January Etcetera

“Do whatever brings you to life, then. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.”
— Elizabeth Gilbert

The Woolful podcasts have been around for some time now, and I've heard lovely things about them from people in this community for a while. It took me much too long to finally make time to listen, but now that I have, I'm addicted. I started from episode 1 and I still have a ways to go before I'm all caught up. My favourite part is discovering new people in the community, there are so many people out there doing creative things.


This month I think I've been really into listening, rather than watching. I used to always have a movie on while I knit, but things like podcasts and audiobooks I have found are perfect for knitting. You can watch what you're doing with your hands while still falling into a story. The audiobook I listened to this month was Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. The book focuses on creating even when you are fearful, and while I wouldn't say the word 'fear' perfectly describes how I feel when I post a pattern, the message still really spoke to me.


Some patterns and collections I'm loving:

  • The Brooklyn Tweed Winter Collection
  • Shawls! I still haven't knit a shawl, so I think that might be one of my next projects. Some of my favourites are Summer Flies by Donna Griffin and Glacier Sweep by Stephen West

And last, my new craft obsession has been doll making. It wasn't something I ever thought I would be interested in but after trying out a Kiriki Press doll kit I became so intrigued by both doll making and embroidery. There are tons of doll makers on Instagram who make such breath-taking creations, some of my favourites so far are @danceypantsdiscomakes, @shopbonbonsito, and @_megan_makes_. Not that I need anymore hobbies but I even started designing and making my own doll.


Pineapple Socks

I have been a fruit fiend for as long as I can remember. I was always the sticky-fingered child at birthday parties, eating more then my fair share of the watermelon. I think this may be due to living in the arctic for part of my childhood, where good fruit was expensive and only a treat. I remember one day during a summer day camp up north when one of the boys got an orange in his lunch, the other kids and I were so envious that we followed him around during the lunch period begging for a piece of the peel. The peel! Not that we didn’t have plenty of food to go around when I was young, but fruit was definitely special in a place where it doesn’t grow.

And to this day I can’t get enough. I lug heavy bags of melons, peaches, and berries back from the farmer’s market to my apartment. I can’t get over the abundance of it! Fruit is so bright and happy and it has inspired my latest pattern, the Pineapple Socks. This pattern is available now on Ravelry!


Get the pattern here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/pineapple-socks-2

Baby Booties

One of my best friends is having her first baby, and so it will be the first chance I have to shower a mother with gifts. At the tender age of 22 she is having her first with the man she’s been with since we were in high school. I wanted to buy something off the registry, especially since I am not a mother and know nothing about what parents need, but I also really wanted to gift a handmade item.


I went with baby booties because they were easy to make neutral (they’re letting the baby’s sex be a surprise!) and I thought they would look cute on top of a present, a decoration and gift in one. I’ve linked the pattern I used at the end of this post, I changed a couple numbers in the pattern to make it work out which I talk about on my Ravelry project page. They turned out so cute and I chose a nice cotton yarn so they are also very soft.


I also decided to include a book in my gift, a collection of short stories put together by Kristen Hedges called mama, bare. The short stories are all written by new mothers about their experiences following birth, in the early days of motherhood. From the registry I picked out a baby carrier and all together I’m really happy with the gift and excited for the shower. I think adding something handmade to a gift makes it so much more special.

Pattern: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/stay-on-baby-booties-archive

My project page: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/ashleygeneral/stay-on-baby-booties-archive

WATG and the Luna Throw

Knitting with super bulky yarn has become one of my favourite things, the project works up so satisfyingly fast and it’s super soft to work with. I’ve ordered from a company called Wool and the Gang twice now and I’m addicted to their Crazy Sexy Wool.

Most recently I ordered a giant box of the wool in white, grey, and black, because I had this design in mind for a phases of the moon blanket. The finished blanket turned out perfectly, it’s heavy, thick, and amazingly warm. The pattern, called Luna Throw, is available on Ravelry if you want to make one for yourself.


My first order from WATG was last summer when I ordered a couple of their knit kits. I’ve finished all of the kits from that order and each of the pieces turned out beautiful. The three I ordered (from left to right in the image below) was the Hold Tight Clutch, the Khaleesi Bracelet, and the Zion Lion hat. Their patterns are written so clearly and I love working with the big rosewood needles you can get from their site. Next I plan on ordering one of their sweater knit kits. I’ve been knitting since I was a little girl and after all these years I still haven’t made myself a sweater.


 If it’s your first time ordering from Wool and the Gang you can get 15% off your order by following my referral link and signing up: http://watg.co/s/j96c8


Deliberate Practice

I spent my weekend at Embrace UX, a user experience conference, which I went to because it related to my major in Computer Science. Throughout the conference I found myself making connections to knitting (oddly enough), particularly during a talk done by Verne Ho which was a talk I took a lot away from. He talked about deliberate practice, which relates to my studies but also to almost everything in my life: hobbies, relationships, work. I don’t want any aspect of my life to be mediocre, but that’s something I have to work on, I can’t just expect good things to happen by only putting the time in.

I often knit a pattern multiple times because I know I will like the pattern, I can knit the piece well and I know I will like the outcome of the project. I’m taking this safe route because it’s comfortable and I’m not really improving much, even though I’m putting tons of time in. I’m sure you’ve all heard that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at something, but this weekend we talked about how this is only true if you’re spending those hours wisely, doing different and challenging projects as often as you can, getting help from mentors, asking questions, doing research, and taking risks.   

“Practicing something for 10,000 hours -or for any amount of time- is only worth a damn if you’re spending the entirety of that practice time completely focused on improvement” -Ryan Hamrick  

None of this is to say that you don’t need to put the time in, it’s a given that you have to. But you get out from your time what you put in, so learning to learn is one of the best things you can do.

Anyways this is something that’s been on my mind so I thought I’d share this  with you. What do you think? Is knitting a time for you to relax, and do you even want to think about learning while you do it? Sometimes that’s the case for me, but knitting something you didn’t think you were capable of making is so rewarding. I want to be able to knit any pattern I come across, and eventually I would like to be able to design anything I can dream of as well, so I will start my 10,000 hours of deliberate practice today.