Patterns, right?

12 12 2011

The below picture has nothing to do with this post. It’s there because it’s my shop stash of Malabrigo, and it just gives me joy to look at it.

mal stack 2

Nor is this the long-promised post about my State Fair entries. Why not? Well, I was feeling that guilty feeling I get when I haven’t updated my blog in a while, and I decided that maybe I’d go ahead and type it up. Seriously, the pictures have been on flickr for over a month. The blog certainly has been on my mind. I was thinking about taking more of a micro approach. Part of the reason I dread doing this is that all those links to the pattern, pattern designer, yarn, colorway, project on Ravelry, etc. take time. I think my standard entry has something like 25-30 links. Maybe I would procrastinate less, if there was less to do per entry, and maybe you would like to hear from me more often.

Then I took a look at my stats, and all the hits are on the patterns, which make sense, I suppose. I could try to make the blog more pattern-focused. I have two older patterns that I released on PDF that I could transcribe here, assuming that there’s a group of people who for some reason love patterns on websites and eschew the PDF as a pattern format. I will also make a sincere, if misguided commitment to try to release a new pattern by the end of January. The last one I was hatching is dead in the water, but that doesn’t mean that I’m completely out of ideas. I have a couple of toy patterns I could do,  and I have a few ideas for other things. I’m asking for some feedback here. Why are you subscribed? Do you care what I’m knitting or are you just hoping I’ll release a new pattern? I’d love some thoughts as I consider the future of this blog.

Besides that, would anyone like to guess what I’ve been up to? If you said knitting, you’ve guessed correctly. I’m happy to say that my only pending shop order is holding on yarn, and that everything else is complete, including the Christmas presents I’m knitting for friends and family. Or that would be true if you don’t count the fact that I’ve yet to start my husband’s Christmas socks. Really, I’m casting on as soon as I’m done here. So drop me a comment and let me know what you’d like to see.



Still here!

29 09 2011

Here we are again. I’ve been absent, and as to what I’ve been up to…it’s the usual–knitting. I do love knitting, so even when I’m not blogging, it carries on. Now as to why I haven’t been blogging, well, that’s a longer story. I spent most of July and a little bit of August focus on knitting for the etsy shop and selling locally at The Alley Cat Collective and the Farmers’ Market, and then when I decided to focus less on the shop, I spent time catching up on birthday presents and knits for other people. Then came September, and for the first time in a while, I just knit for me, doing whatever I felt like doing, so I have some finished projects and about 6 WIPS. Good times.  The month and a half shop focus means that I haven’t done all that much that I can share, but I do have a few FOs to share, and I plan to do at least one post about the Texas State Fair.

Let’s dig in. I made a Kindle sleeve at the beginning of June for Bettye’s birthday because she got a Kindle. It also came with a gift card and an offer of unlimited technical support, although she didn’t need that for so long as she picked it up pretty quickly. This one was knit in Mal Worsted in Apricot.

kindle sleeve apricot 3

I then crocheted a birthday present for her son, Robert. I wanted to make him something cool, and it ended up being a little late because it took me a while to find an idea I liked, but I finally settled on amigurumis of his family based on the patterns of Lucy Ravenscar with hair from a tutorial by Geek Central Station. They were knit in Hobby Lobby I Love This Cotton and used embroidery floss for hair. I think they went over pretty well, until the dog ate off Robert’s eye. I’m not that upset because, well, who can be angry at a corgi?

rob fam 3

I finished up my knitting in June with Cookie A ‘s BFF socks.  My version was called Pen Pals because it was knit out of my local Tally yarn from vacation, TurtleDove Yarns Pigeon Sock. This was my last successful attempt to participate in the Cookie A Knit. Sock. Love KAL. Oh well.

bff socks 3

I know three FOs in a month is a pretty low count for me. The rest of the time was spent on the shop, so I guess I’ll blog a little about what I learned from that. Let’s see it was fun to see other people enjoy my knits and to see my work going as far as Australia. I enjoyed the actual knitting, and I had fun just following my bliss as far as what to knit next. The best part? Building up my stock of “shop” yarn, by which I mean a fat stack of Malabrigo Worsted. Dreamy. The worst part? The utter lack of personal knitting time. I’ve finished two projects using yarn out of my personal stash in the last four months. Ouch, and I’ve decided to do Stashdown this next quarter. The Farmers’ Market was a delightful way to meet people, but I’m done with it for the year, so I’m now dealing with the much less hectic business through Alley Cat and the etsy shop, and a few Christmas orders. I hope this will allow me to find a better balance between my different types of knitting.

For this section, I’m including a picture of Sammie the Sailor, which I knit for no better reason than I was feeling nautical. He was knit in Malabrigo Worsted in Natural and Marine, from Rebecca Danger‘s Sammie the Sock Monster pattern.

sammie sailor 1

I did knit one non-shop item in July, but I think it will fit better in a later post, so I’m moving on to August, in which I started by doing a pattern sample for Rose. You  know I had to fit one in there, right? This time it was her Strands of Pearls Shawlette in Twisted Fiber Art Playful in Weimaraner and Squoosh Fiberarts Sock in Mocha Kiss. The shawl was a fun knit, but I was really disappointed by the ultimate fate of this shawl, which is to say that it was cruelly lost forever in the US mail system. Thanks, post office. I’m so paranoid now that I’m still adding delivery confirmation to every shipment I send.

sps 3

I think I will wind this post up with one other knit for Rose, and when I say Rose, I mean rather more directly for her, because her birthday is in August. Fellow Rose test-knitter Catrina came up with a brilliant idea. She would spin some yarn and I would knit it into cozy socks for Rose, and even better another tester Jennifer would dye the fiber, so we each did a little bit, and came up with this pair of socks for her.

rose sock 2

The upside/downside (trust me, it’s both) is that Catrina is now spinning for me too. I was already having issues NOT buying fiber, which is hilarious since I don’t spin, and now that I have a spinner on tap, well let’s say I’m in trouble. Here’s what I’ve already stashed from her hands. The first is PRS Superwash Merino in Malarkey and the second is limegreenjelly MCN in Jungle Boogie, both in fingering weight. Gorgeous!

prs merino malarkey 2lgj mcn jungle boogie 1

See you soon; I pinkie swear.

On the prevention of Christmas sneaking up on me again this year…

6 09 2010

I suppose it’s time to wrap up August, and it will need to come in two posts. I had rather intended to post sooner, but I found my photography delayed  by a wonderful period of rainy weather and a delightful 20 degree temperature drop. Fall cannot come soon enough, which is as good a lead in as any to the projects I’m sharing. Every year, I find that I’m starting my Christmas knitting earlier, which should keep me from the joyful experience of desperately knitting on Christmas Eve, but somehow I’ve still been in that position two years in a row, so this year I started the last week of July.

Sofia’s Christmas present is straightforward but yardage intensive. It actually had more plain stockinette than I realized, so I actually finished the whole gift in about 10 days. I realize this doesn’t sound like a fast turn around time, but I did knit an entire monkey and two outfits for her. I really like how it came out, and she’s a very cute match to last year’s Mr. Foster. This is Carmen Banana, a kit offered by Knit Picks, and worked in Essential/Stroll. I’m very pleased with how she came out, although it makes me wish, once again, that my embroidery skills were a little stronger; her face took me quite a while to get right. I do love the tiny monkey clothes.

carmen 5

carmen 7

Having wrapped my first Christmas present, I decided to next work on Karen’s birthday present, which is inspired by Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, based on Penny’s Wristers. I knit them in Knit Picks Andean Silk in Cranberry and Mustard. I found the 3/4 buttons at Hancock Fabrics, and they took me three hours to sew on, see above note about sewing skills. I had a bit of leftover yarn after I finished, so I also made a Turn A Square from Jared Flood.

drh hp 3

tas hp 1

The next project I tackled was a bit of a disaster. I had purchased the yarn on the way back from Florida at the absolutely marvelous The Knit Studio in Jackson, Mississippi. I had admittedly fallen in love with Wandering the Moor as it was knit by the designer, Celeste Glassel, and was delighted to use the recommended yarn, Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light in 4205 Dark Chocolate. Unfortunately, it was pretty much downhill from there. My shawl, it turned out, was a bit cursed. I finished the run of stockinette without issue, but while capturing a WIP photo for the project page, I accidentally snapped one of my beloved wooden Harmony needles off at the base. Since I was already at a transition in the pattern, I changed to metal needles and continued into the patterned portion. I was three rows from the bind off when I dropped a stitch out of K3tog and had to frog back eight rows to repair it. I also noticed after it had dried from blocking that I had pinned the wrong points for a quarter of the shawl, so I had to re-pin it and spray it down. Finally, I realized that the person I intended to give this to might not like the alpaca content, so it’s homeless as well. Right, so if you happen to love this shawl, let me know and it’s yours (Claimed!).

wandering the moor 4

wandering the moor 2

Next, keeping in a theme of seasonal knits, I decided to knit a sweater for Piper. Piper is not possessed of an undercoat, and as such, she starts getting chilly outdoors toward the end of October. One of my very first knitting projects, and maybe my first actual finished object, was knitting her a hideous purple acrylic sweater. This pretty, red merino sweater is a bit of an apology to her. She seemed to like it and didn’t even ask to have it off. The pattern is the very well-written Diagonal Dog Sweater Pattern by June Bowman. The yarn is Plymouth Worsted Merino Superwash in 3. Sorry for the pictures, Piper only consented to hold still while on her favorite perch.

dog sweater 5

dog sweater 3

Last for this update is my birthday present for Susan, which I’m giving her tonight, so hopefully she won’t look in on the blog in the interim. I love knitting for Susan because she is compulsively clad in knitwear, and so I know my gifts will go to good use. Occasionally, I see a project that I know will be lovely for her, and I thought that was certainly the case with Emily Dickinson, a loosely knit garter shawl that is embellished with 6/0 crystal beads. I used Jade Sapphire Lacey Lamb in Purple Pansy 257 in my version. This skein was purchased by Abbie at Purl Soho in NYC. I am sad to say that I found the pattern rather sloppy in construction, for instance there is no given gauge, so I do not intend to make any future purchases from knit/lab, which is unfortunate since I think Blackbird is gorgeous, but I’m unwilling to pay for badly written patterns.

emily d 1

emily d 2

I spent the last week of the month wildly knitting a baby gift, and I say wildly as in I knit 1000+ yards in about a week (This is not my highest week ever, by the way, that occurred last December, when I knit 1900 yards in the week of, can you guess it?, Christmas). I’m pleased with the results, and it certainly should qualify for its own entry!

You will have pry the knitting needles out of my cold, dead hands

5 03 2010

Right,  so what the world needs is another knitting blog. Still, knitting is what I do. I actually had a moment of unreality the other day. I was sitting on the couch knitting a cabled hat, and I looked down at it in wonder. “When did I learn how to do this?” I thought. The answer is simple. I first picked up knitting needles in the fall of 2005. I was terrible at it and remained terrible at it until about August of 2008. I unfortunately made numerous hand-crafted gifts during this period, which I sincerely hope were burned by the recipients. As to what changed in August of ’08, I started using Ravelry seriously, which can be quite the game changer. I am now a self-described hardcore knitter.

Anyway, hello and welcome. General knit chat is soon to follow. I’ll be sharing WIPs, FOs, etc.