Wednesday, August 31, 2016

She's a Fickle Beast

I have been knitting when and where I can on my Nana's Cottage Shawl.  Using one skein of mystery yarn* and two skeins of my precious Land O Lace hoarded yarn. (Sorry, I can't link you to that, Bev isn't dyeing yarn right now which is a pity because I love it so very much!) 

TDQ has approved the colors and the shape, she thinks it will be the perfect thing to wear while working on her homework, waiting for me to pick her up from college.  Apparently in Columbus the public schools don't have air conditioning and the colleges have too much of it!

But, being the fickle knitter that I am, working through the modified feather and fan that makes up the body of this (very pretty) shawl, I am starting to get....well.....

On one of the forums on Ravelry there was a brief discussion about Startitis and it's companion, but lesser seen disease of Finishitupus.

Some knitters get Startitis in the spring, some in the early fall when the weather starts reminding them that "Winter is Coming and we must have all the Knitted Things to keep warm during the cold dark months".  One of the posters said she had a case of Finishitupus and it was suggested (by me, who else?) that she spread the disease where ever she could.  She answered with it sounding like the chicken pox parties that used to be held before the vaccine, and I came to a horrible conclusion.

A good case of Finishitupus, can result in those exposed to it getting a terrible case of Startitis.  All those beautiful finished object photo's in yarns we hadn't thought of can also make you want to cast on and have all the Knitted Things.

Keeping to the chicken pox analogy, that would indeed make Startitis chicken pox (highly contagious) and Finishitupus...well, I am sorry to say, Finishitupus would have to be a case of shingles.  Because...you can't get Finishitupus unless you have had Startitis.

I need to find some new analogies for my knitting!

I think I am developing a case of Startitis!***  Seeing the projects for Inis Oirr start showing up on Instagram and the Ravelry page for the knit along have me dreaming of cables.**

~M
*Who winds a skein of yarn into a cake, decides not to use it and then just shoves it in a drawer in the stash room without a label?  I suppose that would have to be me, because that is what happened.

**It would be lots of cables, I don't have sufficient worsted weight yarn for that shawl/throw but I have some perfectly perfect dark green sport weight.  All I would have to do is about 30% more knitting to get a decent sized finished object.

***Probably because I have samples to knit, edits to do and a pattern that is THIS close to being published.  Actually three are back from the editor but you only get to see them one at a time.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Silent Sunday August 28th


Nana's Cottage In Progress.

~M










Friday, August 26, 2016

Fridays are for.....

Fridays are for....?????

Well, Finished Objects works, even if you have sort of seen this one, I managed to take a better shot of her on the fence. (The model having shocking purple - perfectly purple- hair put a bit of a damper on the modeling!)

I think I actually need to re-block this one.  I pinned her out in a bit of a hurry and then stood the mats up, braced with chairs, so that the "wet wool" patrol* couldn't mess with it too much during the day, and I am not really sure it is straight.  Good thing that I think blocking, like turning the heel on a sock, is magic!

But, Friday's are also for.....

Frogging.

I decided that it was time to knit a design that wasn't something that I came up with, or something that I was testing for someone else.  It was time to just mindlessly follow someone else's instructions.

That, and I am a sucker for a knit along and Knotions is having two this month! (Luckily for me I didn't have enough yardage of anything appropriate to knit the Inis Oirr, so Nana's Cottage it is!)  And hey, you can enter for free yarn here for Inis Oirr if you want!

After going shopping in the yarn store in the basement (I mean in my stash!) I came up with three colors that I thought would look rather nice together (along with purple hair) and cast on.

Before I had hit the bottom of the second page of instructions TDQ let me know that the colors I picked were not right.









Her exact words were....."Does that not look like the one yarn crashed a party that she knew she wasn't invited to, and that she didn't fit in?"








Back to the yarn store, I mean stash room, I went.





While I was picking another yarn, I moved around which was going to be the first contrast color and which was going to be the second. 




Now they are all much closer in hue, almost dare I say, too close?  But, this one has the TDQ seal of approval. So I guess it stays, even though I got a comment on either a Ravelry post or an Instagram that they thought it was the paler color in there that was the problem.


The editor of Knotions, Jody, is also knitting one, hers is in a bright yellow, green and blue combination which I think will be stunning.  But, as she is hoping to wear Inis Oirr to Rhinebeck I suspect her knitting time on it will be limited.  Inis is a BIG project.**

~M
I think in real life my Nana's Cottage looks more "ashes of roses" than purple, more like the yarn picture than the project photo, but TDQ assures me they are purple and "everything purple is hers, everything else can be painted or dyed...purple"

*the cats, we have a socially unacceptable number of cats and they make it their business to check out the wet knitting while it is blocking!

**The only reason I am not knitting along with that one was the yarn store, I mean stash, failed me, I don't have enough of any one yarn to make it. With user fees, tuition, books and the garage door deciding to hold me captive in my house there is no yarn money this week..sigh.










Wednesday, August 24, 2016

WIP Wednesday - A Different Style


As you may have noticed I was really quiet this past Sunday.  The Silent Sunday post that wasn't!  Please excuse the lack of post, I was busy racing with the clock and the closing ceremonies for the 2016 Olympic Games!

In the real world, the Olympics are (supposed to be) about testing your best against every one else's best athletes.  Just being there is a huge honor for each of the participants.

In the Ravelry world, the dates that those games run, give knitters, crocheters, weavers...any crafter that uses yarn really...the opportunity to compete against themselves and the clock!  The Ravellenics run from opening ceremony to closing ceremony and crafters around the world can compete in events from Afghan Marathons to WIPS Wrestling and all kinds of others in between.

I cast on for a Shawl Sailing medal and by the skin of my teeth I made it.

It was not without a few trials along the way though.

The past few Ravellenics Colourmart has offered special sets of yarn for the competition.  Last time around there was even a competition just for the people using those sets, you had to use all of the colors in the pack to qualify.  I knit a very plain shawl that year, palest blue through midnight blue.


(I love that I can re-capture my pictures from Ravelry when I can't find them on my hard drive!.)

This year when I saw one of the lace weight packs I knew what it was meant to be.  I had been strolling through the internet looking at other peoples pictures of things and came across one of a very large thunderstorm over the ocean.  This storm was positioned just right, you could see all the different layers of clouds, from fluffy white ones on top with a hint of yellow sunshine to the deep dark ones at the bottom that were pounding the waves with rain.  I really wish I had book marked the picture so I could link you to it, but I didn't.

I ordered the pack of 2/30 merino laceweight and plotted and planned until it came. (Between other things of course, you might have noticed that patterns were published, one in Knotions and the Hugs and Stardust Loops and Hats on Ravelry so I am sure that in there somewhere were the tech edits, photo shoots etc.)

The day before the games began I cleared my needles, well mostly, you know there is always some other knitting going on, so that I would be ready for the games to begin. Without many things on the needles to keep my hands occupied I charted out a whole different interpretation of the design, and a third, and there might even be the starts of another one on my computer. (I use excel for charting, in case you were wondering, so it is very easy to keep opening more and more tabs on the same document and then save them all under "Shawl" so they are ready to go.)

When the time was right, I cast on and knit a bit.

And hated it.

So I did what any knitter on a deadline would do.

I cut the thread, picked out new needles and cast on again.

Nope, still didn't like it.

By the third time I was doing this I decided to go back to my original interpretation and promptly cast on, and knit the wrong number of rows between increases.

All in all an entire free day of knitting was lost, but I did finally get it cast on, and if you follow me on Instagram you got to see in process pictures

as they were happening.

She is blocked and ready to model now, but......


You know I said something about A Different Style in the heading...this would be the style I was talking about!

It is a very shocking shade of purple ( I say seriously purple, she says perfectly purple!)

I am not sure that purple hair goes with a thunderstorm shawl!

In other knitting news, did you see that Knotions has not one but two knit alongs going on right now?  I am a sucker for a knit along and just might cast on for one.  Nana's Cottage I think, not because I don't like Inis, I really do, but that would just be far to hot to knit on right now! But once the weather changes, don't you think it would make a great blanket for watching movies under on the sofa?

For Nana's Cottage I am going to have to find some yarn that goes with very purple hair!

~M








Monday, August 22, 2016

Things I hate having to say...

Dinner will be delayed because...

I turned the wrong ring on the stove on....again.*

Cue children laughing!

~M

*Luckily this time there was a full kettle of water on the ring I did turn on.  TDQ was confused as to why I was making her more tea rather than dinner!  Please file this under "It just wasn't my day!"

Saturday, August 20, 2016

I've got a Knotion

Or rather, I have a pattern in Knotions!

Presenting :

Sufficient.




Enough, and Adequate.

 These are the words that my dictionary uses to define Sufficient and that I use to describe this shawlette.  One skein of Unplanned Peacock Sudio’s TwistySock is enough to knit a shawlette that is adequate to wrap around your shoulders on those short sleeve days where you need a little “something” but not a full size shawl or sweater.  
 
It starts with just a few stitches, provisionally cast on, to form a garter tab to become the top edge, and grows quickly with a few more increases worked each row than in your typical top down triangle.

I just love the shape!
 


A very simple lace border that is both written and charted, gives it a gentle ruffle when blocked. 

Or left unblocked a "rufflier" ruffle.


I was still playing with spines when I created this pattern.  No yarn over, knit one, yarn over in this baby. 





I knew, when I first saw the yarn that Natasha at Unplanned Peacock sent me, that I wanted to use every last scrap of it!







 And use it I did. 




 I  made use of what should be a kitchen tool to make sure I did not run out half way through the bind off and have to rip back! Apart from when I am making jam, bread of shrub, I think that these scales get more use at my knitting desk than in my kitchen.

Using a stretchy bind off takes twice as much yarn as a single row (knit or purled) so I weighed my yarn, knit a row, weighed my yarn again and once I knew how much yarn a single row would take I could just double that number to know how much I needed to bind off without running out. 



As, in this shawl, all the increases are worked before you start the border, it was very easy to keep track.  You can end the border any time in the process, less rows will give you a more ruffled appearance in the finished shawl, which is an alternate look that I will be playing with another day.

Working with Knotions and Unplanned Peacock Studios to bring you this pattern, was again a pleasure. 

This is my third time in the online magazine and Jody makes the process so easy, from submission through to final edits and the "We're Live" email.  I can't imagine how hard her job must actually be, especially for an issue this size......26 designs, the tutorials, the picture editing, schematic creation, give the lady a round of applause for getting it all done!!!

I have now worked with Unplanned Peacock yarn for several designs.  It is wonderful yarn, in some very pretty vibrant colors.  Natasha keeps posting new colorways on Facebook and Instagram, which have me plotting and planning.  Her fund raiser runs for a few more days, so if you are in the market for that beautiful rainbow yarn that showed up for Hugs and Stardust and Hugs and Stardust Hats, you need to order soon.  The color will be discontinued at the end of the month.

Now I am off to wait for the garage door repair man, and try to knit 7000 stitches before the closing ceremonies of the Olympics. 

Happy Weekend!

~M




Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Thirty Four Thousand

That is approximately how many stitches I have to knit before the end of the Olympics to finish the challenge on Ravelry.

You'll forgive me if I knit instead of blog today?

~M

Sunday, August 14, 2016

To Swatch or not to Swatch, that is the question....

I double checked and the knitting police are not sitting in their knitting police squad cars at the end of the driveway, or anywhere on my street.  (I had one of the Pokemon players check the next street over too while they were out and there is no sign of them anywhere.)  Which is a good thing, because today we are going to talk about swatching.

I will be a good little knitter/designer and tell you that you should swatch!  We all know that many swatches lie, and many knitters will push and shove stitches around to make the swatch come out "right" so that they can start in on their project.  Only to suffer the disappointments of a badly fitting finished item.  But, making a swatch at least increases your chances of having a finished item that matches your expectations.

The knitting police (if they were to exist) would tell you to swatch each and every time you start a project.  And I will tell you that sometimes YES you need to swatch, or at least keep a very close eye on your gauge when you are knitting.  Not only for fit issues, but to make sure you do not run out of yarn half way through the bind off of that shawl.*

But do I swatch every time I knit something?

Honestly, no.

A shawl is a shawl, be it bigger or smaller than the designer intended.

A scarf is a scarf, or at worst can either be an entry into the Dr Who Hall of Fame or seamed to make a cowl.

But...that said, I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time swatching. 

Swatching stitch patterns.

Swatching endings or beginnings.

Swatching increases and decreases.

But.....

Sometimes the swatch becomes a project in it's own right, when TDQ grabs a button and says...make this be a necklace thing.

Yep, that was the swatch for an upcoming design.

Of course, sometimes the swatches take on a life of their own and BECOME the finished design because I just don't know when to stop.

Did you check out the Preview Page for Knotions?  Can you spot which pattern might be mine? (Or, if you follow Knotions on Instagram or Facebook it was already shared which one.)  That was a swatch that got just a little bit out of hand.  :)  And a good reason to swatch, this is how much yarn I had left at the end.

~M

*Truth here, I very nearly had to rip out the cast off and one more row from a shawl because of that.  If you cannot or will not swatch, at least double check you have enough yarn for the bind off, I know people who didn't and had to scrabble for a "close enough" match to do the bind off.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Did you subscribe to Knotions?

If not you should....

Just saying!

You should check out the Fall Preview.

You never know, someone you know might have a pattern in there.

But even if she didn't, 26 Free to User patterns is nothing to sneeze at!

Check it out and give Jody, the editor a round of applause, it takes talent to tech edit that many patterns and get that many designers all lined up in a neat little row for publication.*

~M

*If she has any hair left or any that isn't grey already it is not my fault....I think I tried her patience pretty well this time around.  Of course, I jinxed myself, said that I wanted to send her a pattern that she couldn't find anything to tech edit in...man oh man was I wrong!

You know what I say about calculated risks and not being good at math, in this case there was no risk and I still wasn't good with the math!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

What's on Your Needles?

Usually on a Wednesday I would be talking about the things that are on my needles and the progress I have made towards to my knitting goals for the week.

Not this week.

This week (and the beginning of next week) are all about lining things up, and getting routines in place ready for the upcoming school year.

This year I have two seniors in high school.

(Deep breath it will be ok, I tell myself as I look at the college tuition bill for ONE and think of the three it will be this time next year*)

So today, we took the day off for a last fling before we all get back into the grind that is real life.

We went to the zoo.  I have mentioned before it is one of my favorite places to kill a few hours.  A Walk with a View, is how it has always been percieved.  Today of course it involved 3 of the 5 people in attendance catching Pokemon and hitting poke-stops to get poke-balls, while TFB and I actually looked at the animals.

It was the perfect day for the zoo, rain kept a lot of the usual zoo goers away, but we timed it right that the downpour happened as we were on the road in and stopped for while we were there.

One of the party (the other daughter, who is not mine but the best friend of TDQ and calls me Mom when she is being snarky, which is often...the kid fits right in!) was falling asleep on her feet as we wandered through the African Congo.

Tomorrow will be another packed day of getting school supplies, paying tuition and user fees, picking up schedules and then the magic day will happen.

The day I am alone for a few hours.**

TOB asked if I would be lonely.

Silly boy, I have never in my life felt loneliness, there is always someone to visit with or talk to.  But maybe, just maybe I will get a sense of quiet when everyone is out to school and I have the house to myself, at least for the first day of school!

What is really on my needles is this:

I am a little further along, a few rows into the grey. Then I have a darker grey and black to finish her off.

What do you think so far?

And of the new headshot I am thinking of using for my designer profile?

Does it capture the real me?

~M

*No student loans here, we are working on the pay as you go system because I do not believe that starting a young adult into the world post-college in debt to their eyeballs is the way to go.  No-one was willing to fund my going to school, but it is the least I can do to set MY kids up right. (Although I have told them all that they will pay me back after college is done, with interest!)
**I can never really be along at home, we still have a socially unacceptable number of cats, even if my dog did (not unexpectedly) pass away this summer.  I am wondering how I will feel without him sitting at my feet while I work on projects from home that day, I still find myself sitting with one foot to the side for him to rest his chin on, even though he isn't here to do that anymore.




Sunday, August 7, 2016

Not at All Silent Sunday

Dictionary.com defines Tinker as:
noun
1.a mender of pots, kettles, pans, etc., usually an itinerant.
2.an unskillful or clumsy worker; bungler.
3.a person skilled in various minor kinds of mechanical work; jack-of-all-trades.
4.an act or instance of tinkering: "Let me have a tinker at that motor."
  variants: Scot., Irish, English.
  1. a gypsy.
  2. any itinerant worker.
  3. a wanderer.
  4. a beggar
     
    verb (used without object)
     
    7.to busy oneself with a thing without useful results: "Stop tinkering with that clock and take it to the repair shop."
    8.to work unskillfully or clumsily at anything.
    9.to do the work of a tinker.
     
    verb (used with object)
     
    10.to mend as a tinker.
    11.to repair in an unskillful, clumsy, or makeshift way.
     
     
    Although I certainly hope that I am not an unskillful or clumsy worker, or busying myself without any useful results, the past few days I have been something of a knitting tinker.
     
    Tinker as in, tinkering with my chart and yarn.  Changing things up, completely derailing ideas and eventually going back to the original concept I wrote down before my yarn even arrived.
     
    Tinker as in "tink* back my knitting" on several occasions. 
     
    Behold, the evidence.
     
    What you see before you is a game of "Frog, Frog, Knit"  You may have heard of the children's game Duck, duck, goose. This game was a little like that, although the rules are a touch different.
     
    For Ravellenics, Colourmart put together some fabulous sets of yarn. I got a set of the 2/30 Merino. (I have a love affair going on with the 2/30's right now.) Came up with what I thought was my design idea, waited for the yarn to come and once it was here put it aside for the Opening Ceremonies of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. 
     
     
    The day of the games, I changed my design idea three or four times and when the clock said it was time I cast on. 
     

    I discovered a couple of hours later that I liked the pattern more in theory than in actual fabric.  The curve of the half circle shawl was going to distort the lines I had envisioned more and more with each increase row and I cut the thread (for that is really what a 2/30 feels like when you first start working with it) and cast on for another try.
     
       Going back to the original design idea, I cast on and promptly forgot how to count to two. (What should have been two rows in total turned into two right side rows, four rows total, four right side rows...and then I corrected myself but the damage was done.)
     
    I tried for several hours to convince myself that it would block out. That I wouldn't be able to tell it was messed up when all was said and done and I kept knitting for a while.
     
    When you are emailing your designing friends who are much better at knitting theory and math than you are asking "Will this block out" really you know that you have messed it up and need to frog back, you are just hoping they have another solution.
     
    I am not going to say that the third time was the charm, because there is still a lot of knitting to do and the Knitting Gods are fickle creatures who love to throw mayhem into the mix. (Not to mention a fair amount of tinking** has gone into that piece as well.)
     
    You will notice that the differences between Take Two and Take Three (other than the "this is never, ever, going to lay flat" issue" is a question of needle size and when I am making the color changes.  
     
    I just started on the second color, fifty or so rows of that and the grey you see in Take Two will appear. Fifty or so rows after that the darker grey and then fifty or so rows after that the black.
     
    In all this I essentially lost two days of knitting time and those rows are starting to get longer (at 167 stitches per row now, estimated to be about 327 stitches per row before I am close to calling it a day.)
     
    Ravellenics is all about challenging yourself.  To keep it honest, here are the ways that it is challenging me:
     
    1) I have never knit a half-pi and only knit a couple of full pi-shawls in the past, so the shaping is different than I am used to. (Probably why I am miscounting things, I can't run on auto pilot on this!)
    2)Using non-standard stitches as the main pattern motifs in the sections. (The ones you have seen so far are typically used in the center of motifs in Estonian knitting, not as the attention grabber, but more as a textured filler.)
    3) Use all five colors from the set in a way that makes "sense" given the overall theme of the piece, which would probably be more clear if I told you what it was called or where the inspiration came from, but I am going to wait to tell you that!
     
    ~M
    *tink- in knitter speak, verb to "un-knit" a section or sections of knitting by working backwards to an error. (tink is knit spelled backwards, aren't we clever?)
    ** tinking - in knitter speak, the act of un-knitting, see tink above.









     

Saturday, August 6, 2016

It Takes Talent to Fail

I saw something the other day, either on Facebook or something that my daughter sent me from Tumblr, or maybe it just showed up in one of my news feeds...but it was talking about failure and how we view it.  Whoever was talking in the video was saying that when she was growing up, each week at Sunday dinner she would be asked what she failed at that week.

And the failure was celebrated.

Not because she failed, but because she tried something that was hard, or different.

And if she didn't have a fail of the week, it was looked at that she didn't really get out there and try.

Let me tell you, this week, if I had her family, I would be getting a freaking pool party, with ponies, ice cream and balloons!

If you have found me on Instagram you will have seen pictures of the starts of some shawls.  They all look very similar and they all have one big thing in common.

They are all not right.

Not a one.

Each was wrong differently, I will give them that.

This last one, would have been a winner in the "stay out of the frog zone race", if I could have counted correctly.

The magic to a Pi-Shawl, and a Half-Pi Shawl is in the math.

It involves just a little bit of counting.

Apparently I couldn't count.

Want to guess which rows messed that last one up?

The ones where I had to count to....

wait for it....

TWO!

I am spending so much time in the frog pond this week I am getting water logged.

If you happen to be in the neighborhood please throw me a life-ring.  I might need some help getting out of this bog.*

~M

*Not really, I don't mind frogging things when they don't work.  I do, however, get irritated when I could have prevented all that frogging by just being careful in the first place.  There are lots of tools to aid in counting, stitch markers, row counters, paper and pencil and I thought that I could do it in my head, while listening to the Olympic Opening Ceremonies and drinking a nice dry red.  Maybe I should switch to white wine?  LOL

Thursday, August 4, 2016

And then there were hats



When Natasha of Unplanned Peacock Studios asked me if I wanted to be a part of her fundraising efforts to support Urban Peak I jumped at the chance.  UPP yarns are some of my favorites and the colors that were being suggested for this years Rainbow Unicorn of Love sounded fantastic.

I came up with a pattern idea, being familiar with the yarn base already from my own knitting, and waited patiently for the yarn to arrive.






Natasha had outdone herself in creating the two colorways and I had asked for a companion color to go along with one of them so that I could show case several different methods of creating the infinity loops that I had in mind.  In true "this lady does nothing in half measures" style she sent me not one, but two companion colorways, a bright and smooth butterscotch that pairs perfectly with the Spicy Rainbow and a brilliant sapphire blue that does the same for the Icy Rainbow.





I stuck with my original plan of showing one loop in a single skein of yarn and the others in a mix of two skeins of yarn, but at the end of the knitting I couldn't let the leftovers be.







 

And so, I thought about companion knits to go with those loops, using more of the companion colors.




As the proceeds from the patterns are going to help with fundraising for homeless teens, I did the sensible thing and asked some teens. (Luckily I have a couple around the house for just such research projects) They decided what was needed to go with the loops were some hats.  Hats with just the right amount of slouch to tuck your hair into (if you have long hair, which one did right up until the day the hat was finished and then she cut it!  Argghhh) and long ribbing to hold it in place.


Using one of the stitch patterns from Hugs and Stardust, the infinity loop, and worked in a simple two row stripe these hats used up just about all I had left of the special colorways.

Which is kind of sad because I was really enjoying playing with them!*

So presenting Hugs and Stardust Hats.

Stats:

Slouchier - shown in Unplanned Peacock Twinkle Twist Sapphire and Icy Rainbow.
Less Slouchy - shown in Unplanned Peacock Twinkle Twist Butterscotch and Spicy Rainbow.

Sizes (US) 2 and 5 circular or double pointed needles for working in the round.

I suggest one stitch marker and a large eyed tapestry needle for very carefully weaving in your ends, you can carry the yarn not being worked up as the color changes are every two rows and with this stitch pattern you will not see the "float", and if you weave the few ends you do have in carefully, you have a fully reversible hat.  Gentle stripes on one side, a wild and crazy riot of color on the other.  (TDQ likes wild and crazy, TOB prefers the simple stripes.)

As with Hugs and Stardust the infinity loops, sales of this pattern are going to be donated to Urban Peak, along with what Unplanned Peacock collects to Urban Peak's efforts at helping homeless youth.

Luckily my models were willing to go out for a photoshoot, even if it did involve hats, during some of the hotter days of the week.  Those magic whispered words of poke-stop and pokemon are still working!  But.....

They want you to know it was very hot and tiring work!

Up next, more adventures in designing, Ravellenics Style.

~M
*I am really hoping that UPP will have some of that yarn when they come to Ohio in the fall for Wool Gathering.  I have been taking peaks at the new color lines Natasha is creating and have a "short list" of must haves that is about a mile long.  I think that my usual pack mules had better get in some practice workouts before we go.