I've been lucky to spend the last couple days with Ysolda Teague, who stopped over at my house during her whirlwind US tour. Danielle picked her up in Cambridge and brought her up to our neck of the woods, Crystal helped me entertain her when we got back to my house, yesterday I brought her to her book signing gig at Yarn & Fiber in Derry, NH, and Kelly R. and Julia, and later the Newburyport knitting group, entertained her while I was at work in the afternoon. It takes a village to entertain a knitwear designer. Fortunately my knitting friends are very entertaining.
Today she'll be off to Portland, ME. In my typical fashion, I neglected to take any photos. But! Kelly came to Yarn & Fiber bearing a sample of my Gawain design that she had knit for the store using their Ivy Brambles yarn. Ysolda was kind enough to model it:
Ysolda is charming, talented, and I'm delighted to have met her! You should definitely go by her book.
One of the very few things that I don't like about being a knit designer is that I don't get to knit for myself very much anymore. Almost all my knitting time needs to be spent making samples, and samples need to be knit in a smaller size than my 40" bust. But! I found myself in between projects recently, so I started knitting on a Gawain of my very own. It is blue.
I'm knitting this version in the round - and I'll post notes about my changes in case anyone else wants to knit it in the round instead of flat as it's written.
Meanwhile, I realized that if I'm going to be working on a sweater for myself, I really should finish up my Jaali, which I intended to wear to Rhinebeck last year... until I realized that I couldn't go to Rhinebeck, and really didn't have time to work on this anyway.
Here's the complete front, which I finished recently; I'm now working on a sleeve. It is slow going.
Sadly (well, sort of), I have to get back to sample knitting... I have a linen wrap cardigan that I designed last year but needed to re-work the fronts on, and put aside when it became clear that I wouldn't have it ready for any warm season last year. Picked that up again today, and I'm hoping that I can publish that one this spring or early summer.
If I get the energy to knit that sweater a second time, in my own size, I have yarn for it, and that yarn is also a lovely blue.
The last sweater I completed for myself was Hermia, which is also blue. And of course there were my La Borgia gloves (see last post). Blue.
The next thing I'll be starting is a pair of socks for a magazine, and the color they picked? Blue.
Blue looks really good on me (matches my eyes). But I'm thinking next time I knit something for myself, I should probably branch out. Maybe it will be purple.
My new glove pattern is now available! I had a great time knitting these gloves - and have been enjoying wearing them for most of the winter.
Yarn - Louet Gems Sport, shown in #57 French Blue. About 250 yds (unfortunately, just over one skein - someday I'll design a matching hat or something...)
Needles - 2.75mm (US 2), double-pointed, 2 circs, or long circ for Magic Looping.
Finished size - 7 1/2" hand circumference, slighted stretched. Finger length is adjustable.
I knit the gloves at a tighter gauge than the recommended gauge for the Louet Gems Sport that I made them out of, for warmth and to make the cables stand out more.
Fits hand circumference 7 1/4” - 7 3/4”. Pattern includes charts for cuff, hand and finger cable patterns. Separate charts and instructions provided for right and left hands (no “reverse shaping” instructions!Stats:
My Gawain pullover pattern is finally ready! It's not on my website yet as of this writing, but my blog readers get first crack at it.
Last year was rather overwhelming at times, but when I look back, I'm quite proud of what I accomplished. Tech editing and designing for Twist Collective has been a growing experience for me, and I'm so honored to be part of this amazing publication. I'm happy to have finally got my own website off the ground last year. And I've finally found a good balance (for now) with my other part time jobs and my knitting career.
New this year, and partially responsible for my current state of organization in my complicated life, I've been using Remember The Milk to keep track of my various do lists. It's a godsend! I've finally learned to not assign myself a task without a due date. Okay, I don't always make my self-imposed deadlines, but somehow I've finally learned to be more realistic when I set them, and most of the time I do now.
I have 3 new designs that I'll be adding to my site soon. Here's a preview of one of them:
I'm calling this sweater Gawain. The pattern is all ready to go, I just need to have a photo shoot. It's knit in Malabrigo, and I have ordered the yarn in a bright blue to knit this up for myself as well! (Alas, the sample size is too small for me, as usual.) Of course, I still haven't finished my own Jaali, so I guess we shouldn't hold our breath.
The construction of this sweater is traditional flat-knitted pieces, but when I knit it for myself, I'm considering doing it in the round, and then offering the pattern in that format as well. Let me know if that's something you'd be interested in buying, and maybe if I get enough interest that will be the kick in the pants I need to make it happen on the sooner side.
The other two new designs I have on the nearer horizon are a pair of gloves with exquisite twisted stitch cables, and a beret with a cable edging (me and my cable edgings... it never stops). The beret is knit in Madelinetosh worsted, which I am absolutely in love with, and I did a floppy and a non-floppy version.
I also designed some socks out of Madelinetosh sock yarn, but I think I'm going to submit those for publication elsewhere. And I have some new things coming out in Twist this year. Lots and lots going on!
In non-knitting news, I just started learning to play electric bass. (In my copious spare time?) My fingers are sore, but hopefully it will be worth it.
Happy 2009 / MLK Day / Inauguration!
I stopped going to yoga class for about 9 months. At least 9 months, maybe more like 10 or 11. I did go one time, I think it might have been in June, and I practiced at home a handful of times, but it had been a looooooong time. I just couldn't seem to make time for it. There were a lot of healthy things I didn't make time for.
And I worked too hard over the summer. This was partially due to my life-long habits of procrastination, which caused havoc yet again in my life when I needed to finish the tech editing for the premiere issue of Twist Collective. It was all tech editing, all the time. Except for when I had to go to my other job. Plus some sleeping and eating. I vowed it would be different for the next issue, and you know what? It actually has been.
When I realized how much work I'd have to do in September, I thought I'd die. Not only did I have to do all the tech editing for the winter issue of Twist, but my other two jobs would be really busy also.
It's really been okay, though. The work has been getting done, and I only had one meltdown, early in the month, when I had returned from a (kind of) vacation to to an avalanche of responsibilities at my day job. Happily, a kind and lovely coworker talked me down, and, even better, developed a plan with me for him to take over some of my work. Awesome.
And, I'm excited about some things I'm designing. It's good to be actually knitting again. I've made the most progress on a Malabrigo sweater with an unusual cable and an even more unusual neck edging. Psyched about that. I've knit a tiny bit on my own Jaali sweater that I hope to wear to Rhinebeck... although that may or may not be done in time. And I have a few other things up my sleeves for winter and spring.
And I'm back in yoga class, finding my balance again. Life is good.
Here's what my darling hubbo had to say...
Me: What is your favorite thing about my knitting?
Scott: I love seeing you do what you love all the time. That just gives me so much joy. [Awwww...]
Me: What is your least favorite thing about my knitting?
S: That it's spread out all over the house.
Me: What is something I have knitted, that you recall as good?
S: Everything! Are you kidding?
Me: Do you think knitters have an expensive hobby?
S: Yeah, relatively. But as hobbies go, it's probably on par with others. Drumming [Scott's "hobby," although like me with knitting, it's definitely more than a hobby] is potentially more expensive.
Me: Do you have a stash of any kind?
Me: Have I ever embarrassed you, knitting in public?
S: No. Well, I would say once or twice there were circumstances I thought it was inappropriate to be knitting. Well, no. When we first met, I felt like the fact that we were knitting when we were just hanging out meant that you weren't paying attention to me. Then I realized you could do two things at once.
Me: Do you know my favorite kind of yarn?
S: I don't know specifically, but I've heard you talk about merino. Not lately though. But you used to talk about merino. Is alpaca a kind of yarn?
Me: Can you name another blog?
S: Is Ravelry a blog?
Me: Do you mind my wanting to stop at knit shops wherever we go?
S: No. Because I would stop at drum shops wherever we go if I could. [Here we should pause, and be thankful for the abundance of yarn shops.]
Me: Do you understand the importance of a swatch?
S: Oh, yeah.
Me: Do you read AlisonKnits?
S: No. Occasionally, but not regularly. I should. I always feel like it's such a knitting-specific thing, but the times I've read it I see that it's more about you.
Me: Have you ever left a comment?
S: I don't think so. Maybe once.
Me: Do you think the house would be cleaner if I didn't knit?
S: You'd have some other hobby.
Me: Anything you'd like to add?
S: I love that you're a knitter, and I wouldn't change a thing. It brightens my world. And of course I love being the beneficiary of things you knit. I also love telling people that you're a famous knit designer.