Please Share with Me and Updates for 2016

I have been contemplating updating my site and the blog for some time. Before I change it up too much though, I wanted to solicit input from all of you. I want my posts to be worth your time to read and the site to be worthy of your follows.

As many of you other bloggers probably have found, it can be very difficult coming up with new content. There are lots of things that don’t get posted, since as a designer, I spend lots of time knitting or crocheting things that end up getting frogged because my experiments didn’t quite pan out. I was thinking of organizing my posts into more series and redoing the categories to make it easier to find certain subjects.

But first, please leave me comments, let me know the types of posts you’ve enjoyed most in the past, anything you’d like to see in the future, what you find most helpful, what’s entertaining, or anything else you’d like to share with me. And as always, thank you for reading and thank you for your support!


2016 TNNA San Diego

TNNAWelcome

I debated on going to this TNNA because I had not signed up for classes and had no meetings scheduled. It is the first TNNA event I’ve gone to, and despite just getting my feet wet, I am very happy I went. I’m very grateful to all the yarn companies who took the time to talk to me, and also grateful to mingle with fellow designers. Every time I attend an industry event, I’m amazed at all the talent we’ve collected in one place, and also at how generous and willing we are to share with each other. I’m so proud and happy to be a part of it, and I always walk away feeling a new jolt of energy and inspiration.

WhatWeDo

BoardofDesigns

A few inspiration boards at the entrance. I am very happy to say I got to meet the crochet designer of that gorgeous blue dress, and am happy she is around the LA area and we can keep in touch. I enjoy being with other people farther along in their careers, as it inspires me to keep working and getting better.

FairTrade

Many thanks to Fairmount Fibers/Manos del Uruguay for letting me snap this photo. I have always known fair trade is a good thing, but never understood what it meant, specifically. This list of qualifications spells it out. (Apologies for the glass glare!)

TradeShowFloor

A shot of the tradeshow floor. That display with the gorgeous maroon knit tee toward the left was the ArtYarns booth. I hope to work with them one day, as their yarns are truly gorgeous and top of the line.


Holiday Trip for My Wish List

I was recently reading Piecework magazine and particularly enjoyed an article about the Sami people of Sweden. I will die a happy knitter if I am able to travel to the winter market one day and see the reindeer caravan up close and personal. The Jokkmokk Winter Market looks like every crafter’s dream with a winter wonderland surrounding it. Then there is the reindeer caravan itself, led by people wearing their traditional hand-knitted outerwear. Their traditional clothing is so bright and colorful, and perfect against the backdrop of white snow.

The author of the Piecework article mentioned there is not alot of information and material about this out there, but I had fun browsing what I found, and I hope you will too! The market is not open until February, but I had fun reading about it and browsing the photos while in the midst of my Christmas preparations.


A Crocheted Birthday Gift

Birthday present for C

Birthday present for C

There is a joke among crafters about only making things for deserving recipients. Anyone who would not appreciate the handmade value, who would refuse to wear the item, or be stupid enough to felt it in the washing machine does not qualify as a worthy recipient. Then there are the people in your life who are so close to your heart and so worthy you would make them a hundred items by hand even if they did accidentally felt one of them.

Whole lotta crocheted merino

Whole lotta crocheted merino

My friend C is someone who falls into that category, so I decided several months ago to make her something special for her birthday which falls this week. Her favorite color is gray, so choosing the yarn was easy. I decided to make her this wrap, which appeared in Interweave Crochet several years ago and has stuck in my head ever since I saw it. It was lots of work, to say the least, as the Sundara yarn I chose was not the weight used in the pattern. I pretty much had to follow the stitch patterns but make my own pattern based on fittings with my friend and calculations from my gauge.

I ended up doing alot of ripping out when things didn’t quite go to plan, and I had to ask her to try it on so I could see what adjustments needed to be made. But there is another proof that she is a most deserving recipient, as she didn’t mind having her birthday surprise be a little less of a surprise, and good-naturedly tried it on as many times as I needed her to.

The view from the back

The view from the back

I think the final result was well worth the effort, and I know she will keep it and wear it for years to come.


Amigurumis

The completed amigurumis...but this group could grow...

Completed amigurumis…but this group could grow…

Considering I have a long-time fascination with all things Asian, particularly Japanese art, it’s high time I extended this to Asian crafts. The tradition of crocheting amigurumi animals originates in Japan, but has become popular everywhere.

The octopus won't make it to my son's class because my husband requisitioned it for his desk at work.

The octopus won’t make it to my son’s class because my husband requisitioned it for his desk at work.

My son has VIP Day coming up at school next month, and wanted me to be his VIP and to make something for his class. I’ve been wanting to make some amigurumis for a long time but other things always took precedence. This was my perfect opportunity to take a break from everything else and browse the library for pattern books, and browse my yarn stash.

For the teacher...who takes the class on a field trip to Seaworld each year.

For the teacher…who takes the class on a field trip to Seaworld each year.

Amigurumis are so fun and fast to make and so cute, I just could’t stop and pretty much spent last weekend making one right after the other. (They are also awesome stash busters because you can use whatever colors strike your fancy and they don’t take much yardage.)


Yarnosphere 2015 (and a little “haul”)

Yarnosphere

I had a very packed weekend and therefore could only attend Yarnosphere on Sunday. I love these shows, especially with a friend, because I always walk away having learned something even if I didn’t take a class. They’re a great place to see yarn lines up close and personal and find new ones you may never have heard of. I have heard people complain about Yarnosphere being really small, compared to shows like Vogue Knitting or the Stitches shows. This is somewhat true, but I was pleasantly surprised to find some new lines at Yarnosphere I had never heard of before. All the big companies buy booths at the big shows, and I don’t recall seeing as many small indie dyers at Stitches last year. Yarnosphere had lots of indie dyers, many local to where I live, and I will definitely go again next year.

I did try very hard to control my shopping urges, but there were two yarn lines I’d never heard of before with colorways I simply couldn’t pass up.

Celestial Strings - Dark Matter

Celestial Strings – Dark Matter

Celestial Strings had great colorways, and I simply couldn’t walk away from the one called Dark Matter. She also dyes yarns that respond to black light, but unfortunately was sold out, or one of those skeins would have come home with me too. I haven’t yet decided what these skeins are going to be, but the wool is so soft, I’ll probably just enjoy petting them for awhile until inspiration strikes.

In the Deep Hue Sea

In the Deep Hue Sea

In the Deep Hue Sea is the other line that caught my attention all day. It has vivid colorways, all with oceanic names, and is done locally in Huntington Beach. I am wishing I would have also bought the one entitled People Are Strange, but I really was trying to control my shopping. But I think the fact I am still thinking of it three days later means I probably should have sprung for it. She told us she does lots of small batches, so if you see something you like, you really should go for it while it’s there. But she also does custom dyeing, and runs an Etsy shop. The two skeins you see above will make a very striking shawl or scarf I think. I just have to play and figure out the perfect design!


Realigning My Life

I seem to be going through one of those times in life where I suddenly feel disoriented, like the rug has been pulled out from beneath me. Over the last year, I’ve had alot of changes, my plate is a little more empty than it was for a long time, and I have been faced with the truth of who my true friends are (and are not). This is not all related, in fact, most of it’s separate, aside from the fact it is all just part of my life.

I spent a long time having way too much going on and waking up every day (or often in the middle of the night) wondering about where to start and how to manage it all. So even though I now feel a void, I am being very careful and thoughtful about where to go from here. It is not a bad thing to have a little extra time to cook healthy meals instead of constantly ordering takeout, and it’s good to have the opportunity to reboot once in awhile, preferably if you can fill your life with better things than before.

I have been wanting to arrange myself a more organized studio of sorts for a long time. I had been winding my yarn at the shop when I went in, which of course, is no longer an option. But thanks to my favorite little happy place, I do know where to buy good quality stuff. I ended up going with a cheaper ballwinder, but for fun, if you want to look at some top-quality swifts, ballwinders and other such investments, have fun browsing through here. The shop ballwinder came from this site, and it was a dream to use.

Since I’ve been feeling a bit off my game, I am looking forward to Yarnosphere this weekend. If you’re in the LA, San Diego or Long Beach areas, check it out! I always find the energy at these shows reinvigorating, and aside from trying to not spend too much money on yarn I don’t need, there’s no way to go wrong spending the day with a friend at a show like this.

All you faithful readers of this blog know there’s nothing I love more than challenging myself with a project. A good friend of mine and I are seriously considering working through the master knitter programs. We haven’t started just yet because both of us felt we needed a little more time to get our heads in a more positive place first, but even if we wait until the new year to start, it will be good to work through it together. I went to art school, so I’ve been through all the presentations and critiques of my work plenty of times, but even so, this program does intimidate me. However, if we can tough it out and make it through, I am anticipating that the sense of accomplishment and bragging rights will be a satisfying reward. :)

And yes, there is also a master crocheter program, which is also on the list of accomplishments I’d like to add to my life. I don’t have any friends signing up for that, so if anyone wants to work through that with me, leave a comment! I’m always open to making new friends!


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