Don’t Think About the Audience – Whether Writing or Designing

I’ve been having fun, writing every morning in response to a word. My writing partner and I choose words on alternate days and see what comes up. We share what we write. I am having such a good time. I feel like this is what I’ve been waiting for, forever.  A purpose.  It’s revealing. I love the differences, the revelations of each of our selves prompted by the same word.

My husband, the only other reader of my outpourings, a teacher in his soul, had this advice –  don’t think about the audience. I don’t. But because creativity in one place seems to spur creativity in other places, I have been designing and I started to wonder about that territory. How much do I think about the audience when I’m designing?

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This Is For Lyn

Guest Blog for Lyn Gemmell, Shelridge Yarns

If you read my last blog post, you know that for me, walking with ease, even walking with both feet flat on the ground, is not likely for some time. My friend Lyn is moving and I’ve struggled with how to help until an idea hit – I can write a guest blog for her website. It’s right here, too.

Lyn is the proprietor of Shelridge Yarns. She has been kettle dyeing 72 glorious shades of yarn in her barn, behind her house in Woodville, Ontario, for nearly 7 years.


Lives change, sometimes in good ways, sometimes in bad. Most times we have no idea whether a change is a good one or a bad one until way past the inciting event.

Because of a life change, Lyn and her husband have sold their house, their land, and the kettle dyeing yarn barn. Visiting her office/storeroom stacked almost to the ceiling with yarn in just about every colour and weight imaginable was such a delight, not just for the yarn, but also because of Lyn’s pleasure, passion, and excitement.

Lyn hand paints yarn, too. I think that’s her favourite process. I think those yarns tell a story about her and I like that story very much.

The photo below is a wild selection of hand paints and at the beginning of this post is a colourway named Loons on the Lake, inspired by those magnificent birds off the shore at her Camp .

At the end of this month, Lyn is moving to Gravenhurst to a cottage, a new place to live. There’s no room for the business but Lyn will be searching out a new kettle dyeing space when she arrives in town. We will not be deprived.

Meanwhile, Lyn tells me that website orders will continue although her Etsy store will be on vacation for a while. Yarn packages from Lyn will not likely arrive with the usual break-neck speed, but arrive they will. 

This is one determined woman. You can find Lyn at two shows, a very exciting new one, the Fibre Spirit Festival, in Barrie, Ontario on August 25th and the Kitchener Waterloo Knitter’s Fair on September 8th.

Be sure to check out the Fibre Spirit Festival Instagram feed. The photos are so fabulous you will feel like you must go if you live any where near Barrie. With apologies to my subscribers who live elsewhere.

Screen Time Rehab

I have been increasingly consumed by Twitter. It started innocently enough, wanting to know what Donald Trump was saying right after his election, but it’s turned into an addiction. It’s so unhealthy. There’s a part of me that knows that screen time sucks me in and wastes my time but I still have been doing it. Twitter, lots of knitting designer posts, Ravelry, Instagram, Cook’s Illustrated, Knitty, Quince, Twist, the Guardian, the New Yorker. It goes on and on. Very little Facebook. I’m happy for that. You may notice that I haven’t added links because I likely would just be sucked in and stay there, and not write this.

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It’s Summer – Some Bits and Pieces – We Have a Winner & Socks & Swatching

The Winner!

We have a winner of the Knits From The Woodlot project bag! When Melissa from Oswego, New York, won the Knits From The Woodlot project bag she said, “A new project bag means I can start a new WIP, right? 😉”

Yes! Don’t projects always outnumber project bags? Certainly for me, but maybe not for those disciplined knitters whom I admire – buy yarn, make the project, buy yarn, make the project, buy yarn, make the project, repeat.

This little giveaway was fun; maybe I’ll give away some yarn next time – yarn from a project that didn’t quite make it on to the needles.

Swatching According to Designer Dana Gervais

Dana Gervais is a sock designer. But not just a sock designer. Be surprised by her creations at Dana Gervais Designs where “Not Socks” is the delightful, smallest category of her design collections. Here’s Dana’s charming mantra – “Inside every skein of sock yarn is a pair of socks begging to be set free.”

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Want a Project Bag?

One day after my husband came up with the name, Knits From The Woodlot, for my design label,  I drew this little logo.   

I just drew it. I am not an artist by any means.                                                                           It came out of pure inspiration. Straight from brain to Sharpie.

I love it. It works in all kinds of places. A friend had it applied to a mug for my birthday. I’ve had a few bags made & I want to give one away to one of you. It’s smallish, definitely a project bag. It’s lined and has nice long handles. Giving one away is my small, public celebration of Canada Day.

If the bag appeals to you, send me an email with Send Me the Bag in the subject line to by the end of Canada Day, July 1, 2018. I’ll put the names in a  random generator and pick one. You do not have to be Canadian to receive this bag!

A company called Red Bubble creates the bags and you can find them for sale here  along with an astonishing array of art from all over the world. You’ll find thousands of images displayed on everything from i-Phone cases to t-shirts to pillows to water bottles and on and on.  I found out about Red Bubble in a post from Marsha White, proprietor of the NeedleArts Bookshop. She’s offering her textured and cabled stitches on lots of Red Bubble products. I love the inspiration of her beautiful knitted swatch images appearing in unusual places.

If you happen to be a fan of dogs, there are lots of options on Red Bubble. My first purchase was this tote bag, poodle of course.

Anyone can be a Red Bubble artist. Go for it! I thought it would be excellent to see Brioche on totes and t-shirts and water bottles and note books, but only the food is displayed, not the stitch. Let’s fix that!




Three New Patterns – 30% Off For a Very Limited Time

I have mixed feelings –

  • I want people to knit the patterns that I’ve created.
  • I want to be rewarded for the time, effort, and money that went into creating my patterns.

I could offer my patterns for free, but that just doesn’t feel that it honours either the work that I put into making patterns nor the work that many other talented designers put into their creations. I am lucky to not be dependant upon selling designs to feed a family or pay rent. Many designers do find themselves in that situation.

As a new designer and I do need to find ways to promote my patterns to ensure they appear to knitters who may be interested in them. Offering my new patterns at 30% off for a limited time seems like a way to hew a middle ground.

So here’s the deal – my three new designs, Yesterday’s Sunrise, the Tickle Inn Scarf, and the Boxwood Shawl are all 30% off on Ravelry from Saturday morning when you receive this post to midnight on Sunday, May 13th. No code is needed.

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It’s Been Too Long – But I Do Have Excuses and the Gift of a Magical Cable For You

Do these excuses count?

  • 3 new patterns and samples, tech edited and printed, soon to hit Ravelry
  • YarnOver SleepOver Retreat 2018, all done
  • 2 new classes inaugurated at the retreat
  • working with a talented woodworker friend to create innovative, wooden knitgear
  • the chaos of a new kitchen under construction in a very small house
  • life – wonderful husband and very demanding poodle, both of whom would object to being last on this list

It feels like those should count as good reasons, but clearly I’ve been feel guilty – like a bad person – or I wouldn’t even be asking the darned question.

Did I make a commitment to blog every few weeks? Yes I did!

How long has it been? Do I have to count? I do, it’s been 6 long weeks.

So I wanted to show you something magical – magic created with yarn and needles, now that I’ve returned.

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10 Shetland Minutes

Take 10 minutes out of your day and watch this film, In Sheep’s Clothing. I can almost guarantee that you will have a new appreciation for the ease of our lives, yarn stores, ready to knit wool, and sheep.

It took some discipline to simply stop, slow down, and watch this film. I kept wanting to fast forward, but realized a few minutes in that I wasn’t watching facts or a “story”, I was watching a way of life from 80 years ago. I owed the filmmaker and the subjects the respect of watching and I’m glad I did.

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Learning Pasta From an Italian Chef

Aren’t those just the cutest things? They are called cappelletti and I learned to make them from Chef Paola, transported via Skype to my kitchen from the Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy.

We made the pasta; we made two fillings, meat and ricotta and spinach; we rolled the pasta to the correct thickness in a machine; we cut, filled, and shaped cappelletti and ravioli; we ate the pastas with delicious sauces. What a treat and so much fun to share with a friend.

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Outrageous Husband, Cracked Fingers, Shoebox Project, & Saved Sweater,

Oh, Man, It’s Cold! Therefore Cracked Fingers

So I was sitting knitting the other day, watching some Netflix thing with my husband and I said, “My finger hurts. I think I cut it.” He asked if it was split. He was right; it was, and the others on my right hand were showing signs of following the index finger. He said, “Go and put Bag Balm on it.” And I said, “I can’t do that, I’m knitting.” And he said, “Stop knitting.”

Outrageous Husband

Stop knitting? Can you believe it? What a totally outrageous thing to say to a knitter! What a totally outrageous thing to say to me! My answer, “No, I cannot do that.” You would think he knew me after all these years. Priorities are priorities after all.

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