Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Midweek Meditation -- The Patience to Knit

She was not very friendly at first -- my seat mate on my flight to St Thomas, that is.  After a bit of reading and the beverage service, I pulled out my crochet project and began working on it.

She said, "I am watching you crochet."  I said something like, "I enjoy doing this."

She said, "I don't have the patience to crochet."  I said something like, "I have been knitting and crocheting since I was a child."

After a while, I said, "It is finished", as I briefly held my project upright.

She said, "It is beautiful."

I said, "Thank you.  I might wear it on St Thomas."

We parted wishing each other a good vacation.

Days later, it was on my mind to think up a better response to, "I don't have the patience to crochet" or "I don't have the patience to knit."

What I came up with is... "I don't have the patience to not knit.  Any time that I can knit, rather than to sit and do nothing, I get anxious if I do not have my knitting with me."

I could add, "I truly love making things.  And I have loved making things for my entire life."

What do you think?  Are these better responses?  What would you say?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Linen Top with Crochet Edgings

I began work on a "Linen Top" by Cat Coyle just about one year ago.  I had a partial skein of Louet Euroflax Sport Weight that remained after making a table runner housewarming gift.

I decided to start this project with a loose sort of commitment…
I named it “Linen Top (Swatch)”I did not wish to make a swatch and block it, so I considered the first rectangle to be my swatch.

After blocking it measured 21.5” wide and 16” long (too short). I was thinking of picking up stitches around the bottom and knitting added length. I did buy a second skein of the yarn at GYI!.  By the end of last summer, I completed the second rectangle and the seaming.

I worked on a crocheted edging with a size I hook. Size I (5.5 mm) was my first hook choice because the knitting needles I used had been the same diameter, US size 9 (5.5 mm). The crocheting was much too loose.  I had to rip it all away. I soon was transitioning into fall knitting, and this project was put away with the thought that I should try again in the spring with a smaller hook.

Last month, I began to re-do the crochet edging with a size E (3.5 mm) hook. It went quite well with only a few adjustments along the way. I finished crocheting on a plane shortly before landing on St Thomas, USVI. I wore the top to dinner on my last night there.

My project has been renamed Linen Top with Crochet Edgings.  I am quite pleased with the finished garment.


Friday, June 22, 2012


jux-ta-pose verb to place close together or side by side, especially for comparison or contrast.

My vacation week was a juxtaposition-ing for me.

There I was during the first week of June with two magazines on a sales rack having my first two published patterns in them.  I purchased several copies of each.  I was working on a new design submission, and I was blogging about my knitting patterns.  My family, close friends and knitting acquaintances were all congratulating me.  I was really pleased with what I had accomplished.  It was all good.

Then, during the second week of June, there I was on a tropical island where nobody (I know of) knits.  We have been visiting St Thomas for many years now, and we even have friends who live there, but no one was interested in my knitting.  It was in the upper 80's each day and humid.  When we went boating, even I must admit, I could not bring knitting on board.  But I did knit in the morning and at bedtime.  I did a bit of knitting at beach and poolside.  (It was, after all, World Wide Knit In Public Day/Week.)  I found that the more that I knit, the more I felt like myself.  It really was necessary, if you know what I mean.

Also, I asked ahead about WiFi, and I brought my faithful laptop in order to keep up with my blogging, and to reply to comments here and at Ravelry.  The internet was spotty at times.  But I did manged to publish my previously written "Now, How did that happen?" post on that first weekend, as planned.  I actually wrote my "First Blogiversary!" post, and my "Midweek Meditation" post (with a photo at Lindquist Beach, which was where I KIP'ed, or Knitted-In-Public).  And, it was while I was on vacation, that I saw that link to "Now, How did that happen?" made by Amy Palmer on the Interweave blog, knitttingdaily.  Like, wow, that would not have happened if I did not bring my laptop!  I was then able to quickly post "Thanks, Amy!".  It was all good.

In conclusion, I am so grateful that I brought my laptop on vacation.  I am grateful that I had WiFi.  It felt strange that no one I was with knew, or cared to know, about my knit designs.  But, vacationing was, in itself, a blast... Did I spend long days boating and on beaches and visiting all of these tropical non-knitting friends?  Yes!  Did I meet some new island people and hear some new island stories?  Yes!  Was it all that a vacation should be?  Yes, yes! ... and I even came back with a suntan!

I am also glad to be back here blogging and knitting and designing in my own home.  It has been a juxtaposition-ing, I tell ya!

It is all good!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Midweek Meditation

Youth Sailing Class, St Thomas Yacht Club, USVI

"The Sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever."   ~  Jacques Cousteau

Monday, June 18, 2012


"On the beach, you can live in bliss."        
                                              ~  Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys

Honeymoon Beach, Water Island, USVI
Anchorage Resort Beach, St Thomas, USVI
Lindquist Beach, St Thomas, USVI
Little Cinnamon Bay Beach, St John, USVI

I have been away.  I have spent some glorious days on some very fine beaches.  But now I am home again.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Thanks, Amy!

Thank you Amy Palmer!

This week Amy posted about Knitscene Accessories 2102 on the Interweave knittingdaily blog.  Her post included this photo and a link to my "Now, How did that happen?" post.  It is where she links "behind-the-scenes look at the publishing process from the designers point of view."

Can you imagine how happy it made me to see that my humble little blog has now been linked to the Interweave blog?  The icing on the cake, as it were, is that Amy released her post on my first blogiversary!

I would like to say that all of the Knitscene people that I worked with were exceptional and the whole experience has been beyond amazing!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Midweek Meditation

Sunshine through a tree branch at Lindquist Beach

"To be happy you must be your own sunshine."   
   ~  Charles Edward Jerningham, The Maxims of Marmaduke

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

First Blogiversary!

My very first blog entry was posted June 12, 2011.
Happy Blogiversary to me!

I hesitated for years to start a blog, because I was afraid that I would not be able to keep it up.  I have seen many folks I know start out so enthusiastically, and then just stop posting.  Life can certainly get in the way of blogging.  I usually write short and easy posts in between the longer ones.  And I get encouragement by seeing growth, however slow, in the stats on my pageviews.

I am happy and proud to say that I have been doing this for a whole year!
Thanks for reading and thanks for your comments!

Art Credit:

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Now, How did that happen?

How did it happen that my second pattern in a print magazine actually preceded my first pattern in a print magazine?

Good question!  They were both for sale at a Barnes & Noble near me last Sunday.  Maybe I will never really be able to say which was first!

The timeline goes like this...

August 2011  The first Equilibrium was created as a project to teach a stranded colorwork class.  (It did not yet have the name "Equilibrium".)

September 2011  I saw the "Call for Submissions" for Knitscene Accessories and I thought that my cowl might fit in there somewhere.

09-20-11  I sent my Eqilibrium Cowl Submission to Interweave Knits in Loveland, Colorado to be considered for publication in Knitscene Accessories 2012.

10-21-11  Lisa Shroyer, Knitscene editor, sent me an email which began, "I've been reviewing submissions for this issue and I'd love to take your two sided cowl. Would you be able to work this up for a Dec 16 due date?"  Sure thing!

11-13-11  After I saw the Quince & Co. blog post "Scarf Call", I quickly created two similar cowls, one in sport weight yarn, and one in fingering weight yarn.  I made two large swatches and a sketch.

11-23-11  I sent my cowl submissions to Quince & Co. in Portland, Maine.

Late November to Early December  I completed the Equilibrium Cowl from the Cascade Yarns Eco Alpaca and sent it in to Knitscene.  I edited the pattern to the Interweave Knits template, and emailed it to the tech editors.

12-15-11  Pam Allen, knitting legend, and an owner of Quince & CO., sent me an email which began, "Thanks so much for sending in your cowl ideas. And we'd like to have you do the one from the Jonna swatch--it's very lovely.
I'm sorry for the delay in getting back to you. But I'm hoping you could get it done by Jan 5. Is that possible?"  Of course it was possible!  I knit through the (very happy) holidays.

01-03-12  I sent my Jonna Cowl, made with the yarn Chickadee, to Quince & Co. and emailed the pattern.

02-10-12  Scarves, Etc. was released by Quince & Co.  (The Quince styling and photography are amazing!)  My Jonna Cowl pattern was included in the collection and has been for sale at the Quince & Co website ever since.

03-20-12  Pam Allen emailed, "Mind getting in touch with me by phone? ... Mollie Makes is a UK ... magazine that would love to use your cowl pattern."  It was a great offer, and the pattern would also continue to be sold as previously on the Quince & Co website.  Pam told me that she was not sure if my pattern would be in the May or June issue of Mollie Makes.  From my own investigation, I learned that Mollie Makes arrives on newsstands in the US 1-3 weeks after its release in the UK.

04-13-12  I was told after an email inquiry, following my review of the final Equilibrium pattern, that Knitscene Accessories 2012 would be released the first week of June.

05-10-12  The Quince & Co Blog (by Pam Allen) posted that my Jonna Cowl was in Mollie Makes, Issue 14.  Surprised, I found out that it had just been released, and I wrote my own blog post about it.

05-24-12  On Ravelry, I noticed that some designers had already created pattern pages for their designs that would be appearing in Knitscene Accesories 2012.  I had to email the assistant editor, Amy Palmer (who had told me of the release date), to ask about photos for creating a pattern page.  I learned that a preview was already up (Phenomenal styling and photos!) and that I could use photos from it as long as I credited them to Knitscene.  I created my Ravelry Equilibrium Cowl pattern page and wrote a blog post about it.

05-31-12  I had just received my "contributors copy" of Knitscene Accessories 2012 in the mail and I bought another copy at my LYS, Gosh Yarn It!  I still had not found Mollie Makes Issue 14 for sale anywhere, so I ordered a couple of copies online.  (I expect that they will take some time to get here.)

06-03-12  Finally, I found Mollie Makes Issue #14 at Barnes and Noble!!!  Knitscene Accessories 2012 was there as well!!!

I would love to hear if you have an idea of which I should say was my first pattern in a print magazine.  Perhaps it was a tie?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Midweek Meditation

"I start by scribbling designs in my sketch book and then I decide on the pattern or stitch.  I literally have stuff all over the floor when I'm designing - yarns, needles, fashion magazines, resource books, tear sheets etc...I love nature and the textures and colors you see in the landscape, such as rocks, pebbles, shells, tree bark, etc."      ~ Marie Wallin

"I think designers don’t usually design clothes for themselves but rather for their audience. Look at all the male designers designing clothing for women. Designers create garments because that is their preferred medium, an outlet of enjoyment, not necessarily what they would wear."      ~ Veronik Avery

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Marie and Veronik, Part 2


Please refer back to "Marie and Veronik, Part 1" if you have not seen it.

In Part 1, I said, "This blog entry will cover Marie and my next blog entry will cover Veronik."

I actually met Veronik on January 23, 2010.  It was at a yarn shop named Loop in Philadelphia.  She was there with her trunk show which included each and every garment from the premier issue of her St-Denis magazine.  All of the garments were made with the premier yarn from St-Denis, the sport weight Nordique (100% wool).

Here are the first two sentences from her "about the designer page" at her St-Denis website: "Veronik Avery is the owner of St-Denis Yarns and the author of 'Knitting Classic Style and Knitting 24/7 (both published by STC). Her work has appeared in the books Weekend Knittting, Handknit Holidays, Wrap Style, Lace Style, Bag Style, Color Style, Simple Style and Knitting Socks with Hand Painted Yarns, the magazines Interweave Knits, Vogue Knitting and Woman's Day, and on the online site Knitty."

I chatted with Veronik about her work with "the mill" on the development of Nordique yarn, and a bit about teaching and colorwork.  She autographed my St-Denis magazine.  I bought two skeins of Nordique to make a Porcupine Hat.

Pattern:  Porcupine Hat by Veronik Avery
Yarn: St-Denis Nordique
1 skein Pewter, 1 skein Silver
This hat became my Ravelympics project for the 2010 Winter Olympics.  I think of this hat photo as a "Porcupine in a Pine Tree".

One day after I learned that I would be in Philadelphia on the day of the trunk show, I cast on Veronik's hugely popular Lace Ribbon Scarf from Knitty: Spring 2008.  (I carried it with me in a small project bag when I went to Loop.)  I used a skein of Malabrigo Yarn Sock which I bought at Stitches East when it was first released.

Pattern:  Lace Ribbon Scarf by Veronik Avery
Yarn: Malabrigo Yarn Sock
1 skein Cote de Azure
I love most of Veronik's designs and I am sure that I will be making more of them in the future.  Her designs are unique, modern and very wearable.  Her pattern instructions are clear with a lot of detail.  Veronik was lovely in person.  I am honored to have once had a knitting chat with her :-)

Friday, June 1, 2012

Marie and Veronik, Part 1

My last knitting post (the last time that I wrote of what was on my needles) was titled "Betty and Helene" for the names of my two newest WIP's.

Marie and Veronik are the designers of these sweaters.

That would be Marie Wallin and Veronik Avery.  I actually have made exactly two other projects created by each of these two designers.  I thought it might be interesting to show the other projects and summarize what I like most about these two ultra-talented, prolific designers.  This blog entry will cover Marie and my next blog entry will cover Veronik.

Quoting from her Ravelry biography, Marie Wallin "joined the Rowan creative design team in 2005 as Head In House Designer … Marie is responsible for the creative aspect of Rowan, not only in the knitwear designs but also the photo shoots, styling and art direction. As well as being the main designer for the Rowan magazine and seasonal brochures, Marie is also responsible for content, look and feel of these publications. She is also heavily involved with development and selection of new yarns and colours which are introduced into the ranges each season."

Obviously, there is very little at Rowan that Marie Wallin is not involved with!  My first Marie Wallin project was from the Rowan booklet "Rowan Purelife - The British Sheep Breeds Collection".  It was a first pattern collection for the Rowan Purelife British Sheep Breeds Yarn.  The Sheep Breeds Yarns look like they would be great to work with, but for this project I substituted the less pricey undyed Bartlettyarns Fisherman 3-ply (made in the USA).

Pattern:  Thwaite Ladies by Marie Wallin, Rowan Purelife - The British Sheep Breeds Collection
Yarn: Bartletteyarns Fisherman 3-ply
  6.25 skeins (907 yd) Medium Sheeps Gray

I subscribed to Rowan Magazine for two years (#47-#50).  My second Marie Wallin project was a summer top from Rowan #47.

Pattern:  Relax by Marie Wallin, Rowan #47
Yarn: Rowan Summer Tweed
  6 skeins (708 yd) Spring Pink

I made several modifications to both sweaters.  For the Thwaite Ladies, most mod's were in the ribbing and bands.  In one of my early blog posts, "A Book I Recommend" (the third photo is of my Thwaite), I wrote about how Nancie M. Wiseman helped me (totally) to begin using right-side woven seams.  I used her suggestions to make adjustments to my ribbing for nearly invisible seaming.  For the bands and the collar I added an edge stitch to be slipped on every other row, and a two-stitch-wide rib just inside of the edge stitch.

The Relax pattern had an error in the stitch pattern, which I found and wrote about on Ravelry.  (This was disappointing, yet, I got over it.  I still do not know of an erratum.)  I made mine narrower (dropping one size) and longer than the pattern.  The sweater is knit in one piece starting at the bottom ribbing of the front and ending with the bottom ribbing of the back.  I began with a provisional cast-on so that after seaming, the bottom band, sleeve bands, as well as the neck, could each be knit seamlessly in the round and each have the same Kitchener stitch bind off (my favorite for binding off ribbing).

Due to the vast number of patterns designed by Marie Wallin, there are many that I like very much.  I have found these patterns (and in general, all Rowan patterns) to be a little "bare-boned".  There is never "too much information".  I do think that there is an assumption that you are (or can get help from) an experienced knitter who does not need detailed information.  It works for me, because I can add my own ideas, especially for finishing details.  I still enjoy looking at my four issues of Rowan magazine, and I like their yarns as well.  Marie is doing a fine job!