Monday, April 30, 2012

My Work is Done Here

Two by Two by Two is the name of my new scarf pattern.

The release of this pattern is rather a long time in coming.  It had its beginnings shortly after I read Clara Parkes’ KNITTER’S REVIEW:  “Yarn Pairing: Filatura di Crosa Superior and Nirvana”.  Clara’s description of the yarn pairing sounded like something not to be missed.  Soon after I read the review, a brand new LYS, Gosh Yarn It!, opened up near where I live.  When I saw both of these yarns at GYI! my fate was sealed.  It was hard to pick a color and I eventually settled on black.  My thoughts were, “How nice would it be to have a beautiful soft black scarf?”  (That may not have been a wise decision.)

For the next couple of weeks I tried several different, yet fairly simple, stitch patterns for a scarf with the yarn pairing.  At first I tried many types of ribbing.  Eventually my choice was the ‘Double Basket Weave’ stitch pattern.  It has reversibility, one of my very favorite qualities in a scarf.  I added another of my must-haves for scarves:  neat and tidy borders on all four edges.  I worked on it off-and-on until finished, and then I began to really appreciate how really difficult it is to take photos of black knitted objects.

Pattern: Two by Two by Two, Carolyn Kern
Yarns: Filatura Di Crosa Golden Line Superior
  1 skein (330 yd) Black 
and Filatura Di Crosa Golden Line Nirvana
1 skein (372 yd) Ebony

I am not sure when, but, it did happen that I decided to make a second scarf from a lovely little bit of yarn that I had inherited from my late Mom.  I was with her at Stitches East (I think it was 2007) when Malabrigo Sock was a new-to-this-world yarn (currently there are +24,000 project using this yarn on Ravelry!) and we each bought one skein.  I thought it would be perfect for my second version of my Double Basket Weave scarf.  (This time, thankfully, it was in my Mom’s color choice!)

Pattern:  Two by Two by Two, Carolyn Kern
Yarn: Malabrigo Yarn Sock
  1 skein (440 yd) Indiecita
The rest is just the long and winding story of knitting a second scarf -- knowing that I liked the pattern -- and knowing that even though it is a very simple thing -- it is a pattern that I would like to share.  The photos were the hardest -- and I am still not totally satisfied.  But now is the time when I am ready to say that my work is done here.  I hope that some knitters will find and enjoy this pattern.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Two by Two by Two

the name of my latest pattern to be released for sale on Ravelry.
Let me count the '2's...

Double Basket Weave Scarf (2)

in Two Versions (2x2)

and Version #2 is knit with Two strands of yarn (2x2)x2

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Midweek Meditation

       "Methinks it is a token of healthy and gentle characteristics, when women of high thoughts and accomplishments love to sew; especially as they are never more at home with their own hearts than while so occupied."            ~Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Marble Faun, 1859

Take a moment to meditate on this one.  Look beyond the lofty language and gender patronizing.  (Remember that Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of The Scarlet Letter, lived in the 19th century.)  My contemporary spin is that Hawthorne is describing the zen-like feeling you get when you are totally involved in work that you love.

I found it a neat coincidence that blogger, Franklin Habit, just hours ago, posted "I Sew Like a Girl" at his "The Panopticon" blog.  It is an amusing entry that I recommend reading if you have the time.

It is good living in an era where we are free to explore pursuits that are not traditional to our gender, don't you agree?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Not Knitting Needles

This past week I have been working with some other kinds of needles.  A beading needle:

I completed the beaded fringe on my Thundercloud cowl which needs to be blocked, but now looks like this:

 A sewing needle:

I am making a "Babushka Doll Keyring" from a little kit that came in a sort of large paper seed packet...

attached to the front cover of my Mollie Makes, Issue 11.

I learned of this magazine in an unusual way (explanation to follow at a later date).  It is mostly a sewing magazine with other needlework (sometimes including knitting) and decorating and all things crafty.  It is very pretty to look at -- so very full of color and pattern.  I just might subscribe to it.  (It is published in the UK and may be found in the US at large magazine outlets such as Barnes & Noble). 

If you are as old as I, and grew up with all kinds of needlework being done around you, you may remember McCall's Needlework and Craft.  I loved that magazine.  Mollie Makes reminds me very much of a time in my life when I was constantly making little things (most involving needles) and reading needlework and craft magazines from cover to cover.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sweaters I Do Like

I am feeling a little bit guilty that I do not like my swirl sweater jackets very much.  I hope that if any of my students read my recent post that they will not be disappointed in me.

Today I was thinking that I would share a couple photos of sweaters that I do like very much.  These were all finished before I started my blog, but still within the last year or two.

Last night I wore this to Stitch-and-Spin, and I felt great in it.  It was also a 'class sweater' for a class that I taught in early 2011.

Pattern: Cia by Cia Abbott Bullemer
Yarn: Louet KidLin Lace Weight
  5 skeins (1250 yd) Spanish Blue

The next sweater is a cotton cardigan.  I think that a cotton cardigan is one of the most wearable and comfortable garments that can be.

Pattern: Serape Jacket by Mags Kandis
Yarn: Gedifra Frisetto (100% cotton)
  12 skeins, multiple colors

And next, the sweater that I made from a pattern written especially to recreate a real sweater that was knit decades earlier by Elizabeth Zimmerman.  You might enjoy reading the designer's story, "Channeling Elizabeth: Recreating a Family Heirloom".

Pattern: Elizabeth Zimmerman's Green Sweater by Sunday Holm
Yarn: Briggs & Little Sport
  3 skeins (1290 yd) Fir Green

Yes, these are some great sweaters.  I do like them all.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Midweek Meditation

"Life is a lot like jazz... it's best when you improvise."             ~ George Gershwin

On Saturday I went to a performance titled "Here to Stay -- The Gershwin Experience" by the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic with guest pianist Kevin Cole.  It was fantastically good music, and I learned a lot about the life and times of George and Ira Gershwin.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Me Being Perfectly Honest

I have made two swirl jackets from the book Knit Swirl! by Sandra McIver.  I honestly do not think that I will be wearing them very often.  Though I loved the styles in the book -- and I enthusiastically agreed to teach what became a fantastic class with truly inspirational students -- the class was so worth it! -- but the (two) finished jackets -- not so much.

My daughter was home a week or so ago and took 34 photos (a crazy amount, I'll admit) of me wearing my first swirl.  This is probably the best of them.

Pattern: Silhouette in the Sun by Sandra McIver
Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca
7 skeins (1505 yd) color 6245, black 

My second swirl is also finished.  It really does not look like anything I would normally wear.  (I wonder what I was thinking.)  I have no pictures of me wearing it, but here is one with it on (my new mannequin) Betsy.

 Shades of Grey
Pattern: Shades of Grey by Sandra McIver
Yarn: Cascade Yarns Rustic
7.3 skeins (1431 yd) color 12, black
.7 skein (137 yd) color 01, chianti

I find that there  is too much sweater hanging in front.  When I overlap the fronts and pin with a shawl pin, the front looks better, but the sides look kind of incorrectly pulled and even rippled.  I am not sure about the back.  When viewed from behind (especially without the pin in front) the swirly drape is nice (see first photo) -- but turn sideways, and my front to back dimension is far larger than anything that seems normal.

Seriously, when I think about it -- extra sweater material in front of my stomach and in back of my backside?  How could that really be flattering?  Seriously?  (Is it just me?  Is my age showing?  Is it my shortness?)

Sorry about this.  This is me being perfectly honest.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Meet Betsy

I recently received my first quarterly Quince & Co "royalty" payment for my Jonna knitting pattern.  Certainly not a fortune, but more than I had expected.

I do have this goal to have a sweater pattern published (even if it ends up having to be self-published) before the end of 2012.  I have, for a while, also had it on my mind to buy myself a mannequin.  People who do what I do (work in knitwear design), often use them to photograph garments, and sometimes use them during the design process to check fit or drape as needed.

My royalty payment was enough to buy a basic mannequin and almost enough to pay for the shipping.  Meet my new mannequin.

I have decided to name her "Betsy" as in Betsy Ross.  I like the sewing connection.  And when my work surprises me, I can say, "Heavens to Betsy!"

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Midweek Meditation

"If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere."   ~ Vincent van Gogh

Photo credit for Van Gogh Detail:

Monday, April 9, 2012

FP's of FO's x 2

FP's of FO's = Final Photos of Finished Objects.  I have a pair of those to share with you.

Last weekend I saw my daughter at a cabin (on the edge of the Endless Mountains) where we get to stay sometimes.  It was a cold night night and we had a fire.  I brought the finished "Traveling Socks" for her and she wore them and loved them.

Traveling Socks
Pattern: Route 66 by Stephanie van der Linden
Yarn: Miss Babs Windsor Monochrome
1/2 skein, Oyster
1/2 skein, Navy

This weekend, while my daughter was home, I asked her to take a couple of photos of my "Swirling Spectra".  I was looking for a photo that would be just a little different from the other 1300+ Spectra project photos on Ravelry.  Here is what we came up with.

 Swirling Spectra
Pattern: Spectra by Stephen West
Yarns: Zwerger Garn Opal Uni Solid,one skein, color 1411, Brown
and Noro Kureyon Sock, partial skein, color S252, Horizon

And, yes, if anyone was wondering, my swirl jackets are both finished now.  But I do not have FO pictures to share.  I will save them for another day.

Friday, April 6, 2012

More Going On

More blocking that is, or, that has been, of late.  There was this...

Blocking the second "Traveling" sock.

Then, there was that...

Is there any other way to block a "Spectra"?

And then, there was also this other...

More on this "Shell in Ripple" (a WIP) to follow.

I do think that an FO post is on the horizon...

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Midweek Meditation

“I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.”

“Each of us has that right, that possibility, to invent ourselves daily. If a person does not invent herself, she will be invented. So, to be bodacious enough to invent ourselves is wise.”

“i believe the most important single thing, beyond discipline and creativity is daring to dare”

     ~ Dr Maya Angelou, American author and poet, born April 4, 1928 in St Lois, Missouri.  Happy Birthday, Dr Angelou!