Advice needed!

My supremely clever (and super-adorable) knitting/designing buddy, Annie Watts, designed these mittens:

mitten-full

(The palms look like this.)

I am going to use these charts on a sweater for Sam. I’ve done the math and it works perfectly with the yarn I plan to use at the gauge I get with said yarn. YAY!

My concern is how to distribute colors. I was planning to do navy blue (Lake) and light grey (Beluga), but Sam would really like his sweater to have some yellow (Firefly) as well because his favorite colors are yellow and blue.

I’m thinking navy for the hem, skyline, and robots; grey for the background; and yellow for the sky/rest of sweater. What do you think? Creepy or awesome?

And once we’ve worked THAT out, where should the robots be placed? I was originally going to do a cardigan, which would be easy: a robot on each front. But then I realized I don’t have any interest in stranded knitting flat, so fuck that. It will be a short-sleeved pullover. Robots on the front? Back? One on each?

The Design Process: Finishing Up

Guess what! I just released Dorothy Cloche, that hat I’ve been talking about the design process of over the last..um…year and a half.

dorothy-side
Photo by the lovely and talented Leah Coccari-Swift.

Catch up from the beginning:
Inspiration | Swatching | Rough Draft | Starting (almost) From Scratch | Too Many Samples?

In brief:

I was inspired by this gorgeous image.
417752279_rfScxqAc_c
According to this blog, the image is from 1923, by Ernesto Cabral, a.k.a. “Chango,” and was a magazine (?) cover.

I swatched and knitted a prototype. I lost my notes. Time went by. I began a new prototype. I made a lot of mistakes. I reknit it. More than once. I came up with a better way to work the short rows. I redid the brim and grafted it to the hat (only a crazy person would do that, probably). I wrote the pattern, had it tech edited, and did a photo shoot with Leah. I sent the pattern to a couple of friends to test knit.

And today, I release it into the wild.

dorothy-duo

If you’re inclined that way, you can add to cart or

#1 of 13

catkin-detail

This is not actually the first shawl I completed this year. (Well, technically the first of my 13 in 13 is a cowl. But why confuse things.) As it is the first one that I photographed, however, it gets the #1 spot.

Believe it or not, I did not knit this beauty for myself. It’s for my friend Mandi. Normally I do not knit for other people, and I’ve only made a very few exceptions, but Mandi is deserving of handknits. This here is Mandi’s wedding gift.

Let’s just ignore the fact that the wedding was five months ago.

catkin

Mandi and her husband Michael are very dear friends of ours. They game with us. Sam and Grace adore them. I can call them if I need help–like the time my car was in the shop and Mandi picked up my CSA box for me, or the time our TV broke and they gave us their old one. One time we discovered that they had two PS3s and we had two Wiis, and we swapped.

We were not able to attend their wedding, which made me very sad. Knitting this for Mandi made me feel a little better–and she loves it. Win!

catkin-side

Shawls Shawls Shawls (and cardigan)

I haven’t been posting about my 13 in 13 project for two reasons. 1) I don’t think I’ve been knitting enough shawls to make it (can I switch to 13 hats in 2013? I’m probably halfway there), and 2) I don’t yet have any pictures of the progress I have made, and who wants to look at words about knitting? (Scroll for photos of someone else’s knitting.)

So my mom closed on her new house last week. She is back in Woodstock. This paragraph really needs some exclamation marks but I can’t seem to work them in naturally. Please just take my word for it–I am SUPER-PSYCHED. I’ll be visiting her in the fall. Like, the third weekend in October. Knitters, you know what I am saying, right?

(I am going to the New York Sheep and Wool festival, aka Rhinebeck.)

So obviously I need to get moving on my Rhinebeck Sweater. I decided on Woodstove Season and bought the pattern (plus the matching little girls’ pattern because duh) but I’ve been stalling because I am nervous about the fit. I don’t know what size to make and also I historically look rotten in raglan sleeves. Um. Should I forge ahead or just buy Bloody Mary?

And then I will need shawls. I am not certain I can even finish one sweater, so there’s no way I’ll make one for each day, but I can make shawls. I recently acquired this stunning skein of yarn which I believe you will agree NEEDS to be around my neck, and will go quite nicely with the sweater yarn.

aquae hide-n-seek-league

I’m basically decided on knitting a shawl by verybusymonkey and have possibly narrowed it down to these two:

paralucia

coast starlight

The first is Paralucia and the second is Coast Starlight. They are both shaped like Damson, which is my most wearable shawl, but Coast Starlight’s edging is knitted on side-to-side.

Votes?

Ginger Cloche

I have a knitting pattern out today!

gingerduo2sm

I first conceived of this pattern in December of 2010. I knitted a prototype exactly two years ago, but I got a few things wrong and set it aside. Last fall, Alex put out a call for the Malabrigo Quickies program, and since I knew Rios would be the perfect yarn, I submitted a proposal. I am crazy in love with the end result and wear the finished hat all the time! (I just need to knit another one in teal for myself! Leah’s head is smaller than mine and I knitted her size.)

Ginger is knitted from the top down, so you start with only 4 stitches! I found it easiest to manage with magic loop, but you could certainly use DPNs. The brim is knitted with short row shaping and more increases to give it an asymmetrical flare. The whole thing is knitted at a very tight gauge to mimic felted fabric, and should be worn with a wee bit of positive ease. I’ve included sizes from 16.75 inches (baby) to 22.85 inches (adult large).

gingerquad3sm

Ginger is $5 on Ravelry. You can add to cart or

The Design Process: Too Many Samples?

A brief recap:

Fell in love with the hat in a painting.

Swatched.

Knitted a sample.

Discovered that I had lost my notes.

Backward engineered the basic instructions based on the sample, and started knitting a new sample. I chose a looser gauge for the new yarn (Malabrigo Rios), and a new and improved method of decreasing.

And then I realized that the fit of the hat would not be what I want. It needs a tight gauge, even with the fatter yarn, to create a stiff fabric that will work for the 1920s shape. (The same sort of fabric, or at least a similar sort, could be achieved by lightly felting a loosely knitted hat–but not with Rios, which is superwash!)

So I cast on for a third sample. Luckily, the second one only lost me a day’s knitting–and was totally worth it to work out some kinks! I also figured out a way to improve the short rows, and better/easier/prettier short rows are always a win. This time my notes should be much harder to lose (I typed them, which always helps). Up next: a photo! Once I finish knitting!

Merry Christmas! and Year-End Pattern Sale

We had a great day.

Christmas Eve was a blur of homemade pizzas and A Christmas Carol (both The Muppets and Orson Welles with the Mercury Theater), and then putting presents out once the children were in bed. We assembled the tent, and when Sam got up this morning (at 4:30 in the morning) he saw it and said, “I don’t believe it!”

One of my New Year’s resolutions last year was to publish 12 patterns. I didn’t quite make it–the year is closing out with 10 published patterns, but I do have two more completed and waiting for publication (one in a book and one by a yarn company) so I’m not complaining. I am looking forward to my design break and knitting 13 shawls (and a cardigan) in the new year!

To close out 2012, I am offering all of my self-published patterns at Buy One, Get One. Just add any two patterns to your Ravelry cart and the discount will be automatically deducted. Treat yo self! (I really wish Donna and/or Retta was my friend.)

New Pattern: Olga!

I am really, really, really happy with my newest knitting pattern (which is my last self-published design of the year). Grace and Lucy did such a great job modeling, and the sweaters came out just right! Stephania of Three Fates Yarns custom dyed the yellow yarn for me, which you can order from her shop (the color way is called Rubber Ducky–if she doesn’t have any in stock, I’m sure you can message her to arrange for it!).

I named Olga for designer Olga Buraya-Kefelian, whose love of the “grellow” (grey and yellow) color combination partially inspired this sweater.

Knitted in fingering weight yarn at a slightly loose gauge, there are two length options and two sleeve options, plus the option to use a contrast color for the trim and inside the pocket. This pattern does have some finishing–i-cord trim, sewing the pocket, and small underarm seams for the sleeved version–but it does not take long and is worth the effort.

Sized from infant to 6-7 years, with positive ease so each size fits comfortably for a while.

Available on Ravelry:

December Project #3

I’m working on two knitting projects that are very challenging. One of them should have been done a month ago and the other has to be done by the end of the month. I’ve been so stressed out about my knitting that I’ve kind of started hating it. I keep trying to start easy projects for TV knitting in the evenings (because everyone knows the reward for knitting is to knit more) but my concept of what’s easy is questionable at best.

Over the weekend I started something completely different. A log cabin blanket made from sock yarn, most of it left over from old, favorite projects. “Hey, there’s my Whippoorwill shawl!” “My favorite socks that I wore so much they wore out!” “The Liam sweater I knitted for Gracie!”

It’s nothing but mindless garter and picking up stitches. I LOVE IT SO MUCH. In fact, I am having trouble putting it down to work on the other stuff. Heh.

Thank you, leftover sock yarn, for giving me back my love of knitting.

Finding Time

It is impossible to do everything I want to do. I’m pretty sure that’s true for everyone, but recently I’ve been finding it impossible to do everything I need to do. Even allowing that some things will be neglected sometimes and that priorities will be cyclical, I was a wreck.

Caring for the children full time, being responsible for their educations and social lives, cooking most of the meals, trying to keep the house clean (well, not filthy, anyway), maintaining my own friendships, not to mention my marriage, and oh yeah–attempting to run a fledgling knitting design business and do occasional freelance work. Plus I still want to write, and I’ve taken up photography again.

Everything was slipping.

So. Once I’ve finished the designs I currently have in-progress and met my deadlines, I am going to take a break from designing. It has been stressing me right the fuck out this year, but I am still not making any money worth talking about. It’s no longer fun like a hobby and the returns are not worth it. So, yes: I am giving up. Maybe. I’m going to knit for my own enjoyment for a while, and design only when the urge strikes and only if I really want to.

Frankly, I am so relieved. You would not even believe it. Last week I started writing something, just a little project I have been wanting to do for a while, and I’m so happy exercising a different part of my brain. I need a break.

Besides, this is the only way I can knit my 13 shawls.