Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Spring 2016 KAL: Nusalong!


Hello, friends! Today, I'm excited to announce Nusalong! - a Spring-ish Knitalong for the Nusa cowl pattern. I had so much fun running last fall's Fireweed KAL that I figured, why not do it again?

Just like last time, I'll write a bit about choosing colors and working the different techniques from the cowl, it will be super chill, and we'll have some fun prizes of yarn and patterns to sweeten the deal!

So how 'bout those nitty-gritty details?
  • Anyone can join!
  • The pattern is available digitally in my Ravelry store, and if you use the code NUSALONG at checkout, you'll receive 15% off the pattern, valid from today until March 21st, 2016.
  • Feel free to use yarn from your stash, or treat yourself to some new squishies from Three Fates Yarn! ETA: Enter the code NUSA1516 when you order aquae or aether singles in available colors on Etsy before February 14th, and you'll get 15% off your yarn. (The discount applies to your entire purchase, so it's a good time to refill the stash - and if you spend $100 after the discount, you'll get a free Three Fates Yarn bag. Sweet, thanks Stephania!)
  • Hop on over to the Ravelry group and post in the Nusalong! Ravelry thread, or post to Instagram with #nusakal by 11:59 pm on Monday, February 22nd, and you'll be entered to win a free digital download of Cairn just for joining.
  • I'll be giving away two copies of Cairn - one for Instagram, and one for Ravelry - so feel free to double-dip and enter both! I'll be announcing the winners on Friday, February 26th.
    • We'll start knitting Monday, February 22nd, with a finish date of Friday, May 6th.
    • Post your finished project on the Nusalong! FO thread on Ravelry by 11:59 pm on Friday, May 13th, and you'll be entered to win some super cool prizes, including yarn from Three Fates and patterns from my Ravelry store.

    Allrighty, I think that's it! Onward, friends, and happy Wednesday!

    Wednesday, January 20, 2016

    Pattern Release: Nusa

    Nusa (Release Front)

    Seven years ago this month, I spent three weeks on an island off the coast of Bali, a place called Nusa Penida. In my time there, I helped chop a jackfruit; rode on the back of a motor bike down to the market to buy oil and shallots; ate stale sweet crackers on the front porch with an older woman who taught me to spin thread from slivers of cotton and giggled when I made mistakes, which was often. I listened to Junior Wells on a dying iPod and took naps on the couch while the rain rolled over the hills to the sea.

    It remains one of the most beautiful and formative experiences of my life, one whose meaning I can barely touch with words. But what has stayed with me are the memories of heat and taste and color: the glint of the big silver diving platform in the harbor; the air so thick with moisture you could feel its weight on your skin like a cat; greens heavy with spices that made my whole chest ache with heat for hours afterward.

    In the shorthand of my memory, Nusa Penida is turquoise and red and gold, a continue loop of land and water meeting - and so it seems fitting that my woolen Nusa should be composed of the same stuff. I hope it brings you a bit of sunlight too.

    nusashoot7Nusa (Release Back)

    The pattern is available for download for $6.00, or you can check out the details on Ravelry on the Nusa pattern page.

    Huge thanks to my test knitters, whose thoughtful feedback and gorgeous projects make my job a million times prettier and more fun. <3

    Happy Wednesday, friends!

    Wednesday, January 13, 2016

    Hey Charlie!

    heycharlie heycharlie2

    A few days into the new year, out of sheer luck and circumstance, Lumberjack and I found out that a local family needed to rehome a 3.5-month-old Pembroke Welsh Corgi puppy, and would we like to meet her? After a small amount of hyperventilating and crying, we brought her home last Sunday, and it's been an adventure ever since! We've taken to calling her Charlie (Charchar, Charmander, etc.) and she is a little bundle of energy.

    We've been talking about adopting a dog off and on for several years, but wanted to have a stable living situation before we committed. We had originally talked about adopting a dog from a shelter, but I also had a not-so-secret dream of having a Corgi. Growing up, I had an awesome dog named Holly who was - as near as we could tell - a Corgi/Australian Blue Heeler mix. She was abandoned in the woods, pregnant, at a little under a year old, and she and her puppies survived long enough to be rescued and taken to the Humane Society, where we adopted her when I was four.

    She was smart, sweet, and not a small amount stubborn. She was the best dog for car rides and afternoon cuddles; incredibly tolerant of my adolescent photography sessions; the kind of dog who would get her head stuck in an empty ice cream carton and have a sense of humor about it. She passed away right before I went to college, and I still miss her.

    So between Holly and all the gentle, clever Corgis I've met at the shop over the years, I started to have a real soft spot for the breed.

    Enter Ms Charlie, our Wonderpup - we've had her for a little over a week, and she's already melted her noodly little bum into our everyday lives. She's whip-smart, cuddly, and impulsive. She's already partially destroyed her favorite dragon toy, and she'll jump into your arms when she's lonely. She can lick a pair of earrings out of your ears in two seconds flat. Though I can only imagine how tough it is to let go of a beloved pup like her, I am so grateful to her family for raising such a wonderful little girl, and for giving us the opportunity to bring her into our lives.

    Unsurprisingly, this little furball is a phenomenal amount of work, but she makes it fun. I mean, who could say no to that face?


    Clearly not me! Happy Wednesday, friends!

    Saturday, January 2, 2016

    Onward to 2016


    Although my usual way of wrapping up the year is to go over the highlights individually, I'm going to keep it brief this time. 2015 was a year for growth and change for me, both personally and professionally - new endeavors included teaching some classes at the fashion academy, buying our first house, cutting my hair short, and vending my first show as indie.knits - but it was interspersed with a fair bit of loss and difficulty in my personal life. I feel really lucky to have a wonderful network of family and chosen-family that helped me through this last year, and hopefully 2016 will be a bit kinder on that front.

    As far as goals, I just have a few things that I'd like to focus on in the coming year.

    house2 house

    Make a home.

    We've been slowly putting together our space - bringing in plants, adding rugs and curtains, hanging art, replacing crappy furniture with nicer stuff - and in the new year, I want to continue to make our little house feel personalized, welcoming, and comfortable. Lumberjack and I share a very similar style - modern but eclectic, colorful but not cluttered - and I want to continue to develop that aesthetic in our home.

    To spend the time finding the right thing that fits with our budget, we've had to space out a lot of our bigger purchases, which makes some parts of the house feel perpetually in-progress, but hopefully in the next year, we'll be able to finish a big chunk of the design projects on our to-do list: Lumberjack's work space, the downstairs bedroom, and the yard in particular!

    Untitled thanksgivingweek2

    Make art, in its own time.

    I overbooked myself a whole lot in 2015, mostly because I want to do everything. So although I'm really proud of the work I did this last year, a lot of it was done at a frantic pace, with no time for rest after a big project was finished. So in 2016, I want to be mindful of my physical and creative limitations, and give myself a bit more time to recuperate after expending big reserves of energy on a project.

    I really connect with what Ann Hamilton has to say about creative work, especially her thoughts on work and time, and I hope to channel a bit more of that attitude into my creative work in the next year. 

    modcollar4 Untitled

    Take care.

    Whether it's pulling weeds in the backyard, repairing a vintage dress, or going for a walk, there are little things that I can do every day to care for myself, my home, and my belongings. When I was grading Sweet Root, I took walks around the neighborhood after staring at Excel for three or four hours, and it was exactly what I needed. Though these little acts sometimes feel frivolous, it turns out that they're really excellent for cultivating a healthy work/life balance.

    One of the biggest aha moments I had last year was that creativity is not sourceless, and it's also not bottomless. It's a cistern of water that you have to fill, and refill, and refill. If you add water in your downtime - going for a hike, potting some plants, painting your nails - that water will sustain you when you have to work 12 hours a day for two weeks straight. But you also have to keep filling it, especially after one of those times when you use it all up in one go.

    If I think of the refilling process as a burden, it will be a burden - but if I think of it as something exciting that I'm challenged to do, it becomes much more gratifying.

    coffee 2015madrona10

    Choose happiness - and don't be afraid to use it.

    One of the side effects of having less stuff is the opportunity to use and enjoy all of the things that I do have. When I was growing up, I often felt as though nice things were for other people, and if I did have something nice, I didn't want to use it for fear of messing it up - and unconsciously, I extended much of this attitude of self-denial into my adult life.

    I would buy gorgeous cashmere yarn, only to have it sit in my stash, because I should really knit up that scratchy wool from the discount bin first. We would buy a hunk of good brie from the store and eat some of it, but have the other half go moldy because we didn't want to 'waste it' on a snack.

    This self-imposed mandate of 'you should buy nice things, but you don't deserve to enjoy them in the way that you want' has gotten me stuck more times than I'd like to think about. So this year, I'm going to buy the cashmere instead of the wool from the discount bin - or better yet, to knit up that cashmere I've been hoarding as too-perfect-to-knit for four years - and I'm going to eat that brie with my fingers, straight from the fridge. Because in my estimation, life is too short not to enjoy the kindnesses that you give to yourself.


    And with that in mind, onward 2016 - Happy New Year, friends!