Thursday, August 7, 2014

Never not custom. Or, I always know best.

I've got a nasty habit.

I can't for the life of me follow a pattern without making *some* kind of changes. Sometimes it's just one or two minor shifts; adjusting for size, colour change, tweaking a motif, you know.

Interestingly, I also find that I will almost without fail, re-chart the patterns I work from. If there's no chart, you can be sure I'll sit down and chart out the pattern. Often if there is a chart, I will copy it down into my chart notebook, which has a nicely sized grid that makes it much easier to read the chart from a distance, as I find they can be quite small and tough on the eyes as printed. Sure I could just scan or copy the page and then enlarge it, but that doesn't solve all my problems.


You see, I know better than anyone else. Not about *everything*, no. But when it comes to my knitting? Yeah, I know best. Particularly when it comes to charted patterns (lace, especially particularly), I have a certain set of chart symbols to which I adhere nigh-religiously. They make sense to me. I have found that they make sense to most other knitters as well, and they are by and large quite close to the "standard" symbol sets used by most designers.

I really find it quite a time-saver to take a few minutes and re-chart the charts. I don't waste time thinking "oh, what does *this* symbol mean in this pattern again?" I can glance at my larger than average charts, quickly find my place, and knit on without having to waste any time or thought on interpreting the pattern. Occasionally I will forgo this, if the charts are quite minimal, or nicely printed, or happen to use my preferred symbols.


In this particular pattern... I need not name names, the choice in symbols is somewhat baffling. This particular chart is also quite large, so I ended up drafting it in Excel, and printing it on a larger sheet of paper, so as to avoid cutting and pasting, or breaking it up across multiple lines.

Speaking of this pattern, I'm down to the final chart (and yes, I've modified it... more beads!).
16 rows to go.
Currently 800 sts/row, and growing rapidly.

Hate to break it to you, but the full finished photoset for this one probably won't go live until next September, as it's a very, very, very, extremely special project.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

The re-roll...

I wasn't totally pleased with my finishing work the first time around, so I decided to reblock this project. This is also further proof that my blocking wires are one of the best investments I've ever made (with regards to me knitting). If you often need to block straight lines, or any lace, they are invaluable, they will save you time and frustration, and bring your finishing to a higher, professional level.


 Now, these are the clean, crisp lines I had in mind!



Every angle has some great new texture and lines to get lost in.


I can't wait to be able to share this project with you all, I know you're going to love it.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Small details

Ends woven in, blocking done in record time (should maybe have taken more time in fact to avoid scalloping, oops...)


Coming along nicely, I think.


Sunday, July 6, 2014

No work, no play

It's all fun and games until someone has to weave in all the ends...


On a completely unrelated note, I love Habu, but man their quality control sucks.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

What's in your bug out bag?

We all have our essential knitting items, our favourite notions. I keep some reliable workhorse items close to hand in my main knitting bag at all times, and I usually only take notions with me if I know I will need them.

But you say, what about going on vacation, or if you're not entirely sure what you will need while you're out teaching, or just for emergencies (yes, we all know that knitting emergencies are real). Well, for those situations, I have my bug out bag. This bag has pretty much everything I need notions-wise to cover almost anything that I might need to deal with. This bag remains fully stocked at all times, and always stays in one place in my home, so that it can be ready at a moment's notice. People often ask what essential tools they need to get when starting out, and this makes for a pretty good list for that as well.

Let me show you what's in my bag.

BugOutBag25 copy

The bag: I have starting using this Long Pouch from Splityarn, and I love it. It really is the perfect size for my essentials, but she offers several other sizes (I also use her Box Bags to hold projects).

BugOutBag19 copy

Clockwise-ish, from top left:
Darning needles (two sizes) and case
Thread snips
Business cards
Stitch markers (two kinds) and case
Needle gauge/ruler
Crochet hook
Double pointed needle
Stitch holder

BugOutBag21 copy

Top to bottom:

Notebook: I like this little softcover moleskine. It's grid-ruled, which I prefer, and while on the small size, it fits well in the bag and it still great for taking notes (I prefer larger pads for proper pattern design).

Darning needles: Nothing special, just a large and a small blunt darning needle. You could include a pointed one, but I find my need for them is minimal. The case was custom made for me by a friend, but there are plenty of alternatives.

Stitch holder: Vintage-style stitch holder, not strictly necessary as some light/mid weight mercerized cotton works just as well. (note to self: add in some mercerized cotton)

Pencil: I like mechanical pencils, but your mileage may vary. I do recommend a pencil over a pen as it probably won't burst and leak ink everywhere.

Double pointed needle: I don't work with DPNs, but I always keep a small (2-3.5 mm) DPN handy for picking up dropped stitches, miscellaneous repairs and as a general poking device. I think this one is rosewood, and was part of a set that a customer returned because they managed to break one of the five needles.

Crochet hook: This is a smallish rosewood crochet hook, but really anything will work. I'd say pick the size based on the size of yarn you typically work with.

BugOutBag23 copy

Top to bottom:

Thread snips: These are some Clover Thread Clippers which I like because they are simple, and look nice. Any small embroidery needle is fine, but ideally find a set with a case - you don't want sharps poking around in your bag.

Business cards: Always keep a few on hand! I got mine from and I love them. Highly recommend.

Stitch markers: I keep two types, removable and non-removable. These fancy ones are from Fringe Supply Co. and I really like them (they are a great resource for bespoke tools). More often than not I just use paperclips or cheap plastic markers, but this is my posh travel kit, so I can show off. The leather case is nice to keep everything in order.

Needle gauge/ruler: Simple old gauge, but there are nicer options out there (I'd like a wooden model, personally). A longer soft measuring tape could be useful as well, but I haven't found it to be a necessity on the road.

So, what's in your bug out bag?

Oh, also, I'm baaaaaaack!

Friday, November 23, 2012

In which I am unBEARably cute.

Oh so many things going on this week!
The baby blanket is done and will be gifted this week. I'm planning to release it as a pattern, so you know, you'll probably see that coming in a few years, with my track record.
Best Bear Baby Blanket... Bever?
We got some really cute crewel kits in at work from Wool & Hoop. I'm making 'China Blue No 2' (mostly because it's the only one we got that isn't orange and pink, which soooo don't go in our house), and it reminds me of those wicked spirograph toys I had as a kid, and would kill to get my hands on again...
I am also working on a really nifty easy scarf design that when done will be another Urban Yarns free pattern. It's done with four skeins of Koigu (I'm doing mine in two colours), and the single hardest thing I have done all week was deciding on the colours - we have like 50 or 60 colours at work, and oh man is that overwhelming! Can you guess the stitch?
As usual, progress on the long terms projects is... progressing.
Over and out!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

In which a few things happen

First off, that pink blanket from my last post just got cuter! I've chosen some Liberty fabric for the lining, which will be a first for me, so send me good sewing luck? Baby Blanket And in other news, I have a new design out! We've started to launch a line of patterns at work, and I have designed and knit a toque for the first submission. More information can be had right here. Basic Men's Toque

Friday, November 2, 2012

In which I have irons in many fires

It's been a busy few weeks over here! Knitting season is getting into full swing, so lots of busy days and lots of classes at Urban Yarns (and lots more to come, hopefully!)

All that aside, I'm still diligently knitting away. I have cast on for the Shetland Shawl Dress.

Shetland Shawl Dress

Shetland Shawl Dress

And I am about to cast on for what I am hoping will become a convertible Baby Bunting Bag/Blanket. I am planning to release this as a new design, provided it all comes together.

Baby Bunting Bag

In other news, I am stepping up my game at work and will be contributing to the store blog starting next week, so check us out there for some different content. I am also attempting to marshal some Urban Yarns patterns, the first of which is this ever-so-straightforward toque. The pattern is nearly done and I promise to post a link to the Ravelry page as soon as possible.

Basic Men's Toque

And finally I would like to mention that there are many more photos of my ongoing projects over on flickr. You should be able to click on any of the photos above and peruse all the others there.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

In which I knit another cowl

If cowls aren't the hot item this season, I don't know what is. They're quick, easy (or hard if you like), take less yarn than a scarf, and of course are very trendy.

One favourite at work is the Honey Cowl from Madelinetosh. In fact, I just finished knitting my second one.

Honey Cowl

This one was knit in Tosh Sport, in the Jade colourway. I cast on an extra 10 stitches. The fabric is particularly drapey - a bit more open and looser than expected, but it is just fantastic when all is said and done.

Honey Cowl

Oh, and did I mention the colour? Just fantastic.

Honey Cowl

Honey Cowl

Thursday, October 4, 2012

In which I am ever so slightly obsessive

Have you ever had a moment of true realization? A moment where something happens or someone says something and you just stop and go 'Ah' and acknowledge a deep truth about yourself?

Well I had one of these moments just now, when I picked up a copy of 'Cast On, Bind Off: 211 Ways to Begin and End Your Knitting'. To say I got ever so slightly over excited would be an apt description. To say I grinned like an idiot while clutching it to my chest would be an honest description.

As they say, knowledge is power, and apparently I want to know ALL the things (at least when it comes to knitting - my ignorance elsewhere is highly prized).

Additionally, I have had one or two requests for the Regency Era Shawl pattern. As stated, it is an original design. I am willing to format and publish it if there is enough interest. So let me know if you're interested here or on Ravelry, and pass it on to friends who may be interested as well - it's a large project that I'm willing to tackle if I know there is enough demand out there!