July 1, 2015

Got To Love A Shout Out

A few weeks ago I got a Ravelry message from Tonia Berry speaking on behalf of Classic Elite Yarns.  They have a weekly newsletter and every now and then they highlight indie designers who use their yarns.  She had noticed my Just One More Scarf pattern which uses Classic Elite Bella Lino and asked if she could include it in the newsletter.

I'm sure you can imagine how quickly I said yes.  Well, I waited and waited and then yesterday afternoon I opened my gmail and found this!



That photo on the right is my design!  There it was - issue 401 of their newsletter with my scarf in it.  Made my day!  Isn't it nice when you get a shout out?

I have a few more designs going on - photo shoot this weekend with releases happening soon.  Stay tuned!

June 25, 2015

Knitting News Website

When I take my morning walk, I have podcasts on my iPod and I listen to them and think and design patterns in my head and sometimes even learn things.

Yesterday's walk was spent listening to Yarn Thing podcast with Marlybird.  I listen to this quite a bit as it comes out twice a week and I love the contests she offers at the end.  The episode I was listening to was with Cathy Carron and Carolyn Noyes.  They have started a knitting news website called KnitCliks.


Sometimes when I'm walking I wish I had an iPhone as I would have been clicking onto the site immediately but I had to wait til I got back home (maybe it is a good thing as I walk faster when I want to get home to explore what I've listened to and learned about).

The website has an option for a newsletter - yup, sign me up.  It had a series of short articles with hyperlinks - some of the headings are "Knitters In The Know", "Fashion Flash", "This Just In", and "Free Pattern Find".



I found a cool cast on technique in yesterday's issue and went online to find it today and it wasn't there as the website had already been updated.  So, I emailed Carolyn and asked for the link to the cast on technique and half expected to hear from her in a few days.  No, within the hour I had my answer and an explanation that she hopes to archive previous "issues".

So, check it out - well worth  your time!

June 22, 2015

"Mom, You're Taking Over The House!"

Two weeks ago I decided to warp my loom again for a set of 6 placemats.  To do this I had to set up the kitchen table so that the warp ran through a doorway to the warping peg on the kitchen counter.  Our kitchen is set up so you can walk directly into the family room and this path was disrupted by my warping efforts.

When my daughter wanted to go into the family room from the kitchen she said "Mom, you are taking over the house!"  My response was to deal with it and if she needed to go into the family room she could do the limbo under my warp.

I've gotten to the point if it is a solid color warp I can bang it out much quicker than I did the very first time I warped so my "taking over the house" didn't last too long.

For this set of placemats I focused on the stitch pattern I loved in my last set of placemats.


I decided to make the whole mat out of this texture.  I also learned that the edging wasn't as neat as I would like so I made sure I had an edge stitch worth of warping on either side.  It was an "up down" pick up so I did "down up" ending with a "down" that way the edge was consistent.

I chose two shades of blue and realized halfway through they would look fantastic in my friend's kitchen at the Jersey Shore.  She is definitely weave-worthy and so they will head her way over 4th of July weekend.  






June 20, 2015

RAOK Pattern Winners

I have so loved all your comments on my RAOK post.  Some of my favorites include:
  • "In my opinion, any act of kindness is good for the soul, for the giver, and for the receiver."
  • "Kindness is such an overlooked virtue in today's "grab and go" world that I am always happy to hear stories that it still exists!" 
  • "I always do my best to help someone in any way I can. It makes me happy to see other people happy."
  • "RAOKs are a perfect way to may the giver and receiver feel fantastic. It's my favourite thing to do, pay for parking or a coffee for the next in line."
Thank you all!  I went to the handy random number generator and the winners are:

#5  - Goodfruit
#6 - Knittingdancer

Funny but both of them have asked for a copy of my Tiffany Toque pattern!  Goodfruit, I need your Ravelry name!

Thank you all for your comments and for participating.  Now it is your turn to do a RAOK and pay it forward.



June 10, 2015

RAOK

RAOK - Random Acts of Kindness.  Yesterday I was the recipient of a RAOK.

Every Tuesday I work at my LYS from 10-2 then go home for a few hours and return to teach an evening class.  While I was home I started working on another set of placemats on my loom.  My daughter interrupted me to show me something on Facebook which kind of left me with a sucker punch to my gut (long story not worth going into).

As I drove back to the store, I was ruminating on the news I had read on FB and was hurting in my heart.  I walked into the store and the owner was there to teach a workshop.  She took one look at my face and asked if I was okay - you see I don't have a poker face.  I kind of wear all my emotions all over my face.  So I told her the tale and decided to move on - isn't it amazing how sharing something takes the burden away?

Then she said someone had come into the store and anonymously purchased me a rigid heddle for my loom.  She handed me a 10 dpi heddle and said she was under strict orders not to reveal the identity of the donor.

After getting over the complete surprise of such a RAOK, I explained I had purchased one a few weeks ago and was in fact weaving with it right now.  Simple solution - switch it out for a 12.5 dpi heddle...now I have all the heddles to work with a variety of weight yarns!



My afternoon/evening went from hurting and heavy to feeling cared for and loved.  Kindness is such an important thing.  It is simple and it means so much.  One of the graduation speeches at our daughter's graduation this past weekend was about kindness - it is ours to give and sometimes when you need it, it ours to receive.

So, anonymous donor, thank you.  Your kindness means more to me than you can imagine.  

With that in mind, I'd like to pay it forward.  (BTW if you haven't seen the movie, Pay It Forward, it is well worth your time).  Leave a comment with your Ravelry ID saying which of my designs you would like, and on June 20th I will draw 2 names to receive a gift of my pattern.

Lastly, if there is a little something kind you can do today for someone, just do it!



June 5, 2015

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!

After a few weeks of brainstorming, Debbie (spinningrn on Ravelry) and I have a big announcement. We are starting a collection of patterns called Cobblestone Designs.


Our mission statement:
We aim to bring you a range of patterns with classic, timeless qualities.  Should you purchase our patterns, you will always have access to any addendum we create for our patterns.  Our goal is to not only design using certain yarns but to also explore alternate yarn choices to keep the patterns fresh and new.

Our first design on Ravelry is Bellini Cowl.  This is a pattern I designed to for a new Classic Elite Yarn called Santorini.  I paired it with their Sanibel to create a cowl that shows off both yarns - it only calls for one skein of each.




We have a Ravelry group and a Facebook page - join them please!  And stay tuned as we are hoping to release another pattern in the next day or two.


June 3, 2015

Textured

After finishing my scarf, I immediately re-warped my loom for another set of placemats.  I consulted with a book on weaving how to use a pick up stick and work it to create texture.  Again I had a huge learning curve with this experience and am already planning the next set.


I used a 10 dpi heddle which I was worried was creating too open a we've.  Then after taking it off the loom and washing it, the fabric compacted nicely.

The one on the left is the "right" side but I decided I prefer the wrong side pattern.


I am envisioning a placemat of just this fabric and think I will reverse the colors so the background is white and the weft is green.  I also have two shades of blue which could work too.


Our daughter graduates this weekend and my mother in law arrives on Saturday - weaving will have to wait as we will need the kitchen table (my weaving spot) for the next few days.

June 2, 2015

Where Did May Go?

It is strange how some months fly by and others drag on and on.  For me, February is the longest month.  May seems to be the shortest.  This is the time of year with a flurry of activities - Memorial Day weekend, school stuff and for our family, high school graduation this coming weekend.

Of course the knitting and weaving continues - not a lot to show here but I did finish another scarf on my loom.





I warped it the same day I finished the scarf for another set of placemats using a 10dpi heddle.  I think I should have stuck with the 7.5 one but it is all part of the learning curve.

I'm working on a new design - this one is going to take a bit of time to knit as it is lace weight yarn but I'm holding it double.  Bad photo but just a hint so you can see.


After a few weeks of unseasonably warm weather, we have a few unseasonable cold days (45 degrees this morning).  So glad I can break out one of my spring sweaters that I didn't get many chances to wear this year.


May 20, 2015

Scarves Everywhere!

While photographing my knitting and weaving I realized that I'm on a bit of a scarf kick right now.

I just finished weaving a scarf using Berroco Folio for the warp and Tahki Ritratto for the weft.  The Ritratto has a bit of shine to it and I had two different color skeins which I alternated every pass so they worked together well.



I love how the hem stitch creates a fine edge for the fringe.

No sooner than this was off the loom and soaking in Eucalan, I was rummaging through my stash and working on color combinations.  If found some lace weight yarn (I don't know what I made with it) and warped the loom with it held double.  Then I found some Auraucania Itata Multy which I used to make Stephen West's Pogona.  I think this will look great when it is done.


I am still learning how to keep my edges consistent and I also know with such a loose, drapey weave that there has to be a way to keep things from shifting around when I roll it up - see how the fabric looks pulled in some areas.  I know when I wash it things will get better.

Turning to my knitting now - we got a new yarn into the store called Tahiti.  It is a fingering weight cotton with wonderful gradient color ways.  It also is very reasonably priced for around $10 for just over 300 yards.  Churchmouse Yarns adapted their Bias Before and After Scarf for this yarn.  Debbie (LYS owner for those of you who don't read my blog regularly) cast on one in a blue that moves to a hot pink - gorgeous.  I was looking at a softer blue that went into a softer red/pink and then decided I needed something with more pow.  I love this! 

I am already into my second skein.  The original pattern has the option of putting beads on the bind off edges - I'm debating still on that.  This is a light, airy scarf and I just don't know if beads will work or not - they would be clear ones if I do go with them.


May 12, 2015

My Birthday Present to YOU!

In honor of my 53rd birthday on May 13, all my patterns on Ravelry will be 53% off from 12am EST to 11:59pm EST.

So run, don't walk to my Ravelry store and take advantage of my birthday present to you!

Here's a picture of me 50 years ago on my 3rd birthday!




May 11, 2015

A Yankee In King Arthur's Court

When we moved to the Boston area, our team colors (Yankees, Giants, Rangers) were contrary to the local team colors (Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins).  Notice how I don't include NBA teams?  Anyway, it has been a great source of amusement living in this area as our kids wear their colors proudly, have fun bets with friends as to whose team will win, watching the local news deal with "deflate gate", etc.

I had heard of the scarf you knit to record your home team's season via the blog Knitionary.

A friend who works at the LYS, Charlotte (hi Charlotte if you are reading this!), decided to do this for the local team (Red Sox fan).  She chose yarns from her own creatures I believe - lovely natural tones.  I joked with her early in the season when the Red Sox beat the Yankees at their home opener that she should have colors for Yankees games.

Charlotte was working this in garter and didn't like how it looked so she ripped it out and lovingly redid it in linen stitch - it looks fantastic.

Last weekend the Yankees swept the Red Sox at Fenway - I kept saying to my husband "I wonder how Charlotte's scarf looks".  The thing is you never know how it will turn out - it is a reflection of a season in color.

Charlotte showed me the scarf after the sweep - the top is the 4 losses in a row.  She offered for me to take a picture to show my husband.  She is pointing to where the Red Sox beat the Yankees earlier in the season.

Doesn't this look wonderful?

And yes, sometimes it feels like being a Yankee in King Arthur's Court living in this neck of the woods!

May 9, 2015

Learning Curve Continues

A few weeks ago I warped my loom for another set of placemats.  The previous 2 sets had me learning the hemstitch and working on keeping my edges even.

This set had some learnings too...I had suspected in my first set of placemats with the Pasa Yarns that I might have the wrong heddle.  While my lingo isn't up to speed by any means (and I could work on that by doing some reading), the heddle that came with the loom was a 7.5 dpi.  This heddle is perfect for worsted weight yarns and I'm sure the yarn I'm using is finer than that.  So, one day I'll get a 10 dpi heddle which will perhaps make a more uniform weave with this yarn.

That being said - I also learned how to put in more striping and the effects they make on the woven pattern.  It takes a bit longer to warp the loom with stripes but I love how it looks.

I am debating on keeping these or putting them for sale in my LYS which has a co-op where artisans can sell items (I have sold lots of my hand knits but none of my weaving to date).




May 2, 2015

How Did This One Get By Me?

I realized the other day I never wrote about one of my larger knits I did this year...according to my Ravelry page I cast on this project February 27th and finished it on March 13th.

The project is called Masgot - it was one of those that popped up on the Hot Right Now list on Ravelry and both Debbie (LYS owner) and I said how much we liked it.  The original version looks like it is only 2 colors as it has two close shades as the main stripes and then a dark blue added for the "inserts".


Debbie has a new fingering weight yarn from her farm and she wanted to use that so we could have it in the store - I volunteered to knit, of course.

While this is a lot of garter and begins to feel like the Color Affection shawl, you do get the exciting addition of the inserts of color and they seem to hit just at the point where you need to switch things up and get interesting.

Here's how our version turned out - I LOVE the blue Debbie dyed especially for this project.











April 30, 2015

A Coaster - Brilliant!

Both my husband and I started our careers in advertising agencies.  In fact, we both worked at the same agency at the same time but never met each other (different accounts, different floors, and I was a lowly secretary and he was 7 years older and wiser).  Anyway, as a result we both pay attention to commercials in a different way than those who haven't worked in advertising.

Years ago there was a Guinness commercial that we loved and still quote to this day...it ends with the line "A coaster - Brilliant!".

So, what does this have to do with this blog post?  The other day I was thinking about the first scarf I wove and how I would never wear it as it was just too stiff.


Then I had a thought - why not felt the scarf and cut it into 4x4 squares with my rotary cutter and turn it into coasters?

BRILLIANT!!!!




I didn't have any Guinness so Rolling Rock would have to do!  I found some gross-grain ribbon and made 2 sets of four to sell in my LYS.


There is a woman in one of my class who makes Chanukah gifts every year - she saw these and was inspired for this year's gift.  I had to explain to her they were not knit - they are woven.  Don't think she'll fall down that rabbit hole but she might try knitting and felting some.

I had 3 coasters leftover - I put them out on the coffee table and my husband took such a shine to them he retired the other ones we had been using.  Guess that is a success story right there.

Brilliant!

April 28, 2015

Gratitude

Well, this is the last post of the Love Your Blog month.  I've enjoyed this little adventure and I must admit it has kept me grateful for this platform.

Blogging has led to many things in my life for which I am so very grateful:

- I have met people through blogging (in person and virtually).
- I have stretched myself creatively be it from reading other blogs, learning from others or sharing what I do.
- I have received support and encouragement as I've tried to design patterns.
- I have a place I can call "home" to expressing my creative side as well as my personal side.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this month of loving my blog, there have been many times I have questioned why I keep blogging.  If I let go of the guilt of worrying I'm not blogging enough and if I know there are a few people who are out there who read my posts every now and then, I will keep blogging - I DO love my blog!