Sunday, March 23, 2014

Knitting for a Friend

A knitter's instinct when they hear bad news about someone is often to knit them something comforting. Maybe it's because it has the dual effect of comforting both the knitter and hopefully the recipient. Maybe it's our need to feel like we are doing something to help. Whatever the reason, you tell a knitter bad news and most of them will at least have the thought of "I should make them something," even if they don't follow through.

I recently received the bad news that one of my friends was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. She's a grandmother who should be getting excited about her latest grandchild-to-be and looking forward to retiring in a few years and playing with her grandkids. Instead, she spent the holidays getting a tumor removed and trying to figure out when she should start chemo. When she told me, I spent about an hour thinking that this must be the worst practical joke ever before it sunk in that she was serious.

Then my knitter's instinct kicked in and I started to think about what I could make for her. Hats are popular for chemo patients, but she was never a fan of hats, so I wouldn't even know what type she might like. I couldn't see her using fingerless gloves or needing a scarf, and larger objects are too cost prohibitive. Eventually, I decided on a shawl.

The idea of a shawl appealed to me for a few reasons: she has always been religious, so a prayer shawl would be appreciated (the idea being that the item is imbued with good prayers for the recipient), and she has always had issues with regulating her body temperature, which will only be made worse by chemo. The unlike a cardigan or a sweater that might get in the way of an IV, a shawl is easy to get on and off in most circumstances and it is easier to adjust them.

So, I started to think of a design and I came up with this:

Originally, I had thought to put a Celtic cross on it, but every time I tried, I thought of a headstone. So I decided to use cables that reminded me of crosses instead. I also used machine washable yarn (Cotton Ease Seaspray), so that she doesn't have to worry about washing it.

I admit that this project was probably more to comfort me than it was to comfort her. Sort of my way of giving her a long distance hug.

I don't know if I'll publish the pattern for this one. I might, but as a shawl and a blanket pattern. It would feel weird to profit from this pattern.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Fairy Glen now available!

After months of testing, my Fairy Glen stole is now available!

It is available for $6, and includes both written and charted instructions.

I might release the Paris Night hat later today, it depends on if I can convince my sister to model for me.

Also, here's a sneak peak on what will be available for next winter:my Raspberry Sherbert hat.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Blackberry Leaves now available!

My Blackberry Leaves scarf/wrap is now available. You can get it here on ravelry: The cost is $4.00. It includes both charted and written instructions.

February promises to be a busy month for pattern releases. Next week, I will be releasing my Paris Night Hat:

 It is sized for baby, toddler, child, adult woman, and adult man, and also includes both written and charted instructions. The cost will be either $3.00 or $3.50, I haven't decided yet.

And then, the  week after that, I will be releasing my Fairy Glen Stole:

It also includes both written and charted instructions. It will be available for $6.00.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Knitting

As you might expect, most of the Christmas gifts I give tend to be handknitted, while many of the gifts I receive tend to be knitting related. This year, my favorite knitting related gift was a dress form that I can use to display my finished objects. So I get to use it for the first time as well as show off the Christmas presents I made this year, which I freely admit I am proud of mainly because I knit them all in just over 2 weeks. Not bad, considering it took over 1.2 miles of yarn to knit it all.

So the first present I started was a stole for my mom. I had ordered the yarn from Knit Picks during their big sale, then had to wait for it to arrive, so I didn't start it until the 7th. It was easily the most frustrating of the projects, since I designed it myself and discovered after I was roughly at the half way point that I had accidentally inserted a column of knit stitches into one of the charts so that it wouldn't match up with any of the others and had to rip it all out:

Started a bit later but worked at the same time since my dad doesn't usually notice what I knit and I could work on it while sitting with the rest of my family was my dad's scarf. He didn't have a good scarf, just this ratty thing he found in the closet, so I made him one to match the hat I made for him earlier this year. It's too long for the mannequin (7 feet, since my dad is about 6'4"), so I'll add one of him wearing it Christmas morning once my mom sends it to me. 

After I finished Mom's gift, I needed a girl gift for the family gift exchange on Christmas Eve. We have to bring a generic $30 gift for our gender, then we pick numbers and choose a present to unwrap in that order, although you can also steal something someone else you can open. I decided to use up some stash yarn and a spare tube of seed beads and knit a wide scarf (could be worn as a stole). Lace is pretty quick since it stretches out so much, so it only took a few days.  My mom drew number 1, the best number since she gets to pick first and has a chance to steal at the end if she wants, and knew what was in mine (she had seen it on my blocking mat), so she picked it and no one bothered to take it from her. 

 The last present was a basic 1x1 ribbed scarf for my brother Sean to match a hat I gave him earlier this year. I stayed up until about 2 am on Christmas Eve night to finish it, so I didn't get any pictures before he left, so I'll have to post one from Christmas morning once those are up.

I mentioned that I finally got a good picture of my Drum Beat cowl, so here it is:

Saturday, November 23, 2013

So I talked my mom into modeling...

With some pretty good final results.

I just finished writing/knitting the companion piece to my Venetia hat,  Venetia's Cowl (though I really should think of something more creative to call it- Florence, maybe?). So I asked my mom if she would be willing to model for me, since modeling anything myself can get complicated. Imagine trying to arrange everything, model, and usually take the photos at the same time. Yeah, tends to take a couple (dozen) tries to get anything decent.

Anyway, when Mom saw the hat and cowl sitting on the dresser, she tried it on and so I asked her if she would be willing to model. She wasn't exactly thrilled with the suggestion, but she was happy enough when I suggested she wear them shopping this evening. Granted, it was about 20 degrees, so warmth might have been a factor.

Then I just kept taking photos as we went.

Here's one in the popcorn shop:

Then I tried when we were walking:
Did I mention that I get my fidgeting from her? We don't stand still very well. So candid shots were out. So I asked her to stand by the lights:
Not bad, but she was pretty clearly uncomfortable.
But we got there eventually:

The pattern/ebook will be available in December. It will be $3.50 on its own, and will also be sold as an ebook with the hat pattern for $5.00.

As a bonus, here is a picture of the cowl while it is blocking so you can see the cables better:
PS: if you have any ideas for a better name, please let me know...

Friday, November 1, 2013

25% Off Sale as Part of the Indie Design Gift-A-Long

From now through November 15th, many of the independent designers on Ravelry will be holding a 25% off sale to begin the Christmas season to coincide with KALs/CALs, giveaways, and other prizes. For a complete list of the participating designers and patterns, visit the Ravelry group:  Many of the participating patterns will have a golden tag on the first picture saying giftalong.Also in the group, you will find a link to pinterest boards that are organized by pattern types if you want to search that way.

I have chosen to include all of my own paid patterns in the sale (and am still working on adding the tags).  Just enter the coupon code: giftalong and you will receive 25% off all of my patterns. The code is also good for any other participating designers (so you might want to enter it at check out, even if you aren't sure that they are participating).

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Adventures in Double Knitting

I decided to take a break from my larger projects since I am getting to the point of having to force myself to work on them, and knit, you guessed it, a hat. I'll admit that I probably own way too many hats at this point, half of which I don't even wear, but, oh well, I enjoy making them. Some people make dishcloths when they need a break, I knit hats. I have been considering signing up for some craft shows next year to get rid of the excess of FOs.

I've been wanting to try double knitting for a while now, but I never got around to it and, except for a blanket, I hadn't seen any pattern that I truly wanted to knit. Plus, searching for a pattern is a bit annoying, since many people tend to use the label double knitting when they mean the yarn weight rather than the technique.

 So, when it started to snow before Halloween, reminding me rather painfully of last year's Christmas tree cutting trip, I decided to create my own pattern. It wasn't a terribly complicated pattern, but I'm happy with the results.

Here is Side A:

Here is Side B:

Not the best photos, since I still need to block it and I took it indoors at night, but you can at least see the general idea.  The hat itself isn't perfect. You can actually see an error on Side B if you look closely, but it isn't too bad for a first attempt.

I'm thinking about making matching mittens, since I have 1 1/2 skeins of each color left in my stash still.

I'm also thinking that next time I try double knitting, I might try making it with two different patterns, just to mix things up.