Sunday, February 26, 2017

Crickets Still Chirp



~M

Friday, February 24, 2017

And Along Came Friday

Friday's are for finished objects...and I have none I can share!

Just know I have been knitting up a storm, and that finished objects will be available to be seen soon-ish!

So, in the meantime, why don't you tell me what you finished this week?

~M

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A Vague To Do List

Those who know me, and probably even some who don't, know that one of my "claims to fame" at least in the world of those who know me on Ravelry is that I am very, very specific in goal setting and those I coach will tell you that I am even more specific on breaking goals down into tasks.

My weekly goal sheet for this week is ever so specific.  I have a list of how many rows I need to knit by the end of the week (broken down into the daily numbers!) and which patterns I am working on that will need my attention, along with which threads on Ravelry I am watching for testing input or KAL comments (more about that in a second) which is why when I made a post in the KAL that said my daily goal was to "Start a shawl, here is the start, so it is done, check!" everyone was shocked!

You can see it there on top of the blue knitting.

The truth is the day was a holiday, so my to-do list was very truncated!  I had all day to get the things on it done.

Back to the KAL comments.

During the Indie Designers Gift Along last November and December, I met some of the most amazing knitters and indie designers.  One of them, Evie Scott just released a cardigan pattern called Quill - go on click that link I will wait.....you back?  ok.

That pattern is so totally me that I had to get it right away and join the knit along!  Well as circumstance would have it, Evie, wanted some company in the moderators chairs so she invited me to join not just as a member, but a "housemate" if you will in the group.  She has offered to let me host my test knits there and we are having a great time cheering people on with the KAL.

Evie is obviously much better about yarnie contacts than I am, she talked Cascade Yarns into donating 12 skeins of yarn as the grand prize for the KAL!  (You might want to join the fun and get a chance at winning that!)

I have more than started my version of Quill, but, I am being good and sticking to my detailed to do list and she is sitting to one side, patiently waiting her turn while that shawl you saw the barest beginnings of gets worked on.

I am not the only "housemate" in the group though, Evie also extended an invitation to PJ Kaylor, the knitting genius behind Fiber Fabrications, who coincidentally just release a duo of patterns under the name Attack of the Killer Rabbits!*
photo courtesy of PJ Kaylor used with permission
I linked to one of the patterns there, but she offers a very generous discount if you buy both together!  (Doesn't her husband make the perfect model?)

That's all from needles today, what on yours?

~M

*Yes, she is a Monty Python Fan.




Friday, February 17, 2017

In Which One Thing was Cast Off...

Do you remember last November when I was all excited about the Indie Gift Along on Ravelry and then took the entire month of December to knit other peoples designs?

Let me tell you, some of the people I met were "the best" that I have ever met and I think that we have formed life long relationships from chit chatting in the chat thread and trying out other peoples patterns for a month.

One of the people I met, who designs under the name Knitted in Switzerland ( go follow her on Instagram, or take a peak at her Ravelry Store) had a need for test knitters for some "Hubby Approved" socks.  While I might not have a hubby in need in socks, I do have two (mostly) adult now sons who always need socks so I raised my hand and in between some serious swatching and some serious knittng with linen I cast on and have now cast off one sock from her upcoming collection!

In other knitting news, the linen I have been playing with? Stage one is also off the needles, but that is a story for another day!

~M


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Almost a Shawl

Those of you who use Instagram have seen various teaser pictures of a linen shawl that I am knitting.  And, I am happy to say, it is almost a shawl now!

Almost, as in, once I finish this one there is a second sample to make, tech editing to do of the written pattern, photo's to take and edit, testing to be done...but I think...I think I like it!

Let me tell you I wasn't sure to start with.

I have worked with a linen blend exactly once in my knitting career, which spans decades!  To take the leap to work in 100% linen was a bit of a challenge and a bit of a learning curve, and you will get the whole story when the time is right.

For now, just know that I think this will be the perfect summer time shawl, and knit!  Linen is nice and cool on the hands when the weather is warm, no worries of it felting as you knit it!  It does take a leap of faith though to not only put the finished piece in the washing machine but to tell other knitters to do so.

When we get closer to release date I will tell you the whole story, and go through how I swatched and washed, and washed again...for now....

This weeks work in progress :

A Shawl.  She still needs an official name, but for once I have a couple of ideas!

What's on your needles?

~M


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Another Suitcase, Another Ball of Yarn

I don't know why, but I have the song Another Suitcase, Another Hall running around in my head, I'm not going anywhere that I know of so there are no suitcases, but there are lots of balls of yarn in play at Chez Yarn Diet this week.

The problem is, not one of them is really at a point where I can talk to much about them!

There's some socks, another pair just entered "testing phase" and let me tell you, I either hit the sweet spot of when the post the testing call or there are a lot of knitters out there who like a mystery!  The socks are a secret for just a little bit longer, but, I don't really like putting out patterns that have only been tech edited and not tested...so no teaser photo, a "hush" order and I already technically have enough people testing it to make me happy!  (But the call is still open for a little while if you are interested!)

There's the first version of a linen shawl...there will be two.

And a pesky WIP that I set aside a while ago because I miscounted the edging rows I was working on and had to rip back some.

Hmmm, looks to me if I am digging through the UFO pile for things to keep me occupied I must be avoiding something.

You caught me, I am.

Sorry, too busy fixing knitting mistakes to actually finish up my tax return today!

What do you do to look busy when you want to procrastinate?

~M

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Vocal

Usually on Sunday I am quiet and just post a few pictures.

Not this Sunday!  Today has been all about talking, mostly to myself about why the IRS makes tax forms so danged hard to figure out.  Excuse me, where does royalty income go on the form?  (The income listed on 1099-Misc box 2 - Royalties....not box 3, I can find that...Not that I think that technically it is royalty income, it is the advance on royalty income......Yes, I know, find a tax accountant, but I should be smart enough to figure this out on my own!) Ok enough about my first world problems and taxes probably creeps a little too far over to political to be on a knitting blog anyway.

What I really wanted to tell you about was.....

Christmas 2016.

Yeah, I know a bit late for that, right?  But not really.  See this year I sent a bunch of my friends a Christmas Package with a card that read "I am dyeing for Christmas and now you are too!" and included a package of food colors, some bare Knit Picks Stroll and the hopes that they would have some fun with them. (Not all my friends got that particular package, those that already dyed yarn got other things, but I digress..hmmm seems I do that a lot around here!)

But anyhow...one of my friends, the incredibly creative mind behind Bad Cat Designs and such wonderous knitting books as New Heights in Lace Knitting and New Vintage Lace just recently published a blog post, free tutorial and pattern on Ravelry showing what she did with that present.  (Go ahead and snag the free pattern and tutorial, then dye yourself some yarn and have fun!)

My friend Sheila dyed some yarn to make her version of my Overgrowth Infinity Loop...her project can be seen here and it is all dyed with food colors!  Incredible, huh?

Apart from yelling at forms my weekend has been spent knitting quietly away with a new to me fiber.  Pretty soon I will tell you all about my adventures with it, what I have learned and hopefully show you a beautiful finished object...

Until then....what frustrated you this week?  And what worked out really well?

~M


Friday, February 3, 2017

Friday are for Finished Objects

But not knitting ones this time, although I did share Overgrowth with you yesterday, honestly it has been completed for a while!  :)

Today I want to share my latest DIY project, but there is a bit of a back story to it.

When I complete a pair of socks, so that I can get a nice picture I usually wash them and put them on sock blockers while they are still wet and let them dry.  The blockers help to even out any of the irregularities I might have in my stitches and in the cases of lace and cables the slight stretching allows the patterns to pop.

Which means, when I first give socks to my kids they are smooth and neat, ready to go into their sock drawers.

But, when I wash the socks and just lay them flat to dry they do not look quite so "finished" any more and my kids got picky. They wanted their socks to look the same way as when they were brand new each time they were washed, which meant putting them on the blockers every single time.

You would think that wouldn't really be a problem, I have several different sock blockers in various sizes, but...when everyone washed their socks on the same day, we ran out of blockers before we ran out of socks!

I tried bending some wire coat hangers into shape, but, well I wasn't very good at it and they ended up slightly different shapes and sizes with the occasional hard angle rather than gentle curve.

Looking some more on the internet I found people had used cardboard, which I had done once for some child sized socks that I knit, and plastic place mats. The place mats sounded good to me as they wouldn't need to be covered in tape to stop them from absorbing the moisture from the socks, so off to the dollar store I went.

The problem with the place mats I found?  They were very thin.  Trying to pull a wet sock onto it wasn't going to be easy, so I tried gluing two together.  (Also not easy!  Superglue dried too quickly, rubber cement didn't dry well enough.....)  While I was digging through the drawer in my garage where various glues and tapes were I spied a roll of double sided carpet tape. (Although we no longer have any carpet in the house, I do have carpet runners on the stairs which I had taped down using some of it in the past, but there was still lots on the roll so I gave it a try.)

Taping the two place mats together gave them a little bit more structure and although still flexible they don't bend as much when trying to pull that wet sock onto them.





After taping the two mats together, I traced the outline of two sock blockers on each one and cut it out using regular old scissors.









(I found that I could get one Men's Large and one Women's Medium blocker out of each pair of mats, or 2 Women's Mediums but the Men's Large were too short when I tried getting both out of one pair...) You could just draw an approximately foot and leg shaped outline if you don't have an existing sock blocker to trace! I cut portions of the centers out to allow for air flow, you could do pretty designs if you are more creative with cutouts than I am!

Using a single hole punch I punched a hole in the top of each blocker so they could be hung on hooks to dry.

And Voila!  Cheap easy sock blockers to keep picky kids happy.

After I was all done making the sets of sock blockers I planned on making I realized that they would also make a great presentation for gift socks.

To Make 3 pairs of Sock Blockers, 1 Men's Large, 2 Women's Medium/Men's Small:

Supplies:  6 plastic dollar store placemats, double sided tape (I am sure that any would work, I just had carpet tape on hand) marker for outlining the blocker shape, scissors to cut them out, single hole punch to put a hole in the top.  Optional but helpful, razor knife for cutouts.

That was my project last weekend, this weekend?  Well I think I am back to swatching design elements!  What's on your agenda for the weekend?

~M











Thursday, February 2, 2017

Pattern Release Thursday!


I always get a little excited and a little nervous on publication day.  Will you like the pattern as much as I did? Will the yarn and colors inspire you to pick up some knitting needles and start creating your own version?


Presenting:  Overgrowth and Infinity Loop.


After the daffodils have finished flowering, but before the lilies bloom, the hedgerows and paths through the park become a riot of shades of green and cream.  Tiny buds that will burst into flower start appearing, but they are not ready to bloom yet.  The view as you walk along the path is one of texture, as in this infinity loop.  Started with Cat Bordhi’s Moebius Cast On, it is worked from the center out, in a springy single-ply fingering weight yarn.  Looped once around your neck it is a gentle statement piece, twice or more and it is a cozy cowl.
Size:

62-inch circumference by 6 inches wide. [155 cm circumference by 15 cm wide]

Yarn

Unplanned Peacock Studios Kinky Sock, Superwash Merino, 400 yards/100 grams [366 meters/3.53 ounces].



Needles
Size US 5 [3.75mm] 47-inch [120 cm] circular needle or size needed to obtain gauge.
The stitch pattern is easy to memorize and requires no chart reading, making it a great "pick up and go" pattern for both the experienced and adventurous beginning knitter.

You can snag your copy here in my Ravelry Store.


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

This WIP will take a while....

About a week ago, the wonderful people at ColourMart posted a message that they had some "scraps" of yarns that were probably usable, but not really something they could put up as a flop set (yarn that is no longer on the cone, but not wound, usually grouped together by weight and some semblance of color) and yarns that were partially skeined but got tangled, and that if anyone wanted to try and salvage it, they would be happy to "sell" it by the kilo...for the price of postage! (They loving referred to the deal as "H**l in a bag".)

This appealed to me for a couple of reasons.

1)  That is a lot of yarn for postage!
2)  By sending it to me, hopefully we were keeping it out of a landfill.
3)  All the different colors and textures that could be in the mystery bag could lead to some really creative knitting and weaving in this house.

Yes, I jumped all over the offer and today....

This arrived in my mail box!

I carefully cut the bag open so that I could gently lift things out and (hopefully) not tangle anything any more than it already was.

Which got me this...



And this.....
















When I had sorted it as best I could by color and texture and put everything in ziploc bags until I could work through winding it into something I could knit from there was a tiny, ping pong ball sized collection of very small pieces at the bottom of the bag.

I was going to just mash them all together and turn them into stuffing, but TOB decided to sit there for a while and separate each different thing out and start making little tiny balls of "life line" yarn out of them.

So I ask you, if you had a kilo of assorted weights and colors of yarns, what would you do with them?

~M

Tune in tomorrow for a pattern release, subscribe to the newsletter to get a discount code in your inbox shortly after I publish it!