Archive for the ‘Podcasts’ Category

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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 #43: Weave Only Just Begun

January 7, 2010

Episode #43 is now loaded in iTunes, please subscribe for automatic notification of future episodes.

Announcements:

  • Spring for Babies Kal/Cal 2009 was quite a success!  I am currently making arrangements for a Spring for Babies Kal/Cal 2010 and will keep you posted.  A few changes this year: all handmade items donated to any local charity or organization are permitted.  To include items for the elderly, poor, homeless, displaced, abused, recovering,etc, as well as pets.

Books Reviewed:

Links:

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Book Review Update

November 21, 2009

If only I had this information yesterday!

Vikant Crafts Publishing sent an email stating the Special Issue Verena Knitting: In 80 Socken Um Die Welt, 30 European Sock Designs is presently being considered for publication to be made available to the Verena Knitting English language audience.  Great news, or what?

Stephanie van der Linden also sent an email to confirm that  Sock Aus Aller Welt will be made available to its English language audience in Fall 2010, published by Interweave.  I plan to review this edition once it is available, I am certain Interweave will provide charts as part of the book, as opposed to an addendum.

Keep those comments coming!

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Little Things

November 12, 2009

Post Halloween Sugar Withdrawals, Strep Throat, Scarlet Fever, Rota Virus, Tummy Aches, 24 hr Bug and plenty of Tween Attitude and Tyke Tantrums.  Compounded with setting up the house, a leaking pipe, a blown alternator and an empty rental unit.  Resulting in very little sleep and an increase in stress.  Additionally, my chocolate intake has increased and knitting time has been scarce these past weeks.

Happily, the kids are climbing the Hill-o-Health, Hubby arrived home and is able to help set up the house, leaking pipes and alternators are easily fixed (though not yet) and while the empty rental unit will hurt tremendously, it will all pan out come tax season.  And so, I am knitting again.  Happiness.

One room I eagerly await unpacking and setting up is the top floor as it serves as our family office and a semi-studio space.  I have to go out and buy shelving, which I am very hesitant to do, due to the financially impeding issues mentioned above.  I will make-do until some of those issues resolve, keeping my stash in the huge, lidded plastic containers and books in stacks about my desk and floor space.

I am still wondering where to house my spinning wheel, Julia,  though.  Somehow, I don’t think the office space is the right place.  But, placing Julia in the living room is akin to giving the 4-year-old a screwdriver and the 1-year-old a hammer to have at it.  Fortunately, the Julia is lightweight and can easily be moved around.  Gosh, I really look forward to spinning on her again!  I want to bang out the Finn and get going on some Cormo.  :sigh:

In my short spurts of free time, I have been working on Knit Study III.  I am hoping to have it ready for December 1st, sooner if possible.  Then I will backtrack to spiffy up Knit Study I and begin putting together Knit Study II.  How backwards is that?

Be sure to catch the next Podcast,  I will be announcing a new Prize Drawing!

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Days Away

August 11, 2009

We are literally days away from our departure from Italy and arrival in Germany.  In the past 10 days we have managed our little circus quite well, if I do say so myself.  From packing our home, organizing our move, orchestrating the moving company, filling and filing paperwork (lots of paperwork) and a few other suprises along the way; we have remained sane and mostly stress free.

I have to say though, without the aide of some wonderful people, this move would not be so easily done.  Our family friends, by first names – Melinda and JP, have been fantastic.  There were days Melinda volunteered to take all four  kids!  This may not seem like such a big deal to some but consider that Melinda has her own brood of four children as well!  This family is amazing to say the least and I am so grateful for their presence in our lives.  Last night I mentioned to my husband how wonderful Melinda and JP are and how they had volunteered their help without our soliciting.  My husband, being a macho type – not intent on gushing, simply relplied, “Well, they realize what it is to conduct a move and live a life with four kids.  I’m grateful for their help, but I am not surprised.”

At first I was upset at my husband’s under reaction to Melinda and JP’s generosity.  Then I let it all sink in and I realize, he is right.  When good people do good things, especially when those good people understand the given circumstances, it is not surprising.  I suppose I am so accustomed to the sterile relationships that seem to dominate our society, that I tend to over react towards the genuine kindness of others.  To encounter genuine people, especially non-fiber folks ;), is fast becoming a rare occurrence.

Anyhow, this is the first time I’ve been online since the drawing and last podcast.  I have accomplished some knitting and spindling but I will save that for the next entry.  Until then, Auf Wiedersehen!

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A New Trend on the Forecast…

June 8, 2009

Procrastination.  Even if you don’t think it looks good on you, you still wear it.  In fact, it seems 95% of us (Americans, anyhow) are wearnig the title.  So, if that many are wearing the title, it is a new trend and thus, looks good – right? ;)

 

OK, OK – I’m just trying to rationalize and glamorize my severe neglect of this blog – You caught me :”)

 

So what has been going on these past weeks?  Lot’s in fact.  I’ve been knitting quite regularly, done some dyeing, back at spinning, tackled some felting and had even done some sewing, too!  Of course, all this productivity does not in anyway imply I have shunned my other responsibilities.  In fact, the four kiddos are keeping me on my toes.  And, I find I am as excited as they are to see school and baseball come to an end this week.  

Before I post photos of my latest accomplishments, I want to take a moment and invite you to join me in a Knit Study or Learn Along – I am not sure which title I prefer at the moment but that can be worked out later.  I will go into further detail on this week’s Podcast (which will record on Friday) but for now, details are as follows:

 In an effort to brush up on knitting skills and learn new things, I plan to study the following ( not necessarily in this order – or in any sort of order, really ) :

 

  • Cast Ons: for garments, cuff down and toe up socks
  • Bind Offs: for garments, cuff down and toe up socks
  • Increases & Decreases
  • Short Rows
  • Shaping 
  • Hem Lines
  • Incorporating a stitch pattern into a design template
  • Joining flat peices
  • Freeform knitting
  • More to Come…

 

 I am gathering up all my half-skeins, acrylic, and long-forgotten yarns to begin this study in basic and advanced knitting techniques.

I will use various books from my library when necessary and will include them in a separate post as a Bibliography for your reference.  I may also make reference to online resources, which will also be added to the Bibliography.

In this week’s Podcast I will announce the first study.  We will begin with a basic and essential: Measuring for Gauge.  If you wish to participate, please leave a comment on this blog or post a message in the Destiknit the Podcast (DTP) Group in Ravelry. (a Ravelry link)  

Depending on listener/reader response, I will post study info and possible tutorials here on the blog, in DTP Group or both.  The greatest benefit of choosing DTP Group as a posting place is that we can all share our experiences, suggestions, questions, photos, etc. there.  

 

So, onto hand made goodness; knit-wise, spin-wise, dye-wise, felt-wise, sew-wise:

 

 

 

Unst

Unst - These were pair #2 for DD, knit at a looser tension.

 

 

POMS  – one finished (picture coming)

 

Dyewise:

 

Sacre du Printemps

Sacre du Printemps - I actually dyed this yarn for the fore mentioned sock pattern. But, I can be a fickle fanny and am now thinking this yarn wants to be Sunshine.

 

 

 

Shades of Grape

Shades of Grape - DD has requested purple Spiral Boot Socks. Since I am trying to work from the stash, I kettle dyed some SW Merino with Kool Aid.

 

 

 

 

 

Crayon Sack

Crayon Sack - DS2 and I were truly bored one day. I found a skein of Cascade 220 and one of each type of Kool Aid we had in the pantry. After a very brief instructional (he's watched me hundreds of times), he went at it, creating a beautiful rainbow yarn, he called Crayon.

 

Crayon Sack, closed

Once the yarn was dried and caked, I knit and knit and knit until I nearly ran out of yarn. We felted the floppy pouch and were thrilled to bits when the finished item was 'perfect' for DS2's colored pencils. Crayon Sack, closed

 

 

 

 

 

Felt Fabric from Scratch

Felt Fabric from Scratch - Really! I have a pile (really a plastic shopping bag) full of wool fibers that just aren't suitable for spinning. I thought I would try needle felting but that would require the purchase of more equipment. Instead, I decided to try wet felting the loose fibers to create a single, cohesive fabric. This small sample has given me tons of inspiration for future projects!

 

 

 

 

Cape May-ish

Cape May-ish - Our Monthly Adventures Group had decided to do a Sew/Knit Along, using the Cape May pattern. DD and I thought this would be a great collaboration and immediately purchased a Charm Pack of her chosen colors. Once we reviewed the pattern, we realized the original bag would be too long for her frame. Not to mention our Charm Pack was short 6 squares. We grossly modified every aspect of the project. In fact, this is an entirely new bag, inspired by the Cape May bag.

 

As for Spinning, I have been tackling the Finn, still.  It really is taking me far longer than it ought to get this yarn spun!  But, I am half finished – then to plying.  I am still uncertain as to which ply I will use; either a basic 3 ply or a cabled yarn.  Either way, it will be a new ply for me!

Plus, I have two projects I am designing/knitting up.  I also have the Fat Feet pattern to finish.  Generally, pattern writing isn’t  tedious for me.  But, in this case, just as with the Ultra Comfy House socks, I am fairly certain a seasoned sock knitter wouldn’t need a pattern to recreate Fat Feet.  I am toying with the idea of simply typing my notes into the blog, as I’ve noticed other blogger/knitters do.

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Long Overdue…

April 4, 2009

… We’re at three – almost four – weeks now since the last post, right?  All I can say is, life happens. ;)

So let’s rewind and post a few pictures.

===

That’s as far as I got last week!  Obviously we are now at the four week mark :/

===

There was a whole lotta dyeing going on last month:

Sweet Feet

Sweet Feet, Sherwood

Big Fat Love, Primavera

Merlon

Merlon, Valpolicella

Sport Sock, Lupine Magnifica

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And then my month was sweetened even more with numerous swap packages, two prizes and a RAK:

Pattern Swap, sent by rebeccawip

Spin Swap, sent by volkat

Spin Swap, sent by volkat

Color Swap, sent by toadyjoe

Color Swap, sent by toadyjoe

RAK, sent by Purr

RAK, sent by Purr

Phat Phlag Prize, sent by Aztecmonkey

Phat Phlag Prize, sent by Aztecmonkey

Broomstick Lace CAL, sent by Palomabella

Broomstick Lace CAL Prize, sent by Palomabella

Saucy Sweet Original Sock Swap, sent by TwinsMama

Saucy Sweet Original Sock Swap, sent by TwinsMama

Technique Swap, sent by FairySari

Technique Swap, sent by FairySari

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I started Unst by Nancy Bush, Knitting on the Road.  Sock #1 was knit to near perfection, except for some snuggy-ness at the ankle.  Since I have been receiving a lot of questions in regards to tension, I thought this would be a great opportunity to showcase issues in tension and the all powerful gauge swatch.  Sock #2 was CO and is being knit on the same needles with the same yarn at a much loser tension.  Sock #2 is still on the needles and is nearly finished.  Once I have it BO and blocked, I will do a brief write up and post the pictures for comparison and then, decide which sock I like best and knit a 3rd!

Unst #1, just my size

Unst #1, just my size

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My daughter had been working on a recital for her choir club.  As the recital neared, I learned that her Instructor will be leaving right after the recital to have a schedule Cesarian Section!  With just a few days notice, I decided to whip up a 2nd pair of Saartje’s Bootees.

Musical Bootees

Musical Bootees

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Ah, I have had lots of messages on this one!  In need of  a better organizer for my circular needles and DPNS, I decided to give a neglected CD Binder Case a new purpose.  So far, so good!  I find that the slots are just perfect for the circulars and nearly perfect for the sock sized DPNs.  The longer 8″ DPNs are also in the binder but don’t seem to want to stay in the binder.  I am working on a solution for this last issue and hope to have all my needles in this binder eventually!

CD Case for Needles!

CD Case for Needles!

CD Case for Needles!

CD Case for Needles!

CD Case foe Needles!

CD Case for Needles!

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Periodically throughout last month, I received various fiber purchases… so hard to resist!

I purchased some Polwarth and  Shetland from David of Come in Spinner, now South Cross Fibers.  I just love the colorways of both!

Polwarth, Carins fr South Cross Fiber

Polwarth, Carins fr South Cross Fiber

Shetland, Koala fr South Cross Fiber

Shetland, Koala fr South Cross Fiber

I also burned the credit card on some super soft 80’s Merino and a bump of natural brown Polwarth, which I purchased from someone’s destash.  Both are remarkably soft! … pure love.

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Finally, in this week’s Podcast I mentioned a great cast on for toe-up socks.  I tried my best to describe it for you and then tried to make a video.  After several attempts, I realized a much better way to execute this new cast on and how to modify it for those who prefer to knit using the Magic Loop method.  Enjoy:

<<video coming – – – I hope! — If I find video to be too difficult, I will post photos instead. Stay Tuned!!>>