Spotlight ON: Creative CeCi

Spotlight ON: Creative CeCi

As I continue to use this space to feature spotlights on various makers and people in the fiber community, I thought I would introduce you to one of my squad: Cecilia Nelson-Hurt - also known as Creative CeCi. She is not only a fabulous fiber friend, but a brilliant thinker, prayer warrior and is about to launch her new Podcast! Say hello to Creative CeCi!

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Say Hello To The Oliphant Kat Shawl!

Say Hello To The Oliphant Kat Shawl!

Continuing my New York City roots exploration and shining a spotlight on other makers & designers, I want to introduce you to Katrina Walser of Oliphant Kat and her newest design for us: Emilia’s Nursing Shawl. And don’t worry - no baby is required to create and love this designer and this design!

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It's The Knit Show

One of my favorite things about the fiber arts community is how innovative we are and how freaking awesome we are. For real. We are inspired and creative and fun and not afraid to just chase those crazy fiber dreams and then share it all with each other. It IS community.

I remember when I was starting out that there were a few who stood out as leaders and represented what I wanted to someday be part of. These were and are people who not only create and spin strings into magnificent things, but emulate the fiber arts loving vibe I feel in my core. I am talking about people who pass on the tools and knowledge to help others achieve their own fiber dreams. People who understand the type of hustle this blog is about.

One of those people I have always admired is Vicki Howell.  We have never met but gosh I feel like I kind of know her.  She is always so real and her spunky vibe comes though on her shows and videos and projects. I have always loved her creativity and it has really inspired my love for color and trying new things. I was super excited when I heard about her new project: The Knit Show.

Super excited for two reasons: One.. it is SO COOL! A series for fiber arts that I can binge or watch at my own pace and be incredibly inspired. And two: IT IS A KNIT SHOW! Vicki launched a kickstarter to build the funds to launch The Knit Show and I was more than happy to support. She has lots of fun reward levels and I am so excited to see this come to life.

The Knit Show will film early summer in Austin, Texas and be ready to air in time for prime, knitting and crochet season! (So, Fall.) Think about it... getting cozy with a Knit Show binge whilst... you know... knitting. It is just too cool.

You can find everything you possibly need to know, (including the SUPER COOL spoof videos they’ve produced and Rewards Levels) here

Can't wait. Are you excited for The Knit Show like I am?

 

Be Fearless With WATG

Oh the happiness of a new project. Yes, I may have done an actual little dance when Wool And The Gang wanted to send me a Fearless Cardigan Knit kit. I had seen it on my Instagram Feed when Krysten Ritter posted hers and fell in love with the color she chose too. SO the chance to create my own was super exciting. And I especially love new projects where I get to learn something like new stitches or techniques. When it arrived, and it was the color I loved on Krysten, well I was elated. I dove right in!

 

At first I had to pause a minute. I mean it had some pretty BIG knitting needles and I admit, I was maybe a little fearful. It took a few tries but I got the hang of them big needles! 

As I moved along the pattern it was a bit challenging doing the stitch additions on the needles. I ended up having to restart a couple of times. But an Instagram friend suggested I get these circular needles and as soon as I did I was off and running. Thanks IG friend you know who you are! Oh and yes, I kind of love these big needles now.

Assembly was a breeze. The pattern called for a specific type of assembly and while I followed the pattern this time, I figured out a way to make it a SINGLE fabric so there will be no back seam on the next one. WINNING!

Like I said - the very best thing is a project where I get to learn something new. This project I learned cable cast on technique which I assure you will be used often and horizontal invisible seam technique, AND and how to handle these awesome BIG needles which I guarantee you I will be using for many projects (including more Fearless Cardigans).

Click here to get your own Fearless Cardi Kit and use code WATG144 for an extra 15% off through March 31. GET YOUR KNIT ON and add this perfect transitional item to your closet.

 

 

Disclosure: Wool And The Gang sent me this kit free of charge for the purpose of this review. Although this is sponsored content, opinions and review are my own.

Shibui Knits Reed Octave Scarf - Right on Time For Spring

I am kind of excited about this giveaway and let me tell you why. Because one of you guys is going to win a pretty AWESOME prize: A full Kit to make the Octave Scarf featuring Shibui Knits Reed fiber. Um... YES. I said it. You are going to win big here.

I first discovered Shibui Knits about a year ago when I was getting more into garment design and upping my knitting game. At first I admit I was intimidated. Shibui Knits screams of high end fiber and elegance (yet somehow has an urban edge to it as well). Over the last few months as my knitting skills improved and as I was seeing more and more of Shibui on my instagram feed I was getting more curious than I was intimidated and I had to try it. So when I had the opportunity to collaborate with Shibui Knits for this giveaway I JUMPED at the chance.

Being that I typically work with bulky fiber,  the Shibui Reed Linen was a completely new experience. It is a fingering weight yarn, which was a bit of a shock to my system when I first cast on. The first few swatches were surely not photo worthy.

 

But I have to say that as my hands adjusted to the finer fiber, it was such a joy and ideas began to flow. After several swatches (isn't swatching new yarn just one of the most fun things to do by the way?) I settled on a lovely knit stitch with a slightly larger needle than the fiber calls for. I was able to get a beautiful "open" stitch and it gave me an idea for a summer tank beach cover up. Linen, on the beach in Miami? YES PLEASE!

And now you too can get your hands on some of this Reed Linen delight courtesy of the amazing team at Shibui Knits. You will get the full 6 skeins needed and pattern to make an Octave Scarf - which is ideal for transitional weather so right on time. Enter below.

 

 

Disclosure: Shibui Knits sent me the yarn for this review & giveaway collaborations free of charge. Although this is sponsored content, opinions and review content are completely my own.

Stitch Up Chicago - Yeah That Was AWESOMESAUCE!

It has been a week since Stitch Up Chicago, and I am still feeling a full heart and incredible gratitude from the sheer awesomeness of the event. I am so honored to have teamed up with fellow yarnie Ali Ford of Ford Explorer Knits to bring this idea to life. It started as a chat then a text, an idea to build from our online community and create an offline connection and meet up in person. But it turned into so much more. Stitch Up Chicago gave us two days of makers and awesome people coming together to laugh, learn, inspire, and connect with each other. So much goodness.

We kicked things off Friday afternoon with a little sip & stitch at Nina, an incredible yarn shop in Chicago. Nina served up awesome yummy tea and snacks and even more yummy yarns. You can bet we will be visting Nina and her awesome shop again.

Ali and I ducked out of Nina's a bit early to head to the Virgin Hotel Chicago to set up for the Friday Night We Are Knitters Party. And what a party it was. Snacks, bevies and knitting good fun. The party was 'officially' from 4-7 but I know one table closed the place down and a few of us may have knitted into the wee morning hours.

So many wonderful highlights from that perfect evening. Teaching new stitches to knit. Teaching new knitters how to knit. Laughing so much my side hurt. Yummy snacks. It was all amazing. See some of the awesome social media shares here

A quick sleep and then it was time for Saturday Brunch Workshop with Betta Knit. This brunch was particularly special because Betta Knit is new in the US and it was great to introduce this yummy yarn to so many. Amazing eats, amazing yarn and amazing people made for a perfect Stitch Up Chicago Day Two.

It would be near impossible to pull a single moment from Stitch Up Chicago as a favorite. The truth is, from beginning to end it was sheer perfection. While Ali and I were planning everything seemed to fall right into place and we just knew this was meant to be.

A special shout out to our presenting Sponsor, The Yarn Mamas and supporting sponsor Globe In and to all of our sponsors because we could not have done this without them. We will be sharing more about our amazing sponsors over the next few weeks. Everyone loved the swag bags filled with awesome gifts and even if you didn't attend Stitch Up Chicago, you can enjoy some sweet discounts from our sponsors here.

Reflecting on last week, all I can really say is Thank you. THANK YOU ALI for teaming up with me and turning our idea to meet up into something so much more. I am truly grateful for your friendship and to be on your team. I love ya girl! THANK YOU to our sponsors. THANK YOU Virgin Hotels Chicago. THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO ATTENDED for making the first Stitch Up event more than I could have dreamed.

We are already hard at work planning Stitch Up Chicago Too for late Fall. Don't miss out. Get the insider updates when we announce by signing up for Stitch & Hustle News here.

And if you want us to help you host a Stitch Up in your city, let us know here

Two Of Hearts - Knit Pillow Talk

Being that I am still a fairly new knitter and in the tail end of busy season, I was a bit apprehensive when We Are Knitters contacted me to make one of their heart shaped Happy Cushion Pillows. Sure it looked super cute... but the shapes? How would I make the shapes? But then I thought, well,  Valentine's Day was around the corner and who doesn't love hearts? I love hearts! So Sure, why not! Then when the kit arrived and they send me an extra ball of yarn in pink, well I was beside my self in squishy yarn heaven.

The pattern had lots of increases and decreases to be sure, but was well laid out and seemed easy enough follow. I usually use the Make One method for increasing but for this project I decided to try something new so I followed the We Are Knitters Tutorial here.

Got my knit on and was cruising right along. I could see the heart taking shape and got super excited. Until I cast off and realized: wait a minute. That's not right. One side was noticeably "less rounded" than the other. Hmmm.....

On the second panel I watched my gauge more closely and still it came out a wee bit distorted in shape. Luckily, I knew I could tweak it during assembly but the perfectionist in me was happy to have the pink yarn to try again. and... NAILED IT! Grabbed some fiber fill from local craft store and time to put these babies together and stuff 'em!

This project was way more fun than I expected. And way less scary lol. Worked up super fast (for this beginner - a little more than an hour for each heart) and the assembly was easy peasy
 

I have 3 awesome takeaways from this project:1. I learned a new way to increase and how to make shapes. YES Shapes!
2. Try new things. Make mistakes. Try again.
3. HAVE FUN! I had a ton of fun with this project.

Going to be making many more hearts and share the love for sure.

 

Get your Happy Cushion Heart Pillow Kit here and use code WAK144Stitches for 20% off through 3/31/17

 

 

 

 

Disclosure: we are knitters sent me this kit free of charge for the purpose of this review & collaboration. Although this is sponsored content, opinions and review are completely my own.

The Holiday Bear Project

A little known fact about me is that I used to be the Prop Master for Sesame Street Live World Tour. It was beyond amazing traveling the world building and maintaining props. It was also incredibly fun to explore supplies and techniques all over the world. I must say I found some amazing finds in little known corners of the world.

The experience kept my creative juices flowing in full effect. Building giant toys and painting and basically playing super-sized arts and crafts all day was a dream job.

So when I was recently commissioned to create the accessories for the Winter Wonderland at the Javits Center in NYC I was both humbled and thrilled. I mean it was perfect bringing my current creative world full circle back to my supersized prop creating past.

Let's do it!  I selected Lion Brand Wool Ease thick & Quick yarn for two main reasons: it works up great and is chunky enough to be both cozy looking and proportional for the garments I was making. It also came in the perfect shade of blue and fisherman ivory for the Winter Wonderland scene.

 

Now for the patterns. The key character is a 8 ft tall winter bear. The bear's head has a circumference of 58". I am about 61" tall so that is a reference point for you for size: he has a BIG head. The scarf needed to be 16 FEET long, with fringe and wide enough to be proportional. The client was very clear about the look they wanted: Cozy, winter and hip. I had two patterns that i just knew could easily be modified for this giant bear perfectly. I also chose to both crochet AND knit for a nice texture variety. The bear should be fashionable after all.

For the Hat I chose to knit for the texture and modified my Birmingham Hat pattern to be super sized. I used Premier Yarns size 19 15mm 47" circular needles. I love how these feel in my hands and normally use them for my Harbour Cowl but they worked perfectly for this giant hat too. Since my normal cast on for this hat is 40 and fits an average 21" head I just tripled the cast on. Then I knit... and knit.. and knit some more. Then I kept knitting. Eventually I had to start decreasing and create the peak. I altered my decrease from the pattern to be more beanie than slouchy and knew the pom pom weight would add slouch. I made 4 pom poms using the Clover Giant Pom Pom maker and then tied them together.

For the scarf I chose an to do an oversized variation of my Roma Traveller Scarf. Then I added fringe. Lots and lots of fringe. The scarf itself ended up being 14' long and with fringe hit just over 16 feet. The fringe needed to proportional in bulk and length. It always comes back to math lol.

I chose to go back and forth between knitting the hat and crocheting the scarf to give my hands a break and also keep the project lively and interesting. I could not be more pleased with the result and the client loved it. I took a minute to have some fun with the giant scarf before shipping it off to New York city and you can see the complete Winter Wonderland scene below.

Oh Hello There Rare Creature

I had seen this new yarn from The Rare Creature scroll across my instagram feed for a couple of weeks now. Everyone raving about the squishy awesomeness of this ethically sourced Alpaca. I was getting very curious. When I got the chance to collaborate with Lisa at The Rare Creature and got my hands on The Big Softy, well I quickly understood all the fuss.

I AM OBSESSED. No exaggeration. Simply obsessed.

I can't lie: when I opened the box I immediately had a mini 'squeeze the yarn ball' festival because it is just so dang squishy. The earthy tones are lovely. I like the fact that they are not truly solid but have a hint of shading to them. I had originally planned to crochet but the yarn just told me to knit. So I did.

The yarn works up so nicely. Now, I am still a fairly new knitter so it is to be expected that I would frog my creations now and then. I was pleasantly surprised when the fiber frogged quite well. No snagging or catching or knotting. It simply pulled apart nicely so that I could start again. Listen - that speaks volumes to me as someone still sorting the kinks as I design new garments and accessories. It made me love this yarn EVEN MORE.

I could not be more thrilled with how this hat turned out and cannot wait to make more. I've posted this free pattern for my Rare Creature City Beanie here.

This yarn has quickly found a place in my faves! Get some for yourself and use code stitchhustle for 15% off now through Christmas.

And as a holiday bonus, because it is the Season of Giving after all, you can enter here to win a ball for yourself. TWO winners will get a ball of The Big Softy to make this beanie. Enter here.

 

Disclosure: The Rare Creature sent me this yarn free of charge for the purpose of this review & pattern collaboration. Although this is sponsored content, opinions and review are completely my own.