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Month: February 2015

Ravelry Queue Management

Ravelry Queue Management

Today I wanted to share some tips that you might find useful for managing your Ravelry queue. This idea came about because, like many of you, I’ve long since acknowledged that my Ravelry queue is more aspirational than reasonable and that I could knit for […]

FO: Mystik Spiral Socks

FO: Mystik Spiral Socks

GEAUX TIGERS! Now that I have that out of the way… Just finished the Mystik Spiral Socks, my third pair of socks (and my third pair for ME!) for the year. I first heard about these on the Knitmore Girls Podcast. (For a review of […]

My Favorite Podcasts

My Favorite Podcasts

I’ve knitted like a fiend for about 10 years now, but it’s really only in the last 6 months that I fell down into the rabbit hole of the online knitting community. The initial part of this journey began when I started listening to knitting podcasts. I had never really understood the appeal, since knitting and the results are such a visual medium, but then again, I had never tried it. There are a million knitting-themed podcasts out there, many of which are very, very good. There’s no possible way to find all the ones that you want to listen to, and there’s not enough time in the world to listen to all of those, anyway. However, I’ve found that if you start with one, the host(s) will generally refer to another, so you can check that one out, and so on.

Following is a list of my favorite podcasts, loosely ordered in the way that I found them chronologically. In general, I prefer audio podcasts to video, because I can listen and multitask easier than watch and multitask. I’ve tried several other podcasts that weren’t my cup of tea for one reason or another – sometimes something as personal as not caring for the podcaster’s speech mannerisms or focusing too much on non-knitting stuff. Taste is personal, so I encourage anyone looking for quality podcasts to try others beyond this list. Also, podcasters LOVE positive reviews on ITunes and YouTube, so if you find one you like, don’t hesitate to leave a review and let people know. Happy listening!

Commuter Knitter

Why I Like It: Where it all began. My knitting next-door-neighbor told me about this podcast. Jen lives in Connecticut and records her podcast during her very long commute. This means the show is delightfully off-the-cuff, given that she can’t have full show notes and the internet in front of her when she records. One thing that stresses me out is the sheer number of projects she has going at once. Recent episodes have chronicled how she has 30 (30!) WIPs, none of which she plans to abandon. The most I ever have actively going is 2-4. However, she made a good point: people generally listen to knitting podcasts to hear what the podcaster is working on, and a monogamous knitter would be a very boring podcast host indeed.

How It’s Enabled Me: Her discussions of other podcasters led me to several of the other podcasts below!

Where You Can Find Ithttp://commuterknitter.blogspot.com

The Knitmore Girls

Why I Like It: Jasmin and Gigi are a mother-daughter podcasting team that put out weekly episodes like clockwork. They are very smart about knitting and sewing, and I learn something useful in absolutely every episode. Gigi has a wealth of crafting experience (which especially fuels a regular segment called “Mother Knows Best”), and the first time I heard her refer to one of their contests by saying “Hashtag blah blah blah” in her grandmotherly voice, I burst out laughing and was instantly hooked. The podcast frequently features reviews of books, and the Knitmore Girls do not fail to give honest opinions, good or bad, which I find really refreshing and valuable.

How It’s Enabled Me: This is probably the most enabling podcast I listen to. The Knitmore Girls even purposely did a “25 Days of Enabling” just before Christmas, posting beautiful yarns and accessories on Instagram every day. Because of them, I am knitting the Mystik Spiral Socks and have purchased Lollipop Yarn (still to be knit). I also desperately want a copy of Lara Neel’s Sock Architecture. These women are dangerous, in the best possible way.

Where You Can Find Ithttp://www.knitmoregirlspodcast.com

Prairie Girls Knit and Spin

Why I Like It: Susie and Danie are probably the funniest duo I listen to (along with In a Sknit, see below). They first charmed me when talking about NaKniSweMo (National Knit a Sweater in a Month, held in November) and pointed out that no one was going to come take their sweaters in progress or throw them in jail if they didn’t finish their sweaters within the deadline. I laugh out loud at least a few times an episode – their banter is charming and sweet. They also usually lay out an issue they want to discuss, which provides the podcast with some structure and a theme. The most recent episode, for example, covered WIP management.

How It’s Enabled Me: I knit Danie’s Triangle Thumb Toddler Mittens for my son recently and have Susie’s Zigzagular socks very high in my queue. I also gave away a copy of my Simple Cable Socks as a prize for their LegendPrairie contest, which celebrated people’s most legendary knit of 2014. It didn’t have to be spectacular – it just had to be a moment of pride for the individual knitter. What an uplifting idea!

Where You Can Find Ithttp://prairiegirlsknitandspin.com

NH Knits

Why I Like It: Claire is a Scottish transplant living in NH. Her podcast is relatively new, but her enthusiasm for knitting and learning new techniques shines. I’ve particularly enjoyed the interviews she’s conducted, including a recent one recorded during a sheep shearing. Additionally, Claire kindly referred to this blog in Episode 6, encouraging people to check it out, and in Episode 12, she surprised me by welcoming my newborn son as the newest member of the NH Knits group! The knitting community really is filled with wonderful people, and I think many of them have flocked (pun intended) to Claire’s podcast and Ravelry group.

How It’s Enabled Me: I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the interactions I’ve had with Claire, whether it’s been via Instagram, her Ravelry group, or Ravelry private message. I’m sure the reference to this blog increased traffic, and Claire has recently proposed a sock KAL that I would like to participate in.

Where You Can Find Ithttp://nhknits.com

Yarn Thing with Marly Bird

Why I Like It: Marly’s podcast is a little different from the others I listen to, in that it’s structured as a live interview with knitting industry leaders. Many I’ve heard of, but even the people who are new to me are fascinating, and I always hear at least one thing in each episode that I want to research further – whether it’s a designer, yarn club, new needles, Fiber Factor, etc. I was instantly hooked on my first episode, which was an interview with Ysolda Teague. Marly, who has an amazing voice, broadcasts live on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10 AM Colorado time, but I’ve always listened to the recordings after the fact. My biggest problem is that it’s hard to keep up with her prolific podcast output!

How It’s Enabled Me: Marly always gives out prizes to both live listeners and people who listen to the recordings later, and I lucked out by winning a prize (Ysolda Teague’s wee Ones collection) the very first time I listened!

Where You Can Find Ithttp://www.marlybird.com/podcast/

Just One More Row

Why I Like It: Ah, the southern accents… I first caught this while one of the hosts, Brittany, was on maternity leave, and Dana was soloing. Dana answered several questions that listeners had asked about spinning and dyeing yarn (she has her own dyeing business, Unwind Yarn Company), and I learned so much in just a few minutes. After Brittany came back, I continued to enjoy the discussions, particularly their knowledge about spinning and realistic but inspiring goals for 2015.

How It’s Enabled Me: I was amazed to find out recently that Dana and I are in the same city currently and frequent the same LYS. She very sweetly checked on me when I was immensely pregnant and impatient to deliver. I’m really looking forward to meeting her in person at a knit night soon and getting my hands on some Unwind products. 🙂

Where You Can Find Ithttps://justonemorerowpodcast.wordpress.com

Down Cellar Studio

Why I Like It: Boston Jen is incredibly organized and prolific – which means she goes through a million projects that inspire listeners. Her voice is measured and clear and calm and delightful. Jen’s biggest project recently, it seems, was a Pigskin Party KAL, which followed the NFL football season. I didn’t participate, since I caught it a little late, but it seemed like a lot of work that was a lot of fun for a lot of knitters. Jen is also a budding designer (of shawls, so far), and I’m eager to see what she comes up with next.

How It’s Enabled Me: Jen knits a lot for her young nieces and nephews, so I always enjoy looking at the same items and considering knitting them for my kids.

Where You Can Find Ithttp://www.downcellarstudio.com

In a Sknit

Why I Like It: This is a video podcast, and the fact that I’ve stuck with it, despite my preference for audio podcasts, is significant. The puns extend beyond the podcast title, in that they feature segments like, “Sknit We Love,” and “Oh, Sknit!” – the latter being a recounting of everything that went wrong with their knitting and spinning. Their exuberance when they declare a “FO Show!” makes me laugh, and they’re always knitting and spinning gorgeous things and showing them off.

How It’s Enabled Me: Not much yet, though I have queued some patterns they’ve knit. I mostly just watch for the sheer entertainment value.

Where You Can Find Ithttp://inasknit.com

TheKnitGirllls

Why I Like It: Again, like me some southern accents. Leslie and Laura are yet another pair of really, really smart knitters and spinners. They’ve made me so impatient to get back to my wheel! (which is on another continent at the moment…) The shows also often feature honest book reviews and go beyond just the patterns to commentary on sizing, styling, etc.

How It’s Enabled Me: I used Laura’s Afterthought Heel pattern, a free Ravelry download, to knit my Ornaments Socks. I’ve also gotten some good book recommendations from them. 🙂

Where You Can Find Ithttp://www.theknitgirllls.com

A Playful Day

Why I Like It: More than most podcast hosts, I think Kate aspires to the goal of inspiring listeners. This is a relatively new podcast for me, so I’m still getting a sense of its overall personality, but I’ve listened to lovely interviews and ideas for an overall more creative life. I also love listening to Kate’s soothing British accent. 🙂

How It’s Enabled Me: A Playful Day hosted a Design-a-long in January and early February, along with Fyberspates and Kate Atherley. Somehow I managed to be chosen as one of the five finalists. While it doesn’t look like I’m going to win (determined by voting on Ravelry), just being chosen as a finalist has been a huge honor and inspiration. I plan to publish the pattern for the Circuits hat soon and have appreciated the extra publicity that the competition has afforded.

Where You Can Find Ithttp://www.aplayfulday.com

Other Podcasts I’ve Tried

These are the ones that I like so far, but I’ve only listened to an episode or two, so I don’t feel qualified (yet) to comment on them extensively: Stash and Burn, Stockinette Zombies (video), Woolful. As I said before, there are many, many good podcasts out there, and I can’t possibly ever find them all, much less review them, so I’m interested in hearing from you! What are your favorite knitting and spinning podcasts? Why?

Baby Sweater Roundup

Baby Sweater Roundup

One of the things I’ve been enjoying the most about having a new baby in winter has been wrapping him in cozy handknits, both my own work and my friends’. Hope you enjoy this baby sweater parade. Puerperium Cardigan, worn home from the hospital (and […]

Vote for Me!

Vote for Me!

As part of my ongoing goal to publish more knitting designs, I entered a design competition in January. Much to my delight, my Circuits hat, which I designed for my younger brother, is one of the five finalists! The prize is truly incredible: a two-hour […]

FOs: Boring Mittens, Hat, Hat, Hat Trick, Baby

FOs: Boring Mittens, Hat, Hat, Hat Trick, Baby

What have y’all been up to? Me, I completed the ultimate Finished Object. I had a baby.

My son was born last week after a routine labor and delivery (if eight days late) and was 9 pounds, 2 oz, and 21.25″ long. I feel compelled to say that he’s a pipsqueak compared to his older brother, but he’s managed to put on a pound in the past 4 days, so we’ll see if that lasts. We’re all recovering well, and he’s been sporting a number of lovely sweaters, both knit by me and by wonderful friends, so I’ll put some pictures on the blog soon. If you can’t wait, several are already on Instagram, where you can follow me as kinoknits.

Now, back to that “eight days late” thing… I was going pretty stir crazy with the waiting, and I didn’t want to start any new complicated knitting. I had this hunch that I *might* knit during labor, so I wanted to have something boring and stockinette on the needles. Since I’m not at my own house, I only have a limited number of needles and yarn with me, so my knitting has had to be pretty monogamous. Problem was, I’d finish up the boring project… and have to come up with another.

Boring Mittens

One classic measure of a person’s knitworthiness is whether or not they wear things you’ve knit for them in the past. I caught my brother very quietly and unassumingly wearing a hat I knit for him several years ago out of some slubby handspun. I was new to the spinning game, and the fiber was pretty rough, tangly, and full of veg matter. Yet my brother is still wearing the hat. I immediately assessed that it was too small, since it didn’t quite cover his ears, but he confessed that his hands were what was cold, especially during his daily hour of throwing a wet tennis ball for his dog. Off to the LYS. I purchased two skeins of Berrocco Vintage in navy for its wearability, washability, and worsted-weightedness (because I wanted to crank these out). I spent a day knitting the first mitten and writing down what I did as I went. This also involved my brother trying on the mitten at about 17 different points as I tweaked the size, length, thumb placement, etc. (Come to think of it, a time-lapse series of photos of him trying it on at different points would have been pretty cool…) Anyway, I didn’t have a pattern but just did a basic plain stockinette mitten with a generous cuff and a thumb gusset. With all my numbers on paper, the second mitten flew off the needles, and my brother wore them to class the very next day.

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Jacques Cousteau Hat

Next up was the Jacques Cousteau Hat, which is a free Ravelry download. I’ve knit two of these in the past – one for my husband, and one for charity. Lots of boring ribbing, then very easy decreases. A beginner could definitely handle this hat, and my husband assures me it’s very warm.

The Jacques Cousteau Hat - easy and stretchy enough to go over a brother's man bun. :)
The Jacques Cousteau Hat – easy and stretchy enough to go over a brother’s man bun. 🙂

 

Carpool Hat

As I was knitting my brother’s hat, my stepdad hesitantly let me know he’d love a hat… he had not asked before because he didn’t want to impose. Much to his shock, I leapt out of my chair with joy and said, “LET’S GO LOOK AT RAVELRY!” I did an advanced search to get an idea of what he wanted. Back to the LYS. This time, I picked up a skein of Classic Elite Wynter (50% wool, 50% alpaca) in hunter green after being assured that he didn’t mind handwashing his new hat. I wanted to use every inch of the skein, so I started knitting at the top, then designed a very unfussy hat all the way down to Jenny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bindoff, which was a new technique for me. I played yarn chicken and TOTALLY WON, with 2.25″ of yarn left.

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Because my stepdad is an elementary school principal, I knit it in his school color of green. He has been wearing it in the mornings to greet the carpool line. To my surprise, the hat looks just as great inside out, so I can also see harried and exhausted parents grabbing it on the way out the door to drive to carpool and not having to care which way the hat gets jammed on. Thus its name – the Carpool Hat. I need to type up the pattern and send it out for test knitting, but I hope to have it available for Ravelry download soon. I’ll do a separate post with real photos of the hat later… mainly because I haven’t taken any yet.

Preemie Hats

At this point I was pushing a week late on my son’s birth. Maybe I needed to get some good karma on my side? I decided to use some leftover Quaere Fiber sportweight yarn in Peacock to knit preemie hats. This skein of Quaere was some kind of magic – I had finished a pair of socks (together with another skein) out of it. Then I knit a Christmas ornament. Then another. Then some tube socks for the baby. And then I still managed to get three preemie hats out of it, using every last scrap. I used the Preemie Hats for Charity pattern by Carissa Browning, a free Ravelry download. I followed the striped hat pattern but without ever changing yarn, since my yarn striped for me. The day after finishing those, I went into labor and took the hat trick of hats to the hospital with me to donate.

preemie hats

Baby

And then the baby. Ultimate FO. He’s our second, so we’re more experienced this time, and everyone has been settling in well. As I said, labor went smoothly, and I wore my handknit Ornaments socks during labor and Contorta socks during recovery. There was something incredibly comforting about wearing these new treasures during this time, instead of the hospital’s terrible cotton one-size-supposedly-fits-all heeless grippy sole THINGS. I also read Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s All Wound Up in between contractions. I wonder if her past experience as a doula helped me somewhat? 😉 In any case, thanks for all the well wishes. I’m planning lots more sock knitting and some designing over the next month as my new son and I hang out on the couch.