Fiber Fun Friday: Happenings in Creative Knitting, The Best of the Blog, and Mystery Yarn Spotlight!

Get ready, get set, it's the weekend!

TGIF!

Creative Knitting Video: One Stitch Pattern, Unlimited Options

If you haven’t had a chance to check out my latest how-to video, this is your last chance, because next week, the Autumn 2014 digital issue goes live on CreativeKnittingMagazine.com.

In the video below, I show you a clever bias openwork technique that you can use in a multitude of ways simply by changing needle size and yarn weights. Learn to be an adventurous knitter!

On the plate for next week, the online edition of the Autumn 2014 issue goes live, along with a comprehensive video, which includes a special tutorial for how to make the gorgeous Chock wrap/neckerchief, designed by Norah Gaughan for Berroco.

Chock Wrap Knit Pattern

Chock, designed by Norah Gaughan for Berroco

This is my little gift to you, so don’t miss it! I will share more details soon about the upcoming knitalong, and how you can take part on the Berroco Lover’s Ravelry group, so save the date!

The Best of the Blog: Learn a Stitch, Share the Love Stitch Block Series

Just in time for the weekend, here’s a re-run of my popular series: Learn a Stitch, Share the Love knitalong that I tag-teamed on with Tabetha Hedrick, the Creative Knitting online newsletter editor.

These washcloths are perfect for 3 good reasons:

  1. They are portable– pretty cool to take your passion with you everywhere you go, huh?
  2. Spend next to nothing or zero $$– dive into your stash, or purchase just one ball of yarn and go to town this weekend whipping out a bunch of these babies!
  3. No-brainer gifts– who wouldn’t love a colorful, handmade washcloth from you?

I’ve stated my case, now go get the first pattern here, then go here to read my first post in this four-part series, which was part of a popular knitalong that you can join at any time.

The weather will be gorgeous in most parts of the country this weekend, so get prepared so you can knit wherever your travels take you. Aren’t we so lucky to have a portable passion!

What’s on Kara’s Needles: It’s a Mystery!

Each week, I try to keep you up-to-date with what’s on my needles, but this week, it’s about what is “about” to be on my needles. I’m knee-deep in designing some new patterns for upcoming issues of Creative Knitting, and I’m really anxious to do something with the “Mystery Yarn” below. I will unveil what this gorgeous handpaint yarn is when the Spring 2014 issue goes live later this year. For now, I’ll keep you in suspense with a little bit of eye candy:

Mystery Yarn: Isn't it so pretty?

Mystery Yarn: Isn’t it so pretty?

Join the conversation on Facebook!

Join the conversation on Facebook!

How will you make your knitting passion “portable” this weekend? Join the conversation on the Creative Knitting Facebook page!

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Mindful Mondays: That Which Does Not Kill Us Makes Us Stronger

As I was searching for some inspiration to share with you on this Monday morning, I came across this quote that gives me comfort for when tough moments strike:

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

–Friedrich Nietzsche

This quote reminds me that during the toughest times, I will learn the most and if I make it out from under the ashes, I’ll gain just a little more wisdom because it’s during these times we are learning the most about ourselves. Our struggles are our biggest teachers.

It’s so hard to get that when you’re in the midst of dealing with a challenge. This we can of course relate to in any area of our life, but in regards to our knitting endeavors, we can also experience this throughout our learning journey.

Speaking of challenges, I’m currently dealing with one myself which has left me frazzled   and frustrated for the past week.

I thought it would be fun to design a new accessory pattern for an upcoming issue of Creative Knitting, and I decided to integrate the Feather & Fan stitch pattern into my design. It’s an easy stitch pattern and it’s very popular, so why not?

I thought it would be easy to just “whip up” the idea I have in mind, but the way I want to construct the design is throwing me for a loop. I just can’t seem to wrap my brain around how to make it work.

Trying so hard to make this stitch pattern work! If it doesn’t flow, let it go!

I’ve already spent a few nights squirming and anxiously trying to figure this out and right now, I decided the best thing is to move on to something else and come back to this with fresh eyes with this wonderful little quote in mind:

“Life is like a Polaroid picture; eventually everything comes to light.”

-Bob Goff

There’s always tomorrow!

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Fiber Fun Friday– Knitting at the Zoo, Learning How to Knit Lace & Minding Your Yarn Overs!

Get ready, get set, it's the weekend!

Get ready, get set, it’s the weekend!

It’s another Fiber Fun Friday! I can’t believe the weekend is here again. Woo hoo! We’re now on week three of this new feature, which is always a mixed bag of what’s going here and in Creative Knitting magazine.

So what’s on the burner? Are you cooking up projects to keep your needles clicking this weekend? I know that here in Indiana, it’s going to be gorgeous, so of course that means my knitting must be travel-friendly.

If there’s one thing I always do, it is I make sure I’ve got my knitting ready to go when my son gives the word that it’s time to hit the playground or take a trip to the zoo, like we did a few weekends ago.

Have yarn, will travel is my mantra!

Lions and tigers and zebras? oh my!

Lions and tigers and zebras? Oh my!

What’s Happening on Kara’s Needles?

This is also a new feature that I run each week on the Creative Knitting Facebook page, where I do a little shout out and share what I’m working on. Last week, I was busy knitting a cowl that will appear in a future issue. It’s mostly under wraps at this point, but I thought you’d like a sneak peek anyway. Take a look at the progression so far:

Almost there!

Almost there!

Another project that I’m toggling is the Chock wrap, designed by Norah Gaughan for Berroco.

Chock, designed by Norah Gaughan for Berroco

Chock, designed by Norah Gaughan for Berroco.

This has been my go-to project for those times when it’s quiet and I can slip away to the backyard to do nothing but knit and listen to the birds happily chirping and needles lightly clicking.

My version is coming along quite nicely.

My version of Chock is coming along quite nicely.

The yarn recommended in this pattern is Berroco Maya, and it is a dream to work with. It’s a chain tube-style yarn, which gives it a light and “fluffy” hand, but  with lots of durability. Maya is 85% pima cotton, making it nice and breathable for summer, with 15 % alpaca, giving just enough insulation.

In just a few weeks, you can watch the Creative Knitting Autumn 2014 video, where I will share tips and hints about this design. I’ve also included a tutorial portion, highlighting some of the key areas of this pattern. It’s created using two charts simultaneously as the wrap begins to grow.

As I’ve been making my version on Chock, there were a few occasions when I lost a couple of stitches, and had to un-knit a few rows. I discovered that it was because I either forgot to work a yarn over where I was supposed to, or I dropped one on the following row. Learn from my experience and mind your yarn overs!

Join the conversation on Facebook!

Join the conversation on Facebook!

Are your needles ready for the weekend? Join the conversation now on the Creative Knitting Facebook page!

 

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The Editor Wants to Know: Do Knitting Skill Levels Influence Your Decision to Make a Knitting Project?

Do skill levels make you cringe?

Do skill levels make you cringe?

In this edition of The Editor Wants to Know, I’d like to ask the question:

Do Knitting Skill Levels Influence Your Decision to Make a Knitting Project?

A few years ago, we increased the skill levels in Creative Knitting magazine from four to six in order to give you more confidence when choosing knitting projects. I found it discouraging that the decision to make a gorgeous design was dismissed because the skill level was the catalyst for moving forward or not.

I find that many knitters see a skill level and think that it is a reflection of “their” level of knitting, when in fact this is a mistaken way of looking at knitting patterns. The only way to increase your own knitting skill is to take on something that will challenge your skills and help them increase.

I think that all too often we can be swayed away from creating a pattern we fall in love with because we look at the skill level and cringe if it’s anything beyond “easy.” Is this the obstacle you face? If so, I want to hear from you!

Do skill levels influence your decision to make a knitting project?

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Creative Spaces: Meet Tabetha Hedrick– the New Creative Knitting Magazine Contributing Editor, Online Newsletter Editor and Designer Extraordinaire!

Tabetha Hedrick, editor of the Creative Knitting online newsletter and designer extraordinaire!

Tabetha Hedrick, editor of the Creative Knitting online newsletter and designer extraordinaire!

I’m so excited to announce Creative Spaces, a new feature here on the Creative Knitting editor’s blog, where every so often I will interview a knitter who has a really creative space! During each interview, I will pose many of the same questions noted below, and I’ll top each one off by asking my guest what their favorite productivity tool is. Who doesn’t love new tips to make life a little bit easier?

My first guest is Tabetha Hedrick, and she’s one multi-faceted lady! Tabetha is the new contributing editor of Creative Knitting magazine, and she is also the editor of the Creative Knitting  online newsletter. If you haven’t checked it out yet, it’s a must!

In each newsletter, Tabetha provides an informative tutorial, yarn and product reviews, designer interviews and knitalong announcements. To learn more, and to sign up, visit: AnniesNewsletters.com. So sit back, and enjoy this enlightening interview with Tabetha!

KGW: What is a typical day in your space like for you?

TH: My typical day is pretty much set in the office chair writing, researching, and typing away at the computer (about 60% of the time). I like to swatch and play with new yarns there, too, with a bit of Netflix on (currently sucked into the Supernatural show). I also frequently take pictures against a white counter, thumb through magazines or books nearby, and complete some domestic tasks (such as meal planning). I break things up by getting a few household chores done, yoga, or digging in the fridge for snacks.

White furniture and lost of light make Tabetha's space so inviting.

White furniture and lots of light make Tabetha’s space so cheery and inviting!

KGW: What kinds of things excite you when you spend time designing and knitting in this space?

TH: I’m always excited to have a new project to work on, so plotting it out in the calendar, crunching numbers in my software programs, or sketching rough drafts on paper always get me giddy. I keep my space filled with pretty things, fun colors, and easy-to-use tools.

Plan, plan, plan!

KGW: How do you organize your yarn stash and knitting needles? Do you have an innovative method? (I’d seriously love to know, because my stash is a big mashup mess!)

TH: I have two yarn stash systems. The first is where I store all of my swatching yarns (these are 1-2 single balls that I use exclusively for testing out stitch patterns and new ideas). I have Ikea boxes labeled for the weight of the yarns within: worsted, fingering, DK, etc. The boxes sit on the two bottom rows of my Ikea Expedit bookshelves, in order of weight, of course. My other yarns (project-specific ones) are arranged in the top row of my bookshelf. I tend to keep them in order of when they are knit and they just get placed in the cubby without much other forethought.

My needles– I’m quite happy with my set-up! I knit in the living room, so my needles are stored there. I have two flower vases on the end table that hold all of my straights and double-pointed needles. My fixed circulars are in a cute “Que Lily Della Q” needle case. I use Addi Lace Clicks (both short and long tips) the most, though, and they come in their own cases.

KGW: You are one organized lady! These are fabulous tips. Thanks so much for sharing them. I guess that means I have a busy weekend ahead organizing my own craft space.

KGW: What does your ideal day look like?

TH: And ideal day? Hmm…. that’s sort of a tough one because I feel like I am already working the ideal job! I know that when I set my intention every morning, it is for my work to go quickly and smoothly, without procrastinating (darn social media and its addictive power), and to get it all done before the kids come home from school (and that’s a tough thing to do when you take on as much as I usually do).

KGW: Do you get your best work done in the morning or in the evening?

TH: I am definitely a morning girl! By 1ish, I sag a bit, but then I perk up again when the kids get home from school. The evenings are when I do my best knitting work, however.

KGW: Can you share a productivity tool that you like and how does it help you get things done?

TH: My favorite tool is my Erin Condren Life Planner.  A little expensive, but I love everything about it! I discovered that digital planners just don’t work for me – my paper planner is always with me and spending a few minutes dolling it up with fun stickers, color-coded pens, and plans really gives my day something a little special. I am 100% on top of my appointments and deadlines and I use it for my daily to-do list.

Eye candy for the time-management-loving gal!

KGW: I love this Tabetha! I’ve been trying my darnedest to keep things in a digital planner and in Outlook, but it’s not quite working for me these days. I miss using fun-colored markers and pens and I love the act of writing by hand. It may be time for a time management makeover! 

KGW: Aside from knitting, what other things set you on fire and make you want to jump out of bed each morning?

TH: I am an entrepreneur at heart. I love starting and LEARNING new things! And when I get excited about something, I throw myself full tilt into it. I enjoy everything from  knitting, designing, photography, herbal lore, essential oils, eastern medicine, eastern religion, graphics design, writing… I have a lot of dreams, a lot of goals, and a LOT of over-the-top giddiness that can’t be contained, so with all of that, I am always ready to jump out of bed each morning and learn every single thing I can.

KGW: Thanks for such an inspiring chat and sharing your productivity tools and insights with the Creative Knitting audience. This has been so much fun. I can’t wait to get my new planner! 

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