Brrr… Chilly…

I would choose the first really cold day to photograph my latest FOs. I’ve been doing a bit of test knitting for my knitter friends and attempted a new design.

1. Quinault fingerless mitts
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This is a test knit for Marjorie (Raintownknitter on ravelry). The mitts are really lovely and with the weather turning cold will keep my fingers nice and warm as I knit on the subway. The mitts are knit using Malabrigo Yarn Sock in the Impressionist Sky colorway.

For fun, the pics went ‘see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”:
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2. Hestia cardigan
This test knit is for Jacqui (Jacqui722 on ravelry). The cardigan is knit using Malabrigo Yarn Sock in the Terracotta colorway.

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3. Reprieve
I’ve really not been having a great time lately. Everything I’ve attempted to design has been a big fail. I see something in my head and then I’d start knitting it and just not liking it. So it was a surprise when this shawl came to mind. I actually wrote out the pattern, made up my charts and then started knitting it. I called it Reprieve because everything seemed to be coming together and it was nice after all the failures. However, I’m not too happy with the final result so I don’t think I’ll be publishing it. The shawl is knit using Malabrigo Yarn Sock in the Ochre colorway.

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15% off sale

Ravelry recently introduced a new feature for its shopkeepers, now we can have sales and promotions. October also happens to be the Malabrigo Stockpile event on the Malabrigo Junkie’s forum. This event gets us Junkies thinking of the holidays and start knitting our presents. In order to celebrate these two event’s I’ve placed all my for sale patterns on sale. Get 15% off by using the coupon code: stockpile when checking out. Sale lasts until 11:59pm EST Oct 31, 2010.

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Gluttony by any other name…

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I arrived back in the US very late Saturday night (Aug 15). And besides starting the soul destroying job hunt, I had already booked my place on the Manhattan Knitting Guild’s bus trip to WEBS. On Saturday I trekked out to E 61st and 3rd Ave to catch the bus that would take me to WEBS. First I must give a shout out to Victoria, my awesome bus buddy. She sat next to me and said something like, someone wearing such a lovely shawl must be interesting to talk to. She was super interesting to talk to and despite hella traffic that made us over an hour late for our estimated time of arrival, we kept up some happy chatter and worked on our knitting projects.

On the bus, I mentioned to Victoria that I was going to be abstemious and only get very little yarn. She then mentioned that since the bus trip cost upwards of $50, buying very little didn’t make sense. “An expensive bus trip to buy nothing??? Really?” thought I. And so maybe thinking that gave me leeway to spend over three times what I’d actually planned on spending.

We arrived at WEBS and after acquiring our mini goody bags and 25% off coupons, I went in and quickly met up with Nina and Mary, two ravelry friends. Sadly I didn’t get to spend too much time with Mary as I arrived an hour late and she had to go. But I got to hang with Nina and she gave me the WEBS tour. I went a bit crazy, especially in the Beads store.

So what did I acquire?

Not photographed: Swift and ball winder (finally, I’m so tired of having to hand wind yarn) and Knitgrrl’s new book – the Guide to Professional Design. I also got a skein of Mal Worsted in Purple Mystery that’s also not photographed because I immediately started knitting with it. It’s for a neckwarmer that I plan to release this Fall.

Additionally, Mal Twist in Lettuce (2 skeins)
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1 skein MadTosh in Tart
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1 skein MadTosh in Glazed Peach
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1 skein Misti Alpaca
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1 skein Berroco Lustra in Black
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9 skeins Ella Rae in this cream color. The plan is to eventually knit a colorwork garment of my own design playing around with these colors.
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2 skeins Ella Rae in teal
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2 skeins Ella Rae in this Magenta color
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2 skeins Ella Rae in yellow
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2 skeins Ella Rae in green
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Yeah, I went crazy…

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Photographing toddlers/babies is hard to do

Pamela’s blanket test knitting process is nearly complete but I’ve been having issues getting good photographs with my model, Pamela, and the blanket. An 18 month old just isn’t into posing and waiting patiently for me to take just the right photograph. On three occasions photo shoots were attempted and only on the 3rd attempt were the pictures decent. I’m a bit mad at myself because I kept thinking the pictures looked a bit blurry but never took the time to check my camera settings. Finally after a successful photo shoot, I had the shots but still this blurriness and so checked my camera. It turned out that I had it on MF rather than AF. I have no idea what MF or AF means but I do know that AF gives you a sharper picture. Some of the pictures came out OK though. Sadly my favorite ones came out blurry so I probably won’t be able to use them and I don’t think I could subject Pamela to yet another shoot. That might just be child abuse.

Here are what I consider the best of the batch. Feel free to comment on which you think would make the best cover photo for the pattern. I plan to include some shots of Pamela plus blanket plus some shots of the blanket alone so that more detail of the blanket can be shown.

1. I quite like this shot though it looks like I’m advertising chapstick in addition to the blanket :-).
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2. I quite like this one as well though I wish she were looking at the camera and the photo was a bit sharper.
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3. I really like this photo. I’m not quite sure why but it just seems to be a great shot of a baby and her blanket.
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4. Great shot of Pamela but blanket comes out quite blurry.
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5. Another excellent Pamela shot but not so great blanket shot.
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6. This picture is just sweet.
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7. Pamela was then put down for a nap and while the shoot was easy, the lighting wasn’t ideal.
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8. Detail picture 1.
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9. Detail picture 2.
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10. Previously posted but I thought I’d include this one as well. I like the warm tones here and maybe could crop the photo a bit.
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11. Just a shot of full blanket.
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I’d love to hear some critique on these photos: which are best, should photos be cropped, are all these crap and I should try another photo session…

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It’s the Christmas Countdown!

This may seem a weird time to post about Christmas preparations but in the life of a knitter, this is actually the best time. As a knitter, I never buy presents, I always knit them. This means that I need to allot quite a bit of time to my Christmas preparations. I’ve never successfully done that. Usually, I’m burning the midnight oil the last week before Christmas, knitting, trying to block in secret, etc. And generally people get lots of IOUs; you know, “here’s one sock completed and you’ll get the other one in the next month or so…”

So, could this be the year that I’m actually going to be organized and have all my prezzies ready?

What inspired this post you might wonder… I was surfing ravelry, as you do, and saw on the main boards the thread “Only six more months til Christmas.” Everyone then pointed out to the OP (original poster) that it was actually 5 months to Christmas. That made me think that I need to start planning out my Fall. I have an ambitious design project that I want to do this Fall (more about that as I work out whether it will work out). And I need to make sure that my presents are ready to go. And I should probably find a job that can support me and my yarn habit. So the next 5 months will be packed for me.

Someone linked to this nifty countdown generator which wordpress doesn’t seem to want me to add.

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New pattern release – Ruffle My Feathers

A while ago I posted that this pattern was in the works. I was very lucky to have a number of people volunteer to test knit and to do it in a timely manner. So now I’ll re-introduce you to Ruffle My Feathers. It is now available for purchase on ravelry or on my blog for $5.00 US.

The shawl name comes from the fact that the lace edging is feather and fan and creates a ruffled edging. This is a top down shawl with two cast on options: either a garter tab cast on for more advanced knitters or an ordinary cast on for beginners to lace. The pattern is both written and charted and it provides a stitch count chart at the end to keep track of rows; the stitch count chart provides the number of stitches between each stitch marker as well. Additionally a number of points are noted where the knitter can start the edging so that yarn usage can be maximized.

Skill Level: Intermediate

Sizes: Scarf version and Shawl version.

Yarn: 400-600 yards of fingering weight yarn. Used in photos – String Theory Hand Dyed Yarn Caper Sock (Colorway: Blue Hill)

Final measurements: Approx. 40in/102cm (48in/122cm) across and 12.5in/32cm (14in/36cm) in length.

Price: $5.00 US

I had a number of test knitters knit up this shawl and here are some of the beautiful shawls produced:

By ArtistaRaquel using Knit Picks Stroll Tonal in Springtime

By coffeecake using Posh Yarn Sylvia 4ply in Assignment

By Needlediva using String Theory Caper Sock in Uva

By Riverpoet using Madeline Tosh Merino Light in Mansfield Garden Party

By dmop using String Theory Caper DK in Midnight and Black Tulip

By LeighGreyKnits using The Unique Sheep Verve in Raffaldini

By Virgilocatel using Abuelita Yarns Three ply

I had a number of other test knitters but they have yet to post photos of their projects. I’m sure those will be beautiful as well.

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In the works: Pamela’s Blanket

Along with the Ruffle My Feathers shawl, I’ve been working on another design for the Knit Picks Independent Designer Program. On arrival in Quito and meeting my host family, I met young Pamela.

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For the last 12 years or so I’ve lived a singular life. Pretty much everyone around me has been around my age with similar lifestyles. What that has meant was little to no access to young children. I barely even remember kids exist except for when I’m at a supermarket, enjoying my shopping and I feel my shins smash into something small and squishy. I look down to see a miniature person and feel the glare of some mother a few feet away. It’s not my fault really, I’m not  conditioned to look downwards in case little feet might be running by.

Anyhow, after meeting Pamela, I decided I’d try to knit something in miniature. I’m definitely not yet ready to take on miniature clothing, sizes like 2T, 3T and the like puzzle me. But I thought, why not a baby blanket. I knit up a swatch, took pictures and submitted it to Knit Picks. Stacey was lovely and got back to me in a short time and it was a go. The only challenge being that I’d need the yarn here in Ecuador. My lovely friend Mary was up to the task and so KP mailed yarn to Mary and Mary mailed it to me. Along with my yarn I asked Mary to send me a few things: socks, new jeans, etc. Anyhow, this pushed my package over 4 lbs and thus I had to go to the main post office to pick it up. I kid you not, these are the steps (and approximately an hour of my time) it took to pick up the package:

  1. Show up with package slip plus original passport and 2 copies of passport.
  2. Take a number
  3. Number is called, show number and passport to attendant and give him/her copies of passport, pay $1.25.
  4. Wait for same number to be called at another station – this time a door. Go through door, man picks up your package and opens it and goes through it with you looking and fills out a form saying what the package contained. He then tapes it up. You think that´s it and you get your package. NO!
  5. Go sit in room with attendants at computer. Wait. Get called up and have them enter all the information about your package and also your personal information into a computer. Then you are assessed a fee based on the cost of postage. My fee was only $0.35. Had the package been a few pounds heavier it could have gone up to $60.
  6. Go and pay fee at a bank window (separate from where you paid the initial $1.25). The bank charges you $0.70 to use their services and so fee is $1.05.
  7. Take proof that you´ve paid the fee back to woman in front of computer and finally, finally receive your package.

Along with the arrival of my package came 25 summer volunteers for the program I’m working with. This meant knitting got sidetracked as I ran an orientation and dealt with the various challenges of 25 young foreigners in a foreign land. Once they were suitably oriented and sent to their sites, I was able to do some knitting but then of course I fell a bit sick. I’ve lived to tell the tale however and I have a completed baby blanket. I have yet to take the final photos with young Pamela as my model (she went off to the beach for the weekend and then I’m about to go off to the beach for the weekend but soon the final shoot will take place) but here are some preliminary photos. The pattern is nearly complete and will be sent to test knitters this evening.

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