Dusting off some old patterns

I was still in university when I published some of my first knitting patterns. While I remain proud of all my knitting designs, I've never been a graphic designer, and many of my early PDFs reflected that fact.

In my current day job I've been gaining experience in Photoshop and InDesign, and I've been able to transfer those skills back to designing. One of my projects for the year is to re-format as many of my old patterns as I can, using real layout software (no more layout in OpenOffice!) and the principles I've picked up from web design (white space! balance! nicely edited photos!).

I think you will find the new layouts much clearer, with more logical organisation, and generally more attractive. Plus, the PDF conversion is optimised so that in many cases the file sizes are smaller too.

The first patterns to receive this treatment are the Unbraiding Cables hat, Chain Link Tank, and Dogwood Shawlette.

If you've already bought these patterns on Ravelry, you should already have the update in your library. If you bought them on another platform, contact me at Joyuna at Gmail dot Com and I can send you an updated version.


My 2:1 stashdown challenge

I bought a lot of sweater-quantities of yarn last year. I won't say how many, but it is significantly fewer than the number of sweaters that I actually knit during the year.

The problem is, it's much easier to plan a sweater than it is to actually knit a sweater. I get the thrill of finding the perfect yarn for a pattern, I click "buy", and I quickly move on to the next shiny object. It's not a character trait I'm particularly proud of, but there it is.

My last yarn purchase of 2018 - soft and snuggly Blacker Swan

This year, I aim to practice some self-discipline. No more impulse buys, and I will keep my stashing to a net negative: For every 2 yards I knit, I can buy 1 yard of yarn. If I want to buy a 400yd skein of sock yarn, for instance, I need to have already knit 800 yards of yarn.

And if I want to buy a sweater's worth... I need to finish two sweaters. Or the equivalent yardage on other projects.

I think this will be a motivating challenge for me - I'm not going "cold sheep", but I'll still be working down my stash overall. I have to earn my yarny treats.

Here's to a productive 2019!


Eleven Years.

I can't believe how time has flown. Eleven years ago I made my first post on this blog.

I had only been knitting for half a year, and I already had taken my first steps in spinning. I never go in just halfway to a new fixation.

In some ways, my approach to my crafts hasn't changed much. I'm still afflicted by startitis and sometimes overly ambitious (I had been spining for about 2 months when I decided to spin a sweater).

Knitting led naturally into designing, as I gained confidence modifying existing patterns and coming up with my own. It's been a long time since I've released anything, but the creative spark hasn't left me.

My first bulky raglan shrug - my latest handspun sweater

Of course, in the meantime I have also gained two degrees, moved countries, and built a career in marketing. I got my first digital marketing job partly thanks to my blogging and my designing - and now, in turn, I am taking a critical eye to my older patterns and using the graphics and layout skills I've gained from my jobs to pay it back.

The time and energy I've had to devote to knitting has waxed and waned over time - currently, I'm in a new upswing.

281 knitting projects. 227 FOs. 77 handspun projects. 29 published designs. (and, while I can't promise any timeline yet... more to come)

Happy new year, everyone.

PS - I'm also practicing my photography. Follow me on Instagram?


You don't have to make the things you don't want to

Repeat this affirmation to yourself: I knit because I enjoy it, and I don't have to knit things I don't enjoy.

I've never liked knitting scarves. I bind them off too short, I leave them half-finished, they sit crumpled in a drawer unappreciated.

The prospect of six feet of the same stitches over, and over, and over, without change, just leaves me snoring. Sure, I'll put in a good effort for the first few feet, but I'm bound to lose interest.

Knitted scarves are not for me. I've amassed a collection of beautiful natural fibre woven scarves - thin, warm, and versatile - and the funny thing is, sometimes I've felt guilty about that. I'm a crafter, a little voice in my head says. Shouldn't I be wearing a scarf I made?

The answer is, nah.

I knit for my own pleasure, and just because I can make something, doesn't mean I'm obliged to do so. Why guilt myself into a project I won't enjoy?

So I gave myself permission to not knit scarves anymore.

Over the years I have a lot of stash that has been "earmarked" toward certain projects. And, over the 10+ years I've been knitting, my style and tastes have changed, and I also have a better idea of what I can knit that I will actually wear.

There are yarns and patterns that have sat like an albatross around my neck. I've been feeling like I have to make them because I decided, 5 years ago, that I would. Forget that noise! Why am I letting me pile guilt on myself for my own hobby?

At the beginning of the year, my Ravelry queue was 12 pages long. That's 350 patterns, give or take. Slowly, I whittled it down to 10 pages... and now, it's stabilised at 6. That's still 160 patterns that I want to knit, but it's a much more accurate picture of what I want to make now - not what I wanted to make 10 years ago and never got around to.

Am I ever really going to make a ruffled, beaded knitted evening bag? Amigurumi is cute, but do I enjoy those small fiddly projects? I already have a pair of everyday mittens, what would I do with 5 more? How many lace shawls do I really need in my life?

Karie Westermann's blog has a great series of articles about incorporating your handmade pieces into your wardrobe that covers this in further detail. I took a long hard look at what I enjoy knitting, and the handknits that I enjoy using. Now, it's much more heavily weighted towards sweaters and socks. Less lace, more texture. I haven't totally cut out everything frilly and feminine, but being realistic about my wardrobe, there's a good deal less.
It's all too easy for leisure activities to turn into an obligation - how many times has someone sighed to you about the length of their Netflix list, or the size of their to-read pile? Sometimes it's best to let it go - otherwise it weighs you down.