Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas

I was going to put in a really cute photo of the mess left over from Christmas, but when it was time to upload the photos, the camera said that there were 101 photos to upload.  What?!  Turns out that my husband took a zillion photos at the Trans-Siberian Orchestra show and I just don't feel like sorting through them right no photos. 

The holiday was really lovely.  We spent several hours at Aaron's Dad's and had a great time.  The boys made out like little bandits.  I got a big giftcard to Sephora, a new beta, some inter-changable needles from knit picks, and Bones season 5 on DVD.  I just bought myself a little gift too...Intwined Pattern Studios chart designer!  This is going to really take my pattern and chart designs in a whole new direction.  I can create my charts, do written directions to match them, invert charts if I need to (which I frequently do need to), and have access to knitting symbols all for a ridiculously reasonable price.  I couldn't be more excited, especially since I've been designing things in my sleep lately and it always takes me more time to create the chart than it does to write the pattern out. 

My most recent design is a tie for little guys.  I knit a wonderful tie for Dante from Hilary Smith Callis called Carrie's Ties.  He glanced at the screen as I was reading her blog and back-tracked to tell me that he thought a knitted tie was cool and he would wear one if he had one...  so I bought the pattern and two skeins of Seduce Colors in # 4481 Dreams and knit him one (I finished it last night).  It's really a lovely pattern and the yarn is beautiful.  I hated knitting it because the Seduce is so unforgiving and doesn't stretch, so when you knit in magic-loop the last stitch of every row is always tight and I had to force it over the needle, but the finished look was worth it.  It just drapes so nicely and has fantastic sheen and color.  So anyway, while I was knitting the tie for Dante, I realized that Alex would want one and that he's too small for a traditional tie.  That led me to design a tie for him that looks just like a real tie that goes around the neck, but features a button band for an adjustable fit.  I've knit the first one in SWTC Bamboo #144, and I'll be working on a few different sized and weights, and then releasing a pattern.  I was inspired by Hilary's slip-stitch feature in the full sized tie and after trying different methods to create a seam, I decided that her feature works best to allow the tie to lay flat and I incorporated it.  That's the end of the pattern similarities, as my version is worked flat and seamed in back like a real tie, and is made in three pieces to allow the shape and fit.  Photos to come soon, after I knit a few more samples and get the 101 photos off my camera.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Two down, one to go

I finished the finishing on the second of three items I took in for the holiday.  This one was simple and easy, but it took quite a while because of the sheer size of it (50" chest).  I finished the last of the tail weaving at my knitting class and then took out Dante's socks to work on them.  I'm almost half way through the foot.  What a difference a few extra stitches can make in the amount of time one spends working on a sock!

I've also collected more yarn.  It's really yarn collecting at this stage in the game because I just don't have the time to knit it all, yet I keep bringing it in.  I'm a yarn hoarder (almost).  Today I picked up 3 skeins of orange Berroco Vintage for another top-down sweater for Alex.  He's watching The Cat in the Hat and Nick wears an orange sweater just like the one Alex he wants an orange sweater.  Lets not forget the purple sweater he asked for too.  I might just return the purple yarn, if he never mentions it again.  I also got a fantastic colorway of Noro Silk Garden Sock which I didn't need because I have 3 balls right now that I haven't knit, plus a ball of Lang Magic Stripe in pink/red/black, a ball of Knit One Crochet Two Soxx Appeal in a variegated green for Alex's socks (Dante's getting socks, so Alex will need socks too), and a pair of size 8 Addi Turbo needles because I don't have a 24" 8 and I've been using one pretty often.  Then at knitting, I scored some free green mystery yarn of undetermined yardage that I took for Alex, and some blue for myself.  I needed to get a separate bag to put it all in.  Oh, and did I mention the Pacman pins from Namco for the Pacman hat that Alex asked me for??  Right.  I have to design a Pacman hat.  This is either gonna be awesome, or it's gonna fail big time.m

Monday, December 13, 2010

WaterFire Hand Warmers pattern now available!

 WaterFire Hand Warmer pattern is now available in my pattern store on Ravelry.  You can purchase it from my sidebar (even if you don't have a Ravelry account...but why wouldn't you?). 
 The hand warmers are knit from one ball of Zauberball fingering weight, in their rainbow colorway.  The cool colors were separated from the warm colors, and two balls were created.  I used those two newly created balls to knit the fair-isle design.
 The stitch motif is inspired by designs in Alice Starmore's Fair-Isle Knitting book.
 The pattern is also inspired by WaterFire, an award winning sculpture created 15 years ago by a local RISD student.  It's free to the public and runs every year from June - October with special "partial-fires" through out the year.
 These would be just as pretty in two solid colors, as well as any other high contrast color of Zauberball (they were test knit in the purple/orange colorway).  Cast on and stay warm!

Oh Christmas Tree & Hacho Mittens

 The Christmas tree is up, decorated, and lit.  Alex was way more excited this year than he's ever been before.  He put up all the ornaments that you see on the bottom 3 feet of the tree, and he did a pretty good job of getting them spread out.  Aaron moved one and Alex got really upset so I told him to leave them where Alex put them, and fill in as best he could with the glass ornaments.
 I also finished Alex's Hacho mittens finally.  To be fair, I finished them last year but he lost one.  I didn't think it was necessary to knit the replacement at the time (after all, the season was over), but now it's getting really cold and it's definitely mitten weather.  I started them three times before I found the needle size that I used on the original pair.
Now, I just need to finish the one seaming job that is due before Christmas, and I think I can sneak in a quick pair of mittens for myself.  Oh, and I also need to finish Sabrina's mittens before she gets here in the next few weeks.  Better get some pain killers, cause my fingers are gonna be sore.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Things I've learned today

 So I asked Alex to try on this sweater so that I could get an idea of it's fit, and I could see it on a body.  I had to threaten him with death.  Turns out that Alex doesn't like blue...  I had no idea.  He hates it.  He hates it enough that he whined, flopped, took forever to put it on, flopped some more, and after I threatened him with a nap, I was able to take the above photo.  Can you see his pain?
In this photo, I was encouraging him to make monster faces, stick his tongue at me, and do funny things with his hands.  He didn't want to but at least I got a snap shot of him with a much better face on.  I thought he hated the sweater, but I had him try on the green version and he couldn't wait to get it on .  He loves that one, so it turned out that he loves green, hates blue, and wouldn't take the green sweater off.  He said "mom, can I wear this?!  It's so cozy and warm."  So even though it was supposed to be his Christmas gift, I gave it to him today.  He wore it all day long and loved it.  He especially loved that his neck warmer matched (there's a green stripe in it that I knit with the same yarn as the sweater).  

I took him with me (in his sweater) to run several errands, on of which was to drop off the sweater-of-doom.  I'd called the shop and let them know that I was done and would bring it in later in the day, just in case the Nana called...and she did call (sigh).  I'm just not getting paid enough for this.  So, while we were there, Alex and I wandered into the back room where we proceeded to let him pick out yarn for his next sweater.  I figured that he was so particular about color that it would be best to let him decide for himself.  He chose the most ugly primary-color-variegated Comfort DK, and I had to veto that decision.  I offered to knit him a hat or something, but there was no way on this Earth that I was knitting with that yarn.  None.  After I hid it out of sight, he chose a pretty baby purple.  Sadly, I had to steer him to other options in the purples.  He chose a really pretty (and yet still gender neutral enough) Cascade 220 superwash.  It's a bright purple that's heathered with black (hard to describe) and it's really a beautiful color.  I handed him a ball and he happily ran out to the counter.  So here's hoping that I'll be able to knit him a brand new sweater for Christmas.
Oh, and by the way, if anyone is looking for a copy of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer...the post office had it for about 11 bucks as part of some promotion.  We picked one up when we stopped there to return a cookbook that I never asked for, that was sent to me anyway even though I returned the card stating that I didn't want it.  It was that kind of day.  I also had to speak to the people at Capital One regarding the email that I received, telling me that my new credit card was on the way... only I never applied for a credit card.  They had my name, social, and DOB on file, and obviously my email address, but the mailing address was incorrect.  Thank goodness I called because the account had been opened a few days ago so they had time to flag the card and get it closed, close my account, and flag it with a fraud warning.  After my day, I'm really tired. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Little German Boy

 Pattern: Children's Neck Down Pullover #9730 from Knitting Pure & Simple
 Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash Hand Painted, color 9997
 Size: 6-8, knit at a smaller gauge so it's more like 5-7 years
 Ready to go into the mail, and off to it's new home with a 5-year old little German boy for Christmas.
Whew!  Now, on to the next one.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Glutton for Punishment

Aaron's hand drawing from art class
Punishment and I are getting cozy these days.  I've got more homework that I know what to do with.  I'm working more hours which is really making it tough to keep up with said homework (last night I was up till 2am working on papers).  I've got a cookie swap tonight and I didn't have time to bake any yet.  I've got some butter out on the counter right now to soften and I'm going to whip up the dough before I leave, and have Dante & Aaron bake them up while I'm out...I apologize in advance if they don't work out.  I'm about half way through the last sleeve on the German kid's top down sweater.  This is a really good thing because GermanNana is very nervous and has called or dropped in on me twice now to check on it's progress.  For some reason, she was under the impression that it would only take a few days to knit an entire sweater for a 5-year old boy (in which case, she should have had time to do it herself...) and I've had to tell her twice now that I'm working on it, I have homework, kids, work, and family obligations, and that I'll call her when it's done.  She's a nice enough lady, but her nervousness is really starting to wear on me and I need her to relax before I hand the entire project over to her as-is (I'm doing her a big favor here, it would be nice if she remembered that).  Then I still have the vest to put together for a customer, and another one dropped a baby sweater off that needs to be seamed together, have buttons put on...oh yeah, and the sleeves need to be knit.  Honestly, I just don't know if I can get that done before Christmas.  I let her know, and she's grateful that I took it on and is understanding.  We'll see what happens.  So I've let the shop know that if anyone else asks...I can't do anything else at all until after the holidays.  That way I won't feel pressed to take on that one last project because it's an emergency and they're really in a bind and they really need this, and can I please please try.  Obviously, I need to review the chapter on how to say 'no' and stick to my guns.

While all of this excitement over work and homework is going on, I've been bombarded by design ideas and I haven't had time to knit any of them up to see if they work.  I've got lots of socks and mittens in my sketch book, and I just don't have time to get to them.  Maybe I should work on things in my sketch book while I'm in Cali for 3 weeks.  I've already got the yarn for one project, and I picked up some Comfort DK to knit a pair of Cocky! socks for my mom.  Now, if I could only find time to finish the gloves for my MIL, the new socks for my FIL, the socks for Dante, and the elephant for Carolyn.  Looks like I'm baking for everyone else for Christmas.  That's good too, right?

Saturday, December 4, 2010


If any of you watch Bones, then you'll know exactly what this is, lol.  Turns out that the bird is a cockatoo!  Who knew?  I always thought it was a rooster.

So what does this have to do with anything, you may ask?  Well, instead of doing my homework last night, I got out of the shower inspired by this belt buckle and pulled up excel to chart out a brand new Booth-inspired sock...Cocky!  I've started a new Yahoo group page for my Bones Ravelry group to host knit-alongs with original patterns and this is the first one.  I'll be running this round for about 2 months (to get us past the holiday season) and then we'll add new patterns as they come.  If you're interested in joining the group, leave me a comment or send me a personal message on Ravelry and I'll get your pertinent info.  Once you receive an invite to the group, you'll be able to download patterns.  But if you don't feel like joining one more thing, I'll be releasing the patterns to the public after the end of each pattern's knit-along round.  That means that (assuming anyone else reads this thing and joins up) Cocky! will be released toward the end of January.
Here's what you need to know to knit this sock:
  • it's written for 8 sts per inch in the stranded pattern
  • you need to be able to read a chart, decrease, knit in the round, and be familiar with basic sock construction.
  • you'll need 50gm of red and 50gm of white fingering weight yarn (or any other color of your choice but I think you can see why I chose red and white).
  • the pattern is downloadable from the yahoo group in a PDF format.  please keep the pattern private, as it is an exclusive pattern for the group.
  • That's it!  No more.  Are you still reading this list?!
So, if anyone want's to get in on the fun, let me know.  More random patterns to come as I attempt to stay focused on my school work, and commissioned knitting, lol.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Stalking my patterns

My patterns have taken out temporary restraining orders against me, because I keep stalking them on Ravelry to see how many sales I've made.  I just can't seem to stop myself.  Does anyone else do this??  Seriously.  I need to know that I'm among friends.  I check my patterns about every hour.  I check it on gmail to see if there are any emails about sales.  When I don't see anything there, I go over to Paypal to verify that there really is nothing there.  After that's been verified, I check Ravelry to see if the other two sites are lying to me.  It's really unhealthy, lol.  All I can think about is people knitting something that I've designed.  I'm hooked!  I have several designs that I've written a pattern for, which I just need to have test knit.  I've found a free test knitting group, but there are so many rules!!  I don't mind rules, but that means that I need the time to read them all, and then fill out all the necessary paperwork, and I don't have that kind of time right now.  (Anyone interested in test knitting a pair of stranded hand-warmers?)  I have a design that I wrote out based on an item that a customer brought into the shop yesterday.  She needed to replicate it for someone else, and didn't know where to begin.  We talked about it some, and then she said something about socks that jogged my memory, and I was off like a rocket, scribbling the pattern down on a notepad.  She offered to pay me for the pattern, but I gave it to her in exchange for knitting the sample for me (free test knitting!).  Hopefully it works out and than I'll have a sample photo to include with my pattern.  I also need to work out a few other sizes, and if it all works out then I'll introduce it here.  All I can say for now is that it's retro and based on a vintage item found in a yard sale.  Very cute, very practical, and I'm inspired to do some really funky things with it.

In other news, I'm knitting a sweater for the German-Nana (did I mention this already??) and it's coming along nicely.  My only issue is that the Cascade 220 superwash (which I love) is pooling just a bit through the sleeves so I'm now working from both ends of the ball to minimize this.  I could have just pressed on with the sleeves as they were, but I'm a bit OCD about these things so I ripped it back and started again with one strand from the inside and one from the outside, alternating them every row.  There's still a very slight amount of pooling but much less, and much less obvious than the first go-round.  When that's done, I'll be finishing a piece for a customer and then there's a possibility that I may need to knit an angora scarf for another woman who can't find what she's looking for.  I suggested she try Amazon, and Etsy, and then let me know if she still can't find it as I've got a connection to some 100% angora yarn.  I'm never gonna get Dante's socks knit at this rate.  The knitter's kids have no handknits.  But when I finally get back to knitting my own stuff, I'll have fantastic labels to put on them because I ordered custom labels from  They do lots of different types, and their minimum is really tiny so I could try them out before I commit myself to 1000 labels that will sit around my place taking up space.  I'll let you know what I think of them when they arrive, but I'm excited about them.

I'm also excited about the jeans, long-sleeve T-shirts, and gray wool pea-coat that I ordered from Gap!  I'm hoping this coat will fit better than the one I bought last year.  It was just too big, but I never got around to having it altered.  I figured that I'd try the next size down this year and see how it fits.  I really wanted a pea-coat anyway, and it was way on sale.  I also got a few long-sleeved tee's because they're really practical in the winter and they work really well under my vests, and short-sleeved sweaters.  And lastly, I got two pairs of skinny jeans.  I know.  I wasn't going to.  I'm more of a boot-cut jeans girl, but it's hard to wear my boots with them when it snows and I need to tuck the pants into the boots.  There's just so much fabric in the legs to tuck in.  So I figured I'd try the jeans with my boots this winter and see how they work out.  This is either going to be really cute, or really not. 

Finally, let's talk about school.  I'm burning out folks.  I'm frustrated with the ridiculous level of work in classes that have nothing to do with my major (thankfully, these two are the last of my general ed classes).  I'm irritated that the classroom layout was changed so drastically that I missed an assignment (my first missed assignment since I started school) because I didn't know we even had an assignment.  I got it turned in, but I had to hustle to keep from losing more than one grade on it.  I've never even been late with an assignment before.  Not even when my entire family was sick with H1N1 flu last year.  I've never earned less than an "A" on an assignment either, but I guess this is my first.  I'm also irritated because I've been assigned to a group for this week's discussion, and no one in my group has responded to the email I sent out 3 days ago regarding the project.  I finally just did my assigned part, and sent an email to the instructor telling her about it.  Hopefully we're graded individually and not as a unit, because I'm not gonna lose points for other people failing to hold up their end...and I'm not gonna do their work for them.  Guess I'll update you on that next week.  While you wait, here's a photo of a cat being silly. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Night of the Lepus: public release!

 Today is the big day!  The Super Sock Scarefest group officially wrapped up today, and I am free to release the Night of the Lepus pattern to the public (no Ravelry acct needed to follow the link).  The pattern is written for two sizes (Women's M/L), and provides instructions on how to increase or decrease to fit your foot if you wear a larger or smaller size.  You'll need to know how to increase, decrease, and be familiar with stranded knitting.  The floats are kept as short as possible, and the bunny tails can be omitted so that you never have to work with more than two colors per row if you prefer.

  • Gauge: 8 sts per inch, or 32 sts over 4 inches in the round, in stranded pattern.  Important note: it's critical that you knit your swatch in the round and in the stranded pattern.  Stranded knitting is tighter, and if you do not knit your swatch in the stranded pattern, the sock may end up too tight!  Take the time to ensure proper fit. 

Pattern price: $6.00