Musing: Why I Love to Teach {Knitting}

Why I love to teach {Knitting}

Today, I’m releasing the first set of classes I’ve formally taught since the shop closed. I’ve been laying low for awhile, but I’m finally ready to get back out there and help people learn fun new knitting techniques and connect with others who love knitting as much as I do.

I had almost forgotten how much I love to teach, until I had a private lesson session a little while ago. As I drove home, I remembered how much fun it was to relay my special brand of knitting geekery to willing subjects. People who “get it.”

Then, I remembered that I had a goal of applying to teach at a large industry event, and the deadline was fast approaching, but I kept putting off my proposal for some reason. It’s not that I didn’t want to do it, it’s that I was scared, thinking of teaching on such a larger scale. What if they reject my proposal?

Well, here’s the thing. That doesn’t matter. It’s not my job to care if I get accepted, it’s my job to get my love of teaching out there to help as many people with their creativity and knitting as I can. So to pump myself up a little for my deadline (which is tonight!), I decided to write a little manifesto of why I love to teach.

Why I love to teach knitting…

Because we are all creative and I love it EVERY SINGLE TIME this statement is proven true. So many people need to discover this and feel it.

Because everyone needs a cheerleader to champion them, and their creativity. There is no better place than a group class to find someone who is as passionate about 3-needle bind off as you. Somewhere along the way, we forget to be kind to ourselves as we learn, and a group class can remind of us of that as we are kind to each other.

Because alone we are all capable, but together we can share so much more, grow so much more.

Because “Aha!” moments are magical whether you are the one having them, or just witnessing them in another.

THIS is why I love to teach. Teaching knitting has become a creative act for me, and I love it when I can pass along my passion for the craft, for the details, for the sneaky fixes.

 

If you want to come join me for a class in Southwest Missouri or Southeast Kansas in the next couple of months, check out all the new classes I’m offering here! I know registrations will fill up quick because people have been begging me for classes again for awhile!

There are even some semi-private lessons available for booking if you don’t see the topic you want to learn listed! If you have questions, just e-mail me at stitchspaceyarn@gmail.com and I’ll be happy to help you 🙂

As Always,
Happy Knitting!
Sasha

Friday Musing: In The Mood For Spring Knits…

In The Mood For Spring Knits…

Many people are surprised to find that my favorite knitting season is actually the spring.  It seems a bit counter-intuitive, but I love making things for warmer weather.  It’s fun to me to challenge the notion that knitting is only for the cold weather and to be done with wool.

One of the reasons I love warm-weather knitting is because I love exploring the different fiber options for this time of the year.  Next week I’ll be back on the blog with a little post about choosing fibers and yarns for spring projects, and sharing a few of my favorites.  It hasn’t always been easy to find good warm-weather yarns, but the industry is catching up with the demand, and giving us more options.

This week in Missouri, it has been raining cats and dogs, and they are calling for even more this weekend.  Even though we’ve already had a nice taste of warm spring weather, this dreary week has felt like it’s pulled us back into winter, and is really giving me Spring Fever!

I want to cast on all the linen-y things with their crisp, crunchy, papery hand.  I’m daydreaming about every drapey and meshy fabric around.  I’ve been stash diving to see what I can come up with in cottons, rayons, silks, linens, and tencel.  The three spring sweaters I have in progress have finally made their way out of hibernation, and I’m working to finish them up so they can make it into the rotation for pretty toppers for spring dresses, and cover ups for cool evening breezes.  Don’t forget the overly air-conditioned room that plagues those of us who live in high humidity locales!

In the spirit of spring knitting, I’ve put together a little Spring Fever Pattern Bundle special to help you get jump started with your spring/summer knitting.  It’s got 6 of my favorite warm-weather knits, bundled together for just $15.  You can save $11 off the normal retail of these patterns!  So even if you already have 1 or 2 of these in your collection, it’s still a great deal!

Click the photo to shop the bundle!

Here’s what I’m including in the bundle:

The Airliner Cowl (above), and the Jetsetter Cowl (below).  These two cowls feature a chevron lace pattern, one in bulky, one in worsted.  The Jetsetter gives the option for three color-blocked sections, while the Airliner features just one oversized version of the stitch pattern.  Both are fun to work in cotton blend chainette yarns, and can be worn as a cowl, or pulled down over the shoulders for a different look.

The Color Of Summer Cowl (below) is a fun knit that takes advantage of pooling to make an awesome graphic statement.  The mesh edges and knotted fringe top it off and make it a truly unique piece.  There is even a video tutorial to accompany the cast on of this project!

The Quench Cowl is a convertible piece that can be worn around the neck as a cowl, or worn double as a small wrap.  Perfect for ever-changing inside temperatures, and the sample I knit out of Linen/Silk ensures you are never over heated.

The Summer Simplicity Wrap is a very easy knit using laceweight yarn.  I’ve worked it up in linen here, but it would work great in any laceweight where you wanted something simple to show off gorgeous hand-dyes.

Although this one is named the Winter Wonderland Wrap, it’s great for transitional weather because of the long dropped stitches that make an open and drapey fabric.  I’ve made it up in a cashmere blend sock weight here, but I think it would be gorgeous in a bamboo blend, too!

Last, but not least, the ever popular Sunset Sky Shawl, with eyelets and dropped stitches.  Again, I’ve used a sock yarn here, but I’ve seen a few people make it up in a linen blend to gorgeous effect.  Hmmmm…maybe I’ll go cast one on now….

So there’s a jump-start to your Spring/summer knitting!  All you have to do is head over to Ravelry and put all 7 designs in your cart to get the special deal!  No coupon code necessary.  I’ve also made it so that any previous purchases of these patterns individually will count towards the promo, so if you already have one or two in your collection they will go towards the total.  (This is only on single pattern sales, I think, so unfortunately e-books do not count.  Let me know if you trouble with this since it’s my first time trying it!)

7 patterns for $15!  Check out the pattern bundle on Ravelry here to get details on all the patterns and to purchase!

 

So tell me, do you love spring/summer knitting as much as me?  Are you in the mood for Spring Knits?  Leave a comment to let me know!

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!

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!

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!

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!

Friday Musing: Knitting Is Yoga

Knitting Is The New Yoga.

Some of you may know that in addition to my knitting interests, I’m a bit of a yoga lover. (Let’s be honest, I’m a Gemini, I’m interested in all kinds of things!)

Last year, I went through yoga teacher training as a way to give myself an assignment on personal growth. I had found myself stressed to the max with business ownership and the hours I was keeping not only at the old shop, but up all night working on marketing plans, exhausted but unable to sleep. I needed an escape.

Knitting had been that escape, but in late 2015 I was in a knitting funk. I wasn’t enjoying it for myself anymore. It felt like deadlines for the shop, and it was heartbreaking to realize. I decided a commitment to some other kind of enjoyment for myself was necessary. In all honesty, I hadn’t been taking very good care of myself, either, so yoga was a perfect prescription.

I had been doing yoga even longer than knitting, but not very regularly until I had this realization about carving out some space to decompress. Because I can’t do anything in a mild manner, I decided to signup for Yoga Teacher Training with Emery Bryant. Over the course of 2016, I was immersed in one weekend a month of training, books and videos to watch, honing my personal practice, and learning how to teach yoga, even though I didn’t originally think I would.

What I found out, blew me away. Now, I had read articles about the mental and stress benefits of yoga, but I had previously viewed it mostly as exercise. I had even read a couple of articles likening it to knitting, and other mindfulness practices. Until I dove in headfirst, I hadn’t experienced this.

One of our training weekends, we were discussing “What is Yoga?” To me, this was totally intriguing because I didn’t know there were so many different kinds, styles, shapes and ways to practice. I didn’t know if it could be summed up by a single over-arching theme. Our instructor had included in our training an excerpt from one of my favorite books, “Eat Pray Love,” by Elizabeth Gilbert, and that day, it stopped me dead in my tracks:

“The Yogic path is about disentangling the built-in glitches of the human condition, which I’m going to over-simply define here as the heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment.

She later continues, “Yoga is about self-mastery and the dedicated effort to haul your attention away from our endless brooding over the past and your nonstop worrying about the future so that you can seek, instead, a place of eternal presence from which you may regard yourself and your surroundings with poise. Only from that point of even-mindedness will the true nature of the world (and yourself) be revealed to you.” (Gilbert, 2007) (Emphasis mine)

This definition of yoga clicked. Although I had read this book years ago, I didn’t remember this passage. I had never regarded yoga as anything other than physical movement. This day, I realized, that’s what my knitting had been for me. “A place of eternal presence from which you may regard yourself and your surroundings with poise.” It brought me to the moment, appreciative of the materials in my hand, the design in my head, the simple joys around me. I had let that get mucked up by the pressures of work, self-imposed deadlines, letting my mind wander to my endless to-do list.

This realization that Knitting IS Yoga, or anything can be if we let it, changed my perspective. It helped me to see that part of the stress I was feeling was to do with the fact that I was rarely present with what I was doing. My mind was wandering over to the thoughts that kept me up at night.

It happened slowly, but I eventually re-claimed my knitting for me. I let myself off the hook. I started the Yarn Year Round Club as a passion project because I wanted to design things start to finish as simply a creative outlet. I wanted to finish the thing and wear it, take it home with me, not leave it at the shop as a sample. I began listening to podcasts or music while knitting to give my brain something positive to focus on, until I could bring myself back to knitting for the pleasure of it.

It eventually happened, and I also eventually realized that I had to teach yoga. I had to help others enjoy the process of connecting back to their breath, their movement, the small still voice within. I now teach a class on Friday mornings in Carthage, MO at Yoga 4U. Yoga has permeated so many of the things I do. I now view putting up the dishes as an opportunity to just be there. Appreciate the beautiful things that fill my life each and every day.

It is not always easy, and it is not always possible, but little by little my knitting and yoga obsessions are teaching me to be present in the moment.

What about you? Do you find that knitting brings you to the present moment? Have you tried yoga and found that it has similarities to knitting?

Leave a comment here on the blog and share your experience!

Until next time, Happy Knitting (& yoga!)

-Sasha

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!

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

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?