Rainy Days in Knitsville

Rainy Days in Knitsville

It’s raining today. It could be worse, it could be a few degrees cooler and we would be having snow. We’ve had enough snow. I’m not even complaining. Earlier this month, it was in the 40s and 50s and that definitely should not be happening in February in Chicago.

But a rainy day means no photography. We take our photographs outdoors here in Knitsville. Even in February. If it had been merely cold, I would have taken the WIP I have to show you and taken a photo outside. I could have shown you the shawl I’m working on – an original design.

I could have also showed you the poncho I am making for myself. First, I don’t make things for me. But this yarn – which happens to appear in the photograph – bottom left, is no longer made and the company is all out of it. There was nothing to do with the skeins I have and I purchased a pattern years ago for a granny square poncho. I am not, of course, following the pattern exactly but I am looking forward to wearing it.

I could show you the ten inch, wooden crochet hook that belonged to my mother-in-law probably made for her by her brother who was very good at that kind of woodwork.

I might have been tempted to show you my yarn haul. Back in November, I purchased yarn from JoAnn, Michael’s, Hobby Lobby and Herrschner’s. A fair amount went to orders – I was very busy during the holidays – but a better chunk is here for future use. I wasn’t supposed to get any more yarn until May but I also received gift cards from JoAnn for my birthday and I had another yarn haul a few weeks ago because I needed two balls for two orders I had and Cat and I went to the big JoAnn store with a huge yarn selection and they were having a sale and…well, I know almost exactly what the yarn I bought will be used for so it won’t just sit there and be pretty. Besides, I did mention gift cards didn’t I?

The good news is, the poncho is going to take a while to get done. I’m only working on it in the office. The pattern will also get done and the final object will have to be recorded and the yarn haul isn’t going anywhere any time soon, so it too, can have it’s photo taken at another time.

So, we have Rainy Days in Knitsville. But the rain will go leaving behind a freshened earth and some flowers that are beginning to poke their heads up above ground.  A worthwhile trade off.

The Knitsville Yarn Barn

Visiting Knitsville – The Yarn Barn

There is a lovely place in Knitsville called The Yarn Barn. It is filled with fiber. Mostly acrylic but every once in a while there is a lovely wool blend, even some silk and camel’s hair. But mostly acrylic. It used to be quite organized but it no longer is. Marie Kondo would jump for joy at the sight of this room in our house.

I have more yarn than I can use in a year. I think I could go a couple or three years using one ball a day before I would run out. Even so, I still have to pull myself back from buying more.

I love the stuff. I like looking at and thinking of the possibilities. But even I know I have too much of a good thing. I have sold some of it and there is an idea running inside my head of doing a KonMari on the lot and bagging some of it up to sell at a craft show. I believe this is the year I will make that idea into a real thing. The craft show is already in the planning stages in my head.

Having this much fiber has also changed the way I will run my business. I am going to concentrate a great deal more on my Ready to Ship section so I will be buying only the fiber I need for those custom and made to order fibers. Right now, most of the shop is made to order and this year, I hope to make at least 25% of it Ready to Ship.

That satisfies on several levels: I won’t be buried in made to order orders and I will be able to use some of the yarn that has been looking at me from their cages. They will fulfill their destiny and become objects of art and usefulness. Isn’t that what we all want from life?

DIY Knitting – The Joy and Bliss of Making it by Hand.

“Why do you have a cigarette lighter in your glove compartment?” her husband asked her. “I’m bored with knitting. I’ve taken up arson.” – Her Fearful Symmetry

DIY Knitting – The Joy of Doing it Yourself

I don’t know that I was bored when I first learned to knit. I know I was fascinated by it and really took to it. But I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t know to change colors on the same side and gauge was a term unfamiliar to me. My fascination quickly died because I only had one lesson, learning to knit with pencils. I didn’t even know about the purl stitch. There was no YouTube so I’m not certain how I figured it out. 

Crochet, too, for that matter. Don’t remember when I learned it. I liked knitting better but I went without both, off and on, for almost thirty years after I learned in grade school.

The Eden Cap – Pattern available at designbcb

I picked it up almost fifteen years ago and it has let me go. We haven’t let go of each other . I knit or crochet at a career choice and I’ve gotten into designing pieces for beginner and advanced beginner knitters and crocheters. 

Opening the shop on Etsy was a necessity because there were too many items clogging up the house. Opening the shop did not solve the problem as there are still finished objects in the house. They are now joined by more than 800 skeins of yarn. Most of it in a 10×10 room of the house that also holds two desks, two bookcases, two computers and a laptop. Yarn is in every room of our house – including the garage and I’ve never knit in there.

There is something magical about all things made by hand. I admire people who can paint and draw. Those who have the gift of words and can pull together narratives and images in ink. I see some of the work of my fellow needle arts artisans and I am in awe.

The yarns are different that when I first learned and now they can do a great deal of the work by being self striping, having texture or mixing plies. There are some knitters who won’t work with acrylic yarn but I am not one to forego it. It is economical and has come a long way from the stiff, rough yarn that used to be commonplace. Today’s acrylics have softness, texture and beautiful colors.

Along with a huge stash of yarn, I have a collection of knitting needles and crochet hooks. Some come from the legacy left from my mother-in-law who crocheted and knit. None of her kids or grandkids have the knitting gene. Her needles are in the office in a couple of mugs. I don’t use them. They are part of the atmosphere.

I never would have imagined this would be my living and now I cannot imagine being without it. Knitting and crochet are cornerstones of my life and faith. Being able to do it as my work and as a way of connecting with the world is a bonus and a blessing. I am grateful every day.