Yesterday I was telling you about the latest edition of Loopy Academy. By way of explanation for anyone who isn’t sure what I’m talking about, The Loopy Ewe is a yarn shop in Colorado who runs fun challenges on their blog for their world wide customers. I’ve participated in a bunch and really enjoy the little push to try things that are outside my comfort zone. I’ve really expanded my skills too. The blog has a post that tells all about the challenge. The original Loopy Academy runs concurrently with the new challenges so if you’re interested in any part jump in and join the fun.
I’ve decided to use Casapinka as the designer for my projects. I’ve picked out three patterns and ordered yarn. Today I’ll tell you about the patterns. We’ll talk about the yarn once it arrives.
I’ve only knit a couple of rows since you last saw the baby blanket. Honestly knitting a baby blanket on a humid day is not fun. I’ve been doing other things.
The Loopy Ewe announced their fall Loopy Academy. I’ve completed the first 4 years and the graduate school. I thought I was done. Um, no. This year they are doing the Talented and Gifted edition. How can I say no to that! The requirement is to knit or crochet three projects from the same designer. Each project must use at least 400 yards of yarn. There is also the option of doing an extra credit project where you take a design element from a pattern by your chosen designer and reimagine it. Such as use the stitch pattern from a shawl in a pair of socks or a sweater. I’ve picked out the designer who I’ll be studying, Casapinka. She is a new to me designer. I love the bright colors she uses. They are so cheerful. She has patterns that work well with wildly variegated yarn. I do have a soft spot of wildly variegated yarn. I’ve got a tentative plan for patterns but more about that tomorrow. Have you knit any Casapinka patterns? Which do you recommend?
Today is Labor Day in the USA. It traditionally marks the end of summer. We are getting a few extra days in our town. School doesn’t officially start until 9/16 though there is an orientation before then. With how odd this year has been I don’t feel sad that summer is ending. Our days are pretty much the same no matter what the date is on the calendar.
I have started the second skein of yarn on the baby blanket. Based on how much I’ve gotten done so far I should need just 3 more skeins. I’m very pleased with how it is coming along.
Our temperatures have turned cooler and my urge to bake is returning. This morning I felt like muffins but I didn’t want anything super sweet. I made Southern Biscuit Muffins. They’re very plain but buttery. We’ve had them for breakfast or as an accompaniment to stew. I enjoy mine with a bit of honey. The Husband likes his with raspberry jam.
The baby blanket is moving along nicely. If you noticed the earlier photos I was using 14” metal straight needles. It was really fine at the beginning but once there was a fair amount of weight on the needles my wrists/hands started to hurt. I was finding myself not wanting to knit. That’s pretty sad less than a skein in. So I dug through the needle stash looking for a circular needle in the right size. The only one I could find is a bamboo one that I only used once. See I’m not a fan of wooden needles. I’ve always had dogs who are overly interested in giving them a little taste so the smoothness is gone pretty quickly. Plus I love a super pointy metal needle. But when weighed against sore, tired hands and wrists a bamboo circular is where I’m at.
Do you have a preference for your crafting tools? Do you like wood, metal or something else?
Before I get into the mess that is that photo I want to thank you all for yesterday’s contributions to the quiz. It’s nice to see that we all have our own experiences with gifting our handmade items. If I learned anything from our conversation it’s that I should continue to gift a first gift and then assess whether that recipient is worthy of additional gifts.
I have received excellent information about plants/gardening by asking questions on my blog. Thanks for that help. I need help again. The photo above is a Crown of Thorns that belonged to my mother. She had it for over 20 years. In her houses she had a fantastic sunny bow window to keep this plant happy. I don’t have a window like that. My house, a Cape Cod style, has small double hung windows. I thought I’d found an acceptable location for the plant in my east facing bedroom window. Alas that hasn’t worked out well. The plant is easily 2 feet tall but is now bent over trying to get sun on the leaves. Once it had reached this shape it became much more unstable in a stiff breeze and it went over, landing on the floor twice. I finally took the hint and repotted the plant. Once it was in its new pot, and now nearly 3 feet tall, I moved it to a new location where it will get more sun. This is a south facing window. So, will the plant stand up straighter if I keep it turned as in the photo? Should I just sit it directly in front of the window? It doesn’t need the wall for leaning on. Even though I don’t love this plant, those thorns scare me, I want to keep it alive. I have only a few plants left of the many that were my mother’s. I don’t have my mother’s green thumb.
I spent time off and on yesterday knitting the baby blanket. It got me thinking about gifting of the things we make. I’m curious what your thoughts are on gifting.
Do you gift your handmade items?
Do you have limits around who you gift to or what you gift?
What type of things do you like to make and gift?
Have you received handmade items?
Have you ever asked for a gift back?
Do you gift handmade items for holidays?
Feel free to answer in the comments or leave a link to your blog if you’ll be answering there.
I left the questions very open so you can answer as you wish. Here are my answers.
I have gifted things I’ve knit. For the most part they’ve been well received. I like nothing better than seeing something I’ve made be used. It’s even better if it’s worn out.
I have fairly strict parameters around my gifting. I’ll knit for new babies. Something knit in washable yarn unless it’s for a person I know will care for and appreciate wool. Normally this is my opportunity to try a pattern that caught my eye but is something I don’t need in my life. I’ll knit for my children and The Husband if they ask for something specifically. I like to donate an item I’ve knit if I’m asked. Other than that I am a selfish knitter.
I have gifted shawls, socks, cowls, blankets and baby sweaters. I’ve knit sweaters for my children and The Husband. I like to gift something I think the person will use and enjoy.
I have received handmade items. H often gives me things she’s made. I consider a handmade gift, even if it was bought, a highly desirable gift. Not only does it represent someone’s creativity but it shows that the person knows I appreciate all that goes into a handmade gift.
I have not asked for a gift back but I know people who have been tempted to. When I learn that my handmade item isn’t appreciated I move that person off my will knit for list and just buy their gifts. It’s not worth my time to give something that isn’t appreciated.
I do not like the pressure of knitting for the holidays. I will gift something I have that is made if I think it’s right for someone. But I will never be found knitting my fingers to the bone trying to get gifts done.
Thank you for all the input yesterday. I have decided to put the Arachne yoke aside. I think I’m done with it but I’m leaving the door open just in case I’m not. I have a full bag of the gray Plymouth Encore so there is more than enough for both projects should I change my mind.
The photo above is the start of the baby blanket. I’ve decided to knit a variation on Malt by TinCanKnits. I love the simple design of this blanket. The garter stitch is squishy and the stockinette is smooth. I like to imagine a toddler running their fingers over their blanket feeling the different textures. Right now I’m thinking I’ll change the pattern so that the blanket will have a large center rectangle of garter stitch surrounded by a border of stockinette and an outer border of garter stitch. But I’ll decide when I get there.
I took this photo after completing the 22 row of the chart. I knit 1 row watching TV and had to put it down to assess. I need advice and I want brutally honest advice (but only about this project. I’m not ready to go there with the other shit I’m dealing with.).
I like the pattern though not the fit of the sweater girl style of the sweater. My days of wearing a short, bust accentuating sweater have passed. It will not be flattering on my body no matter what scaffolded undergarments I wear. I have reinvisioned the sweater as a standard top down pullover.
The yarn I’m using is Plymouth Encore, a wool blend that’s mostly acrylic. It’s nice for what it is but it really isn’t working great for stranded colorwork. It is taking skills I lack to try to keep it free of puckering. Let’s be completely honest: This won’t block out. Acrylic isn’t known for it blocking. Knitting this in wool makes way more sense.
If I forced myself to knit a few rows a day I could get through the yoke. The rest of the sweater would fly off the needles. It’s worsted weight. It’s nearly mindless.
I feel really badly bailing on the Arachne KAL. I love knitting with others. It’s a connection with the greater knitting world that I think enhances Blogville.
In my world I would only wear this sweater in October, Halloween month. I’m not a Halloween all year round person like H. She’s very into all the witchy, ghosty, jackolanterny things about Halloween. It isn’t a date on the calendar to her as it is to me.
I was able to justify starting this sweater because the yarn is stash I was given. It would be a free sweater that freed up stash space. A double win.
I have to knit a baby blanket before the November arrival of The Husband’s nephew’s third son. I don’t have enough of the yarn I used for the other two. The gray Plymouth Encore would be perfect: a wool blend in a boy friendly color that’s washable. I have many skeins of this yarn so if a 4th boy was announced at a later date I’d be all set. Don’t worry if the 4th was a girl I’ve got something for that too. My stash is extensive.
So what do you think? Should I keep going? Should I see the writing on the wall and just stop already? For now I’m going to take one of those excess skeins of gray Plymouth Encore and try out a baby blanket pattern. Either that or cast on some socks.