Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sneak Peek!

I've been pretty busy with design work lately and which means I've been neglecting my blog :o(  If it's any consolation, the blog has been on my mind lately...mostly how I need to do an update.  If this sounds vaguely familiar to you then you've probably talked to me in person about it or I've written it on here before.  Anyhow!  I've been charting my heart out lately.  Obsessively.  It's to the point where Mr. SpiderKate is starting to put his foot down to make me stop so that I go to bed and get some sleep.  It's just soo hard to stop when I'm really excited about this new lace shawl design!  I'd say at this point that I'm 80% finished with charting and just need to knit a swatch of two more charts and I'll have the design down.

In other news I've finished up the design for Vice Yarns Paradigm.  Even bigger news is that I finished writing the pattern yesterday and sent it off for editing!  Yay!  I feel soo good about having this pattern done. Seriously good.  A big thanks goes out to Mr. SpiderKate for taking time out on Sunday to help me with photographs so that I could get the pattern done.  He is seriously the best and most supportive force in my design work.  I think just being able to talk to him about the design process is really helpful because sometimes I just need to voice my concerns over a design and by doing so I figure out the answer.

Did I mention how happy I am with this design? Honestly, I love love love it.  Believe me when I say it was quite the journey to get to this point.  Let me clarify that.  I've always loved the design I had in mind for this yarn because the yarn is really what inspired me to use this particular edging pattern in a sideways knit shawlette.  The journey involved figuring out the best increase scheme for the shawlette.

The first time I start knitting the sample, I realized pretty quickly that my initial increase scheme wasn't going to work and I had to rip back to almost the beginning of the shawlette.  The second time I knit it, I went with a different increase scheme and about halfway through realized that it was going to use up too much yarn, but I forged ahead and kept knitting.  Yes, I knit the whole shawlette.  The good news on this one is that I didn't run out of yarn, but the bad news is that I was left with 1 gram of yarn.  

So guess what I did?  I ripped back.  But before I could rip back, I had to thread an afterthought lifeline.  I'm going to confess, this is the first time I've ever put in a lifeline after the fact, so I was little nervous that it wasn't going to work out.  It was a pretty easy lifeline to put in after the fact because there is a point in the knitting where the lace edging doesn't have any lace per se, but I still wasn't sure I'd gotten it right.  With my newly place lifeline, I starting the ripping process and low & behold the lifeline was in the right place!!!  I was beyond thrilled because it saved me 48 rows of knitting. Yay!  I must say that this yarn holds up BEAUTIFULLY to being ripped and reknit.  This pattern should be published sometime next week, so check back for a post with more details!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Pumpkin Spice Cowl

I have a new design and it's not a shawl!  Gasp.  I know!  While I love love LOVE designing shawls, I've been wanting to branch out to other knitted accessories.  I always thought my first accessory after shawls would be socks, but that turns out not to be the case.  It's a cowl!  This cowl was designed and inspired by both Park Avenue Yarns and the yarn itself.  Michelle asked me to design a pattern that would showcase a new line of yarn by Lang called Arenas, which is a super bulky yarn.

In a rare turn events, I knew what I wanted to name this cowl before I even knew what I wanted the design to be, which hardly ever happens for me.  Usually I have a design nailed down and then spend forever trying to name it.  Names are hard!  In fact, the first design I tried didn't end up working out and after ripping that out, I suddenly had a vision of what I wanted the cowl to look like.  Thus the Pumpkin Spice Cowl was born!   This cowl has the awesome combination of using super bulky yarn & big needles, making it a quick knit ideal for last minute gifts or for when a cold front is coming and you need something to keep your neck warm.  The pattern can be found on Ravelry or is free with yarn purchase at Park Avenue Yarns!

Pattern details:
Pattern: Pumpkin Spice Cowl by Me!
Ravelry Project Page: Pumpkin Spice Cowl
Yarn: Lang Yarns Arenas [53% Wool, 47% Acrylic] 100g; 71 yds/65 m
Needles: US 15 (10.00 mm) for cast on & US 13 (9.00 mm) 16" for body
Finished dimensions: Circumference = 20"/51 cm; Length = 7.5"/19 cm
A great pattern for beginners, you only need to know how to knit, purl and knit the round for this pattern!

My sample used 80 grams of yarn, which is 56 yds of yarn.  You could easily use up more of the yarn to make the cowl by adjusting either the height of the cowl by working more rows of the pattern (i.e. the length measurement) or by increasing the number of stitches cast on by 5 or 10 stitches, which would give a slightly larger circumference.  Or even better, buy two skeins and make two cowls plus a mini cowl with the leftovers!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Beware of the Knitting Monster!

The other night Mr. Spiderkate was messing around with the new camera and took this cool shot of my knitting bag, which we agree looks a lot like the knitting bag eating my knitting supplies.  Thus the knitting monster was born! Beware of the knitting monster, it's been known to eat any and all things knitting related without a second thought.  How cruel ;-)

In knitting news - I'm working on a new sideways knit shawl design.  Actually, I spent the bulk of yesterday trying to make the stitches in the chart do something they didn't want to do.  I finally came to the realization that no matter what math I used, I couldn't get the stitches to do what I want.  I did fix another issue with the shawl, mainly where to place the increases for the body of the shawl, and as a result I'm pretty happy with it.  I'm knitting this shawl with the very lovely Paradigm yarn by Vice.  Seriously, this yarn is gorgeous and the color is out of this world.  I'm not ready to share a photo of the design yet (I will soon, I promise!), but I'll leave you with a photo of this beautiful yarn.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

A year older, a year wiser (or at least I hope!)

I love birthdays!  It doesn't even have to be my birthday; I just love birthdays.  My birthday was last week and I think it was easily one of my top ten birthdays of all time.  I'm not even sure how to explain what made it soo awesome because it was just a good feeling overall, ya know?   Okay, so maybe I can figure out one reason why it was great - Mr. SpiderKate and I weren't going through any big life events.  You see, we have this funny habit of having big life changing events happening in the Fall.  Life events like moving, changing jobs, buying a house, being laid off (okay, so we can't control that one, but it happened one year the weekend before my birthday) - these things just always seem to happen to us in the Fall.  This happens often enough that it seems like we are never in the same state when the other's birthday happens.  Weird, I know.  

Mr. SpiderKate really went all out for my birthday this year.  This year he surprised me with not only one of the Barbara Walker Treasury of Knitting Patterns books, but he got me all 4 PLUS a stitch dictionary for Fair Isle Motifs.  I had been telling him how I keep checking out the first book in the series from the library and how invaluable it would be to own it or any of her 4 books.  In fact I was telling him that if he wanted to get me ONE of the books that I would like either the first or second book in the series.  Never did I think that I would be lucky enough to get all 4!

Taken with my new camera!
Mr. SpiderKate also surprised me with a new camera.  Since he is often the one taking photos of my knitting designs, he was beginning to see that our current camera just wasn't really getting the job done.    It also didn't help that the camera had recently taken a nose dive onto our tile floor courtesy of me.  Oops.  So, needless to say we'd been talking about upgrading the camera.  Well, Mr. SpiderKate did the research and got me the Olympus OM-D E-M5.  Let me just say that this camera is awesome and (I'm not gonna lie) a little overwhelming.  I have a lot to learn about taking photos, but I'm confident that with time I will get better at it.  Oh and I should mention that he also got me a camera bag to go with the camera (otherwise if/when he reads this he's going to say "how come you didn't mention the camera bag??).  So yes, there is a camera bag as well :o)

My family & friends also made this birthday extra special with their love and thoughtfulness.  Truly I don't even know how to express how loved I've felt this birthday.  I think I'm the lucky one to have ya'll as a part of my life and I'm thankful for each of you!