Kumi . . . what?

Is there a support group for those addicted to the fiber arts? I’m thinking that I may need help. I can’t stop. It seems that I have to try everything, even if it is only remotely fiber related. I think I may be sick.

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My latest obsession has been Kumihimo. Kumi . . . what?? Kumihimo. An ancient Japanese form of braiding. Samurai warriors would braid many strands of silk to tie the sections of their armor together. There are so many patterns to braid and so many fibers available, that you couldn’t possibly get bored. Playing with colors, flat and round braids, and then adding beads. The possibilities are endless.

Braiding becomes most zen-like. It is rhythmic and calming. Once you master the basic movements, you can put your hands on autopilot and let your mind wander. It becomes very meditative and peaceful. And who couldn’t use a little peace in their lives?

I have been playing a lot with different fibers and beads lately. I want to start mixing fibers, not only fiber content, but different weights of fibers as well to see how the braids turn out. Experimenting is so much fun! I am currently working with beads which slows down the process, but makes stunning pieces.

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I also braided a long braid using a thin hemp. I then cut it into two smaller pieces and tied them to a small focal piece with lark head knots, capped the ends and added a clasp. I wear this bracelet almost everyday.

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If you live in the Kalamazoo area and are interested in learning how to make these awesome braids that you can finish into jewelry, bag handles, trims, lanyards, keychains, and lots of other things, I am offering a class this month on Monday, Sept. 26th from 6-8pm. There are only a few spots left so you need to sign up soon. Contact Stitching Memories to sign up!

Keep creating!

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Stitch Marker Bonanza

I have had a very productive couple of days. I have been working on my classes for fall as well as making stitch markers like a woman possessed. I can’t seem to stop. I have been having such a great time making them and I am running out of beads. Looks like I need to go shopping soon.

All my stitch markers have been listed in my Etsy shop. Here’s a quick look at some of the markers. If you wish to purchase them and live in the Kalamazoo area, convo me on Etsy and we can arrange to meet so I can deliver them to you if you’d like to avoid shipping.collage3

Keep creating!

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Jumping on the Band Wagon

The yarn shop can be a strange place. Probably not what you expected me to say, but hang with me for a moment and let me explain.

A few years ago, it seemed that everyone at my LYS was knitting the Ivy Vest by Kay Dahlquist. I admired all the vests that were being knit, but had not started one for myself. I liked the pattern, but I was working on other things then. I bought the pattern and stashed it away.

Fast forward to this past Wednesday, and the gal I usually work with had the day off so I worked with someone else. It was fun to catch up with Ann and see what she was working on. Well, she is working on the Ivy Vest. In fact, she informed me that several ladies were working on it and they had come up with a schedule to have it done by September. I mentioned that I had it in my queue but that I was probably so far behind that I couldn’t catch up. They are already three weeks into the KAL. But Ann can be quite persuasive and she convinced me that I could catch up. And I believed her. (See, the yarn shop does strange things to people.)

Well, it turns out that they did the back section (section A) the first week. Then weeks two and three were spent knitting all four panels for section B. This week they were completing one panel C. So I jumped right in and got the back finished yesterday as well as the first panel B. I started the second panel B last night and maybe by the end of the weekend I will have the four panels for B finished. Then if I can get through two of panel C I will be caught up. I can do this right?

Now to totally change the topic, I planted a hibiscus plant this spring and it started blooming this week. It is stunning! Just ignore the weeds.

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Have a fabulous weekend and keep creating!

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Excited and Nervous

I can’t believe that it’s time for my Kumihimo class already. This class filled right up and there has been so much interest that I will be offering it again this fall. I’m going to have to start thinking about my fall classes too. The summer is going by way too fast.

IMG_20160710_131423I spent the better part of today polishing up my handout for the class. I wanted to have something for my students to take notes on as well as have the instructions so they can continue braiding when they get home. Writing, rewriting, taking pictures, editing the pictures, getting the layout to look decent . . . I’m exhausted. But I am quite happy with how it turned out. I could really use a nap right now but I just don’t have the time. Buddy on the other hand, napped the whole time I wasIMG_20160710_131119 working. Oh to live the life of a cat!

I am really excited to teach this class tomorrow night, but I am really nervous at the same time. I’m always nervous the first time I teach a class. This is something new and I’m always worried that I will have forgotten something or will confuse my students. I feel prepared, but there is always that little voice of doubt in the back of my mind. Do you think I could shut it up with some cookies?

And lest you think my weekend has been full of class prep, let me tell you what else I’ve been up to. I was gifted some lovely bits of sock yarn on Thursday, so I have been adding squares to my sock yarn blanket. This has been a 10 year project, but I had no timeline for it. The blanket is growing and part of me can’t wait for it to be done. Maybe it will be my go to project this winter.

I have also been working on knitting up a model for my Band Heel class. Right now there are no students signed up (though there has been some interest). So I’m hoping that a model in the shop will get people to sign up. If it doesn’t go this summer, I may try again in the fall. It’s a really fun heel and I like that there is no decreasing for the gusset. As a bonus, the sock we’ll be knitting has a toe that does not need to be grafted. Kick that Kitchener stitch to the curb!

Hubby is prepping steaks to throw on the grill for dinner along with some potatoes and broccoli. After that, I think I will spend a little time with my sewing machine and whip up a cute little bag to put my Kumihimo supplies in. Hopefully it won’t take me all night to get it done.

Never stop creating!

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Uptown Girl

It has been awhile. In fact, it has been longer than I would have liked. But it has finally happened. I have released a brand new pattern! (I hope you were sitting down. Guess I should have warned you.)

So without further ado, I give you the Uptown Girl Socks.

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I really enjoyed designing these socks. They are knit from the cuff down and feature a pretty twisted rib on the cuff. A lace panel works its way down the side of the sock and continues down the foot. There are a definite right and left sock. My favorite heel, the Band Heel, is featured. The pattern is presented in written directions. It requires around 420 yds of a fingering weight yarn (more if your shoe size is women’s 10 or above) and a US size 2 needle. They can be worked using magic loop, two circulars or dpn’s.

If you leave me a comment letting me know how you like the design, I will email you a coupon code for 40% off the retail price of $6.00. (Offer good through July 31, 2016.)

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Creativity Abounds

I have made a decision to no longer let life get in the way of my creative pursuits. I have been having a lot of pain in my wrist lately so I have seen an orthopedic doctor. After a round of x-rays and an office exam, I have been given a splint which braces my thumb and have been scheduled for carpal tunnel testing. I have been a bit down about this, but I have come to the conclusion that I just need to press onward. The doctor gave me clearance to do as much as I felt able to do, so that is exactly what I am doing.

First off, I have added four new listings to my Etsy shop. The first one is a lovely shawl/scarf that I crocheted about a month ago.  I finally got around to blocking it and taking several photos so that I could list it on Etsy. This was a fun project. I am thrilled with how it turned out and am already digging through my stash to see what I may have on hand to make more of them. (The links in the photo captions will take you directly to the Etsy listing for the item.)

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Crocheted Shawl/Scarf – available in my Etsy shop

My second endeavor has been to make cute stitch markers. These were a blast to make and I have already ordered up some more beads to make more. Knitting is just so much more fun when you have awesome stitch markers. Make sure to check them all out.

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Panda Bear Stitch Markers – available in my Etsy shop

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Fantasy Stitch Markers – available in my Etsy shop

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Ladybug Stitch Markers – available in my Etsy shop

I have also been spinning and spending some quality time with my sewing machine. I am reminded of my sewing skill deficit every time I sit down at that machine. But the only way to get better is to practice, practice, practice. Hopefully I can improve my Neanderthal rudimentary sewing skills. I’ll let you know how that goes.

In the meantime, keep creating and make the world a more beautiful place!

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There’s a Spring In My Step & In the Air

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Spring has definitely “sprung” here in SW Michigan. In fact, we’ve had several days where it has felt like the middle of summer. Who knew we would have to run the A/C in May? I have been enjoying this spring much more than I have any spring in the last 9 or 10 years. Without going into a lot of details, I have finally been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Basically my body sees my thyroid as an intruder and is producing antibodies to get rid of the invader. I have now been on treatment for almost a month and a half (including going gluten-fhostasree) and I am already feeling better. I have much more energy than I have had in years and it has been wonderful to get outside and do yard work again. My flowers are blooming and my hostas are threatening to take over the world yard.

Despite having quite a bit of pain in my right wrist, I have been busy crafting. I have done some stitching and crocheting while taking breaks from knitting. I have also been playing around with a new-to-me craft called Kumihimo braiding. This technique is quite easy to learn, gives quick results and is very fun to do. I have been having so much fun doing it, that I will be teaching a class on it at my LYS. If you are in the Kalamazoo area, contact KumihimoStitching Memories to sign up.

New this spring, I will also be offering a drop in knitting/crocheting class on Thursday afternoons from 2-4, beginning this Thursday, June 2. There are no specific projects for this class. If you have a project you need assistance with or you need help starting a new project, this is the class for you. I will also be available to teach new knitters/crocheters. If you have taken a class from me in the past and need help completing the project, this is the perfect opportunity to get my help.

I am also teaching  a class to make this stylish hemp/linen ponchette. It will be a 2 week class with lots of time for knitting in between. Every time I wear this piece, I always receive lots of compliments. It is a great addition to your spring/fall wardrobe and can also be used to shield your shoulders from the A/C. Again, contact Stitching Memories to sign up and purchase your supplies. (You receive a 10% discount on all class supplies!) Hope to see you in class!

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