A Special Inspiration

My grandmother lived to be 99. She wasn’t any “health nut”, but she did watch her diet and took daily walks. She lived independently all the way up until the last one or two years before she died. If you want to be healthy, there’s no getting around the whole “watch your diet!” advice. However, I do love the fact that this lady, who already has my grandmother beat by 5 years, prefers knitting to exercise. It makes me feel much less ashamed that I do too! And such a generous soul! I’m sharing it because I hope like me, you’ll find it to be a lovely, inspiring thing to read first thing on a stressful Monday morning.


Wild Fibers

There is a good reason besides the obvious why those of us who work in the yarn industry take great pride in our work. If you craft with natural fibers, there is no faking the process. You can’t mass-produce animals or fleece. It is one of those few processes left in the world that is still heavily tied to tradition and custom – in the best possible way. I have always enjoyed reading Piecework, which does an excellent job of researching and presenting traditional techniques. But I just found this magazine, which I am adding to my Christmas wish list. Aside from the fact I can now live vicariously through these world travellers, I think it’s wonderful to get firsthand knowledge of where the animals are raised, as well as the culture, traditions, and lifestyle of the people who raise them.


The Finishing Touches

Whenever I knit or crochet a gift for someone, I always find myself finishing the project with barely a moment to spare. And then comes the question of how to actually gift it. Do you just write out the care instructions with a Sharpie and tape it to the front of the package? Do you just tell the person you made it and how to take care of it and then hope they remember so all your hardwork doesn’t get felted the first time they wash it? It has always seemed to me that given the time and work that goes into handcrafting an item, it deserves a beautiful presentation. This artist/printmaker seems to have thought so too. In the last minute hustle/bustle of the season, I hope this will help save you time in figuring out how to present your gifts!


Marsala

Did you know there is a wine called marsala? My husband and I love a glass of wine with our dinner (the European in us?), and every time we shop to replenish our cabinet, we usually buy a few bottles we’ve never tried before. But despite the huge variety we’ve tried, I had never heard of marsala until this morning, when my Facebook told me Pantone has announced their 2015 Color of the Year. Of course I had to immediately read about it because I like knowing these things and I’m always curious to see why they chose a particular color. After reading their description of marsala, I am certainly going to be on the lookout for a bottle to try with our next homecooked meal.

Be sure to scroll down to see all of Pantone’s ideas for gorgeous color pairing. While not necessarily helpful for figuring out what to eat with your bottle of wine, they will certainly spark ideas of how to pair up yarn colors! I’m very excited about this color in terms of crafting because I think it is much more flattering to wear than 2014’s Radiant Orchid is.


Knit.

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving weekend. My weekend was filled with family, friends, and of course, working on projects. It was rainy and chilly, and after being in such a serious drought for so long, my fellow Californians will appreciate how nice it was to be cozy inside while knitting and listening to the rain. In the course of doing some more browsing through my crafty magazines, I came across this pattern and wanted to share. I also browsed the designer’s site, the name of which makes me wish I knew the designer personally, as we would likely have lots beyond knitting to bond over. I’m glad I explored, as the site offers color inspirations and makes me want to come back for more.


Gratitude

Even though this is the week during the year we are supposed to focus on being grateful, I have to admit I haven’t particularly felt grateful this week. Both of my kids have had stomach flu, so I’ve pretty much spent the week helping them recover from that. There are other things this week stressing me out as well, and let’s be honest, life is full of stuff that just does not generate grateful, happy thoughts. Today, while we are all home recovering, I happened to be catching up on some of my yarn-y reading, aka Vogue Knitting, Interweave, etc., and came across a number of inspiring, charitable knitters and organizations that craft for people in need. Reading about these people who are going through way worse things than I ever have, and the kindness of those who are working to help them, made me feel much more grateful. My life is indeed good, even if a particular week is not. In celebration of Thanksgiving, and of cultivating gratitude year-round, here’s a list of people and/or companies who are doing good in the world. I hope you enjoy browsing this list and feel grateful and inspired to help also! Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

  1. Debbie Macomber and World Vision’s Knit for Kids is perhaps the most well-known, but worthy of support nonetheless. Debbie seems like the patron saint of charitable knitters, and if you haven’t read her books, you should definitely relax a few hours after your turkey and enjoy one!
  2. More than 50% of the employees at Skeino are challenged. This is a group of people who are often overlooked, and Skeino aims to give them a place in society and a way to make a living. And they’re doing a good job – the Arabella Shawl is gorgeous!
  3. This generous soul gives free patterns and information on knitting chemo hats.
  4. Ancient Arts Fibre donates to a cause particularly close to my heart – helping stray animals. I have two rescue cats, and as any animal lover knows, for every two you take in and adopt, there are 200 more that still need help. Dog lovers, they donate to help stray dogs too. And I do think it’s just plain cool to dye yarn based on cats and dogs – who doesn’t want a skein of Meow or Woof Yarn?!
  5. Ten places that need crocheted items.

Seriously Cool Star Wars

Here’s a little something you probably don’t know about me. I don’t think I’ve posted anything that would have made anyone guess, but I really LOVE Star Wars. I blame this on my brother. I hadn’t seen the movies or paid much attention to it until he became a fanatic. He begged me for weeks to just watch one movie, and of course, once I did, I binge-watched them all.

I am not as geeked out over it as he is – I never bought and traded thousands of the collector cards like he did, but I did go see the re-releases plus all the new ones in the theaters. And every summer or Christmas break, I get in the mood to have a Star Wars marathon, and enjoy them each time. I think this is one of THE coolest things I’ve ever seen, so I am excited to share it! I have no problem admitting that I am definitely enough of a fan to make and wear this! And any fellow fans should seriously send this person a thank you, because I doubt George Lucas would be giving it away for free! :)


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