Archive for the “Blog Week” Category

Due to a number of unforeseen circumstances, I am woefully underprepared for Blog Week this year. Rather than stress myself out trying to carefully craft a week's worth of posts with everything else that's going on, I'm going to enjoy reading everyone else's posts and leave as many comments as I can.

Hopefully there will be new knitting content soon.

Meanwhile, check out these cuties from MDSW!

A photo posted by Rachyl (@unmutual23) on

I went this year with my Canadian friend Steph and my mom, and we had a great time. I even got to watch the herding dog demo for the first time since I've been going to MDSW. The weird thing is... for the first time ever, I didn't buy anything except lunch.

Oh, yes, and I seem to have joined Instagram. :)

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Oooh! It's that time of year again - time to get excited for the Sixth Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, hosted by the inestimable Eskimimi!


From Eskimimi's blogpost:

What is Knitting and Crochet Blog Week?
Once a year knitters and crocheters that blog are invited from all over the world to take part in a community blog week in which they are presented with a number of topics to blog about over the period of seven days. The topics are very flexible and can be interpreted in many ways, so there is a good deal of variety in the posts that this inspires, which then provide wonderful reading for anyone who enjoys reading the blogs that it inspires.

I've had a great time taking part in Blog Week over past years (I missed 2013, unfortunately, but I made it the other four years) and reading/leaving comments for other participants. Blogging can sometimes feel rather solitary, and this is a really neat way of bringing us together for a week!

Do you plan to join in?

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Day Seven: Looking Back, Looking Forward

If you took part in last year’s Knitting & Crochet Blog Week, look back on your Day Seven post. Did any of the techniques, ideas and hopes for the last 12 months that you wrote about at that time ever make it onto the hook or needles? Did anyone cast on and complete the project researched in last year’s Day 2 post?

And there is also time to look forward again: One year from now, when the 6th Knitting & Crochet Blog Week rolls around, where do you hope your crafting will have taken you to? What new skills, projects and experiences do you hope you might have conquered or tried? Do you have any wishes for your blogging that you’d like to follow?

I don't remember why I didn't write for Blog Week last year, but I sure did make plans! Some of them came to pass, and some of them... sadly, not so much.

I spun up more fibre (35+ ounces) than I bought (32 ounces)! But, I bought a lot more yarn than I knit. A lot. Okay, some of that can be attributed to buying a thousand-yard skein of laceweight, and some to the yarn I bought for the replacement couch blanket. I finished three pair of socks, a whole bunch of washcloths, a slouchy hat, and two scarves. Still, I want to see more yarn come out of the stash than what goes in.

One big accomplishment for me was writing and publishing a new sock pattern, Choppy Seas. I have a new design in the works already, and I'm excited to finish the knitting, take photographs, and write it up!

For the year to come... oh, I have so many things I want to do. Earlier this month when I went to Maryland Sheep and Wool, I was overwhelmed by ideas. They just came pouring in as I looked at all the yarns, fibres, samples, patterns, and especially the beautiful things that knitters and crocheters were wearing. I had more ideas in those five hours than I could possible accomplish in five years! Shawls, socks, sweaters, hats, cables, lace, texture, knitting, spinning, crocheting...

But let's be realistic here, I have other responsibilities that keep me from spending all my time with wool. So while I might have a long list of things I want to do, they're not so much goals with deadlines as they are a reminder to me of the fantastic ideas I get whenever I see more than three balls of yarn in the same place!

The next challenge will be the Tour de Fleece in July. I've set the bar pretty high, aiming to spin and ply 20 ounces of fibre in the 21 days that the Tour rides. (And go out for bike rides, too!) In moments when I'm completely honest with myself, I'm not sure that's a realistic goal - but what have I got to lose by trying?


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Day Six: Views Of Others, Views Of Yourself.

Write about another knitter or crocheter that you admire. This could be someone you know or used to know – an aunt that taught you to crochet or the school-teacher that used to run the after-school learn-to-knit club, or someone who you are aware of because of blogging or other areas of social media. Write about your feelings either for their work or what they bring to you as a knitter or crocheter. Reminiscences of the sound of your mother’s metal needles, or the description your grandad gave of what he’d knit as he sat on his bunk below deck in his sailor’s days are as precious as sharing the enjoyment of the work of a new indie designer or dyer. Spread your enjoyment to your readers.

Next, think about if anyone has ever told you how they feel about your knitting, positive or negative. Have you delighted strangers who have enjoyed telling you how they would sit with their grandmother who loved to crochet doilies, or have you had to withstand a little brother telling you repeatedly that knitting is for grandmas?

I thought about this topic for a long time, and eventually decided that there's no one knitter or crocheter I admire... it's the collective knowledge of the knitters, crocheters, and spinners on Ravelry. Sure, I knew how to knit before Ravelry. Mom taught me to knit and purl when I was eight, but I didn't actually become a knitter until twenty years later.

But Ravelry connected me to a world of people who love yarn, and who are willing to share their knowledge. My yarnish motto is "Intrepid Knitting," but being able to see how other people have solved the same problems I face has made me even more fearless when it comes to trying things with yarn. This fearlessness has boggled some non-knitter friends. One time I was casting on a toe-up sock with handspun yarn, and didn't quite know the gauge. After the toe increases, it was obvious that the sock was going to be too big for my foot, so I ripped it back. "How could you just tear out your work?" they said, disbelievingly. But hey - it's just yarn. It's nothing to be scared of. And considering that I just took a break from writing this to tink and re-knit 120 stitches... well, if I could follow directions better, I wouldn't have to do that. But I digress.

I started the blog in April 2007, two months before I joined Ravelry. Wow, seven years of blogging about knitting - who'd'a thunk? I was well into knitting at that point, even if all my yarn fit into one basket back then. Now it's in big plastic bins I fear that it's taking over, and I'm going to try really really hard to knit more than I buy for quite some time.

Anyway, Ravelry. Without the community there, I wouldn't have knit nearly as often, or as wide a variety of items, or designed my own patterns, or taken up crochet, or met so many people. So far the best story there is the forum conversation I had with Sarah, when I saw that she lived in northern Virginia too:

me: Oh hey, I live in NoVA. Whereabouts are you?
Sarah: Just north of Haymarket.
me: ...I live just north of Haymarket. On Bull Run Mountain.
Sarah: I live on Bull Run Mountain!

In subsequent conversation we discovered that we both like to drink beer and play with yarn, and decided that of course we simply must get together and do those things. Yep, I met someone who lives less than a mile from me on an international knitting and crochet forum. (Hi, Sarah!) How awesome is that?

So, about strangers noticing my knitting: I love that. I've never been ashamed to knit in public! If I'm feeling social, it's been a good way to get conversations going. And if I'm feeling quiet and introverted, it's a great way to avoid talking to strangers. Mostly, people seem to comment on self-striping yarn. It's not the socks they're amazed at, it's the way the stripes just magically appear. I've explained that the yarn is dyed to make that happen, but most people don't seem to get it. Apparently, self-striping yarn is the most impressive thing about it - and then, the number of needles I have dangling out of my knitting. "I learned to knit," they'll say, "but only on two needles. How many do you have there? That looks complicated!"

Sometimes, the simplest things are the most impressive.


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Day Five: Something A Bit Different

It’s the annual challenge to blog in a way different to how you normally blog. You may choose to create a podcast, or vlog, create a wordless post, a beautiful infographic or write in verse. You can post on any topic you like, but be sure to post in a style different from your usual blog presentation. There’s not too much guidance for this one simply because the more varied the posts are on this day, the wider the sources of information for other bloggers will be.

There once was a girl from Haymarket
who decided one day on a lark - it
would be nice to knit socks
that came not from a box,
but from wool and two sticks in her pocket.

She went to the store to buy yarn,
and the ladies who worked there did warn
her that if she knit socks
that came not from a box,
she'd better learn soon how to darn!

She carefully measured her feet,
thought happily, "Oh, what a treat
it will be to wear socks
that don't come from a box -
Yes, won't that really be neat?"

So then she was knitting away;
she knit and purled day after day.
And soon she had socks
that came not from a box
But all of her friends said "Now, hey!"

"Why would you make your own socks?
Don't you know that they come from a box?
At ten for a dollar
they come in all colours
Most stores keep tons in their stocks."

But the girl, she just wriggled her toes,
And happily counted her rows,
'cause handknit wool socks
that don't come from a box
are a hug for the feet -
they just can't be beat
by those ten for a dollar
socks that come in all colours
Yep, they're a joy that not everyone knows!

(Thank you, thank you. I've been here all week.)

I'm not forgetting that it's Feline Friday, even if it's Blog Week too. Here's Floyd, helping out in the kitchen. It's not so much that he likes salad as it is that he doesn't like to be far from the action. Where there's cooking, there may be tidbits for him to nibble!

Floyd Makes Salad


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Day Four: Conversations Between Workers.

Start by writing a few short paragraphs from the point of view of one of the tools you use for your craft. This might be a spinning wheel, crochet hook, pair of scissors or your knitting bag. These first few lines should include a description of this tool’s task and usage. If you are feeling particularly in tune with this item you might assign it feelings.

Then, write a dialogue between yourself and this item. It might describe your relationships, the annoyances that you have felt for this item at some point (or could it have possible ever have felt annoyances with you) and the wonderful work that you have created together.

Hi, my name's Grace, and I'm a Kromski Sonata. I think I have the best view in the house. I sit by the big window in the bedroom, near the comfy chair, and from here I can see everything. This is what I look out over:

Beautiful Spring Day at the House

And this is me, yarn-maker extraordinaire, with the very first fibre I ever spun:


Aren't I pretty? (And humble, too. -Ed.) Well, anyway, on to the subject at hand: today, I am interviewing my person! Here's a picture of us hanging out at a Spin in Public event a few years ago.


Grace: Let me just start off by saying how glad I am that we found each other, and how much I love the time we spend together.

Pirate: Thanks! I like you too.

Grace: We've made so many beautiful yarns! Miles and miles.

Pirate: ...are you buttering me up for something?

Grace: Who, me?

Pirate: You're not very good at the innocent face.

Grace: Well, now that you mention it, I have a little request or two. Or three.

Pirate: Go for it.

Grace: So... my jumbo flyer.

Pirate: Right, the hooks. I need to make them stay in place better, don't I.

Grace: Yes. And speaking of hooks--

Pirate: You're missing one on the regular flyer. I know.

Grace: Yes. And speaking of missing--

Pirate: I have the new footmen! I'll see what I can do about getting them on. I know you hate when your brass bearing falls out.

Grace: Well, if you--

Pirate: Oiled you more often, right?

Grace: How did you guess?

Pirate: I'll get right on that. (sotto voce: Spoiled brat. Well, not really. You're a workhorse and I love you.)

Grace: I really don't mean to complain so much.

Pirate: That's all right. I really don't mean to ignore your needs.

Grace: Ah, good. Friends?

Pirate: 'Til the end!

Grace: How about some spinning?

Pirate: ...I'd love that.


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Day Three: Experimental Photography And Image Handling For Bloggers.

Every Year Knitting & Crochet Blog Week tries to feature at least one day where photography takes a key role, because it has been proven many times that what captures reader’s attention for the first few seconds to hopefully hold them long enough to invest the time to read your words is your pictures.

It is easy enough to fall into a routine of photographing your finished projects as is – clearly displayed, maybe from a few varying angles, and for a large part of the time these are what blog readers will expect to see, but every now and again it is good to throw in a picture that causes people to linger.

Refresh your skills at creating attention-grabbing pictures. Take your own creativity and run to your camera with your own ideas, or use these few easy ideas as a starting point:

Use a few background props – you will be amazed at what you can find around the house if you just pick a few items up without thinking too hard about it. These can be props that either add to the ‘story’ of the photograph or just chime well with the colours and style of the finished object.

I've never been quite as creative with my pictures as some, but I really like macro shots.

This heathered BFL reminds me of the storm that rolled through yesterday evening. As the front crossed over the mountain, the temperature dropped ten degrees in five minutes. The clouds twisted, lightning flashed, and thunder came so close that the house shook. (Kipling hid under the dining room table. Floyd squawked to me about the disturbance until it passed. He may have even indignantly stamped a paw once or twice.)


My camera refuses to acknowledge the brightness of this pink yarn. I've tried changing the lighting, the angles, the time of day, the settings on the camera - and still, nothing really comes close to showing off how saturated the colours truly are.


A more loosely-spun tweed in an alpaca/merino blend shows up much more true to its real life shade:


Jaywalker in progress. I'm knitting with Austermann Step that I bought a million years ago. It's slow going, partly because of the extra stitches (to accommodate the biased fabric, if you've never knit a Jaywalker) and partly because I've only been knitting a few rounds at a time just before bed. Slow and steady, and eventually I'll have pink and gray Jays.


The third and final part of the spinning commission is well underway, this time in blues and greens. It's a merino/nylon blend from Mulberry Fibers, and I'm enjoying every moment of spinning it. Once this is done, I might take a break from spinning to focus on knitting until the Tour de Fleece begins in July.


Floyd T. Underfoot, on the other hand, doesn't like macro shots. Actually, he doesn't like having his picture taken at all. I'm amazed that he held still enough for me to get one decent picture, even if it seems a little underexposed. A black cat against a black couch... yeah, there's a recipe for a dark picture.


I only got one chance. As soon as I moved the camera to change settings, he was off.



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Day Two: Dating Profile.

Write a dating profile for one of your past finished projects.

This topic is designed to get bloggers exploring different ways in which they can write descriptive posts of finished knitted and crocheted projects. Many bloggers will be used to writing adjective-rich accounts of finished items along with an account of how the item was made, but it can be fun to play with this format. Usually a dating profile would be written in the first person, so you should imagine that you are the cardigan/socks/hat writing the piece. You might think of including some or all of these elements in your dating profile:

An introduction: where you were knitted/crocheted, how old you are.
A physical description – keep it fun and intriguing but honest.
A photograph.
Your interests: Are you a crocheted sun-hat that enjoys long walks on the beach, a paper cup cosy that loves meeting friends in the local coffee shop or a thermal pair of socks that loves going on skiing holidays?
Things that you do not like: Do you avoid moments of friction because it brings you out in pills? How do you feel about moths? Are you a little orange cardigan that just simply cannot get on with a fuchsia blouse?
Your thoughts for the future – do you have any ambitions – where do you think you will be in 1, 5, 10 years time?

Hey there. They say cleanliness is next to godliness... so what does that make me?

Let me tell you a little bit about myself. Obviously, I'm a washcloth. But really, I'm so much more than that. (Okay, not really. I'm a washcloth. But hey - I'm focused!)

Stashbusting Washcloth

I'm passionate about cleanliness; it's my raison d'être. I'd like to show you what I mean. If we should get up to that point in our relationship where we can take our time enjoying a shower, I will lovingly lave every bit of your--

What's that? Safe for work? Okay. Well, you can just let your imagination run with that one... ;)

I like long luxurious bubble baths, hanging out and showing off my colours, and snuggling with cats. Admittedly, the cat likes to snuggle with me more than I like to snuggle with him, but isn't that often the case with cats?

Floyd and the Washcloth

Of course, there are some things I don't like as much. I'm all cotton, soft and sweet, so the thought of bleach gives me the shivers! And, not to get too TMI from the outset, but I'd like a nice airy place to spend some time drying off by myself after our interludes, if you wouldn't mind too much.

Hopefully you and I will have many long years of keeping clean together. Won't you join me for a slow, relaxing bath one of these evenings? You bring the wine and candles, I'll bring the soap...


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Day One: A Day In The Life.

Describe a day in the life of a project that you have made, or are in the process of making.

You can choose to handle this topic in a number of different ways, but a few points to consider might be the following:

First-person or third-person account? Will you write from the point of view of the garment/finished object, or as a wearer or observer?
Finished project or WIP? Will this be an account of the creative process and what the object goes through, or it’s ‘life’ after creation?
Fact or fiction? Will your account describe the wear and tear, love and compliments all experienced by a crocheted hat on a rainy day, or will you write the fantastical account of what a knitted trilobite gets up to on its adventures once the door is shut and nobody is looking?

Ah, woe is me. WOE, I say. This is a word I learned from the cat. Whyfor the woe? Well, look at me:

kureyon sock 1

I am languishing. LANGUISHING. Ignored, unloved. Might as well unknit myself when no one's looking. It's not as if anyone cares, really.

I had such high hopes, when I was first cast on. My older sister laughs at me; she's finished and waiting for me to join her. Slowpoke, she says. Half-sock.

And my person... I haven't seen her in weeks. Maybe it's months; I lose track of the time in here. In the dark. No one really visits me, so it's hard to keep the days straight. Every so often she comes in to see me, and I get a little bit bigger. But, alas, she grumbles and mumbles and complains about my yarn, and then she goes away again.

I don't even have a heel yet!

Oh, I wish someone would come pay attention to me. I'm so useless, as I am. I do so want to be a whole sock...


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Woohoo! The Fifth Annual Blog Week is coming!

Every year, knitters and crocheters from all over the world take a week to blog about a set of topics. It's so much fun to read everyone's take on the same subject! These are the daily topics we'll all be writing about, and they all look like clever writing challenges. I'm planning to visit lots of blogs to see what everyone has to say, and I'll leave lots of comments 'cause that's part of the fun of it. (I always mean to leave more comments on more blogs, really I do...)

The Fifth Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week will take place from May 12 through May 18.

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