Sunday, January 29, 2012

Putty (in my hands)

I am not certain that I have enough time, but I am considering a new design submission with this yarn.  This is a skein of Wool Clasica, by Manos del Uruguay, which I won in the Wool Clasica design contest.  It is the color 'K', which is named 'putty'.

I have a little inkling of a feeling that I might know what this yarn wants to be.  Anni Albers said, “Being creative is not so much the desire to do something as the listening to that which wants to be done: the direction of the materials.”  This yarn is singing something soft and low and solid and smooth and I am trying to hear it.  Putty...

Friday, January 27, 2012

In the Black

I have found that it is extremely difficult to take good photos of black knitted objects.  I have been taking a lot of photos of black knitted objects -- a whole lot of not great photos -- because at this time, I am working with a whole lot of black.

This is my first sweater from the book Knit, Swirl! by Sandra McIver.  The name of the pattern is Silhouette in the Sun.  The yarn that I am using is Berroco Ultra Alpaca in color #6245, which is named (would you believe?) 'Pitch Black'.
It is hard to see the detail.  But it is a decent photo -- it does show what an "Off-Center Oval" style of Swirl looks like after "The Outside Oval" and "Inner Collar Edge" are completed.  I will take it to the class I will be teaching on Saturday.

I am casting on for my second sweater from the book, Shades of Gray, an "Off-Center Circle".  The yarn is Cascade Yarns Rustic.  The colors are #01, 'chianti', and #12, 'black'.  This weekend's class will begin with casting-on and cover all topics needed to reach the "Back Bodice and Sleeves", which is a section in every pattern.

A bit more black -- a lovely, light, soft and wonderfully wearable scarf.

This was made with one strand each of Filatura Di Crosa Superior (70% cashmere, 25% silk, 5% merino) in color #16, black, and Filatura Di Crosa Nirvana (100% extrafine merino) in color #20, ebony.

Truly not a great picture.  I chose this photo over dozens of others because I can see the lightness and the softness that I know are its finest qualities.

The scarf was made from a simple double basketweave pattern of my own.  I wish that you could feel it, because I know you can't really see it.

These are my best photos of me knitting in (pitch) black.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Midweek Meditation

“Being creative is not so much the desire to do something as the listening to that which wants to be done: the direction of the materials.”          ~ Anni Albers

"Annelise Albers (née Fleischmann) (June 12, 1899 – May 9, 1994) was a German-American textile artist and printmaker. She is perhaps the best known textile artist of the 20th century."

"At Walter Gropius's Bauhaus she began her first year under Georg Muche and then Johannes Itten. Women were barred from certain disciplines taught at the school, especially architecture, and during her second year, unable to get into a glass workshop with future husband Josef Albers, Anni Albers deferred reluctantly to weaving. With her instructor Gunta Stölzl, however, Albers soon learned to love weaving's tactile construction challenges."

"Albers worked primarily in textiles and, late in life, as a printmaker. She produced numerous designs in ink washes for her textiles, and occasionally experimented with jewelry. Her woven works include many wall hangings, curtains and bedspreads, mounted "pictorial" images, and mass-produced yard material. Her weavings are often constructed of both traditional and industrial materials, not hesitating to combine jute, paper, and cellophane, for instance, to startlingly sublime effect."

Information on Anni Albers was obtained from "Anni Albers", Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, January 25, 2012.
Photo credit:

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Finishing Your #77 Dream

I took several very many photos as I finished my second #77 Dream Hat, thinking that posting them on my blog might help some knitters with their finishing.

This hat is a ‘dream’ to knit, even if you have only a little bit of lace knitting experience.  You work the 8-row Fan Lace Chart three times, and the 24-row Decreasing Fan Lace Chart just one time…cut your yarn, draw it through the remaining stitches, and the hat-knitting is done.  The earflaps are smaller than two little swatches…16 stitches by 2½ inches.

As the pattern says, (when binding off the earflaps), “Leave yarn tail long enough for sewing earflap to body of hat; weave in cast-on tail.”  Please see the pattern for locating the earflaps on hat, pin if desired, and, “Sew each earflap to inside with hem stitch.”
I would then work the needle and yarn to a point under the hat scallop (the next picture is from the outside of hat) and make a stitch or two through hat scallop and ear flap.
My next step was a hand-washing and air-drying to block the hat.  This step is optional, but I find that almost all of my knitting benefits from it.
I grew up in a crafty family.  At one time I had a little kit for making pom-poms in different sizes with instructions on how to put them together to make little animals and such.  I remember making many little yellow chicks.  But I no longer have my childhood pom-pom makers, and now whenever I need to make a pom-pom, I just use cardboard.  I suggest that the pom-pom be made approx. 3” in dia.
You might already own a 3” pom-pom maker, or buy one in a craft store; but you can also make your pom-pom using cardboard.  Just cut a piece of cardboard to about 3¼” x 5”.  Then wrap the yarn around the cardboard about 90 times.
Slip the bundle of yarn off of the cardboard.  Cut a length of yarn about 18” long and tie the bundle in the middle.
Tie it tightly and turn it over and tie it again.
Begin cutting all of the loops open.
The pom-pom will need quite a lot of trimming.  Start by cutting any long strands of yarn and then continue to snip all around until it is nice and round.
Using the tie ends attach pom-pom with a crochet hook or needle.
With a needle, stitch through the pom-pom a couple times using each strand of the pom-pom tie ends, and with the yarn end from drawing up the stitches at top of your hat (if you did not weave it in yet).  All of these strands may then be woven inside the hat or pulled out through the center of pom-pom and trimmed.
For the ties: “Cut 12 pieces of yarn approx. 24” long.”
“Using a crochet hook, draw 3 strands of yarn through each of the two central knit sts at the bottom point of one earflap.”
“Adjust so that all strands hang evenly.”
“Divide these 12 strands into 3 groups of 4, and braid for approx. 7”.  Tie ends loosely.”
“Thread tapestry ndl with a new piece of yarn about 18” long.  About 5” below bottom of earflap, take a stitch through the braid, leaving a tail long enough to become part of the tassel.”
“Take several more sts through braid to secure.”
“Now wrap the yarn 7-8 times around the braid to completely cover the sts … Insert needle through wraps from above, and bring down through center of tassel.”
“Untie the knot holding the braid and unbraid ends up to the wrap yarns … Trim all ends even to about 1½“.
“Repeat with remaining strands of yarn and other earflap.”
Perhaps this was too many photos!  I hope that you enjoy making your own #77 Dream!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Midweek Meditation

“100 years ago, buying something you could make was considered wasteful; now making something you could buy is considered wasteful. I am not convinced this is a step in the right direction.”     ~  Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Sunday, January 15, 2012

This and That

I guess that I could be known for having a lot of WIP's at any given time.  I currently have a couple more to share.

The first, which I hope to finish today, is a #77 Dream Hat, my second, for my niece.  I have attached the ear flaps and handwashed/blocked it.  I will take a couple photos while finishing it.  They may be helpful to anyone who would like to make one of their own.

I am making some amazing socks for my daughter using the Route 66 pattern from the book Around the World in Knitted Socks: 26 Inspired Designs by Stephanie van der Linden.  (I do love almost all of the patterns in this book.)  Fair Isle knitting can be very impressive, but it is not nearly as difficult as it might appear to someone who has not done very much of it.

Last, but by far, not least, I have begun a Silhouette in the Sun from the book Knit, Swirl! by Sandra McIver.

I will be writing more about this and other projects in the Knit, Swirl! book in the coming months.  I will be teaching some classes on them at Gosh Yarn It! beginning later in January.

I would have to say that if you knit as much as I knit, four WIP's, not counting any that are hibernating for seasonal reasons, is an absolute minimum...and ten, counting all seasonal items, would probably have to be my maximum.

Friday, January 13, 2012

And Once There Were Ten

Do you remember, back in October, when I was doing a bit of "soul searching" by honestly counting all of my WIP's?  And then there were ten.

I am happy to say that most of those projects have been converted into FO's.

1) A New Neckdown Pullover  --  Finished.
2) "Water Socks" (men's fingering weight TATU)  --  Finished.
3) "Sunset Socks" (women's fingering weight TATU)  -- Finished
4) "LinenTop"  --  No change -- still needs crochet edging.
5) "Simple and Sleeveless"  --  No change -- (it may be frogged?)
6) "Thundercloud" Cowl  -- Now at 50%.
7) GYI! KAL "Love & Prayers Scarf"  --  Finished.
8) Malabrigo Scarf  --  Finished.  Being blocked now.
9) "Timless" Pullover  --  Finished.
10) "Evergreen" Cardigan  --  Finished.

I have finished seven of the ten.  Pictures of all but one of the seven have already appeared here in the blog.  The links above are to the blog pages with their FO photos.  The seventh FO is a Malabrigo scarf.

It is being blocked now.  Here is a close up.

If I can figure out a way to get some pattern-worthy photos (my household is currently short one model, or one photographer, or both; not to mention the seasonal lack of good lighting) I would like to release this scarf pattern on Ravelry.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Midweek Meditation

"Really, all you need to become a good knitter are wool, needles, hands, and slightly below-average intelligence.  Of course, superior intelligence, such as yours and mine, is an advantage."     ~Elizabeth Zimmerman

Monday, January 9, 2012

A Timeless FO

During the last week of November, I finished the 'neckline frills' for my Agatha Pullover, which I named Timeless.  I knit the frills on Grand Cayman Island, and during my travels to and from that beautiful place.  The name 'Timeless' is not very original considering that it is also the theme name for the group of patterns in Rowan 48 where the Agatha pattern may be found.  I loved the photo in the magazine with the brooch.  I have a similar brooch that my mother wore on my Christening day.

We had eleven people for dinner this Christmas which was wonderful.  My sister helped a lot with the meal.  When it was just about ready, I changed into the newly finished sweater, and I looked something like this.

I found the brooch to be too heavy to wear with the sweater, but when I have more time, I will try to pin it through to something worn beneath.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

2011 was...

I do not make New Year's resolutions, so I don't have much to say about that.  It does seem that all of the blogs that I read have had some mention of them, or at least a sort of a "goal list".  Many bloggers have posted a "looking back on the last year" kind of a thing as well.

I have been thinking about all this and not actually posting anything at all!

Truthfully, I have been busy.  I met two design deadlines that were back to back...December 16 and January 5.  There is a personal joy in that fact; knowing that twice in 2012, I will get to announce the release of a new pattern.  I have had a decent amount of success in my recent submissions, and I hope to do a lot more.  I am beginning to feel like this is a new addiction of mine...I am always on the lookout for new design submission announcements.

2011 was...

The year that I became a designer.  On February 5, 2011, a knitting class I was supposed to teach was canceled due to an expected snowfall (that never materialized).  I did not have much else to do that day, so I finally took the time to read all of the Ravelry help pages that I needed, and I created my designer page and Ravelry store.  I started with two of my oldest and best-tested patterns and offered them for free.

The year that I had my first pattern published in an online magazine.  It was a little later in February when I first read of the Womenheart Scarf Design Contest announcement in Knitcircus, the online knitting magazine.  My work on this went so quickly, and so well.  I had a good feeling about my submission, which I completed and emailed in on March 7, even though it was not due until May 1.  And then on May 16, I received the email from Jaala Spiro, the Knitcircus editor, telling me that I had won the contest and my pattern would appear in Knitcircus, Issue#15, Fall 2011.  I wrote about this in the early days of my blog here and here, and then I wrote more when the magazine was released on August 24.

The year that I began my blog.  One of the many amazing prizes that I won in the Womenheart Scarf Design contest was a small ad space in the Fall issue of the magazine, "to advertise my website or blog".  (I didn't have one.)  I made it my job to start this blog as soon as I finished knitting the scarf and writing up the pattern.  My first blog post was June 12, 2011.  Mine is a knitting blog, which also chronicles my start in knitwear design, with a bit of "life in general" in the mix.  Your comments are always welcome!

I am excited about what 2012 might bring!  

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy 2012!

My wish for you… 12 months of happy (knitting), 52 weeks of fun, 366* days of success, 8784 hours of good health, 527,040 minutes of good luck, 31,622,400 seconds of joy... Happy New Year!

* 2012 = leap year = extra long good wishes!