this free pattern is inside 20 care packages heading to OTMH hospital staff
it's also on Ravelry and IG for every other knitter in need of a wee break
"Normally" I teach the hospital staff at OTMH to knit twice a week as part of a wellness initiative to encourage stress management and work/life balance. For obvious reasons (ahem, pandemic), the program is currently on hold. But we knitters know one thing for sure: Knitting for therapy is never on hold! So when the wellness director asked if I could develop some knitting "care packages" to be distributed to stressed out staff, my answer was HELL YES!
Crunch time. The request came just 24 hours before retail shops were mandated to close. But the knitting gods smiled on us and I was able to snag 20 pairs of needles from my wholesaler, while the gals at my LYS hooked me up with 20 cheerful skeins of Cascade Ultra Pima. Thanks Spun!
I thought "spa cloths" would be an ideal self-care project. Nice to knit now. Nice to use later. So I set out to design a few patterns that could be made from just one ball of Ultra Pima, and appeal to different skill levels.
wash your worries away
Nailed it! The Halton Spa Cloth Trio. Three simple cotton cloths to wash your worries away. If you can cast on, knit, and bind off, you can make the garter stitch spa cloth. If you can purl, you can knit all three!
1 ball of luxurious Ultra Pima + 1 pair of 4mm (US 6) knitting needles will yield three spa cloths ~ 6.75" (17 cm) square. I allowed extra yarn for anyone knitting wildly off gauge but, personally, I had enough yarn to knit a fourth spa cloth, and still had yarn to spare!
stay home. protect our healthcare workers.
The Halton Spa Cloth Trio is a free pattern on Ravlery, and on Instagram @coldcomfortknits. And if you don't have cotton yarn in your stash, local yarn shops are still shipping. So de-stash or order online, get the free pattern online, and lockdown like a BOSS. Protect our healthcare workers. Stay home and knit!
Knit Kit Care Packages on their way to OTMH.
A four-month digital absence is a loooong time by modern standards, but just a blink of the eye when you're in the midst of a global pandemic. As I write this, we are a planet on lockdown, sheltering-in-place to slow the spread of a virus that didn't even exist when I stopped blogging last November. Today, the world looks dramatically different than it did four and half months ago. But, for better or worse, I'm still knitting. Always knitting.
When I posted on November 14th I had just published my final pattern of the Fall/Winter 2019 season, The Harbour Hat. Normally, I would have immediately turned to mad market prep, but since I'd already sold my entire inventory of cold comfort hats in September at Burlington MADE, it seems I got the gift of time for the holidays. I had planned to use that time to make decisions about cold comfort knits, and the direction it would take in 2020.
To be honest, I'd been toying with the idea of throwing myself head-long (head-long!) into hat making, and decreasing my focus on other types of design work. My goal had been to create a hat *empire*, albeit a very tiny one. A tricked out online hat shop. A book of cold comfort hat patterns. I really *really* like knitting hats.
But then Shibui Knits invited me to participate in a design collaboration I would have been a fool to pass up, the holidays happened, I resumed teaching at the hospital twice a week, our condo went on the market and, if that weren't enough, I had to have some scary cardiac issues evaluated. Suffice it to say web & blog updates went on the back burner, along with my hat empire.
Days passed. Months passed. And Time sorted things out, like it always does. I completed my collaboration with Shibui Knits, we signed on the townhouse dotted line and got an official moving date, and I began to receive follow-up care with a cardiologist. As March arrived it finally seemed like it was time to start that empire. It was not.
Two weeks later the world went on lockdown, and our collective physical and financial security became a very sudden, very BIG question mark. Naturally, I now find myself questioning the future of cold comfort knits.
Will the financial impact of the pandemic cause families to turn away from the type of high quality (higher-priced) hand-knits I had hoped to stock in my online shop? Will there be a resurgence of illness when the cold weather arrives and, if so, will that result in the cancellation of Holiday Markets--in other words, if I invest the next 6 months of time & money in knitting sufficient market inventory, as I normally would, will I end up "out in the cold" this coming winter?
And patterns? What about patterns? I've given away thousands of free patterns over the last few years...several hundred as a goodwill gesture when the lockdown started. But Ravelry has tons of free patterns. Many are good. Many are the classic you-get-what-you-pay-for knitting nightmare. Will financial uncertainty cause knitters to take their chances with free patterns, or will they still value the clarity and ease of a $4 pattern from an experienced designer?
In spite of all the uncertainty, it's times like these that remind me how incredibly grateful I am to be a Knitter. I've said before and I'll say it again: Knitting saved my life. Knitting saves my life. Every single day, and now more than ever.
So instead of feeling "stuck" at home, I'm feeling SAFE at home, with a comprehensive set of knitting needles, an inspiring set of stitch dictionaries, and a stash that will outlast the apocalypse.
And that's enough for now.
I design modern, wearable hand-knits from decadent natural fibres. Also:
My spirit animal is a sheep.
My primary knitting fuel is vanilla-hazelnut coffee.
& My inner child is actually an inner senior-citizen :)