Trumps

I was going to  blog, really, I was.  But then WordPress ate my post and I had to make dinner and fold, like, five million t-shirts and I’m just tired.  So, instead, I bring you a photo-journal of things that have been happening ’round here.

First and foremost, I finished and blocked the Green Mystery:

Which I knit to test the Purple Mystery pattern.  Then I bought yarn for a large Beige Mystery (sounds so exciting, eh?) and a couple other surprises:

Then Shibui released another pattern I wrote.  See Ondula:

Ondula (scarf)

See Ondula drape:

Ondula (scarf)

Now, see Ondula hang artfully next to a streetlight:

Ondula (scarf)

Lastly, see one weary blogger (last week was soooo long) go to bed early.  Toods.

In the pink

The Crew have gone off to TNNA, leaving me in charge.  We can discuss the flaws of that plan later.*

Taking a break (late lunch) and thought I’d share my latest wip – a Draper shawl just for me.  Shown with the lovely silk dupioni bag Sandy Kay made for me.  In pink, of course.

image

The yarn is Staccato in “Poodle Skirt“.  Love it – both the yarn itself and the color.  Yum.  (eta: please pardon the crappy washed-out cell pic)

Uh oh.  Gotta go.  I promise I’ll write a thorough post soon.  Honest.

*Leaving an admitted yarn whore in charge of an LYS is like leaving an alcoholic in charge of a bar.  Baaad idea.

Popularity contest

It’s a little weird to me, the randomness of which patterns are instant favorites and which ones aren’t.  I added three new designs to my ravelry journal, Draper, Element, and Ondula, and it was fascinating to see which one skyrocketed to the top.

The immediate winner was Draper, a triangular shawl (or scarf, I included instructions for two sizes, booyah) I designed for Shibui while really taking their design aesthetic into consideration – i.e. modern, clean lines, simple yet sophisticated.  The result with a nontraditional bit of lace that is designed using the traditional top-down construction of the Shetland islands:

Draper (shawl)

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love this design. I am so proud of it that I could burst. Lindsay (our cover girl) came to me many months ago with a pretty simple request – to design a triangular shawl that could be knit with two+ skeins of Staccato and look amazing in one of the handpainted colorways.

The idea I had was ‘gradient’.  It seemed very modern and, well, different.  Start with a little stockinette and then one repeat of the lace pattern – a geometric motif with a slight chevron, perfect for variegates- then follow it with an even larger section of stockinette and two repeats of the lace, etc etc.  Strangely enough, the idea totally worked.

Draper (shawl)

In fact, the result was nothing short of miraculous, considering I’d never designed a triangular lace shawl before (this did feel a little like jumping in the deep end at first) and that the design actually came out the right size and looked, to me, beautiful.

I mean, wow. How the heck did that happen?

I think I’m going to have to go with magic, since the odds were so far against the first try coming out perfectly.  And, let me tell you, that sample was knit from a pattern I wrote from a swatch and it was the test knitting portion of this experiment.  Talk about blind faith and a little bit of crazy.

I’m not bragging; really, I’m not.  I’m just surprised that this was the favorite of the three on ravelry.  I mean, if the average person had to pick between a tunic/ dress, a scarf, and a lace shawl for wearability, I’d have thought the tunic/ dress would be a shoo-in.

Apparently not.  Of course, I have to admit that Draper is my favorite of the three, too.  But I’m a lace fiend and probably ‘tetched’ in the head.  Especially since I’ve promised myself that I can knit another one out of Staccato in ‘Poodle Skirt’ for me and me alone… once I’ve finished the other samples I have OTN (sigh).

This is all a very long and rambling way of telling you that people are surprising – and that I appreciate it.  It’s nice to know that all that effort wasn’t in vain.  Tomorrow I’ll try and blog a bit about the other designs; which, although not favorites, are still very much beloved by me :)

Lazing

image

Okay, not really.  Knitting away on two commissions and another sample using the Purple Mystery pattern.  And, yes, incidentally, the Purple Mystery pattern will be available soon.  It goes to the tech editor tomorrow.

Would explain more, but have to go and get an early dinner (before an early movie).  Above is one commission and the second Purple Mystery (only this time it’s green). 

Gtg.  Pasta time!

Purple mystery

Remember that purple thing from my last post? Yeah, it’s now blocking on the dining room table:

Purple mystery - corner

Came out MUCH bigger than I thought it would. Due to truly pathetic sun turn-out (the sun wusses out on us above the 45th parallel this time of year), I could only get a couple of detail shots. Maybe I’ll get a full photo tomorrow.

The pattern is my own and I have duly written it up. Now all I need is a tech editor… Hm. I think I might even knit it again, as I did go a little crazy and stock up on the Tosh Merino Light last week.

… I couldn’t help it – it was so sqooshy.

In other news, I wrote up two or three patterns today (brain… melting) and am beginning to wonder how I ever got patterns done without a full day a week devoted to designing. It’s so much easier now, and there are definitely fewer errors on my part.

Continuing on the News theme, we had a lovely Thanksgiving:

Simple Thanksgiving

And I can’t find my size 5 24″ addi Turbos. I KNOW they’re around here, I just can’t locate them. Little monsters.

Because I had time (between basting the turkey and mashing potatoes), I also knit a hat on Thanksgiving Day for our (the store’s) Handknits for Hard Knock Kids clothing drive:

Thankful hat

Knit with Shibui Knits Merino Worsted held together with Handmaiden Casbah Sock for a super-soft and cushy hat. Here’s hoping some little girl out there really LOVES the pink as much as I do :)

I also have collected quite a bit of machine washable yarn…

Yarn for hats

In the hopes of making at least a dozen hats this year. It just breaks my heart to hear how many children are in foster care. I might even make matching mittens, if I have the yarn/ time.

If you’d like to join me, you’d be very welcome, and there’s no denying that the kids deserve something warm and soft and made with love.  Feel free to email me at my work email saram(at)knit-purl(dot)com for details.

But now I must away.  Have to proof the pattern booklet for this yarn before it goes to the printers this week.  Why? you ask – because I have four patterns in it that I am quite proud of and have been slaving away on for months.  Maybe next time Shibui will have given me some spoiler photos.

Gawdawful tired.

It’s been a looong month since my last post.  I am just utterly and completely exhausted from my recent exploits.  Highlights (until a real post, maybe tomorrow):

  1. TPTB* went on vacation and I was left in charge of the store for three weeks.  Amazingly enough, it didn’t burn down, explode, or go out of business in that time.  I am, however, brutally exhausted from being ‘On’ and in charge(ish) for three weeks together.  Also, doing three peoples’ jobs at once didn’t help.
  2. I was interviewed on the radio/ a podcast, Knit Happens.  My coworkers actually listened to it live and didn’t mock me after.  I think I sounded like an idiot.
  3. Opus, Opus’s Mum, and I went on a road trip in search of fabric.  We found it.  Lots, in fact.  Did I take a picture?  Apparently not one that I can find…
  4. I had a spinning party with Opus and Co., during which we wound a skein that was 26 FEET in circumference.  Trust a weaver, a.k.a. Opus’ Mum, to figure out how to do something that crazy.
  5. Opus and I walked in Race for the Cure.  We also knit at the same time, proving we are not natural blonds.
  6. I taught Eva how to block a triangular lace shawl.
  7. I met a kitten named Mowgli.  Who I then took home.  (In my defense, it’s been a long month and it was a weak moment)
  8. Opus & Co. and I went to OFF&F, where we saw sheep, and goats, and a llama.

But there’s a lot more.  I’ll get to them later.  Until then, here’s some pretty for you:

I (heart) Fair Isle

Well, I think it’s pretty. It’s a Dale sweater for Tegan. Details later. Time for bed. With a kitten on my head.

*The Powers That Be.

Like Nina sings.

I’m feeling good.

The booklet is out and is actually selling. I know that Knit Purl sold over 20 copies in the past three days, so I’m not as down and worried as I was.  You try being not being down and worried after being told over and over again that there are numerous sock book(let)s out there and that knitters probably won’t notice another one.

Not so good.  But, hah, Socks is only 4 booklets behind Shibui Luxury (well, where I work), and Luxury is knitter’s eye candy in every sense of the phrase.

Anyway.  Deep breath.  Vacation is commencing nicely.  I spent most of the weekend (barring some time at Ikea, g-d help me) relaxing, lounging, and just catching my breath.  The last eight months have been brutal.  Mostly I worked on two things (but don’t tell Shibui):

Sparkly pink Ishbel

and

Trapezoid experiment

Tegan’s Ishbel was obviously numero uno on my list, because she’s arriving tomorrow!!  Squee.  My sister and niece are arriving sometime around 2:3o and I am just beside myself.  My inner Girl Scout has planned all sorts of activities and cool treats.  It’s going to be awesome.  And I’m going to take copious photographs.

Expect to see some.  Or, rather, lots.

Including (hopefully) Tegan actually wearing her Ishbel.  I really hope she likes it!

I feel I must issue a friendly knitterly advisory.  And maybe alert the DEA.  I just cast on my first project using Lima (last night) and could barely make myself put it down long enough to finish the Ishbel.  Sparkly.  Pink.  Ishbel.  Looking at my template, that should express volumes.  This stuff is THE crack.  I’m kind of afraid of what will happen when I run out…  Will I DT?

Eep.

Maybe this is a sign that I need to stash some more…

The fact that I’m even thinking that is probably not a good sign.

And I thought Malabrigo was bad.

Wait.  Can you hear that?  It‘s calling to me.  I gotta go.

So… yeah.

It’s 1:40am on a Thursday morning and the only reason I’m sitting here typing is because I was stupid enough to take an Excedrin at 4pm today.  Well, yesterday.

Counting sheep definitely doesn’t work because then I start to wonder if they’re Wensleydale or Romney or Bluefaced Leicester and get all hung up on what kind of fleeces they should have and whether or not their polled and… it just goes downhill from there.

I’m surprisingly verbose after 1am.  Imagine that.  Must be all the caffeine overwhelming my system.

If you caught my tweet earlier today, you’ll know that I (briefly) jumped up and down with joy over the fact that Shibui Socks is officially in print.  I am so glad (and pleased with myself) to announce that.  Especially since having to respond to inquiries with the equivalent of “I don’t know – soon?” is a little disheartening.  But I survived the gauntlet (albeit a small one, only ten nine* patterns) and am still of sound enough mind and body to be pleased as punch.

So, I worked until 9pm tonight, writing and coding a Newsletter for Shibui that will formally introduce the booklets to the world at large.  Progress was made, but by 9pm I was ready to give in and go home.  Before I did (and while I was waiting for my ride), I introduced the traveling sock to the booklet.

And so they meet

The traveling sock wasn’t impressed.

Oh, well. I tried.

As I was sitting there (contemplating the feasibility of knitting for 1.5 minutes), I decided to share a super-cool little gadget I found at Utrecht.

Super-cool gadget

That’s not really a gadget. It’s a pencil case (I think). The best part is that all the little compartments are adjustable. Actually, no. The BEST part is that I got it for $2.95 and it was made in America.  Oh, and it keeps my notions organized (also a plus).

Seriously. I’m thinking of naming it.  Possibly ‘Frank’.

By the way, it (Frank?) got along fine with the booklet.

Then, just before my chariot arrived, I decided to let all y’all in on a little secret (but you can’t tell anyone!). Even though I am ardently and devotedly working on the Shibui Heichi booklet, I have been dreaming of other projects (and designs), and even made a little swatch in anticipation of the day when my last Heichi pattern has been submitted. Behold:

Secret Swatch

A Super Secret Swatch (yes, another one), knit with Madelinetosh Lace in “Graphite” on US 6 (4mm) needles. It is d e l i c i o u s. People go nuts when they see and touch it. I can’t wait to get succumb this particular Siren.

Eventually. Still have to finish the back of one sample and then knit the front of said sample.  Translation: I have to knit a sample.  Bah.

It’s 2:10am now and I’m finally getting drowsy.  I think I’m going to try and go back to bed.  Tomorrow (today) is looking to be a looong day.  Wish me luck.  And, yes, I know I’m weird at 2am.

*Due to space constraints we had to cut one of the patterns.  So sad.

Man, oh man.

Am I sick of swatching.  It seems like my life has been an endless series of small knit squares (and rectangles) for the past week…

Swatches

Swatches for a new Shibui booklet (with their new upcoming yarn, Heichi, a 100% silk tweed – yumm), swatches for a new line of yarns we’re going to be carrying, and swatches for swatches for swatches.  Or so it feels like.  I’ve also been working on some Top Secret projects, but can’t share them.  Lame, I know.

I can, however, share the Sock and Leverge (and new KnitPod):

Traveling Sock and Leverage

The Leverage crew have taken over our neighborhood (at work, downtown) again.  Is this the third or fourth time?  I really can’t keep track.  And as fascinating as it is to see them hustling about with giant spotlights and extras and all sorts of gadgets, it’s a pain in the tuckus.  It’d be nice to have our street back again.  Or, you know, one or two parking places.

Eh.  They’ll move on to their next location soon enough.  If they haven’t already.  This photo was from Friday.

In regards to work (aside from drowning in it), I’m developing my own version of Chaos theory:

Chaos breeds

And using my desk as the experiment.  A Nobel Prize is just around the corner.  I can feel it.

It sounds feasible, right?

Anyway.  You can see that I was proofing the upcoming Shibui Luxury booklet, which is gaining hearts all over ravelry.  Especially this cute little hat:

Elizabeth

Tessa (the model) rocked the heck outta that.  Of course, it is an awesome design.  Love the texture detail.  The hat is the most popular pattern in the booklet, which sorta makes sense to me… but my favorite is actually Eustacia:

Eustacia

It’s very, as we’ve been saying at work, ‘French Lieutenant’s Woman’.  I really want one.  Without the mohair, ’cause I just love things that give me hives.  Maybe with Suri alpaca, so I’d get the same halo… or with baby alpaca.  Hm.  Tempt-ing.

My bright spot on the horizon (amidst this endless sea of swatches*) is the imminent release of Shibui Socks.  I find it kind of hilarious (and a little disheartening) that the most popular pattern from the booklet on ravelry…

Brooklyn.  The rewrite of The Button-Up Socks, a Shibui pattern I wrote over three years ago.  We (Shibui and I) decided to include it in the booklet because sales were so low.  Hah.  Knitters are so funny.

Oh, well.  Maybe it just needed to be yellow.

It’s 10:30pm and I need to fold some more laundry.  Mom’s watching another episode of Criminal Minds, one of the worst FBI shows I’ve seen.  As likeable as the characters are, it’s just so inaccurate it makes me cringe.

At least I have my knitting.  Even if it is another d@mn swatch.

*How’s that for mixing my metaphors?