I've been a bit quiet here on the baa baa blog lately but, rest assured, there is all KINDS of knitting going on behind the scenes, in preparation for the most fibre-tastic Fall ever!
Oh, btw, guess who's going to be in a book this Fall? Eeeeekkk, it's me! More details on that bit of knitty excitement are still to come, but for now I've been sworn to secrecy.
In the meantime, not only have I been working fast and furiously to create a fully stocked online store (yes, that's the elm road hat above--in 5 fantastic Fall colours), but I've also been working against three summer submission deadlines, July 15th, August 9th, and August 15th.
Thankfully, I've already met the July 15th book deadline, but two more ahhh-mazing opportunities are still in front of me, keeping me on my toes...and awake at night! The "lazy" days of summer are anything but lazy when you're a knitwear designer, and Fall just can't come fast enough when you're in the business of creating warm wooly things!
the baa baa, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blog
Ok, I'm wordy. I admit it. Some people--in an effort to be diplomatic--describe me as "articulate". But the truth is, most of the time I use two words when one would do, and explain things to death. I've been this way my whole life...my father used to call me "Chatty Cathy", in reference to a talking doll that existed at the time (I was always deeply offended by this).
However, with age comes a certain amount of wisdom, and the acceptance of one's foibles. The NON STOP TALKING is one of mine, and I'm happy to report that I still have loving friends and family members who have become adept at determining when they can go ahead and tune me out, and when they should put their listening ears on.
Part of the reason for my 'verbosity' is anxiety. I fear that being misunderstood will somehow lead to unpleasant consequences. Part of it is simply a love of language. And part of it is a deep desire for self-expression--the same reason I design knitwear.
The unique sense of satisfaction I get from choosing the perfect word to convey exactly what I'm thinking or feeling is the same satisfaction that comes from finally selecting the perfect yarn & pattern to bring one of my knitty visions to life. It's a bit of bliss.
So, although I shall continue to strive for brevity in my blog posts (and real-life conversations), I hope you'll forgive me my knitty ramblings from time to time. I've never tried holding in ALL the words...I think I might actually explode.
Toronto blogger/designer Robin Hunter recently invited me to participate in an interview for her weekly series featuring insights from people working in the Knitting industry.
Obviously, I was flattered, and happy to participate. Can you believe that Robin has been blogging since 2009?! Wow! I can only hope that the baa baa blog will enjoy that kind of longevity!
To find out more about me, my work, and my advice to other aspiring designers, check out Robin's blog today at knittingrobin.blogspot.ca/
love knitting? love pdf patterns!
Great news! I just uploaded .pdf files for all the current cold comfort hat patterns. I hope that offering the patterns in this handy, downloadable, format will make it easier for everyone to indulge in that all-important knitting "me time".
four hats to get you thinking about Fall...and more to come!
On a personal note...like life, www.coldcomfortknits.com is a perennial work in progress. As a recovering perfectionist, it was really hard for me to hit Publish before everything was "perfect". But when I decided to launch this website, I made a conscious decision embrace the work-in-progress model, and resist the urge to wait (forever) for "the right time". FYI, there is never the right time.
When I'm not working part-time at my local yarn store, I work full-time for cold comfort, where there is precisely one employee...me. I source the yarn, wind the yarn, design the hats, knit the hats, photograph the hats, write the patterns, create the pdf's, post to IG, write this blog, and occasionally sleep. Oh, I also design paid patterns for Raverly. Yes, my life revolves around string. Part of the decision to wear all hats ("all hats" lol), meant accepting that I can't do everything...well, at least not all at once.
So, instead of a "perfect" site you can use "one day", I give you this incomplete & imperfect website today. Plus, my promise that, every day, I'm doing my best to add content that you'll find useful, and enjoyable. If you're enjoying this site, please feel free to leave a comment below...apparently positive reinforcement is good for my recovery, lol, lol, lol!
knitters gonna knit...and knit, and knit, and knit...
Proof! Between creating hats for the cold comfort online store (opening in September), and trying to finish some pesky UFO's, my hands have definitely not been idle.
Today, however, I managed to stop knitting for a few minutes so I could share this photo (above) on Instagram...and I got the nicest feedback from a fellow knitter.
"I love the variety in the colors and stitches!! Yet, they're all so uniform in size! That's the part I struggle with the most, keeping my hats all the same size." --@aliknits123.
TBH, it's pretty flattering to have another knitter compliment your work like that. Made my day, for sure. But it also got me thinking about how my work became so consistent. The answer? Practice. Practice. Practice.
I didn't start out creating hats like this. In fact, it wasn't all that long ago that I knit a surprise birthday hat for my BFF...and it fit OVER his entire head! Gauge accidents happen. We laughed and moved on. But only through practice did I learn how to manage all the variables involved in making great-fitting hats.
Fibre composition, yarn weight, hat style, stitch pattern etc. They all play key roles in well-designed--wearable--hats. Alpaca yarns, for example, are inelastic, so you generally need to cast on fewer stitches than normal. Ribbed hats, however, are super-elastic, so even when you cast on the correct amount of stitches, the circumference will seem deceptively small, but the hat will fit perfectly.
"When it comes to practice, repetition is important, but so is variety."
Personally, I think my own knitting has improved because of how I practice. Repetition is important...but so is variety. By being willing to experiment with new yarns, fibres, and techniques--and make mistakes along the way--I've gained both skills and confidence. The age-old moral of the story? Practice Makes Perfect. So, go. Get your knitty on!
happy Canada day, eh?
the offer. the orientation. the anticipation!
After a surprisingly intensive application and screening process, there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel: I am (almost) a volunteer at OTMH, in the role of Knitting Instructor for the Adult Mental Health Day Program. Hooray!
The official offer was delivered to my inbox on Thursday, June 22nd, and just one week later I was attending a comprehensive volunteer orientation.
Now, all that's left to do is wait for the lab tests to come back. If I don't have T.B. (God, I hope not!), I'll be cleared for service and can start sharing the love of knitting--and its therapeutic benefits--with a brand new audience. Oh, the anticipation! I'm nervous, excited, and very, very honoured.
the not-grand-but-pretty-darn-good opening
I'm nearly blind from staring at my computer screen almost 24/7...but still happy as can be to have finally hit "Publish" on www.coldcomfortknits.com.
As of today, the site contains:
The patterns for two of the four hats shown above are already there. The other two are coming soon...along with SO much more! To stay "in the loop", why not follow us on Instagram? Our handle is www.instagram.com/coldcomfortknits/
A Little Pre-Launch Story...
You've Got (Wooly) Mail
It's a good thing we have super-boxes, because if the mail man had brought this directly to my door, I'd have kissed him, and things would have gotten weird.
But, seriously, is there anything better than a pink package of Air Mail, and a pretty gauze bag brimming with pure, undyed, Baby Alpaca? Yes, that was rhetorical.
These little beauties are part of the ongoing preparations for the launch of coldcomfortknits.com. A new pattern is coming--one never seen in my Raverly shop. And, by Fall, the finished hats will be available to purchase from the cold comfort store. Ok, I have to go wind these babies...I can't believe I waited this long!