Circle of Stitches

Purveyors of fine yarns and witchy goods

knitting

What the Sweater Challenge is Really About

intentional living, knittingAna CamposComment
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Happy 2019, friends!

This is our third year welcoming in the new planetary cycle with our Annual Sweater Challenge.

We’ve been working hard over the last four years to really hone our core values and mission, and this is also true of the Sweater Challenge. So today, I’m sharing thoughts on what this challenge really is about.

On the surface, it seems like a way to get folks knitting - which is true! But there is a whole lot of “why” behind getting folks knitting. There are the obvious answers, which are about supporting the small businesses and industries that make knitting possible. Without our knitting community, we wouldn’t exist, and in turn we wouldn’t be able to support the various small businesses and independent entrepreneurs we partner with. There is an amazing ripple effect that comes from supporting small businesses. That said, this not why we do what we do. We genuinely believe that creativity is a conduit to a healthier, more fulfilling life, and a way to connect and care for ourselves.

Some people tell us they’re hesitant to join the Sweater Challenge due to time constraints. The challenge kicks off in late December, with an early March deadline, inviting folks to finish their pieces and wear them to our Anniversary Party. The timeline is about 2.5 months, which objectively speaking, is a good amount of time! But why do people feel so crunched? We are all bogged down with responsibilities and myriads of little things that keep us busy. America is the land of busyness (insert side rant about the pressure to feel busy all the time). By committing to this challenge, you are committing to self care and to more intentional living. We knit because it brings us joy and helps us destress; knitting is absolutely a form of self care. By making a commitment to knit a garment in this time frame, you are making a choice to intentionally set aside time for self care. This of course brings us to thoughts on intentional living. Many of us (myself most definitely included) from being more intentional in how we spend our time. By committing to self care through knitting, we are creating space for more intention in our lives.

Beyond this, we are big supporters of crafting a handmade wardrobe and slow fashion. Slow fashion allows us to be mindful about consumption and putting together a wardrobe that reflects our values. Clothes can be such a defining element for folks as a vehicle for self expression. If we have to wear clothes, why not wear clothes that bring us joy? Not only is the act of knitting a form of self care, we can came out of the activity with a beautiful wearable piece that inspires us. It can feel silly to talk about the transformative power of clothes, but we’ve all experienced it - those special items that really make us feel like ourselves when we put them on. And what is more you than a piece you’ve made yourself, to look and fit exactly the way you want? My beautiful friend Sew Liberated has been posting about this, and this year we are committing to being unabashedly ourselves, and helping you do the same!

I know what some of you are thinking: “but my sweaters never fit right!” or “I don’t have the skills to make what I want!” We hear you, and the Sweater Challenge is our call to you to grow your skills, and we are here to help you every step of the way. Even if you’re part of our online community (rather than in person) we will still work with you - phone calls, emails, even video chat.

Thank you for reading! There’s so much more to be said about all this, but for now I will leave this with an ask to hear your thoughts.

Celebrating Samhain with the Hemlock Shawl

knitting, creativity, witchyAna CamposComment

It’s no secret that we love Halloween/Samhain and this year we are super excited to share a special collaboration with you! Ash Alberg is one of our favorite indie designers and all around witchy fiber person. We often talk about important it is to us to support other small business owners and independent entrepreneurs, and that’s how this collaboration was born.

Ash took the plunge to become a full-time knitting designer, and as soon as I heard, I reached out to her to commission a shawl pattern. I also wanted to highlight Harrisville Designs, a small family-owned and operated fiber mill here in New England. Ash and I took some time to squee over our mutual excitement, and then I sent her some skeins of FlyWheel.

A few months later, Ash and I are delighted to bring you Hemlock, her exclusive design just for us. It uses three skeins of FlyWheel, which has a stunning color palette, but you can knit it in any wooly fingering weight.