Thursday, January 30, 2014

Another MKAL

Yup, it's no surprise that I've been bitten by the mystery knit-along (MKAL) bug! Shortly after finishing up my last one - Gateway to Fall MKAL - the same designer (Cindy Garland) announced she was starting another one on January 1st 2014.  Well, of course I had to jump on the bandwagon! Even better, Stunning String Studio was offering kits for the mystery knit-along.  Well, we all know how I feel about kits! Seriously, kits for knitting at the best.  I love having everything I need for a pattern sent to me in one package.  I think, for me, it's just one less thing I have to figure out and makes life a little bit easier.  Because when you have a million works in progress (like I do), it makes it that much easier when adding another project to the fold.

Clue 1 completed!
The name of this MKAL is Divergence. The pattern is actually the first in a series of five mystery knit-alongs in the Wild Prairie 2014 Mystery Club.  I could have opted to buy the e-book and done all the mystery knit-alongs, but thought I'd start simple and only commit to one.  Actually, the lovely Mr. SpiderKate reminded that I tend to over commit myself when it comes to knitting and should make sure to leave some room for my own design work.  I'm not going to lie, when he gave me his advice of only committing to one, well I was a little mad because I wanted to do all!  However, after giving it some thought, I reluctantly realized he was right.  I guess that's why they call your spouse "your better half" ;o)
Clue 3 completed!

Since I didn't purchase the full club (e-book), I wasn't eligible for the club special yarn color and other goodies.  I was okay with that because it meant I got to pick my color! Yay! Stunning String Studio has a lot of wonderful colors and while the decision was hard to make, I ultimately picked Sand Dune.  I hardly ever knit with neutral colors and knowing that this MKAL would be a shawl with cables, well, I figured that I couldn't go wrong with a neutral, light color to show off all the details of the cables.  The yarn that came with the kit is called Decadent Fingering.  It's a brand new base for Stunning String Studio and is a scrumptious 55% Wool, 45% Silk blend with 657 yards in a 150 gram skein.  Large skeins like this are great for larger shawls because there are less ends to weave in!  

Just finished last row with beads! The beads are very subtle in this pattern.
The yarn has been lovely to knit with and the pattern has been thoroughly enjoyable to knit.  We are nearing the end of the MKAL, so I'm a little sad about that, but looking forward to having my first finished shawl of 2014.  The clues have been spread out over 6 weeks, with two clues coming out the first week and one clue released every Friday thereafter.  I just finished up Clue 5 this morning and am eagerly awaiting the release of Clue 6 tomorrow! 

Clue 5 completed!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Under 100 Knit Collection from KnitPicks

I'm back and I have a plan! What plan is that, you ask?  Well, a plan to better keep up with this blog :o)  I'm going to hold myself accountable to one blog post a week.  My goal is for these posts to go live on Monday, but we'll see how that goes.  I think just planning on one a week will be good for now - I might be setting myself up for failure if I picked a particular day, so better safe than sorry!

My sample shawl
So, where to start? I have a new pattern and it's part of a collection! I've been waiting to share with everyone all about this pattern and now I finally can!  The pattern is called Cirruncinus and it was one of the first sideways knit shawls I designed!  I fell in love with the stitch pattern used in the border of this shawl when I saw it in a stitch dictionary and really wanted to turn it into a shawl/scarf.  

Sample/test knitter's shawl - photo courteous of KnitPicks
Well, I worked at it and got the pattern figured out, knitted, and written out.  I submitted it for editing and must confess that I was feeling a bit smug because well, this was a sideways knit shawl/scarf and the editing of course was going to be a breeze, right??!!  Boy, was I wrong about that!  Overall the pattern was okay, but I had failed to take proper notes on how I finished knitting the shawl and had written it up how I assumed I had finished knitting it.  Well, that assumption couldn't have been more wrong!  Never was I more thankful for technical editing! I worked out the kinks for the ending of the shawl, sent it back to technical editing, and it passed with flying colors.  

Shawl blocking!
Copernicus was a big help during blocking - NOT!
I had a couple of options with this shawl - I could either self publish on Ravelry or I could try submitting to a magazine or publication.  I opted for the latter choice and started keeping my eyes out for a submission call that I thought my pattern would be a good fit for.  Eventually I got noticed of a call for submissions for a new Knit Picks collection featuring knitting patterns that used less than 100 grams of yarn.  I thought my pattern would be a good fit and the rest is history from there!

Sample/test knitter's shawl - photo courteous of KnitPicks
I'm really excited & honored to be a part of this collection!  Knit Picks was absolutely wonderful to work with and I couldn't be happier with how my pattern turned out, the photos they took and with the publication as a whole.  There are 30 patterns in the book and I don't think there is a bad one among them.  I plan to knit many myself since I have an abundance of single 100 g skeins of yarn in my stash.  The proper title of the book is Under 100 Knit Collection and is available as a hard copy book, ebook, or you can download individual patterns.