Saturday, January 28, 2006

Bravo!

I want to spend some time throwing light on some incredible knitters--my testers! There is an incredible bunch of people all across the world who, for the past ten months, have stepped up to the needles and signed up to help us test Figheadh patterns. I've been thanking them as a bunch, but I want you to know a little more detail about what they are doing.

Jane is on her seventh test for Figheadh. In ten months. And, yes, she knits other stuff too! She's just a devoted (and beautifully proficient) knitter, and as she keeps telling me, "I'll knit anything." She's an absolute joy to work with. Jane gives me her edits very clearly, and keeps in communication with me throughout the process. She's also a friend, and one of the only two Figheadh testers I've actually met in person and spent a little time with! She and her husband Larry are great folks. Hey Larry!

Sue just finished her sixth test and is asking for the next--just waiting on me to get the writing done. Another highly skilled knitter, she also keeps in very good communication with me and always handles her questions to me in a kind and patient manner--even when I've obviously made really, really silly mistakes. I feel that we are becoming friends, as well. I hope we get to meet someday, Sue!

Cathy is on her sixth test, and is a joy to work with. She always keeps a good sense of humor about the testing process. I know I can count on Cathy to stay on board and hit me with all the right questions when testing a pattern. Another person I feel I can now call a friend, Cathy will definitely be included in my East Coast fantasy knitting retreat. Well, I can dream, can't I?

Amanda is my no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is tester/editor. The first edit I got from Amanda was about three pages long--and it was a hat! I can count on her to include every little jot and tittle. She's one of the first ones who whipped my math into shape with those first patterns. They were doozies, I tell ya. Amanda has now done three tests and two edits. I haven't heard from her lately, though. Yoohoo! Amanda! Word up! (corny girl tries to be hip)

Meredith and Kassandra are on their third tests for Figheadh. I like working with both of them and they are two who also are becoming friends of mine. Meredith and I are in a knitting group together (although I am a bad member who has only made it to two meetings--ugh), and we email quite a lot on non-knitting subjects. She has her own editing business, so I know I can count on her to catch my writing oopses, but she is also a great knitter who will call me on omissions in good instruction in my patterns (not to mention straight-out errors--yep, mostly math...again). Kassandra and I also email back & forth on life issues and knitting technique. She is helping me learn more about sock knitting, for one thing. Kassandra is a writer herself, so she really helps me get the patterns written well. I hope these two stay on board--I need you, guys!

Jenn is also on her third test. The notes I get from her are brief, but I can count on her for quick tests and she just enjoys the whole process. Jenn is a constant knitter who has her own fiber business and creates beautiful yarn. Hop over and give her a visit!

Celia, Irene, Lisa, & Anjeanette have each done two tests for me. Celia's tests were both lace projects and we spent a lot of time going back and forth about the issues. She worked really hard on those tests and gave me excellent advice on improving those patterns. I hope we keep working together, even though she is clear across the world. Thanks goodness the Internet makes us close. Irene is my one crochet master (well, also my sister, Linda--the Crochet Queen--but she has her own sewing business going and I need to leave her alone!). If I have a pattern with some crochet included, it is wonderful to call on sweet Irene to help me out. Lisa worked on two major projects for me and was a joy. She has her own knitting ventures going, so I feel lucky to have her help me out. Anjeanette is another person I feel I am becoming friends with. I just like her whole life philosophy and know we will be doing more work together.

Grace, Jen, Andrea, Steph, and Tracey have signed on for their second tests, which are all in progress, and I hope we get to do many more! They are all very good at keeping in touch with me and I feel I can count on them.

There is quite a big group who did one test--some want to do another and some I haven't heard from lately. Violet, Amy, Janice, Kris, Linda, Emma, Becky, and Sally--thanks for being willing to keep testing. More options coming soon! Emy & Roxi are both super busy with their own business and I just appreciate what they did for me on those tests. Kenny dropped completely off the Figheadh radar--too busy achieving blog superstar status, I presume. Rock on, Kenny!Oh, those knitting guys! Thanks also to Lori. I hope to hear from you again. You really jumped on that hat test and whipped it into shape! She knit three sizes!

Whew! I could have gone on & on about this. Again, view some of the work done by these folks on our gallery page. I am still in awe of all this generosity and talent heaped on me. I didn't go into nearly all the detail I would have liked, but it's only a computer screen, only a web log, only so much a blog reader can be expected to read, for pete's sake! Thank you, all! Much excitement to come, I can guarantee you that!

On this subject, I want to point you to a wonderful post by a fellow designer. We've all heard a lot about the copyright issue lately (check out the article "A Matter of Principle" by Lance D. Reich in the winter Vogue). This post by Knittinmom goes into considerable detail about the work of getting knitting patterns out there. I appreciate her spending the time to write that post. I wish all knitters would read it.

Have a great weekend everyone! Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

A Good Frog

Pardon me for letting this Frog Tree Alpaca get into this sock yarn stash photo. This is not sock yarn! This is lovely, delicate stuff born to be some lace. However, I used it to make some dainty little gloves, seen here. This is a new pattern for Figheadh--just a simple cable glove. I had too much fun working them up, but the alpaca puzzled me at times. If I had gotten a sharper detail of the palms...





you could have seen the slight laddering between needles #1 & #2, a problem I don't usually have. This yarn is less forgiving, and even the k2 p2 rib is a little wonky for it (you CAN see that). I am sure these little imperfections could be smoothed by blocking, but I have no glove blockers at present. I would love to find some mannequin hands when Fred & I go antiquing next month. If I do, I'll be sure to show and tell. I also plan to do my next gloves on 2 circulars, at least until the finger parts. My background here is a little garter stitch keyhole scarf I did last year with Plymouth Alpaca Boucle in color #20. It turned out perfectly matched to the little gloves! The scarf is a tad scratchy, but these gloves are soft & warm.


Now, since the Frog Tree seemed perfect for lace, and I still had about 230 yards left from the gloves (which only took about 200 yards), I cast on one of the samples in a set for another new pattern. I am experimenting with a fairly simple lace scarf knit in four different weights & fibers. Really having fun with this one--so much fun that I finally gave myself permission to splurge and try the Muench Touch Me I've been eyeing and fondling for months. Luscious. What more can I say? But back to the Frog. Already, in this lace project, the Frog Tree is behaving differently--more sproingy & definitely a candidate for blocking because of scrunching up. With the glove project, the stitches got too stretched out and loose. The gloves were knit on size 2's and I am just using the same ones for this little scarf, as you can see. This yarn likes my Crystal Palace bamboos better than my other fave--Addi turbo circs. The alpaca needs the bamboo to grab hold--it kept slipping off the Addi's.

As for random life comments, I think I charmed the weather with my last post. After complaining about all the rain here, later that very day it cleared up and we actually got sunshine! Yes, the sun came back for a somewhat brief visit. He was with us most of yesterday as well. Today, however, I think he slipped out of town under cover of fog. Love the fog, though. Great for knitting! I think I'll go make some oatmeal for breakfast, get a cup of tea, put on the Celtic music and get back to the Mavis Scarf project & finishing a sweetheart of a felted tote (another future show & tell!)

Figheadh Sona Dhut!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

How 'Bout a Hug?

I haven't been blogging long, but this is the longest stretch without a post. I thought I'd best drop by and give my blog a hug so it wouldn't think I'd forgotten all about it. I think part of the problem is that I think all my posts need pics. I admit it, I like blogs with pics the best! Some days, I just do drive-bys looking for the luscious knitting pics! I'm a strongly visual girl!

Another problem is lots of subbing and little free time. Not to mention that I have also neglected all the projects in the sidebar tracker for working on 5 little new designs for spring/summer. Today I get to finish a pair of gloves, finish 2 shop models for a customer, write the 5 little patterns, do the edits on 2 test patterns, and finally do my taxes! Yea!

Oh, and just as a tiny speck of info--we are drowning out here in the PNW! The rain is incessant. Last night the Fred and I were enjoying some Pink Panther and he says, "Can you hear that rain?" I say, "No." I get up to peek through the blinds and what do I see? Mighty drops. Georgia-type rain. Here it usually mists, or drizzles, but lately we've even been getting the heavy stuff. No end in sight, either.

Okay, back to the hug. I love you, blog. I really do. Be good and wait patiently and next time I will feed you some pics. I promise.

(((((blog))))))

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Shhhh! Don't tell the socks!

I have a new favorite small project--gloves! I finally finished these over Christmas break. More fun with knitted tubes! (Sorry about the pic quality--the mottledness of this yarn makes photographing difficult). My daughter and I were just talking yesterday about how most of what we knit is just various forms of tubes.



Yarn: Stahl sche Wolle Socka 6-fach color; color #9512
Pattern: Katharina Buss, The Big Book of Knitting.

So, apologies to the many partial pairs of socks waiting for me to come back and spend some time with them (and I will--don't nag! I am already committed to RosebyAny's 200Socks!), but I am having too much fun with my second pair of tubes for the hands!

Yes, that's Katerina Buss's Big Book again. I have begun many fun things from her book. Socks, mittens, gloves. It's great!

More about these particular gloves next time.




Until then,

Figheadh Sona Dhut!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

For Granny

Today is my Granny Kate's birthday. She would have been 97! She left us in 1992, but I celebrate her birthday every year because she was very important to me. I still feel her love and support all around me. Granny was my maternal grandmother and one of the strongest constants in my life. She was a hard-working woman who raised almost a dozen children on the small salary she and Grandaddy brought in from their jobs at West Point Pepperell textile mill in Valley, AL. They also always maintained a garden--not just for fun, but for survival.

Granny was a robust woman who smoked until her last day. She always claimed her lungs were as clean as could be. Unfortunately, ill health caught up with her in her last years, and she dwindled down to about 90 pounds or less. She was always cold without much meat on her bones, so I knit her this sweater to keep her warm.



She wore that thing so much everyone was sick of looking at it--even in the Alabama summers. My lingering image of Granny is of her sitting in the kitchen (where she spent most of her life, cooking three meals a day every day), drinking coffee, smoking, and eating a pop tart (which became the major staple in her diet in her last years), & of course, wearing this sweater. When she passed away, my mom made sure I got the sweater back. I wear it sometimes when I want to feel a big old hug from Granny.

Happy Birthday, Granny! I love you and miss you and Grandaddy every day.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Mr. Iain & Miss Sorcha

The year is starting out very well with lots of knitting going on around here. I thought I would finally post some WIP pics. I am about 11" up the body of Iain. I can't show you all, but here is one of the cables involved. That is lovely Cascade Eco Wool. This is my first sweater to knit with it, and I am enjoying every stitch.




Here is about 13" up the back body of Sorcha, a cabled vest. That yarn is Gedifra Fashion Trend Stripe, which I am also having a fun time with. Bulky and smooth!






I don't like to show entire designs before they are done, because they inevitably go though changes by the time they reach their end version.

Sleepy day today, because I woke up at 1:30 and could not get back to sleep. Too many thoughts!! Took a little nap earlier, but mostly worked on designs today. Bedtime will come early for us tonight!

Sweet Dreams for us all!