Friday, November 22, 2019

Figheadh Pattern Updates: Round One

Some of my Figheadh patterns are now 14 years old, most have only had a minor tweak or two, and so I decided that before I released any more new patterns, I should gloss up the old ones. I've learned a whole lot in the past 14 years (still learning!) and I need to put more of that into the older patterns so that they can be as good as the newer ones. It also helps me sleep better at night. Once I've done a pattern update, it makes me smile even bigger when someone buys that better pattern.

Here's a list of the updated patterns so far, with links:

(my first sweater pattern!)

Whew! That's 18 patterns and one collection updated since June. My tech editor and I have been busy! That's not all, folks. I plan to at least add new charts and better language to almost all the patterns published between 2005 and about 2015. Some of these are already updated and a few of the others left to go have had/will have new sizing and more instruction, which is why they sometimes need new tech editing. Hats off to Tracey Davidson, who's been working with me for the whole 14 years--first as a test knitter, and then later as a tech editor.
She's the best!

Wow, that's two posts in a row with no pictures.
I'll remedy that next time!

Friday, October 04, 2019

I'm back!

I feel I owe you an explanation for all the silence, dear blog, so here's a post that I started earlier this year. I'll add more at the bottom....

"Before it gets to be a whole year since I last posted, which I am aghast about, I want to breathe life back into this space. Thank you for your patience. Actually, if you're like me, you won't have noticed much that I haven't posted in so long. We are all so distracted. Which leads me to the chunk of this post.

For the past couple of years I have been highly distracted by our life changes. We sold our house in Tacoma, WA, after calling it home for fifteen years, moved into an apartment in the same town, then moved to my mom's house in North Carolina where Fred found a job in Greensboro in just a couple of months, so we moved to an apartment here to be near his job, and in about six weeks we will move into a new house here in town! Well, it's new to us. We don't much like "new" houses. This one was built in 1969, which is just great with us.

Anyway, all that change of domiciles has had me quite jangled. I am a Cancer, after all, so my home life is extremely important and Fred's the same. Another thing that disrupted my flow was the recently-discovered-by-me fact that in my adult life I have changed vocations about every ten years. First I was a singer/vocal instructor/mom, then a high school teacher/mom, and then a knitwear designer. I'm still a mom, but I no longer have to take care of my children as part of my job. They've been doing that for about 17 years now, some for longer, since I have 38-, 36-, and 34-year-old daughters now (two of them with their own children).

That ten-year-career-change thing? Well, I passed it with the knitwear designer job in 2015. That was just before we started getting our house in Tacoma ready to sell. My seemingly in-born desire to restructure my life every ten years came at about the same time that life threw me into turmoil anyway, so my designing took a back seat. At times I wondered if I even wanted to keep doing it. I never stopped knitting and crocheting, though. The love has stayed with me.

Flash forward to 14 years into this last occupation and I find my self wanting to revive the whole darn thing. I have ideas for other pursuits, some related to knitwear design, but I want to keep up maintenance of my two pattern lines and to keep bringing new ideas into the world. There are never too many!

I can't wrap up this post without talking about other distractions, ones we all have. When I started my business back in 2005, I knew nothing of Facebook, there was no Ravelry, no Instagram, no Pinterest, and certainly no Twitter (which I have never joined anyhow). Heck, we still barely went online and we still got our news from the physical newspaper that was thrown onto our front stoop every morning. So hard to imagine now, only 14 years later. I admit to spending way, way too much time on my phone every morning, scrolling and scrolling. One of my determinations is to return to a life with much less of this. I appreciate all these online treasures, especially Ravelry, but I need to return to a life away from the internet. I'll admit that the day I got on Instagram was the day my blog posting took a nosedive. It also stopped me reading other blogs. I want that to change.

I spent an hour or so this morning clearing out my favorites list of blogs, finding that many had been stalled for much longer than mine and some had been closed. I can certainly understand. It's hard to tear ourselves away from the endless onslaught of information and imagery too easily available to us online these days. We can use the excuse that it is inspiring, as I have for years. To be honest, it really mostly just inspires me to keep scrolling, not to do much of my own creating. For that we need to get outside, go to museums, contemplate, drag out our materials and try things, meet with other creative types, etc. None of those things involve screen time. So I must limit that screen time and get back to making words and making pretty (and sometimes ugly) things.

I'll be back! And it'll be quick this time."

And months and months later...well, I meant it to be quick and then we moved and then we had a new house to get in order and then I got to work on a new pattern and then I got to work on updating older patterns and here we are. The Whalsay Gansey Pullover is published, 19 Figheadh patterns have been updated, and I am busily working on lots more updates. Next post, I'll let you know which patterns have gotten makeovers and provide links in case you want to see for yourself.

I hope I'm back for real. I missed this blog.

Have a hopeful, peaceful day!

Thursday, October 03, 2019

Whalsay Gansey Pullover

We have a new pattern--the Whalsay Gansey Pullover! My sweet husband Fred consented to modeling for me. He looks great in the Whalsay, right?

Whalsay Pullover in Cascade 220

I love Ganseys, so I added one to the Figheadh men's sweater group. I kept this one pretty simple so that new Gansey knitters wouldn't feel intimidated. It has basic drop-shoulder style and underarm gussets.

Whalsay in progress

I think underarm gussets are the best invention! They remove all the fussiness from that underarm join and they make the sweater comfortable for your armpits. Ha! Just craft a little diamond shape at the armpit by increasing as you knit the lower body and then decreasing as you knit the sleeve. 

The lower body is knit in the round, the upper body pieces are knit flat, the shoulders are seamed with 3-needle bind-off, and the sleeves are picked up and knit down from the armhole. Then the collar is knit in the round from the neck hole.

It's knit with worsted weight yarn with lots of Stockinette stitch, so the going is easy and fast. The upper body is embellished with simple cables and knit/purl stitches to give it a bit of Gansey/Guernsey flair! You'll see images of flags, ropes, winding paths, and ladders as a nod to the life of fishermen of the British Isles beginning in the 19th century, from whence the design of this type of garment came. All the edges are done with traditional 2/2 rib for good fit and the neck is big enough for wearing a collared shirt beneath.

The Whalsay is sized from finished chest of 33.5" to 56" in a range of 12 sizes. As with all our men's garments, I think of them as unisex, so anyone can wear it. A couple of my testers made them for themselves, and all my testers were women. 

Speaking of testers, I'll be back to show you the testers' Whalsays!

This project was given yarn support from Cascade Yarns. I so enjoyed knitting the sample in Cascade 220 Heathers in this beautiful blue, color #9332.

I hope you'll knit one for yourself or someone you love.

Keep on knitting!