It's funny how the best things in life can happen right out of the blue. Like last Thursday evening--I made a routine post to Instagram, did a bit of knitting, then went to bed as usual. By Friday morning, that same post had become one of the top nine posts under six separate hashtags; #madeincanada, #naturalneutrals, #instaknit, #ethicalfashion, and #knittersofig. Wow!
The irony is, after spending hours trying to compose pretty product shots for the cold comfort online shop, I'd piled these particular pieces together simply to get them out of the way; it wasn't until I put down the camera to tidy up that I was stuck by their beauty.
I picked up the camera and snapped a few final shots. Not composed. Not created specifically for social media. Just a few in-the-moment, wow-aren't-these-pretty-together, pictures. Natural. Authentic. Beautiful. I guess that's why the image did so well on IG...its 'realness' made it relatable.
Personally, I learned a valuable lesson (well, re-learned). If you want to be pleasantly surprised by life, you have to stop trying to control it. If only I could remember this more often!
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!
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/
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!
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!
I'm Alexis, the knitter/designer behind cold comfort knits. My favourite animal is a sheep (obvi). My primary knitting fuel is coffee. And my inner child is actually more of an inner senior-citizen.