August 28, 2015

Last Modeling Session

Tomorrow we take my "in house model" to college - she's off to NYU.  I admit I have mixed feelings as I am so very excited for her but I will miss her company, her inspiration to my designing, and of course her modeling skills!

So, we had our last modeling session for two new cowls that are for Cobblestone Designs.  The first one is called Elm Bank and was designed by my business partner, Debbie Smith.  It uses Malabrigo Rasta and is squishy, warm and lovely.  Perfect gift knitting project!





The other cowl, Watchtower Cowl,  was designed by me for the Greater Boston Yarn Crawl which is September 17-20.  I used Plymouth Galway Worsted in two colors and an interesting garter slip stitch pattern.  This pattern is for sale on Ravelry but if you do the Greater Boston Yarn Crawl it will be free during the crawl at Iron Horse in Natick, MA.






So that's it for now - I don't know who will model my next design.  I'm tempted to mail them to her and have a friend who is into photography get some great NYC shots.  Then I might not get the item back so easily.  I also might recruit one of her friends who is still in high school.  Time will tell.  I can tell you this though - I'm going to miss my model!

August 22, 2015

I Just Love Baby Knits

Shortly after we got back from our trip to Italy, I got an invitation to a baby shower for my husband's niece.  She is due with her second - a boy.  I went into panic mode thinking I only had 3 weeks before the shower and since I couldn't make it (college move in day for our daughter), I knew I had to build in mailing time too.

I have no idea why I panicked - baby knits are fast, fun and totally satisfying!  I just love them!

I chose Baby Sophisticate which I have made before.  I had some Berroco Weekend in my stash and since the shower and the baby's room are nautical themes - I made it with stripes and put on little sailboat buttons.

Adorable!  Don't you just love baby knits?




August 18, 2015

Empty Nest = Taking On More

In a week and a half, my in house model and youngest child, heads off to NYU.  Her brother is home for a few days more and then he heads off to his new school (transfer student), Bentley University.  All that means I will be having an empty nest.

So, in trying to keep myself busy, and after talking at length with my god sister, I have signed on as in independent consultant for Rodan + Fields.  These uniquely effective skincare products are designed by two of the most respected dermatologists in the country with a legacy of delivering on what they promise. I believe that using Rodan + Fields is as close as you can get to visiting a dermatologist … without an appointment.

I just started using the Redefine regimen and have my husband using the Soothe regimen and in a few days we both are amazed at the way our skin looks and feels.  So, here's your chance to discover this wonderful product line - check out my website, email me, leave a comment.  I'd love to share it with you.



August 10, 2015

My Intentions Were Good


My daughter and I have just returned from a magical trip to Florence with my parents.  We spent 9 days there (2 in Chianti in Greve at my cousin's - Villa Rignana) and words can't begin to tell you how perfect it all was (except for maybe the heat and the crowds).

I had all sorts of good intentions as it relates to knitting.  I packed 3 projects.  I worked on one for my LYS yarn club on the flight over.  I took it to my cousin's villa (she loved the placemats) and worked on it poolside only to find I had done it wrong so I ripped it out.

Don't you love the look of shock on non-knitter's faces when you rip out a project?  They gasp and exclaim "what are you doing?!"  My cousin kept saying she felt so bad for me - heck it wasn't a whole sweater or anything - just a little cowl.  I was only halfway through.

The other two projects went untouched - in fact, aside from the poolside knitting I didn't touch my needles again until the flight home.

My other good intention was to visit a yarn store in Florence.  I had done my homework and found the one I wanted to go to.  When we returned to Florence from the villa, it was August 1st.  I went online to look up the address and wouldn't you know the store closes for the entire month of August.  Well, there went that plan.

Instead I saw some amazing sites, had wonderful family time, enjoyed my daughter with her last few weeks before going to college - all good stuff.  So, here are a few photo collages I put together so you could see what kept me from my knitting.

I have a thing for ceilings - always looking up.

Various sites around Florence - the right hand one is the view from my Aunt's house in Galluzo.
These are frescos by Fra Angelico from The Museo San Mateo.

La Famiglia

My cousin's villa where we spent two nights - glorious!


July 23, 2015

Busy, busy, busy

I have been quiet because I've been busy...busy getting ready to go on a trip.  This past winter my dad emailed me a flight itinerary and suggested my daughter and I join him and my mom on a trip to Florence.  Quite frankly, it got me through this winter, spring, and lots of ups and downs knowing that for 10 days I would be with my girl before going to college and my dear parents who I never get to see often enough.

As I have mentioned in my bits about how I name patterns, I have an Italian heritage on my dad's side.  My aunt, her 2 daughters, and their children all live in Florence.  I last saw my aunt in 1994 on my honeymoon.  My daughter has never met her or my Italian cousins.

We will be staying at one cousin's villa for two nights.  She usually has it rented out to guests and while we are there she has invited us for the two nights no one is there.  I decided to weave her a set of placemats as a thank you gift.  I picked the log cabin pattern and set to work on July 9th.

Warping for log cabin takes a bit of organization and patience.  You have to keep the warp threads in coordinated clumps for when you pull them through the heddle.  I love how the pink bows look on the warp.


I loved how it was looking from the start - it is an addictive weave.


Here's how they look all done - they came off the loom on July 22.  I was busy - busy weaving!



Here they are all ready to pack and present to my cousin, Alessandra, as a hostess gift.


The placemats I made for my friend, Jane, were presented to her over 4th of July weekend.  She was so excited for them and asked how long they took to make.  All I could say is "they are a gift of love".  Isn't that true about anything you make for someone?  Time doesn't matter, effort doesn't matter that much - the love matters.  

The other thing I am making with love is for my mom.  When she saw my Tahiti Before and After Scarf, she said she loved the color.  So I cast on and am almost done making her the exact same scarf.  I had envisioned she could use it to dress up an outfit while in Florence.  Well, Florence is in a horrible heat wave (102 for a few days and in the upper 90s now).  It will go to Florence but I don't think it will be worn.  It's the love that matters.

I probably won't post remotely - I'll try.  I have my knitting packed.  Do you overpack knitting projects like I do?

July 11, 2015

Sconset Wrap

Cobblestone Designs has another new pattern - this one is quite fun.  Sconset Wrap (named after Sconset Beach on Nantucket) is a versatile wrap uses cleverly placed buttons to allow you to have several clothing options.  It uses 2 skeins of Jaggerspun Zephyr held double (there is some confusion on Ravelry about this yarn but the skeins I used had about 1200 yards each).

Button along one edge and you have an asymmetrical poncho.



Shift it around and it works a whole other way.




Button it another way and you have a fabulous shrug.





Or forget the buttons all together and wrap it around your shoulders or wear it like a scarf.



How will you wear your Sconset Wrap?

July 8, 2015

Not A Stitch

This past 4th of July weekend, we drove to NJ very early Thursday morning.  As usual, I find this to be excellent knitting time of 4 1/2 hours in the car.  I worked on my Custom Fit Cushing Isle cardigan which has been in a bit of hibernation.

Upon our arrival, all knitting stopped.  Seriously, it hit me on Sunday afternoon I did not knit a single stitch all weekend.  Anyone who knows me would think something was drastically wrong.

What did I do?  I hit the beach and I read.  I read A LOT!  About a book a day.  Nothing worth reporting on as they were trashy beach reads.  I have to admit it felt great.  Knitting has cut into my reading (even though I can knit and read) and it was good to just read and read.

We got back in the car Monday morning and thanks to my DH for driving so I could resume what I do best and most - KNIT.  I am almost done with the fronts of my cardigan and then onto the sleeves.

The other thing that did not happen last weekend was my model had a friend down for the weekend.  I have two designs waiting to release and they are in limbo as we never had a photo shoot on the beach.  I think a field trip into Boston tomorrow will get them all done.

My happy place to read when I'm not on the beach.  Comfy chair, glass of wine and a good book.

July 1, 2015

Got To Love A Shout Out

A few weeks ago I got a Ravelry message from Tonia Berry speaking on behalf of Classic Elite Yarns.  They have a weekly newsletter and every now and then they highlight indie designers who use their yarns.  She had noticed my Just One More Scarf pattern which uses Classic Elite Bella Lino and asked if she could include it in the newsletter.

I'm sure you can imagine how quickly I said yes.  Well, I waited and waited and then yesterday afternoon I opened my gmail and found this!



That photo on the right is my design!  There it was - issue 401 of their newsletter with my scarf in it.  Made my day!  Isn't it nice when you get a shout out?

I have a few more designs going on - photo shoot this weekend with releases happening soon.  Stay tuned!

June 25, 2015

Knitting News Website

When I take my morning walk, I have podcasts on my iPod and I listen to them and think and design patterns in my head and sometimes even learn things.

Yesterday's walk was spent listening to Yarn Thing podcast with Marlybird.  I listen to this quite a bit as it comes out twice a week and I love the contests she offers at the end.  The episode I was listening to was with Cathy Carron and Carolyn Noyes.  They have started a knitting news website called KnitCliks.


Sometimes when I'm walking I wish I had an iPhone as I would have been clicking onto the site immediately but I had to wait til I got back home (maybe it is a good thing as I walk faster when I want to get home to explore what I've listened to and learned about).

The website has an option for a newsletter - yup, sign me up.  It had a series of short articles with hyperlinks - some of the headings are "Knitters In The Know", "Fashion Flash", "This Just In", and "Free Pattern Find".



I found a cool cast on technique in yesterday's issue and went online to find it today and it wasn't there as the website had already been updated.  So, I emailed Carolyn and asked for the link to the cast on technique and half expected to hear from her in a few days.  No, within the hour I had my answer and an explanation that she hopes to archive previous "issues".

So, check it out - well worth  your time!

June 22, 2015

"Mom, You're Taking Over The House!"

Two weeks ago I decided to warp my loom again for a set of 6 placemats.  To do this I had to set up the kitchen table so that the warp ran through a doorway to the warping peg on the kitchen counter.  Our kitchen is set up so you can walk directly into the family room and this path was disrupted by my warping efforts.

When my daughter wanted to go into the family room from the kitchen she said "Mom, you are taking over the house!"  My response was to deal with it and if she needed to go into the family room she could do the limbo under my warp.

I've gotten to the point if it is a solid color warp I can bang it out much quicker than I did the very first time I warped so my "taking over the house" didn't last too long.

For this set of placemats I focused on the stitch pattern I loved in my last set of placemats.


I decided to make the whole mat out of this texture.  I also learned that the edging wasn't as neat as I would like so I made sure I had an edge stitch worth of warping on either side.  It was an "up down" pick up so I did "down up" ending with a "down" that way the edge was consistent.

I chose two shades of blue and realized halfway through they would look fantastic in my friend's kitchen at the Jersey Shore.  She is definitely weave-worthy and so they will head her way over 4th of July weekend.  






June 20, 2015

RAOK Pattern Winners

I have so loved all your comments on my RAOK post.  Some of my favorites include:
  • "In my opinion, any act of kindness is good for the soul, for the giver, and for the receiver."
  • "Kindness is such an overlooked virtue in today's "grab and go" world that I am always happy to hear stories that it still exists!" 
  • "I always do my best to help someone in any way I can. It makes me happy to see other people happy."
  • "RAOKs are a perfect way to may the giver and receiver feel fantastic. It's my favourite thing to do, pay for parking or a coffee for the next in line."
Thank you all!  I went to the handy random number generator and the winners are:

#5  - Goodfruit
#6 - Knittingdancer

Funny but both of them have asked for a copy of my Tiffany Toque pattern!  Goodfruit, I need your Ravelry name!

Thank you all for your comments and for participating.  Now it is your turn to do a RAOK and pay it forward.



June 10, 2015

RAOK

RAOK - Random Acts of Kindness.  Yesterday I was the recipient of a RAOK.

Every Tuesday I work at my LYS from 10-2 then go home for a few hours and return to teach an evening class.  While I was home I started working on another set of placemats on my loom.  My daughter interrupted me to show me something on Facebook which kind of left me with a sucker punch to my gut (long story not worth going into).

As I drove back to the store, I was ruminating on the news I had read on FB and was hurting in my heart.  I walked into the store and the owner was there to teach a workshop.  She took one look at my face and asked if I was okay - you see I don't have a poker face.  I kind of wear all my emotions all over my face.  So I told her the tale and decided to move on - isn't it amazing how sharing something takes the burden away?

Then she said someone had come into the store and anonymously purchased me a rigid heddle for my loom.  She handed me a 10 dpi heddle and said she was under strict orders not to reveal the identity of the donor.

After getting over the complete surprise of such a RAOK, I explained I had purchased one a few weeks ago and was in fact weaving with it right now.  Simple solution - switch it out for a 12.5 dpi heddle...now I have all the heddles to work with a variety of weight yarns!



My afternoon/evening went from hurting and heavy to feeling cared for and loved.  Kindness is such an important thing.  It is simple and it means so much.  One of the graduation speeches at our daughter's graduation this past weekend was about kindness - it is ours to give and sometimes when you need it, it ours to receive.

So, anonymous donor, thank you.  Your kindness means more to me than you can imagine.  

With that in mind, I'd like to pay it forward.  (BTW if you haven't seen the movie, Pay It Forward, it is well worth your time).  Leave a comment with your Ravelry ID saying which of my designs you would like, and on June 20th I will draw 2 names to receive a gift of my pattern.

Lastly, if there is a little something kind you can do today for someone, just do it!



June 5, 2015

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!

After a few weeks of brainstorming, Debbie (spinningrn on Ravelry) and I have a big announcement. We are starting a collection of patterns called Cobblestone Designs.


Our mission statement:
We aim to bring you a range of patterns with classic, timeless qualities.  Should you purchase our patterns, you will always have access to any addendum we create for our patterns.  Our goal is to not only design using certain yarns but to also explore alternate yarn choices to keep the patterns fresh and new.

Our first design on Ravelry is Bellini Cowl.  This is a pattern I designed to for a new Classic Elite Yarn called Santorini.  I paired it with their Sanibel to create a cowl that shows off both yarns - it only calls for one skein of each.




We have a Ravelry group and a Facebook page - join them please!  And stay tuned as we are hoping to release another pattern in the next day or two.


June 3, 2015

Textured

After finishing my scarf, I immediately re-warped my loom for another set of placemats.  I consulted with a book on weaving how to use a pick up stick and work it to create texture.  Again I had a huge learning curve with this experience and am already planning the next set.


I used a 10 dpi heddle which I was worried was creating too open a we've.  Then after taking it off the loom and washing it, the fabric compacted nicely.

The one on the left is the "right" side but I decided I prefer the wrong side pattern.


I am envisioning a placemat of just this fabric and think I will reverse the colors so the background is white and the weft is green.  I also have two shades of blue which could work too.


Our daughter graduates this weekend and my mother in law arrives on Saturday - weaving will have to wait as we will need the kitchen table (my weaving spot) for the next few days.

June 2, 2015

Where Did May Go?

It is strange how some months fly by and others drag on and on.  For me, February is the longest month.  May seems to be the shortest.  This is the time of year with a flurry of activities - Memorial Day weekend, school stuff and for our family, high school graduation this coming weekend.

Of course the knitting and weaving continues - not a lot to show here but I did finish another scarf on my loom.





I warped it the same day I finished the scarf for another set of placemats using a 10dpi heddle.  I think I should have stuck with the 7.5 one but it is all part of the learning curve.

I'm working on a new design - this one is going to take a bit of time to knit as it is lace weight yarn but I'm holding it double.  Bad photo but just a hint so you can see.


After a few weeks of unseasonably warm weather, we have a few unseasonable cold days (45 degrees this morning).  So glad I can break out one of my spring sweaters that I didn't get many chances to wear this year.