Friday, September 30, 2011

Episode 19: For the Love of Color Cards

The school year has started! My kids are a bit crazy at times and I am feeling overwhelmed and trying to find my feet, but the knitting helps.

On the Needles
There has been a bit of a stall with the knitting lately simply because school has started. That being said, I have cast on for the Cladonia and  getting a little bit of it done here and there and it is very good subway knitting. I am knitting the Cladonia in a light fingering, heavy laceweight yarn - Gherkin's Bucket MCN Cashmere in a custom colorway called Saucy.

I have seen a lot of Cladonias done both with the stripes and without and personally I prefer the solid color ones - for me they are more classic. Then again, it depends on what color combination is chosen - my friend Christy is also knitting one and she is using Jabberwocky from Fresh from the Cauldron which is a bright purple and red with black and gray. We were talking about what should be the contrast color and I was insisting that it had to be the black because the other 2 colors were so bright.

One thing that I found so far with the pattern is that I have alot of yarn and the shawl still seems pretty small; what I plan to do is double the stitches for the increases from 28 to 56, so that way it can be nice and big.

Working on the sleeves of the February Lady Sweater. After doing two repeats of the gull lace, I began to gradually decrease those extra 7 stitches that I cast on at the underarm to make the sleeves more fitted and less swingy. I am thinking of ripping out the bindoff of the body of the sweater and going back a bit because I think I knitted it a bit too long and it hangs right at the hip where I want it to be, but that is when it is unblocked. i really don't want it to get any longer so eventually be totally out of shape, so that will just take an hour or two to fix which isn't so bad.

What is very exciting about almost finishing the February Lady Sweater is that I finally was able to pick up my buttons from the post office. I ordered the English Script buttons from Howbeadyful on etsy, which are handmade fabric covered buttons. When I took them out of the package, they were WAY bigger than I had anticipated. I was concerned that they wouldn't fit through the button hole but they did! They are definitely "statement" buttons since they are a light color and pop against the dark blue of the sweater, but I like them.

I am planning my next sweater for once I also finish the Castle Pullover, which is where color cards came in.

I was planning on designing a cowl to submit to KnitScene, but unfortunately it didnt happen b/c i was so busy. I still have the idea in my head, but its on the mental shelf at the moment. I did get yarn for it from Quince and Co - I purchased Lark in twig and storm and also ordered the color card for the company. When I got the skeins, I knew I wanted to knit the sample of the cowl in twig, but wished it was really in chanterelle b/c its a wee bit lighter, and would show the cables more.

The colors were a bit off on my screen, but this is why i was really glad i got the color cards. I also ordered the color cards from Beaverslide Dry Goods - who I have had my eye on since I became a knitter bc Brooklyn Tweed was one of the first knitting blogs I read back when I was in Japan and he kept mentioning them alot "back in the day" around 2007.

I wanted to get the yarn for the melrose peacoat, but was having a hard time getting the right shade of green. I ordered the 3-ply McGill Meadows from Beaverslide, but when I received it, it was too bright of a green to go with the buttons. However, I ordered the color cards as well and thankfully, there was a shade of green just above it: Marsh Sedge. I never thought about it, but I put the button next to it and it WORKED.

Stashers Anonymous
The beaverslide dry goods yarn wasnt the only thing I purchased as of late. One the knitters in Ravelry posted a picture of Wollemeise Klappersnatch and Bluebell in one of the threads, and I just went gaga over Bluebell.

The other something was the Pick Your Poison club by Apothecary Yarns. Pick Your Poison is inspired by herbs that are poisonous and others as well - there are colorways called hemlock, wolfsbane, and ones called cyanide and strychnine. They are all on the superwash merino sock base, and you have great options: either one skein for $23 or two or more for $20.

In addition, you can buy the whole set of 9 colorways for $160. You can also mix and match and get things like 2 of one color, 1 of another, etc.  In addition each "concoction" of 2 or more skeins comes with 3 stitch markers from Velvet H ippo. Signups end October 1, so if you are interested, check it out.

Two things two review today: Shades of Green pattern e-book and Wendy Knits Lace by Wendy D. Johnson. First, a thanks to Erica Jacksofsky of Fiddle Knits Designs who graciously let me join in on the fun for the podcast tour of Shades of Green, and to Potter Craft for sending Wendy Knits Lace for review.

Shades of Green is a collection of various types of patterns utilizing various types of yarn weights ranging from sport to bulky. All of the patterns are knitted in a shade of green, hence the title of the book. There are various types of patterns spanning all different categories: shawls, sweaters, babies, socks, etc. There are patterns for cup and cellphone cozies and even for men as well.

The whole collection retails for $18 in PDF format and $20 in print (with a digital copy included). If you purchased the patterns individually (which you can do if you only like 1 or two of the patterns from Fiddle Knits or Ravelry) all together they would be $40.

However, if you want a chance at winning your own PDF copy of Shades of Green, leave a comment below on the blog stating which pattern would you want to knit. The deadline for posting your comment is October 9, 2011 at 10:00pm EST.

Now onto Wendy Knits Lace. What really caught my eye was the cover. More importantly, the shirt that the model was wearing - love it! And love how it works with the lace scarf. There is great styling done throughout the book and overall, it serves as a great reference and pattern book. It retails for $22.99 USD.

After the first day of school, I was exhausted. Still, I went to the talk by Anna Hrachovec at Lion Brand Yarn Studio. Lots of fun and it was nice to see her again. Check out the slideshow of the pics here. I took tons of pictures of all the cute mochis at the event:

It is now confirmed: I purchased the tickets to Rhinebeck. Hopefully there will be a meetup with Kristen of Yarngasm and the Savvy Girls.

Knit the Queue Along: QAL
So finally am getting around to posting the guidelines and prizes for the QAL!

1. There are two threads: the QAL Chat thread and the QAL FOs thread. The latter is no chat because your post number is the entry number for the RNG.

2. The project that you submit to the QAL FOs thread must have a queue date. This can be found on your project page on the lower right hand corner of the page, it will say, "Originally Queued: Date Goes Here." To be fair, since I haven't posted anything about the QAL on Ravelry and am doing it now and the idea of the QAL is to knit off the queue, not add more to it, there is a deadline for projects that can be added to the queue, while will be October 1. If you submit a project that has an "Originally Queued" date after October 1, it will not count for the QAL.

3. WIPs are not allowed. Again, the idea is to knit off the queue and generally speaking, if you click the "Cast On" button from the queue page, it will be a new project.  Everyone who has posted an FO so far has a project start date after September 1, so that would be the cutoff date. If you did start something off the queue after September 1, you are fine.

4. You can submit as many FOs as you like (explain how someone suggested a system where people who knit sweaters can get more points but for the first go round, I want to keep it simple. However I would love to implement a chart/points system which is very teacher-ish, explain 25 book campaign and october sky for things like hats, sweaters, etc in terms of the effort and time put in). 

5. The end date for QAL Round 1 (because I want to make this an ongoing QAL, but this will be the end date in terms of drawing for prizes) is December 31. Get your Christmas knitting off the queue too!

6. Have fun! The guidelines are meant to make it fair. This is the first round, so for now I want to keep it simple but I am open to suggestions and will make adaptations and such as necessary.

1. 3 copies of the Terpsichore pattern by Kara Hoover
2. Skein of yarn (base TBD) in the colorway our choice from a selection by Apothecary Yarns
3. Stitch markers from Velvet Hippo
4. Skein of yarn and corresponding pattern from Creatively Dyed

For a total of 6 prizes thus far. If I have spoken to someone about prizes specifically for this round of the QAL (as I would love to give out more prizes for Round 2 and so on) please contact me, or if you are interested in donating, let me know.

Thanks for listening!

Closing Song: "The Cave" by Mumford & Sons from Sigh No More

Monday, September 5, 2011

In the Conductor's Booth: An Interview with Anna Hrachovec

This week, we have an interview with Anna Hrachovec of Mochimoci Land. She is the author of Knitting Mochimochi and just published Teeny Tiny Mochimochi. We had a fun chat at the Tea Lounge in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

Her toys are ridiculously cute and they have a lot of personality. She mentions Flushie the Toilet, and I have to admit, one of my favorites is Ursa Majorly Cute.

She will be speaking and doing a book signing at Lion Brand Yarn Studio this Thursday at 6pm. In addition, she is a part of the Hooked! exhibition taking place in Amsterdam as part of Dutch Design Week and will be exhibiting at Gallery Hanahou this November.


Friday, September 2, 2011

Episode 18: The Double Whammy

Discovered a new podcast: Knit. Spin. Cake. Check it out on iTunes and her group is here.

On the Needles
Still working on the February Lady Sweater, but now at the garter stitch hem of the body. I see the end in sight! Last night I ordered buttons for the placket: English Script Fabric Covered button at Howbeadyful on Etsy.

I also ordered the Cabbage Rose buttons for my next sweater which is the Melrose Peacoat from New England Knits. That will be part of the Study Hall for the Harry Potter Knitting and Crochet House Cup, which I have re-enrolled in so to speak.

This past weekend, my knitting was at a crisis point in terms of it being all over the apartment and being disorganized. So I dumped everything onto my desk from my WIP bin which I have not touched in months and reorganized everything.
I also tidied up my yarn vase as the yarn cakes just collapsed: I have this tall clear vase that I got when I received my wedding bouquet, which was resting on the top and I was wondering what to do with it. I have some Lantern Moon needles that I don't really use anymore but are too pretty to stick in the yarn towers so I wound up some coordinating skeins, chucked them in, stuck the needles through the yarn cakes and had room to fit in a spindle that I had lying around as well.

One project that I did rescue from the widespread knitting explosion was the Bramble Beret - almost done!

Off the Needles
I finished the Norie hat! But I clearly must have knitting brain fart because again, I introduced another "design element" - from rows 67-83, it says to repeat the rows of stockinette and the cat's paw lace for the final lace repeat. It's snug and very warm; loved knitting with handspun.

Knitting Finds
Terpsichore pattern by Kara Hoover inspired by the painting “Terpsichore: La Muse De La Danse.” Overall a clear pattern and well written. The one critique I do have is the initial photo of the project - it was a bit fuzzy so I couldn't see what the pattern was like and was unsure of it, but when I saw the other photos that are provided in the pattern which can also be seen by clicking on the projects tab on the pattern page then you get a better sense of the pattern in real life.

Pinterest has taken over my life. But the way that it relates to knitting is that for one many designers are on pinterest - the only one I have found so far is Stephen West and Arianne Caron-Lacoste of Falling Stitches - so you can see what inspires them and hopefully you.

But most importantly for now at least are these pins of color palettes created by Design Seeds. I also found some great ideas and things related to knitting, such as using plain wooden clothespins to hold and store extra scraps of yarn.

Knitting Travels
Last week Mel and I went to Turks and Caicos for a short holiday. We got hit by Irene. It affected our 2nd and 3rd day of the trip which were the only full days we had, though we did get out of the city and did get some sun and relaxed. We definitely plan on going back: Turks and Caicos is beautiful.
 I got a decent amount of knitting done - the lace edging of the Rock Island Shawl was perfect beach knitting. I did bring my February Lady Sweater on the plane with me and got a bunch of the body done on the flight down - and during the hurricane.
 If you ever go to Turks and Caicos, you must try 2 things: first, rum punch. The second thing is conch fritters which is the muscle from the conch shell and they make them into small deep fried balls and the restaurant at our resort served them with spicy mayo, tartar sauce, lemon and lime. I liked them best with the lime. We kept ordering them every chance we got b/c for sure this is one thing that we will never find in NYC.
On Thursday morning we were able to get some beach time in before our flight which was delayed so I worked on the Norie hat in the airport. However, Turks and Caicos follows the TSA rules here in the US - I saw signs from the TSA that had the website so I didn't have to deal with security asking what my knitting was. Then again, the airport which is very tiny, was so crowded, hot and hectic that I think knitting needles were the last thing on peoples' minds.

Overall though it was a lovely trip and a wonderful, low key place to visit - the people there are really nice. Hopefully to make up for Irene we are planning on going back over Easter break.

Then there was round two of Irene - hence the double whammy. NYC shut down the public transportation system and instituted mandatory evacuations for low-lying areas for the first time in history which was admittedly a bit freaky. Having seen what Irene did down in Turks and Caicos I was a bit concerned about up here. Thankfully, it wasn't that bad, but there was flooding in my area over by Astoria park and I keep seeing on the news whole towns upstate and in Vermont being washed away which is upsetting. I spent most of that weekend watching the news nonstop and knitting the Bramble Beret.

Swatch and Learn

While working on the Rock Island, I taught myself a trick of keeping track of how many repeats I did because I forgot my phone, which has the row counter. I have the KnitPicks magnetic chart holder, and used the medium sized magnet to keep track of what row I was on. I placed the smaller magnet to the right of the chart at row 1 - this indicated the first repeat I was working on.

I moved the smaller one as I completed repeats - the lace edge has 8 repeats and while i didnt make it to the 8th I did wonder as to what to do when I did reach the 8th and ran out of rows - the answer was to put the magnet on the left side of the chart. Granted, a pen and just ticking things off works as well too but since i Was at the beach, there were no pens to be had and I didn't drop one in my project bag.

In addition, as a result of working on the Bramble Beret, I finally figured out how to do the 2-1-2 left leaning cable, and created a tutorial.

Next week, Anna Hrachovec of Mochimochi Land will be at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio on September 8 doing a talk and book signing for her new book, Teeny Tiny Mochimochi - its by RSVP only so if you are interested, do call the store to see if you can still sign up. I will be there so do come up and say hi (I am still a bit shy).

Rhinebeck - it IS confirmed, I am definitely going on Saturday for more reasons than one but that will all be revealed by the end of October. So, I am still wondering if people are interested in a meet-up.
Do post ideas and thoughts in the thread for the festival.

Amy Christoffers of Savory Knitting (who designed the Larch and the Acer cardigans) is offering 100% of the proceeds from patterns sold from September 1 - 5 to the Vermont Farmer's NOFA Emergency Fund.

Still working on some of the details for the Knit the Queue-Along so we will start after Labor Day officially. In the meantime, go ahead and post any related chatter in the thread for the QAL.

Closing Song: "Sand in My Shoes" by Dido from Life for Rent
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