posts / 🧶 Solitary refinement

Starfish

🧶 Solitary refinement

The last couple weeks I had some extended time to myself for the first time in a couple of years.

After two weeks of traveling around for work (from Florida to Texas for Luke’s job, then to Tulsa for mine), he was called back to Nacogdoches, TX for another unspecified length of time.

Having slept in seven different hotels over two weeks, I was ready for a little predictability. And I missed my beach. So I decided to stay home in Florida for a couple weeks.

It was a great reminder that “me time” is important for everyone, but especially for us creatives.

I often talk about trying to fit a little yarn time into each day. Sometimes life is so hectic, just making one stitch can feel like a big win!

But when you can carve out a real expanse of time to do those things that refill your creative cup, that can create the space for some serious magic.

On my first beach walk, I came across a starfish – the first time I’ve ever seen one here. A “star sign” that I was in the right place. 🌟

Shortly after, I came upon a smooth rock half-buried in the sand, and decided to pick it up. I turned it over and laughed out loud.

During this time, I’ve gotten back to yoga, better sleep, more nourishing food, spending time with friends…and knitting. LOTS of knitting. I put down the “obligation” knitting I’ve been doing (trying to frantically finish the next Yarniverse kit model on our road trips) and indulged in a delicious bout of cast-on-itis.

All these years I’ve been talking about vicuña yarn and I’ve never knit with it. So I gathered some precious skeins from some damaged boxes that I’d collected, and swatched for Andrea Mowry’s Heartstrings Crop.

I’d been wondering what sweater could possibly be worthy of my vicuña stash, and then Sunnie showed up on a Zoom meeting wearing hers and swearing it’s her very favorite…voila. Perfect project found.

Then I cast on for Season 8 Star Alexandra Tavel’s “Mariner’s Cap” using some Berroco Lucca. I’ve wanted to knit with this cashmere-cotton blend ever since I touched it, and I’ve been wishing I had one of these pointy ribbed beanies in my wardrobe. Two more wishes, fulfilled!

Next up, I’m going to cast on some socks, using an extra kit we had in the store for Summer Lee’s sock masterclass.

And just in time, because as promised, we’ve just released Summer’s life-changing sock masterclass from Knit Stars Season 7 as a single, standalone workshop!

 

If you’ve always wanted to make socks, Summer makes it more than doable – she makes it irresistible! And if you’ve made hundreds of pairs Summer will open your mind to all-new methods, tips and tricks, and an explosion of color inspiration.

Plus Summer’s course includes 4 exclusive bonus patterns including my favorite, the Escher Socks.

Summer has such a hilarious and charming approach to knitting, socks and life. You’ll feel like you made a new yarn bestie, and then you’ll be sockin’ it up, just like Carol…

“I want to thank Summer Lee for inspiring me to try socks. I had tried several years ago with my friend but seemed to have a mental block. Thank you Summer for a wonderful class. I have now made 5 ½ pairs!” – Carol O.

Get Summer’s Single Workshop at the introductory price of just $47 here.

Have you missed our other Single Workshop releases? They’re a great way to learn a specific skill with a smaller time commitment. Check out the MDK Mojo Reboot here and Beata Jezek’s Color Confidence workshop here.

xoxo,

 

 

P.S. This was my Passion Planner quote for the week. I encourage you to take a moment and try this little exercise…then maybe carve out some “solitary refinement” for yourself this week. ❤️

Our 30% off sitewide sale continues, and there are loads and loads of great finds remaining to shop online. Here are just a few…

Elizabeth wearing one of her many makes – a LoopsClub “Blue Bag” project.

This past week inside the Yarniverse, we got to know our Rising Star of the Month, Elizabeth Bartlett.

A Knit Stars Rising Star is someone who’s doing something amazing in the yarn world…either with their hands, or with their heart. Elizabeth is a prime example of both!

When she was a little girl, Elizabeth begged her mom “I wanna knit, I wanna knit!” until her mom finally taught her, using pink rug yarn and 6” single needles. “My mother had a yarn shop and taught me everything I knew,” she said.

“In junior high, I made my first sweater, a lacework sweater. I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to make that!” she laughed.

Elizabeth’s daughter in “Zig Zag Zummer” by Nomad Stitches, crocheted with our bespoke Plant-Based Princess yarn.

A multi-crafter, Elizabeth learned to crochet from her grandmother by sitting across from her, since she was left-handed. Several years into her military service when she was stationed at Okinawa, Elizabeth was bored so she went to the base exchange and picked up a book on quilting, then made a quilt for her bed in the barracks. And one year her husband gave her a spinning wheel, “so I progressed to that,” she said.

But ultimately, yarn clearly has Elizabeth’s heart! She calls herself a “yarn rescuer.” She used to work at Debbie Macomber’s yarn shop (!!!) and after it closed, people would call up the store manager, because they were moving or cleaning out and needed to unload some yarn.  Elizabeth would “rescue” the yarn and make sure it was turned into something useful to help others.

“I started a ministry at church. We get bags of yarn, then knit, crochet and sew for our community. The homeless, the warming center, assisted living, memory care units, battered women and children…we have our fingers in many pies, helping as many as we can.”

Along the way, Elizabeth discovered a need that she shared with the Yarniverse, and we were all entranced.

Have you heard of Fidget Blankets?

Fidget items are helpful for many populations, including dementia patients. You take a basic blanket and add crochet corkscrews, something in the pocket, zippers, and things hanging off like lace and old belt buckles. “Anything tactile they can feel or fidget with,” Elizabeth said. “It helps keep their minds occupied and comforts them.”

Elizabeth and her friends started with the “Fidget Blanket” by Rose Obom on Ravelry, then added military branch-specific touches like patches and medals, and delivered 40 blankets to the Washington State Veteran’s Home.

“Veterans are very close to my heart,” Elizabeth said. “I had called the Washington State Veteran’s home to see if we could make lap blankets for them, and they told me they had filled a room with them and didn’t need any more. Then I blurted out, what about fidget items? YES! She was so excited. “These were to go to their Alzheimer’s/Dementia care unit. I asked how many she’d like, and she said 10. I asked how many patients in the unit, and she said 40. So we surprised them with 40!”

“Pop-It” fidget toy as made by Elizabeth.

You can also go smaller than a blanket, with little projects like this pop-it that Elizabeth made.

Thank you, Elizabeth, for being such a shining light in our community and beyond! You truly are a Rising Star!

P.S. I asked Elizabeth what she likes best about her Yarniverse membership. She said: “The support we all give to each other and the oohs and aahs when someone posts something they have completed. The help we can get through the “hive mind” when we are stuck on a pattern, or how to go about doing something we’ve never done. This was true when I made the Zig Zag Zummer for my daughter. This was my first ever attempt at crocheting a garment and I second guessed myself the entire way thinking it would be gigantic on her. I’m so glad I didn’t make the one size up!”

P.P.S.  Do you know somebody doing great things that you’d like to nominate as a Rising Star? Find our nomination form here.

This week Elizabeth shares her version of Black Bean Hummus, adapted from the book “Beyond Diet” by Isabel D. Price.

“I bring this to picnics, church gatherings, etc., and rarely come home with extra,” she says. “It is requested for my husband’s gaming weekends by his friends.”

Black Bean Hummus 
Serves: 8 (about 43g per serving)

1 clove garlic (I leave this out)
2 tablespoons lemon juice (I prefer to squeeze a lemon for this as it is the best taste!) {I have also used lime – and I really like the lime vs lemon}
1 1/2 tablespoons tahini
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I use less than 1/8 tsp. or omit)
1/4 teaspoon paprika
15 oz. can black beans (I try to use organic and the one with the least amount of sodium in it)

With a sieve and over a bowl, drain the bean and reserve the liquid.  Mince garlic (if using), in food processor (or blender if that’s what you have).  Add drained black beans, 2 tablespoons of reserved black bean liquid, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, tahini, and spices.  Process until smooth, scraping down sides of the blender/processor as needed.  Add additional seasoning to taste, and extra liquid to get consistency you like (sort of like a good frosting – not too runny, not to thick it would break a chip when you tried to scoop some up).  Original recipe says to garnish with the paprika – I just put it in with the other spices and blend.

Each serving is .5 carb (or .5 protein if you are a vegetarian).

Enjoy!

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