Saturday, March 27, 2010

Good Stuff!

What a day so far today! The goodness started last night, which was really today anyway considering it was around 1am....
I spent the entire day yesterday with Chris. We both had the day off, so we were out and about doing errands that needed doing. Laundry, car wash, that sort of thing. By the time we finally made it home to hang out I was really too tired to knit. I did try, though. Gave it a valiant effort, but sleepiness overcame me and I ended up passing out while the guys chilled. I really hope I didn't drool to much... Hmmm... By the time I woke myself up to drive home it was around 1:00 in the morning. My family was still awake because they'd gone out to a concert. My mom informed me that I had a package waiting for me in my bedroom. She said it had come from Interweave Press. I couldn't remember ordering anything from Interweave. What could it be? Mom said it seemed like it might be a book. Huh... Mysterious. Unless I was suffering from some serious memory loss, or had ordered something in my sleep, I was unsure what it could be. So I readied myself for bed all the while going over what it might be in my head. I got up to my room and tore open the box. It was a book. I didn't order a book. Why was I sent a book? I turned it on it's side and read the title: "Knitwear Design Workshop."I remember getting the email from Interweave saying this book had come out. I had forwarded it to my Mom saying she could get it for me for my birthday. I'd told Chris and my sister the same thing. I asked Annalee (my sister) if she'd bought it for me. Her answer was something like, "why would I buy it for you now? It's not your birthday." That's kinda what I figured, I told her. I asked if she knew if our parents had bought me the book. She said she didn't know, and then pointed out if they did buy it as a present why would they have it shipped to my name? Good point. (oh, and my birthday isn't until August...) I pulled the bubble wrap away from the cover and the invoice fell into my lap. I checked the billing information. Sold to Christopher... Oh my.... wow! Sold to Chris, ship to Erica. I was so surprised and touched by the thoughtful gesture that I might have started to cry a little. I placed the book on a stool next to my pillow and crawled into bed with a very happy, warm feeling inside.

I have been poring over the book today. There is so much information! It's a little overwhelming, so I have to take it kind of slow. Lots of math had a tendency to make my stomach churn. This is incredible though. Every time I go to use this book I will be thinking of how wonderful and supportive my man is. :-)

And then another good thing happened just a few minutes ago. I'm sitting here, in my bedroom, going over a new design (in Knit Picks Simply Cotton Sport) and an email pops up. I click over to check it and.... it's an acceptance of a design I submitted to a magazine! I can't say what it is or give any of the details away. Unfortunately for you guys you won't know what it is until the magazine comes out... in January 2011! Hang tight folks! ;-)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Scotch Mary – Preview Photos!

Y'all ready for this?!
The Scotch Mary pattern is currently out with my test knitters. My eta for publication is early April. For now... I give you photos.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Knitting on the Road — Trying to Leave

So… we’re heading out on the road again tonight for gigs in Massachusetts and Connecticut. We tried to leave for around a half hour. The car was packed and we’d all gone to the bathroom “just in case” by 7:00 pm. From 7 to 7:30 we spent running up and down from the house to driveway to check the lights, check the oven, turn on lights, turn off lights, turn on a different light, check the burner on the stove because mom put the cast iron frying pan on the flame to dry after dinner…. We never have this much trouble! Usually we walk out the door and don’t look back. I don’t know why the commotion with the lights started. Dad felt the need to leave some light on. I guess because we were leaving later in the day than usual it was apparent how dark the house looked. By the end of the half hour we were all starting to laugh hysterically. It was like being stuck in a comedy routine. Yeesh!

We finally made it out of the driveway and are now on the road. I am taking along my computer this time, so I’m actually typing as we drive. I love the backlit keyboard on my MacBook! So handy and lovely. But I just love Macs in general. My parents have worked on Macs since they first came out and that’s what we’ve always had in the house. Currently we each have a laptop, plus Mom also has a desktop for her editing work. It’s a little odd, in a funny way, that we’ve always had at least one computer in the house, typically more, but we haven’t had TV since I was 7 (so that would be 1992).

I packed a few different skeins of yarn for this trip to get started on designing more hat patterns for the Musical Mind Collection. I think I will pack up my computer and get down to that now. Between band practice, packing, and teaching fiddle lessons there wasn’t any time to relaxing with knitting. Now I have 5 hours in the car to relax. Oh, by the way, we’re heading to Foxboro Massachusetts. We will be staying with family for two nights. Our gigs are tomorrow (Friday) at the Dog Rock Coffee House and Saturday at the Vanilla Bean Coffee House in Pomfret CT. There will be a knitting circle at 7:00pm before the show at the Vanilla Bean, so that should be good.
Heigh ho heigh ho, off to knit I go!

Knitting on the Road - Haggerstown, MD

Note to all, as with the last post, this one should have come out already. However, I was once again working with pen and paper and finally got around to typing it up... Yes, I am moving rather slow.

You can read my Dad's notes on the weekend over at the Homegrown String Band blog: HERE

Sunday March 14, 2010
8:15 amWow... I'm exhausted. I think I went to bed last night at midnight. I don't remember if it was midnight before the time change, or if my mom had already moved the clocks ahead and it was not really midnight yet. Either way, I'm still tired right now. We had to be up at 7am, which felt like 6am because we sprung time ahead last night. I had set the alarm on my cell to go off at 7. When I heard it I was so unhappy I wanted desperately to through my phone on the floor. I didn't though. (Commend me for that one! It took a huge effort. Heheh) Instead of getting mad, I dragged my butt out of "bed" (I slept on a couch) and went to take a shower. Nobody else in my family was stirring yet, so I took the opportunity to get the first shower. There is 6 people in the house, 2 showers, and we all need to be out of here by 9am. Not too bad, but I know how slow certain people move in the shower. One of those people is me. I love me a good long, hot shower. My sister also takes forever and a day. We tell her we want to leave a half hour before we actually do otherwise we'd be late for gigs all the time. Being late for gigs is not fun. Trust me. Been there, done that.
We have a 3 hour drive to today's gig. Yikes. 3 hours there, then an hour for set up, a 90 minute show, a half hour/45 minutes to repack, and then a 6 hour drive home. We're figuring we'll be home around midnight. I'm even more tired just thinking about it. Zzzzz.... Need more sleep! Must get the fiddle wiggle on later regardless of energy levels.

11:00 am
Knit, knit, knit. It's the only thing that makes these car trips tolerable. I really want a book, though. Still having the craving to read. I'm going to have to do something about that before next weekend.
I finished the Polyphonic hat. Completely done! Was it even a full 24 hours since I started? Well, yes, it was, since I started the first attempt, but I had to rip everything out yesterday... so I guess it's been just about 24 hours. I enjoyed knitting on this one. The yarn helps a lot with that. Gorgeous stuff, but a very odd color. I don't even know how to describe it. You'll have to wait and see when the Musical Minds photos start appearing. Ha! Honestly, the hat looks pretty huge and that scares me a little. Chris has a big noggin', so it will most likely fit. It fits me like a slouchy beret. With all my massive curls that's not really a bad thing. Maybe I can make another and Chris and I can both model them. Hmmm.... Wouldn't that just be so cute?! (This is where my sister would say, "oh gag me.") The way I worked the crown decreases has me on the fence about whether I should rip the hat back or not. I'm going to leave it for now and see what Chris thinks.
Gig over and done! It went really well despite all of us being a little tired. Somehow we all managed to find energy on the way to the show and tap into it to get through. Now we're all packed up and ready to go home. I thought our show was going to be our typical 90 minute deal, but it turned out they wanted us to stick to an hour. That feels so weird. So short! So easy... I barely feel like I've worked. I'm glad today was the shorter concert and not yesterday. I'd say that worked itself out rather well. The crowd seemed to really enjoy the concert today. We've played in Haggerstown, MD before, so a few people mentioned having heard us in the past. I think we played here twice actually. Not this same venue, the last two times we played their concert in the park series. Or is it concerts by the lake...? I can't remember the official name, but they were outdoor summer shows in any event.
I took a photo of Polyphonic with my phone and sent it to Chris. He said that it looks awesome, but he agreed with me that the top might bunch in too much. We agreed that I would not weave in the ends and set the hat aside for now until he got to try it on and see what was up. Considering this collection was inspired by him and aimed at including the menfolk out there, he gets to have a big say in the end product.
The rest of the way home I'll be working on the black hat I started for Chris yesterday. I didn't think about this very well. I should have done the black hat during the daylight hours instead of holding that aside for night travel. Oh well. I can see fairly well with the overhead light on in the back seat. If that fails me than it'll be all up to my iPod to entertain me on the way home.

8:00 pm
We stopped at this awesomely cool rest area for dinner! Haha. Maybe not awesomely cool, but interesting. I took some photos. Anybody that's traveled through PA has probably seem Love's gas station and convenience store. Well, we pulled off the highway for food because we saw signs for Subway and McDonalds. It turned out that they were directly next to each other. In fact, they were attached. This was good because I really wanted a milkshake, but I won't eat any other food from McD's (except salad and I had salad for lunch). This stop was Love's gas station outside, and then the building was Love's convenience store, which opened into Subway, which opened into McDonald's. We went in through the Subway entrance, ordered our food, and sat down at a table. Then we noticed that every table had a phone mounted to it for making emergency and collect calls only. Then we looked up at the TV. Below it hung a sign with a digital display showing what shower number was now being served. Yes, shower.I grabbed my camera to snap a few photos. A minute later an announcement played over the sound system. It said, "whoever is smoking in the shower, put it out. You know who you are. Again, whoever is smoking in the shower, you know who you are, put it out. We can smell it out here." My family and I all exchanged looks and started laughing. Nice. I feel like I should have gone to check out where these showers were, but I didn't. The bathrooms were a little scary, the showers probably were too then.

I have been doing ok with the black hat under the overhead light. That makes me happy. I can't imagine tolerating a 6 hour trip with no knitting. I'm not that patient. No knitting and no book? No good!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Knitting on the Road – Chester, NJ

Sorry guys, I didn't have my computer with me this last weekend out because I knew where we were staying wouldn't have wireless internet. Instead I went the old fashioned pen and paper route, but that adds another step to the getting-the-blog-out process. I am here now though! Technically this post should have come out late Saturday March 13, 2010. With that in mind....

10:30 AM
"On the road again - Just can't wait to get on the road again. The life I love is making music with my friends. I just can't wait to get on the road again." — Willie Nelson

Off we go! No computer this trip, just some good old pen and paper. It's actually kind of nice because it means I can just drag my notebook out of my knitting bag and jot down a few things as they come to mind and then pack it away again without much fuss. Not that I couldn't use my computer in the car, but it's a little more annoying. I'd rather write the old fashioned way.
I decided to leave my computer home because where we're staying tonight doesn't have wireless connection and I determined dragging my laptop was just an annoyance. I have my knitting to keep me occupied. What more do I need? I good book, that's what. I keep getting this urge to read... I haven't curled up with a good read in ages. Probably longer than I should admit to. I stopped reading for enjoyment when I went to college, then when I graduated I'd discovered knitting and I couldn't knit and read. I solved the problem by listening to lots of books on tape, and that's good, but it's not quite the same, so now I am having book cravings.

We've pretty much just left Rocky Point and are cruising along the Long Island Expressway. So far so good. I'm wondering how this drive will go considering it's raining like crazy. That could either keep people away and minimize traffic, or tons of people will be out driving slow because of the weather. I never do any of the driving when we're on the road. I don't trust myself driving the van without any visibility out the rear window. I don't like driving in general, so the thought freaks me out. Because of that I get loads of knitting done. As soon as paper and pen is placed back in my bag I will be getting down to knitting now. I think I will go for working on Polyphonic, which is the third hat in the Musical Minds Collection.

1:30 PM
We've arrived at the library where we're performing. The room we're in is freezing! And thus far nobody has come in to check us. I noticed the thermostat in the far corner and went to check it out. I decided to take matters into my own hands when I noticed it said it was only 60 degrees in the room. Not good on a cold rainy day and considering we're all damp from dragging the equipment in. I figured out how to override the temperature settings. Hopefully some angry janitor doesn't come in to see what happened. Off to sound check and get dressed now. No time for preshow knitting.

4:15 PM
Blech! It's absolutely pouring cats and dogs! Mom pulled the van around to the doors closest to the room we were in, which made it only a few feet away, but with the rain coming down as hard as it is it didn't really matter. As we were loading everything back into the van someone left the rear sliding door open (on the side my sister sits). On my last trip out I noticed that the door had been left open and everything in the backseats and the front passenger seat was sopping wet! I jumped in and shut the door and started clearing things out and cleaning up as best I could. Mom and Annalee ran inside for paper towels so we could mop up the seats. Thankfully the interior of the van is leather. We will all still end up with mighty wet behinds though. The drive to where we're going next is only an hour. Good thing!

10:00 PM
Soooo tired! We're at Dotti and Joe's house, one of our homes away from home. We stay here pretty often while gigging in NJ and PA. Dotti made us a great dinner. I'm very full, very tired, and have been just hanging out knitting and chatting. I made significant progress on the Polyphonic hat. I got antsy to start Chris's black hat and switched over to that for a while. There's only a few rows on it because the black yarn is a little hard to see in the lighting here. I like the pattern so far. The pattern needs a name... Hmmm...
I really am so tired. And to top it all off we lose an hour tonight. And then to top that off I need to be up by 7am tomorrow morning. Ughs. Me thinks it's time for some tea and then bed. Hopefully it's not raining as hard tomorrow. Today has just been plain nasty as far as weather is concerned.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Knitting on the Road – Preping Tired

::yawn:: We're heading out on the road again today. I'm going into this trip pretty exhausted. I'm sure I'll end up waking up. I had a pretty lazy day yesterday with Chris, so there really is no reason to have lingering tiredness. Perhaps I should have gone to bed before midnight though. It was my knitting that kept me up. I had to get prepared!

On Thursday I spent a little time packing for this weekend and I did manage to gather up yarn for one new design project. However, it's a pretty small project and I'm looking at 13 hours in the car over two days if the traffic is good. If it's bad (because it is pouring rain) then it will be longer than 13 hours. One little project is not going to cut it.

I hadn't had more time to pack earlier because Thursday night Chris and I went to see a band play that one of his friends was in. We stayed until the bitter end, which was 2am, and we were both exhausted. So instead of driving home after being out at the bar all night we decided to crash at a hotel. Friday morning we managed to wake ourselves up with barely enough time for the continental breakfast. Actually, we kind of missed it since it was over at 10 and we got down to the lobby at 10. They were nice, though, and let us in to the breakfast room. After we left the hotel we migrated over to Chris's house were we spent the rest of the day playing video games and knitting. (Take a guess who did which activity.) The project that was packed in my knitting bag was the one I had taken with plans of knitting on the road this weekend. I made some significant progress on it. The feeling I needed to bring a bit more yarn was amplified. I made sure I left Chris early (for me, it was around 10pm) so I could get more knitting together. I packed without a plan. Hopefully it works! Actually, that's not completely true. I took along two skeins of black yarn to make Chris another hat. It's a good fall back plan.

And there it is folks. My scattered brained prep for knitting on the road this week. What I'm taking:
• Harmonic Hat (from the Musical Minds Collection
• Polyphonic Hat (from Musical Minds)
• black yarn for Chris's hat

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Knitting on the Road – Franklin Lakes, NJ

Wow… Not a good night’s sleep last night. The hotel was about as noisy as it was ugly. My room was right across from the outdoor steps to the second level. These steps are metal and it sounded like a herd of elephants decided to do stair runs starting around 11pm. I’m not sure how long it lasted, long enough that I was laying awake around 1am wondering what was going on. I started to make up stories in my head. I must be a bad storyteller because I did eventually put myself to sleep.

The Continental breakfast was sad. I don’t think anyone really enjoyed the hotel stay, so we booked out earlier than expected. By 10:00am we were on the road to our next gig at the Franklin Lakes library. It was a 2 hour drive, so I pulled out my knitting to pass some time. I did another color repeat on the Harmonic hat and then moved to the Maggie Grey sweater. I finished the front and will hopefully start on the back tomorrow. By the time I reached this point in my knitting we were entering town, so I didn’t want to get involved in knitting on anything else. I was pretty impressed with myself. I managed to knit this fairly large sweater, working off to skeins of yarn, in the crowded van, and there were no mishaps! I was a little fearful at first that I might injure Maggie with all the possibilities of getting snagged, but… no worries!

Our show went pretty well. We played for around 90 minutes, which is typical of a library show for us. Leaving was fun. (My voice is dripping with sarcasm now). We got lost pretty much as soon as we turned out of the parking lot. We’re good at getting lost. It really wouldn’t be an HGSB road trip is we easily got where we were going. I quite surprised we made it yesterday without getting lost at least once. Did we? Now I can’t remember. I was listening to my iPod, so I might have missed some excitement. Plugging in to music is a survival technique on the road. That and knowing when to make yourself sleep. As soon as Dad gets behind the wheel I make sure to pass out. It’s better than sitting there clinging white-knuckled to the seat. Dad is hell on wheels, or so it seems.

So there you have it in a nutshell. Maggie Grey and Harmonic hit the road with the Homegrown String Band.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Knitting on the Road – Mullica Hill, NJ

The drive off Long Island into New Jersey went pretty seamlessly. Thankfully. Driving in NJ can sometimes be a very harrowing event. The absolute worst day to leave Long Island is Friday. The worst day to come back is Sunday. We will be dealing with that tomorrow. I’m trying to stay positive. I find it much easier to deal with traffic on the way out of town. At this point the trip is just getting going and I’m still refreshed (hopefully, although I did have a late night last night. Chris bought a Wii and I might have lost track of time while we were playing….) and all the excitement is before you. On the way back I’m tired and all I want to do is take a shower and get into some comfy clothes. Of course, time of day and time of year is a HUGE factor. It’s all about the daylight. Yes, I can turn the overhead light on to see my knitting, but I find that rather annoying sometimes. Traveling during the day is so much more enjoyable. I can see my knitting and that’s the most important thing to my travel enjoyment. I’m sure all you knitters understand me perfectly.

We left LI early enough to stop at our hotel room before the show. The first impression as we pulled up wasn’t lovely. The hotel butted up against this fenced off raggle taggle abandoned parking lot. Ewww… Ok, well, this can be overlooked and it made us all laugh. We can’t stay in fancy pants hotels on the road or we wouldn’t make any money for all of this. So we have lots of stories… lots. Someday I would love to take photos and stories from the road and pair them up with knitting patterns for a book… Dream on. Anyway, I’m veering off topic. The hotel. We pulled in to the parking lot and were faced with a row of orange doors set into a puke pink wall. Nice. Push the door open and a room with loud orange and green decor looked back at us. Oh well, they can’t all be winners, right? The photos do not do the room's gorgeousness any justice at all.

To kill time, Annalee and I did a little photo shoot for memories....
apparently they have a problem with the toilet paper being stolen at this hotel...

Our gig was at the Mullica Hill Branch Library in NJ. Very nice library. Our concert at 7pm was after hours, so they had set up a stage in the middle of the library. Dad was guessing there was probably about 100 chairs out for the audience. They had to add more, though, and in the end there looked to be closer to 200 folks out there in the audience. I think we played pretty well. I was a little distracted by Dad tapping his foot on the stage, which echoed and sent vibrations into my feet. It was all good in the end.

So my knitting. I almost forgot about that! I did about 4 repeats of the color chart on the band of the Harmonic hat. I have this little problem with colorwork... I stop so often to admire how the pattern is coming out that my progress moves forward at a rather snail-like pace. I kept putting the knitting down and kind of glazing over while I stroked the yarn. I am very pleased with how the pattern is turning out, even if I am going slow.

The Maggie Grey sweater is really too big to work on while stuffed into the backseat of an overpacked van, but I did it anyway. I managed to knit up to the point on the front where I would begin shaping for the neck.

Something that was really cool? Annalee brought a crochet project with her on the road! Annalee is an on again, off again knitter and crocheter. I'm not sure what sparked the suddence interest, but she decided to make a scrap afghan. I have to say she made pretty good progress today in the car and is now on her second skein of yarn (Patons Shetland Chunky).

Not much knitting tonight after the show for me. I'm way too tired, so I think I'd better turn in for the night.

Knitting on the Road — Preping Car Knitting

I was perfectly aware of the fact I have gigs every weekend this month. I knew I needed to get my car knitting together before the weekend popped up. This was all good, but I forgot what day I was in. It finally dawned on me yesterday that I was leaving tomorrow, which is now today, and I didn't have any knitting ready to go other than the Maggie Grey sweater. I am planning on bringing the sweater along for the ride, I'm too into the knitting to leave it behind, but I do also need something of more manageable size. Since we're staying out the night at a hotel I will be able to work on Maggie Grey while we're there. Alright, so what about for the car ride?

I have this pile of yarn sitting in a box near my bed waiting to be knitted into the Musical Minds hats, so I figured that might be a good project to start on. I have the design ideas for all six hats already written out, so it was just a matter of selecting which hat to begin first and then doing a gauge swatching, charting the design, and determining how many stitches to cast on, what size I was making.... basically everything except come up with the design concept. I did all this yesterday for the Harmonic Hat (#5 in the collection).

Harmonic is [currently] intended to fit as a classic beanie. It is being worked in a sport weight yarn and I can already tell it will make a very comfortable hat. I will probably have Harmonic modeled by my Dad and Tim (my sister's boyfriend) for the pattern shots, however the finished hat is destined for my Dad. The colors I chose are a medium heathered grey and black. I did this with my Dad and our performance attire in mind. We [almost] always wear black pants and usually black on top (although sometimes we do grey, green, or blue as well). The black and grey colors are very classic and make the hat extremely versatile. The main color is black and grey is the accenting color work. There isn't going to be any weird shaping, so the main color being black should pose no problems with photography. Also, I have deiced to definitely post sneak peeks of the designs as I go. The release date for the collection is still going to be sometime around September.

The Homegrown String Band on the Road
So where are we going today? We're headed for a concert at the Mullica Hill Branch Library in New Jersey. It's about a 3 hour drive for us to get there. We should be leaving around 11:30am and heading first for our hotel room. As long as traffic is smooth we should be at the hotel with about 2 hours to relax before heading over to the library to set up.

That's all for now!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Four Eyes... x3!

Personal stuff first...
I got new glasses! And not just one pair, but three pairs! I managed to find a great deal on glasses for running and on sunglasses, which made me very happy. They're still nice glasses, but wow were they cheap. I really lucked out with them. The running glasses I intentionally went to the bargain wall and picked out a pair that had nose pads (because the plastic frames without nose pads slide all over when you exercise). Picking out cheaper sunglasses was an accident. I wasn't going to limit myself to the cheapest, but it turned out that one of the least expensive pairs were the ones Chris thought looked best on me. I went all out and disregarded the price on the frames I'd be wearing for every day use. Those I need to be 100% happy with otherwise I'd be trying to avoid seeing myself at all cost. For my main glasses I went with black plastic frames similar to the ones I have now, only nicer. I can't wait to get the call next week saying the glasses are done. I'm so stoked!

Now the knitting content
Four Eyes Project Idea
So, I had this idea.... (time to cringe lol). I got to thinking yesterday how lucky I really was to be able to go out and get new glasses with an updated prescription and it made me wonder if there was a good charity out there that was dedicated to getting glasses to people that can't afford them. Does anyone know? If there is, I would love to come up with a collection of patterns that raised money for a charity like that. It would be an ongoing thing. I was thinking that I could donate 50% of the sales of a select few patterns that I created for this cause. Needing glasses is something that I can very obviously relate to. It's important to be able to see of course! And I think if the right type of charity could be found doing something like this would really be a very good thing. If anyone has any feedback or ideas on this I'd be happy to hear them!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Two Sweaters

Maggie Grey...
I changed my mind on the neck finishing.... I think. Yesterday I was leaning toward a funnel neck or turtle neck. Today as I sat looking at the design I began contemplating a simple rolled neck edging. The thing with the turtleneck is that the entire bottom of the sweater is done in a long ribbing. I started to feel like if the sweater went from ribbing, out to stockinette, and then back to ribbing it might look like the middle ballooned out from two ends of rib. Make sense? That's definitely not the look I was going for, so maybe a lower neck style would be a better choice.

Scotch Mary...
Is 100% totally and completely done. I wish the pattern layout was. Luckily when I set out on my month long project I didn't specify to myself whether I needed to get the pattern written up entirely within that month. Well, I mean, the pattern is really done, it's just laying out the story and placing photos that is really holding me up. I'm most likely not going to get a chance to really focus on that until next week though. I'm thinking that I might make it my top priority for Monday. I shall drag my laptop and knitting to Starbucks and work on layout design for a few hours while I'm waiting for Chris to get off work. I think that sounds like a cozy little plan.

I took some more photos of Scotch Mary today, as you can see. Once again the color is off because I didn't think of photos until the sun had gone down and there was no natural light. I am convinced that one of these days we will be snow free and it will appear to be Spring. At that point I will be running out the door with Scotch Mary and a camera... and my Dad because he'll be taking the photos since I'll be wearing the sweater. Oh what an awesome day that will be! Real photos!

I'm pretty happy with how Scotch Mary turned out. After the buttons were in place and the i-cord was laced through the eyelets I once again tried the sweater on. It's cute. I'll definitely wear it, and I could imagine my sister wearing it. I could even see my mom wearing the style. I think she was actually hoping I'd mess up the size so she could have this one I just finished. I can totally see through her hinting at this point. Sorry ma, you're really not that subtle. ;-)

Personal Stuff...
I get to go pick out new glasses tomorrow! Yay! I need several pairs, I don't remember if I said that yesterday or not, but I'm looking at probably getting one pair for everyday use, one pair just for running, and then sunglasses. The pair for everyday use is pretty self explanatory. The pair for running needs to have nose pads so they don't slide down my nose when I get sweaty. I don't like wearing my "good" glasses for exercising because they always seem to get beat up. And then the sunglasses. I've only ever had one pair of prescription sunglasses before and it was a while ago, so they're pretty beat and out dated. The doctor told me that I really should have sunglasses to try and protect my eyes any way that I can in an attempt to help keep my prescription from worsening. I'm really excited to have several new pairs of glasses, but I don't think I can get them all at once. I don't have health insurance (hurrah for being a typical "starving artist"), so everything I do is out of pocket pay, which means I'll probably have to space the glasses out about a month or so apart, hopefully not longer. I'm going to try and see if I can find a really cheap pair of frames for running tomorrow so I can get those and my everyday glasses in one shot. What makes it even more of a pain is that I have to get fancy lenses since my prescription is so massive I need the special thin, lightweight kind. Oh well. I'm trying to make it a point to look for more of the positive things in life. Yay for fun new fashion accessories! :-)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Miss Maggie

The Maggie Grey sweater:
some details shared
I'm using Knit Picks yarn for this design– Swish Worsted in Squirrel Heather. It's pleasantly soft to touch and the color is very appealing to me. It doesn't really remind me of squirrels so much as it makes me think of my cat Mist. Sometimes, though, I think she thinks she's a squirrel and they might think she is too. We have this one squirrel that hangs out on the deck and likes to stare in the window and doesn't seem very bothered when Mist stares back.
And now that I completely went off topic there for a minute... back on track.
I'm very curious to see how Maggie Grey comes out. I'm trying a different sweater construction, one that I've actually never even knit before never mind tried to design. So far it seems to be working smoothly. I mean, smoothly enough now considering how many times I ripped the ribbed edge during the first two days. Gah, I'm not going to forget that!

There will be buttons on the Maggie Grey sweater, although not functioning buttons. It's a pullover, it has wide sleeves, it might have a funnel or turtleneck (but I'm not sure yet). It is definitely an experiment and I will be ecstatic if it looks exactly as I'd sketched it out. Wait... I take that back... Considering my sketching abilities I might be very bummed if it looked exactly as I'd drawn it. I highly doubt it will really come out being a perfect replica of my original idea. And that is totally ok with me.

Scotch Mary... blocking! I wet blocked the sweater today. You can see in the photo at left how patchy the coloring is with the soaking wet yarn. I have a feeling it may take a while to dry since it's so nasty out. The house is warm enough, but the humid chill gets into your bones and I'm sure the yarn is affected too. The buttons I ordered for Mary finally arrived, so as soon as the sweater is completely dry I'll sew those on and thread the i-cord through the eyelets. You can't really see the eyelet panels in this photo. When I arranged the design I opted for placing the eyelets on the sides at the underarms, but just to the back of the side markers. I felt like the ties would be less likely to get in your way and feel uncomfortable under your armpits this way.

Personal Stuff
I went and got an eye exam today. My prescription got worse. I had a feeling that was going to be the deal. I was told the new prescription would make me see "significantly better." You know how at an eye exam you have to look at that chart full of letters? The first line usually has one lone "E" and then the letters get progressively smaller on each lower line. Well, with my glasses on I could only read the second largest line of letters. I'd say that's bad. Driving has really been scaring me recently, so this exam was definitely over due. My prescription hadn't changed in about 8 years. I could tell within the last few months that it had worsened. I don't think that's good. I held steady for so long and now it's going bad? I've been doing a lot more knitting and spending more time on the computer writing patterns, so I'm thinking maybe there's a connection there. I am going to try and seriously cut back my time on the computer, which is going to be very hard. I really prefer writing my patterns down directly in a computer program because it saves time later. However, maybe I should embrace this as a chance to get a nice notebook, some colored pencils, and start a pretty little design notebook.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Coming this March to a Blog Near You

It's March! Wowza! How'd that happen anyway? This entire year has sped by so fast... Whoosh! Soon it will be next March, which is slightly depressing, so onto different matters.

For this month I am offering up: Knitting on the Road with the Homegrown String Band. I've got an average of two gigs a week this month and most of them I'll be staying out the night at hotels or with extended family. I figured it was the perfect opportunity to blog about the band and knitting together. Since so much of my designing is inspired my some aspect of music this offers an opportunity to see another angle of the two things coming together. I'm not going to promise to blog every day like I did for the February Sweater Project, but I will be around very often. Possibly closer to daily than anything else. Blog posts that are specific to this project will be titled "Knitting on the Road: Gig name/date" to distinguish them from other posts where I will be working from home.

The projects I have lined up for this month are a mix of hats and sweaters. One sweater (Maggie Grey) I will talk about, but will not be sharing photos of. If Strawberry Wine behaves photos will be shared of that knit. The hats.... well, I haven't decided yet how much to keep under wraps yet. All the hats I have in my queue (6 in total) are destined for my Musical Minds Collection which goes live in September 2010. I will probably show sneak peek photos that show just enough to keep it interesting. You'll have to keep following along until the release date to see the entirety. Have to keep you coming back for more, ya know?

Today I've been working away on the Maggie Grey design. It's going so well compared to when it first started. I still shudder to think how many times I ripped it out. All for silly little mistakes too. Every time I ripped I felt like I should have known better the time before. Each rip was due to some flaw I had with thinking up the buttons. I wanted to have buttons that weren't functional, but were there just to add a stylistic element. As is my tendency I was making it more complicated for myself than it needed to be. In the end I went the simple route and, although it wasn't the original image in my head, I think it looks pretty sweet. It's such a difference to be working with worsted weight yarn and US size 9 needles after working with sport weight on size 2s for the Scotch Mary sweater. Size 9s make the knitting go so fast!

Thank the stars for knitting. Really. I went over to Chris's house earlier today and arrived around 12:10pm. Chris had gone out to get us bagels for lunch and we were meeting back at his place to hang out before he went off to work. I knew I was going to get there before him, and I figured that was fine. It was a nice sunny day, so I reclined the seat in my car and proceeded to wait. At first I didn't pull out my knitting because I didn't think I'd really be waiting to terribly long. Around 12:30 my cell rang and it was Chris telling me that he was driving around at 10mph with a severely low tire trying to find a gas station with a working air pump. He said he was going to be awhile. Me? I said no problem! It's a sunny day, I have my knitting, I'll be fine! (The project I was working on? It's a hat and that's all I'm going to say. But how perfect for getting stuck in that situation.) At 1:20 Chris rolled up to the house. I was still in a good mood since, you know, I was knitting. Three cheers for knitting!