Thursday, March 26, 2015

Up Ahead

So the huge project I've been working on since August is getting close to wrapping up. I am so excited to rest for a bit and make something for myself! Unfortunately, I'm still deep in the depths of pattern writing/editing/formatting so I really can't allow myself to fall too deep into the Ravelry rabbit hole looking for new patterns. Are there any new ones that have caught your eye?

Even though I'm dying for some selfish knitting, my brain won't stop working. I keep swatching and thinking about all the fun designs I could knit up now that I have more time on my hands (or at least what seems like more time).

This week I was able to attend a really inspiring conference for work. The speaker described people as walkers, joggers, or runners. I couldn't decide what kind of person I was until just this moment when I typed the last few lines. I'm a runner. Runners go at everything full speed. They consistently have a full plate and when something is removed from their plate, they add something new. Oh my gosh! That's what I'm sitting here typing about doing! 

And yes, I have more plan for bigger things to come this fall! Things that will include many new patterns by some really lovely designers. Yes, I keep my plate full. But stick around because some fun things are coming up!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Sunshine and Honey Cowl

If you are a newsletter subscriber, you may already know this, but I have a new pattern in the April issue of the new magazine I Like KnittingSunshine and Honey Cowl!

This cowl is knit in the round in a tube, then seamed to the cast on edge. This is not a provisional cast on. This is seaming live stitches to a cast on edge (don't worry, a tutorial for this is coming soon). The colorwork is broken up with blocks of solid color. It's a fun and quick knit, great for using up a couple skeins of special yarn. 

Speaking of special yarn, I used Sunshine Yarns Merino Sport in the colorways Hive and Natural for this project. I used a bit more than one skein of the Natural colorway (about 1.2 skeins) which is a little inconvenient. However, Dani from Sunshine Yarns will be offering kits for this project in the fall when the pattern is re-released for individual sale. That's right, a pattern of mine will be in a kit! I feel so fancy just typing that :)

Anyway, until then you can check out I Like Knitting (they have subscriptions starting at under $20 for 6 issues) or you can just hang on until September and queue it up on Ravelry in the meantime!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Sockupied Spring 2015 Review

I love a good pair of hand knit socks and normally knit a few pairs each year. Last year however, was a sock dry spell and I am on a mission to remedy that this year. That's why when I saw the opportunity to review the Spring 2015 issue of Sockupied I jumped at the chance. 

I have never purchased Socupied before, but love the new PDF format. I tend to be a mixed bag when it comes to downloading patterns. From my laptop, to iPad, to phone, or Kindle, this format makes it perfect to get anywhere.

Karner Butterfly Socks

Let me start with what I love the most, the photography. I thought the photos were not only beautiful but did a really excellent job at maintaining a lovely and relaxed feeling. And there was even a dog! The colors chosen for the socks were varied and really maintained interest even though the photos were all shot in the same location (inside a house). The overall aesthetic really feels like spring! Especially considering they probably photographed these in December.

I really appreciate that there was a variety of yarns chosen to feature the samples in. Yarns were Opal, Fibernymphs, Huckleberry Knits, Lorna's Laces, and Anzula. I haven't used all of these yarns, only a few (and have a couple hidden away in my stash too) but I still like the diversity. I'm not always a fan of when books/magazines do all the yarn from one company since I feel like it makes it more difficult for me to substitute. 

Laith Socks

My favorite feature was the designer profile. I love hearing about how designers got started, their process, and advice they have for knitters. The profile this issue was on Rachel Coopey. I would have liked to see a bit more information on her, as much of what was shared was in bullet points. Her design for the issue was simple, but not boring. The socks have loads of texture and visual interest. 

Washington State Knee Socks

This issue included a pattern for knee socks. Along with the pattern was an in-depth tutorial on sizing knee socks. I (having never knit knee socks) sort of assumed you just measure your leg and boom, knee socks. However, the article gave a lot of good advice which involves adjusting gauge and ease for your knee socks. 

Chain Socks

Two patterns were my absolute favorite; Chain Socks by Mone Drager and Mill Ends Socks by MK Nance. Chain Socks is a fantastic pattern to use with variegated yarn. I will be honest: I mostly hate variegated yarn. HOWEVER, I think the use of the slipped stitches in this pattern does a lovely job of breaking up color pools and variegation. Mill Ends Socks uses the movement of stitches to show of the gorgeous colors in hand-dyed yarns. The stitches move in varying direction across the sock. This pattern is simple but so unique. 

Mill Ends Socks

One thing I would like to see in future issues is a wider variety of sizes. Some socks came in five different foot circumferences and lengths, while a couple only had three or fewer sizes. While I am on the small footed end of things, I have friends and my sister-in-law who have much larger feet. So a consitently wider variety between sizes would suit more people. 

The pattern was written in the style common to Interweave Knits and Knitscene. In this way pattern instructions are blocked together based on the portion you are working on (i.e, all the heel directions in one paragraph). This is not my favorite way to follow or write a pattern. I find it visually overwhelming, but that's just my personal preference. 

Before I leave you to make your own decisions about Sockupied let me leave you with this, at $11.99, that is about $2 per pattern. A steal! 

Overall, I'm very excited to cast on Mill Ends Socks as my 2015 socks. I have the perfect skein of Anzula Squishy in my stash.While this was my first Sockupied, I doubt it will be my last. 

Check out the patterns in Sockupied and tell me, do you have a favorite?

Full disclosure: While I was given a review copy for this post, all ideas and opinions are my own. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

On Self-Doubt

I hesitated to share this here today because who doesn't prefer light-hearted knitting photos (raises hand)? But this is real life, so here it is. I had a real struggle with self-doubt this weekend. Self-doubt is the worst kind of doubt because as much as you push it aside, it creeps in, whispers what you're not good at, and keeps at the whispering until you start to buy in too. 

I know I've alluded to a large design related project I've been working on lately. Well, it's coming to a rapid close. And yet here I am, at the eleventh hour ripping out button bands and deconstructing a sweater I paid a sample knitter to knit because I am so overwhelmed with this project/my job/being a mom/simply not feeding my family cereal every night. Not because there was an error. Oh no. I've had the pleasure of working with some amazing sample knitters recently. They've asked questions, checked numbers, ripped and reknit when needed and turned out full size men's sweaters in less than 4 weeks. Amazing. No. I'm ripping and deconstructing because at the second photo shoot for this project, the model tried on the sweater and it looked awful. Not like bad knitting awful, like I couldn't put my finger on just why it looked so ugly. 

Those buttons were attached to that pile of yarn about 10 minutes prior. 

After talking with the photographer about why it was so ugly I decided there were a couple of problems. The buttons didn't look quite right with the overall vision of the sweater, and there were also too many and they were too small. This meant button bands needed to be reworked. That's not too big of a problem in the overall picture. I also decided that the sleeve cap didn't fit quite right into the armhole and it was too tight near the cuff, so you know what that means, rip rip rip. 

This used to be a sleeve.

After the final decisions (the shoulders just sucked) I said if worst came to worst it would need to be a different color. But hopefully that's not the case. 

So I spent yesterday asking why on Earth I thought I could manage taking on a huge project like this?! Who did I think I was? Will all my other projects fail now? I can't design this kind of sweater (even though I have), I'm just not good enough yet. I'm going to fail at this project. I countered by telling myself I had to trust the process (what all graduate students need to tell themselves so, you know, I know all about that) and that I absolutely could do this. I knew it would be hard. So here's the hard. 

And it sucked. I'm mostly a pretty confident person. But from time to time, the self-doubt pops up and I buy in. I let myself kind of wallow in it yesterday. I called my mom who had a great answer to each of those "why did I think I could do this" questions. And then today I got to it. I have washed the yarn, and will reskein in the morning. I've pulled out my designing resources and reworked the sleeve cap shaping. And tomorrow I'll get back to knitting.

By the way - the winner of the giveaway is comment #2.

Congratulations! I've contacted the winner via Ravelry so check your inboxes!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


I finished the little hat I was working on for D a few weeks ago. I made a few mods since I was using a heavier weight yarn called for (these are listed on my Ravelry project page, linked at the end). I keep trying to get a pic of him wearing it but he doesn't ever really want to. Call it being 2, or maybe it does really itch, but he's just not into it these days. 

Either way, this little hat has already been on adventures. The first day he wore his new hat to the babysitter's happened to be a day my husband picked him up. The hat was misplaced somehow and when it was time to go home it couldn't be found. My husband told me that they sent it home with another kid. The sitter told me it was just hidden and that my husband told her "my wife will be really mad if that hat is lost." I probably wouldn't have been "really mad", maybe only just annoyed. Hats and gloves get lost all the time around these parts. When they're worn every day it's bound to happen.  But I still think it's funny he is becoming protective of the handknits I make!

After knitting D that hat, I am getting the itch to cast on for a hat of my own. It'll probably be something simple, maybe using the Knitbot pattern I used recently. I'll be using this gorgeous skein of cormo wool I purchased from the Wooful Mercantile. It is amazingly soft and I can't wait to start knitting with it!

Needles: US 5
Began: January 31
Completed: February 2

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Interweave Knits Spring 2015 Giveaway!

School is closed again today for intense cold, not snow, which isn't nearly as fun since this generally means you're housebound during the day. However, I was thinking about how much I LOVE my Mitered Crosses blanket and how much use this blanket has gotten over this winter alone. 

But I didn't come here today to complain about the cold, I came here today to give you a chance to win a copy of the Interweave Knits Spring 2015 issue!

Yes, this is the one that my Timetable Pullover is in, but I have two copies so why not share one?
To enter just leave a comment below with your Rav name and I'll choose someone by Random Number Generator on Friday, February 27th. Good luck!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

On the Weather

I've lived in Ohio now for the better part of seven years and while I tend to still find the snow and winter highly magical, February gets me every time. February in California is spring time. Flower blossoms, warm breezes, and driving with the top down. Here we are knee deep (quite literally) in snow and ice and pretty much the coldest part of the winter. It's hard to believe that we will ever be warm again. 

Being cooped up inside, I've been working on a two-color brioche cowl (free pattern from the Purl Bee) that was for a class I taught at my LYS. While I had planned to get the cowl done by the end of the class, I've been having some fairly severe hand pain that kept me from knitting a few weeks ago. So now I'm back at it and about halfway done. 

Being cooped up also means toddler problems. I happen to have a pretty active 2 year-old who has the energy of 10 men most days and this weather is not really conducive to going outside. We did venture out this morning for about 10 minutes before the wind was too much (that was also before the wind was -8, it was still a balmy 27 with a windchill of 17 then). The fresh air helps, but I notice tantrums flare up immensely on days like this. 

We made a trip to Target tonight for some much needed supplies (I wish everyone could have seen my cart stuck in the snow while I tried to get back to my car!) and picked up some craft supplies. D enjoyed painting after dinner and moved from using the brush to using a dinosaur to paint tracks. 

Ideas on keeping your toddler engaged during house-bound times? We've done indoor basketball, indoor slides, we have a huge sensory pool inside right now filled with plastic balls (yes, like Chuck E Cheese), we do snow sensory tables, painting, play dough. Nothing is quite enough for a full weekend when what we really need is some sunshine and fresh air.