Archive for the ‘prize’ 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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New Pattern, New Prize and Great Friends!

March 10, 2010

I can’t seem to get out of my own way lately and though I am late, I am making good on my promises.

Epiphany No. 6

I finally finished the pattern for Epiphany No. 6 (direct link to PDF) or you can download Epiphany No. 6 in Ravelry.  Already lots of great feedback and am officially working a triangular shawl version.

Next of promises not forgot is this month’s Prize Drawing!  I am behind on this one, too, but only in posting!  The prize has been sitting on my desk since last month :”)  So what are we giving away… how about some  sock yarn?!?

Here in Germany I can sometimes find great deals on yarn kits.  These kits are unassuming as the yarn is labeled generically and all wrapped in plastic.  The first time I purchase one of these kits, I had no idea what to expect and so as not to be disappointed, expected nothing more than cheap, scratchy yarn.  Nope.  While not the smooshy of smooshy, it ain’t all bad!  A 75/25 wool/nylon blend, it is soft and durable and you get enough yarn to make not just one pair of socks but two!  Yes, 200 grams of sock yarn and a set of 5 DPNs sized 2.5mm (1.5 US)!

PICTURE TO FOLLOW SOON

As with the past monthly prize drawings, simply leave a comment anywhere on this blog from (retroactive) March 1 – March 31 11:59 pm GMT +1 (will add a link) I ask that you adhere to this very simple requirement by posting your comment on this blog.  I understand there have been issues posting in the past but I do believe I have resolved all issues.  Also, some concern as to ‘who’s first’.  WordPress is wonderful in that I can organize my comments in any way I wish.  I simply look at the blog overall and each comment made is presented in order, according to its time stamp.  This is why I say you can comment anywhere… I don’t have to go digging for you post!  While I love email and appreciate comments on my podcast  server site, keeping the prize drawing comments on the blog is best.

These past weeks have been quite full around here.  Aside from family-love-stuffs*, there have been a series of illnesses (hate those tummy bugs!), sports physicals, immunizations, car issues (both cars!) and a few knitting meetups with great friends and some long-distance issues concerning homeownership and family.  Full indeed.  So those two meetings, though one far too brief, were complete rays of sunshine.

I met up with KnittingCouple, Annette and Alexander, on the last Saturday of February.  I had to take all 4 kiddos with me that day as DH was tending to some of those car issues.  Annette and Alex surprised me with a lovely gift, a cake of SpinningMartha‘s Merino-Silk yarn and a beautiful scarf made from another cake ^_^  I am so grateful as SpinningMartha’s colors are amazing and her shop sells out rather quickly, especially the sock yarns, Merino-Silk and the spinning fibers.

Can you believe, this was not the only gift I received in these past weeks?  Just last week I was supposed to meet up with Wumbs, Ulli, but had to cancel because of that darn tummy bug.  I stopped by Ulli’s to drop off a few promised items and she surprised me with a handknit pair of socks, knit with STR!  STR!?!  One of many yarns I have yet to test drive myself and now… I am saved from the trouble of even knitting myself a pair of socks on top of it!?!  Double-whammy!  Of course, I could not wait to get my feet into those socks:

Thank you all, Annette, Alex and Ulli.  I am so grateful to call each of you friend.

*my new term for the wonderful chores of housekeeping, taxiing and general child rearing

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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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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 :/

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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!!>>

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IOU ~ lotsa pictures

March 1, 2009

As the title suggests, this will be a photo heavy post.  

So, let’s start with my dye session from a few weeks ago. I had mentioned dyeing sock yarn and roving – I had posted the roving but not the yarn!  This yarn is a Merino Sport Sock dyed in a colorway I am calling Stratosphere, I have two skeins available.  

 

Stratosphere Merino Sport Sock

Stratosphere Merino Sport Sock

 

 

I actually am knitting a pair of baby socks with it right now – it’s knitting up nicely and I am wishing I had taken better notes during the dyeing session :)  I am taking notes on the baby socks will post the pattern as soon as possible.

(photo coming soon)

Did I mention the BFL I spun?  I know I mentioned when I dyed it and I might have mentioned that I was spinning it up – no?  Well I did spin up some singles – 

 

BFL Singles - SoFistiCat

BFL Singles - SoFistiCat

 

 

then I knit up a pair of Saartje’s Bootees for my soon-to-arrive niece:

 

Saartje's Bootees for Charlie

Saartje's Bootees for Charlie

 

 

They are sooo cute, aren’t they?  Surprisingly this pattern is super easy, knit flat in garter stitch and then seamed.  Anyone can knit these purties up and I strongly suggest this knit for the Spring for Babies KalCal!

So, after knitting these booties I still had quite a lot of yarn left, so I plied it up and plan to knit another pair or two for the growing babe ;)

So then I went on and dyed some more roving – this time it was Merino and for a secret Spin Swap for the Monthly Adventures Group in Ravelry.  As of this post, the recipient has not yet recieved, so I only post the wet roving in the sink at the moment:

 

Spin Swap Fun

Spin Swap Fun

 

 

Shopping for swaps is always a lot of fun and often a source of pain (to the purse) as we often tend to do the ‘one for you, one for me’.  I did manage to stay within our budget (have I mentioned that we have a swap budget in MA?), so I am quite please with myself and I even managed not to buy (too much) for myself. ;)  I picked up a WIP gauge from KaratStix and a gorgeous Orifice Hook.

 

WPI Gauge from KaratStix

WPI Gauge from KaratStix

 

Orifice Hook in the Shop

Orifice Hook more in Shop

 

 

 

I also dyed some Finn top up.  It was one of those surprises as the end result is not what I had envisioned, but it still came out rather lovely – a deep blue with variants throughout.  I reserved 2 oz of the Finn to be blended with some Mohair, which had been gifted to me from Tnsinko (Linda), a fellow spinner who I ‘met’ in Ravelry.  The wool is presently being spun for socks… I am only guessing that Finn will create a soft and durable sock and that the addition of Mohair in some of the yarn will make for iron toes and heels.  What do you think?

 

Finn for Socks

Finn for Socks

 

 

In addition to the Mohair, Linda also sent various samples of her Romney sheep, which she raises for her own spinning pleasure ~ Lucky Gal!  I am so very grateful to have made  a new friend, Linda you are wonderful!  Linda sent over 2 oz of processed Romney from her most beloved sheep, Dianthus.  I have spun it up and am planning a special project for it ;)

(excuse the dark photo)

 

Romney fr Linda, plied to 17 WPI

Romney fr Linda, plied to 17 WPI

 

 

 

So what else? … Ah, the kids have spent some time spindling.  I managed to remember to whip out the camera toward the end of the last session… this one is of DS1, spinning up some BFL he had dyed with Kool-Aid.  This is the same son who fashioned a spindle out of Legos :)

 

DS1, Spindling

DS1, Spindling

 

 

I knit up a block for our Monthly Adventures BOM KAL.  The block will not be added to my planned afghan, however, but is intended to serve as a binkie for my soon-to-arrive niece.  It was knit with KnitPicks Crayon, an easy to care for cotton, which I found to be surprisingly soft and not so difficult to work with, for a boucle.  

 

BOM - as a binkie for baby

BOM - as a binkie for baby

 

 

I have already sent the binkie off with the booties and the below socks.  Unfortunately I did not take pictures of the finished binkie, I added tags around the edges, just right for teething babes.  The socks have a story to go with them, doesn’t everything? I will attempt to be brief.  Last July my DS3 was born, the entire pregnancy was complicated as was the delivery – – I will not go into details, this just isn’t the place.  

Bottom line, the Doctor who delivered my son, saved his life.  I was and am so deeply grateful and wanted to express this as any knitter would – I wanted to knit him a pair of socks.  So, I cast on a week after DS3 was born and I scooted right along and then I stopped.  I was at the point where I might start decreases for the toe on a Men’s size Medium… you can see where I am going with this… 

I had no idea what his foot size is and just couldn’t bring myself to ask him.  I did make a ‘fake’ appointment with him, just to try and get a visual… no luck, those shiny shoes really threw me off.  So, I made a wine basket, stuffed with crackers and chocolates and wine of course!  And the socks have sat in my UFO basket all this time.  Well, enter a Sock KAL hosted by fellow MAer Sulkycat and I suddenly find those socks and finish them, intending to send them to Laura, the soon-to-be-Mommy.  I think the socks will be nice and cushy for her tired feet in the weeks ahead.

 

New Mommy Thujas

New Mommy Thujas

 

 

Speaking of Sulkycat’s Sock KAL, I had to decide which pattern I wanted to knit up.  At first,  I thought I would knit the Heelless Sleeping Sock from Knitting Vintage Socks, but I decided to go with a lace sock and learn a new-to-me technique, Magic Loop.  I am going to knit, in fact I will cast on just as soon as I finish this post, Unst in Knit Picks Essential, Green Apple.  The color is almost exactly the same as the color shown in Knitting on the Road.  I chose these socks because I wanted something ‘Springy’ – we are all beckoning Spring in our own ways, aren’t we?

 

Unst from KOTR

Unst from KOTR

 

 

This past week, I have dyed 6 skeins of yarn.  At the moment,  I am waiting for the to dry, then I will take photos and post them in the Shop by next week’s post – stay tuned….