Friday, September 28, 2012

Late September

I am not one to go all happy about fall and its (short term) beauty.  While I do enjoy the first part of fall, somewhere in the middle of it, there is that unmistakable feeling that we are loosing all of our daylight as well as all of our leaves and flowers.

Quite honestly, the foliage gets very gorgeous here in Pennsylvania right around my father's birthday (October 9).  For at least a couple days around then, there will surely be blue skies.  And in this part of the country, the blues skies of fall are so very crisp and fresh and clean.  I do enjoy all that brightness.

Early this week, as I was walking my dog, I thought that the beginning little splashes of yellow leaves against the evergreens and blue skies looked lovely.  After I returned to my home, I grabbed my camera and went back out to catch that loveliness.

In just minutes, some thin high clouds had moved in, and the image I wanted was lost.  Just not quite the same.

It rained here last night.  As I walked with my dog this morning the sky was mostly white.  It had been rather foggy earlier.  But even against the white sky the raindrops on the leaves were sparkling.  Once again, I went back out with my camera.  This is my best shot, but not quite what I wanted.

Weak sun was streaming through the windows late in the afternoon.  I decided to take some photos of my current WIP's.  "Helene" is in the finishing stages.  I have a lot of seaming.  (Using three needle bind-off to join the top sleeve edges did not work for me.  So now I am seaming them.)

 My "New Shell" is coming along.  The bottom edge is sturdy (I cast-on with a smooth black yarn.) and the texture feels just right.  I am glad that it will not have side seams.

I have begun my husband's annual Christmas-unless-they-are-done-in-time-for-your-November-birthday-socks.  He does love his hand-knit socks.

That is my own "Fingering Weight TATU Sock Pattern" on my iPad.  (How cool is that?)  I do love my iPad.  (Which was my Christmas present last year.)

As I cope with the wistfulness that I feel this time of year, I am focusing on a change...

In between all of my current WIP's, I have also been doing a lot of swatching and planning...

Now I am ready.  In October, I will be working on a new design...

This will be big for me...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Midweek Meditation

“Footfalls echo in the memory,
 Down the passage which we did not take,
 Towards the door we never opened,
 Into the rose-garden.” 
                                             ~T.S. Eliot, born September 26, 1888

Monday, September 24, 2012

Veronik Update: Beauty School

Really?  I was totally surprised when I first read that Veronik Avery is now enrolled in beauty school.

I have mentioned that Veronik Avery is one of my favorite designers.  And now that I am on my own uphill path to becoming a designer, I found it hard to believe that she decided to shut down her yarn business and learn to be a hairdresser.  But she is happy.  Check out that first link.  My own hairdresser is a very creative woman who home decorates on the side.  I, myself, even have this whole other gig that I call my day job.  (Not very interesting, but creative in an extremely technical sort of way).  And I will be working at it for the foreseeable future because it does pay some bills.

The best news, though, is that Veronik is still designing.  She has a sweater design in this book which was released only about a month ago.

I wasn't going to buy this book, but I did.
Ann Budd
(I am forecasting my own Top-Down Immersion, #2 for early 2013.) 

Veronik also has at least one design in this book which was just released for sale earlier this week.

  I do expect to buy this book the next time I get to Gosh Yarn It!
Carol J Sulcoski
(Who doesn't love knitting with sock yarn?)

Back to Veronik, at the end of her blog post where she lets us know about her new career, she very quietly announces that she also has joined "the house knitwear design team" for the one and only Brooklyn Tweed.  This week BT released their Fall 2012 collection and it is beautiful!  The LookBook may be found here.  (LookBooks generally do not appear on iPads.  Use this link to view photos of all eighteen designs on one page.)  Veronik designed four pieces in the collection.  There seems to be no doubt that we can all look forward to Veronik Avery designs now and in the future.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Midweek Meditation

“A year from now you will wish you had started today.”     ~ Karen Lamb

I love this quote.  It is number one on a list of "The 45 Most Inspiring Quotes on Change" which I found while searching on that theme last evening.

But, who is Karen Lamb?

There is no Karen Lamb on Wikipedia.  A google search came back with a lot of possible Karen Lambs, but I could not determine which one might be responsible for the quote.

The top result on a search for "Karen Lamb" on google (September 18, 2012) brings up a "Karen Lamb official website" which offers a lovely little virtual 7 page children's book, and images from puppetry animations on Swedish television.

A children's author and animation creator just might have said something this inspirational.

But there is also a Karen Lamb who was a recent women's volleyball coach at BYU, Brigham Young University, which is sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

A college volleyball coach might be known for such an inspiring quote.

Then there is this Karen Lamb in Quebec, Canada, who is "director of The Miracle You, a learning center for spiritual Truth" and "founder and director of Motions for Change".

Doesn't she sound like someone who might have authored the popular quote?

But there is also, Karen Lamb, the wife of Henry Maier, the long-time mayor of Milwaukee.  She is better known in the LGBT community as "a consistent supporter of the community and its causes, primarily in the areas of health and equality".

I think that she might be the one.  I think that the focus just might be on "coming out".  (If you finally did that... you know... you would be so glad that you did that... one year later.  I kind of get that.)  But I really do not know that it was she.

In my searching, I found the quote used several places online without giving anyone credit.  I do not think that is right.  I would never not include the name.  In fact, I did try, but was unsuccessful at finding the one Karen Lamb associated with the quote.  If you should happen to know, please leave a comment.

And be inspired, "A year from now you will wish that you had started today."

Monday, September 17, 2012

Helene Update: Piggyback Blocking

Do you remember the linen pullover I was working on since early May?  The pattern is "Helene" by Veronik Avery and the yarn is "Sparrow", 100% linen by Quince & Co.

Both front and back are knit.  Here is the first piece being blocked last week.

First Piece Blocked September 6

This week I blocked the second piece in what I am (in my head) calling  the "piggyback" method.  ("In my head" because who in this house in this universe would I talk to about my blocking?  But now I am talking to you.)  This is a photo of my piggyback blocking.

Second Piece on Top of First Piece September 12

(Can you see the subtle differences in the photos?  That there are two layers and less blocking board showing through in the second one?)

When pinning out the first piece of this all-lace garment, I needed to have a tape measure and the schematic to make sure the dimensions were fairly close to what they needed to be for my size.  Extra time is needed to measure-adjust-and-measure again.  After it dried, it was quite a snap to simply lay out piece number two on top of piece number one, then remove and replace each pin through both pieces.  Wa-La: piggyback blocking.

Removing Pins September 17

Maybe this could help you someday if you ever need to block two all-lace identically sized pieces...  maybe...

Friday, September 14, 2012

Knitter's Denial

"You did what you could until you knew better, and when you knew better you did better."    ~  Maya Angelou

Knitter's Denial is a documented disorder that has been found, at least occasionally, in the behavior of almost all who knit.  Typically, a knitter knows that something wrong with whatever they're knitting. They sense it. They feel it. They can actually see it!  And yet, they keep on knitting!

My latest knitter's denial began over a year ago.  It was April 2011 when I purchased several skeins of a new yarn, Tahki Yarns "Ripple", in black.  It was new...  I kind of like Tahki Yarns...  It was there at Gosh Yarn It!...  I bought four skeins, after deciding that I would like to make a shell.  It is 100% cotton and is a thick and thin "tape" or "ribbon" yarn.  I decided on a shell, "Simple and Sleeveless" from The Knitting Experience: Book 2: The Purl Stitch by Sally Melville.  The book has a photo of the shell made in a black ribbon yarn and it does look elegant.

I made swatches with size 6 and size 7 needles.  Both were close to gauge, I decided I liked the feel of the swatch made with the 6's.  I began making a size M.  The front and back of the shell are made the same.  I found that the yarn is not the most pleasant to knit with... on occasion the yarn must be pulled more tightly to get a thick part through a loop.  But it had such a neat texture to it.  I kept on knitting.

I found it difficult to make gauge/measurement checks as I knit... beyond curling, the piece seemed to want to scrunch in on itself.  Maybe the size 7 needles would have been better.  But maybe it would be fine after blocking.  I kept on knitting.  Perhaps it was because of the "pulling in" or scrunching, I bought a fifth skein of yarn.  I was afraid I would not have enough.  I kept on knitting.  I left out one set of decreases in the waist shaping hoping that might help a little.  I had most of the first piece done when fall came last year and I put this project away for the winter.

In April of this year I finished the first piece and blocked it.  I mentioned it with a photo in this blog post.  Of course I did not mention in the blog post that even after blocking, the piece was much narrower than anything that I normally wear.  I began the second piece thinking maybe I should make it wider with more stitches.  But I did not.  I kept telling myself that with all of its tendency to scrunch, the knitted fabric really had a lot of give in it.  And it did.  But would I really want to wear something with that much negative ease?  Probably not.  But I kept on knitting.

Then something happened to that finished first piece after being neatly folded in the bottom of my knitting bag for a couple of months.  It shrank!  At least, I think it shrank.  The chest measurement was not as wide as I had thought it to be after blocking.  (I suspected that it got shorter, as well.)  Was it the yarn?  I kept knitting some more.  It dawned on me that I had never made a project page for this garment on Ravelry.  I began to take that as an omen.  I began to think that this project was doomed with gauge issues from its start.  I kept on knitting.

Then I recognized that this particular shell pattern has a stand up collar.  Not something I would normally wear.  But you could make the stand up collar as short or tall as you like.  I kept on knitting.  I was thinking about making the second piece be the front and changing the neckline.  I kept on knitting.

I was more than two thirds of the way finished knitting the second piece, and still thinking about that neckline, when I began imagining the seaming.  I planned to use a fine, smooth black cotton yarn for seaming, but everything being black and textured and shaped, I did wonder how well that would work out.  I kept right on knitting. 

You would have to agree.  It was knitter's denial.  And it had got me good.

I came to my senses this week.  I went from this.

To this.

To this.

Yes, I am starting all over again with a new pattern.  It is "Trace", by Kristin Spurkland, from the heichi book by Shibui.  It is knit in the round.  I will be using size 7 needles.  I believe that I must make a project page on Ravelry very soon...

I guess you could say, I am turning over a new leaf.  Or an old shell.  I guess you could say, I really got my money's worth buying this yarn and getting to knit with it twice.  I know that I can say, I truly do love knitting.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Midweek Meditation

"You did what you could until you knew better, and when you knew better you did better."    ~  Maya Angelou

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Midweek Meditation

As summer is slowly leaving us...

"One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach. One can collect only a few, and they are more beautiful if they are few."    
                                               ~  Anne Morrow Lindbergh