Friday Musings: New Year’s Knitsolutions

As we approach the New Year, I have to wonder, are you setting yourself any New Year Knitsolutions?

Resolutions can be tricky, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed with your goals and plans for the coming year. A few years ago, a friend of mine mentioned that she liked to set herself one silly resolution for the year, something she knew she could keep. That year, I followed suit, and decided I would wear more bracelets for the year.

Now, silly as it may seem, that was the most fun resolution I had set for myself in quite sometime. The pressure was low, because the consequence of not following through was non-existent. I made it easy to keep by setting out 3-4 of my favorite bracelets on my dresser, as a reminder to throw them on with my outfits. Every time I actually kept the deal with myself, I was reminded that I had made the commitment to me, and every time I got a compliment on one of the bracelets I was wearing, it drove home the fun of the challenge.

So what does this have to do with you? Or knitting? Well, that depends. For me, this mindset shifted how I thought about new year’s resolutions. They changed from big, bulky, hard-to-reach goals, into small things that brought more joy to my life, everyday. Now, I’m a goal and planning girl, so I always have big picture thinking and strategies going, but I try to let my “resolutions” be something mroe light-hearted and fun, just for me.

The year before last, I made the pledge to knit 2 rows a day. It was a simple idea, sometimes easier to keep than other days. I started doing it in the morning with my coffee, since that habit is already in full force. 🙂 It helped me to still see progress on my projects, even when it didn’t feel like I had any time to work on my knitting.

This year, I haven’t exactly decided what the plan is. I had a lofty dream that a sweater a month would be a fun challenge, but it doesn’t seem in tune with the relaxed idea behind my other successful resolutions. The last thing I want for myself (or anyone else!) is to stress out about some pie in the sky goal that is impossible to reach. One that, in reality, I don’t have any desire to go after right now. I just want to enjoy my knitting, and enjoy every aspect of life in this coming year.

What feels right, then, is just to make a commitment to try a new technique. I’ve been knitting for long enough, and teaching it for enough time, that sometimes I go a very long time without trying something truly new. I don’t quite know what that is yet, but when it appeals to me, I’ll know, and it will allow me to keep some curiosity going as I let it come to me.

What about you? Do you have something new in knitting you want to learn in the New Year? Is there a challenge you’ve been dying to take on, or are you just going to pledge to keep a project in your purse for those in-between moments?

Let me know by replying to this e-mail, or leaving a comment on the blog post. Are you setting a New Year’s Knit-solution? Or maybe just a silly one like my bracelet challenge?

Either way, I hope you have had a happy and joyous holiday season, and that you ring in the New Year with all kinds of hope and good wishes for 2017!

(Leaving a comment? It may not appear right away because of the spam filter, please allow 24-48 hours for it to post!)

-Sasha

P.S.- Don’t forget, only one day left to shop the Yarn Year Round Extras Sale at 20% off! Stock is getting low in several of the colors, and when it’s gone, it’s gone! You can see what’s left at www.stitch-space.myshopify.com and enter the code ‘goodbye2016’ to get 20% off! The pattern E-book is also marked down through tomorrow to $20, instead of $24. Saturday the 31st will be the last day for this intro pricing!

Tuesday Tip For Working In The Round

Do you work in the round on interchangeable needles?  If so, today’s tip might be a great one for you!

I’ve had the opportunity to take a couple of classes from genius designer, Cat Bordhi.  Every time I’m in one of her classes, I’m blown away by her ability to think outside the box and I always walk away with many tips and tricks that might not even have anything to do with the topic being taught.  This tip is one of the things I picked up in a class of hers.

If you are using an interchangeable circular needle set, where the tips and cords can be interchanged, put a smaller needle than the size called for on the left hand side.  The right hand needle dictates the gauge, and since you won’t be turning the work, the left hand needle won’t impact your tension enough to matter!  You can switch to even the smallest size in your set.

This loosens up the flow of the stitches across the left hand needle, and you’ll find you won’t have to push them up to keep the knitting going.  It might speed you up, and reduce hand fatigue since you won’t be fiddling with moving your stitches around the needle as much.

In my example above, I’ve got a worsted weight project on size 9’s, and I’ve placed the smallest size in my set, a size 4 on the left hand needle.

Have you ever tried this before?  I find that I don’t always love the feel of the mismatched needles, but sometimes it does speed me up if I’m on a deadline!

Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Next week, I’ll be back to show you three of my favorite methods for joining work in the round.

Happy Knitting!

-Sasha

P.S.  The Yarn Year Round E-book is still on Intro pricing through Saturday, with $4 off the original price!  There is no code necessary and you can check it out on Ravelry or the Shopify Site. 

I’ve also added a little end of year sale for the remaining stock of the Yarn Year Round Custom Colorways!  Get 20% off when you use the code “goodbye2016” at checkout!  This is good through the end of the year as well!

Friday Musings: A Christmas Wish For You

My Christmas Wish For You…

Is that you make space for creativity now and in the new year.

Make space in your surroundings.  Clean and organize your supplies.  Take an afternoon to organize your yarn stash and find those hidden gems lingering there.  Consider it as part of the creative process, a necessary step to happy creating.

Make space in your schedule.  Clear the decks if needed, to give yourself the time to do something just for you.  Maybe it’s time to re-vamp that morning schedule so you wake up just 15 minutes earlier, and use that time to knit a couple of rows while you enjoy your coffee.  Say “no” to things that aren’t right for you, or that you don’t want to do, so you can say “yes” to your own desire for creative time.  Keep the dates you make with yourself.

Make space in your expectations.  Let the important people know.  Your significant other or family members will only benefit from you taking better care of yourself.  Tell them about your plan, how you are going to work more creative time into your schedule.  Ask them to honor that committment and to help you keep your promise to yourself.  Time expands if we will let it do so.  You have more time than you think.

And most of all…

Make space in your heart.  Give yourself the gift of creativity as you consider your hopes, your dreams, and your plans for this new year.  Think about your “why.”  Why do you create?  What does it do for you or others?  How can you bring just a little more of that into your everyday?  What else is stealing your time that doesn’t make you feel good?  Are you sitting down to knit, only to find yourself out of time 30 minutes later from scrolling through Ravelry?

Consider what it might be like to let some space for creativity into your life, and see what happens.  You might be surprised what opens up!

Happy Knitting (and creating!)

-Sasha

Tuesday Tutorial: Kitchener Stitch

Aaaahhhh everyone’s favorite:  Kitchener Stitch 🙂

I have found, that Kitchener stitch isn’t really as scary as many claim (or fear) it is.  Basically, it is fiddly, and requires repetition to get the hang of it.  If you only pull it out to try once a year, chances are, you might not get the hang of it very quickly.

If, on the other hand, you are a die-hard cuff-down sock maker, or obsessed with tube cowls (like I am!), you will find that after you do it on a few projects in a row, it becomes so much easier!

Last week’s share, the free Sloop Cowl Pattern, uses Kitchener stitch to finish up at the end so you have a seamless loop with no wrong side showing.  It’s sort of magical.

Can you see my line of kitchener in the photo below???  It’s right below the short dark blue row, where I’ve drawn the arrow!

Almost impossible to spot for the untrained eye!  That’s one reason I love this technique, it really stumps people!  Here’s my video showing how to graft together the ends of this cowl pattern using kitchener.

Here’s my little chant that I say in my head as I go along with kitchener:

Front, Knit, drop

Front, Purl, stay

Back, Purl, drop

Back, Knit, stay

The “Front/Back” refer to which needle you are working a stitch from, “Knit/Purl” tells you which way you go through the stitch (as if to knit or as if to purl), and “Drop/Stay” tells you whether you drop the stitch off the needle after threading your tapestry needle through, or have it stay on the needle to be worked again in the next repeat!

At the end, you’ll end up with one stitch on each needle, that have each been gone through once, and to complete it, you’ll go through each one more time, with the first half of the instructions for that needle.  Meaning:  On the front stitch you’ll go knitwise and drop, and on the back stitch you’ll go purlwise and drop!  Then you’ll tighten things up, and weave in your ends.  Easy enough!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.  What do you think?  Do you love kitchener, or are you still intimidated by it?

Tell me in the comments below!

Happy Knitting!

-Sasha @ Stitch Space

Friday Musings: I Dream In Knitting

I dream in knitting.

Of all of the things
A person can make
With just sticks and string.
The number of hours whiled away
And the joy it can bring.

I dream in knitting.

The search for that perfect heather grey.
Sweater combinations, as endless as they seem.
Colors as bright as a warm spring day,
Or even the muted, sublime, mottled, decayed.

I dream in knitting.

A warm cup of coffee for me,
An afternoon of bliss,
Maybe add another hot cup, this one of tea.
Nowhere to be…

I dream in knitting.

Letting it flow through my hands,
As if in a magic trick it transforms.
Soft wool and two sticks,
breathing in, breathing out.
Casting on, maybe binding off as I drift off to sleep.

I dream in knitting.
How about you?

What Does “Happy Knitting” Mean?

What Does Happy Knitting Mean?

Oftentimes, I sign off on my writing, e-mails, and other communication for Stitch Space with the phrase, “Happy Knitting!”  Today I’d like to expand on what exactly that means to me.

Happy Knitting.  It’s a request, a loving command that you don’t take things too seriously.  That you LET your knitting be for you, and you let it be joyful.  Give yourself the space to relax into creativity, and let your hobby be a respite.  An escape from the everyday pressures.

Sometimes, we get so caught up in being “good” at something, we forget that a mistake is there to teach us, show us our progression from beginner to master.  Let us see how far we have come.  When I owned the shop, people would ask me all the time, “Should I fix this mistake?”

The answer, is really up to you.  I usually replied, “Does it bother you?”  You could immediately tell which people were simply waiting for my permission to leave it, and which would need to rip it out!  Those who were ok with it, would thank me and move on, while those who it would bother would ask again.  “So…..should I take it out?”  Yes, yes you should.

The only way you can do it wrong is if you’re not enjoying it.  And that’s the secret.  If you’re not having “Happy Knitting” time all the time, you might be ready for a break, or a new hobby.  Not that I want to encourage folks away from knitting, I just want them to love it as much as I do, and realize that it can have seasons like any part of your life.  Maybe you need a challenge, a project with charts, colorwork, lace or cables.  Maybe you just need something mindless.  Potato chip knitting where you can pick it up and just go.

Have you thought about how happy your knitting is making you lately?

Maybe it’s time to give it a little thought and see what you can do to bring even more joy to it!

Today I’d like to challenge you to ask yourself a question.  What keeps your knitting from being happy?  And what can you do to fix that?

Maybe you need a change of pace with a different kind of project.  If it’s feeling always rushed, maybe it’s scheduling 15 minutes to just knit, and set a timer.  Stick to it.  Perhaps the pressure of too many projects is bothering you, and you need to find the project that is closest to finished and just complete it.  Maybe nothing you have going right now is inspired, and it’s time to cast on something new.

Only you can answer this for you.  So tell me in the comments, what is keeping you from having happy knitting all the time??

Always, Happy Knitting!
-Sasha 🙂

Tuesday Tutorial: How-To Wind A Center Pull Yarn Ball

Hey All!

Today I’ve got a video tutorial to share with you, demonstrating how to wind a center pull yarn ball, by hand!  This is great if you don’t have access to a ball winder, or if you’re working with a yarn that doesn’t behave well on the winder.

Check it out:

What do you think?  Do you already wind by hand often?  Have you used this method before, or are you used to a pull from the outside ball?

I hope you find this video helpful.  I’ll be back on Friday with a Musing on Creativity to share.  Have a great week!

New Pattern!

New Pattern!

Pssst!!  I almost forgot!  I just launched a new pattern today, the Airliner Cowl!  It’s the bulky-weight version of the Jetsetter cowl, and the one I’m wearing in the video above.  To celebrate it’s launch, I’m offering Buy Three, Get One Free on my Ravelry pattern sales through this Saturday December 10th!  There’s no code necessary, you just add 4 patterns to your cart, and Ravelry takes care of the rest!  Head over here to shop from the eligible patterns!

Happy Knitting!

Sasha