Posted in Knitting

Getting Smaller = Smaller Projects

A “before” picture, modeling my seed stitch infinity scarf.

Hello Friends! Sorry for the long absence. I’ve been freelancing, living life, and starting a new beginning for myself. I’m on a weight-loss journey, and it’s changed my perspective on just about everything, including knitting.

In December, I had weight-loss surgery. It’s a huge thing, and I’m so happy I did it. I’m down 50 pounds, and feeling great. (Seventeen of those pounds were lost before surgery.)

I’ve struggled with my weight since grade school, and I’ve tried everything from Jenny Craig, to Weight Watchers, to the LapBand. I got the band 13 years ago in Tijuana, and it worked okay until it didn’t; I had to get it removed because it slipped.

Since I had some success with the band, I started exploring the other surgical options. I have a wonderful surgery group here in Spokane, and this whole thing has been an amazing experience.

Many who go through this process are hesitant to share it with others, which is something I don’t understand. I mean, you’re going to notice a big difference, right? And I want to share my success with people, including all of you!

So here I am, the incredible shrinking woman, forced into a sweater-knitting hiatus. That’s my favorite type of knitting, although I’ve had a couple of disasters in the last year. You all know about Veronica, but I also had a total fail on O’Keeffe, from Bristol Ivy’s gorgeous book, Knitting Outside the Box.

O'Keeffe Sweater knitting pattern
O’Keeffe back when I loved her. I still love the yarn though. It’ll become something beautiful. Maybe O’Keeffe in size small.

The sweater turned out HUGE on me, and this was before any weight loss. I thought I had gauge, but I think I loosened up. I was close to finished when I figured this out, and that was part of the fail—try on your sweaters as you knit them, people!

I did have a great success with Andrea Mowry’s Sheltered. I knit this with Shepherd’s Wool Worsted, which is a delight to work with. It’s one of my new favorites; my local knit shop owner, Kris from KnitKnit the Studio, introduced it to me. I knit Sheltered in the medium size, which was snug for me when I first finished it, but now it fits great. The pattern is written with a lot of ease, so I’m hoping it’ll fit me forever.

Lovely Andrea Mowry modeling Sheltered.
Vanilla Latte Socks

Isn’t that cute? It has a hood, but I didn’t add that. I just did the cowl neck all the way around. I’m not a fan of knitted hoods; they take so much more yarn than you think, and they just add bulk, IMHO.

So, what am I working on now? Socks. I know, the self-described non-sock-knitter is on her second pair. What brought this on is my freezing feet. I’ve never suffered from cold feet, but I guess it’s common when you’re losing weight quickly.

I just finished the Vanilla Latte Socks (a free pattern on Ravelry), which I knitted with Cascade Heritage. I choose a pretty gray, because it’ll go with my wardrobe, and because it was in my stash. I really enjoyed working with this yarn.

I’m working on a pair of Rose City Rollers now, cute little footies that I’m knitting with Tofutsies. These are roll-top socks that I’ll be wearing around the house. I love the yarn colors, so springy and bright. I find I’m constantly wearing socks now, even in my slippers, and I think this pattern will be a good one to use to knit multiple pairs.

I’ve also got yarn set aside for some Turkish Bed Socks, which I love because I can wear them with my myriad Danskos.

Rose City Rollers. My progress on the right. I need to start knitting two at a time!
Road to China Light, which I’m using for a moss stitch cowl

Next up, a moss stitch cowl of my own design. I’m so much colder in general, and I’ve been wearing cowls around the house. It’s amazing how much warmer I am when I wear a cowl, and I love knitting them, so win-win.

I’m going to use two skeins of GORGEOUS Road to China Light in the colorway Sapphire. I’m using a size 4 needle and casting on 151 stitches for a finished measurement of about 25 inches in circumference. This yarn is so soft, and the color is saturated and beautiful. It’s slightly variegated, which I’m not sure you can see from the photo.

So that’s what’s happening with me. I promise to blog more and keep you up to date with my weight-loss progress. Leave a comment below and let me know what’s happening with you!

Cheers,

 

 

Posted in Knitting

SeraCraft: An Indie Dyer and a Family Affair

Hand-dyed yarns always draw me in. There’s something so magical about them; the hard work and creativity of the dyer just shines through in each skein. I’m so lucky to be friends with one of the best indie dyers out there, Sarah from SeraCraft yarn. She and her family live on their 10-acre farm north of Spokane, Washington, and she’s in one of my knitting groups.

indie-dyer SeraCraft
From left: Sugar Rush, Rusted Twisty, Check Out My Watermelons

I love following Sarah on social media and seeing her gorgeous colorways pop up in my Facebook and Instagram feeds. Just stunningly beautiful yarn!

indie dyer SeraCraft
Shark Week

The really neat thing about SeraCraft yarn is that Sarah’s kids help her dye and name the yarn. One of my recent favorites was called Shark Week, name courtesy of Sarah’s son, and the colors were cool blues and grays. It’s all sold out, but Sarah does dye to order!

Sarah has a degree in fashion design and merchandising, and she studied art in London and at the Academy of Art in San Francisco, and you can see that expertise in her yarn. She puts colors together unexpectedly and beautifully, and her kids obviously inherited that artistic spirit, too.

Sarah started knitting in 2004, after seeing celebrities knitting, and remembering her grandmother knitting and cross-stitching. Because she lived in Florida when she started knitting, there weren’t a ton of knit shops around, so she got a copy of Stitch ‘n Bitch and taught herself. Sarah’s first project was a wonky scarf (sound familiar?), but she’d been bit by the knitting bug, and she never looked back!

indie dyer SeraCraft
Sarah’s handknit socks for her daughter, Amelia. She used her Big Heart colorway with contrasting heels and toes from Hedgehog Fibers Genie.

When she moved to the Inland Northwest and discovered local yarn shops, she was introduced to beautiful yarn and talented teachers, and she really stretched her skills. Now Sarah test-knits for designers, as well as making gorgeous knitwear for her family and herself. And she’s one of the most prolific sock knitters I’ve ever met.

Sarah came across indie dyers in yarn shops, and saw their videos on YouTube. She was inspired and decided to give it a try. She got a book on the subject, ordered some plain yarn, and started in! After going through a box of 20 skeins of yarn in a weekend, she ordered some mini-skeins so she could try even more dying combinations, and a cottage industry was born.

grab bag mini-skein
Grab bag mini-skein. Gorgeous grays!

Her favorite yarn bases are wool and wool-nylon blends, because they work well for her favorite projects, sweaters, shawls, and socks. Currently, the SeraCraft Etsy shop is stocked with fingering- and worsted-weight options. Sarah is considering a cashmere blend in worsted- and DK-weights, and bringing in a bulky base yarn for those quick-knits. Yes please!

Drawn to colors from nature, Sarah also enjoys mixing in the occasional bright or neon. Her kids have given her ideas, such as a collection based on fish, and her seven-year-old son, Liam, suggests colors and sketches ideas for her. He names seventy-five percent of her colorways! I just love that.

Amelia, Sarah’s darling daughter, is also interested in yarn, and she thinks there should be much more pink in the world. I agree!

indie dyer SeraCraft
Liam and Amelia with some of their favorite colorways. Cutie-pies!

Sarah’s business is run out of her kitchen, but her husband plans to build her a studio in a garage on their property. I predict she’s going to need that extra room sooner than later—her business is bound to take off.

indie dyer SeraCraft
Aliens on the Moon

Sarah and her family truly live a handmade life. They raise chickens and ducks, have a big vegetable garden that provides canned goods all year, and they make soap every year, just to mention a few of her homesteading activities. They’re thinking about getting some pygmy goats, and I am first in line to hug them!

Sarah’s philosophy for SeraCraft is bringing joy to people through her yarn. Whether they admire it for a while in their stashes or cast on a project right away, Sarah’s goal is for all of her customers to be happy with their purchases. And judging from the reviews on SeraCraft, she’s achieving her goal!

I hope you’ll check out SeraCraft and support my friend’s small business. She’s offering 15% off through March 2018 (enter the code CRAFTERMATH) to all of my readers, so go crazy!

Cheers,

1KCsig

P.S. Who are your favorite indie dyers?