I’ve been published! Saturday Afternoon Armwarmers

Saturday Afternoon Armwarmers Knitting Pattern
Standard

As I mentioned in my 2015 Year in Review, I was finally brave enough (or crazy enough) to submit a design idea to a knitting magazine last year.

That idea became Saturday Afternoon Armwarmers and they have just been published in the latest issue of Knit Now!

Designing and knitting a sample for a magazine within a month was a little hectic… As seen below, you can see how stressed I am, filling every second of my day with knitting.

Mandy knitting on the beach

I’ve never knit so much in my life! We took a trip to the beach while my mom was in town and I knit while we walked. (Thanks to my mom for the pic.)

Saturday Afternoon Armwarmers were inspired by ‘slow moments’. I imagined sitting in my favorite arm chair, knitting a project with the softest yarn on a chilly, spring afternoon (which don’t exist here in Florida, but I tried). Oversized, snuggly arm warmers came to mind. I sketched them up, made a swatch, and the rest is history!

The sample was knitted with Erika Knight’s British Blue Wool and it is lovely to knit with! Erika Knight has created beautiful, subdued hues for this yarn.

The sample shown is in the Fawn and Boho colorways.

I’d also recommend combos of Pretty and Milk Chocolate, Milk and Leaf, Sea Fret and Dance, Sea Fret and Mr Bhasin, and for some nice contrast, Mouse and Boho.

Saturday Afternoon Armwarmers Color Combo Suggestions

Saturday Afternoon Armwarmers Color Combo Suggestions

Check out Saturday Afternoon Armwarmers in issue 59 of Knit Now! If you knit some of your own, please share them with me (leave a comment or tag me on Twitter or Instagram @mandybee)!

Stress Less – Knit or Crochet!

Standard

Saw this super cute Instagram post from Lion Brand and thought I’d share it! Cute little lemon stress balls! 🙂

Stress can be a killer and what a great little reminder to take a break and stitch a little.

Free-Spirited Knitting & Crochet Patterns

Free-spirited knitting and crochet patterns
Standard

I sometimes dream of putting on an outfit that brings out my inner hippy. I love the white lace that always seems to be front and center in so many bohemian outfits. It’s also the only style I know of that has so much crochet!

I went on a hunt for knitting and crochet patterns that feel bohemian and free-spirited to me.

Elegant Flower Headband by Amanda Saladin Elegant Flower Headband by Amanda Saladin (Free!)

How adorable is this?! I want to make 10 of them… but first I need to learn how to braid my hair like that.

Yoga Shawl by Andrea MowryYoga Shawl by Andrea Mowry ($6)

I love Andrea Mowry’s design style. The things she designs are simple in a way that I could imagine wearing all of them with my own, current wardrobe. Like this yoga shawl. Can I just wrap up in it?

Lady Bat by Teresa Gregorio Lady Bat by Teresa Gregorio ($6, picture of Mamatronic’s project)

This top looks so comfy. I love the way that it’s open and oversized.

Cancun Boxy Lace Top by Erin Kate ArcherCancun Boxy Lace Top by Erin Kate Archer (Free!)

I think I may have gasped when I saw this and then to see that the pattern is free…! I love that this is knitted, as it has a different look than a lot of the boho tops you see (crocheted in white). Super cute, though I couldn’t get away with wearing a crop top.

Bohemian Bracelet #2 by Maya KuzmanBohemian Bracelet #2 by Maya Kuzman ($5)

I can imagine so many different color combinations with this bracelet, or maybe making it a bit smaller using thinner yarn and a smaller crochet hook. Also, sitting at a computer all day, I find hard bracelets to be a bit cumbersome, so a soft bracelet like this seems like it would be rather comfortable.

Den-M-Nit Pineapple Skirt or Poncho by Flora YangDen-M-Nit Pineapple Skirt or Poncho by Flora Yang ($6, picture of Malviina’s project)

Is it a skirt or a poncho? A soncho? A spirt? No… I’m glad Flora didn’t try any of that for this pattern name. This crocheted skirt looks perfect for the beach!

View all of these patterns and more on Ravelry: Free-Spirited Bundle

I’ve put together some extra inspiration on this Pinterest board, not all pointing to patterns, but eye-candy nonetheless! Enjoy!

Follow Mandy’s board Inspiration: Funky, Free-spirited Knitting and Crochet on Pinterest.

**All pattern photos are copyrighted to their original owners. I’m claiming nothing here! 🙂

Making time for making

Standard

Felicia’s latest post, Craft as “a little space to collect oneself”, on The Craft Sessions hit me today. I wrote a comment in response, but I realized as I posted it that it probably would have made for a better blog post than a comment.

In a nutshell, her post is about having lost a private, physical space to craft in and how it’s affected her. There are more interruptions to her craft time because she’s out in the open and available. And sometimes she feels guilty about taking craft breaks since everyone can see her taking a break. She’s basically lost all craft time because she lost the privacy.

One of my current WIPs - Granite and Clouds Wrap - with my cute incense holder >^_^<

One of my current WIPs – Granite and Clouds Wrap – with my cute incense holder >^_^<

My circumstances are a bit different than Felicia’s. While I’ve never had a private space for crafting, I do have private time. It’s me that’s holding myself back from taking time out to craft, not someone else. This is what resonated with me from Felicia’s post:

“I may be voicing a universal longing for enough space to breathe and put things in perspective…… More and more we’re challenged and unsettled by it in part because I think we’re more and more addicted to our busyness. ”

— Pico Iyer – Dumbo Feather Issue 46

And Felicia’s feelings of guilt for not filling her time with busy things…

“But thinking about it I’m not even sure the judgement I’m trying to avoid is external. I have the feeling some of it, might be coming from me. My feelings around what I should be doing.”

— Felicia from The Craft Sessions

I have been struggling with this lately. I don’t have a full time job anymore, which clears up so much space. I had hoped to make room for crafting and design as a freelance career, but it seems that I have filled every nook and cranny with my old job (web design), just on a freelance basis. I think I’ve done this because I swear that everyone around me thinks I’m sitting at home just drinking a cup of tea. (They really don’t. If anything, they imagine me doing magic with two wands as I knit up a project, since most people I know don’t know how to knit and think they never could.)

Shawl

The process of crafting from scratch is slow. Web design is much faster, so I think I’ve filled my time with it as a way to show those around me that I’m being productive. I’ve been saying “Yes” to so many things I don’t even really want to do! I’ve been valuing my worth by how many ‘things’ I’ve accomplished.

As Paco said, I seem to be addicted to how busy I am. Ticking off small, quick items on my to-do list. Forgetting about the bigger goals, like becoming a knitwear designer. (Well, not forgetting… More like anguishing about it while I do other things that aren’t moving me toward my goal.)

I feel like I have to earn my time to craft.

It’s good to consider how well we’re treating ourselves. We’re not robots. To me, life isn’t about how hard we work, it’s about family, friends, compassion, growing, enjoyment…

Knitting needles and crochet hooks in a holder made by Carly

All my knitting needles and crochet hooks, waiting for me in the holder Carly made

How do you give yourself permission to do what you really want to do, even when it doesn’t pay? Even when you already have enough money?

Emma Mitchell touched on this during her interview on A Playful Day. She quit a well-paying, high-power job to craft because it felt better. It’s a great interview, give it a listen!

I’m going to get a little Buddhist here, but I think it has to do with remembering that our human lives are precious. Yes, we need money for food and shelter, but if you’ve got that covered, it may help to remember that you’re lucky to be here, alive, as a human.

In Buddhist views, you could have been born a cat, doomed to nap all day! No thumbs to knit with!

Black kitten

Yes, like Binx here.

The fact that you’re able to craft should be celebrated! Take the time for yourself to do what makes you feel alive. Everyone and everything else can wait 5 minutes. (Or 30!)

Learn, make, repeat… What making means to me

Standard

I’m a long-time listener of the A Playful Day podcast. This year, Kate rebranded her podcast and is hoping to create a community that supports makers.

The first episode of this season came with a creative challenge:

What does making mean to YOU? 

Making means a lot of things to me, so I may elaborate with future posts. But for now…

There is making with my hands…

Handspun yarn

Spindle-spun yarn from sheep fleece

And making in a less physical manner (digital design, music, writing, photography).

Succulent flowers

Succulent flowers by the pond I made with a little help from my friends… ♬

I might make something designed by someone else…

Knitting a hat

Lovely Westminster Hat pattern with Blue Sky Alpaca yarn

Or design something myself. (Or try.)

Knitted Cloud

First of a couple of failed attempts at designing a mug cozy

I may make something practical, to be worn or used…

Completed Kelso sweater

I made a flipping SHIRT! With sticks and string!

Or maybe I’ll just make something for the sake of looking pretty.

TARDIS sunset painting

Gotta love those wine & paint nights where you just go off on your own wibbly-wobbly-whim.

There’s also something about doing things the slow way that is extremely satisfying to me. Like the time I collected acorns and simmered them for a day, then roasted them for an hour.

acorns

They were alright…

Or picking and shelling pigeon peas for days…

pigeon peas

Pretty pigeon peas!

It seems that people don’t know much about how things are made anymore. Because we don’t need to make from scratch, a lot of us don’t.

Knitting seems like voodoo to some that watch me. Planting a garden and keeping it alive (not even thriving) seems like a major feat (when in reality, I probably visit my garden every other week sometimes and it seems to do quite fine without me). Seeing my friends turn flat fabric into a garment blows my mind. When I realized that I could create yarn with my own two hands from fleece, I was amazed. There is always something to learn and most crafts, even if they seem impossible, are within reach with a bit (or a lot) of practice.

Yes, making is a slow process but it is so satisfying to make something from scratch — mindfully — yourself. To know every step from raw material to end product has made me appreciate the conveniences available to me. Most of all, it teaches me patience.

Read about The Maker’s Challenge

Listen to A Playful Day: Season 1, Episode 1

Inspiring #themakersyear photos on Instagram

Some of my favorite blog posts answering what making means:

O-Wool Organic Yarns: Eco-Friendly and Humane

Beekers watching after the O-Wool
Standard

As an animal lover and earth enthusiast, I try to be conscious of what I’m buying, where I’m buying it from, and what implications that purchase has on our environment. Until recently, I had not given much thought to where my yarn was coming from, aside from when I purchased local yarn while traveling.

With a new knit design in mind, I went on a search for a line of yarns that is environmentally-friendly, animal-friendly, has a good set of colors and could be cost-effective for colorwork.

And I found O-Wool.

O-Wool is run by Jocelyn J. Tunney, who seems to work hard to source humane, organic wool, cotton and alpaca. (And if you’re wondering how wool might not be humane, Google the term ‘museled’. The sheep that provide wool to O-Wool are not museled.)

She also tries to keep things as local to her as possible: the wool is dyed, spun, and skeined locally to her in Philadelphia.

I ordered shade cards for the Classic Worsted and the O-Wash Sport.

O-Wool's O-Wash Sport

Cats love O-Wool!

I’ve never ordered a shade card before, but it’s a great way to compare colors in a line of yarn and I didn’t even have to leave the house!

O-Wool’s “O-Wash” is machine washable, using an organic compound that stops the wool from felting.

O-Wash uses a GOTS certified organic compound to create machine-washability. The compound holds the fibers still during washing so the scales cannot interlock and felt. Conventional “superwash” processes burn the scales off the fiber with an acid bath, or coat the fiber in a resin, or both. O-Wash both has its scales and uses a certified organic compound!

From the O-Wool FAQ

O-Wash Sport has some very vivid colors and a nice sheen. At the time of this post, one skein is $15.99/336 yards. A little pricy for colorwork, since I wouldn’t need the whole skein, but a good price for what you’re getting.

They also have a fingering weight O-Wash that comes in mini-skeins! Those are $5.99/100 yards, perfect if you need a bunch of colors but not much yardage.

O-Wash Sport

O-Wool’s O-Wash Sport yarn

And the Classic Worsted yarn has beautiful, muted colorways. It’s also reasonably priced if you’re going to need a few colors for a project at $7.35/99 yards.

O-Wool Classic Worsted

Beekers couldn’t help himself and needed to lay next to the O-Wool Classic Worsted.

I’m not sure which I’ll use for the design I’m coming up with, but I’m definitely leaning towards the O-Wash fingering so that I can take advantage of the mini-skeins.

Have you used O-Wool yarn before? Can I see your projects??