Hand Knit Love

Payton in Stocking Cap

How can one be so concerned at the ripe old age of 3 months?? Especially when your head is so toasty warm? I’m not sure 🙂 but I do know that this baby girl is loving my hand knits and will continue to receive them until she is old enough to object…and even then I’m not making any promises. Plus babies are so stinkin’ cute in Stocking Caps…it’s my new favorite!

Speaking of baby knits, how about that darling Wee Envelope I’ve been knitting away on?

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The Luna Grey Aspen Sport has such a nice squish factor. It’s 100% Superwash Merino and has a nice, tight twist to it. I’m not usually one to love knitting pink for baby girls, but this is such a lovely shade called Primrose. And the darn thing is literally flying off my needles even though it is on US 4s!! Just another 2 inches or so on the body and I’m done! Just have to sew on buttons, block, and weave in the ends 🙂

I’ve also been a bit pre-occupied by the Two Grey Dogs Schnauzer Snuggle that I wanted to design a crescent shaped shawl with, but was thoroughly, mentally blocked on. I’ve been lusting after the Truly Myrtle Settler Shawl since she released the design on her blog back in August. After my miserable fail at the designing process on Friday, I was “flipping” through my queue’d shawls and ran across the Settler Shawl and a light bulb went off. It was the crescent shape I desired for a shawl and the details were sleek enough to look good in the slightly variegated Orange at Sea colorway I wanted to use.

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So I did the only reasonable thing I could do besides go insane…

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I cast on!!

 

I am LOVING the way this is knitting up so far! The shawl is growing nicely into a long, thin crescent shape and the yarn has such a nice spring with the Merino content while the silk content is giving it a nice sheen and I’m hoping for a good amount of drape. I’m a little nervous about blocking it…I don’t want to lose the squish in the garter stitch but I think the lace-y, openwork border will need a good wet block to show up. We shall see.

I know I have other things I should/could be working on, but my beautiful stash display is tempting me! So much so that I may be ready for my first, actual, long-sleeved, yoked sweater!

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Meet Turia. I talked about her back when I first started the blog and really addressed my own form of Sweater-phobia! I’m no longer feeling the apprehension and impending doom when I think about starting a sweater to fit me. It may have to do with the fact that my Whispers top fits me.

I’ve got the yarn for her. I’ve got the pattern. And I’ve got the needles. Now, I even have the courage to wind her up and cast her on. Wish me luck!! I’d like to wait until I at least finish up the Wee Envelope before I wind this yarn…we shall see!

Until we meet again 🙂

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

PS. Sorry the photos are a bit dark…it is getting dark here so much earlier AND it was rainy and dreary all day 😦

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Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

Free-for-all

You remember this book from childhood right? From very early on, we are taught to take notice of the visual world around us. Humans are quite the visual species. In fact, I’m sure there is some crazy statistic I could insert here to make it seem like people are heavily influenced by the things they see. Instead, I’m just going to rely on your brains to either confirm or deny this.

Regardless, I’m visual. I look around in my real world and my online world for information. I could just be driving to the grocery store or cruising around Ravelry for the next thing(s) I’d like to knit. What appeals to me? What stands out? Interesting things. I like to see things that are out of the ordinary.

I like geometric shapes. I see them in stitches, especially the repeating shapes in fences or floors or leaves or flowers or bedspreads. I am often struck by super rich colors. Blues that you can fall into or golden yellows that make you feel warm.

Since immersing myself in the knitting world in May, I find that I’m looking at the everyday world searching for knits. I want to see knitting patterns in a trellis design or colors in the produce section at the grocery store. I may be obsessed.

But I am also not an original. Some many knitters and designers are out there translating the everyday into knits. I so admire this! I queue patterns often because of their beautiful geometric or natural designs that I feel like I’ve seen in the world recently. Pair that with the picture of the sample knit in some saturated color and I’m plopping that into my Ravelry purchase basket faster than the sun can set this winter! Sometimes, I feel like these designers are living my life and seeing what I’m seeing and making them into beautiful knit wear.

For instance the beautiful Onward Shawl by Shannon Cook of the VeryShannon blog is something I’m super drawn to. I love the geometric arrow shapes and feel like I’ve seen that recently on a trip (somewhere but I can’t remember where). Maybe they are just around me like on my knitting bag.

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And the Ambrosia Cardigan by Gudrun Johnston. The gorgeous traveling stitches in the yoke of this remind me of my old bedspread. Plus one of the samples is knit in this gorgeous golden yellow. Can you feel the warmth??

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Not to mention the Clinquant by Lisa Mutch of Northboundknitting. It’s like concrete on a well-loved playground where kids drag their dirty feet through the mud before running over to play four square.

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What did I tell ya, texture, texture & color, and color…get me everytime!!

I didn’t realize how tough it is represent the world in knitwear until I tried to do it myself. I’ve got a few ideas bouncing around in my brain, ready to show up in yarn.

So I pulled out some yarn, a notebook, needles, stitch markers, old notes I’d made and cast on. I knit a few inches. It’s not what I’m thinking it should be. Rip. I cast on again. This time with a garter tab. Potential…but it’s growing too slow and too pointy. I don’t want pointy. Rip. At this point I chickened out.

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I flew to Ravelry. I searched shawls I have in my library. Nothing to help there. I searched shawls in the pattern search. Free. Crescent. Not that circular…I find a few helpful ideas, like a set-up row (doh!) and then I start to question.

Where does my idea begin and another person’s end? If I use a general shawl recipe for the garter/stockinette body, can I claim it as my own work if I mix up the border? How will I make the border design grow proportionally to the increases in the crescent? Should I start this from the top or the bottom?

If I start from the top, how will I know how many stitches I need to start my patterned portion? Wait, didn’t I read something somewhere about Pi increases? Crap. And if I start from the bottom, do I really want to cast on ALL those stitches?

Long story short, designers: you amaze me! How do you combat this in your brain? Is this a fear thing? Am I just afraid to cast-on and go for it?

Maybe. Probably. I don’t want it to be wrong. And by wrong, I mean I want it to look like what I think it should look like in my head.

Here is the problem with that: there are times, in my knitting life and my real life, where I am following the directions for something and thinking, “no way is this going to turn out like the picture!! how is this part going to do that?? maybe I should just toss this or rip this and start over…” But usually something inside my brain also fights back and says, “NO! JUST KEEP GOING!!!”

And usually, it turns out just as the chef or designer or Siri intended it to. I just have to trust and keep going.

Is that how this designing process is going to work?

I am going to put my money on NO since I’m the one calling the shots. I guess we shall see.

Until then, my Two Grey Dogs Schnauzer Snuggle awaits.

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v’s & bumps,

Jenna

Do What You Know

You know how when you want to try something new everything seems more difficult to get started or get going. I’ve had this feeling that I wanted to do something new for my 60th blog post (since I missed my 50th) but I’m not sure what to do.

Looking online, people who celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary traditionally get diamonds! Sign me up! Not so sure I can afford to run out and buy myself some diamonds for my 60th blog post. Those may need to wait until my actual 60th wedding anniversary 🙂 So I looked at people celebrating their 60th birthday. A common theme for those celebrating their 60th seem to be “do what you want to do.”

That brings me back to doing what I know.

Here are some of the things I’ve been working on, since I haven’t been posting here.

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First up, my Technicolor Socks Take 2 in the Show-off Stranded Socks pattern in the gorgeous Pagewood Farms Denali Sock yarn. Its in the Sky Blue Pink colorway. I’m knitting them on US size 0 Karbonz double points. They are living in my Bird Leg Bags Halloween Bag I received as part of a Halloween order a few years ago from Simply Socks Yarn Co.

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I love the fabric I’m creating. It’s nice and tight. I’m really hoping they will wear well.

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I think I’ve only knit 6 pairs of socks since I’ve been knitting. 2 pairs were in worsted weight as house socks, 1 pair was knit in DK for a baby, and the last 3 pairs were knit in sock yarn. Two of those three were gifts. I’ve only kept 1 pair for myself. I knit them on 2 circulars in a US size 2. Those are a little loose in terms of fabric and by the end of a day of wear, they are quite baggy. These are coming along. Maybe another inch or two on the cuff before I start the heel.

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Since I’ve started the blog in May, I’ve fallen into the knitting rabbit hole. Yes, prior to May, I was knitting. A lot. But since I’ve started blogging and reading blogs, I’ve started to see my knitting in a different way. I’m more aware of all the things on my needles. I’m picking patterns and yarns in a more intentional way. If I don’t like something, I’m ripping it out and trying again. I’m actually attempting garments that fit, not just accessories. And the accessories I am knitting are more intentional. I’m trying to match yarn in terms of its composition with a pattern that will work with it.

Enough about that. On to another WIP!

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The Colorful Cozy Cowl I’ve been working on for Lyndsay is coming along slowly. It’s the Shibui Array Cowl pattern in some scrumptious Malabrigo Rios in the Teal Feather & Liquidambar colorways. Right side & wrong side view here.

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It’s coming along super slowly with all the slipped stitches. I do love the way it looks though. I’m sure it doesn’t help the speed of it when I keep starting new things.

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Like casting on my PostStitch project for my darling niece Payton. It’s the Wee Envelope pattern in the Luna Grey Fiber Arts Aspen Sport in the Primrose colorway. It’s not a hard knit. In fact, I was just trucking right along. Then I went to join the two yokes for the right sleeve. I picked up the stitches for the back yoke incorrectly.

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So I ripped it back. It’s in timeout. I will not let a baby sweater defeat me! So I picked up the socks. Don’t worry. I’ll try it again today.

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You may also be wondering what happened to my Two Grey Dogs yarn…It’s still in the ball. I’m trying to knock out a few things WIP wise before starting something new….not sure if this has ever stopped me before. I may just be a little chicken when it comes to just trying something new with the yarn.

Anyway, I feel like this post was very me, and thus very appropriate for my 60th post 🙂 What are you working on?

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

Linking up with Nicole at Frontier Dreams and Gracey is not my name at Life and Yarn or Yarn and Life..

Princess Bride & a Few Knit-Alongs…

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Call me crazy, but I have never seen the Princess Bride. Until today, as I type, I’m watching it. I DVR’d it a few days ago and thought I should watch it. It’s so stinkin’ cute!! For all my love of awkward love stories, I can’t believe I hadn’t seen it!

Onto the real topic of Free-For-All Friday…KALs!! Ravelry, Instagram, Blogs, and Podcasts are all alight with Knit-Alongs for EVERYTHING!!! It’s got to be the holidays, but there are some really fun things going on out there. First up, how about the awesome

INDIE DESIGN GIFT-ALONG

There are 298 indie designers participating. It runs for 2 months, starting yesterday November 13 at 8pm EST and running through December 31 at midnight EST. Right now, they are running a little 25% off on their patterns from yesterday until Friday November 21 at 11:59pm EST. You can check out the group here on Ravelry. You knit, you post, you gift, and you win. Things. Nice things. If nothing else, it will open your eyes to some great new designers.

Here are a few of the ones I’m definitely scoping out.
Heidi Atwood-Reeves–I’m all about her Cedar Lake Cadigan. I was turned on to this designer by A Playful Day podcaster greentrianglegirl…maybe another few months and when I finish the Wee Envelope (that I still need to cast on!).
Alicia Plummer– A link to her GAL bundle. The DownEast sweater, Coalesce shawl, White Leaf Cowl, Birchbark sweater, Salted sweater, postgrad cardigan…Need I say more?
Bristol Ivy– A link to her GAL bundle. The Earl Grey Mitts, Stria cardigan, Triangulate Cowl, Windrow Cowl, Wainwright sweater…I could go on.
Megan Williams– A link to her GAL bundle. She’s Megan of the Stockinette Zombies podcast. And her Cool Clavicle Cover is making the WIP rounds on several podcasts. Definitely on my list 🙂
Sarah Burghardt Abram– A link to her GAL bundle. I’m loving the Stricken shawl, Foxversation Piece hat, Much Ado Shawl, Wicker Park shawl…Beautiful!
Gretchen Ronnevik– A link to her GAL bundle. I want to knit the Clarity Cardigan and the Madame Phelps Shawl has caught my eye as well.
ambah– A link to her GAL bundle. Oh those, mirri mitts, Magine shawl, Kalimna shawl…
Shannon Cook– A link to her GAL bundle. This is Shannon from the Very Shannon blog. I’ve been stalking her new collection, Seasonless…I want to knit her Onward shawl, Downton cowl, Laylow shawl, Antrorse sweater…
Jenny Faifel– A link to her GAL bundle. The Lucky no 7 cowl, her loopdigan, and the sleeveless in Vancouver. Beautiful…

I don’t want to keep you here all night looking at their Gift-Along Bundles…I’m sure you can do that yourself by making your way over to the Ravelry group. These are just a few of the designers that I’ve been eyeing for a while. I can’t think of a better way to explore some of the excellent independent designers out there!!

I know I said I wanted to talk about all the cool KALs out there, but I decided this one is enough to keep you going.

On second thought, if you aren’t in the mood for gift knitting, the lovely ladies over at the Knitmore Girls podcast, Jasmin & Gigi, are hosting a Grinch-Along. There are only two rules:
1.) It can’t be holiday gift knitting.
2.) It has to bring you joy.

What sounds better than that…I think several “Jenna” projects are in order…

IMG_1522Like perhaps these socks that I’ve been knitting forever…My lovely Technicolor Socks Take 2. It’s the Show-off Stranded Socks pattern by Anne Campbell in this gorgeous Pagewood Farm Denali in the Sky Blue Pink colorway. I’ve got them on some Karbonz. Dreamy US size 0 DPNs…

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I finished the Rikke hat for Anke’s friend…Now I need to put it in the mail on Monday 🙂

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Selfie!! I had to try it on because it looked huge!!

Lastly, you may be asking yourself, what happened to that delectable yarn she showed us on Wednesday?? You know, the Two Grey Dogs??

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I decided to wind this one by hand. You know, to get acquainted properly with it.

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Here we are about half-way in…

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And I finished. It’s the cutest little (not really, 420 yds!!) ball of yarn! I think I’m going to cast it on. I am feeling the design bug.

Are you getting involved in any fun knit-alongs or craft-alongs? Are you totally wrapped up in gift knitting?

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

It’s Quiet Here

Agreed. Things have been quiet here on the blogging front. Not to worry, I have been knitting. Mostly watching football or baseball or people at Oktoberfests, but knitting happens with those things.

I’m in a place with my projects where all I need to do is knit (or crochet on the egg). The nice thing is that I’ve been stitching with people. That always makes stitching more enjoyable.

Being around people who are knitting or aren’t just makes me think of all the possible things I could make. I think that’s one of the dangers of knitting. All I can think about is what else I could knit. Is that something that happens to other knitters or creators of any kind?

First off, I’ve been thinking about knitting something for someone very special. I have this beautiful skein of Jade Sapphire Lacey Lamb in the Doubloon colorway that has been haunting me since I worked at McNeedles for a summer. I picked this up on a trip to St. Louis at Knitorious a few years ago (ironic that this is the store I have frequented since moving here).

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I think I want to knit the Sandpiper Scarf by Celeste Young in the Knits of a Feather book. I picked this up about year ago at Barnes and Noble. I do love feathers and this book has some really cool patterns. I just think the yarn and the pattern would work beautifully together for someone very special.

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I’ve also been thinking a lot about all the odds and ends that I have from past projects. I don’t throw any of them away. As I’ve been listening to and watching some knitting podcasts, people seem to be talking about making blankets with their leftovers. I do think the Bee Keeper’s Quilt is gorgeous, but the thought of knitting all those biddy hexipuffs and then putting them together is very, very off-putting.

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I recently came across this Ten Stitch Blanket pattern by Frankie Brown. I would love to start this with my bag of goodies. Only hesitation is tying up a pair of needles in this.

Finally, the last thought that has been swimming around in my brain is designing my own knitwear. I keep going around, maybe a shawl, or a vest, or a pair of mitts, or a cowl…I’ve been simply sketching things out in my journal and I still haven’t swatched anything yet. But I did have a minor stroke of brilliance (teehee) when I read about this giveaway over on Small Things. I entered and didn’t win, but I did go online and order me a Knit & Crochet Notebook by Mama’s Notebooks.

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I’m really excited to start developing my ideas using this cool notebook. I love that there is plenty of graph paper and room to really play here. I still think I will need to start with swatching, but having this new tool does inspire me to get going.

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I should get back to the knitting before I cast on that scarf…I have way too many WIPs floating around here to start something new.

Does the quiet get your brain going?

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v’s & bumps,

Jenna

Whatever, Whatever I Do What I Want.

Monday Musings

Since today is Monday, I thought I’d do a little post about some of the updates here on the blog and where I’d like to go with this in the future. I have a hard time setting firm dates since my working situation and personal inspiration tend to ebb and flow.

One of the first updates is a revamping of the title pictures. Initially they were hand-drawn. I had a very hard time photographing them without shadows. So I’m taking close-ups of some of my beautiful stash and putting the words I need on them using the Paint program. I’m not perfect, but I’m learning 🙂

Second update is the “Blogs I Read” page that I added to the Menu bar. I have noticed that some of my readers find me from other blogs, namely from comments I leave or that blog’s “blogs I read” little menu. I had a menu of some wordpress hosted blogs that were in my right sidebar, but that wasn’t nearly all the blogs I follow on Bloglovin. Plus, I wanted to return the favor of those who put my blog in their section. I went through my Bloglovin roll and posted links and little blurbs I found from the blogs about pages.

I know it looks like a lot and it is, but remember that not all blogs post everyday. Some only post weekly so it doesn’t completely overwhelm me. Also, some of the designers only post sporadically when they release a design or appear at events. I like to follow them because I get those updates when they happen. If you have a blog and would like to be added to the page, you can leave a comment on this post or on the “Blogs I Read” page in that comments section.

I also added an FO page. I will start adding to this page this week. I thought about doing a WIP page, but that takes a lot to update regularly. If you’d like to check up on my WIPs, you can head to my Ravelry projects page.

Next update involves really being inspired to design something. I’ve been waffling back and forth in my brain about actually starting a design. Here are my hang-ups:
1. I just started really seriously getting in to more complicated knitting about a year ago. My experience with really paying attention to patterns is still new. I keep reading blog and forum posts about keeping the language in the patterns universal and clear so that any knitter can read and understand it. I’m not sure if I’ve knit enough patterns to have this come across in my writing!
2. I hate swatching. And to really see how the yarn will behave for my design, I should swatch. I love to just cast on for a project and go. This does backfire occasionally when I’m a few inches into a project and totally hate the fabric or how it’s knitting up. Then I realize I could have avoided this by simply swatching beforehand.
3. I am just not quite sure where to start. As I type this, I’m realizing I should start with a swatch. So that reason is officially not valid. 🙂

I think putting some aspects of a design on this blog may help to build my confidence and keep me motivated. In fact, reading all the blogs on knitting and life has been what inspired me to think about designing something myself. I’m thinking a shawl or cowl using these yarns:

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It’s Madeline Tosh Tosh DK in Briar (purple), Saffron (copper), and Parchment (creamy grayish). I know that’s a lot of colors and yummy-ness and yards. But they have been haunting my thoughts!

Speaking of thought-haunting, I’ve been thinking about knitting ALL THE TIME! I know I keep saying this, but it really is the season. And my yarn cabinet is definitely an enabler. Not to mention I did just hop on the podcast bus. So its all I can think about.

Anyway, I’ll give a better update of my projects on WIP Wednesday.

What about you? Have any inspiration updates??

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

I Been Gone So Long…

MONDAY musing 2

At least it feels that way! I just got back from a trip to Denver, Colorado to see one of my very best friends marry her very best friend 🙂 We celebrated Thursday night with a  Bachelorette party.

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The happy couple sharing their first dance.

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All of us girls who traveled from near and far.

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Needless to say, being in a new city with old friends leaves little time for blogging. Pair that with some pretty gnarly hangovers and a lack of free wi-fi at our hotel and it’s pretty much impossible to post.

Now that I’m back in Louisville, I can catch up on all the blogs I follow (thanks Bloglovin) and write an overdue post of my own!

I initially thought I’d be writing about ALL the yarn shops I was able to visit in Denver. What I didn’t realize was that our trip would be so busy with little time to browse the fiber arts world.

I did make it to one shop in Arvada called Knit Knack. It was a quaint store located in Olde Town Arvada. It seemed like a great store to call your LYS with tables to sit and knit at and a coffee and tea bar. I love that it had such a cozy, come-in-and-knit type of vibe. I didn’t think to take pictures of the shop. I’m still new to this whole blogging adventure. But, I did purchase 2 beautiful skeins of yarn.

The first is MadelineTosh Tosh DK in Parchment.

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The squish factor on this stuff is AWESOME!

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I love the grays and tans that make this up.

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I want to knit the Arrow Cowl using this as the color of the arrows. I’ve also got 2 skeins of Tosh DK in Briar to use as the base color. I think it will be the perfect complement to the grays and tans of the Parchment.

The second is Susquehanna Knitting Company’s Sparkle Sock in Trumpet.

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I was instantly drawn to the peachy color of this and the slight sparkle. I love that the sparkle doesn’t make the yarn scratchy (at least in the skein). I’m not sure what I’m going to make with this but it’s got good yardage at 438 and it’s a Merino/Nylon/Stellina blend.

I have also spent a good deal of my time writing. I talked about in my very first post about the need to create with my hands and the desire to have my creations at least resemble what I imagine. This compels me to write. Not necessarily stories or anything like that, but just to use paper and pen. Mostly I write in my journal or I make lists. Occasionally, I write notes and cards to friends and family.

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I simply love to write. It’s even better to write on a fresh piece of paper with a pen. There are usually several lists going on various pads. One of my favorite places to make lists is in my calendar. I try to keep them in one place, but I make lists all over the house and also have paper pads all over the house containing my lists. I know a lot of people use their phones to keep a calendar or a list, but I like the paper variety. I like having the physical pieces to pull out and compare.

This brings me to my knitting point here. I want to try my hand at pattern design. Just something simple like a cowl or hat. I’d like to do it in a notebook of sorts. I’ve come across Nadine Curtis’ Knit Notes: Explore*Design*Create and Melanie Falick’s Knit: A Personal Handbook.

Any suggestions on what I should use? Do you have a program or notebook you use to create? I would love to know.

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna