knitting in public with friends

Starting a knitting group was more challenging than I'd expected. What I learned, after taking votes and trying to juggle the scheduling and location preferences of 5 to 10 people, is that somebody ultimately has to make a decision, let the rest of the group know, and then see who shows up. It's all negotiable from there, but it's a good way to at least get things started.

Rick and I eventually decided on our local Starbucks, and have been meeting with a few knitting friends each week for a while now. Taking turns hosting the group in our homes seemed like a good idea, but it turned out to be confusing and inconsistent. A public space doesn't put the hosting burden on anyone, and we all know where to go and when to go there. There was, and still is, some discussion about our location (especially on days when the coffeehouse vibe is a bit too loud). As much as we'd like to support some of our favorite local businesses, so far none of them have the seating and lighti…

where to buy what i make

I closed my Etsy shop recently. What??? Why???

Well, because I think Etsy has done great harm to the livelihoods of makers everywhere. If you do manage to get noticed, which is pretty difficult these days, it's impossible to compete with the pricing on so-called "handmade" goods that are mass produced in foreign countries. Equally frustrating to me is the number of actual makers who drastically underprice their work, effectively turning themselves into voluntary sweatshop laborers in order to stay in the game at all.

I'm not playing.

I would love to see makers of all fine handmade things everywhere reclaim a sense of dignity, and charge a fair price for their skills and talents. Until I find such a group of folks that I can join, I'm back to being on my own here, in my own little shop, charging a reasonable price for the quality materials and hours of work it takes to make the things I make. I feel good about this.

The Shop, at the moment, contains exactly two it…

crocheted sourdough bread keeper

Rick started making sourdough bread this winter. Lucky me! He made the starter out of flour, water, and our good sea air, and it makes the most wonderful bread I've ever eaten. About once a week he spends most of a day in the kitchen, finishing with two lovely loaves by dinner time. Seems like a lot of work to me, but he loves doing it. I am a very appreciative audience. And I make the "accessory" soup to go with the true star of any Bread Day meal - the bread.

We were having some trouble with the keeping of the bread. Couldn't quite figure out how to store it in this particular climate to keep it fresh and free of mold. Leaving it out on the counter, cut side down works for a couple of days, and gets us through most of the first loaf. But then it needs to be wrapped up in some way. A tea towel wasn't enough. A plastic bag was too sweaty. The fridge is too dry. A bread box won't fit on our very small countertop. And the advice to "eat it all up in 3 days…

margarita scarf

Winter is going on way too long for my liking. April showers and all that. Blah blah blah. I'm ready for sunshine and warm days and walks on the beach again. Knitting my way through this drippy, dreary spring, I'm drawn to colors I need to look at, but don't necessarily want to wear. This scarf, made for a friend who can wear such a color, reminds me of tasty margaritas on a sunny deck. It's like wearable tequila, guaranteed to make things more festive and brighten a gloomy mood.

The yarn is Classic Elite Sanibel - I'm not sure of the color number. I've used a lot of this yarn in various colors in the past, and still have a couple of scarves worth in my stash. It's cotton and viscose, and I love the slippy-slidey bits mixed with the cottony bits. It's light weight, elegantly drapey, and really can be worn year round.

I used size 9 needles for this scarf, and the pattern is the super simple Ch├óle Facile, found (for free!) on Ravelry. I've made this s…

big ass doilies

I learned to crochet when I was 10, long before I ever tried knitting. My mom handed me my great-grandmother's hand carved crochet hook, taught me the basics, and turned me loose. I made a big white shawl with yarn from two different dye lots. It was wonky, and it took forever. But I loved it, and wore it. And even now, when I tackle a project that seems to be taking too long, I remember Mom saying, With every stitch, it gets bigger...

I still have that old crochet hook. I love it because of its history, and because it's not a standard size. It's somewhere between a K and an L, which is good enough for lots of things. This week I'm suddenly interested in making doilies. Weird, right? But not your usual dainty little doilies. I'm making what I call Big Ass Doilies, and my mind is off and running with ways to make them even bigger.

This one happened when I couldn't sleep the other night. For hours. Might as well get up and play with string. Here it is before bloc…

how to make favorite yarn last longer

I read about a woman who took her knitting on a long road trip, and made a great big afghan. When she finished it, she ripped it out, and then made the whole thing again. She did this several times over the course of the trip, to save both money and space. I suspect it was also because she knew that the journey of the knitting was more important than the destination of the finished piece.

I reminded myself of this story recently when I finished a shawl I'd made with some beautiful, beachy-colored yarn I'd picked up in a weird little out of the way cafe/yarn store in Ocean Park, WA. (Do visit Adelaide's if you're ever in the area. For me, it's a field trip I plan to take fairly often.) The yarn is Tangier, by Cascade Yarns, out of Seattle. It's a silk/cotton/acrylic/rayon blend that feels just perfect for our northwest coastal spring and summer. And it comes in so many colors, I had a hard time choosing, so I used two instead of just one.

I made this scarf, plan…

soft spring scarf

If you come here often, you know that I finished this pretty little swath of yarny love a few days ago. The yarn is from CandySkein, and I love it. A lot. It's a beautifully hand-dyed, washable merino fingering weight that was quite wonderful to knit with, even though I'm sort of a lazy knitter and usually use something quite a lot more bulky. This worked up into a delicious, lightweight-but-warm fabric that's perfect for between-season wear.
Pardon my pilly worn-all-winter sweater, and focus on the scarf. It's my favorite style - an asymmetrical triangle, worked from end to end. It has a ziggy-zaggy edge on one side, and a smooth edge on the other. The pattern is called the Hitchhiker Scarf, and you can get it on Ravelry.
I test drove this one for a day and loved it. But as I do with most of the things I make, I also decided to let it go. Only three have made it into my personal wardrobe for keeps, and I'm just fine with that. Make them, love them, let them go. It…