Thursday, June 18, 2015

Work in progress and some other thoughts

It has taken a big effort to get the time to do things like write on the blog...  I have so many thoughts I need to put into words, and even though I am very happy with my knowledge of English, when I come to this space and try to put everything I feel into words... It's just not good enough.  It's funny, I blame my English, I wonder if I'd be able to put everything I think into words if I tried to do it in Spanish...



For some reason, I see the space of the blog as a more serious space... A place where one is expected to elaborate things more in depth, right?  That's why the immediateness of Instagram and Facebook is always so tempting, and I end up communicating with my readers in a shorter way.  But then, it seems that all is joy, all is knitting, and all I do is sit down on the couch and create this bunch of patterns out of nowhere... With perfect smiles and perfect skin... Well, you see, I have a very imperfect skin ;)

Life has been sort of stressful on this side of the computer...  I have been blessed with many opportunities and with many offers to work with my all time idols.  To try the finest and most exquisite yarns.  Who would say no?   I have made many friends, I have met the most amazing people over the last couple of years.  I have travelled to places I never thought I would go to.  But of course, it also meant an amount of work that maybe I was not prepared to do so quickly.  I always say this: I work slowly.  Many people on the are amazed at my speed, but the truth is that this is my day job, I knit and write for a living, and sometimes I just work too many hours a day.  I love my job so much that it's even harder to put things down and take short breaks.  That means that many times I've had to ask loving friends to lend me their helping hands to finish things in time.

I started to realize I was feeling a bit stressed towards the end of last year.  I kept seeing people meeting all around the world, and in my head there was this need to be part of everything that was happening.  As Helen from Curious Handmade cleverly called it: FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).  It stressed me not to be part of anything cool or awesome happening, I wanted to know more and possibly work towards it.  But it also stressed me to do so.

I told myself it was time to slow down last year, and I am still working with projects I committed to before that day.  I am starting to see the end of this pile of knits and patterns I had to work on, and it is finally looking like soon I'll be able to go back to my old pace, calm and quiet.  I am, after all, too far away from where most of the knitting world is, and I think I still need to learn a lot to work in such rhythm.  I am certain I am not prepared to do many of the things I've already done...  And when I look at myself with objective eyes, I am an Argentine mother, who one day decided to write a pattern and see how it goes. ❤️

gratuitous kid photo ;)

But! This doesn't mean I don't have anything new or exciting coming up.  In fact, I do believe that all I have in the works is super fabulous, and I am still partnering and collaborating with the most awesome people in the world, and still getting to know new friends and still taking some opportunities!  I just wanted to share with you that I do feel sometimes the social media give this false impression that we can grow indefinitely and work on countless projects with no effect on how we feel....

I am currently working on a few things I thought I'd show you.  The first one is a design for Madelinetosh, and it's currently waiting for the final editions of the pattern.  I don't know many details about how or where this will be released, but I wanted to show you how amazing the yarn I got to work with is:


On the top one, I used their Tosh Merino Light, one of the most versatile yarns I've worked with, and definitely one of my favorite.  I do enjoy working with single ply fingering weight yarns A LOT.  They make super lofty garments, and I do feel these sweaters are ones that I could wear in Buenos Aires, where the temperature never goes below 0ºC.  The colorway I used is called Kitten.  I didn't know this color (not that I know all of their colors anyway), and it surprised me in such a lovely way. It's the perfect mix between brown and gray.  Really, you need to try it.  I don't think it can look bad on anyone ;)
Also, it was a surprise to realize, when I swatched for this, that even though I am a huge fan of Madelinetosh's yarns, I had never worked with their Vintage base before.  Again, I loved it, and it's a problem, cause now I need to go buy more...  The color I used is called Moonglow, and icy blue with some gray base.  Just... perfection, I do love these colors for myself so much.  :)
The top sample took 4 skeins of fingering weight, and the bottom sample took 6 skeins of plied worsted weight.
So yes!  I am currently immersed in some serious pattern writing.

Particularly today I am knitting a shawl.  This is a design for Sundara's luxury yarn club for 2015, called The Petals Collection.  My design is for the November installment, and the yarn Sundara sent is blissful.  I can't show you the color, since it's an exclusive colorway, and I am pretty sure she'll want her customers to be surprised, but I don't think she'll matter if I show you a peek of the texture in my project.


Remember I said this was a luxury yarn club?  Well, I think the description runs short, since the yarn I am working with is a sport-weight blend of 65% white cashmere and 35% silk.  On top of this, Sundara's dyeing always makes yarn look even finer.
The club features also Veera Välimäki, Kirsten Kapur and Thea Colman, as designers for the other 3 installments.

Hmmm, let's see, what else am I working on?
This is one project that is not related to work, even though I designed myself.  And it's one that fills me with joy.  My friend Nash, from Fiber Crafts with Nash, finally gave the news that she is expecting a baby!
I almost never take knitting time to work on projects for others, but this girl and their baby are too special to me, so I decided to make them something with my hands (cause I never do anything with my hands, right?).


I decided to make them a shawl/blanket following my own design So Close.  I love this design so much, it's one of my all time favorite knitted garments, so I wanted Nash to have one too.  I didn't use mine as a baby blanket (since my boys where grown already when I designed this), but I did use it as a scarf, as a shawl for knitting during the cold evenings, and also as a blanket for myself when watching TV.  I thought such a project would be useful for nursing, and Mom can wear it after the baby doesn't need it any more.  So yes!  I am quite excited about this gift.


I am going to try to make it with just one color, but my yarn might not be enough and there's no chance of getting more of it, so we'll see...  I am using Juno Alice in Goldmine colorway, but sadly Asti (the dyer) is not making yarn any more.

I am working on 2 projects that require buttons:

The one in the left was finished, but I tried it on and realized that the front is actually 4 rows longer than the back (???), so I need to undo the bind off and fix that.  I wouldn't have mind if it was the other way around... Oh well.
This is a super quick project that was inspired just because I wanted to play with the yarn: the beautiful ASAP from Madelinetosh, in the most playful colorway: Holi Festival, hehehe... I love it!
The project itself is so silly and simple, that I am not sure I should write a pattern for it... What do you guys think?

The one in the right has me completely crazy in love.  It is, again, a collaboration.  This one is with The Uncommon Thread, another of my love affairs with yarn.  The yarn I am using is another example of single ply fingering weight yarn, and the colorway is called... Baby Elephant Walk.  Seriously, you just want to knit with this yarn because of the name!  Lots of texture for this one, but hopefully it will turn out super flattering too ;)

So what's next?...

As I said, there are a few things coming up (there should be a new pattern of mine out there next week, hopefully), but I have been thinking of doing some designs on my own for the next couple of months.  I have been dreaming of using up some great yarns I have in my stash to make a little collection... like I used to make in the past.  
I even went ahead and put together a color scheme.  This is how excited I am about having some creative time!


I have also been trying to go back to my camera and take proper pictures of things...  Take TIME to make things better, or at least in the way I was used to... slowly and carefully.

All this traveling I've been doing has inspired me to bring some of the ideas and yarns from the Northern Hemisphere and mix them with my own colors and make something with a Southern spirit. I want to use more South American yarns, so you might see some Malabrigo popping up in this collection (if it ever comes to be true), and I might also get some Manos, both from Uruguay.

But the surprise in this mix is my best friend Ale, who launched this year her own hand-dyed yarns, Pura Hilados, using minimally processed merino wool from Patagonia (in Argentina).  Her yarns are super amazing, but I was waiting for her to create the perfect colors for me to work with.  And she came home with these precious a couple of days ago:

Pura Fina: sombra (top) and petalo (bottom)
This, folks, is 100% merino fiber of 18 microns, in a weight that is somewhere between sport and DK.  Super super beautiful, and non-superwash yarns are exquisite and buttery soft as cashmere.
This is my next project!  Pura Fina in colorways Sombra (charcoal) and Petalo (nude), ready to become a striped wrap.  I decided that I have had too many secret projects going on already, so whenever I work for this collection, I might show you some of the projects and not wait until all of them are done...  Hope it doesn't get me in trouble! ;)

What I do know is that I am going to take my time with it, and it might take a loooong time.  I won't stop working on other things to favor this project, it has to grow organically, and when it's ready, it will be ready!

I would really love to hear from you if you are reading this... it makes me feel I wrote all morning for someone out there ❤️

Thank you for reading,

~Joji

42 comments:

Kate Long said...

I hear you Joji and I'm so glad you're carving out some creative time. You are creating the space you're in and we're so honoured to journey with you. Be kind to yourself xx

Vero said...

A disfrutar, Jojita!

C. said...

Thank you for this long post. See, I like reading and I'm frustrated with the lack of words on Instagram or Facebook (I even closed my accounts there because I couldn't bear it anymore!). Nowadays, it seems that people don't take time to write more than 140 characters or seat to read them. Always faster, always needing more, not taking time to live the present moment and savor life. I'm very happy for you and I'm glad to hear that you are taking time to slow down ;) Enjoy yourself!

ale said...

Muy bueno el post Joji.
Tomalo con calma. Estás haciendo cosas preciosas...
Y aunque jamás tengo tiempo para tejer tus patterns, sólo puedo dedicarme a proyectos chiquitos, ya llegará el tiempo de la jubilación y cumpliré mis deseos.
Mientras tanto los disfruto en las fotos y en otras tejedoras.
Adelante!

Peri said...

Lovely post. Thank you for sharing. Snapshot social media does often give a false impression your are right about that, so this post was refreshing in its honesty. I'm sure you know we all appreciate the time and effort you put into your lovely designs. Am every excited to see what you do with the Baby Elephant Walk....it's a great name but boy do I have fun fitting it on our labels!

sisuliz said...

I'm so happy you took the time to write and share your thoughts. You may not feel as if you are able to communicate as well in English, but your words are always so eloquent and meaningful to me. It is so hard to feel like you are being stretched in all directions and not have enough time to spend and focus on the things you want. I can truly empathize with that right now. Thank you for all of your hard work; I have received so much enjoyment and inspiration from you.

Tanis Lavallee said...

I read the entire post and loved every word of it! I can so relate. Social media always makes me feel like life is speeding by, like everyone is out there doing awesome things all the time and I have to try and keep up. Good for you for making the time to take your time. I'm excited to see your new collection progress, I love it when designers share peeks of what they're working on, but no rush of course!

Helena Lauri said...

Thank you for this blog post! I've often wondered what it's actually like to be a knitting designer. Like you said, most of the time we only see the finished product beautifully laid out, as if it it just popped into existence out of nowhere. While I'm not a knitwear designer myself, I can easily understand that a lot of work must have gone into something to be as perfectly finished, and I can imagine that designing can be as stressful a job as any, even though to many knitters it might seem like an all-time fantasy job that's always just delightful. I think it's amazing how designers can stay creative and keep getting new ideas even when it's their daily job, which must sometimes also get kind of tedious. It's hard to be creative if you're stressed out. I'm happy to be a casual knitter, who can knit whatever and whenever I feel like it, because a big part of the enjoyment is knowing I don't have to do it if I happen not to feel like it, and that there are no deadlines. I'm lucky there are people who are disciplined enough to write well thought-out patterns for people like to enjoy at their leisure!

Anna A said...

Thank you so much for your words... It means a lot to me. I am not a designer, but I do feel the same way most of the time.

And thank you for your patterns. I am starting my very first cardigan in a couple of weeks. It will be an "old romance". I had always doubted I could actually knit one. I'm still afraid (and very excited), but your pattern convinced me! It is so inspiring.

Take care of yourself, and thanks again.
Annabelle

Ullfull said...

Love Your blogpost! Intrestening to read about behind the scene! Take care of Yourself and Your family, that is the most important! Love Your designs! Greatings from Gotland, island in the Baltic Sea in Sweden! // Anita (stickanita on Ravelry)

Lorelei Eurto said...

Just started following you recently and can relate to so many if your thoughts. As a jewelry designer I struggle with the balance of enjoyment versus work. Even just shopping for beading supplies is feeling tedious lately. I keep hoping the feeling subsides. I hope you continue to share more blog posts like this in the future. Take care of yourself and just be happy.

Savannagal said...

I enjoyed reading your post and thinking about what it must be like to live in Argentina. I don't get to travel much, especially outside of the USA, so I really enjoy hearing from folks in other parts of the world. Your friend, Ale's, yarn looks lovely. I'll definitely think about her the next time I need yarn for a project. I often feel overwhelmed because I have so much to do all the time. Live never seems to slow down enough to just enjoy it. I hope you have found a way to do so. I'll keep trying too. Take care.

Elizabeth said...

You are human like the rest of us! Sometimes I forget that my idols are busy and have concerns and dreams and thoughts like me. I love seeing the new patterns you come up with and know that when it happens, your next collection will be even greater than all of your others. When you breathe and take it one day at a time, it is amazing how much you can accomplish. I will admit that I understand what it is like to take on more than you think you can handle but it will be so worth it as long as you can maintain the balance in your life between your job and your family and friends. Thanks for the honesty!

kacie.reimer said...

Beautiful words and beautiful work, Joji! Thank you for sharing them with us!

mswnola said...

I love this post Joji! Thank you so much for your honest and real words - otvhelps me understand what you must be experiencing! So I hope you can slow down a little now and enjoy the family and also the creative process, at a more human pace!

Joni of Fully Wooly Primitives said...

Loved your post. It was heartfelt and is much appreciated..your designs are gorgeous and well worth any wait. Take your time and enjoy life..

Laurelena said...

I really enjoyed your post. I greatly admire your work and it has occurred to me, this woman has children and her popularity has exploded greatly in the past few years! She must be sooo busy! I bet it's both a blessing and... well I don't want to say curse because it's not that awful. But I can understand the stress. And the desire to work mindfully...
As far as the English, it's perfect. I for one wouldn't mind if you wrote in Spanish once in a while.

MadMad said...

Not sure if you've heard of Horton Hears a Who....? But I want to chant "We are here! We are here!" And, I think you beat yourself up too much, Missy. You are awesome - a knitting superhero, really. You really do so much - I don't think anyone but you expects more! It's not even possible!

Michelle @ the quilted tortoise said...

I want to knit all of your designs but I simply don't have the time to keep up with them all. So if you slow down it will make me feel less like I'm missing out too. Does that make sense?

I love your designs, they are so wearable and fun to knit (except when it's fingering weight and your instruction is to knit stockinette for 18 inches ;) ). I love that you use all different yarn companies too. Like everyone here knitting is such an important and nourishing part of my life and you help to make it that way. Thank you Joji!

I have a skein and a half of Alice in Goldmine leftover and I would love to be able to send it to you! Although I'm not sure if you still have problems receiving parcels? Please email me if you're interested. It would be well travelled as I bought it from Loop in London and then it came to live in Australia and could then come to live in Argentina and then to where Nash lives :)

S.Lobos-Garcia said...

Muy inspirador y Auténtico. Éxitos
Saludos Susana

Vivian Louise said...

I've been amazed at all your travel this year. It was so much fun to get to meet you and take your class at MadTosh Craft in January. I agree with MadMad above, you are too hard on yourself, but that is part of your charm.

Take the time you need to create, enjoy the process and have fun.

Anonymous said...

Hi Joji, thank you for your blog post. There are several conversations about how cheery Instagram can be that it is not like life. I am glad you found a space to write about the other side of happy and also, the other side of hard work. I understand the thrill of getting pulled into an exciting business and just following the little thread into a crazy land of accomplishment. But there is a payment to be made for this excitement and sometimes it is our family time or creative time. It's hard though because the allure is quite exciting. I am glad you are able to see this clearly and step into it and out of it on your own terms. Sending good wishes to you from San Jose, California. Lu (luinsf on Rav)

Joji said...

Kate, Vero, C., Ale, Peri, Sisuliz, Tanis, Helena, Anna, Anita, Lorelei, Savannagal, Elizabeth, Kacie, Maggie, Michelle, Susana, Vivian and Lu,
Thank you so much for taking your time to leave a comment here. I feel this is a post that I might revisit sometime, and these comments will be here for me. They mean a lot, truly.

xxx
Joji

Diane said...

I love reading about your life and your work, Joji. You inspire me with your beautiful patterns and encourage me to try to do more all the time. Thank you for taking the time to share with us all.

Nurdan Kulluk-Rennert said...

i really enjoy reading your post. And to be honest, you express yourself very well in English. It felt like I was reading a native speaker's words; you sound very natural, neutral and the most importantly, yourself. (I am not a native speaker myself so I understand your concerns when it comes to writing and trying to express yourself in another language.)
I am looking forward to moving to Buenos Aires next year, currently trying to learn Spanish and hopefully will have learnt enough by the time I get there- in case you teach at a workshop/knitting class and I come and learn from you and have a chance to have a little chit-chat about life there.
Much love to you. Keep doing what you have been doing- you are really very good at it!
Espero verte el año que viene.

Roopali said...

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and plans. Your commitment to your craft and design ideas are so beautiful and inspiring. I am happy to hear that you are taking your time with everything and I look forward to your new ideas and designs whenever they are ready to be shared.

Leticia Locatelli said...

Qué suerte que pudiste poner en tan acertadas palabras tus sentimientos. Celebro tu decisión de serenidad e introspección y te apoyo tido el camino, abla distancia y cerca, siempre. De ser mi pequeña hermanita pasaste a ser una mujer plena, honesta, divertida, con valores fuertes y prioridades claras. Es un honor para mi ser tu hermana. No lo elegí, pero lo haría si pudiera. Adelante, Jojin, hacia el próximo puerto en el mar de la vida. Voy con vos.

Annamaria Huttunen said...

Dear Joji the pain of beeing creative and talented but still a mother, wife etc and the FOMO feelings could be read between the lines you written last year. I hope you are bit less stressed now. ❤ Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I hope you are able to take your time and enjoy that great work You are doing! A big hug from Finland althought we've ever met.

Laura said...

Thank you for such a beautiful, eloquent post. You are so right about the impressions that our instagrammed life can create, whether we want it or not. I have a tiny knitting blog that I have been neglecting lately, partly because it takes so much work for me to post and because I deal with a language barrier too. But now you have inspired me to carve some time out and make the effort to write my knitting thoughts out again.

I love seeing the hints of designs to come; thank you for giving us a glimpse of your talented creations!

Sue said...

Loved this post, Joji! Love also that you are taking time to slow down. As much as I love Instagram for the pictures, I love blogs for the thoughts and words. Your English is excellent, by the way!! I know maybe 3 words in Spanish! Thanks so much for sharing all your creativity with the knitting world. Really love your designs and ideas. :)

Carol Perecman said...

Joji, don't beat yourself up for not being a superwoman. You have accomplished so much...it's good to slow down a little and spend more time with your kids, who will not be kids for long. There is always the future, and I'm sure it is hard to not want to just grab what you can while it is being offered. But just have faith, there is always room for someone with your talent and abilities. Your fans will be here for you and will still want to knit your lovely patterns. Do what your heart tells you!

KCMama said...

What a great post! Your English is extremely good so don't worry your pretty little head over whether it is or not. Besides, it is part of your charm. Of course, I may be a bit biased as my husband is Colombian...... :-)I love seeing a post from you in my inbox. Your work is lovely and I can't wait to make a few items. I will get to them one day. Try as I might to knit, my family and other obligations seem to cut into my knitting time so I understand your dilemma somewhat. I have to pass on lots of things as well. For example, I would love to come down to your part of the world but until my kiddos are out of university that probably isn't going to happen. Sigh. You are living and learning, as they say, how to balance work and family. I hope you find your happy and less stressful rhythm. Best of luck. Oh, and you have the cutest little boys!

Debbieamy said...

Joji, Thank you for taking the time to write this. I don't follow Instagram or Twitter. I like reading about things more in depth, even if less frequently. I have knit To Infinity and Beyond (which received many compliments) and have more of your designs already in my wish notebook. I loved seeing what you are currently working on.

Algodão Tão Doce said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Cherie Luca said...

Hi Joji,

Your honesty is beautiful and appreciated. Reading this makes me want to tell you that although I love your writing and photos, I love your wonderful patterns more. I know how much effort goes into a blog, there are many people these days that blog for a living. It is a lot of work. I think its important you know that from a fan/ customer I would rather see short casual posts from you knowing you have so much on your plate already ... There is no pressure from me... you are an extremely talented woman with a lovely family, but there is only one of you and there is only a certain numbers of hours in a day.
Also, it is very easy for your readers to translate your blog to whatever language they understand... do what is best for you.
I admire your strength.
Keep on creating and loving.
Cherie.

majo said...

si eres argentina....... porque publicas tus diseños solo en ingles??? porque no en castellano???

Joji said...

Majo,
Publico en inglés porque fue el lenguaje en el que aprendí a tejer, a leer tejido y a escribirlo. Es el lenguaje en el que me siento cómoda y en el que decidí llevar adelante mi negocio.
Muchos cariños,
Joji

Anonymous said...

xxx. look after yourself and your family. love your designs. keep smiling :)

Syknits said...

I really enjoyed the post. Being a mom let alone a working mom is hard work.....Thanks for sharing whats going on with you.

PS I totally get what you mean about Instagram its pretty addictive.

Pauline said...

I love your designs and will gladly wait for new ones, knowing that they have come from a more serene place :-)

Gretcheng said...

Hi, Joji-- Thank you for this luxuriously long and heartfelt post! I think your English is just fine

I read blogs because I appreciate the more in-depth discussion of ideas and explanation of designs. If sometimes you can only manage a quick photo caption every other week, that's fine! It's always fun to have a glimpse of what you're working on.

Your life has been busy and hectic lately, but I believe your designs are getting better and better! Clearly you are able to grow with these new experiences, and I wish you some more of them, though maybe more spread out! Thank you-- Gretcheng

Sara Ermisch said...

you inspire me Joji! I love all your patterns and look forward to seeing more from you! I love the way you take your time and that your patterns come from your heart. Keep doing things your at your own pace. We <3 you!