Friday, November 29, 2019

New Pattern...again

This cozy, warm, chunky cowl has been very popular lately. It, like Shirell's Messy Bun - Ponytail Hat, is a perfect last-minute gift for a knit-worthy loved one. It's made using just one ball of Wool and the Gang's Crazy Sexy Wool. This yarn is next to the skin soft and lofty for warmth.

As always, please feel free to message me with any questions.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

A New Pattern...

Just in time for gift knitting.
This is a SUPER quick (seriously an hour or two) messy bun/ponytail hat modeled and inspired by my wonderful friend, Shirell.

Look for it via my Ravelry page tomorrow or buy one made by me.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Fast Fashion vs. Craftmanship

My friends who are artists will nod their heads at this story. It happens a lot.

A couple years ago I made mittens for our administrative staff. I chose complex designs as I wanted to show my appreciation. When I wasn't sure what someone might like, I chose exotic, lush fiber. Here are a few:
I happened to wear a very simple, worsted (larger yarn) handspun sweater to work the other day.
Here's that sweater:

The person who was gifted the mittens with Nordic looking flowers on a white background was highly complimentary of the sweater. Of course I said, "Thank you" then explained how it was really a very simple knit highlighting nice yarn and that her mittens were far more complex. She's very kind and very deserving of any handknitted gift. Then she said (and here it is, fellow craftspersons)

You should just do that full time! You'd make so much more money!

There was actually laughter from the adjoining room along with confirmation that artists never get paid for their actual time and effort. Plus, my "day job" is really my dream job. They'll have to drag me away kicking and screaming when the time comes.

Here are the hard, cold facts:
A simple sweater, like the one I was wearing, takes about 16 hours to knit. I actually knit a cardigan for my grandmother on the way to her house for Thanksgiving. I live in Denver, Colorado, she lived in Appleton, Minnesota, and was a 16 hour drive away. At the current minimum wage of $11.10 in Colorado, that would be $177.60. Did I just hear reality smack some people in the face? That's not what that sweater would cost, mind you, that's just the MINIMUM WAGE. If you're going to knit a sweater that's worth the effort, the materials will cost a minimum of $80 for a very basic wool, and more for better quality or finer yarn. Consider, for a moment, how much more you would expect above minimum wage if you had 40 years experience, had taken master's classes, and had built up a reputation in your chosen field.

I knit samples for designers. I'm fast, quite fast, at 55 stitches per minute for garter stitch. That's not considering color work or texture or shaping or lace work, which, of course, slows me down. I love  my work and take great pride in knitting the best possible piece for my designer. For them, I charge between $0.12 and $0.15 per yard by weight. Those mittens up there, the patterned ones? A pair is typically 400 or more yards of fingering (fine) yarn, 5,500 - 6,000 stitches, or would cost $60 just to knit, excluding the cost of the wool. If I divide that by the minimum wage, that would account for only 5.4 hours to knit those in, both of them. I don't think even Hazel Tindall, the fastest knitter in the world, could knit those mittens in five hours. A simple cardigan for me, a tall, broad-shouldered, long-armed, long-waisted woman would be 1,400 yards of yarn or about 32,000 stitches. Those stitches would be the plain knitting kind and much faster than color work or lace work.

Then we have Fast Fashion. You can buy a woman's cardigan at H&M (the WORST at greenwashing and sugarcoating worker conditions) for about $20 and it will be unfitted, hangs like a sheet, mass produced, wear out in a year, if you're lucky, quality. You might think that's okay, I'll get tired of it by then and I'll just give it to charity or throw it out. Let's think about that for a minute...
What have we become that we are okay with disposable clothing that sucks the life out of our planet and supports slave labor around the world to keep up with our "need" for new fashion every month??!!
When you buy from a craftsperson, you get something that was hand crafted just for you. It's going to last and fit. It will also have a realistic price tag which, I hope, prompts you to consider that item. Do I really need it? Will I wear it year after year, because when things are well made, they last not only for years but for generations? What will I look like if I get very high quality, slowly and carefully made to last core pieces and accessorize them with less expensive but just as high quality scarves, buttons and details to change my look?

The waste and attitude towards purchasing is a mental health issue. How many times do we hear "retail therapy" and there's approval or a nod of commiseration? The same avoidance of dealing with our thoughts and problems which has prompted so many other disorders is true for purchasing. This has a trickle-down effect of sending us into unbelievable consumer debt.

That's where I'll leave this....if we just stopped and asked ourselves "why" and "do I really need this" when the urge to buy clothes strikes, maybe we could make some real, lasting changes to improve work conditions, improve the misuse of Earth's resources, and avoid needless overspending.

Monday, November 11, 2019


I sent off some Wolfie Mitts for my sister from a different mister. She’s always loved wolves and needed something to keep her hands worm while she could still work with them. I modified Natalia More Kulabra Design’s Gray Wolf Mittens.

Thursday, November 07, 2019

She Wore a Raspberry Beret

Who doesn't like a pretty pink hat? The Stirling hat is just perfect with a bit of feminine lace around the crown. The Stirling scarf pairs perfectly with this attractive hat. This time of year when it's cold in the northern hemisphere, a hat can keep you going strong on chilly days. My collection of hats is available as a mini ebook or as part of A Collection of Small Knitting Projects Inspired by Historical Stitches from Britain, Ireland and Scotland. 

Here is the Stirling Hat.