Monthly Archives: September 2009

I have decided

That I like predrafting my spinning fibre.

Sept10-Fibre

That is all.

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Patterns Ahoy

It’s been a productive summer in many ways. I’ve had a bit of extra time to work on knitted things, and in between bits of ‘real’ work and cat-sitting stints and Sock-Summit-ing, I’ve had the time to do some pattern design work behind the scenes. This is on the one hand, exciting and creative and fun and vaguely terrifying and all the normal things that designing is. On the other hand, I am rarely known for excelling at being patient, and waiting to announce things that have been in the works for a few months is enough to drive me just a little bit batty.

Thankfully, I’m finally at a point where I can start showing you some of the things I’ve had in the works. Over the next few months, I’ll have the extreme pleasure of announcing no fewer than 4 and possibly up to 6 or 7 knitted patterns of my own design, in all sorts of garment styles and yarns. Some will be going into publications, others I am planning on self-publishing, and still others have been developed in collaboration with some wonderful Canadian dyers. The one I have to show you today fits into this last category, and is one I’ve been working on with the extremely talented Tanis of Tanis Fiber Arts.

The first thing you need to know about Tanis’ yarns is that they are AWESOME. No really. They’re some of my favourite yarns that I’ve ever worked with and I’ve only known about her stuff for a little over a year. You’ll come for the beautiful colours, and stay for the fantastic quality. I have had the good fortune to correspond with her over the last few months, and we are in cahoots to develop what will, hopefully, eventually be a line of original patterns designed with her yarn in mind. The first of these designs is what I am able to show you today:

Rendezvous5b

This is the Rendezvous Jacket. It uses Tanis’ Aran Weight yarn, and is shown here in the excuse-me-I’m-going-to-get-really-noticed-wearing-this ‘Peacock’ colourway. It is available for download purchase here in my Ravelry store online (this uses Paypal), and will also be sold in hard copy by Tanis herself after this weekend. The cost in both locations is $6.00, and the pattern comes fully formatted with a colour cover page, instructions for 6 sizes (35-50″ garment bust), and pattern schematic. Tanis will be taking the pattern (and the lovely sample) this weekend to the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitter’s Fair this coming Saturday, so if you’re planning on being there you can definitely stop by her booth and ponder it in person.

(In fact, regardless of whether you knit this pattern, you should really go look at her yarns anyway. Have I mentioned that they’re awesome? This is a superwash yarn and has already had a hand-wash and machine-dry and it still looks fantastic.)

When I planned this pattern I wanted it to fit somewhere in the category of a little bit classic, a little bit modern, a little bit casual. Because Tanis herself is going to be distributing this pattern in hard copy when she takes her yarn to fairs and shows, I wanted it to be able to fit with a wide range of skill sets and ages. Aside from the two 6-stitch cables that frame the central panels, the entire pattern uses only knits and purls, increases and decreases, which means that even an adventurous beginner knitter should be able to take this on.

Rendezvous1b

Most importantly, I wanted to use a bit of texture. The jacket features a double-moss stitch panel on either side of the front, and down the centre of the back. This is matched by similar panels on the cuffs of the 3/4 length sleeves. Tanis’ yarns have a wonderful semi-solid tone and really need very little help showing off.

Rendezvous4b

The shape of the jacket is slightly flared at the hem, which tapers gradually to a slightly raised waistline. This is then emphasized by the button closures near the bust. (Though I know that with just a bit of thought, crafty knitters could modify this and place the waist and buttons where-ever the heck they want. Personalize away! In fact, I probably would do so if I was knitting this for myself – you know, with the adding the length for the tall gal.)

Phew. Turns out I had quite a lot to tell you this morning. With that, I’m going to help my brain re-settle and turn to a few non-knitting things for the rest of the day, and continue to look forward to Saturday at the knitter’s fair. (I mean it’s been a whole month since Sock Summit, now, a girl needs some multi-vendor yarn buying opportunities on a regular basis!)

Happy Wednesday! Keep the knitting close by.

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Filed under design, finished object: sweater

A time and place for tedium

The thing about the Jaywalker socks, and why they work so well for me, is partly because I have managed to happen upon a combination of pattern, needle size, and yarn that produces really great socks for my feet. I love that they fit so well and that I can wear them when I want socks that look just a little bit dressier than normal, and that they’re sturdy enough to wear week after week. Me and the Lorna’s Laces and the Jaywalkers, we are friends.

Sept7-JaywalkersFO1

However, the other reason that I have managed to keep on knitting this pattern eight times now (the 1st pair didn’t fit, the 2nd pair was in a different yarn, and the last 6 pairs, well, you know how the rest of that story ends), is that they have managed to be really great travel knitting. I have started to get into the habit of casting on a pair before I leave on a trip, and that becomes my dedicated knitting in buses, subways, airport waiting rooms, airplanes, cafes, and pretty much where ever I feel like pulling them out. The same repetitive 2-row repeat that felt tedious and boring and unbearable when I started with the pattern suddenly becomes a lot more manageable – dare I say it even enjoyable – when I’m struggling for patience in various forms of transit or periods of waiting largely beyond my control.

Then, of course, what inevitably happens is that I finish the first sock on my trip, start the second one, and when I’m at home again the second sock which should really only take a week or so of knitting ends up taking a month, and I start to despair of ever having another sock knitting project in my handbag, ever.

And then I get over myself and just finish it already. This pair – in two beautiful skeins of ‘Mixed Berries’ Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock – came off the needles on Friday and then I took all weekend to getting around to sewing up the toes. (Have I mentioned that me and kitchener stitch are not friends?)

Sept7-JaywalkersFO2

One interesting fallout from knitting the same sock over and over again is that I care a lot less when I make mistakes. On pair #1 or #2, a glaring error like this in the middle of the sock probably would have driven me nuts. By pair #8, I just keep on knitting. It becomes a unique “design element”, making this pair in some way different from all those that have come before and those that are yet to come. Totally cool with it.

Sept7-JaywalkersLeftovers

I’m not sure which colourway I’ll pick next – probably around the time I leave for Rhinebeck in October – but judging from this little collection of leftovers, I’d say I’ll probably try to steer away from the pinks and blues and try something a bit different. So many colourways to choose from, so little time.

At least until the next pair.

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Filed under finished object: socks, socks

The dorkiest of impulse buys

So today I went out to look for buttons, and ended up coming back with a dress form. You know, like you do.

But shall I name her?

Although in my defense, I’ve been wanting one for a while to help me out with photos and measuring, and it was on for half price, and what else could I do but buy it, really. (And I even got buttons, too.)

I suppose this is the sort of item one tends to name. Must ponder that, as I return to finishing up things to model on her. Happy weekend of knitting!

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I’m not a yarn addict, I’m a yarn enthusiast.

This is one of the winningest things I have seen on television in a good long while. How do I know? I had to put down my knitting while I was watching, that’s why. Sign me up for Glee.

(Note to self: Glee may only be suitable for stockinette or garter stitch. Productivity may be affected.)

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Slow News Day

Aside from struggling with course syllabi and the very idea of stringing together multiple productive thoughts, I am:

1. Very much in denial that it is already September.

2. Still knitting the same freaking Jaywalkers I started as my Sock Summit travelling socks. It’s not their fault, the darling things are very pretty (Lorna’s Laces in ‘Mixed Berries’), they’ve just kept getting shoved to the bottom of the knit list.

Sept1-Jaywalkers

3. Knitting away furiously on things which are not yet bloggable, but which soon shall be and the anticipation is killing me.

4. Now using Flickr Pro. After two bandwidth freakouts on my Photobucket account (which is two too many when each one involves re-building all photo links from scratch), I am migrating over to Flickr and am officially paying to blog. I think the Sock Summit posts must have done me in. However, the cost is worth it to save headaches and revive Flickr connections over there. (Also, makes re-ordering my Moo cards and composing photo mosaics lots easier, so bonus).

5. Still spinning. Witness the Louet Corriedale (top?) I plucked from my fledgling fibre stash, so beautiful and accommodating:

Sept1-Spinning2

Sept1-Spinning1

I love it. I only just started spinning on it yesterday in a brief session but yes, I am loving the Corriedale, very much indeed so. It’s soft(ish) and grabby at the same time and does not mind speed at all, and yet I am trying very hard not to go too fast so as to better maintain consistency of short draw technique.

6. Learning how to use vocabulary like “short draw.”

7. Looking forward to the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitter’s Fair.

8. Wishing I was knitting right now.

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Filed under real life miscellaney, spinning