“JUST DO IT” – Doing What You Love
It’s been quite a year. Yep, believe it or not, I began this incredible journey of being a full time knitwear designer and teacher a little over a year ago. I’d been working in the industry for seven years, but always for other people (yarn shop, yarn company), but now I’ve spent the most amazing year doing ONLY what I love full time, and working for just one crazy boss . . . me.
It’s been quite a roller coaster and there have been a few uh oh moments along the way (if you submit to six different magazines who all have the same deadline and all designs get approved . . . better hire some sample knitters!). There have been some 12 hr knitting days when deadlines were tight, and I’ve learned that as much as I love to knit, I have to let projects go to other knitters, so I can move on to the next one. That’s been hard. To see some of the designs I did this year, that are already published (can’t show you the other 14 that haven’t come out yet), you can click here.
There have been too many great things about this year to name, but I think one of my favorite things about the designer part of my job is that my grandmother’s rocking chair in front of my fireplace has been my workspace in the winter, and my (now destroyed, but that’s a story for another day) roof deck was my workspace in the spring / summer
As a teacher, I’ve been lucky enough to travel all over the country this year, teaching at shows, guilds and shops. I’ve loved working with all the students and have been really excited to see the same students from last year coming back. It’s really fun to get to know students (and Sandi always brings me a little gift – pretty awesome). I also had two video classes and two webinar classes launch this year, and I just got done filming another one. Doing on camera work is a whole other ball game, but I love it. Stay tuned for more info about some new classes I’ll be filming this winter.
But the most important, wonderful, shocking, amazing, awe inspiring thing I found out this year, was how generous and amazing people in this industry can be. It’s no exaggeration to say there were many things I knew NOTHING about. I was lucky enough to have brilliant friends to bother all year long with “what do you do when . . .”, “how do I . . .” , “what happens if . . .” questions. I also was lucky enough to have a bunch of brilliant and well respected folks believe in me enough to say, yeah, let’s work with her. I’ve had a year of feeling humbled, stupid, smart, ashamed and proud (remember roller coaster).
I wanted to name all the people who have helped me so much this year (and in past years), but I was afraid of two things:
1) It would sound like an Oscar speech and I hadn’t won anything
2) They would be “outed” for how wonderful they are and have their doors pounded down with people asking for help.
I hope you all know who you are, but just in case, I’m going to send you an e-mail saying “hey, I was talking about you”
On second thought, maybe I did win something . . . the job I’ve always wanted. I wish the same for all of you.
I’ve been a terrible blogger, but I hope you’ll forgive me when you see the new designs & classes coming out. It’s been an insanely busy summer with planning for filming a new online class for Annie’s as well as an exciting new teaching plan (sorry can’t tell ya yet, stay tuned) and many new designs (sorry, can’t show ya yet).
Since the summer is slipping away fast, you can imagine how excited I was when I found out I’m going to CAMP, Camp Stitches that is!! Yep, that means three straight days of knitting in GORGEOUS New Mexico! Squee!!
Camp Stitches –
Secrets to Spectacular Sweater Success!
Join me for a three day sweater intensive – click here for more info and to book
There are so many ways your sweater can go wrong but even more ways it can go sooo right. In this three-day sweater intensive, we will be looking beyond the pattern to really explore all the secrets and tricks every knitter needs to know to create their perfect sweater. We will begin with an exploration of knitting technique—how to create a more stable fabric with no “rowing out,” how to make neat edges and fix the big loopy first stitch, as well as better cast-ons and bind offs to name just a few.
Next we will delve into specific knitting techniques and how to improve them including best practice for picking up stitches, tricks to avoid gaps in your necklines, and how to improve the look of ribs and cables, better matching YO in lace, making a SSK that matches your K2tog, better transition from rib and so much more!
We will also be answering what every knitter wants to know: what parts of the pattern to ignore or change. When to use short rows, should you or should you not convert to in the round, what if you want to get a different size or use a different yarn.
Finally we’ll address what you need to start and end a perfect project: gauge and blocking. How and why does your gauge swatch lie to you, and how to block your garment perfectly?
Make this the year of your perfect sweater!
For those of you who hear “camp” and have these images jump into you head
Actual uniform catalog. Note the helpful fashion suggestion to “Show that you belong – wear your complete dress uniform properly and with pride at all times”.
Or perhaps you grew up as a city gal, and have never camped a day in your life . . .
Camp STITCHES WILL have:
Camp STITCHES Will NOT have:
|– Fabulous Teachers
– Fun classes
– Brilliant Students
– Beautiful Setting
|– Uncomfortable sleeping bags
– Ugly camp uniforms
– Horrible camp food
– Bad camp songs (Can’t swear to this one)
Hope you can join me November 13 – 17 and make this the year of your dream sweater!
In the last Tuesday Tip I covered the felted join as the spit splice. This type of splice is for animal fibers that are non machine washable . . . but wait, there is another way.
Meet the Needle Felted Join
When I want to splice a non animal fiber I try pulling out my handy dandy needle felting pen. I’m never 100% sure if a fiber will hold the splice until I give it a try, but often if a yarn has a bit of bite to it, a cotton, or raw silk blend for instance, or a machine washable wool, acrylic blend, it will work like a charm.
An Ode to Excellent Crafter’s Spouse
A few evenings ago I had an exchange with my husband that only confirmed what I already knew. I have an excellent “Crafter’s Spouse”.
It went something like this:
David: (hollering from bathroom): “Honey, where’s the dental floss”
Me: (still in living room, finishing a row): “Sorry, it’s in here”
David: “We have thinner floss than that if you need”
If you are a non crafter, the significance of this exchange might not jump out at you. You see a non-crafter husband might have wondered “Why is my wife flossing in the living room”, but a CRAFTER husband wonders “Is that floss thin enough for her crafting needs?”
He didn’t know what I was doing with the floss, but he assumed it was craft related (I was using it to tie the center of 1″ pom poms for some mittens I had designed).
Breaking the “old” Crafter’s husband mold
When I used to work in yarn stores I would always cringe at the conversations about how the customers’ husbands would complain about how their wives spent too much time or money on crafting. My husband has always been so proud of me and my creations. He’s supported me when I gave up my career as a Stage Manager to run a yarn store, and most recently when I made the leap to full time knitting teacher and designer.
You might have an excellent crafter’s spouse (or best friend) and not even know it.
Here now, are the top 10 reasons I know I have a keeper. Leave a comment and let me know yours:
# 10 He knows you will be packing more yarn then you need on vacation, and keeps his mouth shut.
#9 He will voluntarily, without being asked, google for yarn stores when you go on vacation, just in case there are any near by.
#8 He ALWAYS wears some thing you knit for him when you go to a party, and then looks for the opening to tell everyone “She knit this”.
#7 He knows just how to hold the skein of yarn for you to hand wind a ball when you are away from your swift.
#6 He vaguely knows what “worsted” means.
#5 Will occasionally look up at you while he’s talking, and realizing his mistake declare “oh, sorry, you’re counting”.
#4 He recently not only went out and bought you 8 magazine boxes to deal with your knitting magazine crisis, but he rearranged the office book shelf to make room for them.
#3 He worries that now that you’re a professional knitwear designer, you never have time to knit anything for yourself.
#2 Has attended Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool with you EVERY YEAR (and never complained that it’s also our wedding anniversary weekend).
And the number one reason you know you have an excellent crafter’s husband . . .
#1 When you say you’ll be there as soon as you finish the row, he knows you’re lying!
We all do it. Every single New Yorker who rides the subway does it. We compose the rants we wish we could say (and once in a while, do) to our fellow commuters. Sometimes the pile of undelivered letters gets too large, and we have to jot a few of them down. Please share yours in a comment.
To the coven of Wall Street business types,
I see you standing in your very important circle of suits in the coveted space just to the left of the subway door. I realize how vital it is that you keep you chatty, coffee circle, wide and open, so you can have space for your attache cases at your feet. I realize how your protective circle helps keep the unwashed masses from touching your pristine suits. I realize all of this, but it’s Calcutta just to the right of you, so I’m sure you understood why I felt it was necessary to reclaim some of that space for others by gently elbowing you until you moved.
Thank you for your understanding.
To the subway fine diner,
Thank you so much for sharing your meal with the entire subway train. We all love the smell of your chicken dinner so much, that I’m quite sure it’s why you chose to leave all the bones on the seat. It was so we can savor the delicious aroma of your meal all the way home to Brooklyn.
To the scowling teen,
I see you in your pants down to your bum, and your stupid cap with the straight rim and the (inexplicably) important round sticker still under said brim. I see you sitting there looking tough and scary and scowling. I see you glaring at others as if to say “stay away from me”. I also see you when you helped that woman down the stairs with her stroller. I see you be the only passenger to stand up when you noticed the old woman clinging to the poll. I see you shrug her thanks off with a grunt of “whatever”. I see you, and know you are not the “thug” that the rest of America would think you are. New Yorkers see you.
To the tourist family on the Canal Street Q train,
Yes. That is a bag of fish heads.
Welcome to New York.
To the music lover on the 2/3
Yes, please do turn your music up. We all share your taste in music and are so very very happy that you are providing a concert for us. No, don’t worry, that person trying to read the paper is more than thrilled to have a sound track.
We know headphones are uncomfortable, we would never DREAM of asking you to wear them.
To the man clearly on a first date,
You know you like her. You know you took her to a Broadway show, and probably and expensive dinner. You know this is not your train, but you are riding her home. You know you keep looking at her every time she is not looking at you. What you don’t know is she keeps looking at you every time you look away.
It’s going well.
To the family of disgusted tourists,
Just because we are all wearing headphones staring straight ahead does not make us deaf. We can all hear you.
To the dad who is wearing his backpack on his chest (looking like an idiot) saying “this is how you have to protect yourself from these people”, and the wife who is clutching the littlest one to her training him to be afraid saying, “don’t look at anyone, they could be dangerous” and the teenage daughter who refuses to touch the subway poll because “eww, I don’t know who’s touched that”, so therefore keeps loosing her balance and bumping into me, and to the son who disgustingly declares “Can you believe they cram into these trains everyday. Nobody has cars here. I feel so sorry for them” – to all of you we have the following to share.
We didn’t want to hurt you before, but we do now.
That’s only a handful of the letters that rattle around in my head, but it’s nice to get a few of them out.
Thanks I feel better.