Project Knitting: Izzie’s Workshop

One of the goals I set at the beginning of the year was tackling an ambitious knitting project. Considering I’ve been leveling-up with the garter stitch over the past year (and made my first baby blanket), it only made sense to challenge myself.

What I had in mind at the time: learning to purl and completing a pattern requiring purl and knit stitches.

What I actually did: opened an Etsy shop for my knitting, Izzie’s Workshop.

My stash of completed hats and headbands have come in handy, and so the shop is stocked at the moment. But it still looks pretty bare, which means I’m already raiding my yarn trunk to find anything pretty while also trying to figure out what to knit. I want to have an eclectic mix of items for sale and not just hats and headbands. I’m thinking scarves and baby blankets and shawls and cowls. Maybe cardigans and sweaters eventually.

The challenge now is avoiding Michaels and AC Moore until I put a significant dent in my yarn stash. Like can see the wood bottom of the trunk-sized dent. If I knit as much as I plan to, that should happen sooner rather than later.

I’d appreciate it if you’d check out Izzie’s Workshop and give us a follow on Instagram and Twitter. Those second two will feature new items and sales in addition to cute dog pictures and knitting updates.

Project Adventure: Alpacas

Project Adventure: Visit somewhere new (ideally) once a month.
Adventures completed: 1

I found out about the Carolina Alpaca Celebration through Facebook; one of the local interest pages posted the event info. I’ve become fascinated with fiber-producing animals (alpacas and sheep) as I’ve been knitting more, so I jumped at the chance to see alpacas up close.

The Cabarrus Arena & Events Center is about thirty-minutes from my apartment. It took me about that to get there, and I walked inside and into a massive open room that smelled of hay and manure. The front half contained a handful of vendors dispersed among three rows, and in the back stood a dozen chest-high pens with fans attached to the bars.

The alpacas ranged in color from beige to gray to brown to black and looked like over-sized, super-fluffy stuffed animals. A few of them hummed.

A couple industrial, roll-up doors were partially open, making me regret my decision not to wear a winter coat. The show area, located inside the arena-portion of the building, was slightly warmer. It also housed a handful of adorable baby alpacas.

I took lots of pictures and browsed the vendor booths for the better part of an hour. Long enough to see everything (and to justify the trip up). I bought a ball of alpaca yarn; I haven’t figured out what I’ll make from it though I’m leaning in the direction of fingerless gloves.

What kinds of new places or experiences have you had so far this year? Do you have any planned?

Me with an alpaca

Confessions of a Yarn Addict

I’ve discovered a fundamental truth: when I step into a bookstore or a craft store, I’m going to walk out with a full shopping bag.

This used to only be the case with bookstores (and is the biggest reason I avoid them whenever possible). But I’ve developed a hardcore yarn addiction this pas year. That combined with my inability to pass up a good clearance deal adds up to T-R-O-U-B-L-E whenever I’m within eyesight of a Michaels or AC Moore.

Let me put it in perspective: I have a yarn trunk. Not a yarn bag or a yarn box. I have an old-used-for-traveling-pre-suitcases trunk filled from bottom to top with yarn pretty much all bought on clearance.

What sparked this yarn addiction? I began knitting baby blankets.

There are no babies in the near future for me, and I don’t know anyone currently pregnant. The best I can figure is that I decided knitting a blanket for a baby was a good jumping off point for figuring out how to knit a full-sized blanket. And since blanket patterns typically require several hundred feet or more of yarn… well, that’s how I ended up with a yarn trunk.

I’ve branched out in terms of knitting patterns on Pinterest and Ravelry. I’ve made a stuffed polar bear, fingerless gloves, coffee cup sleeves, and even a poncho in addition to blankets.

One particular hat pattern has been my go-to of late. It’s a winter hat that’s just a simple garter stitch. Translation: I mindlessly knit while watching Netflix and not f-up the pattern. Plus even if I pick up the project for five minutes here and there, I can usually finish a hat per week. (Double plus: each hat uses up half a big skein of yarn, making room for new yarn faster.)

The hats are pretty thick and will hold up in a good chill. So my first thought was to gift them to friends back in Massachusetts, but they already own more winter hats than they know what to do with. I know I sure did.

North Carolina doesn’t get as cold as Massachusetts and gets only a small fraction of the snow. Yet people still need winter hats. So why not give them to charity?

I set myself a goal: knit five hats by December to donate to a local shelter. That goal is getting revised to ten since it’s August and I’m already on hat number four. I may decide to revise that goal again in the fall depending on how much time I spend mindlessly knitting.

Whether I produce more than ten hats or not, I know two things for certain: people who need warm hats will get them this winter, and I’m going to have so much room for clearance yarn.