Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Thursday, December 25, 2014
Now on Christmas morning, I have a little time to reflect. A lot has happened this year, both good and bad. There are big changes on the horizon, really scary and exciting changes. Bad things did happen, but none irreparable, and the best Christmas gift I've received this year was the resolution of many of these things in the last few days. With 6 days left in 2014, I find myself incredibly thankful and blessed.
Thank you for all your wonderful support in 2014, and I can't wait to see where 2015 takes us!
This is a knitting blog after all, so here's my current holiday knitting. This is a toddler's Arlo sweater by Brooklyn Tweed, knit in Tara Tweed. I'm generally a big advocate for seamless knitting, but I was not immune to this sweater's charms. There's a young man with a birthday in a couple of months, and I just love a toddler in cabled sweaters.
Wishing all of you health, happiness, and the happiest of holidays!
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Starry Starry Night has always been one of my most popular colorways (and a personal favorite). Thanks to a customer request, I'm now offering this colorway in my plied merino worsted. I can't believe I hadn't thought to do this before!
In between checking off items on the massive to do list, I've managed to sneak in more holiday gift knitting. The mitts are Bookish Fingerless Mitts in Toil & Trouble Tweed DK, and the hat is an improvised pattern, in the original Toil & Trouble Single Ply Worsted Starry Starry Night. So far this is more holiday gift knitting than I usually manage to do, so it's quite exciting! Are you hand-making gifts this year?
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
It is so much fun to have a new design almost ready. Before Rhinebeck, I finished the design for this shawl and then decided to make a matching hat. The shawl has been test knitted and the hat is next in line, which means I should have it ready for publishing soon! I am very pleased with this design and can't wait to share it.
There has also been some personal knitting going on. The socks are part of a holiday gift package, knit up in a first iteration of my Gallifrey at Dawn colorway. The hat, knit in some Malabrigo I had been saving for a special occasion, is for a very special friend. An old friend of mine was recently diagnosed with a very aggressive form of cancer and underwent radical surgery. This hat was knitted with much love and wishes for health and recovery, and I hope it can be a reminder to him of how much he is loved. I think it is wonderful how knitting can truly be a way of providing comfort to those we cherish.
Monday, October 27, 2014
The following weekend I made my way to Cape Cod, for my annual trunk show at Sage Yarn. They moved to a new location earlier this year, and the new space is great! I also taught an Intro to Shawl Design to a lovely group of ladies, who all left very excited. I can't wait to see what designs they come up with!
It has been a busy month, and knitting season isn't slowing down anytime soon. I have plenty of events coming up, including a Fluevog knit night with Julia Farwell-Clay in a couple of weeks. Check my events page for more details!
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
These almost make me look forward to winter.
Monday, October 13, 2014
I started sketching this shawl while we were in NYC, which is fitting because I met shawl extraordinaire Holly Chayes while I was there. We had known each other online for a couple of years, so it was great to finally meet in person. Holly is a firm believer in sharing knowledge, and she wrote The Shawl Geometry Books, a great compendium of all the basic shawl shapes and how to knit them. If you've ever wanted to try your hand at design, her books are a fantastic resource. She covers everything from basic to complex shawl shapes, and a whole lot of mathematical concepts for people who want to really want to get into it.
Now back to knitting, I'm on a Rhinebeck deadline! This shawl definitely needs blocking, which seriously cuts into my knitting time. If you're going to Rhinebeck and would like to meet, leave me a note!
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Last week, Nate and I found ourselves in New York for a little fun and a little business. I always have such complicated feelings about New York. I appreciate the vibrancy and variety of the city, but after a few days I find myself craving personal space and a view of the horizon. It was fun, but I am glad to be back in Salem.
It was only fitting that these adorable socks met up with their recipient in NYC since the pattern was from Purl Soho. How cute are these little feet??
I came home with this adorable haul. I can't wait to try these little embroidery kits! I could have spent hours looking through all the yarn and picking some to bring home, but I refrained out of respect for my companions.
Does your local yarn shop have a seating area? How do you think it affects your experience of the shop? I can't imagine not being able to sit and knit!
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
However, knitting season is here, my favorite time of the year! The season started with the Greater Boston Yarn Crawl, where the lovely Sharon Lynn hosted me at Mind's Eye Yarns in Cambridge. It was my first time meeting her in person and she is wonderful. If you missed the crawl, she has a great selection of toil & trouble sock yarns in stock so it's not too late!
While at the trunk show, I started these adorable toddler socks in Sun Also Rises. This is a lovely and simple pattern, by the talented folks at Purl Soho. They are so cute I ended up making three so I can keep one as a yarn sample.
Up next is Rhinebeck, where I'll be purely as a consumer (but let me know if you want to meet up). I don't think I'll pull off a Rhinebeck sweater in time sadly. The following week I'll be heading to Sage Yarn on October 25th! Jen has become one of my favorite people in this industry and I'm so excited to be teaching Intro to Shawl Design as well as having my trunk show.
And no, I am not immune to the seductive powers of yarns crawls. I came home with much less yarn than I took with me, but I did snag these Malabrigo lovelies.
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Last week I took a little break from my Master Knitter homework to dye and send out all of my July Yarn Club packages. I wanted to try something a little different from my usual style and got really bold with color. The result? Fairy Queen Jubilee. I have totally fallen in love with this color and I'm a bit sad I didn't make an extra for myself. I can't wait to see what everyone makes!
I finished knitting my Whispers top but I'm finding the armholes to be a bit too short. Hopefully they will loosen up some after blocking, or there will be some frogging (ugh) in my future. If you've made this, did you have any trouble with the fit of the armholes?
Monday, July 28, 2014
This does mean my Whispers got slightly de-prioritized, but I'm still on track to finish it this week. The front shoulders are done and I've started the back shoulders. I suspect the top may end up a little shorter than ideal, but that's what layering is for, right?
PS - If you've done the Masters Program, I would love to hear your thoughts. What did you think of the process? Any tips?
Thursday, July 24, 2014
My Whispers top is coming along pretty quickly (it was just a swatch a couple of weeks ago). It is knit in the round from the bottom up, so I've knit past the underarms and finished the pleats. Maybe I can be done by next week? If you're making one too, come show us in the KAL thread!
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
I can't remember where I first heard about What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty, but I saw several people speaking well of it online. I couldn't resist getting my own copy.
It's a sweet story about a woman, Alice, who suffers head trauma and forgets the last ten years of her life. This includes having birthed her three children, and the disintegration of her marriage to Nick. The book follows Alice as she gets to know who her present self is, and how much she differs from who she was at 29. It ends up being an interesting exploration of the way we choose to remember things, and the important things we sometimes forget.
While Alice is the protagonist, the book also follows Elizabeth, her sister, and Frannie, a quasi-grandmother figure. Elizabeth's perspective is shown through journal entries, and Frannie's through a series of letters. I didn't enjoy Elizabeth's entries but they provided a lot of information on the relationship between Alice and her sister. Frannie's letters I found totally unnecessary - and I would love to hear your opinion if you've read the book.
All in all, I do recommend What Alice Forgot. It's sweet and endearing.
I made the mistake of meeting Julia at a bookstore last week, and came out with a very large pile of new books. I'll have lots of books to talk about in the next few months!
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
Just under three weeks and my shawl is done! Ok, 99% done. The knitting is done, the yarn ends are hidden, and soon as my Boardwalk is done blocking, this shawl will be getting a good soak and block. This pattern is knit on the bias, so you can make it as big as your yardage permits. The increases happen almost every row so you end up with a deep point, which I prefer. This shawl will definitely need to be blocked to get the eyelet detail to show better and even out the warping.
I love using this single-ply sock weight yarn because it knits into a very soft and fluffy fabric, which makes for very cozy neckwear. I can't wait to wear it in the fall! Are you making one too as part of the Freesia KAL? Show us your progress in the forum thread!
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
As I looked through my pictures from this Squam Art Workshops retreat, I realized I only took a small fraction of what I had taken at previous retreats. I had found myself very preoccupied with documenting, remembering, cataloging. This time I allowed myself to be present, have fun, and not worry about keeping a record.
Every experience I've had at Squam has been fantastic, but this one so far was my favorite. The location was beautiful as always, the food was great, the classes were fantastic, but the women I met were the best part. I was in a cabin of 12, which made my introverted heart skip a beat at first, but I loved it. I roomed with Kelley who I had met at the Spring 2013 retreat, two lovely ladies from Florida, and a group of women who have been meeting at Squam and staying together for the last 5 years. We stayed up late every night, shared ridiculous (and sometimes inappropriate) stories, sat on the dock, and had a blast. This was also my first time jumping into the lake (it was really cold). It is truly amazing to me how much I have come to value and care for these women in such a short amount of time.
But enough with the mushy stuff! I did also take two fantastic classes. My first class was Estonian Cuffs, taught by the amazing Nancy Bush. I had come across her books before, but meeting her was a whole other experience. She is incredibly sweet, knowledgeable, and passionate. Nancy has truly invested her life in studying Estonian culture and knitting, and has been a formidable force in helping Estonia value their own craft with the opening of a new cultural center.
Nancy's class was fantastic. She gave us folders full of information, taught us new (and sometimes mind-boggling) cast ons, and some traditional Estonian stitches. If you ever have a chance to take one of her classes, please do so! Nancy is a bit camera-shy, but was sweet enough to let me take some pictures of her and her work.
My second class was Striped Surprise with Franklin Habit. He focused on two techniques which are based on two rows of striping: Mosaic Knitting and Shadow Knitting. I admit I didn't know what to expect and signed up because I wanted to meet Franklin. I was pleasantly surprised!
I learned some great concepts behind designing using both mosaic and shadow techniques, and Franklin got me to appreciate these techniques in a way that I really didn't beforehand. He is very knowledgeable, super sweet, and a great teacher. He will be in Boston through the Common Cod Fiber Guild in July, go see him!
Nancy and Franklin, it was such a privilege to meet both of you and I hope I am lucky enough to cross paths with you again!
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Before leaving for Squam, I frantically finished both garments I had on my needles and found myself without a (non-work related) knitting project. I couldn't possibly go to the retreat without some knitting to do by the fire, so I rummaged through my stash and unearthed two skeins of Malabrigo Sock from mismatched dye lots. I quickly cast on for a Boardwalk vest and stuffed it in my luggage.
Two weeks later, it is finished. Well, I still need to weave in the ends and block it, but I am still counting it as done. I got almost half of it done at Squam, so it holds lots of wonderful memories. And since I'm not quite ready to let go of Squam just yet, my next project is a Freesia Shawl. One of our cabin-mates was wearing one and several of us decided to make our own.
Photo by Annie Baker
Sunday, June 8, 2014
The pattern is very cute, but I had to do some heavy modification for fit. I was exactly between two sizes and wanted slightly smaller armholes that the pictures showed. I re-did the stitch counts to create my size, and used the smaller shoulder/armhole shaping for more fitted sleeves.
After wearing it at Squam, I can say I am happy with the feel of the cotton and the fit above the waist, but the garter stitch hem has stretched and warped a bit. I may decide to rip back and do some decreasing at the hem to counter this - we'll see if I manage to muster up the motivation.
Squam was fantastic and I am completely worn out, but photos and stories coming soon! Dark and Stormy photos in the near future too, I promise.
Until then, I am casting on two new projects and hoping some folks will join me for a Knit-Along! Next week I am casting on the Freesia shawl in fingering weight, and the Whispers Top will be my July project. Care to join in? More details on Ravelry.
Thursday, May 29, 2014
My Wintersmith Socks are finally done! I posted some progress photos and talked about my husband's reluctance to wear hand-knit socks. As I was trying to figure out how to make socks that worked for him, my LYS asked me to write a basic sock pattern, and it all came together.
These socks are worked toe-up, using Judy's Magic Cast On and a short row heel. The sole and back of the heel is worked in reverse stockinette, which prevents the purl bumps from digging into your feet when you walk on them. The verdict? Success! Nate loves them. This pattern is great for basic plain socks so you can let variegated yarn do all the work. You can also easily add a basic stitch pattern to it. The pattern is written for three widths with custom foot lengths, so it works for most adult foot sizes.
I know summer is about to start (or at least I hope so, it hasn't been promising around here), but it's never too early to start knitting for fall! Wintersmith Socks are available on Ravelry.
As for this colorful pile? This yarn is at its new home in Irvine, California. Ewe + You is opening this Saturday, May 31st!
Sunday, May 18, 2014
I finished this shawl a few weeks ago and have been enjoying wearing it. The linen yarn is light but warmer than I expected. It has definitely been softening up with wear, which is great. I admit I was a bit worried about the stiffness of the fabric when I first started knitting it.
The pattern is very nice to work up. The lace pattern repeat is the same throughout, making it a relaxing project once you have it memorized. The pattern called for three skeins. Despite swatching, I ran out with two rows to go and had to order a 4th. Since I had the extra yarn, I added more repeats to the eyelet border than the pattern called for. I am actually quite happy with how it turned out.
Have any of you knitted this pattern? It was written for Quince and Co. Sparrow, so I'm kind of curious about how it would knit up in a wool fingering weight.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
This discussion has come at an interesting time. I was in the process of developing a rewards program, which I had talked about at the end of April. This is something I had been thinking about for a while, and it was on my radar long before the experience from last week. Now I am faced with some difficult questions. If I offer the rewards program, will it come across like it was a response to that customer's complaint? If I offer the program, will it set the stage for people always feeling like they are entitled to rewards and freebies?
I have decided to still go ahead with my original plan, because I don't want to let a nasty experience derail it. The rewards program is a way for me to acknowledge people who have truly made a difference to me and my business. It is not something done out of a sense of obligation or necessity, and I hope it will be received and appreciated as such. Stay tuned!
With that said, it's time to focus on the positive and the future again. I am happy to continue discussing the issues of appreciating handmade, customer expectations, and all of that, so please feel free to continue sending me messages.
Now back to the dye pots! There is a new store, Ewe + You, opening in Irvine, CA next month and they'll be carrying Toil & Trouble Merino/Nylon sock yarns. I'm also getting ready for the Squam Art Workshops the first week of June, and I'll be a vendor at the Art Fair. See you there!
As for that shawl I've been working on? I got a little sidetracked, but I'm back to swatching to design the next step for the lace.
Thursday, May 8, 2014
It takes me days, even weeks, to come up with a pattern idea, make a sample piece (sometimes several sample pieces), write and re-write the pattern, format it, photograph the sample, have the pattern thoroughly test-knitted and tech-edited. So, how would you feel if someone felt entitled to getting the product of many days/weeks of your hard work for free?
Every free item, every discount, very literally takes money away from my pocket. With the yarn I dye, I pay for the raw wool, for the dye, for the water and electricity I use to dye it, for the labels I attach to it. Every pattern costs me supplies to make the sample and tech editing fees. Also, there is the less visible cost of my time and labor.
If often feels like these expectations only happen when doing business with small companies. I ask myself if this person goes to a restaurant and is upset when she isn't offered free dessert. Does she go into a store like J. Crew and feel slighted when they don't offer her a free shirt with the pants she just bought?
Friday, May 2, 2014
I also made good progress on my Lida shawl despite some yardage drama. If you follow me on Instagram, you may know that I ran out of yarn two rows before finishing it. Once I overcame my completely justified rage, because I did swatch before starting, I contacted Quince & Co. They had one single skein left in that same dye lot, phew!
Since I just couldn't make peace with getting a whole new skein for just two rows, I added several repeats to the eyelet border. The shawl is now finished and waiting for the cardigan to dry because I don't have enough mats to block both of them. Note to self: buy more blocking mats.
How are your spring projects coming along?
Have a great weekend!
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
The solution? Turn half of the sock inside out by putting the smooth stockinette side on the inside of the sole. This idea came from a discussion with some of my favorite local knitters. The pattern will be available in three sizes (based on foot circumference) and the length is easily adjusted. My lovely test knitters are in the process of working through the pattern, and Nate will get some new monochrome socks. This yarn is Crazy Zauberball in #2100. The yarn is a bit rougher than what I usually go for, but I loved the gradient. Here's hoping I can finally get him hooked on hand-knit socks!
And now back to the designing this shawl, which will hopefully be done in a couple of weeks.
Sunday, April 27, 2014
This is a great project because each of the 25 squares is by a different designer and they use very different techniques. Who knew bobbles are so fun to knit? We're doing one square each month (not in the "official" order). This month we're working on the fourth square, which is all about what they call the "button stitch." It creates an interesting raised texture.
The cover of the book shows a multi-colored afghan, but I chose to make mine all in this light silver color. I think the monochrome palette gives it a more modern look.
What are you working on? Have you ever knitted bobbles? I think they are really fun to knit, but I don't picture myself wearing them.
Want to join us? It's not too late!