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New Site, New Name, Same Game!

June 13, 2011

I am back from hiatus and during the break, I’ve re-evaluated the many directions Fiber Arts has pulled me. From knitting, crochet, design, spinning, this blog and the podcast, not to mention social media and participating in events, it was all too much to keep track of!

My new site, http://www.dyodstudio.com will keep it all under one ‘roof’ so to speak. Blog, Patterns, Reviews, Socializing, Giveaways, and yes, Podcast… all at http://www.dyodstudio.com The Home page may feel vacant for a time as I decide what I want to do with it and the Shop carries only the original Owlings pattern for the time being but the Blog is active, I am hosting a CAL and the Podcast is back up but for now, is only available via the website.  I am working on getting the feed up in iTunes.

So please, stop by and let’s get reacquainted!

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November Prize Drawing

November 5, 2010

First, Congratulations to Melissa, the winner of October’s Prize Drawing!

Now, to announce November’s Prize Drawing:

Gifted: Lovely Little Things To Knit and Crochet by Mags Kandis, Published 2010 Interweave Press, ISBN: 978-1596681781

 

Details coming soon

 

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October Prize Drawing!

October 4, 2010

First, Congratulations to Debi Potts, the winner of September’s Prize Drawing!

Now, to announce October’s Prize Drawing:

Vampire Knits by Genevieve Miller, published 2010 Potter Craft, ISBN: 978-0307586605

I took the opportunity to thumb through this book with my daughter, who does not knit but who loves a good vampire story.

Mom: Ooo, I got this great book in the mail today.

Zephyr: (said with an abundance of sarcasm) Ooo, another knitting book?

Mom: I guarantee you, knitting book or not, you will want to see this book.

Zephyr: If it has anything to do with knitting, I doubt I’ll be interested.

Mom: (holding book at Zephyr’s eye level) Oh, I suppose you’re right.  You wouldn’t be interested in even this book.

Zephyr: Give it!

Mom teases Zephyr for a few minutes and finally hands the book over.

Zephyr: Now this is a good idea for a knitting book!

After spending roughly 20 minutes pouring over the book, Zephyr reports her favorites.

Zephyr: (going in order of presentation and nearly in one huge breath) I like these Pulse Protectors, but they should be knit in a deep, dark red.  The Vampire Diary Protector is such a kewl way to cover a book!  Mine would have to be black with red ribbon.  I have to have the Tourniquet Scarf! The Rampage Gloves are perfect, I could even wear them when playing guitar!  The Lore Hoodie is something anyone could wear, no matter what their style is.  The Sitio Stockings… I must have those, too!  That Little Fang sweater is ADORABLE! – I mean, can’t you see Archer running around in that!?!  The Be Safe Bag would be perfect for carrying whichever book I’m reading!  And, the Glamour Earrings and Sangria Bracelet… I can’t believe those are made with yarn!  The Shapeshifter Shrug is a good idea, but it has to be in black and the Werewolf Hat… you have to make those for the boys…

Mom: Wait, are you suggesting you’d like me to knit all those items for you and your brothers?!?

Zephyr: Yeah, and if you start now, you’ll have it all done by Halloween…

Mom: LOL…

Zephyr: What?  You could do it Mom!

Mom: I was sort of hoping you might want to try knitting again.

Zephyr: Well, that’s not gonna happen.  So, you have to knit them for me.

Mom: I might knit something for you from the book… but you wouldn’t get it until Christmas.

Zephyr: eyeroll

Needless to say, despite Zephyr’s recent resistance to Fiber Arts, this book is a winner. If you love Vampire stories, you will find something worth knitting in Vampire Knits.

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Book Reviews: Designer in You

September 10, 2010

Announcements:

Books Reviewed:

Design It, Knit It: Babies by Debbie Bliss, Published 2010  Sixth & Spring, ISBN: 978-1933027982

A hard covered book, spiral bound

Ch 1:  Sizes and Shapes: What sizes and shapes are suitable for babies and what should you consider when designing for babies?  Chapter One stresses these key points: Keep it simple, think comfort (rolled hem vs. ribbed), easy on easy off (shoulder fastening), positive ease. Designs: Striped pullover – simple, shoulder fastening, A-line cardi: rounded collar, raglan.

Ch 2: Soft and Gentle: This chapter covers the importance of fiber selection when designing for babies.  Soft and gentle, easy wear and washable vs. hand wash only are all factors to consider. Designs: Hooded cardigan: simple hooded cardigan w  rolled edges. Patchwork Blanket: A simple project which can be knitted quickly. Though not mentioned, this blanket can be worked in squares, panels or as one continuous piece.

Ch 3: Color Class: A strong reminder that pastels are not the only option for babies.  Don’t shy away from bold colors and consider color work (fair isle, intarsia, etc.).  A simple initial or motif alone can be enough visual interest when the size is exaggerated. When using strong colors, add a cool shade in contrast to tone it down a bit. Designs: Chevron Cardigan: great alternative to basic stripes.  Letter Sweater : Simple roll neck sweater featureing giant letter (initial) in center, worked in intarsia.

Ch4: Small and perfect: This chapter focuses on knitting and design for low weight babies and charity knitting.  Special considerations: no seams (or as few as possible, use flat seam when a seam is necessary), v necks, open top hats, socks, blankets, lace and openwork are undesirable as tiny fingers and toes get caught.*** Keep in mind for SFA CAL 2011! This chapter also lists ‘Knitworthy Charities’Designs: Incubator Blanket: small blanket intended for use within an incubator.  Garter st cardigan: A precious cardigan with no seams, ideal  for fragile skin.

Ch. 5: Rough and Tumble: Knitwear for active tots.  Here the focus is less on fuss (st designs) and more detail and function.  Patch and pouch styled pockets are perfect.  Add more visual interest by using a contrasting color at collar, pockets or hemline.  At this age group machine wash-ability is a must.  Designs: Hooded pullover: layered look by extra cuff and hood (looks like 2 pulls instead of one) and pouch pocket. Shawl Collar Jacket: traditional motifs at chest and arm, contrasting rib and chunky buttons.

Ch. 6 : Pretty Special: Sweet and Simple.  Details are key: Cast ons/offs make it special.. picots, bobbles, lace , etc. Designs: Ballerina Top: classic design, simple st st knit, what makes it special?  Bobble Edging.  Spanish Dress: Knitted bodice with picot edging paired with a fabric skirt make a unique (and special) dress.

Ch. 7: Artful Add-Ons: It’s all about the embellishments in this chapter.  Embellishments can dress up a piece, makes it special, unique and even personalized.  Ribbons, beads, buttons, fabric,  embroidery.. combined with a stitch, make a one-of-a-kind piece. Designs: Ribbon Edged Cardigan: Simple ribbed v neck cardigan dressed up with some frilled ribbon at edges.  Flower Girl Frock: a simple dress w moss st bodice, decorated with knitted flowers.

Ch. 8: Heads, Hands and Toes: Accessories.  Hats, scarves, mitts… all perfect gifts.  To keep a reluctant child from wearing knits, make them fun!  Animal themes, bright colors, pockets.. add visual interest tots enjoy.  Consider reversible designs for scarves.  Designs: Classic Fair Isle Beret: Vintage styling in subtle modern shades of lilac, pink and blue.  Striped Mitten Scarf: striped/ribbed scarf with sewn on mittens means the end of lost mittens! Button-On Mitts: Simple mittens with a button hole… fasten a button to the inside of each sleeve and you know your little one is warm and secure. Cabled Legwarmers: Cute!  pull them on for extra warmth.

Ch. 9: Design Workbook: Includes basic garment shapes outlines: several shapes and necklines drawn for your designing pleasure, intended for photocopying.  Also included, knitter’s graph paper, also intended for photocopying, graph paper presented in different gauges, representative of the knitted stitches (rectangular vs. square).  One set of capital block letters, charted and 8 charted motifs, suitable for child’s wear.  Info on Debbie Bliss yarns, blocking, care, how to make pompoms, instructions for a basic beanie, abbreviations, glossary and reproducible gift tags.  In the very end of book a nifty stitch and needle gauge tool with info on yarn weight system and answers to some FAQs.

My opinion:  More a book of suggestions for designing for babies and toddlers, accompanied by patterns which apply these suggestions.  A very sweet book and a good springboard for any aspiring knitwear designer.

Overall:

A three skein rating =  worth looking into.


The NEW Knitter’s Template: Your Guide to Custom Fit and Style by Laura Militzer Bryant  and  Barry Klein, Published 2010 Martingale Publishing, ISBN: 978-1604680102

A hard covered book, spiral bound.

Ch 1: How to Make This Book Work For You: This chapter is presented as steps of the design process as follows: Step 1, Yarn and Gauge, Step 2 The Style, Step 3 What Size am I?, Step 4-7 Pattern Writing

Ch 2: With You In Mind, Custom Fitting Techniques: Quite likely the most valuable portion of this book.  A heavy focus on body measurements and how to take them as well as a worksheet which illustrates these points as well as provides you with a place to make notation.  Also featured in this chapter, a chart of bust sizes 30-60″ along with corresponding ‘standard’ measurements for several design templates.  Finally, this chapter offers a Blank Pattern Worksheet, which is essentially a pattern to fill in the blanks.  This is an excellent way to learn to write a pattern as well as groom your own pattern writing style.

Ch. 3: Feelings, Gauge and Hand: A reminder of the importance of careful fiber selection, the act of knitting a swatch and finally, taking accurate gauge.

Ch. 4: Changing the Tone, Ten Tricks for Custom Knits: Really, this chapter presents the idea and application of designing and knitting with stitch patterns and in color work, providing a few stitch patterns.  Most useful in this chapter is the answer to, “What if I am working in a stitch pattern and the pattern repeat does not match the template stitch number?”

Ch. 5 & 6: Working with the Templates, Your Guides to Great Knits: Organized by stitches per inch (6-2 sts/in) several template charts for sweater design by bust size (30-60″) for pullovers and cardigans of various silhouettes as well as several neck shaping, armhole and sleeve styles.  An excellent resource and starting point for designers.  All sizing is ‘standard’ and it is important to remember, though one might have a 38″ bust, she may not have 14″ shoulder width.

My opinion:  I think this is a great book and excellent starting point for any new designer.  The charts and templates would serve both established and new designers.  This book is to the point and without extra discussion, giving the designer just what they need to start designing.

Overall:

A four skein rating = Must handle, pet, peruse, test drive, borrow – Check it out!

Discussion:

Of course, there is a theme to this post: Design.  In my recent fervor and confidence to release my own designs, I wanted to extend the gusto to all.  Knit design is not a mystery and I will bet you yourself have designed ‘from scratch’ on at least one occasion.  Do you remember the excitement, …, the joy of finding the ‘right numbers’, and the thrill of your finished piece?

Autumn is turning here in Germany.  It began with some cooler mornings, extended by more wet days and now, I do believe it is official:

Autumn in Germany

Product Review

Knitter’s Therapy by French Girl Organics

copyright to French Girl Organics

Smooth Cuticles and Nails: A liquid formula, applied by dropper to soften and smooth cuticles and nails.

copyright to French Girl Organics

Organic Hand Salve: A balm for thirsty hands, perfect for your purse or knitting bag.

copyright French Girl Organics

Lotion Bar: A gorgeous, luscious lotion bar for all rough spots and keeping hands smooth.

A four skein rating = Must handle, pet, peruse, test drive, borrow – Check it out!


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Episode #53: Knitters Are Like Salads

August 4, 2010

Don’t forget to subscribe in iTunes.

Announcements:

  • Please use dtp.requests {AT} googlemail {DOT} com if you have an event to announce, would like me to review your product or have a product review request.
  • June’s prize drawing for the Zauberball went to KnitterPat, Congratulations Pat!
  • As you might have noticed, July I was on “vacation” and so, I did not record or blog in the month of July.  If you left a comment during the month of July, you will be added to the August Prize Drawing for: Knitting Mochimochi: 20 Super-Cute Strange Designs for Knitted Amigurumi by Anna Hrachovec.
  • Are you interested in participating in the first Destiknit the Podcast Swap?  Please email destiknit {AT} gmail {DOT} com, Subject: Swap.
  • Don’t forget to subscribe in iTunes!
  • Explanation of Skeining System, here.

Book Reviewed:

Vogue Knitting Stitchonary, Vol. 5: Lace Knitting: The Ultimate Stitch Dictionary from the Editors of Vogue Knitting Magazine, Published 2010 Sixth & Spring, ISBN: 978-1933027937

(Transcribed from Destiknit the Podcast, Episode #53)

A hard covered book with dust jacket, Stitchonary 5 is broken down in sections by type of stitch pattern.

  • Easy/Mesh These are simple lace, perfect for first time lace knitting.  These stitch patterns require minimal stitch manipulation. The knitter must be able to work knit, purl, yarn over and in some cases, single and double decreases.  Stitch patterns include eyelet, fagoting and dropped stitch patterns.  These stitch patterns can be used in garments, socks, home items (pillows, curtains), shawls and bags.
  • Edging A nice collection of selected edgings/trims.  These edgings can be used to finish a garment, shawl, pillow, etc.  Edgings feature eyelet, leaf, twisted stitch, decreases and slipped stitch patterns ranging from simple (eyelet) to more complex (combinations).
  • Chevrons Knitters, especially sock knitters, love chevrons.  Chevrons create zig-zag type patterning, in this case, with lace work.  Examples of chevron-like stitches are Feather and Fan, Simple Chevron (created with eyelets), Arrowhead, etc.  Lace styled Chevrons can be used in garments, shawls, afghans, socks, etc.
  • Allover Allover lace stitch patterns are just as the name implies, a repeated pattern used to create a fabric,  creating rhythm in a piece.  This section of the book offers the most patterns.  Allover lace stitch patterns presented range from simple (eyelet) to more complex (cabling, twisted stitches, etc) and can be used in all types of knitting.
  • Panels Panels are a very versatile, yet often overlooked stitch pattern.  Panels are mostly used in lace shawl knitting but can also be used as a stand alone centerpiece, or combined with other panels or stitch patterns, to create gorgeous, romantic effects to a garment.  Leaf, eyelet, vine, bobble, cables and twisted stitches are all featured in this section.
  • Combos These are fun patterns, where stitch patterns get together and throw a party!  Cable and lace, twisted stitches and lace, colorwork and lace or a combination of all.  These patterns seem to beg to be knitted!
  • Motifs Motifs are very interesting stitch patterns.  Often worked on DPNs or circular needles, these designs create a distinct shape; circles, hexagons, pentagons, octogons and even rectanlges.  Often times these patterns feature a shape within a shape, such as the Botanica Medallion, a flower shape within a cirlce, one of six motifs featured in this book.  Motfis are often worked into hat, coasters, shawl and pillow designs.  Sometimes you will find motifs worked into garments as well, such as the Pinwheel Sweater.

My opinion:  I love that this book is hard covered with a dust jacket, always a plus.  I also love that each and every stitch pattern is presented in both written and charted instruction.  The color photography is great, you are able to see all the stitches worked, a great reference to compare your work to.  I do wish this were a wider collection of stitch patterns.

Overall:  A quality book of selected lace stitch patterns for sampling, especially for new lace knitters.  Certainly not the last lace stitch dictionary you will buy (if you find you love lace!), but a very good first buy.  The most valuable feature is the translation of many common lace stitch patterns from written to charted instruction.

A three skein rating =  worth looking into.

Product Reviews:

Blackthorn DPNs by My Favorite Thimble

Overall: A very impressive knitting needle!  How so?  Made of the same material used in the Lockheed SR-71 “Blackbird”, a  softened titanium, you can bet these needles are durable!  I myself was fooled into believing these needles might actually be made of an organic material.  They look like thin sketching charcoals and feel just as light.  Knitwise, they work much as a bamboo or wooden needle might.  Not at all slick and definitely ‘grabby’.

For knitters such as myself, those who prefer sharp, pointy tip and slick movement, these needles may not be right for you.  I did find that three of my five needles were blunt, while two were quite pointy.  Were there more consistency in the tips, I might get over the ‘grab’ factor.

If you are looking for a bamboo or wood-like set of DPNs but wish for more durability, Blackthorns may be your answer.  Available in sizes 0000 US / 1 mm  - 3.5 US / 3.5 mm at a cost of $24.95-29.95 USD (less shipping).

A three skein rating =  worth looking into.

Ruddawg KIP Knitting Project Bags

KIP Knitting Project Bag, inside out

Overall: You might think you have the perfect knitting project bag but unless you have a Ruddawg KIP Project Bag, think again!

This bag is fantastic.  I really was not in need of another bag (or so I thought!) but once I saw the features of this bag, I knew I had to have one (and perhaps a few more!).

Available in sizes Small (socks) and Medium (sweater pieces, shawls, etc), each lined and padded (bottom) bag features pockets all around the inside, note photo above.  Perfect for needles, scissors, gauge rule, etc.  And the price is right, too!  Small KIP bags are $9.50 USD*, while medium bags are $17.00 USD.  For an additional $3.50 – 5.50 USD, you can add a divider and keep those cakes from tangling!

A five skein rating = Must add to stash!

* In the podcast, I incorrectly priced this sack out as $24.  My apologies for any confusion.

Other Items Discussed:

Knitters are like salads!

After reading that 70% of knitters in North America follow their knitting patterns as written, I am very curious to know if most knitters follow their patterns to a ‘T’, if they use a pattern as a guideline only, or if they completely wing it!

I truly had a hard time accepting this number and with the help of my husband, realized it might be true.  My husband and I both love salads.  However, we differ in the preparation department.  He is perfectly content buying pre-washed, pre-cut, bagged salad.  He rips it open, pours it out and tops with dressing.  I, on the other hand, prefer to buy a head of lettuce, wash out the dirt and bugs, tear it with my hands and finish off by topping with herbs, oil and vinegar.

How does this relate to knitting you ask?  It was this example that made me realize that having a pattern written out in minute detail (and some times not so minute!) is a convenience to many knitters, especially those who do not care for measurements and calculations.  And this realization that those number might well be true.

Still, I don’t always eat what I’m fed, so I thought I would conduct my own numbers poll!

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Episode #51: Color Knitting, The Easy Way

June 12, 2010

Don’t forget to subscribe in iTunes.

Announcements:

  • Please use dtp.requests AT googlemail DOT com if you have an event to announce, would like me to review your product or have a product review request.
  • May’s prize drawing for the Knit Kit went to Susan Nipp, Congratulations!!!
  • June’s Prize drawing: The Zauberball!  Leave a comment anywhere on this blog from 1 June to 30 June and automatically be entered!
  • New Skeining System*!  Product and Book Reviews will now bear the Skeining System, my 1-5 skein rating system.  Let me know if you like this new feature.

Book Reviewed:

(Transcribed from Podcast Episode #51)

  • Ch. 1 Understanding Color, pgs 7-29 All about Color Theory and how to combine colors and how to apply color theory into your pieces.
  • Ch. 2 Mastering Color Knitting Techniques Using Stripes, “Knitter’s create mulit-color patterns the exact same ay they do simple, solid-colored fabrics – one stitch at a a time.” In this chapter you learn techniques such as how to start a new color, how to carry your yarns, working color knitting in the round (jogs) and how to cope with yarn tails. Followed by common stripe stitch patterns such as simple stripes, ripples and miters.  Next is a brief section titled, ‘The Designer’s Workshop,’ covering things such as striping sequence, matching up stripes in garments (for sleeves).  The chapter ends with a  ‘Pattern Treasury for Striped Stitches’ followed by 4 projects which put those stripes into action, a striped and textured child’s pullover, an adult sized  zip up, hooded striped cardigan, a baby sweater and my favorite, a mitered blanket.
  • Ch. 3 Creating Color Patterns Using Slip Stitches, This chapter is all about the slipped stitches… how to create not only beautiful color with slipped stitches but also wonderful texture as well, by working in Stockinette, Garter and Linen Stitch and also by creating texture by manipulating floats in slipped stitch knitting.  This chapter also has a brief ‘Designer’s Workshop’ section full of suggestions on how to utilize slipped stitches in color knitting.  Included are several pages of fantastic slipped stitch color patterns, followed by 5 projects such as a heavily textured clutch, a men’s pullover, a child’s dress a wine cozy and a heavy jacket for her.
  • The final section of this book is one we have come to expect in knitting and crochet books, a General Techniques section.  This section is often overlooked unless you are a new knitter in need of learning how to SSK or a seasoned knitter who has forgotten how to Kitchener.  However, this book offers a little more.  In fact, aside from the excellent instruction on color knitting, the fantastic stitch patterns and suggestions, I find the first 4 pages of the techniques section of this book to be required reading for knitters.  These 4 pages are all about charts.  Melissa has broken down charts for the intrepid knitter.  She likens reading knitting charts to learning a new language.  Translation, Grammar, Vocabulary… these must be understood before reading a chart and THIS may be why you resist learning to read a chart.

Overall: A wonderful book.  I wish I had this book way back when I first started knitting in color.  And, though this book is about color knitting in stripes and slipped stitches,  one color at a time, many of the techniques and advice can be applied to stranded knitting as well.

This book might have been 3 skeins but because of the color theory information, excellent instruction and general techniques section (charts), I give it 4 skeins.

Other Items Discussed:

Product Reviewed:

Boye Electric Yarn Ball Winder

Overall: Pretty Nifty.  100-240v, dial switch, huge suction cup base, simple machine, thread it and go.  At first, I considered this a novelty item, something to review for You.  Once it arrived, I must say, I had a lot of fun with it.  My winding time was cut in half and each cake was perfectly tensioned.  Speaking of cakes, I just can’t bring myself to call the end product a cake but instead, a can.  Traditional ball winders create squat cakes, this electric ball winder creates longer cylinders, much the size of a 12 oz. can of soda.

I love this thing and might give it 4 skeins but it really isn’t a necessity.  If most of your yarn purchases are skeins (as opposed to balls), do yourself a favor and try the Boye Electric Yarn Ball Winder.

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Jesh, am I behind!?!

June 9, 2010

First, let’s announce the winner of May’s prize drawing…

Susan Nipp!

Susan has contacted me and her prize is on its way!

This month I am trying to organize my studio, to include The Stash.  This is only part of the why I am behind and the usual suspects round out the list.  I haven’t located it just yet, but this month’s prize will be a Zauberball by Schoppel Wolle.  I can not recall the color name or number but it looks a little something like this:

As usual, please leave a comment anywhere on this blog about anything, and you will be automatically entered in June’s prize drawing.  All entries are retroactive to 1 June 2010 and must be placed by 30 June 2010 to be eligible for this prize drawing.  Good Luck!

In other news, I have two podcast notes entries to catch up on, to include uploading the latest podcast episode.  I can’t even promise when this might happen and boy, does this bother me!  Still, I know you all understand as I read all your messages and appreciated every single  one, Thank You!

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