Thursday, 31 December 2015

Doing it Right

I've got most of the old sweater undone, I still have a sleeve to go but it was an annoying job and I have more than enough to start.  So I swatched for the new sweater and quickly determined I didn't have the right needles, I did some math and figured I could fudge it by knitting the numbers of stitches of one of the smaller sizes with the needles I did have and if I did the math right it would end up my size.

Then I had a moment of wisdom where I realized it would look better at the gauge suggested and it would be worth waiting until I had time to go to the store.  So I waited and managed to pick up the needles yesterday.  It is so much faster doing errands when you leave the kids in the car!  (Don't worry, my husband was also in the car.)  It meant I spent less than five minutes in the yarn shop, has to be a record.

I have cast on and am on the ribbing, but I'm in no rush.  This project with have miles of stockinette so I'll take the ribbing while it's here.

Saturday, 26 December 2015

The great undoing

Close to a decade ago I bought some beautiful yarn, it was the brightest beautiful blue and it was to be a sweater.  It was around eighty dollars, I remember it being a lot especially since I was in school but it was good quality and I was in love with it.   I knit the sweater, a stunning lace pattern that I still think is breathtaking.  

The sweater was too small.  It was meant to be fitted but it didn't close and the arms were too tight and I couldn't bear to re-knit it since at the time it was rather challenging.  I just couldn't face doing it again.  I also couldn't face throwing it out or giving it away so it has stayed with me, through four moves, getting married, and having children.  Last year I knit some of the leftovers into a shawl but I didn't really love that, so the shawl joined the sweater and the still-leftover yarn in its bag and they sat there together and waited.

On Christmas Day Tin Can Knits released a new sweater pattern, Flax Light.  It's made of sock yarn, and I love it.  I sat looking at it while thinking about the fact that I have a lot of yarn and that I even have yarn for a top from Tin Can Knits waiting to be knit (but that's Bonny which is a summer top), and that I didn't really need to go and buy yarn.

Then I had an epiphany.  I had a sweater's worth of yarn in the right weight in a colour I love, the yarn is just in a sweater.  So today I have been sitting unpicking the seams then winding the yarn (my ball winder makes it go much faster than it would have otherwise).  I just need to do the two sleeves.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Oh right

I finished the knitting for the Christmas ornaments I'm working on, I just need to do a little blocking to even the stitches out a bit (they look fine, but blocking generally makes everything look better) and I also finished the mittens I've been working on last night.  (Need to take a picture and post it just haven't yet).

I was wondering what I should knit, I always have the never-ending blanket (it uses left over sock yarn and is pretty simple so it's my go-to between projects), and then I remembered.

I am knitting a sweater for Caleb.  Sweaters tend to get finished faster if you actually work on them.  It's funny how often I seem to forget that.

Monday, 21 December 2015

Such a great feeling

So apparently it's not allowed to sell patterns on Ravelry that are comprised of other patterns also on Ravelry unless the compilation is sold as an eBook.  I guess I missed that when I originally added the group of Christmas stockings, and a completely lovely volunteer editor has been helping me sort it out.  

Can I just say that volunteer editors are awesome?  It boggles my mind that this lovely person is spending their free time helping to maintain Ravelry which is such a blessing to me.

That being said sorting the entire process out has been somewhat frustrating because the process of adding and selling an eBook has been (at least to me) completely unintuitive.  But I figured it out and I am so happy and so satisfied that I did a little dance here in the office all by myself.  

This last thing means that every single one of the goals I set for myself at the start of the year has been completed, which is  such a great feeling.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Free Patterns

I absolutely love the patterns by Tin Can Knits, and they're giving away one of their patterns each day between now and Christmas!  If you haven't already I suggest you head over to tincanknits.com and pick up yours.  You'll see a picture of the free pattern right away.  Click on the picture, click on "buy now" then a window will come up and you'll see the total is $0.00, it will be in your Ravelry library.

:)

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Mittens

I bought some very colourful yarn on my trip to Vermont this fall and have been working on a pair of mittens.  They're very plain mittens in terms of the actual knitting.  Stockinette stitch with a peasant thumb.  I'm knitting them top-down, it's my favourite way to make mittens since the thumbs are first instead of last but other than that they're what you'd expect.  I'm really enjoying them, I love how the yarn is knitting there's just so much colour condensed into one place, really saturated colour and I'm loving them.

I'm also really enjoying the fact that I'm knitting and not needing to write up a pattern and focus on being really clear, it's a nice mental break.  

The other thing I'm making are these Christmas ornaments which are turning out great.  That pattern will need to be photographed and written up because I'm so in love with how they look, and they're a perfect gift for a knitter at Christmas and a great  (and quick) way to incorporate knitting into holiday decor that I want to make that pattern available.  I need to finish the knitting before my parents take their tree down (we only have a mini tree because I can put it away from where little hands can reach it and my dad does my photos for me).  I originally thought it would be tight but I'm on the sixth and last one, then I just need to weave in ends which is easy.  

Monday, 14 December 2015

A Little Christmas Ornament

I saw somewhere (probably on Pinterest) a picture of a little bit of knitting on toothpicks in a glass Christmas ornament.  I loved the idea and I made one but it was a bit boring.  I thought it would be better if it had a little colourwork motif but since it was going to be in a glass ball I didn't really want to have the wrong side there.  I'd seen knit fabric where both sides were the right side but didn't know how to make it.  So I got out my harmony guides (a great knitting series, by the way, I got them for Christmas one year and use them often), and found the page that explained how to make reversible squares and then extrapolated to make a snowflake chart.

A wiser person might have actually spent some time practising on the squares before spending an hour tearing out her hair while attempting to figure out how to chart something she'd never done before but for the life of me I can't seem to get over my habit of doing things the hard way.  Anyways I now have this:




I am very pleased.  So pleased that I've charted out five other designs and am planning on making a set of six.  I've already gotten another knitted (but not stuffed into the ball), and am so very happy with it.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

For fun

The other day I was going through my knitting notebook and reading old entries, from when I knew I wanted to sell patterns but hadn't started yet.  I came across an entry where I mentioned that I could that "work knitting" and "fun knitting" weren't exactly the same in terms of satisfaction and relaxation.  It's not that the knitting I do for my patterns isn't satisfying but it's like it scratches a different itch.  I'd totally forgotten that I'd written that but it's totally what I needed to hear this week. I've been working so hard on some of the things for my knitting work that I hadn't had a lot of knits that were just good fun in a while.

There's a Christmas ornament that I'm making for a friend that I need to have done by the end of the week but I've decided that after that I'm going to spend a week just knitting some fun things.  I bought some ridiculously fun yarn when I was in Vermont in the fall and it is going to be mittens and a cowl (and possibly a hat depending on how much yarn I have leftover).  The pattern for the mittens is going to be a plain as it gets (in other words, I'm not going to sell it), and I plan on using someone else's pattern for the cowl.  I haven't decided what it will be yet, or even looked but I want it to be somewhat interesting and I don't want to make it up myself.  I'm really looking forward to just bein refreshed.  Caleb and I wound the yarn together yesterday (he discovered the swift, I explained it was a tool, he was sold) and the colours are just delicious.

Monday, 7 December 2015

My little knitter

I'm almost done the front of Caleb's sweater, it's going pretty well.  I should have it done in another day or two.  This morning Caleb got his hands on it and was sitting there "knitting" saying "in, out, through, in, out, through, in, out..."  it was really cute, he's starting to really understand things and that's cool to see.  I also love that he's interested in knitting and will wear the stuff I make him.  I think he's going to love his airplane sweater and am really excited to give it to him.  I'm past the part that requires a chart so it's gotten more portable again which means the pace should pick up.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

A Toque For Anyone

This is my latest knitting pattern, A Toque for Anyone.  It's  available in five different sizes; toddler, little kid, big kid, ladies' and men's.

I'm really proud of this pattern for a couple reasons.  It's the first pattern I've published with different sizes listed and it took me a while to figure out how to write it out without the multiple instructions getting awkward.  Patterns in books are usually quite streamlined despite the amount of sizes listed and I wanted the sizes to be done well.  I had a breakthrough while I was working on this earlier in the week and the pattern is quite clear and the math works.  I'm really happy with that.

I also absolutely love how the earflaps worked out.  I've made a few hats with earflaps over the years and sometimes I find them too wide, or too narrow, or too short and these are exactly how I wanted them.

The other thing that I love about this is the border.  I have barely done any crochet but I was envisioning a contrasting border and though the pompoms and ties could be a great way to tie everything together but I was a bit intimidated because my attempts at crochet have been thus far very rudimentary, but I figured it was only yarn and worse case scenario I could rip it out.  The border is just double-crocheted all around so I only had to learn one stitch and it really tidied up the border and makes the entire thing look really polished.  I'm so happy I went that route.  The entire thing ended up jut how I pictured it which makes for an incredibly satisfying project.

It's on Ravelry here.


Firsts Can Be Hard

I've been working on some knitting patterns that I want to sell but I need to size them.  All of the patterns I've published already are things like ladies' mittens or Christmas stockings, things that can be sold in just one size.  That doesn't work for sweaters though, which is fine.  I have a sweater and a dress pattern for Ada that I'd like to publish and I had planned to have the sweater pattern be the fourth pattern I release this year (my goal for the year was four).  I'm just finding it somewhat...I don't know what.  Intimidating or difficult aren't quite the right words.  I'm used to writing out the instructions for one size and it's almost like the style I've written my patterns in up to this point doesn't translate very well.

Anyways, I also had a hat pattern I wanted to sell in multiple sizes.  I figured the hat would be easier to write out in multiple sizes than a sweater so I decided to put off publishing the sweater pattern until next year and do the hat, I've been sitting down to figure it out and up to last night have had a lot of trouble.  Part of it is the fact that I want the increases to be spaced evenly along the hat but the different sizes I was making didn't end up having stitch counts that divided neatly into the number of increases per round.

Last night I sat down and figured I'd do things one step at a time.  I made a chart with the names of the sizes I needed and the head circumference for each size.  Then I added a column with the number of stitches each size needed to go up to.  Then I added a column where I listed the factors of those numbers.  That was really a breakthrough for me, because I realized by having the original number of stitches cast on be different by one or two I could end up with the increases evenly divided on each of the rows for each of the sizes.  An hour later and I had everything written out on paper.  I feel so good about that.  I also feel really good that the magazine submission I made this year was rejected, it really helped that I got to work this out without a looming deadline.  And I think the sweater pattern will go a lot easier now that I've worked this one out.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

I think I've found a solution

I'm not really in love with how Caleb's sweater is coming along an that's part of the reason I've been avoiding it a bit.  It's supposed to be an airplane and clouds, and I wanted it to be subtle, so I did it as reverse stockinette on a stockinette background.  It's too subtle.  You can't really see it.

I've been thinking about what I should do, just rip it out?  I really  like the chart and just wish it was clearer in the knitting.  Then I remembered a suggestion from Debbie Bliss' Design it; Knit it Babies which is to use embroidery to compliment textured stitches.  This isn't quite what she meant but I think the idea could work, and I'm really excited about it again.  (It's still at an awkward place to take to knitting group today so it will be the blanket again, but I'm all right with that).  I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to do, and will likely need to start by researching some different embrodery stitches but I think the solution could make it fun as opposed to a sweater where there's random patches in reverse stockinette which is totally the look that it has now.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Winter's Warmth

I finished another pattern and I'm pleased as punch.  It's called Winter's Warmth, and if you're so inclined you can check it out Ravelry here.
















It's knit in the round, from the bottom up with the two ear-flaps being knitted first.  I really enjoyed knitting it, I found the cables kept it interesting while not being overly fussy.  If you're new to cabling it's really not as difficult as it looks, you basically just slide a few stitches to a stitch-holder, knit a couple other stitches, then knit the stitches on the stitch-holder.  That's all it is, and patterns for knitting with cables will tell you how many to put on the stitch-holder then how many to knit.

I've always gotten a lot of comments from people who don't knit or new knitters who say cables look hard and I always try to take the time to explain that they're really not because I think they're so stunning and I absolutely love the feeling I get when I try something new and succeed.  Also, I think cables are awesome for new knitter's self-esteem because then, whenever other people see their project they're like "Ooooooh, that looks hard.  You're REALLY talented."

The pattern is written in one size, it fits me (I have an average-sized head for a woman) and my two year old (he likes his hats loose, I don't know why, but it stays put on his head so I'm going to go with that counts as fitting him).

This is also the pattern that I submitted to a magazine in the summer, it was rejected but I really like how it turned out.  I'm also really happy that I went ahead and submitted it, I would really really like to get patterns published.  One of my goals for next year is to put together several proposals for publication next winter and having been through the process once is something I think I'll find really helpful this year.  Even though the process will be slightly different for different magazines I honestly think the biggest hurdle I faced while applying this year was the intimidation of doing something new.  It feels silly, but being able to say "I've tried before and trying again is no big deal" makes things so much easier.  So maybe next year you'll see one of my patterns in print, but at the moment you can find them in my Ravelry store, and I'm happy with that for now.

Monday, 23 November 2015

I can't find my drumsticks

And by drumsticks I really mean by 8mm DPNS, which my son has adopted to play the drums (my pots and pans, pro tip, DPNs are way less noisy than wooden spoons on pots and pans).  He also uses them to play a game he calls golf-burger which is basically hockey (we don't have cable, he has never seen real hockey even though we live in Canada, yes, I know it's sad), the puck is his plastic play food burger, hence the name.

I can find three of the needles.  I want to make a hat but I need all five.  The hat's going to be made out of Cozy-wool, which is a super-bulky half wool half acrylic mix from Michaels.  (I am forever wishing I'd written down the name of yarn I like, I'm planning to start doing it here, I'm pretty sure I can't misplace an entire blog).

I normally don't get yarn from there but a neighbour asked me to knit her something and supplied the yarn and I really like it.  It knits up well, it's super-soft and the weight means it's really good for instant gratification.  I can hardly wait to make it, except I don't want to buy more DPNs to replace the ones that are somewhere in this house.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Izzy Dolls

I am Canadian, and the Canadian military currently has goal to provide children, many of them Syrian refuges, with hand-knit toys called Izzy dolls.

The dolls, which cannot be bought or sold for profit, were inspired by and named after Master Cpl. Mark Isfeld of No. 1 Combat Engineer Regiment who was serving on peacekeeping missions in Kuwait and Croatia in the early 1990s. There, he often came across children with no toys or personal possessions, so his mother, Carol Isfeld, knitted little woollen dolls that he could give away to the kids he met.
There's an article on them from the Ottawa Citizen here and if you'd like more information Shirley O'Connor, the organizer for Ottawa, can be contacted at soconn37@gmail.com or (613) 267-3145.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

The sweater I'm not knitting

I've been ignoring Caleb's sweater, I just need to sit down and do some math.  It's not even hard math, it's more like checking something then thinking for a moment, but it needs to be a time when the kids are asleep (or quiet and giving me time to do something, but that doesn't happen if they're awake).  So I've been knitting the blanket (it's an ongoing, use up the leftover sock-yarn blanket).  I'm quite happy with it, it's getting bigger and bigger.  Today my mother asked me if I was not going to stop but just keep knitting it forever.  She was completely serious.  I love this blanket project somewhat irrationally and am tempted to keep going forever, but if we're all honest a blanket that's more than five feet square is really big.  A blanket that's in the 7 foot square or larger range is getting to be a bedspread and much after that is just useless.

I have no idea what I'll knit when I'm done it, but thankfully that won't be for quite a while.  A friend just dropped off more yarn today.  I have used up all my own leftover yarn in that weight and other people have generously been providing their leftover yarn, I'm a sucker for thoughtful gifts and so this project is making me all kinds of happy.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Couronne de Noël

A couple years ago I made Christmas stockings for our family.  They're colourwork and they all have a different design within a diamond pattern.  Mine is green, Caleb's in red, and Joshua's is blue.  I think they're stunning (if you can't tell, I'm quite proud of them).  As we've had an addition to our family this year a new Christmas stocking was in order and I started it shortly after Ada was born.  It didn't take a ton of time to knit but getting everything typed up and formatted, then getting the photos actually taken seemed to take forever.  I think it had something to do with me having two kids, I swear it takes me forever to do anything, except change diapers--I'm really fast at changing diapers.

Anyways, I got the photos taken a couple of weeks ago.  This morning did not go well, Caleb's been really dedicated to running off when I'm feeding Ada and stealthily emptying all the liquid soap down the drain.  My mom called, asked me how things were going, and after I explained she asked if I wanted her to take Caleb for the afternoon.  Come to think of it I still have no idea why she called.  But Caleb is at her house, Ada is miraculously sleeping (two hours of napping!) and I formatted the document and have uploaded it to Ravelry.



This one's called Couronne de Noël because the pattern inside the diamonds kind of looks like crowns to me.  I'm thrilled with it (I am also thrilled that my dad is awesome at taking photos).

The pattern costs $5 (and it's a Canadian five dollars, so those of you who are in the States or elsewhere get it for a steal!) and you can find it on Ravelry here.

I have a few more patterns I want to get out this year, so there will be more to come but right now I'm going to go have some tea.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Remembering

Today we remember the sacrifices of many who worked so that we can live in freedom.  For many those sacrifices meant their lives.  For many others it meant their husbands, that their families were never the same.  As a mom with young kids today I've been thinking about how terrifying it would be if my husband went to war, if he didn't come home ever, or came home but was never really the same again. 

I've also been thinking about the knitters who knit for the war effort.  In the first world war a man was more likely to die from exposure to the elements than enemy fire, often trenchfoot turned to gangrene.  Knitters in the allied countries worked to make socks, and those socks saved lives and limbs.  My grandmother remembers knitting for the soldiers in the second world war, often argyle socks.  (I haven't the faintest idea why argyle ones but there you have it).

Monday, 9 November 2015

"Because it's 2015"

I've been thinking about the new cabinet, and Justin Trudeau's explanation of why it's half women.  My mind keeps circling back to the same thing, I hate that the reason the cabinet is half women is "because it's 2015."

I hate it because it reminds me of all the times in school the teachers told the team captains in gym class that every other person they picked for their teams had to be a girl, because we're fair like that now.  It implies that a rigid quota is needed to have half of the cabinet ministers be women, because somehow we don't qualify on our merits alone.

I really wish the answer had been, "yeah, of the people I had to choose from there were just so many intelligent, passionate, and above all capable women that I had to pick these people to be in my cabinet."  Because I think the women he choose are intelligent, passionate, and capable, and I wish it was those qualities that had been emphasized.  I suppose that wouldn't have been as good a sound bite, though.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

He makes me laugh

I am almost finished the second girl guide hat.  It's been a fun and quick project.  My favourite part was when Caleb saw the yarn for the first time and exclaimed "Mom!  Biiiiig yarn!"

I have to say that hats with chunky yarn are super-fun because you get the thrill of a finished object super fast, I got the yarn three days ago and the second hat will be done tomorrow.  I'd easy get bored if that was all I made but Ada's napping has been bad (and by bad I mean almost nearly non-existant) for the past two weeks and finishing these two hats almost makes up for the fact that I haven't gotten a chance to do a lot of knitting the past two weeks.


Monday, 2 November 2015

So bad

Recently a neighbor a asked if I could help her with something.  There was a knitting pattern her daughter had seen for a toque with the girl guides' logo on it, but the mom couldn't knit.  She was wondering if she bought the yarn if I would make her two of the hats.  I said I'd be delighted to, and drew her attention to the number of stitches per 4" the pattern called for.  I figured her buying yarn wouldn't be too hard especially since I gave her the name of a local yarn shop.

It turns out the daughter's super-sensitive to fibres and it took a while (and several shops) for them to find a yarn that works for her.  It's a stunning blue, it knits up great, I really love it, it's also 9 sts per 4" rather than 18.  I can play with needles a bit but nothing that's going to bridge the gap between those numbers, but it's a toque knit flat with a logo in the middle.  I re-worked the logo on graph paper (the original chart would have taken up half the hat), it looks fine, and I knit the hat.

Before I did though, I realized the originally pattern is absolutely terrible.  It shows the hat in numerous sizes, had written instructions for one, but doesn't specify what size the written instructions are for.  The chart's colours are reversed (the white part on the chart is supposed to be coloured on the hat and visa versa), and has instructions like "do ribbing.  The best is either k2p2 or k1p1 and if you knit the stitch on one side you purl it on the other."  I feel like anyone who can make a hat with just those type of instructions would have done fine with only the picture and a chart and that those who need instructions because they're a bit newer would be lost.

All in all this has given me a real appreciate for well written patterns and emphasized the importance of good technical writing and checking my patterns for errors. I also think it is awesome that this mom went to three different yarn stores.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Goals

At the start of this year I'd set out to publish 4-6 patterns this year.  As of right now I have published exactly one.  That's not to say I haven't worked on the others.  There are two that only need the photographs inserted before they're ready, and there was a tech problem with getting the photos transferred from the photographer's camera to me which looks like it's been solved, so those two should be coming along quite soon, but when I look at that goal and see the short two months left in the year, it just seems like I haven't been very productive.

Now, I know that's not true.  I've produced all sorts of things this year, including a small human being that really, really likes being cuddled.  I like her, and I keep telling myself there will be years and years to spend making patterns.  Years when children don't need me as they do right now.

I still am looking forward to getting those three other patterns published.

Monday, 26 October 2015

A really big swatch

I am starting a sweater for Caleb.  It is from the yarn he picked out when we were at the yarn store.  I was walking by and he pointed at the bag and exclaimed "my yarn!  MY yarn!"  He then got really sad when I said it wasn't what I came for.  Not complainy, just sad.

I totally ended up buying it to make him a sweater, how can you say no to that?

Anyways, I swatched, measured, and cast on, only to discover that it was way too big.  I measured the very large "swatch" that was the back and cast on again, it ended up being too small.  Anyways, I've now cast on for the third time and think I've found that goldilocks number of stitches because the thing is finally the right size.

It's going to have an airplane and clouds on the front. Right now I'm on the back which is just ages of stockinette, but I'm okay with that.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

What was lost has been found

My husband suddenly remembered that the needles we'd been looking for were ones he'd helpfully put away in a book of mine.  He thought they went together.  They don't, but he's wonderful, and helpful, and most of the time finds the things I loose, and it's not a big deal.

A very cute hat is underway.  It is going to be knit straight up, then I'm going to kitchener stitch the top closed without decreasing and sew pompoms to the corners.

Because six month olds can totally pull off looks that adults can't.

Monday, 19 October 2015

MIA

Today during nap time I sat down to make a hat for Ada.  I'd already swatched, so it was a matter of doing the math and casting on.  I'd gotten the yarn and needles out and sat down to make it.

The problem is that Caleb's been using my knitting needles as drumsticks, and somewhere on the main floor of our house are three of my DPNs.  I've looked everywhere.  Joshua helped me look.  When he woke up I asked Caleb if he knew where they were but we still haven't found them.

Instead of knitting I wove in the ends of the airplane mittens, which are mercifully done but it was way less fun than casting on a new project.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Got it

I've ripped the mitts out two more times since I last blogged and after the second time in this round of rip-outs the cause of my problem finally came to me.

The reason I keep ending up with the airplanes racing the same direction instead of opposite ones is, spectacularly, that I knit the first mitt's chart from left to right.  The last seven attempts have been completely correct, the issue is that having knit the first mitten in reverse I must make the same mistake with the second mitten to have them match.

I feel like pounding my head against a wall.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

The worst

Apparently I knit the plane on the second mitt upside down again.  I would quite but the first mitt is so darn cute that I really want to finish the pair.  I think I've got it right this time, which is good because if I have to rip the thing back one more time I'll explode.

Today I was supposed to go somewhere where I was going to have a cup of tea and work on this stupid mitten for 20 minutes before something else was to start.  I was so looking forward to it.  Then my little guy fell down the stairs, got a huge gooseegg on his little head so we ended up at the hospital instead.  He is fine, but I feel so bad.  He hasn't slipped on the stairs in ages so a little while ago I started letting him walk behind or beside me when we were going up the stairs.  He's happy (he was mostly upset that he dropped his snack cup) and relaxing now.  Ada is sleeping and my mother brought me nougat so hopefully the next hour will be relaxing because my heart is still racing.  I love that little guy.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

The mitts are against me

Sometimes it's the easy projects that I struggle with, they lull me into a false sense of security.  I decided to make Caleb mittens.  I have made dozens of pairs of mittens in my life, this isn't hard.  After ine false start that I mentioned last week I got going, the first mitten was turning out well when I noticed I was about half way through my ball of yarn.  They're tip-down so that's not a huge problem, I wanted a stripe at the edge anyways, it just might be a bigger stripe.  I cast on the second mitten using the other end of the ball of yarn and got to work, figuring this way I can use up all of the yarn without worrying that I've used too much or too little in the first mitten.

The mittens have an airplane on them, but as I was knitting the second airplane looked funny.  I finally realized why; it was upside down.  (When knitting from the tip down the entire mitten is upside down so you need to turn the chart you've drawn upside down too, I missed that step on the second mitten).  I ripped back, slightly annoyed but figured I'd carry on.  I turn the chart and started again, but things still looked funny.  The plane looked off-centre.  Apparently I had done two extra increase rounds.  I've started again and am sure I have the right number of stitches.

They're going to be so cute when they're done.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

So much cuteness

There's a little nook on our second floor where all my knitting things are.  I was cleaning it out yesterday and had dumped a bunch of things on the floor so I could sort the little cabinet that's there.  I'd gotten most of the yarn dealt with when my kids woke up from naptime yesterday so I just left it and figured I'd get back to it.  This morning my son came out of his room, saw it and said "oh mom!" (I was downstairs).  "Mom, mess, help.  M'knitting, m'help."  And then he grabbed a bag, looped it over his arm, and started to pick up the knitting needles and put them in the bag, all the while repeating "knitting, mess, m'help, mom."

He melts my heart.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

So much better

It is definitely fall and so it is time to do some fall knitting.  Caleb needs mitts and a sweater and Ada needs a hat.   I decided to start with the mitts, they are going to be grey with red airplanes on them.  I did the math and sat down to start, I don't know why but I decided to knit them the "normal" way, you know, from the cuff up.  I started casting on, and remembered that I'm not a fan of knitting from the long tail cast on (which I used because it was going to be stretchy), nor am I a fan of actually starting with the ribbing because then sometimes I flub at the math and things are way too big or way too small and you don't find out until later because it's hard to tell with ribbing.

I was telling my husband how much I was hating it when I decided to rip the whole thing out and start from the finger-tips how I like it.  It's a bit unorthodox but hands down my favourite way to knit mittens and honest to goodness it feels so much better now.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Time Flies

How the heck is it already October?  I suppose that means I should get a move on and actually design/knit Caleb his sweater because we've hit sweater weather, and I've just been getting a move on the blanket.  Speaking of the blanket, I still love it, I'm not bored with it, I have developed an absolutely irrational attachment to knitting the thing and I'm sad that it will soon be too cold to knit as much in the car.

I'll be working on that sweater now...

Thursday, 1 October 2015

A contest

I love contests, and I really really enjoy seeing what other people are interested in knitting, so I decided to have a Pinterest contest.

To enter do three things.

  1. Follow me on Pinterest, by clicking here and clicking the red follow button in the upper right hand corner.
  2. Pin at least one of my patterns (they're on the right hand side of the blog, and they all have "pin it" buttons beside them to make things really easy).
  3. Comment on this blog post with a link to the board you've pinned my pattern to.
On November 1, 2015 I'll randomly choose a winner, which I'll announce both on the blog and by sending the winner a Pinterest message.  The winner will receive a coupon that will allow them to choose any of my patterns they've pinned for free.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Sometimes I like hard

I have two patterns that are almost ready to be released, and I'm really pleased with them.  I have a third pattern that's knit and typed, but it needs to be sized.  I've never written a pattern that needs to be published in more than one size before, and I've started but I'm finding it incredibly awkward.  I don't know if it's only a matter of never having done it before or if it's compounded by how I've written the pattern.  I wonder if the way I've written it doesn't lend itself as well to different sizes than some other way.

I think maybe the answer is writing the different sizes one at a time--completing one before moving on as opposed to trying to do the math for all sizes step by step through the pattern.

I'm reminded of how I felt when I was writing the first patterns I've published, like I just don't know what I'm doing.  But I have to admit that sometimes that's a super satisfying place to be, because I know I'm learning something.  There's a satisfaction from coming through something that doesn't come easily to be that I really enjoy.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Hello Old Friend

Last winter I started a blanket with leftover sock yarn, the small balls at the end of a project that I don't want to throw out because us still good yarn but that aren't enough to make anything by themselves and are slightly wacky colour combinations anyways. The blanket is sort of of spiral, except square, and it is the colours are wildly varied.  The spiral aspect means that there are only twenty stitches on the needles at any given time and it's simple enough that I always have a project I can pick up when my other projects get to a point where they need math, or my entire attention, or to be swatched well before it's started.  I haven't worked on the blanket for most of the summer, I've had a ton of other projects going on and it's big enough now that it does a good job of keeping me warm, but I got it out after returning from Vermont. 

I have a bunch of projects I want to start but require me to sit down and plan things out a bit and I haven't had time to do that so it's back to the blanket and the repetition and crazy colours are like this insanely enthusiastic warm hug and I cannot even begin to tell you how much I completely and totally adore this project.  I'm considering going until the thing is six feet square because I love it so much.  It is currently about three and a quarter feet square, it's knit with sock yarn on 2.25mm needles and I just never want it to end.  

Also, both kids are sleeping and I've got the evening to myself and can do whatever I want, which is so delicious that I actually did a literal happy dance in the kitchen.  I really love my family, and I love vacation but I haven't been alone in almost two weeks.  I have a smoothie, a computer, pumpkin bread, my knitting, and a plan to work on a sewing project and look at some recipes online, and it is completely delightful.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Souvenir Yarn

I just got back from a trip to Vermont that was wonderful. There was knitting and lots of food, we went swimming and played with the kids and sometimes we hung out without the kids because my inlaws (who are absolutely wonderful) were there with us and they took Calrb and Ada a number of times.

We visited the local yarn shop and I got buttons for Ada's dress, and yarn. It was hard to find yarn I wanted to buy because a lot of it was lovely yarn that I can buy here in Ittawa and if I'm going to buy souvenir yarn I want it to be something I can't get here.

I finally settled on this: 

The colours are nuts and I love it. In going to make a lined pair of mitts and either a matching hat or cowl. Probably a hat but I'm not sure yet.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

A hat to Match

I decided that I would like to have a hat to match my scarf. I was pretty sure that I had enough yarn to do both, but I didn't want any of the yarn left over. I've been trying to use up my stash, which is mostly leftovers from other projects and so I didn't want to add to it. Besides, it seems silly to leave a tiny little ball of yarn when it could have been used in the scarf. So, when I had knit thr scarf close to the length I wanted it I put the scarf on a spare set of circulars and made a hat.

The hat is also moss stitch and it has a hemmed stockinette border. My favourite part is that the hat is huge, instead of using negative ease to make it snug I knit it very close to the measurement of my head circumference. I often wear my hair in a ponytail or bun and I did that hats usually don't fit over my hair when it's up and then my ears get cold because the hat doesn't cover them.  This hat is not going to have that problem, I just finished it and it fits perfectly over my hair. It wouldn't work for skiing or even skating probably, it might fall off. But for the cold car rides and dashes in and out of buildings that comprise so much of my winter hat wearing this is so perfect.

I've got the scarf back on the needles and am almost done.  It's squishy and smooshy and thick and exactly what I wanted. Both of these things are as much what I want as the sweater I ripped out was something I didn't, and I'm completely pleased about my decision.

Monday, 14 September 2015

A sweater reborn

Recently I ripped out a sweater I knit years ago. It was fun to knit but a terrible cut and the fact that I knit it isn't virtue enough for me to wear it. I'm knitting it into a scarf. It's wide and thick and simple, around five and a half feet of miss stitch. 

This really is the perfect knit for vacationing with children, I can put it down and pick it up without much thought to where I was when I had to be interrupted  and its repetition is relaxing. It's a dappled green with a little brown and the perfect colours for the Vermont mountains, and I'm so so pleased with it. I don't normally knit such plain scarves but its exactly what I wanted and I'm so happy with it. I probably wouldn't have bought this much yarn for such a plain project and it's going to be so lovely.

Monday, 7 September 2015

The Technophobe Wins One

I've never been the sort of person who's really into technology, and if something techy goes wrong in our house I normally defer it to Joshua.  He's a software engineer and can usually sort things out in a fraction of the time that it takes me to understand the problem.  We do have some strengths in common but there are a number of other areas where one of us is clearly more proficient and we're both pretty good at asking the other one for help.

Except, sometimes I don't want help.  Sometimes, I want to do something on my own, I think it's because most of my days are spent talking to children under the age of three, sometimes I just yearn to accomplish something kind of grownup.

In the last month I have managed to add pin it buttons to the photos on the right side of the blog and I've just sorted out a few things in HTML all by myself.  I'm pretty proud of it.

It's a welcome grown up moment.  I need those now and then, especially on days like today when I discovered my toddler had been slicing tomatoes in the family room while I was in the washroom.  (There are SO MANY things wrong with that sentence.)

Friday, 4 September 2015

Panic

We are going on vacation in a week and I am panicking for two reasons.

1) I have no idea what I'm going to knit.  I'm so close to the end of my current project that it will be pretty much done by the time we leave.  I may bring it so I can weave in a billion end on the drive but  I will have nothing to knit there unless I actually bother to plan and swatch.

2) There is a yarn shop there.  My husband and I will go into town on a date (a date!  without children!) to have lunch at a lovely little crepe shop.  It's a perfect date, it has CREPES and YARN.  And I am worried that I will ruin it because I can't figure out what I would buy yarn for.

First world problems, my friends, first world problems.

I should stop knitting my current project, do some serious math involving Caleb's sweater, and then pack everything, or just make a scarf and socks and bring the blanket.  Actually, now that I think about it the blanket is a brilliant idea because I always get cold and then I'll have a blanket and a knitting project in one (it's now almost four feet square, big enough to keep me warm while I knit it).  At the yarn store I should be spontaneous and just see what I fall in love with.  I am really bad at being spontaneous, but having two kids is kind of forcing spontaneity upon me simply because I don't have time to plan things and then I have to wing it.

On a related note, I am totally waiting for the time that I'm knitting the blanket with it over my lap and someone's like "You know what would be funny?  If you were knitting the blanket you're working on!" and then I just stare at them because that's what's happening.  This scenario has to play out eventually, people always say that when I'm making a scarf, thinking it's super-funny.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Sewing with needle-nosed pliers

We are planning to go to Vermont this month.  The weather will likely be nice but a bit cool, but that won't stop my son from wanting to swim so it occurred to me this morning I should make him a nifty robe out of a towel (we went to a waterpark last week, the kid was cold but his towel kept falling off his shoulders).

I grabbed a sweater that fits him, some newspaper, and a marker and made a pattern this morning, and  as it's now nap time I've cut everything up and sewed it together.  It's gone remarkably well considering I usually sew out of necessity and have never made my own pattern before.

The only issue is that the waist ties.  They're long thin rectangles, and I've sewn them and am in the process of getting them right side out, it's slow going but I'm using needle-nosed pliers to help and it's going a lot faster now.

Friday, 28 August 2015

A dress and a story

I am working on a dress for Ada, that's out of the leftover yarn from her sweater I just finished.  I'm quite pleased with it, except I seem to have made an error and somewhere substituted the length I need from the armpits to the hem for the overall length, as a result it's too short.  It's a top-down raglan, so I put it on a stitch-holder, knit the sleeves, button band, and neck edging and now I have it back on the needles.  I figure this way I'll just knit until I run out of yarn which will (hopefully) make it about the right length and, since everything else is knit, I can do this without obsessively worrying that I'll run out of yarn for the sleeves.

In other news my husband went into Caleb's room to get him for breakfast yesterday.  He found Caleb sitting in bed with a toy wrench and a Duplo gas-line (it goes with his Duplo airplane, it's a cord about 8" long), waving them about together.  When Joshua asked him what he was doing he said that he was knitting a hat for his stuffed penguin.  I love love love this kid.  I also wonder what it will be like when he finds out not all moms knit.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Shopping with my boy

This week at my knitting group everyone was talking about this fabulous yarn sale that was happening in town.  I'd been wanting to buy yarn for Caleb's sweater for a while and this yarn shop was having an awesome sale and just happened to be on the way home from my car appointment today.  When we got there I put Ada in the ring sling, Caleb in the stroller and got to looking around. The sale was quite good, and there was this blue and white variegated yarn, which Caleb pointed at exclaimed "my yarn!"  I looked at it and put it back at which point he shook his head and said, "my yarn!  My yarn!"  He never asks for candy or anything like that when we're out, so this time, he's totally getting a sweater, out of "his yarn."  I love that boy.

Friday, 21 August 2015

Yarn Reclaimed

I've been starting to go through our home and give away the items that never get used and don't bring me joy.  It's a cheesy measure of whether or not to keep something but I have to say it's helpful.  I've been doing my clothes first, and there are a few things I've knit that I just don't love.  There are two sweaters I've knit that I never wear.  I enjoyed knitting them but haven't worn them for years, the cut just isn't me.  They're from when I started to knit sweaters and apparently just before I had the epiphany that if I'm knitting clothing for myself I need to use a pattern for something I'd actually wear because the fact that I knit something myself isn't virtue enough to wear it if I wouldn't wear the style anyways.  One of the sweaters has found a home with someone who loves handknits, that makes me happy.  The other one had not and suddenly yesterday I had a realization that since it's not felted at all I could just unravel the thing and then I'd have yarn, which absolutely brings me joy.

Also, I have gotten way better at sewing up seams in the last ten years.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

An unexpected hat

I have lost Ada's sunhat. I discovered this at 9 o'clock in the evening the day before our trip to Toronto which was supposed to include a day at the zoo. I also couldn't find the spare for the life of me.

While contemplating what I would do about this I finally had the epiphany that I had some brown cotton yarn that would make a lovely hat and that I could probably jut make one on the drive down to Toronto. Normally when I'm making a pattern I search and do a bunch of math first but this time I grabbed needles that would work and just started knitting. It turned out remarkably well, it's really sweet and I'm thrilled with it.

We had an awesome day at the zoo, Caleb has told my parents we saw rafs high up (tall giraffs), the bear made a big jump ( the polar bear jumped into the water), and Pat (his stuffed penguin is named Pat).  It really is amazing to see the things that make an impression on him and to watch him enjoy himself.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

velcro baby

I am sitting here with Ada on my knee.  She is generally happy if she's being held, she will only nap at home in someone's arms (miraculously she sleeps through the night in her own room). I've never really been much of a touchy person but I have to admit the snuggles are nice.  She's a happy little girl and I'm enjoying getting to know her. She woke up a few minutes ago when I got up to do laundry so now we're snuggling and I'm typing with one hand and she's eating one of her hands and I can smell my mother's perfume on her little head from when she came over earlier in the day.  Since we switched to a sent free laundry soap I'm constantly surprised by how much I notice smells.  Laundry is currently impossible with my sleepy little girl so perhaps I'll go outside with a book, sit on my new patio furniture and eat a chocolate bar.  I am blessed.

Monday, 10 August 2015

The Dress

I am knitting Ada a dress, it is a raglan made out of leftover blue and grey yarn and has stripes of varying widths, and I love it.  I just have one problem:  when doing the math I accidentally substituted the length from the armpits to the hem for the total length of the dress and now the stripe pattern is all messed up and I'm not sure I have enough yarn for the whole thing.

I suppose that's two problems.

I've thought about it, though, and I have a plan.  First, I'm going to go back and finish the arms, this will ensure they match each other and the dress (I need the stripes on the arms to match the body so I don't go bonkers).  This will mean that, aside from a little yarn I'll need for the finishing that all of the yarn that's left is available for the body of the dress.

Secondly, if I make the rest of the stripes a mirror image of the stripes that are already there it doesn't totally mess up the pattern (I've decided starting the pattern over again would look wonky).  Now I just need to find time in this incredibly busy week to work on it before our trip this weekend.  (I don't want to be trouble-shooting in the car, once I'm back on the body it should be smooth sailing).

I really hope it turns out.  Also, I now want to buy more yarn to make the dress I'd pictured instead of this dress, which I'm fairly confident will be acceptable.

Friday, 7 August 2015

"Help"

Caleb loves to help.  When I make lunch he often takes out a pan and spoon (or "poon" as he calls them) and makes lunch along side me.  I had to buy him his own broom so he'd stop trying to take mine while I slept and he's wonderful at helping me take the laundry from the washer and put it in the dryer.

I'm currently knitting a dress for Ada and he knows it.  He'll point to it and say "Ada.  Dress!  Yarn!"  But earlier this week he added "help" to the end of the sentence.  He brought it to me and insisted on sitting in my lap and helping with the dress.  We sat there and knit, and with my right hand over his he "helped" me wrap the yarn around the needle as I explained what we were doing.

That little boy melts my heart.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Flying along

I've almost finished Ada's sweater. I still need the buttons, but I don't know where to buy them. I used to get all my buttons at a lovely shop downtown but since we've moved (and had two kids) it's much harder to get there. I wasn't in love with the selection at the yarn shop closest to me the last time I was there. I'll have to enquire about where other people at buttons at my knitting group this week.

I've been going through projects at break neck speed, mostly because I'm knitting for a two month old. Her sweater took less than 100g of yarn. I made it out of leftovers. I wasn't sure how much I'd need but now I'm sure I have enough to make a matching dress. That and mittens for Caleb are my two next projects and I think the blanket might see some action as after that I'll need to do some math and yarn buying before I make a sweater for Caleb for the winter. I'm thinking cables in emerald green but we'll have to see.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

One of my favourite sounds

Caleb was "helping" me do laundry earlier, mostly he was distributing the hangers all over my bedroom while I sorted, but it's nice to have company.  Recently he's gotten really good at jumping, he'll count to three and jump, usually when Joshua and I are each holding one of his hands and we'll swing him up.  I was folding the laundry on the bed and he climbed up, grinned at me, counted "three, two, three!" then launched himself into my arms.  I caught him and he scrambled down to do it again.  We laughed and laughed, and it was the most unproductive and best laundry folding session ever.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Plans

Earlier this year I submitted one of my patterns to a magazine for the first time.  It was rejected, and that's okay.  I don't really have time to apply to other magazines this year, but sometimes it's good to have time to think.  So I've been thinking, I've been thinking about what sorts of patterns submit and for what sessions.

I've decided to start gathering ideas for next fall and winter and creating the sketches for each as well as a list of information such as yarn requirements, gauge, etc.  Then, next year I'll be able to create the submissions when I see a call that matches what I have.  Admittedly this limits the number of submissions I can make as I'll only be applying when there's a good fit rather than creating something in response to a particular call but I think it's a good next step.  I'm well on my way to achieving my goal of publishing four patterns this year, I like having something to work towards.  It gives me a nice feeling of accomplishment because there's a moment of "ahh, it is done" which is a fantastic contrast to things like laundry or keeping the kitchen floor clean which are never-ending,

Friday, 24 July 2015

Charmed

The sweater is coming along, the first sleeve is done and the second will be started today.  I ended up simplifying the lace pattern and omitting some other things I was going to include, and I'm really happy about the decision.  It looks lovely the way it is, and resisting the temptation to put all the pretty things into one sweater was the right decision.  It would have been way too busy if the lace edging and the other lace panel I was thinking of adding were included as well.

I've got most of the math for this size done, I just need to write out the instructions for the button band and the picot edging that I've put along the trim, as I want it around the neckline too.  It's just enough.  I'm looking forward to seeing it on Ada, but she'll need to grow a little first.  I have a few patterns that are either almost written up or just waiting for photos and I'm planning a photo shoot in September to take them, and she should fit the sweater beautifully by then.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Love this sweater

Ada's sweater is going well, it's a top-down raglan and I'm past the armpits (and the increases) and I've finally got all the charting worked out and I absolutely love it.  I'm planning to add this pattern to the ones I have for sale and I keep thinking about the amount of work that it's going to be to adjust it to other sizes.  Thus far, all of my patterns have been just one size so that will be something new.  I'm a bit nervous because it seems like it would be really easy to make errors in the math, and since I'm not planning on test knitting it in every size it seems like it would be harder to catch those mistakes.  Normally I write the pattern as I go or before hand, meaning I usually find any mistakes as I go, and there are only a couple.  But a couple is two more than I want.

I have a friend with lots of technical writing experience who's also great at math and knitting who offered to help me a while ago, and I think it might be time to ask for her help with this one.  I'm excited though, the sweater is absolutely beautiful.  It's in yarn leftover from a sweater I made Caleb, he hasn't worn it in months because it's really for the dead of winter, but even at the very start of me knitting this project, before it resembled a sweater at all he kept pointing to it and saying "mine."  I think it's cool that he recognizes it, and that he seems to know the yarn becomes something else.  Kids' minds are so cool.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Wonderful

Ada finally had a nap where she didn't want to be held the entire time.  I thought about doing housework and laundry and decided to knit, it was a really really good decision. I spent an hour just doing things I enjoy for me and when she needed to be held an hour later I enjoyed holding her, because I really do love the baby snuggles too.   I took out some books from the library and cuddled her as I read, it was so nice. The house is trashed, but I don't care, I feel so much better.

The sweater I'm making her has been majorly frustrating.  There were just a bunch of stupid mistakes where I was trying to knit while other things were going on, and the knitting looked like about what you'd expect from a sleep deprived brain that was multi-tasking.  I also think there was a minor error in the stitch dictionary I was using, either that or I'm having serious trouble reading which is a distinct possibility, my dyslexia is only a major problem when I'm tired and with a baby my reading skills have taken a temporary dip.

I think I'm on the right track with the sweater.

Monday, 13 July 2015

A bit smoothering

I love my children.  The last two weeks it's seemed like Ada will only nap in my arms (not even the baby carrier) which means that I get to choose between getting things done during Caleb's nap and  after he's in bed but feeling bad because she's upset and sitting there cuddling her for 6 hours a day.  I love baby snuggles but sometimes I just need to be able to put away the dishes or laundry, or even just knit.  To do something that isn't because someone else needs me.

I keep telling myself it's just a phase, but really I wish I could spread out the baby snuggles over the next decade and have a little more time where they'll play on their own now.


Friday, 10 July 2015

Frusterated

We spent time with my in-laws last weekend which meant I actually got some knitting it, both on the car ride and while there.  I'm almost done Ada's stocking, but have discovered a couple typos in the pattern which is so frustrating.  I hate finding errors in patterns I've purchased and despite going over them before putting mine on Ravelry I've totally sold a pattern with mistakes.  So this afternoon I'll hopefully get Ada down for a nap long enough to finish correcting the pattern and getting the errata up on Ravelry.

I am, however, quite please about my progress and am looking forward to her sweater, which is my next project.  I managed to swatch and do the math a while ago so it's just sitting there waiting to be started.  I am going to finish knitting the stocking first (no promises about the finishing touches though).

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Not a lot of knitting

Since Joshua has gone back to work I've basically only been able to knit in the car.  It seems my evenings and the kids' nap times are always busy, which is okay, I like them and things will settle down as time goes on, but there are so many interesting things I want to knit.  I am making good progress on the stocking, though, I'm on the foot!

Today I put Ada down in her bouncy chair and turned my back for a minute (I didn't go anywhere).  She gave a little yell and I turned out, only to find out she was no longer anywhere near the chair (she's 6 weeks old, and didn't go anywhere on her own accord).  There was a split second of panic until my almost-two year old proudly said, "Help, play" from the next room.  She was lying on her play mat.

I really love that he loves his sister.  I really need him not to pick her up.

Friday, 3 July 2015

That went well

Joshua's bak at work and I thought I wouldn't plan anything too ambitious for this week, I figured I'd ease into being alone with the two kids.  I have easy dinners planned and my only appointment was with my midwife.  I apparently got the date wrong and ended up with the car and nothing to do, and I'm not sure what came over me but I concluded that the best thing to do would be to take both children to a fun-farm.

Caleb was super well behaved, Ada liked being in her baby carrier, we had an excellent time.  When we got home Caleb went right to sleep, Ada is hanging out on her activity mat, and I am working on my to do list.

Next, grocery shopping.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Not what I call yarn

A little while ago I ordered something from Amazon, it was $22.56 and shipping was $5.  This meant that if I could find something that was at least $2.44 but less than $5 I would save money because I'd make the free shipping threshold.

I found something that claimed to be yarn, it was $3.96 so I'd be saving money over paying for shipping so I went with it.

It is beautiful variegated cotton thread.  It would be stunning if used to hand-quilt on a white background.  It is not yarn.

I sort of want to find something to quilt.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

I will finish what I start

One of my favourite things to knit is sweaters.  I don't know why I find them so particularly satisfying.  It might be the combination of being a bigger project with being something that gets taken around and everyone gets to see (unlike, say, an afghan).  In any event I have plans to make at least three sweaters this year, two for Ada and one for Caleb.  Ada gets two because she'll grow out of the first one before winter's over.

I was thinking I might be able to use yarn in the stash for one of her sweaters, which is significant because my stash is leftovers, I never just happen to have project-quantities of stuff sitting around.  This is mostly due to limited storage and a budget that's enough for me to make everything I want but not much more so I'm pretty careful to buy yarn as I need it, otherwise I'd end up wanting to make something but only having yarn that doesn't work for that particular project.

In any event I checked the stash and have enough for both of her sweaters.  I've started designing them and am about to swatch and it's all I can do to keep working on the stocking, which I am pretty enchanted by, but there's that siren song of starting something new that keeps calling.  

Monday, 22 June 2015

Not knitting but awesome

I was at the grocery store the other day and the woman behind me asked how old Ada is.  I told her and she smiled and said, "oooh, that's pretty close to Princess Charlotte.  You look really good!  And you don't have a team of stylists!"

Best compliment ever.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Shipping or Yarn

I just ordered something on amazon.  It was almost $25, which is their threshold for free shipping.  The shipping was going to be $5, and I only needed to add something that was $2.44 to get free shipping.

I found a ball of cotton yarn for 3.95.  It looks pretty on the internet, and it's a dollar less than the shipping would have cost so even if it's terrible yarn it's still saved me a dollar and I'm sure someone can use it for crafts if it is truly awful.

I'm quite curious about what it will be like.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Nothing short of awesome

Last week my husband needed to get anaesthesia for a minor procedure (he's totally fine).  They told him he might get a little silly, he says he did not get silly.  However, I have been informed that the nurse who was with him has been thoroughly informed all about the knitting patterns I design and sell (names, the fact that they're really pretty, descriptions, the fact that they're really pretty, people have actually bought them, the fact that they're really pretty...), as well as what Ravelry is and how it works.

I love him so so so much.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Coming along

Ada's stocking is about half way to the heel. I was hoping I would get it done quickly enough to get a photo of her in it but that's not going to happen.  She was small enough at birth but I wanted to wait until after she was born because we didn't find out if we were having a boy or a girl beforehand and I really liked the idea of purple for a girl.  I'm really pleased with it and think it will really look good as partof a set.  I'm using Cascade 220, which I've used for enough projects that I have lots of little leftovers so I'm hoping between what I have already and what will be left over from this project that there will be enough for a little sweater.  I think it's reasonable, we shall see.

I want to make two sweaters for her this winter (3-6m and 6-12m sizes) and one for Caleb (2T).  I'm really looking forward to making  some of the sweater ideas I have, and the challenge of writing a pattern in different sizes which will be new to me.

Monday, 8 June 2015

I love that man

Joshua doesn't knit, but he listens to me talk about knitting and is the IT department for all things involving this blog and getting the patterns into a nice looking PDF for download.

For Ada's stocking I'd made the chart some time ago in a program that's no longer supported since our OS was updated.  I had a screen shot but at some point before it's published I knew I'd have to re-chart it in something that's compatible with what's running on the computer now.  It wasn't a big deal, it would take about 15 minutes tops and I could knit it with just the screenshot so I hadn't given it a great deal of thought.

The other night I had just fed Ada and put her down, and Joshua was doing something in his study.  I asked him if he was coming to bed, and he said he would in a minute.  I asked him what he was doing and got the most awesome reply.

"I'm working on a knitting pattern."

He was charting Ada's pattern out in numbers.  He'd even come up with a name for it.

I love that man.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Christmas stockings

Yesterday my Christmas stocking patterns were raffled off to some of the donors to Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's ride to Montreal from Toronto.  She and her team are raising money for palliative care for those with AIDS and it's exciting to be part of something like this, even in such a small way.  I'm a fan of the fact that when we all do little things they can really add up.

In other Christmas stocking news I am making a purple stocking for our lovely little girl who recently arrived.  We named her Ada and are absolutely smitten.  Caleb is especially in love with her and wants to see her first thing in the morning and is forever giving her kisses and wanting to hold her, it's about the sweetest thing I've ever seen even if he does almost squish her constantly.  Pictures of the stocking (and the little girl it's for) will follow when things are less nuts.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Not Very Summery

Every so often I look at my patterns, the ones I have for sale and the ones I'm working on, and think the same thing.  There's nothing summery.  Part of me (the part that likes reading business books) immediately jumps in at these moments and informs me that I should do something about this.  Sometimes I think about it, but I always come back to the same thing.

I like winter knits.  No one needs summer patterns designed by someone who's only designing them for the sake of having all seasons represented in her pattern collection.  So, for the time being, my patterns will continue to be not very summery, and I'm okay with that.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Jumping In With Both Feet

When planning out my goals for getting my designs published I decided that this year I would self-publish all of my designs on Ravelry as I worked my way towards submissions for magazines and other publications next year.  As part of working towards submitting patterns to publications for next year I've been starting to research calls for submissions  and looking at what various magazines require.

I've also been working on Caleb's hat for the coming winter.  There are no photos of it online yet, and I'm quite pleased with the result.  There was one call for submissions that I came across that seemed like this particular project would be a really good fit.  The deadline was really close to when I found out about it, but most of the design work was done and I had a finished sample, and I said to my self, "You know what?  Why not now?" ("Because you're about to have a baby and typing up then tech editing the pattern when you have a newborn would be hard" didn't occur to me as a reason until I was about to hit send but by then all the work was done so I figured I should go through with it.)

So the submission has been sent.  I really love designing, and I really want to see my designs published.  Despite those two things I find myself constantly surprised at how, when I come to do something on that path that's a step further than I've been before, something inside me wants to press the breaks and go slower.  Why now now?  The worst that can happen is they don't want it, I have slightly more time to type it up, then I put it on Ravelry myself.  It truly isn't rejection that I'm worried about.

So what is it?  I felt this way the week before my self-imposed deadline to get my designs on Ravelry the first time, there's something about uncharted territory that's unnerving.

I'm glad I sent it in.

Monday, 25 May 2015

The source of the problem

Every so often lately I've been feeling extraordinarily warm.  It's so unlike me, I'm usually cold and love the warm weather since I don't have to wear so many layers to be comfortable.  In winter I always look so bundled up.

I got to thinking about what could be causing this, and finally realized that it happens almost exclusively while I'm knitting.

I'm knitting a blanket made out of leftover sock yarn.

I'm hot because I'm sitting in warm weather covered by a very warm blanket.

It is sad how long it took me to put two and two together.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Recovery

We were all sick the past few days, thankfully we're getting much better now.  Caleb and I got it first and are pretty much better, Joshua is a few days behind us.  I've been making lots of progress on the blanket, when I'm sick I just need simple knitting and back and forth in garter stitch with a couple short row corners is just the ticket.

The blanket is 3.5' square now, and actually looks like a blanket rather than a random square.  I think it could be properly called a throw at its current size.  I want it to be bigger, at least 4' square, but maybe as much as 5'.  Both of those sizes will require more yarn but that's not the end of the world.  I have some projects that will have leftover sock yarn when I'm done with them so not all of the yarn will need to be bought.  I'm still charmed by the thing.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Back to the blanket

I wove in the ends of both the hat and the neck warmer this morning while Caleb played with play doh.  He doesn't often want to sit still for too long so the fact that he did this morning was amazing as I have a nasty cold and mostly want to curl up and sleep.  I love how both the hat and neck warmer turned out, but sadly haven't managed to take photos of them yet.  They are burgundy and there are cables.

I've been working along on the blanket, and it's the perfect thing for when I'm sick and need something that doesn't require too much thinking.  Simple is nice today.  I would love a cup of tea but sadly it's making it hard to sleep.  I'm looking forward to the end of the pregnancy insomnia, and I'm looking forward to meeting our baby.  Funny, but that part doesn't seem real.  I can't quite imagine there being a baby with Caleb running around as the big brother.  I'm not worried at all, I just can't picture what it will be like.  It's kind of like last summer when I knew they'd put grass in eventually and our yard would stop being a construction zone but part of me seemed to imagine the construction going on forever.


Thursday, 14 May 2015

Just a little bit of instant gratification

I've got to just beyond the armpits in my purple top, which is delightful because that means each round is around 300 sts instead of 500, this makes it feel like it's going so much faster.  (Normally, I'm okay with things taking forever but there was a lot of stockinette).

I decided to take a small break, and work on Caleb's things for next winter.  In the last three days I haven't spent a ton of time knitting, but have a hat that's done save the pompom and a neckwarmer that's at the half way point.

It feels really good.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Naturally it's stretchy

I finished the guitar strap, it's waaaaaaay too long, mostly because I didn't take into account the fact that knitting is stretchy.  So, despite the fancy two piece design with multiple length options the two pieces are tied together in a giant knot to shorten it.  Caleb seems to love it anyways, so that's good.

I've still been working on my raglan and am almost at the armpits which is delightful because there are almost 500 stitches on the needles which means the non-lacey parts are really really boring.  But I only have three more rounds to go before the sleeves get put on waste yarn and the stitch count goes back to being about 300 stitches per round which I'm sure will feel like flying, for a while anyways.

Caleb is napping, I have a couple chores but not too much, and then I get to sit down with my knitting and the remnants of an ice cream cake in my freezer.  It's going to be a good afternoon. :)

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Thankful for vacuums

I installed the baby's car seat today.  It required me to take out Caleb's carseat for a bit of rearranging, and if you had ever told me how many crushed up Cheerios, Goldfish, and goodness knows whatever snacks could end up in one back seat I never would have believed you.  The car seats are in, which was one of the few remaining big items on the list of things to get done, and our car is now clean.

I figured there would be some stuff under the carseat, but not that much.

I'm making good progress on Caleb's guitar strap, but I'm going out today and since I'm close to being done that I'm going to bring the blanket.  It's just easier to cart around just one project, even if one is really small.  I've making the strap in two parts that will be connected by buttons.  There are multiple button holes, though, which means it will be able to be adjusted if it gets too small.  The yarn is tan and blue and the buttons are orange, I think it's a particularly charming colour combination.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

A small interuption

Despite being totally in love with the top I'm making, I have taken a short break to make a guitar strap.  Caleb loves music.  He is enthralled by anyone playing any sort of musical instrument, loves his toy piano and drums, and is convinced that the cranks to open the caster windows are microphones and will stand at a window and sing into them.  He has a xylophone which he is convinced is a guitar and will pretend to play his "tar" for ages.  The only thing that could top this is my husband bringing out the real guitar for a father-son jam session.

We decided that he should have his own guitar and bought him a kids' ukulele at ToysRUs.  They had kids' guitars too, but this is a much better size and is aimed at younger kids which I thought might make it slightly more durable (we're still working on being gentle, but so far he's been pretty good with his guitar).  He loves it like nothing else but is having trouble holding and playing it so I found some leftover yarn and am working on a strap for him.  I'm not 100% sure how I'll attach it at the base but I figure I can super-glue a little knob there and all will be good.

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Charts

I typed up the lace chart I'll be using for my top.  It's fairly simple and intuitive, but I wanted to have the chart typed before I actually knit it so I could correct it on the go.  I find it's a lot harder to be motivated to chart it out after the fact and I usually catch some errors this way, it's also benefitting from my current need to have everything done before the baby arrives.

This need is somewhat illogical, I wonder what it means that the front hall closet and my knitting pattern have been organized but the baby's room still needs work.  In any event, I'm not quite ready for him or her to come.  I am pretty excited though.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Back at it

I'm well into the raglan increases and am confident that the top is going to actually work for me (before it may have worked for me if I was wearing football gear, the shoulders were absurd).  It's at a stage where it's nice and simple, and where I really should draw up the lace chart so that when I come to that part it will be ready.  I'm quite taken with my plan and what I imagine it will be like in my head.

I'm really hoping things turn out according to plan, and my estimate of how big I might be after this baby is near reality so that the top will fix.  Risky, right?  But sweaters and tops are my favourite to knit and I just couldn't resist.  Besides, there will be enough give in it that it's not like the sizing has to be dead on, it would work with some positive ease as well as some negative, so I think it will be okay.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

The importance of brackets

I was making good progress on the purple top I'm making but something didn't quite feel right about it.  At first I couldn't put my finger on it, I looked at my plans and they seemed reasonable, but still, something was off.  Then it began to be obvious that the sleeves had started with too many stitches (it's a top-down raglan), and I thought and thought about my math and the top, and I rechecked my gauge and math and still, I couldn't figure out what the issue was.

Tuesday night I was knitting and hanging out with friends and suddenly it hit me.  The order of operations, I had accidentally done the math in the wrong order and this was why everything was wonky.  Yesterday I re-did the math, confirming exactly what the issue was and ripped out to the start. It wasn't as demoralizing as I thought it would be.  

I was at row 26 when I ripped back and am back to row 18, and things are looking much better.  They're also going much faster since there are considerably fewer stitches for each sleeve.



Monday, 20 April 2015

An unorthodox nap

Caleb fell asleep in the car again, which was a problem because that means once I wake him up he won't go back to sleep until bedtime and will likely be an absolute wing-nut it the rest of the day.

Then I had the epiphany that since it's nice out I could just let him have his nap in the car.  (I am also in the car, which is in shade and is a comfortable temperature--no one worry).  Although this means I can't knit (my knitting is inside and no where near the front door) I can still get some things like phone calls out of the way and the few things that have to actually happen inside the house can happen while I give Caleb quiet time in his room. He's quite happy to play in his room for a good hour which means my day isn't shot even though his nap time is totally not happening normally today.

It will be nice that I don't have so many appointments after the baby is born, they're totally what's messing up nap time.

I'm at that stage in my pregnancy where it feels really important that everything be "ready."  Why I feel that it's imperative that our hats, mitts, and scarves be neatly organized is beyond me but as I was organizing the front hall closet the other day I began making a list of the things that need to be knit for next year.

A neck warmer, hat, and set of mitts for Caleb.

A sweater for Caleb; a pullover with a good hood that stays up like the one from this year that I love so much, but with different cables.

A sweater for the baby's first winter; a cardigan with colourwork. I know what I want it to look like but the motif and colours will probably be gender specific.

The baby's Christmas stocking, I have it all planned except the colours. I want to meet the baby first.

Some people say it feels like they're getting to the end of pregnancy when the room is ready, or some other thing happens. For me it's when I start planning the knitting, not the knitting that's for a newborn, but the items that they'll grow into or keep.

I can hardly wait.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

I *think* it's going to work

I've ripped out the shawl that's just not to be and after much deliberation have decided to try my own design.  I figure I'll just make TinCan Knit's Bonny later so I don't have the same sweater as my friend in a near-identitical colour.

I've done math and double checked it and I think it will work, but it's quite fine yarn which means there's a lot of knitting until it's long enough for me to try it on and get a really good idea about whether my math works.  I'm pretty good at math, it's a top-down raglan, and I have no reason to assume it won't work but I'm still a bit.... I don't know what, actually.  Not nervous, maybe mildly apprehensive.  I really like it so far though.

It's about an inch long so far and is looking quite nice.  It would have been longer but I ripped out the first start because it was using the yarn I'd ripped out of the shawl and the fact that the yarn wasn't smooth was making the knitting look wonky, so I started again with the yarn that hadn't been used, keeping the rest in a little ball.  There's more yardage than I think I'll need in the ball so I'm hoping I can just use the fresh stuff but if I need to use the shawl-yarn I can figure out how to straighten it out when I come to it.  In any event that will now be near the bottom which is easier to over-look than the neckline, and would be blocked anyways.  The swatch came out fine, but I'll be trying it on before it's blocked and I like it better this way.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Delighted

I've taken the blanket off its blocking wires and I am thrilled with the results.  It's beautiful and simple and I love it.  I'm really happy with my decision to reverse the colours on half of the squares and assemble it in a checkerboard pattern.  I really love the original one TinCan Knits made, that had all the background being one colour and the dots different colours but couldn't find a yarn with a long variegation that I was happy with and I think with the yarn I choose it would have looked like all the squares were the same and been a bit boring.


That's the blanket folded in quarters, it's five squares per side.  It might sound silly but it's a big thing off the to-do-before-baby-comes list.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Almost Done

The blanket has been finished, I blocked it yesterday and it's still drying but I'm very pleased at how it's turned out.  I thought I might be dry today but it seems it will need at least one more day.

I've been thinking about the yarn that I want to make into a shirt of some kind and am pondering making up my own pattern, I have a vision for what I'd want the back to look like but am not quite sure about the front.  However I really like the idea, so that might happen and be my next interesting project.

In the meantime I'm working on my lovely but never-ending blanket made out of sock yarn, I still like it.  I haven't measured it but think I might be at 3.75' by 4', which isn't too shabby.  I'll need a lot more yarn though, but that's okay, I don't need to buy it all at once.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Way easier than I thought

I almost ruled out making TinCan Knit's Pop Blanket because the squares were all crocheted together.  I decided to go ahead anyways, because I love the finished product and I just figured I'll learn how to crochet later.

Yesterday at knitting group a friend was supposed to teach me how to attach these things but she wasn't there, so I asked another friend who crochets.  Now, despite the fact that this other friend crochets and makes absolutely beautiful, complicated things she said she had no idea how to do that and always sewed hers together when making a piece like this.  I thought about it, but the idea of that much sewing (and how many ends that would create) was enough to drive me nuts so today I sat down with the computer.

Five minutes later I figured it out, and about half an hour later almost all of the blocked pieces have been attacked (I still need to finish blocking about a third of them).  This is ridiculously awesome.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Frusterated

Pregnancy insomnia is maddening.  It's been such a busy week and today I finally have a day at home to play with Caleb and get some things I haven't had time to do done during his nap.  I was really looking forward to it, but I've been up for hours and nothing I do is helping.  I just want to have energy to play with my little guy and not feel like a zombie.

I can't even work on my to-do list in the middle of the night because doing laundry and a number of the other things involve noise and light and would totally wake up my husband which would be unfair.

I've narrowed down the fate of my purple yarn to three patterns but am still undecided.  I'm hoping I'll be able to spend some time on YouTube today to figure out how to crochet the blanket squares together and to block the other half of them.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

It DOES matter, really it does

A while ago I fell in love with a pattern on Ravelry.  It was a beautiful shawl, I bought the appropriate weight yarn and started knitting, using needles that the yarn recommended.  The pattern said that gauge wasn't super-important since it was a shawl and any ball you bought would have far more than you needed.  Fair enough, I thought, and off I went.

After I had about half of it done I realized things were looking a little small.  I messaged the designer, who said it was impossible for her to measure gauge since hers had been blocked and that it really didn't matter.  (The entire point is to know blocked gauge, but anyways...).  I pulled it out today, and really, if I ever finished it the thing would be perfect for a cabbage patch doll.  It is just not going to happen, and the thought of reknitting the thing at a bigger gauge is enough to drive me nuts so clearly this yarn is destined to be something else.

I put in the yarn specifications into Ravelry and was looking at patterns and Bonny showed up on the list.  The pattern I wrote about in my last post about how it's amazing and perfect and totally doesn't make sense for me to knit because I'm having a baby this summer and one of my best friends is knitting it and that would look silly if we wore it to the same thing which would totally end up happening.  It's the right weight yarn and more than enough yardage for any size I would ever be (assuming that baby number two doesn't magically make my chest size bump up to an F cup or something ridiculous but I'm fairly confident that won't happen).  This yarn is also the same colour as the yarn my dear friend bought for her version of Bonny.

I sort of feel like I'm 15 saying "but I can't have it because she does."  Would it look silly for two knitters to have the same tank top in the same colour?  Would it?

Please weigh in.  Because I don't know what to do.