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.

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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.

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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!

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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!)

So I’m a little fuzzy on the rules. I thought podcasts were like radio shows just on the internet, but lately I’ve seen videos labeled as podcasts and aren’t those considered vlogs?

Of course, who wants to refer to themselves as a vlog, right? I’m pretty sure no one, including me.

So here’s my first video podcast!

I say that like it’s going to be a regular series, and I’m not sure if I’ll have one every week, but I’d definitely love to do them at least a few times a month so we’ll see.

Anyway, check out today’s video and let me know what you think!

Hey gang,

I hope you love my Knitting 101 course.

I know that’s probably a bit of a stretch.

I’ve seen people pick up the hang of knitting in a few minutes, and I know for me it took nearly 2 weeks before I felt confident that I could knit without screwing the whole thing up.

Part of the frustration is that once I felt like I got the hang of the knit stitch… then what? I didn’t feel confident to try to other knitting patterns online (or rather, I tried and failed with pretty spectacular results) so I felt stuck and angry – and how was THAT supposed to help me calm my mind?

That’s exactly why I made this website for you. 🙂

So I wanted to show you my 3 newest knitting courses.Check them out below, and let me know if you have any questions before you sign up. I have more information on my courses here, and if need a refresher, you can check out my Knitting 101 mini course here. (Or you can register here for lifetime access – or sign in if you already made an account or have the full course.)

catnip mouse

When I first began knitting, I hated the idea of making some grand project and not having it come out perfect so my solution was to knit lots of cat toys! Here’s one that’s perfect for beginners and cats alike – you could replace the catnip with a squeaker or rattle if that’s more your thing. Check out the Catnip Mouse course here.

 

XO Cable Coffee Cozy

Cozies are cute accessories for mugs, but most importantly, they are quick projects that reinforce old skills and teach you new ones – likecabling! If you’re intimidated by cabling projects, this project will help you tackle your fears and have you cabling like a pro in no time. Check out the XOXO course here.

siren seafoam beach top

I made this fun, summer knit as a way to keep cool when it’s sweltering out, but still cover up! I’m starting a new course next week if you want to follow along with me and learn how to make this oversized, cropped beach top. This is more advanced, but it’s perfect if you take your time and check your work. Check out the Siren Seafoam course here.

The long tail cast on method is one of my favorite ways to cast on. It’s quick, it’s easy, and I can have 50 stitches on my needle in no time.

But trying to figure out where you should start casting on for the right number of stitches can be a mystery – the only thing worse than ending up with a foot (or more!) of yarn for your tail is when you run out of yarn and can’t finish casting on!

Don’t worry, there’s a trick to cast on the perfect number of stitches with the long tail cast on, and it involves two skeins of yarn (or sometimes just one!).

Check it out:

siren seafoam beach topYou might have noticed that I quietly released a new pattern a few weeks ago.

Siren Seafoam is a fun, cropped beach top (22” long) designed to cover you up, but keep you cool when you’re out during the hot summer months.

The top is knit in the round from the bottom up, with a simple lace repeat for the design. The pattern is written out with instructions, no chart.

My quiet little release was picked up by Buzzfeed as a project perfect for summer (woot, #6) – and it really is a great summer top!

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It’s knit up in a super soft bulky cotton from Wool and the Gang* on US 11 needles. It has tons of holes so you can keep cool at the beach, but it’s structured so you’re still able to cover up.

I’m really excited about it, and I’m going to offer the pattern for you free – but only for the next 24 hours! So check out the details either here or at Ravelry, and use the code SUMMERKNITS if you want the freebie.

The freebie offer has expired, but check out details here or at Ravelry for more info!

And one more thing: I knit this with Wool and the Gang shiny happy cotton* – one of my new favorites! It’s ridiculously soft, and I hope you love it as much as I do.

*This is an affiliate link – and it also gets you 15% off your first order, woohoo!

Let me hear from you! Let me know what you think of the new pattern, if want more sizes, if you want help knitting it up – I can have a course up in no time! You can either respond to this email or let me know in the facebook group. Talk soon!

When you’re knitting right along, you might not even notice it until it’s too late: a stitch, that you so carefully knit has not only fallen off your needle, but fallen down a row!

Check out today’s video for a simple and easy way to fix dropped stitches on the edge of your knitting work – and check back next week where I’ll show you how to fix dropped stitches in the middle of your row.

After you get the knit and purl stitches down, and you’re ready to start on something fun and new: patterns!, you realize you can’t get very far because knits and purls suddenly appear in the same row.

Don’t worry! This really isn’t as difficult as it first appears. I’ve put together a quick video that shows you how to make a knit to purl transition, and back again from a purl to knit stitch. It’s just a simple moving of the yarn before you continue.

Let me know if you have any questions!