Sunday, December 23, 2007

2008 Projects

I do have a couple more unphotographed (and, in one case, unfinished) Christmas presents, but I'll take care of them tomorrow, in between the Christmas cooking.

I've spared you, my far-flung readership, my internal broodings on What This Blog Is Supposed To Accomplish, if only because I find blog posts about blog posts to be too, too weary-making. So this one is supposed to accomplish recording the projects I want to make in the first part of 2008. New Year's resolutions, if you will.

1) Afghans for Afghans blanket. Not too much to say about this, other than there is a new appeal due in February, and I have 14 more rounds in dc (increasing 16 sts per round) until it gets to be big enough. I'll take this to my knitting retreat (shhh! it's crochet!) next week, and finish it.

2) The Curious Creek babydoll top I've made for the Stitches West 2008 Fashion Show. In itself, it just needs ends sewn in and the trim added, but I have to grade and write up the pattern. I have a friend coming over for Christmas whom I'll ask to model it for the photos that XRX asks for in January. The promise of a ravelry pattern store is providing extra incentive.

3) My Oddball Challenge #1 Coat I have the crochet square almost done. I figure it has to have a diagonal equal to my back width, and so it needs to be a bit bigger, then I'll have to work out the sleeve shaping. I've become newly-emboldened to write out patterns before knitting them (by the fabulous success of a design I wrote up for a customer at Yarndogs) but this one will have to be worked out on the needles.

4) My square(s) for the afghan that the Terry Pratchett fan group on ravelry is making for him. I get the N' in "I ATEN'T DEAD"

Now we get to purely speculative crafting, where I've done nothing beyond putting balls of yarn together in a bag, if that.

5) Broomstick Lace Pullover. This will be a top-down, yoke-necked pullover in some beautiful yarn (is there any other kind?) I bought at Artfibers last December. I've already done broomstick lace in the round with my skirt, and I think that the even increases I worked out for that skirt will also make a nice yoke.

6) Haripin Lace Cardigan. I want to use the Colinette Giotto I bought for Jennifer Hansen's Lotus camisole to make a fitted hairpin lace cardigan. I have some ideas about adjusting the width of the hairpin loom in mid-strip.

7) An Anthropologie-inspired cardigan. The ravelry group is having a KAL in 2008, and I have some ideas for a mess of pumpkin Cashmerino Super Chunky I have (despite reading horror stories about its pilling.)

8) Something like This Skirt done in a mix of three coned yarns in my stash. (Should I point out that these are all from my stash? That's another resolution.)

9) Annie Modesitt's Twisted Float Shrug. From the Fall 2005 VK. I have a bunch of yarns I've collected to do it. I spent a couple hours yesterday being a Christmas Elf for a customer at the shop, sewing in the sleeves for a similar sweater, and I've developed definite Views about how the sleeves should be done.

10) More Crochet Sweaters with Set-in Sleeves. My Ruffles patters in being test-crocheted by at least one ravelrer, and so I hope to get it written up soon. I want to experiment with more lightweight yarns, like some laceweight Malabrigo (does that name really mean "bad coat?") from my yarn-buying expotition with Fae, and some other laceweight hand-dyed I bought at Full Thread Ahead. (Schaefer? I've already wound it into a ball, so the information is probably lost forever.)

Well, ten seems like a good number. The beginning of the year doesn't usually throw up too many sudden knitting obligations, so I hope to move most of these projects out of my head and on to hooks and needles.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Christmas presents

I'm on ravelry all the live long day, it seems, posting away in the forums. But taking photos of my knitting and crochet, or, god forbid, blogging? Not so much.

So first, all of the Christmas presents I have made so far.

This is a crocheted scarf, for my best friend. The pattern is from M. K. Carroll, who briefly made the pattern available to ravelrers last month. She says the pattern is an old one called Queen Anne's Lace, but I couldn't find anything by that name but a granny square-type motif when I searched the interwebs. I love the way that the motifs attach to each other to make the strip. Crocheting this pattern is a lot of fun; the motifs are quick but interesting, and it's hard to stop. The yarn is also very nice.

This is little crocheted purse for my six-year-old niece. I'm going to put some money in it, too. I started this one with a foundation single crochet row (rather than a chain) and then went around the other side of the foundation row before starting to work circularly, with no ch-2 steps at the beginning of rounds. I made the strap the same way, attaching each end as I got to it then made a semicircle of double crochet also attached at the sides. No seams! The yarn is an ancient rayon chenille from some kit that someone gave away at a long-ago knitting retreat. I've already used yarns from the kit to make my mom a shawl and a friend's daughter a backpack, but there are always leftovers.

This is a votive holder for my massage therapist. It's knit with 28-gauge wire in garter stitch with a bead on every stitch. The weight of the beads and the looseness of the gauge make it slump somewhat, but that means it will also fit the more standard votive after this one is burned up; this one is rather tall and slender.

These are fingerless mitts for my daughter's fourth-grade teacher. I used this pattern as a starting off point, but since the gauge is totally different, I'll just call it inspiration. These are my first thumb gussets. (And I've never knit entrelac, either.) The sharp-eyed reader will see that the trim is the same yarn as the scarf above.

These are earrings for my older niece. They're crocheted with gold 28-gauge wire. I made a pair for myself with (two different) big hooks; the smaller hook made a more delicate flower shape, although the beads are kind of crowded.

This is kind of a cheat, since I made this as a shop sample earlier this year. But my best friend's son is still into pirates, so I hope he'll enjoy it more than I would.

I'm also going to give my mom the diagonal kimono (pictured at right; why not download the pattern?) and I'm planning on another set of fingerless mitts for my trainer at the gym. I'm torn about my son's middle school teachers. Heaven knows they deserve the care that goes into a handmade gift, but I've yet to see any evidence that they use the ones I made last year. On the one hand, I despise gift cards (why not give money?) But there are classes of people to whom it is acceptable to give gift cards while it is offensive to give money, and teacher certainly fall into that category. It will probably be Trader Joe's gifts cards all around.

And then there's the other stuff I'm just buying. It's kind of the Buy Handmade Pledge except for the books and electronic gadgets and stuff.

Monday, October 8, 2007


OK, it's done. Look over to the right. Let's see whether anyone buys it!

Designs on life

I like to design things, and it seems like a natural progression to write up my designs and try to sell them. But I've been on that cusp for a couple years now, without making definitive moves either toward or away from that goal. I'm ambivalent because the work involved with publishing seems out of proportion to the rewards. I can make a sweater to fit myself without much more thought than goes into a gauge swatch and two calculations, but writing clear instructions and, above all, sizing are whole other kettles of fish.

There are thousands of free patterns out on the Web, many of them quite good. There are enough people that are happy to share their design work, and more than enough people who think that yarn is the only part of a project worth paying for, to depress the market for patterns for sale.

And yet, and yet. Jennifer Hansen, my hero, makes a splendid go of it. Well, I say this, but I have no idea what kind of money she makes. I know she has a young son, so I hope she wouldn't be losing money at it. She does everything herself, creative and technical.

So I'm taking some more baby steps. On the recommendation of Ysolda I'm going to open an account on payloadz and sell my diagonal kimono pattern. I guess I'll put the "store" (such as it is) here, on the sidebar.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Baby Stitches

I make a quick trip up to Oakland this afternoon, to hit the market at the TKGA/CGOA Knit & Crochet Show. My stated reason for the 45 minute drive each way was to obtain a larger size Tunisian crochet hook, from the Stitch Diva, aka Jennifer Hansen, my hero. But, as luck would have it, they were sold out, so I had to settle for an order and the promise of free shipping. So I bought some yarn. I got some yak yarn from Y2Knit, some hand-dyed cashmere-silk from Argosy Luxury Yarns some hand-dyed bamboo-wool-acrylic fingering weight yarn from the Knitter's Studio (which they are having dyed just for them) and a bunch of very soft wool from the mysterious Yarn Place of Sunnyvale.

Rather a lot, really.

The market reminds me of Stitches seven or eight years ago, although it's even smaller. I like the variety of classes they offer at this conference, and I took one last year, on double-ended hook stitches from Darla Fanton. But the classes I find compelling are few and far between, no matter where they are.

I obviously found the market compelling today, however.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Pt. Townsend

I just got back from a weekend in Pt. Townsend, WA, where I attended my sister-in-law's wedding and did some shopping, not necessarily in that order. My sister-in-law knitted her own wedding ensemble, and it looked fabulous. I hope she'll be able to wear the pieces for other occasions, after all of that work.

Pt. Townsend now has two yarn stores, plus what has to be one of the nicest farmers markets around. Since I work at a yarn store, I try to buy local yarn when I travel, and, while there was local roving for sale at the market, the only yarn came from Kingston, which is pretty close, as things go. It's even dyed (green) with osage orange.

I knitted more on my ballet tee-shirt, while I wasn't reading the new Terry Pratchett book.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Oddball compulsion

The Afghans for Afghans vest is drying right now, and I will sew on buttons tomorrow, photograph it on one of my kids and send it off. I was contemplating making another one before the deadline, but I have a new compulsion.

I joined the Stash Busters! group on ravelry, not really because I feel I need to go one a "yarn diet," but because I really have a huge stash and I like to make things out of it. Some of the members of the group have posted about holding out rewards to themselves of only being able to knit with or buy some particularly yummy yarn if they knit all of their stash yarn. I do not exaggerate that it would take me many years to knit up all of my stash yarn, so that's not the point.

But I have been thinking about the many oddballs and onesey-twosey balls I have (not leftovers) and about doing some projects that combine them in creative ways. This is, of necessity, about color, although I'm easing into it by doing the first one with a lot of grey yarns and three balls of colorful, self-striping wool.

(As an aside, when I went through my stash in a fairly major way last year, I was pretty amazed by the sheer quantity of grey yarn I found. That and red.)

So I'm thinking about a jacket, since these are all wools, and one is pretty itchy. The colorful yarn, the boucle and the ribbon will be combined into some sort of slip-stitch pattern (although Tunisian crochet is another possibility) and I'm also thinking of knitting the fronts on the bias, with the diagonal forming the neckline, and the colorful part the neckline border. Then I thought about putting a diamond in the back, and running the back diagonals off of it.

I would still rather work my usual knit-in, set-in sleeves from the top, so a challenge would be establishing the diagonals with short rows, and how to insert the diamond. If I keep the body armhole increases out of the bias section, I'll have some extra room for waist shaping.

And the truth must be told, there is some extra grey yarn in the sale bin at Yarndogs that I'm thinking of buying to add to this (despite the abovementioned superfluity of grey yarn.) But I'd have to get a full 50% off to make it worthwhile.

And while I'm thinking about this new project, I'm knitting away on the ballet t-shirt. I made a lot of progress on my trip this weekend; it should be done in a couple days. And there's still warm weather to wear it in!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Afghans for Afghans Vest

I finished the right front of the vest last night, and today I have been knitting them together with the back, done in 2x2 rib. My initial thought was that a ribbed back would make for a snug, warm fit, but it's pulling in quite a bit. Knitting the edge stitches of the back together with the side stitches of the front is also creating little holes, so I'll probably end up running a piece of yarn up each side. Technically, it's still not sewing!

I work at the yarn store tonight, so I will take along the hated crochet sock, which I've not even added as a WIP. Of course, we're not technically supposed to knit or crochet while working.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Boy, I haven't been to Blogger since 2003. But I'm not running for governor this time, I'm chronicling my knitting on Ravelry. Fewer links to the LA Times, more successes, one hopes.

Anyway, I spent today taking photo after photo with my iPhone, of sweaters laid flat on the floor. They would have looked better on me, but my phone doesn't have a flash, and I thought the photos-taken-in-the-mirror looked pretty lame. If I get a friend to come over and photograph me, I'll update things. Then I sent the photos to flickr and put in lots of project info and notes.

Still to come, the sweaters stored in my workroom, as well as all the yarn lurking therein. How does anyone have any time to knit?

I've also created a few groups, since I couldn't find groups for some of the things I'm interested in, and it's gratifying that people have joined them.

Finally, I have to crow here that a design I've submitted to Crochet! magazine's design contest was awarded an honorable mention, and will be published in the July 2008 issue. Woo hoo!