Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Really Rockin'

Rockin' Sock Club® Spoiler Alert--
This post includes some details about the January 2014 yarn club kit.

I really cannot wait any longer to start talking about my latest design!  I am very proud of this one.  It was one of those designs that happened effortlessly... like it was meant to be...

First, some background on the Blue Moon Fiber Arts Rockin' Sock Club®... This is a sock yarn club that is going strong in its 9th year.  I learned from a Blue Moon Fiber post (by Tina Newton who is the creative spirit that founded and runs BMFA) that the current membership number is in the thousands.  Members in the club receive six shipments each year which include one 405 yd skein of Socks that Rock® lightweight or mediumweight yarn in a unique club colorway, along with two patterns commissioned exclusively for the club.  In the early years of the club, only a sock pattern came with each kit.  Beginning a few years back, a second non-sock accessory pattern was also included.

I learned from a March 2011 Knitter's Review post by Clara Parkes, that, in that particular year, she was one of the designers along with Lucy Neatby, Cat Bordhi, Mary Scott Huff, and Stephanie Pearl-McPhee.

I learned from this October 2013 Call for Submissions thread in the Designer's Group Discussion Board on Ravelry that in 2014, for the very first time, Blue Moon Fiber Arts would be sourcing designs for their sock yarn club through an open call.  The submissions call for January included a link to this inspiration board.

"Designer Inspiration Board - January 2014 Sock Club Shipment
We're taking our inspiration from the Chinese Zodiac. 2014 is the year of the wooden horse. Since wood is about trees, it is also considered the year of the green horse. Which makes it the Year of the Green Wooden Horse.
  Lanterns. Wood. Green. Horse. New Year. Luck. Hope. Number 7."

Do you see that little bit of an image of paper lanterns all-in-a-row on the right?  It totally reminded me of "The Queen's Edging" from Babara G. Walker's A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns that I had been swatching.  And that, along with some recent design exploration in a sideways-knit shawlette, clicked in my mind... I quickly put a submissions proposal together.

Not so very long later... my design was selected as the RSC non-sock pattern for January!  This makes me one of the very first "open call" designers, and I am both proud and exceedingly humble to join the ranks of other RSC designers such as those named above!

I am sharing my design "spark" before the design itself.  Let's just say that I am putting my green-wooden-horse in front of my cart until the end of the spoiler period.  I am looking forward to next time (in just about a week) when I will introduce you to my "Paper Lanterns".  

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Best of the Rest

Photos from California.

Huntington Beach

Surf at Huntington Beach

Huntington Beach Pier

A Road Stop on the way to Oceanside

Venice  Beach

Sidewalk, Venice Beach

Venice Beach Skate Park

Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood

From the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

My Great Escape

Now, I could be wrong, or I could be right, but...

One thing that I got from the comments to my last post "The Lantern Festival" was that (though the pictures were enjoyable to look at) it was not necessarily perceived that I actually took them, in person, on Rodeo Drive, in Beverly Hills, California.

I really and truly was there!  On Sunday, February 9, 2014.

My footwear on February 12 (my last full day in CA) working by the pool...

My footwear at home on February 15...

The trip (obviously!) should have been much longer.  It was a working trip for Mr K.  I tagged along, but I also brought my work.  Our sightseeing, and my photos, were somewhat limited... most of it happened on that lovely Sunday.  I will share the best of the rest another time.

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Lantern Festival

Happy Valentine's Day!  Happy Lunar New Year!

February 14 is the 2014 date of the Chinese Lantern Festival which marks the end of the 15 day celebration of the Lunar New Year and the Chinese Year of the Horse.  The horse is part of a 12-year-cycle of animals that make up the Chinese zodiac. These interact with the five elements: wood, metal, fire, water, earth. This is the year of the wood horse, taking over from the year of the water snake.

Paper Lanterns on Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, CA

The lantern festival is held on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month. Some of the lanterns may be works of art, painted with birds, animals, flowers, zodiac signs, and scenes from legend and history. People hang glowing lanterns in temples, and carry lanterns to evening parades under the light of the full moon.

Paper Lanterns will soon make another appearance on this bog, but for now, a few more photos (from sunny CA)...

Monday, February 10, 2014

About Those Sleeves

I think that it is about time that I posted some details about the added sleeves on my Taiga #2.  I shared other modifications last spring as I taught a class at GYI! on colorwork and steeking.

[Warning to most readers: This post will be number heavy, project specific, and of no real interest, unless you wish to add sleeves to a similar non-sleeved sweater.]

[Reference to any non-knitters who read past the warning: st(s) is the standard knitting abbreviation for stitch(es).]

Pattern:  Taiga by Svetlana Volkova
Size:  Large
#6646 Salt Water, 8 skeins (480 yd) 
#6614 Cranberry Bog, 6 skeins (360 yd)

Unfortunately, it would be more than I wish to take on, to write pattern-like directions for all of the sizes.  What I can do is to describe (using my notes) what I did for my own size L project, with the hope that it might help other knitters.

1) Keeping in mind that I found the short ribbed cuffs on my size M shop sample Taiga #1 rather narrow, I picked up 3 extra stitches at the underarm (Ref: 35 sts were picked up from waste yarn, and 9 sts from underarm, for a total of 47 sts). I went with an odd number so that I could center the center stitch of the chart at the center of sleeve.

2) The size L uses the lower, 33 st wide, chart. To center the 33 st repeat (with 14 extra sts, Ref: 47-33=14) I drew a heavy pencil line on my chart after the 7th and 26th st. So for each of the initial colorwork rounds, after the underarm, I began: Slip marker, work sts 27 to 33 of chart, then sts 1 to 33, then sts 1 to 7.

3) I worked 17 rounds even. I decreased a stitch at beginning and end of charted rounds 18, 22, and 28. (I moved my pencil lines out accordingly.)  I did not come up with these rounds in any regular way. Truthfully, I had to knit the first sleeve twice (it came out too short and a bit narrow the first time), and I did not want to rip out more of the colorwork than I had to, so these decreases were not evenly spaced.

4) After round 28, I calculated (using desired length, row gauge, and what I learned by trial and error) that I should decrease every 6th round six more times. I had a total of 9 decreases, going from 47 to 29 sts. 

5) Finally, I worked two more rows, decreasing (k2tog) five times on the last row for 24 sts. I changed to my smaller size needle and worked 12 rows in 1 x 1 rib. I switched color for the bind-off.

6) Important advice:  Try the sweater on as you go, work one sleeve at a time, and write down enough notes on what you actually do on the first sleeve in order to make the second sleeve the same.

All that remains to finish this sweater is to sew in the zipper.

It is pinned in now, but I have very recently come across two interesting and very different (from each other) blog posts about sewing zippers into hand knits.  I plan to review them to decide if they could improve my zipper insertion, and will post here once I am done. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Colorwork Meditation #12

"Sky in Fire" watercolor by Nadia Minic, 2007

“Artists can colour the sky red because they know it’s blue. Those of us who aren’t artists must colour things the way they really are or people might think we’re stupid.”      ~ Jules Feiffer, American cartoonist, born 1929

Photo credit:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/35475855@N05/3332303965/

Previous Colorwork Meditation: #11 (Peaches)