Creation In Isolation

ShawlPlanning
How things will be looking. Creation in isolation!

The last time I posted, I was getting ready for the busy holiday season and Corona Virus was nowhere on anyone’s radar. We had our first Tennessee Christmas and rang in a new decade in our new home. I really thought last year was pretty crazy, and now already, the first quarter of this year is making last year look like a stroll through a park! Deadly tornados came through at the start of this month, and even now, the city is still cleaning up in the midst of the latest crisis. Tennessee is now in quarantine, as I know many (or all?) of you are.

We are seeing two sides of humanity right now. The ugly side is certainly making headlines – people hoarding food, toilet paper and sanitizer with no concern for who else might need it, others who blatantly ignore the medical community’s desperate requests for people to stay at home to avoid spreading the virus, and of course, an increase in the black market with those trying to capitalize on the emergency. But then there is the other side, which unfortunately doesn’t make headlines as often, but is truly good to see. People who shop for those who can’t, share supplies with those in need, and actively look for ways to contribute and help their fellow humans.

I have been watching for ways to be part of that second group. I truly believe it is important to do what we can to give and uplift, and sometimes the smallest ways are the most meaningful. I know we are all realizing how much we take for granted during our “normal lives”, even if we are already practicing a mindset of gratitude.

So all that said, before I share a little list and a gift for you all at the end, I first want to wish everyone good health. I hope this quarantine will spare us from the virus, and that wherever you are, you are safe and able to get what you need to survive.

This month, we have volunteered as a family as part of a tornado cleanup crew and also with our church at a local food pantry. But I still believe the lighter things of life are important too. For sure, we need beauty, creativity and something to do with our hands. I can’t provide you all with food and toilet paper, but here’s a list of things I’m finding inspiring and helpful right now, and I hope it will benefit you too!

  1. My studio is literally the LAST room to get unpacked and organized. No time like now to finally get it in order! When it comes to organizing yarn stash, this podcast episode was the most helpful thing I found. Actually, her podcast has lots of great stuff, so by all means, don’t stop with just one episode! 😉
  2. Lots of great KAL’s going on right now, but Jill Wolcott’s Finishing Challenge seems the most thorough and well-planned. Definitely want to participate in this. I met her at one of my first TNNAs, and she is a wealth of great personality, style, and knowledge!
  3. Don’t have sanitizer at home? Neither do I! And you really don’t need to worry about it!
  4. For all around general good advice on keeping a positive mindset, as well as how to manage fear during crisis, I can’t recommend Mel Robbins enough. She just did an excellent video yesterday about finances and preparing yourself during uncertain times, but she has lots of other great content as well, all based on science and research. I’m generally a positive person, but I’ve learned alot from her.
  5. And if you just want a super awesome new project to start working on, this one is pretty cool. Pattern is free, although if you want to support the designer, you can go on Ravelry and buy it cheap and she’ll send you a PDF. Let me know if you want to do this as a KAL, because I am definitely going to be casting on once I finish up a few things!

And finally friends, I would like to make my own contribution. You are welcome to any of my patterns for free between now and April 1 with the code “creationinisolation“. Here is the link: https://www.ravelry.com/redeem/elizabeth-kay-booth-designs?code=creationinisolation

It is important to not panic, to stay busy, and to keep doing things that make us happy. I encourage you to use this code as many times as you want for as many of my patterns as you want. Just only put one pattern at a time into your cart, as I could not find a way to make it work for more than one at a time.

Stay strong, stay healthy, and keep making!

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.

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

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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.

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I love a good, snuggly shawl that you can wrap yourself in!

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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 to Make

I like to do a little holiday crafting for my closest loved ones. I learned the hard way to be selective so I don’t overwhelm myself and turn something that should be fun and loving into added holiday stress. I’ve moved away from seeing how many gifts I can crank out toward picking one or two stunning projects to give to the most special people in my life. But however you like to plan out your gifting, a word to the wise: START NOW!

Aside from the giving, the most fun part (in my opinion) is figuring out what to make! So for all of you who support me and read my blog, here is my little holiday gift to you! A list of the coolest patterns I’ve been bookmarking all year! I hope you enjoy browsing the list, and if you make any of these, please share your photos of the finished pieces because I would love to see!

  1. Being the art lover that I am, and Op Art being one of my favorite movements, this blanket speaks to me even though I don’t currently have anyone to make a baby blanket for! But I’m thinking it could also be a pretty awesome throw. Check out the pattern on Ravelry to see what other people came up with in color combos!
  2. This sweater is something a teenager with a forward fashion sense would enjoy. Big prints and images on sweaters and sweatshirts are very popular, so if you are looking for something for the hard-to-please teen category, this is definitely NOT grandma’s knitting!
  3. A classic go-to gift, fingerless mitts with a twist!
  4. Socks are so much work, but such a lovely gift for someone truly dear to you who is worth all the knitting time! For an extra-special pair for your extra-special someone, I recommend anything from Ravelry’s Tour De Sock, but I especially love Fields of Flowers.
  5. Technically, Minion things would be listed as children’s gifts, but I know plenty of adults who would enjoy having these too. Crocheted items usually work up quickly, so if you need a gift in a hurry, or a fun gag gift for a white elephant party, Minions are a fun option.
  6. I’ve never done Tunisian entrelac, so I have no idea how complicated (or not) this project would be, but it is so fantastic, I had to include it! Plus, I would love to learn how to do this, so I consider it a gift to myself AND the person who gets the FO. However, just given the size, I would recommend starting this gift this year in preparation for gifting next year.
  7. A tote is always useful! I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t have a use for this bag!
  8. Shawls are always a lovely gift, and this designer has a beautiful variety.
  9. And last, but not least, the classic holiday gift: a scarf. But not just any scarf – why do boring rib when you could explore the magic of illusion knitting?

I hope you enjoy the ideas I found. I tried to link to the original source of each pattern, but if you would like to see color ideas or projects other people have completed, these can all be looked up on Ravelry. Happy holiday gifting!