Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Endless Bay- Not Quite a Log Cabin

Confession...I am not a monogamous knitter!

I know, surprised you, right?

Right now I have several things on my needles, several more that need photos...some that are secret, some that just haven't made it to the blog and some...well one...that is getting mentioned today!

Stress knitting....do you do it?

I know we all have stress in our lives and some of it to be honest is probably a good thing!  It keeps us learning and growing, keeps us on our toes and stretching just a little bit further.  But all the real life stress means that sometimes, not too often, the knitting needs to be simple.

Not much more simple than a garter stitch blanket, right?

This has been my traveling knitting for a little while now...endless miles of garter stitch in four colors with a little extra something....

I have yards and yards to go before this is anywhere near bed sized, so I better get back to knitting!

~M


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Swatching on Saturday


A pile of shape swatches

As I mentioned during the week, I am sort of participating in the Initiate Knit Design Challenge hosted by Aroha Knits.  I say "sort of" for a number of reasons.

Reason 1 is that I really shouldn't let yet another new design jump my queue!  I have some other things that have to be finished on a timeline due to prior promises.

Reason 2 is that the Indie Designer Gift Along is rapidly approaching and my commitment to it this year is to not only have my designs be part of the package, but to knit other designers patterns during the Gift Along (sneaky way of getting my holiday knitting done too!) and be able to participate in the chat threads. (If you haven't played before, it is an amazing experience and the chat threads move at the speed of light...blink and 100 new posts have been made; shower, sleep, eat, work and pages upon pages have been created.)

And finally Reason 3...I don't actually follow the same process in design.

But wait! (you might say) Why would I participate at all in something that isn't my process?  Well, sometimes it is good to shake things up a bit.  The same as there are no knitting police, there are no design police though, so if your process is different that is a good thing. (And that is something to remember when participating in these challenges, there is no one true way.)

My process does not involve hours of soul searching and creating mood boards to come up with an idea.  Ideas are easy!*  Imagining what the finished piece will be, for me is easy...sketching it out isn't as easy and so long as I have a clear picture of what I want, is just one more step that I don't need to take.

There is a Reason 4 and that actually came into play yesterday with the email "challenge" about swatching for your design.

I am pretty opinionated about swatching and why I feel that swatches can be "dirty little liars" , especially if you are swatching to follow someone elses pattern and are trying to make a fitted garment.  The first one is...

DO NOT put garter stitch edges on your swatches UNLESS your finished piece has garter stitch edges.

Why?

Simply put garter stitch behaves differently than lace patterns, cables, texture or plain knit one row, purl the next stocking stitch.  The stitches "squish" together forming those nice rows of ridges but, that affects the neighboring stitches and distorts the gauge.

The same way that putting an i-cord edge on a piece can give structure but might mean that on a long cardigan front, every so often you need to work a few extra rows between the i-cord to stop the piece from "gathering" at the edge.


The second thing that I think a lot of knitters get wrong with swatching is they don't make their swatches big enough!  As you get used to working with the yarn and needles you have picked (and do swatch with the yarn and needles you intend to use!) you may find that you "relax" more in the knitting, so a little 4 to 6 inch swatch doesn't actually represent what a 34 inch piece (or larger) will be.

I understand that might mean you have to buy an extra ball of the yarn you intend to use so that you can make a really big swatch, but it is a small price to pay for a really great finished object that actually fits!

From a designer perspective I would add a third thing...swatch in the general shape you intend to make.  For example, if your design is a top down triangle shawl, swatch as a top down triangle shawl...observe how your shaping at the edges and spine affect your chosen stitch pattern...does it look "wonky" or does it flow?  If it looks wonky...what can you change to bring it back into a smooth design?

I will get off my soapbox now, and let you continue in your regularly scheduled weekend.  Today is "I Love Yarn Day!" so I hope your plans include spending some quality time with your favorite yarn to celebrate!

~M

*To demonstrate this: Find your favorite author, tell them you have a great idea for a book and you would like to get co-author credit for giving them the idea if they write it...watch them laugh at you!  Ideas are easy, execution is hard!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

If it's Wednesday it must be...

I might have over committed my fingers just a touch.

You know those whirlwind European tours you can book... 7 countries, five days, four nights?

That is what my knitting schedule feels like!

Along with the things I was already working on, I decided to go ahead and participate, at least a little, with Aroha Knits Initiate Design Challenge.

Days 1 and 2 involved finding your inspiration * and deciding on what you were going to make, then some potential shapes/stitch patterns/techniques.

My Day 1 mostly revolved around the yarn.





This is a weighted striped gradient!  Which means, in case you didn't know, the colors move from light to dark, striping the lilac and the gray but each color section gets longer so when you knit it as a top down shawl the stripes end up the same width!  I got mine at Wool Gathering, but you can get it here!

Techniques, stitches and shapes...that part was easy, I knew I wanted to do a top down triangle and as I haven't done a "fickle knitter special" in a while....cables and lace will be involved!
Now to wait for Day 3 (Friday) to find out what's next!

In other knitting, this sample jumped on my needles...more about that at a later date!
And The Revenge of the Nupps Shawl is not growing at all...because there might be a couple of other things that jumped on, off and on my needles.

So if it is Wednesday I must be knitting one of those things!

What's on your needles this week?

~M

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Swatch or WIP

This week was supposed to be all about getting a chunk of knitting done and off my needles, things like a million nupp shawl...
instead.....




When you are 300 or so yards in, does the swatch suddenly change from being a swatch to a full fledged work in process?
The debate continues in my head...and on IG...so far I am being told it has graduated to a WIP!

So I suppose I should add it to my WIP collection, but really....it's just a very big swatch!  :)

What are you working on this week?

~M

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Today's the Day!

 

When my boys were little, one of their favorite television shows was Blues Clues.  There was a movie about Blue putting on a musical production with all her little friends and one of the songs started "Today's the Day!"....I have that song running through my head now having typed that in the subject line!

But...that isn't what I wanted to tell you about.

What I wanted to tell you was...  Today's the Day!

The Day that...

Ain't She Sweet Footie Socks are officially available in my Ravelry Store!







To put another earworm in your ear...
 


“Ain’t she sweet?  See her walking down the street…” 

I love hand knit socks, no matter what time of the year; both knitting and wearing them. What better to wear during the warm weather than flirty little footies? These cuff down socks start with a larger cast on to allow the cuff to turn and skim the tops of your shoes, and continue with a slipped stitch heel and gusset with ribbing on the top of the foot for the perfect fit. “Now I ask you very confidentially, ain’t she sweet?” (Ain’t She Sweet, is a song composed by Milton Ager with lyrics by Jack Yellen circa 1927, and has been rerecorded by many artists including the Beatles.)

These socks are presented in not only two different sizes, but with two (related but) different cuffs.
 
The striped version shows the shorter, skimmer cuff and the hot pink version shows the longer, flirtier version. 

Both use fingering weight yarn and US size 1 needles (that is 2.25mm for my metric friends) and depending on your foot size it might be possible to get both socks from a single 218 yard (199 meter) skein of sock yarn.  (Buy a second though, you don't want to be half a toe short of a pair of socks and there might be another pattern coming very soon that could use that stray skein of yarn!  Just saying!)

No charts for this pattern, it is all line by line written instructions.

  
 


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Coming Soon!

Along with quietly working along on my latest ColourMart Lover's Group Fall Contest entry (a gorgeous burgundy 2/30 extra fine merino shawl with about eleventy billion nupps) I have also been quietly setting up the pattern page for some ever so cute (if I do say so myself) ankle socks that will be published on Thursday.

Want to peak at them?

Why do I ask silly questions like that?

There are two versions of the cuff on these, a shorter, tighter "skimmer" style perfect for with old school sneakers...you remember those, no support, not designed for running and every year the discount stores have them in all kinds of colors for next to nothing! Like this:


The other has a longer, wider and flirtier cuff, just enough to skim over the tops of either those old school sneakers or real running shoes.

You can even, if you have small enough feet, (US 7 or smaller judging by my yarn usage) get an entire pair out of one ball of Felici Sock Yarn and if you hurry it is even on sale at 30% off! But buy two to be safe, you can always offload the second one if you don't need it...or hold onto it there might be another pattern coming up that uses just a single ball of Felici!

If you don't already, subscribe to the newsletter up there on the right...this year I didn't do any new release sales but instead give my subscribers a hefty (it is hefty believe me!) discount on new release patterns, as my way of saying thank you for letting me into your email box once a month!

Lots more knitting and designing going on in my little corner of the world, but...we'll talk about that another time!

~M

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Wool Gathering!

Every year, the highlight of my September is getting to go to Wool Gathering.
This year was no exception and Saturday morning the kids and I rushed through our usual Saturday chores and took a drive to Yellow Springs.  This year we met up with one of my friends (who had a rare outing without her children) and of course the first thing we saw was something that her kids would have been entranced by!

Now if you have been reading this blog for a while, and I know many of you have - or at least the monthly recaps in the newsletter, then you will know that the pack mules (my children) always tag along and get paid to carry my purchases with hand dipped ice cream at the dairy and that no trip would be complete without deep fried cheese curds and extra cheese to come home with us.

I always have fun getting to chit chat with some of the indie dyers who have been so generous with their yarn support...like Natasha and her husband from Unplanned Peacock Studios.

This time around I bought two skeins of yarn from her...both were TDQ picks, and as I remembered to text Natasha before she packed up to come to the event, I was even able to finally get some Goth Chick for a hat!  (That was one of two planned purchases while we were there.)

We visited with Earth in Arts, and each got a bar of our favorite soaps. (Mine is Earth Spice, but as usual we joked that the Poison Ivy Soap actually has poison ivy in it, you have to buy the Poison Ivy Cure Soap to get rid of that itch and how that is such an interesting marketing ploy....everyone knew we were joking!)

We saw the sheep sheering, like we do every year and while the process of sheering a sheep hasn't changed, it is always fun to watch just how sedate those creatures are during the sheering. (Not at all like the alpaca's we were dealing with last spring!)

We did, however, miss each show of the dog herding ducks around an obstacle course.

I found some new to me indie dyers this trip, Brenda and Heather Yarns, where I might have purchases a Shawl Ball in Lilac Shades with Gray.

Then there was this yarn...





It made a fitting final purchase!

Stay tuned next week for a new pattern release, if you haven't yet, sign up for the newsletter,  over there on the right, to get a generous discount when the pattern is published!

~M

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Friday, September 8, 2017

Rabbit Holes

We interrupt this week to bring you rabbit holes...

No, not the kind you trip over or twist your ankle on in your garden...the Ravelry kind!

I fell down this one.....

and this one...

Along with a few others...

What did you "waste" time on this week?

~M

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Friday, September 1, 2017

More Love for Twined Vines!

I have to admit that my morning had a bit of a rocky start, but the day improved immensely around lunch time...first the good!


Twined Vines is one of the patterns featured on Knitting Patterns Galore and they tweeted about it! (Although I have to say...I think the pattern is easier than it looks, most of it is just knit, yarn over and central double decreases...there is one fancy stitch but there is a tutorial for that too!)

Seeing that people actually like the things I create really does a lot for my self esteem!  Thank you to everyone who gave the pattern little hearts on Ravelry, or visited its page in Knotions!

But now for the rocky start to the day....


One of the knitters who is working on my Twined Vines Shawl found a mistake in a chart...actually it was worse than that...I had given the editor of the online magazine the completely wrong chart. 

Luckily the knitter is taking part in the Knit Along that Knotions is holding in their group for anyone knitting any of the August issues patterns and asked for help and I check Ravelry every morning while I drink my coffee.  Before I had finished that cuppa, a new chart was sent to the editor, who uploaded it immediately and the knitter doesn't even have to tink back or frog any stitches because the first row was the same on both charts!  (Pheww, so glad the editor is up early in the morning...all this happened before 7 am her time!)

But this does bring up a point....what should you do if you ever find an error in my patterns?  I can tell you what I would like you to do....

Tell me about it!  You can contact me through the email address that is in each of my self published patterns, through Ravelry, even through the publication itself in cases like Knotions.  While I cannot guarantee a two hour turn around every time (that is how long it took from when the knitter posted this morning to my getting up, seeing it and correcting it) rest assured I will respond to you!

~M

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Still Over the Moon


I am still over the moon about how well my Twined Vines Shawl is doing.....and Knitters are starting to join us in a KAL in the Knotions Group....If you are thinking of knitting the pattern, now would be a great time to do so...next week I will be all over Ravelry pretty much all week!  So if you have a question, or think that you need a little hand holding...you will be able to get pretty much real time access to the designer!

And while you are there, check out some of the project pages! (If you are me you will point at each picture and say I want one like that, and that, and that.....)

But, if you should miss me, or just want to learn a new technique...take a look at the tutorial for the cluster stitches with a crochet hook!


~M


Sunday, August 27, 2017

Not silent at all

Wow!

Flying on Cloud 9 now......

All I can say is..

Thank you!

More than 24 hours on the first page of Hot Right Now on Ravelry for my pattern.

Excuse me, but I need to remodel my house...I am going to need bigger doors to walk in beside my ego!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Free Pattern Alert!

You always know I have something going on when I post on Saturday morning, rather than Friday night!  Today is no exception...

Presenting :




Sometimes I just want to knit something that looks complicated, but really isn't!  This shawl, with it's half-pi shaping is one of those knits. Predominantly it uses one type of decrease and yarn overs, with a single Estonian stitch thrown in every few rows.  There is even a tutorial for an easy way to work that Gathered Stitch.

The one thing that has always bothered me with Pi or Half-Pi shaped shawls is that increase row (or round).  The overall mesh patterning in this one, blends into that increase segment so that you don't notice it in the final shawl. 





At the edge we add a few more types of stitches, and just a few beads (the way the pattern is written, but, if you want more, look at this project for inspiration for where to put them!)










My test knitters for this shawl did a fantastic job, not just with the actual knitting and feedback, but in keeping it a secret until yesterday when I finally gave them permission to share!



The pattern is written in two sizes, the cream one is Large (58 inch wingspan, 25 inch drop. [145 cm by 62.5 cm] )and is worked in a fingering weight wool and silk blend from Valley Yarns, Charlemont.  I picked the knitted cast off for this version.....

 The blue is the smaller size (44 inch wingspan, 20 inch drop. [110 cm by 50 cm]) and is worked in a laceweight wool, silk and sparkly thread blend, Twinkle Lace from Unplanned Peacock.









This time I did a crochet chain bind off, like you would find in old fashioned doily patterns.
Size 4 (US)  or 3.5mm for my metric friends, needles are used for both versions, but as with any shawl, gauge is not critical to obtaining a beautiful finished object!







You can get the pattern, for free, here on the Knotions website!

~M