Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Peppermint Patty

I signed up for a new fiber club with a Verb for Keeping Warm. Clearly, when I took that drop spindle class at my local yarn store, I had no idea that spinning would be essential in my daily life. I recently received my first shipment. ...a beautiful pink colorway named "peppermint patty"

We also have a snow storm today!!! Mother Nature is telling us to stay warm knit, crochet or spin..

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Thankful for knittng

I don't celebrate Christmas yet it is one of my favorite holidays...
2012 has been quite stressful and I've been ready for 2013 since April...
I am so thankful for knitting and how it has helped me cope with obstacles....

On a snow-less Christmas day, I casted on  the shawl "Hypoteneuse" by Anne Hanson
so beautiful, intuitive and a great way to spend Christmas!
Joyeux Noel!

Pattern : "Hypoteneuse" by Anne Hanson
Yarn: Juniper Moon Farm
Needle: US size 5

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Spinning with local dyed yarn

I have been following the work of Robin Edmundson for a while now. She is a local dyer and I love the vibrant colors.
We recently had a fiber show in town and I purchased several rovings.
I had fun creating fun combos...
It is also very therapeutic for me as it's been a challenging semester so far. I hope my state of mind will soon match these vibrant colors

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Mystery Block of Month

A year ago, my local yarn store started a knitted mystery month of the club. I joined it because it is out of my comfort zone. See I am a perfectionist and it hasn't been very helpful lately.  I am challenging myself to shift my mindset/perspective on several things and embrace the unknown and mistakes/ errors.
Each block is $5 so  I happily joined. After all, it would be a great way to improve my knitting, learn new stitches and feel comfortable reading a pattern.
 I had no idea that through the mystery block, I would learn an important life lesson  for me: appreciate the process and trust that the project will turn out well. This is an ongoing lesson for me.

After 12 months of mystery blocks, sewing them and a simple crochet edge, here is my throw:

I love it!!!!
each block tells a different story...
The green one for instance is my first hat that I frogged.. It was my first knitting project   after a long hiatus.
The yellow block was knitted on a trip to Chicago for instance.
I picked the colors because at that moment, I just loved them...
I was scared that they might clash when I put together...not really!!
Some of my blocks are way bigger than others...but it is okay..
there are a few mistakes/ errors but that's okay too.

A year ago, I would have focused more on what needed to be fixed in order to be perfect.
Today, I just see a beautiful warm blanket!

Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted
Needle: US 8
Pattern: Four Seasons Throw

Update: since then, the blanket has made its way to Haiti..I hope the recipient enjoys it!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Dyeing with Indigo

About a week and a half ago, I took a dyeing with natural colors workshop.
I've always wanted to try to dye yarn and it was the perfect opportunity to explore it with indigo.
Sadly, I didn't take many pictures
Enclosed are the highlights...

Harvesting indigo leaves

The instructor is demonstrating how to dye with goldenrod

The beautiful scarves

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A day in Chicago

Since my last post,something incredible happened.
A few months ago, one of my favorite yarn companies sent out a call for test knitters.
I signed up and response. Maybe their needs were fulfilled and I was too late?

To my surprise, I received an email towards the end of August asking me if I was still interested to test knit for them. Of course!!!
I've been busy knitting every chance I get in order to finish my assignment  on time. At some point, I started freaking out...will I make the deadline?
Thank god I did! I can't wait to share more details as soon as we are allowed to :)

In the meantime, I was in Chicago yesterday for a day trip.
I love Chicago and usually go there 2-3 times a year.
This time, I made sure to visit a yarn store and I went to Loopy yarns since I was around the area.
Everyone was very friendly and allowed  me to take pictures of the store :)

 I really want to make this Crochet Chain reaction afghan


I LOVED the store! I just felt like a kid in a candy store. So many yarn choices especially sock yarn.
I had the opportunity to look closely at  Miss Babs, MadTosh, Lorna Lace etc.
My haul included some MadTosh, local yarn and Miss Babs :)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Eat, Knit, Laugh

Fun fact about moi: I am a twin.
My brother and I are completely different though. He is a social butterfly and I admire his ability to talk to new people easily.
Social interactions can be quite stressful for me. I have to make a conscious effort to shut down the constant chatter in my mind: what do I say? Am  I smiling too much? Am I asking too many questions?

Most evenings, especially during the academic year, I knit in front of the TV trying to solve a crime. I might have been a detective in a previous life. However quite often I do crave some interaction and this past year I've been making an effort to meet new people.
Whoever invented " Knit night" is a genius!!

My local yarn store hosts one and I really look forward to it.
It is so much easier as the conversation is a bit scripted at first :
 "What are you making?"
 " Which pattern are you using?"
 " What a beautiful yarn! Which yarn is it? "

At the beginning, I would answer politely, listen to the conversation and knit.
Now, I really feel more comfortable to share what's going on in my life.
 Most women already have grandchildren and it is so inspiring to see them lead  active lives.
Growing up, I didn't have that model.  Knit night has changed my perspective about aging!

This summer, I was also invited to join another "knit night" with four wonderful ladies.
We meet in a coffee place every Tuesday, eat, knit, laugh and admire beautiful yarn. It has been a blessing to be a part of both groups as  I feel more connected to the community.
Most importantly,  it is a reminder to make time for things that matter the most!

I am currently knitting  Tytonidae Cowl
My project bag for knit night is from Three Bags Full
Yarn: local yarn from Robin J. Edmundson
Needle size: US 5

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Spiral Blanket of Awesome

I love Three Irish girls yarn so much that I signed up for her yarn club.
Sharon recently had a baby and during her pregnancy she shared on her blog patterns of items she was knitting. One of them that I absolutely love was the Spiral Blanket of Awesome.
Before I knew it, I couldn't stop knitting it over and over again :)

Yarn: Three Irish Girls, Aiden Springvale Worsted
Needle : US size 8

Yarn: Three Irish girls, Mardi Gras Adorn Sock
Needle : US Size 2

Yarn: Pagewood Farm Denali, Turquoise
Needle :US Size 2

It is my party hat

I love knitting items for charity especially baby clothes since they are fun, quick and perfect to try new techniques. I recently learned about the Click for Babies knitting campaign through Twisted Yarn shop.
The goal is to spread awareness about normal infant crying especially during the first five months.
I don't have a baby and quite frankly I am afraid to hold them until they are about 9 months. They are just so tiny and fragile yet adorable. I am the godmother to two sweet, funny and amazing boys.
Twisted  Yarn shop is collecting purple hats so I will be sending mine through the post office.
My goal is to make 6-8  and I want to get them done before August 20th. That's when classes start.
I am using "It is my party hat"  pattern designed by Emily Williams.
So far, I have 3 hats made. I ended up using the pattern as a basic recipe then added color and texture :)
Yarn: Jojoland tonic
Needle: US size 7
I added a tiny fair isle motif then 2 rows of seed stich

Yarn: Jojoland
Needle: US size 7
I added cables

Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock
 Colorway: HRH Crown Princess of Purple
Needle: US size 2

You can tell I love zinnias :)
3-5 more to go....

my knitting story

 I am the only knitter in my family..well the only spinner and crocheter too.
I learned how to crochet first in Ghana when I was twelve in the early 90s.
I used to attend the French School  and in between classes, several friends used to crochet together and make doilies. I learned informally the different stitches and how to read crochet graphs.

When we moved to Kenya after four years in Ghana, I had a really hard time adjusting to high school, a new environment and just life in Nairobi.
The school offered after-school activities and I signed up for the "club de couture" ie "sewing club".
We did everything but sew :)
We did a lot of embroidery then learned how to knit. There was a yarn store where I pretty much spent all my money buying notions and yarn.  Unfortunately I lost most of my stash when we moved to Senegal after a year in Nairobi.

So I've been knitting and crocheting on and off for more than 15 years.
I can't thank enough Madame Robineau for teaching me this craft. It has been a tremendous stress reliever, a creative outlet but most importantly what I do when I can't sleep, worry or feel helpless.  This past year, I have been trying to define myself outside of work and prioritize creativity. As I think about knitting and crochet constantly, I thought why not blog about it?
Ilham means "Inspiration" in Swahili. I do need lots of inspiration to continue knitting and eventually start writing short stories again..