You know the feeling where you’re in a group of knitters (in person or online) and someone is making/has made something, and suddenly everyone in the group has to make it, too? We’ve gone through that here with the Thursday Night Knit Nighters. Most recently with The Weekender out of Uncommon Thread Lush Worsted and Shindig out of a variety of yarn choices. Now we’re on to brioche with Malabrigo Rios.
There are some really fun brioche patterns out there. For beginners in brioche (which I am), the Brioche Like a Boss Cowl is one good place to start. Here are some color combinations that my friends Pam and Sarah helped me pulled out of our Malabrigo Rios section this week.
Have you heard? Marie Kondo has a new series on Netflix. (That was a joke. Has anyone NOT heard?) You can find the link on her website. This is a show that talks about the method she described in the book she wrote called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up back in 2014. A book where she asks you to look at each item in your house and ask yourself, “Does it spark joy?”.
Marie encourages people to only have things in their home that spark joy. If something does not bring you joy, should it be taking up space in your home? (Note – I can think of a lot of things that might not spark joy, but might need to be in your home. Like the washer and dryer, the vacuum, those accounting records, etc.) But overall, I think the premise is generally a good one. It’s nice to be surrounded by things that we love and that bring us joy. Which got me thinking about my yarn stash.
How does “spark joy” affect your yarn stash?
It might not affect your stash at all. It all “brings joy” and it all stays.
It might affect some of your stash. The yarn you bought on sale four years ago that you no longer even like. (Truth be told, you didn’t love it when you bought it, but it was on sale…) The yarn you have frogged four times because nothing looked right. The yarn that is not your color but you loved the feel of it. The yarn you bought because your friend was buying some. The yarn you bought in colors you no longer wear very often.
It might affect a great portion of your stash. You’ve switched to different yarn bases or yarn companies. You’ve decided you don’t like the color palette you used to love. You no longer like to knit with acrylic (or wool, or silk, or bamboo). You’ve switched what you like to knit and you don’t need any more socks (or shawls, or sweaters).
Should you even have a stash?
Yes. (I love my stash!) A stash is inspiring and motivational. A stash is great for the times when you need a new project but money is tight. A stash is full of possibilities. A stash definitely brings joy.
In my stash, there are some skeins that I keep on my desk because they make me want to knit. They make me happy.
There are some skeins that I keep out on a bookshelf where I can see them often. They remind me to keep moving forward on my current projects so I can get to those new skeins and new projects.
Then there are skeins that I keep in storage tubs. I love going through them. It’s like having my own yarn shop in my basement. I have weeded out some skeins over the years, because I only want yarn in there that I cannot wait to knit up into a project (and maybe my tastes have changed). I just want to keep beautiful yarn that makes me want to knit with it now!
Should you be buying more yarn?
Oh, please do. 🙂 Colors and styles change, yarn bases change, new dyers come and old dyers go. Adding new things to your stash from time to time keeps it fresh and keeps you inspired. It lets you try out new yarns and companies (your very favorite might still be undiscovered), and I know that a Loopy Box of Fun sparks joy when you open it up. I’ve decided that with some yarns, even just having a skein of it brings me joy (and I’m feeling no guilt if it takes me a year, or ten or twenty to knit it up.)
The bottom line:
Keep what brings you joy. Use what brings you joy. Buy what brings you joy. Stash what brings you joy. Knit what brings you joy.
Luckily with beautiful yarn, that’s not hard to do.
Someone was in the shop recently and I commented on her beautiful handknit shawl. She was pleased that someone noticed. (We always notice handknits here. We love to see them!)
In the course of our conversation, she mentioned that she lived alone. That made me think, “What if I hadn’t said anything about her handwork? Does anyone tell her what a beautiful job she does on her projects? She seemed to need that confirmation and encouragement today. If she lives alone, who else provides that for her?”
That started me down a whole road of “what ifs” that I thought I’d share with you. It’s the season of Joy and Love and maybe you can turn a “what if” into a happy day for someone this month.
What if you’re the only one who:
tells someone their work is beautiful?
gives a handmade gift to someone?
texts a word of encouragement to that friend today?
sends a card to that lonely shut in?
waves and smiles to a neighbor?
tells someone how much they mean to you?
shares positivity on social media?
makes someone laugh at a joke today?
does a random act of kindness for someone you don’t know?
helps someone in need?
Sometimes you wonder if you should say or do something. You don’t want to bother people. You’re in a hurry. You think your words won’t matter. Following through on just one “what if” a day will lead to a lot of better days for those around you. And you know, it will help to make your own day better, too.
Today we have two designers! Debbi and Marcy’s design business is Adventure Du Jour. You may have seen their beautiful Tool Box Hat, Cowl, or Mitts. They are beautiful colorwork patterns that are fun to put together!
Loopy: Thank you both for joining us! How long have you been a knitter and who taught you to knit?
Debbi: I’ve been knitting since I was about 7. My grandmother taught me to knit while I was spending time with her one summer. My first projects were garter stitch headbands. I must have knit a dozen of them!
Marcy: I’ve been a knitter going on 34+ years. My parents were thrilled when I went away to college and came home first semester at Thanksgiving with my new skill of knitting and an Icelandic wool sweater. I like to say I’ve been a knitter with a K for the past 15 years when it progressed from hobby, to obsession and now profession.
Loopy: It’s always so fun to hear about the first projects you work on! What is your favorite type of item to knit?
Debbi: My favorite thing to knit is whatever I am currently working on. That being said, I do love accessories. My wardrobe tends to be made up of mostly black, gray and white so I love to add something special with color in my accessories.
Marcy: I’m pretty fickle in terms of my favorite things to knit. I will say that I like fast knits, whether garments or accessories. My favorite thing to knitting is whatever I’m working on at the time.
Loopy: Our favorite project is the one we’re working on too! What is the most challenging thing that you have knit to date?
Debbi: My biggest challenge was a sweater called Bel Air by Anne Hanson. I took a two day class from Anne on how to create a sweater with your perfect fit. With the front of the sweater being an all over lace pattern there was a lot of math to get the sweater to fit me just right. Needless to say, it is also the piece that fits me the best!
Marcy: Of all the projects I’ve knit, sweaters are most challenging because of the decisions and modifications that need to be made in order to get the perfect fit. It’s so gratifying wearing a sweater I’ve knit.
Loopy: Anne is a wonderful teacher and sweaters are the best! When did you start designing, and what spurred that interest?
Debbi: I started designing in April of 2008 when I designed the Funky Sock Monkey. From there I began designing pieces inspired by the people, places and things in my life. My first accessory piece was a cabled cowl inspired by my mother. I named it Patricia after her and knit one for each of my daughters for Christmas that year. I’ve been hooked on designing ever since.
Marcy: I begin designing in 2010 after a few years as a sample knitter and knitting on consignment. I just figured since I knew what I liked and often needed to change things, I should just designed it myself. In 2015 Debbi and I began Adventure Du Jour Designs because we realized it was more fun and productive working together.
Loopy: How fun! Do you have a favorite pattern that you’ve designed?
Debbi: I think I’d have to say that my favorite pattern(s) that I’ve designed would have to be our Tool Box Collection. The use of color and texture has always been a big part of my designing process and these three pieces are now my go to gift items.
Marcy: The favorite pattern that Debbi and I have designed is the Tool Box Cowl and Collection. What makes it my favorite is that judging by its popularity people feel empowered to use color in a manner that really speaks to their heart.
Loopy: We love the Tool Box Collection! So beautiful with all the colors. What is your favorite part of your designing? And your not-so-favorite part?
Debbi: My favorite part of the design process has to be the brainstorming for the design. I love to see an idea come to life and it’s great to collaborate with Marcy on this. I don’t really have a not-so-favorite part, unless you count the ripping out we have to do from time to time when things aren’t just right. But the end result of the the ripping back is usually worth it!
Marcy: I love the creative process with Debbi; talking about what the yarn could be, what it wants to be, and all the little design elements. It’s great being able to bounce ideas off each other and talk about construction techniques and always have a sounding board. All the computer work is definitely lower down on my list. It’s necessary and rewarding when it’s done but I’d rather be knitting.
Loopy: It is so fun to see an idea come to life especially when you can work on a project together. Do you have other jobs outside of pattern designing?
Debbi: Beside being a wife, mother and grandmother which keeps me really busy, I am a knitting teacher. I teach at various conferences around the country as well as local yarn store. I am also partners with Stephanie Pearl-McPhee in a business called Strung Along. We hold knitting retreats three times each year where we teach and have a great time!
Marcy: My primary job is mother to 4 teenagers. I’m fortunate in that I can always bring a knitting project with me to games and waiting at appointments. The downside is you can’t knit and drive and my gauge is usually affected when I let the teens drive me. It’s a juggling act as are most things in life.
Loopy: Yes, it’s a bummer we can knit and drive! Do you do this business full-time, or on the side? And is that hard?
Debbi: The beauty of this business is that I (we – Marcy and I) can devote as much or as little time to this as we want. We each live pretty busy lives so when one of us is up to our eyeballs in alligators the other can step in and take care of things. It’s a great way to collaborate.
Marcy: Working with Debbi as my partner makes it much easier to balance family responsibilities and the knitting design business. It’s great to have somebody who is willing to pick up the slack when your life implodes and knowing that you do the same for them. We both have the same goals and that’s another part of what makes Adventure Du Jour Designs work.
Loopy: That flexibility is such a great component of designing. Does anyone else in your family knit?
Debbi: Both of my daughters know how to knit. I taught them when they were younger. But they are both pretty busy with their young family and their careers. Anything that they might want knitted comes from my needles. My oldest granddaughter, Paytan, will be learning to knit this summer when she spends time at our house!
Marcy: I taught each of my three daughters to knit as they’ve grown up. Though none of them actively knit, I’m hopeful they will in the future. I need somebody to help me use up my stash! My daughters and son are all intrigued by fiber pursuits of spinning, weaving and are grateful for the occasional hand knit gifts. As 2 prepare to leave for college, I should probably begin to think about school color blankets!
Loopy: How special they all know how to knit. Are there other hobbies that you enjoy?
Debbi: I love the outdoors and living in the Pacific Northwest we have the best of everything. We are 90 minutes from the ocean and a couple of hours from the mountains. I also love to travel and we usually have a big trip planned each year. This year’s trip is to Ireland where I know I’ll be getting a lot of inspiration for design.
Marcy: I enjoy an active lifestyle. I like the outdoors and all the seasonal activities associated with each. Walking, running, biking, kayaking, golfing, hiking and in our New England winters snowshoeing and, the occasional skiing. Debbi started a group called Scamper 200 that is comprised of women who encourage each other in staying active and healthy. It’s great to have a support system outside of family whether in knitting or activities. I also love photography.
Loopy: Sounds like wonderful days off! What would be your favorite way to spend a day off?
Debbi: If not outside then knitting and Netflix!
Marcy: My idea of a great day off in the summertime includes getting up early, going for a long bike ride, coffee and knitting time on the deck in the sunshine and time with my husband. I would finish the day with a dinner someone else cooked and a glass of Chardonnay! Or a day in NYC exploring with Debbi…oh the fun!!!
Loopy: Morning or Night person? Coffee or Tea? English or Continental? Solids or Multicolors? 🙂
Debbi: I love the mornings but I am a night owl as well. Coffee! English, and all colors, depending on what my project is!
Marcy: Morning. Coffee. English. All colors!
Loopy: Anything else you’d like to add?
Debbi: I am very lucky to be able to design with Marcy. We have a really great friendship which makes the deigning even better. We also are pretty like minded to our ideas are usually so similar that sometimes it’s a little scary! It’s a great gig to be able to work with your best friend.
Marcy: I love technology and am in awe of all the cool things it can allow you to do. Without technology and the Internet I never would have met Debbi 10 years ago on Ravelry. She’s clear across the country and yet an integral part of my daily life.
Debbi and Marcyhave given us a 20% off coupon code off a single pattern good for 2 weeks from today! You can use the code theloopyewe for a discount on a pattern from Adventure Du Jour’s Design Store.