Archive for January, 2010


Musings on becoming a designer.

About 4 years ago, I was sitting in my mother’s living room on the other side of the couch from her, and I was working on my first piece of “pattern knitting”, which to me, meant had more than knit and purl stitches in it. I took an edge design from Nicky Epstein’s Knitting on the Edge and turned it into a scarf with a seed stitch border. From that point on, while I was working countless stitches, increasing and decreasing, slowly revealing the shape and climb of the leaves, I knew that I wanted to design something myself one day. I was infatuated, stunned, and in wonder to see some yarn, a pair of needles, and a set of instructions that would otherwise look like code, turn into something so beautiful.

nickyscarf

It was only as I was typing this up that I realized that I have never actually taken a picture of this scarf, nor had I put it up on Ravelry, so I quickly fixed my hair, put on some clothes, and snapped this photo of my little beauty, which by the way, definitely needs to be re-blocked. I look at that scarf, and I look at my Fauxbius, and I realize how far I really have come knitting wise, and how much left there is to learn and discover. I have tackled projects that may have been beyond my skill level, and pulled them off, with sheer determination to get it right, to figure it out, and I have decided that as whole, I want to challenge myself a little more this year. Lace, interesting patterns, and tackling the design front are my key goals for Knitting 2010, and I’d like to introduce the first of hopefully, my many patterns:

sockswithclocks2

Neil’s Socks with Clocks. For now, the pattern is only available for download via Ravelry. It’s priced at $3.00 USD, and eventually I hope to get a store and website going so that I can make the pattern available that way. Next, I will be typing up Laura’s Socks and making that available for download too, but that one will be free. With the amount of time I put into Neil’s Socks with Clocks though, I did not feel comfortable just putting it out there, free of charge. They were my babies, my first ever pattern, and I’m not letting it go for nothing. =)

If you are interested in purchasing this pattern, please log into Ravelry.com and search for my user name, wcknitwit. You will find my store attached to my profile there, with Socks With Clocks featured.

Happy knitting!

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The Long Awaited Post

Ladies and Germs, after two years in the making, much procrastination, and a lot of work, I present to you, Auburn Camp Shirt, completed!

auburncamp2

auburncamp3

auburncamp

Ain’t she a beaut? I started it in about March 2009, and it’s now January 2010. The specs again are: 2nd size up from the smallest, I think it was 5 or 6 skeins of Knit Picks Gloss fingering weight in “Sage” (but it’s more like a deep turquoise to me), 3 mm straights and circs, 6 buttons for the front, and 4 for the sleeve cuffs (but I realized afterwards that I could have gotten away with only 2). The only alteration I made to the pattern was the sleeve cuff. As you can see here, it lays flat against the sleeve, but it was not intended to do that. Here is a picture from the magazine:

http://www.interweaveknits.com/galleries/bonus/spring-2008/Auburn-Camp-Shirt.asp

It was supposed to be done that way to look like cuff links on a man’s shirt, but I chose heavier pewter buttons, and the sleeve flap was dragged down by them, and made me look like I had wings, and with my slim arms, that’s just wrong, so I tacked them down flat, and I’m very happy with the change.

Also completed in the past couple weeks are Flying Trapeze Socks, also designed by Chrissy Gardiner, the designer of the lovely sweater above:

flyingtrapeze (2)

Flying Trapeze made in the toddler size for Morgan (who loves them by the way!), and I used Scheepjes Invicta Extra sock yarn in a deep magenta shade (it looks more red in the picture). These socks didn’t use a full ball between them, I think around 2/3 of a 50g ball. I’m going to knit a pair of toe-ups with the remaining at some point, dividing the yarn into two equal portions, casting on toe-up, working a short row heel, and then just knitting as much as I can on the leg. Good way to conserve yarn, n’est pas?

And my SKA socks for January’s Texture challenge were completed as well:

pommedepin

Say hello to my new favorite pair of socks, Pomme de Pin (Pinecone in French) by Stefania. The pattern is a little hard to capture on camera. In person, you see not only the colors, but also the texture very, very well, but no matter how hard we tried, no matter the different lighting, posing, or anything else we tried, the texture just would not show up properly on screen. I assure you they go together like bread and butter, and that the colors don’t hide the pattern like you can see here on camera. They are perfect. And the yarn is Fleece Artist 2/6 Merino, colorway is Origin. It says 100% Merino and “machine washable” on the label, but these babies will not be hitting the washing machine anytime soon.

I tried 3 new techniques on these socks, Turkish Cast on, which I now prefer to Judy’s Magic Cast On, a short row heel, and a Kitchener Stitch cast off. If you click on any of those techniques, you will get a link to tutorials of each. The only thing that is not explained in the Kitchener Stitch one is how to use it as a cast off. Here’s my extra bit of instructions:

When you do a kitchener stitch cast off, get 2 extra dpn’s of approximately the same size, and slip the knit stitches onto one needle, and the purls onto the other (my sock ended with a k1,p1 rib), and yes, it will be fiddly and tricky. Once you have done this, cut yourself a LONG tail, and then follow the instructions as for kitchener stitch. I found it really easy to do this because I worked Magic Loop for my sock, so I only had to do this set up for 2 needles worth of stitches, 30 on each side. I loved the technique, it made my sock stretchy, but still able to hold itself up.

Now, I am working on Fauxbius, which is (another) Chrissy Gardiner pattern that was done exclusively for Embrace the Lace 2009. My mother signed up for the program, and when she got this project, found it not to be quite to her liking, but it had me written all over it. At first she thought she would make it for me, but then decided that I would enjoy it more if I knit it myself, which she is *so* right about. I started it on Friday, and it’s a beautiful, intricate project that requires all of my attention. Attempting to watch tv or carry on more than short, basic conversations while working on it has resulted in me picking back at least 100 stitches to where I made a mistake earlier in the row. However, it has captured my heart completely, and I can’t wait to share some pictures of it with all of you when I’ve made more progress.

And, on a side note, I have decided to participate in this year’s Ravelympics. I am part of Team Austentatious, the Ravelry group I spend the most time with, and my goal will be to work on Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s Snowdrop Shawl. My goal is NOT to complete it, not even to get half-way or any of that. My goal will be to just simply get as far along on it as I possibly can. I will not be working on any other projects during the Olympics, not even a plain sock. When I am home, if I am not cooking or taking care of Morgan, I will be knitting. If I go somewhere for a long period of time, I will be knitting. I will simply try to do as much as I possibly can, and just see how far I can get.

I will be using Diamond Luxury Collection baby alpaca lace yarn, which is 100% Baby Alpaca. I am making it in a natural color, and I am especially pleased with it, because i got it for a great deal at a local yarn shop (this shawl will have cost me less than $25). I have 3 skeins at 400m a piece, and the shawl calls for exactly 1200 meters! (Thank you Yarn Harlot for using metric measurements, this yarn does not show yards).

The Snowdrop shawl is going to be very special for me for two reasons. The first is that my paternal grandmother’s name is Eirlys, which is Welsch for Snowdrop, and ever since I discovered that, I’ve wanted to make this shawl. The second is that also from the second that I saw this shawl, I realized that I wanted to pair it with a gorgeous vintage dress and wear it to my wedding, whenever that comes around. Specifically, a dress almost exactly like this, but without the jacket, and not in that hideous green color. Once the shawl is finished and blocked, I will pack it away carefully, and the next time you will see it, is in my wedding photos.

Okay, so enough with the dreaming…I’ve got a Fauxbius to work on! Happy knitting everyone!

New Year, New Look

I realized that just a couple months, I was celebrating my second blogversary! And I totally missed it! (again). I was busy either knitting away on something for someone else, or something for myself, and I totally missed it! How terrible of me! What’s really sad is that this blog really does hold a lot of memories for me, and it’s so sad that I didn’t celebrate those memories, both the good ones and the bad ones.

So much has changed for the better since this blog was created. I was living with my ex-husband, I was miserable and cooped up and begging for something to do. That’s when Icarus came into the picture. But that marriage wasn’t meant to be, and it turned out that that incarnation of the shawl wasn’t either. While I was busy ripping apart that shawl (my heart still lurches thinking about it), I was also ripping apart three years of my life with another human being, trying to separate my feelings for him and my feelings about how I was being treated, also true with my feelings of anger at the shawl for daring to have a mistake in it, but my love for the pattern and the yarn.

In the end, I got divorced, and my shawl ended up wound into a new ball and sealed into a plastic bag at the bottom of my stash basket. But the yarn only stayed that way for a few months. Earlier this year I picked Icarus back up and cast on again, about the same time that I truly tried my hand at love again. The result was beautiful year, full of excitement, love, change, and surprises. I surprised myself to be sure, by finishing Icarus in pretty good time, by finding the love of my life and moving in with him, and by once again venturing out on my own into the world.

As a spouse, Neil is everything I could ask for and more. Take this Christmas for example, I got one of these:

ballwinder

Which I used just this morning to rewind my Fleece Artist, which will be the yarn of choice for my SKA January challenge. I am making Pomme De Pin socks by Stefania. Pomme means apple en Francais, and I think this Fleece Artist looks like many different colors of apples. Parfait, n’est pas? (Perfect, isn’t it?)

I am also working steadily on my Auburn Camp Shirt. This project has been on my UFO list for far too long, and I wanted to start off this year with a clean slate of projects, so I decided that after all this time, that I would pick up Auburn Camp and continue on with it. My progress so far:

auburncamp1

That is one back, the right front, and more than half of the left front completed. I have high hopes that I can finish that piece today, and start on the sleeves. I am also going to scour the internet and see if anyone sewed the garment together then picked up stitches for the sleeves and knit them in the round. It would be far easier to do this, but if no one else has, then I will just have to work like the pattern says (*sigh*), which I really don’t want to do. I hate seams, and if it means I could do some short rows to avoid sewing them, I will.

I also cast on a pair of socks for my step-daughter, Morgan:

flyingtrapeze

Flying Trapeze socks by Chrissy Gardiner. The pattern is complicated, time consuming, and the chart is dizzying, but I love them. When I don’t feel like knitting endless rows of P1, K7 on my sweater, with the odd button-hole thrown in, I pick these up. The leg is now done though, and I need to start the heel flap. I’ve promised myself that if the sweater front is done by dinner tonight, that I will sit down and finish the heel flap, turn, and pick up for the gusset tonight after dinner.

A brilliant start to the New Year, yes? I hoped that with this new look and title, that this blog might catch my attention a little more often, that I might make the odd post that has no base in knitting, but in my life and a few of my other hobbies. A knitting blog at it’s core it will still be, but some real life stuff thrown in every now and then certainly won’t hurt!

Here’s to a fun, exciting, and fun-filled 2010!