Saturday, November 19, 2016

Mini KAL: Hatamaran!

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Oh hi, friends!

So over the summer, my friend Sara and I did an impromptu hat knitalong, which we decided to call Hatamaran - because nonsensical boat puns are the best, that's why? :D

Well anyhoo, the tradition stuck, and now we're doing it again - only this time, you're invited to join along!

Use Hatamaran as an excuse to get some serious gift-knitting done - or, treat yourself, and knit a bazillion hats while dancing around and singing HATS HATS ALL OF THEM FOR MEEEE!!! and throwing pom-poms at your unsuspecting foes. Either way, it should be a delightful time.

The Rules of Hatamaran, should you choose to accept them:

  • The official Hatamaran kick-off is Tuesday November 22nd, 2016 and it will end on Friday, December 2nd, 2016, at 11:59 pm.
  • Pick a number of hats that is challenging - but doable! - for you to knit in 11 days.
    1 hat? 5 hats? 11 hats? Doesn't matter! Your goal is up to you.
  • Pick yarn and pattern combinations for each hat.
    Feel free to knit multiples of the same pattern, or all different patterns; be virtuous and stash dive, or be awesome and treat yourself to new yarn or patterns (any and all hat patterns are fair game!). Whatever is best for you is best for Hatamaran!
  • Post on the Ravelry group in the Hatamaran thread, or to Instagram with #hatamaran - (you can always tag me @indie.knits)
    In your first post, feel free to share how many hats you're hoping to knit. As you work, share those yarn cakes and WIP pictures, and we shall ooh and ahh over your Hatamaran-itude. Hatamaran-ary. Hatamaran-agement.
  • Make all the hats!!!!!!!
    Annnnnd this part is self-explanatory. :D

Prizes & Treats!

  • From now until the end of the knitalong, use the coupon code HATAMARAN to get a 20% discount on any of my hat patterns. (And if you can't quite commit to Hatamaran, that's okay too! You don't need to participate to take advantage of the code.)
  • Post a photo on the Ravelry thread and/or Instagram featuring any and all of your bound-off Hatamaran projects (end-weaving not required) by Friday, December 2nd, at 11:59 pm. From there, I'll choose 2 folks - 1 each from Ravelry and Instagram - to receive a free download of any of my independently-released patterns! Feel free to double-dip and post to both to increase your odds of winning.
  • I will post winners of the giveaway on Tuesday, December 6th. And if we have a big turn-out, I may add additional prizes for things like Most Epic Hatamaran, or Silliest Hatamaran Project. So feel free to get creative!

    That's it! I hope you'll join us for this very silly knitalong.

    On your mark... get set... AHOY!


Monday, November 14, 2016

LYS Spotlight: The Nifty Knitter

Hey friends! The Nifty Knitter's Grand Opening is this week - if you'd like help them celebrate, be sure to head over and like their Facebook page for details on cool giveaways and events!

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A few months ago, I was standing in a field at Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival, breathing in that stardust that's in the air when wool-bearing animals and enthusiastic yarn people get together, when I got a curious email in my inbox. It was from Ben Bentler, a musician and knitting enthusiast (!) who just happened to be the the owner of a new local yarn shop (!!) in Issaquah (!!!!) opening this November (!!!!!)

As you can probably tell from the exclamation points, I was a little excited about the news.

I was born and raised in and around Issaquah. It's a town on the threshold of the Cascades, where the valley is cut in two by the snake of the interstate: on one side, mountains with tree canopy so thick in places that the sun can't touch the ground; on the other, Lake Sammamish, the surface dampened by fog in the winter, and shimmering black & gold in the summer. No matter how many places I call home, Issaquah is the place that catches my heart every time I come back to it.

So it makes me incredibly happy that The Nifty Knitter is creating a new space, and a new opportunity for yarn folks to come together, in my home city! I went and visited a few weeks back, and I just wanted to share some of my thoughts and impressions with you. <3

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When I heard that the shop was opening its doors a few weeks early of its Grand Opening, I immediately grabbed my calendar and made a plan to go check it out. And I'm so glad that I did!

As soon as I walked in the door of the shop, I felt immediately welcome. Like... if I didn't live in Seattle, I'd probably be there every morning with a backpack full of shawl projects and a gallon of coffee, being all like, let's do this!!! Ben and his team have done an amazing job, creating a bright, functional, and welcoming atmosphere in a small and thoughtfully laid-out space.

The yarn selection is awesome, and word on the street is that Ben will be adding even more great stuff to the shop's offerings in the coming weeks and months.

There's something here for everyone: from hardworking cottons and blends for baby garments, to luxurious yarns from Shibui and The Fibre Company, to eco-conscious brands like Swans Island. There's a fantastic selection of favorites and staples like Cascade, Manos del Uruguay, Dream in Color, Malabrigo, and HiKoo, for gift-knitting and selfish knitting alike; also featured is a selection of harder-to-find yarns like Baa Ram Ewe and Elemental Affects, for those of us who love colorwork and deliciously sheepy wools!

Even since my visit a few weeks ago, there's more good things coming in - most recently a shipment of Madelinetosh, a perennial favorite for its wide selection of beautiful colors.

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The shop is a particularly lovely addition to Gilman Village, which is a prime location for knitters: close to good coffee, great restaurants, and cool little boutiques. Not only that, it's a neat historic spot, comprised of buildings from in and around old Issaquah. Because of that, many of the buildings are former homes, with all the quirks, charm, and challenges of late 19th- and early 20th- century architecture.

The Nifty Knitter embraces this character with open arms, to great effect: with a fresh coat of robins-egg blue paint, built-in fixtures that give a little nod to the historical roots of the space, and of course, tons of beautiful yarn, the shop feels like a jewelbox of color. There are wonderful personal touches as well, like a piano and a sweet little shop dog named Toby!

Overall, The Nifty Knitter excels at striking a balance of open and cozy: with large-scale displays, lots of natural light, and plenty of nooks for knitting and chatting, it's a place that will appeal to knitters of all stripes. I'm so excited to extend Ben and his team congratulations and welcome on building a beautiful new shop, and I look forward to visiting in the future!

Thanks for reading, friends - and if you're interested, I'd love for you to pop over to The Nifty Knitter Facebook page to show your support and participate in this week's Grand Opening festivities!


PS. As a final (and exciting!) note, I'll be bringing my Lupine shawl workshop to The Nifty Knitter in January 2017 - stay tuned for details!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Pattern Release: Cloudburst Hat & Spectral Lines Shawl

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Just in time for Knit Fit! this weekend, I have not one but two new patterns to share with y'all. I'm so pleased with both designs, and really excited by the positive response I've already gotten to the photos I've shared on Ravelry and Instagram. I hope you love them!

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First up is the Cloudburst Hat, a one-skein project using Malabrigo Rios in my absolute favorite of their colorways, the beautiful variegated Arco Iris.

This design was created for the 2016 Northwest LYS Tour as a thank-you pattern for participants, and to extend the love a little longer, I've decided to make this pattern free until January 2nd, 2017!

When I was working on this hat, I really wanted to showcase variegated and speckle-dyed yarns, while still featuring a stitch pattern with a little interest. (Also, as a side note, the ribbed panel on the side is the perfect place for all the cute enamel pins I've been collecting!)

For folks who prefer to work with solid and tonal yarns, they work beautifully in this pattern too. I love knitting hats, and I hope this one is just right for all your holiday and selfish knitting coming up this winter.

You can check out the pattern on Ravelry here

or download your free copy directly here.


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Second up is Spectral Lines, a collaboration with local dyer Blissful Knits that we dreamed up while I was down at Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival this last September. She had the most beautiful combination of saturated solid color and speckle-y color-shifting mini skeins, and when she asked if I might have any ideas to feature them along with a single skein of semi-solid gray, I said um yeahhh!

I was a chemistry major for over half of college, and one of the things that I always loved was all the visual ways of analyzing chemicals: burn tests, spectral analysis, nuclear magnetic resonance imaging. I always thought there was something exciting about being able to see a chemical express itself right in front of your eyes - even when it was ground into nondescript white powder, or present in such small quantities it was nearly invisible.

And so, color + stripes + nerdiness = Spectral Lines.

This shawl was an absolute joy to design from start to finish. The yarn base is twisty and a little bit bouncy - my favorite! - and every time I would switch to the next color from my little paintbox of mini-skeins, my heart would go all a-flutter with happiness.

Already, my test knitters have played with color in gorgeous ways, some substituting all solids and others adding in extra colors in the big stripes. It's been so fun to see what folks dream up, and I'm already scheming my next version!

It's available for download for $6.00, or you can check out the details on Ravelry on the Spectral Lines pattern page.

As a note, Blissful Knits will also be at Knit Fit! this weekend, so local folks, if you can't wait to get your hands on some of her yarn, this is the perfect opportunity!

Okie dokie, friends, that's it! Thanks for reading, and hope you have a good weekend.


Thoughts on an Election


Trigger warning: rape & sexual assault, racism, the 2016 election.

Dearest friends,

My heart is heavy.

These past days have been difficult and frightening for many people in the United States, myself included. Many people I follow on social media are calling for a wait-and-see attitude about our President-elect, but at this moment, I am not able to see past the murky ground below my feet.

This particular election has been brutal for so many, in depths that I cannot begin to imagine. For my own part, it has touched a raw nerve, in its flagrant dismissal and gaslighting of violence and sexual assault.

When I was 18, I was raped by my 25-year-old housemate, and the fallout of that experience came very close to ending my life. A few years after that, while traveling internationally, I was sexually assaulted for a period of 16 hours over two nights.

The first experience, I have written about here before. The second, I have only begun to speak about in the last year.

What I learned from the first experience was that my sexuality was a weapon that could be used against me. That one man's blind entitlement was more important than my voice, my body, and my identity. I lost the friendship of almost every person I knew, all because they believed - or were not willing to fight against the idea - that I had brought that violence upon myself, simply by existing in the world as a woman. That betrayal cut as deeply as the rape itself, and its scars linger on my heart even still; in these last days and months, these scars have ignited like kerosene.

What I learned from the second was to be quiet.

I cannot be quiet anymore.

We have chosen as President a man who has shown hate and bigotry to be his highest principles.

Who promises to hurt my LGBTQ, Latinx, Black, Muslim, Jewish, women, and disabled dear ones.

Who threatens to take away their citizenship, their bodily autonomy, their marriages, their safety.

 Who has allegedly and admittedly sexually assaulted women, women like me, women who have once again been forced to learn that the only way to stay alive is to stay quiet. And for so many of our citizens - people of color, trans* and queer folks in particular - devastatingly, even quiet has been stripped away as a refuge.


I have already seen the powerful forces of compassion at work in the last days. Voices that are calling for change, for community, for coming together in solidarity with those who are hurt and struggling. I have never used social media so much in my life. I have never texted the word 'love' so much in my life. I have never felt so passionately that we have a duty to our fellow citizens to honor and protect each other, in whatever ways we can muster.

This is all that I can think to do: to name my fear and release it among kindred hearts, where it might molt and extend its dark wings into a new kind of hope.

What now?

I have decided to continue my usual posting in the coming days and weeks. It is a conscious choice on my part, to share the beauty and love in my life in response to all this uncertainty and fear. I understand that not everyone is able to make that choice, and I respect the very real anger and hurt and fear that people are feeling right now. We all process things in our own ways, and whatever that looks like is okay.

But oh, dear friends, American and beyond: please know that I love you, and I see you, and I am here with you, tonight and always.

Much love,
Cory Ellen

Monday, November 7, 2016

Upcoming Event: indie.knits at Knit Fit 2016!

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Hi friends! I mentioned it briefly a while back, but I just wanted to make a post again officially -

indie.knits will be at this year's Knit Fit market, coming right up this weekend! I'll have printed patterns and samples galore, many of which feature yarn companies who will also be at the event - including Blissful Knits, Spincycle Yarns, Three Fates Yarn, YOTH Yarns, and Hazel Knits - so you can go squish their beautiful wares in person, and maybe get into a little bit of yarn trouble while you're at it ;)

I'll also have some special goodies ready just in time for the event, available on Ravelry so everybody can join in the fun!

Want to drop by?

Knit Fit! market hours are:

Saturday, November 12, 8:30 am-6 pm
Sunday, November 13, 10 am-4 pm

at the Ballard Community Center
6020 28th Ave. NW in Seattle

The market is free to visit, and chock full of amazing indie dyers and other awesome yarn and design-minded folks. I'd love to see you there!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

FO: Uncommon Vasa

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This past June, while on working holiday with Mr Blake, I took a stroll down Camden Passage to visit the famous Loop London. He was in company meetings all day, so after sleeping off my jetlag and devouring a ham croissant in the lobby of the hotel, I set off on the train to check out the sights. It had rained the day before on my visit to the V&A, but the sky hadn't been too threatening that morning, so I skipped the umbrella and went on my merry way to Islington.

Loop, as promised, was like a fairy cottage stuffed with wool. I spent over an hour there, growing a little collection of yarn that I carried around like a puppy in my arms. (Gift yarn for friends! Gift yarn for me! When in London, amirite?!) Then, as I poked around in the laceweight section downstairs, an afternoon rainstorm rolled in, and I had to stay a little longer than I had planned. So I stood there with an armload of yarn as the rain tapped its knuckles across the glass, and I breathed in the smell of wool and wet cobblestone from the open door and thought: this must be what heaven feels like.

When the rain finally let up, I left, carrying two precious skeins of Viola Merino Fingering in Speckled Mist (a special colorway just for Loop's 10th anniversary) and a skein of The Uncommon Thread Tough Sock, all part of the devious plan that was a-brewin' in my noggin:

My friend Sara and I had been kicking around the idea of a little seasonal sweater knitalong, as a way to keep accountable on our sweater knitting and have some fun along the way. Vasa was our first pattern choice: a drapey, universally flattering top, designed by Dianna Walla, a talented designer and delightful human to boot.

The only problem with the whole thing was my lack of suitable yarn, which is hilarious considering how much yarn I actually own. (Hint: it's a lot.) But then, with a well-timed trip to Loop, and the exciting possibilities of knitting with gorgeous UK (and hard-to-find Canadian) yarns, my problem was solved!

A month or so later, I cast on, and it became my at-home movie knitting until recently, when I finally bound off and blocked the darn thing.

Did I make it in time for the season, friends? I did not. Did I end up with a beautiful and wearable garment that will always remind me of walking around London on a rainy afternoon? Yes indeed.

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Good enough for me.

All the details, including my modifications, are on Ravelry here.

Happy Wednesday, friends.