Monday, April 30, 2012

Executive Decision

I'm closing in on the one year anniversary of my decision to make a book. Creating a book sounds easy in theory, but is ridiculously hard in practice. It took months to figure out a theme, to do all sorts of research, learn how to construct certain garments. (I wanted to put socks in my book, but didn't know much about sock construction, so I knit a lot of socks to practice.) And despite constantly working on the book, the goal of finishing kept moving further and further away from me. It came to a head last week when I could hardly pull myself out of bed due to stress related to the number of patterns in the book. So I have made an executive decision: there will be 10 patterns in the book rather than the original 12 I had intended.
Leftover yarn from design #7

The main reasons are:
1. I couldn't think of two more ideas that didn't seem forced.
2. I was becoming ill over trying to make two more designs.
3. No one really cares if there is 10 or 12 designs. I just need to get this book out.

After making that decision, I woke up the next day feeling happier than I had in the last 6 months. My creative mojo came back and I even went on a two hour bike ride, which is something I hadn't done since September. My goal of finishing seems so much closer now! In the last week I have finished knitting design #7. (I still have some pattern editing to do, so it isn't 100% done just yet.) And I started working on design #8. If I'm able to keep up the momentum, I should be able to being taking the photographs this summer.

A sneak peek of design #7

On a slightly separate note, I've been seriously considering writing up some photography e-courses that would have an emphasis on fiber/knitting, but would be applicable to any sort of product photography. Subjects that could be covered would be as follows: composition, lighting, color theory, use of props. Each subject would have in depth explanations paired with exercises. (And possibly a bit showing a comparison of cameras such as a dslr, point and shoot, and iphone, and what you can do with each) I've seen plenty of "use natural light" but very little of why and how to use light effectively. I want to be able to show the times of day in the same area and how you can use the light to your advantage. With the amount of work that would go into this, I'd want to sell it. But before I even go there, I thought I'd see if there was any interest.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Crafting Balance - 3KCBWDay7

Today is the last day of knit/crochet blog week. I've really enjoyed being able to blog this week without having to think of a topic myself. The final topic is as follows:

Are you a knitter or a crocheter, or are you a bit of both? If you are monogamous in your yarn-based crafting, is it because you do not enjoy the other craft or have you simply never given yourself the push to learn it? Is it because the items that you best enjoy crafting are more suited to the needles or the hook? Do you plan on ever trying to take up and fully learn the other craft? If you are equally comfortable knitting as you are crocheting, how do you balance both crafts? Do you always have projects of each on the go, or do you go through periods of favouring one over the other? How did you come to learn and love your craft(s)?

I had a hard time writing this entry. I ended up writing an entire essay and it got weird and deep and a little stupid. So I will try going in the opposite direction: short and sweet. I will limit myself to fiber crafts. I have tried out knitting, crochet, spinning, felting (needle and wet), dying, quilting and sewing (garments). And for the most part, have enjoyed them all. But knitting has captured my heart. There is so much you can do with knitting. The shaping, the texture, the color; it's like a dance with fiber. I do rotate through different crafts, but because of The Book, I have committed myself to knitting.
How committed to knitting? A whole box full of yarn's worth of commitment.

It has been exciting to see my skill level go up, especially in pattern writing. Things that use to take me days to figure out are taking an afternoon instead. (Although I have my fair share of problems that take a week or more to solve and lots of trips to the frog pond.) I am really excited to show you all what I have been working on, but most everything has to be kept secret for now.
Mmmmm, Tosh Sock in Fathom. Mmmmm.

Thanks to everyone who has been reading my blog. And thanks to those of you who have started reading by way of knit/crochet blog week. Hopefully you'll stick around a bit to see what new designs I'm coming up with. You know, so you can say, "I knew her BEFORE she was famous." If you leave a comment, that'll prove that you did.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Improving Your Skill Set - 3KCBWDAY6

Whew, this week of knit/crochet blogging is going by fast. We are on day 6! Today's topic is as follows:

How far down the road to learning your craft do you believe yourself to be? Are you comfortable with what you know or are you always striving to learn new skills and add to your knowledge base? Take a look at a few knitting or crochet books and have a look at some of the skills mentioned in the patterns. Can you start your amigurumi pieces with a magic circle, have you ever tried double knitting, how's your intarsia? If you are feeling brave, make a list of some of the skills which you have not yet tried but would like to have a go at, and perhaps even set yourself a deadline of when you'd like to have tried them by.

I spend a lot of time designing, so I have to be more strategic with my time when it comes to knitting other people's designs. I tend to choose items that contain some sort of construction that I'm not familiar with. My sweater knitting has been particularly methodical in learning different constructions.

This isn't to say that I wouldn't knit something just because I like it. But I have a bit more fun when I learn something new. It feels like a bigger accomplishment.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Something A Bit Different - 3KCBWDAY5

Here we are at day 5 of knit/crochet blog week. Here's the topic.

This is an experimental blogging day to try and push your creativity in blogging to the same level that you perhaps push your creativity in the items you create.There are no rules of a topic to blog about but this post should look at a different way to present content on your blog.

I was a little stumped on this one at first since this was one of the topics last year. I wrote a little poem about shearing Scooter last time, so I had to figure out how to top myself this year. I'd been wanting to make a cinemagraph for awhile, but never had a reason to.... until now. And what is better than a knitting themed cinemagraph?

This post is also part of a contest. If you think shadow knitting is the coolest thing you've ever seen, nominate me. If anyone is curious, my shadow is working on a shadow Boromir sock in this image.

I used tutorials by photojojo and thepenthouseproject. Check out to learn more about this art form.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Knitter For All Seasons - 3KCBWDAY4

Hey everyone. It's day four of Knit/Crochet blog week. Here's today's topic:

As spring is in the air in the northern hemisphere and those in the southern hemisphere start setting their sights for the arrival of winter, a lot of crocheters and knitters find that their crafting changes along with their wardrobe. Have a look through your finished projects and explain the seasonality of your craft to your readers. Do you make warm woollens the whole year through in preparation for the colder months, or do you live somewhere that never feels the chill and so invest your time in beautiful homewares and delicate lace items. How does your local seasonal weather affect your craft?

I opened up my suitcases full of knitting and found that I do have knitting seasons, but not in the conventional sense. Temperature doesn't determine what I knit. (Except in the case of sweaters. Inevitably I complete a sweater just in time for a heat wave.) My seasons have to do with whatever new garment I am obsessed with. First was the season of hats. That was all I would make. Followed by shawls, sweaters, and finally socks. This isn't to say that another garment wouldn't sneak in between each frenzy. But there was a definite trend as to what was flying off of my needles.

The picture doesn't fully reveal how many sweaters, socks, etc were made during each knitting frenzy. A fair number of things were gifted or are patterns that haven't been released yet.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Your Knitting Or Crochet Hero - 3KCBWDAY3

Today's topic for day two of the Third Annual Knitting And Crochet Blog Week is as follows:

Blog about someone in the fibre crafts who truly inspires you. There are not too many guidelines for this, it's really about introducing your readers to someone who they might not know who is an inspiration to you. It might be a family member or friend, a specific designer or writer, indie dyer or another blogger. If you are writing about a knitting designer and you have knitted some of their designs, don't forget to show them off. Remember to get permission from the owner if you wish to use another person's pictures.

This is a bit of a tough one because I truly am inspired by many people. But I will be talking about the person who inspired me to even pick up the needles: my Oma.

I didn't actually learn to knit from my Oma. She lived far away when I decided to learn. But it was the pair of mittens that she had made my Mum (when my Mum was in high school or junior college) that inspired me. I aspired to be able to knit a pair of mittens just as beautiful as her's. After about two years of knitting, I finally was able to do so. In the photo you can see the ones my Oma made on the left and the ones I made on the right.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Photography Challenge Day - 3KCBWDAY2

Today's topic for day two of the Third Annual Knitting And Crochet Blog Week is as follows:

Today challenges you to be creative with your photography, and get yourself in with the chance to win the photography prize. Taking interesting photographs in this instance isn't about flashy cameras or a great deal of technical know-how, it's about setting up a story or scene in a photograph and capturing something imaginative. Your photograph(s) should feature something related to your craft, so that might be either a knitted or crocheted item, yarn, or one of your craft tools. One example of setting a scene would be to photograph a girl in a knitted red cape walking through the woodlands with a basket of goodies, as in the Red Riding Hood tale, or you might photograph a knitted gnome hiding among the flowers in your garden. Photo editing is permitted for competition photos.

I actually had a really tough time with this one. I take photos pretty regularly, and I enjoy taking pictures that create a story, but nothing I did came out quite right. That was until I remembered a photo I had once seen with Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon done with thread. I had been wanting to do it in yarn for some time, so today seemed like the perfect day to do it. I give you Dark Side of the Yarn.

There is a bit of a double meaning in the title. It is a parody of Dark Side of the Moon, but it reveals another dark side: the amount of yarn I have. I had no idea that I happened to possess the entire rainbow in fingering weight yarn.

Today is a photography competition as well, so if you happen to think this photo is the bee's knees, go over to eskimimi's site and vote for me.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Color Lovers - 3KCBWDAY1

Today kicks off the Third Annual Knitting And Crochet Blog Week. Today's topic is as follows:

Colour is one of our greatest expressions of ourselves when we choose to knit or crochet, so how do you choose what colours you buy and crochet or knit with. Have a look through your stash and see if there is a predominance of one colour. Do the same with your finished projects - do they match? Do you love a rainbow of bright hues, or more subdued tones. How much attention do you pay to the original colour that a garment is knit in when you see a pattern? Tell readers about your love or confusion over colour.

First I was going to photograph my entire stash because "I don't have that much." That turned out to be untrue, so then I thought I would just photograph my recent acquisitions.
To be totally honest, I have more than one skein in some of those colors.

I knew I had been buying more greens lately, and I always have liked blue, so I'm not surprised at all by this picture. One third greens, one third blues, one sixth neutrals, and one sixth brights. I would even bet that if I pulled out my entire stash, it would reflect this buying habit. What I was actually surprised to learn while doing this exercise is that I had deluded myself into thinking that I hadn't bought much yarn recently.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


I have a new pair of socks! My very first hand knit present! Aren't they glorious?

I'm sure you are all wondering what I could have done in order to get such a lovely pair of socks. Well, to be honest, I whinged a bit about not ever having gotten a gift knit. It wasn't a hint or anything. But I may have mentioned that it was close to my birthday. (This was back in early February). When I got to work the next day Carol presented me with this skein that I had been eyeing, Tosh Sock in Vintage Apron.

It doesn't look like it in this photo, but Carol is very sneaky. She had tricked convinced Tyler into knitting a pair of socks out of the skein. My choice of sock pattern.

Here is the proof that it was Tyler knitting the socks and not a robot or something. 

I got them on Thursday and wore them on Friday. It didn't matter that it was over 80 degrees out. I was going to wear those socks. 

Thanks for my socks Carol and Tyler! I will cherish them in only a way a knitter can. I will wear them constantly until they are unrepairable.

And for those who may wish to know, the pattern is Skew.
Does anyone else have a favorite knit they were gifted?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Elbow Patches

I have had the misfortune of being a bit under the weather for the last few days. Enough to stay at home, but not enough to stop me from finishing up a bazillion things. You know those odds and ends that get put lower on the list because you were too busy knitting. Well, I was able to complete several projects I had promised to people. And one project that I needed to do for me. I've worn my sweater so much that the elbows were already getting thin. (Of course I've been wearing it every day except the occasional wash day since I finished it in October) So my sweater now has elbow patches!

My brother commented that he liked the sweater better without patches. I snickered at him and told him it wasn't for fashion, it was for function. I think it's funny that he thinks I might do something because it is fashionable. When has that ever been true?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Well Read (2)

It's been awhile since I've recommended some blogs. But I think it's high time for me to do it again.

First I'm going to let you all know about one of my favorites. I came across kiwipurler's blog in 2010 when I was planning my yarn shop tour of New Zealand. She had yarn shop suggestions for the North and South Island. Both are a must-read if you plan on visiting NZ yarn shops. Or wool shops... people looked at me funny when I said "yarn shop".
Kiwipurler knits like the wind and uses NZ yarn almost exclusively. Be prepared to be jealous of her output and yarn choices.

Kiwiyarns Knits:
Pattern Design

I just came across Sarah's blog, Knit York City, and I'm in love. Her knits are so clever. I'm fond of the Hamburger Sweater and Crux Socks. I'd love to write up a pattern for the Crux Socks, but I'm not brave enough to ask just yet.

Knit York City:

Ivy's blog, Pumpkin Spins, is also pretty new to me. But I just love seeing everything she spins. I am impressed with how thin she can spin on her spindle (and the amount of patience she seems to possess). She recently came up with an insanely clever way of categorizing her yarn. I'm not even going to explain it. You should go check it out for yourself.

Pumpkin Spins:

And as always, if anyone has a fun blog or two they have read, let me know. (Even if it is your own or a  non knitting blog.)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Just Call Me Dr. Knit

I have been knitting and knitting and knitting and knitting. The project I'm working on has a final stitch count in the tens of thousands. I calculated. When you work on a giant project that doesn't grow very fast, you find time to do calculations to figure out why it isn't growing despite the hours you've put into it. I've just wound the last ball of yarn for this project and I'm extremely excited. By my calculations, I should be done knitting in four days. Hopefully the remaining Dr. Who episodes last that long.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Rainy Day Solution

What do you do when it's raining out? Why, watch Dr. Who and wear TARDIS socks of course.

What do you guys like to do on rainy afternoons?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Annual Shearing

Scooter got his annual haircut today. I only have energy for it once a year since it takes about 2 hours from start to finish. But he sure looks handsome now.
 I had to say the word "treat" in order to get him to look more interested in having his picture taken.

While I was washing him, Mum looked into the backyard and thought that he was still outside. The fur pile was about as big as he is when he curls up.

After being washed and walked, Scooter was still a bit wild, so we played a round of "Find The Treat In The Grass." For being nine and a half years old, he still has a lot of energy.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Doing Battle

It seems like every design is a battle. As soon as I solve one problem, another arises. I thought I was on the home stretch with my current secret knitting, but then the design took a good swipe at me, so I'm not done. This isn't to say that I don't enjoy the challenge. Each design teaches me something new and I get faster with my problem solving. But I sure wish my current design would just be done already! I have some other things I'd like to be knitting.
En garde!

Does anyone else do battle with their creative endeavors?  What do you do when you've got a hard deadline and general frustration?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Spin, Span, Spun

I have been spending most every day knitting as quickly as I can. But some nights, when I just can't stand to look at my knitting anymore, I've brought out my good old spinning wheel. Here we have an indigo dyed silk and yak blend (I'm pretty sure it was yak... or something similarly weird) from Twisted Sunshine. Indigo does have the habit of crocking, so I do have blue fingers after spinning for a bit. But I do believe that my spinning is taking most of the residue indigo off of the fiber.

I finally set the twist in the two skeins pictured below. The pink to brown skein is one of my Moonrover mystery batts. I chose to chain ply it. The actual skein slowly faded from one color to the next. So pretty! The blue skein next to it is from two batts from Tanglebella. I love how it looks like the night sky. That particular skein is a 2ply.

This particular skein is extra special. The yarn is from a friend's reclaimed silk sweater. As she pulled the yarn out, we found that it wasn't well plied anymore. The yarn is gorgeous, but trying to knit a loosely plied yarn would have been a nightmare. I offered to run the yarn through my wheel.

There is only one problem that has occurred with all this spinning. And that is that there is no way I will ever be able to use all the yarn I am making. I love spinning it all, but I spend most of my knitting time working on designs, which means I need to use commercially made yarn. So I have a hypothetical question for everyone. If I were to hypothetically sell any of my hand spun, would anyone be hypothetically be interested in buying it? Money from the hypothetical sales would go into funding my book. The book is not hypothetical.
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