Thursday, October 31, 2013

It's Gift-A-Long Eve!

OK, Okay.  I do know that today is a real holiday.  Happy Halloween to one and all!

I would like to announce to all who knit or crochet that today is also Gift-A-Long Eve!

You may well be asking, "What is 'Gift-A-Long'?"

To jump start holiday gift knitting & crocheting, a group of over 150 designers who offer self-published patterns for sale on Ravelry, have joined together in a promotion named "Gift-A-Long".  The first phase of this promotion starts tomorrow with thousands of patterns being offered at 25% off after applying the coupon code "giftalong".  The official dates for the discount are November 1-15 (with most designers using GMT).  I am one of the designers, and all three (wish there were more) of my self-published, for-sale patterns are included.

Clockwise from top:
Two by Two by Two, Version 1
Jemma Cowl
Two by Two by Two, Version 2 (Both versions are included in one pattern.)
Fingering Weight TATU Socks (Four sizes included.)

There are soooo many wonderful patterns to pick from!!!  I now quote the group page for the "Indie Design Gift-A-Long" group:

"Prepping for the holidays as only fiber folks can, with special deals from tons of indie designers!

What is Gift-A-Long? It’s a multi-designer promotion to help you kick your holiday gift-making into high gear!

Put plainly, from November 1st until November 15th any pattern listed in the “List of Participating Patterns” thread is 25% off when you use the code “giftalong”.

Once you’ve got your Gift-A-Long patterns, we encourage you to join a relevant KAL/CAL! (For instance, if it is a cowl, please join the cowl KAL/CAL.) KAL/CAL participants are eligible for lots of lovely prizes (check out the Prizes thread for details) but you gotta post to win!
KAL/CALs will run until December 31st, plenty of time to knock out all your holiday knitting and crocheting.

On your mark…get set…. GIFT!"

Did you get that second part of the promotion?  Using any of the patterns offered in the Gift-A-Long (GAL) promotion, start a project (link it to the pattern page) and post about it in a relevant KAL/CAL thread on the group's discussion board.  There will be contests, and random prizes will be awarded to anyone who posts about their GAL projects in those threads.  When you finish a project made from one of the GAL patterns, post about it in the FO thread (one post for each FO, and one FO per post).  There will be two major giveaways (with hundreds of prizes) for GAL FO's: one in the middle of the GAL KAL/CAL and one after the December 31 ending date.  Please take a moment to join the gift-a-long group, where you can learn of any updated information.

Surprise!  Tomorrow is here!  I wrote this post a few days ago.  Then I learned that the organizers wanted all participating designers to keep it quiet until November 1.  Then I learned that November 1, 0:00 (midnight) GMT = October 31, 8:00 PM EDST.  So, (while I may be a bit late with my Halloween greeting;-) -- I waited to post this until now to be able to say:  The sale has just begun!  Here is a link to my post in the "List of Participating Patterns" thread.  From there you can begin your pattern browsing.  Enjoy! 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Lessons from My Old Scarf Box: #3 Some Keepers

"I have a lot of old scarves that were stored in a plastic box on a shelf in my closet.  These are really very old scarves that I have not worn for years and years."

In my previous "Old Scarf Box" posts, I talked mostly about what I am giving away.  This time, I will share some keepers.

This scarf was a gift from one of my oldest friends.  We both share a love of art and craft, and she has always been generous in her appreciation of my own fiber crafting.  This was an early example of handicraft brought to our country from an organization similar to the Manos del Uruguay cooperative.  (The name of the organization is lost to me.  But I do remember that it was woven in a South American country, by a weaver who earned income, and hopefully gained financial security and self-esteem.)  Though I have not worn it for a while, I know that I will keep it always.

My mother made this little neck scarf.  She made a lot of them.  I found her hand-written directions for this on a small piece of paper when I went through some of her knitting things.  I think that she had them dictated to her by her older sister.  I know that I have seen similar patterns around, but this is not a new design.  If you look closely enough, you can see that an edge needs a little repair.  Of course, I will always keep this one.

And now for something completely different:

I found this old tartan plaid scarf in my old scarf box.  You could say that it is not of high quality:  It is kind of scratchy and has a zig-zag stitched edge.  I bought it somewhere, some time ago.  I am sure that I bought it because I have always liked to wear a bit of red from time to time.  It is photographed with my Tartan Mitt swatch and the leftover yarn that I am using to make myself a pair of Tartan Mitts.  I just cast on the other day, and I Ravelry-named my project "Pop of Red".

The lesson for today:  love the things you love because of why you love them.   And:  it is probably a good idea to go through your old things from time to time.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Lessons from My Old Scarf Box: #2 Novelty Yarns and Manufactured Knits?

"I have a lot of old scarves that were stored in a plastic box on a shelf in my closet.  These are really very old scarves that I have not worn for years and years."

In my first "Old Scarf Box" post, I told you about "the set" (now in a bag and ready to be donated).

More memories... I will try to be brief...

On the left side of the photo above is a smallish basket weave patterned (looks good on both sides) scarf in a silky and tweedy brown yarn (mostly acrylic).  I knit a bulky, cropped sweater that I wore hundreds of times with one strand of that brown yarn and one strand (or was it two strands?) of natural wool worsted weight yarn.  I remember wearing the sweater and scarf with a very long dark brown, and twirly, tweed coat.  Back then, I made a lot of the clothes that I wore everyday.

My bulky 2 or 3 strand knit sweater is only a memory.  Why have I kept this little brown scarf for so long? 

The blue scarf is garter stitch, knit with a slubby and tweedy novelty yarn that was bought for almost nothing at a nearby fabric and yarn store going out of business (many years ago).  Not sure if I ever wore it.  I do not remember wearing it.

I do remember wearing the manufactured knits in this photo.  They were gifts.  Once again I can actually see some wear in the gloves.  But I have not worn them for years, and with all of my more recent handknits in abundance, I am certain that I will never wear them again.

There are no good reasons to keep any of the items shown here.  They have been added to my Salvation Army bag.

My lesson for today is that now that there is some space in my old scarf box, I can better store some of my newer scarves.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Lessons from My Old Scarf Box: #1 What Happens to Old Knitting?

I have a lot of old scarves that were stored in a plastic box on a shelf in my closet.  These are really very old scarves that I have not worn for years and years.

Some were hand knitted.  I made them many years ago.  I pulled the box down because I remembered this set.

I was planning a design that I thought had something in common with these pieces.  I did not get anywhere with that plan, but I also did not miss out on the learning opportunity that was in my box.

1)  The mittens were actually used the most.  The edges are grayed and fuzzy.  Simple and practical items do get used.
2)  I never wore the hat.  I do not wear hats unless I really need to, and this particular hat was (from day one) very loose.  It could use a band of ribbing.  There is actually a seam (near bottom of photo) in this hat.  I would never make a seamed hat now.  Ill-fitting items with questionable construction will not be worn.   
3)  I do not remember wearing the scarf either. It looks OK, but has an edging that won't stop curling, or, I should say flipping.  I don't really like the scarf.  Right around the same time that I made this set, I also made another natural colored scarf -- all in seed stitch and with a light fringe.  I wore it often, and I still like it best when I go skiing.  I have a strong preference for scarves that look good on both sides and have neat edges.  Sometimes good design is in the details.  (And, in the case of the seed stitch scarf, I repeat: Simple and practical items do get used.)

Why have I kept this set for so long?  Many times in recent years I have remembered this or that sweater that I knitted and loved, but that is now only a memory.  It saddens me that, try as I might, I cannot remember when or why I gave up many items of my beloved knitting.

Of course the answer is that they no longer fit or flattered in terms of what was current.  Or they showed signs of wear... graying fuzziness, spots or even holes.  But I did let them go when it was time.

At opposite extremes are those that were loved and worn to death and those that were never quite right and eventually discarded.

I will donate the set to the Salvation Army Store.  It is the right thing to do.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Just a Few and Just a Bit

I took just a few photos at Rhinebeck yesterday.
These are the ones I like best.


I bought just a bit of yarn.

The four small skeins are Bartlett Yarns sport weight.  They came as a "Swirls" color pack with four 1 ounce skeins.  The larger skein is worsted wool from Hope Spinnery in Hope, Maine.  It was unlabeled, and on sale.

It was a beautiful day at the New York Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, New York.  As I said in a blog post last year, "It was a wonderful way to spend a Sunday with some of my knitting friends and many thousands of like minded individuals."

This morning I decided to find the yarn in my stash from my last two trips to Rhinebeck.  I was pleased to find that because I have been a regular enough blogger for over two years now, I was able to find photos of my past Rhinebeck purchases in my archives.

Yesterday Was...
(Lots of photos in that post.)

Photos Not from Rhinebeck
(No Rhinebeck photos in that one.)

Would you believe that I have not yet knit with any of the yarns I purchased at Rhinebeck in my last three trips there?  I hope to use some very soon!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Midweeek Meditation

"Ordinary riches can be stolen, real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.”   ~ Oscar Wilde, born October 16, 1854

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Colorwork Meditation #10

Bermuda 2007
“I’m intrigued that one can recognize different parts of the world solely by the particular color of the water.”
                                      ~ Leonard Mizerek, American Painter

Previous Colorwork Meditation: #9 (Palette)

Saturday, October 5, 2013

What I Can No Longer Say

I cannot say that I never win anything.

If you are a blogger, and you read other blogs, you may have participated in blog giveaways at some time or another.  Like me, you may have done so for approximately 200 times.  And, like me, you may not have won a single thing.  Except that (for the first time ever) I did just win something.  Something special.

If you knit, and are online enough to be here with me now, you probably know about, and have admired, all of the stunning patterns offered at the TWIST Collective website.  They put out an online magazine four times a year and the Fall 2013 issue marked their fifth anniversary.  To celebrate, the TWIST Collective people hosted a month (almost 2 months) of giveaways that began with this post.

I entered in most of the giveaways.  I missed a few where you could only enter from Facebook or Twitter.  There were many, including the Skacel Giveaway, that you could enter on Ravelry.  For that one you had to write a six word "memoir".  Here is what I posted on the Ravelry thread just 11 days ago:

"Education, work, family, knitting, teaching, designing."

I honestly do not know if the winners were selected by random, or through merit.  Either way I was VERY lucky.  (There were over 230 posts to that Ravelry thread alone, not to mention however many there were at Facebook and Twitter.)  I received a Ravelry message from mokie/Cynthia telling me that I won this beautiful set of Addi-Click Natura (bamboo) inter-changable needles.  I was thrilled.  I had a lot of trouble choosing my one free TWIST pattern because I was really anxious to reply (and there really are so many good ones).  I choose Sapwood by Amy Herzog because I had just favorited it that same morning and I thought that was a good luck omen.

© Amy Herzog
If you would like to see all of the prizes and winner's names check out the Winner's Circle page.  I am there for giveaway #29, ckknit (my Ravelry name).  Thanks Skacel and TWIST!