Confessions Of A Binge-Watching Knitter

Am I the only knitter that gets carried away binge-watching while knitting? Please comment and tell me I am not alone in this?

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I recently discovered a trick for managing my time better and still getting to relax and be amused. Without letting entertainment rule my life.

So, I will give you a list of my favorite movies or shows, and then a couple tricks for how to get the best of both worlds. Knitting and enjoying a show, while still getting all the things done.

A few of my favorites…

Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee – Available on Netflix. 

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is an American web series hosted by Jerry Seinfeld. I love this show because it combines coffee, laughter, and classic cars. As well as allowing you to see famous comedians in an offstage setting. Real life.

The Kings Speech – Available on Netflix and most streaming sites.

The Kings Speech is a heart wrenching, and simultaneous heartwarming story. Centered on King George the 6th and his ascension to the throne in 1936. Who can resist a Colin Firths acting? Am I right?

Mcleod’s Daughters – Available on Amazon Prime. 

Mcleod’s Daughters is a story about family, about working hard and caring for one another no matter what. Set in Australia it tells the story of a working ranch and the people whose lives it is the center of. Admit it you were sold at Australian accents, right?

So, now that trick I mentioned?

Make a list of your goals.

The benefit of this list is that you now have a way to see progress. I even started a list of my goals for knitting projects, as well as a list of things I need to do. That way I can keep a better balance on both measurements.

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Use a timer.

I know I know, they are as annoying as hell. But it keeps me from watching an episode and then starting the next and so on. It is a sensory reminder that you have a life outside of knitting and entertainment.

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So, there you have it. My current favorite fiber work entertainment.  Now, I will need more ideas when I finish watching the above. What are your current favorites, and how do you keep yourself from binge watching too much?

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Interview with Tin Can Knits

I love the positive upbeat vibe of this creative duo. The colors they choose pop, their patterns are beautiful and useful.

Question 1 Tell us a little about yourself?

We are Alexa and Emily! We met about 10 years ago while we were both working at our LYS. We were both doing a little designing at the time and thought it might be fun to join forces and create a book. That book was 9 Months of Knitting and we have been a team ever since! Here at Tin Can Knits we create fun, modern, clearly written knitting patterns in a wide size range (baby to 4XL). We aim to share our love of knitting and inspire.

Question 2 How long have you been designing?

We have both been designing for about 10 years. When we first started working together our designs were more individual, but over the years we have become a lot more collaborative. A sketch or a swatch by one of us will often be taken up by the other to complete.

Question 3 Do you still enjoy designing? When did you consider your self successful at designing?

Designing is definitely the best part of the day! Creating something new, solving the mathematical puzzle of grading, and knitting up something great. I’m not sure when we would consider ourselves successful at designing… We have been designing exclusively since 2012.

Question 4 Do you still knit for fun outside of the business of designing?

Yep! There isn’t a lot of time outside of sample and design knitting, but we do manage to re-knit our own designs in an exciting new yarn or colorway, and occasionally something by another designer. Emily is working on Threipmuir by Ysolda and I just finished Hoarfrost by The Petite Knitter.

Question 5 What is the biggest mistake you made as a new designer?

It’s hard to look at things as mistakes per se, let’s just say we learned a lot! Navigating the world of contract design, learning how to self publish, creating pattern writing standards for ourselves, and deciding what work to do or not do are all definitely a challenge at first. Also knowing when a design just didn’t work, and needs another round of knitting, sizing, construction, etc. when to keep pushing to make it even better. That’s something we’ve had to learn.

Question 6 What is your favorite weight of yarn to work? Or favorite colorway? 

I’m always a bit conflicted on this one. I love sock weight sweaters, but I usually knit in worsted weight or DK because it goes faster! It’s so hard to choose a favorite colorway, since we’ve been knitting so much colorwork lately, involving a whole palette rather than a single color. I do gravitate towards a teal blue or a golden yellow though!

Question 7 What is your favorite design that has been released thus far and why?

Alexa: My current love is the Cartography sweater, it looks complicated but the construction is simple and there are only 2 colors at a time.SB-cartography-14a

I just want to knit those little stranded patterns over and over again!

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Emily: I don’t know if it counts, but Strange Brew!SB-strangebrew-09a

It’s a recipe pattern to design your own colorwork yoke sweater, so the possibilities are endless. It’s like a designers playground.SB-multisweater-32a

Question 8 What is your biggest project for 2019?

Well, hush hush, but we are working on a little something coming out in May!

Question 9 What is one thing your fans don’t know about you?

Hmmm, good question. Emily studied Architecture in school and worked in the field for a time and I have a teaching degree and was on my way to becoming a High School Social Studies teacher before we started Tin Can Knits.

Question 10 What is one thing you would say to new indie designers?

Just do it! Don’t worry too much about other people think. Be confident and go for it.   

Question 11 What is one of your personal goals for 2019?

We are looking into exploring cables next. A good deep dive like we did for colorwork (although really we still only scratched the surface). You might not see any designs come of it this year, but we are giving time to really explore. On a personal level, I think we both have the goal of reading more this year. Our kids are a little bigger now and finding time to read is getting (somewhat) easier!

Question 12 What should a new designer avoid doing?

I would say don’t put out a pattern that you don’t think is ‘all the way there’ ripping and re-knitting and re-writing are all part of the process (not the most fun part, but a part none the less)

Question 13 Top Bucket List item? Knitting and in life?

Knitting wise, Emily and I are both working on our own sweater wardrobes. Thus far it’s a lot of yoked sweaters, our current passion. We are often distracted by the quick kid knits though!

Question 14 If you could nominate one indie designer to be part of this series who would it be?
I would nominate Denise (bayronhandmade on Instagram) her Cardizen and Hatdana patterns are fabulous.

Interview with The Knitting Expat

I started this interview series with the desire to stop feeling isolated as a knitter. I taught myself to knit via Youtube videos.  As I was reading Mina’s answers, it was a lot like holding a mirror up to my own design life. I was surprised to see that my struggle is common in the knitting design world.

 

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Starry Skies Shawl Raverly pattern.

My first experience with Mina’s podcast was listening to her lovely accent while knitting and exploring knitting videos. I love her openness with her audience and seeing her beautiful knitting and family life mesh so well. Her “Two at a time” Sock tutorial changed my sock knitting life!

So, without further ado here is the interview.

Tell us a little about yourself?

Hi, my name is Mina and I currently live in the UK in a small town just south of London with my Husband, our 2yr old Daughter, and our 2 cats! We’ve traveled around a fair bit over the years and since getting married my husband and I have lived in Dubai, where I taught myself to knit, and then in Bahrain, where I started my video podcast, and then we moved to New York, where our Daughter was born, and finally we moved back to the UK just over a year ago.

As I mentioned I taught myself to knit while we were living in Dubai, it was something I had always wanted to know how to do (a lot of my Aunt’s and older cousins used to knit and my Mum still has lots of the baby clothes that were knit for me by them), once I got started I was soon hooked and couldn’t stop! Then I found my local group of knitters in Dubai – the UAE Amiras – and that’s when I became introduced into the wonderful world of hand-dyed yarns and podcasts.

Soon after we moved to Bahrain where out of sheer boredom I decided to start a podcast exactly a year after I had taught myself how to knit. A few months into that I released my first couple of designs and the rest, as they say, is history.

How long have you been designing?

I actually had to go double check Ravelry for this one but my first designs were published in April 2015. So it has been almost 4 years. Although initially it was more of a hobby and I wasn’t looking at it as a potential job. It was really towards the end of 2016 that I started to realize this was becoming more of a job for me and that realization was so exciting.

Do you still enjoy designing? When did you consider your self successful at designing?

Absolutely I love it. It gives me such a creative outlet I never thought I would have in my work. I never grew up believing that I would get to do something I enjoy so much as my job. It’s a dream (that I didn’t know I had) come true. I think it was when I published the first sock club that I realized that this was going to be a job that would be worth me pouring my time and efforts in to. Having said that I still don’t necessarily consider myself to be a successful designer as I struggle a lot at times with feelings of not being good enough or that people don’t like what I am publishing and that can be hard.

Do you still knit for fun outside of the business of designing?

Vanilla socks are really the only non-design-work knitting that I work on these days. Other than that I have also recently started Spinning which I have found to be a nice break from knitting if I’m getting overwhelmed with work.

What is the biggest mistake you made as a new designer?

I’m not sure, to be honest, I don’t feel like I’ve made too many “mistakes” as it were. I have definitely learned a lot from the process over time, made changes and refined my processes along the way. I think my main take away would be to make sure your layout for the design is clear and easy to read and that someone else checks your work, be that a tech editor or test knitters.

What is your favorite weight of yarn to work? Or favorite colorway?

I love working with fingering weight yarns, I feel like they offer the most flexibility, you can use them single stranded for any project (pretty much), you can hold them double to get a DK/Worsted gauge if you want to knit heavier weight hats or mittens or anything else, and I love that you can hold several strands together from the same or different skeins to get some fun marled effects.

Having said that I also love a good DK/Worsted weight yarn for a fun and quick satisfying project!

What is your favorite design that has been released thus far and why? 

Oh, that is a tough one

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_MG_5566-1_small2   Vida Shawl

 

The above are designs are two of my favorite shawls that I’ve designed, although I do love them all I have had so much wear out of those two. I also love my Pinwheel Scrap blanket pattern as I’ve found it is a great scrappy blanket project and perfect for travel knitting in the car as it worked in blocks so very portable!

What is your biggest project for 2019?

Oh I have a couple of big projects this year, I have several fun collaborations coming up but I am planning on designing and knitting my husband a Gansey inspired sweater (it is the first garment I’m knitting for him too) and I’m hoping to get his input on the design throughout the process which will be interesting. 

I’m also running 3 pattern clubs this year, the first is the Seasons Sock Club which is currently going on and the last pattern for that will be released on 1st April 2019. Then from May-August, I will be running a Mini Skein Pattern Club, and finally, for the last 4 months of the year, I will be running a Gift Knitting Pattern Club. So that is another big undertaking for the year that I am excited to be working on.

What is one thing your fans don’t know about you?

I think I’m fairly open about myself and my life on my Podcast, but I think maybe one thing people don’t know about me is that I struggle a lot with feelings of self-worth and not feeling like I’m good enough. Its something I struggle with daily and most of the time it’s manageable but some days it can leave me feeling really overwhelmed and wondering if I’ve made the right choice to do this as a job.

What is one thing you would say to new indie designers?

It can be hard when you start out to be able to afford the upfront costs of getting your designs tech edited, and while I do think using a tech editor is valuable and important to do if you can, when I first started out I couldn’t afford to do that, so I only used test knitters to start with. Initially, I think getting your work test knit is more important. Making sure that your pattern is understandable by a knitter is really important and if you can find knitters at a range of skill/experience levels that is even better. (Ravelry has forums where you can find testers if you are struggling to find some).

What is one of your personal goals for 2019?

To start and finish the sweater I have in mind for my husband and for him to actually like it! That would be an amazing goal to achieve for this year as its something I’ve wanted to do for several years now!

What should a new designer avoid doing?

My number one rule with designing is to design something I would want to wear/knit myself, I also don’t suggest following trends just because it is what is popular at the time, but to create designs you are passionate about.

What other designer do you wish would join this interview series?

Joji Locatelli and Jaclyn Salem (Brooklyn Knitfolk)

Top Bucket list item?

Do you mean to knit? If so then that would have to be an adult-sized Colourwork sweater of some kind, I haven’t done that yet and it is in my plans for this year!

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Big Red Pullover

 

Mina thank you for taking the time to chat with me. For bringing light to the fact that even knit designers feel isolation at times. And for sharing your beautiful designs with us.

Oversalls in Dk Action Shots…

One of my favorite types of photos on Ravelry happens to be action shots. Real life, quality photos of a finished object in action. A friend was kind enough to send me these adorable photos of her little one enjoying the cozy, warmth of Overalls in DK.

“We’re in LOVE with them, by the way! Super soft and comfy, and fit over her cloth diapers really well!” Love from a happy Mom. Her little is quickly outgrowing her first pair of the overalls.

To celebrate the release of this pattern, I am offering 25% off for the first month after its release. Use coupon code NewPattern on Ravelry and NEWPATTERN on Etsy.

IMG_2248.JPGHere a is the link roll for this adorable project. RavelryPinterest, Etsy.

Please feel free to share this post.

 

Overalls in DK

Is there anything better in the cold winter months than cuddling into a cozy sweater? Overalls in DK is a design created to allow my little’s the same simple pleasure. Cozy and warm, as well as being soft and machine washable. We even added room for cloth diapering.

Knit in DK weight yarn these overalls are super squishy and extra soft. Plus there is the added benefit of using a cotton yarn for a spring or summer knit.

To celebrate the release of this pattern, I am offering 25% off for the first month after its release. Use coupon code NewPattern on Ravelry and NEWPATTERN on Etsy.

 

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The pattern is in PDF form, and comes in sizes 3 months, 6-9 months, 2 toddler, and size 4. It looks great in primary colors, and in variegated yarn. 46502023_355306701900560_8508443256915230720_n

You can find this pattern on Ravelry, and  Etsy. If you decide to try your hand at this project. I would love to see it via Ravelry projects and hash tagged on Instagram as #OverallsinDK. You can also pin it via Pintrist.

I hope you enjoy knitting these as much as I do.

Whitney

Knitting is writing a story in yarn…

Research and writing fit into knitting in a huge way. I know this because no one in my youth taught me to knit. My Mom taught me to crochet. But knitting was deemed too hard by most of those I talked too. Knitting in my youth was something only grandmas in rocking chairs did. I learned in my early 20’s. And only recently realized that the knitters of my mother and grandmothers generation were the creatives of their day.  I wanted to learn to knit over crocheting because I saw more versatility and comfort in knitting. The ability to create more. As well as loving the knit textures more than that of crocheting. knitting-1430153_1920

 

So, after getting married, I learned how to knit from YouTube videos. Thus, I learned quickly the importance of research in knitting. I soon found Ravelry which led to my wanting to design. Whew, my first foray into the design world was a disaster. I had never had to make a design submission page. I had never heard of a tech editor. I had no one to teach me, so I jumped in with both feet, and started googling, and looking for information on how to write submissions for designs and patterns.  It was a whole new world, and I was friendless.

Writing also plays a very important part of knitting. Because if you want to design a pattern knowing how to write it, knowing the lingo for abbreviations, and even if I may, shorthand for knitters. Allows one to take ideas from their heads, and place them unto paper. From there you need to be able to write to tech editors, and communicate your desires for a style of the pattern while making sure it is error free. Then you need to know how to write measurements and descriptions of your pattern for potential buyers.  Thus, writing plays a huge part in the knitting world.

Knitting its self is a story. From the sheep pasture to the spinner, to the yarn dyer, to the buyer. There is a story in the pattern chosen for the yarn, is it a gift, a cozy sweater for winter comfort? Knitting is writing a story in yarn. It is a story of the thoughts and prayers from the maker to the receiver.

What stories are you currently writing with your yarn? IMG_3530.JPG