Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Spin Raglan Test Knit

Stella was in great spirits, as you can see.
Yep, if you're looking at the dates, it's been almost a year since I posted. In that year I've knit a lot of things, cooked a lot of meals, survived solo parenting during a deployment, having babies grow a year older, and moving to a new house, which was awesome and a ton of work all at once-just think of all the gallery walls I've had to throw together. Totally not kidding. Bottom line: we have room for friends and family to come stay now, don't be shy!

Instead of trying to catch everyone (ha ha, because I have such a large audience) up, I'm just gonna start up again and you'll figure it out as we go along.

I've said it before, but I love being a part of the process of test knitting. My most recent test was no exception. I got to combine two of my favorites: Designer Andrea Mowry of Drearenee knits and Independence from the ladies of Spincycle Yarns. The heavy worsted weight, dyed in the wool, yarn knit up into a sweater at no time and blocked out like a dream! It is super warm and cozy and now I'm ready for late fall and winter so I can wear it day in and day out.

My favorite detail, and really what sets it apart from other raglans, is a garter stitch detail from the collar down to the top of the bicep. I was worried that it would add a bulk that was unflattering, but I was pleasantly surprised after I'd blocked it and slid it on for the first time.
I double heart the new blue Fringe Field Bag, and my growing mug collection from Fox and Clover (on etsy).

Even more than the garter shoulder detail, I love that the sleeves are loooong, which is hard to find in ready-made sweaters.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Twisted Sister

I love when I get custom orders for a project, and I was super flattered by a request from a lifestyle blogger I love to read, Rachel, of From Faye. I was hooked on her blog from the moment I read her post about getting comfortable with liking being a 'homemaker' while she was still blogging under the name Frugal Faye.

She sent me a photo of a cardigan she loved and wanted two of them to create a capsule wardrobe for her girls. I found the pattern Rajani Cardigan by Kasia Lubinska and altered it to fit her needs. Knit from washable and soft CotLin by Knit Picks and embellished with wooden buttons bearing my logo that I had made a couple years ago, these simple creamy cardigans have a cable and bobble placket that makes them just a touch more special than your average sweater.

These were a touch more tedious than I anticipated only because I took for granted how accustomed I've become to (and love) knitting sweaters in the round, which doesn't translate to a cardigan, unless you steek it and I'm too chicken. So, a lot of purling, and I've become a princess.

Here they are; two super cute cabled cardis. (Fingers crossed the fit, and are beloved by the recipient!)

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Steel Cut Oats

After finishing Stella's sweater (Camilla Babe knit with a YOTH ooak gradient stick) for this year's SSKAL with Shannon Cook, I decided to cast one on for myself. I'd been eyeing the pattern for a long time (actually I love all of her patterns; check out Jane's blog) and you can't beat the instant gratification of a bulky weight sweater. Now, in the interest of full-disclosure, I don't love the look of a bulky-weight sweater on my frame, but this is a fitted sweater and I love the ribbed detailing and wide neckline, so I still made it. I sized up so that it wasn't too too fitted and wish I hadn't, but I still like it. My 'real' camera had a dead battery and if you refer back to instant gratification, waiting's not my thing so I took my iPhone to the garden for some selfies and I think you get the gist.

Worked up in Quince & Co's Puffin in the colorway Kittywake, Jane Richmond's Oatmeal Pullover practically knit itself over the course of a week of evening knitting. Because it was so simple, I also got to binge-watch Friday Night Lights. #texasforever

I love that it's a super moody grey and so dependent on the lighting.

but first, a selfie.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Paper Tigers

photo via press kit at papertigersmovie.com
Last night I had the opportunity to screen the new documentary Paper Tigers. Directed by Jamie Redford, this film delves into the lives of several students at Lincoln High, Walla Walla's alternative high school. In the last five years, the school has shifted to a model of non-punitive discipline structure that works with a trauma-informed staff and administration who are armed with research about Adverse Childhood Experience(s) (ACEs) and the affect that living in an environment of chronic stress and compound trauma has on the brains of children. It followed several students over the course of a year, graduating in 2013. It is astounding to me the differences that have been the result of this pardigm shift over such a short period of time. Watch the trailer by clicking here.

Coming from a child welfare background, it was already a subject that was interesting to me, and I've been a bit of a docu-junkie lately watching almost every documentary available on Netflix revolving around our penal system, drug wars, food insecurity, substance abuse, immigration...all of which seem to tie back into generational poverty and stress. As one documentary ends and I go to choose the next, I find myself thinking about all of the social implications, but then not sure of concrete ways I could apply what I've just seen to my own environment. After finishing last night, it was almost more overwhelming because it is my environment that I just spend the last two hours watching. I lay in bed with my mind turning over ideas and thinking about the kids and teachers in the film (Hey! She went to bootcamp with me; hey! I know her!).

So, back to what we can do. Immediately. Without special training. Be kind to each face you see walking around town. Give grace freely and without patronism, even when you know a person, you don't know all that they struggle with. Know someone that works at Lincoln? Support them. They're willingly taking on an enormous emotional load by working with a high-risk student body. You can love the kids and your work, but it still takes a toll. Donate to the attached Health Center- they have a wishlist with items as easy as picking up an extra box of band-aids or granola bars the next time you go grocery shopping. They also have an extensive list of volunteer opportunities for everything from spring cleaning at the clinic to stuffing envelopes for mailers to volunteering your time as a healthcare provider or mental health professional. I hope that the list of ways we can support only grows from here.

The only misgiving I had about it was that a lot of the shots were of the most barren parts of town (empty railroad tracks, highway underpasses, etc). I totally understand why this was done from a theatric/cinematic standpoint, but I felt like in order to get a full picture of the community, it's almost more dramatic to see the stark contrast between wealth and poverty in this little town, and that they all exist within blocks of each other, often within the same block. It makes the work that Lincoln High is doing so well even more important.

If you didn't get a chance to attend the screening (both showings were sold out), I know that there are several people interested in organizing screenings and I hope to take on organizing one for later this fall. After a few months, it will be released to the educational sector and then in Spring of 2016, it will be released for individual purchase on platforms like iTunes and Amazon. There is so much to be said about this topic and the film that I can't even seem to gather my thoughts. It's a great conversation starter, and I know it will result in more schools in the nation making a shift to this model where they can. I hope that in our community it raises awareness, and support of, the amazing things that can result from tireless educators, counselors, law enforcement and healthcare providers who are a source of unwavering support and stability to the kids who need it the very most.

Mr. Sporleder, Lincoln's principal, has since retired and is working with the Children's Resilience Initiative 'Resilience Trumps Aces' and travels for speaking engagements and education throughout the country. The results from Lincoln's implementation of the trauma-aware protocols have gained national attention.

During the Q & A last night, Mr. Redford said that Paper Tigers' follow-up Resilience is in the works, and it sounds like it'll be another good one to watch.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Qwist of Fate

This yarn. This pattern. They were meant for each other. A beautiful halo that just makes you wanna reach out and touch it. Then the texture? When you do reach out and touch it, because you couldn't help yourself, you're gonna keep running your hands back and forth over it. It's borderline inappropriate.

The just debuted pattern Qwist by one of my faves Melanie Berg, on the new base Sno by Woolfolk Yarns in color 1/2 is such a beautiful marriage. 1/2 a very low contrast marled colorway, and the stronger contrast ones may lose a bit of the visual on the texture. I had just ordered the yarn and then the pattern collection Texture is the New Black was released serendipitously within days. I can't wait to knit a few of these up in Pepperberry cashmere.

The pattern is designed for Malabrigo Yarn Finito, but I have loved Woolfolk since I first got my hands on a skin of Får about a year ago, and it was already in my stash. Barely.