Thursday, March 29, 2012

Halfway Done

It's offical. I'm halfway done with the pattern writing for The Book. I no longer have to hear my least favorite phrase, "You're almost halfway done." Almost and halfway are two rather depressing words in the English language and a bit more depressing when put together. Luckily, I'm past that.

I have the yarn for the next design. Or at least I thought I did. I'd gotten a little stalled on the next design. For me, that means one of two things have happened. Either the design doesn't seem balanced enough or my yarn choice isn't quite right. In this case, I realized that the yarn I had chosen wasn't quite the right weight to show off the design.

So I did some late night yarn shopping. I'm still using Madelinetosh in the Cousteau colorway. But instead of the Merino Light base, I'll be using the DK base.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Stitch Dictionary Inquiry

Today I treated myself to a copy of Barbara Walker's A Treasury of Knitting Patterns. I usually use stitch dictionaries as a way to understand how different stitches interact on the final knitted fabric. Then I'll create my own version of the stitch or mix a few together. Although there are plenty of great designers that plug the stitches directly into a pattern.

I'm not knocking putting patterns from stitch dictionaries into new patterns, but I am curious about how people feel about that kind of pattern writing. Are you happy to see a beautiful kind of stitch put together into a pattern for you? Do you feel ripped off when you find the original stitch pattern? Does the type of garment influence your feelings? (A sweater with a readymade stitch pattern vs. a scarf with the same pattern)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Reindeer Tryouts

It's been rainy all day and I've gotten a lot of knitting done. It's still secret knitting, though, and will be for some time. So in lieu of yarn, I give you a Scooter picture I took a few days ago. There is an Irish Setter that lives on the other side of the fence. Scooter spends many an hour pacing, racing, and barking. Sometimes I wonder if the Setter has said some rude things about Scooter's mother and that's why Scooter has to bark so much. He's defending his mother's honor.

 I was lucky to catch one of his leaps. We like to call his jumps "Reindeer Tryouts."

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Waiting To Be Good Enough

I have to admit that putting up my last post was a little terrifying. My secret fear was that I would be seen as an idiot. I might have been, but no one said it in my comments, so I'll count that as a win. This last year of working on knitting patterns has been tough, but I feel that I need to share what I've been learning, even if some of it is obvious. (Also, everything I'm knitting has to remain secret at the moment.) Anyways, this post began as I was looking at a list of contributors to Taproot magazine. And everyone seemed to have had their work published all over. I started to wonder why that couldn't be me. Am I not good enough to be featured somewhere?
This image was submitted for the Wovember competition. It didn't win. I was sad. I'm over it now and I think it's pretty awesome.

Then it hit me. How can I be featured anywhere if I don't ever submit my work. So that is my new resolution. I'm not going to wait to be what I perceive as "good enough." I may never be featured anywhere, but I'm going to start submitting my work. Why not? The worse thing that can happen is that it isn't put up anywhere. I'm planning to submit at least one pattern to Twist Collective and one pattern to Knitty. And while we're at it, I'd like to have something of mine show up at craftgawker.
This is a trebuchet that a bunch of us helped assemble. It didn't work, but it was still fun to put together. There's a life lesson in there.

Is there anyone else out there who wishes they were featured anywhere? (blog, online magazine, print) Where would you like to be featured? And perhaps, most importantly, have you tried submitting anything, or are you waiting to be "good enough?" (For the record, I have started to submit things and have been soundly rejected, but each additional rejection has been taken much less personally. I think it's good practice.)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Nobody Likes A Party Pooper

I think all of us suffer from jealousy, especially bloggers. We only see a small window of people's lives in their blogs. And often bloggers only show the good bits. Who really wants to admit that they feel lonely all the time, feel under appreciated, or do lots of work for no pay. Once you write something like that, it makes the situation more real. I personally would rather focus on the positive.
As I blogger, I find it really easy to get depressed seeing what I perceive as other people's success. So to combat the blues that accompany reading other blogs, I have three messages that I regularly tell myself. They usually happen in this order.

1. Don't be jealous. It seems kind of obvious, but I will chant to myself, "Don't be jealous." Until the general angry feeling goes away.
Don't get caught in the web of jealousy. There's usually a large spider nearby. (Photo credit to Justin. I think he was playing with my camera when this was taken.)

2. Don't compare yourself. I think it's alright to admire someone's work, but comparing yourself to others is never going to end well. It leaves you with a dissatisfied feeling. The internal conversation tends to look like this: "I can do that. I can do that even better than that person. Why are they getting all that attention for something I can do better?" Or: "Wow, I'm really not good at what I do. Maybe I should copy some of there ideas, then I can get more attention." Or something like that. The minute you start comparing yourself, you set to go back to step #1. If you get past the comparison, you get to pass Go and move to #3.
Comparing yourself makes you feel rather small. But everyone has to start somewhere. Even trees.

3. "I'm really happy for them." You have to mean it. Usually I'm looking a someone's wedding or vacations photos when I start having to chant #1. In order to pass #3, you not only have to be genuinely happy for the person, you are not allowed to think, "They will probably get divorced in a couple years." or "Their art will be irrelevant in a year because it is so trendy." That won't improve the situation for anyone. But being happy for someone else's success will make you feel better in the end. Seriously.
Happiness is an open road. If you start looking towards someone's headlights, you'll crash. Freedom lies ahead of you.

The last little thing I have to remind myself on occasion is that even though some has been featured on a TV show, magazine, or something else you wish you were featured in, it doesn't mean that they are paying all their bills with that one job. It means they got a feature. And you should be saying to yourself, "I'm really happy for them." You should tell them too. Everyone loves a celebration, unless you are being jealous, comparing yourself, and wishing ill will towards them. Then you are a party pooper. And nobody likes to hang out with a party pooper.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Solving Problems One Skein At A Time

Those of you who have followed the blog may remember the time that I had some yarnesia. I did renew my pledge not to buy more yarn before my birthday. But I have a confession to make. I did buy more yarn before my birthday and I just couldn't bring myself to admitting it until now. A shipment of Tosh came in and I may have bought a sweater's worth in the Tosh DK. Two skeins in Dustbowl and six skeins in Cove for anyone who is wondering. I plan on using it for a sweater design. I'm not really well versed in sweater design, so I'm trading some photo lessons for sweater making lessons.

But I noticed that I wasn't terribly enthusiastic about my design idea. It wasn't the design. It wasn't the yarn. It was that the design was a bit too complicated to be a "first sweater design." I solved that problem though. I bought more yarn for my first sweater design. It is much simpler and I'm pretty excited about it. I hope it turns out as well as the swatches are indicating. 

The yarn is Cascade's Eco Cloud in 1801, 1809, and 1810.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


The Velomeisters pattern has been released! Just in time for spring biking weather.

I've been working on getting this pattern out for awhile. But I'm happy to show them to the world now. These were fun to knit and are fun to wear.

If you happen to be interested in purchasing the pattern, I have it up on, ravelry, and craftsy.

Edit: I forgot to share why I called the socks Velomeisters. Velo is French for bicycle and meister is German for master. I thought "bikemaster" was a pretty cool name. I had to mix the languages though. Fahrradmeister or Maître De Vélo looked a little less awesome to me.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


Revenge is mine. I finished a hat and taught my socks a lesson. The toe cooperated and I have started the second sock. This hat was a request by one of the guys that serves my knit night group. He wanted a Zissou hat with a yellow "Z" on the brim.

The hat is made of Plymouth Worsted Merino Superwash in color 3 and a little bit of Cascade Heritage in color 5644. The hat is just a simple 1x1 rib and the Z was crocheted on. I think there is a name for what I did. Maybe the crab stitch? I'm quite pleased with the corners of the Z. They pulled funny, so I added an extra slip stitch to help define the sharp corners of the Z.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Revenge Cast-On

I feel like I've knit a whole bunch more than I have to show. It seems with most of my designs, I spend more time ripping than knitting. With any other knit, I don't mind adding and subtracting stitches when something doesn't come out right. But as a designer, I have to make sure the miscounts are my own fault, not a pattern issue. So after ripping out this toe several times, I decided to take revenge on it...

By casting on for two hats. (As if one wasn't enough) That will show that stupid toe who's boss.

Me. That's who.

Does anyone else out there "revenge cast-on" or "revenge start-a-new-project"? I'd love to hear about it.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Giraffe Hat Kits

I have some fun news to share. It has been in the works for awhile, but Green Planet Yarn is now carrying my Giraffe Hat pattern in kits. Each kit has enough yarn for either the baby or adult hat (not both) and a pattern. And it costs less to buy a kit than to buy the yarn and pattern separately. Much less.

My favorite part is hearing people pass by the display and say,"How cute!" 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Fast Flyer

When I was at Stitches I asked the people at Carolina Homespun what spindle would be the best to make lace since I had no luck with my wheel. I was asked something that made me realize I'm a bit of an idiot I have a lot to learn. "Have you used your fast flyer?" I made some stupid excuse that the fast flyer scared me or something... but really I'd forgotten I even had one. So I popped it onto my wheel last night and instantly I was making lace.

I'd been saving my second Moonrover Mystery Batt for a special occasion. Learning to make lace seemed like a perfect time to break it out. (I did test out my abilities on some other roving to make sure I could do it) So I'm halfway through the 2oz of fiber.

But that isn't the best part. While I was digging through all my spinning stuff looking for the fast flyer, I found an unopened box. And in it was a jumbo plying bobbin. I didn't even know this came with the wheel! It was like my birthday all over. I wish I'd known about it when I was making beehive yarn. It would have made life so much more fun. But now I can go nuts with the beehive sizing!
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