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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: knitting, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 53
1. K is for Knitting in Vogue

Knitting in Vogue by Christina Probert, a collection of vintage knitting patterns from 1932 to 1979, is a keeper for a single reason: I live in hope.

In all the years I've owned the book, purchasing it in San Francisco and hauling it from one side of the country to the other more than once, I have only knitted one garment from the entire text. And that was a very easy 1950s ski sweater that didn't even have long sleeves. But I have plans, I tell you, plans.

One day when I'm not writing/painting/cooking/reading/sleeping,  I will make:

Thick Tri-colour Windjammer
Diagonal Pattern Shirt Blouse
Twisted Rib Sweater and Scarf (sounds a bit painful)
Shetland Honeycomb Pattern Sweater

And my absolute favorite: 

Butterfly and Moss Stitch Jacket

That's just for starters. I've got the book, I've got the needles, now all I need is the time. Anybody got some extra to spare? No, I didn't think so. Oh, well. See you on Monday with the letter "L." Happy weekend!

0 Comments on K is for Knitting in Vogue as of 4/12/2014 11:45:00 AM
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2. Sweaters for Penguins

The internet is all abuzz about knitting sweaters for penguins. Snopes.com first said it wasn't true, but now they're showing uncertainty. As a children's book illustrator, I can just use the story as a jumping off point for a sketch. Lucky me. What could be cuter than penguins in sweaters?

0 Comments on Sweaters for Penguins as of 3/7/2014 11:58:00 AM
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3. Knit Your Bit: A World War I Story by Deborah Hopkinson, illustrated by Steven Guarnaccia

When I was 10 years old, I was diligently knitting away at a mitten when I realized I had made a mistake.  Imagine my surprise when my dad sat down beside me, took my knitting and fixed my mistake.  Turns out, my dad knew how to knit rather well.*

So, I knew I wanted to read Knit Your Bit the moment I first heard about it.  The United States had entered World War I in April 1917, and lots of men rushed to enlist, leaving their families behind.  This is true for young Mikey, whose Pop is also a soldier and who has just shipped off to fight overseas in Europe.  Mikey is very frustrated that he has to stay home and can't do something big and important to help the war effort, too.  Nevertheless, he turns up his nose when his mother asks if he would like to learn to knit for the soldiers along with his sister.  Mikey turns the offer down, because, well, boys don't knit!

But when his teacher announces that there will be a three-day Knitting Bee in Central Park to make hats, socks and scarves for US servicemen overseas, Mikey is challenged by a girl to learn to knit and participate - boys against the girls.  And so it is settled - the Boys' Knitting Brigade vs. the Purl Girls.

The only problem is - knitting isn't quite as easy as the boys thought it would be.  Yet, they soon master knit, and then it is on to purl.  Mikey works on socks, friend Nick on a muffler and Dan works mostly on tangling and untangling his yarn.

The first day of the Knitting Bee finally arrives and there are lots of people participating - men, women, girls and, yes, even other boys.  And there's also lots of food, a band and before they all know it, it is time to cast on.

As Mikey does his best trying to knit a pair socks, he learns a mighty important lesson from a disabled soldier about what it really means to do something big and important to help the war effort and the brave soldiers overseas.  But who wins the challenge? The Boys' Knitting Brigade or the Purl Girls?

Knit Your Bit  is based on a three-day knitting bee held in Central Park in August 1918 and sponsored by the Navy League Comforts Committee.  It is a heartwarming story that might even bring a tear or two to your eyes.  Hopkinson has seamlessly woven in Mikey's story with this event to produce a wonderful story that shows that sometimes what counts it isn't how well you do something, rather what counts is doing something out of your comfort zone, doing your best and doing it in the right spirit.  Wonderfully humorous pen, ink and watercolor illustrations by Steven Guarnaccia add much to the enjoyment of Knit Your Bit.  The lines are clean and simple, yet delightfully expressive, and I really liked how they reflect the clothing of the period.

Hopeinson has provided lots of back matter including a Red Cross knitting poster from WWI, an Author's Note which you should be sure to read all about the real Knitting Bee and sources for more information.

Though this is a story that all will enjoy, sending gifts to loved ones fighting in a war is long held tradition and for that reason, I think Mikey's story will particularly  resonate for readers in today's world, especially those who have or know someone who has a relative deployed overseas.

This book is recommended for readers age 7+
This book was sent to me by the publisher as part of a Knit Your Bit Blog Tour.
For other stops on the blog tour, be sure to visit Deborah Hopkinson's blog.

And guess what?  You can still Knit Your Bit.
All you have to do is visit The National WWII Museum to download patterns and learn how to participate.  Your knitted scarves will be sent to veterans all over the country.

Want to know more?  HistoryLink.org has a wonderfully detailed essay on Knitting for Victory - World War I, complete with photographs, posters and even an ad.

I always like to look up these kinds of historical events in the New York Times and sure enough, here is the article announcing the results after three days of knitting:

*Oh, and my dad the knitter - poor guy was in his fifties when I was born, so yes, he knitted as a young boy for WWI.

4 Comments on Knit Your Bit: A World War I Story by Deborah Hopkinson, illustrated by Steven Guarnaccia, last added: 2/26/2013
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4. Botanical Knits

I recently finished working with Alana Dakos on her newest book, "Botanical Knits." The patterns are inspired from plants, trees, leaves, etc. I love the designs (as always when looking at Alana's stuff) and once again wish I had the physical dexterity to knit. 

Working with Alana (see also "Coastal Knits" and "Annie and the Swiss Cheese Scarf") is really great because there is a lot of room for exploration. For example, she gave me several photos of her knits...

...along with images that inspired her to create the patterns. Then essentially said, "here is what I created, now you create something." So I did.

If you have the book you could play a fun "Where's Waldo" trying to find where some of the illustrations ended up. The interesting thing for me is to see what made it into the book (of course not all do) and where. 

Alana also asked me to design the title. Always a fun challenge. She wanted something natural, rustic, with tall letters, almost like they are growing. So here are some examples I came up with.

But ultimately this style was the winner (see above cover).

Another interesting request was for the resource page. She knitted little leaves out of the fabric she used for the knits in the book, and used those as reference for where she got the yarn. Photos of the knitted leaves were eventually placed onto an illustration of a tree branch. You can get an idea for it from the color studies. You will have to buy the book to see how it all really comes together.  :)


Color Studies.

Final Illustration.

 That's it! Thanks for reading.

2 Comments on Botanical Knits, last added: 2/24/2013
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5. Wool









Ethel was always a little bit different than the other sheep.

0 Comments on Wool as of 2/16/2013 9:23:00 PM
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6. The Knit Spot (6)

The Knit Spot features characters spotted knitting in books.

This week we feature the "aunt farm" from 

I'm not certain if this is a picture book (a little scary and complex for that) or a graphic novel (maybe a graphic novelette?) but what I am sure of is that it's awesome and funny. I love these little "aunts" who knit and bake but never really farm. There's also another Aunt in the story who knits everything. I love it!

You can find Curiosities on Mike & Victoria's site, Extracurricular Activities.

1 Comments on The Knit Spot (6), last added: 2/10/2013
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7. Needles and Pins


Rilla found a Winky Cherry beginner sewing kit on the shelf—one of those things I’ve had stashed for ages and forgot we owned. I used to feel pangs of guilt over forgotten acquisitions, but they so often seem to turn up at exactly the right moment, such a nice surprise. She’s busily stitching away and I look forward to a menagerie of felt critters in the days ahead. Felt is the nicest thing for a beginner, don’t you think? For both sewing or embroidery. No hemming required, overstitch looks lovely, it’s stiff enough not to need an embroidery hoop (for small pieces, at least), and no matter what you do it always looks cozy and cheerful. I love Felt Wee Folk and Doodle Stitching for ideas.

I had all sorts of little stitchery projects going before Huck was born (a mere four years ago), but I put everything aside when he came along and haven’t returned to it since. (To my chagrin: I still owe a couple of quilt blocks to certain VERY UNDERSTANDING members of my virtual sewing circle, and I never even sent out my own fabric for them to magic into something wonderful. IT’S STILL ON MY LIST OF THINGS TO DO, THOUGH.) (I’m shouting at myself.)

We had planned to go to the zoo today to celebrate Beanie’s 12th (TWELFTH!!!!) birthday, but the rain foiled our plans. Perhaps next week. Among all the other delights of the zoo, I want to give Rilla and Huck a chance to pet a real sheep, feel the lanolin in its wool, for a little sheep-to-yarn rabbit trail I’ve planned for Rilla, who got knitting needles for Christmas. With pink cats on the ends! And how’s this for incentive to pick up my own needles: I was sent a KnitCrate package to review for my subscription-box series at GeekMom—it’s loverly. The two yarns they included are to swoon for. I’ll let you know when that post goes up, probably next week.

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8. Knitting cables

Its knitting season!

I've had a knitting shop on etsy for a while, which I haven't "worked" much. At all. In fact, I've emptied it out altogether more than once, and left it sitting there, abandoned, for long periods of time. 

But I have all this yarn. A lot of yarn. Seriously. I'm a yarnaholic. Some of you might like beads, or colored pencils, or fabric, or something else. You know what I'm talking about. Your 'thing' is on sale somewhere, and its calling out to you. You never need it, you just have to have it. 
Well, that's how I am with yarn.

Sometimes I just can't commit to doing a whole big project, like a shawl or big scarf even, because of time. So I've been trying to come up with something small I can make, that's fun and cool.

I love love love love cables, so starting playing with some ideas. How could I make a 'stand alone' piece of cabling, not attached to a sweater or something? Usually you see cabling done within a panel, with plainer stitches on either side. I wondered what would happen if I just isolated them. What would it look like? Sometimes you try these genius ideas and end up with a hot mess.  

But this time my idea worked. I actually started with a much more complicated braided piece, then edited it down to these simpler ones. And having it look like a bow tie was a happy accident! My intention was to make an accent pin - something you could wear for a pop of color or texture on a sweater or jacket. The larger ones just happen to look like a bow tie.

So I sewed a pin back to the back of each one, and voila! We have Cable Knit Bow Tie Pins and Mini Cable Knit Bow Pins.

It was fun to make the little cards to pin them to. Taking the pictures for the shop is never my favorite thing, but a necessary evil. (I always wonder about the people who do the pro photo shoots, with models and all. How on earth do they manage that?) So I do the best I can.

There are 25 new pieces in the shop, mostly all Fall-ish colors. Christmas and holiday ones are in the works. I hope to do some hair clips and other little goodies too. How cute would these be on pet collars? If you have an idea for one, or would like to commission me to make some for you, please let me know! 

1 Comments on Knitting cables, last added: 9/19/2012
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9. An interview, and thoughts about Fall

I'm very honored to be featured this week on the wonderful blog, Lobster and Canary.

Daniel Rabuzzi, the blog's author, emailed with all sorts of very flattering things to say about my Un-Still Life pieces, and asked if he could interview me. I blinked a few times and thought "Seriously? ME?" and then of course I said yes.

After you've read my interview, please take some time to peruse the rest of the blog, because its a treasure trove of really interesting art and creativity.
Thank you Daniel!

In other news - I've been knitting a lot, and am juuuust about ready to stock my etsy knitting shop with some new goodies for the Fall and Winter. Small, affordable cable-y things.

Hope you're all enjoying September. Its one of my favorite months, as the season changes back to cooler weather, and the anticipation of the holidays begins. Sweaters! Knitted woolies! Fall colors! Crunchy leaves! Stew! Picturebook kitty characters wearing Fall colored woolie sweaters, walking through crunchy leaves and eating stew! (OK, that will be the next thing on my drawing board.)

There's a lot on my 'to-do' list, so I've better get to it. Bye for now ~

1 Comments on An interview, and thoughts about Fall, last added: 9/11/2012
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I think the bad taste in my mouth is just about gone after that rejection of my (Olympic) Pretzel Rings art by Zazzle (see last post). Onto other,  non- unintentional intellectual property rights infringey pursuits! (How's that for a headache - let's just say, onto fresh art and other creative stuff.)

I've signed up for a couple of free art webinars this next week, which you might be interested in too.

The first one is by the wonderful illustrator Carlyn Beccia. She's doing a webinar on how she creates her art with Corel Painter. Its Tuesday July 17th, 12-1 pm Eastern time (so, 9-10 Pacific ... can't help with any of you across the pond or anywhere else, sorry).

I have Painter but haven't used it too much. I would like to learn more. Her art, and how she uses the program, are certainly inspiring!

Next up is called "Designing E-books for the New Tablet Reality, Fighting Distraction and Delivering Quality".  I very much want to do some e-picturebooks, and need all the help and info I can get. 
This one is on Thursday July 19th, 12:30-1:30 Eastern time (9:30-10:30 Pacific). 

Be sure to read the system requirements for each of them before you sign up. (I'm so glad now to have an upgraded Mac, so I can listen in on these things.)

The Colored Pencil Society of Canada has posted its 1st National Exhibition 2012 winners, here. Congratulations all of you! There's some beautiful work there.

Remember that colonial scene I was working on a few posts back? Well, I thought I had the drawing the way I wanted it, then slept on it, and decided it needed more. Lots more. So I started sketching in props, and a kitty and a mouse, and also reworked some of the figures and costumes. Again.

click to see it bigger

Back then it would have been very common to have a shotgun hanging on the wall over the fireplace, but I didn't that was a very friendly image to draw, authentic though it may be. So I've opted instead to draw homey objects and bits, like a coffee grinder, candlestick, iron, pots, a piece of needlework, etc. I figure no one really lived like the austere recreated rooms we see in books and at historic sites. Families have always had 'stuff' and some clutter, and shelves full of it all. Right? 
So this is still a work in progress, in between other art projects

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11. Fusenews: Answer – The Horse

The laptop of my infinite sadness continues to remain broken which wrecks a certain special kind of havoc with my gray cells.  To distract myself, I plunge headlong into the silliest news of the week.  Let’s see if there’s anything here to console a battered Bird brain (something tells me that didn’t come out sounding quite right…).

  • The best news of the day is that Matthew Kirby was the recent winner of the Edgar Award for Best Mystery in the juvenile category for his fabuloso book Icefall.  My sole regret is that it did not also win an Agatha Award for “traditional mystery” in the style of Agatha Christie.  Seems to me it was a shoo-in.  I mean, can you think of any other children’s book last year that had such clear elements of And Then There Were None?  Nope.  In any case, Rocco interviews the two winners (the YA category went to Dandi Daley Mackall) here and here.
  • It’s so nice when you find a series on Facebook and then discover it has a website or blog equivalent in the “real world” (howsoever you choose to define that term).  The Underground New York Public Library name may sound like it’s a reference to our one and only underground library (the Andrew Heiskell branch, in case you were curious) but it’s actually a street photography site showing what New Yorkers read on the subways.  Various Hunger Games titles have made appearances as has Black Heart by Holly Black and some other YA/kid titles.  Just a quick word of warning, though.  It’s oddly engaging.  You may find yourself flipping through the pages for hours.
  • A reprint of Roger Sutton’s 2010 Ezra Jack Keats Lecture from April 2011 has made its way online.  What Hath Harry Wrought? puts the Harry Potter phenomenon in perspective now that we’ve some distance.  And though I shudder to think that Love You Forever should get any credit for anything ever (growl grumble snarl raspberry) what Roger has to say here is worthy of discussion.
  • And in my totally-not-surprised-about-this department… From Cynopsis Kids:

“Fox Animation acquires the feature film rights to the kid’s book The Hero’s Guide to Saving your Kingdom, per THR. A fairy tale mashup by first-time author by Christopher Healy and featuring illustrations by Todd Harris, revolves around the four princes from Cinderella, Snow White, Rapunzel and Sleeping Beauty. Chernin Entertainment (Rise of Planet of the Apes) is set to produce the movie. Walden Pond Press/HarperCollins Children’s Books release The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom (432 pages) today.”

If y’all haven’t read The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your King

9 Comments on Fusenews: Answer – The Horse, last added: 5/4/2012
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12. Oops! Super-Sized Toddler Sweater

You may remember this sweater and its issues. I started knitting it 5 years (!) ago in what I thought was size 4T for my then-2-year-old daughter. When I ran into problems with gauge, it went on the shelf until last fall, when Little Miss found it and begged me to finish it for her.

Well, I finished it. Only, as you see, it fits me rather than my daughter. Guess the sizing was off even more than I thought!

It’s the first sweater I’ve ever knitted, and even with the sizing craziness and various other flaws, I’m still pretty proud of it.

My daughter has been a really good sport about it. She knows it’s hers as soon as she grows into it.

I like the back the best:

This sweater pattern (free on knitty.com) actually does come in an adult size version, but I’m glad I didn’t start with that, since I don’t think a husband-sized version would get used very often. I don’t fault the pattern, just my understanding of gauge.

In other news, I’m combing through my photos from Spain to share with you soon, and next week I’m participating in Meg from elsiemarley‘s Kids Clothing Week Challenge, which is like a big online sewing-for-kids party.

I haven’t been feeling very inspired about cooking lately (though I did have some awesome food in Spain which I’ll tell you about), so let me know if you’ve tried any great vegetable recipes lately. It’s just the beginning of white asparagus/ strawberry season here in Germany, so hopefully that will inspire me.

Also, slogging away at revisions on my novel manuscript. Off to go slogging.

6 Comments on Oops! Super-Sized Toddler Sweater, last added: 4/23/2012
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13. Lazy knitting success

The first two blogs I ever started reading regularly werebased around knitting and yarn (yarnstorm and needled) - I still read them regularly and am still amazed by just how much the authors are able to create. I’d love to write a knitting blog but my postswould be few and far between as it takes me so long to complete a project. Starting new projects is my favourite part – I love choosing the yarn, finding a pattern, casting on (and then usually ripping and casting on againand again as I get to grips with the pattern). I hate all the boring stuff likesewing up or winding wool (hence my yarn looks like this and I waste lots oftime sorting out tangles…).

The space under my bed is not only stashed with yarnbut also half (and not even half) completed projects – the crochetedbedspread, a Noro silk wavy bed-runner, a stripy Kidsilk Haze scarf, atank-top in Rowan 4-ply). Anyway, there’s cause for celebration in SW15 becauseI have finally finished something! And I’m rather pleased with it.

In fact, I'm so pleased with it I reinvigorated my defunct Ravelry account and posted about it there (come say hello, I'm HannahHHBB - Ravelry has changed so much since I was last on it, I need someone to show me around!). 

Anyway, back to the cushion...I bought tons of this lovely Malabrigo 'worsted' pure merino yarn at a discount when a local, very upmarketyarn shop closed down. I meant to make a jumper for myself but after gazing atthe crotcheted cushions in Laura Ashley, I had the inevitable ‘I could knitthat myself…’ thought. And so I did, though I daresay it would have been a lotquicker (and cheaper) if I’d just bought the cushion. 

There arelots of patterns for cable cushions around but I made this up as I wanted itto fit a 40 cm cushion (to use some cushion pads I already had) and incorporatedouble moss stitch, which is such a lovely nobbly feel and contrasts nicely withthe cable (and helps to distract from my uneven cabling!).

11 Comments on Lazy knitting success, last added: 4/18/2012
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Chicanas Making Art, Making Story

By Amelia M.L. Montes

Reporting from two places this week: San Antonio, Tejas and Lincoln, Nebraska. This past week-- in San Antonio, Tejas, I was very lucky to spend a late afternoon/evening in Chicana writer Dr. Norma Cantu’s graduate seminar at the University of Texas, San Antonio (UTSA). What an animated, smart, passionate group of graduate students. Orale! We were all quite involved with the discussion on Cherrie Moraga’s new book, A Chicana Codex of Changing Consciousness.

A Chicana Codex of Changing Consciousness

While various ideas and perspectives were expressed, my eyes kept focusing on the swift-moving hand gestures to the right of the table (note the picture below). Those hands are Rita Urquijo-Ruiz’s hands: knitting!

Dr. Norma Elia Cantu (Chicana author of Canicula and countless edited books) —leading her graduate seminar at UTSA. Notice Rita Urquijo-Ruiz’s quick knitting hands on the right-hand side of the table.

Chicana academic and performance artist, Rita Urquijo-Ruiz was knitting a gorgeous brown winter scarf during the entire graduate seminar while also contributing brilliantly to the discussion. She, like me, was a guest that night. I had brought my writing materials. She brought her knitting loom and yarn. I kept watching Rita’s fingers move up and down the loom while students quoted, argued with, questioned Moraga’s words. <

7 Comments on , last added: 11/14/2011
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15. miscellany: colored pencils, children's books, knitting

The CPSA Explore This!7 entries and winners are now online, here.

And the prospectus for the next International Exhibition is here. The deadline is March 31st! Not sure if I will enter this year, but we'll see.


I just got myself caught up on what happened at the SCBWI Winter Conference, here, on the Official conference blog.
Fun reading!


I decided to put my etsy knitting shop back up. I really felt like knitting last week, so thought well why the heck not. I decided to go whole hog and even made a Facebook page for it, and may have a blog too, we'll see. If you're interested, you may 'like' it in the widget box down on the left side of this page (the one in black). I don't want to clog up this blog or my other Facebook pages with knitting, since I know not everyone cares.

I may add some yarn drawings to it in addition to actual knitting. One of these days I will meld all of my 'selves' together into one cohesive artistic entity! Maybe.

For now it stocks pieces like this ~

That's all for today. I have to go brave the WIND and get the car smog checked. Life is fun.

2 Comments on miscellany: colored pencils, children's books, knitting, last added: 2/9/2011
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16. Breaking the Silence

I don't understand how people can keep up the tweets. In the interest of sparing you the boring minutiae of my life, I took a hiatus from the blog. But I'm back!

With no news!

Well, a little. I went to a fabulous extravaganza called Vogue Knitting Live in New York a couple of weeks ago, where I practically swooned from the sheer sensory delight of being surrounded by yarns, knitted garments and knitters.

But you don't care about that. How's this? Amy, my pseudonymous book doctor, is, as we speak, poring over the last third of my book with an eye to jazzing it up, as requested by VERY complimentary agent. I await her sage counsel.

AND....I have finally, really and truly, in earnest, started my screenplay. It's fun, and funny and I'm grooving right along. Almost finished with the outline, next I have to write a "treatment" (yes, I am up on my Hollywood lingo).

Oh, and one more thing. Yesterday, I turned 60.

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17. Busy, work

Been busy with lots of different things. But that's good, it keeps life interesting.

First up, a building rendering, work in progress. Its barely started, just doing the first pass of sky and trees. I'm trying to work top to bottom to minimize smudging as much as possible.
This is Polychromos on Stonehenge, about 8 x 11 or so. It has an 'artistic' crop, with the tree leaves extending out past the rectangle of the picture. Not much to see yet, but be patient!

Then onto the art show this weekend, and matting and framing some prints. I have no idea how this show will go, or how many people will attend, so am not going 'all out' for this one. Once I get a feel for it, I will know better how to gauge things for next month.

In case you're in the area, its the 2nd Saturday Art Walk here in Sacramento, and this is in the Arden Arcade area, rather than downtown. It will be at La Casa Plaza on Fair Oaks Blvd (near Howe) from 4 - 7. There will be music and a potter doing a demonstration, which should be fun.

I've also been knitting, and have two more pieces in my shop.

Both are 100% wool and knit with a different cable design. Filbert Steps is finer and "drapey", while Embarcadero is thicker and chunky.

I've just been invited to participate in another holiday arts and crafts fair, this one in Davis. Let's see, that makes - SIX! between now and Christmas. Holy cow. Well, it is the season, I guess I should go for it. We'll see. I'm honored to be invited, its just tiring, you know?

Oh! I forgot. Did you know that American Artist Magazine has a new website which is officially called Artist Daily, and they have art forums now? I signed up and have done a quick peruse - looks like a good place to chat and discuss art.
From there I've discovered there is now a Society of Pen & Ink Artists
and also an International Charcoal Artists site.

So that's what I'm up to.
Have to go get ready for Jim and Pam's wedding!*

*on The Office

3 Comments on Busy, work, last added: 10/10/2009
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18. My non-slouchy slouchy hat

After all this spinning, I thought I should do a bit of knitting. So what did I do? Knit something with yarn I bought at the Royal Winter Fair.

It was a soft squooshy 100g skein from Sonny's Llama Farm. I found it in a basket at the Llama display. Now that I'm on Ravelry, it has changed my knitting. It's so great to be able to look up an item and find lots of patterns, even free ones, and then see what it looked like when other people made it.

This hat is my first Ravelry project! Here's the link:
but I think you may need to be a member to view projects on Ravelry.

The pattern was for a slouchy hat but I didn't have enough yarn, so I shortened it to make a regular hat that would use up my skein as much as possible. Finishing a project and having just a short tail of yarn leftover is one of my big thrills in life. I love this hat! The pattern calls for worsted and my yarn was aran weight (a bit heavier) so it turned out really warm and squishy. Also llama yarn can be super warm, so the eyelets should help. The pattern is so easy, once you do the four rows for the first time, you can see where you are and carry on without looking at the pattern. And the eyelet mock cable stitch is very pretty.

In case you're not on Ravelry, the free pattern is here. I made another change in mine which was decreasing in the pattern. I thought it would look nice if I did that, especially as mine isn't slouchy. Here are my notes on that:

Note: I started decreasing after 5 1/4" instead of 8 1/2"
I changed the pattern so that it decreased in the pattern instead of all knit. It worked really well by ending on Row 3 of the Eyelet Mock Cable stitch, then decreasing as follows:

Row 1: K, YO, K, P2tog
Row 2: K3, P1
Row 3: SL1, K2, PSSO, P1
Row 4: K2, P1
Row 5: K2TOG, P1
Row 6: K1, P1
Row 7 on: same as pattern.

1 Comments on My non-slouchy slouchy hat, last added: 12/22/2009
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19. Men's handspun socks

So as I mentioned before, I was frantically spinning before the holidays to make Bradley some handspun, handknit socks for Christmas. I had bought a 1/2 pound bag of roving from Romni, thinking that I would have plenty for maybe 2 pairs. Or at least a pair for him and a smaller pair for me. Or something like that.

Anyway what happened is it took forever to spin a 1/2 pound bag, and I ended up with just one pair of socks and a tiny batch of roving and a tiny ball of yarn left over. The big thing I learned is that I bought a bag of roving, and realized later that it was actually roving, not the lovely smooth combed top that is often sold as roving even though it's really top. I'd heard about this distinction but I didn't really know what it meant until I tried spinning with the roving.

The difference seemed to be that the fibres were shorter, with some tufty bits that were fine as it gave the yarn a tweedy look, but also lots and lots of vegetable matter (vm). In case you don't spin, this is basically little bits of dried grass, twigs and bits of burrs that the animals have gotten caught up in their coats. Some people put covers on their sheep to avoid this, but there's still always some in there. Anyway I was picking out vm while spinning, then while winding onto bobbins, then while plying, then while knitting, then after washing the socks. Kind of tiresome.

However, I'm not complaining about what I was sold, because I did get 1/2 pound of merino for only $15. Which is a very good price for that much soft merino. And now I fully appreciate the difference between roving and top.

The other thing I learned is that this roving seemed to require a different kind of spinning. The short fibres didn't hold together in the same way so I was letting twist up into the fibre source which is more of a woolen method of spinning than worsted. (Worsted is a way of spinning so that the fibres align and it creates a smooth yarn. With woolen spinning the fibres criss-cross and this creates a fuzzier, airy yarn that is very warm. Not to be confused with worsted weight yarn, which is a medium thickness of yarn.)

After letting twist up into the fibre, it was like pulling the yarn out, and by doing it at the right rate given how fast the spindle is spinning, you can make an evenly spun yarn. I found it a bit lumpy but I ended up doing a 3-ply so it averaged out a bit and was fine. 3-ply also creates a rounder looking yarn, as opposed to the beaded look of a 2-ply.

So doing a (non-navajo) 3-ply was the next new thing I was trying. I wound the yarn onto bobbins after spinning a full spindle, then used a tip from a commenter (thank you Rachel) to create a lazy kate using a cardboard box and some knitting needles. (Another tip is that you can just ply off spindles if you have enough of them to do that.)

Then I plied the yarn until I was left with some leftover singles (it's hard to wind 3 bobbins of singles and have them come out even). I realized I could wind a leftover single back onto the spindle and spin a bit more. And basically drive myself crazy trying to make it come out even. Which in the end I practically did. Not that I recommend being that obsessive it... suffice to say I was winding back and forth several times.

So after all this spinning (and washing and drying the yarn) I wanted to make the socks using the same nice sock pattern I had used for mine (pictured at the top on the left). This is how I adapted the pattern for men's socks:
  • Larger needle: US size 7&nb

    3 Comments on Men's handspun socks, last added: 1/14/2010
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20. Knitting needle case

I've been meaning to make this for ages! It's a new case for my Boye interchangeable circular knitting needle set. The case the set came with was a bit yucky - plastic slots and an ugly brown vinyl cover.
Lately I finally figured out how to sew a wallet, and realized afterwards that the needle case would basically work the same way. You sew the dividers onto the lining first, then afterwards sew the lining to the outside (leaving a gap) and turn right side out and press. Adding extra layers and dividers is just another step but the basic idea applies.
Lately I've been enjoying combining different prints, so for this case I used a combination of polka dots, faux bois and a floral all in green. I'm also loving lace right now, so I embellished the outside with some white crocheted lace.

This set has needle sizes 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 10.5, 11, 13 and 15, so I have a slot for each of them, plus a large slip pocket for the cables, and three small pockets for the extra bits that come with the set. To figure out the right width for the slot for a pair of needles just measure the diameter of each needle and multiply by 4. For mine I added an extra 2mm to this measurement so the pockets aren't too snug.
While I was making my case I cut out fabric for a second one so that one is going into my shop (www.etsy.com/shop/NeedleBook) shortly... 

p.s. I've renamed my shop, so now it's called NeedleBook. I didn't realize when I created my username for Etsy a long time ago that I would open a shop later on, and that my shop name would have to be the same as my username. If you have this problem, there's a great article here that describes how to rename your shop. It's a bit of work but I think it can be really worthwhile if you're not happy with your shop name.

3 Comments on Knitting needle case, last added: 2/10/2010
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21. when the moon starts to rise

Filed under: moon, songs, spring, stars

5 Comments on when the moon starts to rise, last added: 7/19/2010
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22. Knitting Projects

Bubs learned how to finger knit on YouTube. Ahh. Technology. He made this flower after we watched this tutorial.

And, now that the snow (Oh no! Not snow!) has arrived, my fingers have been busily making hats.

This bottom one was way cuter in real life.

These hats are loom knitted. (I purled the bottom few rows and knitted the rest.) The flowers are crocheted. I learned how to make them on YouTube, too. Here's the link, if you're interested.

1 Comments on Knitting Projects, last added: 11/1/2010
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23. Not Your Grandma's Needlepoint

I bet everyone has seen brick-a-brac at yard sales made from plastic needle point canvas. In face you may have a Kleenex box holder lurking in your house made by your aunt Bernice. And I have to admit I never gave needlepoint much thought. But I'm loving this One Step camera created by Nicole Gastonguay. Ah, I loved my One Step camera when I was a kid. In fact, I just recently passed my One-Step down to a young friend and photography enthusiast who is still using it.

Check out the rest of Nicole's gallery. The jar of pickles (is that crochet?) is just too cute.

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24. Swimming Out Of Solitude

As writers, we spend most of our writing lives in solitude, working alone, lost in imaginary worlds that take us far from our homes, our friends, our communities.It can be daunting, not just the work itself, but the intense solitude that comes with the work, despite the pleasure that the words bring and despite the satisfaction that comes with telling a story, if only to one’s self.But sometimes

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25. Frogged

In knitting, sometimes you have to undo a large chunk of a project (or the whole project). This is called frogging (because you rip-it, ha ha ha). So, drawing knitting and adorable amphibians? Just my thing.

Fun fact: the half a sweater I used for the reference photo? Yeah, I had to frog about 7 inches of yoke. I should probably use this power to my advantage and draw someone signing a book contract.

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