Monday, February 8, 2016

Cowls In a Book; and Thank You

inside book image
cover image So I have two things to share with you and one is an excuse for the other one being so late. I have so many other excuses but this is all I'm going with for right now.

Last week, or two weeks ago, I'm not sure, I got a copy of a new book in the mail -- "60 Quick Cowls" -- and one of my patterns is in it! It's a casual cowl with cables and a simple texture named "Budding Out." And the yarn (Cascade Yarns Highland Duo), oh, it was very very nice to knit with. I stashed several more skeins for myself. It's mostly alpaca with some merino wool. It's buttery soft and I didn't have any issue with color loss when I blocked the finished cowl, which I'm always ready for when it's a red shade even though it oddly happens more often with blue shades. Huh, something to think about.

The cowl starts with a cable knit sideways, so it's a lot of knitting but very few stitches to cast on. I think that's one the things I get irritated with when I'm casting on for a project like a cowl or a hat with fine yarn or afghan or... well... anything... when I can't count and I end up casting on multiple times. Or I use the wrong amount of yarn and have to start over. (You wouldn't believe how many times I cast on for a hat and end up fudging the ribbing just so I don't have to cast on again. Besides, is 76 stitches really so different from 80?)

So you cast on a few for the cable, work a long cabled piece, then pick up stitches and work the main part of the cowl. Again, this helps eliminate another annoying thing with cowls or "in-the-round" projects. The twist. The stupid twist that even the most experienced knitter cannot avoid sometimes.

I might be a little grump today. Maybe it's because I didn't get any solid knitting done this weekend, just a lot of thinking and watching. But now that I'm thinking about it, the swatching I did is going to be amazing. It's totally a project I'd do, but I'm not sure if it's something other people would tackle. How do you feel about lace patterning on every row? Too much?

Anyway, back to last week -

Remember when I did that thing with #MakingMondays and ended up getting mentioned on the livecast? And then I knitted hats for Jordan and Heléne and William? Well they all received their hats and there was a special #MakingMondays short little cast about it. Take a look/listen:

A special thank you from #MakingMondays with Helene Yorke!
Posted by Jordan Roth on Monday, February 1, 2016

So there's a few things I've learned and I'm trying to make myself really believe. First, you can try something new and it won't kill you. I didn't die. I didn't even die of embarrassment, though I'm not sure why I would think that would happen. It's scary to put yourself out there, but all that happened was I now have a tiny connection to some people I didn't know before. If I'm ever in NYC again and walking down the street and I happen to run into Jordan or Heléne or William, I can say "Hello! We haven't formally met but we all do awesome things!" (Okay, that might still be a little weird.) But there's a connection.

Second, there's the thing Heléne says "All creators need a yes." I get it. She's totally right. It's more
than knowing you can do something. It's not creating in a vacuum. It's having other people, any other person, say "Yes, I see what you did. I appreciate the amount of work/talent/ability/dedication that was involved." They don't have to like it. They don't have to want it. Just acknowledge it. If it were for awards and accolades, nothing would be created. How many billions of hours are spent on creating things that will only be seen by one or two people. I think these things are created just for the acknowledgment. Acknowledgment from co-creators, audiences, families, critics, strangers on the street, strangers on the internet.

And this should be encouraged. Please remember this. When someone creates something for you, posts a photo of it online, talks about it, please acknowledge it. You don't have to love it. Just say thank you. "Thank you" is a powerful phrase. It doesn't have to be endorsement or approval. It's just "Thank you." But to the creator - wow - it's powerful. It's "I've seen you. I heard you."