Omg, they’re having a FIRE…sale

Okay it’s not exactly a fire sale, but I couldn’t resist.

One of my favorite designers, Tiny Owl Knits, is offering 25% off until December 1st on all knitting patterns. Everything out of the collection is whimsical and fun. The only thing I’ve worked on so far from TOK is the Beekeeper’s quilt, which I’ll admit has slowed since I’ve been busy knitting other things.

Stephanie has such great imagination, I definitely recommend checking out her patterns. I can personally attest that the pdfs are beautiful and everything is very well laid out and explained. She has excellent attention to detail and honestly her pattern pages look like works of art in themselves. I’ve already bought the Woodland Hoodlet pattern for myself and I intend to pick up quite a few more before the end of the sale!

In other news, I was up late the other night finishing a Christmas present for my lovely friend Claire. She leaves for America in about a week, and didn’t have an awesome beanie to keep her warm. I don’t mind posting this early, since I’m giving it to her now anyway.

Pup Tent

Pup Tent

It’s made from an excellent free pattern called Pup Tent which can be found HERE. It was the perfect hat for my mood, with an interesting alternative cable technique and was easy to follow straight from the chart. Very straightforward and simple.

Claire picked out the teal color herself, so I know she’ll love it. I was worried the pattern wouldn’t show up, since it’s a little dark, but it turned out amazing. It’s a slightly slouchy hat, which I may block into being slouchier depending on what style Claire would like.

Other than that my Rocky Coast cardigan is about half a skein away from complete, which I’m waiting on from my LYS. I’m also over halfway done with what I’m calling my Raspeberry Beret (cue Prince music). Photos of finished items to come!

Knitbusters: knitting myths unraveled

The life of a 20-something knitter is a funny thing. Admitting your yarn habit to the world can be a tentative process, as it’s often followed up with, Oh, that’s…nice? or Huh..my grandma used to knit.

I can hear how boring I must sound to others when I’m chatting excitedly about a new project or a pattern I have my eye on. But I can’t stop myself, it’s my passion!

Even in 2013 when knitting seems to be trendier and more widespread than ever, common misconceptions are still flowing around. I thought I would bust a few of my favorite knitting myths for your enjoyment. *Please note that this is not a rant, I find these myths rather cute and funny.*

1) Knitting is for Nanas

This one is fair enough, let’s be honest. Knitting traditionally seems like a dated pastime, and the worlds of knitters and non-knitters hardly seem to collide, so the myth lives on. It’s true that many of the knitter groups in the local communities are decidedly 60+ (retirees have room in their schedules to meet on a Wednesday morning at 10am), but with cool classes, conventions, knitwear designers, and the magical land that is ravelry, there are people of all ages getting into knitting and crochet these days. There’s a great little yarn store/café near us in Wembley, and just the other day I made the acquaintance of two girls in their 20s (like me) who had met up to chat, knit and compare their projects. I was working on the arms for my knitted toy quietly in the corner, and they approached me to ask what I was working on. Seek out a local yarn store if you’re curious. You’ll see it’s a whole new world out there. And don’t be shy to ask knitters what they’re working on. Most of us are dying to talk about it with anyone who will actually listen!

2) People save money by knitting handmade gifts

Mate, you’re dreamin’! Most people who take the time to make a gift for someone have carefully picked out (and paid around $4-10 for) a pattern, selected beautiful soft yarn made from quality (read: expensive) fibers, and spent hours of their free time knitting it up. Even if it’s “just” a hat or a pair of socks. These are labors of love, and they take time. Luckily we knitters get genuine pleasure, or flow from knitting, so we’re happy to make these gifts. I myself am leery of making gifts for others as I never want someone to feel like they HAVE to like it for my benefit. (This hasn’t stopped me from planning myriad Christmas gifts this year. Family: You’re getting knits. You’ve been warned.)

3) Knitting is all scarves, socks and sweaters

I think busting this myth would get a lot more people interested in knitting. It’s so much more than just scarves and stockinette. There are unlimited techniques to learn and projects to take on. There are shawls, hats, headbands, toys, boot cuffs, handbags, kindle and phone cases, not to mention twists on the old standbys. I’m still working on my giant beekeeper’s quilt a little at a time. And have you seen all the cool crazy tea cozies out there? This craft is not just Nan’s moldy old afghan anymore.

4) Knitting is hereditary

These days, with knitting reaching “cool” status, everyone and their sister can get into it. I learned in one afternoon how to cast on, knit, purl and bind off from a friend when I was 16. I followed up on it myself, getting a couple of books, some needles and plenty of scratchy acrylic yarn that would eventually become hoards of ugly scarves to bestow upon my innocent friends and family. I didn’t know about quality fibers back then. But if you have the drive, in today’s online age you can learn anything. I cannot believe how my skills and yarn knowledge have grown in just a few short months since I picked up the needles again. I did not learn from my mother or grandmother. There was no one at home to help me. I don’t even have any friends who knit. If I desperately need help, I consult the internet. I am jealous of knitters who learned at age 6 and never looked back, but that just wasn’t the case for me, nor was it for many others out there. Even designers these days are often self-taught. If you have a keen interest, you can do it. And lastly…

5) All yarn is the same

I touched on this a little already, but I want to reiterate this point as I believe it’s important. I make my knits by emma headbands from beautiful machine-washable 100% Australian merino. Considering the quality and size, I think the price per skein is actually really reasonable, but I’m sure a regular person’s jaw would drop. When deciding how to price my items, I’ve asked advice of non-knitters, and I’ve learned that I probably shouldn’t do that. I think most people think more about the look of the product and how long it took you to make. But a lot of it is just making back the cost of materials. I knit for fun and, for now, I don’t plan on making it a huge source of income. But a 100g skein of acrylic sock yarn is not the same as a Worsted weight gorgeous merino cashmere hand-dyed blend. I’m sure most people would be shocked at the worth of any given knitter’s yarn stash. But we knitters like our yarn to be beautifully dyed, made from quality fiber and to feel like butter against the skin.

So I hope you’ve enjoyed this little segment on knitbusting. I’ve added this last little one as an added bonus:

5.5) Knitting is for chicks

See brilliant Brooklyn Tweed designer Jared Flood.

My strange addiction: Knitting podcasts

Before I dive into the meat of this post, I just wanted to announce that I did eventually get around to knitting the left fingerless mitten in the set I posted about last week. The second one looks a bit better than the first, but they are both so lovely and warm and I love the deep brown color. I’m excited to experiment with other designs in the future, but for now it’s on to other projects!

Brownie fingerless mittens

Brownie fingerless mittens

Over the past week or so, I have developed a strange new addiction: podcasts about knitting. I’m currently reading a book by craft business guru, Kari Chapin, which was recently gifted to me by my lovely and supportive friend Maria. She saw it while out and about and immediately thought of me. In the book (which I will review properly when I’m finished reading it) Kari suggests that podcasts are a great way to reach other crafters and promote your blog or business.

For those of you who haven’t listened to podcasts before, I HIGHLY recommend them. I first looked up a Kari-recommended podcast by Sister Diane of Craftypod. After listening to a few great episodes, I decided to search for knitting-specific podcasts. My favorite at the moment is by Alana of Never Not Knitting.

I cannot stop listening to podcasts. I’m listening on the bus, before I go to sleep, and even on my lunch break at work. Best of all, I’m listening while crafting. It puts me in such an inspired mindset, not to mention gives me dozens of new project ideas.

One thing Alana is working on has lit a fire under me, and I have since taken on my most exciting project yet: The beekeeper’s quilt. A monster project, which will easily take me a year to complete. I bought the pattern for about $5.50 on Ravelry from Tiny Owl Knits. Anyone wanting to take this on should proceed with caution, because as Alana warns: You WILL get addicted.

Pre-stuffed hexipuff

Pre-stuffed hexipuff

The quilt is made up of hundreds of little “hexipuffs” each knit in the round then stuffed. I have made seven squishy little guys so far. The first one I made had to be taken out and restarted three times. There were a few new skills to learn in the process, and I wasn’t used to working with needles this small. But I’m happy to report that I’m getting faster now, and I’m loving my cute little puffs.

Hexipuff awesome blossom

Hexipuff awesome blossom

I’ll keep you abreast of my progress on this massive undertaking. In the meantime I’m still sorting out which products to include on my Etsy shop, as well as figuring out which yarn to knit my headbands with since the yarn I’ve been loving is (to my devastation) not consistently stocked at my local craft store.