I am so excited to introduce the Catalina Beach Sweater! I almost gave up on summer knitting, but I was inspired at the end of July to do one more beach sweater – and this is perfect because it easily transitions for the fall season.

The Catalina Beach Sweater is a great transitional piece for your wardrobe.

Designed to be worn on those cooler, summer nights, the Catalina is knit with cotton yarn and designed with lace eyelets and chevron – to give it a chunky sweater feel, but without the weight.

It’s oversized, with enough ease for you to slip it on easily over your swimsuit – or your button down.

You don’t have to retire it at the end of the season. It’s perfect for layering in the spring or fall, over a t-shirt or a button down, and it’s perfect for school or work.

The shoulders are dropped, giving it a casual vibe, and the sleeves stop at the elbows – perfectly cool for all seasons.

Want to buy the sweater? Here’s the etsy page for that! Use coupon code NEWCATALINA for 15% off until August 30, 2015.

Ready to knit it up? You can grab the pattern on ravelry. Use coupon code CATALINA50 for 50% off until August 25, 2015.

Do you want this in video form?

Otherwise, here are the details:

Materials
Wool and the Gang Shiny Happy Cotton, 100% Cotton, 110g / 155yd, Color Vitamin C, 4 (5, 6, 7 ) skeins
US 10 / 6.0mm circular needles, 32in / 80cm or size needed to obtain gauge
Optional: US 10 / 6.0mm straight needles
tapestry needle
scissors
measuring tape
stitch markers
t-pins

Gauge
11 sts x 20 rows = 4x4in / 10 x 10cm in stockinette st

Sizing
XS (S/M, L/XL, XXL)
32 (36, 40, 44) in / 81 (91, 102, 112) cm, after blocking
Intended Ease = 4in / 10cm. For a more fitted garment, choose a smaller size.

 

Any Stitch Will Get You There

It’s time for the second episode of Any Stitch Will Get You There, and I am so excited to chat with Allyson from The Sweatshop of Love, Holla Knits, the show Yarn Talk, and the soon to be published Midwestern Knits – the girl stays busy!

Scroll through a sampling of her designs:

Allyson and I chatted one sweltering afternoon – actually, many afternoons! I had so many technical difficulties, but I finally got her amazing thoughts on video. She talks about where she gets her best ideas, knitting in bars, and finding your own tribe of weirdos.

 

You can find Allyson all over the internet – go say hi!

Sweatshop of Love
Holla Knits
Midwestern Knits
Yarn Talk
Instagram
Facebook
Twitter
Ravelry

AllysonDykhuizenHeadShot Allyson Dykhuizen is a knitwear designer and knitting teacher from Michigan who lives in Chicago. Her patterns have been published in Interweave Knits, Knitscene, knit.wear, and knit.purl magazines, by Lion Brand Yarns, and included in the Knit Picks Independent Designer Program.

Allyson is coeditor of the book Midwestern Knits, and has multiple how to videos produced by Interweave/F&W available at Craft Daily and Interweave.com. She self publishes and blogs on her website The Sweatshop of Love, and is creator and editor of the online knitting magazine Holla Knits.

Follow Allyson on twitter @AllysonKnits, The Sweatshop of Love on facebook, and AllysonDykhuizen on instagram, and email her at allyson@thesweatshopoflove.com.


What was your favorite part of the interview? Any fun or interesting moments? (Does anyone else use their couch as a desk??)

anystitchwillgetyouthere
For my first guest on Any Stitch Will Get You There, I am so pleased to have Alexandra Tavel from Two of Wands.

If you haven’t heard of Alexandra or her shop, Two of Wands, you’re in for a treat. Her designs are very romantic and a bit bohemian. I’m also madly in love with her animal hoods that I’m pretty sure can also be worn by adults…

We met in Central Park one sunny afternoon to chat knitting, and Alexandra shared what inspires her, how she started knitting, and even a bit of her design process.

Watch here:

You can find Alexandra around the internet at the links below – go say hi!

www.twoofwands.com
www.etsy.com/shop/twoofwandsshop
instagram.com/twoofwands
facebook.com/twoofwands
ravelry.com/people/TwoOfWands
kollabora.com/brands/two-wands

 

headshotAlexandra Tavel is a knitwear designer located in New York City. With a degree in Fashion Design and Costume Construction Technology from Indiana University, she has been designing under the label Two of Wands since 2014.

She grew up in Loveland, Ohio with her artist mother who was constantly teaching her all forms of art – whether it was painting, sculpting, sewing, knitting, jewelry making, or even making dollhouses out of flowers and materials found in the woods in the backyard.

As long as she can remember, Alexandra has always had at least 10 projects going at the same time, and she really can’t get enough of anything relating to art and creativity. She is influenced by her mom and her free-spirited, bohemian style and she has done quite a bit of traveling around the world, where she is always inspired by the different cultures and handcrafted goods that she finds in every country.

What was your favorite part of the interview? Any fun ideas or interesting moments for you? 

 

I don’t know why you learned to knit.

Maybe you started knitting as a form of self-care, maybe you wanted to bond with a friend/neighbor/relative, maybe you wanted to knit a blanket for the cutest new kid in your life – whatever the reason, you’re starting to flounder.

Knitting was fun, but you have a busy life. “Maybe I’ll have time to knit tomorrow,” you said, nearly a month ago.

Meanwhile, when you finally do get back to your knitting, it’s like starting over on day one.

I feel you. It’s no fun looking up tutorials for stitches you knew how to make a week ago.

This post is for you, my super ladies, who try to do it all, including knitting.

These are my favorite places to knit when you have no time.

1. Lunch break. Does anyone still get an hour for their lunch break? I’ve only ever had 30 minutes, which is just enough time to grab something and stuff it in your face, BUT if you’re one of the lucky ones, don’t go back to the office early, hang out on a park bench and get a few rows in.

 

2. Work meetings/conferences. If you have a chill boss, he or she might be happy to let you knit away. (Just explain that it helps you concentrate!) Either way, I know you have phone and web conferences where face time isn’t required. Bam – better listening skills AND you just finished that sleeve.

 

3. Waiting rooms. Waiting can really suck. The best advice I’ve seen is to focus on your breath, be present, and spend some time with yourself, but that’s not always easy to do, especially if you can’t stop thinking about the germs flying across the room from that gross person that can’t stop hacking and coughing. Whether you’re waiting a few minutes or an hour, have your knitting handy.


4. Happy Hours. Okay, a lot of people are uncomfortable with this one. It’s weird to be the only person knitting, especially when everyone’s sharing the latest gossip and trashing that client from hell. But the thing is, in between pounding beers (or tea, depending on the group!), it’s nice to have something to occupy your hands. And trust me, it’s only weird the first time you pull it out. Then everyone thinks you’re that cool girl that will knit them something.

 

5. Movie/TV nights. I’m all about bonding with family and friends, and sometimes that means you all get together, order a pizza or tacos, and watch some TV. It can be fun, but let’s be honest, your friends and family don’t always have the best taste in shows. When it’s not your turn to pick what you watch, grab your knitting. It helps get you through those awful, awful jokes.

 

6. Commuting. If you drive to work, then maybe skip this step. But if you take the train, the subway, a bus, or carpool, you should definitely whip out your needles. There’s really zero point to focusing on the traffic, worrying about if you’re going to be late, or attempting to get a jumpstart on your email – there will always be more emails!

 

7. Sporting events. I’m not going to lie – I really don’t understand the point of a lot of sports. Sure, sometimes it’s exciting, but then there’s 10 minutes of downtime for every 3 minutes of play, and what’s the point of that? But even if you like all that downtime or the atmosphere or whatever brings you there, it’s always nice to have something to do while you’re waiting for game play to resume.

*knits furiously*

 

8. Trains, Planes, and Automobiles. As before, if you’re driving, steering, or in some sort of control, pass on the knitting. But if you’re taking a trip somewhere as a passenger, you have to take your knitting. I know you packed a book, some sudoku puzzles, and even a magazine, but I promise, and you know this, you’re going to get bored with those things after an hour, tops. And then what? Oh gosh, ESPECIALLY if you have a layover. Your coffee and pastry don’t last forever, and you can only watch so many planes take off before your thoughts turn dark and you begin questioning your life decisions while listening to – somehow – the most annoying collection of people ever assembled. (And yes, you can take knitting needles on domestic flights – double check for international ones!)

 

So get to knitting in your free time, and soon you’ll be a champion knitter, and no one will be able to stop you.

 

 

Once you have the stitches down and you feel like a real knitter, you can even justify spending more than $15/skein!

 

 

And then, before you know it, you’ll be old and gray and still knitting projects as awesome as you are.

 

Image result for banksy knitting

 

What makes someone want to knit?

Many of my friends are not yet knitters. I hold out hope for most of them. 😉

Many non-knitters are intrigued by those of us who tend to carry yarn and needles around and knit in places like the subway and various waiting rooms. They’re intrigued, but not ready to commit, and I completely understand.

I wanted to create a little 3-5 minute documentary that explained how amazing knitting can be: It’s great for your mind, it’s great for your closet, and it really does help you reclaim a little bit of peace in this busy world we live in.

Of course, when I started interviewing people, I decided that I had to run each interview in its entirety because everyone I spoke with was so incredibly passionate and full of life.

Don’t worry, I still planning on doing the short – but I’m still in the middle of filming so give me a few more weeks. 🙂

Check out my intro video to find out more about me and the series. Next week, I’ll start with the first episode – and I know you’ll love it.

Be sure to subscribe here so you don’t miss an episode!

Don’t Miss an Episode!

You may have seen me mentioning that I’ve been working on this cardigan for the last few weeks (months?) – anyway, it’s finally here and for sale!

 

The Rockaway Cardigan is perfect for those cooler summer nights when you’re not ready to leave the beach (or the bonfire), and it’s still a little warm for that hoodie you’ve got stashed for emergencies. This is for you! You can still look cute, summery, and keep warm.

 

This is made from Wool and the Gang cotton* so it’s not too heavy, and it’s super, super, ridiculously soft. (*That link is an affiliate link – but it also gets you 15% off your order.)

 

A few details about the cardigan:
-buttonless
-lace paneling in the back
-border on the front
-the front edges curl, as if corded
-Written instructions and chart.

Supplies
4-7 skeins of bulky cotton from Wool and the Gang*
needles, US size 10 (6.0mm)
needles, US size 10.5 (6.5mm)

Sizing
Finished Bust Size 32 (36, 40, 44, 48, 52, 56)” to fit 30 (34, 38, 42, 46, 50, 54)” /
81 (91, 102, 112, 122, 132, 142) to fit 76 (86, 97, 107, 117, 127, 137) cm

Gauge
With size 10.5 needles, cast on 12 stitches and knit 15 rows. Your swatch should measure 4″x4″.

Ravelry page here.

I’m participating in the Cheeky Visionaries Biziversary & Launch Party! Amanda Sue Howell’s business is turning 5, and she’s celebrating with the launch of 30 Days of Creative Abandon. 30 Days of Creative Abandon is a 30 day course created for makers, who are looking for new ideas to set them free from artist’s block!

If you had asked me what my favorite creative outlet was when I was younger, I don’t know if I would have had an answer.

Growing up, I didn’t consider myself creative for a couple of reasons:

1. I can’t draw.
2. I loved writing, but my sister was a million times better than me so what was the point?
3. I hated doing popsicle and pipe cleaner crafts. Also my pipe cleaner crafts sucked.

So what could I do? I could solve problems, and I could befriend anyone.

These aren’t traditionally creative areas, especially for a kid so I figured I was just out of luck in the creativity department.

But a few years ago, I learned one of the most important things: Creativity is a skill. Which means it’s something I can LEARN. Which means maybe I can’t draw today, but if I study and practice a little bit every day, I’ll be a much better artist (drawer?) in a year. And even better in two years.

IMG_4140

Anyway, I still can’t draw so let’s switch over to a creative form I know and love: knitting.

Knitting is one of my favorite forms of creativity for a very simple reason: there is always something to knit.

Let me explain.

I sew my own clothing, I cook most meals from scratch, I ferment every vegetable I can get my hands on, I draw in the sand, sometimes I fail at make foam art in my homemade cappuccinos, I write short stories, I take pictures – I do lots of creative things. Some I do well. Some not so well.

But all of those things have the potential to fail. I know, I know – that’s how you learn and grow and I’ve learned to love all my artistic attempts and I love trying new things.

But it can also be REALLY frustrating when something doesn’t live up to how you imagined it.

And yes, you can fail at knitting, BUT, and this is a very important but for me – you can fix your mistakes. And not just fix your mistakes – you can destroy them.

Grab the offending project, pull out your knitting needles and ever so gently pull on that bit of yarn that’s hanging there, and it all unravels.

IMG_5590m

And then you can start over. Like it never happened.

You didn’t ruin anything. You don’t have to throw anything away. You don’t have to live with your mistakes. You just learn from them.

You learn, and trust me, you’re much more careful the 2nd (or 3rd or 4th) go around with your knitting.

So yeah, I talk a lot about knitting and how great it is and, sure, it has health benefits and it’s a mindful activity and every night I reach it for it to unwind at the end of a long day, but a huge part of why I love knitting is because if I need to, if I want to, I can start over.

I can destroy everything I’ve made so far, and still, my creativity will be fed.

No matter how long you’ve been knitting, dropped stitches are a part of life. I used to rip out my work (EVERY.SINGLE.TIME) until I learned these tricks.

The first technique requires a crochet hook. This is helpful, especially if you’re picking up tiny stitches.

The second technique is perfect if all you have your two needles – you can still grab and fix most dropped stitches!

Lately I’ve had a decent amount of people ask me where I see myself going in my business, and while I did start out to give knitting lessons and offer a bit of peace in the world, I know there’s a lot more to what I want to do than just giving lessons online.

(Don’t get me wrong, I love that, and I’ll probably always offer it!)

Anyway, check out this week’s video. It explains my name, and I share where I want to go in the future – hopefully sooner rather than later!

Yep, I want to offer retreats! Some local, some exotic, some for informational purposes – like finding yarn in Peru! I’m going to start experimenting with day retreats in the next month or two so let me know if you’re interested! Then hopefully once I get a groove going, I can start to expand and offer longer weekend retreats.

Let me know what you think!

ira-glass-quote

I just wanted to let you know that I’m featured over on the Solopreneur Business Network podcast. I’m talking knitting, creativity, and starting my own business. I was also asked my favorite quote, and I really butchered the Ira Glass quote above, but I wanted to include it for you here. I’m pretty the quote was not originally intended for knitters, but it applies to knitting and, really, to anything you do.

In other news, last Friday I was challenged to make a pattern day for this week. I did take yesterday off, but I still have 3 patterns ready to go, which is pretty amazing. Check them out: Bow Tie, Striped Tie, and a Totoro Hat and Scarf.

(Also, if you’re in my Knitting 101 full course – expect a video up soon about how to read patterns, though hopefully these shouldn’t be too difficult!)