March 20, 2015

Field Trip

When I finished my placemats, I asked Debbie (the owner of the LYS where I work) where she gets her cotton for weaving.  She told me about Pasa Yarns in Uxbridge.  She gave me fair warning their hours are not regular so I should call and ask first.

I called Pasa Yarns and asked the man who answered the phone what the hours were for Thursday (yesterday).  His answer was "our hours are when I am here".  I laughed and he said around 9-4 or 5 but he runs out for the mail around 10am.

So yesterday I printed out directions (I have a not so smart phone and my GPS is from the previous century I think) and headed to Uxbridge.  I drove through the town of Milford which had some charming buildings - I loved their town hall.  The sun was glistening off the dome - here are some pictures I found of it.

Then after a bit I hit Uxbridge and had to guess at a few turns as the streets were not marked.  I came across the Pasa Yarns building which is in an old mill.

When Debbie told me it was a yarn store I expected a traditional yarn store with the addition of cones of cotton available.  As I walked up the creaky old stairs of a building (I asked and learned was rebuilt after a fire in 1844), I began to suspect this was not what I expected.  Here's what I saw when I entered.  Nope,  this was not your average yarn shopping expedition.

There was a woman working in the back of the room - she was operating this skein winding matching.  I was totally fascinated.  Poor thing had rough, raw hands from the particular fiber she was winding that day - we decided it was the metallic thread running through it.

After rummaging around and consulting with the owner on the correct weight for my placemats, I picked out 6 cones.  The cost was $3/lb...I had 7lbs...I paid $21.75 for all this yarn!  What a productive field trip!

I can't wait to warp my loom!

March 17, 2015

Sometimes I Feel So Clever

My loom was sitting in the corner calling to me so I pulled it out and warped it with some Classic Elite Seedling I had intended for placemats.  I put in some stripes on the warp which I then also did on the weft.

I purchased a rotary cutter so the fringe would be even and straight (40% off at JoAnn Fabrics too!).

Here they are in their glory - I am feeling very clever and so proud of my new skill of hemstitching.  I need to make more of these.  This set is for my parents who are treating me to a trip to visit them next month.

March 14, 2015

One of the Perks

When you work in a yarn store, there are certain perks...working with fibery goodness, seeing yarns as they come out, etc.  This month's perk has been on my calendar for ages - Norah Gaughan is doing a farewell tour with her 16th Berroco book and sweater samples.  I was asked if I would like to work the night she was visiting my LYS - silly question, of course I would (and I had marked the date on my calendar ages ago).

It was a fun evening and we had a chance to chat before the doors opened to customers (and fans).  On my way to the store I called my knitting sister and told her she was the only one in our family who would understand the import of the evening...she got it.  I considered going all "fan girl" and bringing in my Norah Gaughan Volumes 1 and 3 (3 is the best!) and Knitting Nature but held back and decided to just enjoy meeting her.

Norah was talking about how her Kaari pattern that was free for a limited time went viral (even though it was from Volume 1 and had been out for ages).  This lead to my telling her about my Boxing Day Mittens experiment.

I had the chance to peruse the Vol 16 collection which was in a range of blues.  One of the items I thought was a capelet - turns out it was a skirt.  Another woman thought the same thing and put it on that way - guess what?  It is an amazing capelet and creative minds were flying on what yarns to use, how to make it a bit bigger, etc.  I'm now thinking I need to design a capelet.

A few photos from the night - the one of the two ladies smiling for the camera is Andra Asars (our Berroco rep) with Norah.  Andra is amazing - she is full of energy, creativity and a passion for her job.

March 10, 2015

Bellini Cowl

After a bit of working (and ripping out), I finished the cowl that uses both Classic Elite Sanibel and Santorini.  I went through my usual name struggle and was giving it the working name of Two Sans Cowl (SANibel and SANtorini).  Then I called it the SanSan Cowl for two minutes.  Finally, I focused on the end of each name SaniBEL and SantorINI and named it Bellini Cowl.

This photo isn't the greatest (iPad) but it gives you an idea of how it looks with the solid and variegated yarns.  I decided since it was a collaboration and adaptation that I wouldn't put it for sale on Ravelry.  Instead, it is at my LYS as a pattern you get when you purchase the yarn.

Yesterday I cast on a new design for the Greater Boston Yarn Crawl - I've been asked to do a shawl for the crawl.  I'm using Malabrigo Sock and having a wonderful time.

March 6, 2015

New Yarn - New Ideas

This past Tuesday while I was working at my LYS, a box of Classic Elite yarns came into the store.  In it was a new yarn called Santorini.  It's basically a variegated version of Sanibel.  One of the more popular patterns at the store is a free one using 2 skeins of Sanibel.

So the LYS owner, Debbie, and I got to thinking of how to use this new yarn and Sanibel to create another cowl.

We picked these colors and I went home and started knitting.

I have a finished product I'm calling Two Sans Cowl (SANibel and SANtorini).  I have to run it by Debbie and we'll discuss if it is a free pattern or not.  I love new yarns leading to new ideas.

February 28, 2015

It's Magic!

A while back I posted about the Magic Cake technique of using up your odds and ends of yarn.  The LYS where I work had a few people ask about it so we offered up a few one day workshops.  I had my first workshop yesterday with one of my Wednesday afternoon students who is new to knitting.  She didn't have a lot of her own yarn but as you might recall I have a HUGE bag of yarn.

My sole student (this was a test drive for the future workshops) wanted a shawlette to go with a brown sweater she owns.  So I dug into the bag and came up with these colors.

And after working the Double Knot technique and with the ball winder look what we did!  Isn't it beautiful!??

February 26, 2015

Big and Bulky

I'm sorry I've been quiet lately - my knitting mojo is off (a tangent of me being off and struggling right now but I'll get through it).

When my knitting mojo is off, I need fast projects.  I knit a lot of items for sale in my LYS - hats, baby items, cowls, etc.  I try to use stash or on sale yarn as we all know no matter what you don't get paid for what your time is worth when you sell hand knits.

Recently, my LYS put Bergere de France Recyclaine on sale.  Quite frankly I'm surprised this yarn didn't sell well as it is big and bulky and perfect for fast projects.  I got a few skeins and decided to whip up some hats - Bohemian and Really Warm Hat.

I have been struggling with a new design with a new yarn from Berroco called Indigo - love the yarn, have an idea in my head, having great trouble translating it to needles.  I've already ripped it out twice.  It is in a time out.

I think I might need to do some weaving for a little while...

February 11, 2015

With Time to Spare

Thanks to the ton of snow and snow days we've been having, I was able to hunker down and finish my son's sweater.  I had set a deadline of last Sunday as we were going to visit him to take him out for an early birthday lunch (his bday is 2/10).  It was done by Friday.

Well, the weather may have helped my knitting but it didn't help our travel plans.  My husband and daughter ended up on the road on Saturday and I stayed home as I was teaching a workshop.  It was not easy being left behind and not seeing our son to celebrate his birthday.

The sweater was wrapped up and among his gifts and I left our daughter with specific directions to take a photo of him wearing it NO MATTER WHAT.  As I was teaching class, this photo arrived via email.  It warmed my heart - it fits him perfectly.  Had I been there I would have straightened out the right sleeve, adjusted the neckline and perhaps had a better background setting...but beggars can't be choosers.  Someday I'll get a better photo...also had to share one of him when he was two.

Towards the end of my class, my cell phone rang and I quickly answered it...he called to thank me for his sweater.  Makes a mom's heart sing.

January 29, 2015

I Think I Can, I Think I Can

Our son has finally acquiesced and allowed me to knit him a sweater.  He came to the LYS when they had their year end sale and picked out Berroco Vintage as he loves his blanket made with the same yarn.  He then selected Hugo by Veronik Avery after I showed him other versions with a crew neck.

I must say I love this pattern - I have it memorized and have been plugging away at it thanks to a snowstorm!

Now the question is will I have it done by February 8th - no pressure but we will be seeing our son for his birthday (the 10th) that day.  Wouldn't it be amazing if I could have it done by then?  No pressure.

I know it looks tiny but I know from the blanket it will block beautifully.

January 24, 2015

Cabled Foot Cozies

The other day while working at my LYS, I had an idea to rework a pattern I had done last year.  I was looking at the lovely bins of yarn and the Berroco Vintage Chunky was calling out to me to whip up this pattern and release it.  I picked a light color in a fun springy green (called Kiwi) so the cables would show up when I photographed it.

Presenting Cabled Foot Cozies - they are knit flat and work up very quickly.  As my daughter tried them on she commented "Oh, these are nice!".  That always lets me know I've done well.

I have another design (or two) brewing in my head - Berroco has a new yarn called Indigo.  I just had to work with it.  Stay tuned!

January 18, 2015

It Finally Has A Name

Thank you to those who put in names - I also put it on a group I'm in on Ravelry and they threw their hats into the ring (pardon the pun).  Sadly, most of the names have been taken.  I always search names on Ravelry as it can cause problems if two patterns have the same name.  I learned this with my Boxing Day Mittens which I had originally planned on calling Merry Mittens.  There are other Merry Mittens - it turned out okay as I prefer Boxing Day Mittens after all

So, when in doubt I go to Italian words - the Italian word for hat is "cappello".  So this hat is called Cappello.  It uses one skein of Berroco Inca Tweed and has a broken slipped stitch pattern that flows from the ribbing - it has a bit of slouch and it is very warm.

This pattern has been ready for weeks - it just needed a name and a decent photo shoot with my "model" who was not happy reshooting a few times (the Boxing Day Mittens were also part of the reshoot).

January 11, 2015

I Need Your Help

So, I designed this hat a few weeks has been languishing on my kitchen table in limbo.  There are two reasons for this - my first photo shoot with the model wasn't doing the hat any justice.  I have to reshoot it and hope to do so today.

The other problem is I don't have a name.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, I look to several things for inspiration in naming my patterns.  As I was thinking of names, I researched Incan words (this hat is made with Berroco Inca Tweed), I looked at names with the word "tweed", I thought about where I live and what landmarks are around, etc.  I've come up empty handed.

So, I'm asking for your help - any suggestions on a name for this hat?  The pattern is ready and once I photograph it again I'm ready to go...just needing inspiration for a name.

January 2, 2015

Learning Curve

As I mentioned a few posts ago, I fell down the rabbit hole and got a table loom.

No sooner than I got it, it was warped and I was weaving.  In a few days I had my first FO, a scarf.  I learned a lot with this scarf - most importantly I don't need to beat the hell out of it as it will be far too tight and stiff.

I had fun with the striping and I like how it looks - it just is too stiff.

So, I took another skein of Cascade 220 I had in deep stash and went to my LYS and picked out 2 skeins of Noro Silk Garden.  I used the same color way but ran two shuttles so it would have a sort of striped effect.  I didn't beat it as hard and let the colors do their thing.  It kind of was like potato chip knitting - I kept weaving to see what the colors would do next. 

Here's my setup - amazing what tools you use when you need them - Rolling Rock kept the light table from moving under the tension of the warping.

From the very beginning, I could see the difference in how a gentle beat gave the wonderful fabric I needed.

Here it is finished - it is a long scarf and I gave it a shorter fringe than my first one.  I think it looks fantastic!

December 31, 2014

What A Productive Year!

For the past few years when I've looked back at my knitting.  Sometimes I would review some of my favorite knits.  As my regular readers know, I have used my blog to pour my heart out when life isn't how I expect it as last year's post and the year before show.  I could do that again this year as life hasn't been kind at times but instead I'll look at other things to focus on.

I also used to look at the button on my blog about how many yards I knit via Knitmeter dot com.  I took that button off this past year as I wasn't recording how many yards I knit - it was too time consuming.  In 2012, I knit over 18,000 yards and in 2011 it was over 20,000 yards.

So, this year I will start a new way of measuring my year in knitting - how many designs I released.  I'm not going to count the Knit 123 patterns - let's forget about that interesting bump in the road (for which I am still owed a ton in designing fees - note that ValuPublishing is not model for doing business right).

So, on my own, I've released 17 patterns this year!  The first one in 2014 was The Hat in the Hat and the last one of 2014 was my Boxing Day Mittens.  I produced 8 hat patterns, 3 cowl patterns, 2 mitten patterns, 1 mitt pattern, 1 scarf pattern, 1 Christmas decoration pattern, and 1 necklace pattern (with Debbie Smith).  What cracks me up about this list is I used to hate knitting hats - I always worried they wouldn't fit.  Guess I got over that hurdle!?

My favorites include:
Bay Head Hat

Just One More Scarf
Ready For College

Railroad Track Mittens
Beantown Beanie

I can't wait to see what next year brings from a designing point...I feel as if a little door has opened in my creativity and I look forward to where it leads.

Goodbye were good to me from a knitting standpoint.  Hopefully 2015 will continue to be good when it comes to knitting and for the rest of life, you could stand a little improvement - please be kinder to my family.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!  Happy Knitting 2015!

December 29, 2014

15 Minutes of Fame

Wow, I'm posting 3 days in a row!  I had to follow up on my Boxing Day Mittens experiment.  Yesterday the pattern slowly slipped down the ranks and this morning it is on page 2 - clearly, my 15 minutes of fame are over.

That being said, the experiment was a huge success - we all know free is good and on Ravelry it seems to mean a lot too.

I promised to share how I promote my patterns when they come out...hopefully, this will help anyone who is a budding designer.

I always post my patterns on Facebook once they are released.  I also have them for sale on Craftsy.  I have a Pinterest account that includes a board of my designs and my new patterns go up there too.

There are also many ways to promote your patterns on Ravelry without buying ad space.  When you have a project of your new pattern you can share it with any groups you belong to.  This will have a picture of your FO pop up on the group.  I've joined several groups of interest that apply to my designs - such as, hat and mitten groups, yarn manufacturer groups, etc.

Often yarn manufacturer groups (Berroco, Cascade) have a discussion thread about sharing independent designs - I tend to post my patterns there as well.  Sometimes interest groups have a similar discussion thread.

Lastly, I listen to podcasts.  If there is a contest on a podcast, I will contact them and donate a pattern or two as a prize.  While this hasn't resulted in lots of sales, you get your name and patterns mentioned on a podcast and it helps bring your efforts to the attention of a different audience.

Okay, enough of that...there is more but I won't bore you.  If you want more info, feel free to PM me or post a question in the comments.

Next post I promise will have knitting on it - my LYS had a sale and I purchased yarn for my daughter and my son is finally letting me knit a sweater for him.  He insisted on Berroco Vintage which is what I used for his college blanket - he loves how soft it is!