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?


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.


April 28, 2015


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!

April 22, 2015

A Little Late - When Blogging Gets Ugly

This weeks theme for The Love Your Blog Challenge (a few days late) is:

I get the top half but not the bottom half (I don't think anyone is jealous of me). For me, blogging gets ugly when I feel guilt.  I feel guilt when I don't blog on time (like this post should have gone out on Monday but I was out of town).  I feel guilt when I don't have anything relevant to say.  I feel guilt when life has me so down I don't blog because I'm afraid it will turn into a pity party or a rant.  I guess I should just let go of the guilt and blog when and how I can (basically I have done that).

I have had a few ugly moments with comments - one time it happened when I complained that someone on Ravelry thought my pricing was too high on a hat.  So I opened a discussion of the design process and my time that I put into it - I published the comments but found them a bit harsh.  I know this is nothing compared to what can happen.

As a result of my blogging, my daughter took it up - she had a fashion one with OOTD posts (outfit of the day).  She also did a home design one and recently has a cooking one.  She also used to post a lot on Tumblr - quite honestly I don't get Tumblr but she loves (loved) it.  Now, we can talk about UGLY!  There are a bunch of haters on that site and they are not afraid to lash out.  There were days my daughter would be so upset by what people were saying about her posts.  Sadly, I find that social media has allowed us to be ugly without thinking.  I found these - all are true and I wish people would think of them before posting nastiness.  I really like the first one.

April 15, 2015

"Gonna Try With A Little Help From My Friends"

"What would you do if I sang out of tune, would you stand up and walk out on me?"  Okay, start humming and you'll have the Beatles tune stuck in your head.

I've been asked to design a shawl for the Greater Boston Yarn Crawl which takes place this September.  When handed a lovely skein of Malabrigo Sock, the design just flew off my needles.  I've written it up and have plans to photograph it in Boston next week with my "model" who will be on vacation.

Anyway, I'm hoping for a little help from my friends as I'd love a couple of test knits before it is released.  It calls for one skein of fingering weight yarn and it is a relatively quick knit.  I can't pay you and I don't have yarn to give you BUT if you have some yarn in your stash and are willing to lend some help to a friend, send me a PM on Ravelry or contact me through the profile button on the sidebar.  I'll email you the pattern and when it is released, you will get a final copy and I'll gift you any pattern you choose from my Ravelry store.

Here's a little peek of the edging - not a great photo but it gives you an idea of how it looks.

"Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends."

April 13, 2015

In The Beginning

This week's prompt for the Love Your Blog challenge is Beginnings.

As it applies to my blogging - it began in 2006 when my sister started a blog for the two of us to share our knitting.  It was called "Show Me The Knitting".  She wrote this:

Hoping you'll join me!

So, what do you think? I thought this would be a better way to share our knitting, and the cool sites we find. Although blogger can get bogged down, and uploading photos sometimes takes some time, it's much easier to comment on the projects this way.

I'm hoping you don't think I'm a huge loser dork. I dropped the old blog I had, as keeping up with the family one is all I can do. However, I still write you & show you what I'm doing, as you do for me.
So we started a back and forth conversation about what we were knitting, things we had discovered, etc.  
My sister's last post was December 12, 2007 when she noted she wasn't blogging:

It's Embarrassing

I know...it's "Show Me the Knitting" and I haven't.
I know...it's "Two Sisters, one blog" and there has been only one sister.

Sorry. After a while, it becomes embarrassing, and I don't even look at the blog. I have been knitting, and I have been thinking about blogging...just haven't been doing it.

So, I take a deep breath, and jump in again, knowing you won't hold it against me.
I too started to notice I was the only one blogging and sharing...it was a one sided conversation so on September 10, 2008 I decided it was time for my own platform and I started this blog.
The other aspect of Beginnings I want to talk about is how my blog was the beginning of sharing my own knitting designs.  It started slowly with a sweater here and there that I crafted for myself or our daughter.
The beginning was October 2007 when my daughter saw my Fetching fingerless mitts and asked for her own pair.  So I adapted the pattern and made these:

Then I had some yarn and we designed a summer tank for her...she picked out the stitch pattern on the sides and I created.

I then created something just for me - I loved the detail in the back of a twisted rib section.  That was an aha moment of how little details are everything.

My first published pattern in August 2009 - another beginning - was this scarf (Saphira Scarf).  It was a free pattern and it was when I dipped my toe into publishing patterns on Ravelry.

It took me until March 2012 to publish another pattern - Farfalle.  It's a free pattern too and is one of my most popular downloads (as free patterns are downloaded a lot).  

That was the beginning - I have been publishing patterns ever since.  If it weren't for my blogging, I don't know if I would have had the confidence to publish patterns.  The comments I get whenever I post something help me to try new things.

April 11, 2015

More Placemats

After my trip to Pasa Yarns, I warped my loom using some of the cotton I purchased there.  I really didn't have a plan for the pattern - it just kind of evolved.

I love how when you switch colors things happen - I love symmetry, I love playing with color, I am loving the experience of weaving.

These aren't perfect - you can see my edges are a bit wobbly - the next set will be better.  They need a good ironing.  I'm giving these to one of my sisters for her birthday next week.  I hope she likes them.  I've already warped the loom again to try some other patterns.

April 9, 2015

Podcasts new to me

I recently discovered a few new podcasts - I love podcasts.  I listen to them while walking, when I weave, in the car on long drives - they are company, they are informative, they are inspiring.

Woolful is a podcast full of fibery goodness from beginning to end.  The host, Ashley Yousling, interviews all sorts of people associated with fiber in some way.  What I love most about her style is she lets the person she is interviewing speak at length without interruption.  There is a back and forth but when these talented people talk about their craft, their passion comes through as they aren't being prompted - they are speaking from the heart.

I also stumbled upon Pomcast - an offshoot of PomPom Quarterly, a British publication.  The interviews are wonderful as is the banter between the two hosts. It makes me want to check out PomPom Quarterly.

In keeping with the British theme, Curious Handmade has also hit my radar screen.  This too has good interviews and prattle about all things knitterly.

Would love to hear if you have a podcast you like - there are more listed in my sidebar.

April 7, 2015

I DO love my blog!

Kate over at A Playful Day is hosting a blog-along...where bloggers share their love for their blog and blogging and the community it creates.

This weeks theme is "interactions and community".  There have been many times where I've considered giving up on my blog - every time I put it out there all those who lurk and read my blog pipe up and remind me that I do have a voice and they enjoy my blog.

What I love about blogging is the people I've "met" through my blog and the blogs I read.  The first person I really "met" was Jennifer aka Major Knitter.  When we realized we lived close to each other we met up and I since joined her weekly knitting group and developed a whole new community in my life.

I also used my blog to get help for Haitians after their earthquake - I was amazed how many people donated to my Hats for Haiti contest.  Another way community plays into the blogging world.

I also like when I throw something out there and I get a reaction or conversation going.  One time I went on a mini-rant about how I think there are more than enough shawl patterns out there.  Well, that got a conversation going.  Or how I discussed my way of setting in sleeves...another good conversation.

Lastly, I love the support of the blogging community - be it for a new pattern or if I've had a bad day or if I'm trying to start a conversation about something...the blogging world is out there.  I DO love my blog (and I thank my sister for getting me into it back in January 2006).

To keep the community going, leave a comment and tell me how you "met" me and my blog.  Even better tell me what you like about it or want me to talk about in future posts.

April 4, 2015

A Bit About Goodreader

My mention of Goodreader as one of my favorite things prompted some questions and comments so I thought I'd talk about it a bit more with a few screen captures from my own iPad.

My friend, Lisa, who I know from our Connecticut knitting group (both she and I moved away) left this comment:

I totally agree and second your opinion on Goodreader. I very seldom use paper anymore. I love the highlighting, the ability to comment, the freehand (I use to make hashtags for counting sometimes or write down a row number), the moveable lines for keeping track of where I am on a chart or written rows of pattern and also you can enlarge a portion as needed. It is a lifesaver if you put your project down for a while because you found something else to start. And as you mention, patterns are with you wherever you go because of course your iPad is too! Can't say enough good things about Goodreader!!

Just yesterday I was in the car with my son driving on his way home for Easter vacation and I pulled out my iPad and continued on a lace pattern scarf I started for my LYS.  It's all right there and I can make notations as I go along.

See that bar of notations on the right hand side?  That's your toolbar.  It lets you pick out what you want to do...the very bottom one is a free hand writing tool - that makes the notations of the lines on the left that I marked off where I worked.  There is an underlining tool, highlighting tool, an eraser, arrows to mark sections, etc.

On this screen capture you can see I used the tools to highlight which size instructions  I need and then I marked which size needle changes I did based on my gauge.  I can change the color of my writing to help categorize the notes.  On the right you see some cross hatches - those are notes for how many times I did a repeat.

The other great thing about Goodreader is it can organize your patterns.  I have categories that I keep them stored in so I can go back to them with my notes on them.

Here's the table of contents...you can see I have cowls, hats, Christmas, mittens, baby, etc.  The ones listed below the folders are ones I'm currently using.  So all in one place I have a bunch of patterns instead of many pieces of paper.  There are several Goodreader tutorial videos - I suggest you check them out.  I can't say enough about this app - it really has helped my knitting organization.

April 1, 2015

Good Feedback!

Thanks for the comments you left on my last two posts...I always like when there is a discussion on my blog and I'm not writing into a vacuum or talking to myself.

Eileen left this comment asking about stitch markers and how you use them:

I've never learned how to use markers. Do they stay on the needle or are they in the knitted piece and if so, how do you remove them? I know that probably sounds like an odd question but a picture or two would be helpful.

Well, that is a good question and one I get often when I teach classes and introduce a knitter to stitch markers.  They don't get knitted into the piece - they sit between stitches and you just slide the marker when you are working.  I found this bit on Lion Brand's site explaining stitch markers.  There are several videos and I found this good blog post too.

Tall Cottage Thoughts left this question about Goodreader:

Digital scares me. How do you keep a screen lit up long enough to see it while working? If I'm understanding digital correctly, you're not printing out a hard copy. Please explain further and just how do you mark your pattern (without highlighter, I understand) - like you circled the hat pattern?

I'll answer these as best I can but now realize I need a whole separate post on going digital...so you won't get all the answers here but it's a start.

The screen stays lit for quite a while on Goodreader - I don't know why but it does.  If I'm working a chart that is intricate I have learned to print that out.  You can go into your settings and change how long you want your screen to stay lit which will also help.

I don't print out a hard copy at all if I have a PDF.  This is great when I'm on a road trip - I'll never forget the time I had a pattern from Knitty printed out but didn't realize the charts where a separate print job.  I was on a 4 hour trip and had only 30 minutes worth of knitting as my instructions were at home.  I was miserable and so was my family with all my grumbling.  When you have the PDF downloaded into Goodreader, EVERYTHING is there for your use.  No loose pages falling under the car seat or getting crinkled, no forgetting a page, etc.

More to come on Goodreader in a future post - will have to do some screen captures to help explain.

Keep the comments coming!