Category: Personal Project

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!

 

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

SO GREEN Tree Mittens

Early last year whilst perusing knitting stitch patterns and designs, I found a chart for a fairly simple tree design. I had wanted to incorporate it into a pair of socks for myself but chart work always left me confused and frustrated. I saved the link in hopes that one day I would find the determination to figure it out.

During this time, I discovered a knitting friend, Kate. Kate dyes yarn in her home and has, on occasion, asked for my suggestions for new colour ideas. She has since learned that my suggestion is almost always GREEN. We would have discussions about colour combinations and I would leave expecting to return to a beautiful new green skein with flashes of black and gold. Yet somehow, I was always met with a gorgeous but disappointingly not-green skein, with maybe a speckle or two of something kind of resembling green. For Christmas, I was surprised with a skein of single ply SW Merino, entirely covered in the most rich, semi-solid green you could imagine. It’s SO GREEN, every time I look at it I can just imagine Kate saying, “Are you happy now?!?” She even let me name it for her shop (Austen–a somewhat roundabout tribute to my “ah mah” (grandma). We have distance, language, and cultural barriers preventing us from interacting, however I feel connected to her through our mutual love of crafting. She doesn’t have an English name, but Austen is the name of a song that makes me think of her).

The gloriousness of this skein brought all the tree-inspiration back to me. I had since completed a pattern requiring chart work, so I felt much more prepared to tackle it again. Turns out this chart is not as daunting as it seemed a year ago. I instantly decided on mittens, because you can’t let such beautiful yarn hide inside your boots!

I decided to make them top-down, which is a first for me. I like this method way better as it allows me to try them on as I go, so they fit much more snugly on my hands than most mittens. I drafted up my own pattern for future reference because I have learned to write EVERYTHING down when making new projects.

The final product is so smooshy and so green, and the tree design suits the yarn perfectly. As an added bonus, I made little button holes over the index finger and thumb so they can peek through to use on my phone while I’m out in the cold! So typical of my generation, eh? I definitely would have reconsidered making/wearing mittens if this wasn’t an option.

You can find Kate and her yarns over at www.fidleydyeworks.com. Austen should be up there soon, and you can check out the now-sold-out colourway named after me!

Kate, if you’re reading this, I appreciate you so much! Thanks for thinking of me and finally getting over your green-shyness. (:

Hello? Everyone Still Here?

Happy New Year!

I’m back! Website-ing is hard, and it took me longer than I anticipated to get everything set up. I like to think I’m pretty good at technology but this is a whole new level of skill. So many times I just wished I could go back to simply knitting.

BUT, all the hard work has paid off! I’m ready to start 2018 off with a shop launch and new crafting goals. This website is full of new features beyond the blog now. I encourage you to click around on all the new tabs and links. The WWK shop is officially open with a few cozy knitted items available for purchase. 3 styles, 3 colours, only one of each! Treat yourself to something nice to start off the year, why don’cha?

I’ve also converted what was formerly known as The Sidewalk Sock Project into Winter’s Weather Knits Gives Back, in order to encompass more knitted gifts and incorporate my charity work into my sales. You can read about that on the WWKGB tab.

Other fun plans for the year include:

  • Tons of new pattern ideas waiting to be shared.
  • Fun new fibres to play with.
  • Collaborations with new maker friends.
  • More blog posts, including what you’ve missed over the last few months of 2017!

Social media links are at the bottom of all the pages so you can keep up with everything that’s in store for this year!

2018. Let’s go.

We’re Moving!

We’re Moving!

Sneaking in an extra post this week to share some exciting news…we’re moving!–to a new domain that is. Winter’s Weather Knits is taking the plunge to become a self-hosted official website. While wordpress has been a wonderful platform for weekly blogging, it’s time to pursue some greater things. Keep reading to the bottom to make sure you’re in the loop about what’s going to happen because we want you to come along!

For years I have considered making a business out of my craft but never seriously committed to it. Just the sound of calling it a business makes me uncomfortable because that’s not what I want it to be. I just want to share my craft with the world, and make things that people will love. Part of being able to do that is putting more time and effort into my craft, and updating my website so it’s easily accessible by everyone who wants to join the family. I want to sell my handmade items so people can have WWK in their homes to keep them warm, while providing me with the funds to make this possible.

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This is the farthest I have ever gotten in my attempt to branch out. I have invested a fair sum of my own income into materials to produce items to sell, including custom made fabric labels to attach onto my final products. This doesn’t even take into account the amount of my personal time I have spent trying to get this project up and running. The next step for me is to set up shop online, which means converting my little weekly blog into a full-fledged website.

That being said, the main reason for this post is to let my small but loyal following know I will be converting my wordpress blog into a self-hosted website in the upcoming weeks! I want to send a special bit of love out to everyone who has been reading, whether you’ve made it known to me or not. I am not particularly tech-savvy, and I’m finding this process incredibly overwhelming, but I’m optimistic that we’ll all come out on the other side of this bigger, better, and ready to handle the treacherous winter we’re supposed to have this year. Here’s what you need to know:

  • This site will be moving to a new domain name and getting a few new features including an online shop link
  • We may be offline for a little while, but rest assured we will be back and hopefully on a regular weekly posting schedule again soon
  • I’m going to try to bring those of you who are following my blog over with me, but we may get lost along the way. I would suggest you keep an eye on my Instagram page (@wintersweatherknits) for updates so we can stay connected (also for quality content haha)

See you on the flip side!

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?