A combination of a due date drawing closer and a desire for a bit of quick knitting led me to take a break from my more slow-burn project this weekend for a pair of baby hats. An added bonus was the chance to enjoy the work of two of my lovely knitting friends.
First up was Cookie Jar by Joeli’s Kitchen. I first came across Joeli when I was looking for a Tech Editor for Coniston- little did she know as she guided me through the process of putting a pattern together properly that she was only just beginning. Next thing I knew I’d started getting designs accepted in Knit Now and Joeli was knocking more of my patterns into shape and in the process teaching me so much about pattern writing.
Like me, Joeli juggles her paid work with bringing up two little ones of a similar age to mine, so she knows what she’s doing when she comes up with her gorgeous designs for children. Cookie Jar is easy to follow, comes in a range of sizes from baby to adult and uses simple stitches to great textural effect.
I used the rest of the rainbow yarn I had left over from the Milo I wrote about a few weeks ago. As a heavy DK, the yarn is a little bit lighter than the pattern recommends, so I used the toddler stitch count on 4.5mm needles for a baby size. What I didn’t do was work out how much yarn I had left. As a result, when I got to the second moss stitch band the end of the yarn came whipping out of my handbag (most of the knitting for this was completed on the journey to and from a great family meal out at The Highwayman near Kirby Lonsdale. I can recommend the cauliflower fritters with spicy mayo and the Morecambe Bay shrimp). A quick fudge was in order. Since the design is quite slouchy and I was following the toddler hat directions, I judged that I’d have enough height for more of a beanie style if I frogged, then omitted, the last texture band and started the decreases. With just a few yards to spare I had it completed- a very satisfying and quick project. I’ve mentioned the yarn, by Moonlight Yarns before, but at the risk of repeating myself, although I don’t really like multi-coloured yarns as a rule, there’s something utterly joyful about this one. The colours are so vibrant and the length of each colour repeat is long enough that you get a lovely stripe effect rather than pooling. My project page on Ravelry is here.
With one of my baby knits now a set, I needed something to go with my BSJ- so this time I was working with the yarn of another friend, Victoria at Eden Cottage. A quick Ravelry search turned up Logan by Julie Taylor- a devastatingly cute little pixie bonnet. Again, it’s a clear and well-written pattern with sizes up to a young child’s head size. Instructions are given for knitting flat and in the round, with clear photos guiding beginners through any tricky bits and techniques.
I liked the striped version of the original pattern, but thought that regular stripes in stocking stitch wouldn’t be quite the right match for the irregular, garter stitch stripes of the jacket. I therefore had a try at making it in reverse stocking stitch, keeping the stripes as they were. Not only did this not work well, it also made me realise that I probably didn’t have enough of the grey to make it through all the stripes.
At least with baby items it’s not too heart-breaking to frog and start again. I ended up just making the garter stitch border in the grey, then keeping to the green for the main part. I think it really emphasises the pixi-ness of the hat but I’m aware that this isn’t the sort of design that photographs well without a head to model it. A certain baby needs to hurry up, methinks!
This BFL really loves to be blocked- the yarn plumps and smooths itself out so beautifully. I particularly like the way the lines of double decreases that help to shape the hat look. I rather like it when a piece shows something of its structure as a design feature. Ravelry project page is here.
When you design your own patterns it can be hard to find the time to make other people’s, but making these baby knits has reminded me of just how valuable and enjoyable it is to try out other people’s designs. I’m going to try and make the effort to do it more often.
You win some, you lose some. The cherubic (and dare I say photogenic) boy you see wearing my ‘Coniston’ sweater in the pic at the top of this page is my son. How fortunate, you might think, to be a knitting designer blessed with a ready-made model. Think again. This child has been known to choose shorts and (reluctantly) a t-shirt as his attire even in the depths of winter. He runs hot. In addition, if he thinks it’s a handknit, especially a mummy-made handknit, he won’t touch it with a barge pole. Coniston was designed especially for him, in non-itchy recycled yarn, with a hood because he likes them and a wide neck for his large noggin. Other than the day I bribed him with chocolate to take this photo, he’s worn it maybe half a dozen times if I’m lucky, and even then under extreme protest.
Even my boy with his penguin-like abilities to withstand cold sometimes gets cold hands, however, and it was making me feel bad as a mother, let alone a knitting mother, that he didn’t have a decent pair of mittens. Not so bad that I would spend my time making something he wouldn’t wear though, so a design conference was called. I can’t really recall who came up with what aspect of the design, but we decided that if I could make something that was easy to get on, like a mitten, but had a bit more finger-moving ability, like the ‘lobster claw’ gloves he’s seen his Daddy wear for bike riding, he might just wear them. Furthermore, if they made his hands look like monster claws, then the chances of him wearing them went up even more. This is how the ‘Dragon’ part of the ‘St George & The Dragon‘ set was born.
When I decided to see whether Knit Now might be interested in our idea, it was a natural step to come up with a hat to go with the gloves. Knowing that my boy’s tastes usually run to the simple, rather than the ‘full on dragon’s head’ complicated, I thought that a beanie replicating a knight’s helmet was the way to go. With a simple cross of reverse stocking stitch on stocking stitch, it’s easy enough for even a beginner.
The design appears in Knit Now’s Best of British issue, which I’m delighted about. I’ve become more and more drawn to using British-produced yarns in recent years, for reasons including environmental considerations, a desire to support this ancient industry that’s part of our heritage and, selfishly, the sense of integrity and linking to the past that I feel when I’m using them. For this project I got to try out Woolyknit Aran. Woolyknit yarns were a new one on me but I suspect this won’t the be the last time I use them. The quality of colour and soft, springy feel were lovely to work with and the finished items blocked to a quality-looking finish. Furthermore, they aren’t bank-breakingly expensive, a factor that can lead some people away from buying British or buying wool.
So, the question is, will my reluctant little model wear them? Hmmm…the jury is still out. The gloves have had a few outings, but since they knit up so quickly in the aran, I don’t mind too much if they end up being passed down without much wear to his little sister. Now, there’s a much more willing knitwear model (she is particularly attached to a textured beanie made by her great-grandmother)- if I could only get her to stay still for pictures….
Ever get that feeling that you can’t think about stuff for needing to get on and do it? It must be a more common malaise these days, as with the wonders of modern life we are very rarely unplugged from the world and in addition are likely to be juggling myriad roles, all requiring a different mindset. That’s certainly true for me, addicted as I am at times to my smartphone, tablet and laptop, and juggling an increasingly revived career in primary school teaching with motherhood and designing. I tell myself I need to take time to stop and think, but in reality I take knitting projects with me for the car journey if we go on a country walk, take photos for Facebook at the summit of the hill we walk up, read educational theory books in the bath, put a pile of marking on the passenger seat to do while I wait for my son to come out of school….It might keep my productivity levels where I want them, but it was in danger of leaving me running on empty when it came to creativity.
It might just be me trying to put a good spin on the horrible coldy/fluey lurgy that’s hit our household in the past week or so, but along with the aches, sneezes and coughs has come some really productive time to think- when I was trapped under sleeping, poorly children, when I took over the job of taking the boy to his swimming lesson when my DH got sick and finally, when the bug got to me and I was so rotten with it I could barely knit (the horror!)
At the start of all this thinking time I realised that with the pace I was hurtling along at, I’d lost a bit of focus on what I wanted to be designing- and for whom. I ended up making a whole load of lists- of designs that had done well, of designs I enjoyed producing, of elements I enjoyed working with, of the sort of items I most like designing. I ended up with a sort of master list of what I should probably try to make my designs about- examples from the list include stranded colourwork, textured stitches, British wool, vintage influence, headwear and nothing finer than 4ply, amongst other things!
The most recent issue of Knit Now is a good example of where, even without the list, sticking to what I like best served me well. I had three designs included:
Bloomsbury e-reader and glasses cosies. It felt like such luxury to be working with seven different colours in a design, but using mini-skeins from Knitting Goddess kept it really affordable- I was so pleased with the rhythm and energy I think is created by the 30s inspired geometric design and different juxtapositions of colour. Stranded colourwork, indpendent dyers- both on my list!
Pemberley beret and handwarmer- this one was all about finding stitch textures that showed of the amazing lustre and deep colour of the Fyberspates Scrumptious DK. Relatively simple lace motifs mixed with stocking and garter stitch allows light to catch on the silkiness of the yarn from different angles, which reminds me of traditionally luxurious fabrics like brocade and velvet- perfect for a design inspired by country houses. Textured stitches- tick!
Mitford Scarflette. Here the stitch was really the star again. It allowed a fairly small amount of yarn- Lanas Stop Alpaca- to be turned into a pretty, textured and cosy scarf. The design also uses a keyhole to fasten – not shown in the picture- which means it can be styled with a definite vintage vibe.
As to future designs, enforced sofa time meant I also got down to some swatching (my poorly head could just about take a square’s worth of knitting). I had a lovely time trying some cabling with the lovely Artesano British Wool I’ve had waiting around in my stash for ages. A few false starts led to a satisfying result in colourwork using two shades of Rowan Felted Tweed. Enough with the thinking now- bring on the doing!
There are so many sensible things you could do if you find yourself with a bit of a windfall, thanks to pattern sales of a certain design being lots more than expected. Taking your husband for a pre-Valentine’s, no kids trip to Edinburgh is not necessarily the most sensible, but I’m so glad that was what I chose. We had a precious couple of days of everything from brilliant winter sunshine to snow, eating delicious food uninterrupted and at a leisurely pace, wandering around galleries (including the brilliant Wilhelmina Barns-Graham exhibition at the City Art Centre) and knitting. Of course knitting.
Although it doesn’t really look like it in the picture, this is in fact Woolly Wormhead’s Runway hat from Knit Now Issue 14. I actually started it before Christmas using some stashed Manos del Uraguay Fino, and it was making slow but pretty progress when it got shelved in favour of other things. A snow-laced train journey North and an afternoon lounging in front of ‘Man vs Food’ (I know! But it is weirdly addictive) and I had a hat. I’m a known fan of strong colours, but having somehow packed a wardrobe of monochrome clothes I loved this bright accessory even more, providing as it did a zinging counterpoint to the February grey.
I feel like I’m stepping into a room where you can write your name in the dust on every surface. Okay, it’s not been that long, but it feels like ‘Write blog’ has been staring accusingly from my to-do list for more than just a couple of months. Of course, the more time I’ve left this space in a state of neglect, the harder it becomes to work out what to write. I’ve decided that the only way forward is to attempt a sort of ‘okay, this is what’s gone on, wipe the slate clean, onwards!’ approach.
So. Pattern releases. There have been a few that should have had a bit more of an airing than they did. Firstly, the other two Eden Cottage designs that premiered at the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching show: Bramble and Flora. As a yarn, I love and recommend Eden Cottage BFL. I also think the world of Victoria and her business and am really pleased with the designs I (eventually) came up with, along with the photoshoot we did at my in-law’s farm. However, if ever a project was beset with obstacles- time, illness, discovering your original idea looks just like a design in a clothing catalogue, technical problems with printing- then this project was. To put the tin lid on it, sales have been…modest, let’s say. Still, all part of the learning curve I’m on as a designer. There really are so many things to learn.
Where the collection for Eden Cottage had some sort of coherence, my recent clutch of designs for Knit Now have been a little more diverse. I’ve come back to stranded colourwork again for the Tweedy gloves and Folk Dance dress, the latter being the first time I tried the technique of mixing ombre yarn (Crazy Zauberball) with a solid colour. The ‘Dodger’ spats were a very quick, fun knit with Rowan’s very fluffy, bulky-weight yarn, Tumble. It’s not the sort of yarn I’d normally use but I have to say the colour was beautiful and the yarn very soft. Obviously, being the weight it is, you also get very quick results.
Knit Now also launched a spin-off just before Christmas in the form of Quick Baby Knits. The idea was that you could buy the magazine and that any one of the patterns featured could be made with the yarn that came free with it. I thought this was a really great idea for people who do a lot of knitting for little ones, or who are perhaps taking up the craft again because a baby is due. My contribution to all this was ‘Baby’s First Book’- yet more colourwork, this time to make simple, two colour images on each page and a personalised front cover.
That rounds up the pattern releases but it doesn’t really tell the full story of what my needles have been up to. My Christmas season also included a couple of Kate Davies stranded colourwork designs (is this a phase, or an actual addiction!?)- Snawheid, made for a fabulous and much appreciated colleague, and Boreal, made for me. Yes, that’s right, I actually found time to sit down and make something just for myself! It was my Christmas treat/project and I have absolutely no photos of it yet, not least because the weather has been so unrelentingly grey. We haven’t even had the snow everyone else seems to have had this week and my Boreal would look AMAZING in the snow. I think when I finally get some pictures sorted I will have to write about it separately here, because I love it so. I have also been working on a project I owe my sister as a birthday present from last year, but we won’t talk about that because her birthday is NEXT MONTH and it shows that I shouldn’t promise anyone knitted presents ever.
So that’s surely a slate cleaned, all ready for a 2013 jam packed full of thoughtful and creative blogs from yours truly? Hmm, I think the knitted present issue above should teach me something about rash promises. I think the best I can do is do my best.
It’s not often that a design springs into your head, fully formed and ready to go. For me, its usually more a case of dreaming up the general gist, then refining with swatches, sketches and general tinkering to get things how I want them. In the case of Spirograph it was much simpler.I got an email from Kate at Knit Now about coming up with a design for the summer festival idea using Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece and immediately sketched something on the back of an old receipt or something similar that I had to hand. If I could find that original sketch, with notes like “slanting eyelets spiral round” and “narrows to hug crown of head”, you’d see that what I sketched was exactly what I made.
Publishing lead times being what they are, when I was thinking about this, summer was a bit of a distant dream. As a result, when I decided I wanted to try out making a version for myself, I used Manos del Uraguay Silk Blend and used more pattern repeats for a deeper, ‘lidless hat’, destined more for chilly tramps in the Lake District than chilled out festival nights. It must say something that I’ve worn it regularly since early Spring, through the summer and even more in these autumn days.
The magazine version, in the Cotton Fleece, was a little narrower for more of a summery, hairband feel. I think this is one of the strengths of this design, as it’s pretty easy to adapt to your own tastes or yarn choices- as demonstrated in a certain well-known designer’s version here. (Yes, that is one of my knitting designer-heroes making and blogging about my design and yes, I did nearly wet myself with excitement when I knew about it.)
The pattern is now available as an individual download through my Ravelry shop, with instructions included for both the shorter and longer versions.
…or how sometimes what seems like the worst thing can turn out for the best.
My working relationship with Victoria at Eden Cottage Yarns began not long after I started designing. When Knit Now asked its designers to come up with patterns for their ‘Marvelous Mittens’ campaign I submitted Treacle Toffee and, having seen Eden Cottage Yarns featured in a magazine, I asked if I could use some for my design. I loved it so much that I kept checking back to see what other colourways Victoria was dreaming up. When ‘Purple Iris’ came along, I immediately knew I wanted to design with it, and Starry, Starry Night was the result.
One of the many things I like about this yarn company is that a lot of the wool is not only dyed locally (in the same county I live in) but also sourced locally, from sheep reared in the Bowland Forest, just a little way further east. When Victoria said she was looking for pattern support for her lovely Bowland DK yarn, then, it was no surprise that I jumped at the chance.
So…I swatched on my holiday. I sketched my ideas for a pair of cardigans and spent a lovely hour or so with Victoria when she did a trunk show in Manchester’s Purl City Yarns, choosing the perfect colour combinations. I signed up to Rock & Purl’s Grading Course to make sure I’d get the sizes and pattern writing spot on. I was all on track to get going when…I got a Christmas catalogue from one of my favourite clothing companies, People Tree. Flicking through it I was dismayed to find something that looked remarkably like my cardigan design in their range.
I was gutted, frankly, but it was just one of those things. Supportive designer friends told me that there were enough differences between the two to save me from any accusations of breaching copyright. They suggested that I could make some small changes to differentiate it even more, but the fact was, I couldn’t face the thought that I could release a design and someone could say ‘She’s just copied that from People Tree’. In addition, I didn’t feel I had either the time or the heart to make big design changes.
There was nothing for it but to have a rethink. I went back to the start, swatched again and rediscovered what I loved about the yarn. Instead of cardigans (I’m off cardigans for a while!) I’m looking at a collection of retro inspired accessories- back to what I know well, eh? I’m aiming for lots of texture and a little colourwork to work in harmony with Victoria’s lovely colours.
What’s strange but wonderful is that actually, it’s working much better than I expected. It’s maybe even working better than the blessed cardigans would have done. Apart from being on a bit of a downbeat, timewise (we’re hoping for a release date of late November) it feels so natural to be making these designs, as if they’re what the yarns want to be. Serendipity, I’d say.
Issue 12 of Knit Now magazine is in the shops this Thursday, which means that for the first time in a while I can write about a finished item, rather than works in progress- hurrah! These are my ‘Royal Oak’ cushions and as they’ve been quite a long time in the development it’s great to see them out there in the wild at last.
The origins of the textured patterns were in this acorn motif. Developed for a still yet-to-be released project, it uses a combination of simple cabling, moss and knit stitches. It occurred to me that if the motif were to be repeated over a larger space such as a cushion cover, it would create a different effect.
The result reminds me of different things- sometimes the sort of multiple arched windows you see in cathedrals, sometimes honeycomb. I’d love to see the design made up in different colours too- I think natural ‘sheep’ shades would give a different effect again, bringing the texture even more to the fore.
Colour and yarn turned out to be quite a factor in this project. When I originally envisioned the cushions, I thought of them in earthy natural greens or browns. However, working with Knit Now on finding a yarn that had the crisp stitch definition needed, but that made this a reasonably priced project, proved quite a challenge. In the end we decided on Adriafil Stella Alpina (mine was supplied by Purl City Yarns)and, looking at all the colours available, these seemed the best for a slightly vintage, autumnal feel. The stitch definition on this yarn is beautifully crisp and for an affordable wool yarn, it has a lovely feel and depth of colour.
Further development on this pattern included the addition of an oak leaf motif to make a complimentary pair with the acorn. I used a series of single cables to achieve the curves of the leaf edge and oh! the headaches I had over perfecting and charting it, even though it’s not a particularly difficult design to actually knit.
I also tried using a circular method to knit these cushions, beginning with a seamless cast on and working across the patterned front and stocking stitch back simultaneously. I loved doing it this way, as rather than having a great big square of dull stocking stitch to plough through, you get half a round of chart following, then a whizz across the back and the project seems to grow in no time. The fact that there’s no seaming is another bonus- but I’m aware that for some that would be a problem. I’ve heard interesting debates between designers about seamed versus no-seams garments, with one side arguing in favour of the structure and stability provided by seams and the other preferring the ease and clean finish of seamless items. I can therefore understand that for some knitters, seams would be preferable on a cushion to keep its shape, so for that reason there are instructions included for a knit-flat version.
I know I’m biased, but I do think that the collection of patterns in this issue of Knit Now is a real class act (see them here on Ravelry) and urge you to go and check them out!
I escaped domestic duties yesterday for a grand day out in Manchester. This included a solo train journey, always a pleasure with yarn and needles to hand and even more so when the sunset end of the trip involves the spectacular skirting around Morecambe Bay- it’s almost reason enough alone to come to the South Lakes peninsulas. My excuse for a day of yummy food , great company, knitting and yarn ogling was that it was business. Well, sort of. It’s a tough job…
The main point of my trip was a visit to Purl City Yarns where Victoria from Eden Cottage Yarns was holding a trunk show. I loved the explanation of a trunk show given beforehand by a friend of mine: ‘She brings out a load of gorgeous yarn and then we all fight over it’. I can assure you it was a little more civilised than that, even given the presence of PCY’s infamous cocktails, but it’s still a pretty good description.
I first came into contact with Eden Cottage’s hand-dyed yarns when I was designing my Treacle Toffee Mitts and decided to use Maya DK to make them. I was so impressed with the amazing quality and colour that I kept going back to ogle the site. When I saw their ‘Purple Iris’ colourway in Bowland DK it inspired the Starry, Starry Night Stole that appeared in Knit Now Issue 7. In all my contact with Victoria she is always friendly, supportive and enthusiastic so I was really excited to discuss a new, bigger project with her recently.
Yesterday was therefore a chance to discuss both the project and the yarn involved face to face, which is a rare luxury in my limited experience of designing. Normally, the details of design projects are communicated and hammered out with emails, scanned sketches and swatches and yarn sent by post. It was wonderful to see and handle the real deal, to spend time trying out and discussing different colour combinations and details. Definitely nice work if you can get it.
I came home clutching a large bag of beautiful colour in my arms and feeling quite a responsibility on my shoulders. However, one measure of my enthusiasm to get going is that, as you can see from the images above, I just had to get the swift and ball winder out as soon as I got in. It’s going to be a learning curve but I’m really keen to expand my skills and hopefully come up with something special.
Okay, okay, better late than never with this one. It’s been a wee while since the wonderland of sheepiness that is Woolfest packed up for another year and here’s me only just getting around to writing about it. Even so, I think it’s more than worth a mention and a sharing of stash photos- apologies for the quality of these, by the way. Lack of natural light and time has not been kind…
What made this Woolfest special this year was actually the very fact of me being there. Not because of the horrendous weather, although that did give us pause for thought, or because of the complicated childcare arrangements or even my chronic car-sickness. No, for me it was surprising to be there because a year ago, when it was my first opportunity to go for a couple of years, I found I’d lost my knitting mojo and couldn’t actually be bothered. This was probably symptomatic of a lot of other stuff that was going on or indeed not going on at the time, draining my confidence and my energy for getting out into the world. Then I started work on a cushion called ‘Make Do and Mend‘, saw a subs call for a then yet – to- launch magazine called ‘Knit Now‘ and all of a sudden a year had passed and I was going to Woolfest to meet up with people who’d given me yarn support, chat to other designers, say hello to the editor who’d given me commissions and even give out business cards.
Like many, I found the whole scale of the event (it must be three times the floor space it was the last time I went) pretty overwhelming at first and after a cup of tea I needed to get down to earth by meeting some familiar faces (familiar from email contact at least!). Victoria from Eden Cottage had a stall full of scrumptiousness and I was very proud to see my Treacle Toffee mitts on display there, joined by my ‘Starry, Starry Night‘ stole when Kate Heppell from Knit Now arrived with a suitcase full of samples to return. Despite the rain, the place was buzzing with fibre fanatics, but I also managed a quick ‘hello’ to Loraine from Woolly Madly Deeply in the midst of the madding crowd.
In addition to visiting a lot of Alpaca stalls (my friend and driver for the day was a convert as soon as she squidged her first bundle of baby alpaca fibre and would probably have squeezed a live one into her car if she thought she could get away with it) I had a couple of star-struck moments meeting designer heroes Susan Crawford and Kate Davies and also did a (fairly restrained) amount of shopping. I was also very proud to see a ‘Make Do and Mend’ at the Woolsack stand, ready to be gifted to an Olympic athlete
My haul included four balls of natural fleece coloured pure Shetland Wool from Ruth Strong, whose stall was part of the Wool Clip section. It’s beautifully soft but its colour, warmth and robustness make it perfect for the project I have in mind- a hat and scarf set for my Dad where the watch words need to be ‘understated’ and ‘masculine’. I hope to share some WIP pictures here soon.
As well as giving me an excuse to chat to the lady herself, I visited Susan Crawford’s stand to acquire a whole garment’s worth of yarn. I love using British yarn whenever possible and have been looking at what’s on offer from John Arbon Textiles for some time, in particular the vintage shades of Excelana. However, feeling that the colours probably weren’t shown to their best effect on the website, I was really excited to look at them in real life- it’s one of the best things about going to shows like Woolfest, seeing so much of so many ranges in one place, something even the best wool shops just can’t offer. Anyway, if you’re considering Excelana, go for it! The colours are beautiful, soft vintage shades that just cry out to be combined as they tone so well together. That said, I’ve only bought one colour- cornflower blue- which is pegged for a proper, big, ‘hard maths’ project this summer which will be mainly for me and possibly for a wider audience!
Last but not least let me introduce my new pet:
Okay, not really. But since all I do at the moment is stroke and cuddle it, it might as well be! This was my ‘off list’ purchase- the inspiration skein. With the other two lots of yarn, I came with specific ideas about weights, colours and what they were going to be- it’s how I tend to shop for yarn as I’m not much of a stash fiend. However, the last time I bought a skein of yarn just because I loved the colour and feel of it, it ended up as ‘Spirograph‘, which popped into my head more or less a fully formed idea. With that in mind, I allowed myself to buy this vivid pink, stupendously soft Fyberspates Scrumptious DK/Worsted just because I fell in love with it. My hope is at some point an idea for what to do with it will pop into my head.
While I wait for inspiration to strike, don’t be fooled into thinking my needles are still. There’s a lot of Shetland love going on, some serious texture and a fair bit of colourwork- not all on the same project I should add! One year on from losing my knitting mojo, I think I can safely say it’s back with a vengeance.