Wednesday, 26 June 2019

WIP Wednesday: Legwarmers with Buttons!

*This post contains affiliate links. Any link marked with an * may give me a reward or commission if you visit and/or purchase something using that link. And, if you do purchase from my affiliate links, thank you for helping to keep rent paid!**

Welcome back to WIP Wed! The Legwarmers are done! Ends are woven in. . . now for the ribbon at the top (not shown) and buttons!

So, first, the ribbon.  I could have sworn I had a stash of ribbon bought for a project years ago, but I can no longer find it. I found many other things (including some of my old jewelry-making stuff!), but not the ribbon.

What to do? 

A flat piece of knitting; folded and buttoned.  Yarn is a variegated, fingering-weight blue-green yarn, knit in a lace pattern.  Small brown buttons with engraved leaves are buttoned up on a garter-stitch button band.
A) Though this photo doesn't show it, I made some temporary twisted cord from some leftover yarn (*Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Superwash Bulky) to make sure that these would come together the way I wanted, and the answer seems to be yes!

B) I went ribbon hunting on Etsy.   I was looking for either vintage ribbon, or ribbon that has some sustainability/ethical sourcing behind it.  And while I found lots of vintage ribbon, it was all too wide to fit in to the eyelets of the top row.  But, I did find *organic cotton ribbon!  It's sold by the meter, but that works out for me, since I don't need much.  So I'll have to put that order in -- I'm thinking the "Sky Blue" will be the best.   It's coming from the UK, so hopefully it won't take too long to arrive. 

Onto the buttons!  The buttons are these gorgeous  *Coconut Shell Buttons engraved with leaves. They came via regular mail, so took a teeny bit longer, but arrived right when I needed them. 

Only catch is, I failed at math, and will actually need more buttons. Well,  I'll have to make another order!  

In terms of the pattern in general?   I admit, I'm glad that these are off the needles.  The second skein I bought tangled horribly while winding (to the point that I had to cut it and ended up with several different balls (which you can see on my IG, here)  But that, I think, is user-error, rather then any fault of the yarn. 

Yarn, by the way,  is *Dream in Color Smooshy in "Brilliant", and I'm really happy with how it turned out!   I was worried it would obscure the lace pattern, but, no, it's working up well!    I did end up buying a second skein, and I -might- not have needed it. I still have a little bit of yarn left over from the first skein while I was alternating.  I'll have to remember to weigh the other legwamer before I put the buttons on (it would have made sense to weigh them both, but, hey, I'm foolish sometimes!).   The weight will give me yardage, and I can do the math from there.  If I didn't need both skeins, it was very, very close. 
And, yes, these legwarmers are still, as yet unnamed. If you'd like a chance to name them, I've put that exact question to the Pattern Muses on Patreon!

Alright, I think that's it for this week's post! I'm really trying to get back into being more consistent with WIP Wednesday, so, I'd love to see what you folks are working on, as inspiration!  Please, feel free to post links to your projects in the comments, so I can see all the amazing things that you folks make! Also, if you're working on one of my patterns, tag it as #sarahdawnsdesigns so I can find you on Social Media!

Until next week, and Happy Crafting!

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

My Thoughts on Ravelry

Long Post Warning!

So, I suspect many of you have seen Ravelry's stance that was unveiled over the weekend; about not allowing any content that supports Donald Trump, or the current US administration.

This makes sense to me. 

I've posted a bit about it on Twitter, but I wanted to expand on it a bit. 

The most telling, to me, is that the backlash and hate from this has caused Ravelry to stop accepting new membership applications; unpublish their Facebook page, and now, people are hacking unused or rarely used Ravelry accounts to post some of the most vile content I've ever seen (no. I won't link, It's terrifying). 

This wasn't civil questions about 'why did you do this?' or even 'what prompted this?' (Edit: Those comments were there too, but that's not what I'm immediately addressing). This was rage-fulled incoherent, terrifying threats. And in that environment, you can't do anything else but block and ban. There is no space for discussion, the only way to keep the environment from becoming totally toxic is a blanket ban. 

I also wasn't immediately aware of the major instigating incident, which was (I'm told) someone coming across a MAGA hat pattern and trying to ask that it be taken down. Because Ravelry didn't (it does now) have a pattern reporting system, that persons' personal information was doxxed by the designer. 

So, yes, this makes a sad amount of sense. 

A few counter arguments I often hear.

1) "Knitting is not political!" 

Uhm, no. Knitting has been political forever. Knitting has been political since the medieval (male-dominated) knitting guilds, the advance of (and protests against) mechanization of the industrial revolution, the 'knit for the troops' drives in World War 1, and so, so much more -- yes, up to the modern pussyhat!

And even today, knitting is politicized. It's decided who can be 'a knitter' and who can't. And as someone who often is completely left out of the fibre sphere (go check and see how many of your Local Yarn Stores, Class Spaces, and Fibre Festivals are wheelchair accessible. You'll be surprised!).
I've always been aware the the Fibre Spaces are, in fact, quite political. 

So Ravelry 'being political' is not a surprise. In fact, the ability to say 'knitting is not political' only comes when your a) ability to participate freely isn't in question, and b) your ability to be treated equally is not in question. 

I mean, I get it. People come to knitting as an escape from all the horrible things on social media and in the news, they're overwhelmed with all The Bad. I have that experience too, and knitting is indeed, one of my forms of self-care. Wanting to escape into your fibre arts is a perfectly understandable thing! But many of us don't have that luxury, because there's no guarantee we'll be accepted/allowed, or, that we'd be safe. 

2) "But I support Donald Trump, why are you censoring my views?"

Ok, just to be 100% clear, I -do not- support the US Administration. Moving on. 

Here's the thing. If you support the current US Administration, you are supporting an organization that believes that human beings dying of neglect is an acceptable thing. 

Now, usually, on political matters, I'd say "well, no, I'm not censoring political support -- I don't have to agree with someone to respect them, and as long as disagreements stay civil and respectful, it's ok!"

That doesn't work here. There is no other moral ground, there is no policy that can be debated. How can you argue that human beings dying is a desirable or acceptable thing? You can't. And many of these people have shown that they are incapable of being civil and respectful (see the above response to Ravelry). 

Does that mean all Republicans/Conservatives are horrible people?  

Absolutely not -- I know a bunch of people who are conservatives or US republicans who are appalled by what's going on, but don't know what do to or where to turn.  And these folks aren't the folks spewing this sort of crap, and they're the folks who you -can- have a civil discourse with.  Unfortunately, they're the folks who often get drowned out in the shouting matches.

3) "MAGA stuff isn't racist/sexist/etc"

So it's supporting the current US admin -- see point 2. 

Also, yes it is. MAGA, and the support of Donald Trump is being used as a weapon against minority folks. I know when someone says "I support Donald Trump" that I have to be very cautious -- I have had death threats merely for being disabled, and almost all of them have come from people who are clearly within that far right-wing stance. 

Remember, the basic premise is that America will be made great when "the undesirables" either can't come in or are controlled. Who are the undesirables? Immigrants, POC, indigenous folks, women, LGBT+ folks, disabled folks, and more. So yes, it is, in fact, sexist/racist/ableist, etc. 

So, as I thought through all of this, I realized that Ravelry's stance was sort of the only one they can take to protect their wider community. 

I wish it hadn't come to this. One of the things that I do know is that many on the far right are there because they are terribly isolated. The far-right is frighteningly good at its own form of radicalization, and it's for that reason, I do always try and keep lines of communication open (as much as I can without jeopardizing my own safety or the safety of my community). I try to model more of Daryl Davis' work in how I do my advocacy. Because despite all the hate and illogical behavior, we're still -all- human beings.   But, despite that, my first priority is keeping this corner of the internet safe for my community, and that means there are things I will not tolerate here -- hate speech being a big one. 

And, this isn't just about unlearning hate, which happens on an individual level. This is about protecting an entire community, and Ravelry's staff is already overwhelmed just trying to keep the community safe. It's the idea that you must put on your own oxygen mask before trying to help your neighbor -- you must make sure you and your own community are as safe as you can be before you can even consider reach out to those who are radicalized.

For my readers, what I care about are your actions. I care that you're here. That you believe enough in what I'm doing to be here. I care that you're human, and that you try and treat other human beings in this space with respect, compassion, and understanding -- and that yes, we may sometimes mess that up! We're all learning! I care that you abide by the rules that I set out for this blog. And I care that I can (hopefully) make a space where if someone is harmed, unintentionally, by words, actions, or inactions, we, as a community (including me), can figure out what to do and how to lift that member back up. That common human bond? That does transcend politics, and that is (I believe)  what's going to get us out of this. ❤️

. . . I'm leaving comments open for the moment, but I reserve the right to turn them off, and, they will be going through a moderation queue. 

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

WIP Wednesday: Gradient Gloves!

*This post contains affiliate links. Any link marked with an * may give me a reward or commission if you visit and/or purchase something using that link. And, if you do purchase from my affiliate links, thank you for helping to keep rent paid!**

Welcome back to WIP Wed! I've been knitting away again, and while I'm still working on my legwarmers, I've got a new project on the needles too! Patrons saw this yesterday, but now, here's the updated version! 

These are fingerless mittens in-the-round, knit on my *2.25 mm HiyaHiya double-points.   Yarn is *Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud in (now-discontinued) "Midnight Heather", and *Knit Picks Chroma Fingering in "Pegasus" held together!

A fingerless glove on dpns.  The glove has been knit to just above the thumb gusset. The yarn is a fingering-weight gradient from purple to blue to green, and is held double with a black lace-weight yarn, creating a marled look.  The glove has a cuff of 1 by 1 ribbing and a slipped stitch texture.
And why did I start these gloves?  Well, . . I was foolish in buying the Midnight Heather.  Through no fault of Knit Picks -- the yarn is gorgous, and has a wonderful feel (it's 100% alpaca!).  But, black yarn is hard to work with, and black lace?  Even worse.  There is a reason you won't often see a lot of black lace-work.  The yarn requires amazing light to be able to see it to work it. 

But, stranding the Midnight Heather with something else had been in my book of ideas for a while, and with the proper kick-in-the-behind, I got these on the needles!

How do the yarns work up, held together?  Quite well, actually!  The knitting is dense, but that's an ok thing for Fingerless Mittens.    And these are now my travel project. I made the mistake of taking the Legwarmers out for World Wide Knit in Public Day, but the lace chart was just a tad too complicated.  I needed another portable project, and these fit nicely!  

The back of the hand has a small eyelet motif, and the palm (like many of my mitten designs) has a slipped stitch pattern.   So far, it's working out quite well!

Alright, I think that's it for this week's post! I'd love to see what you're working on, so, please, feel free to post links to your projects in the comments, so I can see all the amazing things that you folks make! Also, if you're working on one of my patterns, tag it as #sarahdawnsdesigns so I can find you on Social Media!

Until next week, and Happy Crafting!

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Pattern Release: Anghymesur Shawl

Hello folks!  So, I'm absolutely thrilled to announce that the Anghymesur Shawl pattern is now finished and live over on Patreon!

A knit lace shawl done in sock-weight yarn. The shawl is an asymmetrical triangle, with a gradient colour progression. The shawl is hanging against an iron fence.

If you're already a patron, head over and get your download!  If you're not a Patron, I've love to have you join me!

And for those of you who aren't familiar -- what is Patreon?  Patreon is a monthly membership platform specifically geared towards artists.   It's a way for folks to support the artists they love; and for those artists to give back to their community! 

For as little as $2 a month, you'll get access to this (and future) exclusive patterns; (and any errata, as well)! You'll also get access to exclusive behind-the-scenes looks at my life and work, credit here on the blog and in my Podcast; and more!  And Patreon makes it super-easy to edit or cancel a pledge, so don't worry, there's no risk there!

With that said; what about the pattern?

So, this shawl materialized from the question of ‘what do I do with one skein of Gradient Sock Yarn if I’m not making socks?’   The answer is, well, knit a shawl!

This asymmetrical, triangular shawl is knit flat, using either a set of long straight needles or circular needles. It  uses a lace pattern, with purled wrong side rows, as well as  two stitch cables. The instructions are both charted and written. The pattern is written for one size, but is easily adjustable to the amount of yarn you have.

Also, this pattern has an accessible large print option that is compatible with screen-reading software. If you choose the accessible option, it includes the written instruction.  All versions are included when you become a Patron!

The sample was knit using Dragon Strings Phoenix Wings Gradient, in "Dark Crystal" which is 75% merino wool, and 25% nylon. If you are substituting yarn, any Merino/Nylon or wool Sock Yarn will work up well. This pattern is designed for single skein gradient/obmbre yarns, but it will
work up well in just about any fingering weight yarn -- I'd love to see this in a speckled yarn!

I always look forward to seeing what you make, and please, tag your creations on Social Media with #SarahDawnsDesigns,  or post them in the Patreon Community, so I can find your awesome things! If you've got feedback, comments, or questions about the pattern, you can comment here, post to the Ravelry Pattern thread, send me a PM on Ravelry, or e-mail me at

I do hope you enjoy my newest pattern, and happy crafting!

Sunday, 2 June 2019

June Featured Pattern and KAL: Mitered Drawstring Project Bag

It's June!  And that means wonderful fun summer knitting (including World Wide Knit in Public Day!) 

So, need something to transport your knitting or crochet? Looking for a way to use up those leftover partial skeins?  

Well, the Mitered Drawstring Project Bag is now 50% off at $2.75 CAD (Regular Price $5.50 CAD) until 11:59, June 30!  It's made using mitered squares, and used half-a-skein or less of the each colour of the suggested yarn. So, it's perfect to use up those odds and ends in your stash! The pattern is written for four colours, but could easily be customized for more or less colours! The pattern is written only (there are no charts), and has been tested and tech-edited as well.
This shows a drawstring bag made primarily of joined mitered squares. The top has eyelets with a twisted cord threaded through them, and a skein of yarn is partially out of the open bag.
Photography: Stephanie Wallace
$2.75 CAD
You can buy the pattern through Ravelry or Etsy, the discount is available on both platforms.  The discount should be applied automatically on Ravelry, and be visible on Etsy.   As always, let me know if something doesn't work!

Now as usual, onto the Mini-KAL!

For the month of June, any finished Mitered Drawstring Project Bag has a chance to win a pattern from any of my self-published patterns!  To enter on the blog, simply post a link to your completed Mitered Drawstring Project Bag in the comments of this post by June 30, 2019.  Please note that the bag doesn't have to have been started in June, just finished in June!

You can also win by posting to the giveaway on Facebook, my Ravelry Group, and on Instagram, giving 4 chances to win in total!**

I always look forward to seeing your Finished Objects! Please post them to various social media with #SarahDawnsDesigns, and/or to my Ravelry Group if you're on Ravelry. That way, I can see the awesome that you folks make!

**One entry per person for each project per platform (four possible entries total for each completed project). Winners will be drawn at random using random number generation. Winners must have a valid e-mail address to receive the patterns. Participants may enter the same project on more then one platform, but may only enter each project once per platform.