Saturday, August 31, 2013

Black Beauty Rides On

The fifth pattern in Lit Knits was inspired by Anna Sewell's book, Black Beauty, which was published in 1877. Black Beauty Rides On is a toe-up sock pattern featuring hoof prints that are flanked on either side by cart tracks. During much of the book, Black Beauty pulls carriages and carts, so his tracks would often be accompanied by wheel ruts.

I talked a little bit about the photo shoot during a March blog post. But now that I can actually show the socks, I have a few more details to add. First off, we were really luck to get permission to be in a field full of horses. And many of these guys were curious. At one point in the shoot, we had a series of horses come up behind the model. We didn't want to startle the horses (or the model) so every time a horse would sneak up, we'd say "Horse behind you!"

"Horse behind you!" 

This lasted for awhile. 

One of the shots I was hoping to get was to have the horse's face right next to the socks. The horses were pretty uninterested in grazing right next to socks, so we brought out our secret weapon: apples and carrots. It turns out that it's pretty hard to get a good sock shot next to a horse nibbling fruits and veggies. It does lead to some good outtakes, though.

There were quite a few good shots I wasn't able to use for the book. Either the horse was looking perfect but the socks weren't in focus, or the socks were well positioned but the horse turned suddenly, so all you could see was it's rump. 

But when everything lined up, it was pure magic.

Thursday, August 29, 2013


Tomfoolery is the fourth pattern to appear in Lit Knits. The scarf is inspired by a particularly infamous scene in Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, which was published in 1876.

After Tom gets into a bit of trouble, his aunt has him whitewash a large fence. Tom, being Tom, tricks his friends into painting the fence for him.

While we were trying to get the "friend painting the fence" shot, I had a little trouble getting everything lined up well. Some of you might have noticed that the apple isn't placed very well in this shot. I had to yell out, "The apple looks like it is going up his butt."

Apparently we are all five-years-old because everyone laughed.

It was brutally hot that day: 108°F/ 42°C. The reflector became more of a fan. Not in the picture (but located to the right) were a bunch of guys playing beer pong. We looked at them funny, they looked at us like we were insane. Honestly, we were all crazy for being outside on such a hot day.

This scarf went through a couple of incarnations. The intention always was to have a color block scarf that looked like a partially painted fence. Originally the ribbed portion was a bit wider. But I had some trouble with keeping the scarf from curling, even after blocking. So a week before the shoot, I knitted a new scarf as fast as I could. I promptly ran out of yarn, bought new yarn, got the wrong dye lot, and ripped out this scarf to make the replacement.

But it was worth it.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Deep Sea Wanderer

Deep Sea Wanderer is an infinity scarf based on Jules Verne's book, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, published in 1870. This is the third pattern to appear in Lit Knits. The name of the pattern refers to both Captain Nemo and his ship, the Nautilus.
This was the very first photo taken during the shoot. 

The novel's original language is French, so the title was originally 20000 Lieues Sous Les Mers, which ought to have been translated to 20,000 Leagues Under The Seas. That missing "s" has led many English speakers to believe that in the story, Captain Nemo's submarine, the Nautilus, travels 20,000 leagues straight down. In the book they actually travel a distance of 20,000 leagues, visiting all the different seas.

The scarf is meant to look like a view through the porthole of the Nautilus. The top and bottom have a texture that resembles the rivets around the porthole and the center portion of the scarf is the seaweed that can be seen when looking through the glass.

During part of the shoot, I handed over the sextant. Captain Nemo has a sextant, and I was lucky to borrow one from a friend. (I hadn't expected to learn how to use a sextant for a book of knitting patterns. But I couldn't have the captain holding the sextant upside down, now could I?) The model had a good time playing with it.

One of the best lines of the day was when we were trying to get a certain pose. My lighting assistant yelled out "Look more captain-y."

And so he did.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Today's featured pattern is Brinker. The hat was inspired by the book Hans Brinker or The Silver Skates, which was published in 1865 by Mary Mapes Dodge. Brinker is the second pattern to show up in Lit Knits.

Much of the story features ice skates. The climax of the book centers in on a skating race, so it seemed especially important to have skating tracks on the hat. And just as the racers go off into the distance, the skate tracks on the hat also become smaller as they go toward the top of the crown. Although it is optional, I liked adding a big, fluffy snowball of a pom pom to the top of the hat.

When I started out designing the hat, I was a little stumped as to what color to make it. Brinker was the 4th design to be knit. At this point, I had to make a decision between choosing mostly neutral colored yarns for the book or to inject some color.

I even went so far as to make three samples. In the end, the blue one seemed like it fit the rest of the book the best. To me, the white edging was like a snow bank and the blue of the hat was like the thick ice covering the river. I imagined skaters jumping off of the snowbank and skating onto the frozen river and the ribbing reflects this thought. The ribbing on the edge of the hat connects to the cables just like the tracks skaters would leave from the snow to the river.

Mum and I drove 3.5 hours one way to get photos with snow in the background. The number of times I have been to the snow is extremely limited, which turned out to be a problem during this particular shoot.
At the end of the shoot, I had this great idea to make it look like it was snowing. I thought I would just throw some snow into the air and everything would look magical. And just to be sure we captured the magic, I set the camera to rapid shoot.

Well, we definitely captured some magic. It just wasn't the magic I was aiming for. I'm not well versed in snow physics, but that day I learned that if you throw chunks of snow into the air, they come back down as chunks of snow.

And that is how I got the picture for the errata page of my website.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Down The Rabbit Hole

Today I begin a series of posts about each design that shows up in Lit Knits. Within Lit Knits, the patterns appear in the same order that the book they are inspired by were published, starting with Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

Published in 1865, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland has inspired a great number of works, including the Disney movie. Unlike all the other little girls I knew who liked the Disney princesses, I loved Alice in Wonderland. I remember other little girls thinking I was strange for not having a favorite princess. Obviously I was ahead of my time... Alice in Wonderland became popular when I got to high school.

I've read the book several times, and as I began designing my own patterns, I thought about making White Rabbit-inspired mittens. The idea spanned across several years, 2 notebooks, and never really left my mind. Even before I officially started writing Lit Knits, I began to knit the mittens, as we can see in this 2011 post.

The mittens, called Down The Rabbit Hole, features a watch in the left hand. The White Rabbit is always late, so a pair of White Rabbit mittens had to include a watch. Although the chess game is featured in the sequel, Through The Looking Glass, I went ahead and chose a checkerboard pattern for the mitten palms. The thumbs are made to blend into the palms.

The front of the mittens have a silhouette of the White Rabbit rushing across the checkerboard pattern.

The photoshoot for Down The Rabbit Hole was the very last one to be completed. It was done the same day as the Robin Hoodie shoot and we were all starting to get tired and hungry. As walked through the arboretum, we spotted this patch of flowers. The lighting was absolutely perfect.

Oddly enough, in the middle of our shoot, two guys stopped just to the right of us. One guy immediately took his shirt off and posed a bit while his friend took pictures. I'm not really sure which group of people looked more weird. The one shirtless guy and his friend or the three of us with our White Rabbit themed shoot.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Preorder The Book

After 2.5 years of work, The Book is finally finished and available to purchase! 
The hard copy is available for preorder (along with a free copy of the e-Book.) The preorder ends on September 25th. Once the preorder is over, the e-Book and hard copy will be available only as separate purchases.
The individual e-Book as well as individual patterns are available both on and on ravelry

For those of you who blog and would like to talk about Lit Knits, I also have a media kit available. It contains many of the pattern pictures and a little blurb on terms of use. (ie, add a link to the book when using the images. The terms of use also have a picture with all the names of the patterns next to their pictures.)

Thanks to everyone who has been part of this journey. It's been long, hard, and amazing. For those of you joining in now, welcome. I'm hoping this is only the first step in a long career.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Lit Knits

Coming soon...

Keep an eye out next week for The Book. All going well, the ebook will be released and the print version will be available for preorder. I'm also hoping to have a media kit available for anyone who blogs and might want to talk about Lit Knits.

For fun, try to guess what books the knits were inspired by. Your clues are that all 10 books were published between 1865 - 1911 and all of them are considered classic children's literature. You get one freebee: Anne of Green Gables.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Birthday Playdate

Happy birthday Scooter! Today you turn 11 and you have lived with us for 10 whole years. And you are still wild as ever. This year, we were able to give you a pretty good gift.

You got a doggy playdate with a brand new friend, Angel. 

You guys wrestled, played tag, and had a good old time.

And despite being full of energy, you did finally poop out. Hopefully we won't have to wait until your next birthday for another playdate.

Happy birthday bud!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Behind The Curtain

Even though this blog has been a little quiet lately, things have been humming behind the scenes. On Wednesday I met with a printer and talked about paper options for my book. I'm pretty excited about working with this printer since they are located only an hour from where I live, uses soy-based zero-VOC ink, and paper that uses PCW (post consumer waste).
Today was finance day. So the majority of financial things that needed to be put in place for the book are ready to go. The book has also been sent off to my copy editor. So that is all the work you guys can't see. But what you can see is the first phase of my website update. Behold: pattern pages now have a zoom feature! Go ahead: visit the pattern pages and try it out.

Speaking of pattern pages, the pattern index page has also been updated. There is now a nifty side navigation tool that takes you to each category. And now there are some placeholders for future patterns, namely The Book.

Now that the first update is done, I'm working on putting together the update with all the patterns in The Book. That's right. All going well, we are roughly 2 weeks from launching The Book. The current plan is that the ebook portion will be launched alongside a preorder for the print book. Once the preorder is over, we will print the books and start shipping!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Golden Gate Bike Adventure

I had quite the adventure on Saturday. My friend Rachael picked me up and we went over to San Francisco.
This would be a rare summer day where the Golden Gate isn't covered by fog

Before the bike ride we went to the farmer's market at the Ferry Building. We both bought some fancy cheese. I got the Bleu Mont and Red Hawk. Both are quite yummy.

Among other things, Rachael bought some fancy mushrooms. 

After putting our groceries in a cooler in the car, we picked up our bikes and went from the Bay Bridge...

Across the Golden Gate Bridge. (Thanks to the guy with pretty grey/blue eyes who lead us through some weird construction traffic and gave us directions to the bridge.)

All the way to Sausalito. We had lunch before getting on the ferry. The fog started to roll over the hills as we skimmed across the water.

All in all it was a wonderful day. It was a 9 mile ride, but it felt like more due to the wind we were riding into. You can see part of our ride in the picture below. We started at the bridge on the left side and went along the entire shoreline.

Now back to work on The Book. 
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