The Needle Bee

Knit.Crochet.Shop.

My 2017 goals

Knitting, LifestyleBrenda Reynoso PenaComment

A year ago on Jan 6th I published my knitting and crochet goals but - can you believe out the 6 goals, only the first 2 got completed and the other 4 were replaced with other stuff that was more exciting than the actual goals? If are curious to know what were my last years goals, go here.  

This is why this year I want to try something different. I don't like resolutions- I like goals and adventures. The problem arise when I get distracted or let other unimportant events take priority. And with that I bring you my two words for this year- simple habits !

This means keep simple goals and make it a habit to check your progress on those goals. What I am saying is keep one or two goals and Stay focus by making a habit to look and analyze your progress in a timely manner. This applies to anything in life - losing weight, buying a house, paying off credit cards, using your stash, etc..-so  whatever you like to use to keep track of your goals (paper planner or an app or both) coming back to those goals and tracking your progress is what really matters. One of the reasons why many goals don't get accomplished is because we often underestimate the time and details that each goal require.

So so here are my goals for 2017:

1- grow my business

2- complete the TKGA (MHK) Master hand knitter  level 1.

1-Growing my Etsy shop and website are my top priority. I have exciting news for you in the next few weeks so stay tuned. 2-Knitting and crochet are already part of my habits so they aren't included in my goals except for the MHK program because it requires more dedication and I feel is a major commitment for me.

I hope this helps you think and decide your top priorities when you are ready to write your goals. I 'd love to know what are your goals for this year.  Happy knitting and Happy planning!

 

 

 

 

 

Happy New Year!

KnittingBrenda Reynoso PenaComment

This year has been great. I have learned a lot, met new knitters and started a new etsy shop. I want to thank everyone who took the time to stop by and read along my knitting adventures. 

I wish you all an awesome 2017 full of health, love and all the time in the world to do the things you love!

Happy Knitting!

 

 

 

An interview with Knitwear designer Jacinta Amutsa

Knitting, DesignersBrenda Reynoso Pena1 Comment

I have exciting news to share with you this week. I want you to meet Jacinta Amutsa, another member of the #initiateknitdesign challenge hosted by Francoise Danoy from Aroha Knits.

Jacinta’s story is very interesting and after her participation in this challenge, we can see her talent with her first design the Urembo cowl . Let me tell you, this cowl  is incredible well thought of with details that are rarely found in new designers.

As you can see below, the cowl has cables - and you know how much I love cables- and a very cute stitch design. Let's find out more about this beautiful pattern and Jacinta.

1. Jacinta, could you please tell  me a bit about you? How long have you been knitting?

My name is Jacinta Amutsa. I was born and raised in Kenya. I am a self-taught knitter.I started knitting last year after a heartbreak. Being a college student, I had too much time on my hands. It was all I could do to keep my mind off the thoughts of blaming myself and draining in sorrow. I realised that I was more of a creative person and sought Youtube to learn something new. Knitting came easy for me because I love stuff to do with the hands.I think of knitting every minute of the day even when am knitting. It is part of who I am. I have always loved creating stuff and when I started knitting, I realised I could incorporate my creativity in it. At that time, I wasn't an experienced knitter since I was starting out. But I never gave up. I used to look at knitwear and wonder how that designer came up with the beautiful design. I wanted to create something so bad but I didn't know how or where to begin. I  would read blogs, admire knit designers while I sat in my aspiring corner wishing I was like them. I would knit a more challenging project than the last until I gained more confidence in reading patterns and charts. A few months ago, I came across the Initiate Knit Design challenge by Francoise Danoy. I took the challenge and learnt how to come up with a design and eventually creating a pattern. That was how Urembo Cowl Pattern was born.2. What made you decide to take that next step and start designing  knitting patterns?

I have always admired knitwear designers since I fell in love with knitting. At that particular time, I was not confident enough to start the process of designing. I was new in it and decided to knit more until I learnt the ins and outs of knitting. The challenges I faced included reading patterns abbreviations and charts. The knitting patterns eventually became easier to read but it took some time before I could read charts. I was still shy of trying to create something. I was never going to be ready if I kept hiding behind the "am not confident yet" statement.

So I made up my mind and took a leap with the initiate knit challenge. I realised that this opportunity knocked at the right time and if I let it pass, I would regret it for the rest of my life. This is the description for my first pattern. My pattern involves picking up stitches. I have always wanted to combine cable and lace in one item and that is what inspired me to design this cowl.It is a very interesting knit and the knitter will enjoy the pattern as well as the beautiful finished item because of its simplicity and design.

I have always wanted to design something and when this idea popped, I took a leap and designed it. I love both cables and lace and thought why not make something out of it. That was the big inspiration behind Urembo cowl.The name Urembo is a swahili word for beauty. After I finished knitting the cowl, I couldn't believe how cute it had turned out. I was so proud, excited and nervous that I couldn't help but say "what a beauty you are!".I was literally talking to it. That is when a bulb lit in my head and the word beauty fitted so well. But I didn't want to give it the common word so I translated it to Swahili and Urembo Cowl pattern was born.

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3. What is your design process?

My design process: Inspiration and sketching- I find inspiration and sketch the shape of what I want my pattern to look like. I write all the details I want for my pattern including the color of the yarn, stitches, and how to incorporate the stitch to my design.

 Swatching- I knit a swatch based on my sketch and all the details I wrote down. This swatch gives me an idea of how the final piece will look like .

Calculation- After swatching, I calculate the the length and height of my design.

Knitting- Once I determine the measurements of my design, I knit it up based on my draft pattern. This helps in ensuring accuracy of the pattern and then writing up the pattern.4. Do you look at the yarn first and then think about the pattern? How do you find inspiration?

 I look at the pattern first before I can decide on colour. When it comes to me designing, I am more inspired by fashion, stitches, nature and photographs. I don't limit my imagination when I want to come up with a pattern.  5. Do you have a needle preference? How about Crochet? Do you also design crochet patterns?-

No, I don't have a preference when it comes to needles. What I focus on is the magic the needles, yarn and creativity give birth to.

6. Where can people find you?

Ravelry: JacintaAmutsa Instagram:  Jamutsaknits Facebook  Jamutsa Knits and Pinterest Jamutsa Knits

I hope you enjoy learning about Jacinta as much as I did. Please share with your friends and make this pattern your next project.

Happy Knitting!

An Interview with knit designer Amanda Leah

KnittingBrenda Reynoso Pena1 Comment

The knitting community is not only a place to talk about your knitting but is also a place to meet new designers and make new friends.

A few months ago I participated in the #initiateknitdesign challenge organized by Francoise Danoy from Aroha Knits. During this 10 day challenge, aspiring knitwear designers and fiber enthusiast learn the methods used by Francoise Danoy used in knitwear designs.

Being part of Aroha Knits "fibre muse sanctuary facebook group" has given the opportunity to learn, connect and admire new knitwear designers.  Today,  I want you to meet the talented and  lovely Amanda Leah, knitwear designer of daisy chain knits who was also part of the #initiateknitdesign challenge.

 

  1. Hi Amanda, could you please tells us a bit about you? How long have you been knitting?

When I was a kid, I had big dreams that changed boldly and frequently. My career aspirations were scattered across professions and industries. The things that lit me up were things that helped others grow and explore themselves, or explore something that they felt they couldn't or shouldn't learn. It’s so rewarding to see the light bulb of understanding in someone’s eyes when a new concept clicks for the first time. I love helping them discover the spark of adventure in learning, encouraging them to connect with a piece of their purpose and express a little bit more of their unique and beautiful view of the world.

My purpose is to share my journey as a knitter in the hopes of inspiring others to discover their knitting adventure and empowering them to embark on quests to explore their knitting potential. I create self-contained knitting patterns and resource suites to help encourage and support knitters. These challenges help push knitters out of their comfort zone and reward their triumphs. We owe it to ourselves to pursue our dreams. I want to help others learn how to build their skills, and develop the confidence to take action. Pushing through and proving to yourself that you can is the most liberating feeling of achievement.

My family is very crafty. My grandma quilts, sews, crochets, and knits. My grandma and I are left-handed but she was forced to be right-handed as a child. When I was young, she was able to teach me the knitting and crochet basics leftie-style. I twisted my stitches for a long time, because I wrapped my purls the wrong way. One day I came across a ktbl (knit through the back loop) and was very confused, because I already knit through the back loop. That led me to research why, and then I realized that there’s a whole technical side to knitting that I hadn’t known existed before. That’s when my love for knitting became a full-on obsession.

I believe that knitting is science, art, and a touch of heart woven together. Knitting is best when it’s personal and when your stitches tell your story. It is both comforting and a fulfilling adventure. Knitting connects us with our ancestors, allows us to focus on the present in a meditative way, and allows us to connect with our self-trust, self-worth, and who we want to be in the future.

 

  1. What made you decide to take that next step and start designing knitting patterns?

I like to color outside the lines a bit. When I started knitting, if there was something I found odd or that lacked flow in a pattern, I would modify it so that it was to my liking. I enjoyed knitting, and I wanted to scout out a new path by designing my own patterns. I designed knitted packaging for gift cards which added a nice homemade touch to them. They were such a hit with the people I gave them to, I decided to publish the designs on Ravelry. I published the designs for free because I built them mostly for myself, but I wanted other people to benefit from them as well.

I recently made the shift to knitwear design full-time and changed my brand name to daisy chain knits, since it is easier for people to remember and pronounce. When I was a child, my family used to travel up to Manistee, Michigan to visit my great-great aunt. There was this otherworldly forest behind her house. I have fond memories of making chains out of daisies, wearing them as crowns, and feeling like a woodland elf scout while traipsing through the forest. "Daisy chain" has warm memories tied to it, and also embodies the spirit of adventure and freedom that I want to bring to knitters through my patterns, challenges, and resources. My Woodland Passage collection, which includes the Terra Firma set, is also inspired by those visits. I want knitters to escape the everyday knitting routine when they knit a daisy chain knits pattern. Knitters are able to explore new skills while savoring their creative journey and making beautiful things.

 

  1. What is your design process? Do you look at the yarn first and then think about the pattern? How do you find inspiration?

My inspiration comes from memories, experiences, and connecting with the world around me. I usually come up with a theme and a feel for a collection, and use that as inspiration for the pieces. For example, the in-progress Woodland Passage collection is inspired by my adventures in the forest as a child and embodies the warmth and nostalgia of happy memories. I am inspired by the different layers of the forest and the different personalities and textures between the forest floor, the understory, the canopy, and the emergent layer. Terra Firma was inspired by moss, pinecones, and leaves that you see on the ground while running through the forest, and the diamonds symbolize the interconnected path of how our past leads us to the present.

 

I sketch multiple concepts, select stitch patterns to match or create ones to fit, and do some initial math and swatching to see if it will work. This process will include different materials, plies, weights, and colors of yarn. I usually build the pattern while knitting the sample, and incorporate solutions for any issues that come up along the way. I keep in mind the knitters' experience through this, since I want every pattern I put out to be a worry-free experience for the knitter. I know how frustrating it is second-guessing yourself and then realizing the issue you're having is a mistake in the pattern. I want to avoid that, which is why I have all of my patterns tech edited and tested.

 

Test knitting is so valuable and I greatly appreciate the knitters that test knit my designs. They go through and knit the pattern and let me know any confusing areas, unclear areas, and areas that need to be improved to make sure that the knitters that buy the pattern have the best experience possible. This includes everything from the actual knitting, to the pattern layout and flow. I take their feedback and questions seriously because if they have a question, I know other knitters will have that thought or question too. These designs would not be what they are without the test knitting process and feedback.

 

Something new I'm doing is also recording video resources for tricky areas in the patterns. For example, the Terra Firma scarf pattern coming out starts in the lengthwise center of the scarf with Judy's Magic Cast On. If a knitter is feeling ambitious, I'm including a video for how to drop down and redo some of the stitches to be purls instead of knits on the second half of the scarf. This makes the seed stitch texture flow better between halves and prevents the small two-row knit 'seam' between the first half and second half of the scarf.

  1. What is Knitventure?

Knitventures are knitting experiences for brave or want-to-be brave knitters who are ready to explore their potential in the knitting world. I'm building a pattern and challenge library that is designed to be a fun, progressive, and exploratory way to master new techniques, with resources and a support system to help break through the intimidating details.

 

Knitventures are a way to escape from your everyday reality and take a mental vacation. While I'm knitting, I love to think about the story behind the pattern and daydream. With Terra Firma, I can reminisce about the rush of running through the forest and the energy in the air as scattered light dances around.

 

Knitventurers join me on a journey outside their comfort zone where they can escape the everyday knitting routine. With quests and rewards, it becomes a motivational and meaningful hobby rather than just a way to pass the time. Mastering new techniques brings a rewarding cycle of achievement. The more new skills a knitter learns, the more they reinforce that they can conquer any knitting technique. This serves as a catalyst for knitters to embrace their potential and master their abilities. This momentum carries over into their real-world lives by encouraging them to overcome their fears and self-doubt and embark on new adventures.

 

  1. Where can people find you? 

You can find Amanda and daisy chain knits in the following places:

Website: www.daisychainknits.com

Knitventure Society Newsletter & Facebook Group: bit.ly/KnitventureSociety

Instagram: @daisychainknits

Ravelry Designer Page: bit.ly/amandaleahravelry

Ravelry Group: bit.ly/daisychainknitsravelry

Facebook Page: bit.ly/daisychainknitsfacebook

I hope you enjoyed learning about Amanda and her design process as much as I did. The terra cowl design is just gorgeous and a must have. Happy Knitting!

 

Black Friday is here!

KnittingBrenda Reynoso PenaComment

black-friday-yarn-sale-2 Do you like to save when you buy yarn? Of course you. So take advantage of  my first promotion and save some $ on your next project or gift. Take 15% of your total purchase starting today until 11/28/16. Use coupon code BLACK15.

Please share with your friends so they could also save.

Thank you and Happy Shopping!

 

My new Etsy Shop and My current WIPs

KnittingBrenda Reynoso PenaComment
d4130374-007f-4d91-ab16-3634f35a2001.jpg

 I have been thinking about a yarn store for a long time where knitters could come and knit and have coffee with me! I just love to sit and have a cup of coffee or tea and knit with friends. I honestly could do this everyday! I  have to thank my friend Sophia for making me realize that Yes it is possible to have my own online yarn shop.  Yesterday was an exciting day for me. I finally opened my Etsy shop. You may notice the Shop page above and the mini Etsy shop widget on the right side bar . The name of the shop is TheNeedleBeeShop. I currently have a few brands in stock like Lana Gatto, Juniper Moon and Huasco by Araucania but very soon I will have Anzula Luxury Yarns.

Current Wips (works in progress)

Now lets talk about Knitting. How many projects do you have on your needles? I like having at least 3 projects on my needles- a challenging project, a long term project and an easy project.   My challenging project is a new sweater I started  last month (part of the big bad Berg along -Melanie Berg KAL) that Michelle from  Actually Knitting and many other podcasters  are hosting. The pattern is Risen . This is  beautiful and comfortable sweater. I am using Baah 100% merino wool superwash-La Jolla yarn. The yarn is beautiful, soft but not slippery. It has a little grip when you knit,  which gives a little body I think.

I am a fan of comfortable sweaters that I can wear almost every day. One of the reasons why I decided to cast on this pattern is the  stitches and techniques involved. As you can see from the picture below, Melanie Berg used a combination of stockinette stitch and a textured stitch along the collar and the front. Both of these techniques and the details of the ribbing on the cuffs keeps the pattern interesting and challenging at the same time. The entire cardigan is seamless knitted from the top down. If you hate seams, then you will love this type of carding. So far I am enjoying the process even though I know I am not going to finish it by KAL due date which is 11/30/16.  Risen cardigan by Melanie Berg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 My second sweater is my long term project- the featherweight cardigan by Hannah Fetig. I just checked my Ravelry notes and I started this last year on 9/16/15. Omg! That was a year ago. Well that's Ok. I decided to make it a bit longer than the original pattern bu knitting with lace yarn is a slow process. The yarn is Anzula wash my lace, 100% merino wool. It blocks beautifully. Soft and light- perfect for Spring. Who knows, I might finish it by next April!  It is difficult to see the details in this picture but it will look perfect after it is blocked and completely finished. This pattern is also seamless knitted from the top down.

And lastly my Reiki hat. This is my easy project. This pattern was designed by new designer Laura Peters who is also part of the Swatch KAL studio knit along hosted by Aroha Knits and Becky (SopranoKnits in Ravelry)  from the Stringing-it-together video podcast . This is a very easy hat. It is knitting fast and I like it because I can watch tv and knit! The due date for this KAL is Dec 10th- that means I have plenty of time to finish.

So how many projects do do you have on your needles? Enjoy your knitting!!

 

 

 

 

October 2016 favorites 

Crochet, KnittingBrenda Reynoso PenaComment

October is one of my favorite months of the year. If you live in Florida, I am sure you were enjoying the last few weeks. We've had many pleasant and breezy mornings and nights perfect for knitting or crochet. But today I want to share a few of my favorite things this month.  So let's begin:

1-An entire day at A Good Yarn Store in Sarasota, FL. I took a class with Ann Budd at a good yarn Sarasota a couple of weeks ago with Ann Budd- she is so knowledgeable! If you are hesitant about "set in" sleeves,  you might want to consider a class like. By the way,  The Knitter's Handy book of Top Down Sweaters is an excellent resource. It's like having Ann next to you holding your hand in every step of creating your own sweater ! What else is better than spending an entire knitting surrounded by great people and yarn?

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2-My new swift and ball winder by Knitpicks. They are affordable and are well made. I don't -know why I waited so long to buy a yarn swift really!

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3-Cables and more cables. Have you seen the new Woolens book by Jared Flood  at Brooklyn Tweed? It's a book of knitted accessories full of cables and rich designs. I saw this book when I went to A Good Yarn store. The book is one of those you want on your coffee table. It has gorgeous photography and design. There are so many patterns here I want to knit!

woolens-by-jared-flood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4-Field Bag by Fringe Supply Co. It's a little pricey at $65 but I know I could use it a lot. The inside of this bag is perfect for anyone who likes to knit pr crochet a lot.

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5-Starbucks Pumpkin spice latte- grande. A great companion to any knitting or book! I am not counting calories when I go to Starbucks ok.

6-Homemade corn bread. The recipe is from the Joy of cooking book. I baked a pan of this bread twice this month. It's yummy!

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Ok that's it for now! I will be back this week with some Knitting progress and new podcasts that I found in the last few weeks. For now, enjoy the fall season and happy knitting!

Disclaimer: note I am not associated with the products or companies mentioned above. All opinions are my own.