Friday, September 02, 2011

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

Oh my. So much time with so little posting.

I went to my annual Alt Knitting Camp with my regulars at Devils Lake State Park. While there, I started knitting a basic top-down raglan for myself so that I'd have something relatively mindless to work on. It's dark brown, from Jo Sharp Classic DK. It's the kind of sweater that doesn't look all that great on the needles, but I will probably wear all winter long.

We had visits from my parents in May, Scott's brother in July, and my sister and niece in August. Here is the younger son with his cousin:

I spun a bunch of 3 ply yarn. I'm not exactly sure what it will be good for, but it was fun spinning.

I sewed a one strap back pack and then I sewed a two-strap backpack. The pictures of the two-strap one, which I sent off in a swap, seem to have been deleted from the camera card without being saved to the computer. D'oh!

I took my younger son to the city pool a couple of times and to Devils Lake several times.

I spent most of July hiding out indoors, in the air conditioning. I spent too much time on Facebook.

I took my kids to the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago to see the Jellies.

Then we went to Millennium Park to see the Bean.

I don't know of any other sculpture that seems to invite so much public interaction.

On the way back to the car, I saw a Maserati parked near the school of the Art Institute.

I guess art students have more money now than they did in the old days.

I finished a sweater for publication and it'll be appearing this fall. Had to do pictures twice. Also knit something smaller for an upcoming book, but I'm not sure when that will be public.

I've been thinking about sewing, about weaving, about spinning, and not as much about what to knit next. But now school has started and I can finally get my brain focused on my stuff, I hope that will change. There's a creative zone I seem to be most able to tap into when I know I won't be intruded on for at least 4 hours. I wonder what will happen next?


Several weeks ago I got an email from Robin Hunter to contribute an interview for her blog How to Become a Professional Knitter. My interview is up today. Take a look.

Monday, August 08, 2011

I really don't like summer

So much for my determination to be a more consistent blogger.

I've had a few irons in the fire, so some of my knitting and other projects are not yet for the public. Stay tuned for those updates as they become public.

Meanwhile, I have a short prose piece in the new issue of Entangled magazine. Entangled is a new online magazine published by New Zealand knitter/fiberista/pod-caster Genny Stevens, a.k.a. GrannyG. Entangled is about all phases of fiber production, crafting, and artistry. It doesn't feature patterns per se, though some patterns are occasionally published as part of an article. The content is not free, but the price is reasonable for the excellent content. Check it out! I'm planning to have a longer article with photos in the next issue, that is, if summer ends and I find myself once again able to string together a paragraph or two with some semblance of coherence.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Long Overdue Updates

It's been so long since I've posted, I had to go back and see what I've already mentioned!

First up, some recent knitting:

This is the beginning of a scarf, knit the long way in linen stitch. I'm using this yarn that I spun a couple of years ago:

The yarn was spun from BFL top, hand-dyed by Sandy's Palette. I'm using US #4 needles and 400 stitches. The rows are long, but I only have to work 8".

Earlier in the year I was in a fun swap group. We all agreed to make multiples of something and send them to the central organizer. We got back a box with at least 10 different things made by the other participants. I made these little zipped pouches:

I've been puttering at spinning a bit here and there, too. This was a quick little skein from random fibers I kind of cadged together:

It's not really enough yarn to be useful for much, but if I combine it with other yarns, maybe it can be a fun accent.

Several weeks ago I went digging through my fiber stash. Some of you may recall that not too long after I started spinning I stumbled on an amazing Craigslist bargain. A local spinner was trying to liquidate her stash in a hurry. My friend Fern and I split the cost and the goods. There is a lot of natural colored wool in various browns and creams, but also, some odds and ends of more colorful choices. This is some kind of top from that lot:

The colors are certainly quite strident in the unspun state! I'm finding that as I spin, there's a bit of blending going on that's taking the edge off it in a nice way.

Singles of same:

There's very little of this: only about 60 grams total. I considered chain-plying to avoid muddying the colors any further, but now I think I want to buy some red top and ply it with that. Red would work with both the purple and the orange and not fight too much with either. Plying with something else would also make it go farther. Stay tuned.

Back in the winter, I wove this length of cloth:

Valley Yarns 3:2 cotton, 12.5 dent reed. After machine washing and drying, it became incredibly soft to the touch. I like how the white flecks on the black ground look like a loon's feathers. I'm going to turn that into a throw pillow soon. It's been languishing unfinished for long enough.

This might be the most exciting part of this post! I finally have a separate site set up for selling my patterns. Visit Sweater Studio and take a look! Be forewarned: people who use IE8 or earlier for a browser might encounter some glitches and frustrations. If you don't see the banner, it would be a great time to switch to Firefox or Chrome. The pattern sales are set up through the Ravelry hosting and downloading service, but you don't need to be a Ravelry member to buy them. For my sales volume and the number of items in my shop, they give the best deal I've found for me as a vendor.

In Other News
We did finally find a buyer for our old house. We will close on May 26. It will be a huge relief to close that deal.

As we sail into summer my hope is to continue the process of purging our excess stuff, throw a big yard sale, and be inspired for lots of new patterns.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Roughhousing Vest Pattern

Sporty zip front vest. Recommended yarn is a machine wash and dry cotton/acrylic blend. Shrinks about 10% so plan ahead!
Shown in Kraemer Yarns Tatamy Tweed DK; 500 - 1000 yards (457 - 914 m)

Gauge: 22 stitches and 28 rows = 4" in stockinette stitch

Needle size
US 5 - 3.75 mm
US 3 - 3.25 mm

Child S [M, L, XL]: 26 [28, 30, 32]" chest

$5 Instant Download

Angularity Vest Pattern

This classic V-neck silhouette is updated with a zigzag twisted stitch texture.

Shown in Gjestal Superwash Sport
Yarn weight: DK / 8 ply (11 wpi); 880 - 1430 yards (805 - 1308 m)

Gauge: 22 stitches and 28 rows = 4" in Twisted zigzags

Needle size
US 5 - 3.75 mm
US 7 - 4.5 mm

Mens S, M, L [1X, 2X]

Instant Download $6

Stone Henley Pattern

This outdoorsy pullover is an easy choice for any guy.

Shown in Green Mountain Spinnery Cotton Comfort
1620 - 2340 yards (1481 - 2140 m)

Gauge: 22 stitches and 32 rows = 4 inches in Grid and cable pattern, after washing and blocking

Needle size
US 4 - 3.5 mm
US 2 - 2.75 mm

Sizes available
Mens S-2X, 37-53", in 4" increments

Instant download $6

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Almost March

Here's a picture I took the day after the Big Blizzard of '11, early this month:

I'm not quite sure how the wind was blowing to cause this formation, but I suspect it was coming from the south, under the fence, and scooped all the snow up into that nice crisp ridge. If the wind came from the north, it would have hit the fence, curled down, and scooped the snow. In either case, it was cool while it lasted.

Knitting News
I finally finished the Socks That Would Not End. My Ravelry projects page tells me I started these in September. Here they are, hot off the needles, unwashed, unblocked, un-anything.

Yarn: Universal Yarns, Ditto. Now discontinued.
Knit on US #1 needles.
68 stitches, ribbed cuff and instep

Earlier this month, in the deep cold that followed the blizzard, I decided that my 3201 wool hats were not doing a good enough job keeping me warm and I probably should make myself an alpaca one. Fortunately I found some yarn in my stash that seemed perfect.

This is just a basic watchcap, k2, p2 ribbing throughout.
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas Melange
Knit on US #2 needles
120 stitches.

In Other News
The dissatisfaction with our governor has grown steadily since Feb 11. If he thought this would all settle down and go away, he really underestimated the people of Wisconsin. The Teabaggers he recruited from out of state to counter-demonstrate put in a pretty pitiful showing in comparison. There were very few of them and they were back on their motor-coaches, on their way home, within 24 hours. I try to keep my politics off the blog, but recent events go way beyond politics-as-usual around here. It should get more interesting before it's all done.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Some Sewing

I've been doing a bit of sewing lately.

This tote bag was for a Something Handmade swap. It's red ultrasuede and lined with a colorful cotton print I got in a remnant heap a few years back.

The webbing for the handles was also in my stash. I can think of a few things I should have done better, but on the whole, I think it's ok.

My younger son has been wanting a wallet lately. I'm not sure why, because he never keeps money long enough to need somewhere to store it and he has only one card, his library card, that would go into it. We searched a few thrift shops with no luck. Not too surprising that there were many women's wallets and no men's. The men get one and wear it out. The women replace it as the mood strikes. Anyway, after poking around online at other folks' handmade wallets, here is what I came up with:

Again, room for improvement, but it was my first effort at this, I was working without a firm set of directions, and I was committed to only using stuff I had on hand. So, for a prototype, I call it a win. My son would like some velcro or a snap to hold it shut, which is a good idea.

In Other News
It has been a crazy time in Wisconsin lately. The kids have been out of school since Wednesday while the teachers, and many others, have been protesting downtown. I think the governor is wrong about this bill and doubly wrong about his approach in forcing it through. I can accept that political decisions get made that aren't the ones I support: I can't accept an attempt to rush through something as complex and important as the items in this bill on less than a week's notice.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Kelebek Vest

This complex-looking color pattern is a snap to memorize and knit. Shown in 9 colors. Charts are drawn from Anatolian Knitting Designs by Betsy Harrel. Worked in the round with steeks at front and armscyes.

Easy-fitting vest suitable for men or women. Allow 2-4 inches of wearing ease.

Sizes: S, M, L XL, 2X, 3X

Finished measurements approx. 32, 37.5, 42.5 48, 54, 59 inches

Harrisville Designs New England Shetland

Gauge: 27 stitches and 32 rows = 4" in Fair Isle stockinette

Needle size
US 3 - 3.25 mm
US 4 - 3.5 mm

Ravelry instant download link: $6 US
You do not need to be a Ravelry member to buy.

Kate Cardigan

This feminine fitted cardigan has lace panels accenting the front, fitted sleeves, worked top down from body with short-row shaping on caps, and simple lace trim on hem and sleeves.

Shown in Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted Tweed

20 stitches and 26 rows = 4" in stockinette stitch

Needle size
US 5 - 3.75 mm
US 7 - 4.5 mm

1100 - 1800 yards (1006 - 1646 m)

Sizes available
Womens S, M, L [1X, 2X, 3X]; 36, 40, 44 [48, 52, 56]"

Ravelry Store link: Instant download $7.50 US
You do not need a Ravelry account to purchase.

General Housekeeping

In the next couple of days I'll be adding several posts with Purchase Download links for patterns. These are patterns that appeared in Knitcircus over the last couple of years and I'm just now getting around to offering for sale here. Thanks for your patience with this process.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Moving Forward...

Well, that's another year done with! When I stop and think about exactly what decade this is, I feel like a real old fart. Considering I turned 49 on my birthday in November, I guess that makes sense.

Since I last posted, I wove this scarf for Owen:

I'm still not very good at planning for how much extra warp thread it takes to get the finished length you want when weaving, so this is a bit shorter than I was hoping. But it is long enough to be a scarf.

I also finished knitting this scarf:

That's some chunky weight Noro Silk Garden I bought from a de-stashing sale last year. I tried a few different ideas with the yarn, and it seemed like entrelac was the only one that really worked. I'm not sure I'm the greatest fan of entrelac, but it is an addictive technique: just one more square...

I've also knit some socks, done some spinning, and made a little cowl-like thing from some hand spun yarn. That still needs a button and some finishing before I show the world.

In the past couple of weeks, I've suddenly (finally?) been struck with inspiration for new sweater patterns, which I hope to submit for publication. I knew that once I started to feel like my new lair was settled, like it had become my space, the gears would start turning. Still, it was uncomfortable when people would ask me if I was designing much lately.

I don't make resolutions, but I do have a few goals for 2011. I really hope we sell our old house this spring, as that would be a huge relief. I need to get Mr. SABLE to finish building my website and then get all my patterns available there. And I would like this to be the year I get a bit more serious about marketing myself to the knitting world.

Stay tuned!