Thursday, January 26, 2012

Moving on up!

This is the post I've been waiting for.  I'm finally announcing that I've got a brand spanking new blog, on my pretty new website!  I'll be blogging from Cambria Washington: Knitware and Designs from now on.  Come on over!

p.s.- if you follow me through google reader, or any such service, you'll want to update your subscription to the new address:

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Stocking done, prototype almost done, homework not done.

Last night I finally finished the second of the two Santa stockings that I was commissioned to do in November.  I still have a pair of mittens for a little girl, and one more stocking kit to do for a new mom, but after that my time is my own, to knit as I please...until the next project comes along :)  So it's back to the Apogee prototype, and then on to my husband's sweater.  Did I mention that he's agreed to wear a neck warmer??  I'm making him one ASAP.  It's taken me years to wear him down, but I'm gonna make him look like the husband of a knitter if it's the last thing I do.

School is back in full swing, which means more papers, and stupid amounts of reading every week, and lectures with overly opinionated professors, for the next four weeks.  Then I only have four more classes total so that should be about 20 weeks of school left.  I could possibly be done with classes by the fall!  But my degree plan says that I graduate in March of 2013...which I think means that we'll all cross the stage together in March but I'll be finished with classes before that.  I'll be making a call to confirm that later today.

So, back to my homework.  And my prototype.  And finally updating my Etsy shop with my latest collection (which has been out for weeks now on Ravelry).  Oh, and my blog will probably be out of commission for a few days, while we make the transition to my brand new, sparkly, pretty new blog layout :)  See you on the other side!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Philosophy and hot cocoa mix

I've been stalking the Annie's Eats food blog for a while now, and I just love her to death!  She takes beautiful photos of the food (and lets face it...that's what draws me in to the food), but every recipe is practically fool proof.  I don't think I've made a single thing yet that I haven't absolutely loved...until yesterday.  I made hot chocolate mix this holiday season and I love the stuff, but it needs to be made with milk and we were going through an awful lot of milk around here.  Then I found the hot cocoa mix and figured I'd give it a shot.  I was pretty tired yesterday (as usual) so I mixed it up as best as I could and tried it out.  Not bad, but not what I'd expected.  I had a few cups last night, trying to trick it out with a little of this or a little of that but it wasn't working out.  Then today I thought I'd try again...and use good quality powdered milk (instead of generic) and the chocolate flavored creamer to kick up the chocolate flavor that was lacking.  As I mixed it up this morning I realized what I'd done yesterday...I forgot to add in the salt!  It's crucial.  So today I mixed up another batch with the flavored dry coffee creamer, and realized that this batch would have been perfect if I'd just used the regular creamer like I did yesterday, lol.  So now i have two 32-oz jars of almost perfect hot cocoa mix and I'm sure the boys won't care a bit about how it's not exactly perfect.  Third time's a charm?...

So anyway, last night I was on the way to bed and felt suddenly philosophical about why I do what I do, and how blessed I really am.  It usually happens after I've had a big emotional parenting set-back like I had on Monday.  But I had a chance yesterday to help a brother and sister learn to knit.  They'd come in to take a class together, and they didn't fit our usual customer demographic.  I was a little on edge at first but after they picked out their yarn I took her brother over to find an appropriate set of needles.  I noticed right away that he was a little different.  A little shy.  A little hesitant and unsure of himself.  Very sweet.  And I realized that he needed a little extra care so I chose the needles for him. 

We went back and sat down and I asked him about what he wanted to make.  That was when I realized that he had a learning disorder, or a mild developmental disability of some sort.  I don't know what, and I didn't ask (because honestly it wasn't my business and I didn't care).  I only picked up on something because of my training.  So I showed him how to knit and talked about how it's like an exercise and our muscles in our hands will learn what to do and take over after a while.  He was so diligent!  He really struggled at first and it took about an hour of constant coaching and instruction before he was able to knit his first stitch unassisted.  At one point I wasn't sure if he'd be able to learn it, but the time was his...he was paying for it...and I just kept trying to show him what to do, altering my instruction where I felt it was appropriate and breaking steps down smaller and smaller if necessary.  He kept apologizing for not getting it, and I kept telling him it wasn't necessary, and cheering him on.  Every time he did something right, I got really excited for him.  At one point, their mother called to check on him and he told her that he was at the knitting shop taking a lesson, and that he was having fun :)  I couldn't tell because he was concentrating so hard, but he was enjoying himself.  That encouraged me so I didn't give up, and kept being patient; sometimes using hand-over-hand to help him learn the feeling of the stitches, and sometimes demonstrating on the piece I was knitting.  And finally, finally it all paid off when he completed a stitch on his own!  I have never been so proud of a student in my entire teaching life.  Then he did another, and another, and another.  Once he had it down, I switched with my friend who had been helping his sister, and I went over to see what she was doing, and help her out a bit, while my friend kept an eye on my star pupil.

After about half the class went by, my friend asked why they decided to take up knitting.  The sister told us that her brother was a twin, and that his twin had just passed away last month.  They were taking this class together as a way to help them heal from his loss.  We could tell right away that she was very protective of this younger brother, and she took great care of him.  He lives near the shop in an apartment of his own, and checks in with a caseworker every morning to take his medication and evaluate how he's doing on his own.  He's a success story.  And now he's become my friend, how promises to stop in and say 'hello' to me when he walks by in the mornings, if he sees me in the shop.  I'm looking forward to it.  And this is why I do what I do.

Monday, January 16, 2012

One of those posts...about kids and stress...

Look at this face.  You would never know that under this angelic face is a master criminal in the making.  This is your future Lex Luther.  He's a genius.  He's stubborn as a mule.  He will not listen to reason (and yes, I realize that he's only 5-years old, but seriously).  It's going to take every thing I have and everything that I've learned over the course of my psychology degree with emphasis on child development and applied behavior analysis, to ensure that he harness' his powers for good instead of evil.

Today, this cute brilliant so-smart-he's-actually-dangerous child managed to get through the child-safe toddler knob on the bathroom door, and climb onto the toilet seat to reach my makeup bag (which he smeared all over the bathroom floor, and drew on his chest with liquid eyeliner, but I digress...) and his brother's ADHD medication.  He took one of Dante's pills.  My 50lb, 5-year old swallowed a little green 10mg Ritalin pill...because.  This results in my freaking out and running down the stairs with a pill bottle in my hand to call the pediatrician, which then resulted in a call to poison control.  He will be fine.  I'm less fine.

This is only the latest stunt that my cat-burglar son has pulled.  He wakes up anywhere between 4 am and 7 am, so getting up before him is not an option.  He knows how to open the locking toddler gate at the top of the stairs, so there's no keeping him on the top floor.  He can now apparently open the toddler-knob-protected doors and reach items placed on 6 foot shelves.  I now have to replace those knobs with ones that lock and require keys to open, because the current locks can be opened by pushing something into the little hole from the outside and he figured those out last year.  Five-year olds have no idea what dangers lie around the corner and just can't comprehend when you try to explain, and this one in particular is just determined to do what he wants to do.  He's compelled to do it.  Punishment is not an effective deterrent, and rewarding good behavior doesn't work either, when he really really wants to do something.  So now my only option is to try to prevent (which I thought I'd already done) until he's old enough to understand what I'm saying to him.

Want to know how bad it gets?  My little genius (and I don't mean that sarcastically) looked at a box of Safety 1st latches (which I'd planned to use on my kitchen cabinets to lock up the cleaners) and figured out how to open them from the picture on the cover of the box.  This resulted in my freaking out, yelling at him about how he isn't taking this seriously and he could have died, bursting into tears, and going up to my room to cry for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, he started to cry downstairs because I'd yelled at him and left the room crying.  After my husband calmed him down, he came upstairs to calm me down.  I'm usually the level-headed one but today I'd had all I could handle.  Then Alex came upstairs to apologize to me for getting into "stuff that doesn't belong to me", promised to clean up the mess he'd made, and came over to hug me.  That cause me to cry more, and hug my sweet little boy who just doesn't realize that he's taking his life into this hands every time he does something like this.  I feel like Clark Kent, who constantly tries to talk Lois Lane out of doing something stupid which inevitably leads to her being in peril, and his having to go save her as Superman.  There's only so much "child proofing" a parent can do!

So, that being said, I appreciate you sticking with me as I rant to the internet about my stress.  I'm gonna go have something fattening and loaded with chocolate, since I can't go have a drink.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Great Design Project, Part 4

 As promised, I've finally found time to post about the progress on my Apogee prototype.  I'm very happy with the progress so far and things are coming along nicely.  I've been writing the pattern as I knit (or I'll never remember the details) and I can see from this very rough draft that I've got a lot of math ahead of me, and I'm definitely going to need testers (both tall and average height).  And it's going to be the little details that either make or break me.
 For example, I loved the idea of using cables to create the waist shaping because it kept the pattern more simple and allowed the knitter to customize how much it pulled in by simply adding more cables, or taking cables away.  No fussing about where the decreases should start and how far they should go before increasing again.  In my experience with sweater knitting, I always need to start the decreases about six inches from the underarm, but most patterns suggest starting before that (because they aren't as tall as I am).  On the other side of that coin, I always have to stop the decreases before they suggest and start working back out because even though I'm tall, I'm very short-waisted.  I only know all of this from many sweater experiments and finally getting one right.  So this method takes care of that and makes this a more simple knit...until you hit the ribbed hem, that is (but more on that in a minute).

 The OCD in me insisted on symmetry where ever possible, so that meant that the cables needed to appear to flow from the shoulder and down the body.  I didn't want all of the cables to appear out of no where and float in the middle of the sweater.  That took some serious doing to get it set up correctly, but once that was finished, it worked out just as I'd hoped and the alternating cables over the ribs kept things interesting enough to make the body work up very fast.  In fact, I averaged about a skein per night!  Once I reached my intended length, I started working on the ribbed hem.  Here's where things get complicated.

As you can see from this shot, the center cables extend all the way down the body and I wanted them to flow into the ribbing too.  That was harder than it sounded at first.  I couldn't seem to get the numbers to line up so that the center K2 column would continue down both sides (on the other side it became a P2) and when I finally decided that it didn't need to be that detailed, and that maybe I was the only one who really cared about that, I got to the end of the round and saw that it started and ended with a K2.  That's not good.  I needed to decrease two stitches so it would line up correctly.  So I decided to continue the cable-ribbing all the way down the hem, and to work a 2x2 ribbing over the front and back sts between them.  I needed to decrease the 2 sts from the front of the sweater to make that work and I think that has to do with where I started the neck shaping on the I'm not sure if it will be necessary to do this in the actual pattern.  This is where the editor and the testers will be necessary.

Anyway, the reason you don't see the hem in any of these photos is that I haven't actually knit it yet.  I worked two rows and then put the body on a holder to start the sleeves.  This is unusual, but I decided that I needed to know how many yards were used in knitting the average length sweater (in order to calculate yardage for the other sizes) and the best way to do that, other than knitting two sweaters, was to stop knitting mine when I'd reached the finished length of the average 38" an work the sleeves until they are also the correct length of the average 38", and I'd get my numbers.  Then I'll go back and finish off my tall 38", and I'll know the difference between the tall and average yardages (in theory).  I have a very large swatch, and I'll have yardage for one size (in two different lengths), and I have an excellent reference book that discusses how to calculate yardage for a once I finish and I've had some sleep (still working on that whole balance thing), I'll take a stab at it.

Oh, one more thing about the sleeves...they've got a fun surprise :)  A design element that I'm excited about and that I think you'll like...maybe.  Well, you'll either love it or you won't.  Let's just wait and see :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Great Design Project, Part 3


Today I should be working on my Juvenile Delinquency Unit 4 project (which is worth about 100 pts) but instead I thought it would be fun to create a button for my big design project :)  Feel free to take it for your sidebars if you wish (but remember to save it to your computer before uploading it).  I've organized it so that all posts related to this project should be accessible from the button on my sidebar. 
Last night, or early this morning depending on how you want to look at it, I finished the raglan yoke increases.  I put it on some extra needles and tried it on.  Success!!  I've been taking notes and essentially writing the pattern as I go because I know that I won't remember any of the details regarding what I've done or where I decided to start increasing on the neck edges, or how many stitches I decided to cast on under the arms.  I'm pleased with how the cable fit into the raglan section, and how the left-leaning and right-leaning increases crease a clean line on either side.  I'm continuing these cables down the side of the body and I'm planning to stagger more cables on either side of these (in pairs of two) to create the waist shaping.  That means that I should end up with a smaller waist in this sweater without having to work any decreases in that section.  I like that idea, and it makes it easier for the individual knitter to adjust for more or less shaping by adding or removing cables.
Now I know that the v-neck might look a little bit steep, but keep in mind that there will be a ribbed collar attached to it and that will bring it up a bit.  My plan for this sweater is to knit it to the standard length for a size 38 pullover, and then adjust the lengths up and down so I can figure out how long the average sweater should be, and approximately how many skeins will be needed for it.  Then I'll continue to knit it to the 6' measurements, and hopefully that will give me an accurate estimate of how many skeins will be necessary for the tall versions.

You know, I have a lot of school work waiting for me, and a Christmas stocking that needs to be finished by the end of January, but I'm having a really difficult time putting this sweater down, now that I've finally started it ;)  Next up, Part 4: cable waist decreases!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Fly Tribe Blog Hop: Balance

 Last year, the East Coast was hit with a hurricane and we lost power for three days.  I was (and still am) in school full time, with kids in school, a husband who was having some medical issues, and I had just been asked to come back to teaching Sunday school at my church.  I was freaking out, overwhelmed, and worn out.

The storm taught me something.  When I was forced to unplug from the internet, I actually got more work done in a shorter amount of time (I know, it seems simple), but I also noticed that my boys were getting along better.  I started dinner earlier and we ate at the table together as a family.  It only took them about 12 hours to unplug and they were good.  They played outside, in their rooms, or with each other.  We went to bed early (because it was dark and there wasn't anything else to do).  We woke up early.  I cooked from scratch.  I was happy.  That was when I realized that burning the midnight oil trying to get it all done wasn't actually working.  Sometimes I needed to rest so my brain could run at full speed (see Saturday's post for another lesson on sleep, lol).  I needed Balance.
 This year, I've decided that balance was going to be my goal.  I'm still working on it, but yesterday I took the day off from school and I'm feeling more refreshed.  I'm still working on going to sleep earlier (I've tried every day for the last three night in a row, and failed).  But I've remembered to make dinner earlier and I've been creating a menu every week so that I can make a grocery shopping list for the week.  I'm hoping that if I can bring balance to my day-to-day life, I'll be able to carry that over to my creative life.
Now, about the photos, lol.  This is a pile of my current Works In Progress (commonly known as WIP's).  I struggled to come up with a way to express balance in my chosen creative form, so I decided instead to show my total lack of balance, and why I chose to go with it this year.  I have in this pile, 15 current works in progress (4 pairs of socks, two stockings, 1 sweater to repair, 1 blanket, 1 almost-finished shawl. 1 commissioned pair of pink children's mittens, fiber to be spun on my Turkish drop spindle, 2 sweaters, and a bag of sample yarns for design ideas).  This is typical of the way that I work, and I'm hoping to streamline a little this year.  And I'll admit, for the sake of full disclosure, that this large pile doesn't even represent a quarter of my current yarn stash.  I need some balance in my stash too :)
Now, I hope you enjoyed my post on balance, and I hope you'll hop on over to the Fly Tribe blog to read posts from other talented artists.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Fly Tribe Blog Hop starts tomorrow!!

I'm really excited about this one!  I missed the sign up for last year's blog hop and I made sure to get in on this one.  Tomorrow, I'll post a blog about my word for the year.  There will be a link from that post to the official Fly Tribe Blog, with links to other blogs that are participating.  It should be fun!! figure out how to represent my word in yarn.

The Great Design Project, Part 2

No photos yet, but I've got some stuff to share.  I decided to dive, and just start knitting.  I know I've got the necessary skill set to knit a sweater out of thin air (I've done it before and Lord knows I've got enough reference books!), and I'm feeling much more confident thanks to the success of my last project and finding a technical editor who will help me with the pattern grading.  So, I'm going to go ahead as originally planned and share my project with you.  I'm designing a top-down, raglan pullover with a v-neck and cable accents.  You'll see my successes and failures along the way, and I've got a few to share with you today, lol.

Lesson 1: Swatching is your friend.  If you value your sanity and your own time, swatch!  The bigger, the better.  Last night I swatched for a few hours while watching a movie.  It gave me the customary stitch and row gauge, but it also let me play with a cable idea that I'd been thinking about, and I used different hem ideas at the top and the bottom of the swatch so I could see which one I liked best.  I learned that the ribbed him would look better with the cables, and that the cables will definitely serve the function I had hoped for; they will provide waist shaping to this garment without the need for decreasing.  I like that idea and I think other knitters will too :)

Lesson 2: When you think you're ready to start knitting, you're really just going to do some garment shaped swatches, lol.  I cast on with the idea that I would incorporate a cable into the raglan shaping for this pullover.  I just thought it would flow better than having the side cables suddenly come to a dead stop, and it would provide just enough detail to keep this basic pullover from being just another stockinette top-down pullover.  Now, here's the think.  I'm anal about details and symetry.  I'm drawn to patterns that focus on the details and incorporate them into the design.  It makes the finished piece look more...finished.  This doesn't always make it easy to design (because you have to be able to translate what you've done into directions that other people can follow).

Lesson 3: Never work the numbers for a complicated design when you're sleep deprived.  Never!  I worked on my first top-down yoke swatch and figured out the basics of where I'd need to put the markers to allow for the extra stitches in the raglan section (that will become a cable), but I had trouble with the increases.  My first attempt worked, but it wasn't what I was looking for, and it seemed like the rate of increase was just too fast.  I questioned myself about this, because any top-down pattern I've ever knit (and I've knit plenty) has instructed me to work the increase round every other row.  However, my sleep-deprived brain figured out that I would need 172 sts for the body (gauge of 4.5 sts per inch x 38 inch bust = 171, with 1 st added to allow for a hem with 2x2 ribbing).  This will be important later.  So, I did the math and realized that at this rate, I'll have reached 172 sts after about six inches of knitting, but I actually needed to work ten inches before I could divide for the arms and work the body.  So, I did more math and figured that if I started with 68 sts and I need to get 172, that is a difference of 104.  Every increase round adds 8 sts.  Dividing 104 by 8 gave me 13.  I need to work my increase row 13 times, over 10 inches, or aproximately every 0.75 inches.  My row gauge (thanks giant swatch!) is 6 rows per inch, so that means that I'm increasing every 4 rounds.

With this sound mathmatical reasoning in hand, I grabbed a different skein of Cascade 220 and started a new sweater (setting aside the other one and leaving it on the needles so I could compare them and see what I liked best).  I put the markers in the right area, took notes on the increase row as I figured it out (I won't remember later), and managed to figure out exactly where to place the increases to get the look I was after in the cable section.  It was coming along beautifully, when that nagging feeling started again.  Finally, I took out three top down v-neck patterns (one written in child sizes, one in my gauge with different directions for the neckline, and another at my gauge and in adult sizes that provided a complete stitch count at the end of the increases).  After a short nap, I was clear headed enough to realize what the the adult pattern in my gauge had a huge number of stitches after the increases were finished, and that all three patterns increased every two rounds.  That's when it hit me like a ton of bricks...  I forgot to calculate the stitches for the arms, and I only calculated the stitches for the body!  I was increasing too slowly, and I wouldn't have any stitches for the sleeves.

So, I sat down with all of my reference materials and worked out what I hope will be accurate cast on numbers and stitch marker placement.  None of today's knitting was wasted, and now I'm going to pull out my most recent effort and start again...but not until I've slept :)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

I made an ebook!

Today my friends, I made an ebook!  It took me like...three hours, but I got it done.  Here's what happened...

I got up this morning and realized that I still hadn't looked at the revisions for my ebook, from the tech editor.  I pulled them up and went through them, using my revised copies from the individual patterns to help out.  I really wanted everything to be consistent (which is the reason for using an editor).  After revising everything (which took up a good amount of the aforementioned three hours), I send her the updated version and went on Ravelry to create my ebook.  This is where everything went haywire.
fun with photo shoots, lol

I went into my pattern store and added the ebook to my list of patterns, along with about 10 beautiful photos from the collection.  I spent a lot of time writing the description, and getting everything just right.  I also went into my original patterns and updated them to say that the ebook was now available, and then set up a promotion that would deduct the cost of a single pattern purchase to those Ravelers who had already paid for a single pattern, and wanted the book.  Right in the middle of the madness, I got a message from a very helpful (and patient) editor who told me that I shouldn't have added the ebook to the pattern store, and provided me a link with instructions on exactly how to create one.  Thankfully, she walked me through the parts I struggled with, and encouraged me along the way :)  It was the most pleasant reprimand I think I've ever received ;)

Turns out that you just add the title of the book as a source on the pattern itself (which creates the ebook), then go in to edit the ebook with all of the necessary information (photos, yarn, etc), and then you publish it.  That's it!  So much easier, and that way all the financial info stay in one place.

So there you have it!  I published an ebook for my Fibonacci-Stripe Accessories Collection.  I posted it to my facebook page.  I tweeted it.  I stalked it on Ravelry to see how it's being received.  And now I've blogged about it.  Excited much?

Oh, and turns out that Aaron and Dante (both of whom were very resistant about letting me knit them a sweater) have decided that they really like Rockaway from Jared Flood, and have put in requests in specific colorways.  I don't like to knit the same thing twice, but I might have to make an exception this time if the end result is that I can get all three Washington men in a hand-knit sweater!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Fibonacci-Stripe Collection

 I've been holding on to this one for a while now, and I was going to wait to launch it when the new blog goes live but I just couldn't wait any longer.  I'm excited to introduce my Fibonacci-Stripe Collection!

Starting with the Neck-Warmer/Cowl pattern. 
This is the updated version of my original Fibonacci Cowl pattern, which pulled over the head and fit close to the neck. As anyone with long, thick or curly hair knows…pulling anything over the head causes hair to become wild and out of control. My solution…knit a neck-warmer that buttons up the side, and/or a cowl that can be worn loose or worn doubled to keep the wind at bay (and the hair looking neat).

The pattern includes both the neck-warmer and the cowl, in either two-color Fibonacci stripe, or one-color textured stripe variations. The close-fitting neck-warmer uses six buttons (but could be knit in the round without buttons if you prefer), and uses two 50g balls of Berroco Blackstone Tweed or any aran weight yarn of at least 130yds. The longer cowl uses three balls of Blackstone Tweed for the one-color texture stripe version, and four balls for the two-color stripe version.
Next up: The Slouchy Hat!  For the hat, I wanted to knit something that would be pretty and warm, and would also be capable of fitting all of my hair into it when the weather takes a turn for the worst without wrecking my hair for the rest of the day. Any of you girls out there with curly hair know what I’m talking about, and this hat is for you! (I’m happy to say that after field-testing this in New England winter weather, it’s just what I hoped it would be.) The pattern offers two sizes, two different depths, and one-color textural striping or two-color striping. It is worked in the round, and uses “bulls-eye” decreases to accentuate the Fibonacci striping.  The hat uses two 50g balls of Berroco Blackstone Tweed, or any aran weight yarn of at least 130yds.

 And my personal favorite: the Convertible Mittens :)  These convertible mittens are the most practical, warm, soft, and all-around best mittens I’ve ever designed or worn. They provide quick access to your fingers when you need them, and the ability to quickly tuck them away when you don’t.

The pattern provides two sizes, with options for two-color stripes or one-color texture striping, flip tops or traditional mittens, and optional “texter-thumbs”. It is easily adjustable for length (great for tall knitters!), and the extra-long cuffs keep the wind out of coat sleeves. The flaps are worked as a continuation of the mitten, in one piece with short-row shaping, and they lay flat against the back of the hand when not in use. No buttons necessary, so no silly little button loops at the tip of your hand (and no How-The-Grinch-Stole-Christmas-hands when you wear them closed).  The mittens use two 50g balls of Berroco Blackstone Tweed, or any aran weight yarn of at least 130yds.

The patterns are all available for individually sale, and will be released soon as a collection in e-book format.  Customers who purchase an individual pattern but would like to purchase the e-book, will be able to deduct the the price of that pattern from the cost of the collection at checkout.
e-book coming soon!

Fibonacci-Stripe Hat

Fibonacci-Stripe Mittens

Fibonacci-Stripe Cowl

Monday, January 2, 2012

As is customary around here...

I'm blogging when I should be working on my homework assignments.  But I really need a mental break, and this blog is therapeutic.  I don't know why I though I'd enjoy taking criminal justice classes (must be the part of me that's a fan of crime shows), but I'm finding it difficult to connect psychology and criminal justice.  I know that there are course designers, and my professors are just doing their best to facilitate this course, but I've hardly seen anything in my forensic psych that addresses specifically how psychology is used in the legal system.  The reading is almost exactly the same as my reading in the juvenile delinquency classes (which only deals with kids and crime), so that tells me that the course designers didn't add much to this class that helps the student tie the two together, and most of the time I feel like I'm groping around in the dark trying to find that needle-in-the-haystack answer that they're looking for.  Meanwhile, my boys are home from school driving me nuts and making it almost impossible to get any school work done.

In knitting news, I cast on for the second of two Santa Clause intarsia Christmas stockings that I'm doing for a client on commission.  I've also got another stocking and a pair of mittens (I've mentioned these both before) and I'm working on the beautiful Flora knee highs.  I ended up pulling the sock back to the ribbing and getting rid of the cherry red from Cascade.  It's a beautiful color, but I just don't like it in combination with any other color.  It mutes it too much.  So I decided to go with white in combination with my pretty Tosh sock.  I'll save that red for one of the non-stranded knee highs.  I just keep looking at this book and I'm so inspired to knit knee highs that it's difficult for me to stay on task with any of my other projects.  I seriously want to knit my way through this book.  Maybe I will, as a side project ;)

Speaking of side projects...I just took a look back and realized that I owe you all a post for the Great Sweater Design Project 2012.  I haven't forgotten you, but with trying to catch up on my school work, I just haven't had the time.  But maybe you could help me with something.  I'm torn between starting with a pullover, or a cardigan.  Any preferences?  Leave me a comment and weigh in.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Heritage Silk Mitten KAL

It's the first day of a brand new year, and I was hoping to greet you with my brand new blog (which I've been keeping quiet for a while now) and I wrote this whole beautiful post that I was going to publish over there, but I forgot that the blog is private right now because it's still technically under construction.  So after trying to publish it and linking to it...I realized that I'll just have to be patient a little bit longer and we'll have to hang out in this space for a bit.  Good thing we're all comfy here :)  But don't be shocked if you log on one day, and it's had a face lift.

Now, with that being said, I'm really excited to announce a knit-along for my Heritage Silk Lace mitten pattern, for Cascade Yarns.  It all came about a few months ago when a Raveler sent me a lovely message about my pattern, saying how she'd seen it at a yarn tasting in Spokane WA.  It turned out that the wonderful folks from Cascade took my mittens with them as an example of the Heritage Silk in action (the very mittens I knit with my own two hands).  It toured a few local shops in Washington state and a lot of excitement was stirred up.  Three of the local knitting groups started chatting about doing a KAL, so I contacted the various groups on Ravelry about hosting a KAL for them, so they could all gather in one place and have a blast.  A few hours on Photoshop and Ravelry later, the group was formed!

The official start date is January 4th, but I couldn't wait that long (and neither could most of the knitters, it turns out, lol), so I changed the cast on date to today!  So go get your needles, two skeins of Heritage Silk (or any other fingering weight yarn), and your free copy of the pattern, and cast on with us.  It's national mitten month anyway.  You might as well kill two birds with one stone ;)

P.S. - Stay tuned for the release of my latest pattern collection, which is currently in tech editing.