Friday, November 30, 2012

Farewell November

November is the month of one of my favorite holidays.  I love Thanksgiving... a holiday to be together with family and friends and eat well.  What's not to like?

I cooked a big turkey dinner this year, with two kinds of stuffing, and I baked three pies.  Holiday cooking is a lot of work, but I love it.

I did hit that low point in my knitting in mid-November... But I got back up again.  I did not post so much this November.  I expect to do only a little better in December.

As this month closes, I would like to share some November photos of the cliff behind my home.  Perhaps they will show why this is far from my favorite month of the year.

In my part of the world very many most days in November are what I call white sky days.

November 2, 2012

November 2, 2012

Earlier this week we had our first snowfall of the year.  I took this photo while it was still snowing.

November 27, 2012

The snow can be pretty... but usually, it is most beautiful after the sun returns.

My favorite days are the blue sky days.  Thank God for the blue sky days.

November 26, 2012

I do have a lot to be thankful for...

Now on to December...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Midweek Meditation

"Self pity stinks."

I remember my paternal grandmother saying this often enough
 that I consider it one of her lifetime philosophies.
She was born on November 28, 1907.

My grandmother was the daughter of Polish immigrants.  She married a coal miner and raised five children during the great depression.  Later she worked sewing in a dress factory.  During the far too few years that I was lucky to have shared with her, she sewed and crocheted and gardened and baked and cooked huge holiday feasts and always worked hard.  Late in her life my grandmother made a great many quilts.  I am very fortunate to have "Poinsettias" which was her first.  I loved my grandmother very much.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sad Sock

I always have 3-4 active knitting projects at any time.  I need to have challenging projects, as well as mindless projects, and even some that are in-between.  I work on each depending on my mood and circumstance.

Certainly, when I am working on a challenging design for several hours in a day, there comes a point where I need some mindless comfort knitting.  Sock knitting fits in a small bag and can be picked up anytime and go anywhere.  Sock knitting should not make me sad.  But this sock did...

The pattern I am using is my own Fingering Weight TATU sock pattern.  The yarn is LANG Jawoll Color Aktion.  Each skein of Jawoll sock yarn comes with a little spool of matching heel and toe reinforcement yarn.  This sock yarn was a favorite of my mother who was a great sock knitter.

Mr K likes tall socks.  This first sock is only about 3" above the heel and I have now used almost half of the skein of yarn.  I do not have enough yarn to make the socks as I planned.  I have tryed to find more of this yarn (color 132.0366) online with zero success.  It is a limited edition colorway.

I could use a different yarn (There must be some sort of gray sock yarn in my house somewhere.) at the top of each sock, but how would that look?  Of course, I must abandon any thoughts of making the stripes on the pair of socks match each other.  (I actually do try to do this with self-striping yarns.)  I truly cannot make the socks that I thought I was making.  That makes me sad.  That makes me want to start over.  These are Mr K's annual Christmas-unless-they-are-done-in-time-for-your-November-birthday-socks.  They will not be done in November.  In fact, they may never be done at all...

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Bit of a Disappointment

I believe that this has become the longest break in my blogging historyHaving posted only three times in November, I am going to see if I can kind of "catch up" for the month.

The real reason that I have not been posting is due to my sad, sad knitting.  I count on my knitting to make me happy... it usually cheers me daily.  This has not been the case in November... in fact my knitting has been making me sad. 

In September I made a commitment to a yarn company to complete a pattern and a sample for a sweater vest.  I experienced many difficulties with this particular project.  The proposed vest had large all-over cables with a central eyelet double-cable.  I did not appreciate how difficult it would be to size (or 'grade') a design with all-over 12 stitch wide x 28 row cables, and a 30 stitch wide x 56 row central cable.  I spent many hours knitting and revising and pattern writing and re-writing.

As the proposed completion date approached, I knew that I might be able to finish, but only if I grouped the sizes like: XS/S, M/L and XL/XXL.  But what was becoming gradually more and more apparent was that much of the sections involving shaping had to be written out row-by-row.  Even worse, I knew that with every re-write there was added potential for pattern errors.  I knew that this would never be a pattern that I would be happy to put out there with my name on it.

I emailed the yarn company last week, explaining not only my difficulties, but also how much I had learned in the process.  I now have permission to redesign the vest with an extended timeline.  I am determined to see this through.  It has been a disappointment, but I am now relieved and grateful for a second chance.  (When this project is finally on track, I will let you know more.)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Midweek Meditation

Detail of "Bordighera" (Mediterranean) [1884]

“People discuss my art and pretend to understand as if it were necessary to understand, when it's simply necessary to love.”  Claude Monet, born November 14, 1840

Photo Credit:

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Introducing: Jemma

I am happy to introduce you to Jemma!

Jemma was actually designed at about the same time as her "older sister cowl" Jonna.  As I said in my last post, I was thrilled that Quince & Co selected Jonna to be a part of their scarves, etc. collection.  But like a parent with two daughters, I knew that Jemma would, and should, have her own time to shine.  

Pattern: Jemma by Carolyn Kern
Yarn: Quince & Co Finch in the Egret colorway
     2 skeins (287 yd used for cowl as shown)

Similar to Jonna, Jemma is a tapered cowl, narrower on the top and wider on the bottom.  The shape is created by using three progressive needle sizes with no increasing or decreasing.  While Jonna uses a sport weight yarn and has a geometric textured lace pattern, Jemma is made using fingering weight yarn and smaller needles.  The lace pattern in Jemma is quite easy and creates a lovely feminine cowl that complements flannel and denim as well as lace.

My Jemma Cowl pattern is now available at my Ravelry pattern store.

With a little help from my friends:  Thanks to my model/stylist Ali.  She has most definitely helped me in creating a more beautiful and professional knitting pattern.  Thanks also to my good friend Catherine for her speedy and careful test knit.  As always, thanks to Mallory (my real life daughter) for her consistently helpful advice.  And thanks to you for reading!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Jonna's Little Sister

I cannot explain why it took so long.

I am finally ready to introduce you to Jonna's little sister.

Jonna is a cowl design that I proposed to Quince & Co (just about a year ago) during their first ever "Scarf Call".  Quince & Co liked Jonna well enough to include her in their scarves etc. collection.  Here is a lovely photo of Jonna that was taken by Carrie Bostick Hoge of Quince & Co.

© Quince & Co

Jonna was conceived a bit before her little sister.  But it so happens that I sent both proposals to Quince & Co last November.  Jonna's little sister is a finer knit, made with fingering weight yarn and on smaller needles.  She is a little smaller, and, if anything, a bit more feminine.  Even though she did not get a chance to appear at Quince & Co, she is now ready to go out into the world.  It is finally little sister's turn to shine...

I will be releasing this new pattern very soon.  A first peek...

© Carolyn Kern