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!

#yarnlovechallenge – Friends, Family, and Fiber

#yarnlovechallenge
Read on for Days 11 – 18
#yarnlovechallenge
Day 11 – Travel Projects. I love a good garter stitch shawl or cowl when travelling.
#yarnlovechallenge
Day 12 – Progress. I know I’ve made progress when it’s time to get all Project Runway and pin pieces on the mannequin to ready it for seaming!
#yarnlovechallenge
Day 13 – Selfie. One of my first ever selfies – I was still learning how to take them. This was when we went up to the mountains to let the kids experience snow.
#yarnlovechallenge
Day 14 – Yarn Love. Doesn’t this photo just say it all?! Taken when my Boo was only a few weeks old – I had to take her with me to work because I was still bottle-feeding her every few hours. I put a THICK stack of paper towels under her before snapping this photo, just to make sure nothing “wet” would happen to the yarn.
#yarnlovechallenge
Day 15 – Family. This was taken 5 or 6 years ago when my kids were dressed up for Halloween.
#yarnlovechallenge
Day 16 – Happy Color. I mean, just look at it! Happy color indeed. 🙂
#yarnlovechallenge
Day 17 – Fiber Friends. Here is my best fiber friend, still a kitten, hiding in my project bag. She is still my bestie when I’m doing some late-night crafting.
#yarnlovechallenge
Day 18 – Gratitude. I am grateful for Kaffe Fassett. I am grateful to have his books. I am grateful to have knit one of his patterns. I am grateful I had the floor space to deal with knitting one of his patterns. And I am VERY grateful that I never have to work with 20 balls of yarn attached all at once ever again. 🙂

#yarnlovechallenge – Where I Craft, Tools and Oldest Stash

#yarnlovechallenge
A combination post to finally get me caught up – Days 8 – 10

#yarnlovechallenge Day 8 – Where I Craft – this seems to be a hard one for alot of people, based on the posts I’ve seen. The answer is – EVERYWHERE! This is the beauty of working with yarn – you can take it with you everywhere, do a few stitches, or a hundred…it truly is one of the most versatile things you can do!

I originally got into crafting by sewing. But after my son was born, I had to give it up. I didn’t have room for the setup – sewing table, place to cut patterns, all the fabric and sewing notions storage – and I also didn’t feel safe. My son was one of those children who could find pins in the carpet two seconds after I had just vacuumed! All that to say, it didn’t take me long when I started crocheting and knitting to realize they fit my current lifestyle much better.

So for this challenge, I will tell you a few of my FAVORITE places to work – my couch, my favorite little coffee shops, at the ocean, and in the mountains. Check my Instagram to see more photos of my favorite places, but here’s one of my favorite photos taken at the beach last year right before Easter. It was too cold to play in the water, but the kids and I spent the afternoon in Malibu and actually watched the sun go below the horizon.

#yarnlovechallenge
#yarnlovechallenge Day 8 – Where I Craft – well, one of the places. My FAVORITE place! 
barbara walker stitch patterns
#yarnlovechallenge Day 9 – Tools – My set of Barbara Walker stitch pattern volumes

As a designer, this set of books is truly indispensable!

#yarnlovechallenge
#yarnlovechallenge Day 10 – oldest stash

This is the FIRST photo of yarn I ever posted on this blog. I think it is also one of the first purchases in a yarn store I ever made. Manos del Uruguay Maxima – still one of my favorites!