Saturday, December 31, 2005

2005 in Review

I am sure many of you have a habit of taking stock at the end of each year. For the past few years, I have made it a ritual to review the year by perusing my journal and diary. The strange passing of time can easily make me forget all that happened within a 12-month period. It helps so much to keep the events of my life in perspective. I have kept journals and diaries for about 25 years now and they are invaluable to me. Now I have this blog and that just makes the whole process even more fun!

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!

MUSHINESS ALERT!

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

Brain Thaw

CAUTION: Scary non-knitting images. Scroll down for more comforting yarn-type stuff!


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.

Observe.

And observe.

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

Goodies!

My sweetie stuffed my stocking with goodies and showered me with Barbara Walker's Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns, Cat Bordhi's Second Treasury of Magical Knitting (so many treasures!), and Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's Secret Life of a Knitter. Wonderful stuff! I also got the Secret of Roan Inish DVD--a long wished-for item, to be sure.



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

An Aran wedding dress?

Okay, I know some of you have already seen this, because the movie is Killing Me Softly from 2002. I just watched it tonight on Oxygen (while knitting, of course) and just about peed my pants when I saw this Aran wedding dress on Heather Graham!

I mean, wow. I'm speechless.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I think I have a problem...

I got a little case of startitis in the sock department. Yes, folks, what you have here is 7 pairs of socks in various stages of completion. I confess. And I was thinking of casting on another!
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!
Happy Knitting!

Feasgar Math!
(Good Evening)

Monday, December 05, 2005

SO much good news!

We got our tree up (and even lights on the outside of the house!), and the whole house is smelling good!

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!







For now...

Slan!
(with some nods to the Irish!)

Friday, December 02, 2005

Overnight Sensation!

Looky what came last night! It started just after we went to bed. We got to watch it peacefully float down on us from our bedroom window at about 10:00. I woke up around 1:30 and it was still falling. It's already starting to melt, but school's cancelled and I get to stay home and work!

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!
(Cheerio!)