Monthly Archives

December 2016

Knitting in the New Year

Knitting in the New Year. Resolutions for knitters from Andrea @ This Knitted Life.

A new year means new knitting projects. As it would happen, I just happen to have found myself BETWEEN projects at present. Reed’s sweater is done and I don’t have solid plans for much else. Although I have a pair of vanilla socks on the needles that have been getting loads of action.

This must be why some people plan ahead.

I did spontaneously work up a swatch of fingering last night, hoping the yarn I had in mind for this tee would do the trick. No luck. It wasn’t a match unless I want to do a bunch of math or take a leap of faith. Neither has much appeal.

I had harbored some aspirations (delusions?) of designing a color work cowl. I swatched up My Brilliant Idea last night only to conclude the result looked like an Easter egg gone awry.

It wasn’t pretty.

Trust me.

Not even a cool Instagram filter can make my pastel swatch seem hip and knit-worthy, let alone an entire cowl. (Even the Easter Bunny would have seen this swatch and quickly hopped the other direction, offended.)

I am not afraid to admit some of my ideas truly suck, convoluted somewhere between the Idea Stage and the Implementation Stage.

Future colorwork is officially on hold. At least until I can pick out yarn In Person. The computer screen just isn’t working for me right now.

Not only am I out of Immediate Projects in my queue… but… (gasp) I am kind of out of yarn. I have bags and bags of scraps and a spare skein of sock yarn. My hall closet is bursting with half skeins of this and that, sealed in Ziploc bags and not at all enticing.

I guess this means I didn’t do half bad on last year’s Resolution #1: Knit the Stash.

Three cheers for me.

Sadly my other resolutions from last year didn’t come to fruition, which means I can just add those back to the list for this year and forego the exercise of coming up with new lofty knitting goals that I may or may not achieve.

I’m keeping it simple.

For the time being.

(I give myself a solid week…)

In the meantime, here I am on New Years Eve with some gradient worsted (Spincycle Independence) from the last of my stash, my favorite stitch dictionary, and an extra sharp pair of needles. I am not yet sure what I am casting on. Maybe it will knit up to something fabulous. Or, as it sometimes goes, it will knit up to something dreadful.

There’s only one way to find out.

Happy New Year, my dear knitters.

May 2017 find you healthy, surrounded by those you love, and brimming with nice wool.

And Here We Are


The final days of the year.

2016.

Nearly over.

My child. Newly four.

My hair. Increasingly grey.

I have never been a super crazy holiday person. I recall being irritated by Christmas songs even at a young age. The monotony of Jingle Bells getting on my nerves, practicing such simple lyrics over AND OVER again for grade school pageant preparation.

I don’t overly decorate our house. There is no wreath making party. No mantle for hanging holly. No mistletoe. We boast nothing more than  a simple tree decorated only with birds and a few modest snowflakes (…there were a few fish, but Reed broke them in his redecorating efforts…) and a menorah painstaking placed out of reach of fire hazards and Reed (tricky to find a qualifying location).

I do enjoy gifting but found it daunting this year, even the store bought variety. Unlike years past, I only gifted a couple pairs of socks that I had manged to knit up during the summer and tucked away. There was no frenzy of stitching. No sleepless nights for the last minute mittens.

Done that. Been there. No thanks.

I’m no grinch, but if there was a Grinch Assistant, I just might qualify.

Except for Reed.

Maybe it’s just that magical age, but Reed LOVED the holidays this year. Loved them! And not just for the pile of gifts tucked under the tree at an elevation not dissimilar to Mt. Everest (all for him) but because of cutting down the tree in the crisp, cold air with his dad before decorating his timbered haul, which he nearly did all on his own (as evidenced by all the birds hanging upside down on the branches instead of nestling atop the branches…). He repositioned each ornament just so NUMEROUS times, his exacting commentary endless throughout each maneuver.

And it wasn’t just the tree.

It was the lights, hung askew on all the houses, so magical to him while tacky to me.

It was the gingerbread house window stickers gifted to him (please no, I thought), which he precisely stuck to each and every window in the house, electing not to group them all onto a single window, as I had so wisely recommended. Instead he spread the joy evenly throughout the house, applying his finger prints to each and every window without discrimination.

Or the god-aweful elf hats (think: Santa hat with giant elf ears), one of which he proudly wore to his pre-school holiday concert. Reed: delighted. Me: wondering where in the heck I was going to hide those things after Christmas. (They are still splayed about his bedroom floor…)

You know the worse part of it all?

The Christmas music.

Now, think ill of me if you must, but I am that person that groans when I hear holiday music overtake the radio stations each December. I IMMEDIATELY change the station and find few things worse than those days right before Christmas when it is IMPOSSIBLE to find a carol-free station.

Reed, displaying a genetic variant clearly not from my own bloodline, LOVES Christmas music.

Emphatically so.

He quizzed us on the plot in Rudolph the Reindeer and demanded to know all the reindeer names (I had to Google…Cupid? Really? For a reindeer name?)

He requested it be played whenever I was listening to normal music. No mom. Play RUDOLPH.

Seriously.

And, as a testament to my love for his grimy little fingers, I played Rudolph. And barely even minded the intrusion into what might otherwise be considered a musical offense.

That’s the thing about a spark. It lights up everything around it.

As for knitting…well…

Reed’s little sweater is done. I still need to get photos for you guys! I made him wear it to our family holiday dinner on Monday, and he had a snag half as long as his arm in under an hour. I need to fix that! The good news is it fits and probably will fit for another year or so (room to grow but not too much room). I had a little issue with loosing a skein of yarn, but I will tell you about that later.

I’ve used the left over yarn to knit up a corresponding hat, which I plan to block tonight. I hope it fits. I reduced the number of cast on stitches at the last moment because it “looked too big” even though I had done the gauge math to the contrary. I should have stuck with my math. As always.

I finished a pair of socks and started another.

(All the photos are over on Instagram if you want to keep up…)

And I’m plotting. I was so focused on knitting Reed’s sweater that I hadn’t done much thinking about my next project. Although I think it will have lots of colors.

Because I am dreaming of a Bright New Year.

2016: The Year That Flew…Patterns in Review!!!

Knitters! Sometimes I surprise even myself!  I actually managed to complete EIGHT!!! designs in 2016.

No wonder I’m so tired.

I had so much fun developing these patterns in new and fabulous yarns that I hardly ever (well, sometimes) felt like I was working!

I feel like my design quality improved this year, in part because I started using test knitters and a tech editor to really ensure these patterns actually turn out the way they are supposed to and the instructions are free of irritating errors. It has been well worth the extra effort.

In case you have newly discovered this quirky Little Land O’ Knitting over here and missed some of these pattern releases, I’ve got you covered!

(Don’t I always!?!?!)

Tulipland Scarf

Tulipland scarf by Andrea @ This Knitted Life. Knit horizontally!

Knitting scarves horizontally should be more of a thing! It’s so much easier than flipping and flipping and flipping. Is there such a thing as Flip-itis? I don’ t know if scarf knitting in general has lost its mojo to the thrill of shawl knitting, but if I knit or design another scarf, I will definitely go for the horizontal method. (Do you still knit scarves?!?!) Tulipland uses Swans Island Fingering, which is a great yarn at a fantastic value. I have a couple skeins of this stuff left in my stash that I plan to use for an upcoming tee, and I can’t wait!

Metamorphosis Cowl

Metamorphosis Cowl by Andrea @ This Knitted Life. Knit in the round!

I just might wear my Metamorphosis the most of all my knits from this past year. It’s just so versatile (and soft!). It was a delight to knit, and I was truly sad when it graduated from my needles. This was my first time working in Woolfolk’s Sno. Holy smokes. That’s some nice wool! I had fun melding a lace pattern with a simple geometric motif and would like to try mixing textures again in 2017. It’s tons of fun.

Linto Creek Cowl

Linto Creek Cowl by Andrea @ This Knitted Life. Knit in the round!

This was my one absolutely perfect design for 2016. This cowl totally behaves. It keeps its shape. There’s no rolling or anything weird. It’s just on point all the time. Plus it’s knit up in a yak/silk blend. SWOON. I have noticed my LYS has Lang Asia on sale this week, and I have been SO tempted to buy more even though I am really TRYING to work with all new yarns in 2017. This cowl is so jewel toned that I truly feel like a princess when I wear it. Next up: how to knit a crown…

Rainland Shawlette

Rainland Shawlette by Andrea @ This Knitted Life.

I knit Rainland twice in two different bases, and the pattern comes with instructions for both yarn weights (it’s a two-for-one!). This is the IDEAL knit for that one perfect skein that you treasure and want to showcase for the yarn itself. Rainland isn’t fancy, but it’s all you will ever need for working up Perfect Yarn. Sometimes simple is better.

Stormland Poncho

Stormland easy folded-style poncho by Andrea @ This Knitted Life.

This is the easiest, snuggliest, warmest, classiest folded-style poncho you’ll ever meet. It’s knit up in Malabrigo Worsted, which is AFFORDABLE (in my opinion). Stormland uses the twist stitch technique that has carried through several of my designs. (I have a shawl and a cowl that use a similar approach.) This knit has a lot of texture and simplicity (my preference) relative to how stress-free it is to knit.

Stoneland Poncho

Stoneland easy folded-style poncho by Andrea @ This Knitted Life.

I knit three grey ponchos this year, and Stoneland is probably the one I wear most. It’s super soft (100% alpaca!), fairly light (DK/sport weight), and it’s got that texture I love without being too frilly. It’s also a folded-style poncho design. I wear mine over a black long-sleeve tee All The Time. My coworkers and friends are probably sick of seeing me wear it all the time, but I just can’t help myself.

Trintara Hat

Trintara Hat by Andrea @ This Knitted Life.

I truly love this hat and want to knit more of them, especially a Man Version. I knit it with Madelinetosh Pashmina Worsted, which is worth hunting for online (and still available if you Google), but any worsted weight yarn will work. It also has some cabling without being uber fancy (not my thing). I love the depth of this stitch pattern, and I didn’t block my final hat in order to protect the loft of the stitch. This was one of only two samples that I gifted this year, and I loved being able to pass it along to one of my absolute favorite friends who fell in love with the color. Gifting knitting to the appreciative is the absolute Best Thing Ever.

Ari’s Wish Baby Hat

Ari's Wish Baby Hat by Andrea @ This Knitted Life. Fingering weight yarn.

Of all my designs for 2016, this little pattern probably took the most effort wine/chocolate. Of course. It’s always the little things that get you. I love this lacy little bonnet for babes. I knit mine in Madeintosh Tosh Merino Light because I love that stuff and usually have enough scraps laying around for a baby hat. Any fingering weight yarn will work just fine, so head on over to your scrap stash and see what you can drum up. Ari’s Wish was actually a remake of one of my first patterns. I hope to continue going through my early catalog and refreshing/double checking those designs for re-releases in 2017. Keep your eyes out!

I want to say THANK YOU to everyone who took a leap with me and purchased with one of these patterns. 2016 was a year of tremendous growth for me, and I couldn’t have done it without you. I have loved being able to offer new patterns at a discount (or even for free!) to my subscriber list.

Thanks, knitters! Mwah.

P.S. Happy Winter Solstice!

I hope to see you over at the Yarn Along this week. I am just starting to read This Must be The Place and am hopeful that I will like it. I also recently wrapped up The Wangs vs. The World and enjoyed it.

Ten MORE Knitting Lessons I Learned the Hard Way

ten-more-knitting-lessons-i-learned-this-year

Oh knitters. I hate to say it, but the year is winding down. I am glancing at my calendar (with tremendous angst) and realizing just how close we are to the end of December. Maybe, for you, 2016 was your best year ever. Or maybe it was your worst. Either way, I am guessing knitting got you through it.

Knitting got me through my year too. That and Reed, who you know I love.

I have knit so much this year (yet it felt like not nearly enough) that I can hardly remember what I worked up in those early months, seemingly eons ago. It’s so hard to keep it all straight! When I review my bucket list for the year, I actually did pretty darn good. I didn’t check absolutely everything off, but I did get to most things.

High five.

(Yes, I know that was dorky. And I don’t care.)

Despite my many years as a knitter, I am still learning to be a better and perhaps more daring knitter all the time. Although I refuse to try steeking.

Even I have my limits.

Sorry.

As with last year, most of my lessons learned came to me from my mistakes, which were numerous despite my best efforts to the contrary. It’s always the easy things that prove hard. And the hard things that reveal themselves to be even harder.

That’s why we have determination.

So, what did I learn this year? Well…

All the Grey

I knit with too much grey! All the things! Grey! And not in the 50 Shades of Grey-sense either. Nothing nearly that exciting.

Ten (more) knitting lessons I learned the hard way this year. Of course.

I designed two grey ponchos and one grey shawl. This is on top of knitting a third (HUGE) grey poncho and working up Reed’s first sweater, which of course inadvertently has a grey base.

Fresh on top of my two grey hat designs from last year, I feel like I am swimming in grey. Obviously I love to wear grey.

Who doesn’t?

It’s so versatile.

Now that winter has arrived and my grey outfits blur into the ominous clouded sky, it all feels a bit drab.

I hereby pledge to take a break from grey yarn in 2017. Color, here I come!

Goodbye, Lace Weight

I have sworn off super fine lace weight yarn. Even if it is cheap and astoundingly pretty in that jewel-toned sort of way that always hooks me. It’s just not worth it. I find it painfully slow to knit with, easy to snag, and stressful to wear.

Maybe some future Me without a young child and in possession of more free time will better enjoy the bliss of working with yarn possibly spun by a (giant) spider, but this Me says NO THANKS.

And pass the wine.

Knitted Toys, No More

Knitted toys?!?! Never again! (Okay, maybe.) I thought Reed’s Easter bunny was going to be a slam dunk. One night of knitting and I would have a marvelous handmade gift to augment his consumer-based, sugar-laden basket. Super Mom!

Uh, no.

Dozens of hours and lots of tears later, Spearmint was born. The good news is Reed still loves his dear bunny and was just toting him around the house yesterday. He has already placed MANY more requests for a plethora of additional hand knit toys, to which I have replied Mama is already busy knitting you a sweater.

Sometimes moms just have to change the subject.

Metal Needles (Almost) All the Way

After breaking two sets of wooden sock needles this year, I switched to metal needles only. They break less and work up yarn faster. I used to think my stitches always slipped off and hated metal needles resolutely.

No more.

My mind has opened. Time is money.

Hold your stitches tight and knit like there’s no tomorrow.

(I received this set for my birthday and have been quite happy!)

The Blocking Kerfuddle

Sometimes blocking works. Sometimes it doesn’t.

It all depends.

And here’s the crappy bit: you just have to try to find out.

Crappier still: if it doesn’t work, there’s no going back.

You’re just screwed.

You can’t unblock it (but you can reknit it, although who wants to do that…). I found I don’t like to block stitches with a lot of texture like the honeycomb stitch unless I am prepared for my knit to flatten out significantly.

And not in a tummy tuck sort of way.

On the other hand, I’ve knit some big screw ups this year that rolled and folded in all the wrong places (designing has it’s limitations!), and was rescued after an unplanned soak in the tub.

(Although as a general rule, I do prefer to block most things and always wet block my swatches.)

Hang in There for The Long Haul

Occasionally projects take six months to finish. That’s okay. My Waterlily was on the needles FOREVER, but I did eventually finish it. Knitting with linen wasn’t my favorite, but washing linen in the machine without much stress IS divine…so I might just knit with linen again after all.

Nothing is ever certain.

Waterlily also taught me that seemingly scary things like Latvian braids are possible. Yes, I fretted and worked myself into a frenzy, painstakingly studying the directions not unlike Matt Damon in Mars, determined to survive and someday return to Planet Earth Yarn.

It was serious.

But, I did it. Without screwing up.

Which means I earned extra chocolate that day.

Sometimes Scissors ARE Required

Cutting knitting with scissors isn’t (always) as bad as it sounds. Even if you think you’re about to have a stroke. Yes, it means you probably screwed up in the first place (uh, hello…always!).

Thankfully some mistakes are easier to fix than others. Try it sometime.

Sleep Deprivation and Knitting Don’t Always Mix

Designing a pattern when you have a newborn and are seriously sleep deprived (and possibly EVERYTHING deprived) may not work out and will likely only lead to crazy patterns you’ll just have to rewrite later. Be advised!

Sleep first. Design later.

Also, invest in a tech editor.

Colorwork is Actually Kind of Cool

Now, I might be speaking a little prematurely on this one given Reed’s sweater is still on the needles, but (so far) colorwork actually isn’t that bad. In fact, I might just like it.

Even though it takes me forever.

And I’m probably doing it all wrong.

AND, blocking might not resolve as many issues as I hope it will.

Still, I like it.

Now I just need to buy more yarn so I have some color options to work with for future projects. I tend to purchase my yarn monochromatically. It’s a whole new Knitting World out there!

Knitting Adds Up

If you knit a lot, you actually get a lot of knitting done.

(This includes socks.)

All these years of being Knit Obsessed means I now have enough knitted items to wear something handmade each day. Some of my Not Quite design attempts look too goofy to gift, but I really should give more finished knits and samples away. I’m starting to run into a hand knit storage issue, and my teeny tiny closet (that I share with Reed) isn’t exactly helping.

(Dear Santa, please bring me MY OWN ROOM for Christmas. Virginia Woolf was really on to something…)

In case you missed them and could use a little extra chuckle in your life today, my top ten list from last year is here.

Knit on. Knit ever. Just knit.

 

For My Birthday Boy

Dear Reed,

We’re fresh off your birthday weekend. I have to admit I cried a few tears on the morning of your fourth birthday, so amazed at what a Big Boy you’ve so quickly become and a bit saddened to realize there’s only 14 more of these big birthdays before you embark into the world. (I later cried even harder when our friend Betsy noted actually there’s only 12 more because once you’re 16, it’s over.) It seems just yesterday, you were turning three!

You were so excited for your birthday to arrive, likely in anticipation of the insanely large pile of gifts you amassed. I have concluded the addiction to capitalist consumer culture starts early. They really hook ya when you’re young.

For the past few weeks, you have asked each morning: Is my birthday THIS day?  To which we replied: No, but soon!

Just like we promised, you’re birthday did indeed arrive. Eventually. You spent the afternoon bouncing and running and giggling with your favorite buddies, balloons tossed here and there. Pizza foregone. Cake and ice cream consumed in its stead. A plain ol’ good time.

Even though you seem suddenly so old, officially graduated from those toddler years, I am still struck, with a bursting heart, that you are still such a young child. You’ve been gentling placing your favorite stuffies in your new scooter basket, one by one, and giving them rides around the house. So precious. And you have not been to remiss to notice that I have yet to knit more sweaters for your beloved Lion.

Most importantly, you still love to snuggle and are just as sweet (and naughty) as you were when you were three. Thank goodness.

I had hoped to finish this sweater of yours (from the Knittin’ Little collection) by your actual birthday.

Sorry.

Plan B is now to finish by Christmas. So I’ve got a couple weeks to wrap up a shoulder, two sleeves, and a sewn-in shawl collar (why do these patterns always save the tricky bits for last?!?!).

Plan C will be to finish by the final night of Hanukkah, so I’ve got an extra week should I really need it. I’m prepared.

And, worst case, we can start a new tradition. Screw an annual Christmas sweater. How about a New Year’s Sweater instead.

Reed, I am wishing the very, very best of you for this upcoming year. May you play, learn, and grow like any child should–freely and surrounded by love, as I know you are. I wish for you many adventures in nature, fishing in your favorite spots and new ones, hunting for secret pirate treasure in the yard, and camping in the most beautiful of places. I promise to take you to the beach so you can fling sand (try not to fling it AT me, please) and the river so we can swim and delight in the sun once these dratted winter months finally pass.

I promise to read you stories at your beckon call and will try my hardest to be more patient and less snappy. (Mom could use a little vacation…)

May you also become more fond of washing your face and hands and generally breaking that habitat of wiping messes on your clothes (when you choose to wear them) instead of a napkin or towel.

Dirty or clean, I will love you always.

And I will try to knit more sweaters (and scarves) for Lion. Soon.

I love you, Reed.

Happy birthday.

Love,

Your Mama

How to Absolutely Kill It on Pinterest–A Guide for Knitters and Crafters (Part 1)

Free tips on how to grow your knitting, yarn, or crafting brand with Pinterest from Andrea @ This Knitted Life.

A year ago, I had something like 300 followers on Pinterest. Maybe.

Today I have about 35,000.

No that was not a typo. I didn’t add an extra zero. I have 35,000 followers on Pinterest.

Here’s the thing. It was pretty easy and hardly took any time. It’s been essential to growing this fledgling business of mine. And you can do it too.

I must disclose here that I am not an expert on this matter. I’m still hacking away at it, trying to figure out what makes the ol’ Pinterest beast tick. Sometimes I think I am really nailed it, and I flop. I’ve had some wins, too, so I am writing this post for those of you who might find these tips helpful toward your own efforts in Knitty-Crafty-Yarny-Land

Be An Active Pinterest User

If you want to use Pinterest to grow your business/brand/site, you actually have to USE Pinterest. At least in the beginning. Now that I am set an up and automated, I rarely scan Pinterest to actually look for new content, unless I am searching for something particular like a unique stitch pattern. In the beginning, however, you do need to spend a bit of time re-pinning existing content from Pinterest. The good news is that it’s fun.

Establish Half a Dozen Foundational Boards to Start

You are going to want at least six boards related to your craft or business. I recommend making these boards about your business only. If you are trying to grow a craft business, don’t waste your Pinterest mojo on a travel board. Stay focused.  Rearrange your boards so the MOST IMPORTANT boards show up at the top. I think I have a cocktail board, but it’s at the end and not very active. EYE ON THE PRIZE.

Link to Pin-Worthy Content from Your Site and Others

Feed Pinterest some good stuff. I started out by linking images I saw on some of my favorite knitting blogs to my board. I do this from my Iphone or Ipad using the sharing feature. Super easy. It’s even easier from a desktop. If you are linking to your own site, make sure the link is going to the POST and not your HOMEPAGE. This is an easy error when pinning from your phone or tablet. Sadly I just realized this the hard way last month after discovering I had pinned a dozen key posts from my homepage and not the actual post. This means Pinterest users that clicked my image went to my homepage and didn’t land on the piece related to the pinned image. This was probably irritating for these people and didn’t particularly help me out either. Sorry folks! Check your links. That’s all I can say about that. Some of my boards are just from my site, but most of my boards have a balance of content from other sites alongside my own content. MIX IT UP!

Use Canva to Develop Large Pins

See that fancy little image at the top of this post? It takes me ten minutes or less in Canva, and it’s free and easy. Maybe someday I will do a little Canva tutorial, but I’ve found it pretty intuitive. Everything I’ve read indicates branding consistency is key. All the images you create for your own site should have the same look and be recognizable to YOUR brand. I’ve largely followed this, but I’ve played around a bit too. I’m curious to see if there’s a catchier look I can use that will improve the traffic I receive from Pinterest. Also, longer pins receive far more clicks that landscape pins. Go with long pins! The longer, the better.

Use SEO in Pin Descriptions

Pinterest uses SEO. This means you can search Pinterest for a scarf pattern and it will show you a bunch of images of scarf patterns. Pretty snazzy. So, if you want people to find your scarf pattern, write a pin like: Super easy scarf knitting pattern from Andrea @ This Knitted Life. Perfect for beginner knitters. I have also read that people prefer LONGER descriptions over shorter ones. Remember, you only have to write your description once the first time you pin it from your site to Pinterest, so make it a good one.

Repin

Pin. Pin. Pin. When I first started using Pinterest, I thought you added your image from your site once and sat back with your feet up.

Ha ha ha.

No. Repin that baby. All the dang time. To all your relevant boards.

In the beginning, I probably did 100+ repins per day. But then I saw a post from Tailwind that Pinterest penalizes users that pin more than 50 pins per day, so I reduced my number of repins. I can’t say I’ve noticed a huge difference, but 50 is easier and cheaper than 100. I’m sticking with that for now.

Once You Have a Good Base of Content on Your Boards, AUTOMATE

For the first six months, I did all of my repining manually each day. It took me 20 minutes or so and quickly became MINDNUMBING! After a while, I read about Tailwind and splurged $100+ on that for a year. Bad idea. It took me just as long to “schedule” pins and they wouldn’t give me money back after I asked for a pro-rated refund. Boo. Now and again, I find their blog posts helpful but otherwise I wasn’t a fan. Use Boardbooster instead!

Tailwind vs. Boardbooster

I’ve tried them both and honestly say go Boardbooster all the way!!! First of all, Boardbooster is cheaper than Tailwind. It’s like $10/month to start which was worth it to me to spare myself from my eyes popping out of my head. I want to knit, not pin images to Pinterest over and over again.

Tailwind didn’t save me any time! It let’s you set up pins in advance so they propogate onto your boards throughout the day. But I still had to schedule each repin. I couldn’t pin something once and be done forever. That’s not enough for me.

Boardbooster let’s you do two important things.  First, you actually can pin images once to your “Secret Boards” and never have to repin the darn thing again.  Boardbooster let’s you adjust the settings of your boards to restart at the beginning AUTOMATICALLY and run through your content all over again. Yahoo!

Boardbooster also does this nifty little thing called Looping. It will repin old pins from eons ago to your feed. ALL BY ITSELF.

Once these two features are set up (fifteen minutes, tops), you CAN pretty much sit back and put your feet up. Hallelujah!

I promise to go into more detail on this in a future (soon!) Part 2 post. Pinky swear. In the meantime, go sign for Boardbooster already!

Participate in Group Boards

In the beginning, you can use group boards if you don’t have a huge Pinterest following of your own. I even established my own group board, Knitting Forever. (Email me if you would like to join. I would love to have you.) There are group boards for all kinds of things, knitting included.

I think the secret to using Pinterest to help build your brand is to minimize the amount of time you spend on your phone pinning content and maximize the time you spend on your needles, practicing your craft. I’m sticking with that!

 

Sheltered Poncho — Off the Needles!

One of the joys of living in (far) northern California are the occasional warm, winter beach days. Brief windows of heaven between storms. IF we are lucky.

I’ve been complaining so much lately about how frigid it has been…and how cold I feel All. The. Time. Then I looked at the thermometer and realized it was still 50 F (10 C), which is probably substantially warmer than it is across much of the planet. Some of you might even say that’s down right tropical. (Not me.)

What can I say, I wasn’t built for winter.

Thank goodness there’s wool…

Sheltered Poncho designed by Andrea Mowry. Knit by Andrea @ This Knitted Life in Brooklyn Tweed's Sheltered (sweatshirt colorway).Pattern: Sheltered by Andrea Mowry, size Medium.

Yarn: Shelter by Brooklyn Tweed, Sweatshirt colorway.

Skeins/yards: 10 skeins, 1,400 yards (1,280 meters). This felt like a very large project to me. I wrapped up this project with a mere two yards (roughly two meters) of yarn left. That’s after I used my swatch. Too close for comfort!

Sheltered Poncho designed by Andrea Mowry. Knit by Andrea @ This Knitted Life in Brooklyn Tweed's Sheltered (sweatshirt colorway).Time on the needles: Two months of hardcore, monogamous knitting. I’m exhausted.

Mistakes: Not too many! I made a little goof on the faux seaming on the front (of course it was somewhere obvious) that I was able to “embroider” after casting off. I don’t think anyone will notice.

Construction approach: The front and the back are knit separately and then attached before knitting the cowl neck in the round. The hood is knit last. There is a LOT of picking up stitches to finish the borders and to support the faux seaming. This was kind of a pain, but I do like the final results. I thought Andrea’s pattern was quite clever and was generally impressed with what she brought to the table with this design.

Sheltered Poncho designed by Andrea Mowry. Knit by Andrea @ This Knitted Life in Brooklyn Tweed's Sheltered (sweatshirt colorway).

Modifications: The only modification I made was the seaming of the hood. The pattern called for a three-needle bind off to replicate the faux-seaming, but my attempts at the three-needle bind off came out too thick. I didn’t like it. Instead I held the needles as if to do the three-needle bind off but instead slipped the stitch from the front needle over the stitch on the back needle. I did this a second time before slipping the first set of merged stitches over the second set. Doing this, I was able to create the faux seam without using any extra yarn. It was a little tight but didn’t bunch or anything weird.

Pattern notes: Andrea’s pattern was generally well written and clear. Thumbs up.

Blocking notes: I was slightly (okay, very) petrified my poncho would grow TOO much during blocking. I always hate blocking my knits a bit for this reason. Things can go sideways so quickly! All my fretting was for not. My blocked poncho came out just fine.

Overall: I searched for the Perfect Poncho all year long before falling instantly in love with this design. I’m glad I went for it. This baby is substantial. It would probably take up an entire carry-on suitcase. I do feel like I am wearing an entire sheep when I have this thing on. (I probably do have an entire sheep on when I wear this thing…) I don’t feel like this poncho is particularly flattering and definitely wouldn’t wear it out to dinner or even to work. This is, however, the perfect knit to wear to the beach or around the house on a cold morning. It feels more like  a workhorse knit than a fashion knit. The hood would be my only critique. It came out too pointy for my taste. I have this thing against pointy hoods. I like how the hood looks when it is down but probably won’t wear it up unless it’s a weather emergency.

On Why Knitting Makes Me Fat

why-knitting-makes-me-fat

Hazards of knitting (besides sitting on a pointy knitting needle and bleeding to death):

  1. Decide to knit BIG poncho and buy 10 skeins of Really Expensive Yarn. Surely 1300 yards (1189 meters) oughta do it. Or at least that’s what the pattern says. Buying expensive yarn = stress. Eat chocolate.

  2. Knit and knit and knit and knit. This project is taking forever, and really I should be working on a new design (or at least thinking about a new design). More stress = more eating = more chocolate…also fresh bread and soft brie cheese.

  3. FINALLY, nearly TWO MONTHS later, working on the cowl. Sure to be done any second now (this was two weeks ago, mind you). Wind and start on the Final Skein. Anticipation of success = celebratory eating = probably was wine (I don’t exactly remember, to be honest).

  4. Finish cowl. Start on hood. Have never knitted a hood before. How big can a hood possibly be? Surely smaller than a hat? HOOD TAKES FOREVER. Impatience = more eating = back to chocolate.

  5. Nearing the end of the hood. Also nearing the end of the FINAL skein. Start to ask self: now just where did I put my swatch? I might need that. Pretend not to sweat it, but actually sweat it Quite a Bit. It’s all a blur, but I assure you, LOT’s of (American) Thanksgiving leftovers were involved. LOTS. Good thing this poncho isn’t fitted.

  6. Look at remaining yarn (not much). Find swatch (Thank God). Decide an 11th skein will likely be needed. Hatch a plan to have father pick up skein from Websters when he is in Ashland (five hours from where I live) on Sunday (if needed, but probably will be needed) and deliver when he visits next week. Pray Websters still has a skein and the dye lot will be Close Enough. EVEN MORE LEFTOVERS CONSUMED. (Why did I bake THREE pies?)

  7. Knit like a maniac. I must know. Will I have enough yarn? Or not? Finish short rows on hood. Still (a little bit) of yarn left. Look at photo in pattern and debate whether or not the finish trim is REALLY needed. Possible to skip?  Or reduce? Too much fretting = finding the bag of peanut butter cups I hid from my family last week and then forgot about = more eating.

  8. Finish hood. Figure out best way to seam hood (not as easy as it was supposed to be, but it all worked out). Decide hood is too pointy, but it’s too late now. Perhaps pointy hoods are underrated. File for: Ponder Another Day. You’ve got bigger problems now. Eight rounds of 100 stitches each and just a tiny bit of yarn plus a swatch. More peanut butter cups.

  9. Knit a few rounds. OUT OF YARN. Unravel the swatch. Praise yourself from hiding it from Reed. (He loves to steal my swatches.) Knit a round. Look at remaining yarn. Gulp. Knit a round. Glance at remaining yarn. Pretend to “weigh” remaining yarn in hand. Stress nibble. Knit a round. Repeat. Realize at some point you will surely have to tink when you try to cast off and can’t bind off the final twenty stitches. Seemingly inevitable. Still, you soldier on. Benefit of chocolate = bravery.

  10. Done. All rows. DONE. Ten feet of yarn remain (a bit more than two meters). That’s all that’s left out of 1300 yards. Two pathetic yards. From my swatch. Seriously.

Why Knitting Makes Me Fat. Knit humor from Andrea @ This Knitted Life.
Ten skeins knit. Ten pounds (4.5 kg) gained. At least this poncho will hide my waistline.

Now I am going to go freak out about whether or not my poncho will grow too much after I drag it out of my bathtub. I know my family (and cat) are going to be so incredibly excited about stepping over this (GIANT!) thing all week long as it dries on the heated bathroom floor. #livingwithknitters

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