Prairie Girls Knit & Spin Podcast

Prairie Girls Knit & Spin, I will confess I have not managed to get caught up with this series at the time I wrote this review.  Even saying that CHECK THIS PODCAST OUT!  It is amazing.  The ladies that are responsible for this podcast are very funny, knowledgeable, and willing to let their knitting geek flags fly proudly.  They are always working on new projects or finishing up new projects.  If I was at all willing to spend more than 15 minutes knitting at a time I would be very jealous at how much they can achieve from week to week.  Since knitting is just a minor hobby of mine I’m not too worried about it and I really enjoy hearing about their progress.  They are always hosting new contests and other events, they have KALs or Knitalongs (but they don’t have very firm deadlines, which I can get behind).  While Prairie Girl Susie seems to be a strict knitter Prairie Girl Danie knits, dyes, sews bags for her website, and spins, so there is a variety of topics to keep a listener interested (and that is how they refer to themselves, as Prairie Girls).

If you are looking for a podcast featuring two very enthusiastic knitters that love to share their wisdom, enthusiasm, and donated goodies then this is the podcast for you.  They can go on for 40-60 minutes so this is not a quick listen podcast.

Happy Listening!

The Wheel Magazine by Ashford Handicrafts

This is an interesting publication presented by the Ashford Handicrafts Company.  For $10 NZD (New Zealand Dollars) per year you can have a subscription to this publication as well as access to the past digital issues.  Since this is under $8 USD this access is an amazing value.

While there are quite a few advertisements for Ashford products, they are good products, there are a great number of projects and techniques mentioned and described in the publication.  For 14 past issues, each one having more than 40 pages, and a new years worth of subscriptions this is a great value.  In issue 28, 48 out of 52 pages were about projects rather than products, though their products are featured heavily.

From what I have skimmed of the publications there are at least 4-7 projects featured in each issue that are described in depth and would be fun to work on.  Their crafts range from spinning, carding, weaving, felting, and more.  A wide range of fiber arts, that show off ashford products, are readily available to work on as well as being easily accessible to all levels of crafters.  These projects are broken down so that most people can follow them, or at least figure out the terminology for the aspects of the craft you are having difficulties with.

Happy Crafting!

(I am in no way affiliated with/sponsored by the Ashford Handicrafts Company.  I simply discovered this new periodical I had been unaware of and decided to write a brief review.)

Weave by Sarah Resnick

This is a relatively new podcast, but they have been updating pretty frequently.  In this podcast Sarah tends to interview individuals involved in the weaving industry.  People like Rebecca Mezoff who is very involved in weaving and teaching how to weave tapestries, the creators of Mirrix Looms, and so many more.  This is a good podcast for people that are interested in the humans behind the products that they are investing in.  For example, Mirrix Looms grew out of one woman’s desire to have a tapestry loom that had easy sheds.  For more of that story you would need to listen to the interview.  This is a great way to learn more about this fiber community we are a part of.

Ravelry: What is this?

Have you ever wished that there was a way you could go to a website and see what yarn you have and what projects they might be good for?  Is it a dream of yours to be able to share your Love of All Things Sherlock Holmes and your Love of All Things Knitted/Crocheted with a group of like minded people?  Do you want somewhere that you can see what yarn/fiber/tools/wheels/looms people are willing to trade?  Have you ever had a dream where there was a magical website that knew what yarn you had and could suggest patterns that you could knit/crochet with that exact yarn?

Well, Ravelry is all of that and more (Except the magic part, you have to enter your stash in but it does make suggestions, it rocks like that).  Now I can already hear you advanced to intermediate crafters saying “I am not spending my precious crafting time taking three years to enter my stash into anything, no way, no how.”  To that I will say, “Start with your newest acquisition, then make some project pages, and go from there.”  While I do know someone that inherited their grandmother’s stash and fully intends to put that entire stash into her Ravelry account, that is not something that you have to do.  Like any other tool this is as useful as you make it, but if something overwhelms you then you can give that part a miss, (this is what I keep telling myself is my reason for not putting my stash in there).

To start you need to create a Ravelry Account.  From there I did a search on what interested me and joined several groups.  Okay, I joined a lot of groups, darn my varied interests.  Fortunately the active threads of the group tend to float to the top of that groups feed so you can see what people are talking about, and peek in on what they are up to.  I really enjoy checking out my feeds, especially since I can organize them into different tabs, Podcasts, Everything Else, and Literary Interests.  Since I have really become interested in listening to podcasts, and discovered the Sherlock and Cthulhu boards, I have taken advantage of the tabs to get a bit more organized.  Eventually I hope to create more tabs such as Sales, Weaving, and Spinning.  Instead of doing that I am creating this post, lol.

In addition to the  interactive elements your Notebook allows you quite a bit of creativity and organizational capabilities.  Inside the Notebook menu you have options like:

Projects, Handspun, Stash, Queue, Favorites, Friends, Groups & Events, Needles and Hooks, Library, Message Box, Blog Posts, Contributions, Purchases, and Upload a Photo.

Whew, that is quite a bit to get through.  Some of them are fairly obvious, Favorites are favorite patterns/yarns.  Friends are the friends that you have made within ravelry, message box is like your e-mail inbox, purchases are patterns that you have purchased within ravelry, and Upload a photo is where you can upload a photo to add to your stash/comments/etc.  This function does cost a nominal fee every year, I think $5.

*Projects, these are your current WIPs or Works in Progress.  You can choose your yarn, pattern, progress, name your project, and show off to everyone.  This is a great way to get people interested in what you are working on and also to give yourself some motivation to continue.  As a general rule people are very encouraging and helpful!

*Handspun, if you are a spinner (or just like to buy other people’s handspun) then this is the tab for you.  You can upload information about your yarns, and keep track of what handspun you have available to work with.  There are some great suggestions for information you might want to include in your description of your yarn, some you might not have even thought of but that will help you decide what you want to do with your handspun in the future.

*Stash, okay so this is pretty obvious and I have covered it pretty extensively in an earlier paragraph, but I cannot emphasize it enough.  Once Ravelry knows what yarn you have and how much of it, it Makes Suggestions about Patterns.  That really does rock.

*Queue If you know that you are going to be working on a particular pattern next with a particular yarn, put it in your Queue so that your friends know, and so that you don’t forget what you bought that yarn for.  This is a great way to keep track of what future projects you might want to work on.

*Needles and Hooks Say you are out at your LYS (Local Yarn Store) and you want to know if you have a set of size 8DPN (double pointed needles) for the yarn you are looking at.  Do you buy another set just in case you don’t or do you buy the last three balls of that color and hope you have the needles at home?  You don’t do either, you check your Ravelry page and see Oh, yes I have those needles so I’ll buy the extra yarn instead.  While I’m on Ravelry Anyway I’ll just add this yarn to my stash, oh look at that pretty pattern I can make with that extra yarn!

* Library  I love the library function, I am able to add patterns that I find/purchase on Ravelry as well as patterns that I have available to me through my own book collection.  I have not had a chance to go through my mothers (many decades) of patterns that she has accumulated, but as I discover my own interests/passions I am finding that I can record what patterns I have acquired and where I can find them for future use.  Actually that is one of the most useful tips I found on Ravelry.  As I get a new Magazine, mark it in my stash and mark what patterns are found in that issue.  That way if I go back and look for a pattern I can find it in my library and know which magazine to look for it in.

*Blog Posts  Ravelry is linked up with my blog and so I can see my blog posts, and others can see my blog posts right from Ravelry.  This is a good way to obtain some exposure for my blog.

*Contributions If you are a pattern designer, or if you spin/paint/dye your own yarn then this is where you can make contributions to the fiber arts community, whether for free or for profit.

As you can see, Ravelry is a great way for you to get organized as well as sharing your love of fiber arts with a lot of like-minded individuals.  Whether your love is very general or very specific, if you are organized/would like to be organized/have no interest in organization at all Ravelry has a place for you.  This is a great resource, that I under-utilize, but I hope to become more active in the near future.

Happy Crafting!

 

Very Pink Knits Podcast

Very Pink Knits:

The tagline of this podcast is: “Where we turn knitting questions into knitting answers” and that really covers this podcast well. There are bits of their personal lives involved, just enough to make them seem human, but there are also a lot of questions answered. Very good, and I have heard great things about the teaching videos also available from verypinkknits.com.  The hosts are likeable and friendly but they also tend to dive right into the questions.  There are ususally 2-5 questions answered in a podcast but the hosts are very aware of the time, so the shows are usually about 20 minutes long, which I find to be a decent amount of time.

51 Yarns to Spin Before You Cast Off by Jacey Boggs Faulkner

Before getting into a review, I have to state that this book ROCKS!  So does the contest Jacey Boggs Faulkner is running on Ravelry, Instagram, etc. to give away subscriptions to her magazine Ply.  #PlyMagazine

51 yarns book

Yarn is not nearly as simple as non-crafts-people would have you believe.  “There’s like, bulky, and really tiny, right?” ; “What do you mean linen is from a plant, it’s a cloth right?” ; “Doesn’t that hurt the sheep?” ; etc.  There are plenty of non crafts people that have a clue, so I’m not putting all non crafts people down, just the ignorant ones, lol.  Because of this, for you non crafts people, if you have a SO or loved one that is into any fiber craft, pick up this book so you can start to throw around terms like low-twist singles, coil yarn, or z twist with ease. Or at least have a clue of what they are talking about when they throw those terms around.

For people interested in crafts already, or active crafters this is a great book.  Originally I was going to say, if you like/love/live & breathe spinning then this is a good book for you, but scratch that.  If you have any interest in fiber arts/crafts then this is a great book for you.  I imagine that there are plenty of K&Cs (knitters & crocheters) that see the Koigu yarns (very pretty yarns that seem to come as singles a lot of the time) and have not known that this is only one kind of yarn.  Why should you use 2, 3, or 5 ply yarns?  Why aren’t there many 20 ply yarns?  This is a worsted weight yarn, what do you mean worsted spun?  Etc.  I think that this should be titled 51 Yarns to spin & Knit/Crochet/Weave before you cast off, because I think that any fiber artists would benefit from a deeper understanding of the yarns available for their crafts, how they are constructed, and why they do what they do.

In Short, BUY THIS BOOK!  READ THIS BOOK!

Pinterest Rocks for Fiber Arts (and a lot of other things too)

I know, I am currently at MS&WF but I’m posting this, What?  Okay so I have written this post earlier and put it up while I’m away because, it is important information that I think people should know, and I am going to be a bit busy right when I get back so I am not sure when I’ll get a chance to express my excitement over MS&WF.  This is, hopefully, the start of a mini-series every few weeks about different digital resources available to crafters that they might not be aware of, or might not have thought of that way.

There are amazing websites/resources out there that I really want to share with you and help you to understand how they fit in with your creative journey.  When I think of methods of creative discovery, Pinterest is one of the first websites I think of.  I will freely admit that I often do not use my resources to their fullest capabilities.  Pinterest is one of those resources, but I really do love it for what I use it for.  I know, that is one of the most confusing sentences ever.  For me Pinterest is inspiration personified, the very essence of every cool picture on the internet in one accessible place, where I can choose what I really love and want to look into further (for free, and with the permission of the pinner.)  I cannot claim it as my personal work, unless it is, but I can use the pictures to inspire my own creativity, instruct me on a technique or craft, or just cause me to pause and think further on something.

When you get started with Pinterest you need to sign up using an e-mail address.  From there you begin by creating boards.  I have boards ranging from Knitting, Sewing, Fiber Lust (all of the really pretty fibers I want or want to make), Cleaning, Cute stuff, Stuff I want in my House, etc.  I have a ‘secret’ board of stocking stuffers, since I really love to buy little useful things that I can give to family and friends.  You really could use this to inspire almost anything.  I have recently created a Mood Board where I put my color inspiration, and I hope to use this at a future date to help me create batts for spinning.  There are plenty of businesses that use these to advertise their goods, and I can easily see myself using this to manage my stash at some point.  I know that Ravelry has similar options to manage their stash within that website, but for my immediate needs Pinterest is faster.  I will be exploring some of the great options on Ravelry in the near future.

If you are looking to upload original pieces to pinterest there is a plus sign near the bottom right of the page when you are on pinterest.  If you press this you almsot always get a message stating that you can get their browser button and use that to pin items, if you hit Not Now then the entire box disappears.  When you press the plus sign a second time you are able to choose to upload a pin.  Your persistence is rewarded, from here you can add a caption, or metadata if you are a librarian or information professional, and pin to a board.  If you are using a personal computer, or if you do not share a work computer, it might be well worth it to obtain the browser button.

In addition to creating your own boards and searching for pins that mesh with your interests Pinterest gives you the opportunity to follow the pins of others.  If you have a favorite business/dyer/etc. or just some friends that have the same interests as you then you can follow their boards, or accounts, to see what they pin and obtain inspiration from there.  Pinterest will also send you e-mails, sometimes a lot of e-mails, suggesting pins and boards.  Sometimes these suggestions are very helpful, sometimes they are just annoying. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Pinterest, I am certain that there are ideas out there I haven’t even touched on, but I hope that this helps some.

If you are looking to start a new project, start a new craft, or just need some inspiration then Pinterest is a great place to start.  Whether you want to learn more about coupon clipping, bobbin lace, sprang, bullet journals, cleaning, or just need some new recipes, Pinterest really does have it all.

Happy Crafting!