Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Ravelry Indie Design 2014 Gift-A-Long

I would like to announce that I will be a returning designer in the 2nd annual Indie Design Gift-A-Long.  All of my Ravelry for-sale patterns are included in this promotion and all are eligible for the 2014 GAL KAL/CAL.  (My patterns can be found in a bundle right here on my designer page.)

The Indie Design Gift-A-Long is a 2 month long KAL/CAL of holiday gifts made from patterns designed by an incredible number of (293!) independent designers from 21(!) countries around the world.

From Thursday, November 13th at 8:00 pm (EST) to Friday, November 21, 2014 at 11:59 pm (EST) tons of (293!) indie designers will be discounting from 4 to 20 of their patterns by 25% for this event (3822 patterns will be on sale!)  You can read all about the details in this Ravelry post.

Once you’ve got your Gift-A-Long patterns, you can join a relevant KAL/CAL. (For instance, if it is a cowl, please join the cowl KAL/CAL.)  To join, simply write a post in the KAL/CAL thread you want to join, including the pattern name you will be knitting, and a link to your project page.  KAL/CAL participants are eligible for lots of lovely prizes but you gotta post to win!

The KAL/CALs will run from Thursday, November 13 at 8 pm (EST) through a group New Years Eve party, Wednesday, December 31 at midnight (EST), plenty of time to knock out all your holiday knitting and crocheting.  There will be several games, tons of prizes, great conversation, and a whole lot of fun, so pull up a chair and join us!  Ready, Set, Gift!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Playground Shawl KAL Update

I am very grateful to the three participants in the Playground KAL who have finished their shawls and have given me permission to share some lovely FO images with you.

Nancy (americana) named her gorgeous Cat's Cradle "The River".  From Nancy's project notes: "The reason for the name, I just got back from the 1000 Islands, and we stayed right on the river!! Beautiful place:o)"  Her words brought back vacation memories.  I have been to the Thousand Islands very many times and I totally agree.  I can see a river in the variegated blue stripes. The colors in the shawl include a more vivid blue (Madeline Tosh's colorway 'shoreline') than what appears in the photo, but this shot by the window is my favorite image.  Thanks, Nancy!  Good work!

Lisa (lacotter) worked up this stunning Red Rover in a rich pink with dark gray Heritage sock yarn.  Her project, named simply "Red Rover Shawl", was made as a gift for her cousin.  From a post by Lisa in the KAL thread:  "I’m excited to send it to my cousin. She battled breast cancer several years ago and her favorite color is pink."  Truly, a beautiful way to wrap that cousin up in a great big hug!  Thanks for sharing, Lisa!

Sharon (seffy) aptly named her Cat's Cradle "Cradle of Tweed".  I always love a good tweed!  (Got to get my hands on some of that Geilsk yarn.)  Sharon said, "The bind off took forever it seemed!"  I think that you will agree that it was well worth the time, as was the washing and blocking!  Great job, Sharon!

Thanks again, Nancy, Lisa, and Sharon, you have done my patterns proud!

These knitters won free patterns for being the first three in the KAL to finish their shawls.  You still have time to join in the Playground Shawl KAL, which will conclude at midnight November 30.  Two of these lovely knits were made in less than the three weeks that remain.  There are several great prizes to be won at the end of the Playground KAL.

In my next post, I will be announcing another KAL and pattern promotion that I will be just a small part of... This will be HUGE!  Shhhh!  I cannot say anymore right now, but please come back on Wednesday for my next post.  Until then, happy knitting to one and all!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Midweek Meditation

"A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."       ~ Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry

This is a busy time of year for knitwear designers who like to send out submissions proposals for third party publication.

I sent out three last month.  I will have two of them published! One will appear in a magazine next year and the other in a book(!) early in 2016.  I have not heard back on the third proposal.  It has been almost a month -- not a good sign.  (That third one was really my favorite of the three, so, I think if a rejection comes, it should be my next self-published pattern.)

I will write more soon about the progress of the Playground Shawl KAL.  (Believe it or not, there is still time to join!  Playgrounds are all about fun and no worries.  See this post for the details.  Go to this Ravelry thread to sign up and enjoy the fun!)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Midweek Meditation -- O'Keeffe Style

“When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else. Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not.”

“I have been absolutely terrified every moment of my life – and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.”    ~ Georgia O’Keeffe

In early 20th-century America, art was a man’s world, where women – even those with extraordinary talent and groundbreaking vision – were seen as no equal to men. Georgia O’Keeffe helped changed that. With an idiosyncratic style and bold use of color, O’Keeffe was at the forefront of American modernism. In a career that spanned more than six decades, she “made it possible for other women to explore a new gamut of symbolic and ambiguous imagery.”  ~ as expressed in her obituary in The New York Times*

My daughter painted the tribute to Miss O'Keeffe in an enrichment class at school when she was in the fourth grade.  I do love it!  I took these photos earlier today.  Laying the painting on the floor near indirect window light eliminated most of the reflections on the glass.  Normally it hangs in my dining room not very far away from a similar painting made by my son (Ref: Andy Warhol).  Love that, too!

* Source (Oct 20, 2014): 


Monday, October 13, 2014

Final Rose(s) 2014

This is my 300th blog post!

And my total number of "pageviews" recently surpassed 25,000.  (I think that means that 25,000 times someone clicked on a link -- from somewhere else -- to one of my posts  -- since June 12, 2011 -- the date of my very first blog post.)  (I do not think that is a lot for 3+ years, but it certainly has grown.)

The Playground Shawl KAL is off to a very fine start with a lot of lovely knitting happening!  I hope that you will consider joining us!

I shot all of the photos for the first group of KAL prizes while they rested on the very same corner of our deck (and on the same day) that I shot this photo of my final roses. 

(Sad it is for me.  The end of summer saddens me.)

My "final roses" are the ones that I carefully snip from my handful of rose bushes when I also make a stab at trimming those bushes for the end of the season.  I do love roses, but these bushes grow wildly in all kinds of wrong directions, and at least twice a year they require a whole lot of trimming.

(Sad it is for me to live in climate where roses bloom for only about 5 month a year.)

But about the KAL:  There is still plenty of time to get in on it!  You get a chance to win a prize for any project that you finish before the end of November.  I am getting ready to add even more prizes.  Just click on the links above to learn more!

I hope that you enjoy your fall wherever and whenever you are able!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Come to the Playground!

I would like to invite all of my readers to join me at the playground!  The Playground Shawl KAL 2014 has just kicked off this week both on Ravelry and at my favorite LYS, Gosh Yarn It!.  My great friends at GYI! have been extremely helpful in allowing me to host a KAL-information-and-discussion-thread on their group page at Ravelry.

All projects for the KAL will be shawls knit from one of the patterns in my Playground Shawl ebook.  Shown above are Cat's Cradle, Double Dutch and two versions of Red Rover. You can read more about the origins of these designs in my recent blog posts: here, here and here.  Each shawl has at least two colors, and I am so looking forward to seeing all the versions that will be created! 

Cast on anytime!  The KAL officially began on Thursday, October 2, and will end Sunday, November 30.  I just extended the end date by two weeks to allow more time for new participants to join us!  There is still plenty of time to get in on the KAL!

Oh, and did I mention the prizes?  Several prizes will be awarded and announced in the Ravelry thread, and here on the blog, during the first week of December. Each shawl that becomes a FO before midnight, EST, November 30 will be eligible for a prize.  Please make a project page for your shawl at Ravelry.  Add a photo and link it to the pattern page.  Use the tag playground2014.  When you finish the project, just mark it finished on the project page, and/or post in the thread that it is completed.  If you complete more than one shawl, you will be eligible to win a prize for each shawl that you finish.

Anyone on Ravelry, who knows of my work, is welcome to participate by joining in on this thread!  The first post describes all of the details.  In the second post is a list of all participants with links to their Ravelry project pages.  The third post has photos of the prizes.

Please come out to play!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Red Rover: The Third of Three Playground Shawls

Today I would like to introduce my third Playground Shawl, Red Rover, and to share with you its "spark" which is a term that I like to use to refer to the origins of any of my designs.

If you read my last two posts (here and here), you know that the first two shawls in my newly released ebook, "Playground Shawls", were designed and sample-knit in June and July 2013.  I had the goal to design the third one in August 2013, but I fell short on this.  Perhaps I should explain by telling you that the third shawl was going to be named "Hopscotch".  Perhaps I should tell you that I wanted to have a band of colorwork in the border.  Perhaps I should show you all of the many failed swatches.  (Perhaps I might remind you that all of the signs of every summer's ending make me very sad.)  Instead, I think I will just say that "Playground Shawls" fell into a dark period at the end of last summer.

It was bound to happen.  The others went so well... it was kind of too much to expect a third one so soon.  "Hopscotch" was not meant to be, at least not as a part of this collection.

The yarn that I bought at Gosh Yarn It! in August was Meadow by the Fibre Company.

I created a project page on Ravelry with this "August Camp" image.

Meadow is a lovely yarn, a sweet and light blend of merino, llama, silk and linen.  I am not sure when I finished knitting the body of the shawl, a true triangle, which began with a two-row garter stitch stripe.  I was swatching a lot of garter stitch borders last fall (as in Paper Lanterns).  The border I eventually used is from Barbara G Walker's A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns and called "Narrow Dice Edging".  I had to work it in opposite directions on each side of the shawl and then create a center point to join them.

The eventual name for shawl number three was "Red Rover".  I like to think of the two rows of triangular scallops as the two (equal) lines of players holding hands, and I love the red/pokeweed color.  The "spark" was the yarn... was the garter stitch... was the color... but it was altogether... enough.  (It pleases me that in my computer files, these shawls have such compatible nicknames: DD, CC and RR.)

My friends at Gosh Yarn It! often asked me how "my shawl patterns" were coming, but I had nothing to show them for several months.  A new test knitter emerged from those doing the asking, and she knit two versions of Red Rover after I finished mine in March.  I needed a new tech editor as well.  Then came this stage where I felt pressed to have the formatting be similar from shawl to shawl, and the photo editing and selection had to be the best that I could do, because my photos are most definitely not all equal.  But now these patterns are "all done", and I am looking forward to seeing what others will make to "wear to the playground".

Playground Shawls:  Cat’s Cradle, Double Dutch, Red Rover (in fingering weight and lace-weight yarns).

"Red Rover" is my third and final Playground Shawl.  Please come to the playground with me!

Thanks for reading!

"Playground Shawls" is my first ebook collection on Ravelry.  It is currently available for a purchase price of $11.  The three shawl patterns included in the ebook are also available for individual purchase at $5 each.

Much thanks to my Red Rover team.

Tech Editing:  Terese Chynoweth
Test Knitting:  Bonnie B
Stylist/Model:  Ali Dervin
Photo/Styling Assistant:  Mallory Kern

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Cat's Cradle: The Second of Three Playground Shawls

Today I would like to introduce my second Playground Shawl, Cat's Cradle, and to share with you its "spark" which is a term that I like to use to refer to the origins of any of my designs.

If you read my last post, Double Dutch: The First of Three Playground Shawls, you might remember that the design sample was knit as a June 2013 "Summer Camp Project" for my LYS, Gosh Yarn It!  As July approached, I had the idea of an ebook named "Playground Shawls" and my challenge to myself was to design and knit a shawl as a July Summer Camp Project, followed by another as an August Summer Camp Project.

What to design for July?  I knew that it would be a more-than-one-color shawl.  I knew that it would be a smallish shawl.  These would be the unifying features of the collection.  The variety would be in the shawl shapes and the stitch patterns and knitting techniques.

I was drawn to making a crescent shape for July -- what could be more opposite the angular shaping of Double Dutch?  I had read a post at PicnicKnits by Corrina Ferguson where she described in one sentence the formula for one of her favorite shawl shapes.  (Sorry, but I could not find the exact post.)  She was talking about a shawl that she designed that I would call a deep crescent.  She called it "a heart shape that is not really a heart shape", and she said all you had to do was (starting from the top) increase 6 stitches every other row (or the equivalent of 6 stitches every other row over a greater number of rows).

I thought, I can do that!  I had these skeins of The Fibre Company's Canopy Fingering that I bought at a trunk show at Gosh Yarn It! 

I made many decisions rather rapidly.  It would be top-down with stockinette two-row stripes.  The crescent shape could be thought of as a cradle shape (no, not a heart).  The 'acai' (orange) and 'sarsaparrilla' (brown) colorways used for the striping call to mind a tiger, or more precisely a tiger-striped cat.  The shawl was named (only in my head for the moment) "Cat's Cradle".  I already knew that I could create some kind of a lace border with a cat's cradle inspiration.

Photo Credit:

I created a project page on Ravelry with this "July Camp" image.

I cannot say that the designing was as effortless as in Double Dutch, but it actually did move along very well.  I would knit on the striped body of the shawl when mindless knitting was best, and I worked up a swatch of the edging when I was more alert.  Perhaps the biggest challenge was not to run out of yarn.  I had to rip out swatches to have enough of the sarsaparrilla to complete the bottom edging.  I liked this shawl that I finished before July 31 quite a lot.  It is another pretty and "playful" little shawl.

"Cat's Cradle" was my second Playground Shawl.  It inspired me to attempt just one more shawl last summer in order to release my very first ebook.  Stay tuned for the story of shawl number 3.

Thanks for reading!

"Playground Shawls" is my first ebook collection on Ravelry.  It is currently available for a purchase price of $11.  The three shawl patterns included in the ebook are also available for individual purchase at $5 each.

Much thanks to my Cat’s Cradle team.
Tech Editing:  Holly Priestly
Test Knitting:  Tina W & Catherine M
Stylist/Model:  Ali Dervin
Photo/Styling Assistant:  Mallory Kern

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Double Dutch: The First of Three Playground Shawls

Today I would like to introduce my first Playground Shawl, Double Dutch, and to share with you its "spark" which is a term that I like to use to refer to the origins of any of my designs.

I decided on a photo of Double Dutch for the "cover" of my very first ebook collection of knit designs.

Double Dutch was one of my most effortless design to date.  That is largely because it was "pre-designed" many months before I made the sample and wrote the pattern last June.  I recently described how rewarding I find it to have my designs selected for third-party publication.  As might be expected, many of my submissions are eventually rejected.

I made this swatch almost two years ago.  The "spark" for my design was a two-color stitch pattern called "Striped Double Stitch" from an old stitch dictionary (Knitting Encyclopedia: 1800 Patterns) that my Mom handed-down to me many years ago.

I loved the texture of the "double stitch" stripes and that they are fun and easy to knit.  The curving lines within the stripes reminded me of jump ropes.  I chose a border that repeated the curves at its edge, and I chose a shawl shape that is a variation of a shallow triangle for its wearability.

I sent the scanned swatch as part of a design proposal off to a place where I had been published once before.  No luck with that.  Then I sent it off one more time to a whole different place.  No luck there either, but from them, I received the kindest rejection email ever composed.  (Truth be told, there even was a third rejection... Oh, my!)

But I loved my little my swatch.  Much like the Little Prince loved his Rose.

Last June, I was contemplating how much fun it would be to participate in "Summer Camp" at my favorite LYS, Gosh Yarn It!  The Summer Camp project for June 2013 was:   “Color Wars -- a project that was to be made with two or more colors".  The yarns used in my swatch were purchased at Gosh Yarn It!  It was so easy to finally just make the (previously designed) shawl.  I created a project page on Ravelry with this "June Camp" image.

And the good news continued, because before June 30 of last year I made a shawl that I love.

"Double Dutch" was my first Playground Shawl.  It inspired me to continue to make two more shawls last summer in order to release my very first ebook.  Stay tuned for the stories of shawls number 2 and 3.

Thanks for reading!

"Playground Shawls" is my first ebook collection on Ravelry.  It is currently available for a purchase price of $11.  The three shawl patterns included in the ebook are also available for individual purchase at $5 each.

Much thanks to my Double Dutch team.
Tech Editing:  Holly Priestly
Test Knitting:  Catherine M & Joan S
Stylist/Model:  Ali Dervin
Photo/Styling Assistant:  Mallory Kern