Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Circular Knitting Redefined...due out February 2010

It's so tough waiting to see what the book cover is going to look like when you've contributed a few designs. I don't do well with the waiting process. I stumbled on this hap-hazardly (as usual) when I went on http://www.anniesattic.com/. I knew it was coming out in February - but in the book publication world, that could mean February 2011! I have 2 designs in this book - the second design will have to be a mystery until the book comes out! I'm having a great time and learning a little bit about patience.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Newest book due out next month

Looks like this book is finally here - well, it will be in about 3 weeks anyway.
From what I remember, there are 5 women's sweaters in this book - 1 being a simple cabled cardigan, 1 being a cropped and cabled open cardigan, a sleeveless 2-toned shell, a short sleeved tie shrug and my favorite - the simple yet flattering pullover shown on the front cover. It's a nice variety of sweaters for all seasons.
This book uses some specialty yarns like Cascade "Pastaza" and "Cotton Rich" and Elsebeth Lavold "Silky Wool" as well as a few more commonly found yarns like Bernat and Patons.
I can't wait to get my samples back so I can wear this sweater! That's the only drawback to publishing....it takes a while before you can wear the sweaters you've knit.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Holiday Pattern Sneak Preview

Here's a sneak preview of my one and only holiday pattern.
The test knitter just finished both hat and scarf in hot pink and the tech editor just pulled my email request out of her spam file. So as soon as she gives me the okay, I'll get it published - just in time for that last minute holiday gift. Yarn used was Cascade "Baby Alpaca Chunky" in Ice blue. http://www.cascadeyarns.com/cascade-BabyAlpacaChunky.asp

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Featured Designer for November

Leisure Arts asked me to be their featured Designer for November for their E-news. My book "Fun Time Sweaters" was going to be the featured book so they thought it was only fitting to ask me to write an article. Well, here's my article.

What I wasn't expecting was the cover of my newest book due out in January. I almost didn't recognize the sweater! It actually was my favorite sweater in that grouping, knit out of Elsebeth Lavold "Silky Wool". It was definitely a nice surprise - now I can't wait to see what they did on the inside of the book!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Book signing in Port Orchard

Well - I'm doing my first book signing at
Debbie Macomber's A Good Yarn shop in Port Orchard, WA, this coming October 16th from 4 - 7 pm. The sweaters will also be on display as well as my trunk show - provided I get the 3 trunk shows back in time! It also happens to be their big Knit in Night which I've heard is a blast. It might be a good time to see what all the hoopla is about. They even serve dinner next door - and their prices are great and the food is delicious. So bring your appetite, a knitting project and stop on by.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Knowledge is liberating

I have been paying someone to create and maintain my website. Initially, it was worth the expense. I didn't have the time to figure it out on my own nor was I ready to invest in the costly software. Two years later, a couple thousand dollars poorer and a website nearly unchanged, I have decided it was time to take control of the situation. I have been co-dependent on my web designer and everytime that I wanted to make a change whether it be an update photo, a new design or add a new retailer...I would count the dollars it was going to cost me. It got to be where I was content with mediocre work. That is wrong! Once the summer was upon me, business slowed down to a near halt and my dollars became quarters, I decided that this was my chance to break the co-dependency and go back to school. I haven't been to college since 1986 (yikes - that sounds ancient) and I haven't worked at Microsoft since 1990 (yikes, do you realize how much computer technology has changed in the past 20 years!?) so the whole thought of going back to school and trying to keep up with the computer geeks of today almost was too much for my jittery heart. Well...I did it and might I add that I was so excited to walk into a classroom after all that time, I could hardly contain myself. I'm on my 2nd week of class and all I can say is Knowledge is Liberating! We can all look forward to a progressive website that I can be proud of.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Stresses of Designing...

You might recognize this photo - I added it to my blog way back in Mar/Apr of this year. I am designing a spring cardigan for Simply Shetland and I love what I have designed. In fact, it might be my favorite to date. Unfortuneately, I was given no deadline and since acquiring this yarn, I have been lucky enough to have received several deadlined contracts. So...this poor cardigan which has not deadline, has been put on the back burner on and off for 6 months. Now that my last contract was complete, I've pulled this project out again and I'm committed to finishing it up. I am working from the bottom up and the sleeves from the shoulder down. I have completed both sleeves and tried it on. I don't like the sleeves. It's way too bulky under the arm and it looks terrible. After many sleepless nights of trying to figure out how to correct this issue, I think I've got it figured out. So now I need to take out both sleeves and re-do them (crossing my fingers that my new idea is a good one). Once the sleeves are done, the rest is a piece of cake. I'm really a traditional knitter working the individual pieces and then seaming them up. This is my first 1-piece cardigan and I now see the problem with a set in sleeve that is worked from the shoulder down. If the set in sleeve has too much initial armhole bind off - then there is too much bulk. What I should have done is gradually decreased the entire armhole without having any 1" bind off at the beginning as you would have in a normal set in sleeve. I'm hoping my theory works. I'm anxious to finish it - I bet Simply Shetland is too! The owner of Simply Shetland has been a dream to work with but I still feel quilty for taking so much time. I'm just hoping that she loves it enough to make it worth her wait.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Madison Avenue Tam Photoshoot

While on our trip to Lincoln City, OR - I had my husband shoot some pictures of my daughter in the Madison Tam using Cascade Nikki. According to her, she wasn't a hat person nor did she like the colorways...but she agreed to have her picture taken none the less. By the next day, I couldn't get the damn tam off her head. She wore it day in and day out. Which gave me an idea....it took 110 yds (1 skein) to make this tam (in adult size with extra flop no less) and literally a couple evenings. What a perfect gift this christmas for my dozen plus nieces and great nieces. Use variegated, solids, tweeds and mohair blended yarns to change out the look so it doesn't look like I made 15 of the same hat. I can also personalize it more that way. In fact, I bet I have enough left over yarns from previous projects/sweaters to supply me with enough yarn for the majority of the tams. Oh good grief, I better start knitting or I'll get knitter's cramp!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Another...Where do you like to knit...scene

I like to knit at the beach. This time it was Lincoln City, Oregon over Labor Day weekend. There is nothing more relaxing than sitting on sand, breeze on the face, the sound of waves crashing and day dreaming all while knitting. Hey - I even got some Vitamin D! The red pouch was a last minute purchase at www.yorkshireyarns.com. It's a Della Q sack that holds your ball of yarn. I bought it during her Grand Opening as I found it useful while walking around the shop while knitting and chatting. I rarely walk while knitting so wasn't sure that it was a practical purchase but I soon realized that it's the perfect carry along at the beach. It kept my yarn from rolling in the sand. So...if I were to have a "gadget" of the week, it would be this silk pouch.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Tight deadline to meet

I've had a great summer, the kids just went back to school yesterday and I made yesterday a day all about me. I started by knitting (of course) then I managed to get a run in across the Tacoma Narrows Bridge (2 miles). It was a beautiful day and I saw a seal in the water and 2 deer on the Tacoma side eating blackberries. Then off to Puyallup to buy a few boxes of pears and tomatoes. Ran home, got 1 daughter off to the hair dresser, threw the tomatoes in the oven (roasted tomato soup to be frozen), prepped dinner for my dad who is visiting from Korea and even took him on a walk across the bridge to see 3 more seals. It was a great day. When I got home, I had 3 packages. I have never received 3 packages on the same day before. 1 was a box full of promotion books from Leisure Arts, 1 was my samples from Crystal Palace that I loaned out for TNNA plus half a dozen balls of mini mochi (yippee!) and a big box of Cascade 220 Superwash. Now I need to hunker down...the Cascade 220 superwash is for a contract that I just received last week. The contract has a deadline of mid-September - one of the shortest deadlines I have had thus far. Luckily, I am headed to Lincoln City tomorrow (4 hour drive) with my family for a mini vacation at the ocean. I can get a ton of knitting done on this trip. So - I won't be blogging until I get this project done. Lucky for me, my webdesign class doesn't start until Sept. 22nd and my first knitting class isn't until the 11th - so I'm fairly open to knit full time. As soon as I can spill the beans on this published project, I will.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Tui'ing away....

Look what showed up on my door - a whole bunch of Tui yarn! Zealana yarns (www.theyarnsisters.com) has come out with this chunky weight yarn and you won't believe the blend they came up with. 70% Merino, 15% Cashmere and 15% Possum. I grabbed some 10's and began knitting with the charcoal black (color T050). I'm designing a broken rib men's vest. It's absolutely wonderful to knit with and despite the simple 8 row repeat, I can't seem to put it down. As for the Azul Blue (color T06), I have some ideas but haven't begun sketching yet. I'm thinking women's cardigan. I think I'm becoming a yarn snob. The last few sweaters that I've knit with had cashmere in them and once you knit with cashmere or any divine fiber for that matter, it's really hard to knit with anything of lesser quality. Gotta go, Tui is calling for me....

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

My first exclusive booklet is now available!

Wow - finally - my very first exclusive booklet is
now available through Leisure Arts! I have been waiting quite patiently for this day! I haven't received a copy yet - so haven't a clue what the inside looks like but guessing from the outside, it's probably pretty darned cute!
Green sweater was knit out of Cascade "Sierra" which is a nice cotton blend and the pink sweater was knit using 2 strands of yarn together - Klaus Koch "Clip" and Berroco "Cotton Twist".
I'm so excited...I'm not sure what to do with myself. I think it's the suspense of not knowing how they are going to photograph your creations, how they will portray your work and the graphics they use. I'm dying to see the inside!!!! I better give Leisure Arts a call tomorrow and get myself a few dozen copies! So this is what it feels like to be running on Adrenaline......

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Drum roll please....office is open for business!

I even have my blocking mats set up for emergency blocking!
I even have my needles hanging in baskets on the wall (right to the left of the bookshelf) - circulars in the top basket, straight and ugly metals in the bottom basket.

I am so excited....I finally have a working office! After years of piling up papers, throwing partial skeins of yarn in unmarked bins and garments hidden in closets, plastic bags and more bins...I have organized my passion! I even have labeled every bin, filed every pattern draft and organized my knitting by season. Boy - I hope I can keep this up!
The bins under the blocking table are yarns separated by weight. The 3 stacking bins to the far right are my current projects that I'm working on.

What you can't see are the numerous bins of trunk show models and submission garments that need to be shelved in the craft room. I haven't showered and I'm not drinking water - thus I don't get distracted when I have to "go". My kids are bored and I'm missing some good daytime TV but I've got a killer working room now.
Now I just need to get rid of the "Alaska fishing" photo (behind the dress forms) and the "Jazz" poster above my head forms...they soooo don't go with my knitting theme....

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Who do you like to knit with?

Knitting at Stitch -n Pitch, Cheney Stadium

Knitting at Stewart Heights Pool
Well...on the same theme as my earlier blog...."Where do you like to knit?"...
Who do you like to knit with?
I'm telling you, I like to knit but I love to knit in good company!
Okay - so it doesn't look like we talk to eachother...but we really do! And by the way,
we all frog more of our projects when we are together because we are talking too much and not concentrating. I've been known to come with a half finished project and leave with only the cast on remaining in tact!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

What constitutes a true friend???

As I wipe sweat from my forehead in our non-air conditioned home where the tempatures have soared past 100 degrees, I realize that I have found the meaning to a good friendship. I have a few deadlines...one of which is to photograph a super bulky vest in super hot wool. So - with the deadline fast approaching, I realize that I am still in need a 1 last photograph. So who can I call at the last minute that I know will drop what she's doing for a friend??? Yup, my knitting BFF - aka www.simazenthings.com. On her way out to dinner - she stops by my house, dons on a long sleeved shirt, pulls on the 5 lbs. of super bulky wool and poses for the camera. Yes, I can hardly focus because my face thinks it's getting a facial! And I'm the one in shorts and a tank top! She never complained, she let me pose her and re-pose her in the 99 degree shade.

Now, I probably would not have come to know her and like her as I have if it weren't for knitting. She, as well as a small group of friends meet once a week to knit. There is where we actually can chat and really learn about eachother that just wouldn't be possible at school, while volunteering together or with kids demanding our attention. What other hobby allows you to sit down and chat with a friend while accomplishing something at the same time? I've tried that while playing tennis - but I'm too out of breath or I can't hear her without my hearing aids. Knitting is truly more than a hobby....it has brought be some great friends that I have known and seen in the school hallways for years yet would have never gotten to know them on the level that I have if it wasn't for our mutual interest and passion in knitting. If don't have a knitting group - I urge you to find one. I never expected to gain such good friends out of a knitting group - and I wish I had had the courage to start this group up years ago.

Thank you Sherri -

Monday, July 27, 2009

Reviewing, refreshing, enlarging and updating patterns

I made a Unisex Vest out of an unknown Anny Blatt yarn probably about 1999. I ran out of yarn about 2 inches shy of its completion and since my husband purchased it in Switzerland, I was unable to obtain another skein. So - that's where the cropped design came about. Years later, a friend of mine re-knit it and tested the pattern for me, using Cascade Ecological Wool (www.cascadeyarns.com). She was making it for her son - so that's where the idea of offering the pattern in 2 lengths came about. Afterall, what guy would want to wear a cropped vest? Since then, I have taken some great design classes and thought it was time to re-visit my first design patterns to see if they needed updating. Aaaarghhhh...I'm embarrassed by my lack of instructions! So, I have spent the last few weeks, reknitting this same ole vest...adding an extra-small (now in 7 sizes) for those tweeners out there and adding more detail to my instructions. Pattern goes from 32" to 58" bust. I have also contracted out a tech editor to add schematics until I can find the time to learn it myself. The new and improved pattern will be available this August. On to my next review.....

Friday, July 24, 2009

Stitch -n Pitch, Cheney Stadium

What game?? I was so busy chatting, I hardly saw the game. I think I got 1 row done - if that.

The first annual Stitch 'n Pitch at the Tacoma Rainiers game and guess who threw the first pitch???? The
one and only "French Girl Knits" - aka Kristeen Griffin-Grimes. I liked her book and patterns before I met her and now that I've had the chance to chat with her (even split the last gardenburger with her!) - I am truly in awe and inspired by her and her designs. She's really a neat person and if you haven't had a chance to flip through her book "French Girl Knits" - you really otta. http://www.interweavestore.com/store/p/2196-French-Girl-Knits-Innovative-Techniques-Romantic-Details-and-Feminine-Designs.aspx

And who else but Sonya Acord (owner of Yorkshire Yarns in Lakewood) to sing the National Anthem! I was in the field photographing but wasn't sure if I could walk on the diamonds to photograph Sonya - especially during the National Anthem. She did a fabulous job.

It was a blast. I hope they end up making this an annual event.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Where do you like to knit?????

Where do you like to knit?????
I prefer to knit in the kiddie pool........
I get a tan, it keeps me cool and I can still knit and participate in pool activities.
Oh and for those who care, I'm knitting with Cascade Ecological Wool (tarnish color) (www.cascadeyarns.com) - I'm re-knitting my Unisex cabled Vest.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Twined Mittens in New Fall "Taos" colors

I've been twining away in the new fall Taos colors.

Chili Pepper Red (#27), Kailab (#26) and Wintergreen (#25). Last years Hopi brown (#10 I think) jumped in the picture as well.
So...once again I was attempting to work these mittens using just 1 skein of Taos yarn (128 yds). I seem to have a fettish about 1-skein knits! Well, all of the mittens will use just one skein - except for my large mittens which fit my husband perfectly. I was halfway through my shaping decreases when I realized I am about 15 yds short of yarn. So...I'll be yanking this second mitten out to re-knit it in a smaller size. It's not the end of the world, I just can't call this pattern a 1-skein knit project - even though 3 of the 4 sizes will only use a skein. Well - I guess that 2 skeins of Taos will then make 1 men's sized pair of mittens and a pair of toddler mittens. Not bad for about $17.00 eh?
This pattern will be available this August.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Hill's Resort

Summer begins for me at Hill's Resort (Priest Lake, Idaho). It's a week of basking in the sun, reading trashy People and US magazines (great week for that....Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, Kate Plus 8...phew...it almost took me the entire week to get through the magazine articles!), napping, picking huckleberries (I froze enough to bring home to savour this winter), floating in the raft and heading to the bar everynight to play cards with our dear friends. I even got a lot of knitting done - although not nearly as much as I needed to! By the time we got home, my garden was bursting at the seams! I harvested all of my garlic, my remaining pie cherries and loads of raspberries, blueberries, beets with girth and fat shelling peas. I even had an entire colander of baby potatoes which will become this weeks hashbrowns. My boysenberries will be ready within the week and my black currants are perfect for picking now. I think I'll make black currant jam tomorrow. I cooked down the pie cherries and will stuff them into swedish pancakes tomorrow for breakfast. I think I need to harvest my Walla Walla onions tomorrow as well. I even had some sweet cherries off of my 3 year old cherry tree that I thought the birds would get to before me. Life is sweet - especially when surrounded by free food!
As for my knitting....I'll report on that tomorrow. I had some yarn waiting for me on my door step and I have some fall designs that I finished on vacation that need photographing.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Gone Test Knitting...be back soon

I finally finished writing up this Preppy Boy's Tweed Vest. I've made 2 of them already but have 5 people test knitting the various sizes. It's a simple pattern using Naturally "Buttons" yarn but the back is done in stockinette stitch while the front is worked in cables - thus different stitch gauges. So I have the front and back being worked on different numbers with a faux seam dividing them. It works out great - as long as I don't throw off my test knitters. I even charted it and added schematics. My schematics and charts aren't exactly professional (still using good ole Excel sheets!) but I'll have to conquer Illustrator this fall when I have time to learn it. I also need my husband to professionally photograph it - as the cables and color aren't great. Due out this August.....

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

(WWKIPD) Knit in Public Day

I found a Ravelry test knitter to test knit my Cascade Baby Alpaca Grande
Winter Cables scarf. She is living in Tasmania - and she was on her way (okay - so I'm blogging about it a couple weeks after the fact..) to knit in the World Wide Knit in Public Day in Tasmania! Wow - it really is worldwide! Tasmania may be half a world away from where I live, but Ravelry (www.Ravelry.com) has just made our knitting world alot smaller! Amazing......

Monday, June 15, 2009

I'm back from TNNA

Great trip - what can I say? Started with a perfect flight, excellent classes with Cat Bordhi and Sally Melville, re-connected with long distant partners and friends, networked with new partners and future friends, ate excellent food - and had hours and hours of undisturbed knitting!
The trip ended with a perfect return flight and hours and hours of air-time knitting...I'm a little tired though as I got in at 1 am my time or 4 am Columbus time and had to get the kids off to school - no adjustment period for me!

My official badge. I actually had an exhibitor badge for Crystal Palace yarns too since I was dropping off some samples for their booth.
It was fun going behind the scenes while the shops were setting up - what a huge job! All of the furniture, bookshelves and yarns must be shipped in. I can't imagine the cost and labor behind this event.

The city of Columbus - or what I saw of it, is quaint. It's just charming. Cat insisted that everyone try the famous Jeni's ice cream so I had the fully loaded salty caramel -macaroon ice cream cookie rolled in smoked almonds. It was heavenly - and you'll be seeing it on my back thighs if I ever wear short shorts again. The best part of all was that my kids deeply missed me and made me this welcome home banner that was taped over my bedroom door. They wanted to buy me a mylar balloon and flowers - but my husband didn't want to look too over-excited---that's okay, I love my banner. Besides, I know he missed me because I couldn't get him off the phone when I called...that's a tale tale sign of being lonely.
Unfortunately, no pictures could be taken in the exhibit hall - but all of the vendors did a wonderful job displaying their gorgeous yarns. I was so busy meeting up with people and thanking vendors who have supplied me with yarn and opportunity that I really didn't have much down time to just wander around aimlessly. There is so much to see and do that I am sure I missed more than I realized. I left Columbus with a 4-page "To Do" list for when I get back into town. This is surely becoming a full time job for me - and I'm smiling along the way....

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I'm unable to take your call right now...

Class supplies - check
knitting for on the plane - check
knitting for in the hotel - check
knitting for on the way home - check
knitting to swatch - check
business cards - check
models for Crystal Palace Yarns - check
clothes for a hot and humid location - check
patterns/porfolio/meeting times/names and locations email - check

alarm clock set for 2 am - check
2nd alarm clock set for 2:05 am - check
3rd alarm clock set for 2:15 - check

Okay - I'm good.
Recording: "I'm unable to take your call right now, please
leave me your name and number and I'll get back to you as
soon as I can. Thank you and have a nice day." stop recording.

Now for my prayer:
Fold hands, bow head, close eyes: "Please get me there and back safely as I would be utterly
embarrassed if someone saw and had to disperse my
knitting projects, frogs, WIP's, queued projects, swatches and partial
skeins - for just in case. Amen...."

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sneek Preview into Fall Hat

I've finished my Mini-Mochi Subtley Cabled hat (Autumn color #107) just in time for TNNA next week. The hat will be on display at the Crystal Palace Yarn Booth #413, 415, 512- so stop on by and see how gorgeous Mini Mochi knits up! The child size model uses 1 skein of Mini Mochi (awsome price point) while the adult size will take barely 2 skeins. I have my girlfriend Sherri test knitting the adult size as I write. This yarn is definitely on my list of favorites. The down side to this yarn is it is fingering weight which takes alot longer to knit up and is more tedious. The upside to this is I'm thinking of publishing the pattern in both Mini Mochi and Mochi Plus weights so you can pick and choose the yarn weight you prefer while still having the same gorgeous outcome. Mochi Plus is due out any day now...so I'll have to hunt it down next. Ooooo- it should be at TNNA...better make room in my luggage for extra castaways.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

cranking out Fall Designs

I'm in the midst of cranking out my Fall 2009 Designs. I've got more designs in my head than I have on paper - and even less on the needles. I'm working the small projects first- hats/scarves and mittens and I have the sweaters sketched out and most of them swatched. I thought this way, I could start getting the quick projects test knit while I work on the sweaters. That way, if I run out of time, at least I have something going to print. I have several long vacations coming up as well as a very long flight to Columbus for TNNA so I should have some good knitting time between now and August.

I'll keep you posted on my fall designs...along with some tantalizing photos to keep your interest.

Gotta go, I have mini-mochi "Autumn #107" calling my name! http://straw.com/cpy/yarns/mini-mochi-balls.html

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hat unveiling...

I take weeks - even months to create a pattern with variegated yarns. I love variegated yarns but they're so exquisitely beautiful that they really need no fancy stitch pattern what so ever. So, when I am asked to design with these hand-dyed yarns, I usually drag my feet. So once again, http://www.crownmountainfarms.com/ asked me to create a hat based on his hand-spun hand dyed Sock Hop yarn (color Atlantis). Well, after numerous swatches and unsatisfying results, I found a subtle cable that I incorporated with a simple rib stitch. The ribbing gives the hat a nice elasticity while the cable keeps boredom at bay. I thought that the cable would also make the hat more handsome and more gender generic. So - voila, here it is. The pattern is really slated for Fall 2009 so the only place the hat pattern will be available until then is through Crown Mountain Farms. Klaus of Crown Mountain will have it at his booth at the Northwest Regional Spinners Conference in Tacoma, Wa June 4th - 7th (see attached link for location and times).
http://www.nwregionalspinners.org/. His next event will be at The Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene, Oregon June 19th - 21st. http://www.blacksheepgathering.org/. Stop by and say hi and tell him I sent you!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Teaching future knitters

Today was a great - if not exhausting day. My knitting buddies and I went to our kids' elementary school to teach knitting. Every year, they have this day called "Imagination Celebration" where the children get to pick from 30 different activities - ranging from hip hop to building bird houses. There are 3 sessions (1 hour each) and the kids get to request what sessions they want. I have been doing this event for the past 4 years and it's so much fun. Every year it exhausts me and I question if I want to do it again. Last year, while I was walking to my daughters class room after this event, a little girl ran clear across the playground to thank me for teaching her to knit. I had to hold back the tears...and then I walked on cloud 9 for the rest of the day. It's not that the kids are difficult to teach, it's that it's painful to watch them pull their knitting needles apart from one another as far as they can go or watching stitches fling off their needles - never to be caught again. Or, their dexterity needs to be oiled like the tin man. Some get frustrated but about halfway through the class you can hear the kids mumbling how much fun it is and how they want to do it again next year. We even had 3 boys this year. Later, the teachers come up to me and let me know how proud their students were when they walked back to class wearing their friendship bracelet or choker. So today, we taught 32 - 3rd to 5th graders how to knit. It's been a good day.....I could use a nap though!
Thanks Sherri, Sue and Kristen - I couldn't have done it without you!

Monday, May 4, 2009

I've fallen in love...again...

Ask any of my friends and they'll tell you that I gravitate towards the solid earth toned balls of yarn. I'm a bit boring to say the least but I find it exciting to create a design using a blank canvas. Most, if not all of my designs are working in solid colors. I just find that variegated yarns tend to overwelm most designs. It's like a fight to see who stands out more - the color palette or the stitch pattern.
Well - I've fallen in love with this hand dyed - homespun hank of sock yarn. It was sent to me by http://www.crownmountainfarms.com/. Crown Mountain Farms is having a booth at http://www.knitandcrochetshow.com/ in Portland, OR
(May 15 - 17) and will be carrying my full line of patterns. He asked that I knit up a sock sample for him to help show the sock yarn. The one pictured is called "She's like a rainbow" - and it is just gorgeous. I absolutely love this yarn! I must make a sweater out of it - of course, this will take some time! If you happen to be in the Portland area next weekend- stop by the booth and take a look at these hand dyed yarns - they're utterly scrumptious!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Designing for Simply Shetland

Simply Shetland Lambswool Cashmere (color Aphrodite #002)

After months of swatching and sketching, I've finally come up with a Spring Cardigan that I am so excited about. This will be my 3rd design for Simply Shetland. The original design used the feather and fan stitch pattern. I swatched it, blocked it, and submitted it to Simply Shetland for approval. By the time I had received approval on this design concept, I had just received my Creative Knitting magazine - which had about 4 designs all using the feather and fan stitch pattern! Then, all of a sudden - every where I turned, I saw feather and fan scarves, shells, dresses...you name it. So - needless to say, I no longer liked my design idea and it was back to the drawing board. My new design is gorgeous! Everything has remained the same in terms of the concept and style - but I am so much happier with the new lace pattern. It'll definitely be for intermediates - as the lace will take more concentration and serious blocking - but it'll be so worth it. The hard part is behind me, now for the fun part - casting on!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Missing in action / in search of baby blankets...

Okay - so according to my BFF (she'll be losing that title here soon!), I have been deliquent on my blogging. So April in a nutshell....the month started out with a bang. I decided that it was time for me to maintain my own website. It's too expensive to hire someone to change photos and add patterns. So - I went on-line and found an Adobe CS3 Dreamweaver which is what my website was created with. I don't know much about software or websites. Come to find out - the company that I bought the software from was shady and out of NYC. The software came scratched and un-installable. I've been bamboozled! After desperate pleas for help, they sent me another one. This time it was installable - but the serial number was invalid so I could not register or use it. After another few pleas, I did get a full refund - but only after lots of complaints to the shady company, paypal and the Better Business Bureau. So - I'm putting that one on the back burner....I'm turning gray and I can't seem to stop it...quick I need my hair dyed.
I had 2 deadlines to meet this month - both of which took the entire month. I can now breathe again. We've picked out a carpet for the new "knitting" office (Cal still thinks it's his office) and it'll be installed the second saturday in May. So my office is still half chaos, half organized. Once the carpet is installed, I'll be up and running! I'll even have a table for my blockers, yarn swift and ball winder (www.knitpicks.com). It'll be like a production line. There is a built-in ledge on the wall where I have my hat heads and sock feet all lined up. It looks really good. My husband has some posters about the heads and feet - which I'll be taking down when he's not looking to replace with a 'knitting' poster of some type. He'll never know what hit him.

Lastly, I met up with another knitter the other day. I found her on Ravelry(http://www.ravelry.com/)
and her husband is a social worker in Tacoma. She had mentioned that 70 children come through the DHSH system (into foster care) every month. The social workers provide a new blanket for each child that comes through their doors. So she was looking for blanket donations on Ravelry. I don't have the time to knit up a blanket - but I had sewn up a few crib quilts - which I donated. We had never met before - in yet, we chatted for a good hour and a half. We could have gone on another 2 hours easily if it wasn't for family and sun awaiting our return. My conclusion is knitter's have so much in common - no wonder we like our retreats. We don't have to know anybody at the retreat to have fun.

So - on that note...if anyone has a new blanket of any size (knit, crocheted or sewn) that they would like to donate, I would be happy to collect them and pass them on to Jennifer. If times are tough in your household - you can only imagine what the social workers are faced with.

Monday, March 30, 2009

What a miserable day!

Well, after having a productive day the other day - I come down with a nasty head cold that has left me very unproductive! It's just a head cold, but I was stuffed up enough to have a miserable sleep. I feel sluggish and have no energy...hate when that happens. The only good thing to come of this is that I was able to finish my Magic Loop Cable socks for class at http://www.agoodyarnshop.com/. I used Crystal Palace Panda Silk - http://www.straw.com which is so nice to work with and makes for a nice spring/summer sock. I am doing a second and smaller sock using the Panda Silk - print. Love the yarn...but then again, what's not to love when silk is involved! I have only knit with silk twice (the other time was for a bridal purse using Berger Du Nord "100% silk) and both projects I couldn't put down. Silk isn't as expensive as you would think - the bridal purse only took 1 skein of yarn ($10 retail). I think silk and spring go hand in hand - now if only spring would come! Gotta go, I feel my nose dripping...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

It's been a good day!

This has been a great day for me. It all started out with bringing in some yellow Forsythia to freshen up my bathroom and a bouquet of rosemary to liven up the kitchen. My week always goes well when I bring in fresh cuts out of my garden. I cut back the Hydrangea plants - all 7 of them (they are 6 feet tall!), began raking leaves, cutting back peppermint stalks and chives and even managed to plant some more sugar peas and spinach. Then I cut back my roses (never sure if I'm doing it right) and fertilized the roses with Epsom salts - a trick I learned while watching Martha Stewart. I also fertilized the raspberry and blueberry plants as well as the rhodies and azaleas. This year - I swear - I'll keep up with the garden.

On top of having a great day in the garden, I test knit an upcoming pattern (until my fingers hurt!), made homemade cinnamon rolls for my girls and an elderly neighbor, got my haircut and even folded 2 loads of laundry. If only everyday could go this smoothly!
Life is short....find what really makes you happy and make it a part of each day -

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Organizing my workspace

My yarn, books, patterns, needles and samples have been growing out of my walk-in craft closet for quite some time. In fact, it's truly a work hazard to try and find yarn. My husband on the other hand has a "master bedroom" sized office which houses his piles of papers and not much more. So after years of begging him for a corner of his space, he has agreed. If he keeps his promise, I move in sometime this weekend - which would allow me to use my old walk-in closet as a true craft room that my girls could actually use.

About a month ago, my girlfriend - Sherri, bought me a glass
head form - which I love. Well - this prompted me to think about how I would set up my newly inherited craft space. I have a ton of knitted samples that I loan out to yarn shops to promote my patterns and their yarn. All samples are currently in unrecognizable bins. So I went on Ebay and found a few heads. What I found out is I like to bid on things (not so good). So heads just came, feet are coming and I am still searching for the right dress form. I am thinking of putting up shelves and lining them with these heads and feet. I want it to look like a studio - so to speak.

I wonder if I should get some hands too....

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Where have all the knitters gone????

I just got back from a south caribbean cruise. It took 2 long flights to get us to San Juan, Puerto Rico and 2 long flights back. We were on a ship with 3,200 other passengers for 7 days. I brought some socks to work on and the neon hot pink leg warmers to finish for my daughter. First of all - I had 3 sets of 24" metal circular needles in hand and had no problems making it through security. In the past, I always made sure I had bamboo or plastic. So that was nice not having my life support taken from me. But....I must say...where have all the knitters gone??? I didn't see anyone in any of the 4 airports nor on the ship knit nor crochet. Yikes. Nor did I have anyone approach me as in the past mentioning that they too knit and asking me about the project I was working on. Let me tell you - I saw plenty of bored and impatient travelers. Had they been knitters, they would have been more content sitting for hours on end - especially on these 5 hour flights. Yes, I did get the leg warmers done and just in time for the last bit of our winter! Pattern is out of a Dale of Norway booklet using their Falk Neon yarn.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Madrona Fiber Arts

This is the first year that I haven't taken some classes at Madrona Fiber Arts. I was, however, able to go to the open Market. Ran into some shop owners...saw a few friends...petted a few yarns. There is such a nice buzz to this event. It's just amazing at the knitting instructors that this "small" event captures. I saw Stephanie McPhee (taking a spinning class), Lucy Neatby's flaming bright hair and outfit whiz by and Nancy Bush was heading up for lunch (I've taken her Baltic Bobbles and Cables class - fantastic by the way). I saw names outside each classroom...Sally Melville, Jean Wong, Vivian Hexbro to name a few. It's one of those events that shouldn't be missed. Literally, the entire hotel is buzzing with knitters. They knit in the bar, they knit while waiting for lunch and they knit the night away in the hotel lobby. I'm headed back tomorrow - hopefully to buy some yarn (today was just scoping out the joint!)- and to meet up with a new knitting friend "Elizbo".

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Error on Basic Twined Ski hat (recent ones only)

Okay - so after slapping on reprints onto a green piece of cardstock paper and inserting them into a sheet protector for the past year...I decided to "upgrade" my way of doing things and become a "pro". I spent the first 2 weeks of January printing out a few patterns at a time. Checking every detail from the font size to the correct hyphens to consistency in my terminology. I scanned over and re-read every pattern to make sure that they were perfect when they went to press. In 1 month, I have sent 10 patterns to press out of my 30 designs. I'm taking it slow - not rushing (afterall, that's where mistakes are made!). So - I ship out some hefty orders. I get a call from Michigan saying that a customer sent back one of my patterns. The earflap instructions don't make sense. Hmmm..it must be her! Well- low and behold, there was a significant error on my part! I attached the wrong instructions! I can't believe it! 5 days before my trip and I have to re-print and re-ship and quickly apologize to some of my biggest accounts! So - if by chance you have purchased this hat in the last month on white paper - not green. Then send me an email and I will PDF the correct instructions. Well - I guess I can go back to rushing - I made less errors!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Sewing Expo coming soon!

Stop on by the Sewing Expo February 26 thru March 1st at the Puyallup Fairgrounds (WA).
Fibers Etc. (booth #181, #182) will have most of my patterns on hand and my models will be there on display as well. It's the largest sewing expo in the US (I think anyway). There will be several knitting booths amongst the quilting booths. Here's the website for more information:

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Free pattern

I fell upon this old pattern that I created at least 4 years ago. I saw a similiar necktie in a magazine and re-created it using leftover bulky alpaca. Now that neckwarmers are in, I thought I should re-print this pattern in hopes of helping fellow knitters use up their leftover stash.

Winter Necktie
Level: Advanced Beginning Knitting
Sizes: Adult - one size fits all
Yarn: Baby Alpaca Grande (110 yds)
1 skein (solid necktie), 2 skeins (striped)
Needle: US # 10 needles (3 needles)
Measurements: 4” wide X 34” long
Stitches used: Garter stitch (knit both right and wrong sides)
Gauge: 3 sts = 1” (12 sts = 10 cm)
Special Notes:
Increases: All increases will be made on the second stitch of each side of the necktie. All increases will be done on the wrong side of the necktie on color A only.
Color Changes: Colors will be noted as (A) -grey and (B) - red. Wrap the yarn to be used on the next row in front of the yarn just used for a finished edge. After knitting 1 stitch, give both yarns a slight tug to avoid a loose finished edge.
Decreases: All decreases will be done on the first and last two stitches of that row (K2tog, K to last 2 stitches of the row, K2tog). All decreases will be done on the right side of the necktie on color A only.
Necktie Loop: Before beginning project, cut off 2 ½ yards of both colors for the knit loop and set aside.
K2tog: Pick up two stitches at the same time with the right needle and knit them off together, thus decreasing 1 stitch.
M1: Make one stitch. With the needle tip, lift the strand between last stitch knit and next stitch on the left hand needle and knit into back of it.

Striped Necktie:
With color A, Cast On 4 stitches.
Row 1: (color A) K4
Row 2: (A) K1, M1, K2, M1, K1 (6 sts)
Row 3: (B) K6
Row 4: (B) K6
Row 5: (A) K6
Row 6: (A) M2 sts as noted in special notes (8 sts)
Following the pattern above, increase to 16 sts. Increase only on the wrong side of color A with no changes to color B.
At 16 sts., begin decrease on Color A: K2tog, K to last 2 sts, K2tog. Decrease only on the right side of color A with no changes to color B. Repeat decreases until 8 sts remain. Approx. 6” from beg.
K1, M1 (transferring ALL new stitches onto an extra needle), K1,M1, K1, M1, K1, M1, K1, M1, K1, M1, K1, M1, K1, M1). There should be 8 original stitches on original needle and 8 newly made stitches on the third needle. This will make the loop. While keeping with the striped pattern, garter stitch the 8 sts for 2”, ending on a color A. With the precut yarn, repeat the same procedure for the 8 new stitches. To enclose the loop, parallel the needles, knit the front and back first stitch together with color B. Continue knitting front and back stitches together, thus ending with the original 8 stitches. Wrong side, with color B, K8.
Neck: (approx. 15” between loops)
With color A, begin increase as done previously to 16 sts. At 16 sts, k for 10 - 10 ½” with no increases or decreases.
Begin decrease as done previously (necktie will be approx. 21 ½” long) until there are 8 sts. remaining. K8 for 2” with no increases or decreases and matching with loop length and width. A loop is not made at this end.
Begin increase as done previously to 16 sts.
Begin decrease as done previously to 4 sts and ending with color A. Bind off remaining 4 sts.

Solid Necktie:
Follow above pattern, using one color of yarn only. Increase and decrease as instructed. If embellishing is desired, sew on a button for appearances only on top part of loop.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Jamieson Stocking Cap

Found my camera -
This is the child's fair isle Stocking cap up close. I'm just about ready to crown the adolescent hat - which I think I'm going finish it in some jester tips - you know, the court jester 3 points. Funky hats are in.
I'm really happy with this yarn and the bold colors. It's exactly how I envisioned it and that doesn't always happen. I even have alot of left over yarn so may even work up some leg warmers in the same style....wouldn't that be cute.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Madrona Fiber Arts

Madrona Fiber Arts is just around the corner. Madrona Fiber Arts is a 4-day knitting paradise retreat in Tacoma, WA where top knitters and designers come together and overtake the Hotel Murano. Go to www.madronafiberarts.com for details. In addition to the classes and demos, there are over 40 yarn shop booths all carrying the newest and latest yarns and patterns. Two Swans Yarns has a booth every year carrying the Jamieson's yarns out of England. This year, she has asked me to design a hat using her yarn. I'm creating some fair isle hats using these bright/bold colors. The hats come in 3 sizes and in 3 cap variations. I'm just finishing the first one...and will post pictures as soon as I can find my camera. Yikes...time is running out...

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I'm a mother of 2 girl's, 12 and 15, a wife of 21 years and an obsessed knitter. I'm an avid gardener and cook.