Lightweight Pullover, Socks, Stash Busting

Lightweight Pullover, Socks, Stash Busting

The weather has turned. Easter was full of sun and gentle breezes all week. Now, it’s all blustery and chilly out. Challenge accepted! I actually love infrequent, transitional weather. It perpetuates my belief that I need at least one of *every* knitted wardrobe staple, and accessories. For now, I’m still on the basics, but I’m in love; my first cowl neck sweater!

This is Hannah Fetting’s Lightweight Pullover. Isn’t this in every knitter’s queue? The yarn is Mimi in their discontinued mink Lotus lace weight. I bought the tobacco colorway about five years ago with the hopes of making the delicate Juliet cardigan. About a year later I impulsively bought the Kiwi and Teal colorways for fingerless gloves (which still might happen depending on what’s leftover). I have mixed feelings about not being any closer to a lovely lace Juliet cardigan, but I am thrilled to be making a desperately needed spring staple.

I’ve also cast on for socks. Another original design and my first time doing top down socks since I first learned to knit! I’m very pleased with how the first sock has turned out and I’m itching to cast on another pair as soon as these are done. “Socks are also a wardrobe staple” is the mantra for all those W.I.Ps.

Both of these projects are entirely stash busting. It feels a little amazing to have enough yarn hidden away for a sweater and socks…working at a yarn store has long reaching consequences. I’m pretty positive this sock yarn and Mimi tobacco need to be together forever. Mayhaps fingerless gloves? Or a headband?


I bought this sock yarn before I even worked at the yarn shop. Pagewood Farms Chugiak (Teal). I believe it was one of my first purchases after I became a regular at the shop. I even remember where it’s home was in the shop, discreetly tucked away by an anonymous college student. I love the high twist to the ply of the yarn and the super saturated, hand painted colors.


I’m pausing on my sweater for the week with the hopes of getting these socks cast off, I’m not sure if I’ll finish in time to wear my snazzy pullover in 50 degree weather, but at least my feet will be warm!
I can’t wait to share another design with you soon!

Knit on ❤

 Fauna

 Fauna

Spring is here. The warm air stirs everything up into a frenzy and suddenly the honeysuckles are about to grow into your window! Everything is covered in ivy; all the flora are racing to multiply, all the fauna straining to grow higher faster. Spring speeds everything up.

I’ve been taking my sweet time knitting this Fauna cowl up. I started at the end of February and carried this half complete cowl around with me for weeks without touching it. I savoured my time knitting it, the same way the daffodils often emerge right before a snowstorm. I wanted to delay finishing this cowl until I was sure spring was here. Fauna is a springtime infinity cowl with a unique seaming method.

The Knit

I cast on for Fauna with the hopes of coming up with a transitional staple. I needed something that could be worn a variety of ways for the fluctuating weather, it had to be breathable and lightweight, but sufficiently warm for cold mornings or restaurants. The vibrant colors shouted for a fun design so I threw in some chevron stripes and accidently created a seaming nightmare for myself. I’d neglected to do a provisional cast on, so now I needed to seam live mohair stitches to a bound off edge…? Nope. I cast off and blocked the piece while thinking over seaming. First, I realized it was huge, 34″ * 18″ (post blocking)! Secondly, I didn’t want to seam the edges together traditionally and lose any length or width. In fact, if I only seamed the tips together, then the open space between chevron peaks would give you even more length and look pretty cute…hm.

Supplies

US 7 straight needles

2 skeins Shibui Silk Cloud (330yds lace weight mohair) *note: my cat assaulted my yarn stash and about 50 or so yards of this was lost. If you use two entire skeins of Shibui Pebble, your cowl will be about 4in longer!*

MC/green: Lime 2024

CC/white Ivory 2004

Blocking supplies: mat, pins

darning needle

spray bottle for keeping your cat away wet blocking

optional: 10 stitch markers

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The Pattern

With MC, cast on  145 sts

Purl 1 row

Row 1: Sl1, m1, *Knit 10, s2k1p2o, Knit 10, yok1yo* dec 1, k1

Row 2: Sl1 purlwise, purl cross, knitting ttbl of all yos.

Repeat these two rows until stripe measures about 2.5 inches (12-14rows)

Change colors on a purl row

Continue in this manner, leaving enough yarn to bind off loosely. The sample has 12 stripes in it, with two full skeins I believe you could have two or three more stripes.

Bind off loosely. Weave in all ends. Pin and gently flat block piece, being sure to make points sharp. 

Now, for the fun part:

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Being ever so dainty with your ever so feltable mohair, line up the tips of your cowl

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Make sure the cowl isn’t twisted! And make sure you’re evenly aligned! OK, moving on.

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Do a basic knot, when you tighten it, be sure to pull from the bottom of the knot to save on fabric. Remember, you want to be able to unknot these later if needed.

Enjoy the snazzy seam! Or discreetly tuck it away! Either way, save yourself the headache of a kitchner seam on mohair.

I really hope you enjoy this pattern! I highly recommend using Shibui Silk Cloud for this project! So soft and warm, perfect for Spring. Please let me know what you think of my design in the comments below! Do you knit transitional pieces for spring or dive straight into summer knitting? How do you feel about mohair as a spring fiber?

Knit on ❤

 

In the Shadow

 

Participating in a dialogue about race and equality is one of the hardest things a community can do. Understatement aside, the effort it takes to just get everyone in the same room can be a monumental effort, getting people to actually speak is even harder.

Me? I like to be quiet, often falling into the mindset of “I believe what I believe and that is enough”. I am often cynical about whatever good town meetings and potlucks will do and I’m even more cynical about the power of my own voice and opinion. So, when an art gallery in my college town invited me to be apart of their Black History month event, I was taken aback at first. I said yes, and immediately regretted it. What do I have to say? Well, nothing. I have a lot to knit though.

For my part, I wanted to knit several pieces that explore the anxiety of being an ethnic minority in America. The works will have a historical focus and use a variety of knitting techniques to make the art…well, art. Thursday was the first night of the month long event, and though I sadly couldn’t be there, my first four pieces were. Here’s a sneak peak!

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Photo credit: Sarah Burch

Later in the month, I’ll be bringing down my statement piece. For this, I wanted to really challenge myself. I decided to try my hand at illusion/shadow knitting.A lot of it.

I’ve never tried Shadow knitting before. Up until recently, I only understood it to be useful for creating subtle color change effects in knitting, which can be striking in a shawl or table runner. I felt compelled to pursue this new technique and master it while also creating a statement piece for the gallery! I did a few small test knits and then dove into my project. For the past few months, I’ve been learning to use a new charting software in order to chart my art piece. Steve Plummer of Wooly Thoughts, a prolific illusion/shadow knitter and designer, has been an invaluable teacher and support throughout the entire process. You should check out his website here.

My first illusion knit! Plus a hand drawn chart for practicing with Inkscape software. 


When I cast on for my Illusion Knit project- one swatch of the Illusion Circle pattern by Steve Plummer! It was very difficult to conceptualize the method of Shadow Knitting at first. Basically, shadow knitting uses purl and knit rows to create peaks and valleys. When the peaks and valleys are lined up correctly, they create a negative space between them. Because every ridge (shadow knitting is done in ridges, with two rows of knitting being one ridge) is one color all the way across, when the work is looked at straight on, it appears to be simple vertical or horizontal stripes. When the work is tilted, you see the negative image appear. Hence the name “shadow/illusion” knitting.

I’m keeping the design that’s hidden in my shadow piece hush hush for right now, but I can’t wait to share when it’s all done and mounted! This entire experience has been so surreal; now that it’s finally February, it feels totally unreal to be talking about my work to others and inviting people to view it in a gallery of all things. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be able to not only share my opinion, but also  help facilitate a productive dialogue on racial relations within my own community. Thank you for listening.


 

 

 

 

Spill

Spill

I’m new to the Word of the Year challenge. I found out about it last year and started following the hashtag on Instagram. It’s so fascinating to see how a word turns into a theme that lasts the entire year. I finally decided to commit to a word, and to be open to the interpretation of it in every part of life. 

Of course, I started with knitting. 


Nuvem. A 2,000 yard lace shawl is good company for a year long theme. I actually cast on way back in October and carried it with me everywhere. It’s enormous now, nearly 1,000 yards of lace on a US4. I have it on my 80in. interchangable cords. The amazing Maria hand painted yarn by Manos gives so much depth of color to the knit. Sometimes it just looks like a puddle of color.  I’ve spent a lot of time sitting with this knit and casting my thoughts and feelings into the endless waves stockinette stitch. 

 

I decided on the word ‘spill’ because I have a terrible habit of bottling up everything. A pretty typical problem, but at some point it has to come to a head right? Right! How long can anyone go being bottled up and stressed out? I don’t really want to find out, so once again I’m turning to my knitting to therapy me into a new headspace, or at least the start of it. 


It was such a comfort to have this project with me during the holidays. To be able to knit when the people around you are being insufferable is like taking off in an escape pod. To be able to discreetly pull out a project and quietly click away at it while everyone else shouts? Yes please. Pretty soon the rythm of needles and soft fabric allows you to totally tune out. But it’s not just about tuning out (or else I’d pull out my phone) it’s about pouring your frustration and hurt feelings into something beautiful despite being in the midst of ugliness. In the moment relief. 


I’m sure my word will apply to many more aspects of life beyond knitting, but I can’t think of a better way to begin working it in. 

 

 

 

 

Resolutions in Yarn

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I really am not fond of New Year’s resolutions. To me, it seems a bit backwards to wait until the dead of winter to start “the game changers”, especially if your goal or resolution has been something that you’ve been mulling over for months. I’m the sort that when I realize I need to make a drastic change, I start immediately, or at least try to. This is how my “New Year’s” resolutions ended up being way back in August. High summer and high energy for introspection.

One of the goals I set for myself was to start stash busting in a meaningful way. Key word being meaningful. I didn’t want to just give away my yarn (or sell it for that matter), nor was I satisfied with the idea of arbitrarily whipping out hats and shawls from my stash just to say I used the yarn. I realized it might be best to start from the bottom up, per se. Instead of grabbing those ten skeins of worsted weight yarn and charging through a sweater, I figured it would be easier to deal with all the bits and scraps of leftover yarns first.

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I’ve never been able to do away with leftover yarn. Need donations to your sock blanket or a West Knits stash busting sweater? Don’t look at me; all my leftovers are locked away and jammed back in my closet with the idea of being “repair yarn”. But after a while, the pile grows and grows (unknit yarn takes up so much space!) and the little balls of yarn are left to cry in the corner, begging to be knit into something, anything. Ok, it may not be that severe, but does it really bring anyone any joy to have plastic bins of half used yarn taking up shoe space in their closet? Nope.

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I decided to start one of those wonderful sock-weight blankets. Most of my stash is fingering weight and lace so this is a great way to manage a huge section all at once. Since stash busting is so hard for me, I wanted this to be a very fun and sentimental project. As much about the recording and preservation of knit memories as it is about making room for new yarns.

The 5* Year Blanket

I’m using Shelly Kang’s Sock Yarn Blanket pattern.  All of the yarn will be leftover, fingering weight yarn. I’ve been keeping notes on all the details about every square!

My goal is not to finish the blanket this year, but it would be nice to make it through all of my pre-2017 fingering weight yarn leftovers  This might end up being the 6 or 7 year blanket before everything is sewn together.I’m excited for a new long-term project though! Yay for stash busting! #5yearblanket

Do you have a blanket cast on? How long have you worked on it?

Check out these amazing Sock Yarn Blankets below!

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/Scitchr/sock-yarn-blanket

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/MinervasBliss/sock-yarn-blanket

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/dekleinewolf/sock-yarn-blanket

Slow Fashion October- Week 1- Intentionality in Fashion and Life

 

Yesterday, I expressed how the philosophy of Slow Fashion factored into my closet. It meant higher quality clothes, more hand made, local, ethical…but what does Slow Fashion mean for my personal life? I certainly don’t spend all day standing in my closet (despite the temptation).

In life, I have to ask ‘why’ a lot. The question begins with acknowledging a desire, and I dig deeper to inquire “but why this desire?” It usually reflects heavily on who I think I am and who I want to be. When I ask myself “why” to Slow Fashion, the answer (and more intimate desire) is made clear. “I want to be a person who is responsible, considerate, self sufficient, and ethical. I want to carefully consider all things and take the appropriate actions”. This desire goes so far beyond my wardrobe!

In my day to day habits, I would like to be a more responsible, considerate, self sufficient, ethical person. When I clean, I would like to do so responsibly. When I cook dinner, I want to be considerate of those around me and my own health, when I complete tasks and manage my household, I want to be self sufficient. Most importantly, in all my dealings with people and the planet that contains us, I want to be ethical and genuine. This transformation, very sadly, does not happen overnight and is often easier pondered than applied. For me, slow fashion is practice for the ‘real thing’. Because what is fashion and creativeness other than a reflection of the interactions with our world and the sensibilities of it?

When I consider how my possessions are made, I become more aware of the lives around me. Do I want this item cranked out in a textile factory overseas, where the only goal is quantity over quality? Or do I want an item that is intimately made, in someone’s home or work space where it is given full attention to detail, and the entire process -from concept to sold product- is filled with joy? Numbers be damned! It’s about the love.

In the same way, I can’t help but care for the person/peoples making my items. They spent so much time and care crafting a very useful and utilitarian item for me (I mean, we are talking about clothes here) how could I not respect them? How could I not treat them well? Slow Fashion encourages me to see people, not just items around me. I see faces and names and long cultivated brands when I look at my “sustainably made, vegan, local” dresses and shoes.When I look at my handspun yarn, I see Kat, the 60-something-year-old spinner who has a passion for dyeing her hair green and sipping pumpkin soup during cold Farmers’ Market days. She shears her rabbits herself after working all week to clean strangers’ houses, and I always have an open invitation to visit the bunnies. I don’t want cheap, impersonal, meaningless relationships, in the same way I don’t want cheap, impersonal, meaningless yarn/shoes/sweater/jewelry/dresses/makeup….it’s all very relevant.

 

 

Therefore, Slow Fashion teaches me to work with intention in all things. Including my craft and day to day life. For the month of October, I’ve moved my office out of the corner of my bedroom and into our small apartment’s living room. All my tools, my referential materials, my yarn, my alpaca carpet, everything is taking up half the living room. I now have a studio that I walk into as soon as I get home instead of a chair in a dark corner by my bed(though I do love dark corners, really) My aim is to bring my love for my personal craft and my love for an entire community to the forefront of my mind and personal space. At the end of the month, my living room will be returned for its intended use, but for now, it will play host to:

My Special Projects

This month I hope to complete quite a bit of work. In an effort to take myself more seriously in my work not play lifestyle not hobby, I’ve lined up a lot of goals to devour in 31 days.

First on the list is my Cloud Escape sweater, which desperately needs to get done and on me. I believe it’s the longest sweater I’ve ever made? We’re coming up on 2,000 yards of fingering weight. Either way, I’ve worked on it for far too long, I need to finish it so I can focus on

Nuvem. A 2,000+ yard, lace weight, hexagonal shawl. Right now it’s a babe, but it’ll turn into a staple piece of my wardrobe when it’s all said and done.

I’m also working on my first two designs. I actually finished knitting my socks, but the pattern needs to be tech edited (any volunteers?) and nice photos must be taken. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this Shibui Pebble mohair, so against better judgment I sketched out a design for an infinity cowl and I’m well on my way to having it off the needle.

Finally, as I discussed in my last post, before I began my journey to Slow Fashion, I “purged” my closet, throwing away many items of clothing with hopes to donate them to Goodwill, Salvation Army, my church,  or I just threw them out into the dumpster. I was really proud of myself at the time, it felt so good to release old, frumpy clothes that I felt terrible in. Shame, shame on me.  Karen Templer of Fringe Association has some amazing articles about why NO ONE WANTS YOUR OLD CLOTHES. She makes it very clear that streamlining your wardrobe does not need to include a purge or adding to the dump waste that already exists. In fact, her sources show that “Only 0.1 percent of all clothing collected by charities and take-back programs is recycled into new textile fiber.” Even fewer donated clothes make it to the hands of those “in need”. Fast fashion has outpaced charities’ ability to sort and donate, as a result, its cheaper to burn the clothing. And by cheaper, I mean about 20.4million annually.

My point being, long before the local Goodwill or dump is an option, there are so many ways to successfully re-home or re-purpose every item of clothing. My final challenge, that will last the rest of my Slow Fashion journey, is to never throw away another article of clothing, or use a third party to  “donate” it. What I have is what I have, I will build on this foundation and repair, resew, cut, trim,dye, ruffle, add on, and cinch up as needed. But there will be more of that in Week 2 of Slow Fashion October when we discuss “Long-Worn”.

Until then, please continue the conversation over on Fringe Association’s comment section and #SlowFashionOctober’s Instagram

 

 

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Slow Fashion October. A Celebration of Slow Fashion Week 1

Hello! I’m Morgan, the 20 something behind Daydream Knits. This month, I’m participating in Slow Fashion October hosted by The Fringe Association. This month will be a celebration of the spirit and mindfulness behind the resurgence of ‘slow fashion’. Each week has different themes and a series of daily questions. The Fringe Association will host both interviews and community discussions on every aspect of slow fashion. It will be an exceptional opportunity to meet new creators and read about how the movement towards sustainable clothing manufacturing aligns with modern fashion and creatives. This first day serves an introduction to me, personally, as a creator and as a maker in the slow fashion movement. 

I learned to knit about 7 years ago, but did not pick it up seriously until 4 years ago when I moved for college. There, I found a wonderful L.Y.S whose owner became a mentor in my fiber passions. I worked there for 3 years and was soon addicted to the idea of having my closet full of hand knits. During my college stay, I became very involved with the knitting community and other makers and artists throughout the area. I was soon a regular at my neighborhood farmers market, rubbing elbows with a vendor who taught me to spin yarn  in exchange for company, an alpaca and bison farmer, and a Nepalese seamstress.

The paradigm shift was jarring. I’d come from a world of quick, factory made clothing, moved to hand knitting, and now been invited to see how the suppliers of my craft lived. Spending three weeks knitting a sweater? Awesome. Spending two months spinning up yarn from your own fiber animals then knitting a sweater? Mind blowing.

To me, slow fashion is hand crafted and labour intensive. It involves many hours to finish projects and the materials are viewed by a fast-fashioned world to be exorbitantly priced. As I branched  into the world of fiber prep and animal husbandry, I discovered that the makers of supplies (the back bone to all fiber craft) had an even more intensive job. Here was where the decisions to be sustainable, vegan, ethical, or otherwise ‘slow’ were made. It was so easy for me to order international made yarn (which is beautiful) or even US made. However, after seeing the amount of care and effort people in my own community put forth to make quality materials, I became a dedicated ‘buy local’ advocate. Once I’d spun my own hank of yarn, I had a higher appreciation of where my store bought yarn came from. Once I learned how intensive animal husbandry was, the more I admired my Farmer’s Market vendors who raised and cared for animals year round, so every Saturday I could have my pick of quality (processed) fiber. The dedication astounded me and I further integrated myself into the slow craft world.

Last year, I was married and moved away from my college town. Though physically removed my community, I remain in touch and visit often. I still call the vendor who taught me to spin yarn and email the bison farmer. The alpaca farmer’s son (who travels the world sheering alpaca) was at my wedding. My stay in the slow fashion community has been one filled with love and close working relationships.It also prepared me to expand my ‘slow fashion’ craft to the rest of my life.

After moving, I also felt a need to purge my possessions via the Marie Kondo method. Sadly, in my overstuffed closet, I found many items of clothing that I’d never worn and were in poor condition. Those were thrown away. To my dismay, I also noticed many pieces that I loved, but had been taken care of so poorly (or made with low quality materials) that they were stained or ripped. I didn’t know what else to do except throw them all away. I have so much guilt over this! All the bags of clothing to the dump, never to be seen or loved again. I took a second look in my closet and realized that the few items that remained were of a starkly different quality than the piles of clothing I’d thrown away. The clothes I kept where special. Three sweaters I’d knit the year before, hand knit hats, “expensive” dresses I’d bought from a local dress shop.

Actually, nearly all the items that survived the move were items I’d purchased locally. They were durable and beautiful and I’d always taken special care with them. I found myself able to repair or re-wear anything that was damaged. Not only was slow fashion something I could apply to new clothes that I made, but also to old! This has motivated me so much to not only make my clothing with care and love, but also to buy my clothing with care and love. Local, hand made, personally loved, and then sold to a customer.

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This is where my  desire to to rebuild my wardrobe sustainably, with hand knits and responsibly sourced clothing has come from. This is why Slow Fashion October is so exciting for me as I anticipate all the other makers and crafters sharing their stories. Please, go to Fringe Association to view the weekly themes. There will also be daily prompts to guide conversation as well as many other makers posting in the comment section and on Instagram. Join the conversation!