Friday, November 14, 2014

Indie Gift-Along!

As knitters, we have a tendency (and need) to think about Christmas gifts months in advance.  As a designer, I get a warm, fuzzy feeling every time a design of mine flies off the page (or screen), onto someone's needles, and into gift-wrapping.  Even though I'm not there for the gift-giving, I love to imagine that's what happens when someone buys my pattern.

Last year, a crew of independent knitting- and crochet-desginers created the "Indie Gift-Along."  It's essentially a group in the Ravelry forums that is dedicated to bringing knitters and independent designers together to make gifts for loved ones, and to share pictures with one another as they work.

I couldn't be more excited to be one of the participating designers this year!  Thanks to all the tireless volunteers who organize this (including Alex Tinsley and Nina Machlin Dayton), I get to be a witness to the gift-giving process, as well as get to know the work of so many amazing independent designers.

I know I'm a day late to report this, but for the next 7 days (ending November 21, 2014), 20 of my patterns will be on sale for 25% off! Simply use the code, giftalong2014!

By all means, take advantage of the sale, and plan ahead for the Indie Gift-Along this year!

Friday, October 24, 2014

New eBook, Stormy Knits

After months of knitting, designing, pulling up older, unpublished designs, re-knitting them into my desired palette, working with my saintly testers, photo-dates with my friend Teri Jo and my husband Doug, plus days upon days on my computer, I have finally published this collection of 6 designs!  

First, an art-deco inspired, asymmetrical hat with wayward, bouncing zig-zags and bobbles that drip both up and down, Altgeld.  I love this hat because it's fun, interesting to knit, and works for both men and women.  

Next, in the sportweight Arroyo yarn by Malabrigo, are the Torrential Mitts.  These are knit sideways, with a provisional cast-on and grafted together on the palm side, with short-row gussets and a nice picot detail.

With the rest of the yarn in the skein, I made Ainslie Street, a lacy beret with a swirling vortex on the back.  (Don't wear this hat during a vortex of the Polar variety; save that job for the other hats.)

Using a thicker yarn, I made a lacy cowl that actually might keep you toasty.  This, I call Thunder Cowl.

Veering away from an exclusively-Malabrigo book, I diversified by using this amazing skein of Madelinetosh Vintage in the colorway Black Velvet.  Ship Bay Beret utilizes a broken, or "mistake" rib pattern that looks deceptively like brioche.  Very sneaky.

Last, but definitely not least, is Stricken, knit with Dream In Color's new base, Jilly.  I named it because it looks like bolts of lightning, ones that might strike.  I had no idea (and this makes me a bad Waldorfian) that Stricken auf Deutsch means "to knit."  This is equally embarrassing because Dream In Color was created by two Waldorf moms.  Ah well, I took Spanish in school.

Thanks for perusing these new designs!  You can, of course, buy the patterns individually, but if you buy the book, you'll get all the patterns for $20 (a savings of $13.50)!  Each pattern, as well as the book, comes with a printable, text-and-chart-only black-and-white version so you don't end up wasting your precious ink on all the black I'm wearing in these photos!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Minnesota Nice

Last week, Doug and I drove up to Minnesota with his mom to see his brother's sweet family in Wayzata, an unabashedly charming little town on Lake Minnetonka. It had everything from gorgeous foliage, a sparkling lake, and still-blooming roses. There was even a miniature electric train set outside the train station!
Did I mention the foliage?
After many pleasant turns around the small town, Doug and I went over to Minneapolis to see my friend Leslie. I'd heard about Steven Be's store, so I asked if it would be cool to meet there. Leslie doesn't knit very much, but she accommodated my request. Obviously, I got distracted:
Then, I met the man himself, Steven Be! We posed in front of both the chandalier...
And also by the "Red Carpet" area!
What's in the bag, you ask? Well, only a couple yarns that one can only buy at this shop! On the left is MadelineTosh in the colorway Dead Sexy, and on the right is an amazing, sparkly yarn by Three Irish Girls in the colorway Trust Me, I'm The Doctor. They had almost an entire merch island devoted to Doctor Who. My kind of store!
Upstairs there's a fantastic workspace:
In this workspace there is some Loopy Mango yarn, and I kid you not, just lying around. Even Leslie was impressed! Or at least I asked her to look impressed, and she complied!
After this lovely trip, we went to Modern Times, which had such delicious food (and a friend I had nearly ignored for several minutes while I was fawning over yarn) that I did not take any pictures. Then we headed to Electric Fetus Records, which had a very impressive selection. Doug found a record by the De Zurik Sisters, and we had to buy it. They grew up on a farm in Minnesota and developed the most uncanny yodeling-in-harmony we've ever heard:
The rest of our time involved pancakes, bacon, and a pumpkin patch with our baby nephews. They were so cute, the weather was so perfect, and it was so amazingly autumnal that I couldn't help but wonder if maybe Doug and I should move there. I decided to make a pros and cons list:
  • It's as pretty as New England this time of year. That means super pretty.
  • People stun you with their niceness, kind of like in the South. Apparently this is called Minnesota Nice.
  • There are Meat Raffles. At bars, probably on game nights, you can enter a Meat Raffle and come home with meat.
  • This is Choir Country. I love choirs.
  • In the wintertime, people leave parkas and sleeping bags in parks so the homeless can try to keep warm. This warms the cockles of my heart.
  • A Prairie Home Companion.
  • The Walker Museum of Modern Art is impressive, but unpretentious. There's a big spoon and a cherry!
  • I am susceptible to Frost Bite.
I'm sure there are other cons, but that last one is kind of the end of the conversation (for now...let's see if I survive one more winter in Chicago, and then we'll see if I can handle a steady 10 degrees lower). Anyway, the point of this post is that I was charmed off my feet by Minneapolis!
Also, on our way out, we stopped for breakfast in St. Paul. I had a bacon caramel roll at Swede Hollow:
It was as yummy as it looks.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Much Ado About Beading

 Today I added the Much Ado Shawl to my pattern store, and I'm so happy it's available!  The cast-on edge is a beaded picot, which adds a glimmering detail while wearing it.  The beads I found are green at some angles, and red at others, making them appear to be either dewdrops or berries.  When I came home with them, I rummaged through my stash and found a fantastic skein of Leading Men Fiber Arts Showcase in the colorway Steve and Andy, the names of the yarn's creators, but also the names of my cousin and uncle, who are woodsmen of the most badass degree, and the color makes me think of them!
 Doug and I went to the forest preserve in Des Plaines, where he was about to play saxophone at a Romanian festival.  I stole him away from the goulash for a moment and he took pictures while I frolicked.  Or I did my best at frolicking.
 I stood still for him, too, wearing the shawl in a way that was actually practical.  It's fantastically soft, and the length means I can wrap it around my neck a few times, creating just as many layers of the beaded edge.

I hope you like this shawl!  If you do, twirl on over to Ravelry and buy it now!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Subconscious Shawl

Getting a rejection is never easy, especially when you've been excited about a pattern from its inkling, through its creation, and are careful to never post any instagrams of yourself wearing it for months.  In the case of this particular submission, however, the rejection note was so kind, complimentary, and encouraging that I can't help but submit again.

Subconscious is a shawl that plays with short-row placement, creating garter ridges that spin off and feed into each other, just like ideas in a pipe dream.  It creates a fabric reminiscent of braids, zippers, branches, and zebras.  When I was trying to come up with a name, everything was falling flat.  Doug suggested, "You should sleep on it.  It will probably come to you subconsciously."  BAM!  Subconscious.  It's the perfect 3-syllable name that isn't hard to pronounce and actually seems to make sense with the subtle stripes.

 Some people have remarked its similarity to bat wings.  I can see it!

 It can be nonchalant as well, which is usually how I wear it.  Because it drapes without a care in the world!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Endurance Socks

Doug and I are back from our honeymoon, and I'm buckling down to publish all the new patterns I've come up with in the last year! First up, Endurance Socks, a pattern I came up with when making a present for my dad's 70th birthday. His (I didn't get a good photograph) were the reverse of these; brown, with a blue stripe, and I loved them so much while making them, I had to use the leftover yarn to make some for myself.

I finished these on a rainy day in Sighnaghi, a lovely town in Georgia (the country). After I finished the toe on the second sock, the clouds parted, and I got to try them on a hike to the Bodbe Monastery down the road. This was the first real hike of our honeymoon, and it proved to me that I was not in shape.

Things changed gradually. After walking uphill and down, laden with our luggage, looking for lodging, my calves began to become something other than soft pads behind my bony shins. In fact, I was quite happy during our hike in Cappadocia, where the only lost breath was that which I had to catch, taking in all the beauty!

OK, so my calves aren't really much to write home about, but look how comfy the socks are! Also, just minutes after this picture was taken, Doug and I saw a hoopoe! This is exciting because of two things: I have a tattoo of a hoopoe, though I'd never seen one in person before, and hoopoe sightings are a rare occurance, even for those who live near their environment!

So now, thanks to my wonderful testers who have been working with me as I traveled, I have published the pattern! I highly recommend them for comfort during hikes, long walks, runs, and cuddling at home.


Friday, January 31, 2014

All the Tote Bags.

Recently my friend Alex posted about CARROT, the "to-do list with an attitude", and I succumbed. I too must admit that empty points from an app instead of the inherent joy of a job well done. Because of CARROT's empty points, I've found everyone's addresses and wrote them by hand on our wedding invitations.
Because the printable labels for the return address have't arrived, I thought I'd tackle something else on the list: sort through and clean all tote bags.
What is it with tote-bags and being a knitter? Once a project is done, do I diligently return the yarn to my stash? Oh no. It stays in the bag. Eventually when the bag gets too full of scraps, it leaves rotation (translation: new tote-bag) along with all the receipts, lotion tubes, pens and pencils, notebooks, and magazines. Even, in the case of one tote-bag, other tote-bags.
So I did it! I went through all the tote-bags, purses, and back-packs! Want to see? I knew you did!

That's a lot of bags! I saved the best for last--my new Wool bag from my friend Grace. The cloth bags are all going straight into the laundry. I'm going to add that as a task on CARROT, now!
So lets have a look at what was hiding in my tote-bags (which I keeps piled in the basket next to the wicker basket):
Top left: Wedding magazines, books, pattern notes. Top center: Yarn! And all the stitch-markers and yarn needles in existence. Top right: receipts, wrappers, and other trash (even found some loose staples in my back-pack, back when I had a stapler about 3 years ago?). Middle right: ball bands, toiletries, office supplies, stickers, loose change. Bottom left: Anna Vogelzang and Neko Case CDs, and some loose shawls.
What a mess! Oh well, now I know what I have, it should be fairly easy to put away (toiletries go to the bathroom, yarn goes in the stash, wedding magazines...meh, they get recycled because after you've read one, you've read them all!