Monthly Archives

October 2017

Flowers First

Knitting is my First Priority hobby. If you’ve visited this space before, you probably already know that.

Gardening is my Second Priority hobby. I am just as likely to spontaneously stop by a nursery to fill an inevitable “hole” in my garden bed and spend unbudgeted funds on, say, foxgloves as I am to visit a yarn shop and snag a must-have skein (or three) to fill an unfathomable void in the my stash.*

Reed and I came home from school/work this evening and were immediately eddied out in the front yard. He made a “pizza” from side walk chalk, weeds, and dirt while I clipped back some lavender and attacked a few unlucky dandelions with a vengeance I would wish upon no human being.

What can I say, we’re yard people.

Earlier this year, I reclaimed my old vegetable garden in the backyard. I got a late start, but coastal zone 9 gardening is forgiving that way. You can always plant kale. I took a low-effort approach and threw in some artichokes and pumpkins, hoping to provide Reed with his own supply of jack-o-lanterns for the fall season. I also jabbed some peas, beans, and greens in the ground, watering them a first and then leaving them to survive on their own.

My strategy did not work.

The pumpkins are not yet ripe (Halloween is two weeks away), and the other vegetables have been devoured by an unidentified insect infestation (secondary hazard of zone 9 gardening = slugs). My own preference for caring for my ample flowers left my self-sufficient vegetables to unsuccessfully fend for themselves.

I give up.

Instead, I’ve decided to follow my passion.

Screw kale.

You can buy that at the grocery store, organic no less, for under $3.

I’m going with peonies. And dahlias. Not to mention, the surely fabulous zinnia seeds I scored from Annie Claire at her REMARKABLE natural dying class earlier this month.

I am remaking my vegetable garden into rows of my favorite flowers. En masse. Slugs be damned. I am coming for you, slugs and snails. Be forewarned.

Maybe I will even use my future flower abundance to dye yarn.

Speaking of dying yarn…

Annie Claire’s natural dying class was such a treat, and it was truly wonderful to meet a local, professional fiber artist with an ethos so similar to my own. She’ll be teaching a number of classes at Vogue Knitting Live in New York come January. If you are planning to attend, I can’t recommend her courses highly enough. She’s the Real Deal. Wait not a moment longer. Sign thyself up!

Admittedly, making colors has never been my thing. I am much more the type to pick a pretty color that someone else dreamed up rather than concoct my own version of the color wheel. Dying yarn has always had me on edge that way.

Good thing I have knitting (and gardening) to calm my nerves.

*I have no (okay, very little) stash, so the risk of occurrence is high.

At Long Last: Twist Shawl Update

Twist Shawl pattern by Andrea @ This Kitted LifeThis baby has been a long time coming. Persistence pays off. After my last attempt came out close-but-not-quite, I tried again. I hope I don’t jinx myself when I say: it’s perfect!!!

I love my Twist Shawl pattern. It has a fond place for me. It was my first pattern that really had any momentum of it’s own, but I wanted to go back in, adjust the shape into a clean crescent, and send it through a tech edit.

[Angels harking…]

It’s done.

If you have already purchased this pattern, you should have received a little note from Ravelry letting you know the pattern has been updated with a link to the new version a couple weeks back.

If you haven’t yet purchased this pattern…well, what are you waiting for?!?!

I love this shawl because it has so much texture but it is so EASY. I even made a handy little Twist Stitch YouTube tutorial to show you the main technique.

I know I’ve said it before, but you can do this!Twist Shawl pattern by Andrea @ This Kitted LifeThe updated version is knit in Long Dog Yarns Luxe Fingering (Grapefruit colorway). This indie dyer was recommended to me by a reader at the beginning of the year when I launched my Year of the Indie Dyer focus for the year.  Brandy is a remarkable dyer, and I have enjoyed keeping up with her on Instagram as well. Do visit her shop!

However.

I have also knit this shawl in The Fibre Company Cumbria (fingering), Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light (fingering), and Madelinetosh Vintage (worsted). Substituting with pretty much any yarn weight will work just fine. Simply adjust your needle size and knit until you like the size of your shawl. The pattern starts at the top, which makes yarn weight substitutions particularly viable.

I have a pretty good hunch that you have a couple of skeins in your stash that will work just fine with this, not that I have anything against buying MORE yarn.

The updated shawl is a perfect crescent shape. Edges are finished as you knit with a simple yet polished slip stitch edge. The pattern is predominantly stockinette with intermittent rows of “twisting.” Hello Knitflix. Twist Shawl pattern by Andrea @ This Kitted LifeYou can find this pattern on Ravelry here for $6.00 USD. Subscribers, please check your inboxes for your special discount code. The updated pattern has been proofed by a tech editor. As with all my patterns, measurements are provided in English and metric units.

The prior version of this pattern was also available in several translations. I have not been able to update the translations and have thus removed them for the time being. (If you happen to speak other languages and are interested in working out a trade to translate this or other patterns, please be in touch.)
Twist Shawl pattern by Andrea @ This Kitted Life

*If you haven’t already,please take a moment to subscribe to my YouTube channel.  You might also enjoy my quips of wisdom on Instagram and Facebook!

P.S. A very special thanks to my dear and talented friend Anna. If you have a bare wall that needs fine art, check out her site here

Twist Shawl pattern by Andrea @ This Kitted Life

The Simple Solution to Too Many Scarves and Shawls You Won’t Want to Miss

I am fairly certain that I live under a rock.

Honestly, it’s a miracle I know how to use a smart phone. I think Reed is better with Siri than I am. (He’s not quite five…).

I mean, the things they’ve invented these days. I just can’t keep up.

Anyway.

If you’re like me and you’ve been knitting for a while, you accumulate a lot of wrappy things like scarves and shawls. Or cowls. It’s a hazard of the hobby/art/passion, and I’ve long since accepted the fact that my life if overflowing with woolly things.*

It’s pretty standard to walk into my house and see a shawl thrown over a chair here or lumped into a pile on a table there. I have cowls shoved into my purse and drawers filled with hats and sweaters. It’s a little chaotic, and I doubt Martha Stewart would be impressed.

This is nothing new. I’ve been grappling with knitwear organization for a while now. I’ve also been trying to work out: how to overcome my addiction to high-quality chocolate, how to exercise while I am sleeping, and how to knit while I am sleeping. (Basically I want to figure out how to do everything while I am sleeping…)

So. One day earlier this year, I am in Target** on a mission to purchase REGULAR hangers to accommodate my Big Move when something catches my eye in that Holy Crap kind of way.

Kind of like when you are in a yarn store and see a flashing sign indicating your favorite yarn is free that day.

I see a Scarf Hanger.

Who knew there was such a thing!?!!? (Yes, I am sure you already knew, but I didn’t know…so please don’t rub it in…)

For $10, my scarf-shawl-cowl drama got a little less dramatic.

I love this thing!

Seriously, it has made my scarf-shawl-cowl organization SO much better. There’s a whole variety of them on Amazon here. Ten bucks will get a long ways toward containing your bursting knitwear collection.

I’m just saying…make a little wiggle room in your budget for one (or four) of these little guys.

I love it because:

  1. You can see all your accessories at once.
  2. You can pull out just one shawl and the others stay put.
  3. It’s a space saver.
  4. It makes me feel like Martha Stewart might not judge me so harshly after all.
  5. It now seems only logical to CONTINUE knitting scarves-shawls-cowls even though I already own too many.

My scarf hanger has nine holes, although some of the Amazon variety have EVEN MORE holes. I can actually put a couple scarves in each hole without losing too much function.

Now, tell me what else they’ve invented that I don’t know about yet!

*And I know I am not alone, as a very nice woman at knit night recently shared the entire space under her bed is filled with worsted weight sweaters she knit when she lived in a colder region.

**Is it un-P.C. to admit that Target is one of my favorite places on Earth even though I know everything is made in China using slave labor and ecosystem pillage to make zillions of dollars at the expense of everyone else on the planet?

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