Saturday, December 27, 2008

Snowed In

What? only five days left in 2008? Yikes--I'd better get busy. I feel like I've been taken hostage by the holidays here.

One project on the needles is a Cable Tam from Vogue Holiday using this soft Cleckheaton Country Silk 8 ply. I've been alerted that there are chart errors in the pattern, so I wanted to check it out for myself, not to mention wanting one of these for me! Yup, I already found an error in addition to the one on the magazine's errata page. I'll wait til I'm done to tell you everything I find. I love the tam when it gets to this point--just before putting it on a 16" circular. It makes a little flower. Cute.
We've been using the holidays as an excuse to make way too many scrumptious things, like these Swedish Rye Cookies, Rosemary Pine Nut Shortbread, and this Coconut Walnut Fudge. The fudge has coconut milk in it! How yum is that?
I grabbed these recipes off of 101 Cookbooks when they came up on my yahoo page. I've gotten lots of great recipes that way!
Another thing that has had us held hostage is this snow that dumped on us for six days straight. We were trapped, cuz, ya know, we have no snow plows here! If anybody wants to give the Puget Sound a big ol' present, send some snow plows over. We'd really appreciate it!

I start and end with yarn, because it's always the most important. Here's what I get to play with for the Great Wall of Yarn at TNNA show in San Diego next month. I can't wait to sink some hooks and needles into this Be Sweet Bambino and Swizzle from The Alpaca Yarn Company. I'll let you know what I come up with!
Sorry no links in this post. Gotta hurry. Google it if you want it. Works great! Especially with the multiple tab thingy.
That's all for now! Bundle up!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Back to Basics

We're almost done decorating for Christmas--all we have left is the "exterior illumination" (quick--which movie did I quote? easy one). Let's do a run-through of the elements in this picture. Stockings hung by the fire (or NOT fire, since all our chimney can do these days is NOT draw smoke--cough, cough); elves (that Randall says are creepy) from my childhood, perched on the (NOT) fire screen; part of our D56 Dickens Village given so generously years ago by my mom (set up for the first time in about three years); and what appears to be a full-sized tree decorated with old-fashioned glass ball ornaments that I artfully purloined from said generous mom years ago. I say "appears to be" because the tree is actually a little table-top one. I finally gave in to Fred's request this year to go smaller. To make the story short--he wants a big tree next year. Looks like the bottom half got whacked off the poor thing. It'll be easy clean-up though!

Now to the knitting! Early last summer, after some suggestions that Figheadh put out some easy patterns, I decided to start our Fundamentals line. I have a really hard time keeping things simple, though, so I also decided that all these easy patterns should include gauges for four yarn weights and sizes from baby to daddy. Whew! That kept me, Meredith, and Tracey, the editors who work with me, very busy this past summer and fall. First, we did two sock patterns--top-down and toe-up. Then we launched into some crew-neck pullover patterns. Since these were basic patterns with Stockinette stitch fabric, it meant that we could use some artful yarns. One of my first thoughts was Schaefer, because they have some very beautiful artfully hand-dyed yarns, lemme tell ya! I also had great fun with some Cascade, like I always do.

Here are just the ones that I knit up myself. Starting at the top, you see Schaefer Elaine bulky in the Dian Fossey colorway, then Miss Priss in the Georgia O'Keefe, Cascade Bulky Leisure (soft!), Eco Wool, and finally Schaefer Lola in Snooks. I loved every stitch of every one of these pullovers. The knitting doesn't need to be complicated when you have such gorgeous yarn.

Next to come out will be a basic vest, and as you can see, I have made six of these already. Again from the top, Cascade Rustic (soft again!), Cascade Cotton Rich (yum!), Schaefer Sandra in Florence Nightingale (so pretty!), Eco Wool (always a fave), Hazel Knits Artisan Lively DK in high ocTANG (yep--very bright, and I love it!), and the little tip of a baby one in spring green Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Bulky. That last one took about two minutes to knit.

So, you see that with the Figheadh Fundamentals patterns you can knit basic wardrobe pieces with just about any yarn you want and in just about any size. I think they're the best thing since Tootsie Rolls. I've obviously been having tons of fun with them.

Okay, along with all this show-and-tell I need to confess to having a Huggy Neck obsession. (See sidebar to download and start your own obsession.) I think I more than alluded to it a couple of posts ago, but I don't think you truly get the picture. Maybe this'll help.

Yep, that's three finished Huggy Necks, three in-progress ones and one still in the hank but destined to be (The yellow-purplish one will probably become a hat--just had to show you my two most recent acquisitions). I apparently also cannot get enough guttersnipe. Seriously, you gotta try some. It's more than yarn. It's like jewelry, like wardrobe embellishment, and that's why I want to make neck thingys with it so it's very close to my face so maybe it will enhance my looks by close association. The pink in the foreground is of course a guttersnipe HIP (Huggy in progress, of course), the one top right is a Noro Iro HIP, and the green one at the top is a Cascade Dolce HIP. Too much fun. Yes, almost all of these will be given to folks. Let them wonder which to whom.

Okay, quite enough for now. Stay warm, folks! Knit some stuff!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Huggy Neck!

I got a little package in the mail this week and here's what was inside.

Two new yarns from Cascade--Alpaca Lace and Soft Spun. (My little Pilgrim friends are mesmerized as well). Don't you love the labels? Well, wait'll you get some of these yarns. The lace is, of course, very fine and soft. I have done a little crochet swatching with it. More to come on that.

This post, it's the Soft Spun I want to focus on. As soon as I held this yarn in my hands, I knew it had to go around my neck--it's that soft. It's 100% highland Peruvian wool in a very soft (have I said soft enough?) single ply.

The last time I was this inspired was when my buddy Clif got me some of the new Heritage sock yarn almost a year ago. What came from that was the Snow Lake Socks and the Vertigo Socks. What came from the Soft Spun was the Huggy Neck!

First I looked in my stitch dictionaries for something with some horizontal action so the drape would be nice. When I found the Eyelet Ridge in my Vogue Stitchionary Volume One, I knew it would work. I worked to suggested gauge on the label and started with a 25-inch circumference, decreased 10% after one rep, did that whole shebang one more time and stopped in time to make it wearable as a headband as well.

As I was working on this first one, it dawned on me that I had found just the right project for some lovely Guttersnipe yarn I bought a couple of months ago. It's been waiting for just the right thing. Eureka--two of these yarns made perfect Huggy Necks!

Modeled by my friends at Julie's Hair Care here in Tacoma (yep, I ambushed them in the middle of a workday and they were sweet enough to go outside in the chill and don the Huggies), are on Julie on the left, Guttersnipe Dragon Scales and on Cyndi on the right, Guttersnipe Poor Rita.

The blue one shows how this would fit if you keep going a while after all the decreases. The Huggy Neck can be customized however you like. It works wonderfully in artsy yarns like Guttersnipe. I think I forgot to mention what utter fun it was making these. But I think you got that hint. Ha!

I decided to make the Huggy Neck pattern free for all of you to knit for one another during the holidays and beyond. I made these three in a matter of hours in between doing all kinds of other work, and I've already cast on my fourth and fifth ones! I can't stop!

After my good friend Beth checked out the little pattern for me, Fred uploaded the PDF onto the site and I have parked it over in the sidebar. Here's the link.

Huggy Neck

Click, print, and enjoy!

Happy Holidays to you all!!

Friday, October 17, 2008

My Tam's in VK!


Go here to see not only a picture (at the smack dab bottom of the "Midas Touch" section) of my Cable Tam in the Holiday 2008 Vogue Knitting, but they also have videos now. It's so cool! You can see a model showing you each piece from all angles.

They spelled my name wrong, but I'm still super excited! Woohoo!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Not Abandoned

Meredith asked, "Have you abandoned your blog?" It would seem so, huh? But, no. No more than I've abandoned the laundry, the yardwork, the housecleaning--just little time to do anything these past couple of months except write patterns, knit samples, package up and ship patterns, spend a little time with my sweetie, and try to keep it all straight. Thank goodness Figheadh keeps me so busy--VERY glad about that, but it's hard to get around to everything.

I need to make it a part of the schedule. I will try to do better--I will!

First of all, I have to apologize for no crochet swatch-showing as I promised last post. I'll get to that soon. Also, so many things have happened since last post that if I tried to tell all of them, you'd get sick of reading and click away from me. So, I'll just pick up here and move on.

What I really want to tell you about first is the Iain updates. I love Iain. He has got to be my most favoritest Figheadh sweater. He's fun to knit and super fun to wear. Thankfully, lots of other folks like him as well, and started asking me to upsize him. Iain was originally a sweater for teenage guys, so I sized him accordingly. I should have known when I first wrote him up that some teenaged guys come in XL & XXL size--they don't stop at L. Gosh. (oh, by the way, that's Tyler in the pop-up I referred you to on our site. He's the lucky son of the fabulous Sonya.)

Well, now Iain goes up to 2X (finished chest 39 (43.5, 46.25, 51, 55)”. I put the whole range for Iain here because I just discovered that the wrong measurements are on the site--Argh! I'll get Fred to fix those tonight! (Thanks Sweetie!)

When I upsized, I also decided to downsize. I added two more sizes downward, as well. That gave the pattern 10 sizes, which I just did not want in one pattern--too many numbers, too many charts (because this pattern has separate charts for each size for the body, neck shaping, and hood). I split Iain in two and made Iain, Jr.! That's who you see big Iain hugging in the pic--the new little Iain. He comes in sizes 8-16 [chest sizes 30 (31.5, 33, 34.75, 35.5)”].

And here are both versions on Faith and her dad Keith. Thanks, you guys! You wear Iain very well! This pic is from our latest photo shoot on Owen Beach on Commencement Bay in Point Defiance Park here in Tacoma. The photo was captured by our own fantastic Jeff Hobson. A better photographer we could never find. We love ya!
Okay, time's up for this visit--see ya next time!
Happy Fall!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Stylin' Grannies

Well! That's what came in my mailbox today!

Ya know why? 'Cause I have a hat in this book.

You can preorder it here, or wait a month or so and grab one from the book store.

Either way, get one. There are some very cute things in this book!

And speaking of crochet, very soon I want to show you some crochet swatching I've been doing with some very pretty yarns!

I know--I'm a tease. See ya soon!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

So Many Stitches... little time. I figure I've got about 40 more years to play with yarn, and it won't be enough!

I've been spending some time with this gorgeous Fly Designs Nymph that I got from Sue at Little Knits in conjunction with the oh-so-fun Vogue Stitchionary 2 (of course, it's the one with the cables). So many interesting cable stitch patterns to jump from! I like to start with an established pattern and expand it, pull parts from it and stick in other spots, etc. You'll see.

I also had to revisit this cable. Using just one repeat of it on the back of these gloves was not enough. I had to have more! Now the cable is a part of a top-down pullover I'm making with Elsebeth Lavold Classic AL (50% baby alpaca/ 50% merino=100% YUM) that'll be done in time for fall. Only Fred and Sonya have seen it! Sonya has even tried one on--Fred, not so much.

And as soon as I'm done with the sweater, I get to delve into this box of Louet Riverstone that arrived from Patternworks last week. I've never done a felted piece with this yarn, but I hear from Joanne that it's divine. She made Rudies with this yarn.

Can't wait to cake it up and get started.

What have you been up to??

Friday, May 23, 2008

Thanks Angelika!

Look who's got all our socks! If you need some Figheadh sock patterns, go to Angelika's Yarn Store. The link takes you straight to the page where you can buy the patterns. She's also got all the Heritage sock yarn and lots of Lorna's Laces, too.

Happy Socking!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

My Private Saguache

...because that's the #1 UFO Hot Spot! This place must be in the top ten, though, cuz I gotta lotta!

Here are just a few: Meet Iain, Jr.! This is a little size 8 Iain in Eco Wool I was trying to finish for our next photo shoot. Don't think I'm gonna make it! I split the Iain into two patterns because when I got done adding sizes it had ten. With all the charts and cables involved, I did not want ten sizes in one pattern (and you didn't either). The Jr. will be sizes 8-16, and the Iain will be sizes S-XXL.
And then there's some crochet. No, it's not a bowl, it's a Hipster Bag--one skein up with Cotton Rich.
...and here on my lively hand models is one and a tinch of some Lombard Street gloves in Heritage...

...and the last one to show is a Bulky Watch Cap & Crocheted Scarf in progress using Cascade 128.
Well, it's obvious what I need to go and do!
I hope you're having just as much fun with your UFO's*!
*unfinished objects for the benefit of my non-yarny relatives!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Figheadh's Back!!

Have a look at the new !

We're still tweaking, but let us know what you think!


Monday, May 12, 2008

Site Down

We will have a new site upgrade ready in a day or two, but until then, our old site is down. If you try to go to, it goes nowhere for now.

Sorry I didn't get a message up before today, but it was a surprise to us too!

If anyone needs to get me a message, please send to or My figheadh e-mail is disabled until the new site is up.

Good news is, we'll have a new site very soon! Stay tuned and I'll let you know when it's up!

Thanks so much!!

(Edited to add: Oh, and pardon all the broken pic links in the sidebar--they were linked to the site! Groan.)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Socks of course!

Emily inspired me. If she has time to post, then I can, too. And I have more to tell than there is I'll just have to try to post more often.

First of all, we have three new sock designs! The first one you see here is the Vertigo Sock. We call it that because of its swirly-dizzy stitch pattern, which is made from increase/decrease stitches. The pattern goes down into the heel and out onto the toe. It's a fun, easy sock written for three different sizes. This sample is made with Cascade's new Heritage sock yarn in color #5619.

This is just one of the designs I came up with especially for this new yarn. The good folks at Cascade let me try it out way back in December and I was immediately inspired to design the Vertigos and...

...the Snow Lake Socks! I wanted to try something with Alpine twisted stitches, so here ya have it. I named these after one of our favorite Alpine-like hikes. If you haven't hiked to Snow Lake, you must! It's a gorgeous sight that can only be seen on foot. Okay, I guess you could fly over, but hiking's more fun.

These Snow Lake Socks are made with Cascade Heritage as well and the color is #5613. They are knit toe-up and have a short-row heel and instructions include four different sizes.

The last new design is Dainty Ankles. I've been kicking this design around for a while now, and finally got it written up for two sizes--baby and child size 10-12. It's a delicate dressy sock and has a round toe. The baby sample here is also Heritage color #5613 and the larger sock is knit in color# 5618.

I love this new sock yarn. As a matter of fact, we love it so much we had all ten of our socks knitted up in it, with the help of Shirley and Bonnie and Beth and Stormy. Thanks you guys!

Here's a group shot. And a parting shot--gotta go!

More news next time!

Monday, March 31, 2008

it takes a lot of sticks

Sticks a-plenty. But what I want you to notice is that the cable needle at the back helping me make the little cable doughnut in this sample of my Red Rover Cable Socks is not any bigger than the dpn's. That's the unusual part. Know why? Because the nice people at Twin Birch Products made me some tiny cable needles, that's why. And they work like a dream! They are just what I've been searching for, because you already have too many sticks when you're trying to knit socks on dpn's. A big, ol' oversized (most only go down to size 4) cable needle just gets in the way and it stretches your tiny stitches. Not this little jewel--it is kind to my stitches. I am working these socks in Cascade Heritage, a super-duper fine sock yarn, color #5611, on size 1 dpn's in case you wondered. Nearby is another pair on size 2 circs in color #5610. The sock on size 1 is making a child-sized sock, and the one on size 2 is coming out adult-sized. (My good buddy Beth uses size 3--she needs to chill!) For most sock knitting I find Heritage to work best on size 1, but when cables are present, it's best to go up to a 2. Too bad I didn't know that before you knit your socks, huh, Stormy? She did a pair for me that look best in person, because I had her knit them in the Heritage color #5621, a red handpaint. They don't show up well with an amateur picture-taker like me.
Yea Stormy! So pretty--but don't be fooled. Stormy says these socks fit her 6-year-old just fine. Yes, small. I asked her to make them on size 1, and she did the 2-socks-on-2-circs trick.

I'll get back to my sock knitting now, but remember, if you want to work cables more easily with your socks or gloves or anything small, contact the folks at Twin Birch and maybe they'll make you some tiny cable needles. They asked that if I liked them to please spread the word, so I am!

I'll be crowing more about Twin Birch because I also got some dpn's and crochet hooks from them. I'll let you know how they work for me. I guess, besides my Addi Turbos (and now Addi Lace needles) I love wooden needles and hooks the best.

Happy Day Before Fool Day, everyone!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Too Busy

Here are just a few reasons why I've been too busy to post--

More later!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Sock Goodies & New Yarns

Howdy Folks! I have some fun to show you. As you can probably tell, I took this picture of one of a pair of Seagull Socks I made for Yorkshire Yarns in Claudia Handpaint Strawberry Latte with my new toy--my Motorola Razr. I like the camera in my phone better than my digicam, because it's so easy to send to e-mail.
While I loved working with this yarn, because it's luscious, it hides the cables. We forgive it because it makes us think of neopolitan ice cream and Brach's candy. It is lying atop some new yarn that I will tell you about at the very end. Yes, you must wait if you are curious (or if you are of the type who reads the last page of a novel before you're done, or who eats dessert first, etc.)

Now, here, I feel, is the very best Seagull ever (and I have made seven now)--I present to you a Seagull Sock made with Cascade Yarns' new Heritage Sock Yarn! I worked these on size 1 dpn's and loved every minute of it. This yarn is superfine and is of wonderful quality. They have 17 solids or so and 4 hand paints. I will be showing you more of the colors, because I am knitting up more of my sock designs with this yarn, including four new ones coming very soon. Purty, huh?

I have also acquired some new sock tools, like these Loopy Ewe sock blockers. I have been yearning for some real wood sock blockers, so when I found out that Loopy Ewe was selling theirs one at a time, I jumped. I got all three sizes. I don't need a pair, so this was just right. I also got one of the plastic ones for good measure. They work great, folks! I have a little S-hook and I hang it overnight and they are dried and perfect by morning.

Another thing I've been wanting to try for a couple of years now is Twin Birch needles. I love that they are made by a craftsman with a small business in North Carolina. I bought some dpn's, a crochet hook, one each of their knitting needle pins and crochet hook pins, and the owner even made me two special sets of cable needles. (They are the little ones beneath the TBP tag.) I have been searching high and low for cable needles to use for sock and glove knitting. The ones already produced are both too long and too thick to easily use on small projects. I e-mailed Lisa at Twin Birch and she referred me to her husband Karl, the needle and hook crafsman. Well, what do you know, he made me some teeny-tiny needles that look like the nicest toothpicks you've ever seen, but that will be perfect for socks and gloves! I haven't been able to use them yet, because (gasp) I'm not working any cables at the moment. However, my next post will probably report on their fantasticness. Tune in! Thank you, Lisa and Karl!
And now I leave you with this shot of my present project. I will be spending today and the rest of the weekend knocking out a Mairi Zip Hoodie with the new Cascade Yarns Greenland, 100% Merino Superwash in color 3508. I am getting perfect worsted weight gauge with this fine, smooth, sturdy yarn. I think this yarn would be perfect for all outerwear, blankets, pillows, kid wear, etc. I am going to wash a swatch and see what happens. Stay tuned to that, too.
Oh, and if you are anywhere near Burien in the next couple of weeks, stop by The Yarn Stash and see the Figheadh trunk show. There 26 items there on display. Also, the lovely ladies there would love to have you!
P.S. Thanks to everyone at the Yarn Stash for the fun class last Sunday. Fred and I loved being there. We look forward to the next class day on February 24!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

New Designs & New Shops

Howdy Folks! It's way past time for me to show you the rest of the new stuff we released two months ago! It's been a little crazy around here--good crazy, but still.

First, here's my infamous Ravelry ID pic (I'm jenhagan there if you're on--look me up!) This is the Treehugger Mitts & Headband (obviously). It's done in the Jewel Cross-Rib stitch from the second Barbara Walker Treasury. I love this stitch! It's so much fun to execute, especially on these fingerless mitts and headband. You do the headband first, which familiarizes you with the stitch pattern, and then you're ready for the mitts.
Here's a pic of my tester Sue's pair on her daughter Kaity. Both samples are worked in Cascade 220 Superwash, which is the perfect yarn for the Treehuggers. So soft and comfy.

I think these mitts would be great for guys, too. They're not dainty, but look kinda Medieval gauntletty to me.

Next up, the Lace & Lattice Socks in Universal Yarns Pace. These socks start with a lace cuff top and morph into an easy knit/purl lattice stitch for the rest of the sock. The lattice goes down into the heel flap and out onto the wedge toe. The pattern has charts and written instructions for each part of the sock--from top to toe.

Even better, here is my tester Tracey's sock in Socka. Love the blue and love her socks. These socks have a dual personality--dainty surprise at the top of standard-looking diamond-enhanced fabric. The Mist Drops stitch pattern is also in BW's Second Treasury and is a super fun stitch. I learned the sl 1, k1, p2sso maneuver on these socks, with Tracey's help. My testers are great--they teach me stuff all the time!

The last new design is my Fedora Scarf & Socks, appropriately pictured with Fred's Fedora. I made this sample with Lorna's Laces Pewter Shepherd Sock and the scarf in their Shepherd Sport. They both feature the Garter & Rib Checks stitch, but the different yarns produce a different effect. It's an easy stitch with a beautiful result. Great for a guy, because it's not fussy.

Another of my great testers, Andrea, made her set in Lorna's, too, but in the Navy for the socks and Blackwatch for the Scarf. We both made them for our guys.

But wait, there's more! We've got a pile of new shops I haven't told you about. For those of you who got my first wonky, then corrected newsletter this weekend, sorry I clogged up your e-mail boxes with that, and you've already learned about all of this I'm telling you. If you don't know what I'm talking about and you would like for me to send you my newsletter, send your e-mail addy to and would love to send!

New Shops!

5633 California Ave. SW
Seattle, WA 98316
Phone: 206-935-2010

1314 South Grand Blvd. #1
Spokane, WA 99202
Phone (local): 509-455-8213
(toll free):877-455-YARN

216 West Main St.
Mesa, AZ 85201
Phone: 480-969-4346

635 South Broadway St.
Boulder, CO 80305
Phone: 303-494-1071

527 E. 4th St.
Loveland, CO 80537
Phone: 970-613-0556527

624 E. Lincoln Ave. # 102
Steamboat Springs, CO 80487
Phone: 970-879-9090

1401 Commercial Street
Bellingham, WA 98225
Phone: 360-738-0167

2302 First Avenue
Seattle, WA 98121
Phone (local): 206-443-0727
(toll free):866-443-0727

706 South First Street
Mount Vernon, WA 98273
Phone: 360-336-5202

1815 N 45th St., #215
Seattle, WA 98103
Phone: 206-547-5384

11585 S. Highland Drive
Sandy, UT 84092
Phone: 801-433-8846

You can always check for info about all our shops on our retailers page, which helps you to locate Figheadh Yarnworks patterns at these fine shops, which is the very best way to buy patterns--the yarn to make them is right there, too! Go and see them if you are in the area.

Thanks for stopping by, and don't forget to say hi (i.e. make a comment, why doncha?)

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Sierra Club and Our Green Man

Our Figheadh Yarnworks logo has just recently undergone a transformation, thanks to the artistic talents of Cindy Moore, The Fitter Knitter! Isn't he gorgeous! A little backstory--I found a little man in George Bain's Celtic Art that supposedly is seen on a stone in Meigle, a Scottish town "situated at the extreme eastern borders of Perthshire, bounded by the rivers Isla and Dean and by the Sidlaw Hills and the mighty Grampian range." (I quote the town's site.) I transformed this merman into a Figheadh man by giving him a fig head and fig leaf feet. He used to look like this, complete with my Celtic border.

You will still see the old Figheadh Man about, but I like the clean lines and simplicity of the new one. He's also now usable in Web format, unlike the old hand-drawn art.

So, in celebration of our new and improved Figheadh Man, I want to make an announcement. If you would like to help us donate to the Sierra Club and get the Figheadh Man out to play, please have a look at our Cafe Press Shop. You'll see that I have affixed Mr. Figheadh to everything from dog T-shirts to coffee mugs, and many of them don't even say "Figheadh Yarnworks," so it wouldn't have to be such blatant advertising!

From now on, for every product purchased in the Cafe Press Figheadh Yarnworks store, all proceeds will go directly to the Sierra Club. In case you aren't familiar with this, here is what they do

"Your support will help the Sierra Club continue its efforts to:
Protect Wild Places and Endangered Species
Fight Pollution in our Water and Air
Ensure a Clean Energy Future
Solve Global Warming
Keep the Pressure on Politicians and Corporations to Ensure Safe and Healthy Communities"

(courtesy Sierra Club Web site)

Thanks for your help in donating to this worthy organization! Have a great day!

Thursday, January 17, 2008


What's with all the letters? Well, they represent some things I've been so busy with the past four months that I haven't had time to post! Let me explain a bit....okay, a lot.

I became an associate member (aka aspiring professional) of the Association of Knitwear Designers in December 2003, then the Professional Knitwear Designers Guild or PKDG. This is a group of knitting and crochet designers which early in 2006 changed its name to AKD. I was inspired to join because of the impressive array of talent that I saw there and wanted to benefit from networking with other designers and learning to build my business and hone my craft. I decided to request a mentor, and I was paired with Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer of Heartstrings FiberArts. Boy, did I get lucky! She's the absolute best. She has been so generous with me and given me loads of great business and design advice, as well as just being there when I needed to rant. It makes all the difference when you have other people who do exactly what you do on a daily basis to compare notes with and to learn from.

Well, lo and behold, this last fall, just when I was applying to move up to pro level with AKD, the organization underwent an entire restructuring and became a corporation. This meant electing officers, as opposed to having an Executive Committee. Next thing you know I'm being asked if I would consent to being nominated for one of the three Director-at-Large spots, I said yes, boom, I'm elected, boom, I got my approval to be pro, boom, my business starts taking off. It's been crazy.

Now, to bring in the TNNA thing, I'll point you to Clara Parkes' report, which kinda says it all (and won't take up so much room here :-). Yes, this past weekend we had a blast at the TNNA Winter Trade Show. I had the pleasure of traveling and attending with my good friend and business associate, Sonya Acord of Yorkshire Yarns of Lakewood, WA. One service that we AKD members provide is to help yarn companies display their new yarns by knitting and crocheting swatches. Barry Klein at Trendsetter Yarns coordinates all the yarns and sends it to us participating AKD members. We each indicate how many yarns we are willing to test out. We get the yarns, we make a swatch, and we send them, labeled, back to Barry, and they end up on this wall.

This wall is amazing! As for the swatches, sometimes you'll see the traditional squares, rectangles, and circles, but sometimes the swatch will take the form of little sweaters, socks, etc. It's fun to see what everyone comes up with. What did I come up with?

Well, I requested only two yarns, because I knew this was all I could feasibly fit in. I received Obi, an organic superwash wool from The Great Adirondack Yarn Company and Bamboozle, a bamboo, cotton, elastic blend from Crystal Palace Yarns. Here's what I did with them.

(Please excuse the light.) I chose to make little top-down sweaters, because I am working up a class on this topic. The swatch on the left is the organic wool sample, of course, and is a little turtleneck with a braid cable down the front and deep 1/1 rib edges. The swatch on the right is the bamboo blend and is a little girl's top with seed stitch edges and a twist-stitch lattice area on the chest. This was so much fun! I only had enough left over of the wool to make a little brooch (I worked a single crochet triangle and affixed a leather backing and pin), but I had enough left over of the Bamboozle to make a toe-up baby sock and a little top-down dolly hat. I can't believe that I forgot to take pictures of the other little goodies, but I was working on those during the last week before the show and just ran out of time. I gave the extra goodies to the folks in each of their respective yarn company booths at the show. If you see these yarns in your LYS, get some and try it! They are both really good yarns and fun to work with.

In the pic on top you see the little Bamboozle sweater with the other yarns and swatches at the Crystal Palace area, and in the bottom pic way in back up high is the little turtleneck with the other Great Adirondack swatches. This also gives you more of a closeup view of how the wall works. TNNA also provided notebooks with all of the yarns listed alphabetically by company, with a spot to tape in a little strand of each yarn. On the tables in front of each yarn company's display lay hunks of these strands, and you just take one and tape it in. Like so....
To wrap it up, this trip was worth it in so many ways. I got to meet wonderful people, eyeball beautiful yarns and notions, and I even took Melissa Leapman's class (thanks Knit Sisters for the post since I forgot to take pics and it was just like this!) on sweater shaping and Margaret Fisher's class on teaching. I loved both classes and learned a whole bunch! I had a very fun talk with Kim Werker of Interweave Crochet and another with the great and wonderful Clara Parkes, aka Queen Bee at Knitter's Review. The very best part was getting to meet a whole gaggle of talented designers and talk with each about what they do. The next show is in June in Columbus and we plan to exhibit. Whole 'nother story to come!
Here's a pic of my loot from this show. Looks like Christmas morning, doesn't it? Yarn from a few nice companies just for stopping by and chatting, needles from others, and even some color cards and magazines.

Now, off to do some knitting and crocheting, of course! Thanks for visiting!