Knitting Help & Inspirations

I first learned to knit by taking a class at a local crafts store. Equipped with the skills of cast-on, knit, purl, and bind-off, I went home and knit a grey scarf in stockinette with a skein of Vanna’s Choice.

And then I was itching for more. What else could I do besides stockinette or garter scarves? A quick Google search, and I fell down a rabbit hole of seemingly unending knitting resources. I’ve listed my favorites below, in hopes that they will inspire you!

  • Ravelry – The Mecca of knitting sites. If you knit or crochet, join Ravelry right now. You can organize your yarn, needle, and hook stashes, look up thousands of patterns, manage your own library of resources, join knitting groups and post on message boards… It’s like a combination of Facebook and an online library for yarn lovers. You can even add me as a friend, if you’d like! :)
  • Knitting Help – This is the first site I suggest to new knitters, or knitters ready to learn something new. This site has a great Glossary (to understand those pesky abbreviations), Videos (to help you see what you’re supposed to be doing!), and Patterns.
  • r/Knitting – Reddit is “a social news website” (thanks Wikipedia). Reddit as a whole isn’t for everyone, but if you knit, the knitting subreddit is a great community to be a part of. We knitting redditers post our finished objects (FOs), ask questions and advice of other knitters, complain about shitty yarn our well-meaning friends buy us, and support others’ yarn habits.
  • Lion Brand, Red Heart, Caron, Bernat, Patons, Berroco – Most yarn companies publish their own patterns for free on their websites. Keep in mind that you don’t have to use their yarn to knit up their patterns! Just use a yarn that’s a similar weight, and it’ll turn out fine!
  • Knitty – An online knitting magazine. Read interesting articles, find out about new designers and yarns, and peruse their free patterns index!
  • Knitting Fool – My most recent discovery – an online knitting stitch encyclopedia organized by Name of Stitch, by Stitch Category, or (my favorite) by Stitch Count. I’ll search for stitches by stitch count when I want to make, for example, this All Day Beret, but with this Eyelet Diamonds lace instead of their suggested stitch. The only downside is it’s not the most user-friendly website… Any web designers want a little project?
  • “How Many” Knitting Tool – A tool for figuring out common knitting math problems. Very useful if you’re trying to adjust the size of a knitting pattern, or are trying to get the right gauge with different sized needles or yarn than the pattern suggests.

What are your favorite knitting websites for help & inspiration?

+1 to the zoo

Today’s post is bunch of mindless aww and squee. Sorry for all the gushyness. I’ll be back to regular posting later this week. :)

My roommate adopted a puppy. Her name is Presley and she’s a 7-week-old lab/pit mix. She’s getting along with my pup, River, just fine. The cats are still deliberating about their feelings on the matter.

Creating Beaded Jewelry

If you haven’t already guessed, I’m a maker. A creator. A tinkerer. Friends hate going to craft fairs with me, as I’m constantly taking things apart in my mind, and figuring out how to make them. When I go to Target, I leave with a list full of things I want to recreate.

With that said, I love how-to sites. I’m a huge fan of DIY in all facets of life.

Yesterday I discovered Kris’s tutorial on Make This – the Patterned Fringe Beaded Necklace. Really great tutorial!

I created these:

I love being inspired by others’ great craftiness! :)

Conceptual Knitting, Design, Data, & Infographics

Have you ever done any Conceptual Knitting? The idea is, instead of using a pattern to determine what you knit, you use something observable around you to direct your knitting. Here are some great examples:

  • Sky Scarf- knitting rows the same color of the sky every day
  • My Year in Temperatures- knit rows in a color that represents each day’s high temperature
  • Mood Scarf- record your daily mood and knit a color that represents your mood
  • Game Knitting- create a “drinking game” of sorts, but instead of taking a shot when the “trigger” happens, change your yarn colors, or switch from knit to purl, or create and eyelet. This sounds especially fun for knitting groups. Gather your group, create a list of “triggers”, play the movie, and see what interesting things you knit!

By the way – if you wanted to do the Temperatures or Sky project for last year, you can use the Weather Channel’s Weather History page to look up temperatures and the weather for each day. Or you could do a smaller project by using the week or month averages. Pretty neat!

I’m trying to develop my own conceptual knitting project to create something that I would display as art. Some ideas I’ve had-

  • Beer Journal- keep a journal of the types of beers I drink (porter, stout, ale, belgian, etc.) and designate a coordinating color for each type.
  • Dream Journal- not entirely sure about this, but somehow translate my dream journal entries to knit representations.
  • Notable events- keep a record of all the important events this year. Designate different colors for national holidays, birthdays, important family occurrences, life changes (new job, relationship, house), and vacations or trips.
  • Book journal- I’ve finally been getting back into reading on a regular basis. Maybe after I finish a book, I knit a number of stitches equivalent to the pages in the book, and in the same color as the book cover. Or maybe designate colors based on book type (self-help, mystery, scifi, knitting book, etc.)
  • Meditation- Knit a number of rows equal to the number of minutes I spent meditating each day. Perhaps switch colors each day.
  • Growth charts of kids – okay this one isn’t for me at all, but I could see mothers loving this idea. Measure your baby each week and knit as many stitches as inches he/she is. Maybe switch colors each day? Perhaps somehow coordinate weight in there, too.

A great inspiration of mine is Information is Beautiful. I love the way David McCandless takes everyday (ahem, boring) data, and transforms it into something that’s both beautiful and meaningful. Browsing through his work gives me some ideas…

I’m still coming up with ideas. What conceptual knitting ideas do you have?

Self Exploration and Learning

“Take some time to get to know yourself. Figure out who you really are.”

A number of people have given me this advice in the past few weeks, which is curious to me, as I’m pretty sure I know exactly who I am. Further, I’m usually the one giving that advice to others!

On a recent trip, in the midst of listening to a TED talk, I had an epiphany. I haven’t been myself, not because I don’t know who I am, but because for nearly this entire year I’ve not been doing and surrounding myself with some of those things I’m incredibly passionate about- teaching, learning, being inspired by others, and having my mind opened to new perspectives and ideas. I haven’t sat in a classroom in nearly two years! I don’t even want to think about when the last time was that I actually read a book – and I love to read!

So these people with their advice… they’re not crazy. They’re absolutely right.

As a result of this epiphany, I’m starting Daily Brain Food. Something each day that will add to that grey matter in my skull. It may be a podcast, a video, a book, or an article. I probably won’t share them every day, but I’ll make sure to share the notable ones.

Today’s Brain Food: a TED Playlist entitled, “A Better You.” 9 talks that are inspirational, well-researched, and heartfelt – all aiming to help make you a better you! Enjoy!

SlideShare – Learning to Knit

One of my passions besides knitting is slide design… and if I can incorporate knitting and slide design, then even better! I created this slideshow to help people get started learning to knit. It’s even been featured on Slideshare as one of their popular presentations!

Oh, and did I mention, this SlideShare has been viewed over 56,000 times!! I don’t even know what to do with that. Holy kittens, people.

Featured Knitting Pattern: Montgomery Fingerless Mitts

I’m not a huge pattern-writer myself, so I’m pretty much on Ravelry every day, looking up new patterns and getting inspirations for things I want to create. Occasionally I find a pattern that’s just perfect… it’s simple to understand, easy to remember, and I go back to it again and again because the result is always perfect! Montgomery Fingerless Mitts is one of those patterns.

If you’re in need of a quick gift, definitely give the Montgomery Mitts a try – your giftee will love them! Check out my project pages, too, for more inspiration: Mitts for Mama C and Miss Margaret.

Pro-Tip:¬†Knit up your mitts in wool so they’re cozy and warm, and then hand-wash them¬†very gently in cool water. When drying your wool mitts, first gently squeeze out the bulk of the water. Then place them on a folded towel, fold the towel over them, and press the towel firmly. Finally, for a super-quick dry, put them on and use the cool setting on your blow dryer! Clean, dry mitts in just a few minutes!!

I love Austin

I love Austin, TX!
I love Austin, TX!

Make your own “I <3 This City” art with this photo tutorial. Use whatever materials you want! Paint, wood, fabric, cardboard, buttons… embrace that creativity and run with it!

 

This week in knits… Honey Cowl & Sev[en] Circle

Oh I love the holidays. Knitting for friends and their families gives me a chance to rediscover old patterns and fall in love with new ones.

The Sev[en] Circle is just one of those super fun knits that creates something so simple and unique… I don’t know why I haven’t knit 100 of these! Use any type of cotton blend yarn, variegated or solid, and you’ve got yourself an awesome accessory for any time of the year.

The Honey Cowl is lovely. The key here is to use pretty, soft yarn. They suggest using MadelineTosh, obviously, but I found a great skein of Invernal on clearance at my local yarn shop (or LYS for you fellow knitnerds), so I used that instead. I used a slightly larger needle than the yarn asked for so that the cowl would move easily and be light to wear. I really think the cowl turned out beautifully!

Matt, I hope your mom and sister love their Christmas gifts!

Thanksgiving at the Cabin

Every year we have holidays at the family cabin. It’s refreshingly removed from all civilization, quiet and rural, and gives everyone some time to just sit back and relax for a few days. Extra bonus- I get lots of knitting done.