Tuesday Tip: Pick Up An Abandoned Seasonal Project {And a Mystery Survey!}

If you are like me, you have a tendency to have more than one knitting project going at any given time. Somewhere in the 2-24 range…ha! Sometimes I envy those of you who start and complete one project at a time, before moving on to the next.

It can be tempting to get overwhelmed, or bogged down when you don’t complete something for awhile. Sometimes I beat myself up over the stack of unfinished projects, and especially when a season closes and moves into a new one. This winter, I had intentions of finishing sweaters, mittens, and gifts, but they just didn’t get done.

Last year, in the spring and summer, I was all about the warm-weather knits, and although I finished a few, there were plenty left unfinished, too.

Now, I have discovered the treasure chest of unfinished projects. Searching for some knitting inspiration (after finishing up the knitting for the soon to launch stash book!), I fell into a well of untapped potential. Half-finished spring things!!

Just in time for the warmer weather, I have changed my perspective on these abandoned projects. Now that it is April, and the cooler weather is giving way to more consistently warm weather, I’m craving cottons, linens, and lightweight things to knit. Lucky me, I’ve got a whole slew of them that can be finished up in no time!

A short sleeve cardi that just needs the sleeves. A pullover boxy top that is ¾ of the way finished. A linen-y wrap design with all the details already worked out. I went project stash diving and I came up with things that can be finished within a month and worn at that time!

Now, maybe you don’t have this backlog of projects right now, but since we are at the close of another season, I figured it’s a great time to remind you not to beat yourself up about that unfinished cowl-neck sweater. Instead, take a proactive approach and leave yourself a gift for October!

Here are a couple of tips for putting something into a seasonal hibernation:

  • Make notes! Which needle size are you currently using (and which style, wood, metal)? Do you already have all the supplies? Where are you on the pattern? Make notes of all these details, so that when you go to pick things up later, you won’t wonder what the heck you were doing!
  • Put it all together! Gather everything for the project in one place, so that when you go to pick it up later you won’t have to search for the extra skein, or the front piece you have already blocked. If you are robbing the needles, again, make sure you put the stitches on waste yarn, and make a note of which ones need to return to the project when you work on it.
  • Let it go! Don’t fret about not finishing…move on to what feels inspiring to work on now! Maybe even leave yourself a note on the project to pick it back up next season. Treat it like a time capsule: “Do not open until October 2017.”
  • Pick it back up! When the time is right, dive back into the project. Sometimes, time away from something gives a whole new burst of energy to it when you return. Maybe you’ll have the insight you need to get past that stitch that was troubling you, or you’ll finally make the decision about sleeve length that you kept putting off before.

Sometimes, I feel like we have a tendency to ignore the seasonal nature of life and try to force ourselves to push through something we have no business doing. In our knitting, this is one small way we can let some of the pressure off, and rediscover a hidden treasure next season!

Happy Knitting!

-Sasha 🙂

P.S.  I’ve been scheming about creating a Mystery Knit-A-Long….would you help me by giving me your feedback?  Take the survey here!  I’m going to give one survey participant a free pattern if I go ahead with the plan!

Tuesday Tip: 4 Ways to Use Ravelry to Knit From Stash

Happy Tuesday!

You may have heard that I’m getting ready to host a Yarn Stash Challenge later this month (Click here to join us!), so the topic of stash is top of mind for me right now!  Last week, I shared about the Joy of Stash, and this week, I want to share something a little more concrete & helpful!

If you haven’t heard of it before, Ravelry.com is a site for knitters and crocheters that features yarn & pattern databases, discussion boards, groups, and so much more.  It’s free to join, and I’ve been a member since very early on.  I loved it when I first started knitting because I didn’t know anyone else who did it, so I could connect with others that had the same interests.  It was also a great resource when I owned the shop, because we could sell patterns directly to our customers, while still supporting independent designers.

Well, one thing I love about it is that it helps me match my yarn to a pattern or project.  Today, I’ve got a video sharing 4 ways that I use Ravelry to help me knit from my stash.  In it I demonstrate the Advanced pattern browser, and a couple of other ways I use the website to find inspiration or ideas for projects!

So, what do you think?  Will the advanced pattern browser be helpful to you in the future, or do you already use it?  Comment below to let me know!

Sometimes, it’s fun to just take some time to play with the search feature to see what you can come up with.  You might discover there is a different tool or filter that you didn’t even notice before.  I’ll warn you though, it’s addictive!

Also, don’t forget to hop over to www.stitchspaceyarn.com/challenge, or scroll down below to signup for the upcoming Yarn Stash Challenge!  It will be a week of prompts to help you find more joy from your stash, ending with a free stash-busting pattern and chance to win a giveaway for those who are signed up to be a part of the challenge!

Happy Knitting!

Sasha

Friday Musing: The Joy of Stash

Let’s bring it back….

Bring back Stash as possibility, as a representation of untapped creativity. A wishing well of projects that could be. An escape from the world when you are weary. A scrapbook of all the things that have inspired you, the places you have been, the ideas you have had. Your favorite colors are mingling right there at the edges if you will let yourself see them. Unlimited potential waits for you in that extra bedroom closet, under the bed, or in that dresser drawer (or 12).

You can explain your yarn stash to someone who doesn’t get it until you are blue in the face. Or you can simply enjoy it yourself. Let it be a place of beauty in the now. Admire the colors and textures in their present form. Don’t worry so much about what you plan(ned) to make or if it has to become something.

Let it bring you joy on a day when you are uninspired. Cast on something new without guilt. Remember how much fun that trip was when you dig out that souvenir skein. Grab that pink, the one that is perfect for your mom, and let it tell you what it wants to be. Listen closely when your stash speaks to you.

Has the joy been stolen from your stash? Let’s get it back! Join me for a Stash Challenge, later in April, where we will start to get it in tip-top shape again, and make it a source of inspiration once again. Let it fuel your creativity and bring you warm fuzzies all over again! (Signup at www.stitchspaceyarn.com/stashchallenge)

So tell me, how does your stash bring you joy? Leave a comment and share!

Happy Knitting!

-Sasha

 

P.S.  Only one more day left to get in on the Yarn Year Round Early-Bird Pricing!  Check out the details at www.yarnyearround.com  by the end of the day April 1st!

I Think I’ll Use A Lifeline, Regis

Today’s How-To is something even “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” contestants know to be true.  Sometimes you just need to use that lifeline.  Phone a friend, poll the audience, doesn’t matter!  A lifeline can save you when things get down to the wire!

Have you heard of lifelines for your knitting???  This was always one of my favorite tips to share with customers back when I had the store.  I’ve seen so many people do a little happy dance or jump up and down after hearing about lifelines.

So good 🙂

Here’s the idea:  you place a piece of waste yarn through the live stitches in your work, to save your place, or make it easier to go back to that point in case you make a mistake or need to rip back to a certain point.

This can be handy in many circumstances:

Shawls/Blankets/Projects with a zillion stitches.

Complex patterns, especially those Yarn-Over heavy ones where it is impossible to pickup a stitch if you drop it.

Design or pattern modifications, where you’re not sure if what you will be trying next is going to work or look how you want it to.

In any project, it just gives that extra bit of insurance that you can always go back to the place where you know things were ok!

Here’s a video where I share how to insert one and give a few other tips & tricks:

Hope this helps you!

As I mention in the video, sometimes I try a little lifeline psychology because it seems like when I put them in, I rarely need them, but if I live too dangerously I always with I had one in place!  HA!

Has this ever happened to you?  Share in the comments below.  Had you heard of a lifeline before today, and do you find them helpful?  Or is this new, and you know just the project to try it on?  Let me know!

As Always,

Happy Knitting!

-Sasha

P.S.-  Yarn Year Round is coming back in July!!  Hooray!  Early-Bird registration and pricing is going on through this Saturday April 1st, over at www.yarnyearround.com so click over if you want to be a part of it!

P.P.S.-  Did you like the peeks of this shawl shared in the video??  It’s going to be a part of my “End The Stash Struggle” e-book coming out next month, and we’ll be doing a Yarn Stash Challenge to kick things off.  If you want to be a part of it, just fill out the form below this post to get the announcements and join us!

Taking a Break & Last Chance to Buy Club Leftovers

Hello all!

What is it about February that brings on the sense of overwhelm? Today, I’m writing to share a couple of things with you.

I’ve decided to take a break for the remainder of the month to give myself a chance to finish up some lingering projects. Many of you know that Stitch Space is no longer my full time job, and extra hours to finish the projects I already have going and generate new content at the same time are dwindling quickly. I had a flash of inspiration to host another Finished Object February Knit-A-Long, but was relieved to find that my friend Amy at Knit Collage already had something up her sleeve with #FinishItFeb so if you are looking for a similar challenge, head over there to join in with the fun!

As for me, I’ve decided the main problem is not with my lingering knitting projects, but with my projects like the “End The Stash Struggle” book. I’m planning to take this next month to really work on finalizing the book, so that it can get out to those of you who did the pre-sale, and also the public. This project has turned out to be a massive one, and this last push up the hill seems to be much longer than I thought! I want to get this sucker completely finished before I shift towards opening up the Yarn Year Round Club again. It’s my Gemini nature to have several irons in the fire, but lately the promise of more projects has had me spinning my wheels, not driving inspiration, so it’s time to let those ideas rest awhile while I finish up the book.

This also means I’m offering up the last of the Yarn Year Round Extras at 60% off, and then closing up the online shop for the rest of the month, too. There are only a handful of these yarns left, and you can shop them here through the end of the day Tuesday. T-shirt orders will ship as scheduled, once I get them back from the printer later this week. This way I won’t have to worry about shipping orders this month, either. Of course, you’ll still be able to buy last years club pattern book, or the individual patterns from my Ravelry store, since those work automatically.

I hope you’ll hang with me for this break, and maybe take a few moments to evaluate what’s working for you right now too. Sometimes we fill in with busy to avoid the other things that need attention, and it’s such a slippery slope. I expect to come back in March with fun new content to share! I think I’ll still be sharing a bit on Instagram throughout the break, but much less than I was doing before. If you’ve been following recently, you may have seen one of my part time jobs/my new cow friends 😉

Until next time, Happy Knitting!

Sasha

Friday Musings: Starting Over

Sometimes you just have to start over….

In knitting and in life.

I’m having a hard time with this concept lately, maybe because I’m smack dab in the middle of a new life, where one of my biggest dreams and goals is in the rear-view mirror.

There is plenty of joy and awesome in my everyday life, and wonderful things coming, but somehow, I still find myself resisting starting over.  It’s like your brain forgets how to do it while you’re so busy living a normal everyday existence.

Logically, you know that the project has to be scrapped, but emotionally, you have connected to those stitches as you’ve made them.  I’ve got a project that is for the upcoming “End The Stash Struggle” book, and it hit a place where I knew it wasn’t working out how I wanted it to.  The harder I pushed forward, the worse it got.  Then I hit a wall…creativity slowed to a trickle, then a drip.  I was fighting so hard to make the original version of the design work, even though I just knew it wasn’t going to.  Panic set in, as I have self-imposed goals and deadlines looming to deliver on these projects that are promised to the world.

It got worse.  In my experience, it usually gets worse before it gets better. 😉

Hmmmmm….  Days, a week, more frustration.

Then it dawned on me.  I had to give it up.  Had to start it over, let it go.  Let it be.  Stop chasing it and let it come to me.

And it finally flowed.  And there are still hiccups, like anything in life.  But it is a much better version of what it was always supposed to be.

WELL CRAP.  If that isn’t a life lesson I don’t know what is…

Has this happened to you?  What do you need to start over, in knitting or life?  Leave a comment or reply to this e-mail to share!

Tuesday Tutorial: Working Dropped Stitches

Hello!

Today I’m revisiting one of my video tutorials that never got a proper introduction on the blog.  That video is from the Yarn Year Round Club in January 2016, showing how to work the dropped stitch sections on the Wonderland Wrap.

I just love the dropped stitches in this pattern, the Wonderland Wrap!

The technique is one of my favorites, because it makes the fabric build quickly, and it is great for showing off beautiful color in hand-dyed yarns.  This pattern shows off our custom colorway, “A Winter’s Eve,” created by SweetGeorgia yarns.  (Pssst!  There are a few skeins left for sale in the Yarn Year Round Extras Shop here!)

There is more than one way to do dropped stitches, and in fact, I use a different one in my Sunset Sky wrap.  The one shown here, for the Wonderland wrap, though is simple enough for an adventurous beginner, who is willing to be patient, and careful not to get the extra wraps too tight!  Check out the how-to below:

That’s all there is to it!  Hope you enjoy revisiting this technique, and will try it soon!

Have you ever worked dropped stitches before?  Do you enjoy it?

Tell me in the comments!

Happy Knitting!

Sasha

P.S.  Don’t forget there is only one week of pre-sale left for the new Knitting t-shirts!  You can save 15% off when you order at pre-sale and guarantee that you’ll get the size and style you like!  Head over to www.stitch-space.myshopify.com to shop the 4 new styles before the deadline, January 31st!

Here’s my favorite, so far, the Knitting is Yoga tank top.  Love!

Friday Musings: That Time I Was On Google Earth Knitting

Hello knitting friends!

Today I have a funny story to share.  I was chatting about this with some knitting friends earlier in the week,  and realized many of you may not have ever heard this story, so I thought it would make a fun and entertaining blog post.

This is the story of that time I was on Google Street view knitting…

The Evidence!

It was late winter of the year I first opened the shop, and I had tagged along with my brother, Leighton, for him to go pickup one of his trucks that was ready from the shop.  I was waiting on some follow up calls for something about the shop, and I was so anxious to get started but I was in that in-between phase where there’s lots to do, but nothing that can be done…yet.

We arrived at the shop to find out it would take a little longer than he thought before the truck would be ready, so I decided I’d find a place to knit while we waited.  It was a chilly day, but the sun had started to come out.  I decided it was too nice to sit inside in the waiting room, but too cold to sit on a nearby bench that was in the shade.  I tried the other side of the building, and got lucky…a stump sitting in the sunlight!

I parked myself and got busy on my project, just taking a minute to remember the surroundings, and the day.  Little did I know there would end up being proof online of that day!

I just remember trying to be present.  Be right there, because there was nothing for me to work on for the shop, it was at that place where it was a waiting game.  I could have been irritated by the fact that I had to wait much more than I had planned, but then I just set my mind to enjoying it all.  The slight breeze, giving me little chill bumps, the warm sunshine that cut through the cool air, the beautiful hand-dyed wool running through my fingers, making something gorgeous.

Coming down the road, I noticed some sort of round black globe, that seemed to be floating above the road behind the grown up grass.  I couldn’t help but stare, as I wondered what it might be and what sort of car it might be attached to.  Turns out, it was a Prius, covered with graphics advertising Google’s Street View…..

I was caught!  Knitting on Google Earth!  It took a moment to sink in, and then I cracked up.  I ran to tell my brother what had just happened and he said something to the effect of, “Only you would be caught knitting on Google Earth!”

Sure enough, I found the photo online a few months later.  A portrait of my life at that very moment, sitting outside that mechanic’s shop, knitting away, hoping and dreaming about the next phase of my life.  I documented the photo, and shared on social media, and it always makes me smile, even now.

Even now that the shop dream has run it’s course and I’m in transition to a new part of my life, it helps me remember to sit right here where I am, and be here.  Be here in the in-between.  Embrace it, and remember that someday, this part of my life will make me smile, make me remember what I was feeling and hoping for.  Someday I’ll have the perspective of years gone by to look at this moment.

Happy Knitting!  Maybe you’ll get caught knitting in public someday, and I hope if you do, you are fully present, in the moment and enjoying it 😉

-Sasha

Don’t forget!  The new t-shirt collection is on pre-sale from now through January 31st for 15% off!  You can check out the new styles and shop at www.stitch-space.myshopify.com

Pre-Order Knitting T-Shirts through January 31st!

Tuesday Tip: Repairing A Wooden or Bamboo Needle

Hello there yarn lovers!

Have you ever been happily knitting along with a set of wooden or bamboo needles, when you feel a snag or a pull and realize there is a splinter or some other kind of deformity on the surface of your knitting needle?  Ugh…the worst!

I generally prefer slick metal needles, but I often use bamboo or wood for double points, or sometimes slippery summer yarns.  I also often recommend these for beginner knitters, because they can feel much more stable when you are first starting out.

When you come across a snag (which is inevitable!), you can often repair it and continue working with that set of needles.  For me, I’ve used this method tons when my girl cat, Chanel, finds herself a birch double pointed needle and chomps down on the tip of the needle.  She’s lucky she’s adorable. 😉

I always keep these repair tools in my knitting notions bag.  Here’s what you’ll need:  A nail file or fine grit sandpaper, & a square of wax paper.  That’s it! (Cat shaped nail file optional!)

The simple tools for a little repair!

All you do to fix things right up is use your nail file or sandpaper to gently smooth the snagged spot in your needle.  Once you have removed the offending splinter or smoothed the edges of a cat tooth mark (!) you can use the wax paper to rub onto the surface and restore a bit of a smoother finish.

The wax paper on it’s own can also be used to slick up needle tips where your finish has started to wear away.  I’ve even used it on metal needles where the finish is going downhill.  A small square will last you quite a while folded up in a pocket of your notions bag, as you can move to a different little area of the paper for each repair until you have worn off most of the wax!

As a bonus, the nail file comes in handy when you bang up your own nail, and need to smooth it out to keep from snagging your knitting!

Hope you find this little tip helpful!  Tell me in the comments, have you ever used this repair?  Do you plan to hunt down a nail file and wax paper to add to your knitting bag?

Until next time, Happy Knitting!

-Sasha

Friday Musings: Product Vs. Process Knitting

When I first came to knitting, I was a product knitter. I’ve always been a lover of clothing, so I was easily seduced by the idea of making something I could wear. When I was a kid, I could spend hours with those fashion plate toys, mixing and matching outfits to make a rubbing of a new combo to then color in.

It was exciting in my early knitting days to simply feel like I had control of the color and texture of the yarn I chose for my finished garment. I could coordinate my winter hat and scarf with the coat I already had. As a Fashion Merchandising major in college, there was a certain satisfaction with getting a compliment for something I was wearing, and being able to share that I had made it. To this day, there is still a thrill to that feeling.

As I turned to my craft more and more, realizing its benefits to my stress levels, I began to enjoy simple garter stitch projects in a way I hadn’t earlier in my knitting timeline. I looked for difficult patterns and stitches when I needed a mental challenge or stimulation. I started to swatch (gasp!). It took me awhile to realize, but I had crossed over into the process knitter camp.

It dawned on me that I had so many projects going because it no longer mattered to me whether I finished them or not. Simply working on them was enough. Certainly, there are still times where the sparkle of a new sweater or the promise of a new design catches me off guard and I knit like the wind to be able to wear that new knitted thing. Now more than ever, I’m realizing that my knitting is a journey, not a destination.

How about you? Would you consider yourself a product or a process knitter? Have you changed in the time since you started? Leave a comment here on the blog to share!

Happy (Product or Process!) Knitting!

-Sasha

P.S.  Since I’m in the home stretch finishing up my e-book “End The Stash Struggle,” I’m opening up the pre-sale one more time! Now through January 15th, you can get in on the $20 pricing, and have the option to get your book early, and participate in test knitting if you’d like! Head over to www.stitchspaceyarn.com/stashbook to take advantage of this offer! The full book won’t be out until Late February, and will be going up in price then!