Jun 21

How to Find Your Ikigai

While I was setting up my bullet journal (more on that later this week), I found several YouTube channels that I binge-watched over the weekend. One of the most intriguing videos (linked below) involved the Japanese concept of “Ikigai” (pronounced icky guy)– or “reason for being.” It’s geared to millennials, but it’s worth watching even if you’re older. Most days, I feel like I’m already living out my ikigai, but it helps me to go inward sometimes and check in with myself. Print out or draw the diagram and put it where you can see it occasionally. It’s a great way to mentally balance whatever competes for your attention or as a tool to help you discover your own ikigai. In my case, it reaffirmed my decision to begin blogging again and falls into the “What I Love / What I’m good at” (Passion) quadrant — an area where I haven’t done a very good job of nurturing my talents. Once you’ve checked that out, go to Good&Co for a fun quiz

Jun 12

In Threes Baby Sweater

I’m always fascinated to know which patterns knitters enjoy so much they knit them repeatedly. This is one of mine. It’s the In Threes Baby Cardigan by Kelly Herdrich. I’ve yet to knit one for a designated recipient. I just like to choose yarn and buttons and start it — about 100 grams of a worsted weight yarn is all it takes. The smallest size (0-6 months) can be completed in a weekend. In my notes on another In Threes that I finished recently, I mentioned that I like to use this pattern to try a new-to-me yarn for the first time. There’s also a cute grown-up version by the same designer that I’m SO tempted to knit – it’s Practically

If you’d like to knit a smaller version than what the worsted weight yarn yields, simply choose a lighter weight yarn — a DK- or sport-weight — with a smaller needle.

Do you have any favorite repeat knits?

Jun 11

Shibui Crete Scarf

In May, I started the Crete scarf in spite of a record number of WIPs. However, I decided that from now on, if I have needles free, and I’m compelled to cast on for something, I’m just going to do it. Why not cast on like it’s my job. It kind of is my job! By the way — you have my permission to do whatever you want too — if you want to cast on, then cast on! You’re only auditioning the yarn, after all.

I’m such a sucker for Shibui yarn and this project has brought me joy from the beginning (and it’s a great color, which helps). I love the combination of rustic and luxurious — and Twig has my heart now. I don’t think there’s another DK-weight yarn quite like it. It’s a combination of linen, recycled silk, and a little bit of wool. I’ve seen how it transforms with blocking and can’t wait to bind off this scarf give it a good soak. The best part of knitting the Crete is the addition of Lunar — 1 strand of Lunar and 1 strand of Twig makes a gorgeous fabric. And as I do with cotton, cotton blends, and linen, I always use interchangeable needles when I’m knitting a lot of stockinette. I use the needle size called for on my knit rows and a smaller needle on my purl rows. (I don’t swatch for scarves, if you’re wondering). It keeps the fabric looking smooth and consistent. Not every knitter has the issue I have (“rowing out“), but rather than adapt my knitting technique (it would slow me down initially and the payoff isn’t worth it if I have an easy fix), I’m happiest knitting with two different needle tips.

Shibui Crete

Crete Scarf – Shibui Lunar and Twig, in Apple Colorway

Jun 09

I resolved in 2017 . . .

I resolved in 2017 to come back to my beloved blog and while it’s taken over half the year to do it, I’m back! I’ve been very active on Instagram (find me there as twistedknitter) and I try to post photos there often. I’ve also separated the business from the personal and the shop has its own Instagram (Twisted Yarns). I’d be honored if you followed both! I’ve missed blogging and writing, so I’m resolute about writing weekly again — even if I’m the only one reading. Writing has always been my way of transforming imagination into plans. Skipping the writing step has left me adrift.

For now, I’ll share one of my latest knitting WIPs along with a link in the caption so you can find read the details on Ravelry. I’m using three skeins of Silk Garden Sock and it’s nearly finished — just a few more rows! It’s an easy (and FREE), addicting pattern and will work with virtually any yarn. I’ve had it on the needles a while (started in March 2017) but life intervened before I could get back on track. So naturally, I did what I usually do and started new projects. What else would a yarn lover do when she’s surrounded by gorgeous yarns?! It’ll be satisfying to knit the last few rows and reward myself with another new start.

Aug 02

Some other stuff I do

If you follow me on Instagram, I’m transitioning to two separate Instagram profiles — one for Twisted Yarns and one for my personal Instagram account. Both are public and I invite you to follow both accounts.

Little known fact:
Years ago — before I discovered knitting, I was designing and selling my own rubber stamp designs. I was journaling daily, and creating new stamps to use in my journal and on my handmade cards. In 7+ years of stamping, I made hundreds of cards and filled many journals. However,  a move from North Carolina to Texas in early 2003, meant packing away most of my supplies until we could transition from temporary apartment housing to our home. My craft supplies didn’t make it out of boxes for months and when they did, I had no room to spread out and work. It was frustrating to have lost a fulfilling creative outlet.

As the holidays loomed that year, I was getting really antsy to make things and I found Knitty.com, which led me to dozens of inspiring knitting blogs. Within a few weeks, I had purchased yarn and knitting needles to teach myself how  to knit dishcloths and found new homes for some of my stamp supplies. I licensed my stamp designs to an online stamping site and devoted myself to my new knitting hobby. I still continued journaling and using my stamps, but on a much smaller scale. By the end of the following year, I was working at Twisted Yarns and had officially adopted my new obsession. Knitting was portable, and I could meet with other knitters and take it everywhere. Most of my time was spent driving kids to school and waiting in long car rider lines. Knitting was essential!

It was about this time last year when Instagram Explore led me to creators and makers who were using stamps in many different applications (Project Life, Traveler’s Notebooks, Art Journals, and memory keeping in general) — and it came back in to my life on a much smaller, more focused scale, not so product-heavy this time. I know what I like and I’m back to journaling daily, keeping things portable and requiring a smaller footprint for the pockets of time that I find to spread out my supplies and create things. AND. There are new stamp designs in the works that I can’t wait to share!

Ironically, this new focus and engagement has helped kickstart my knitting mojo — which, for me, has always been more about the process and the possibilities rather than the end product. You can expect to see more variety on my personal Instagram.

1 comment
Jul 25

Returning with knitting

Alexandra's Airplane Scarf

Last week, I  remembered that writing helps me to organize my thoughts and chart my life. I also remembered that upheaval of this routine means creative chaos. And creative chaos creates anxiety. So, this one area that I’ve neglected — blogging — has been very crippling and it’s spilled over into everything.  My first tactic is to begin posting on Mondays again. Writing on Monday sets the tone for my week and allows me to look at what I’ve done in the past week and what I’ll do THIS week.

I started this scarf intending it to be a mindful, relaxing knit — something easy to pick up and put down. Alexandra’s Airplane Scarf is knit in the round on a larger needle than the yarn typically calls for (in this case, Kidsilk Haze Stripe — but can be used with any lace weight yarn and a 5.00 mm circular needle). Although I started it when nights were cool and having the scarf-in-progress on my lap made me cozy and warm, I finished it during a hot, humid Houston July. I love it.



Jun 30

Outline Shawl : Progress

My latest project: Outline Shawl, designed by Beata Jezek of Hedgehog Fibres. In spite of my legendary short attention span, this project is nearly complete. I’ve rushed downstairs every morning to squeeze in some knitting time before work. Those minutes have added up — only about a foot more to go. Color sequence is Villain, Teacup, Whisper, Cinder, and Pollen – more details on my Ravelry project page, linked above.

Outline Shawl

Jun 29

Almost a year later . . .

Almost a year later, and every single day, you think about how much you miss blogging here in your little space. And yet. You haven’t carved out the time for it, which is what you do when there’s something you miss.

But. Deep breath.

Turn it around and think of all that you managed to accomplish while you silently acknowledged those things that you missed.

Ah. I have missed you.

Jul 14

Focus on the GOOD

As of July 1, I am the new owner of Twisted Yarns in Spring, Texas. I’m thrilled to be working with my friends and spending time with customers I’ve known for years.

Twisted Yarns

Life threw a lot at me the past four months, but I’m learning that I can survive really hard things — and that I can choose what to focus on and celebrate and appreciate the things that give me hope. Over the years, Twisted Yarns has been haven, escape, and inspiration for me. It was the vision of the previous owners, Eve and Shelley, to create a welcoming community of fiber lovers. That will remain my core focus and goal, with the added imperative to have fun!

Mar 12

March Socks : Embossed Leaves

Did March sneak up on you like it snuck up on me? I hardly feel like I got to enjoy February — or find much time to knit. I didn’t get to choose my March sock of the month until last week, and while I knew the pattern I wanted to use was Embossed Leaves, I wasn’t inspired by the yarn I had initially matched it with. I also didn’t have the right size double pointed needles for the other possibilities. In my search for a substitute, I fell in love with a skein of Zen Yarn Garden Serenity 20 from the Art Walk Series (“Iris“).  I can usually resist most of the  beguiling yarns that arrive at the shop where I work, but the idea of a yarn being a limited edition edition colorway can be irresistible. Ultimately though, when I cast on with the DPNs I had, I knew the Serenity 20 wasn’t going to work. Because I was committed to using Embossed Leaves, I did some quick rearranging of sock of the month projects and cast on with Colinette Jitterbug (“Vincent’s Apron”) instead:

Embossed Leaves

I am SO pleased with this combination and it’s been a very quick knit (helped along by marathon viewing sessions of Scandal).

There was also another potential sock option in the wings, however, because I wanted to reacquaint myself with Magic Loop. So I cast on for yet another sock — different yarn. More on that soon (and if you keep up with my Instagram, you might already know which yarn I am using).