april showers

Today’s rain led me to thinking about when wool gets wet, why it often should, and some of the best ways to do it. After all, my cats know that bathtime is important to keep looking good!

As the season changes and we begin to set aside the heavy wool sweaters and socks for lighter-weight wear, it’s important to properly care for those items before we pack them away until next winter. The talented and wise Kate Atherley recently blogged about the importance of giving woolies a bath before they’re put away for the year. I like both Eucalan and Soak pretty equally, these are no rinse items so it makes life a bit easier.

When we finish knitting or crocheting an item, it is also important to give it a quick bath and then set it out and shape it to how we want it to dry. This evens up stitches for stockinette and causes lace to become magical and ethereal.

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, talked about the importance of blocking and how to do it a few weeks ago.

Pretty much the only thing I don’t block are socks if they’re for me and mostly because they tend to go directly on my feet. Everything else gets blocked. I have also been known to repurpose items throughout the house if something is oddly shaped, such as a tight fitting cowl.

blocking-a blocking-b blocking-c blocking-d

Designer Holly Chayes includes an article about blocking and how different blocking techniques influence the result in her new shawl collection Shawls to Play With.

If you want to learn even more about the magic of blocking, ask for a class at your LYS or take one of these two online courses:
Kate Atherley‘s Craftsy class, Blocking Handknits
or
Patty Lyons is teaching a live webinar this coming Tuesday April 8, 2014 at 1pm EST on Blocking Techniques in Knitting. If you can’t attend the live, register and you can download it later. She gave me a promo code to offer to you for 15% off the price of the webinar (I believe this is good only through April 8th, so register now!) use PATTYLYONS15.

And yes, you should also block your Gauge Swatches!

AprilFlowers

celebrate a #yearofmaking

“Be very very quiet!” is not the advice one should take when promoting one’s business. I find it incredibly difficult to self-promote, if something (anything) else comes up …

While I’ve been very very quiet here, I’ve been working hard!

My spring-time goal is to try to write something quick here once a week and maybe even publish a newsletter again (sign up with the form in the sidebar).

What’s been going on?

Primarily I’m working with several new clients for the various services I offer beyond design work. I have a few openings for new clients beginning in May (which, snow to the contrary, will be here soon). If you’re interested, please let me know! I’m still designing, but the process is a slow one for me and I hope the growth of spring will bring the inspiration I need for several designs’ final touches.

It is much easier for me to share and promote my friends’ amazing designs. Much of that conversation occurs on twitter, so please join me. If you’re interested in a wider range of chatter, my personal twitter account may interest you.

Which leads further into social media… and a project I began in January.

That project is:

#yearofmaking

The talented Miriam Felton began this project last year as a way to help her through difficult days. I loved the idea of this low-key project: to photograph something–anything–she was making, or made, or was planning to make. I found that moment of mindfulness very inspiring. In January I joined the daily posts and now 84 days into the year I’m inspired in ways I never expected. I was also surprised to discover that the action of posting that photo to instagram helped build momentum and that I’ve been powering through more projects than I thought possible. (That’s not a new observation, project momentum has been long discussed and there are many different thoughts on it (here’s one)).

I wrote in more detail about this project on my personal blog, Penguin Girl, in January and again last week. Will you join in?

year of making

I’ll end with a test knit I recently finished for author and designer Larissa Brown, her Shift Shawl. With her permission, after I finished testing, I varied slightly from her instructions (I really like the number 9) and have become oddly fond of this very colourful shawl.

Shift Shawl by Larissa Brown, testknit by PSG

There’s much more to come!