Sunday, March 12, 2017

March Has Come In Like a Lion


So, my crafty friends, it is already March. There is just so much going on everywhere! My Cozy Chic CAL is in full swing, and in fact I have extended the deadline to the end of March because ... you know ... there is just so much going on. To the left, you will see my progress. I am almost done with that first front side + sleeve. I am enjoying the Drops Flora - what a nice colorway to be working with in this winter that just doesn't seem to want to end. The Flora is, as expected, not as supple and drape-y as the Baby Alpaca Silk I used in the original, but I am looking forward to blocking this cardigan. And, of course, I am getting ahead of myself. Must finish the actual crocheting first.

Crocheting this in March leads me to the next thing that is currently happening: March is Inter/National Crochet Month! Hosted in a big way for the fifth year by Crochetville, I am really thrilled to be a participating designer this year. I would urge you to check out the Crochetville site each day this month as multiple, different designers are featured each day, along with a smattering of crochet-friendly local yarn shops, and - you guessed it - almost daily giveaways. I will be featured on March 27th, so I will have a coordinating blog post here, and you know I have donated for the cause, so look for a lovely giveaway sponsored by yours truly. I am also sponsoring the Ravelry group dedicated to this crochet party month (as I do each year), so feel free to check out the general crochet goings-on over there.

In case anyone may have forgotten in the stitching mayhem, March is also U.S. National Women's History Month, into which fell the recent International Women's Day this past Wednesday. This is definitely the time for women everywhere to #beboldforchange, as this past January's Women's and Sister Marches underscored. 


While all this has been taking place I have, since January 1, been quietly organizing my own way to respond in a meaningful way to the events of late last year. Between Brexit and the outcome of the U.S. presidential elections, it has been a time of worldwide contraction and division. In response, I sent out a worldwide call to independent yarn dyers to dream up brand new colorways that would represent progress, hope, and happiness. Five different dyers from around the globe (I am so thrilled to report!) answered the call and we now have 9 different, brand spanking new colorways on various yarn fiber bases that will be available for purchase later in early summer. 

Then I sent out a worldwide call to independent designers to create designs using the brand new colorways and yarn bases. Again, the call was answered by designers around the globe (including yours truly), and I am super thrilled to announce that nine designers from both hemispheres and several continents, chosen by the individual dyers, will be creating a collection of knit and crochet designs ready for makers to dig into in early summer! There will be a worldwide maker a-long commencing June 1, and once the artwork is complete, I will make a formal announcement of the event here on the blog. 


I can, however, share with you two of the brand new colorways I will be working with for the collection. Since they are both inspired by and named for women of some historical distinction, I thought it appropriate to share them with you right here, right now. Both created from the New England-based A Hundred Ravens, they celebrate trailblazing women (and I personally thank A Hundred Ravens for the lovely historical background included with their call submission, portions of which I have excerpted here).

To the right you will see the Claire Marie Hodges colorway on their Tyche fingering weight base.This dip-dyed skein, which fades from deep sea green at one end through shades of teal and spring green to dark olive at the other end, is named for the first female National Park Ranger. During WWI, Yosemite National Park was struggling to find enough young men to serve as rangers. Hodges, who first fell in love with Yosemite at age 14 during a 4-day solo horseback ride, answered the call. The park superintendent hired her on the spot. She rode in the park while on duty wearing the same Stetson and badge as her male counterparts.  


To the left is colorway Lucy Stone on their Aesir dk-weight 8 ply base. This colorway has depths of color in hues from berry and rose to chestnut and almond, for an almost brick-like color effect. The hand-glazed and overdyed method used produces gentle variegation that I am certain will play nicely with many stitch patterns. The colorway is named for the first Massachusetts woman to earn a college degree, which has some personal significance for me, since I am the first in my immediate family to earn a college degree, and one of my alma maters is indeed in Massachusetts. 

Lucy Stone (1818 – 1893) lived in a time when women were discouraged from any public speaking; yet, she defied expectations and social norms to speak out on behalf of women, becoming a prominent abolitionist and suffragist. Among many other accomplishments, she is credited with forming the American Woman Suffrage Association and influencing Susan B. Anthony to take up the cause of women’s suffrage.

How cool for me that I get to introduce these two new awesome colorways, with their oh-so-relevant historical ties, during this National Women's History month. Oh yeah for women who have been and will continue to #beboldforchange. 

Do also feel free to check out a quick blog post about another of the new colorways from one of the other participating designers ... all the way in Germany!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Color Play

Happy Friday, everyone! I hope this week (with its U.S. holiday) has allowed you to play with those fibers and colors you love most.

As for me, it's been about deadlines, current personal projects, and ... yes ... color, glorious color. After taking care of a project with a publishing deadline (oh, yeah - I am super thrilled about that project!), I have an update on my Cozy Chic cardi:


As you can see, I am making progress on the lower fabric of this bottom-up design. I am getting about ready to start the split for the armhole/sleeve sections. I am enjoying this yarn and colorway a lot. The crochet lace stitch pattern is also easily memorizable, so I have been able to take this project pretty much everywhere I go and work on it a little bit at a time, all the time. Definitely my kind of project.

At the same time, there is also a small challenge currently getting underway in the Ravelry Vogue Knitting Group, since this year VK will celebrate its 35th publishing anniversary (at least the modern version of the magazine). One of the group regulars decided she would celebrate such a publishing milestone by working a project from any issue published in 2017 ... as well as 2007, 1997, and 1987. Now that is some kind of way to celebrate. 

Since my own personal Vogue Knitting magazine library only dates back as far as 1991, I am a little behind the curve on 1987 (so to the public library I go). However, looking through my 1997 editions, I found a fair isle project that struck my fancy, and purchased the yarn pictured at the right for it. However, once I received it and mulled it over, I was not super thrilled with the light blue. As I have blogged about in the past, color and context are intricately linked. The blue lacks depth (and probably is a litttle too bland) for what I had in mind.

So, I went stash diving to find something to replace the blue (which will stay in my stash for use in some as-yet-known future project), and landed upon my always awesome skeins of Neighborhood Fiber Co. To the left, you will see what I eventually replaced the blue with: two skeins of NFC (one graffiti and one a color test) that, held together, will provide depth and a bridge between the dark blue and the solid green. 

You can, of course, also see the boxy fair isle pullover that this wonderfully colored yarn will become. I cannot believe how fresh the design still is today - remember, this was originally published in 1997. It is fun to see and hear participants not only talk about these designs from the Vogue Knitting archives, but to also see some of them in finished form pulled out and proudly displayed. 

Oh, the staying power of good design.