Thursday, December 29, 2011

A new spring design in CK March 2012

 I'm still taking down the Christmas tree when I see that the new spring issue of Creative Knitting is available.

 This open vest has a series of Star Stitches around the waistline for a nice elegant texture.  Knit out of Frog Tree yarns Meriboo MW (machine washable) - it's a long cardigan that can be worn all year round.

Friday, December 16, 2011

This is why I design.....

I think for most designers, we don't necessarily design for the money.  I mean think about it, by the time I have knit, frogged, re-knit and written down the instructions - then added a few more sizes -- then paid a test knitter to knit up a sample - then paid a tech editor to check my numbers, add schematics and charts if necessary - then have the pattern professionally photographed -- then pay the model (I always give them something, even if it's a gift card!) -- then have the pattern professionally printed at a printing and graphics shop -- well, need I say more? 
There's not much left for us designers!

Then we have the usual "complaints".  The emails where they find our wording confusing or they don't understand what c4f means or they wish we could add more graphics or pictorials to the pattern.  Sometimes we even get faulted for their incorrect gauge or fiber choice!

And then......we get an email like this one:

I recently saw a model of your Old Fashioned Christmas Stocking displayed at my LYS (Webs).  I knew right away that I MUST knit this stocking!  They did not have any in stock yarn color as suggested in your wonderful pattern.  I had to substitute a thinner weight yarn and hold it doubled throughout.  This is not my favorite thing to do, but I digress.
What a joy to knit!  The end product was awesome!  I loved it so much that I knit a pair of the largest size and just gifted them to my newly wedded son and his wife!  They will be celebrating their first Christmas in their new home with your designed stockings  decorating their mantle!
Because the pattern was so well written I plan to
purchase many more of your designs in the future.Thank you very much!

Awwww....this is why I design! 
I just want someone to pat my back and thank me!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

the knitting wreath

OMG - I am having a ball!  Just finished my knitting wreath using partial skeins of left over yarn and once again, my mom's old metal knitting needles.  I hot glued the balls (styrofoam covered with yarn) and then hot glued black felt to the back of the wreath so it wouldn't scratch our new metal door.  I literally made this in a couple of hours........

Friday, December 9, 2011

The knitting tree

Okay - so I guess I'm in the knitting slash holiday decorating mood!
I made a knitting ball wreath (no pics yet as I need to still hot glue gun it together) - and had some left over knitting balls.  I have this tree in the family room that has small knitted items.  I also have antique doll house chairs on it along with antique suitcases and teddy bears.  Well - I suddenly had the urge to place the left over yarn balls on this tree to add more color.  Then I grabbed my moms ancient metal knitting needles that comes in the most beautiful colors and sporatically stuck them in the tree.  I must say, I'm loving it!  I'm afraid that I may not be done with this knitting/holiday decorating mania!

How does a knitter decorate for the holidays

How else but by knitting scarves for the mugs!
I actually got this idea from a very old Bon Appetit magazine.  They were featuring a small town in up in the mountains of France (Chamonix, I believe...and I have been there so it caught my attention).  Years later, World Market ended up selling these mugs scarves (lucky me!) so I bought what they had and knit up the rest myself. 

To knit up these scarves, I recommend sock weight yarn on a size 1 needle.
CO10 sts for a flat scarf - working up a small 1x1 rib along each edge until scarf measures 17 1/2" long.  
If you want to mimic the store bought scarf:
CO20 sts and join in the round. 
Knit until scarf measures 17 1/2".  BO all sts, add fringe to each side -- approx. 1 1/2" long (cut 3" lengths).
Block well to prevent curling.  
If desired, embrodiery candy canes, Xmas trees or snowflakes on one end of the scarf.

It may be alot of work - but it is so worth it.  I have had these scarves for at least 10 years and I don't feel festive until I drink my coffee out of a scarf laden mug!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Photo shoot on.....THRUMMING!

Gee, I think this makes "thrumming" the longest lived story on my blog to date!  I know you are tired of this - but  I just finished a photoshoot and have to share the latest photos.  After this, it gets published and I'm done blogging about it.  I promise!
  So....keep in mind that I stuck a nursing mamma to a newborn in a size small vest - and she still looks damn good!

 Love this pose - love how photogenic she is.  Did I mention how much I love this collar????? is where I got the merino/silk blend roving. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Yup....more thrumming

I know, I know...once I get onto a technique, I run with it until I can run no more.  Well -  I have all this excess roving sitting around and I am trying to use up my stash so I can justify this addiction.

I used Brown Sheep Burly Spun in hot pink and I made the buttons by creating a simple bobble with the roving and yarn held together.  Size shown is a 2T and took 1 1/2 skeins (approx. 175 yds of super bulky 1-ply wool).  Pattern will be written in toddler to size 8 years. 

I now have a skein left of each color or there abouts and left over roving too...oh no, I may have to make matching something!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Thrummed Outer Vest

After making 2 of the Outer Vests for my trunk shows, I finally found the time to make one for myself.  I used Brown Sheep Burly Spun yarn, color "Sable" and the roving is from .  The roving is a wool/silk blend, color "Nut".

This vest was taking too long to dry so I put it in the sun.  Well - the cat found both the sun and the cozy vest to snuggle up with - pins and all.  He's known for chewing on feathers and fur so I was worried that he might have gotten his mouth on my thrummed collar.  Thankfully, it didn't appear to be wet.  I'll be adding the leather toggles to it as soon as it dries - then I'm wearing it!  It's getting quite chilly here and I'm excited to pair up this vest with some jeans tucked into some brown boots with a turtleneck. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fibers Fusion Northwest

This weekend was the first annual Fibers Fusion Northwest Expo.  I was fortuneate enough to be invited to teach Twining and alongside my class was a drop spindle class going on. 

 This event was a plethora of fluff and color!  Definitely more of a spinners world than a knitters world -- but that didn't stop me from finding treasures to purchase!

My  caramel roving is one of the colors in the top center of the picture

I found some roving that was a mix of wool and silk in the warmest and richest caramel color that I plan on using on a thrummed vest for myself.  I think it will be gorgeous!

Thees fibers came from http://  out of Portland and I was instantly drawn to her color pallettes. 

After the class was over, the class coordinator gave me the most beautiful hank of yarn (pictured below).  I was more excited for the unexpected hank of yarn than I was for the check!   It was such a warm thing to do and exactly my colors!  
You may find your favorite hank at her etsy shop:

color way is Peanut Butter and Jelly and the photo doesn't do the colors justice.  Gold tones through out with a splash of grape jelly

I look forward to going back next year - and maybe this time, taking a drop spindle class!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Loving this design!!!!!!!!

OMG-----I am all over this new design!  Still need to finish up the final touches....but I couldn't stand to wait any longer to reveal this new design!  The collar is thrummed using black roving.  I thrummed both sides of the collar where as the natural colored vest below was only thrummed on 1 side.  By thrumming both sides, it gives the allusion of fur!  And it is way too cute on as well.  Knit out of Brown Sheep Burley Spun on a size 15 needle basically took me a couple of evenings to complete and less than 3 skeins for this size M vest. 

The thrumming here is thinner and only on 1 side of the collar giving it a more natural fleece collar.

Pattern has length options from cropped as seen here to just below the belt as pictured above.  Just depends on whether you like your belt and your shirt tail to show or if you like it covering the entire beltline.  Vest is knit in 1 piece with a faux seam - hence, no seaming which is bulky when using such fat yarns.  I am even thinking that you could add a single thin row of roving around the armhole edge to create the look of a fur-lined vest.

This has been such a fun design to create.  I need to knit this up in children's sizes as well--which should be 1 skein of Burley Spun. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Magazine Deadlines

This has been the summer of deadlines!  Normally my summers are carefree but this year I thought I'd try a few magazine submissions and even an unsolicitated book submission to fill in the void that summer usually brings to my business.  Holy smokes - I almost bit off more than I could chew!  I had a few submissions that I had to "trust" my calculations and hope that my vision turns out right.  With an average knit time being 3 weeks from the time I get the yarn to the time I need to block it, I had to trust my instincts as I didn't have the time to rip and re-do.  Thankfully, they did and I was over-joyed with the outcomes and very relieved.  2 deadlines were mailed out yesterday and 2 more were mailed out today.  I just have 2 more hanging over my head --both due end of September and then I'm taking a small break to catch up on the house, kids and personal life and breathe! 

I see the same designers in a multitude of magazines, issues and sometimes even several designs in each issue and I wonder how they do it.  I'm not sure if they use test knitters which frees them from the long knitting hours or if they are just quicker then me in both knitting and pattern writing. do they come up with so many acceptable designs?  Do they also do their own schematics and charts too?  I have a techie doing those but if I tried to do them myself, it would tack on another 8 hours of work.  I must be doing something slow and wrong, I just don't know yet.  I guess I'll have to chum up with another designer and exchange notes.

That's been my summer in a nut shell.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Love of Knitting Fall 2011 - All Grown Up Cardigan

Newest design in the new Love of Knitting magazine, due out August 9th.  Luckily for me, I had a great model next door, willing to shovel some gravel while my husband shot 150 pics trying to get 1 good shot!  Well - we got several good shots and in fact, they were so good that the magazine used our images.

You will notice that all of my designs will grow in size as my models grow!  Lucky for me again - that this same neighbor just had a baby girl and isn't even done yet!  Better hope that she doesn't move anytime soon!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Regal Silk by Artyarns

I have this thing for fibers that contain silk or cashmere.  It might just be the fancy name, then too, it could be that a long time ago (when I first started knitting), such fibers were hard to come by and too expensive to afford.  Nowadays, they can be found at nearly every local yarn shop from a silk blend to a pure silk and at the price point we knitters can afford. 

This scrumptious yarn is 100% silk - oh yea, I'm definitely in heaven now!  The reason that I love silk so much is that silk absorbs color dyes so well.  The hues are vibrant and deep.  The other reason is that there is no other fiber that has such a high sheen to it.  And of course, the obvious, that silk feels like butter against the skin as well as when knitting it. 

Silk is definitely an affordable luxury these days- I believe that's an oxymoron??? 

I may not be able to tell you about the luscious design that this silk will become, but I hope that during your summer travels, stopping at local yarn shops along your route, you stop to buy a few silk hanks as a treasure of your travels.  I can't imagine a more decadent scarf or shawl ---all done in silk!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Trying to make a deadline

I'm on the last leg of my big deadline.  It's 11 pm and I'm just checking and re-checking my work for the last time before I ship it out in the morning.  Everyone is in bed - but me and the cat.  Cats know when they're not wanted and cats hate that!  So, good ole Sox jumps up on my huge pile of work and makes himself comfortable!  Luckily the red light on my camera bugged him enough to annoy him enough to jump ship.  Maybe I can get to bed by midnight now.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Stitch-n-Pitch, Cheney Stadium

Had a great time at the Stitch n Pitch, Cheney Stadium last night!  Weather was beautiful, had my knitting BFF by my side and an easy "just knit" project with me. 

We weren't sitting with the other knitters because they were in the shade and it was a tad cold in the shade so we chose to isolate ourselves and be warm!

In my haste to run out the door, I threw on my daughters sandals which are identical to mine - only in a few sizes larger than mine!  I thought they felt funny.....

This was also the first time that I actually stayed for an entire game - EVER!  9th inning and we have a tie - 5 to 5.  Someone hits it out of the ballpark - and wham, we win the game!  It was really fun to see -
The low of the night......couldn't find any red hoo hoo.  High of the night....ate a delicious salmon burger while catching up with a close friend - Sonya from Yorkshire Yarns and of course having the entire evening with Sherri!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My First Article

Can I officially call myself a writer?????  I finally have written my first article in the latest Creative Knitting Fall 2011 issue. 

The article is directed to beginner knitters wishing to try a new technique.  It's amazing at how much more difficult it is to write down each move in Fair Isle knitting -when you have to twist the 2 yarns around each other at the beginning of the wrong side row only on the flat knitting, not on the knititng in the round - huh??????  I can't even follow what I just said!  It is so so much easier to just demonstrate visually than to write it out and hope that the newbee knitter can follow my words alone. 
Love the cover by the way!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Latest design...due out soon

Fair Isle basics and beyond is due to hit the stores shortly.  I have one scarf in this booklet and I'm thrilled with all of the designs and the photography.  

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Top secret--

Yes, I'm alive and doing well.  Nothing to blog about as everything is top secret at the moment!  I can say though that I will have alot to report and many pictures to reveal this fall and winter. 

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Fashion Design Sketching Class

 Our last sketching class just ended.  My intent was to take the class so that my design submissions would at least be presentable to the book/magazine editors.

I actually learned a few things along the way but what I enjoyed even more was taking an adult class with my daughter for the first time.  I learned that the colors I use in my designs are rather drab in comparison with my 14-year old that spits out color.  I also learned that my designs COMPLETELY cover up the model from head to toe whereas the teenager has her models skantly dressed and showing belly buttons or cleavage.  I don't think any of her designs have sleeves on them what so ever and most were mini skirts or shorts that were way too short for school!

My drawings:  Note the long sleeves, high collars, pants - dreary grey and black.  Basic hair too.
 HER designs - bright colors, fun, flirty - vivacious!
She loved the class and now wants to be a fashion designer.

Our classroom was in the sewing room.  They had open sew lab on the days we were there.  Now she wants to learn how to sew and make her own outfits.  Great experience for both her and I.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Malabrigo yarn

After knitting up the hooded scarf and cowl with Malabrigo "Lettuce", I felt the urge to pull up an older pattern which also uses Malabrigo worsted weight yarn colorway 609 Purple Magic

The yarn pretty much enhances whatever design element you use.  Never over-bearing like the variegated yarns yet not so subdued like the solid yarns either.  I wonder why I haven't designed more with it????
To see more Malabrigo yarn and patterns:

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Finally - the Hooded Scarves and Cowls collection, now available

This one took awhile - but I am so happy with the final outcome.  You know, you start with an idea, you knit it, frog it, rip it and re-start it.  You try and visualize it, you try to add new elements and different techniques.  You basically try and get into the knitters head to see what they might be wanting knit from the technique to the style.  Each time I finished a design I would think....what if I did this and that and before you knew it, I was up to 4 designs all very similiar in style but different in techniques.  1,680 yards later - and I've managed to knit up (with the help of a very special sample knit of course!)
3 cowls and 3 hooded scarves.

It feels great to finally be able to launch it after so many months.  Pattern is fully written as well as done in charts. 

Pattern only available through (see link below).

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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.