Oh hello again! I’ve mostly been active on instagram (clausencat) BUT it’s time to pick this blog back up and get to writing on the regular!
So, this is what I’ve been up to.
Book stuff – frogged one piece I’ve been working on since January. Ugh! It was terrible though, and had to go. I’m also in the process of desigining a lace mohair wrap and it is going to be FUN!
Learning stuff – the frogged shawl was frogged because I was making it…wrong. I figured out what went wrong though, and am knitting/learning more about the shape I want before moving back to the book shawl. I’m also swatching some cables for a cute bonnet-style hat for fall.
Fun stuff – whipping up a fun hat in lettlopi because it’s 25 degrees and I totally need a wool hat…
Two days ago I began writing to people I admire. Artists, friends, designers, knitters, mountaineers, and mothers. There are a lot more people I have left to write to and that’s exciting! I believe that to be a part of a community is to share and interact and build each other up, and you can’t do that by simply hitting “like” on an image you think is cool. Telling people why you like their work, and asking questions about what they do is a little nerve-wracking (what if this stranger thinks I’m a weirdo?) but it’s a sweet thing to do and lets people know they’re not just sending their cool stuff into the void.
From a maker’s perspective, getting notes with thoughtful feedback is exhilarating. I WANT the questions, the technical ones, the hard ones to answer. Those are the kinds of things that make me think about my work in a new way and open up new opportunities for learning and exploration. I WANT people to be curious and I WANT fellow makers, pioneers, and awesome folks to get high-fives.
So. Know of a cool person? Send them a little note and tell them why you think what they do is rad. Build up your creative community one letter at a time.
I’ve been thinking a lot about keeping records of the things I make. It’s easy for me to feel unproductive and that’s quite frankly ridiculous. My second job, my favourite job, the thing that gets me through most days at my currently very stressful job, is making. Keeping a good record of those endeavours and sharing my process is what I need to do now. It’s not about validating my designs and handwork – I’m very proud of the things I make – it’s about making an effort to be part of a community and to feel like I’m contributing in some meaningful way.
So. Here we go.
A couple of weeks ago I decided to write a book of knitting patterns. Good ideas strike like lightning and I can’t see or hear or feel anything until I hash the ideas out in little pictures and a few disjointed words on a piece of big paper. Most ideas don’t flow like that, but my Big Important Work does, and over my lifetime I’ve learned how to refine those wild ideas into actionable items, checklists, milestones, and goals.
This book is going to be a collection of 6-ish knits I’m currently designing and swatching, and they’re all going to be things to keep our necks and shoulders warm and stylish. My road map is taped to the wall so I can see it from four different rooms and I’m close to ticking one design off the list. I’m unbelievably excited.
I’ll keep you all posted on my progress, and you can get almost-daily updates by following me on instagram @clausencat
*Claus (Klaus, not claws) is my cat and a sort of behind the scenes “helper”, if you can call him that. Anyway, he’s a good cat and doesn’t eat my yarn, though he does love laying on it.
You know when you’ve been doing something for a while and suddenly you figure out a better way to do it? This is the genius idea my brain popped out earlier this evening:
I put the live stitches at the top of the mitten on a stitch holder so I can adjust the length of the mitt once I finish the thumb! I’ve always had a problem making a perfectly long mitten stay that way after I knit the thumb, and it makes sense: the thumb hole changes how my hand sits in the mitt. Now that I keep those stitches live, I can add or subtract rows as necessary to get a better fit!
In the case of this mitten, which isn’t for me, I had to add an additional three rows at the top to correct the length AND I did a lined cuff which I’ve never done before but now love AND I’m using the yarn I frogged from that other pair of mitts that were terrible. Win win win!
I’ve decided to frog all my knits that I no longer like or that don’t quite work for some reason. A beautiful yellow sock that just wasn’t comfortable was dismantled this past weekend along with a fingerless glove I didn’t want and a pair of very weirdly proportioned mittens.
Part of why I’m doing this is to keep my stash healthy – there’s no point in having good yarn tied up in bad knits – and part of it is to further my ongoing quest to become a better knitter. All these projects I’m dismantling are projects that didn’t work for whatever reason and that provides a unique learning opportunity. You learn more from mistakes or whatever, right? In taking them apart I can see where I went wrong and how I could have made different decisions along the way that might have resulted in a better overall thing. Plus I needed to take a rest night to make sure my wrist stays happy.
The lovely sock had a pronounced texture that didn’t sit well with me and it was ever so slightly too wide for my liking and had a rather blunt toe. Those are all fit issues I’m better equipped to deal with five years later. The glove didn’t have a pleasing thumb gusset and I know now there are a variety of fine ways to shape a gusset. And as for those mittens… I should have probably checked the gauge and not panicked about running out of yarn while I was knitting them.
There’s no salvaging the yarn from my giant sweater now that it’s felted as much as it is, but I still wear it to take the dog out AND I learned a lot from the whole experience. Silver linings.
Tomorrow I’ll be back to knitting and will have some pretty things to show.
First pattern ever published? Check. I’m sick with a sore throat but that doesn’t really mean I shouldn’t be productive, right?
Here’s a pretty easy fluffy scarf I designed to showcase an entire skein of Borgo de’ Pazzi’s Stout. It smells like a happy sheep and is a springy dream to knit with (mind you, people who don’t like sheepy smells or natural fleece colours or things that aren’t baby soft probably should find another bulky yarn to work with).