Bring on the heat!

I’ve done my bit.  In an insane effort to bring about some warm weather (we’re have a low of 45F tonight, brrr), I’ve finished Caulking because Opus and I sincerely believe that publishing a Fall/ Winter pattern will make the weather change.  This theory only works if you subscribe to the “bring an umbrella to prevent rain” doctrine, but I’m willing to try anything at this point.

So, here it is!  Caulking.  So named (by Opus) for it’s primary function of protecting you against the elements – or, rather, your neck and upper torso.  Secondary function?  It just looks cool.

Caulking

Worn under a coat, it’ll un-expose your neck and collar-bone area…

Caulking-002

Knit from the bottom up, the piece is steadily increased in pattern and buttoned in the back.

Caulking-001

I’ve posted it on ravelry, but haven’t had a chance to add it to the RCK website yet. Sorry. I’ll get to that this weekend, honest – around the same time I finish up Rhea Silvia for my tech editor.

Here are the specs, in case you, too, are freezing right now:

Caulking Pattern Preview.5x11-FIN

GAUGE:

    • 24 sts & 28 rnds = 4”/ 10 cm in Stockinette st

MATERIALS:

    • Approximately 175 y/ 160 m sport weight yarn. Sample shown: Tactile: Fiber Arts Studio (225 yd/ 206 m per 3.5 oz/ 100g skein), in “Beach”
    • Two 1/2”/ 1.25mm buttons
    • Tapestry needle

NEEDLES:

    • One 24-inch/ 61 cm US 3 / 3.25mm circular needle

SIZING:

    • 18”/ 45.75 cm circumference, buttoned up
    • 18.5”/ 47 cm wide x 13.5”/ 34.25 cm from point to collar, laid flat

SKILL LEVEL: Intermediate
$6.00 US PDF DOWNLOAD

Now, let’s see some HEAT!*

*This is not to say that I don’t love this pattern and am not proud of it. I am. A lot. I’m also really, really cold and tired of wearing winter clothes in May.

Putting It In Reverse

Here is the last of my designs from Shibui Texture (though Kristin has one stunner left!) and it has a special place in my heart because I designed the stitch pattern – a reversible cabled rib – specifically for this piece…

Orford, Shibui Texture

Orford, a modern scarf with traditional roots.

I love the concept of traditional fisherman’s scarves, with their narrow necks (for easy layering), flared ‘bodies’ (for easier tucking and tying), and creative use of texture. To me, they are as inherent to fisherman’s knits as Guernseys. The design has the same classic shaping and sizing of a fisherman’s scarf of yore… with some updates.  Instead of traditional knit and purl stitch patterns, I wanted to create the illusion of water rippling.

Orford, Shibui Texture

After spending several hours sketching and swatching, I’m quite pleased with the result.  If you like it as well, please add it to your queue (or fave it!) on Ravelry.  To learn more about the upcoming publication, Shibui Texture, see the Shibui Knits website.

In my next post I am determined to recap the class I took with Nancy Bush (!) on triangular lace shawls from Estonia.  Super-exciting.  Until then, I hope you’re having better weather than we are right now!

Mini launch?

Well, as I mentioned on Tuesday, things are not going quite as smoothly as I’d hoped vis-à-vis this whole launch thing.  Instead of having several patterns ready (or even a website), I have a single pattern blessed by my tech editor:

4 Hours preview
4 Hours pdf preview

$4.50 USD (pdf download)

4 Hours.  While visiting my sister in Februrary, I saw the yarn at ImagiKnit and just knew what I had to make with it. That night, while I watched two movies with my sister (Easy A and The Social Network… don’t ask, weird night), I swatched, cast on and completed this cowl. The next morning everyone was so in love with it, I decided to write up the pattern.  The model, my SIL Karen, was very accomodating about modeling it for me…

4 Hours (cowl pattern)

Even though I’m sure she thought I was nuts.

Which is probably true.

The end result is an oversized comfy and cozy cowl that is easily adjustable by means of the drawstring.  Knit with just 135 yards of bulky yarn, it’s super quick to make and fun to wear (trust me, I’ve been wearing it a lot lately with our bizarre wintery weather).  For more information about the pattern, like gauge and stuff, check it out on ravelry.

Later this week, I’m hoping to be able to release these four patterns:

La Fontaine preview
La Fontaine pdf preview
Flocked Sock preview
Flocked Sock pdf preview
Captain Nemo preview
Captain Nemo pdf preview
Puzzlebox Socks preview
Puzzlebox Socks pdf preview

But only when they’re ready. After them is another round of 5 or 6 patterns that I can’t even bear to think about. It’s seeming increasingly unlikely that I’ll have all this ready for TNNA in a month.

I’m going to keep my fingers crossed, nonetheless.

The name of the line, Rose City Knits may raise a few brows.  I’ve had a long love affair with roses, particularly tea roses, and was enchanted with the fact that Portland was called the “Rose City” when we first moved to Oregon.  This affection was increased after moving to Portland, my new adopted home (I truly can’t imagine living anywhere else), where roses do indeed flourish rather spectacularly.  In retrospect, it seemed fateful that I would end up here after everything.

Long-time blog readers will understand what I mean when I say that – I started out as a Classical Archaeology student and then changed focus to Classical Civilization with a focus on Textiles.  It’s been a weird journey with quite a few misturns and a lot of doubling back.  Still, I’m very glad to be here and probably wouldn’t change a thing, given the chance.

So, there we have it.  One tiny step, but it’s still important.  Keep your fingers crossed this week, I’m going to need all the luck I can get!

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 :)

shame shame shame

I’m beyond embarrassed at this point by how bad a blogger I’ve been (Emm’s eyes are doing MUCH better, btw). In my defense, I’ve been doing the work of 2 people and preparing for the departure of THREE more coworkers(!!!). One for Maternity Leave (dammit), one for a vacation in another state (waaaah!), and one for school – which I don’t begrudge (much). I’m just slightly panicking, is all.

To cope with all this added stress and confusion, I’ve been knitting every spare moment I can… in some mad, subconscious, effort to lower my blood-pressure or something. I’m even beginning to wonder if I’m knitting in my sleep, because random wip’s are showing large leaps of progress that I don’t remember making. Of course, it could be knitting blackouts…

Not good to think about, really. Moving on. I finished my first skif sweater. It took 3 broken needles (sewing machine ones, not knitting), since I was out of Ball Point needles and even the Denim ones I got weren’t up to the task! Eventually, though, persistance won out as it usually does and I can now add this to my list of 2008 FO’s:

skif-bb-front1

skif-bb-back

If you want actual specs for it, I’m gonna have to refer you to my ravelry notebook.

I also finished these, my Fortress of Solitude socks (c’mon, the name just fit):

P418-socks1

Again, gonna send ya to the ravelry notebook for the details. Sorry. It’s just easier that way. On top of finishing those, I have two sweaters, a baby hat, an adult hat, three pairs of socks (no, wait, four) and… well, a Renaissance costume… in the works. But that’s not knitting and is neither here nor there right now. In other news, I received some BEAUTIFUL yarn from Penny and immediately had a wicked plan for it that is already being implemented, mwahaha.

I also got my prize from Lorna’s Laces for winning 3rd Prize in their design competition. They also sent me three copies of the pattern, and I stole a pic from their site:

architect's sock

My Architect’s Sock. So weird to actually see it knit up by someone else in a completely different color on the actual pattern.

And, in slightly non-knitting news – I went to Patrick’s Commencement today. You’ll all remember Patrick as the model for my Columbia Fisherman’s Pullover. And for those of you females out there salivating (I know you are! I got emails last time), he doesn’t play for out team, girls.

Anyway. He text’d me on Thursday, I think it was, to make sure I was coming. I panicked, said I would and penciled it in (this is the state of my life now, sadly). I even brought a travelling sock, to commemorate the occasion:

Sock at PSU Commencement

And was ecstatic to get a picture of him just after he had ‘walked’:

Patrick at Commencement

(Terrisa and I screamed like banshees to get his attention for a couple of quick photos.)

It was great, even with 90F+ weather. The Interim President of PSU even (rather gallantly) offered to make no speech in exchange for a standing ovation. I liked him. Good man. The service was short, sweet and perfectly to the point. I heartily approved.

After that, we all went out to lunch (great fun that lasted for far longer than I had scheduled for, eep!) and had to rush home. I had planned to meet Laure in Beaverton at 3:30, but just barely made it home at 4:00. She agreed to come to my place instead and work with me here.

See, some months ago, Laura convinced me to join her Historical Recreation Guild and participate in this year’s Shrewsbury Renaissance Faire – because I spin and knit and would be a great asset or something. I (somewhat) foolishly agreed, thinking it would be fun and forgot about it almost immediately after.

With the Faire in less than a month, I need to make a costume very quickly and… well, not panic. I won’t panic. I’m not panicking. Honestly. Even though I’m 4 yards short of boning (guess how I found that out tonight?) and haven’t even started on my blouse or skirt.

I need to go and knit something.

things, they are a’changing

After a hellish day – catching up with 4 sick-days worth of work is never easy – I was nearly in tears when I found a parcel on my step. FluffyKnitterDeb, fellow admin and mod of Sock Knitters Anonymous, sent me a cheer-up gift:

Margarita Socks

A pair of socks knit using this month’s Mystery Pattern for Sockdown: Ravelry!

Where she gets the time to organize the group (I’m completely AWOL, I admit it) and knit mirco-gauge socks, I never will know. But I am deeply grateful for the thought and effort she put into them. Thank you, Debi! I might just wear these to work tomorrow.

Let’s see. We’re painfully overdue for an update, but… well, I’m in the midst of some crazy sh!t and don’t know where to start. I’ll just go over what’s taking up the most of my attention:

We’re officially another pair of hands short at work as of today. Details will be released later, when I can articulate fully.

We’re about to be another pair of hands short when J goes on Maternity Leave.

Now, those two things would be enough to make me panic were it also not for the fact that (deadline fast approaching) the Knit Purl Sock Club still hasn’t sold out. I’m beyond the panic stage. Admittedly, we’ve sold over half the spots, so that’s good. But, eep! If anyone has any suggestions, I’d love to hear them.

Open application for Berkeley Business School begins on August 15 and I don’t have anything ready.  Now, even if I were to get accepted (not counting on anything), the term I’m applying for is Fall 09.  Time, at least here, is on my side.

I’m also behind on my New Designs schedule and can’t see the floor of the laundry room.

Someone, please, kidnap save me.

(I can even pay you in yarn.)

a belated existence

Thank you everyone for your kind words, thoughts, and prayers. Emm has been healing much faster than we had any reason to hope for, so I really think you all helped. In fact, during an emergency meeting with The Dr (Emm was discomfited by the Scleral Buckle around his left eye), we were overjoyed to find out that Emm is starting to regain vision in his right eye – the one where the retina had all but detached completely.

I have to admit that on entirely selfish level I am pathetically grateful Emm doesn’t require round the clock care anymore. Aside from it being phyisically and emotionally draining, it was affecting both my personal and professional lives. I had to cut back hours at work, which meant I got less done – meaning I’m not on the schedule I’d like to be right now. Don’t even ask me about the Sock Club. It’s just embarrassing. And as for that Shibui baby set I promised? Forget about it.

As for my home life? Oy. I feel bad cutting my friends off and even rejecting “quality” time with the family. But, heck, between work, Emm’s care, cleaning (‘nother oy), and sleeping (sleep comes before food with me), things have fallen behind at home as well. Don’t inquire about the laundry, dishes or bathroom. I counted it a major personal victory when I managed to vacuum the house while Emm was taking his afternoon nap today. If I’m lucky, I’ll even manage a load of laundry before bed. (Before you ask, Mum’s had to go back to working FT and Dad is almost 70 – as the youngest and the healthiest, things naturally fall to me to get done at all.)

And as for my personal life? I would be a little ashamed of how I’ve abandoned my responsibilities on ravelry, if not for my fantastic mods who’ve managed to keep everything in the SKA running beautifully without me. Bless them.  I did, to assuage my guilt, spend a couple hours on ravelry this evening catching up with as much of my responsibilities as I could.  Hopefully that’ll be enough for now.  If I’m really lucky, I’ll even manage to wrap up the Scavenger Hunt prizes by the end of this week.

Anyway.  Yesterday was the first full day I have taken off for myself in… well, weeks, really. Even before Emm’s surgery there were so many other things to be done. In any case, I spent the day with Opus – we decided to be lazy and knit (which doesn’t really count as lazy):

On our way from one reclining spot to another, we paused to admire the work of dozens of sand castle enthusiasts during Sand In The City:

sand in the city 2008

Even in the cold and the mist, they were still going strong. Admirable, if entirely crazy to my mind as we shivered (it’s July!! Where is my 90F weather??) while we waited for the MAX. From there we crashed for some time on Twisted’s couch (comfiest couch on the East Side), and I worked on this:

Button-Back 2

My continuing effort for the SKIF KAL.

(check out the revised badge:)

Amazingly enough, this sweater still continues to draw me. I’m nearly done with the body (1.5″ to go!!) and am seriously looking forward to the sleeves. Very fun. I can’t wait, with a glee that surprises me, to finish it with a sewing machine. I also (cue blush) bought yarn to maybe make another. Someone just stop me.

Uh oh. My laptop battery is about to die, which means I’ve been on here for too long anyway. Time to wrap this up. Thank you, again, to everyone who sent positive wishes and prayers and thoughts our way! We truly do appreciate all your care. Now, I’ve got to go and battle the dirty-laundry monster. Until next time, happy knitting!

Grows a red, red rose

Blast. Can’t find the original lyrics I liked best. Hardly matters, everyone knows the song, right?

Worked yesterday. Long day full of short bursts of activity. Sundays tend to be quiet in most businesses, I guess. I have to go to work in 45 mins, so this post is going to be short and sweet since I still haven’t washed my hair :P

After closing, I met up with Mum and we went for a walk in the International Rose Test Gardens. Remember them? The roses were quite impressive, despite the continuing wet and cool weather. As is my own unique talent, I didn’t manage to take any good photographs, but here’s a passable one:

rg1

After walking through a cloud of rose perfume, I was very excited to find a red-black rose that matched my Sockdown: June! wip:

rr2

How perfect is that? And, before you ask, the challenge this month is Design Your Own – which means I’m making up the pattern as I go. The yarn is “Roxanne” by Tempted Yarns. I got it from The Loopy Ewe. I LOVE this yarn. The color is do deep and vibrant and the base yarn is sooo soft.

That seems to be everything.  I have to leave in less than half an hour now.  Toodles.

Some slight changes

Remember those two Mystery Sock clues I posted? Throw ’em out. No errata, never fear. But some of the knitters brave enough to try my Fair Isle infested pattern have requested instructions for how to shorten the cuff chart on Clue #2. And I, being me, decided to redo both clues just to make my life easier in the long run:

I’m even, to show willing (and curiosity, I admit), going to CO tonight and try out the new chart…

Honestly, I’m a bit amazed that 12 knitters were crazy enough to take on a Fair Isle-themed Mystery Pattern. It just goes to show what kind of people make up my beloved SKA.

Oh, and just so you don’t feel like you read all this for nothing, here’s a much better picture of the sockies:

April socks