Sunset Slouch

 













I've just finished the coolest hat and at the same time was able to try out a new yarn. Well, maybe not too new. The yarn was introduced last year but I had never heard of it. I would not know about this lovely yarn still if not for this hat kit announcement arriving in my inbox last month. I think little stripy kits are a great idea to offer to knitters; it's like getting a shade card and sample yarn pack in one. I wish more yarn makers would do this; offer a little project kit with a little taste of yarn and a good sampling of colors. The yarn is Weld by Hudson + West Co., a fingering weight that is 70% Merino and 30% Corriedale. It is USA produced from sheep to skein.  Weld is terrific--it is springy and lovely to knit and all the colors I received except the navy have a heathery nuance. The stitches cling together to make an even, soft, pliable, and stretchy fabric with great memory. If you don't mind hand washing a baby or child's sweater, Weld would be a great choice for children's garments as it is lightweight and soft. I could also see it for any shawl or sweater project for that matter, and imagine colorwork, lace and cables would all work beautifully in Weld. All the available colors were included in the kit except the white, gray and black. The kit also included a fold-over leather H + W label for the brim. Love that little touch. The hat is comfy and fits my noggin and my grandson's too. 

Jogless stripes: I don't think you'll be able to spot the beginning of the color changes very easily, see last photo above. There are many ways to knit jogless stripes in the round, but the method I use is the easiest and it works perfectly each time: 

1. Add the new color and knit the row.
2. When you come to the second round, slip the first stitch as if to purl with the yarn in back. Knit the remaining stitches.
3. On the third round, knit as usual, but on the first stitch, give both the new yarn and previous yarn a little tug or two to line them up. 

This method works best for stripes that are 3 or more rows wide. All jogless methods work best on wool and not as well on cotton and linen. 

You can purchase the kit for the Sunset Slouch here. You can find the pattern on Ravelry here. My own project page is here. Weld yarn by Hudson + West Co. can be purchased here. It's a good one.

Thank you all so much for your kind comments on my previous post. I received over a hundred comments and all were in agreement that social media has become too intrusive and divisive. I'm not suggesting that walking away from Facebook and Instragram is for everyone, but for me, and it's only been one week, I know it was the right decision. I'm surprised how much social media had negatively directed my mood. And the time I spent! Now I have more time for things I really enjoy and honestly, I don't know why I waited so long. I have not replied to each comment as yet, but I will in the week to come. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. You can comment on this post by scrolling down if you are on my website, or by clicking here. xo Kristen

why I'm leaving social media


I know many of you (about a third of my readers) get their "new post" alerts from Facebook and I want those readers to know that I will be deleting my Knitionary Facebook page. If I can find a way to pause it, I will, and then probably delete it altogether in 2021. I have also disabled my Instagram and deleted my personal Facebook account. If you're not on social media, you're probably thinking, pfft, who cares? But some of you might be wondering why, and I'd like to share my decision process.


Three years ago my mother was gravely ill and spending time with her was my priority. In order to do that I had to eliminate all non-essentials from my life. One of the non-essentials I eliminated was reading my social media feeds. I continued to post daily on my Knitionary Facebook knitting page but would leave right after the post. That took only a few minutes a day and I enjoyed it. A year later, mother passed away, and slowly, and hopefully also thoughtfully, I brought back a few of those "non-essentials". Some things I missed very much and bringing them back was comforting, but others, like social media, was not missed at all. I continued to post on my knitting page, occasionally post on my personal page, posting a few times a month on IG, and always leaving immediately. Even with those quick appearances I couldn't help but see some of my feed and I saw derision and division. I felt too many things were distorted, amplified, inaccurate and cruel. I often did not feel good when I was on Facebook or Instagram and wondered, what am I doing here?


A few days ago, my daughter-in-law asked that I watch "The Social Dilemma" on Netflix. I did. I was stunned. I was shocked. And it was the tipping point for me. If I had been having second thoughts about my involvement in social media, here was the evidence I needed that it was not good for me. I highly recommend this documentary. It shares information that we've all heard before but presented it in a way that made it hard for me to ignore any longer. If you don't have Netflix, perhaps there is another way to view it? At the end of the documentary they interviewed several of the key contributors (all were either creators, enhancers, and/or visionaries of social media) and they ALL have already taken these 4 steps:


--They have removed themselves from all social media.

--They do not allow their children to be on any social media.

--They have removed all news apps from their phone.

--They have removed all notifications from their phone--no pushes, beeps or vibrations.


The reasons why these mavens of social media have taken these 4 steps are numerous and the documentary explains the reasons well. Two main points I took away were:


--The alarming amount of personal information that is harvested and subsequently used to manipulate the user. This can be avoided and built out of the model, but that is not done because of their personal financial gain and influential gain over users, and is in fact getting more personal and more manipulative.

--The purposefully built-in addictive nature of social media to keep us coming back, or stop us from even leaving. This can be avoided and built out of the model, but that is not done because of their financial gain, and is instead getting more and more creepily addictive. 


The above is loathsome obviously, but my main reason for leaving is a little different: social media does not enhance my life; too often it does not truthfully inform me and too often it does not entertain me well. Given that, plus the 2 points above, why would I stay? As for my personal connections, they can be successfully fostered in other ways.


Consequently, I'm on a digital clutter clean up. I have deleted a dozen apps on my phone and decided to delete/disable/archive my social media accounts. It's an ongoing battle to keep my email box lightened up and I'm quick with the unsubscribe option. If I like something and there is an option to receive an email once a month or once a week, I take that option. If that option is unavailable, I unsubscribe from anyone who emails daily. I'll continue to pop onto Ravelry to view patterns and yarn, but I've never been involved in a forum except if I'm testing a pattern, so I'm unfazed by any shenanigans going on over there. Pinterest is fairly innocuous to me. I'm on it a few times a year to search out an idea so I'll keep that. I know I have a Twitter account but I don't remember how to log in. Years ago a male enhancement site attacked my Twitter which was a mess to clean up, and consequently I put in so many log-in precautions that it's now too complicated for me to get on. I will continue to write my knitting blog because I love connecting with the knitting world. I will continue to follow my favorite knitting, cooking, political, decorating and gardening blogs, but unfollowed them if they were plastered with (too many) ads. I certainly sound picky, don't I? But why not--it's my time after all.


If you would like to follow Knitionary, there are a number of ways that I know of:

--Subscribe by email (see the box on the upper right side of the blog).

--Use a blog reader app such as Bloglovin' (that's what I use) or Feedly.

--Bookmark my page and check in weekly or monthly. I generally post 4x a month.


As for Knitionary gathering personal information on you, I wouldn't even know how to do it if I wanted to. I have never looked at my list of followers by email and/or apps, don't know how many I have or who they are. I do check my volume stats because I'm curious if a post has been popular or not, but it doesn't really change what I write about because this blog is simply a fun and creative outlet for me. I hope you like it too. 💗 


As I post this, I'm heading over to FB to delete and archive. If you still see me there and it's not archived, it's because I can't figure out how to do it.😕


Oh, and that picture above is something that just arrived in the mail this morning. Hudson and West designed a slouch with mini skeins using their new yarn, Weld. It's such a nice way to sample yarn. I'm also working on two test knits right now, one is for me, an adult cardigan designed by Anke of Ankestrick and the other is a child's jacket by Lisa of Froginette designs. Some knitting posts will follow!


To make a comment, scroll down if on the blog or click here. Take care friends. Be well. Be happy. Kristen

blush pink pumpkins DIY










I purchased a dozen white plastic pumpkins online and they arrived ghostly white, just as I'd ordered. I planned to warm them up with a little blush of color and I was so happy with the results. It was easy to do so I thought I'd share this project with you. Here's what I did:

I ordered these pumpkins from Amazon although any faux or real white pumpkins will do. If you have orange pumpkins, real or faux, you can still do this, just paint them white first. My goal was to create a hint of an aged pinkish/orangish stain of color that would let the white shine through.

For the blush of color, I pulled out what I had on hand: 

acrylic paints (watered down mixes of brown, pink and orange)
brown shoe polish
liquid furniture scratch fixer

I was a bit of a mad scientist and mixed the above products together, then with a soft rag I rubbed a light coat of color onto the pumpkin making sure I put color inside each ridge. It dried quickly so I immediately buffed away most of the color as I wanted my white pumpkins to have just a hint of color. I wish I could give you a better recipe, but it was all just hit and miss, each one was different, and I ended up loving all of them. If you do decide to give this a go I don't think you can make a mistake. In the third picture below I have three stained on the left so you can see the warm contrast compared with the white pumpkins on the right.

The little stems that came with the pumpkins were cute, but I have a collection of real dried pumpkin stems that I wanted to use. The faux stems popped off with no problem and I easily hot glued my dried stems in their place. My husband couldn't believe that I had a collection of dried pumpkin stems and I couldn't believe that he couldn't believe it. (How long have you know me, hon?) When I have a pumpkin with a gorgeous long and curly stem, I save it. Of course. They pop off easily and dry with no trouble at all. I was planning to use my stem collection for velvet pumpkins but every year I wonder if velvet pumpkins are really my style so I never get around to making them. But THIS is my style and I'm so happy with them. I cannot wait to use them to create my Thanksgiving table, but in the meantime they are resting on the living room mantel. 




 


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Lovey Blanket



We are blanket lovers around here. We've got throws in every room, on nearly every chair, certainly every car, and an especially cuddly one in the stroller. This blanket is my new favorite. What can be prettier than squishy garter stitch and lovely eyelets? It's just simply the best blankie ever. This perfectly easy pattern can be knit in any size, any gauge, and with any yarn, making it ideal as a scrappy project, just let your imagination and your stash be your guide. 


Read through the quickie pattern first to understand the simple construction. If you are using scraps, you may want to weight it and divide your stash in half before you begin. The blanket is square, begins at one corner and is worked diagonally. Please note you'll need more yardage than you think as garter stitch is dense and gobbles up yarn. Maybe that's a good thing if you're trying to reduce your stash!


The pattern calls for a specific yarn and gauge, but the pattern will work for any yarn. While gauge does not matter, you'll want to choose needles that will create a fairly firm fabric with a compact gauge that is not too loose. Thinner yarn will require more stitches and rows, thicker yarn will require less. My 55” square blanket used 820 yards of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Superchunky.


Diagonal Comfort Blanket is free from Lion Yarn.

Find it here on Ravelry, or here on the Lion Yarn site.

My Ravelry project page here.




 






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cobblestone cardigan

 





You might remember the original Cobblestone Pullover from a decade plus ago and may have even made one. That gorgeous pattern by Jared Flood has been reimagined as a cardigan to celebrate Brooklyn Tweed's Shelter 10 year anniversary. When the BT team was looking for preview knitters, I held my hand up high. I will add that the BT team was so pleasant to work with. Their expectations were completely and clearly spelled out, but they were totally easy-going in the way we could approach knitting the sweater.  That small inside glimpse led me to believe this is one well-run company. We've seen how BT supports the hand-knitting community, their suppliers, shops and consumers, so this level of consideration on a little preview knit should be no surprise, but I have to tell you how delighted I was.

I chose the color Snowbound, which is a pale gray tweed; the yarn and the color suit the texture of garter stitch beautifully. Like all BT patterns, the instructions are detailed and complete. I only used 7 skeins even though the pattern called for 8, made the smallest size and it wet blocked perfectly to the measurements. It's a unisex pattern and there are options for slight, more, or no waist shaping. I choose none. It's slightly oversized on me and I love the fit for this particular cardigan. Shelter is divine with a stretchy, wooly hand that makes the most gorgeous fabric, especially in garter. My Cobblestone is a timeless, everyday classic and I've already cast on for a second one, this time in Rowan Kidsilk Haze tripled. 

(it's $1 off this week)
(10% off this week)
Don't miss Jared Flood's most recent blog post.



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another tour: my sewing room evolution and declutter revelation










Welcome to my happy place, my creative empire, my sewing room.  I really, really love to be in this room. It's a place that brings a calm the instant I step inside. Since I was young I've had a sewing and craft cubby. Creating and making has always been important to me. When I was a little girl I had a round table centered in a tiny alcove of my bedroom that was surrounded on all three sides with windows. I had sewing and craft supplies dripping from every window pane. When I was 12 my marvelous parents bought me a sewing machine and it was in that alcove that I started making Barbie clothes and then my own clothes. When I got married and we had our first home, there was a little closet that had a darling, teensy one-foot-square window that faced the garden. Even though space was tight, my husband was totally supportive when I used that precious closet as my sewing room. I squeezed in a second-hand desk for my sewing machine and added my childhood dresser and a used bookshelf. I added a lamp and some pictures, then painted flowers on every surface--the furniture, walls, and ceiling. It was my happy place and I adored it. I was newly married and 21 years old and had my first official sewing room.

Our second home, the house we live in now, has four bedrooms. When we bought it 35 years ago we really only needed three so we decided to use the fourth room as a guest/sewing room. I had a mind to place an emphasis on the sewing part because saving an entire room for an occasional guest never seemed like a good use of space, and after all, a sewing room was something I would use every day.  

The years went on, the nest emptied, our needs changed, and the rooms changed too. Twenty years ago my then teenage son and his friend helped me remodel the sewing room. My main requirements were counter space, a big sewing table and storage. I purchased two used  counter-height bookcases and one tall book case from a shop downtown that was remodeling. They were in good shape and made of heavy oak and became the nucleus of my reimagined sewing/craft room. The boys installed vinyl flooring, a formica L-shaped countertop, a built-in ironing board, shelves in the closet, and lastly, ready-made cabinets from Home Depot. I painted the room and made curtains to cover the lower shelves and the open closet--we had to remove the closet door when I put in the large sewing table--the door wouldn't open! I believe that good lighting is important and have spots of task lighting where needed. The big charcoal linen wing chair is from Pottery Barn and was a bit of a splurge for a sewing room, but I think a comfortable chair is equally as important as good lighting and I've never regretted the purchase.

The last time I shared the sewing room on the blog was nine years ago and since then there have been many changes. I commandeered the room next door (our son's former room) and that became my knitting room--see the tour of my knitting room here. All the yarn that was stored in this sewing room was moved to the new knitting room next door, which also serves as a guest room. That freed up a lot of space and now my sewing room houses not only my craft and sewing supplies, but lightbulbs, batteries, hammer and nails, electrical cords, wrapping supplies, office supplies and a myriad of other household items.

When I reorganized all my supplies, I also purged, because all professional organizers will have you clear out unused items before you reorganize. Purging is tough for the crafter because crafty people tend to see a use in almost anything and because of that, we find decluttering to be more difficult than the non-crafter. Crafty people don't usually require a clutter free environment anyway and that makes it even more difficult. Still, you are ready for a craft purge, whatever your craft may be, if you can say yes to any one of these scenarios:

1. You can never find what you're looking for, and to be honest, you're not sure anymore what you have.
2. You have no room to actually create because there is too much stuff taking up your creative space.
3. You simply feel burdened and overwhelmed by it all.

If you can yes to any of the above, it's time to purge. I did it and you can do it too! I'm going to share what actually worked for me:

BOOKS: First, I paired down my craft books and kept only what I was certain I'd use. My goal was to see negative space on my book shelves and that would mean removing about half my books. 
Book removal tip #1: Remove a book if the subject matter no longer interests you. (I see you Macrame book.) 
Book removal tip #2: Remove that book if you can find the same information online. (I see you Tye Dye book.) 

And snap! just like that I was able to rid myself of half my books and in return get the empty shelf space I had been craving. FYI, I kept my Rowan magazines, the Kim Hargreaves, Kaffe Fassett, and Elizabeth Zimmerman books, and a handful of classic knitting and quilting books I treasure and think I might use again. I sold about half of my books at a second hand shop and the rest were donated to the library charity sale.

SUPPLIES: I threw out anything that was broken or unusable such as dried out glues, pens and paint. I tossed anything that was outdated or a craft I had lost interest in. As for unfinished projects that were over a year old, I had to face the fact that I was not going to take the time to finish them. Senior centers and churches usually have groups of craft ladies that will take this type of donation, but if it's ratty, throw it out NOW. If you are on the fence on whether or not you should save or toss, look at it and ask yourself, if you were shopping right now, would you honestly buy it again? If the answer is no, you know what to do. Don't waste valuable storage real estate on something you don't like/won't use. Don't forget to donate those multiples of anything. How on earth did I end up with 10 rulers? Box everything up and make a few calls. Art teachers and nursery schools are usually happy to take your craft supply donations. Lastly, think twice before you make a purchase at the craft/fabric/yarn store and do not purchase anything without a specific project in mind, and only if you are going to start it that week. Once your craft space is decluttered, you'll want to keep it that way.

Please note that my decluttering was done over a year ago. Because of the pandemic some donation options may not be available at this time, but don't let that stop you from your goal of making your craft zone wonderful and usable.

Now that I had it decluttered, I wanted to make my room pretty too. My collections of distressed tin and mercury glass add a little decorative flair. I keep the counter work surfaces clear because I like room to spread out when I'm working and often there is a myriad of repairs-in-progress on the counter; household items or Carter's toys that need gluing or something that needs a hammering or oiling. At Christmas time there are a half dozen Christmas projects and ornament repairs, plus this is wrapping room central for the family. It looks Christmasy crazy the entire month of December, but this room is in use every day of the year and that makes me feel good. 

You've seen what my sewing room looks like on the surface, but I'll bet it's what's behind the doors and curtains that is of most interest to crafters. I think it's fair to show what's squirreled away so I opened up the cupboard doors and swept the curtains aside and took a few photos. I have only shelves in this space and I really do prefer drawers, so I purchased heavy, clear, plastic drawers from Target that work well for me. Smaller items are stored in shoe boxes. 











Recently this room has taken on a beautiful new life. My 3 year old grandson and I spend a good deal of time in here. He loves doing crafts which has been so nice now that we are stuck at home during the pandemic. We pulled down a rug from the attic and laid it down because Carter and I often sit on the floor and a rug makes it more comfy for grammy. He has a step ladder and side by side we stand at the counter and make our creations. Last week we buried dinosaurs in a baking soda paste. We let it dry overnight and the next day unearthed the dinosaur fossils with a squeeze bottle of vinegar. It bubbled and oozed and he (we) loved it. We are saving little wood and metal boxes to make musical instruments or a wind chime or a combination of both; it will reveal itself to us as we make it. We're also looking for the perfect box to make an outer space diorama that papa has promised to help us make. The lentils we dyed yesterday are in the greenhouse drying out. I have no idea what we will do with them, perhaps a mosaic, but whatever we decide to do, it will be messy and fun. Carter spent the night last night and woke up in the middle of the night crying for mommy and daddy. I was able to calm him back to sleep with the promise of a fun craft the next day. He woke up with a smile and said, "Now we can do our craft because we are done with bed." So today we made a gorgeous dinosaur land using cardboard, felt, sandpaper and a glue gun. It has a watering hole, volcano, mud pit, and sand pit with scary tornadoes whirling around and grass and trees for grazing. He loves it. I've started a list of seasonal projects we can do when he's in the mood to create. I'm absolutely thrilled that my happy room has a new enthusiastic fan. 

I know many of you have a space you'd like to make into your own sewing/knitting/craft zone. I really encourage you to do so, even if it's as small as a closet. If there is no budget available, it's pretty easy to scrounge around for furniture pieces that can double as storage and work space, then paint it all to create a uniform look. If you have a budget I would head straight to Ikea. I love what they have for craft rooms. As you organize I would encourage you to purge, purge, and purge again. Use my tips above; you'll truly be glad you did. 





Lastly I want to share what I made for my granddaughter. I showed you this terrific felt organizer last week when we toured my knitting room and loved mine so much I decided to order 4 more for Christmas gifts but Annie will receive her's on her birthday. I tried to imagine how she would use it and think she may like to use it as a car organizer. I added a box of tissues (so grandma of me I know), face masks, hand sanitizer, pen and paper, candy, mints, energy bars, a sewing kit, flashlight, a few travel toiletries, water, a travel blanket and a shopping bag. I remember when I was a teenager and had my first car. I would have loved to have this at my side. You can purchase the organizer/caddy from MollieOllie here and use the code 10KristenR at checkout for a 10% discount. It's also free shipping with prime. The offer is good until September 2.

Thank you for stopping by. I hope I've given some inspiration to make your creative space as beautiful and practical as it can be. I love to read your comments, and if you would like to make a comment, either scroll down or take this direct link.  You can view my knitting room here. xo Kristen


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