Thursday, September 30, 2010

Coming Tomorrow: Semi Sweet!

Tomorrow (Friday, October 1, 2010) the second pattern from the Sweet Treats Collection hits the internet. And you, dear blog followers, are getting a tiny little sneak peek at what's in store.

Semi Sweet [Semi Slouch] Hat from the Sweet Treats Collection

I picked the most appealing photo I could find! ;o) I really love this shot. Annalee hates it, but really, what's there not to like about it? Granted, it's not a most flattering shot of the hat (which is really why I chose it for this post), however, I think it portrays Annalee quite well. I promised I wouldn't use this photo in the pattern file, so I'm having fun using it as the preview shot instead.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the pattern launch!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Hardcopy

I am pleased to announce that the Sugared Berries Shawlette is now available in print!
This is the first single pattern that I have had printed and I am very pleased with the result. It looks fantastic! I approved the printing as soon as I received my proof copy, so it is now available for all the world! ;o)
Printed copy: $5.20 usd + s&h

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Talking About the Sugared Berries Shawlette

What follows are the notes I took during and immediately following the design process for Sugared Berries.


Honestly, this is the first shawlette I have ever made or designed. I don’t know if I should be admitting that or not, but since I vowed to tell all in these “More Info” segments, there you have it.

I wanted to design a shawlette ever since I was invited to Chris’s brothers wedding over the summer. However, I never find myself fully satisfied when I follow a pattern someone else has written. This is not by any means because I think my own patterns or ideas are better than every other designer. Really that’s far from the case. It’s just that I find a greater pleasure in creating my own design. So, all this was in my head and then one day I happened to wander into Barnes & Noble while waiting for Chris to get out of work. I walked over to the magazine rack as I always do when I visit a bookstore and began browsing the knitting magazines. I picked up the latest copy of Knit Scene (I believe it was the Spring 2010 issue) and flipped through the pages until something caught my eye. There it was. An article devoted to the different structures of shawls. Side to side, bottom up, top down… It was all there. I took it as a sign that I should make an attempt to design one of these little confections.

My first attempt was a pathetic disaster. I found a lace pattern that I thought would work and I liked, a little, a very little. I cast on what I thought was a good number of stitches. I knit until I had worked through 320 yards of my 450 yard skein of sock yarn. I looked at the not-very-thrilling lace jammed on the needles. There was no way this was working. I was nearing the end of the yarn (more or less) and the shawlette was not anywhere near big enough. I had to start over. (This was several days of knitting right here.) I took a few deep breaths and ripped the needle from my work. The lace stretched out across my bed. The thing was massive. I sat and wound the entire skein back into a ball and watched as the lace came out stitch by stitch. Ok. Obviously I failed at that construction, so I thought I'd try something different. I put the yarn in time out for the night and went to bed. Bright and early the next morning I grabbed the yarn, needles, and my stitch dictionaries and went back to work. This time I decided I’d try and side-to-side construction. I did the math and cast on. A few days later this mess of purple yarn was complete. I thought it looked pretty good, but it was in severe need of blocking as it was all curled in on itself. Water and stretching did the trick. When I saw the stitches blossom I was convinced this hadn’t been such a bad experiment after all and the design was perfect for the Sweet Treats Collection– simple and elegant. Before the shawlette was even done drying I was off to design another. This second shawl is what would become the Frosting (also in the Sweet Treats Collection and set to launch on October 22, 2010).

I did not end up wearing the Sugared Berries shawl to the wedding. The color was slightly off from the dress I had thought to pair it with. It will look super stunning with a white shirt and dark jeans though!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Sweet Treats for sale!

[Semi] Preorder of entire collection (PDF version): $25.00
That's 9 patterns for 25% off the final full collection price!

From now until Thursday, October 7, 2010 you may purchase the entire Sweet Treats Collection (PDF version) for 25% off the final full collection price. That's just $25.00 now for all 9 designs! Patterns will be delivered to your inbox weekly as they are released. (Patterns already out when your purchase collection will be emailed asap.) After the last pattern is release on November 19, 2010 you will receive a file containing all 9 designs laid out in e-book format.

Designs included in this collection are:
  • Sugared Berries Shawlette ($4)
  • Semi Sweet [Semi Slouch] Hat ($3)
  • Lady Grey Legwarmers ($5)
  • Sundae Hat ($2)
  • Frosting Shawlette ($4)
  • Pineapple Upside Down Cloche ($5)
  • Pistachio Milkshake Fingerless Mitts ($5)
  • Marshmallow Slippers ($5)
  • Blue Ice Hat ($5)

Collection Pricing
Price if each pattern is purchased individually: $39.00
Full Collection PDF (after Oct. 8, 2010): $33.00
Pre-order sale (until Oct. 7, 2010): $25.00

A blog post with my notes on each design will be uploaded within a day of the pattern being released.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hard Copy

On April 2 & 3, 2011 there will be a knitting and fiber festival taking place 4 miles away from my home. How could I not go? Well, this will be the third gathering and I have yet to experience it, so I'm making it a goal this year to attend. I was asked last year if I would like a vendor booth, but I had to decline due to my performance schedule. When I checked into the dates a few days back I was a bit dismayed to find that I have a gig on Sunday, April 3. However, I'm going to do my best to snag a booth for just Saturday. (Hopefully that's allowed.) In preparation for attending this event I have begun to reformat several of my designs for printing. Exciting stuff! PDF downloads are great, but for me it doesn't top having something professionally printed off in full color on some nice sturdy paper.

I will be keeping most of my designs to 4-page pattern booklets. There will be a few exceptions such as the Ragtime Annie Cloche, which contains a mosaic knitting tutorial. I will also be organizing my collections for print so I can offer them as well. Hard copy patterns won't just be limited to in-person sales. Once I have everything lined up there will be an option to purchase printed patterns online as well (if you don't mind waiting for snail mail to get started on the design!). I plan on starting this option with my Sweet Treats Collection. I waited slightly too long, but hopefully the printed pattern for Sugared Berries (Sweet Treats pattern #1) will be available not too long after it's online release date (September 24, 2010). Once all patterns within the collection have been released online buyers will then have the option of purchasing the pull collection as an e-book download or as a printed book.

I'm pretty excited about this whole "in print" idea. I embrace online work for sure, otherwise I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing, but a part of me will always like to have "the real thing" in front of me.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Goings On

It was nice to get away to California for vacation at the beginning of this month. I did nothing work related at all, including knitting. I brought along two crochet projects (so I wouldn't be tempted to "work" at designing), but I barely got through the first of them. Now I'm back home and getting back in the swing of designing, or trying to. I had a lot to catch up on when I got home. There were 2 projects that I needed to apply myself to getting done right away. I finished the second of these designs yesterday. Today I will hopefully get around to blocking. I want to take some photos before I send them off, but I need a model before I can do that. I know exactly who my model is (Chris) but with his work schedule I don't think I'll be seeing him in daylight before I leave Friday morning for another weekend of gigs. Hmmm... I'm going to have to figure something out asap because these finished sample absolutely must be in the mail before the end of the month, sooner if at all possible.

Sweet Treats is launching this coming Friday (September 24) with the Sugared Berries shawlette pattern. Dare I admit to the fact I still need to knit up a couple designs that go live later in the schedule? Ahem. Maybe I shouldn't have said that. But yes, I must acknowledge to myself sometimes that I am only human and I do only have 2 hands to knit with and, as much as I try, I really can't knit in my sleep. Rolling over on knitting needles is decidedly uncomfortable! It'll all work out. I'll make sure of it. It's not like I don't have the stuff designed. I just didn't quite bind them off... or take photos. I have time.

And after saying that, I'm not even planning on working on those designs today! I left for California with a tunic design half done and my fingers have been itching to get back to sweater knitting. This is the Black Eyed Susie tunic knit from Knit Picks Capra. I don't remember if I ever mentioned the design by name before, but I do know I discussed (at least briefly) that I was working on a design that would also have a worksheet following the pattern to allow knitters to completely resize the sweater to their exact body measurements and even change the yarn/gauge. Since I can never leave well enough alone I know this type of pattern/worksheet combo would be something I'd personally want. It's been a lot of fun to write out all my steps in designing and sizing. Even if you're not interested in using the worksheet I think it will [hopefully] be informative to read and see the design process laid out. My goal is to have Black Eyes Susie out before the end of October. That should give knitters some time to cast on and bind off before we start thinking about Spring!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Girls with Glasses Rock!

This post is dedicated to all the gals (and guys too) that wear glasses, and was inspired by one new cool kid on the block in the glasses world.

There are a lot of folks in my family that wear glasses: most my Aunts and Uncles, grandparents, and my Mom and Dad. It seemed like a pretty normal thing to me to see these things perched on the noses, of, well, older people. I didn't have any friends that wore glasses and pretty much assumed it was something that happened when you got old (you know, like 20 or something). And then I turned 7 and entered second grade. We had to do a lot more work from our seats while reading from the blackboard. I was struggling and I guess my teacher noticed. One day I was sent down to the nurses office and given an eye test. I failed. Miserably. The school contacted my mom and she made me an official eye exam. I remember being terrified during the testing and then mortified when I found out I had to wear those "old people" things on my face. I picked out a very cheerful pair of very round, pink tinted glasses (which I have kept for posterity). I forgot my glasses many times over the years in elementary school. I didn't want to wear them, so I'd leave them behind. Problem with that was I ended up lost and having to sit directly up front close to the blackboard and feeling worse than I would have if I'd just put my glasses on. Eventually I came to terms with my glasses and realized that there was nothing bad about them anyway. None of my classmates cared that I wore them and I even began noticing that other kids had them too. I began remembering my glasses and sitting in my normal seat. I felt a lot better.


I routinely failed my yearly eye exams. The first few times I was still terrified. I don't know why. I already wore glasses and I knew that if I failed I would see better in the end, but my stomach turned every time I was told they'd gotten worse. Finally I came to terms with this as well and I started going cheerfully to the eye doctor. I made jokes about how bad my eyes were and was happy to have an update made. Finally when I hit 16 my eyes leveled off for a little while.

When I began wearing make up as a young teen I hated that I had to wear glasses. They got in the way of doing my make up "right." I couldn't use the techniques I read about in the magazines because it looked too much behind my frames or you couldn't tell at all that I'd even spent so much time! I agonized over it... and then I realized this wasn't really a bad thing, it was actually quite good. I didn't have to spend so much time applying eye make up, my glasses did the work for me! It was somewhere in my late teens I really embraced wearing glasses. I always loved dressing up and accessorizing. Glasses seemed like they could be one of the ultimate fashion statements. I veered away from getting the modest wire rimmed jobs that I had been selecting (after that first pink pair...) and aimed instead for chunky black plastic frames that would call attention to my eyes. Why not, right? I found a pair that were black on the outside and shocking pink on the inside (matched my hair at the time), then I went for another black pair, this time decorated with leopard print.

Only a few short months ago I started to feel my eyesight taking a step backward again. I made an appointment and sure enough I once again failed the exam. I had fallen down to 20/675 (legal blindness in the US is 20/200). At this point I have become familiar with the process of picking new glasses. I talked my boyfriend into coming along with me to help select frames since I cant see myself more than 2 inches away from the mirror with the demo glasses on and that doesn't give a very good idea of the look. He willingly came along and picked my latest pair, which stay with my trend of chunky black plastic. This time instead of neon or leopard print the wide arms have a crazy black, white, and gray print decorating them. I get compliments all the time on my choice of eye wear. I would much rather take advantage of the fact that I can play around with bold looks than spend time wishing I didn't have to.

Lots of people I know where glasses. My boyfriend wears glasses. We clink a lot when we lean in for a kiss. It's not embarrassing as I once thought it might be. It's actually quite funny. We joke about how "we click"

It does take some time to get used to glasses, of course, but they really are fun and the exams are not scary at all.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Coming Soon, some really sweet treats!

The moment is almost upon us. Next Friday, September 24, 2010, the first pattern from the Sweet Treats Collection will be launching. I have selected the Sugared Berries Shawlette as having the honor of going forth into the world first as a representative for this collection. It is a fingering weight design that, as with all the patterns in this collection, is intended to be simple enough for social knitting or quick gift giving, but interesting enough to hold your attention as you work.

Sugared Berries teaser photo

The patterns and release dates are as follows:
  • Sugared Berries Shawlette ($5): September 24
  • Semi Sweet Semi Slouch Hat ($3): October 1
  • Lady Grey Legwarmers ($5): October 8
  • Sundae Hat ($2): October 15
  • Frosting Shawlette ($5): October 22
  • Pineapple Upside Down Cloche ($5): October 29
  • Pistachio Milkshake Fingerless Mitts ($5): November 5
  • Currently Unnamed slipper socks ($5): November 12
  • Blue Ice Hat ($5): November 19

I will be opening preorder sales for the entire collection starting on September 24 when the first pattern goes live. At that point you will be able to see thumbnail teaser photos of several of the designs along with descriptions and yarn suggestions. If you choose to purchase the collection in this slightly "mystery style" manner you will receive a discount off the full collection price. I haven't yet decided when the preorder discount price will end yet. Once all designs have been released sales will again open for the entire collection at full price (which will still be less than if you purchased each design individually).

Remember that if you signed up for the Frosting Shawlette fundraiser KAL you may turn in your discount code and purchase the entire collection at any point after September 24. The Frosting KAL code will continue to be valid even after the preorder price has expired.

Sweet Treats is the second collection in my Sweet Series. I'm contemplating perhaps going with Sweet Nothings or Sweet Shawls next. Sweet Nothings obviously keeps more design options open. A collection of this nature would have titles like "First Kiss," "I Do," etc. You know, romantic little designs. We'll see what happens. Also, don't forget that the Musical Minds Collection will be appearing near the final stages of Sweet Treats!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Re-released Patterns!

The Interlude Slouch Hat and Ragtime Annie Cloche (& mosaic tutorial) are now available for download through my Ravelry shop and Fiddle Knits Website.

Interlude
Originally published in Yarn Forward No. 22, February 2010
Inspiration: When working on a new design I tend to let the yarn tell me what it wants to be. On the particular day that Interlude was created the yarn had a little help from the music. I sat, fresh skein of yarn and needles in hand. The yarn was beautiful and felt comforting in my hands. Next to me, my boyfriend sat playing an improvised melody on the piano. Outside the wind rustled leaves against the window. I cast on. It would be a hat. Under my needles a large leaf motif formed and I knit as the music played on.

Techniques
•Basic lace (yarn over, ssk)
•Decreases
•Knitting in the round
•Ribbing (2x2)

Ragtime Annie Cloche & tutorial
Originally Published in yarn Forward No. 19, November 2009
The Ragtime Annie cloche is knit from the bottom up using mosaic knitting techniques to create bold patterns. Options are given for two different brim styles and color patterning.

The pattern download begins with a 3-page introductory tutorial to mosaic knitting complete with full color photos to illustrate techniques that you will then use when knitting your cloche. If you are new to color work this would be an easy project to begin with.

It is possible to make 2 hats from 2 skeins of Cascade 220 if you reverse the MC and CC for the second hat (as shown in the pattern).

The Ragtime Annie Bucket Cloche is not sized to be heavily felted. Once the process is completed you should be left with a sturdy, yet soft and foldable hat.

Techniques
• Felting
• Knitting in the round
• Mosaic knitting