cashmere

Repetition kills… Creativity

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Last Christmas I made a white pompom version of the Star Anise hat for my brother’s girlfriend Virginie, and my step mom Carole was so enthralled with it that she asked me to make her the SAME hat in the SAME color. Hm.

Now I must say I love making knit garments for my loved ones, but never have I been asked to make the EXACT same thing twice (in a row!). As much as I wanted to please her, after receiving that request I just couldn’t bring myself to start anything and kept dreaming of hundreds of hats or patterns or projects that have been on my mind for a while, and how much fun they would be to try.

So after a little pondering, I decided to follow my heart and cast on a hat – not a Star Anise hat, and certainly not white – I opted for a soft pink, slightly slouchy version of the Tiima hat by the lovely Lilja Palmgren. And you know what? I’m in love.

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To make it more personal, I changed the border a bit from the original pattern, ditched the (time consuming) beads and the ribbon and added a pompom. I used Jade Sapphire’s Silk/Cashmere 2-ply yarn in color “Pinksicle” and I LOVED every stitch of it. It is perfectly soft, fluffy & yummy, the only downside is that it’s a very fragile yarn that tends to break easily – so be careful when working with it.

The hat turned out much bigger and slouchier than I was expecting looking at the pattern pictures (this is partly my fault for using larger needles for the main body), but as it turns out, I LOVE this version – and most importantly, my step mother does, too.

I think sometimes, people think they know what they want but their decision is only based on partial knowledge – because they simply don’t know what ELSE is out there, and how much better for them something else would be.

I chose a white Star Anise hat for Virginie because I thought it would be perfect for her, and I chose a pink Tiima hat for Carole because I knew it would fit her perfectly – and I think it’s good once in a while to take a guess and follow your instinct, because sometimes that’s the best way to find THE present that your loved ones will go crazy for.

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Autumn Rain

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Fall has finally rolled around, and with it sometimes comes cold and rainy days but also, when weather permits, beautiful, bright and colorful days full of autumn spirit and love. Fortunately for us on the east coast, we have been blessed this year with the latter, and we have been taking full advantage of it the last couple weekends by driving around Vermont to see the colors and enjoying outdoor activities.

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While the view is spectacular, the rather cold temperature has prompted me to rummage through my box winter accessories, and I was rather disappointed to realize I did not have a hand knit hat that matched my (very bright orange) spring coat. To fix this problem, I decided to make myself a new hat using a basic pattern and a neutral color that would match all my coats. I set my mind on the pattern Wurm, by Katharina Nopp, that I slightly modified to suit my taste (larger horizontal stripes, a 1×1 rib double edge and an added pompom). If you are interested in replicating this hat, please visit my project page for detailed information on the mods I did. 🙂

The yarn I used is a wonderfully soft and lush merino/cashmere/nylon fingering weight yarn from Zen Yarn Garden called Serenity 20. I must say that I truly enjoyed knitting with this yarn and certainly will use it again, I really think it’s one of those luxuries you simply can’t get enough of. And what to say about the colors? Simply wonderful! If you have never tried this yarn, I strongly recommend you try it at least once, I’m sure you will never regret it.

Ashes hat

While I’m still pecking away at my Bluesand Cardigan, I can’t say that I have made much progress since I last shared it with you a month and a half ago. A good part of the reason why it’s been such a long process is that I ran out of the main color and wasn’t into the idea of ordering a new skein, so I tried as best as I could to adjust the design to fit the yarn I had. After trying a few things though, I realized I was just not happy with how this was turning out and I finally resigned myself to frog my unsuccessful attempts and order a new skein of the MC.

At first I was a little upset about it, but after giving it much thought, I came to the conclusion that knitting is an investment both in time and money, and I need to be 100% satisfied with the final product to make it worthwhile. What I mean is that I prefer spending more time fixing a cardigan to make sure I will love it and wear it than half ass a cardigan that will end up collecting dust at the bottom of my closet.

Start it off with a bang!

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2015 only just started, and with it comes a a few resolutions, projects and ideas to start off the new year afresh. This year, I made a few promises to myself. Nothing big or fancy, just a few things that I think are going to make things better.

  1. I want to learn how to relax more.
    I like to keep myself busy and I always have a lot of projects and ideas all lined up – not that it’s going to change, but I think I need to make more time amongst all those crazy projects to just take time for me. Enjoy some company, play with my cats, savor a good cup of coffee – that kind of thing.
  2. I want to start less, and finish more.
    I think it’s a crafter’s plague to have too many projects on the needles, and to really finish only a few of those. I broke my personal record for frogged projects in 2014, and it made me reflect on why those projects were frogged in the first place. Some of those were just failures that never saw the light of day, but I noticed that most of them simply happened to be projects I started but wasn’t inspired enough to work on them, let alone finish them! So this year, I want to work on fewer projects that I feel more inspired by, and take them to the finish line.
  3. I want to knit from stash. No, really.
    I love to shop for yarn. Who doesn’t, really? But I recently came to the conclusion that bigger isn’t necessary better. What I mean by that is that even if you have the nicest yarns in the world, they won’t mean a thing unless you use them. This year, I will not buy yarn “just because”, or “because it’s on sale”, or “because it’s pretty”, or any combination of those reasons. This year, I’ll only buy yarn if I have a specific projects in mind, that I do not have appropriate stash yarn for. No exceptions. We’ll see if I can downsize my yarn stash this way 🙂
  4. I want to weave more.
    I have a nice floor loom, and I love it, but I feel like I’m not using it enough. Part of the reason is that I do not own a lot of weaving thread, so my options are a little limited when starting a project. In 2015, I want to acquire a wider variety of weaving thread (How perfect, I can use the money I save from not buying yarn, eh?) and create more handwoven projects.
  5. I want to keep this blog going.
    I have never had a blog before, and as a kid, I was never able to constantly keep a journal either. It is a big challenge for me to get into a habit of updating my blog regularly, but 2014 really showed my how fun it is to share my stories with like-minded people, and how enjoyable the process of writing it can be. So this year, I’ll do my very best to keep my blog updated and fun 🙂
  6. I want to publish more designs.
    In 2014, I published my very first knitting pattern, my Sunny Summer Stripes sweater. Although it hasn’t really been a success so far, I want to keep trying. So in 2015, I want to create more, design more, and publish more. In the making, I currently have 2 sweater patterns and a sock pattern that should be published some time this spring. Once those are done, I’ll move onto something else, and I hope I’ll be able to write many, many more patterns this year.

That is it for New Year resolutions! Enough, isn’t?

In other news, I want to share with you my very first 2015 FO, my snowflake sweater, started on December 4th, 2014 and finished on January 1st, 2015 🙂

Happy new year guys!

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/Crafty-Effie/snowflake
http://www.ravelry.com/projects/Crafty-Effie/snowflake