Hats, Inspiration, Knitter's Talk, Knitting, Skills, Socks, Winter, Wool, Work, Wraps/shawls, Yarn

Choice to Make things that Last

Hey Everyone!

When I started making socks, I was like “what if I get a hole in a sock? Does that mean I lose that pair?” While that has yet to happen (thank goodness), I learned about this nifty tool called a Speedweve. They came about and were popular in the 1940’s & 1950’s (makes sense in the Post War Era). It is exactly what I have been looking for and need to add to my collection of knitting tools. I would hate to have to just toss a pair of hand knit socks if one gets a hole. Once I get a speedweve I will be able to fix it and get more wear out of the socks. If it were a pair of store bought socks, I wouldn’t think twice about tossing since they are cheaply and poorly made anyway. Hand Knit socks I have a harder time being willing to toss, as more time and money went in to the creation of said socks.

In today’s modern culture, a lot of things are made poorly and cheaply, which means the items don’t last as long as they once did (thanks fast fashion). Back when my grandparents were children and young adults, maternal items were made to last longer, and if it broke, you fixed/mended it, if it couldn’t be fixed you did without (either completely or until money could be saved to replace it).

Over the past couple years, I have been trying to incorporate more of that philosophy into my life. Learning how to knit things for myself, I prefer doing, as I know that what I make is if a better quality than can be bought at the local department store. My socks are definitely of a better quality than buying Nike/adidas/other name brand crew socks at the store. I still use those kinds of socks for my current job since I am active there and it is easier to throw those socks in the washer.

What I am working towards is to live a more sustainable and self sufficient life, away from the city life. I would ultimately like to homestead and more from scratch. Making my own socks, hats wraps and such is part if that.

I had started the second sock of the pair I am working on last week, but ended up ripping out what I had done on Sunday as I had dropped a stitch and it ran too far down to get it. I restarted the sock, and yesterday I finally got back to the point of where I had been on Sunday when I dropped the stitch. It was nice it only took me a couple days to get back on track (among doing other things around the house). I am back to making progress again and I am almost done with the cuff. The first version of the second sock definitely was looking different as far as striping was going from the first one, but it’s reknit is looking much more like it’s mate, while using the exact same amount of yarn as it’s predecessor did.

The desire I have to live a simpler life, I know takes hard work and delayed gratification, and that is definitely part of why I want to do it. I also believe the final product is of better quality. It’s also more satisfying for me to see the final product knowing I did it myself or had a part of making it happen.

I am also trying to support the smaller yarn dyers who create some of the most beautiful and interesting yarn colorways as far as sock yarn goes. I still have some Knitpicks sock yarn to knit up. I am really trying to use Knitpicks for supplies and yarn for bigger projects, where it is more practical to buy from them. To me, Knitpicks is akin to the Montgomery Wards or Meyer and Frank Catalogs of decades past, and the “indie” dyers, while still having an online presence are the mom and pop stores on your local Main / High street. It’s the premise of shopping on Main Street when possible, but sometimes when what you need / want isn’t available locally, you order it from the Catalog. Then again even from the time I was a teen I enjoyed looking at old catalogs and magazines from the 1940’s and 1950’s. I was also fortunate to have Grandmothers who were young adults / young wives during that era who could actually tell me about that period from their own experience.

Gifts for Others, Hats, Knitting, Knitting Essentials, Knitting Needles, Knitting Projects, Wool, Yarn, Yarn, Yarn Store

Wool Winter Hat for a friend

Hey Everyone! 

Last night I finished up the hat I have been working on for a good friend of mine. 

For Christmas 2014 I had made her a scarf and a pair of fingerless gloves, so she wanted a hat to complete the set. 

For her hat I used about half a skein of Patons Classic Wool Worsted in natural mix, and I used my size 7 clover bamboo needles to knit up the hat. 

I had made a run out to Astoria and the neighboring towns of Warrenton ad Hammond and had gone to the JoAnn’s out there. I had wanted to see it in comparison to the JoAnn’s that is near where I live and compare the two. I had wanted to go to the coast so it was the perfect opportunity to go out to that Joann’s and get yarn for my friends hat while I was there. 

I had also decided to use the seed stitch / British Moss Stitch to add some texture and to make some of the stitches pop, for accent.   
As crazy as life is at the moment, and with as much as I have going on, hats are easy and quick to knit up, I got this hat done in less than a week. 

Hats, Knitting, Knitting Projects, Personal Projects, Projects for Myself, Scarves, Wool, Wraps/shawls, Yarn, Yarn, Yarn Store

Christmas and Birthday Yarn Haul

Hi Everyone!

There is only about a week between Christmas and My Birthday, I had the opportunity to do some yarn shopping for more expensive yarn to use in projects for myself.

For Christmas I bought myself two skeins of Lion Brand Fishermen’s Wool in Natural. For my birthday I bought myself 4 skeins of Lion Brand Wool-Ease in Forest Green Heather. I also bought two hanks of Sweet Georgia Yarns super wash DK in Salt Water. While at my favorite yarn store my mom bought me two hanks of The Fibre Company Canopy Fingering Yarn in Dragon Fruit.  

This past year I have been seriously stocking up on yarns to use on projects for myself. Beings that it has been Christmas and my birthday I have been spoiling myself. While there is still a huge part of me that is very much outdoorsy, go for a hike, needing functional cold weather knits, there is also a part of me that is wanting more delicate pretty (while still functional) lady like knits. I alway love being able to tell people that I made what I was wearing. Part of that pride is also having quality yarns to work with. 

   
    
 I love yarn shopping,  getting creative and finding inspiration for new projects. Beings that I am hoping to move somewhere that at least has colder winters, if not a cooler climate. With that, everything I make for myself will come in extremely useful. 

Hats, Knitting, Knitting Essentials, Knitting Projects, Patterns, Personal Projects, Scarves, Skills, Wool, World Vision Knit for Kids, Wraps/shawls, Yarn

Knitting teaches important life skills

Hey Everyone!

Today I want to talk a bit about how knitting (or crocheting) teaches important life skills. 

It teaches you how to work with your hands, how to see projects through to completion, how to be a self starter, how to put colors together, how to create patterns and to challenge yourself to try new things and harder projects. 

I learned how to knit when I was 10 years old, and for the next 12 years I knit primarily sweaters for kids in need. After I graduated from university, my love for knitting and trying harder, more challenging projects took off. If I had not stuck with it even when I was super busy in school, I would not be where I am today, constantly trying new projects and constantly pushing myself to try harder things.

I totally get that Knitting (or crocheting) isn’t for everyone, but the lessons that can be learned from picking it up, or doing other things like sewing, carpentry, and much more are pretty much the same. Learning a craft and using your hands to be productive teaches valuable skills that much of the youth these days (my generation included) lacks. 

I am one of those who also believes that if I can make it myself (without wanting to rip out my hair trying), why should I buy something? Especially if it is of a lesser quality that I would make and costs more than it would me to make it. 

Here a few years ago I had purchased a flimsy little machine knit hat at a department store for like $12 or $13. After wearing it once, I was like “this is nuts, I know how to knit, I am going to figure out how to make a hat that will fit my head, and find a good yarn and do it myself.” I had bought fishermen’s wool, which I love by the way, and make a hat and scarf out of once skein, which even at regular price is $11, so I got a hat AND scarf for less than it cost of a hat of subpar quality. 

Baby Items, Hats, Knitting, Knitting for Kids in Need

Hats for Infants in Nepal and Uganda

Hey Everyone!

One of my Facebook Page followers shared with me a ravelry group she has. She collects infants hats that will then be sent on to University of British Columbia students who go to Nepal and Uganda, and they take the hats collected to infants in need.

I will be sharing the link below, and if any of you can help out with this cause, that would be fantastic and much appreciated.

When I find out about other people who are doing things that benefit children in need, I like to share them, and pass along the information.

Click  Here to go to the hats for infants ravelry group.

goals, Hats, Knitting, Knitting for Kids in Need, Sweaters

Goals for the rest of 2015

Hey Everyone!

Now that I have gifts taken care of, I figure that it is time to really figure out what I want to get done in the way of charity knitting for this year.

This year I will complete five sweaters, including the one I am currently working on. I will also use up the balls of yarn I have sitting on my floor, as well as what is left over from the sweaters I knit this year, for hats for children in India.

I am currently working on a size ten sweater. I am working to cumulatively have the same number of each size sweater made. I will need to make one more size 6 sweater, two size 8 sweaters and one more size 10 sweater (in addition to the one I am currently working on) to have fourteen of each size of sweater. From there I want to go to making sets (a sweater of each size), and keep my sweater totals the same across the board.

I have several good size balls of yarn sitting around that are really too small for sweaters, but work great for making hats, which is what I plan to use them for. I am wanting to get them used up and made into something that will be sent to children living in poverty.

Hats, Knitting, Knitting Projects, Wool, Yarn, Yarn

Finished my Alpine Wool Hat

Hey Everyone!

I had finished knitting my alpine wool hat yesterday, and had contemplated re knitting it as it was soooooooooooo big. Then I decided to felt it, and put it in the dryer. So the fact that I had intentionally machine washed and dried wool had its desired effect. My hat felted and shrank. While it still is a little long, it fits so much better now, and I am happy with how it turned out. 

  
I am so excited for next winter to really try it out. I already know that it is really warm, and cozy. 

Hats, Knitting, Knitting for Kids in Need, Knitting Projects, Scarves, Sweaters, Whats on My Needles, Whats on the Needles Wednesday, Wool, World Vision Knit for Kids, Yarn

Getting a Jump on Next Winter

Hey Everyone!

It has been far too long since I last did a “What’s on my Needles Wednesday” post, so I figured now is as good of time as any to bring it back. 

This week I have a size 10 knit for kids sweater going, an eight strand braided cable scarf and a winter hat. 

For the sweater I am knitting up I am using all red heart yarn in light sage, buff and a cranberry color. 

I had a skein of lion brand fishermen’s wool in oatmeal that I would start something then decide to do something else, I finally decided to use it for an eight strand braided cable scarf. 

I am making a hat out of lion brand alpine wool in Chili. I wanted to try this yarn so I am using what I bought for a warm winter hat. Trying to cast on the hat and knit off the first row was a pain in the butt. Beings that it is more of a roving, it is loosely spun and the strand kept pulling apart half way across the knit off row. Once I finally got the first row knit off it has become easier to work with. Last night I went and picked up a second skein so I could finish my hat. 

   
   

Hats, Knitting, Whats on My Needles, Wool, Yarn, Yarn Reviews

Lion Brand Yarn Alpine Wool

Hey Everyone!

Welcome to my yarn review series. I know I have done at least one in the past. Let’s just jump right in.

I recently purchased a skein of Lion Brand Yarn Alpine Wool in Chili, at my local Joann fabric and craft super store to try. I decided to make a hat out of it. I am maybe 1/3 of the way done with my hat and at least 1/2 way through the skein. Needless to say, I will be making a trip to Joann’s to get another skein. 

Pros: 

It’s a bulky yarn, most skeins (that are simply dyed) are 100% wool. It is soft for wool. 

Cons:

It’s more loosely spun, so I had pulled apart the strand in knitting off the first row all three times I cast on the project. Fortunately the last time I was close enough to the end of the row and had enough left as a tail to cast on  and work the yarn to get the remaining stitches I needed. You only get about 93 yards in a skein so you need at least 2 skeins to make an adult size hat. 

I am glad I tried this yarn and am looking forward to being able to wear it for winters to come when it does get cold enough outside to wear it. 

Once I complete this project I will not be purchasing any more of this yarn for my own use. Between the issues I had with casting on and knitting off the first row as well as the cost to make just one hat is not worth it for future projects in my mind. 

Charity Project Monday, Hats, Knitting, Knitting for Kids in Need, Scarves

Infant Hats and Christmas Gifts

In between working on the Christmas gifts that I am working on, that are a bit more complex, and require more attention I have also had some infant hats going at the same time. I have plenty of baby yarn left over from other projects that I am wanting to get used up for a good cause, so I have been using the balls I have sitting over here for infant hats. I currently have 10 infant hats complete. I am looking into charities that get the hats to hospitals and birthing centers in the high poverty areas here in the US. One that I know of – Bundles of Joy, is a group that donates their time and hats to infants born in the Pine Ridge Reservation OB Ward. The reservation is located in South Dakota.

The fact that there are areas within the US where unemployment is over 75%, and whole communities live without electricity, indoor plumbing, sewage systems, and telephones. Seeing infants born into this system where the infant mortality rate is around 5 times the national average is heart breaking. That is why I like using the talent I have been given, in knitting to give back to those who are much less fortunate than I am.

Some may ask, why I do it, when these infants will grow up and are roughly 4 times more likely to commit suicide as a teenager, or join a gang, and if they grow into adulthood 3/4 if not more of them will be unemployed for their entire adult lives, and be alcoholics, and if the alcohol doesn’t get them, another health condition related to the alcohol or poor diet will. While this argument is very valid, My answer is yes, that is all true, but there is also that small fraction of a population that will make a better life for themselves. Do you want to deprive those the opportunity to be able to contribute, or make a difference by letting them die as infants do to not being kept warm? That is why I knit for the infants, and I would love to see each of the infants born into poverty receive a handmade blanket and hat, knowing full well that few of them will be able to rise above the generational poverty.

As for the Christmas gifts I am working on, I am making progress on both the falling leaves wrap and the six strand braided cable scarf. The scarf is knitting up faster than the wrap because it is not as intricate of a pattern, so I am able to work on it while watching YouTube videos, or shows on hulu, or working on other things on the computer. The falling leaves wrap requires more focused concentration, and I can only have music playing while working on it. Both of these will be done before Christmas.