Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Into the (Cypress) Woods

It's Spring Break this week, and I finally have the time to enter a part of the knitting woods that I have always envisioned dipping my toe into, but never really had the chance: designing my own knitting pattern.

This whole journey is definitely something that I have never even thought I would do when I started knitting almost 8 years ago, but I am looking forward to the challenge. It definitely exercises a bunch of my mental muscles that I have not used before (I look at the prospect of grading a sweater with equal parts fascination and trepidation).

I have several designs in my head and a certain aesthetic that I want to promote with those designs, but the learning curve with taking something that is in my head and make it into a three dimensional object is quite steep. 

My first design is a sweater, which I am calling "Hinoki," or "cypress" in Japanese. I had a vision of a top down raglan with eyelet increases, and a Japanese cable pattern in a particular shade of hunter/olive green, and the Olive colorway in YOTH's Big Sister base does not disappoint.

The top-down part is pretty simple to carry out, but I have already come across problems with my cable chart. 

One problem is because I am knitting my sweater top down. I love the look of many a sweater that is bottom up and I am knitting two bottom up sweaters for myself right now (Nevelson and Number 001) but I really, really think they are annoying for the simple reason that I have hips. They don't lie (corny, but I couldn't help myself). 

I have that hourglass figure that makes my bust size different from my finished hip size so that involves a lot of math that as a new designer (with a lowercase "d"), I cannot quite wrap my brain around just yet. 

So I decided to go top-down, which meant the cable chart I am using is actually turning out upside down as compared to the original photo.  

As a result, I am coming across a lot of questions that need to be asked of myself when it comes to putting everything down on paper. Right now, I am knitting along and making notes, that way when I go back to my notes and start to put together a pattern, I have a basic skeleton to work with. 

Stay tuned - I will be posting more of my progress and journey here. Wish me luck! 
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Monday, March 30, 2015

In the Conductor's Booth: An Interview with Carrie Sundra

This week, we sit down to chat with Carrie Sundra of Alpenglow Yarn, our new sponsor! 
Alpenglow Yarn is making winding yarn a breeze for indie dyers!  We've developed the SkeinMinder, a tool which automates motorized skein winders.  Just set the number of rotations you need, press the big red button, and relax.  The SkeinMinder minds your winder, and stops it automatically.  We're taking orders on Kickstarter now through April 2.  We have special edition yarn rewards for knitters too, stop by and support cool tools for your favorite dyers!

Enjoy! 
Listen here, and subscribe here and here.

PS. We still have the Yarns on the House giveaway happening, and we have some big news to share too. 
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Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Big Move

Over the past few months, I have been a bit cryptic about a pretty big life change that is happening behind the scenes over in my little corner of the blogosphere. 

I almost spilled the beans when I shared my latest postcard in the An Inspired 2015 Postcard Swap over at Curious Handmade, but I wanted to wait to make sure that what was happening was real.

Yesterday, The Aussie and I got the news. 

We are moving! 
Source: Evelyn Henson
Long story short, The Aussie was offered a really great opportunity at his job, and the transfer was approved. We are heading out to Denver this Memorial Day weekend to scout out apartments (I am so excited for having a two-bedroom with a washer and dryer, among other things!), and the tentative date for the official move is early July. 

However, this does not mean to say that its an official good bye to New York City. First, my parents and family are still here. Second, as of now, this is a "half move."

I do not yet have a job in Colorado, and since I have a place to stay until I do (my parents' house), The Aussie will be living in Denver full-time, while I finish one more school year at my current job. 

In the meantime, I am applying for as many jobs as possible (both in and out of teaching, but if anyone has any leads on more "Behind the Scenes" education jobs, I'm game) and adding to my Denver Pinterest board. 

Oh, and finally getting my driver's license. 

What are the must-see, do, eat, and shop things for Denver? Share your tips and tricks in the comments below. 
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Mail Call! Postcard Blogger Swap with Clare Devine

This postcard - the last in the Postcard Blogger Swap for An Inspired 2015 - was hidden under a pile of virtual mail and much real paperwork! It was Quality Review at my school this past week, and my class was selected as one of the model classrooms. So far, the news is good and now I can sit back, relax and share this last wonderful postcard from Clare Devine of Yarn and Pointy Sticks

***
Hi Maria,

I must admit to feeling a little sad that our month of travel and wanderlust enabling is coming to an end. I have really enjoyed the trips down memory lane looking through my photographs and have felt immensely inspired by the journeys you have all taken me on.

This week we are heading back to Canada; it was an epic trip of awe-inspiring proportions, especially when I comes to yarn.

Since I became an avid knitter, in Australia while we were travelling, I always want to seek out local yarn and fibre when I arrive in a new place. I love the idea of being connected to a place and a travel memory through yarn. It means that every stitch I make when I return home weaves the memories of my trip into my knitting and my life.

This trip starts in the lovely local yarn shop in Calgary, Loop Kensigngton. They recommended a day trip to the CustomWoolen Mill at Carstairs in Alberta, about an hour drive from Calgary onto the prairies.
It was a beautiful day as we set out on what was to become a great family trip all round, with the added bonus of gorgeous wool.
The mill was opened in 1975 and remains a family run business today. The staff were incredibly welcoming and showed me around.

It was a truly magical experience being able to witness the full process from raw fleece to scrumptious skein of yarn.
The most interesting part of the tour was watching the Spinning Mule from 1910 (originally invented in 1779), the movement and sounds were mesmerising.

 
The best part was being able to pop next door and browse the selection of yarn that had been spun and dyed in the mill I had just visited. Being so close to the source of production really filled the yarn with so much energy and infused so many travel memories in the skeins I bought.
I treated myself to some lovely grey yarn, a skein of sunshine yellow and a skein of blue, reminiscent of the sky that day.

The yarn from the Mule Spinner is springy and sheepy; it knits up a treat. I am currently making the Woodstove Season cardigan by Alicia Plummer.
This yarn is infused with memories of road trips, family adventures and fibre folk – the perfect combination.
PS: After I finished writing this postcard I picked up my new book The Yarn Whisperer by Clara Parkes and read these lines. They seemed so true to what I had felt writing this piece I had to include them.

“Stockinette, ribbing, cables and even the humble yarn over can instantly evoke places, times, people, conversations – all those poignant moments we’ve tucked away in our memory banks. Over time, those stitches form a map of our lives.”

Source: The Yarn Whisperer page 11.

Have a wonderful week Maria and happy knitting

Clare
xx


Sunday, March 22, 2015

In the Conductor's Booth: An Interview With Julia Farwell-Clay

Say hello to our new sponsor, Alpenglow Yarn!
Alpenglow Yarn is making winding yarn a breeze for indie dyers!  We've developed the SkeinMinder, a tool which automates motorized skein winders.  Just set the number of rotations you need, press the big red button, and relax.  The SkeinMinder minds your winder, and stops it automatically.  We're taking orders on Kickstarter now through April 2.  We have special edition yarn rewards for knitters too, stop by and support cool tools for your favorite dyers!

***
This week, I finally had a chance to upload a long-waiting chat I had with Julia Farwell-Clay back in January during Vogue Knitting LIVE! She recently published From Folly Cove with Classic Elite, and it was a pleasure seeing her again. 
After the interview, I reviewed the book, which retails for $18.95 for the paperback version (trust me, you want the print version) and comes with a scratch-code for the eBook as well.

Enjoy! 
Listen here, and subscribe here and here.

PS. Update your bookmarks, Subway Knits is now its own domain: www.subwayknits.com
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