Friday, August 18, 2017

A Knitter's Best Laid Plans.



A couple of weeks ago, I had a yen for socks.  It had been at least a few days since I had any on my needles, so I grabbed a couple of lonely balls of yarn...somehow I had one ball of Felici in Time Traveler, which certainly on its own was not going to be enough for a pair of socks for me, so I paired it with some Stroll in black.








 A few minutes with some charting software (because I am really trying to join the modern world and not just use excel or graph paper!) I had a rudimentary idea of how my socks were going to look.




Or at least, I really thought I did have a rudimentary idea of how my socks were going to look...but a funny thing happened while I was contentedly knitting away...

Instead of a heel, it appeared that my "sock" had a thumb gusset!

Now, I could have kept on deluding myself into believing it was finally my turn for socks and put a toe on the end, but, if the yarn wants to be mitts and is fingering, when you live in Ohio...fingerless mitts to wear under thick mittens or over thin gloves are the way to go!

But even though I like my sock legs long and that thumb gusset didn't appear until a heel would have (about 7.5 inches in!) fingerless mitts take much less yarn than socks do.  My plan to use up that ball of Felici was not working out.










 

So this happened....
reversing the main color for the contrast color, shortening up the cuff a little and I came oh-so-close to using up all the Felici without "going over"....I needed to shorten that cuff just a couple more rows because I did run out of the Felici before I ran out of thumbs.






Now if we could just arrange schedules a little better, I could get some true Finished Objects pictures, of these mitts among other things, and get the patterns finalized.

Sometime before then though...these are going to need a name!  Got any ideas?

~M

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Squishy!

Summer came back to Ohio today!  After a little bit of a Fall Preview, today was hot, humid and the air conditioning got turned back on. It was a little sad to shut the windows!

But, that little Fall weather preview we got, had me dreaming of warmer knits than I had been working on, so a couple or three projects jumped on my needles and one or two jumped right back off again as they were completed in record time.  We'll talk about them another day though...for today....

A very boring, garter stitch blanket in Knit Picks Brava Sport.


It has grown a little bit since then, but really it is my "waiting in the car" or "watching a movie" knitting.  So it will not be finished quickly, just there in my knitting bag, ready to put in a few rows here and there.

As we all know that plain garter stitch for miles and miles, especially when you are aiming for bed-sized, gets boring very quickly, I had to put something a little more detailed on my needles too.

The yarn is from Ancient Arts, their 100% Superwash BlueFaced Leicester Wool 4 ply fingering in Mineral


I think that the very subtle shifts in color in this yarn really works well with the cables...it adds to them rather than competing with them!

Ancient Arts has a couple of other really cool color collections based on Cats and Dogs!  I might be tempted to get some of those next time I buy from them!

I am still running my This or That Tuesday posts on Instagram...this weeks was:





So which would you pick, if you had to pick one or the other?

~M


Friday, August 11, 2017

This or That, #100daysofhappiness, WIPS

Usually Friday's would be for Finished Objects, but...although things are finished, they haven't had photo shoots, so instead....

As I mentioned the other day I am doing a #100daysofhappiness Challenge.  So often we forget to look for the things that make us happy and only see the things that make us mad, or sad, or stressed, or...or...or...

So here is a little round up of things that made me happy this week..






And some WIP shots....more on those later next week probably!




And the This or That questions....can't wait to see what I ask next Tuesday!


And all those pictures from my IG feed mean only one thing...I had better get a photo shoot in tomorrow or you will be seeing the same pics again for Silent Sunday!


Have a great weekend!

~M


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

This or That?

I've been doing a couple of new things on Instagram lately....along with fellow designer Yvonne Becker aka handarbeitskram  I have been posting under the hash tag #100daysofhappiness the things that make me happy and I have been posting a This or That question on Tuesdays.

Each Tuesday I am coming up with a random choice...Sweaters or Shawls?  Socks or Hats? Cuff Down or Toe Up?  and wait for the comments to roll in.

It is really kind of fun.

(Although I have lost track of what number day I am on for the #100days posts...maybe I will keep it up forever, there is so much in the world that can bring you a spark of happiness if you let it!)

Today's #100days of happiness item I am still trying to figure out how to photo...since I started designing "for real" I have had a hand up from so many different people. Magazine and Book Editors willing to take a chance on an unknown, knitters willing to test knit,  other designers willing to give tips and tricks...the hand up is the happiness.  *

And...if you know how to photo that let me know!

What made you happy today?

~M

*Of course in order to reap the benefits of things like this, you need to give as much as you get.  I like to believe that I do.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Not Quiet!

In case you didn't know, I hang out on Ravelry a LOT!  I mean seriously a lot!  I am typically online all day long, either on my phone or an actual computer. (Typically when it is my phone I am stalking chat pages because...fat fingers...)

One of the groups that I hang out in has a lot of designers in it...mixed in with those who haven't taken the leap yet, for one reason or another....so it is funny to hear us all talking about the same frustrations, inspirations and math!

We even have our own code for inspiration...Minnie Mouse...she comes and starts out whispering in your ear...this yarn, that stitch, it could be great...then she moves on to yelling...didn't you hear me?  THIS yarn, THAT stitch pattern, it will be GREAT..until all you can hear is this silly little mouse and in order to shut her up you just knit whatever it is she is going on and on and on about....

Some times, some of us, are able to mollify her by knitting a swatch.  I have to admit there is the moebius necked poncho that got swatched and is sitting to my right as we speak because I lost interest (shut up Minnie, it is not my next thing...you gave me ten already without the addition of extra hands to knit!)  But sometimes...that silly little mouse voice just takes over your life...

Which is the long way around of saying...Nothing to see here, but if you are interested in test knitting a shawl please speak up in this thread on Ravelry!

On that note I am going to go have an argument with some yarn that thinks it wants to be finger less mitts...I am 100% convinced I need some socks!

What are you up to this week?

~M


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

WIP Wed..well sorta

Editing, knitting, life crisis..whatever the plural is of that verb...

One of my favorite authors has the blurb for one of her series stating "Miles hits 30, 30 hits back"  I feel that way about 50......

Deep in my soul I don't think that these were the days I was supposed to see. I am not done with life by any means, but.....deep breathe.... there are moments when, apart from designing, knitting and making sure my kids are equipped to survive without me there is nothing...
Enjoy the music...it's good.......and  I will view tomorrow as another chance to be awesome.  Go big or go home, right?

~M

Sunday, July 30, 2017

My Week, Silently





Best of IG this week.
~M

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Test Knits Are Fun!

If you don't subscribe to their newsletter, you might have missed that this month Knotions is all about tutorials!  There is a little bit about a whole lot of different knitting techniques covering everything from making pompoms to how to have more even ribbing in your knitting.  Chock full of good stuff!

To demonstrate a couple of the techniques Jody, the editor who also designs...check out her other patterns here...included patterns for three different, footie socks.  I test knit one of them for her.  (Yes, I still test knit as well as design!)

Be Strong and Carry On.

I used Patons Kroy FX - Cameo Colors and a US 3 needle for my version.

These socks are knit toe up, which made a change from my usual go to cuff down patterns and include a Strong Heel... no picking up of stitches!

In a departure from my usual "matchy, matchy" stance I tried getting both socks from one ball of yarn, so they are definitely fraternal twins not identical, and then had to scrounge some additional yardage from a project TDQ was working on and abandoned when I was a few yards short for the second sock. (She warns you to buy the second ball but keep the receipt in the pattern...depending on how long your foot is you might not need it and can return the second ball for a different colorway and make another pair!)

I think that both socks took just a couple of evenings of pleasure knitting...so very quickly made, perfect for those "I forgot to get you a present" occasions.

I think I might want to make the lace ones next!


Thursday, July 27, 2017

At the Ballet....

Everything was beautiful at the ballet.
Graceful men lift lovely girls in white.
Yes,
Everything was beautiful at ballet.
Hey!
I was happy... at the ballet.


If knitting were music, the stitches would be the keys, and the repeats would be the time signature. If knitting were music, a simple two-by-two rib could be translated into the Key of C (no sharps or flats, just natural notes), in 2/2 time, (or cut time). Changing just a few stitches (the notes) to cables or lace (sharps or flats) the entire musical world is at your knitting fingertips.  

At the ballet, the dancers are pulling on their costumes and stretching, warming up their bodies for the dancing to come; in the orchestra pit the musicians are pulling out their instruments that have been nestled in cases lined with felt, not tuned, and begin tuning them.


This cuff down sock pattern has both line by line and charted instructions for the top of foot and front leg cables and lace pattern. 


 

As with all of the "Tuned" sock patterns, Knot Tuned, Fine Tuned, Disco Tuned and Simple Melody 
these socks drew their inspiration from the act of making music.  While I am sure that I am not finished exploring the options there, the next socks will be a little different...even if they did still get named after a song!  

Want a sneak peak?  Ok! Here is a little bit of a teaser.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

What I'm Working On.

July to me always brings back memories of being young and getting to spend the summer lazing around at the pool or just hanging out with friends in the sun.  Back then I thought the entire world slowed down for the summer and took things easy.

As an adult I know that isn't true, in fact many years summer have been my busiest times with classes to teach and jazz concerts in the park to attend.  This year, July has been more laid back, and I can't tell you how much I have been enjoying it!

Last week Monster Man was here for a visit, TOB and TFB had a birthday and there were movies to see, games to play, a few diy home fixes to do....and a lot of projects leapt off my needles.  Which means that this week I am spending a lot of time finishing up the writing of patterns, getting ready to wrap up two test knits and put up another two....

So my works in progress are mostly in the writing, photography and editing phases.

My goal this week is to get the patterns for all of these things ready for testing....




The last picture there....the red "thing" is a little further along and the toe-up socks you will hear more about on Saturday...

The final entry on my to-do list is..... hit the publish on this one!
Tune in Tomorrow for the Pattern Release notes.
What are you working on this week?
~M

Friday, July 21, 2017

Put Them All Together...



Knitting is a strange beast sometimes.  A technique that one knitter "gets" instantly leaves another gnashing her jaws and throwing her project across the room (TAR) which is probably why I like it so much.  There is never just one way to do things, and for some things there are lots of different ways to achieve the same end.

If you "google" short row knitting and look at the wikipedia page it says :

"In knitting, a short row is a row that is not fully knitted; the work is turned before reaching the end of the row. Just before the work is turned, the yarn is generally passed around the next unknitted stitch to prevent a hole from forming at the turning point."

Looks like the writer of that article only knew one kind of short row!  But there are many more to pick from.

While working on my Quill Cardigan, which uses short rows for both the wide shawl collar and the top down set in sleeves, I did a lot of thinking about short rows and the different ways they could be done.

As you may have noticed I wrote up and entire series of tutorials on Short Rows for Knotions this month.

The first up was German Short Rows



















Followed by Japanese Short Rows and the Catch Method (these two are very similar!)

















And then  Shadow Wraps
















Which led to Yarn Over Short Rows


This week Knotions put them all together in a free pdf download with a bonus demonstration of how all the different kinds of short rows, I could find, stack up in garter stitch.  (If you know of any short row methods that I missed, let me know in the comments so I can swatch them too!)

But...give them all a try, see which one you like best, because no matter which method the pattern actually calls for, you can swap out one type for another because they all end the same way : with  a row that is not fully knitted; giving extra fabric on the outside edge of a curve, in the bust area if you need a little more give, an attractive alternative to bind offs that take several rows like in shoulders, heels of socks...the list goes on! 

Who knows you might find your own new favorite way of working short rows.

Now that that series of tutorials is complete....might be time to find another technique that can be done several different ways!  Are there any you would like to see me explore?  Leave a comment with your suggestions!

~M

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

My Mid Week Round Up

How's your week so far?  Technically I am taking this week as a vacation, but...you know those Muses, they do a lot of business when you were occupied doing other things!  (Seriously I hear more designers complaining that inspiration is whispered in their ears while they are jogging, swimming, in the shower, at work or otherwise not able to sketch, write, knit!)

So I might have had a project jump on and off my needles in rapid succession...not quite ready for public consumption but a couple of pictures to give you an idea of the wonderful colors that I have been playing with.

(The is the Blue Ridge Colorway from Unplanned Peacock, on their DK Superwash Merino. Nice stuff!)

It jumped on and off my needles in record time!


Which of course left me with some spare needles sitting around....for exactly three minutes when I suddenly suffered from another bout of Startitis!  And this happened.....
 
Obviously one is a toe up sock...the other?  ItsaSecret.  :)

And then this happened.....
 
Yep, the MonsterMan shows up and things just break...all on their own!  Wouldn't have anything to do with his extra long feet or arms would it?

Wood glue fix for now...if it doesn't hold, well Wool Gathering is coming up and I believe that I can get a new swift then!

What's on your needles this week?

~M