Procrastaknit

Everything else can wait until I finish this row…

Seasonal Knitter

I think I am a seasonal knitter. Not sure if that’s a real thing or not, but now that Autumn has arrived in New England I am happily casting on and working on projects I want to make.

Or maybe it’s having an enthusiastic little boy ask you to make him a sweater and get super excited about choosing out some yarns for said sweater. Okay, so maybe I picked the yarn from my stash (STRANDavarious DK an individual hand painted fiber artist I discovered during my cross country yarn crawl) because his color choices might clash a bit. Although, I am going to let him choose a self-striping yarn to add to the body of the sweater so it is more colorful. His joy is contagious and he is SO knit worthy.

Pattern: Rumpus jumper Designer: Sashka Macievich. Here I am knitting at the Board of Education meeting waiting to speak up about bullying in our town.

In Craftivism news, I won this awesome new book via an Instagram contest. It has some great projects in a variety of mediums. I recommend following Sayraphim Lothian on Instagram, she knows what she’s doing and is very inspiring.

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Immigrant Yarn Project workshop

Wednesday was an amazing day! I assisted in a Craftivism workshop for United Way in the San Francisco Bay area. I attempted to present on Craftivism, but I was a nervous mess and ended up rambling quite a bit. I can talk your ear off on a one-on-one basis about how craftivism is a great tool in spreading knowledge and bringing awareness to an issue, but I am very much out of practice in presenting in front and f a crowd.

It’s a good thing Cindy Weil took the lead on this workshop, she was great at presenting to the group. It was about her craftivism installation the Immigrant Yarn Project. She has worked with girl scout troops, survivors of Japanese internment camps, the populaton of skid row, and countless of other people. I was amazed at her progress so far and was happy to add a little piece of my craft and my family’s story to the installation.

Say what you will about #craftivism movements, it gives me a great sense of accomplishment and it empowers me to keep on resisting.

End of the day feeling extremely accomplished

My conference badge

A poster by United Way

Made this badge to wear with my “I am an immigrant” shirt, decided to contribute it to the Immigrant Yarn Project installation

These are my scraps and swatches joined to be my contribution to the IYP

Photo credit: Immigrant Yarn Project

A close up of me in the corner with my piece

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Immigrant Yarn Project

Have you heard of the Immigrant Yarn Project? It’s an installation happening in the San Francisco Bay Area, and it’s kind of awesome. I’m actually visiting family out here on the West coast, and I am excited to get a chance to meet Cindy Weil, the founder of this project. I’m volunteering at one of her workshops, providing yarn assistance to those attending as well as sharing some of my own activism and craftivism experiences.

That’s not for a few more days, and until then I brought some of my scraps to join and contribute to her craftivism project. Of course, reading Krista Suh’s DIY book is great inspiration while adding to this project. And keeping hydrated is also important. All great ways to keep the anxiety and irrational fear of potential earthquakes and aftershocks at bay…

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Yarn chicken at the courthouse

I played a mean game of yarn chicken today. I have been working on a pair of single sock (it’ll only be a pair of I don’t get 2nd sock syndrome) for my hubby. It has been the mindless project in my purse for weeks now, something to keep my hands busy when I have 5 minutes of down time or need to fight off some anxiety.

Which is a good thing I wasn’t done with it yet, because today it provided me with about an hour of anxious free time. You see, today I went to Federal Court for a hearing on a case of immigrant families that were seeking asylum, but got separated instead. Security took my phone, but I was able to keep my WIP which is what brought about this game of yarn chicken.

Check it out:

So satisfying!!

Something else that caused a sigh of relief is knowing that there are now two sets of parents reunited with their kids here in Connecticut. They are on probation for a few months and activist groups here hope that they will be given a path of citizenship so they can have the life that all immigrants hope for by coming to this country. You can read more about that story here: http://www.courant.com/breaking-news/hc-news-connecticut-immigration-court-status-hearing-20180718-story.html

It was a roller coaster of a day. Going into the courthouse I felt a sense of gloom, but coming out that feeling was replaced with Hope. Counting the stitches – 25 – as the tail of my yarn shrunk made Doubt consume me, but with 5 stitches left I knew I’d win the game of yarn chicken. Woohoo!!

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Museo del Tessudo 

I love the fact that my 3yo has a rudimentary understanding of knitting and sewing, so that when I took him to the Museo del Tessudo here in Prato, Italy he was impressed by the beauty of the  displays.  I was able to explain this fluffy stuff comes from a sheep, this machine makes yarn, someone embroidered this shirt, these are the plants used for color. There is also no doubt that he is my child, because when given the opportunity to touch the different types of fiber he chose cashmere as his favorite.  I’m so proud. 
The museum was small but impressive to anyone that values fiber arts.  Prato has a rich history of textile from its very beginning in 1050!  Just look at some of the highlights of the museum:


Ciao!

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Women’s March and Pussyhats

January 21, 2017 was an AMAZING day.

Did you attend a March? I went to the one in Hartford, Connecticut.

Did you make any of the pussyhats? I managed to knit 3 and sewed dozens! 

 This was my first time practicing craftivism and I found it extremely empowering.  I had hoped to knit many of the pussyhats, but with a toddler it took a day to knit just one.  I wanted to get this powerful symbol out in huge quantities.  I needed to mass produce in order to meet the high demand.  I embraced my sewing machine.

I just learned to sew last year and was a bit unsure if I could really do much with my limited skills.  But what some might call stubbornness, I call determination and so off I went to get pink fleece and thread.  Shopping for this project was so much fun!  I got so many different prints besides the solid don’t-look-straight-at-it-for-long-or-your-eyes-might-bleed neon pink.  My favorite was the Hello Kitty print, which was a bit more expensive than the rest, but the little girl (along with the snarky adult) in me couldn’t resist it.

For the sake of efficiency, most of my sewing happened between 8pm to midnight.  I started out doing one by one from beginning to end.  Quickly I realized that I needed a better system and so i I did it in steps.  I cut all the fabric one night with my large cutting mat and adjustable height table (an awesome Christmas gift from my husband).  Used an entire spool of thread to fill four bobbins.  Started using only 3 pins for the sides: two for the bottom corners and another for one of the top corners. For the hem I just eyeballed the fold.  I cut out a piece of cardboard with a 90degree angle to mark where I needed to sew the ears.  And so it went.  The first few came out a little wonky but eventually, with all the repetition, it got better and better.

I was working away on my sewing machine up until the night before the March.  Those last 40 pussyhats didn’t have the ear sewn on.  Instead I had a little help from my mom, who put  little loom rubber bands on each corner to form the ears.

Overall I was very happy with my first act of craftivism.  It has emboldened me to continue to use my crafty skills for a worthwhile cause.

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I’m Hooking

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned that I’m Bi; I knit and crochet. Well, knitting has taken a place at the back burner and my hook is flying!

I found the Mandala Madness pattern on Ravelry and joined their Facebook group for the crochet-a-long.  I didn’t start it with everyone else and as the weeks passed and people kept posting photos of their work I became both enchanted and intimidated. The projects were all breathtaking.  People did them in a solid color, in gradient hues, in repeats of three, or four, or five complimentary colors, and in colors from all over the spectrum that somehow come together beautifully.

I became more and more obsessed with each image that went up.  I decided that I needed to try it.  I wanted to make it in cotton and with (at most) four colors.  I imagined taking it to the beach or the park for play dates with my son and his little toddler friends.  It was a peaceful scene… and totally delusional, because toddlers would’ve brought chaos upon the Mandala.

Sadly, the cost of buying all new yarn for such a project was a little out of my budget.  Every week that I went to my LYS I would browse and pet the yarn on the shelf daydreaming of this project.  I knew my bank account wouldn’t be able to supply my Mandala, but my stash could.  So I decided to make it a destashing project and use up what I already have on hand.  I grabbed my hook and my little scraps and just went for it.

It’s going to be wild ‘n crazy colors.

It’s going to be wool.

It’s  going to be EPIC!!

(Cue music and fireworks)

But for now it’s just a baby mandala and this is all I have so far:

 

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Pig in the Woods

For a knitter, no trip is complete without finding a place to sit and knit.  I’m lucky to have a husband that understands this concept. We are currently in Tokyo visiting his family and he has found a knit café for us to spend the afternoon.

It’s called  Mori No Kobuta, which translates to Pig in the Woods.  It is not a yarn shop, but a café that is just as welcoming to knitters.  They serve some delicious treats, sell very few items and have the occasional craft workshop.  So don’t go there thinking to buy yarn, instead take a few hours to work on the many WIPs you likely overpacked.  There is nothing wrong with skipping some sightseeing and tourist attractions for an afternoon to enjoy your vacation doing what you  
love. over

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Browsing through a Japanese crochet book while savoring some tea and chocolate cake

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First I thought the lighting was excessive, but when then I realized I was able to see my dark yarn so much better

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Husband got to enjoy a beer while I knitted. See how the lighting helps see my dark yarn?

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There were cute little displays featuring pigs all around the cafe

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Some of the yarn they were selling, that was pretty much it

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Off Topic: adult coloring books

Have you gotten on this bandwagon yet?  I have and I L♡VE it!  A few weeks ago I went to an coloring event at my local library –  I even skipped my weekly knit night to try it! ::gasp::  I remember being in a real funk that night, but coloring a really bizarre rabbit got me feeling much better.

I now have two coloring books – one on floral mandalas and one on animals – and a variety of coloring tools.  And yes, it is very likely that I might have snatched some of my toddler’s art supplies.  But only because I believe  the crayons and water colors are better used as intended as opposed to being eaten or shoved up a nostril.

Here is what I was working on today while waiting for a doctor’s appointment:

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So fun!  I got a set of brush-like markers at Michael’s and this was a perfect image to try them out on since the tips are more flexible than my pens and pencils.  I’m excited to finish it.

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If I’m sitting, I’m SPINNING!

Hooray!   I have finally learned to spin!  For the past 5 years or so the spindle and wheel have intrigued me.  I was very reluctant at first to learn how to make my own yarn.  I always thought that I had enough projects to keep me busy knitting. Why should I bother making my own yarn when I can buy it at the store all ready made?  Then I realized that is what non-knitters say about socks and sweaters and everything else we enjoy creating.
So I gave it a try and failed. 
Bought a spindle kit with some fiber at a festival and failed. 
Sat in with some spinning guild members at a festival and failed.
Tried watching some tutorials on the Internet and failed.
Bought a few books on how to spin and still failed.
There was a lot of time passed between all of these attempt, and after each try I started to think it just wasn’t for me.  Then, a few weeks ago I got a newsletter from a LYS offering to teach a mini session on spinning.  I always wanted to sign up for a spinning class, but most often it is taught on a wheel and way out of my price range.  This was affordable and I was the only one that signed up, so I got the instructor’s undivided attention.
It was awesome!
I couldn’t believe that after two hours I was spinning – rather wobbly – and making my own yarn!  I guess all those failed attempts over the year helped to create a weak muscle memory on my fingertips.  And the reading, research and discussions helped me to become familiarized with some of the terms which made the class less intimidating.  Plus I got to walk away with a CD spinner and some merino fiber to keep practicing. It is surprising that it’s coming out so well, even if it is thick ‘N thin yarn.  Every spinner I’ve talked to says that the bumpiness of your first spun yarn is impossible to recreate so I should embrace it as art yarn.  I’m excited to finish it and figure out how to ply it so I can knit myself something with it.

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