Sunday, March 23, 2014

So, this happened a few days ago:


Yeah.  I was getting my knitting out of the car and the ball of yarn fell out of the bag and rolled under the car.  On the other end of that ball is me holding the back of my latest sweater project.  I was about to retrieve the yarn then thought, "Wait a minute.  The People need to see this ridiculousness.".  So, I grabbed my phone from my purse and took a picture.  Neighbors were looking, but I didn't care.  I made myself look like a fool for you.  The sacrifices I make.

I didn't know this when I took the picture, but luckily, the ball of yarn rolled itself out from under the car, near the trunk.  All I had to do was break the strand of yarn and retrieve the ball.  Hissy fit averted.

The following video was the result of a mistake.  I was trying to take a picture for this post, but I made a mistake and chose the "video" function.  For some reason, my phone would NOT switch back to "photo".  I got frustrated and said, "Might as well make a video.".  So I hit "record" and started talking.  I even got fancy and added music.  Here is the link to the video if it doesn't show up below on some mobile devices: http://youtu.be/hBReFGl_gxQ


(If the video is too small for you to see on the blog, click on the video's YouTube icon to watch it there.) 

Friday, February 28, 2014

"I don't have anything to write so I'm just going to post this picture" Friday

Sleeves: DONE!


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

My BFF and I were sitting in Waffle House a few days ago, celebrating some good news I received a couple days before that.  That's our spot.  No matter how much money we make, we will always go to Waffle House for the All-Star special with scrambled cheese eggs.  No meat.

Of course we had our knitting.  She was working on a sock with yarn made from corn fiber.  I'd already finished one sleeve of a sweater I'm designing with Rowan Pure Wool Worsted, and took it out of my beat-down knitting bag to show it to her.  Give me a knitting bag and that will eventually be it's fate: raggedy.  Straps eventually rip away from the body.  Holes get punched in the bag from knitting needles I haphazardly toss in.  I always stuff them with more projects than I could ever possibly work on at one time.  But sometimes I need to carry lots of them with me in case I get sick of working on the main project.  Kind of like when a man has a main girlfriend, but gets sick of being with her, then calls his side girl (I'm sick of working on this sweater, let me call up my cowl and see what she's up to.).

This is what I showed her: 


I worked on the second sleeve when I wasn't stuffing my face with cheese eggs and waffles.  I've made more progress since then.  I'm planning to be done with the second sleeve in the next few days so that I can start working on the body. 



   

Monday, February 03, 2014

Giveaway Winner
And Sleeve Progress


The random number generator says the first person to comment was the one who won the giveaway explained in this post.  That means that Zenzele won!  Congrats, my dear.

So, I made progress on that sleeve I first mentioned here.  The cuff is complete, and I thought it would be fun to have the center mock cable travel up the sleeve: 



I keep draping it over my arm because it helps me to get a full picture of what it is going to look like:  
I didn't know taking a picture of your own arm would be so hard.
I will definitely post more progress pictures as this design unfolds.  I hope you guys have an awesome week.  Knit something.    

Friday, January 24, 2014

Knit Faster!!!

I swear, I can't knit fast enough.

I received skeins of Rowan Pure Wool Worsted from Linda Pratt of Westminster Fibers, (the distributor of Rowan yarns) to use in one of my designs.  I am really excited about this because I've always loved Rowan yarns and their classic designs.  I even got to pick the color that I wanted:

This color is going to look great on me.
When the box arrived, I laid the yarn out on the dining room table and rubbed it.  And smelled it.  I might have whispered something to it, too.  That cannot be confirmed.  Or denied.

I swatched.  Because good girls swatch:

5 sts and 6.5 rows per inch with US 8 needles.




Then I got to work on the sweater:

Click to enlarge.

This is the cuff of a sleeve, and it is about 5" tall because I want a little drama.  I like this stitch because it looks like a cable but it isn't; the cabled look is created with decreases.  I love the fabric, and often can't wait to work on it more because I NEED to see it finished.  I'll be posting progress pictures, so make sure to stay tuned to see the final sweater.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Louet Blog Tour

Nik's Knits is the next stop on Louet's blog tour to promote the designs in the Spring 2014 Collection.


"Gila" (pronounced "hee-luh") is my contribution to the collection, and I am proud to be a part of it.  I wanted to create something that was cute and fun to wear.  The central lace panel is great because it lends an airiness, allowing it to be worn in warm weather with a shell or tank underneath (...or not, if that's how you roll.  People might stare, though.).  Here is the Ravelry link to the pattern.  

Louet GEMS Fingering was a great yarn to use for this piece.  I remember holding the top in my hand right before sending it to Louet and being really pleased with how lightweight it was.  The stitch definition is to die for, and I absolutely love the color of the yarn.  The photo makes the color look more neon than it really is; it is actually more on the rosy side.

I love designing knitwear, and was happy to have had a chance to feel that giddiness that comes with getting a design published.  I particularly like creating pieces that reflect my personal style, with the hope that others will like them as well.  Designing is also awesome because one minute you've got this idea in your head, and the next minute you have a real live sweater in front of you:



Click the Picture to Enlarge
The squiggly line in my sketch is the universal symbol for "Put some lace right here.".
I have many design resources on my bookshelf, but the one that I am most recently in love with is Knitwear Design Workshop by Shirley Paden.  I used some of the information in this book to help me design "Gila", and I want to give you a copy.  I feel like Oprah.

If you want a chance to win the book, leave a comment (in this post only), telling me why you think you should have it.  You have until January 29th, 2014.  I will choose one of you randomly and tell you who won on February 3rd, 2014.  May the odds be ever in your favor.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Gila

"Gila"
$7.50
(Click the picture to enlarge.)


Payment methods: Paypal, Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express

Finished Sizes: 33 (39, 43, 45½, 48, 53)”. Model is wearing size 33.

Yarn: Louet Gems Fingering Weight, 185 yds/skein. 4 (5, 6, 6, 6, 7) skeins.

Gauge: 24 sts and 30 rows per inch.

Needles: US4 needles for body and ribbing, US4 16” circular needles for armholes and neckline.

Notions: Stitch markers, tapestry needle, stitch holder or waste yarn.


I have a new pattern in the Louet North America, Spring 2014 Collection!   Here is the link to the Ravelry page for "Gila".  I hope you love this top as much as I loved designing it.  There are more great designs in this collection, and you can see them in this lookbook created by Louet.

And, here is the link to the collection's Ravelry page. 

By the way, doesn't the model's smile make you smile?


Monday, January 06, 2014

Click to enlarge.

If you follow me on Facebook,  you've probably already seen this picture.  Of all the pictures I took, the selfie ended up being the best.  And I took, like, a "gajillion".

This sweater was finished months ago and is the one that I designed for the Shirley Paden design-along from the I Love Shirley Paden group on Ravelry that I posted about here.

We were given a group of stitches that Mrs. Paden used in many of her own designs, and told to develop original designs using one of them.  She held our hands through the entire design process, which involved sketching our ideas, swatching, and knitting.  The things we learned were based on her book "Knitwear Design Workshop".  The book is now on sale in the Interweave store for $3.99.  You should do yourself a favor and purchase a copy.

My favorite parts of the sweater are the cables (of course) and the neckline.  At first, I had a difficult time getting the neck to stand the way I wanted.  But then I decided that the fabric at the neckline had to be firmer, either through knitting the neck with smaller needles or by doubling the fabric.  I decided that I wanted to double the fabric, so I knit the neckline twice the height that I wanted it to be, folded the extra fabric to the inside, then sewed it down.  Worked like a charm.   


Sunday, January 05, 2014

Gimme More

It started as a simple thing, really. 

One day while watching reruns of ancient T.V. shows, I felt a serious needed to crochet something.  I remembered that cotton I had in a Ziploc bag in that one basket upstairs, and thought that a washcloth was just the thing. 

This cloth was finished during one episode of some show whose name I can't remember, and two episodes of Maude:


I didn't follow a pattern.  I chained 33 with a G hook, double crocheted one row, single crocheted one row, continued to alternate rows like this until it was about the size that I wanted it, then stopped.  I originally just wanted one, but there was a partial ball of white cotton in the bag that begged to be a cloth, too.  So a few days later, on Christmas day, this happened:


They needed a bow because, MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ME:

This is a crafty house, and crafty houses have ribbon at the ready.
Looking at the cloths all wrapped up and pretty, I thought that this gift to myself needed something extra.  So this happened:

I hit the semi-annual sale at Bath and Body Works.
Fragrances:  "Moonlight Path" and "Paris Amour" 
Folks, I thought I was done.  But while looking for the pieces of the UFO (unfinished object) I mentioned here, I found another brand new ball of cotton.  So, this happened:


I'm done. 

I think... 

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Merry New Year!

I didn't have one resolution for 2014 before I woke up this morning.  Well, I made a commitment to myself a while ago to design more, but it was made before the "make a resolution deadline", so I guess it doesn't count.

But as I was lying in bed this morning, a short, simple list of things that I want to happen in this new year popped into my head.

Buy more sparkly/shiny shoes.

Because these need some friends.


Sasha Obama Made Me Buy These
They are from ASOS
 
My friends know that glitter/rhinestones/sequins and I are tight like glue.  Shiny things just make my brain happy as hell.  I try not to be tacky with it, only wearing one sparkly thing at a time.  I'm afraid that as I get older, though, my "don't-give-a-damn-ness" will take over and you will see me on the street wearing every bit of sparkle that I own. 

Travel More.

Let's just start in these United States then work our way out to other countries, shall we?  I don't go ANYWHERE.  Which is surprising because when I was younger, one of my dreams was to just GO.  I've always wanted to go to London, and I can't believe that I have not been to New York City yet.  Making a list.  Checking it twice.

Use that Groupon you bought for horseback riding lessons.

As soon as this knee heals, I'm coming for you, Mr. Ed. 

Finish that plum turtleneck.

All of the pieces are finished.  All that needs to be done is to finish the neckline and to sew in the sleeves.  It's been too long, especially since I started this a couple years ago.   


"Funnel Neck Pullover" by Pam Allen
(It's the sweater you see on the cover of that Classic Elite Yarns "Weekend" pattern book in the picture.)
Cascade 220, Superwash



Monday, December 23, 2013

Cathy's Cowl needed a matching hat (That's my best friend in the picture.  Ain't she cute?).

To thank you for purchasing the "Cathy's Cowl" pattern, I am giving this matching hat pattern to you for FREE!  It will only be offered to those who purchase the cowl pattern. 

For those who have previously purchased the cowl pattern, I have sent an updated file including the hat pattern to the email addresses listed on the PayPal receipts.  If you have not received yours, please do not hesitate to contact me via the link in the left sidebar.

There is a correction to the cowl pattern.  In the note about reading charts for knitting in the round, I wrote that you're supposed to read the chart rows from left to right.  It is supposed to read "...from right to left."  The correction has been made in the updated version.  I know how frustrating errata can be, so I truly apologize.

As a reminder, the sale for the cowl pattern is ending on December 26, 2013.   

Finished Size: 9" X 38"
Yarn: Brown Sheep Nature Spun Chunky, in "Goldenrod"
Needles:  Size 10 1/2, 32" circular needles


$2.00 until December 26th, 2013  ($4.00 regular price)
PayPal, credit, or debit cards accepted.
The PDF file will be delivered upon payment.






Monday, December 16, 2013

Out of my system...

I saw this video about arm knitting on the Wall Street Journal’s site and decided that I needed to try this at least once.  You can’t not try arm knitting after you see it.  Your curiosity will get the better of you.

I went stash diving and found this Patons SWS (discontinued) yarn that’s been in my stash for years.   


I first tried using one strand just to see if I would like it, even though I had a feeling that it would make a scarf that was a little too puny for my tastes.  I was right.


I decided to see if I would like the fabric with three strands held together.  It is better, but I still would like to use a thicker yarn.  Something even larger than the bulky weight that I had in my stash.  I would have tried it if it wasn't set aside for a hooded sweater design.   




I even tried to make a cable, but it didn’t go so well. I tried to hold stitches to the back of my work with a hooked cable needle, but it didn’t have enough weight to hold them out of the way.  I ended up using one of those safety pin stitch markers to hold the stitch to the back of the work to make the cable.

After crossing the stitches, I didn't like it because it just looked like a bunch of jumbled strands.  I didn't think I'd be able to see a defined cable even if I kept knitting.  If I had a much thicker yarn, I think it would look good.  I put that idea on the shelf and just continued knitting straight until all 110 yards of one of the skeins ran out.  I sewed the ends together to form an infinity scarf, and this is how it looks: 

Arm knitting is not difficult at all.  When you watch the video, you’ll recognize some basic needle knitting moves: the long-tail cast on, the knit stitch, and binding off.    
It’s not shown in the video, but if you need to frog, it will be intuitive since you’ve needle knit.

Oh and you’ll be pissed when you drop a stitch in arm knitting, just as you would in needle knitting.  Actually, you'll be more pissed.  Dropping a gigantic stitch is more painful because it's big as hell. 

And if you have to go potty while you're in the middle of knitting:




I knew you were wondering.

Monday, December 09, 2013


Be Jealous.
(Click to Enlarge)

The Yarn Harlot was in Raleigh, NC on Friday and look who went to see her.  This picture was taken after she signed my book (Look, our arms are touching!).  This picture is real; I didn't even have to photoshop myself into one of her pictures.  At one point, I even touched her shoulder as we were posing.  I'm never washing that hand again.

When a knitting buddy posted on Facebook that Yarns Etc. and Great Yarns (two of our local yarn stores) were hosting her, I think I sprained my finger trying to quickly dial to make sure I got a spot. 

Her talk was from 7-9pm and I wondered what she was going to talk about for 2 hours to keep us entertained.  Turns out that I didn't have to worry about that, since she kept us laughing the entire time.  Her storytelling skills are awesome, and she words things in a way that shows she truly understands the knitter's mind.

Get outta my head.

At one point in the talk, she mentioned that being an experienced knitter doesn't mean that you'll never make a mistake again, just that you'll make bigger mistakes faster. A little later, I realized I was screwing up the project I was knitting. 

Hat in progress.  Eventually frogged because it was being bad.

I was making a hat that I am designing to go with my shawl pattern, "Cathy's Cowl", and realized that I was incorrectly knitting the garter stitch band.  I somehow convinced myself that I'd have to purl every round to work garter stitch in-the-round.  You'd think that this was my first time at the knitting rodeo.

I saw that the band was curling after about 1.5 inches and thought, "Um, garter stitch isn't supposed to curl.". My brain decided to join the party then I realized that I was knitting in reverse stockinette stitch; you're supposed to alternate knit and purl rounds for garter stitch in-the-round.  I was pissed and just threw the thing in my knitting bag so that it could think about what it had done.  Allowing itself to be knit incorrectly is simply unacceptable.   

And look! She signed my book:  

 
Do yourself a favor and GO see her speak.  You won't be disappointed.
 

Monday, December 02, 2013

Cathy's Cowl

(Click the picture to make it bigger.)

Finished Size: 9" X 38"
Yarn: Brown Sheep Nature Spun Chunky, in "Goldenrod"
Needles:  Size 10 1/2, 32" circular needles


$2.00 until December 26th, 2013  ($4.00 regular price)
PayPal, credit, or debit cards accepted.
The PDF file will be delivered upon payment.

I have finished making this cowl for my friend Cathy.  Now, all I have to do is find a suitable box to mail the cowl to her.  This will definitely keep her warm in Chicago.  Then, she can thank me for keeping her from dying from "cold-as-hell-itis".

I have written a pattern for this and named it "Cathy's Cowl".  Even made a fancy collage showing different ways you can wear it.
     
The person modeling the cowl is none other than my best friend, Seelye (pronounced "seal-ee"). That's her last name. I started calling her by her last name because it cracked me up. You have my permission to call her that, too.  You won't see her face in any of the pictures because I didn't want her beauty to steal the spotlight from my creation.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Here Comes the Sun

She wanted sunshine.  I had to find it.

It wasn't easy, though.  Many yarns were rejected because they weren't bright enough.  Had no power to bust through "the blues".  Others were rejected because they were scratchy acrylic.

But then I saw this:


I'm turning it into a cowl:



I knit a few rounds before I realized that I was going to run out of sunshine before I finished.  I didn't want to make it smaller to save yarn because then it would be one of those "choker cowls", and that wasn't what I wanted to design.   I only bought one hank of this on clearance at a sale at one of my local yarn stores, Warm 'n Fuzzy, and was scared that I wouldn't be able to get more.  I called the store and found out that there was one more left, AND IN THE SAME DYE LOT!  Of course, I bought it.

I should be done with this sometime this week.  Then, I'll send it to a friend.   

 
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