We need to do better.

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This isn’t a post about yarn. It’s about how whiteness in the fiber arts community is damaging and harmful to the people of color in the fiber arts community. Please read on…

The fiber artist POC are hurting and our silence on these issues only exacerbates this pain. This week I have watched white fiber artists I respect and admire dismiss what a POC was explaining to them was racist, painful, and unacceptable. I have seen many others choose instead to just stay silent.

I implore you all to take a moment to listen to what POC are saying, learn from it, and work to do better.

We can all do better. And we (the ones who hold white privilege) owe it to POC to be more mindful about our actions, words, and participation.

Believe POC. Listen to POC. Amplify POC.

Lots of people with more experience and expertise have lent their knowledge and energy to explaining what is currently going on in our fiber arts community and why it is important. Please go read (on Instagram) what they have to say and take it in. Start with @su.krita ‘s post. Read what @thecolormustard  and @ocean_bythesea and @astitchtowear and @tina.say.knits wrote.

Thank you to everyone who spent their energy and time trying to help us white fiber artists do better. I appreciate you.

If you have a platform in this community to speak to this issues and keep the dismantling going, use it.

I Sell On Etsy!

Do you ever have one of those things that you always intend to do, but can’t find time for, and said project just stays on the back burner, year after year? My forever-on-the-to-do-list project was selling my patterns and knitwear on Etsy. Every time I set out to do it, I was overwhelmed by all the of the details I needed to work out before my shop could even go live, and that sense of “this is going to take me forever to do” made me push it to the bottom of my to-do list again and again.

I’ve done a lot of custom knitting and commissions orders, and I regularly design and knit for a local alpaca farm, but none of these things seemed to fit inside of a typical Etsy shop. After publishing a few knitting patterns last year, non-knitters began to ask me how they could buy the actual items and were surprised I wasn’t selling them on Etsy.

For whatever reason, I had a let-go-of-expectations moment and I just decided to make it happen, even if it wasn’t perfect or complete, I would list the items they were requesting and see how it went. So… I finally opened an Etsy shop! I’m planning for it to be a one stop shop for my made-to-order knitwear and knitting patterns and I will keep adding items as I am ready. Check it out here:
https://www.etsy.com/shop/JustineChenelKnits

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Let me know what you think, and if you’re working on any projects this year that seem to always stay on the to-do list, I’d love to hear about what made you finally decide to tackle them in the comments section.

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New Year, New Socks

What are you casting on for New Year’s Day?

New Year’s Day is a great time to cast on a new project, and this year I’ve chosen a pair of socks. Not just any socks, these are worsted weight socks specially designed for my husband, Dano, to wear with his work boots.  And by design, I mean I’ve taken bits of this and bits of that to create my own sock recipe. They feature ribbing across the top of the foot and the leg/cuff for a snug fit. They are extra durable and reinforced because I hold darning thread with my yarn while I work the toe and heel, and then I hold elastic thread for the top inch or so of the cuff. I also enjoy working two-at-a-time toe-up socks on magic loop because I have a pair when I finish knitting (I suffer from single sock syndrome ha!). I split the yarn into 2 balls using a scale for accuracy, or if I’m feeling extra adventurous, I’ll use both ends of a center-pull ball at the same time.

If you’d also like to make a customized pair of worsted weight socks for yourself or a loved one, follow my recipe below.

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Favorite sock knitting supplies

Dano’s Favorite Worsted Weight Socks

You will need:

  • 200 yards worsted weight yarn (I prefer superwash wool, and my favorite is Malabrigo Rios, pictured above in color “Ivy”)
  • US size 6 40” circular needles (for two-at-a-time socks on magic loop)
  • Darning and reinforcement thread (I prefer Regia brand) in a coordinating color
  • Elastic thread
  • Other sock hardware: stitch markers, sock blockers, sock ruler, darning egg or mushroom, yarn needle, scissors.
  • Size and gauge note: Check your gauge, measure foot, and then use the Super Sock Calculator to determine your sock size and number of stitches/rows for your sock. My sock recipe is for a 9″ foot circumference, 10.5″ foot length, using 16 sts/4 inch gauge.

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Introducing the Western Slope Beanie pattern

Hello everyone and Happy October! I am happy to announce that the Western Slope Beanie is live and available for purchase from Ravelry. Autumn is my favorite season, and beanies might be my favorite knitty accessory to wear, especially with cables!

The Western Slope Beanie features a gorgeous braided cable that sits between a squishy, stretchy rib pattern with just the perfect amount of slouch. This beanie is both cozy and stylish and will fit into anyone’s wardrobe. Wear it on your next trek through your favorite mountain trail.

I hope you enjoy knitting it as much as I did designing it. Thank you for checking it out and happy knitting!

Top 5 Reasons I Love Knitting

I am a knitter and I love knitting. Here’s the top 5 reasons why:

  • It is my Creative Outlet – Knitting is just string and sticks – but in the end you get a hat, or a scarf, or a sweater. The simple method of wrapping loops of yarn around my knitting needles enough times to create a wearable object will never cease to entertain and amaze me. The creative process of imagining a design, sketching it out, planning (with a little math) and then knitting that design into a finished item is a process I thoroughly enjoy and one that keeps my creative juices flowing.
  • Knitting is one of the mechanisms that I successfully use to counter my Anxiety. Knitting is soothing, calming, it helps me focus my mind and overcome episodes of anxiety. For that, I am forever grateful to knitting.
  • I love my knitting Community. Knitters have an instant connection with each other. Oh, you knit too? Instant friends. You share an understanding that runs deep into all aspects of your life, and manifests as knitting. It’s almost as if you don’t have to get to know each other, because you already know each other. You’re a knitter, you know who you are, and what it is about knitting that makes you who you are. You can assume this about the other knitters you meet, and that is why you have a baseline that’s more profound than meeting a new person. Being in this community makes it easy to become friends.
  • Patience – I am not a patient person, but knitting makes me patient. A clever knitter named Stephanie Pearl-McPhee once said, “There is no such thing as waiting when you’re a knitter.” What she meant by this was that if you have your yarn and project in tow, you never have to wait. Stuck in line at the post office? Suddenly it’s not waiting in line anymore, now it’s a few minutes to knit. The doctors office? Stopped in traffic? All these little moments are just opportunities to knit. You can imagine that when I forget to bring my knitting with me places, I am quickly reminded of how impatient I am.
  • Like it or not, knitting is Learning, and I happen to like that. There’s an intellectual side to knitting that I quite enjoy because I love to learn. One of the best times in my life was college and spending every day in an academic environment, and knitting is one of those things that is an endless source of learning. There are so many knitting techniques and stitch patterns that I have yet to learn, there is an entire side to the science of fiber that is fascinating to me, and of course the tools of the trade offer a few more areas of learning.

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These are my top 5 reasons why I love knitting, but there are many other reasons why knitting is one of the happiest parts of my life. I wanted to share with you today, the ones that mean the most to me.

What about you? Are you a knitter and do you love knitting? What are your top 5 reasons you love knitting?

Knitting brings something to every aspect of myself – it helps me with my flaws, it accentuates my strengths, and it is an integral part of my life. My love language is knitting – it is who I am and who I will always be. I am a knitter and I wish you all Happy Knitting.

 

activism + craft = craftivism

activism + craft = craftivism
For me, it is impossible to separate the two. I knit and craft because it recharges me and helps me focus. It lets my brain rest so that I am ready to keep fighting the good fight every single day. As an activist, I know the importance of burnout, I understand that sometimes we need to pass the baton in this relay of civic work, and I am lucky to have found a way of restoring my energy that also results in a product I can sell to raise money for the causes I support.
I know many artists, crafters, and knitters who do the same and have been doing this for many years. It makes my heart so happy to see all of us doing our part in our own unique way because just like the many individual stitches that make up a garment, it takes many individual acts to make up our collective activism.
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I’d love to hear from you if you’re in the same boat – what do you do to sustain your activism? How do you combine your craft and your activism?
This was a hard week, I’m sure it was for many of you too. The endless barrage of horror that this current administration releases is exhausting and overwhelming. It can make you feel helpless and hopeless, and this is where I find that knitting helps me overcome those feelings. Knitting gives me a chance to breathe and think, and those are vital to finding ways to have hope, and create ways to help.
This week I released a new pattern, and I am donating a portion of the sales to RAICES. I am planning to do this with many patterns I release, and I hope that this is a successful way to add to my contribution to social justice.
Happy knitting and keep fighting the good fight!
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Standing with fellow protesters for FAMILIES BELONG TOGETHER on Saturday, June 30th.