one and for a full-length version because the pattern is just that good. The KAL was tons of fun, and it was great seeing everyone customize their tees.

I knit the cropped short sleeve version with no shaping, and it is perfect. This yarn is a great color on me, and it's a great neutral that goes with a lot of my wardrobe, so I plan to get a lot of wear out of this. I did modify the neckline just a little bit to keep it narrower-I picked up the neckline stitches in k1p1 rib instead of just picking them up and knitting them, and then I did only one more round of knitting before a stretchy bind off. I really like the look of it, and it's definitely worth taking the extra time to pick up the stitches in pattern.

Ravelry Page: CYOA Tee
Pattern: Choose Your Own Adventure Tee by Allyson Dykhuizen
Yarn: Knit Picks Shine Sport "9142 Platinum"

**REMINDER: It's my birthday all month long! Save 26% off all my Ravelry patterns with code "HB26"**

Linking up with KCCO

Friday, September 2, 2016


Happy September! This is my favorite month ever-mostly because my birthday is this month-and to celebrate everything in my Ravelry store is 26% off all month long with the code "HB26." I've got a ton of other fun stuff to look forward to this month, like North Country Fiber Fair and a roller derby bout, and probably a couple more things I can't remember right now.

It's a long weekend here in the US, and I'm really looking forward to catching up on some work I let slip during the summer-I've got stacks of editing to do and a new shawl sample I want to spend some quality time with once I've wrangled the chart into submission. 

Technically, the Wayward WIPDown ends tomorrow, but I'm really enjoying getting some things done, so I'm hoping to keep up this finishing streak for a while longer. There's another four or five WIPs that I'd like to finish up before casting on something new-hopefully I keep feeling that way and don't rebound into a round of startitis!