Jun 222012

Jane is at the top of my list of internet friends who I’d love to meet in person.  It feels weird to me that we never have since we’ve known each other for over 6 years and shared a lot of ups and downs.  I adore her writing and dry sense of humor as well as her crazy creativity.  One main tether between us over the years has been knitting.  I love it when I find another knitter who constantly blows my mind.  Jane’s Womb With a View still has me shaking my head years later as to how this was ever dreamt up.  Amazing.  I wanted to probe her brain for my blog and share her work with the rest of you.  She was ever so kind to oblige.

Wattsolak:  Why knitting??

Jane:  Knitting has this “link to the past” feeling that I love. I’ve always been kind of obsessed with what has gone before and what people did “once upon a time”, and I feel like it connects me with a simpler time. My grandma is one of those super-speed knitters that can probably knit in her sleep, and since I’ve been knitting she and I have really connected through that. That connection is so precious to me. I’m also a perpetual motion machine, and if I didn’t have knitting needles in my hand I’d probably be chewing my hand off just for something to do.
Wattsolak:  What’s your favorite knitting project thus far?Jane:  I loved making my stranded yoke sweater. The EZ formula is so magical, so personal, so mathematical. It’s astounding that you can punch in a few numbers and do a little math, and as long as you trust those numbers, you have a perfectly fitted garment at the end. Every time I found myself doubting the “pithy instructions”, I would just ignore the doubt and keep going. When I was finally done, I was in awe of how perfect it was.

Wattsolak:  What is your favorite source of inspiration?

Jane:  Is it bad that my answer isn’t “my children”? It’s totally not my children. I like things that are dark and scary, so I’m always trying to find a way to make something darker and scarier. Like “Hmm, that yarn is the colour of zombie flesh” or “That colourway looks just like a placenta” – those are things I’ve actually thought and then gone on to start experimenting. I’m not really very good at designing things, but I do love to mess around with a pattern and change it to suit me, even if it’s just with colour.

Wattsolak: What other crafty things do you do besides knitting?

Jane:  Nothing. Knitting is it for me. I actually find myself hating other crafts because they don’t measure up. I think scrapbooking is for the weak, and I can’t sew to save my life. Sometimes I try to garden, and then things die. But it’s fun while my hands are in the mud, so I guess that counts for something.

Wattsolak:  What is your ultimate knitting project/goal?

Jane:  My ultimate goal is to finish the sweater I started for Dillon [Jane's husband] 2 years ago. At one point I was making some serious progress, and I finished the back panel and got so excited that I draped it over him to see if the sizing was way off. And he jumped up and screamed “IT ITCHES! IT ITCHES!”  Well obviously, Sherlock. It’s Lopi. Anyway, I haven’t had the heart to pick it up since then. And that was 9 months ago. Someday I’m going to overcome the trauma and pick it up again.  I also really wish I could design stuff, but my brain just doesn’t work that way. I’ve improvised many times, but I go into a bit of a trance when I do that and can’t remember what I’ve done when it’s all over, so I can’t turn those things into patterns.

Wattsolak:  Exactly how much coffee do you drink in a day?

Jane:  Ha! Well… we make a 12 cup Bodum in the morning, and Dillon takes about 2 cups of that to work with him. I go through the rest during the course of the day, and sometimes make another pot. So A LOT. It doesn’t even affect me physically anymore. I need it to live but it doesn’t keep me up unless I forget to eat. But coffee and knitting go together so beautifully! How can I not drink it?

Wattoslak:  Seriously, those non-coffee-drinking knitters are ones to be suspicious of.


Thanks, Jane, you rock.  If anyone wants to see more of Jane’s amazingness, check her out on Ravelry!
Apr 112012

I don’t sew.  I don’t just mean that I don’t buy large pieces of fabric, create sewn objects, or routinely operate a sewing machine.  I mean it in the sense that I have an embarrassingly high number of pants that have safety pins in place of buttons because I can’t even get out my mending kit.  I hate the thought of thread, those tiny needles, those little impossible-to-see knots.  I bought a tiny set of different colored thread back when Clinton was in office and I’ve used about 1/4 of it, if that.  That’s not to say that I don’t know how.  I have a sewing machine that gets hauled out once in a blue moon for half-assed Halloween costuming or quick hemming of pants.  I just don’t really enjoy it.

A few weekends ago I took a class at Fancy Tiger on English paper piecing.  The main reasons for this were that 1) it was taught by my best gal, Keely, and 2) I am completely in awe of this blanket that she whipped out last year.

I had seen her working on it here and there for a few weeks (She was even working on it when we were chasing kids around the children’s museum one day!).  And somehow it went from these little hexagons to an amazing blanket.  By hand.  In two months.  Really.  I’d like to stop here to add that Keely, at the time, had a 3 1/2 year old, a 1 1/2 year old, and was newly pregnant.  She also owns a herd of dachshunds.  She must have not slept for those months because I can’t figure it out otherwise.

Look! I'm sewing!

After taking the class, I get it.  It’s addictive.  There are so many different steps that it doesn’t get tedious or boring.  And if you do get sick of what you’re doing there is always another step you can do.  I love craft projects where you get sucked into the “just one more” mentality.   So now this self proclaimed needle-and-thread hater is making a quilt.

What I made in class!!

If anyone local is interested, Keely is teaching two more classes this spring (one this Saturday, if you need something to do this weekend!).  Check it out!

 April 11, 2012  crafting, other people's crafts, quilting Tagged with: ,  9 Responses »
Dec 022011

My friend Kathryn contacted me a few months back about getting some yarn custom dyed.  Her husband is a paralympian and she wanted to surprise him with a pair of gold, silver and bronze striped socks.  I love a good craft challenge so I said yes.  I love dyeing striping yarn (as I’ve said before!) and this was a fun one to do.  Kathryn posted her finished socks today and they look so great!!  I was a bit skeptical of my dye job at first but her end result looks amazing.  Nicely done, Kathryn!

 December 2, 2011  dyeing, other people's crafts Tagged with: , ,  2 Responses »