Saturday, December 31, 2005
Since I returned to knitting with a frenzy (the past couple of years), I wanted to keep a visual journal of my work. Last year was the first year that I actually bundled up nearly everything and put it in one place. If you haven't done this, you should. It will astound you. It's too easy to forget all your work when it is either in several places all over the house, or as with you more generous folks, scattered all over the country/planet as precious gifts to others.
The first thing I did this year was to round up all the sweaters I made for Fred and for me over the past three years. Since adult-sized sweaters (and afghans) are the most time-consuming, it's really impressive to see all those hours of knitting piled up together! Embarrassingly, I have not knitted any of my family members sweaters recently. There are a couple of reasons for this. All the sweaters you (sort of) see here, except for four, are pattern samples for Figheadh. One of those four is an Alice Starmore pattern (as seen in the fickr photo page--click on the fun box to the right!), one is a Debbie Bliss pattern that turned out badly because I used cheap yarn (the blue one on bottom right), and two of them are experiments which never became actual patterns. Sweater knitting continues to be a challenge for me--sweaters for big people, that is. The first few I knitted were quite funny, and I only just now feel I am starting to get the hang of it. Family, you WILL get sweaters from me, but I am trying to get more proficient. Hang on! Until then, please be content with socks, mittens, bags, hats, scarves, & (soon to come!) gloves. (Mom & Sis, I intentionally do not mention here the sweaters I knit for you in the 80's. Ahem. Strange specimens.)
The next thing I did today to take stock was to do the rounding up. Except for 4-5 pairs of socks either given away or now sitting in shops as models and the Noro pair I gave Mom, here is my knitting from 2005.
Since this is a new blog, I thought I would also post the pic of my 2004 work (last year was the first year I did the rounding up). Boy, am I glad I did, because it made me realize something. I need to do more felting in 2006! The 2004 bunch includes 14 felted items; the 2005, only 3?? Can that be?? I LOVE felting. You'll definitely see some felting in the 2006 collection, folks.
2004 stuff--well, most of it!
...which brings me to my next point. When I made the photo album (again, see flickr!) I did not put in all the samples you can see on the Figheadh website. Everything on the site (except the beauties on the gallery page, of course!) is knitted by me, That is not as impressive as it looks, because it took me a couple of years to amass that stuff.
I hope the 2005 collection is the last one that will include only samples from me. Heads up, testers! I want to use some of your samples this next year. My little hands can only knit so much! There are about 30 patterns I want to get written, tested, published and ready to sell in 2006. We currently have 7 tests in progress and 5 about to start. We're well on our way!
Okay, let's recap. In 2005
1. I wrote up 32 Figheadh Yarnworks patterns.
2. We launched the Figheadh Yarnworks site.
3. I found my testers on the Knitter's Review & TKGA forums.
4. The 30 of us got all those patterns tested, edited, rewritten & published!
(Thank you testers!)
5. Figheadh got wholesale accounts!
6. People found our site and actually ordered our patterns!
7. I learned the Magic Loop & knitting in the round on 2 circulars, & entrelac!
8. I taught a child to knit (keep knitting, Claudia!You're a natural.)
9. I became an associate member of Professional Knitwear Designers Guild.
10. I happily got to do a whole lot of knitting!
...and that's just the knitting-related parts. Such a great year!
And who do I have to thank the most for all of this? Who is my partner, my strongest supporter? Who good-naturedly puts up with all the craziness of the knitting obsession around here? Who commutes two hours every weekday to a job he doesn't love (to put it politely) so that I may have a measly parttime job, leaving time for the Figheadh? Who maintains the website and gets me through the trying times? Who is the one who suggested that we do this in the first place, because he believes in me so much? Who has put his own dreams on hold so that we could get mine going? The Fred, that's who. My love, my darling husband. Thank you so much, sweetheart. You do not hear this enough.
END OF MUSHINESS.
Next year (which starts tomorrow--gosh!) is going to be even more awesome! I hope to be making another post like this one this time next year, and for many years to come.
Everyone have a fantastic New Year's celebration! In Gaelic...
Bliadhna Mhath Ur!
See ya next year (hyuk, hyuk!)
Thursday, December 29, 2005
This is your brain.
and this is your brain on Christmas.
Yes, my brain has been in a jar...on the shelf...in the freezer! Thus the thaw. But look out, cuz I'm waking up! I feel the yarn in my cranium area kinda becoming untangled. First, I bring you a cautionary tale.
CAUTIONARY TALE (as promised)
Remember a couple of posts back when I said I had finishitis? Wanted to finish some things that had been lying around since LAST WINTER. I am sure, dear reader, that you saw the problems with that premise. Yes, you cannot knit two things months apart that are supposed to be identical and have them actually be identical, I don't care how many notes you take.
Stop the laughing. Okay, I'll indulge you...enjoy yourself...knock yourself out. Haven't YOU ever knitted something that looked like you dropped the cranberry sauce all over your feet while trying to put together Christmas dinner? No? Well, you're lucky then. Also, take note of how one of these Fiber Trends felted ballet slippers came out bigger than the other? Time lapse problem. And again, note how fig must have worked the cuff edge one way on one and exactly backward on the other? Another time lapse problem. NOT a Fiber Trends pattern problem, which is marvelous and fun and fig highly recommends.
THE FIX (of sorts)
I knew I could salvage this project by pulling my Nicky Epstein's Knitted Embellishments off the shelf and delving into my button stash. I give you the new & improved Whooper Slippers!
Better, huh? Still a little wonky from the cuff edge problem and the fact that one is bigger than the other, but now I can wear them with pride...in my own house...when I'm all alone. I knew I could trust you, dear knitting friends with my slippers-that-only-the-knitter-hermself-could-love. (I almost typed her/himself and decided "herm" is a good merge! Watch those comments on that one!) I used Patons Classic Merino in "pearl" held together on the foot with Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Bulky in "fuschia". I decided to call these Whooper Slippers in honor of one of mine & Fred's favorite beverages--champagne with a splash of cranberry-raspberry juice. Yum!
More to come, because as I said, I am back. The brain is firing and I have lots to show! This is the week for taking account, for wrapping up, for getting ready for the New Year! Yahoo!
Happy Thursday All!
Figheadh Sona Dhut!
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
And then my mom gifted me with the new Wiz (great extras in there!) and some Scottish music--bagpipes! Love it. That's a little necklace there with a piece of Connemara marble, too. The Wizard of Oz has long been a favorite for our family. When I was a little girl, it was shown on TV every Christmas, so we asscoiate it with Christmas, although it isn't a "Christmas" movie.
We had a beautiful, peaceful, homey Christmas. We watched all our favorite movies and listened to gobs of Christmas music. The weather hasn't cooperated, with rainy highs in the 40's, but maybe we'll get snow before spring comes around. This side of the Cascades is very balmy and wet right now, but the mountains and parts east are getting snow and very low temperatures.
I am definitely in the throes of finishitis--I'm sure the end of the year is inspiring that. It would be great to begin 2006 with these projects done. I will have FO pics in the next post, for I have finished a pair of gloves I started last winter (first gloves ever-fun!), finished a pair of felted slippers also started last winter, and have just the neck to go for PJ's Guernsey, among other things.
Mar sin leibh, an-drasta!
Friday, December 23, 2005
Thursday, December 15, 2005
I mean, wow. I'm speechless.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
I thought I'd better drag them all out and confront my addiction.
Okay, no more until these are done! I swear!
Actually, my sickness comes in complimentary waves--first I'll get startitus, but then I'll get a real, raging wave of finishitis! Makes you feel so proud (the finishitis, that is!)
I feel the latter coming on. Finished Fred's cable (a new pattern in test, so I can't show it off!), and now I am off to get back to work on my grandson's Guernsey. He's the only one getting anything handknit for Christmas! I don't really do that stuff anymore. People just get things randomly throughout the year--IF they get it, right, folks?
Figheadh sona dhut!
Monday, December 05, 2005
I found this recipe in the Pacific Northwest magazine that I may have to make for Christmas. Yum!
Also, we watched the CB Christmas--a ritual for us. It can't really be Christmas until we've watched it. "All I want is what I have coming to me. All I want is my fair share."
Also #2, Saturday morning, I sent out the call for tests for the next collection, and by the end of the day 8 out of 9 of them were nabbed! Then yesterday I got an email from another tester who said she would do whatever was left. That clinches rounds 1 & 2 (about 5 more rounds to go)! These people constantly amaze me. Have a look at just some of what they did for me just between April and November this year here. I was just hoping to get tests assigned since it's the holiday season, but two have already started and a couple more of them are just waiting on their yarn and pattern to get started. I gotta get on the ball here! (I love these people.)
See, last spring I went on Knitter's Review and TKGA and posted on the forums for testers. The immediate result was that I had 23 testers to work with. By August, I had almost 30 people willing to test my patterns, and about ten of them have proven to be Super Testers! They knit like you wouldn't believe, and keep in touch with me (a BIG plus in my book) throughout the entire process. I'll say it a million times--I could not do what I do without them.
Also #3--we have our first ad up on The Daily Knitter! Go to the "Knitting Basics" page and you'll see our badge! Yea! Those folks (Abby) are great. They were so nice and helpful and the whole process was smooth as silk. Abby even posted about us on the blog there--as she does for all new advertisers. Go see them--they have great things to offer us knitters!
Okay, before I get back to work, I have to thank my wonderful daughter Em. You did not ruin my "street cred". As a matter of fact, you improve my rep just by being alive. You are tremendous, darling!
And I promised knitting pics...
That's the sole of the cable socks in lovely Cherry Tree Hill Spanish Moss. I can't show you the rest, cuz they're in test.
Just a detail of a sample for another test--in Cascade 220 light pink. Love, love, love that yarn! Can't get enough of it.
Progress of the Magic Stripes sock. First sock of a second pair made in colorway #207. Love it!
And I finally learned entrelac (that's some Lamb's Pride Worsted)! More on that later!
(with some nods to the Irish!)
Friday, December 02, 2005
We've already got 3 tests assigned for next year's patterns and I am sending out more queries today. One of the men's sweaters is already in production, a sock pattern is assigned, and another men's sweater just got nabbed! See how great my testers are? Even during holiday season, they want to help out! I love 'em!
Today I am writing patterns, swatching for a boy's Aran, emailing testers, toeing a sock or two, and trying to fit in some Gaelic study.
More knitting photos next time, I promise!
Mar sin leat!
Monday, November 28, 2005
I contacted my lys and of course, no more #65. I went online and found this lovely business--Wool Needlework who had the yarn and in such a good price that I was able to buy two more skeins and have them shipped to me for way less than I could have bought them at my lys anyway. I got the yarn in days and finished the scarf and made a little pillbox to match.
Here it is...and a shot of the shaping at the top. See how cleverly I double-wrapped the lovely scarf to hide the fact that I MESSED UP AND DID A DOUBLE MOEBIUS! Oh good grief. Maybe I should have frogged.
Yep, I lost faith halfway in the first round and twisted again. Has anybody else made that mistake?
I was gonna send this to my mom, but would you send your mom a double Moebius, a defective, mutant Moebius? I think my mom deserves a perfect Moebius, just for putting up with me during my adolescences (all five of them). I am way too old for her to accept it "just cause I made it myself," like the pencil holders and Mother's Day cards and handprints squashed in clay. What to do? Do ya like it, Mom?
Anyway, I enjoyed working with the Silk Garden. It was a visual treat. I will probably do it again. Now I am making myself a cardigan with Kureyon because the other day I walked into my lcs (local craft store?) and there it was--enough Noro Kureyon in a delightful color to make me a cardigan, just for fun. As soon as I get far enough for it to have a recognizable shape, I'll post pics of the progress.
Figh! (knit!)--pronounced "fee"
figheadair (knitter)--pronounced "I'm not sure" (I just like it--fig*head*air)
snath (yarn & wool)--pronounced "snah" (missing an accent mark--somebody tell me how to get accent marks in!)
Lovely words all. Happy figheadh (knitting)!
Saturday, November 26, 2005
Yesterday I would have said, "Tha i fliuch an diugh, nach eil?" or "It's wet today, isn't it?"
The past two days were good for rain (staying in and knitting), but it's good to see the blue sky today!
And this morning it's pumpkin pie & coffee for breakfast. Yummalicious!
I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving here in the States. We did--even watched some parade, talked with some fam back in the Southeast, & played some Christmas music (once the turkey was in the belly, that is!).
Today, much fiber fun to be had. I am writing patterns,
blocking a sweater,
working on a little Guernsey for Preston,
and trying to sneak in a few rows on my Kureyon Kardi!
Mar sin leibh an-drasta!
(Bye for now!)
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
I love it best for its felting qualities, like in this pair. It makes a tight, sturdy felted fabric with a boucle effect. It felts fast and shapes well. Should I go on? Maybe not, since we must mourn the loss of her--sweet kid 'n' ewe!
I have to admit to its being just a little itchy when knitted up into things like these two:
Yep, same pattern in two colors. I did secure a small amount for future use. I have enough lovely blue to design a felted vest. Wish me luck. I have never tried a felted garment--only hats , bags & slippers. Get out the calculator and cozy up to the math! (Not my nature, but I'll do anything for knitting!)
Let me hear from others of you who loved this yarn and what you did with it. Will you miss it? What will you replace it with?
And I leave you with a small Gaelic lesson...
Madainn mhath! (mah-teeyn vah)
Happy Wednesday and everyone have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Monday, November 21, 2005
Now, on to the sock content. Yippee! Here's the gist. My husband and I took a trip this past summer back to our beloved Southeast to see friends & fam. Of course, I took sock projects, as they are easy to transport and easy to work on while enduring air travel. My goal was to learn socks on 2 circs and the ML . I had tried to do ML to no avail the previous summer. The bridge between dpn & ML was Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles . Once I got the 2 circs down, the ML made perfect sense! Cat Bordhi is a wonderful teacher--even by book!
After knitting about a dozen of these
with the technique I learned from Big Book of Knitting by Katharina Buss (from which I also learned mittens and gloves and am forever grateful), I found Folk Socks by Nancy Bush, well-known Sock Goddess. That's when I discovered that (uh-yeah) there are way more ways to make socks than what I thought!
The first project I latched onto from Nancy Bush's book was the Welsh Country Stockings. The only problem is that I chose a yarn too heavy for the project (Patons Classic Wool) and am STILL working on them. At least I was able to transfer the project to 2 circs instead of wrestling with the dpn.
I will be able to mount leather bottoms on these monsters for the Fred to use as slippers! They could be oven mitts, for sheep's sake!
Anyway, back to the past summer. I had the first of a pair of socks on the dpn with Lion Brand Magic Stripes in this lovely blue/green/tan/white colorway. (I know, I'm a yarn snob, too, but this yarn makes good, sturdy, warm socks.) I finished the first one up with dpn, and then made the second one on 2 circs. CAUTION: DON'T DO THAT!
Here's the result.
The dpn one is bigger, because apparently, everyone tends to knit tighter on 2 circs. Lesson learned. BUT. Then I thought I'd find more of the yarn and try to make each misfit its mate. No. The yarn changed. I like the new almost better, but I won't be able to rectify my foible.
the new version is more heathery--pretty, but no match. The first wonky pair will just be mine, and I'll probably finish the new pair (on dpn--which I still love as much as ever) for the afore-mentioned mom-promoting first-born (but don't tell--shhhhh).
Okay, enough sock talk for now. I leave you with some hazy, sexy sock yarn porn
Yes, I get to do more of the lovely Mountain Colors in Alpine & Moon Dance, CTH Supersock in Quarry Hill; try some Frog Tree Alpaca Fingering, Brown Sheep Wildfoote in Rhapsody, Cascade Sassy Stripes, and two obviously handwound balls in front-- Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Water Color.
Some of it will be going to testers for 2006 sock patterns, but it's all mine to look at and dream about for now!
More sock fun to come! Happy Monday to all!
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Welcome to my first post! Please excuse my lack of accent marks--much to learn. I wanted to create a blog to send out news and musings about Figheadh and knitting in general. As we tell on our site, figheadh means knitting in Scottish Gaelic. Cniotail is Irish Gaelic, so ,yes, there is a difference...but not so huge.
As must be obvious, we latched onto the Scottish version and then it was all about the FIG. The Scots would not say "fig head". They would say "fee-yugh" (the "ugh" sounding the same as your response to seeing a squashed slug on the sidewalk--as you suppress upchuck, that is, as says our Gaelic teacher, the illustrious Richard of Slighe nan Gaidheal).
figknits is me
and the fig
and the figheadh
Mar sin leibh an drasta!
(Farewell for now!)