Sunday, December 31, 2006

Hello 100; Goodbye 2006

Is that cool? My 100th post on the last day of the year. Let me cut this into sections, 'cuz I have a lot to say. (Actually, I'll have to cut it into separate posts, because blogger is being stingy again.)

Goodies
I never showed you my Christmas loot! Of course, I'll mostly show the knitting-related stuff.
Yes, that's the delightful Mason-Dixon Knitting (love the whole aura of this book), No Idle Hands by Anne L. MacDonald (which I am reading cover-to-cover now), Traditional Knitting: Patterns of Ireland, Scotland and England by Gwyn Morgan (a little history, some patterns--so good), Keri Smith's Living Out Loud (a play book for your creative soul), a Capercaillie CD, Ani DiFranco's Little Plastic Castle, the Basquiat soundtrack, a Jelly Belly dispenser (I luuuuv JB's), some pick-up sticks that look like real sticks, and there in the middle, yes, you see an Incredible Mom Pez dispenser. I love her--she's stretchy (not the dispenser, the mom). All these wonders were from Fred (the cutie in-house male model from the last post).

He also got me this out-of-print booklet, Scottish Knitting by Helen Bennett. It was published by Shire Publications in the UK and it's full of info on bonnets, stockings, shawls & lace, Sanquhar & Fair Isle. I'll read it all, as well--and don't you just love the Scot on the cover in his Kilmarnock bonnet lighting up his wee pipe?

I also got some of these shoes (beautiful and comfy), and one of these gift boxes, among other things. I love Origins ginger stuff!

I told you I would post a picture of our Christmas tree, but I could not. It was from the dark side or something--I tell you the thing would not have a full-body shot taken of itself. Take a pic of the top half--fine. Take a pic of the bottom half--also fine. Try to take the whole tree in one shot--blurry every single time, even from every different angle of the room. Fred tried and I tried. Daytime, nighttime, I don't care--the thing was evil. Evidence? You need more evidence? Do you see how the font in this paragraph is different from the rest of the post? I tried several times to change it, but no. The evil tree is causing this evil font! Even though it's bad, bad, bad--it was the most lovely, fragrant Christmas tree (a Noble Fir) we've ever had. Right now, though, it's sawed in half and lying out on the cold patio. I miss its evil self.

Okay, I'll look back on my 2006 knitting in another post. Stay tuned! And if I don't get back to you before midnight, Happy New Year!!!!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Wrapping Up

I thought I would be writing this post about four months ago, but as I've said too many times, I was kidnapped for much of the year with freelance designing. I've been working on these men's sweater designs for over a year now, and they are finally ready! Also, we got the 2006 gallery up--just in the very nick o' time...at last! Go see.

First, meet Iain. I wanted to design an Aran in the shape of a hooded sweatshirt--something cool that even young guys would wear. I even did market research with some guys in some of my substitute classes, as well as moms of boys (since I have only girls). Iain has saddle shoulders and is knit in the round all the way. The hood is picked up and knit on, carrying the main front cable all the way up it. I merged the large cables into a basketweave instead of siding them with purl stitches. The unifier is garter stitch, which appears all through the design in different ways. I had fun doing this sample in Cascade Eco Wool. The thing is, this sweater works for anyone. I love wearing it, too. As you'll see on the gallery page, so does Sue the lovely, and Jane's daughter, also the lovely! I used the same garment construction for the Aidan in Cast On, but with totally different cables and filler stitches.

The Iain pattern may be purchased here. The pic in the link shows the back.

Another design long in the making is Sherrod. This one is named after Fred, because it's his middle name, his father's middle name, and his paternal grandfather's name. Plus, I just like it. Fred picked out most of the cables for this sweater. It is also knit in the round and has saddle shoulders and underarm gussets. The back and sleeves have an allover, irregularly-twisted cable--the large cables are only on the front. This sample was worked up in Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed in the highland color. This yarn is really lightweight, yet after wet blocking, very comfortable and warm. I recommend it highly!

The Sherrod pattern may be purchased here.

Fred also greatly influenced this design. He wanted a sweater with an allover, simple cable with mostly stockinette. He also named it, so meet Fionn! It's a simple, satisfying project--also knit in the round, drop shoulder, only seaming at the shoulders. This sample is made with Patons Classic Merino in the dark grey mix color.

The Fionn pattern may be purchased here.

Wow, that's almost enough for this post. I've got one more design that I didn't specifically tell you about. It's a baby set with bunting, blanket and two different hats--a bonnet and a cap. It is the Mairead, and you can see it here, even though I couldn't get a picture up on this post. The sample I made about two years ago is in Lion Brand Woolease in red. That's the reason I haven't posted a picture before now. I just could not get the red to look pleasing at all. Maybe I should add this Digital Photography for Dummies book to my reading list...ya think? Since it's sitting right here beside me on the bookshelf just gathering dust.

I'll tell ya what won't be gathering dust, and that's the books Fred got me for Christmas. I will show you those next time, along with some other goodies.

I hope you are enjoying "the week between," and are looking forward to some festive New Year's fun. Let me hear from you!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Thursday, December 21, 2006

How to Clean Your Kitchen

(when it wasn't even on your to do list!)
Yesterday was one of those days that make you feel like all three Stooges wrapped up in one. I am in the very last stage of a sweater for a deadline, trying to honor my promise to myself to have it done before Christmas (deadline is Jan 2), but yesterday morning a couple of problems and another deadline had me running around like the proverbial headless chicken. I had an egg-white-&-mushroom omelet ready for my growling stomache (trying to be good this week in preparation for holiday yummies), and an important, ponderous, image-laden email trying to send itself out of Outlook. I dashed back into the kitchen to add some salsa to the omelet, took the mega-jar out of the fridge, shook it vigorously, and SPLASH! Yep, about three cups of salsa go violently plopping to the middle of the floor. As you can probably imagine, the lovely red stuff spread itself literally from one end of my galley-style kitchen to the other, and all over the face of the oven and both sides full of cabinets. The whole kitchen now has a thorough cleaning and I have to say an humble "you were so right, darling" to my husband. You see, I am always complaining to him because he has a penchant for screwing all caps on extremely tight--so tight that sometimes I have to ask him to get them off for me. I will from now on be screwing things a little tighter myself, ahem. I'm sure I didn't get it all. I'm sure I'll be finding mysterious red spots on the wall, the stove, the ceiling....

Anyway, so today I finish the sleeve of the mystery man sweater and start assembling. Then I can edit the pattern over the course of the next few days and send all the day after Christmas. I wish I could show you, but I will tell you that with this project, I had my first negative experience with Cascade 220. When the package came, the yarn was stuffed, all 10 hanks of it, into an 11 x 14 envelope, crammed so tightly that I had to let it sit for a couple of days before I could wind it up into cakes. Why would anyone who cares for fiber treat their fiber this way? It's almost a month since it arrived and the hanks yet to be wound still look squished. On top of that, this batch is twisting like crazy. I have only used one hank that did not twist. The twisting slows down my progress. Ugh. It is still producing a lovely fabric, though, so that's what matters.

Referring to the aforementioned email-sending, I had to email a magazine publisher because the submission I sent last Wednesday (the 13th) by priority mail still has not shown up, or at least I am getting no confirmation of such. Another one I sent the same day arrived on Monday. Not the 2-3 days they promise, but 4. I also emailed the USPS about this, but as yet...no reply. I may have finally had my first--EGADS!--lost-in-the-mail precious knitting catastrophe. Oh, dear friends, I know it happens to everyone, but please hope that I am spared losing the whole cable sock knit with Mountain Colors and the whole lace sock knit with Dalegarn Stork, and, gee the whole submission packet I knocked myself out assembling last Tuesday/Wednesday when I needed to be resting in bed. (I went to the doctor Thursday and had blood work taken and I feel better now, thanks. I still don't know what had me feeling so badly those two weeks. Weird. Maybe the lab report will reveal something. Probably not.)

So here we are on the eve of Winter Solstice, rapidly approaching Christmas, and I am dreaming of all next week to do as I wish. These are my hopes for that week: Finally tell you about six new designs we revealed over the past month or so, work on submissions, start (yes, start) my TKGA Master Knitter Level 1, get back to work on a women's sweater design for Figheadh, clean the rest of the house (now that the kitchen is taken care of), send boxes of goodies to my children & grandchildren (I donate to charity in their names for Christmas and send them stuff later) & enjoy some sock knitting! Think I can do it all? I always think I can. We'll see.

Okay, for those two of you (maybe) who actually kept with me all the way here, I'll reward you with a purty picture...oh no I won't because blogger won't let me! Argh! I think it's punishing me for not upgrading to the new thingy. Another task for next week!

Okay, how 'bout a couple of neat links?
Multidirectional goodies & wonderful Wooly Thoughts. Pics next time.

Back to the sleeve!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Not gone with the wind

We're still here! We had a storm overnight that broke records--up to 69 mph winds near here. During last evening, the winds got pretty fierce, but we went to bed in our cozy upstairs bedroom buffered from all and slept right through it. As far as I can tell, nothing blew off the house. We didn't even lose power. No damage in our neighborhood, but all the schools are closed and I hear the Tacoma Narrows Bridge (the former "Galloping Gertie") was frightful! The Narrows turned into a wind tunnel during the night and they closed the bridge for a while. Of course, the waterfronts are littered with crashed boats and debris.

Disaster averted. The worst is over. We're just in for a good deal of rain (ooh--surprise!) and maybe a leeeetle snow.

Have a good weekend!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Sick Day(s)

Please excuse my absence, but I was taken by some mysterious ailment off and on for the past couple of weeks. It's no wonder I don't submit to more of the millions of little germs and whatnot I must pick up from scooting around from school to school spending days with the little folks. (Knocking on wood) I do feel better today, thank goodness!

Some days I did at least feel like knitting, so I have finished all the pieces for the prototype of an accepted book submission, and have even gotten underway on the actual sample (which is worked in Cascade 220). The prototype, which I will be putting together today, is made with Katia "Scotch," a discontinued 65/26/9% silk, wool, rayon blend in a lovely tweed.

I have enough left to make a whole other sweater, which I should be able to show. Of course, the sweater for the book (and even its prototype) may not be shown until the book is published, and who knows when that'll be? I don't even know. It will be the fourth in a series for the author, though, so you'll see it sometime.

Also, I have been swatching to remake one of my designs, the Caitlin Cardigan. It has not sold any copies, so I thought I would pull it back and rework it to make it more knitter friendly. I may be about to learn steeks! I'll let you know.

This model is made with Mission Falls 1824 Cotton, which I love, but I want to try it with some wool.


I've been swatching with some of these colors, and some even more earthy color combos. I will show you swatches next time.


This is some Patons Classic Merino, and in the back, some of the new Lion Brand 100% Wool. I'll let you know how it goes.



Thanks for checking in. Hopefully, I'll feel more like blogging for the remainder of the year and on. I haven't even shown you our Christmas tree! I'll save that for next time, too.

Happy Holidays All!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

XL Weekend

We had a terrific Thanksgiving holiday...and we're still having it! This started last night...


...and it's here to stay for a while. The temperatures promise not much more than freezing all day, the roads are icy, and we're staying put! (See how folks love to do doughnuts in our intersection--if only we had a roundabout!)

Our holiday started last Wednesday. Fred took the day off, and since school was only half-day, I took the day off, too. This gave us the opportunity to shop for turkey and such before the crowds got to the store. We always buy a fresh turkey--not frozen--so the shopping must be done no earlier than day before T-day. I wanted to get a free-range bird, but, honestly, they were just too scrawny! Athletic turkeys, they are. For your once-a-year important bird, plump and juicy is a must. Here's our little Thanksgiving dinner for two. The T, stuffing (not cooked inside the turkey--onions & celery go in there), green beans, a modest sweet po casserole, fresh cranberry sauce, green salad, rolls, turkey gravy, and white wine. It was simply divine.

Only the turkey was largish, so that there be plenty for soups and sandwiches! For me, white meat on black Russian rye with mayo, yellow mustard, and Worcestershire; for Fred, nine grain, white meat, brown mustard, mayo, and black pepper. How do you like your leftover turkey sandwich?

After dinner, we started a Lord of the Rings movie marathon. We did this over Christmas break last year, but I think it may become a Thanksgiving tradition. We have the extended version, so it takes a good, long while. It's so much fun to watch all in succession. It always makes me want to read the book again, though. We went to bed Sunday night with Tolkein books--Fred had The Hobbit, and I had The Silmarillion. I want the back story. Who's really who and all. Also, I had to get out the big book and check some facts. Facts like, why is Denethor so completely off his nut? Ah, checking the text, I am reminded that there were Seven Seeing Stones. Saruman was not the only one with a palantir. Denethor also had one, and since they are all direct channels for Sauron to corrupt minds and ruin lives and fates, it's no wonder old Den ends up pouring oil all over his miserable self and almost torches Faramir along with dear old dad. I just love this stuff!

Carrying on with the account of our weekend, we had our first fire of the year on Friday, had a new mattress and box springs delivered on Saturday, woke up (after a wonderful night's sleep on the new bed) to a light snow on Sunday morning, and took a good walk on the waterfront (four miles) later in the day. The snow melted as the day went on, so Fred went in to work yesterday. Not I. I stayed home and worked on projects and took care of personal business, like making a doctor appointment (routine--no worries) and catching up on email. I was scheduled to sub for a middle school art teacher for the rest of the week, when, lo and behold the weather has given me another day off! That means I've been home for a whole week. Bliss.

As for knitting, I've been working with some Katia "Scotch" and a sweater sample in 2/2 rib. It's for a future book by a super-cool author, so I won't be able to show. The Scotch sample is actually a prototype. The actual sample will be with Cascade 220. But I will also be swatching with some Patons Classic Merino vs. Lion Brand Wool (the new stuff) in order to rework one of my existing designs. I'll show you that! I'll be asking for opinions. I wanted to show the colors today, but blogger decided, "No more pics for you!" Image Nazi! Pfff.

Have a great day, wherever you are!

Monday, November 20, 2006

We Are One, Part 2

Yes, I'm back with another post on the same day! Why? Because Figheadh got a wonderful blog birthday present in the mail today. How fortuitous!
I got my Winter/Holiday issue of Cast On today!


Guess what's inside! Well, let's look at the Table of Contents...











Number 46...let's go have a look!







There's Aidan! And they put him on a purdy girl!
It was designed as a men's sweater, but it's really unisex.

I have to tell you--TKGA was wonderful to work with, from start to finish. The pattern appears in the magazine virtually just the way I wrote it. They also accepted a cabled glove design, but it did not make this issue. I'll let you know if it ever turns up.



Here's Aidan in his humble, unblocked state...













...and then blocked.


He was super fun to make. I'm proud of you, Aidan!

(Edited to add) If you aren't a TKGA member and do not get Cast On Magazine, click here to see shops that carry it.


Happy Knitting, Everyone! Thanks for stopping by!

A Whole Year?

Today is figknits' one year birthday! And to celebrate this event, I give you the shortest post in its history! Gotta go to work, but I have new patterns up on the site that I want to introduce. I'll be back later to tell you about a baby set and three new men's sweater designs! Yea!

Have a great Monday all! Turkey soon!

XO

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Looky!

Hey! Go and have a look at the Cast On Winter/Holiday preview ! We are #46--not the bag, but the sweater. The Aran hoodie? Yeah, that's Figheadh, right there in Cast On Magazine! Woohoo!

Pardon my excitement, but this is my first "published elsewhere" design. Also, pardon me for sending you to the preview page to get a glimpse, but I haven't gotten my copy in the mail yet. Any day now, we hope, and then I can show you more!

Hoist a pint for Figheadh!

Slainte!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Ciaran

My little baby Aran design, Ciaran, needed a new sample. The ones I had done already were in dark yarns--not the best for showing the texture. What's better for an Aran than beautiful ivory-colored wool?
I wish I had a
baby kilt to pose it with. I oughta design some baby kilt hose to go with it.

This Ciaran sample is knit with Cascade 220, color #8010 on size 8 needles. The same cables appear on the back.

It gets packed off to
Knot Another Hat ASAP.




And if you think that looks a little Christmassy, get a load
of this.
That's Ciaran on top of Raibeart on top of Sherrod. These guys have been my focus for the past couple of months. I had to redo Raibeart's sleeves--they were still a little snug for my liking. Otherwise he would have already been packed off to Preston. (Jessica, you'd better tell me if he hates red.) Raibeart was worked in Cascade 220 Superwash.

I'll show you much more of Sherrod (the green guy--Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed in color #126, Highland.) when he's gone through more edits and I am ready to fully release him. It was kinda tricky to get the numbers right. The cables all correspond row-wise, but with the multiple being different for front than for back and sleeves, it was a task to make them come out perfectly. Sherrod is a Guernsey-Aran hybrid with big cables and underarm gussets and shoulder straps, or the perpendicular join at the shoulders, as Priscilla Gibson-Roberts calls it. You start at the hem, have a cabling party, and when you bind off the sleeves, you're basically done--especially if you join yarn ends as you go. Only a couple of ends to weave in and absolutely no seams. That's the way I like it.

The rain is coming down like mad and I'm going back to the knitting and movies! Have a good one!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

You saw my evil twin...

...or evidence of her. I don't know how she got my log-on info and posted all that stuff about my old craft projects. I try to keep that information from her. You know I don't have time to do any of those things!

Right now I am making another
Ciaran sample, which will go to Sarah.

(That's Cascade 220 in color #8010.)








And a men's sweater design that's just writhing with cables! This is Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed in color #126, Highland. It looks a little skinny and drawn up right now, but wait til I'm done.
I am past the middle of the first sleeve. A sleeve and a half or so to go! This is the back--the front has another cable combination. I can show you very soon!


Isn't it funny how hand knitted sweaters are like newborns, emerging from the womb? At first they're all wrinkly and misshapen, and you wonder where is the beautiful new being you envisioned? Then they get all washed up and measured and pampered and most times, are even more beautiful than you dreamed. Hurray for the wet block!

I hope your week is good. Let me hear from ya!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Sew Crafty Part Deux

Okay, more crafts! Gosh, blogger let me get away with major photo-loading this time. What's up?
Good old filet crochet...









...some counted cross stitch on a sweatshirt for Natalie when she was a wee tot.








The barest of beginning of a crochet blankie. I really wish I could finish this...I think it would be pretty. I still have all the yarn for it.

We'll see.

Oh, and you know there's some knitting in this bunch!



A jacquard sweater--the whole back done! And I still have the pattern for it in an old (1986!) Fancy That magazine. Anyone have any of these lying around? It was a Taxi Publishing mag.


Anyway, this was to be a cardigan for my oldest when she was about 6, and now she's 26! Sheesh.

This one I do not have the pattern for any longer, apparently. A beautiful little vest with some wool/mohair yarn in rose. I examined the back and determined the stitch count & stitch pattern and started a front for the poor thing. I think I got it pretty close. It was supposed to be a button-up, if I remember correctly (because this is also from the 80's!), but I am going to make it a round, scoopy neck--no buttons. That way, if it's a tad too small for me now, I can still wear it.

And last, but certainly not least, a little 1 x 1 rib scarf I am determined to finish. It is fingering weight wool on size 0 needles. The ones I had it on were old Susan Bates aluminum, bent pitifully, so I put it on the only other 0's I had--a couple of Skacel steel dpn's. Poked the thingys on the end and here I go!

I have carried this stuff around for 20 some odd years, through four moves and all of life's changes, but still they all wait--never changing, always ready for me to pick them back up and pay them some attention. This is not all, either. I just figured I'd better stop and give you a break.

I had fun, how 'bout you? Uh-oh, I hear that dumb cheer...but more like, "I got crafts, how 'bout you?" Hmmm?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

She's Sew Crafty!

Sometimes when the thing you spend most of your time on takes a hit, you need to stand back and get some perspective--remember who you are, where you came from, all that jazz.

I needed some creative nurturing, so I got into my boxes of old crafts. You've got some, too, I'll bet. UnFinished Objects (UFO's--some people who read here may not familiar with our lingo--like some of my family members) you've carried around for years for one reason or another. Here are just a few of mine.

I have had this Vogart crewelwork kit for about 20 years. I just can't abandon all those hundreds of split stitches & such. I think I'll do some now and then--variety is the spice.





A smocking practice piece, which resulted in this...






The one and only smocked item I did--a baby dress for my first-born. I might do the French hand sewing involved again sometime, and maybe smocking on some knitting, but not in this context.






Then there's the whole tiny crochet thing. I was crocheting doilies in my 20's. Just like knitting, it's not just for grannies. I am trying to finish this little medallion, but I can't figure out which thread I used...none seem to match. I figured out the stitches, though!


Well, blogger seems to have decided enuff's enuff! I'll do this in two (or more) parts. In the meantime, show me your old crafts! Leave a comment if you do, so I'll go and have a look.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Purple & Green

That seems to be my obsession lately. I decided to call a meeting of WIP's & UFO's and take stock.

Uh-oh. I have indeed been leaning toward a whole lotta purple & green. How can I help myself. I love it!

If purple means intuition & green is new birth, then that's all good, huh?

Incidentally, the big green cabley thing on the right is what has been taking time lately--why no posting (that, and subbing is back). It is sample #2 of a new design/pattern soon to come. Oh, it's cablicious alrighty.

But
to redeem myself in the color world, I have been leaning blue, too. A little.

Yes, that's a whole finished sock at the top--a new design using DMC Senso. You see some boucle, some Cascade 220, some good old Regia, some Australian wool (yeah, that's all it said on the label) and some Patons SWS that I got at Michael's to try out something. I am thinking felted crochet something.

Well, as is obvious by my piling all my little swatchies and partials on the bed--I am having to make myself stay on task with the cable sample. I wish I could play!

What I really want is one uninterrupted month just to make up new cable stitch patterns. Just give me some Patons Classic Merino, some size 8 needles and some graph paper and I could have me some fun.

Okay, that was a nice little fantasy. Now back to work.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Mabel

Here comes another design that's been years in the making. I had the crazy idea to make a cable scarf as a tube--knit in the round so that there was no bad side. I know, I've seen the cool reversible cable patterns out there, but I wanted to do the cables traditionally, not in rib stitch. Of course, the scarf would have to have a matching hat, as I do have a penchant for the matching sets--I'm such a dork!

I would like for you to meet Mabel. She's a super-long, knitted cable tube featuring a braid cable and an irregular cable with k3/p2's in between. I made mine on 2 circular needles, but dpn work as well.

Essentially, you end up with a double scarf. If you need warmth, try this one out.

Here's a closer view of the cables. This sample is knit with Patons Classic Wool. I love this yarn, and I love blue & brown.

It's a little bulky when you're working it up, but it blocks out nice and compact. I can't wait until it gets cold enough to wear this one!



Cables on both sides--see?

The hat finishes out to 21" circumference, but because of the rib pattern, will fit a variety of head sizes.

Now you know what the
peek was a week or so ago, and I mentioned Andrea--well, she was the tester on this pattern.

Congratulations, Andrea! (She just got married a couple of weekends ago.)

Monday, September 25, 2006

Night & Day

This is a total travel report. No knitting. The knitting will return next time, of course!

This past weekend, Fred & I went to Oceanside, OR, one of our favorite places to go and unwind. We love this little town on a hill on the coast because it's quiet and not a bit "touristy." It feels like a home away from home for us. This is our third trip and we always stay in the same place--Berni's Castle.

Besides a little knitting on the way down, I did none all weekend. All we did was enjoy the view, walk on the beach, listen to music, eat good food, drink good wine, and have wonderful talks. We both needed to get away from work, and it was a great "goodbye to summer" & "hello autumn" weekend. Now we're both back home, refreshed, and ready to work hard until Thanksgiving break.

The night and day shots were taken from our balcony. It's tiny, but it's covered, and gives a great view of the haystacks. I'd never seen these until I moved to the West Coast. They are majestic, to say the least. The big guy in the foreground has a tunnel cut through it that you can only pass through when the tide is out. Then you can get to the other side and see this.



More stacks!


Just wanted to share the magic.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Raibeart


Meet Raibeart (pronounced RRRRay-bear-t...Come on, say it like you're Scottish! Feel the kilt swish around your knees!)

Raibeart is just my little contribution to the world of the Guernsey. I was "taught" by Beth Brown-Reinsel and Priscilla A. Gibson-Roberts/Deborah Robson. No, they don't know who the heck I am, but their books lead the way for me to enjoy this lovely sweater genre. If you want to learn Guernsey construction, get thee to their books, Knitting Ganseys & Knitting in the Old Way.

I designed this one for my grandson, Robert Preston (of course, Raibeart is the Gaelic form of Robert). It went through a couple of versions, as do most of my designs. The first try had box stitch for the edging and garter for the definition ridge (it's the one in back). As most of you know, but I had to find out, garter stitch gives a heavier fabric than box stitch, so I switched the two in the placement of the sweater. Then I found that the box stitch did not provide enough "definition" between the monogram band and the combination of stitch patterns on the upper sweater, so I switched that to seed stitch. Alas, I was finally happy.

This one has sizes from 2 to adult small, or chest measurement 22-32". I made both samples with Cascade 220 Superwash. Great stuff! The pattern's ready to buy, and it has 20 pages of charts, code, you name it. Hopefully everything you need--a little Guernsey primer in its own.

Please excuse the terrible pictures, though. Anyone with any tips on photographing red, just speak up. I even tried letting Raibeart hang out with the Canary Bird Vine outside on the patio, as you can see at the top, but it wasn't much better.

Other stuff--boy, I did a bad thing this morning. When I first tried to sign in to blogger, the screen froze, so I pushed Cont-Alt-Del to get out, or so I thought.... I must have pushed the arrow key instead of the delete key, because my screen turned on its ear! Yep, it was sideways. It took me a while, and I even ran a virus scan (I'm clean, by the way :). I finally just tried Cont-Alt-Up Arrow, and bing, it righted itself. Boy, that was a big relief. Ever try to write email sideways? It's funny. You watch the cursor going up the screen instead of across. So just so you know, if that ever happens to you, now you know what to do. You're welcome.

Happy almost end of the week!
See ya tomorrow (if blogger behaves)!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Secret Garden

I own a few good "knitting movies," usually period/literary films with gorgeous hand-knitted things everywhere. This is not the only reason I own The Secret Garden, the Frances Ford Coppola-produced, Agnieszka Holland-directed movie starring the wonderful Kate Maberly. Of course, it is a film adaptation of Frances Hodgsen Burnett's great book--so many good themes. This is the kind of movie to put on when it's cloudy outside and you're curled up on the sofa, happily knitting. The mood this movie evokes is delicious. Beautifully done.

In a couple of different scenes, "Mary" wears this red tam--once with the purple lace scarf seen here, and another with a dark blue one which appears to be edged in lace. I could never get a close enough shot of the scarves to duplicate them, but I got the hat--close, anyway.

I started trying to get this into a written pattern about three years ago. The first attempt was with some of my Blarney Woolen Mills stash. My mom went to Ireland years and years ago and brought me back tons of green and purple wool (still my favorite colors). I wish I still had that yarn. It made a couple of afghans, a baby sweater, a double-knitted cloche hat, and this...

The first scarf had crochet edging, as you can see, and turned out a very warm but very heavy hat & scarf. I don't believe I've ever worn it. I will keep it around forever, though, because I love the yarn.




For the new version, I changed the scarf edging to Sawtooth Lace. It's the closest I've come to a shawl, but, alas, it's just a scarf. The directions allow for making it bigger, though, so if anyone is so inclined....

Here she is...just the first of a new batch of patterns on the Figheadh site. Thanks to Meredith (the tester/editor) it's finally published and ready for purchase. I hope you like it!

This sample is made with Cascade 220 100% wool in a lovely light grey & light pink (another favorite color combo). It is much more wearable.




I'll be back soon to tell you about more of the new patterns. As for the site, please bear with us as we go through some changes. We plan to break the sweaters & personal accessories categories down into smaller categories. The PA is getting impossible to wade through. Hard to find anything quickly in there! We're also trying to get a new gallery page up. I have new tester pictures to show!

See ya soon!

Monday, September 18, 2006

A Little Gift

Here's my recent gift to youngest daughter. Not bright at all, huh? The scarf is a reversible st pattern done with Lion Brand Cashmere Blend. I like it--it was really soft and luscious to work with, but it lost some of its loft when I washed and blocked. I guess this would be a good outcome for a sweater with this yarn. I have a stash of soft pink to do a sweater, so we'll see.

The socks are Lion Brand Magic Stripes in the "hey, look at me" Jelly Bean Stripe. I worked these toe-up after casting on with Judy's Magic, and then I did Flor's Eclectic Heel. It was fun!

Here's a closeup.

I like how it made a little color ridge up the side. I worked these on 2 size 2 circulars, and this was my first 2/2 ribbed leg. I liked that, too!

In my sock techniques file, I have a gazillion different heel methods, and I have yet to find one I am absolutely satisfied with. I like the short row on the other side of the heel flap for these the best of any I've tried. It was easy and no holes!

In other news, last week, I finally hooked up with my local TKGA knitting guild, The Knitting Connection of Puget Sound. Let me tell you, those ladies are charity knitting dynamos! I could not believe the pile of hats, blankets, vests, socks, etc. that they brought in to donate. I'd better get busy or I'll be the shameful newbie for sure! I only took one little premie hat made with leftover sock yarn.

I'm working on another, and this time I'll show you before I give it away. I'll also tell you where I got the pattern.

Okay, back to making samples and editing new designs. Next time I should be showing a newly published pattern or two. Almost there!

I hope you're all enjoying the first whisps of autumn. The rains have come back to us--hallelujah--after a dry summer. I love the rainy season. Yummy, cloudy, wet days. Gimme! I'm getting in the Halloween spirit. Ready for the scary movies!

Let me hear from you!

Slán go fóill

(now, that was some Irish--yep, been delving into the Irish while I try to read my Irish version Harry Potter--fun! Oh, and it means "So long!")

Friday, September 15, 2006

Whoopsa!

Plunk! There went 2 more weeks. Yike! Okay, let's catch up.

All summer, Fred & I have been working 7 days a week. He's essentially got 2 jobs right now and me--you know, knitting, constantly. Well, a couple of weeks ago we took Sunday off. Yep, did just what we wanted all day long. What did I do?

Swatch!

I've been playing with slip-stitch color and having too much fun. That's the Cascade Sierra in the gray and sage. I'm trying to hit on just the right pattern for a big, shawl-collar coat. I haven't found it yet. I like the two shown, just a little too boxy. The fabric comes out nice and thick, though, so I think this will make a cozy sweater. The other swatches are Cascade Pima Melange, which is discontinued, but it's just a worsted weight cotton. It's very splitty, but is good for the mosaics.


I've also been working on Raibeart, my soon-to-be-released Guernsey. Here he is in his bath about to be blo
cked.
I do so love taking pics of the FO's taking baths--why? They look so pretty in our lovely white pedestal sink, and they don't mind. They are not modest.

I'll show the dry version when I'm ready for publishing.







Now that he's done, I am paying close attention to 5 new sock designs (I plan to publish 8 new ones very soon!)

One of them is a Knitty reject. You can see that they have a lot of socks this time (click on the button to the right to view the latest issue--great stuff!). Mine were not as exciting. Just a fairly plain sock with a little interest on the leg--you'll see!

You see the green DMC Senso yarn? The one labeled "crochet?" Well, I'm knitting with it, okay? I was just curious about the stuff. It's readily available at Joann, and I saw another blogger who tried it for socks, so I tried it. The green heathered one (called Dk Olive on the label) is not the least bit stretchy and would be best for just St st. However, I am doing a parquet pattern on the foot top and leg and it's a bit tricky. The medium blue in the middle of the basket is also Senso, but it handles differently--a little more stretch, and it's smoother. This yarn is 70% cotton/30% wool. I'll let you know how it wears. You also see in the basket some of the wonderful regulars--Brown Sheep Wildefoot (the upgraded version), Sockotta, and Regia. Sadly, I am down to just one handpainted sock skein--Mountain Colors Bearfoot, and I am saving it for something special. Oh, if only I could buy some STR, or Sweet Georgia, or Koigu, or CTH, or Lorna's Laces, or...Snap out of it!!! Only using stash yarn. Only using stash yarn. Only using stash yarn. Okay, that's better. Must remember my mantra. Use the stash!

I'd better go and get busy. On today's agenda: take product pics, get an Interweave submission sent, edit Raibeart (and others), try again to call the daughters (wish me luck on that one--we've been playing voice mail tag all week), start writing the next Knitty submission, knit more on socks, etc.

Good luck with your todo list today!

Beannachd ort!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Week of Woodsy


Another Woodsy Baby sample done! Yea! I have spent the past five days updating this pattern. It now has three bootee sizes (granted, the smallest is premie size), three hat sizes, and much better instruction throughout!

Here's the FO in Brown Sheep Nature Spun Worsted. I enjoyed working with this yarn. It reminds me of another fave--Patons Classic Wool.





See the three little "hiking" bootee sizes tromping across the kitchen counter? The whole thing was such fun to make. You can see the acorn cap blocking on a funnel on a saucer on a glass. Yep, we're high-tech around here. Only the most up-to-date tools.






On that note, have a look, for comparison, to the old model on Emmett.

No baby models around--it's the best I can do!

That's all I've got. I'm off to take a walk in the lovely weather and spend the day editing new patterns.

Happy Friday, and enjoy your weekend!