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I’m 40 Now!! 40%-Off Sale to Celebrate

To celebrate my fortieth birthday, I think a pattern sale is in order!

If you hop on over to Ravelry, this link will take you right to my patterns, and anything you put in your cart will automatically have 40% of its price taken off. There are no limits, no minimum purchases, just a pure 40% discount. (Except on Sugarblaze because it’s still only available from Knit Picks.)

It’s really fun to go back through some of my older designs! A lot has happened since I published my first pattern.

I actually like getting older. I feel more and more comfortable in my own skin. It’s wonderful to be growing up. (My kids think I’m a grown-up by default, but we all know better. Being “grown up” is more of a process than a destination. I hope.)

So, because I’m feeling celebratory and forty years is a big thing, here are my favourite things about getting older:

  • I’m letting go of more and more fear. Life is just too short to give one moment of it to being afraid.
  • So I’m doing more of what I like, for me. I cut my hair short, and it feels amazing. I wear what I want. (Secret pajamas for the win! Bright tunic tops and leggings for me, please. With pockets.)
  • I know my strengths and talents now, and it’s not boasting to acknowledge them to myself. I owe it to myself to develop them and let them grow into something.
  • I know my weaknesses, too, and I’m over them. They’re there, we’re friends, and everybody’s got them anyway. None of us are perfect at everything we try, and I’m okay with that. I will always be late for most of my appointments because time doesn’t make sense to me, but I can paint an accurate portrait, and I can live with that.
  • I know which weaknesses can be improved upon, shored up, or accepted and worked around. I don’t need as much reassurance from others that I’m okay, and I just smile and nod now when people give me tips. I know the tips. I’ve read the books. But I spent so many years trying to be better at what I hate instead of mastering the things I’m great at. Onward to better things!
  • I know that what I KNEW to be true ten years ago is different from what I KNOW right now. So I hold my opinions more loosely and look to learn more.
  • I know that the opposite of love is fear. To love well means to let go of the fear — of being a bad parent, or a goofy teacher, or whatever. Any time I’ve operated out of fear, I’ve been harsh with my kids, nitpicked about details instead of seeing the whole person in front of me. If I teach out of fear, I don’t learn new things myself. When I’m afraid of what people think of me, I can’t be myself.
  • Fear is a tool for reading a situation, but not for long-term decisions. I listen to my instincts and trust them more and more, and that’s useful. So I don’t want to live in a vacuum free of fear, but I want to be mindful that I listen to its message, take it into account, and then act bravely from my values instead.
  • I’m more patient with others. If I can grow, so can anyone. When I say a dumb thing, I usually regret it and learn from it. Allowing others room for that same growth is essential. I choose to hope for and expect the best, to leave room for growth, to wait patiently while others walk their own paths. To cheer them on along the way. Life is hard enough without having people pick apart your every mistake.
  • I give myself more of a break. Bad days don’t last. Nothing lasts forever. Seasons pass, winter turns into spring, and depression lifts eventually. Sometimes, life is a bit of a waiting game, and now I can accept that more.
  • My body affects my moods, and I’ve learned to baby it. Give it naps, make sure it drinks enough water and gets good food. Give it down time. I refuse to live on the brink of a constant nervous breakdown. I take care of this squishy vehicle I drive through life. (I do feed it too much ice cream lately, but whatever.)
  • I love saying no. I build empty space into my schedule because I have lived without margins, and let me tell you, it was not life. It was overwhelm, stress, exhaustion, irritability, and loss of creativity. The blank spaces are essential components of a kind, creative life.
  • Every hour devoted to playing the piano, painting, drawing, or reading, is an hour that feeds the hard-work, slogging hours of productivity. They are absolutely essential. Feeding the creative soul is never a waste of time.
  • Art IS math and science. Music, colour, proportion, pattern — it’s math, electromagnetic radiation, wavelengths, rhythm, algebra. The language of the universe is instinctually known by artists and painstakingly calculated by mathematicians and interpreted and investigated by scientists. They are different sides of the same coin.
  • The opposite of fear is love. Love is patient and kind. Choosing to love means to decide not to act out of fear: no boasting (fear that you’re not enough), no rudeness (fear that you won’t get what you need so you rush in to get what’s yours, disregarding the humanity of those around you), no envy (fear of scarcity), no pride (fear of not being the best), no keeping records of everything anyone has ever done that harmed you (fear of injustice). And the good news is that loving frees us from the fear that holds us back from being ourselves.
  • Best books I’ve read so far: Daring Greatly, Braving the Wilderness, and Rising Strong (all 3 by Brene Brown); The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron; Superparenting for ADHD by Edward Hallowell; anything by Rachel Held Evans, Jen Hatmaker, Glennon Doyle. The Gift of Fear by Gavin deBecker. Norman Doidge’s books on neuroplasticity.
  • Favourite quotes from the past few years: “I belong to myself” ~ from Maya Angelou, but I found it in Brene Brown’s Braving the Wilderness, I think. I belong everywhere, I belong nowhere: I belong to myself. I move freely throughout the world, in any setting, because I belong.
  • “We can do hard things.” ~ Glennon Doyle
  • Thing I said so many times to my kids that I started to believe it and say it to myself: “Of course you’re not good at that yet! This is the first time you’ve tried it. You won’t get any good at all until you’ve tried it at least ten times. You have to make a million mistakes before you get really good at things.”

Things Knitting Taught Me About Life

  • Making mistakes is inevitable. The important thing isn’t avoiding making them, it’s learning to fix them or live with them.
  • Ripping out is part of knitting. Making mistakes is part of life. Moving backwards isn’t a thing — every fall, failure, setback, is part of the path. Carry on.
  • You can’t judge a project by its beginning. You need at least a few inches, a gauge swatch, and sometimes blocking before you can get a good view.
  • The first step of learning a new skill is: awkwardness. Incredible, tangly, confusing awkwardness. Messes. Feeling like you’re all thumbs, like your brain is exhausted and maybe even melted. This is normal. Push through and carry on.
  • Every knitter has a different level of experience and skill. Comparing yourself to others is like comparing a first dishcloth to a masterful Fair Isle sweater. It’s unfair to compare first steps to 400th ones. You’re on different paths with different rates of learning. Just keep knitting; you’ll get there, too.
  • Stop and look. Notice details. It helps.
  • Counting is hard. Seriously, be kind to yourself and use stitch markers. Sometimes it’s the simple things that are the easiest to mess up. It means nothing other than: Counting Is Hard.
  • Trying to fix mistakes when you’re tired makes them worse. Go to sleep and reset your brain. Things will be clearer in the morning.
  • Mistakes are the best teachers. Don’t waste them.

Brioche Knitting Mistakes Can Be Fixed!

use a crochet hook to pick up dropped brioche stitches

I made a video that shows how to fix brioche! It’s up on my YouTube channel, and you can find it here.

Fixing a dropped stitch in brioche is just like fixing a dropped stitch in stockinette, but there are yarnover buddies in the way. The trick was figuring out what to do with those yarnovers. I like to tell my students that in brioche, every stitch gets a yarnover buddy, and no buddy gets left behind. This applies to the dropped stitches, too. It’s why my cutesy little rhyme works:

Over one,

Under two,

Grab the stitch,

Pull it through.

Over one, under two, grab the stitch, pull it through

How to pick up a dropped stitch in brioche:

First, put the dropped stitch onto a crochet hook. Then:

Over one (buddy) — Find the buddy that’s tight against the stitch under your crochet hook, and leave it alone. Let the crochet hook go OVER it without bothering it, and then go…

Under two buddies to find the next stitch. Sometimes the next stitch is already a bit closer, and if it is, that’s okay, grab it! But if it’s gotten completely out of place, and you’re not sure which buddies to tuck it behind before it can be pulled through the stitch on your hook, two is the magic number.

Once you’ve woven the crochet hook through the buddies in this order, Grab the dropped stitch.

Pull it through the stitch on the crochet hook. You’ll be threading back down behind the two buddies and in front of the one but leaving them alone otherwise. Don’t pull any buddies through the stitches.

By passing the crochet hook over the first buddy in your first step, you’re essentially leaving that buddy to hang out forever with the stitch below. Just make sure it is, in fact, only one buddy and not two mushed together and trying to trick you. Be bossy with those buddies and put them in their places so every stitch gets one buddy.

What do you think? Could you fix your brioche now? Let me know if you try this and how it works for you!

Here’s that video link again. Have you seen my YouTube channel yet?

 

Fun Things in August and September!

You guys, I can’t believe August is almost over! What did you do this summer?

Here’s my knitting news:

New patterns out this summer and fall:
Talamed

 

 

 


Continuing my love of slip stitches and all things reversible, I’ve made a cardigan pattern inspired by the Book of Kells! You can find it in Carol Feller’s new book, Echoes of Heather and Stone, along with many other simply gorgeous patterns, all inspired by ancient Ireland.

She interviewed me about my design, and if you’d like to read it (and watch a recording of our Instagram live chat, in which I felt slightly awkward but prevailed), you can find them on her website, Stolen Stitches, here.

Kairos
A squishy, almost geometric, brioche shawl pattern. Also reversible. 🙂

Mosaica
Engaging, constantly changing, full of small repeats. Get started with mosaic knitting!

Knitalong
If you follow me on Instagram, maybe you’ve been knitting along on a Mosaica shawl! It’s been great fun to watch everyone’s shawls growing. I love all the colour choices; seriously, I haven’t seen a bad one yet.

Check them all out there by searching the #MosaicaKAL hashtag, and you can even still join in! It’s a very low-stress knitalong. Just post photos of your shawl in progress with that tag, and tag me as well @aknitica. I’ll be announcing the prizes soon (since August is almost over!), and I’ll be scrolling through the tagged posts and randomly pointing at pictures to pick a few winners. Free patterns, anyone? And don’t forget, the Mosaica pattern is free on Ravelry until the end of August. Grab it quickly before the sale is over!

Knitting Classes
My monthly fall classes start in September, and if you’re in the Ottawa area, there’s still time to register!

Click on the little Google Calendar widget in the sidebar to see my complete schedule. (You can even import your class to your own Google Calendar from there!)

I’ll be teaching my own knit-anything classes at Rideau Park on Alta Vista, which you can sign up for right here. These are my weekly clubs in which you can bring absolutely anything knitting related to get my help. We can fix anything! I can also help you knit a sweater, some socks, a lace shawl… whatever you want. Anything goes.

Wabi Sabi on Wellington has invited me to teach a brioche cowl class, some knit-any-project classes, and a continental knitting workshop this fall. Go to their website to register. I will definitely teach you how to fix brioche if you ask!

I’ll be at Maker Savvy in Kanata on Thursday afternoons and evenings. Check out their website after September 1st to see the schedule and to register! Expect classes on my reversible cable technique, a brioche shawl, mosaic knitting, and Fair Isle mittens in which we make the ever-ridiculously-adorable Tiny-Santa mittens.

My summer was really great.
We took the kids to the Toronto Zoo and Ripley’s Aquarium, spent some time at the cottage, and then lounged around the house. I took a week-long “Alla Prima Portraiture” class (that’s just fancy speak for all-at-once portrait painting, which is kind of crazy and fun. You basically just throw a painting together in a few hours, starting with the big shadow and highlight shapes, then gradually refining them into a recognizable human being. I’m still practicing.)

To end the summer, we bought a puppy. I kid you not. I must have lost my mind, but I’m glad I did. He’s fantastic, and my kids are fully occupied with snuggling him and taking him for walks and playing tug of war with his tiny rope toy.

 

That’s all for now! I hope to see you this fall, whether it’s in person at a class, or online on Instagram or Facebook. 🙂 Happy knitting!

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