The problem with being a creative

Isn’t helleborus lovely?

Things have been busy here at Bravewood, as usual. How could life be otherwise? The kids are all busy, Spring is just around the corner, so all of Nature is starting to bustle with activity after the lull of Winter. I have two tiny daffodils blooming in my flowerbed and the helleborus is blooming in full force! Did you know that those lovely flower petals aren’t actually flower petals at all?  They are actually leaves which protect the flower in the center, like poinsettias.  That’s what I learned today.

It’s that time of year when I should be going through the seeds, deciding which to plant where, getting the greenhouses set up and all of that.

But I digress.  A lot.  This is a knitting and crochet blog, right? Ok, back on track.

I have been knitting and pattern writing today.  Actually more writing than knitting got done. You see, I promised a friend of mine that I would write up a pattern for her for a pair of yoga socks that I have listed in my Etsy shop, but never got around to actually writing a pattern for.  I made the first pair and really didn’t think it would be very popular, so I just didn’t bother to write it down. And I wasn’t exactly wrong; you can still find that one pair of yoga socks sitting in my Etsy shop – not selling. It has been there for a long time. BUT, this friend of mine saw them a while back and being herself a knitter, wanted to make a pair for her sister. She looked through my pattern listings, didn’t find the pattern and proceeded to message me about it.

I hate to admit that she messaged me about it, umm, sometime before Christmas. I, however, was in the middle of a Christmas gift knitting marathon and had a pattern out to my test knitters (Team Woolly, you rock!), plus I had a kit collaboration in the works. Yes, I was busy, and I forgot about the yoga socks pattern.

About a month ago (or so), my friend messaged me again in regard to the yoga socks pattern. I sheepishly promised her that it would be my next project. But did I get right on it? Umm…

NO, I did not. I got another IDEA. This is the problem with being a creative; so many ideas. Life sometimes gets in the way of the ideas and sometimes ideas get in the way of keeping promises.

HOWEVER, I remembered the yoga sock pattern in the wee hours of the night last night (while I was hammering out part of an IDEA) and told myself NOT to forget about the yoga socks again!

Diamond Lattice Yoga Socks pattern by Wendelika Cline

And guess what I did? I actually wrote out the pattern. I worked out the chart and everything! So proud of myself , er, sort of. The chart was really pretty simple and I should have had it done before Christmas. Anyway, it is done. I emailed it off to my friend this afternoon and she was sweet enough to be excited about finally getting the pattern in her hands. I haven’t test knit it yet, so she gets to be my guinea pig.  Any other guinea pigs out there who want to give it a try?  Let me know and I’ll send you all the Team Woolly test knitting details.

In other blog news, I have also been busy today adding “buy now” links for all of the patterns that I have in my Ravelry store to my web site. You can now find them all on the Patterns page. [cue heavenly chorus] When I originally set up this format for the web site, I intended to get all of the links done but, you know, Squirrel!

And then I forgot that I hadn’t actually done it. So, I figure I got two gold stars today for finishing up two of the things that I should have done months ago.  There are more to tackle, but I’m happy that I crossed those two off my list.

What are your long overdue tasks to be done?  Or have you crossed any off your list recently?

My Cat Walks All Over Me

I have been working on a HUGE knitting design project lately.  I mean SUPER HUGE!  Well, at least it feels huge to me.  It all started with a custom sock order that I designed for a friend about a year ago.  She wanted some really tall, over the knee socks to wear with her boots.  They were so much fun to make because she gave me license to do whatever I wanted with them, as far as design.  They just had to be off-white and, you know, fit her well.  I also know that she has a kitty cat that she loves to the moon and back, so cat’s paw lace seemed just right.

 

I worked up said socks.  They were gorgeous and she really loved them (yay), but when I started thinking about writing out the pattern, I realized that the way the lace repeat worked for that particular design, the beginning of the round shifted about every 3rd or 4th round, or something.  It was kind of obnoxious and I realized that I wouldn’t even want to knit these too many times, so I set about trying something a little bit different.

Sock idea #2 was knitted up in a finer yarn with three columns of alternating paw prints instead of the allover pattern.  I just didn’t like it, though.  It seemed stiff and uncatlike.  The paw prints were too regular and even.

Sock idea #3 seemed to have merit for a while. I think I finally decided that it still looked too straight. I wanted it to look more like a cat had actually left its paw prints all over you.

 

 

I won’t bore you with all of the details.  It went through a lot of changes.  I kept ripping it out and reworking it.  Finally, though, I ended up with a great design that has paw prints starting at the top of the foot, wrapping around the outside of the ankle and then meandering up the back of the leg!  But then, I had another brilliant idea.  Wouldn’t it be cool to knit these up in actual cat colored yarns?  I started contacting indie yarn dyers.

They didn’t all immediately want to jump on board, but you only need one, right?  Dawn of Chasing Rabbits Fiber Co. on Etsy was willing to work up some samples for me and she did the most amazing job of perfectly capturing the feel of the colorways.  She created a grey tabby, a ginger cat and a calico cat in fingering weight yarn just for my project.  You’ve got to see this.

Yarn by Chasing Rabbits Fiber Co. in Ginger, Calico and Grey Tabby.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So while Dawn was working on these gorgeous yarns, I was talking with Lynne of Sunshine and Bubblegum on Etsy, who makes some really lovely knitting (or crocheting) project bags.  She has such a knack for choosing the perfect prints to coordinate for her bags and she found the most perfect fabrics for this project.  Again, you just have to see this!  We put together a kit including the printed pattern in two foot sizes and two different sock heights with color coded charts and everything, your choice of one skein or two (depending on the height you want to make), your choice of kitty cat color yarn and a fabulous handmade project bag!

My Cat Walks All Over Me sock knitting kit
Kit includes printed pattern, yarn and project bag to make one pair of socks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you would like more information, we posted an announcement in my latest podcast.

Lynne and I are both taking preorders for the kits through our Etsy shops until Jan 22 and the kits will be shipped out in early February.  Time is running out, so don’t wait.  We want to be able to ship these out as quickly as possible so that you can get to knitting your socks!  Order right HERE.

Knee high socks in Ginger Cat colorway.

Little Woolly Things Podcast Episode 5 – Knitting with Leicester and the kids

Hey, guys! I hope you’re enjoying my podcast.  It is proving to be quite an adventure, as we transition from Summer to Fall and into the school routine.  I am planning some big things for this year, not the least of which is the Sneaky Gift KAL that I am hosting.  You can get all of the details on the podcast or in the podcast group on Ravelry, which you will find right here: http://www.ravelry.com/groups/little-woolly-things-podcast

My Etsy shop is also on sale through October 17.  Everything is HALF PRICE!  Coffee, affirmations stones, amigurumis, patterns and all!  Most of my items are one of a kind, so don’t wait around.  Once an item is sold, it will be gone.

I hope to see you on the podcast!  https://youtu.be/VL_z_iPsXas

Check it out, like and subscribe!

Here are the show notes for Episode 5:

Etsy shop news: Everything in my Etsy shop www.littlewoollythings.etsy.com is on sale 50% off through October 17!

Today’s coffee: A 60/40 blend of Papua New Guinea peaberry and Bali Kintamani beans.

Podcast love: The Girls in the Yarn Cafe. Christy, who is @yarn_cafe_creations on Instagram and Trysten who is @dragon_hoard_yarn on Instagram.

WIPs: On the Spice Market Shawl by Melanie Berg. If you have any yarn suggestions for me to use instead of the handspun yarn that I am running out of, please comment and let me know!

Think of Me shawl – I am finishing up this pattern and will be looking for test knitters soon. Let me know if you are a lover of lace shawls, you can finish on a deadline and you are interested in test knitting. Photos will be required.

FOs: Hermione’s Everyday Socks by Erica Lueder in Paton’s Stretch Socks.

Seagrass Socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes from the book: Toe-Up 2-at-a-Time Socks in
Classic Elite Yarns Summer Sox Variegated

Autumn Pumpkin Trio, which is a brand new pattern in my Ravelry store. http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/autumn-pumpkin-trio Worked in Knit Picks Palette

Sneaky Gift KAL update:

Prizes will be given periodically from the KAL chatter thread on Ravelry. The podcast group is here: http://www.ravelry.com/groups/little-woolly-things-podcast

You must be a member of the group to participate in the KAL and win prizes. There will be a grand prize winner chosen at the end of the KAL from the FO thread. KAL runs from September 1 2017 to January 1 2018.

If you would like to donate a prize for the kal, please message me on ravelry. Donations are more than welcome!

You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Etsy as Little Woolly Things and on Instagram as Wendelika Cline.

My patterns are available at www.knitpicks.com, in my Ravelry store at www.ravelry.com/stores/little-woolly-things and in my Etsy shop at www.littlewoollythings.etsy.com

Follow my blog at www.littlewoollythings.com

Thank you so much for watching and don’t forget to hit the like button and subscribe!

Knitalong with me (there will be prizes and coffee)

Hi, guys!

Little Woolly Things podcast
Hello from Bravewood!

Would you like to knit some gifts with me this year?  It’s time for a knitalong!  But more about that in a minute.

It has been so busy here at Bravewood and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down at all.  I mean, not any time soon.  I have this new podcast going on, which is super cool, but I haven’t quite figured out how to balance the podcasting with the blogging.  I don’t want to neglect my old blog just because the podcast videos are all new and shiny. I also don’t want my blog to just turn into shownotes for the podcast.

It’s a challenge.

So, here I am thinking that I should at least give my blog readers an update on what’s happening because I know that not everyone has the time or the inclination to sit and watch a podcast video.  I would love it if you would give it a try, though.  My podcasts are pretty short, compared to a lot of the other knitting podcasts out there.  Plus, there’s coffee.

If you look at it upside-down, it’s a happy cup of coffee.

I have a few new patterns in the works and at varying levels of completion.  One is waiting on an answer from a popular yarn company about whether or not they want to publish it.  Another is in the test knitting stage, which will take a while.  That one is scheduled to go live next Spring.  I am also working on a really cute and very quick knitted decor project.  I don’t have any photos of it yet, so you’ll have to come back and read my next blog post for more information on that.  I am also working on putting together my first ever collaboration with a couple other artists that I have met through the magic of the internet.  Right now, it’s in the super secret squirrel stage.  Sorry, if I told you, I’d have to… well, let’s just not think about that.

SO, there is a lot of stuff going on that I really can’t show you ANY photos of.  And what’s a blog post without photos?

BUT, I can tell you about my first ever knitalong that I am hosting on my podcast. [ I know, finally something I can actually talk about, right? ]  I am calling it the Sneaky Gift KAL and it is starting September 1, 2017 and running through January 1, 2018.

The idea behind the KAL is to share stories of the sneaky ways we have to hide those gift knitting projects from the people we love while still making sure that we have enough knitting time to actually get them finished on time.  The struggle is real!  So, show off your WIPs, share your knitting/crocheting/crafting stories and post those finished objects in the FO thread for a chance to win.

You can officially join the club in my podcast group on Ravelry.  Link to the

Look for this badge in the groups on Ravelry.

group is right HERE.  And, of course, you can get information by watching my Little Woolly Things podcasts on YouTube.  There will be prizes at the end of the KAL, so please check it out.  I only have 10 people in my group so far, so your chances of winning a prize are pretty darn good.  And it has been my experience that a knitalong can be a great way to make a new knitting friend or two, either from somewhere far away or just down the street.  I have really been enjoying my foray into the online knitting community. I hope to see you there!

P.S.: You can also post your works in progress on Instagram with the hashtag: #sneakygiftkal

Little Woolly Things Podcast on YouTube!

Little Woolly Things Podcast: episode one- episode oneWell, I did it!  Episode number one of the Little Woolly Things podcast is uploading to YouTube as I type.  It has been a very long time in coming.  This is actually Take #2 of episode one.  I recorded an entire podcast episode a few weeks ago and then watched myself on camera.  Ugh.  I almost uploaded it just because I had taken the time to record it AND edit it AND create an opening title sequence, but then I decided that I was not and would never be happy with the quality of that recording, so I saved it to my external hard drive for my own reference (mostly of what not to do) and determined not to show it to anyone else.  Ever.

Curling edges tackled in this week's Little Woolly Things podcast episode
Curling edges in stockinette stitch – one of the problems that I mentioned in the podcast (and how to fix it).

But this podcast episode, the one that I recorded this morning, I am actually excited to share with you.  I stumbled over my words a few times, but that’s just me, so I left it in there.  Well, mostly.  Anyway, I am looking forward to sharing some of my knitting thoughts with you, giving you a bit of a sneak peek at some of my upcoming designs and maybe throwing in a giveaway every once in a while.  There *may* have been mention of giving away a small bag of freshly roasted coffee beans in the near future.  Subscribe to my YouTube podcast so you don’t miss out!

I also have a couple of knitting tutorial videos on YouTube.  One is a companion tutorial to my Gypsy Caravan Shawl pattern, so if you are working your way through this design, you might want to check it out.  It’s right here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzNhqVSs4SU

And please leave comments.  The whole point of this venture is to make knitting/crocheting/crafting friends, so ask me questions, tell me what you liked in the podcast, share your thoughts.  I’d love to get to know you better.

Here are the photos that I promised to insert into the podcast video and then forgot about:

This is how I MacGyvered the sleeve edging for my Summer top. Knitting fix.
This is how I MacGyvered the sleeve edging for my Summer top.
MacGyvered edging: front side.
MacGyvered edging, front side.

 

And here are the show notes from podcast episode one:

Little Woolly Things Podcast: Episode 1

Coffee Beans: Mexico Oaxaca, roasted on June 24, 2017 to a Full City + roast.

New Discoveries: KirbyWirby Afterthought Heel

Podcasts mentioned: Relatively Crafty  and  Sunshine and Bubblegum

KAL group: Slow A$$ Knitters Club on Ravelry

WIPS: Blake’s cardigan in Knit Picks Felici Cheer
Grey/Black shawl (still needs a design name) in Knit Picks Stroll Tonal Train Station and City Tweed Tahitian Pearl

FOs: Summer Top (also still in need of a design name)

Books mentioned: Baby Knits by Debbie Bliss
Warm Days, Cool Knits by Corrina Ferguson

Gypsy Caravan Shawl was published in March, 2017 (Not as long ago as I thought)

You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Etsy as Little Woolly Things and on Instagram as Wendelika Cline.

My patterns are available at www.knitpicks.com, in my Ravelry store at www.ravelry.com/stores/little-woolly-things and in my Etsy shop at www.littlewoollythings.etsy.com.

Follow my blog at www.littlewoollythings.com

Stay tuned for more little woolly things

Hello, crafty friends, and welcome to Little Woolly Things!  I have been knitting my little fingers to the bone, so I have some new things to show you.  And I’m also working on a very scary project, too, that I’m not ready to unveil yet.  I will tell you about it, but it’s not ready for public viewing quite yet.

Little Woolly Things Blog Post graphic
Stay tuned for more little woolly things

So, the first thing I want to show off is the WIP that has been getting most of my attention for the last few weeks.  I am working on this Summer top design as my contribution to a knitalong in one of my Ravelry groups.  The KAL started May 1st and is open until July 31st, so I’m not into that end of the KAL, deadline is approaching crunch yet, but I’m really trying to avoid pulling an all-nighter to finish a project that I got myself involved with just because I thought it sounded like fun.  At my age, pulling all-nighters is just not fun anymore.  I would really like this project to continue to be fun all the way through, so I’m working on it diligently now, in the hopes of finishing it before the deadline.  We shall see how that all works out.

It started like this, with a little swatch.


I turned that little swatch into a square neck yoke, and then I had to decide how to handle the sleeves working from the top down. I’m pretty sure I changed my mind about fifteen times.  Then, I picked out a lace pattern to add some extra interest to the design, picked up stitches along the edge and started knitting.  Easy, right?

Lucky me, it all worked out.  I got a bit of knitting time in over the weekend, so I made decent progress.  This is how it looked yesterday afternoon:

 

Back of summer top.

A post shared by Wendelika Cline (@wendelikacline) on

 

And then, I sat up last night to do some more knitting after the kiddos were in bed and thought, “Hey, why don’t I watch Gone with the Wind while I’m knitting. I don’t remember ever watching it before and it’s a classic that I should probably be familiar with.” Or something like that. So, I started watching this wonderful old movie. I did not realize how incredibly long Gone with the Wind is! Have you seen it? Do you realize that it’s nearly FOUR HOURS LONG???

I did not stay up long enough to watch all four hours of it. You might suggest that I could have forwarded through the overture, intermission and entr’acte music, but as a musician, I just can’t bring myself to do that. I love the music and I want to hear it as much as I want to see the movie. So, to sum it all up, I know what I will be knitting to for the next couple of nights. And isn’t Rhett Butler just a cad? And Scarlett? Absolutely scandalous.

So, that’s where I am on the Summer top project.  I have another project to show off, and this one is actually a finished pattern, ready to be your next project.  It’s a quick, easy knit, with some simple embroidery to top it off.  I call it the Cornflower Cowl.

 

 

Ravelry users can purchase the pattern here.  And if you’re not a Ravelry member, you definitely should be.  This website has everything knitting, crocheting, spinning, weaving and otherwise yarn related.  And while you’re there, check out my Ravelry store.

I have also begun to venture into the YouTube world, of late.  I recorded one knitting tutorial video and uploaded it for all the world to see.  I am planning to record more tutorials soon, so subscribe to my channel: Little Woolly Things, and watch my one tutorial video on how to work the linen stitch.  YouTube will notify you when I upload the next video, so you can watch whenever you have the time and want to work on a new knitting technique.  I also receive email notifications whenever you leave a comment on one of my videos, so if you like it, let me know in the comments right there on YouTube.  If you have a suggestion for a tutorial that you would like to see, please share that, too.  I will try my best.

And that leads me right into the big, scary project that I am putting together.  I have been working on a Little Woolly Things podcast.  I actually recorded “Episode 1” but decided to use that experience as a dress rehearsal for my next attempt.  Let me tell you, talking about your knitting projects to your videocamera for any length of time is not as easy as so many podcasters make it appear.  Did you notice my cheery greeting at the beginning of this post?  I’m working on that.  I think it will take a few episodes for me to work out my podcast format and remember to breathe normally in front of the camera.

I am hoping to talk about more than just knitting and crochet in this podcast.  I would tell you all about it, but then you wouldn’t need to watch it.  SO, I will leave you wondering just a little bit and hope that you will watch my podcast when I finally release Episode 1.  It will be worth the wait.

So, that’s the news from Bravewood.  Be brave, friends, and have a wonder-filled day!

Yarn diet? Yeah, right.

Two skeins of lovely yarn from last year's giveaway.
Two innocent looking skeins of yarn

All of you knitters and crocheters out there know how the story goes.  You’re young, you’re in love with this new crafting thing and you just can’t stop yourself.  You have to have yarn in order to knit (or crochet).  You buy a skein.  Then, you use up that skein but your project isn’t finished yet.  Who knew that anything could use up more than a skein of yarn??  You go back to the craft store to buy more yarn.  While you’re there, you see another color that you really, really like, so you add it on to your purchase with no idea what you’re going to do with it, but it’s just so PERFECT and so gorgeous that you know you will make something completely amazing with it.

You start scanning the internet for the perfect project for that yummy skein that you just bought, but everything that you really want to make requires two skeins – or more!  But you only bought one.  Now, what?

Pretty yarn
Yarn for a project – plus a little because it was pretty.

That’s right.  Back to the craft store.  But, you know, it’s a fun place to browse around in, so it’s not so bad.

Before you know it, you have amassed a basket full of wool in the living room, a storage tub full of acrylic blends in the closet, a wheeled storage box full of fingering weight under the bed, a stack of tubs full of yarn in the corner and you’re using another one as a nightstand.  Your family all know that they will receive something made with yarn for birthdays and definitely for Christmas and you can be commonly identified as “the one over there in the handknit shawl/hat/scarf/sweater.”  You justify all of this yarn with the knowledge that you can always create a gift for someone out of your yarn stash at any time.  You will never be without a project to work on.  Boredom no longer exists.

Tell me, am I the only one?

So, you decide to slow down on the yarn.  Use up some of your precious hoard before you buy more.  We call this a “yarn diet” and it works about as well as a calorie-counting diet does, especially when the holidays roll around and you start planning out your gift projects.  You paw excitedly through your bins and boxes of yarn looking for the right yarn for every project.  You find a skein or two, but either the colors you have aren’t quite right or the color is perfect but it’s too chunky or too fine (gift projects need to work up quickly, after all, if you’re going to get them all done), or the yarn you want to use isn’t machine washable (all gift knits should be machine washable), or whatever.  SO, you get online and order yarn for all of your holiday projects.  This is most of your Christmas shopping, so you’re really saving money, right?  DIY is the way to go.

Flip-top fingerless gloves
I made SO MANY of these! Christmas 2015.

So, you start making things.  You use a lot of the yarn that you bought for the holiday gift projects, but there’s always some left over to feed the stash some more.  But hey, there are birthday presents to make, too!  And every once in a while you have to make something for yourself.  You’ll get to it.Yarn diet? Yeah, right. Blog post graphic.

And then, you decide to make a rule for yourself.  You must finish one project before you can buy yarn for a new project.  I don’t know about you, but that resolution doesn’t usually last long for me.  I am not a monogamous knitter.  My creative brain comes up with ideas for new projects faster than I can knit them up.  I actually have a Trello board set up to keep track of my new ideas and which stages my projects are in.  Now, if I could just get my workspace that organized, I would be unstoppable! [cue evil laugh]

Sorry, I’m getting a little off track.  I might have had enough caffeine today.  Back to the subject.

After a while, though, (there is no set amount of time, as individual results may vary) you find that your stash has grown beyond your ability to work up within your lifetime.  It’s a horrifying thought, but the truth is that it’s time to push some of your babies out into the wide world.

Now, the way I see it, there are four different approaches to this dilemma.

 Method number one: charity projects.

Susan Finch of www.binkypatrol.org
Susan Finch, founder of Binky Patrol

Now, charity projects are fabulous, and definitely a worthy use of your time and your yarn (check out http://www.knotsoflove.org/nicu-blanket-patterns, http://www.binkypatrol.org and http://www.warmupamerica.org/, for example) and they do have the potential to use up a lot of your stash, but when you have amassed more than you can work up within your lifetime, the problem still remains.

Method number two: gift some of your yarn to a friend.

I have done this, but in very limited amounts.  I once gifted some of my precious handspun (by me) yarn to a very good friend as a Christmas gift because I knew that she would properly appreciate it.  And I still, technically, “made” it for her, since it was my handspun.

Method number three: donate to a thrift store.

I actually did this last Summer.  I took every storage tub full of yarn that I had, opened them up and looked at every single skein/ball/cake of yarn in each box and asked myself if I would really enjoy working with it in any way.  I know that’s a pretty broad question, but it was my first time.  I found that about 1/3 of my stash was actually yarn that I didn’t like the feel of or didn’t even want to look at.  Wow!  Into the donate box it went!  And then into the back of my car and then directly to the thrift store before I could change my mind.

Eureka!!!

A post shared by Wendelika Cline (@wendelikacline) on

It was really nice, actually.  I now know that I can go to my yarn stash at any time and I will only find lovely yarn that I know I really want to work with.  My stash is so much more inspirational, now.  Which can actually cause me to spend a lot of time dreaming up more projects, if I’m not careful.  With great creativity comes great responsibility, I guess.  I mean, the kids need me to cook dinner.  I can’t just dream about my yarn all day.

Method number four (which realistically isn’t an option when we’re talking about something with as much crafting potential as yarn): throw it away.

Yup.  Into the landfill.  I know, it’s not really an option for me, either, but I just thought I’d throw it out there (ha ha) in the interest of being thorough.

If you can’t bear to take any of these approaches to your excess yarn, you can always continue to hoard it and let your children and grandchildren deal with it someday after you’re gone.  I actually loved using the yarn, crochet hooks and knitting needles that I inherited from my husband’s grandmother, but she really didn’t have that much yarn stored up.  And every time I use one of her crochet hooks, I think of her, which makes me smile.  I sincerely hope that there is someone else in your life who will love what you leave behind (someday) in your stash, too.  And I hope that you will stay creative, in one form or another, until the end of your days.

Craft on, friends.

The secret to making an awesome tassel

Little Woolly Things blog post tassel tutorial

It’s finally here!  Tassels and stripes and unique shaping with colors and textures!  This is an idea that I have been playing with in the back corner of my mind for quite a few years.  I worked it up as a shawlette using novelty yarns and ribbons about 15 years ago, but it wasn’t really perfect, so I never published it.  Recently, it crept into my thoughts again and I decided to give it another go.  This time, it’s a hodgepodge of textures and colors, but without the eyelash novelty yarn that no one wants to work with, anyway.  It’s really better this way.

 

This is one of the outtakes from our photoshoot. Captain, our Border Collie just really wanted to be in the picture.

So, In honor of my Sedimentary Shawl pattern release, I thought I’d share a tiny part of the pattern with you.  This tassel tutorial comes straight out of the pattern, which you can purchase from Knit Picks right here.  The pattern and tassels both require a wide variety of yarns, from Aran weight to lace weight.  There have been skeptics who said that it couldn’t be done, but with a lot of trial on my part (so you don’t have to) with different needle sizes and stitch counts, I have hit upon the magic combination that allows these different weights to drape and flutter nicely in the breeze.  They really do play together very well, if you know how to handle them.

11-year-old daughter approved

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, without any further ado, here is the tutorial.

Sedimentary Shawl Tassels

Yarns required:

Knit Picks Paragon yarn in Almond and Doe

Knit Picks City Tweed Aran in Tahitian Pearl

Knit Picks Stroll Fingering in Koi Pond

Knit Picks Luminance in Strength

Additional Supplies:

one yarn needle, one 4×6-inch (10×15 cm) piece of cardstock or cardboard for wrapping tassels, two ¾-inch (1.9 cm) wooden beads

Directions:

Cut a piece of Stroll Koi Pond yarn about 3 feet (1 meter) long.  Thread onto yarn needle so that yarn is doubled.

Wood beads and Knit Picks Stroll handpaint yarn in Koi Pond
Wood beads and yarn threaded and ready to begin

Bring yarn up through the hole in one bead, holding onto the yarn tails underneath.

Beginning to wrap yarn through the wood bead

Wrap yarn around the bead and through the hole until you have used up all the yarn on the needle.


Cut another piece of yarn and continue in the same manner until the entire bead is covered.  Cut the yarn, leaving a tail for sewing to the shawl.

Next, using one yarn at a time, wrap yarn around your cardstock to create a 4-inch (10cm) long tassel.  Cut each yarn at the bottom of the card and begin the next color at the bottom, where you left off.  You can use as many wraps as you like.  I used about 15 wraps of the Paragon yarns, 12 wraps of the City Tweed, about 40 wraps of Luminance and 20 wraps of Stroll.

 

 

 

 

 

When you have finished your last wrap (I used Stroll last), cut your yarn leaving about a 2-foot (60 cm) long tail.  Thread yarn end onto yarn needle.  Stitch through the top of the yarn wraps using a backstitch all the way across the top of the yarn wraps.

first row of hand stitching

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then, after you’ve stitched all the way across, do it again backwards across the yarn wraps, making your stitches offset from the first row of stitches.  These don’t have to be pretty (thank goodness) because no one will see them.

 

 

 

 

 

Then, slide the card out from the center of the yarn wraps.  Fold the stitched edge together and stitch through the backstitches to hold the tassel together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, take the yarn with the needle up through the yarn-wrapped bead (this will be very tight) and then back down through the bead again.

Flip the tassel upside down so that you can see the stitches in the center of the tassel and stitch securely to create a knot.  Cut your yarn.

And then, use your scissors to cut through the yarn loops and trim the bottom edge evenly.

And this completes your tassel.  If you are making them for my Sedimentary Shawl pattern, you will need to make one more, then sew them securely to the long points at either end of the shawl.

I hope you enjoyed my tassel tutorial.  You can pick up the entire pattern, along with the yarn, needles, and anything else you could possibly need to get your knitting gears in motion, at www.knitpicks.com.  And you can see more of my patterns at http://www.ravelry.com/designers/wendelika-cline

It’s a Woolly Life: what’s happening

I’m going to be tote-woolly (bad pun) honest.  I started writing this blog post yesterday and then realized that I was just rambling about pretty much nothing, so I decided to delete it and start over again, because, you know, I could go on and on about all of the things going on, but it would take me until next week to list them all for you and I just don’t have the time for that.   I have a rehearsal dinner to plan (because my son is getting married next weekend).  Sorry.  I know you were looking forward to that list, but I really wouldn’t want you nodding off in front of your computer or your smartphone.  If you happen to be in the company of other humans, that might be a little embarrassing.

It's a woolly life: what's happening

Anyway, since this is supposed to be a blog about woolly things, there have been a few recent happenings in the woollier part of my world that I can share.  I had a design proposal rejected.  I have not given up on it, though.  I am keeping it around and planning on refining it some more.  It might work with just a color change.

I also finished a shawl pattern and got the photos done.  Yay!  As soon as it goes live, I will shout it to the world.  You can count on me.

Close up view of Sedimentary Shawl pattern by Wendelika Cline
Poor quality photo taken on my phone because I forgot to charge the battery for my Nikon camera.

And I have another pattern finished that just needs the photos.  There is actually a little sunshine happening out there today, so I just might see if I can talk my 17-year-old into modeling for me.  She was pretty good-natured about working with me on my last photo shoot, and I do believe the battery for my camera is actually charged right now, so that’s a bonus.  It’s easier to get photos done, that way.  Ask me how I know.

Something pretty is in the works!

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I am also working on a new project, of course.  It’s so new, in fact, that I don’t even have an Instagram pic to show you yet.  I started playing around with a 2-color linen stitch and I’m really liking it.  I’m actually “swatching” in the size and shape of a cowl, so that I can write up the pattern if it turns out to be super fabulous and then, I won’t have to work it up again.  I sometimes cheat like that.

I’m actually pretty excited about this one.  The best designs are the ones that capture your imagination and just won’t let you go.  My Gypsy Caravan Shawl was one of those.  I didn’t realize how much this one had gotten hold of me until I was at my acupuncture appointment this morning and I was lying there (supposedly relaxing) thinking about some really cool things that I could do with it.  I came up with three different ideas!  Thought about them all the way home and decided which one I like best, so my plans for this evening will definitely include a little bit of woolly experimentation.  I have never seen anything like this before (not to say that it has never been done), so I am really excited to see how it will turn out.  Wish me luck – or better yet, skill.

The long story of a shawl design

So, this is where the shawl design all began.  May 26, 2016.  I can’t believe it has been almost a year already.

Starting something new. #knittedaccessories #knitters #knittersofinstagram #colorwork #knitting #knittingaddict #yarnlife

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I was feeling so inspired!  I had a great idea for a shawl design.  I had a palette of colors that I loved in a yarn that I was absolutely enamored of.  But then, along came trouble in Paradise.

 

I still felt good about the colors and I still loved the yarn, but I didn’t like the thing.  I tried to put a positive spin on it.  I tried really desperately to like it.  I spent a lot of hours thinking about it and trying to figure out why I didn’t like it.  I even wrote a blog post about it.  I wondered if I was really cut out for shawl design.  That was before the black hole sucked my old website into oblivion without a single backup.  I would post the link here for you to read all about it if I could.

Anyway, to make a long story not quite as long, the above photo was the thing that helped me figure out what was wrong with it.  I’m so thankful for the visual record in my Instagram account.  I didn’t like the gold color against the eggplant because the colors were blending together into a yucky brown when I looked at it.  I love brown, but the brown that I was seeing was not good and it wasn’t what I wanted in my shawl.  So, I ripped it out.  The. Whole. Blessed. Thing.

And started over again.

 

So, do you see what I did there? With the gold moved into more of an accent color, it actually pops the way I wanted it to, instead of just looking muddy and gross.  Sometimes the colors are fine, but they need to be rearranged just a little bit.

 

Oh, that’s so much better.

And then, I got involved with this super huge and totally crazy wholesale order that required a gargantuan number of crocheted alligators to be finished in an unrealistic amount of time.  The shawl thing had to be put on hold.

When I finally got clear of the alligator swamp and had the energy to really think about the shawl again, I decided that it needed a touch of elegance, but I wasn’t exactly sure of what was next.   I spent a lot of time on Pinterest looking at images of gypsies and caravans for inspiration.  I got out my trusty dusty stitch dictionaries and started browsing.   I found a couple of patterns that were nice, but I had to do some swatching.

 

Swatchin’, swatchin’, swatchin’! Pay no attention to the clashing colors. I needed to see the join very clearly.

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And that eventually became this:

 

 

I worked one more band of color and then decided that, in order to really have that gypsy style, it needed a ruffle. That’s a lot of stitches, but the end design was really worth it.

I really do love those ruffles!

And tassels!

 

And after I had it all finished, I sent in the design idea to Knit Picks, which has been one of my favorite online yarn suppliers for about the last 18 years, or so. Maybe longer. And guess what? They liked my design! So, I got to knit it again in Knit Picks Paragon yarn. Talk about another yarn swoon! It’s really lovely to work with. It is, however, a slightly heavier gauge yarn than the Valley Yarns Charlemont that I had done the original shawl in, so shawl number two is quite a bit larger than shawl number one was. And do you know what? That’s totally ok with me. I love wrapping up in my big, bright Gypsy Caravan Shawl.

The Gypsy Caravan Shawl pattern will be available soon.  Email me and I will send you a link to the pattern as soon as it goes live.  And while you’re at it, subscribe to this blog for all the latest woolly news.  I promise, I won’t spam your inbox.

Wrap up in this gorgeous shawl
I love this shawl