Me, Again

Hello blog readers, those that remain or those that have stumbled by anew. It’s been nearly a year since my last post and I have no idea how to really discuss that much time in one post, so I won’t even try, but a few stand-out things (some good, some sad) have occurred that I am compelled to share.

1) My Hatchling is now two-and-a-quarter years old! He’s so much bigger than he was in the last post, yet amazingly that sweater I knit him still fits– the magic of knitwear!

2) I’ve picked up embroidery as a new hobby (y’know, in my spare time) and I really love it. It’s like coloring with string! So much quicker and satisfying in a way that knitting is not, sometimes. There will be more on this later.

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CozyBlue stitch club pattern

3) Now for some sad news: I’ve decided to close Sweet Sheep’s doors. I’ve been taking on more responsibility at work and it was too much to grow my career while juggling a side hustle and trying to maximize family time (and maybe occasionally relaxing). It really breaks my heart to admit defeat on this, and I’m harboring a secret hope that I can open and develop new products again someday, but I’m grudgingly accepting that now is not that time. I appreciate all of the  encouragement and support over the past 4 years, it has been a really wonderful experience.

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4) Even sadder news: Just a week ago, we had to say goodbye to my sweet, sassy Calypso. She’s been featured on this blog throughout the years. She was my “heart cat”, as they say, the first cat that was all mine after college. She kept me company when I lived hours/flights away from all family and friends at my first job in Florida, moved into 8 different apartments in 5 states, was there for my first real relationships and meeting the Fiasco and getting married and having our first child. She was with me for 11 really formative years and it’s so strange and sad to be without her. She became suddenly very sick, though, and went through a ton of stuff over the past 6 months: pancreatitis, feeding tube, kidney issues, severe anemia, breathing problems, probable diabetes, possible heart disease, etc. and it was time to give up and let her go. It was not easy.

5) And now to elevate the mood a bit… last night I met the Yarn Harlot and she signed the book she wrote that taught me to make socks and now MY KNITTING LIFE IS COMPLETE. She taught a class called “Knit Smart” at the Stitchery (a great sewing/knitting workshop space in Portsmouth, RI where I learned to embroider) and she was so funny and as honest and clever as she seems on the blog and it was incredible how fast 3 hours spent talking about yarn and gauge swatches and running markers and how to count rows and needle sizes and selvedges etc. flew by. A non-knitter would never understand because I almost don’t even get it but all I know is that it’s restored my knitting mojo and I want to be more mindful of my creative life, and keeping up with this blog is part of that.

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Obsession is normal, indeed.

I post frequently on Instagram but it’s not quite the same as blogging, so here we go again! If you’re still active in knitting blogland, please comment. If you don’t blog yourself but have a favorite blog or three to recommend, please do. I’d like to rebuild the list of who I follow and cultivate a sense of community here again, as I’ve truly missed it.

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Blog Hop: Creative Process

I’ve been tagged by Lisa of Indie Untangled to take part in a Creative Blog Hop! Blog hops are a really fun way to get to know your regular reads a bit better, as well as discover some new bloggers. You can read Lisa’s post here, and I’ve also been enjoying reading a couple of the blogs before hers, like le pulle juste and Knitigating Circumstances (man, I love that name). So let’s get hopping!

What am I working on?

I feel like such a slacker since most of the other bloggers before me seem to be working on fabulous sweaters and other such ambitious projects. Me? I’ve got a hat.

It’s a little bit longer now.

And an-eventually-matching cowl. Well, we all know that’s not all I’m working on, since I’m an atrociously non-monogamous knitter and there are always more WIPs. Generally speaking, there are usually a couple of a shawls and a pair of socks in the works. That said, I do really want to knit a sweater. For the past year (just about… yikes!) I’ve been working on losing weight. I was losing at a pretty quick rate on a very restrictive diet, but the pace has slowed down and I seem to have stabilized a bit (30 – 40 lbs away from where I was aiming! sigh) and while I was waiting until I reached my goal before I invested so much time and energy into knitting a sweater, I really don’t want to wait any longer. You can find collections of DK weight patterns I’m considering for tops here and cardigans here. I will likely end up going with an Amy Herzog pattern because I admire her work and really want to give her CustomFit program a try. Her Shore Ledges pullover has been on my mind lately, too:

Photo copyright Amy Herzog.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I think, when you get right down to it, many knitting blogs are similar. Look at the yarn! Look at this pattern! Look at what I made! Yay, knitting! And that’s great, really, because there is nothing better than creating a sense of community through shared joys. I try to dabble in a few things that I think make this space a little different: compiling resources into tutorials, conducting spinning breed studies, and doing occasional product reviews. The blog feature I am most proud of is my Inspiration Saturdays series. Every week (*ahem* mostly) I mine Ravelry for projects or patterns along a theme that I find particularly inspiring. I equate this kind of research with a literature review in the sciences (biologist to the core) and I find that the exercise really helps me articulate my thoughts about certain patterns, yarns, or project ideas and it serves as an excellent record of things I’ve loved. Plus, it’s a fabulous excuse for all the time I spend trolling around Ravelry.  I especially love when other people join in! Joanna over at The Knitlit Twit joins up nearly every week.

Besides the blog, my knitting is fairly mainstream. I see something I like, I make it. Most things I like to make involve interesting texture or lace stitches that are not too mentally taxing since the knitting needs to be suitable for car/TV/distracted/social knitting. That’s why I aim to keep all of my designs on the simpler side, pieces that are stylish and fun to work but also easy enough to not pose logistical problems (like huge charts or tricky counting) for knitters-on-the-go. Most of my designs, and my projects in general, are inspired by the yarn I have to work with. I derive a truly ridiculous amount of pleasure out of matching up a skein of yarn with its perfect pattern.

Why do I write/create what I do?

Hrmmm… I think I just answered this above, but here’s a little more truth-telling: I write what I do because I can’t not write it. Because if I don’t tell somebody about what I’m doing/making/thinking about knitting on a fairly regular basis, I get a little twitchy. And because even though I’ve already converted a handful of my friends into more hardcore knitters, there are never enough people to chat about knitting with. You’d be amazed (or maybe not) at how much there is to discuss about yarn.

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Gratuitous yarn photo! OoOoOoOooOooooo pretty.

And as for the knitting, I knit because I’ve always needed to do something with my hands. Growing up, it was plastic lanyards, embroidery floss friendship bracelets, beaded bracelets, and hemp necklaces. I’ve always been terrible at being well-and-truly-idle. My brain starts buzzing if I sit still for too long and knitting and spinning calms that shit down. So on the one hand, it’s a pure physiological/psychological need. On the other, it’s damn pretty. Add to that the fact that you get a wearable product at the end, and really, I can’t understand why anyone doesn’t knit!

How does my writing/creative process work?

As mentioned above, my designs and most of my projects are usually inspired by the yarn or colorway available to me. While I’m a non-monogamous knitter-of-projects, I am a fairly loyal yarn consumer. I find a yarn I like, and I will buy a lot of it, to use in everything. Then sometimes I get curious, and want to try a completely new-to-me yarn to see what makes it tick. I then spend the rest of my time finding the perfect project for that yarn and rejoicing in its wonderfulness. I’m always drawn to natural fibers, intriguing constructions, and vibrant colors.

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All hail the glory of this yarn pairing. Click for project page.

As for writing, I attempt to do a WIP Wednesday post most weeks, I find it helps me prioritize and keep all my projects straight. These are the easiest posts to write. My Inspiration Saturday posts take considerably more time and effort, especially if my theme is a little shaky to begin with. These posts take at least 2 hours each, often more if all the research time throughout the week gets counted. Other than that, I tend to write about whatever has me most excited at the time.

Phew! There you have it, a bit more about my process. I’d love to hear from Audry at Bear Ears, Kaiya at Winterlime Knits, and Rebecca at needle & spindle about their creative processes! (And anybody else who would like to share, too, I find this stuff fascinating.)