Friday, March 11, 2022

Hats and More Hats

Sorry, it has been a bit since my last post.  IRL and all that.  You can always catch up with me on Instagram (@vixenpath) where I post a weekly snippet.  The link is on the sidebar.

Spring bonnet for a goose

I believe in keeping your promises.  I made a promise to my friend that I would make her goose and three goslings...hats for spring.

This caused some serious hilarity in conversations but in the end, it really provided me a big challenge.

When you say that you can make something that fits any body type then you should be able to make something for say a teddy bear, a favorite doll, or in my case, a bunch of really cute geese.

My sister was nice enough to take me over to measure the diameter that I was working with since it was different from when I made them Christmas Hats.

The hats have this lovely little flower petal motif that works into feather-and-fan (what pattern would you expect a goose to have?  lol).

The collar has an i-cord that makes it adjustable so it can be tightened up around the neck if need be.

the happy family wearing their new hats

The goslings gave me a bit of a challenge.  I took the original flower motif and shortened it while still keeping the petals and feather and fan for the edge.  I was very happy with the way they came out.

So yes, I can happily say that I kept my promise and move on to the next hat in my life.

working on Laurene

I have loved creating this hat.  I adore the motif that the mosaic knitting creates.  The Latvian Braid looks so amazing here as well.

I have never made a top-down hat before and this has been quite a journey.  This week stopped me in my tracks as I tried to figure out how to write in the pattern fixing the jog that occurs at the join.

In the Latvian tradition, it is known that this jog occurs and it is okay.  They put it in a place that is not so conspicuous.  The yarn they used is more of a fingering/sock weight so it also is more compact and less noticeable than the worsted yarn I am using for this hat.

So, knowing all that is one thing but knitters like options and I like to give them plenty in my patterns.  

close up of a Latvian Braid

I think I have decided to write the history in the pattern and then give a video link for a step-by-step option for making the join less noticeable.  You do this by using duplicate stitch very carefully to mimic the path of the braid.  

It isn't an easy thing to do and every time I try it I get a different result.  That is why I don't have a video yet to accompany this post but I am working on it. 

Still, IMHO I think it is worth the little bit of fiddliness if you are worried about how it looks.

********************


My heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to the Ukrainian people.  There are not even words to describe how horrible it must be to be displaced and deprived of basic human rights.

I have been moved to tears by the outpouring of support from other countries.  The people who are taking in refugees and giving them care and comfort are heroes in my eyes.  

In a crisis, most knitters take up their needles and start working towards helping through their craft.  While I know these items will be appreciated, right now they need the most basic of necessities: housing, food, and financial assistance.

I understand that not everyone can provide financial assistance.  There are other ways you can help and make an impact.   Razom For Ukraine has links on how to write or call your elected officials.  This can make a huge impact and create a sincere show of support.  Also, they have made it easy with scripts and letters that are easily copied for your use.

Airbnb is providing free temporary housing for displaced Ukrainians that is funded by the Airbnb Refugee Fund.

Two fiber people I follow are giving back to help the Ukrainian people:

Cassipinka - created a hat pattern that is free and is made with the sunflower motif of Ukraine.  She asks you to donate the amount that you would have paid for the pattern to the World Central KitchenThe Center for Disaster Philanthropy, or Global Giving Organization

Miss Babs has an entire sunflower-themed palette that donates 30% of all funds to the World Central Kitchen.   

If you search on Etsy for Ukrainian crafters.  You can buy digital knit patterns and your money goes directly to a person. 

I find it helpful to have an honest resource to keep updated on the war crisis. #Ukraine Facts

There is always something you can do and it means more than you know.

*************************

Happy crafting!
Ruinwen πŸ€—

**************************
Safe socially-distanced hugs  πŸ€—
**************************
Sending love and light to everyone being affected by this virus.  
May you be safe.  
May your loved ones be safe.  
πŸ™
**************************
Sending love and light to everyone facing discrimination, hate, prejudice, inequality, or racism.
πŸ™πŸ™πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ™πŸ™
**************************
Vixenpath is a safe space.
If you are:
LGBTQ+
Black
Brown
Asian
Any race
Coming out
Anything.

I am a safe person and I will always hold space for you in love and light.
Ruinwen
πŸ€—

Friday, February 11, 2022

Creating Connections


This is a picture of Mom, the Goddess Brigid, and this amazing yarn from knittinbro.  This was the seed idea that started everything.

I was inspired by the needlepoint pillows that Mom made that adorned our house.  I wish I had one to show you.  I'm not sure what happened to them.  But they were beautiful.


I thought mosaic knitting would be a good fit for this idea that was gelling in my brain.


Mosaic knitting is a term coined by Barbara Walker. In Barbara Walker's A Treasury of Knitting Patterns first published in 1968.


In mosaic knitting, you work the same row twice.  Usually, only two colors are worked, but some patterns have more.  One color is knit or purled and the other color is slipped.


This makes this a great alternative to other colorwork where two colors or more are worked across the row at the same time.


Rules (and I use that word loosely) for Mosaic Straight Knitting

  • usually, two (sometimes more) colors are used on a row
  • only one of these colors is worked on a row while the other stitches are slipped
  • each row is worked twice
  • every two rows the color will change to the one(s) not being used
  • odd rows are right side knit rows / even rows are wrong side purl rows
  • slip stitches are worked purlwise with the yarn on the wrong side 
  • don’t have too many slips next to each other (some say 2 slips, others say 3 at most)
  • keep floats loose
  • it is recommended that you go down a needle size from the number on the ball band to get tight, even stitches.  (this depends on how tightly you knit though)
Sample Chart


This chart assumes that the MC is being carried from the brim or crown, otherwise, it wouldn't be there to slip.


The bar on the side by the row numbers is to signify which color is being worked for those two rows; the other color is slipped.


I have also indicated the slips with a symbol to make it easier to see the structure.  I have chosen to chart this way but you will see mosaic knitting charted in different ways depending on the designer.


I have written out the rows but not all designers will do this so it is helpful to learn to read a chart.


Row 1 MC:      (sl1 MC, K3 CC) twice, sl1 MC

Row 2 MC:      (sl1 MC, P3 CC) twice, sl1 MC

Row 3 CC:       K2 MC, sl1 CC, K3 MC, sl1 CC, K2 MC

Row 4 CC:       P2 MC, sl1 CC, P3 MC, sl1 CC, P2 MC


Repeat Rows 1 - 4 once more


Repeat Rows 1 - 2 once more


I have been working on a motif that looks like this.


Neighborhood Fiber Co: Studio Worsted 
Canton and Cooper Circle


Unfortunately, this won’t work with the hat schematics that I have been working on because it takes up too much band real estate.  But it will happen as a cowl or something in the future because I just love it too much!


I also have to note that I love this yarn combo more than I can express.  I have a bit left from a pattern submission and I use it when I need a bit of inspiration.  Neighborhood Fiber Co. is amazing.    They still have these beautiful colors and I need to buy more.  πŸ˜€


I also tried to break the rules and switch colors every row, but the result ended up losing definition and the motif was lost. 


One of the things I love about this swatch is the feeling of depth between the spice and the blue and that keeps getting lost.


swatch with Latvian Braid detail

I created this swatch but it lost all the connectedness and all the things that I liked about the original.  I did love the Latvian braid idea though and I am keeping that.


Charting mosaic knitting is challenging because the color that you are slipping has to be there on the previous row.  This is why you see geometric patterns represented a lot.


I have been struggling with this for a while now.  I have all this beautiful yarn and I haven’t been able to play with it.  😩


I don’t just make a pattern to do it.  There has to be a story, a reason that sparked my creativity as my seed for the pattern.


Usually, I have sketched or written up an idea so I have this “ideal” in my head that goes with my story.


This hat is dedicated to my beloved Mom and I want it to have this “connectedness” that my original sample had but this last one didn’t.


this one connects the brim and the crown


When we were looking at the next incarnation of my chart my sister suggested putting joining paths on the right and left of the design to add that "connectedness" that I was missing.  I added the top and bottom connections that actually bridge the brim and crown and make them a part of the design.


I feel that these connections that have been added only add to the story that I am creating.  Mom, sis, and I will be a part of this design and I love that.  πŸ’–


I also feel I've gotten the needlepoint look back that I was seeking and I think I am ready now to swatch in the fabulous knittinbro yarn to figure out measurements.


Then, my friends, it will be time to actually knit this hat!  😁


Happy crafting!
Ruinwen πŸ€—

**************************
Safe socially-distanced hugs  πŸ€—
**************************
Sending love and light to everyone being affected by this virus.  
May you be safe.  
May your loved ones be safe.  
πŸ™
**************************
Sending love and light to everyone facing discrimination, hate, prejudice, inequality, or racism.
πŸ™πŸ™πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ™πŸ™
**************************
Vixenpath is a safe space.
If you are:
LGBTQ+
Black
Brown
Asian
Any race
Coming out
Anything.

I am a safe person and I will always hold space for you in love and light.
Ruinwen
πŸ€—



Friday, January 28, 2022

Working Through Mistakes

 

capturing a dropped stitch

Mistakes.  We've talked about how to fix them and how to prevent them.  We've talked about afterthought yarnovers and reoriented cables.

But we have never talked about how a mistake makes you feel because that is what really matters.

Some knitters can go on knitting and just decrease a stitch or add more holes and it doesn't bother them at all.  

Other knitters feel that there is a big old arrow pointing to that mistake and have to repair it before moving on.

There is another type of knitter that plays the waiting game.  "Can I really ignore this mistake and just go on with my knitting?'  The answer is usually a resounding, "no".

There are feelings that come up when a pattern doesn't work right.  You might feel anger, guilt, shame, or embarrassment.

These feelings are all valid because you are having them.  They are yours.

I have anxiety so I tend to panic a bit...sometimes a lot.

Acknowledging your feelings is important but also not wallowing in them is too.

So you messed up and the world didn't end; what you do next is important.  Failing doesn't make you a failure.

I "fail" a lot when designing something new.  In fact, everything I create is full of failures and successes all bound together to create something amazing.  

No one knows they happened because it was part of my journey.  All they see is the finished piece.

The second step in this process is to just breathe.  One deep breath sends oxygen through your body.  It can center and ground you and it can make all the difference in how you proceed.

Now with a clearer head figure out what went wrong.  Sometimes this step will bring me more panic when math comes into play but I keep at it.  I follow the steps.  I listen to and acknowledge my feelings and then take a deep breath until I find my path.

Sometimes this step takes some time.  Give yourself the time you need.  Write down where you are, why you stopped.  Secure all your stitches and put everything away for a day or two if need be.

Be gentle with yourself.  Forgive yourself if you feel you need to.  

We are our worst critics and say the harshest things that we would never say to a loved one.  Don't start down the, "I'm such a ______" spiral.

It is best to realize, for example, that being embarrassed at making a mistake is not the same as internalizing that embarrassment so that you never show your work.

You are not your mistake.  Do not direct your emotions back at yourself.

Believe me, I go through this process somewhere in every project or design I make.  I've learned to acknowledge my failures and to celebrate my successes. 

They are both a part of my process.  Sometimes my failures are just teachers in disguise and show me something I would never have thought of on my own.

A mistake is only temporary.  The lessons they teach last a lifetime.

**********

love you to the moon and back blanket by PeachUnicornDesigns

I helped a friend make a blanket for her Granddaughter and I think it turned out amazing.  My friend had never done intarsia before and we ripped out a lot of rows but in the end, my friend could change colors like a pro!

I am so proud of her!

*************

We lost someone this week who has guided my life in many ways,  Thich Nhat Hanh

He was a Buddhist monk with a beautiful soul.  His message was one of transformation.  I read his book on Anger, and it changed how I listen to myself and others.

I have his books on tape and I have listened to his words when I have been lost and he has helped me to find my way back to myself so many times.

Bright Blessings my dear teacher as you now embody the greatest transformation that one can achieve.  

Thank you for your lessons which influence me even now, and I expect, ever will.

πŸ™❤️πŸ’«

************

Happy crafting!
Ruinwen πŸ€—

**************************
Safe socially-distanced hugs  πŸ€—
**************************
Sending love and light to everyone being affected by this virus.  
May you be safe.  
May your loved ones be safe.  
πŸ™
**************************
Sending love and light to everyone facing discrimination, hate, prejudice, inequality, or racism.
πŸ™πŸ™πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ™πŸ™
**************************
Vixenpath is a safe space.
If you are:
LGBTQ+
Black
Brown
Asian
Any race
Coming out
Anything.

I am a safe person and I will always hold space for you in love and light.
Ruinwen
πŸ€—

Friday, January 14, 2022

Creativity Dreaming on a Winter's Day

 

Winter Snow hanging out in actual snow

As you can see from the picture, it snowed in these parts and I was finally able to get this shot of my Winter Snow double knit scarf.  πŸ˜€

This pattern tutorial set is almost done.  We are finishing up the accompanying video this week and then I can let this pattern fly off into the world.

My sister was mentioning that this is the point where an artist starts to see little things that need correcting and holds on a bit tighter to their creation.

It is a risk to share what is in you with the world but a disservice to your muse not to do so.

Nothing is ever perfect enough to publish yet, nothing will ever be perfect, that is life.

What defines work as "finished"?  

All these things swirl through my head as I am putting in the final edits and seeing things that maybe I should have said differently.

Yet, this pattern has been proofed, tech edited, sampled, and gone over with a fine-toothed comb and it was okay then, it is okay now.  It will be alright, I tell myself.

There are people who throw up every time before going on stage or giving a speech but you could never tell because they have learned it is part of their process.

What is my process?   If I am being honest, I just don't know anymore.

I am rewriting the way I see my creativity as I go.  I am reinventing myself to be a person who gives themselves the same encouragement and empowerment that they would give to another creator.

Whereas I might have said in the past that my work wasn't good enough, now that is just an echo of something I held onto from my childhood.

Why do some people hold on to the worst things that are said to them and others, well others have a guiding beacon of goodness that they hear all their lives?

Why couldn't I be the latter of the two and not the former?  The criticisms, the teasing hurtful words, those are the ones that I have carried with me all these years and it is time to let them go.

I choose to let them go and remember the good things that I let slip away because it was easier to believe the negative voice than the words of people who loved and cared about me.

I don't know who needs to hear this today, it might just be me, but remember creativity doesn't have to be perfect it just needs to be authentic.  

You put a uniqueness on whatever your art is because it comes from the well of imagination deep inside of you.  

I believe in you.  I believe in me.  I believe there is room for everyone to share their authentic voice with the world.

Creativity and inspiration are limitless.  

You might not find inspiration in your art one day but instead, you try a new recipe and put your personal flair on it.  That is creativity and inspiration at work.  They will find a way to allow you to express yourself in an outlet that is symbiotic to where you are on your path at that moment.

So, create...express...bring into the world beautiful things shaped by the awesomeness that is you. πŸ€—❤️

*******

Happy crafting!
Ruinwen πŸ€—

**************************
Safe socially-distanced hugs  πŸ€—
**************************
Sending love and light to everyone being affected by this virus.  
May you be safe.  
May your loved ones be safe.  
πŸ™
**************************
Sending love and light to everyone facing discrimination, hate, prejudice, inequality, or racism.
πŸ™πŸ™πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ™πŸ™
**************************
Vixenpath is a safe space.
If you are:
LGBTQ+
Black
Brown
Asian
Any race
Coming out
Anything.
I am a safe person and I will always hold space for you in love and light.
Ruinwen
πŸ˜€




Friday, December 17, 2021

The Light Within

Are you knee-deep in the holiday shopping craze or are you sitting under your holiday decorations sipping a festive beverage catching up on your binge-watching while knocking out a few rows?

Everybody progresses into the holidays in a different way. 

I am surprisingly calm for it being this close to Yule.  I still have a lot to do but I have been doing it a little bit at a time and not freaking out about if a gift I bought writes back with stocking delays or shipping will take longer than usual.

The point of this season is the light that we share with others and that lives within ourselves.  Whether you worship the sun in the sky or the Son of God, whether your light is a miracle or embraces your cultural values and traditions, this is a season that is about stoking those inner fires and rebirthing yourself.

That begins with you.  Self-care has been a big topic this year because we all have needed a little more love and light after the mental drain of the pandemic.  But let's face it, we should always be practicing self-care.  It should not seem strange to do so.  

You can't be there for everyone else if you don't take care of yourself first.

Give yourself the present of kindness.  Create a positive relationship with yourself.  It is the gift that keeps on giving.

Take in a bit of that light that is everywhere this time of year and bring it into yourself.

If you can't get a gift in time or something is out of stock right now, don't fret about it.  Your family and friends, who love and support you, will totally understand.  I bet they ran into some holiday snags too.

Breathe.

*******

My fabulous sister made these motif squares of the Winter Snow double knit scarf pattern that we have been working on together.  

I am loving working with her on finishing my projects.  She has been a great sounding board full of ideas, a blessing of a tech editor, and a super pattern tester.

It is fun to co-create with her.  I am beyond blessed to be able to see her in person again.  I think I ran out in slippers when she pulled up that first day after our vaccines and I pulled her into a hug in the street just ugly crying.  But I didn't care.

There are four moments in my life that rise above all others, the birth of my beloved children, the day I said, "I do," to my soulmate and best friend and the day I saw my sister again after almost a year and a half of FaceTime and being apart.

My Vixen readers, be kind to yourself, give yourself some light, and may your holidays be blessed with family, friends, and love.

*******

To all those whose lives were devastated by the tornado...there are no words...sending you love and light and prayers for those you lost and the families that mourn them.  

If you want to donate, here is a link to the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund

*******

Happy crafting!
Ruinwen πŸ€—

**************************
Safe socially-distanced hugs  πŸ€—
**************************
Sending love and light to everyone being affected by this virus.  
May you be safe.  
May your loved ones be safe.  
πŸ™
**************************
Sending love and light to everyone facing discrimination, hate, prejudice, inequality, or racism.
πŸ™πŸ™πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ™πŸ™
**************************
Vixenpath is a safe space.
If you are:
LGBTQ+
Black
Brown
Asian
Any race
Coming out
Anything.
I am a safe person and I will always hold space for you in love and light.
Ruinwen
πŸ˜€



Thursday, December 02, 2021

There Are No Words

When I looked into the eyes of Adella Colvin (@lolabeanyarnco on Instagram) I felt moved beyond words.  The hurt that radiated in her words and her story had me in tears and sick to my stomach.

I invite you to hear Adella speak on Instagram to learn more.  


Adella said to take a risk.  I don’t remember the quote exactly but it was something like even if you are scared or uncomfortable take the risk.  Start the conversation.  


This is me starting a conversation. 


BIPOC creators in the yarn industry are being taken for granted by Kristy Glass and used for their particular gifts.


I don’t know her.  I don’t even know of her.  I had never heard her name until today.


I don’t want to tell you what to do but I personally have blocked her and other individuals that are causing harm in our community and I will continue to do so.


I need to say right now that I hate that someone with a bunch of followers thinks that they are better than someone else because of a number.


No one is better than anyone else.  You might have more money, but that doesn’t make you better than anyone else.  You might have more “fill in the blank” but that does not make you better than anyone else.


Let me say it again, “No one is better than anyone else.”


But that is what happened.  Someone used their “numbers” to make it seem like being seen with them would be an honor or something.  She even made them pay to be seen with her.  How disgusting is that?


If a collab doesn’t benefit both parties then there is something wrong.  Using someone for their “BIPOCness” to make you seem “better” than you are or “woke” or something is wrong down to its core.  It is disgusting and it has to stop.


It will only stop when we stand up and call out people that are harming our BIPOC creators.  Support our BIPOC creators.


If a BIPOC person tells you something, believe them, support them and listen to them.


I stand with the BIPOC community and I stand with Adella.

Crochet Blanket is Fini!

 


I love the way this gingham crochet blanket came out from Daisy Farm Crafts!

I added a round of each color for a border and I was happy with the way it came out.  

When I get to the end of the project, I start to get nervous because I want it to look amazing.

I'm pretty good at weaving in ends, but I'm always open to new things and I wanted to share this with you in case you didn't already know it.

When knitting in the round or when joining the last stitch in crochet you are joining to the first stitch in the round.  When you work in the round you are working in a spiral, this is why it can be hard to line up stripes and fancy patterns without a bit of chicanery.

see the gap between the first bound off
and the last bound off stitch?

In this photo you can see there is a space between the first and last stitch of the bind-off row.  (I talked in detail about joining in this blog post/video. )  A jog may be created that can cause an unsightly lump to form at your join.  This technique changes all that.  It only differs a bit from the old way that I used to join, but I find it is so much cleaner.

Cut a 6" tail for weaving.   I always use at least six inches for weaving to really secure the ends.

Thread a yarn needle with the end.

Find the first stitch of the bind-off round, insert your needle from the front to the back through both vees of that stitch.

this is the last bound off stitch, you can see the working yarn
originates from there

insert your needle, front to back through the back vee only,
of the last bound off stitch

Make sure that you have the loop the size you want and nothing is pulling and then weave in and secure your end.  

I adore this join!

Happy crafting!
Ruinwen πŸ€—

**************************
Safe socially-distanced hugs  πŸ€—
**************************
Sending love and light to everyone being affected by this virus.  
May you be safe.  
May your loved ones be safe.  
πŸ™
**************************
Sending love and light to everyone facing discrimination, hate, prejudice, inequality, or racism.
πŸ™πŸ™πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ™πŸ™
**************************
Vixenpath is a safe space.
If you are:
LGBTQ+
Black
Brown
Asian
Any race
Coming out
Anything.
I am a safe person and I will always hold space for you in love and light.
Ruinwen
πŸ˜€