Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Making of a Crocheted Dress

Yesterday morning I decided it might be a good idea to crochet a granny square dress to wear as a Halloween costume. Sounds reasonable, right? The thing is.... I'd have to be done by Friday night. That's oh... ya know, just like 100 granny squares or so in 3 days. I crochet fast, but I'm not sure I can work quite that fast.

And then, of course, if I do finish we'll see if I actually have the guts to leave the house wearing thing thing! I can just imagine doing all that work, putting it on, and then running to lock myself in a closet. I'm always so self conscious about homemade costumes. Like for some reason putting on a crappy, awfully made, store bought sexy-something-or-other is somehow better. I know it's not. But if I do absolutely hate the dress than the squares will become an afghan, so all shall not be lost.

If I have any chance of finishing this thing than I guess it should be more crochet, less chatter. Back to it I go. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

In The Works: October 23, 2012

In the works today is a new side to side shawl design. I'm working with my own yarn, of course. This time I'm using Swoolk in a new colorway called "Bloody Mary." Both the yarn color and pattern will be debuting next month (mid November) as part of the light weight section of the Pick Your Poison collection.

I have to say that I'm loving working with this yarn right now. It's so soft. I'm not usually a red fan, but the fact that I love how the yarn feels is completely distracting me from the color. Not that I hate the color or anything. All you people out there that like red, we're still cool. I'm just more of an earth tone person. Or purple. I love me some purple. Sometimes it's hard for me to remember that other people like other colors that I tend to avoid. When I remember that I try and pick something to work on that's in a color out of my comfort zone. It can be fun. Sometimes it's a good time to work using colors that are pretty, but you'd never be caught dead in. Like red. Or pink.

Pick Your Poison is such a fun collection. I love how it's broken into 3 weight sections. (It's always nice to have a good time with the stuff I'm working on! Hehe.) Once the club is wrapped up in March (2013) the entire collection will be available for download. That'll be 18 patterns. Whoa! It's probably just going to be PDF copies. I highly doubt printed editions are going to be an option. With how many pages it'll take to print 18 patterns the books would most likely be horribly expensive. I did contemplate offering each section on it's own. For instance, you could buy just the medium weight (sport, DK, worsted) designs, or just the light (lace, fingering, sport) or just heavy (worsted, aran, bulky). We'll see. There's plenty of time.

Monday, October 22, 2012

My Biggest Fan

One of the most recent stop on the Mythos blog tour was my Mom's blog over at CacklinHenDesigns.com. My Mom is, of course, my biggest fan. So it's a good review. She's really set on knitting the Harvest shawl as soon as she gets a chance. I'm thinking that I should probably do that absurdly long cast on for her. What was it again, 800 and something stitches? After the first 3 rows the count decreases drastically. It's all because of the scallops. Pain in the behind. But they make such a pretty edge!

Read what Mom had to say HERE


The 5th, and most recent, stop on the tour is over at About.com: Knitting with a review by Sarah White. Sarah actually put up 2 posts about Mythos. There's the review on About.com and then she also posted at CraftGossip.com. On Craft Gossip there's a giveaway for a pattern from the collection. To get in on the action you'll need to enter by Sunday (Oct. 29).

Friday, October 19, 2012

Mom's Shawl Update

Mom checked in today with the third installment of her first knitting project progress. Enjoy!

Erica inspected my shawl and said I might actually be on the home stretch! She added that since I'm so slow it will probably take me another week or two, but I'm so excited. I've begun thinking about learning to bind off, adding a border, and blocking. Then, of course, what to wear the shawl with. Funny thoughts for me. I began this shawl on Clover bamboo straight needles because it was all we had here in the house. Erica cast on for me, but promised that the next time she came over she'd bring her circular needles. If I was knitting a scarf, the Clover bamboo needles would have sufficed, but I had barely done a few rows—increasing 4 times on each knit row and two on each purl—when I began to panic. I didn't feel like I had enough room on the needles to really maneuver. Not to mention the needles weren't exactly slipping through the yarn with ease. I was definitely struggling. As a knitting newbie, any little thing that gets in the way causes panic. Well, at least for me. I wasn't comfortable with the straight bamboo needles. As promised, Erica came over and switched me to her Knit Picks Starstruck interchangeable circular needles. (Or, as Erica informed me, circs since no one says circular needles.) Anyway, instant relief. It was soooo much easier. All of a sudden I was smiling. The needles slipped through the yarn with ease and, just like that, knitting became a whole lot more fun. Not to mention I felt like I had joined some sort of secret club—I was using circular needles! Oops, I mean circs. Using them, though, kept confusing me at first. I mean, with regular straight needles I could easily tell which way I was going, even if I kept forgetting if I was knitting or purling. But at least I got my directions right. With the circulars, though, I kept staring at them and flipping the knitting around. Erica could only shake her head at me and mutter "are you serious?" But, after a few rows I got the hang of it. Now I can't understand how I could possibly have gotten confused as to which way I was going. I didn't realize I could squish the stitches close together, either, and thought I needed a longer cable sooner than necessary. When Erica deemed the longer cable would be really helpful she switched me over again. So, here I am, a few weeks later and I have no problem understanding which way I'm going nor which side (knit vs. purl) I'm looking at. I can knit and purl without thinking about it or looking at photos to remind me. Amazing. And it's so easy that, again, I can't understand my initial confusion. I do, however, still forget to check where I am and have happily knit straight past the middle of my row where I'm supposed to do two increases. I had initially kept a stitch marker in the middle, but took it off once and promptly lost it. Besides, it became easy enough to know where to do the increases. The problem became remembering to do them. (One of my next lessons from Erica is going to have to include how to backtrack and fix mistakes.) My other problem at the moment is consistency. I haven't quite found the way to hold my hands that will bring consistent results. My knitting is still going back and forth between loose and tight, although I think I'm beginning to discover a rhythm. Meanwhile, back I go to see how quickly I can finish this shawl!

Lydian

The Lydian Slouch Hat

I'm finally releasing a hat pattern that I designed last Fall. It was designed last October as a gift for my sister Annalee on her 24th birthday. It got held a year before publishing because by the time I got it proofed and did the photos and layout I decided it was past prime hat knitting weather. But it's chilly again and hats are back!

Lydian is worked in Karabella's Aurora 4, an exquisite sport weight merino yarn. Seriously, the Karabella Aurora yarns are some of my favorite to work with. It comes in beautiful colors, has great stitch definition, and is to-die-for soft.

This hat is delicate and pretty without being too overwhelmingly girly. Just enough lace.

A year after I gifted Annalee this hat she's still wearing it. A lot. So much that she managed to rip a whole in it somehow. But all is right in the world again because I caught the whole early on and stitched it back together.

Mythos: Stops 2 & 3

Stops two and three of the Mythos blog tour where just a day apart.
First, there was an appearance on the Math4Knitters blog. Lara wrote a wonderful review giving her opinion on the designs in the collection. One thing she mentioned was my use of skp instead of ssk and noted that she preferred the ssk decrease. I agree with her. I'm not a huge fan of skp. I don't particularly care for working it and I think it looks kinda funny since you can definitely see that the stitch was passed over. So why do I use it? There are times in designs where sk2p needs to be used. (That's Slip 1, knit 2 together, pass the slipped stitch over the decrease) Whenever I have a pattern that uses sk2p for a double decrease I'll use skp for the single decrease so they match up to each other. If you change all the skp to ssk you won't have a problem with the stitch count or anything major in the pattern. In the end it's all really up to you.
And I'm glad Lara appreciated my description for the Wandering Waves shape! I tried a new (to me) construction with that shawl. And since it's new for me and was an added bonus pattern to the collection I made it a free pattern download. If you're interested you can download the pattern on Ravelry or via my website.

Please note, if you visit my website right now it's under some serious construction. I'm giving it a complete makeover. You'll notice several photos are missing because they're no longer being hosted by Flickr. All the download links are still in working order. Hopefully within the next week the new website will be up and running and everything will look pretty again!

Yesterday Mythos made a stop at the Mari Knits blog. Mari asked me some questions that were very different than the usual ones. I even forced myself to admit to her final question about guilty pleasures. Ahem. All in the name of fashion design.
Something that I didn't realize prior to reading her blog is that Mari is also a designer! And a very talented one to boot. She's got some very lovely patterns. My favorite being the Holey Hug Shrug. I've been kind of obsessed with shrugs lately wanting to make them and design them. The only problem is I never wear them, not since I quit dancing, so I always try and pawn them off to people.

Thank you Lara and Mari for hosting Mythos!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Blog Tour! The First Stop



It's happened! The Mythos shawl collection is out on a blog tour! It'll be traveling around to some cool places in cyber space and meeting people that I wish I could also get to meet. Some day I vow to get to TNNA and/or Stitches so I really can meet some fellow knitters and designer friends that I only now know online. Someday....

The first place Mythos stopped was at the blog of Corrina Ferguson, aka Picnic Knits. Read what she had to say in the Mythos review post, and then check out her designs because she's awesome. I really love the new shawls she's designed for her Seven Sonnets collection (especially Longfellow).

The next stop Mythos will be making is at Math4Knitters. Mark your calendars for October 16 when the review goes live.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Mystery KALs and Such

The feedback from Fantasia has been AMAZING! Thank you everyone for making me feel so loved!

I've received a few emails and Rav messages asking when the next mystery knit might take place. I'd love to host 2 of them a year. Since Fantasia started in August launching the next one in February seems like it would be appropriate. What do you think? I don't want to overwhelm everyone (including myself!) by doing more than that each year.

I also wanted to get some opinions on whether a heavier shawl (worked in DK or worsted) would be of interest to anyone or if fingering weight designs were more appealing. I tell ya, right now I want to do mystery everything! (I tend to get a little over excited.)

Make sure you don't miss out on upcoming mystery KALS, yarn clubs, or anything else Fiddle Knits related by signing up on the mailing list (below).



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Monday, October 8, 2012

We Have A Winner! (Lagoon yarn giveaway)

The lovely Miss Annalee's birthday was this past Saturday (October 6). Her birthday was incorporated into the last Fiddle Knits Yarn giveaway. To enter I asked people to guess how old Annalee would be turning on her birthday this year. The answer was 25! Eleven people guessed correctly. I wrote their names on pieces of a paper and tossed them into a hat.


Annalee then picked the winning name and it was [insert drumroll]:


Suburban Prep!


She will be receiving a skein of my Dye-A-Tonic yarn in the Blue Lagoon colorway. Congratulations! I hope she loves the yarn in person. Blues (especially ones with turquoise hints) are incredibly hard to photograph and the pictures I posted don't do this skein justice.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Mythos Collection


The completed Mythos Collection is here!

This collection contains 7 shawl designs knit using hand dyed sock (fingering weight) yarns. Each pattern was inspired by a different Greek and Roman God or Goddess. I've made Mythos available as a PDF download ($20) or in print ($25). Both versions are in full color and include the charts and written instructions for each design. Printed book is 58 pages long. PDF is 55 pages.


Patterns in this collection are:

Harvest

Merriment

Underworld

Allure

Wrought

Solar Flare

Wandering Waves



Thursday, October 4, 2012

Mom's Knitting: An Update

Remember the blog post Learning Experiences from September 22? In it I talked about Mom's decision to learn to knit. Well, really Mom talked about her decision to knit. In this post she's back to talk about knitting now that she's been working on her first project for two weeks.


Words from the Cacklin' Hen:
Well, I managed to mess up several times so far in my first attempt at knitting and I have so much further to go! I had Erica fix my mistakes twice, ripping back a few rows each time. But one time I messed up and wasn't planning on seeing her for several days, so I just ignored my mistake and merrily kept going. You can see it pretty easily—I forgot to do the increases in the middle—so my nice little row of holes going up the center has a slight break in it. Rick said I should make the same mistake every so often, just to be consistent, but Erica told me not to pay attention to him, to do it correctly from now on or else the shawl wouldn't shape up properly. I figured I ought to listen to her. Leaving a mistake in your art is often done on purpose, so I felt okay leaving that one in, though. Around the world, countless cultures have left these deliberate mistakes in their art. Turkish carpet weavers fear the evil eye (God's wrath) if they don't leave in an imperfection. Quilters have the humility block, since a perfect quilt is prideful (although there's some dispute over whether quilters of the past, specifically the Amish, actually made the mistake on purpose). And I think most of us are familiar with the Navajo weavers who are said to intentionally leave a mistake in their weaving to prove they are not perfect. The Navajo say that's where God's spirit moves in and out of their weaving. If perfection is achieved what is there to strive for? Mistakes help you learn and lead to greater creativity. I read somewhere that what makes artwork beautiful is not its perfection, but the way the artist works his way out of a problem. The perfection of imperfection. I'd like to say my knitting mistake was intentional, too, and that I was showing my humility. That I would be creating something of far more beauty and creativity because of that mistake. But knitting is way too new for me and mistakes just keep happening whether I want them to or not. I'm still lucky if I remember to check if I'm on a knit or purl side. I have no clue if I'm keeping my stitches even. I thought I was, but Erica told me I went from loose to tight to loose and back to tight. I can't even tell after she told me. So, I'm basing success on the fact that my shoulders, arms, and hands feel relaxed and I'm not clenching my jaw. Well, that and the fact the shawl is getting larger, slowly but surely. I'm certainly not fast, far from it, but at least I'm making progress. And I'm having fun, which may be the best sign of success so far. Erica and I sat side by side over the weekend while at our hotel (we performed at the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival), she working on one of her beautiful shawls and me on this one. It was rather cozy as we chatted away. She promised me more yarn when I finish. I hesitate to pick my next project, though, or I might never finish this one. The promise of getting to choose another yarn and pattern will be my reward when this one is completed. I'd love to do something with a pattern a little more intense than holes up the middle, but the idea is scary. Meanwhile, here's my shawl slightly further down the line than on my last update. I'm hoping when all is said and done it actually is wearable!!

Visit Mom's Website: Cacklin' Hen Designs

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Sick Again

I feel like I've been under the weather since the end of August. I think I had one good week in there. It was great while it lasted! At least this time around I'm still functioning, although decidedly slower than usual. When I had the flu (for nearly 3 weeks) and then swollen glands (for a week) all I wanted to do was sleep. So much good knitting time wasted! Now with this blasted cold I want sweat pants, tea, fresh Fall air blowing in the windows, and lots of knitting.

On my list today is starting a new shawl design. It's going to be my first two-color shawl pattern and I'm thrilled to get started! Up to this point all my shawls have been of the lace variety, but my fingers are itching to try something new. I'll be using 2 colors of Polka: Mist (a light gray) and Faded Love (an antique rose). Mist will be the main color with Faded Love providing the accent. I'm not sure when the design will be available. I'm sure it'll be done in a week or two, but I'm thinking of including it in another collection that will be coming out next Fall. Yes, Fall of 2013. My head hurts thinking that far in advance! However, that's how this design business works. And it's really much easier to think about Fall (or whatever season) when it's that season, even if the designs are for the following year and not that moment. Trying to knit just 6 months in advance is a little trickier. Who wants to be working on cozy warm wool sweaters in July? Not me. Even with air conditioning it's hard (for me) to be motivated with something like that. I'll stick to shawls, cowls, and other little lacy things in the warm months.

OK. I'm off to take a hot shower, get some tea brewing, and settle in for a long day of "work". (That's code for "knitting")

Monday, October 1, 2012

My Custom Color Sock Yarn Club

Last day to subscribe: October 1, 2012

Looking for a fun new sock yarn club to join? Have you seen the listing for My Custom Color yet? It's a club that's customized by you! No more getting yarn in a color that makes you cringe. Every month you'll be given a list of 10 dye colors. You may choose as many of the colors as you like. Your yarn will then be dyed to your color specifications. Sounds like fun, right? (You'll also have the option to pick one of my solid colorways.)

Today is the last day to subscribe for the October, November, December club shipments. All yarn will be ordered in preparation for custom dyeing first thing Tuesday, October 2, 2012. 


THE YARNS
Every month I'll be offering up one of my socks yarns for this club. The 3-month subscription will include 3 sock yarns (1 each month). They are:

• Dye-A-Tonic – 463 yards; 100 grams; 75% superwash merino / 25% nylon; fingering weight
• Polka – 400 yards; 100 grams; 100% superwash merino; fingering weight
• Aria Sparkle – 438 yards; 100 grams; 75% superwash merino / 20% nylon / 5% stellina; fingering weight


THE COLORS
On the 1st of the month you will get an email with 10 dye colors. You may pick one or all of them. I will use my judgement on the best method to use for combining and dyeing your chosen colors.

If you don't like the 10 color selection on any month you may chose 1 of my solid colors to have your yarn dyed in instead. (Solid colors are shown in photo.)

You DO NOT select the colors now when you subscribe. You will chose the colors for 1 skein of yarn at a time.


(3 different customized color sock yarns)