Summer Inspiration and Entertainment

I really love the start of summer. Three months in front of us that we can fill or not fill as we choose. During the school year, it is hard to immerse myself into projects because I have an hour here and an hour there, and in between have to run my kids to one activity or another. Summer days are so much more relaxed, and it is nice to have longer blocks of time when I can “lose” myself in a project. I have been catching up on emails, podcasts, and blogs and debating what projects I want to tackle this summer. I am still deciding, but in the meantime, here are a few links to inspire you, and even if you already have your summer projects laid out, to entertain you. Enjoy!

To listen to while you work: Talks for the Fiber Lover

One of those lovely projects that isn’t hard, but looks impressive: Make A Statement

And to shop, get inspiration or summery DIY home ideas: Kailo Chic

FO: Faith

charity knitting for Alice's Embrace

Most of you probably think I’ve disappeared, so I’m sorry for the lack of posts! I have done alot of knitting, including knitting for another designer, and also had to get through the end of the school year, which is always as busy as the week before Christmas.

charity knitting for Alices Embrace

I finished another piece for Alice’s Embrace, and this one is particularly close to my heart because I made it for the husband of the friend I lost.

charity knitting for Alices Embrace

The pattern is Faith, and I love both the name and the pattern. To see it in photos, however, it has to be viewed from an angle, almost like illusion knitting. I am very happy with how this turned out.

alices embrace
The entire prayer shawl, viewed from the top.

elizabeth kay booth knits for alices embraceIt is not one of those patterns you can memorize very easily, but is so pretty I definitely want to make more. I paired a brighter green yarn with a more muted olive green strand, and I love the effect. This is definitely a trick I will use again in the future.

Please share in my Ravelry group if you have been doing charity knitting – I would love to see your pieces!

FO: KAL Blanket + A Peek of New Project

Alice's Embrace blanket

Thank you all for your support of Alice’s Embrace. When I started this KAL/CAL, I received lovely messages and encouragement, so thank you! It was much appreciated. I am going to do this as an ongoing thing – I always need to have a project going for when I want to relax and not do the work of designing.

You are still welcome at any time to jump in and knit or crochet shawls and blankets with me. If you do, please stay in touch, and post photos in my Ravelry group or on Facebook so we can cheer each other on.

Sing the Song Blanket
Completed Sing the Song blanket

I really love the patterns and they work up very quickly, as they are all done on size 13 needles and use chunky weight machine-washable yarn.

And on to the next project…

Faith prayer shawl
Faith Prayer shawl

Please keep in touch if you’re making along.

Facebook.com/ElizabethKayBooth
Twitter: @elizabethkbooth
Instagram: @elizabethkaybooth

 

Slow Fashion, Quality over Quantity, and Why It’s Great to Be a Maker

With so many yarn stores struggling to stay open and designers having a hard time figuring out how to make a living off of $5 patterns, there is much talk about whether our industry is going to last. On the other hand, Etsy is filled with new yarn dyers, and it seems everyone who’s been a knitter or crocheter for much length of time has their own pattern or two up on Ravelry. We aren’t going anywhere!

It seems very timely that discussions about slow fashion have been popping up, and after watching this documentary (look for it on Netflix), I am completely on board with embracing the movement. If slow fashion is a new term for you (as it was for me), here are a few links that explain it better:

http://fashionista.com/2012/12/the-slow-fashion-movement-what-it-is-and-the-10-brands-that-are-doing-it-right

https://fringeassociation.com/2016/09/30/slow-fashion-october-week-1-introductions/

Can Slow Fashion Impact Fast Fashion?

When people think of consumerism and fast fashion, the first things that usually pop into their minds are the overseas factories with poor working conditions for women and children, and overstuffed landfills. These things are probably the two biggest problems with fast fashion today – especially with companies that churn out “collections” every week. When I went to school, there were usually only two, or maybe three seasons a year.

Speaking from a designer point of view, fast fashion has also destroyed creativity. It is not possible to produce entire “collections” every week that will be sold for a few dollars a garment and will probably be in a landfill a month or two later, and still maintain any sense of creativity or design. If you go to the mall these days, doesn’t it seem like everything looks the same? I don’t enjoy shopping anymore at all (well, except for yarn, but that’s another story!), and I realized when I was at the mall a few weeks ago that the reason is because I’m not at all inspired by what I see. And designers cannot just “produce” creativity – it takes time to absorb inspiration, time to experiment, and time to make if you want something of true quality.

I think the fiber community deserves a big credit for its role in this movement. We practically define what slow fashion is! When you buy yarn that has already received alot of by-hand treatment – such as being hand dyed and/or handspun – it just naturally follows you will want to make something special with it that you will keep and pass down to loved ones. The entire process from when the fiber comes off the animal to the finished project is the opposite of being disposable. Even if you are buying cheaper yarns, you are still making something by hand that has a personal touch and will be of value to you over anything you might buy at Walmart for a few bucks. We put thought into what we buy and make, and how we use it once it’s finished.

Speaking as a designer, I put alot of thought into my patterns. I DESIGN each one, from start to finish, which is so much work, but you can be certain I’m not working off of some template, and definitely not just churning out copies of whatever is “on trend” at the moment. Browsing through Ravelry, I am always amazed at all the creativity in our community. It is filled with unique, one-of-a-kind projects, and I hope that we will be the people to inspire the rest of the world to take a few moments to appreciate the unique, and value quality over quantity. And I am much more inspired to design things that I know will be lovingly made and cherished for a long time to come.

I hope we can inspire the fashion industry at large to return to a slower pace as well, and to putting more thought into creativity and design, and less into selling what amounts to quantities of junk.

Timely

Stitches West 2017 Photos and Highlights

Hotel signage just for Stitches West

Stitches West 2017 went very fast for me, but was very satisfying. I am still working on a design I started while there, and it was so much fun picking out photos to share with you all.

Knotted Treasure Booth at Stitches West 2017
The Knotted Treasure booth

I went with one of my knitter friends, whom I used to work with at the shop, and who is also a jewelry designer. This was her first year exhibiting at the show, which was exciting, and I had to snap a photo once we got her display set up.

Stitches West 2017 - Hotel signs
One of many little signs posted around the hotel for all the Stitches West attendees

The hotel had these cute little signs posted all over just for Stitches West, which I found very entertaining. I couldn’t get photos of them all, but I enjoyed stopping to read them. It made me happy to see, because they are obviously aware of our presence and considered our community well worth taking the time to add in these little “extras”.

To prevent my own personal pile of yarn from getting too much bigger, I spent most of the weekend in classes. Although be warned, Steven Be makes it quite convenient to shop even while in class.

Steven Be posing with yarn
Steven Be posing in class with a table of very tempting yarn for purchase

Shopping aside, I enjoy Steven Be very much, and being in one of his classes was like taking a lovely trip back to art school, minus the tight project deadlines and all-nighters. He has a very creative energy that’s contagious, and shows you the value of experimentation and just playing with yarn and color.

Steven Be class
Steven holding up my knitting and being his usual fabulous self

I am currently working on this design, which I started in his class. And yes, the yarn sitting there was purchased in class, for this project. But once you have a design sketched out and planned, it goes a long way toward helping you match the perfect yarn to the project. I probably wouldn’t have purchased this yarn if I hadn’t already designed the garment. Note to self: this is how one SHOULD shop for yarn.

After draping class with Lily Chin
Selfie with Lily Chin after her draping class

Apologies for the lack of quality in this photo – it was very rushed. The class I was most anticipating to take that weekend was draping with Lily Chin. She is an incredible designer, and also a very good teacher. I am very grateful I got to meet her and learn from her, and have been practicing at home since. She gave us many tips and tricks for draping, especially as it applies to knitwear. If you have ever watched Project Runway and wondered how to drape on a mannequin, a draping class with Lily will get you off to a running start. If anyone is interested, please leave me a comment, and I can do a separate post about what I learned about how to do draping.

Sunset on the way home
Sunset on the way home from Stitches West

I can’t resist a beautiful sunset, and I watched this gorgeous example unfold as we were driving home. If you went to Stitches West and found any cool new yarns to check out or took any classes you’d recommend, please leave me a comment so I can keep it in mind for next year.

 

KAL/CAL Update

Alices Embrace
Charity blanket for Alices Embrace Week 1

As most of you know, I recently lost someone dear to me to Alzheimer’s, and learned about Alice’s Embrace the same day. I was inspired to knit for them, in my friend’s honor, and I am hoping you will knit and crochet along with me!

As promised, I am keeping you updated, and I’m happy to say despite alot of unexpected things going on this week, I made progress. Compare the photo above (from last week) to this one! 🙂

alices embrace
Charity blanket for Alices Embrace Week 2

I love this pattern – it is working up quickly, as you can see, and is relaxing to knit. It’s not complicated, and so it is a piece I can work on even at the end of a long day when my brain is too tired to deal with anything too complex.

I am doing this piece, but feel free to browse their site and pick a shawl or a different pattern to best suit whatever yarn you are planning to use. Please keep in touch with me by posting in the Ravelry thread or tagging me on my social media:

Facebook.com/ElizabethKayBooth
Twitter: @elizabethkbooth
Instagram: @elizabethkaybooth

Serendipity and a KAL/CAL

Alices Embrace
Charity blanket for Alice’s Embrace

I apologize for not finishing the yarn love challenge. In the last month, there have been two deaths in my family (well, one in my family, and a dear friend who is like family), so as you can imagine, my usual routine of posts and working has not been happening. I also attended Stitches West (more about that coming in another post!). I appreciate the comments and am so happy you all enjoyed the yarn love challenge posts, so thank you for reading and supporting!

I will share about my Stitches West fun soon, but I want to start it off by highlighting a charity organization I learned about while I was there, and explain why it seemed like serendipity to meet them at that exact moment. Before we moved to California, we lived in Ohio for 10 years and met our dearest friends (who also became my son’s godparents). They were older than us – old enough to be our parents, actually. We had many dinners at each other’s houses, and they were always there to support us and offer helpful advice when asked. But trouble waits for no one, and she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s about 4 years ago, then cancer, and her husband became her round the clock nursemaid for that time. She passed away the same day I was at Stitches West and stopped by a booth called Alice’s Embrace.

This charity organization was started in memory of their loved one who was plagued with Alzheimers, and ended up being taken too soon also. They immediately offered to send something to my friend when I told them my story. The charity is very straightforward and legitimate, which of course, is my ideal kind of charity organization. You pick one of their patterns, use appropriate yarn, do the knitting or crocheting (your choice), and then wash it and send it to them. They deliver bunches of items to institutions with Alzheimer’s patients, and do their best to give the patients the choice of what item they would like.

To me, this represents the best part of our community – creating something out of love, to offer softness and comfort to someone during a time of suffering. The item goes to the family when the person passes away. Although it is too late for my dear friend to enjoy a handmade piece, I decided to do some knitting for them anyway, in her honor. I also want to make a piece for her husband. The items need to be machine-washable, so the point is to create something usable, as well as soft and comforting, not necessarily expensive.

I invite any of you who are interested in doing charity crafting to join me in a knitalong (or crochetalong!), with the idea being that when we finish our pieces, we will send them to Alice’s Embrace. I am doing this piece, but feel free to browse their site and pick a shawl or a different pattern to best suit whatever yarn you are planning to use. Please keep in touch with me by posting in the Ravelry thread or tagging me on my social media:

Facebook.com/ElizabethKayBooth
Twitter: @elizabethkbooth
Instagram: @elizabethkaybooth

I am grateful to have learned about this charity, and I not only want to bring attention to a good cause, but hopefully see them receive more donations as a result of spreading the word. I would be very grateful for anyone who wants to join me, and I will be posting weekly updates with my progress, and hope to see yours as well!