Ashley and Tara love knitting so much, they started a podcast!
The hosts of the (mis)adventures in knitting podcast are Ashley and Tara. Here, they share a bit about themselves.
Hello, I’m Ashley! I am a Southern California (Valley girl) transplant living in Baltimore. I moved here in 1997 to study fiber/ textile art in college. I fell in love with the diversity of the city, the art community, the change in seasons, and the ebb and flow of the East Coast. I went on to teach preschool for several years, until becoming pregnant with my son, William. I became a stay-at-home parent, and in recent years have worked at my local yarn shop, Woolworks and in the health and fitness industry.
My husband, Rich, is a great recipient of knitted items. He has been known to wear the same hand knit vest multiple times during a week. William, on the other hand, has refused to wear most hand knit things. But, I’ll keep trying.
1.When and how did you start knitting?
Shortly after graduating college in 2001, I wanted to learn a new and practical skill. I had taught myself to crochet years earlier from an old The Complete Encyclopedia of Stitchery by Mildred Graves Ryan (much before the days of YouTube). Knitting however still alluded and confused me. A friend and I went to the local yarn shop, A Good Yarn, which offered group classes. We both had cheap wooden needles and scratchy rustic wool to make wee swatches. Sadly, the shop has closed in recent years, but the owner, Lorraine, still gives lessons and knits on her stoop when the weather is pleasant.
Over the next few years, I would pick up some yarn from a big box store, cast on a few stitches, use my crappy needles, not love what I was making and would promptly set it down. While pregnant with my son, the knitting bug really got me! I cast on a sweater for him which my mother helped me finish. A few months after his birth, I went to my LYS, Woolworks and purchased a skein of Koigu, a baby hat pattern, and circular needles. I discovered that I loved hand-dyed yarn and knitting on metal circular needles. Eight years later, these are still my favorite tools to use!
2. Since we have a podcast called (mis)adventures in knitting, share a memorable misadventure.
Gee whiz! All the sweater quantities of yarn I buy should put me to shame! I have high hopes of knitting loads of cozy-toasty sweaters. I find that I quickly lose interest after casting on a sweater. Often times, I don’t want to do the hard work: knit and block a swatch. For the record, I have enough yarn to make at least ten sweaters. I like to imagine that stockinette sweaters will be my go to. I like knitting in a tube.
3. Describe your ultimate knitting dream project.
I would love to make some amazingly difficult Alice Starmore sweater. I’m realistic; I know as soon as I do a color work swatch, I would be ready to start something new. Sometimes just finishing a project is the best “dream knitting”.
4. What are your knitting favorites?
Accessories are by far my favorite thing to knit! Hats and shawls tend to be something I always have cast-on. Early on when I came back to knitting, I loved making complex lace socks, but got a bit burned out on it. I have recently discovered the magic of self-striping yarn and a vanilla sock! Twinkie Chan, megi burcl, Ann Weaver and Laura Nelkin are a some of my favorite designers.
5. What hobbies do you enjoy?
It feels like I do a little bit of all the hand crafts! My grandmother taught me how to sew when I was about 8 or 9, and it is my first love. During summer my knitting slows down a little bit. I find that I am often doing counted cross stitch, but maybe I’m just collecting kits from Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery?
I enjoy making home preserves, such as jams and pickles. Our family favorites are Chesapeake Zucchini Pickles because we do put Old Bay on everything.
At some point, I became an avid runner. Running allows me to find my quiet.
Hi, I’m Tara! Originally from upstate New York, I moved to Baltimore in 2006 to live with my now husband, Ben. We have two red-headed children, Leo (age 6) and River (age 4). I have been a stay-at-home mom for the past six years and I currently work part-time at my local yarn store, Woolworks, where I am able to teach lessons and classes. Before this, I worked as a high school guidance counselor, teacher, and at one point, even a swim coach!
1. When and how did you start knitting? I started knitting in the Spring of 2012 when I was pregnant with my second child. My husband said I “needed a hobby” so he bought me a Groupon for a knitting lesson at a local yarn store, Lovelyarns. I grumbled and groaned at the thought of trying something new and the potential embarrassment if I was slow to catch on. I called the store at the last-minute and even tried to postpone my lesson! Fortunately, rescheduling was not a possibility so it was either show up or lose the value of the Groupon. I am so glad I went. As it turned out, I liked knitting. The teacher, Mary, was soothing and generous with her compliments. (“Those holes are not unsightly! They are future lace eyelets or space for a button! Great job!”)
I learned the basic knit and purl stitch and how to cast on and off. My first project was a yellow and blue striped garter baby blanket for my son, River. I felt like knitting helped us bond while he was in the womb. It granted me the time and space to focus solely on him and prepare mentally for his birth and welcome to the world.
After that, I knit simple stuffed teddy bears for my sons and eventually three other toddlers in our playgroup. This is when the addiction began. Despite the lack of sleep with a newborn baby, I woke up early each morning and spent nearly every precious moment of nap time clicking away on the knitting needles. I completed project after project until I worked my way up to what I considered the ultimate knitting experience, the sweater. My life has forever changed for the better. I love knitting!
2. Since we have a podcast called (mis)adventures in knitting, share a memorable misadventure. My ultimate (mis)adventure was when I knitted a bottom-up Lopi sweater through the fair-isle yoke, only to realize it was too small and needed to be ripped out. It took two weeks of angry venting and grudge holding until I was able to calmly restart knitting! The sweater is now finished and perfectly fits my husband.
3. Describe your ultimate knitting dream project. My answer for this question continually changes with my mood, season, and lifestyle. But for this moment RIGHT NOW, I would love to complete a delicate beaded lace shawl, such as the Creatrix by Laura Nelkin. The yarn would be a silk blend in a soothing color, such as aqua or pink. The beads would provide the shimmer. Sounds so nice. Just need the beach chair!
4. What are your knitting favorites? I love sweater knitting, especially when there is a bit of fair-isle involved. Joji Locatelli, Thea Colman, and Laura Nelkin, are just a few of my favorite designers. For yarn, I can always rely on Jill Draper Makes Stuff for her amazing color sensibilities and carefully selected fibers.
5. What other hobbies do you enjoy? I am getting into sewing and am about to purchase a machine! The idea of using a sewing machine always intimidated me. The simpler the technology, the better. That’s why two needles and a bit of yarn work well for me! But now I am feeling more confident and plan to take it slowly, just like I did with knitting, and to be okay with the mistakes.