Category: Accessories

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!

 

“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.))

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!

Knitting in the Wild

Knitting in the Wild

I’ve started using the term “Knitting in the Wild” to refer to the times I knit outside of my workshop. I frequently bring my knitting and crochet projects around with me so that whenever I have some down time I can pull them out and stitch a couple of rows. In the past I have stuffed my skein, needles, and attached project into whatever bag I’m carrying amongst the smorgasbord of other items floating around. As I began to do this more and more, the need for a proper bag to contain my yarn became apparent.

I picked up a roll of cheap fabric and thought I would do up a simple bag to get me by. I hadn’t sewn in ages, and it definitely isn’t my strong-suit, but I wanted to give it a go anyway.

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A few seams, unpicked seams, and re-seamed seams later…I have a pouch! I’m super happy with the overall look and feel of it. There are many flaws in the detailing, and the finish isn’t quite as refined as I would have liked, but to any non-sewer who isn’t looking out for mistakes, it looks pretty decent. More importantly, it gets the job done.

Whether I’m sitting on the beach, or standing at the bus stop, the bag works like a dream.

Fast forward to last week, I opened the mailbox to discover a package with my name on it. Inside was this GORGEOUS, beautifully-made zippered pouch by a knitting guru and friend, Jenni (aka Lone Larch Designs)!

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She and I met over a year ago through completely unrelated circumstances, almost as if it was fated. Now, she’s somewhat of a knitting fairy godmother to me. She also makes these lovely project bags that roll over into baskets and zip up for travel. They are essentially the same bag that I made, but a million times better! We got to talking back at Knit City and she very briefly mentioned that she would send me one. After all the excitement of that weekend, I went back to my daily grind, and she went home to Alberta. Apparently back home, she sneakily got my address and surprised me with this bag I’ve been eyeing for months!

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The craftsmanship of this bag is incredible. The quality and thoughtfulness puts my bag to shame. I am very happy to now own two bags however, so I don’t have to continuously swap out WIPs when I pack to leave the house. Hers is also a fair bit larger, so I’ll be able to work on bigger projects, even on the go.

Every time I use this bag, it reminds me of how fortunate I feel to be part of this amazingly supportive community of crafters. I often encounter people eager to chat with me about my craft, and who want to share their experiences with their own hobbies. It makes the world seem far more friendly.

In true fairy godmother fashion, Jenni was actually the one who coaxed me out of my workshop and into the world of makers. And now, here I am–standing on the side of the road, bag slung around my wrist, knitting in the wild.

You can find more Lone Larch Designs here:

https://www.instagram.com/lonelarchdesigns/

https://www.ravelry.com/designers/lone-larch-designs

https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/lonelarchdesigns?ref=pr_shop_more

The Stitch Marker Revelation

The Stitch Marker Revelation

In my previous post about stitch markers, I thought I was so smart using paperclips to  mark my stitches. I was so genuinely happy with them. I didn’t know what it was like to have any better, so I was satisfied…until NOW.

First, I saw that other people had taken the colored paper clips and bent them into cool shapes that made them more user-friendly. This took me through a Pinterest wormhole of other hand-made stitch markers and I was blown away at how simple they were!

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I definitely had all the tools to make them, and it would only take a few minutes to put some together. I don’t know how I managed to overlook this concept before. With just a few jewelry tools and pendants, I have made new, super cute stitch markers that clip on or loop around the needles. They are so much more refined and leave minimal disruption when knitting or crocheting.

The clip-ons are just little hooks from charm bracelets or necklaces–these are perfect for crochet projects where you need to be able to open and close the marker, and for marking the front/back of a project piece (which I have just realized is incredibly helpful). The circular loops are made from earring hooks wrapped around a large knitting needle. These slip on and off when knitting rows/rounds, but I left the ends open in case I ever did need to pull it out in a pinch. To see if it would make a difference, I put hot glue at the tips of a couple of them thinking it might protect my knitting from sharp edges, though the other ones work fine without it.

I have since gone from being someone who prefers to count stitches and rows than to work around stitch markers, to someone who marks everything she possibly can! Based on my experience with them so far, here’s my verdict:

Pros:
  • Loops are nice and skinny, so they don’t interfere with the tension when knitting
  • Loops also fit in a nice range of needle sizes (up to ~6-7mm)
  • Leaving the loops open allow you to take them out at any time, but the gap is small enough that they won’t fall off
  • No problem with sharp edges getting caught in yarn
  • The clips are more refined-looking, with an easy to use mechanism
  • The clips are also really convenient to attach to bags…etc…until you need them if you’re knitting on the go
  • SO CUTE.
Cons:
  • The clips definitely look better than the loops, which look more “DIY”–if I really wanted to make them nice, I would have bought some actual circular loops instead of trying to curl them myself
  • Some of the smaller clips are difficult to hook on
  • Some of the clips may not fit around bulkier yarn (bigger ones are needed)
  • Heavier charms tend to tug on the stitches a bit, but nothing so severe it doesn’t work itself out when the marker is removed
  • HOW DO I CHOOSE WHICH ONE TO USE?
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The little stego is my favorite!

Nitty grittiness aside, I love them. They do the job, they look better than the paperclips I was using, and I didn’t have to spend a dime. All the materials came from old costume jewelry from when I was a tween, and my jewelry toolbox full of materials I would have used to make myself costume jewelry as a tween (but didn’t).

I was also going to try my hand at using air dry clay to make some charms, but that’s another project for another day. I definitely have more stitch markers than I need right now. Guess this means I either need to start more projects or one big complicated project. New sweater for winter maybe?

The Stitch Marker Deliberation

The Stitch Marker Deliberation

Since very early on in my knitting career, I have been debating whether or not to buy stitch markers. I like to consider myself a bit of a thrifty knitter…surely I don’t need to fork out cash for little plastic rings…right?

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Fancy stitch markers in the store always seem like frivolous luxuries you don’t really need until you’re in the middle of a project trying to keep count. It’s then that the utility of stitch markers becomes apparent. I have tried to be creative, using things like rubber bands, safety pins, scrap pieces of yarn tied into loops, and little plastic rings from some toy machine I got when I was little (you know…those tempting ones that stole all your toonies). Each of these came with its own problem, and it was becoming increasingly clear that stitch markers are an essential tool every serious knitter/crocheter should have. That is, until I finally found a household object that actually worked!

…paper clips! Colourful ones, in particular. Here’s why: Coloured paper clips have a plastic layer around them as opposed to regular paper clips. This makes them slide smoother through the stitches. They can also be bent to whatever shape you find easiest to slip on and off, and they can hang on loosely, or be looped through so there’s no way they are coming off! My preferred method is just to open the first prong a little to hook on to stitches and leave the rest as is. I have also found the different colours great for colour coding if you are using more than one on a project.

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Turns out it wasn’t about being cheap and not wanting to pay for the real deal, it was just about finding the right tool. I don’t know why I didn’t think of them sooner. They’ve worked wonders for me, particularly since I started doing crochet in the round.

I still think fancy store-bought stitch markers are a luxury, however definitely not so frivolous. Some day I may treat myself and get some cute ones, but in the mean time, my dish of paper clips is working just fine!

DIY Yarn Stamps

DIY Yarn Stamps

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I have been making toques to give away to the homeless as part of my charity project, The Sidewalk Sock Project. Since I began, I have branched out to make both socks AND hats because why not stay warm from head to toe?

I had piles of hats waiting to be stitched together and have their ends weaved in, and I finally got around to doing that and getting them washed. The next step was to figure out how to package them. At this point I realized that packaging hats isn’t as straightforward as socks. When you go to buy these kinds of hats at stores, they are always just laid out. I also wanted people to be able to look at the styles and sizes and maybe try them out at shelters. I believe that allowing them to have a choice gives a small sense of control, something they may be lacking in their everyday lives, so being folded and wrapped wasn’t ideal. I decided to design some tags that I could tie onto the hats, which also allowed me to write little messages or sign my name, making each one extra special.

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To do so, I asked my dad to cut me a couple of blocks of wood from his scraps. With one of them, I simply wrapped some yarn around and glued a button on the side. This created a cute yarn stripe pattern and a button stamp in one. I sketched out a ball of yarn with some knitting needles in them, and hot glued pieces of yarn to cover the lines. I glued this to the other block to stamp that design! (I’m particularly proud of that one…)

It took a little bit of trial and error and I’m really not sure how long they will hold up, but I was super happy with the results! From now on packaging will be simple and professional looking. I have made tons of extra tags for now. Guess it’s back to churning out hats!

New Choker Designs

New Choker Designs

IMG_20170420_191525With the seasons changing and the temperature warming up, I’ve been looking into some summer projects. I tend to focus on toys and amigurumi in the warmer months since it’s too hot for knitted clothing, but when I found some crochet chokers online, it sparked my curiosity!

A little while ago I followed a pattern to make my first choker (the blue one pictured above). After examining the concept of how the lace designs are formed, I decided to take a stab at designing my own pattern. I managed to create 2 patterns out of some scrap yarn I had left around from previous projects. I am calling them the Cherrypit Choker, and the Macuahuitl Choker (that last one is a mouthful, but google the word and it will make sense).

The patterns aren’t up anywhere yet because I have been too lazy to do them up. My brain has been stretched in so many different directions in terms of inspiration. I have tons of projects casted on and unfinished. Since this is a hobby, I made the conscious decision to just do whatever I feel like doing at the time and not worry about finishing the projects I don’t have the inspiration to complete. I know one day I will get around to all of them. Today just isn’t that day.