I drooled over the Underwing Mitts a year ago and thought, “No way can I do that.” (Even though my first stranded colorwork in 2017 got me Best Adult Knitter category in 2018 county fair with hat – linked pattern below). That’s confidence for you. I love the moths and their compulsion to turn toward the lunar light.
Well, I completed the fingerless mitts this month, and now I dream of owning every single colorway of Jamieson & Smith Shetland wool so that I can have an “artist’s palette” to work from for my own designs (after first making every single one of Erica Heusser Designs). Back to more financially realistic life, I try to allow myself one knitting related purchase each month, since I rarely eat out, rarely drive, get a haircut once to twice per year, and never do any superficial cosmetic stuff women are supposed to do. As a matter of fact, the only shopping I don’t mind is for yarn, wool and knitting patterns. If you are in the tax bracket I am not and wish to avoid international shipping from the UK for wonderful wool suited to stranded colorwork, here are two American resources known to me: Fairlight Fibers and Woolly Thistle.
For my mitts, I made right and left reverse colors, but I did not create the duplicate stitch for the underwings because every time I have tried that technique it’s a fail. Never fear, though, because you may do just fine. If you should wish a tutorial, here it is: Duplicate Stitch.
Now for a few words about test knitting. Test knitting is a great way to expand your skill set and give helpful feedback to a designer. Often designers post on social media or their own websites when they are seeking test knitters. Most test knitting I’ve been aware of is where the knitter provides their own yarn and is “paid” by getting to keep the item they make as well as the pattern. But I am doing sporadic knitting for a little corner of fiber heaven called Fidalgo Artisan Yarns that allows me to work with their gorgeous yarn, pays me in gift certificates, while they keep the sample I knit. I hope to accrue over time enough to buy a sweater’s quantity of their gorgeous hand-dyed wool, and am glad to have been given the opportunity to do this. I’m popping my sample in the mail tomorrow….
All this to say, I am finding more and more creative ways to do what I love despite being low income and not loving what I do most of the time. Somewhere in that rub between what we don’t want and what we do seems to be life. Not all of us can have a dream livelihood, and some of us (me) would prefer not to have a “job” at all, would not feel “lost” in retirement (not likely for me to ever be able to retire), but rather think I’d feel a greater sense of purpose outside of a “job.” If all bills were paid, I can think of a zillion fulfilling things I would like to do, so I try to squeeze them in in increments, like putty in a tile floor. Next year, I’m investing more time in my community’s food bank garden in gratitude for all I have received from my community.