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The Closest Thing I Know To Being Pregnant • The Cobbler Cowl Pattern Release

I feel like I’ve been pregnant these past few months. I was creating something special. There were days when I felt stressed and frustrated. Sometimes, I felt worried. But other days, a strange bout of confidence and euphoria would take over! These last few days felt like the final hours in the hospital bed. I wanted to scream and pull my hair out. I wanted those who were supporting me to be close, and yet I could feel myself squeezing their hands. Today, my baby is welcomed into the world. Today is The Cobbler Cowl pattern release day. Congratulations, it’s a…cowl?

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I began this concept back in January, out of the fed up-ness of trying to make things for other people. I wanted to make something for myself. Strangely enough, not a lot of planning went into the original version. I just started knitting. I liked it, and other people liked it too. While I do alright with likes on Instagram, I started noticing more people leaving comments. Strangers in public who normally minded their own business began asking questions. It felt like a winner, thus it was destined to be shared.

So, I drafted up the pattern. I edited, and I revised. I scrapped entire documents to start over multiple times. My yarn friend Kate was supportive enough to not only test knit the pattern in its early stages of being constructed (mostly through math and visualization), but chose a wonderful colour combination of her yarn and allowed me to use it as the sample for the official pattern. It has certainly been a dream to be collaborating on a project like this, as if releasing my own pattern wasn’t thrilling enough.

I managed to recruit a few more test knitters to test the math on the other sizes. Lucky me somehow drew the interest of another fairly popular yarn dyer. She was a fantastic tester. She chose amazing hand dyed yarns and posted well-crafted photos with captions and comments that generously promoted me. I later found out she won’t even get to wear the cowl because it’s not cold enough where she lives! Seems like she’s using it as a display piece to showcase her yarn however, which again works out in my favour.

Alas, I present to you, The Cobbler Cowl. Now available in the shop and on Ravelry at a discounted rate for the first week only! Furthermore, the first 25 buyers will receive a 20% off coupon code for Fidley Dyeworks yarn!

Get the pattern on Ravelry, or in the WWK Shop.

And, don’t forget your yarn!

Make sure to Instagram your projects with #wintersweatherknits and tag me @wintersweatherknits so I can see them!

 

Poke…Poke…Poke…AAGGHH • Felted Alpaca

Every so often I like to take a break from knitting to try a new craft. A lot of the time I struggle to really get into it the way I do with knitting. The jury is still out with needle felting though. On the one hand, I bled at least 3 separate times doing this project. On the other, the process and final results are incredibly intriguing! After learning the techniques from the kid’s felting kit last time, I was ready to level up with a llama/alpaca kit. And thus, I made a felted alpaca.

It didn’t seem as easy this time around for some reason. I felt powerful with each poke the last time I did it. Some of my pieces this time just didn’t seem to felt. It required a lot of extra work, hence, the bleeding. At one point I received a raspy, “What ARE you DOING?!” from my mom. I suppose all she could hear from the other room was -poke poke poke poke POKE POKE AAAGGHH-. Is it the wool? Do felting needles get dull and need to be changed? Without the very specific guidelines of the instruction book, trying to achieve the right proportions for each piece was a struggle as well. It took a lot of effort to make each leg the same length, and I’m finding some to be squishier than others…

Right here is where I stopped the first time because I was too scared to keep poking or add a face. Usually this is where I mess up and ruin entire projects. What I have learned with felting is that more time and finessing tends to make projects turn out better. I sucked it up and refined a little more, and now he’s a little more alpaca-like!

This guy’s a little fragile, but still pretty cute! He’s Paul’s new pet. Next time I think I’m going to try to make something a little more useful. Maybe some stitch markers…? Stay tuned. For now, the team’s got a new felted alpaca pet. Name suggestions, anyone?

“That’s the beauty of it. You’ve got the rest of your life to knit them all.” • Pay It Forward Shawl

The days are getting longer, and I’m beginning to wake up to sunshine. Looking out the window, you could assume Spring is here. Only the keen observer would notice that the trees are bare, and the dew on the grass was frost just a few hours earlier. What exactly does one do in this rather confusing situation? Well, you make a Spring-inspired shawl, of course!

A little while ago, I got my hands on a skein of merino sock yarn with this lovely pink and green speckle, and a skein of tonal army green to match. Looking at them in my stash gave me butterflies (and not just because of the Spring colours)! I browsed so many amazing patterns, but struggled to commit to just one. I sought reassurance from Kate and received an unexpectedly wise response: “That’s the beauty of it. You’ve got the rest of your life to knit them all.”

Alas, I settled on Pay It Forward, designed by one of my favourite local designers, Wolf and Faun Knits. While I had originally planned to knit a shawl with open lace and floral designs, this was the pattern I could imagine knit up with my yarn. The majority of the shawl is a simple garter stitch, with the occasional row of eyelets. The uniqueness comes from the asymmetrical drape and the picot edging.

Of course, I gave the shawl my own WWK twist. I used needles 2 sizes up from the recommended size in order to achieve more drape. Also, I wanted to maximize the use of my yarn, so about halfway through I went rogue on the pattern and made up some extra rows of striping. I believe my final product is a fair bit larger than the pattern intended. It turned out beautifully though, and I still get butterflies when I look at it. More so, it’s lovely to support local in the both yarn and pattern departments.

I’m going to be rocking this shawl everywhere while the weather is in this perfect Winter-Spring transition state!

((On a frustrated and grumpy sidenote, I’m so upset that the quality of the pictures I have been uploading for the blog is so terrible! They look beautiful when I export them, but the minute they get uploaded they turn blurry and gray. I have been trying so hard to figure out why and modify appropriately, but nothing is working so far. So, sorry. Even Instagram is maintaining the quality of my photos better, so most likely I’ll be uploading more photos there and reducing the number of photos included in the blogs. If anyone has suggestions, please share.))

“This is the kind of thing you only see in fairy tales!” • DIY Yarn Swift

Just two months in and the dad of the year award goes to…

For Christmas I requested a ball winder, which I received from my mom. It does wonders, and I have spent hours re-caking floppy cakes. But, with the lack of yarn swift, winding new hanks was still quite the task. I found ways to do it, with upside down chairs and lazy susans, but obviously, it wasn’t ideal. My dad, who knows absolutely nothing about knitting saw my struggle, and took it upon himself to resolve the problem. That’s what dads do isn’t it?

One day, I came home from work and he said, “I made you a swift“. We both looked at each other for a moment- me, not fully grasping the idea that my dad knew what a swift was, and him wondering if he had called it the right thing. Turns out, he really did construct a fully-functioning yarn swift!

When I was little, I had a toy ironing board made of wood. Looking back, it was quite the gendered toy for a little girl to have, but I loved it. I had a wooden iron and would flatten out little handkerchiefs for my bears. Last summer, we did a massive house purge, and all the stashed childhood toys came out. While the rest of us were ready to be rid of the past, I think my dad struggled to let go of the memories of his little girls. He ended up hoarding some of the possessions we threw out, including the aforementioned ironing board.

As it turns out, ironing boards can be easily reconstructed into yarn swifts! What I love most is that what was once something I loved has now grown with me. I’m glad we didn’t throw it away. There are still a few minor kinks to work out, but aside from that, it does the trick! Any chance to make it yourself, upcycle, and save some money is awesome to me. One night, a friend visiting from Singapore commented, “This is the kind of thing you only see in fairy tales!”. Either yarn swifts aren’t as common as I think, or maybe my life is like a fairy tale. Either way, I’m not sorry!

You’re always my dad of the year, but this is pretty neat. Thanks, papa. <3

It’s Okay

This week’s post is just a short PSA that IT’S OKAY NOT TO BE OKAY.

Small business owners will say you should always be positive on your social media. However, I think it’s important to be real, and the reality is, we all have bad days. Heck, I’ve had bad months.

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Have Hope.

I went to a pop punk concert the other night and got this bracelet, made by an organization called Hope For The Day. They do great work in suicide prevention and mental health education. Over the years, I have learned to recognize and accept when I am not okay. I find solace in knitting and music, and that’s what gets me through. I k1p1 to the sound of screaming and banging on drums until I regain the mental energy to deal. It’s better to be open about it than to suffer in silence. Have hope that you’ll be able to ride out the bad and make it to better days.

As part of our effort to support those who are not okay, every item purchased = one item donated. If you’re not into that, it’s okay too.

The Taylor Mittens

Happy (BC) Family Day to my maker family! Hope you’re all enjoying yourselves whether you have the day off or not. Today’s post is dedicated to someone from another one of my families, namely, my work family. She has been so supportive of my craft, and her reactions to my projects remind me to value my work. Part of what makes my hobby so special is getting to keep my friends warm, so this project was incredibly pleasing. Hopefully I will get more opportunities to be part of collaborations like this one. For now I’ve just got these Taylor Mittens, named after Taylor, for Taylor.

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It all started one evening, while program planning for work. Taylor mentioned how cold her hands were. I offered her my Tree Mittens and they warmed her up almost immediately! By the end of the night she wanted a pair of her own. Since starting work with her, I’ve come to value her as a colleague and friend. Thus, making these for her also brought me a ton of warmth!

I’ve discovered a love of taking custom orders right down to the specific fibre type and colour. I let her describe exactly what she wanted her mittens to look like, and had the yarn dyed up by Kate at Fidley Dyeworks. Originally, I didn’t want to take custom orders because I wanted to create what I wanted. On the other hand, the collaboration and exchange of ideas is incredibly motivating. Even though there’s a chance I won’t be fully in support of someone else’s idea, it’s super cool to see what other people come up with. I have yet to come across a customer whose ideas I didn’t love!

The yarn was magical, as always. Knit up in a basic stockinette stitch, the speckles blend to give an almost watercolour-like effect. And every so often there was a little blue or orange speckle, which was a happy byproduct of the dye powder. Although Taylor had asked for a plain design (I guess she’s not into trees…), I decided to add a special cuff, to make them a true WWK design. It is double layered for warmth, and makes the yarn look extra snowy.

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And of course, she also asked for the finger holes. Apparently I’m not the only one that likes the convenience of not having to rip off my mittens to use my phone!

I’m unofficially calling these The Taylor Mittens. Have a look at the new “Custom Orders” section of the shop for details, and order something of your own!

Let’s Talk

Let’s talk honestly for a moment. (I know I missed Let’s Talk Day, but it’s always a good time to be open).

Since this year began, I haven’t felt quite right. I felt a lot of pressure trying to create unique items to have ready for the shop. It was like a race against Winter, which seemed to be passing by so quickly. I came up with idea upon idea that excited me initially, then seemed to lose its charm.

Last week, I finally decided that I had to stop thinking like a business woman and get back to who I am, a maker. This was never supposed to be a job. It’s a creative outlet for me, and a channel through which to fundraise for my community.

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I treated myself to a new set of Lykke Interchangeable Needles, and pulled a couple of baby alpaca skeins from my stash, ready to make something just for me. Immediately, I felt something switch in my brain that reignited a spark in me. The ideas kept flowing, and I felt myself envisioning designs that all serendipitously came together (like, seriously…do the multiples and stitch counts for different patterns ever all just match?!). Even though I had to frog numerous rows, numerous times, I didn’t feel discouraged at all. I powered through, and somehow ended up with something incredible!

All this to say I’m returning to designing knitting patterns, and I am anticipating releasing a pattern for this lovely textured cowl, fondly known as The Cobbler Cowl, in the near future! I also plan to make some slight modifications to turn it into a hat, and eventually, a cardigan. Currently looking for people willing to test the cowl pattern, if anyone is interested!

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I always share my creations with my mom (@onebearceramics), hoping for approval, but expecting a shrug or an eyebrow raise. She’s a pretty tough critic. This time however, I saw the same light behind my eyes flicker in hers. She ooh-ed and ahh-ed, and asked for a sweater version of my design.

I think I’m going to stick to designing for awhile, as I have ideas swimming around in my head, and I can feel a strong passion for this aspect of knitting. I’m also open to custom orders via DM, because I find these more fun to do. As always, send me a message with whatever’s on your mind! And stay tuned for a new WWK pattern!

DIY Letterboard

I am the proud owner of a letterboard! Am I cool yet?

I have been totally envious of people I’ve seen who have felt letterboards or cinema marquees. They’re just so incredibly neat! However, as a maker who is just starting to make her mark in the online world, these are a luxury I can’t justify having.

On the flip side, as a maker, I have the tools and ability to create my own budget-friendly version! It took me a few failures and adjustments before I was able to come up with something functional, but that’s part of the crafting fun, right?

I started off following instructions I found online for a felt letterboard using dowels wrapped in felt, but I just couldn’t achieve an even layout that kept my letters attached securely. As frustrating as this was, I wasn’t ready to surrender just yet. I set it aside to return to another day. It was actually my also-crafty mother who brought a photo on Pinterest to my attention. Her idea was for a DIY ring holder/display using sponge or foam, but the concept inspired a whole new thought process.

All I had to do was fit a piece of flat sponge/foam batting inside a box frame and slice some lines about halfway deep running across the sponge. I centred the sponge on the back board of the frame and glued it down. I did have to order the letters online, but it worked out perfectly and is super customizable! The pegs on the letters fit inside the slits and can be changed just like a felt letterboard. Aside from the letters, everything I used to make this project could be found in the home and reused, or bought for cheap.

I will totally be using this all the time. Feeling excited to step up my Instagram game, starting with a SALE announcement! I recently hit 200 followers on Instagram, and I’m all about celebrating the little things, so I’m offering 20% off everything in the WWK Shop for the next 2 weeks. Just use the coupon code “hooray200” at checkout! I have also added a few new items which are also included in the sale. Head on over to check it out!

A Weasley Sweater for DUUUKE

This is my buddy, Duke. Duke is a fox terrier with a goofy smile, skinny legs and a pointy bum! Duke loves cuddles and any kind of attention he can get. And although Duke came from Alberta where the snow piles high and the temperature drops low, Duke lives in the temperate weather of Vancouver, and he gets cold!

Back when I first started knitting, I made myself a Weasley sweater which turned out so well everyone else wanted one too. 3 sweaters later, we decided that our family dog Pepper should have one. I made my first dog sweater in the same style, and this became our family go-to for Christmas and family photos.

Years later, Pepper is no longer with us, but I now make friends with all the furbabies I encounter. I am grateful for all the people who are kind enough to share their furry friends with me. I received special commission to make a sweater for Duke, and I was happy to oblige!

When you don’t have a dog to model, but you do have a ceramic polar bear…

The quality of my work has much improved since my early knitting days. Better materials, better workmanship, better outcome. I got to work with hand-dyed merino wool (courtesy of Duke’s momma aka Fidley Dyeworks), and tried my hand at fairisle knitting. I even have fancy fabric tags with my logo on it now!

Duke is a lovely customer. He absolutely returns all the love and looks super handsome and cozy. He’s probably the fanciest doggo in the park.

 

Bonus: found this cute little video of Pepper wanting all the attention. This is what knitting with a dog was like <3

Pender Cardigan (#wip pt. 3/3)

Glad to be getting back into weekly blogs. In the time I’ve been away, I’ve completed quite the number of projects, which you would have seen if you’re following me on instagram. If not, no worries! I will be rolling out new posts for old projects over the weeks to come!

First up is the final post of my Pender Cardigan wip…It’s complete!! I had originally intended to have another check-in post before the final product, but I got swept up with the website move and completed the cardigan without stopping to take photos.

I did take the time to note down my thoughts as I worked through it though, so here they are. To see the final product, skip to the bottom of the page.

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As I get closer to the end of a large project, I start to get nervous as to whether or not it will turn out like I imagined, particularly with knits that need to be blocked. It’s the point where I’ve already committed so much to it, that any changes that need to be made may involve significant backtracking.

After attaching the sleeves to the body as instructed in the pattern, I found it difficult to work with the rest of the garment because it became quite bulky. I have suspicions my sleeves ended up too long for my body, so I removed them and started putting together the collar first. I also ran into some issues with picking up stitches on the collar, so I went ahead and modified to achieve what I wanted (yet again, I have failed to complete a pattern the way it was instructed…oops). After trying it on at this point, I’ve fallen in love with it all over again! The stitch definition is looking so good and it is holding its shape incredibly well.

Here’s how it looked without the sleeves and hem. It looked so amazing I was almost tempted to leave it as a vest instead!

I went on to add the bottom hem, which I also shortened both length and widthwise to give a shorter and tighter look. Halfway through the hemline, I tried it on and got chills!

Full disclosure, I actually finished all the components within 3 weeks of starting, but left it sitting for another month because of my pure hatred of seaming. I found myself more enticed by other knitting projects that I never sat down to tidy up. Blocking was a whole other ordeal. I finally committed to finishing when my custom made ceramic buttons were finished. They really tied the piece together (literally.) so it was a perfect finish.

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Alas, all the coziness in a coat. It definitely turned out to be more of an outerwear style jacket than a cardigan. I’d love to remake the pattern in a worsted weight to see what it would look like. I do also wish there was one more button up top to close the neckline a little more. This just means another Pender Cardigan is in my future for 2018!

Ceramic buttons by One Bear Ceramics.

Get the pattern for yourself on Ravelry and check out Lindsay’s Instagram page for other amazing knits.