Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A remedy for knitter's block

First, thank you for all of the entries into the contest (see below). I've been enjoying them a LOT and can't wait to compile everything into a big list for everyone to use. I was going to call it the "Knitter's Market" but since that excludes crochet I think "Stitcher's Market" might be better. Anyway, keep 'em coming!

I'm still knitting socks around here, which was the very thing to help get me out of the knitter's block I had this summer. I know a lot of you are still in the thick of it, so I have an idea for you.

Maybe you already know about this, or perhaps you are busy with another charitable knitting endeavor, but I just head about the Red Scarf Project and I wanted to share it with you.

In brief: Make a scarf for an orphan going to college. I imagine orphans don't get a lot of care packages in general so this is a good place to start. The deadline is October 15th. Details here.

Not your thing? Check out Afghans for Afghans. Or any one of the thousands of results you get when you google charitable knitting. As one prone to boredom, self-doubt, loneliness and ennui, I can say that when I remember to do something for someone else, I am in that moment at peace with the universe. Unblock yourselves!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A real contest with a real prize!

Dear knitters, crocheters, spinners, designers, wannabe designers, this contest is for all of you.

I've been lucky enough to have had some patterns published. I have also submitted patterns that have been rejected. Yes, this rejection category is much more well known to me. I am always looking for places to submit patterns and feel like my personal list is really short.

Which brings me to a plea - I want to write up a big list of places designers can submit patterns to share with our online knitting community. Kind of like Writer's Market for knitters. Except my list will be free to all.

So now is the time to start contributing to the list. And you can win something too.

Rules of the contest:
To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment with one or more sites that accept pattern submissions and a link to your blog (or other way to contact you). Repeat suggestions are okay. All comments must be left starting now through October 6th, 8pm PST. Winner will be chosen by random draw of all participants. You may leave as many comments as you like, but your name will go in the hat just once. Drawing will be held October 7th in the morning. Winner will be announced shortly after.

Prize: Homespun yarn. I do not have a picture of the yarn yet, but one is coming soon. Not that I really have to say this, but homespun yarn is a real treat!

What do you say?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Baudelaire socks finished

Finished! A great project. Pattern: Baudelaire by Cookie A.

Yarn: Gloss by Knitpicks, burgundy. Needles: Size 2 double pointed.

Pattern Review: This is another of Cookie A's patterns that is a treat to knit. It's well written, as usual. The lace looks complicated but is easy to memorize.

You start with a figure-8 cast on for the toe and work up. (My first figure-8 toe!) I should mention that I am already biased in favor of toe-up socks.

The heel construction was new to me as well and I'm happy with it. The stitches along the foot appear to meet the heel at a right angle, which looks like they were knit cuff-down and stitches were picked up along the heel flap.

You work the lace up the leg until you want to finish, then do some simple ribbing and a sewn bind off.

Modifications: Not much. I made the large size even though I have narrow feet to compensate for my gauge being a little off. I didn't follow the steps for a larger size heel though. I just did the regular heel because I didn't want the length of the foot to get any longer. Also, I made the sock a little taller because I am tall, and I had the yardage for it. They fit well.

Yarn Review: Gloss is not itchy at all, being a merino and silk blend. They feel really nice, though I don't look forward to hand washing. I haven't actually blocked them yet, but I couldn't wait to show them off.

Overall: I would knit these again. It's a fun project and look more complicated than they are. The second sock I knit is slightly smaller than the first (common with me and socks, grr!) but I don't think you can tell. I think it's because as I get more comfortable with a stitch pattern, my gauge tightens up.

The only thing I would do differently is the toe. They are a little pointy, but not really a problem.

No, the problem is... what socks do I knit next!?!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Just sharing some contests I've seen...

I have a contest coming this week, which got me thinking about contests in general... so I'd like to share with you some that I've seen lately. Feel free to mention any others in the comments!

First up, Crafting Jen has a contest every week (!) and this week’s prize is the newly-released book Suss Design Essentials by Suss Cousins. The best part is the complete review of the book Jen wrote - the best I've seen for this book. You have only one day left to enter this week, but rest assured there will be something new next week. (again, !)

Quelle Erqsome asks that you leave a comment in pirate-speak to win a contest celebrating the 250th post. Deadline is the 19th of September.

Yarnfloozies has a contest celebrating a one-year sockiversary. You have to say why you love sock knitting. I wrote that I love how you can knit them even on a hot day, you can knit them over and over and never knit the same pair twice, and finally you can make them really fit your foot. I have more reasons but why monopolize someone else's comment section?

Check out the links for the details, and good luck!

A contest is coming

The second Baudelaire sock is in full swing. The scarf is nearly there. I may be on the road to monogamous knitting yet again!

I have been inspired to write some new patterns too. This is my plan: submit patterns in the hope they might be published somewhere. If/when they are not, release them for free on this blog.

Isn't this what a lot of us are doing?

Which brings me to an announcement. I'm going to have a contest. A REAL contest with a REAL prize! Seriously. I am using this as a way to atone for not having prizes during the Tour de Fleece this year (I will next year, really) as well as doing something productive for us knitters, knitting designers, people who want to be knitting designers, etc.

Details coming soon!

Oh yeah, what is up with the picture of the dented but edible cupcake? I'm just showing off a treat I had on Friday. That is all.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Fiber Friday 9/14/07

I know. It's been a while since I had a Fiber Friday offering. Why? Well I could make excuses like it's hot out but honestly my spinning mojo is on holiday.

Yes okay fine but here is some yarn I hand dyed the other day. It's pretty in real life, if not a bit washed out in these photos here. The colors remind me of what happens to a black eye as the bruise fades.

This is some sock yarn, of course. 100% merino. I plan on selling it in my etsy shop and dying more too. I figure I can at least dye while waiting for my spinning mojo to return.

Come to think of it, only recently did I get my knitting mojo back. I hope these two mojos are not mutually exclusive. I love love love spinning. I just haven't wanted to do it lately. Just knitting. I'm okay with it.

Especially since I found out the Bazaar Bizarre isn't happening in Los Angeles this year. Last year I sold so much freaking yarn and fiber I had to close my booth a couple of hours early. I had planned on doubling my supplies this year, but I'm now stuck with a lot of homespun.

I haven't been able to figure it out, but my yarn doesn't sell on etsy like some other sellers I know. I was sort of counting on Bazaar Bizarre. I guess I better find another craft show to participate in!

Oh, you thought I was going to say the colors remind me of a flower or something?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Campanula Completa

Yes! The socks are done. I am going to be honest for a sec and admit they were a bit of a bear. It's hard to be mean about socks that are trying to cure cancer, but here I am. I don't know what's wrong with me.

What I mean to say is that knitting these pretty lace socks was just challenging enough to keep me on my toes!

Sorry. I'm going to start over. I really loved making these socks and the purchase of the pattern went to a good cause. It was also my first 16-row repeat - every-row-is-different lace pattern. I learned a lot too. In fact, I think you may consider trying them if you haven't already!

Pattern Review: Well written and easy to follow. When you make the donation, the pattern is emailed to you quickly. It's still available, by the way.

I prefer toe-up socks and this pattern does not disappoint. The instructions for the short row toe and heel are not spelled out but there is a link to exact directions if needed. I found that helpful. I loved the construction of the toe especially since there is no seaming afterwards.

The lace itself is pleasing though you have to stay focused. I was never able to memorize any of it and had to keep the pattern out on the chart board the whole time. No big deal, I just couldn't take the project with me into the world.

The bind off instructions were interesting. I usually use EZ's sewn bind off for it's stretchiness but I wanted to try the method in the pattern for novelty sake. It worked just fine, but EZ's is a probably bit more stretchy. If that even matters.

Yarn Review: Knitpicks Essential in pumpkin, 2 balls. At $3.29 a pop it's hard to complain. They are machine washable and the color is better in person than it looks on the monitor. If you are at all sensitive to the itch some wool brings, stay away. I've heard that they soften up with washing though. I believe it since I've encountered that with other yarns in the past. I also choose to believe it since this is the yarn I knit these socks with and I intend to wear them.

Overall: I couldn't quite get gauge with this yarn and size 2 needles. I think I would have if I used size 1. To compensate, I followed the directions for the small size and it worked out pretty well. I feel like the fit at the ankle is a little loose but I seem to be the only one with this problem. Also, I may have weird, skinny ankles.

I can't believe I am saying this but I really would knit them again. They were challenging, rewarding, and even without blocking I think they're really pretty!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Knitting update

I'm making progress here! I decided to keep working on the scarf, even though I am going to run out of yarn.

Why? Because I found another skein of Noro Transitions in my stash. It's a different colorway but I think it may be compatible. See it laying next to the scarf?

Well, it's the best I can do, short of buying more yarn. And if I'm buying more yarn, it's not going to be Noro Tran$itions.

I've got an almost finished pair of Campanula socks pictured here. Yes, that was their state of completion yesterday afternoon when I took this picture. I'm happy to report they are now finished!

They need to be blocked of course. The only way I know to do it without sockblockers (sigh, another thing to add to my wishlist) is to get them wet and pin them down. I believe you can also put the wet socks on, take them off carefully, and then they retain the shape of your foot. I might try this.

There's something kind of psycho-fun about putting on wet wool socks on a hot summer day. It will be an experiment for me.

Speaking of things psycho, I know I am crazy but I immediately cast on the second Baudelaire sock this morning. (see the first one pictured here?) This will mean I am knitting two pairs of lace socks in a row. My brain hurts.

To be clear, I had originally knit one Baudelaire sock and was planning on knitting the mate when I heard about the Campanula for the Cure knit-along. I liked the idea of it and thought the sock was pretty... so I did something I'm not used to...

I put one knitting project aside and cast on something else. Thus was born my infidelity. And while I was cheating, I also cast on a bulky scarf because I was getting tired of the tiny needles and the lace.

And now I am working hard to finish everything so I can go back to monogamous knitting. Maybe the crazy part is how uptight I am about it all. I mean, if you're going to cheat, cheat big. Cheat with gusto, right?

Monday, September 10, 2007

I'm cheating on my socks

Well, it was bound to happen. I am an extremely monogamous knitter ordinarily but something about knitting two pairs of lace socks in a row has gotten to me. Or perhaps it's the restlessness of waiting for fall to hit. Who knows?

Yes. So, I cast on a bulky scarf even though the second Campanula sock is not yet finished. Trust me, this is a very big scandal around here.

The free pattern is Short Row Rib Scarf by Ceris Morgan. Found in Magknits, warm 2005. Yarn: Noro Transitions. Needles: US 11.

The pattern is fun and the yarn is lovely but I'm not sure if I like it yet. Why? 7.5 inches is a little wider than I'm used to for a scarf and it's going to take more than the 2 skeins I have on hand to complete it. If I'm going to stick it out, I'll have to work in another color from my stash and hope for the best.

I don't have a lot of Noro experience and this is my first Transitions knit. It's a nice yarn that changes fiber content as it changes colors. This is impressive since different fibers usually require a different amount of twist in spinning. By the way, the angora parts of the yarn do shed a bit, for those curious.

I also decided if I was going to cheat, I might as well keep going. I don't even know who I am anymore. I knit a small swatch of the Mulberry yarn I scored from Spinning Yarns Online. Man I love this yarn! They're having a 10% off your first purchase sale, by the way.

So it seems not only am I a cheater, I am an enabler as well. I guess if I am venturing down a dark path I want some company. And yet even as I write this I am feeling badly about the unfinished sock. I am going to have to eventually accept my nature as a monogamous knitter. Even though in this moment, technically, I am an Adulterer.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

A Day at the Fair, but with words

I like to let a picture tell a story so yesterday that is what I did. But I can't really keep my mouth closed two days in a row, right?

I think it's pretty funny that of all the items advertised in yesterday's post (see the picture below taken at the fair), the deep fried avocados get the most attention. Perhaps someone can explain to me what deep fried coke is then?

Also, this finely focused photo here suggests an area of deep interest for me... the yarn I entered for judgment is on display in this hall. Three skeins, three ribbons!

Last year I took home three third place ribbons and was thrilled. This year I was awarded two third place ribbons and (drumroll) a second place ribbon! I'm improving, I guess. Not that I understand the complicated Norwegian standards on judging homespun. Or whatever it's called.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Mulberry daydream

It's one of those days when you just want to look at a pretty hand painted yarn and imagine what it will become...

I'd like to take a minute to introduce you to a brand new fingering yarn from Spinning Yarns Online - a site I believe is only a few weeks old.

Yes! New! Yarn!

Carolyn hand dyes all of the yarn there and spins some too. I don't think you can get this stuff anywhere else. Starting to sound interesting?

The yarn here is called Mulberry bush and I can't yet decide if they will be socks or a scarf or... well I think I better knit a swatch first. Let inspiration strike.

Yeah so, look for a more comprehensive review after I actually start knitting with the stuff. But early reports indicate vibrant color and soft 100% superwash merino to be sweet. And the texture reminds me of Koigu.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Campanula sock one

I finished the first sock and now have one more to go. I admit I am in the depths of second sock syndrome.

You know, I just knitted one. Why do I have to do it all over again?

I think it's a pretty sock overall and I'm happy to be playing along in the knit-along. It's my first actually. (!)

If I were to knit these again I would make a few changes. It's funny because I actually AM knitting this sock again but I want a matching pair, flaws and all.

I'd use size 1 needles for a better fit. I'd decrease at the ankle to help with the loose quality this sock has there.

I've also learned lot about how a knit-along runs and will improve next year's Tour de Fleece in the following ways:

1. Have prizes. Several.
2. Have a blog that all the members can join and post in.
3. Did I mention prizes?

In closing, I am compelled to mention I photographed my foot in this wool sock outside when it was over 100 degrees out... AND my neighbors silently watched me do it. I'm sure they think I run a foot fetish site. Or they just think I'm crazy. Who knows?