First Charity Mailing of 2018

Journey - Alices Embrace
Journey – Alices Embrace

As you may remember, I lost a dear friend close to this time last year to Alzheimer’s, and on the very same day, met the lovely people from Alice’s Embrace at Stitches West. Since then, I have been knitting (and crocheting) items for them, on and off throughout the year.

Journey by Alices Embrace
Love this pattern – tempted to make a full-size afghan for our house
Journey by Alices Embrace
Folded blanket ready to mail to Alices Embrace

They have a great selection of patterns for knitters and crocheters with varying levels of difficulty. So far, out of all the patterns I’ve knit, Journey has been my favorite.

If you are looking for a charity to contribute to in 2018, I highly recommend Alice’s Embrace. As an added bonus, it is alot of fun to keep an eye on their Facebook page because you never know when your item will pop up. And as before, if you’re making things, please post in my Ravelry group so I can see your items, just for fun.

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Will You Join Me in Joining a KAL?

lopi sweater KAL
Ready to swatch for my lopi sweater

I have wanted to make a lopi sweater for about as long as I’ve been knitting. When I saw this post, and realized today is February 1, I knew it was a sign that now is my time! 🙂

I am planning to knit Antipodal, although mine will be a closer-fitting version. This design has the bonus feature of being reversible, which seems unusual to me.

Above, you can see the yarns I’m hoping to use (all out of my stash), although this might change if my swatches don’t thrill me.

If you’re not crazy about my choice, or if you’d prefer to knit a cardigan, you should definitely check out the other options listed in Berrocco’s post.

I hope this will inspire you to join the fun, and if you do, please share with the rest of us! 🙂 I always welcome your photos for this or anything else on my Facebook. Of course, Berroco has a Ravelry group where everyone involved in the KAL can share progress and discuss their patterns.

My New Habits (New Year’s Resolutions)

make art every day
My desk with the inspirations for making art every day – do you see a theme? 🙂

Happy new year everyone! I know I’m a bit late to the party, as we are already almost at the end of the month, but as this is my first post in 2018, it seems appropriate.

I had major changes in my life toward the end of 2017, and so as we were heading into the new year, I put alot of thought into what I hope to accomplish in 2018. I am feeling very optimistic (which wasn’t the case for much of 2017), and I think it has to do with taking more time than I usually do to make plans for the new year.

My major focus in setting resolutions, if you want to call them that, was thinking about what HABITS I wanted to either break or form. I didn’t want to set short-term goals like “Lose 10 pounds” or “Run a 5k”. I wanted to focus on forming habits that would help me accomplish long-term, ongoing things like “Get better at drawing” and “Be healthy and more energetic”.

To that end, here are the habits I am working to form and maintain for the long haul (hopefully long past 2018!):

Daily Creativity
I bought this book over a year ago, but when I started it last New Year’s, I had to give it up because I didn’t feel inspired by the exercises AND it was taking up too much of my day. But a few months ago, when I was browsing the clearance section at Hobby Lobby, I found this book about mandalas, which have always appealed to me. I realized that mandalas would be the perfect theme to use to work through the daily art book.

I realized that what I need to do is form a habit of daily creativity, not stress about creating 365 pieces of finished work in a year. I decided to set aside 30 minutes a day to sit down and focus on making something. Because it sometimes takes me more than a day to finish a mandala, I am allowing myself to skip the exercises that don’t inspire me. For instance, I LOVED making something inspired by my favorite animal, but was not inspired by the exercise that said to make something out of paper without drawing on it, cutting it, or gluing it. (Anyone have any ideas for this one? I didn’t have much luck making a mandala simply by folding, and to be honest, origami has never been my thing!)

The result is that so far, I have spent 30 minutes daily practicing creativity simply for the sake of enjoying it but will not have a finished piece every day. I am focusing on what inspires me in the book and skipping over what doesn’t. You can see what I’ve produced in my updates here once a week, but if you would like to keep up on a daily basis, follow me on Instagram!

Being Healthy
This is also about habits. I have a few habits I’m trying to break for this one, namely, consuming less alcohol and sugar. Sugar is just bad all around, although I don’t think I’ll ever be able to give up chocolate. But being more controlled about it and eliminating added sugars in food will help.

And alcohol… what can I say, I love a good glass of wine with dinner at night. But I noticed that it affects my sleep patterns, and all the articles I’ve read lately about health and having more energy, losing weight, etc., all say that alcohol is to be avoided. So I am trying to form the habit of drinking more water and saving a glass or two of wine for the weekends.

The other health-related habit I’m working on is exercise. This habit is already partially formed, but I would like to cement it in as part of my lifestyle in 2018. I used to be a runner but have had alot of pain when running after breaking my ankle a few years ago. I have tried a number of different workouts – circuit training, which makes a huge difference but is such a CHORE, and Zumba, which is cardio all the way but is the most fun I’ve ever had exercising.

I’ve had a hard time sticking with anything since I stopped running, so I decided to do the same thing I did with creativity – commit 30 minutes a day to exercise and not worry about getting “in shape” for anything. So far, I’ve been able to maintain the habit, although I have to admit it is always in the back of my mind to be able to run again.

Reading
And my final habit is reading for an hour a day. Committing an hour has been difficult on some days, and so I have broken this one a few times. But 30 minutes to get into a book didn’t seem like enough time, which is why I set the goal at spending an hour a day, minimum, for reading. An hour is usually doable, and is a long enough timeframe to get through some of the book. Again, I am focused on setting the habit of reading, and so I am trying not to put too many parameters on the habit. Some days I feel like reading a novel or a fashion magazine, and other days, when I’m not exhausted at bedtime but reading earlier in the day, I study a knitwear design book. I don’t always look forward to, or enjoy, exercising, but this habit is pure enjoyment for me, regardless of what I’m reading.

So let me know, my friends, what are you doing in the new year? If you have resolutions, share them in the comments, and if you want to join in doing something creative every day, whether it is cooking or drawing or whatever else, please post your photos on Instagram to #createwithelizabethkaybooth. Happy 2018 to you all!

Christmas Reading, New Year Reflecting, and Fiber-y Apps

Maybe it’s all the online Christmas shopping I do, but I seem to have been doing alot of browsing online lately and coming across things right and left that I bookmark to go back to later. Usually I share the links I thought were the best of the best, and most of these are, but I have one in particular I am not sure about and I am sharing to solicit your opinions.

For whatever reason, it seems to be hard to find knitting/crocheting apps that seem useful and worth downloading. I came across this link and if any of you have used these apps, please leave me a comment and let me know which one, and whether you loved it, hated it, or what you found it most useful for? If you use apps not on this list, feel free to comment your suggestions too. Many thanks! 🙂

Debbie Macomber posted this on her Facebook page, and it makes me want to curl up and read some holiday-themed books and cuddle with my pets and a cup of hot chocolate.

You can never go wrong surfing around a site celebrating creativity and the creative process, and I am very interested in reading her book, Creative Strength Training.

I will probably save this to work through after Christmas, but every year after Christmas, I love to spend a little time reflecting on the past year and to think ahead to the new year. I’m not as much about setting resolutions as I am about clearing out mental space and just reevaluating what is important and what I want to focus on in the new year. This is a free workbook, and I am looking forward to filling it out and using it to write everything down! Enjoy!

FO: Gradient Flight

nymphalidea knitty
Nymphalidea (Published in Knitty)

As mentioned in previous posts, I had quite the pile of FO’s to do finishing on. I decided that this was the month for it – no finishing will be following me into the new year. I worked on and off on this shawl for about a year, finished it during the summer, and realized it was high time to get some use out of it.

nymphalidea knitty
Even though its folded, you can still get an idea of the size and color changes
nymphalidea knitty
Laid flat so you can see the size and shape
nymphalidea knitty
It is hard to photograph large shawls

This pattern is so much fun to knit. I used an Apple Tree Knits cake yarn with long, gradient color changes with a gray Sundara yarn as my MC. My version of this shawl is much larger than the original pattern – probably about twice the size. But that is what I love about this pattern – you can just keep knitting until your yarn runs out or until you have your desired size without doing resizing calculations or complicated math.

nymphalidea knitty
I love a good, snuggly shawl that you can wrap yourself in!
nymphalidea knitty
A whole lotta silk and merino to cocoon myself in
nymphalidea knitty
A photo reflecting the designers name choice for her pattern… this pose does sort of make me look butterfly-ish, right?

Gifts of Short Rows

rescue dog and knitting
A rescue dog always makes the knitting look better! 🙂

As previously mentioned, I want to make every pattern in this book. So I decided to start at the beginning, because, why not?

Top view of the short row construction
Side view of hat, showing earflaps, which were also done with short rows after picking up stitches around.
With my fellow model. I need a rescue dog to help a hat look good on me! 🙂
So you can see what it looks like on the head…

The book was my gift to myself, but I made this hat as a gift for a dear friend (who looks so much better in hats than I do!). I don’t make many hats, because I don’t generally wear them, but this one was alot of fun and I’m happy with how it turned out. There is some seaming and some picking up of stitches, but I enjoyed the pattern very much and I am looking forward to continuing my way through the book.

I hear alot of knitters complain about short rows, and if you’re one of them, this book will spell it out for you and dispel your fears of them! They are so much easier than you think, and I love all the shaping tricks and design elements you can add with them.

Firing Up My Creative Urge While Avoiding Finishing

I have a new design, two shawls, a hat, a jacket, and soon to be a cowl and a scarf (both new designs also) sitting on my work table waiting to be finished. I know, I did it to myself. I used to ALWAYS do finishing when I bound off, and I wouldn’t start a new project until the ends were woven in and the piece was washed and blocked. I am not sure how I fell into allowing FO’s to pile up when all that is left to be done is finishing, but here I am.

Anyway, while I have been procrastinating, I have been getting more and more inspired to keep designing and starting new things, and as usual, this happens when I am reading other blogs, browsing Instagram, and going through magazines. So while I hunker down and get my finishing done so I can finally show you photos of all my FO’s, here are a few rabbit holes to jump into just for fun… or to procrastinate. 😉

  1. This makes me want to just start organizing my house in gradients, and I am definitely following her Instagram!
  2. I love the idea of setting a Thanksgiving table with these as decorations – just to mix it up!
  3. This artist does such beautiful imagery in such vibrant colors, especially considering alot of her works are in watercolor, which sometimes tends to be more washed out.
  4. I could just sit and browse these photos exploring color in nature. Such a perfect mix when you are seeking inspiration!