Hello, September

For me, the beginning of the year starts in September. As a student and a dance teacher, everything starts again this month. After having July and August off from working and homework, September can be a bit of a stressful adjustment.

Next week I will have my “last” first day of the year of university classes. I will be graduating in June of 2017. I’m feeling quite the push to get this part of my life finished! I took on more hours at work this year in my teaching contract. I’ve booked 4 markets so far. I just received my second huge wholesale order of the season. I’m feeling a little overwhelmed and it’s only the first day of the month.

I’ve decided to do something a little different this year. I was inspired by Knot Bad’s mood scarf that he worked on a few months ago. Essentially how it works is you assign a certain number of moods to different colours. Each day you are feeling one of those emotions or moods you work a few rounds or rows of a scarf. After a few weeks (depending on how you organize your scarf) you should have a colourful masterpiece that is a visual representation of how you have been feeling recently.

knotbad

Vincent of Knot Bad modelling his own mood scarf. Go check out his website and the Gracie Project he is working on!

Being a maker can be stressful at times. Being a student is stressful most of the time. Maybe I just get stressed out easily, but even teaching and dancing can be stressful from time to time. So can you guess what my scarf is going to be themed around?

Stress.

I thought that starting this project on the first day of September would be the best time. I’ve got one more week off before things really start getting crazy, so hopefully I will see some good and hopefully not too much stress in my scarf.

14159270_10154031132514094_102448391_n

I’ve chosen 5 colours and 5 corresponding emotions/states of mind for each colour. I picked the number 5 totally randomly and it just happened to match up with the five most common states of stress I feel, so I think this was meant to be! My colours and moods are set up as follows:

  • White – Happy/Minimal Stress
  • Dark Gray – High Stress
  • Gray – Tired
  • Navy – Overwhelmed
  • Mauve – Content

I tried to assign colours based on what they made me feel. White is clean and innocent, so I tied it with having happy days. Navy reminds me of dark ocean waters, so I thought it would match well with being overwhelmed. You get the idea.

Why do I have more negative moods than positive ones? I did this because I am hoping that my scarf will be mostly white and mauve, my two lightest colours. If my scarf turns out very dark I will know that my month is not off to a good start. This will be a bit of a test for me, because I am predicting that I will have a very dark and very gray scarf, so hopefully I will be wrong.

I think this project will be a fantastic way for me to prove to myself that I need to relax and step back sometimes. Living a high stress lifestyle is not good for the mind, and certainly not the body. If my scarf has mostly dark gray in it, I will have proof right in front of me that I need to find ways to lighten my load.

I am planning on making a shell-stitch infinity scarf. Each day will get one round of colour. I will likely have to keep track for upwards of 2 weeks in order to make the scarf wide enough for my taste. If I find I don’t have time one day to crochet my round, I have a little notebook set up that I am going to be writing down each day’s mood and why I felt that way. When my scarf is complete I am planning on sharing my journal entries and of course pictures of my scarf! I love the colours and I think it will turn out beautifully no matter what.

Join me and create your own stress scarf! Pick out a colour palette and match the colours to some moods or emotions and see how it goes. Completing mindful activities and tasks such as this force you to be honest with yourself. Mental health is just as important as physical health. Hopefully this will be a friendly reminder for everyone that minimizing stress is important.

14182506_10154031132464094_859766111_n

I am off to a bad start! I did my first round today and I had to choose feeling tired. This time of year is rough for me. I am just leaving my allergy season, which already makes me feel a little sleepy anyways. I also have a vitamin D deficiency. When it’s cloudy and gray outside, I don’t get the amount of vitamin D I need naturally. These two little quirks of mine can really pack a punch. I was exhausted this morning. I got a solid 8 hours of sleep last night, but I woke up with a migraine. I couldn’t snap out of my sleepy state until probably 3:00pm in the afternoon. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

It’s not too late to start your own mood scarf! Think back to how you were feeling yesterday (or earlier today if you are a night owl like me and reading this right now) and crochet or knit your first day. I would recommend choosing your favourite scarf pattern that can easily have stripes worked into it. This should be a fun activity! I can’t wait to do my stripe tomorrow and see how I’m feeling!

As always, enjoy your yarn and make something pretty today!

 

Free Beanie Pattern to Celebrate the End of Summer!

I know some of you may disagree with me, but I’m just going to say it anyways. I hate summer. While having time off is fun, and lots of exciting events take place during the summer, it is just not my cup of tea. Too hot. Too many bugs. Too sunny (I am am quite pale so I think that is self-explanatory).

Thankfully this summer has gone by extremely quickly! I can’t believe it is August already. We have had a fairly mild summer so far on the coast of British Columbia, but I am really looking forward to the crisp mornings and chilly evenings of fall.

Knowing that fall is just around the corner has put me in high gear for market prep and pattern designing. I am cranking out beanies and scarves like crazy and my yarn stash is rapidly depleting. I have even made a few things for myself for once!

I have been tinkering with a beanie pattern in the past few weeks, and I think I’ve finally perfected it. What better way to celebrate the fact that my favourite season is closing in on us than by sharing a free pattern?!

edited one

This is definitely one of those no-brainer patterns. After I completed my first one I seriously shook my head and thought to myself, “Why on Earth did I think this would be so hard?!”

Playing with measurements can be tricky, but thankfully this pattern is 100% adjustable for both length and circumference/width. I’ve done some experimenting and I have come up with a few yarn weight/needle size/and stitch combinations to make different sizes and styles!

20160726_142129

I’ll start out with my most favourite style and size and hopefully you’ll get the idea of how to adjust this pattern and create all sorts of shapes and sizes!

The Classic Beanie

A pattern for beginner knitters. This beanie will fit an average woman’s (or even teenager’s) head in a slouchy style!

Supplies:

  • Approximately 60-70 yards of super bulky yarn OR 2 strands of any worsted weight yarn
    • I used Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick & Quick for the bulky version
    •  I used Loops N’ Threads Impeccable for the worsted version
  • Size 13/9.00mm short circular needles with a 16 inch cable
  • Stitch marker
  • Scissors
  • Yarn needle
  • Pom pom maker (optional)

The Pattern

  • Use your favourite cast on method and cast on 40 stitches
  • Use your stitch marker so you know where the beginning of each round is
  • Ribbing – * K1 P1, repeat from * around for 10 rounds
  • Knit around normally for 15 rounds
  • Decrease
    • * K3, k2tog, repeat from * around
    • Knit one round normally
    • *K2, k2tog, repeat from * around
    • Knit one round normally
    • *K1, k2tog, repeat from * around
    • k2tog around for the remaining stitches
  • Break your yarn and use a yarn needle to weave the tail in through each stitch. Pull tight to close the top of the hat
  • Use your pom pom maker (or whatever method you prefer) to make a nice big pom pom to sew to the top of your beanie
    • This step is optional! I just love pom poms!
  • Weave in your ends

You now have a beautiful chunky hat to keep you warm all fall and winter long!

Here are a few other size options I have various yarn weights and sizes:

20160622_114254

Chunky Men’s Beanie

  • Cast on 42
  • Follow the same steps as the original pattern EXCEPT:
    • Work the ribbing for 11 rounds
    • Knit normally for 16 rounds
  • Follow the same decrease method. If you have extra stitches just knit them normally to maintain a nice looking decreased top of hat

Chunky Children’s Beanie (age 1-3 roughly)

  • Cast on 32
  • Follow the same steps as the original pattern EXCEPT:
    • Work the ribbing for 8 rounds
    • Knit normally for 12-13 rounds depending on preference
  • Follow the same decrease method

Fitted Women’s Beanie

  • Use bulky size 5 yarn
  • Cast on 56
  • Follow the same steps as the original pattern EXCEPT:
    • Work the ribbing for 13 rounds
    • Knit normally for 20 rounds
  • Follow the same decrease method. If you have extra stitches at the end of your rounds, just knit them normally to maintain a nice looking decreased top of hat

This is an amazing pattern that can easily by adjusted, changed, or customized to fit anyone and everyone. I bet I’ve made close to 50 of these beanies so far for market prep and early fall orders. Trust me, they will be a hit with everyone.

Experiment with stripes and different sizes. Create fitted beanies and super slouchy beanies. Try incorporating a little bit of some fair isle style! The possibilities are endless.

20160803_155500

Let’s connect on social media! Use the hashtag #classicbeanie so I can see all of the beautiful creations you come up with using this pattern. Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog and follow me on Instagram and Facebook!

Have fun!

 

 

 

Is it okay to be a yarn snob?

I recently visited a cute little yarn shop owned by a fabulous indie-dyer. She carried the most beautiful yarns in her shop, many of which I have never even heard of before. I am super impressed with my willpower. I only bought a few skeins, and they were all meant for particular projects I wanted to start. That usually never happens.

I spent about an hour oohing and ahhing at all of the squishy goodness she had lining her shelves. An entire wall of the store was dedicated to her hand-spun and hand-dyed yarns. Her work was so unique. I literally spent half my time in the store just looking at each colour-way and admiring the patterns.

We chatted a little as I roamed the store. She was an avid knitter. I flip-flop between crocheting and knitting regularly (difference #1). She loves fingering weights, I love bulky yarns (difference #2). She knew a lot about yarn, while I am still learning a lot about yarn (difference #3). It was apparent that this fellow knitter and I were not really on the same page.

I don’t personally think there is an issue with either of our crafting tastes. It shouldn’t matter at all. The only thing that should matter is that we both love what we do. Everyone has different tastes and preferences, as with anything. Why should yarn be any different?

Talking to other people who knit or crochet is just the most exciting thing. I get to hear about other people’s experiences, maybe learn a new trick of the trade, or even simply swap yarn frustrations because there’s about a million of them. Being able to connect with essentially a stranger on a topic that is so close to heart really makes you realize the power of the crafting community.

It took about two minutes for our conversation to turn sour.

I mentioned that it was one of my first times shopping at a specialty yarn store and how I wish I could do it more often. On a student budget, it is extremely difficult to indulge in such high quality yarn. I explained how I am more of a commercial knitter and I rarely keep things for myself, but when I do, I use the nice stuff. Whenever I offer this explanation, I am usually faced with understanding, maybe the tiniest bit of sadness or pity at the fact that I don’t get to make things for myself often.

The shopkeeper basically asked me why do I bother knitting if I don’t use the highest quality yarns available? I was quite shocked by her response to my tales of woe. I couldn’t even think of a response at the time. She proceeded to insist that I was holding out on my customers by only providing them with items that are made out of commercial and mass produced yarns. I ended up accepting defeat, quietly paying for my items, and leaving her store feeling confused and a little hurt.

Did I just encounter my first yarn snob? I’m thinking that’s what happened. I knew they existed but I didn’t think they were so mean.

I wasn’t really sure how I wanted to approach this issue. I let the conversation sit with me for about a week before I decided I needed to address what I experienced. Semi-anonymous blog post, here I come!

I think everyone who knits or crochets has a peculiar love affair with yarn. I didn’t realize how much the type of yarn mattered to some people. I see minor differences between yarn available from Michaels and yarn available only in select specialty stores. They both have their pros and cons.

Money is the biggest factor in my yarn purchases. I am on a student budget and I do rely heavily on specific profit margins for items that I make, seeing as I sell almost everything. Yarn from Michaels, JoAnn’s, and even Walmart are nice on my wallet. I made a queen sized squishy 3-stranded blanket for $12.00. You can’t do that with Malabrigo yarn without spending at least a couple hundred dollars.While with the Malabrigo you would have a wider colour range to choose from and the blanket would probably be a little softer, it would work up very similarly to the blanket made with cheap yarn.

The contents of the yarn is another hot topic. I know most people who are slightly yarn snobby love working with wool and wool blends. I personally find most/all wool extremely itchy and I hate using it. Cotton is nice sometimes, but it doesn’t give off the same look as some of the chunkier worsted acrylic yarns we all know and love. I swear I’m not hating on the wool. But you have to admit it’s not the softest material to work with. I base most of my yarn choices off of what my customers say. If I get a lot of compliments on how soft a scarf is, I will keep buying that yarn. If someone picks up an item and quickly puts it down, claiming it feels scratchy or rough, that yarn is leaving my stash.

I guess what I am trying to say is that we shouldn’t discriminate how people express themselves. Maybe the commercial yarn is all some people can afford. They shouldn’t be treated poorly because they are unable to purchase the finest merino blends. Maybe some people have allergies to acrylic yarns. They obviously need to be careful and inquisitive when they are making their purchases. Everyone has different reasons for their behaviour.

Knitting is an art. It should be accepted and treated as such. Like painting, each artist has a preferred medium. There are so many to choose from; who is to say what is the best choice? It shouldn’t matter what yarn is used for a project. If it brought the maker any bit of happiness during the process, it should be loved.

 

Blanket Planning 101

I love making blankets during my lulls between orders. I usually keep them for myself or give them away as gifts. Handmade is so much better! Plus it gives me an excuse to watch all of House of Cards season 4 in one sitting without feeling overly guilty.

The hardest part of blanket planning for me is choosing the colours. The supplies to make a blanket can be quite the investment, so I have a hard time limiting myself to one particular brand of yarn that hopefully has the exact colours I am looking for.

I am a huge fan of Knit Picks Brava Worsted because it has so many colour options. Another bonus is that it is actually really nice yarn. I always get compliments on my products made out of this yarn saying that it is so soft, and it really is! Usually whatever colour scheme I end up choosing I can make work with their selection of yarn.

Back to choosing an actual colour scheme. Pinterest becomes my best friend when I am searching for colour inspiration. The number of amazing and talented photographers out there is just insane, and I am able to draw my blanket visions out of their beautiful pictures.

delele

I came across Design Seeds recently, and I love the colour palettes they have created. Seriously so beautiful. Each one works perfectly and there are so many to choose from that you are guaranteed to find what you are looking for. I found my next blanket inspiration there.

deleteagain

Denim shades of blue and vibrant springy greens are really doing it for me this year. Paired with some simple beige and cream neutrals, it really doesn’t get any better than this.

If you are trying to plan a blanket but are having the same issues finding colour inspiration, look through Design Seeds! The more I look through their feed, the more blankets I want to make.

deele

delelelelelele

Fellow knitters and crocheters, I need your help.

I’ve mentioned on other posts how difficult this time of year is for me. It is now March! Spring break is upon us in British Columbia, which hopefully means the weather will begin to grow nicer (still waiting for that part). I have a hard time cuddling up with my chunky yarns and thick needles and hooks when my mind is telling me, “But Tia, you won’t be able to wear this for another five months.”

What does one make this time of year?! I am still trapped in fall and winter mode, so I am having an extremely difficult time moving onto different projects. All of my unfinished winter projects are staring at me with these sad eyes, begging to be finished. I just can’t do it.

I have been slowly entering Amigurumi World as of three days ago. My little Easter bunnies are extremely popular this time of year and I received orders for 10 of them in about two days. That will only keep me busy for about another week. If anyone wants to order or give the pattern a try, I sell them in my Etsy shop and I posted the free pattern when I first started this blog!

My goal for today is to figure out what exactly I am going to do for the next 5 months until August when I start my fall and winter prep. I have a few ideas in mind, and hopefully I will be able to share them with you soon. The first is going to be a themed blanket. The theme? You’ll have to wait and see!

Share your inspiration and current projects with me in the comments! I’d love to hear about what my fellower knitters and crocheters are up to this time of year.

Free Pattern – Brioche Head Wrap (to knit)

Hello again, back with a free pattern! I call this the Brioche Head Wrap.

DSC_0075

Honestly, I am not entirely sure what “brioche” means other than that it is the name of the stitch that is used and I believe it is French. I just love the way it sounds! This pattern is super easy and works up fairly quickly. On a good day, I could probably make about 10 of these.

The best part about this pattern is that it is totally customizable! You can adjust the width by how many stitches you cast on and the length by how many rows you complete. This head wrap can be made for girls and women of literally all ages!

Brioche Head Wrap Pattern – To Knit

DSC_0082

Supplies Needed:

  • Size 9 knitting needles
  • About 100 yards worsted weight yarn (I used Caron Simply Soft in Soft Gray Heather)
  • Scissors
  • Yarn needle

Pattern

Cast on 22 stitches for the wrap in your favourite method (or any other even numbered amount of stitches if you wish to adjust the width).

Work in the brioche stitch until your head wrap is about 20 inches long (or other desired length). Purl Soho has a fantastic tutorial to learn the brioche stitch.

Cast off in your favourite method and leave a 10 inch tail for sewing.

Cast on 8 stitches for the knot in your favourite method.

Work in the brioche stitch until the piece measures about 5-6 inches long.

Cast off in your favourite method and leave a 10 inch tail for sewing.

Use your yarn needle to stitch the two ends of the wrap together. I used the mattress stitch to do this. I used my leftover yarn to cinch the seam together in preparation for the knot or band to go around. Either use the yarn to simply tie around the width of the wrap/seam and pull tightly, or you can weave the tail back through the seam, pull tightly, and knot.

Wrap the smaller knot/band around the seam. Stitch the two ends together and make a few stitches from the inside of the band to the wrap to secure it in place.

Knot and weave in your ends. Flip head wrap around so that the seam of the knot/band is facing the inside of the head wrap and won’t be visible when being worn.

Please note: This is a very stretchy knit so it will stretch up to an extra 4 inches in length. It may take some practice, but it is very easy with the brioche stitch to accidentally make a head wrap that is way too big because of the stretch! You are free to sell this head wrap or make as gifts, but please credit me with the pattern.

Ta daa! You now have a super adorable, warm and cozy head wrap! This style seriously looks amazing on everyone.

DSC_0087-2

If you don’t know how to knit, you can purchase one from my Etsy shop.

Share your pictures in the comments of your finished products and please feel free to ask any questions you have!