Friday, 16 December 2016

Insane

This week has been nuts and there is a party happening at my house in a couple hours, after I finish typing this I have to check facebook to see exactly what time I said the party is starting, because I can't remember.  I'm glad I finished so much last week because my knitting to do list has exploded (in a lovely way, it's just that there are some early January deadlines and between now and then is Christmas).

I'm really excited about the design I'm working on to propose to a yarn company that has a call out now, it's not something that I would ever normally knit for myself which is one of the fun things about responding to calls for submissions: it gets me working with ideas and styles that never would have occurred to me.  I

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Finishing

Since the start of November I've been working really hard to finish up some designs I'd been working on.  I had about 10 of them in various stages of completion; some just needed charts, others needed formatting, others maybe just a bit of work to finish the sample and photography and I decided that I wanted to push through getting most of those finished before starting other new designs.  Mostly because I wanted to be able to clear my head a bit, there's something nice about starting something new when there isn't a laundry list of things that will need to be done eventually floating around my head.  I've been working and working and the list is down to three.  

Three is great, because there are different stages of a design and sometimes it's nice to work on one of the later stages--taking a break from sizing a pattern so I can do something easier like formatting, for example.  Last night I sat down and made a list of the things I want to work on.  I'm almost through my to do list for the month and making that list felt so light, happy.  It's going to be a good December. :)

Monday, 5 December 2016

Charts

I like charted patterns, although for anything other than colourwork I always try to include both charted and written instructions in my patterns, given that they're sold digitally I figured why not give people the choice?  A while ago I was watching some of Kate Heppell's Kitty Knits vlogs (they're on youtube and she's lovely, you should check her out) and she mentioned that there is a large segment of knitters who can't read charts.  I thought that was a funny statement, they's a key right there and I think they're so intuitive, plus it's the sort of thing that's easy to learn even if it looks like Greek the first time, at least that's what I thought.

Last week I was knitting something, there was a shape made out in reverse stockinette and I had a chart showing which sts were purled and which were knit.  There were only the two symbols and they clearly made out a particular shape when an older friend who is a very competent knitter walked by, saw the paper, and exclaimed, "that can not be a knitting pattern!  Is that a knitting pattern?  How can you read that?"  Genuine questions, from someone well versed in all things knitting.  I was considering leaving the written instructions out of this pattern but I have been put quite firmly back in my place.   Isn't it so funny how something so clear to one person is confusing to another?  I would have found working written instructions for this particular pattern maddeningly frustrating, I make way more mistakes when I use them, my dyslexia makes using written instructions pretty difficult but she would have been able to do it no problem, while finding the way I do things simply foreign.  

Thursday, 1 December 2016

A Lull

It looks like Old Faithful (my giant blanket made of out sock yarn) and I are going to be spending some time together over the next little while.  It's my project for between my other projects, since it's always ready to be picked up.  I've made it my goal to publish one knitting pattern a month and I have been, but my design to-do list for December is quite full and December is always busy, I don't have time to swatch and do the math for knitting a new design so I will continue to use up all the teeny balls of sock yarn leftover from other projects.

There is one drawback to this project, I've recently discovered.  I'm totally charmed by the Yarn Harlot's tiny Christmas ornaments, and if I hadn't made this blanket I'd have the yarn for them.  It's okay though, I feel like while I would love having the teeny Christmas ornaments she's making that knitting them would slowly drive me insane.  Better stick to the blanket.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Slow Going

I've been working on a sweater pattern, it will be my first adult sized garment and it's been a very challenging process.  Mostly my challenges have to do with math but I seem to have conquered those.  I've also been working on how to have someone work raglan increases at the same time as neck increases at the same time as irregular stripes without just providing three lists, it seems like combining three sets of instructions while knitting is asking for situations that require frogging.  I've finally hit upon a solution to that one and there are three more things to do standing between me and getting this document to my tech editor.  I plan to do one of those today and one Wednesday (Tuesdays are busy for me).  The third is a formatting thing that isn't challenging but can't be done until I've filled in the text, I'm looking forward to that step.

Wish me luck.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Every month I sit down and make a list of goals for the month, usually I'm done them pretty early in the month but this month I still have a number of things do to in the next week.  Partly because I've been really busy, partly because I've been really sick, partly because the kids have been tag teaming me by waking each other up during nap time, and partly because in order to get things done you have to actually do them (this is a reoccurring theme for me).  The good news for me is that the things I have left are probably doable, also that the to do list is largely self imposed.  Although the list was made with some particular goals in mind.

In other news I got the responses from the 6 design submissions I sent out to magazines in October, 5 rejections and 1 acceptance!  I'm pretty pleased about that, I'll self publish a few of the other five and let a couple die, maybe to be submitted elsewhere in the future.

Monday, 21 November 2016

A Sweater

I've released patterns for kids' garments before but never an adult one, I'm working on one now.  I'm thrilled at how the sample's turned out and I'm almost done typing up the pattern, I just need to figure out how to explain one last thing in a way that's not clunky and add the basic information like gauge, needles, yardage, etc then it's off for tech editing.

It's been a really challenging process and I'm so thankful to be close to the end.  I *think* I've hit all the major hurdles already.  It's nap time and I have about 15 minutes before my son emerges from his room, then we're going to shovel the snow.  This will be delightful for him.  I like doing stuff with him and the driveway needs to be done.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

I do this way too often

I started a hat.  It was lovely, it was working out, I was a ways in, then I realized I forgot to switch needles after the ribbing, and it's going to be at a different gauge than I had anticipated.

I'm trying to figure out whether it will still fit a man, clearly the thing to do is to measure my husband's head but I can't right now because he's at work.  I'll need to adjust the size in the pattern to fit larger but if I can get it on Joshua at least I won't have to reknit the thing for the photoshoot.

Monday, 14 November 2016

Gift A Long

So there's this big sale that about 300 independent knitting designers come together for each year, it's called the Gift A Long and I wanted to participate this year.  I was all ready the second sign ups opened but being the first year I'm participating I was a bit slow and it took me an entire three minutes to put my post together, and guys, I was the 57th designer to sign up.  There are some amazing people in it all offering at least 5 designs 25% off and they are stunning.  There's a Ravelry group here where all the details will be and the entire thing kicks off on Nov 22, I'm super excited, there are a bunch of KALs and such and it is generally going to be awesome.  You should check it out.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Photoshoot!

My dad always does the photos for my designs, he has a great eye and this morning we got together to do a huge number of patterns.  Bootcuffs, coffee cozies, a sweater, a hat, and some other things were all photographed while my mom entertained the kids.  She tuckered them out and they both seem to be asleep, which is glorious.

I'm really excited that we got the photos because this means I can actually wear some of the items we worked on.  I'm always so worried that if I wear something before it's photographed it will get stained, or snagged on something, or lost (I have two little kids, these things seem inevitable), but now that the photos are done I'm working away, wearing my new sweater without worrying about it.  It's pretty awesome.  I'll have a new pattern out in a couple weeks, it's just being tested now and I'm really excited about it.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Size up

I'm still working on the photoshoot stuff, it's going pretty well.  Slogging through the last little bits of projects that have nothing wrong with them other than there being more exciting things to knit.  I'm happy with them though.

I'm waiting to hear back from a batch of submissions, the responses should come any time now and it's driving me nuts.  There are a couple of other magazines I'd submit designs to but I don't want to suddenly have too much work at all once and... waiting is not easy.  It's fine.  I have lots to do and this is good self discipline.  I've been planning the next year and which releases will happen which month and, guys, what seemed impossible and scary and hard years ago has suddenly fallen into the category of totally doable so long as I do the work.  Time to dream bigger dreams.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

That crept up

I've been planning a November photoshoot for a while, there are a number of designs that are ready to go that just need photos.  There's been a ton happening over here, all good things with friends and family and parties and get-togethers but it hit me yesterday that the photoshoot is a week today.  There are a bunch of things that are almost done; one with ends to weave in, one only short a few rows of ribbing (and of course the ends), a towel that needs a matching dishcloth that's easy and quick, a sweater that only needs buttons.  But man, if I don't actually get on those things this is not going to go well.  So I'm off to knit and weave in ends and I'm sure it will be fine if I only work on it,.

Monday, 31 October 2016

It came with me

I decided that Old Faithful (my very large ongoing blanket project) was indeed "portable enough" to take with me to the conference I was going to this weekend.  By that, I mean that I decided that I didn't care if sitting with a giant multicoloured blanket over me during a conference that wasn't at all related to knitting wasn't subtle.  It was a good decision, the room was cold and I was cozy, plus Old Faithful is quite a bit bigger.  My husband looked at it the other day and asked when I was going to stop, it's a reasonable question, at some point the blanket can't get much bigger and still be helpful but I don't know, not yet, I still have more little balls of yarn that I'm going to put in it to use them up.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Old faithful

I'm just at the end of a project and haven't properly swatched and done the math for the next one and I was trying to figure out what to bring to knit night tonight when I remembered Old Faithful.  Old Faithful is a blanket made of leftover sock yarn that sits in a bag at the end of my couch for times such as these.  I've started it maybe two years ago and work on it intermittently, it's about four feet square (it spirals from the inside out), and I'd like it to be about five by five.  Despite being mostly garter I love the thing more than I thought I ever would and it's lovely to see those scraps that were too beautiful to throw out have a home.  I don't work on it much in the summer, since it's a wool blanket that covers my lap as I knit and it's long since ceased to be portable which means taking it to a social thing is usually out of the question, but this is the kind of social thing where a large unwieldy project isn't going to cause a problem.  It's a grey rainy day here and an evening with friends, tea, and Old Faithful is the most charming way I can think to spend an evening.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Amazing

I've been having some issues with the math involving sizing a sweater and it was driving me crazy.  It occured to me that if I could somehow know the math was right for one size then I could try and figure out where I was going wrong, clearly I was making some silly mistake likely related to order of operations or something equally simple but the longer I stared at the numbers the more they started to look like Cyrillic and things were going no where.

I remembered I used to have this program called Sweater Wizard that did math like that but it would have been at my parents' old place before the moved and who knew what became of it.  It was given to me over a decade ago on some CD.

I was potting a plant in the basement and looked over and it was on the floor beside me, I have no idea how or why but I was pretty happy about this.  I took it to my husband.  I explained that I wanted to use this 12 year old CD-ROM that only works on Windows.  We have a Mac, it doesn't have a CD drive because it's a new one, clearly this working wasn't likely but my husband's a software engineer who is particularly opposed to being told things are impossible.

I woke up the next day and the program was happily running.  I've found where I was making mistakes and have made more progress on this pattern in the last 5 days than in the previous 5 weeks.

It feels really good.

Also my husband is amazing.


Thursday, 20 October 2016

Sizing

Sizing garments intimidates me.  I find thinking things through so they're said clearly and succinctly for multiple sizes at the same time difficult, and sometimes I wish that I could just write one pattern per size instead of combining them together the way patterns are.  It's a skill I want to have, though, because you have to be able to do it to publish garments in magazines, and I want to be able to do that.  I also want to be able to size garments without finding it so difficult and I know that working on this skill is the only way to get better.

I was reading a book a mother wrote about helping her children with their schoolwork.  When they complained that particular things were difficult she'd say, "Of course it's hard, you haven't learned it yet.  When you learn it it will be easy."  That is something I keep coming back to to encourage myself, there are many aspects of designing that once were very difficult for me, but now I think nothing of them, and one day this will be added to that list.

The only way out is through.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Photos

Photos aren't something that come naturally to me, some people just seem to have an eye for what works.  I've learnt some things that have definitely improved my photos but they're still something I feel I'm not super-strong in.  I am, however, quite pleased with some of the photos I took earlier to go with some submissions to magazines.  There are three magazines with calls for submissions out at the moment that I really want to apply to and I got the ones I wanted to send out to the mag with the first deadline out this afternoon which feels good.  It's been one of those days where I've been feeling really productive.  However I've just been joined by toddler #1 and toddler #2 is definitely making awake sounds.  So the knitting productivity is going to be at a standstill for the time being while I go hang out with little people.  They're pretty awesome, though.

Friday, 14 October 2016

That Man

Yesterday there was some event involving pizza at my husband's work.  He ended up talking to some colleague of his who at one point asked what I did.  My husband told him I design knitting patterns and that I'm really really good at it (I love him).  They ended up talking all about frogging knitting (the colleague's wife does that sometimes) and Ravelry.  He is so charming.

Monday, 10 October 2016

In Theory Vs Reality

In theory magazine design submissions are meant to go like this: they put out a call for submissions saying what they're looking for, we get an idea, swatch, and send in photos of the swatch and a description, if our design is chosen we get sent yarn and make the object.

For me it goes more like this: they put out a call, I get an idea, I made several of the objects because I get really excited, I send in my submissions while planning to release the idea myself anyways because I'm thrilled with it.

It's a bit of a quirk but it has the benefit of making rejection letters seem like no big deal because I'm just going to publish it myself anyways.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Bootcuffs

I've decided I need a set of bootcuffs, the ones I made for the magazine haven't arrived back yet from their photos and they're really quick.  Plus, this way I can make a different pattern and get it published this year (I don't get the rights back for a few months for Lattice, I Like Knitting's terms are really good, but I still have to wait a bit).  I'm having fun making them.  They're so quick and they fit in my knitting bag really well, so much more portable that sweaters.  I wasn't sure about the concept the first time I saw bookcuffs but they're growing on me.

Monday, 3 October 2016

A perfect fall day

There's a lake nearby with a stunning trail my family likes to go to.  The roads to it close after Thanksgiving (here in Canada that's this coming weekend).  We used to go on a weekend in October but the parking is a nightmare, we are not the only ones with this tradition, so we've decided to go on a weekday from now on, and that's what we did this morning.  My husband took the day off work and we drove up.  The forecast called for rain earlier in the weekend, but the rain came yesterday instead and it was a beautiful fall day, perfect for hiking, not too warm and not too cold.  We looked down the old mine (it is well fences), saw fish and generally had a good time.  Afterwards we drove to a nearby lookout to have a picnic, the kids fell asleep on the way home and miraculously continued their naps after we carried them to their beds.  My husband did the driving and I knit.  I cannot think of a way today could have been nicer.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Oops

I've been working on a pattern for a slouchy hat, I was really proud of how I had everything together and was almost at the end and just realized that I failed to correct a silly mistake I made really early on and I have to fix the charts and all the written instructions.  At least I caught the mistake before I sent the pattern out for testing.  I finally came up with a good name for it and sizing it is the last major step, aside from having photos taken.  Photos are a bit different since I usually do about 5 patterns a photoshoot, so my goal is to geteverything but the photos ready.  Shouldn't be too much of a setback though.  I've been super-productive since I got back from vacation, it really is amazing how much of a difference it made.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Texture Block

 I just released Texture Block, a pattern I'm super-excited about.  I love cowls, and this one has triangles and diamonds of different textures.  I wanted something a bit different, something that was modern and had interesting lines, and this is what I came up with.  It's a bit smaller at the top than the bottom which means that a breeze doesn't go down my neck at the top but it still fits nicely into my coat.  Both written instructions and charts are included.  It will be 25% off for the next two weeks so check it out here at Ravelry.


Friday, 23 September 2016

Surprise

I designed a cowl I was quite taken with and started knitting it while I was away.  I didn't get a lot of knitting done because the kids needed a lot of direct supervision (direct enough to need my hands) but we had an awesome time as a family.

I have discovered, much to my surprise, that I'm not knitting a cowl but a slouchy hat.  The ribbing pulls in more than I expected and a cowl really should be wider than I first thought.  I'm happy with the hat though, I think the entire thing is really funny.  I explained this to my family, they said it was funny too, I think they're humouring me.  I'm okay with that.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Getting Ready

We're going out of town for a few days and I am so ready with my knitting.  I've got three projects, they are swatched, charted, and everything each needs is in a ziplock bag with all of the notions, needles, and yarn that project needs.  I've cast on and knit the first two rounds with all three and placed stitch markers, which means that the antisocial part of the projects are done, I don't want to have to be like "I am counting!  No talking!" while away with family.  Also my three year old likes to "help" count and having someone sitting beside me saying "one, two, three, eleven, twelve, eleven, twelve, eleven, twelve, eleven...." is not going to put anyone in a good mood.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Cashmere

The yarn for my sample knitting has arrived.  It's cashmere.

I had no idea what the yarn was when I volunteered but this is like knitting with butter, it's completely and totally amazing and the softest thing I've ever had and it is taking a lot of willpower not to order some for myself because I really don't need any because I don't have any projects planned that need it, and I do have a bunch of projects planned that use yarn I already have.

It is amazing though.  Just saying.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Sample Knitting

I have a bunch of design projects that  are in the planning stage.  I have the yarn and the pattern charted out and for three different projects I'm waiting for the swatches to dry so I can do math so I can write the pattern so I can start knitting. I like this stage but it can feel like knitting limbo where I can't start anything and don't want to start anything boring while I wait so I work on the blanket, which I like but after a while it gets a bit tedious.  Luckily for me a designer whose work I adore needed another sample knit and I'm going too be making her a hat.  A friend recently asked why I don't usually knit things for money and after explaining how long it takes to knit things and why it would be ridiculously expensive or result in me making about $2 an hour he got it.

Someone recently pointed out that sample knitting was illogical then, since it's still knitting for almost nothing an hour.  I've been thinking about that, because it is different but couldn't immediately put my finger on why, but I think I've figured it out.

1.  If I was knitting for a craft fair I'd be stuck doing a bunch of what sells, I'd find that boring, with sample knitting you generally knit one of something and move on.

2.  Usually I learn something while sample knitting, it's subtle, something like "oh, that's a smart way to divide the chart up" or "the way this section is formatted makes it a lot easier to read."  I find this sort of knitting in particular makes me a better designer.  (To be perfectly clear I'm not talking about copying anyone's design but seeing how someone else making it in the business runs their ship makes me run mine better.)

3.  I'd be knitting something anyways and this saves me the time of picking out a project, it also means I don't have to buy yarn for the project, it's basically free entertainment.

4.  I can knit a 20th hat without the guilt of not wanting to give it away while knowing that if anyone knew how many winter accessories I have they might consider an intervention.  I have to send the sample back, that's part of the deal.

The pattern's really pretty, I'm looking forward to it.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Surprisingly Productive

I've had a really productive day, partly because all of the things on my to do list are fun so I'm procrastinating less and partly because the kids have been super cooperative and have had long naps (it is amazing, let me tell you).

I've been trying to plan my knitting for our upcoming vacation, and I need to do a bunch of swatching.  I picked yarn and came up with ideas the other day and today I made all the charts I need and printed everything and picked out appropriate needles for everything and put them in the ziplock bags with everything else for each project.  I haven't actually swatched most of them yet, but I have this evening where we have a friend of Joshua's coming over so I'll end up sitting and knitting and tomorrow night is a knitting night with friends.  I originally was thinking I wouldn't be able to get this done well because I didn't have time and their realized I had two nights where a lot of knitting would be done and if I did all the prep work I could swatch then.  It's brilliant.

The one odd thing I've noticed about today is I kind of feel like I'm not getting anything done because of all the fun things, like maybe it would actually be productive if I went and scrubbed toilets or something because to do lists aren't supposed to be this fun.  I need to work on that.

Monday, 5 September 2016

Lattice

I am really excited!  My first third party publication is live!  I Like Knitting, which is an online magazine based out of the States commissioned me earlier in the year to design some boot cuffs for them, and I'm thrilled to announce that their September issue is live and contains my pattern!  It also contains some other really cute patterns that I'd highly suggest you go check out, their website is here.

Four years ago the idea that any individual would buy one of my patterns was just starting to seem like a reality and it's so cool to have my first publication. Going to go have some ice cream to celebrate.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

This Yarn Was Not The Yarn I Was Looking For

A while ago I went to a yarn store, there was a crazy sale, it was shoulder to shoulder knitters, people were buying garbage bags full of yarn.  I was there with two toddlers and grabbed a bad of yarn that looked perfect for a sweater.  I thought it was worsted, I discovered yesterday that it's about 14 sts/4" rather than around the 22 I was expecting.  I'm not entirely sure there's enough for a sweater.  I'll have to do some research.  I'm hoping there is enough because I do love the colours.

Things have been going really well with designing, I haven't sold a lot of patterns lately but it's summer and the test for my pattern that's coming out in September is going really well and I'm happy with that.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Amazing

I've been working towards four goals this month, all knitting things, all things that seemed to be way more complicated than I thought when I'd set out.  The sort of thing where you work really hard and you think you're done and then you realize there's some problem and you're back to square one, or have to redo a good section.

Yesterday all four of those things crossed the line from almost done to done and man does it feel good.  Not just sort of happy-good but I-feel-too-amazing-for-words good.  I was sitting there during the kids' nap time knitting a sweater (not troubleshooting or doing math or figuring something out, just knitting, gloriously working on my sweater.)

The sweater is going well, I'm almost at the underarms (it's a top-down raglan) and I'm pleased with how it's going.  Such a good place to be.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Oak


My most recent pattern is out and I'm really thrilled with it (also thrilled with the photos, they turned out really well).  It's knit flat with a single intarsia leaf motif and a contrasting button band.  I had a ton of fun knitting it, it's a really good first intarsia project since there's only one bit out of the contrasting colour and no shaping.  It's available on Ravelry here and if you get now you'll save 25% (the sale's on until the end of August).



Monday, 22 August 2016

Buffering

I'm working on this spreadsheet to make sizing patterns easier, because currently it's the part of the process that makes me feel like poking my eyes out.  I have a theory that if I do it all at the start I'll enjoy the entire process more because I won't have to deal with the sizing after the fun of knitting is over and I won't have to stop knitting to figure out the next step.

My husband asked why that part mattered, why it would be frustrating to need to stop and work out the next part.  I couldn't put my finger on it at first but I've been thinking about it and I think I know what it is.  It's like sitting down to watch a video on the internet but it keeps buffering and you can't just sit an enjoy it, and with little kids that mean I can't just sit down and do some math those interruptions until I can knit again can seem really long.  I think it's just the stage they're at, and they're delightful, but I think this will make me enjoy my next few projects more.

I finally got all the raglan increases dealt with in the chart, there's was a silly math mistake that took me forever to catch.  That's the hardest part done, which is really exciting because I really, really want to knit the sweater I'm planning.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Lying swatches that lie

I have a magazine commission.  I swatched, blocked the swatch, did math, knit.  I tried on the item, I was getting the same gauge as the unblocked swatch, it was small but I knew from blocking that the swatch would grow.  It grew.  It grew significantly more than the stupid swatch did.  Instead of fitting a four year old the hat fits me.  I have a photoshoot in two days and need it in the mail in four days.  It's superwash so I can't felt it, I don't have more yarn and unpicking the woven in ends is maddening and I'm not convinced I have time to reknit the thing.  My son is sleeping so I'll try it on him when he wakes up but.... gah.  So utterly frustrating.




Monday, 15 August 2016

Figuring Things Out

I finished the knitting for my magazine commission, the pieces are blocked and drying now.  I'm making matching mittens out of the leftover yarn, by reversing the MC and CC I have enough for a pair.  It's working out well since this means I won't be adding a random amount of wool to my stash that's not enough to make anything but a pair of mittens (maybe a hat, but that's doubtful).  I can't get more of the yarn without special ordering it from England and while it is really nice yarn there's no reason to order more of this yarn compared to buying something from my LYS.  Plus, having another item in the set means it should (I hope) sell more when the rights revert to me and I get to sell the pattern myself.

I'm realizing what comes naturally to me a a designer is knitting through the pattern as I write it, whereas what works best for me as a mom with little kids is knitting a pattern that's already written.  I usually am knitting in between other things and don't usually have the time to stop and figure out things on the go, and I'm trying to figure out how to balance those things so I'm less frustrated.  It drives me crazy when I come to a point where I have to work something out to keep going and I can't because that would require 5 minutes of quiet which is just not going to happen with a three year old who is convinced he is a space ship engineer who needs to do something to the toaster and a one year old who's obsessed with sticking balls in her big brother's fire truck.  They are pretty entertaining, though.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Bump

My grandfather, Bumpa, died this past weekend and today we are driving to Toronto so we can go to his funeral.  He was a wonderful man, kind and compassionate.  He had a computer when I was little, and we would play Tetris and Pipe dream on it, as well as a game called Chip's Challenge.  He would sit me on his lap and we'd play, probably starting when I was about the age Caleb is now.  He thought the long bars in Tetris should be placed horizontally because that makes up a lot of a row but I always seemed to need them to fill in some vertical gap I'd created.  He was an engineer, and proud of his profession.  He did suggest that I should stay away from the engineers while in university, I didn't follow his advice but he adored my husband.  Caleb and Ada were his only great-grandchildren and their visits went well even despite of his dementia.  I'm hoping the children will be relatively quite for the funeral (I have stickers, books, and more snacks than they normally eat in a week so I should be okay).

Monday, 8 August 2016

I have trouble planning knitting for trips, usually because it seems like trips line up with a bunch of short projects that haven't been swatched yet.  We found out yesterday we need to unexpectedly go on a road trip this weekend, it will be two five hour drives.  I have a pair of boot cuffs that I'm planning and I have yarn for but the sweater I'd been working on the details for is just not working out, I have to rework the charts and I doubt that will happen before Thursday, which is unfortunate because it really would be the perfect thing to bring.  I'll bring the cowl and hat I'm working on, but that point it will just be finishing but that's a good thing to do in the car.  Maybe I'll be able to find some time this evening to figure out the chars for the sweater.  Wish me luck.

Friday, 5 August 2016

Indian Nights



I have finished the squares, they're part of the Indian Nights blanket Jenise Hope is making.  If you like colourwork and you're not familiar with her I would strongly suggest you check her out on Ravelry, her designs are breathtaking.

I've been knitting some of the squares for the final blanket and I've really enjoyed the process, it's also been a nice break as I concentrate on some of the non-knitting aspects of knitting design (editing patterns, working out charts, etc), it's been lovely to have something I can just knit and not fuss about the design itself.



I never did hear about the four magazine submissions I had sent out, apparently other designers have received offers so, despite the magazine saying they contact everyone I'm going to assume they don't want these and move on.  It's nice to know what I have on my plate and I think I'll actually make some of the things I submitted and release them in a bit, I have quite a bit I want to do right now and it's nice to know what I'm working with.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Old Faithful

My yarn is not here yet.  I'm done the squares, I meant to have pictures to show you but haven't managed to do that (I feel like I spend a lot of time saying I haven't managed to do something yet, but I think that's par for the course of having little kids.)  The squares are very pretty and I'll show them to you later this week.

Caleb just woke up Ada because he was singing.  He wasn't being bad but I am starting to think she won't go back to sleep, I'll give her another minute.  It's so frustrating because it's one of those things where childish irresponsibility is the reason I don't get time to do something I wanted to.  It just seems like a really dumb reason, you know?  Not a need, not even something they wanted, just being oblivious.  He is sweet though, I love him.

I'm back to working on the never ending blanket.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Waiting is Not Easy

Caleb has this adorable book called, "Waiting is not Easy" by Mo Williams.  Basically an elephant is having trouble waiting for a surprise his friend, Piggie, has for him.  That's totally where I'm at right now.  I'm waiting to hear from a magazine about a few submissions I sent them (which I would love to get started on).  They should send out the details about which patterns are accepted and rejected any day (actually a couple days ago), and I have a magazine commission that has been accepted and I've done a bunch of work on but am stalled until the yarn comes.  It should also be here any day.  I feel like a runner at the starting block waiting for the race to start, I know I'll have to hustle once I can get started but at the moment...nothing.  Just waiting.

I'm almost done the third sample knitting square I'm making for a blanket and I'm going to be making a forth because I have nothing to knit in the car tomorrow.  If you're looking for a designer who does breathtaking colourwork Jenise Hope is absolutely worth checking out.

Monday, 25 July 2016

I like to finish something before setting it aside, it's totally a personality thing.  Right now I have some sample knitting due mid-September, I have a pattern I need to send out mid-August.  Clearly, I need to do the pattern before the rest of the sample knitting but putting aside the sample knitting is driving me slightly bonkers.  I'm also in the middle of a great Craftsy course that I'll need to put on hold until I have some work done, and there's no reason for that to bother me other than things like this drive me a little nuts.

I heard someone speak recently about the fact that it's okay to have personal preferences based on our personalities but sometimes we just need to put those aside so we can do what we want to do.  I'm trying really hard to think that way.

The pattern is fun to work on, so that helps too.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

A little laugh

My husband likes to learn things, he's quite indiscriminate about in, in that if someone he loves is interested in something he'll ask questions about it and enjoy being able to discuss it.  (He is quite knowledgeable about knitting as a result, he is very charming.)

The other day he peeked over my shoulder while I was looking at a sweater pattern and got very quiet, then very slowly said, "what.... is underarm BO?"

Of course it is underarm bind off, it never occurred to me that it could be taken any other way.  I've been chucking about this for a couple days now and had to share.

Monday, 18 July 2016

New Pattern!



Quite a while ago now I made an airplane sweater for my airplane obsessed son.  It took me a while to edit and have it tested but it's done and I'm thrilled with it.  Take Flight is knit flat and seamed, with an airplane and clouds that stand out because of their texture.  I'm thrilled with it, and if you are too you can find it on Ravelry here. :)

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Glorious progress

I heard back from the designer who I'm doing some sample work for and am off working the pieces.  They're so much fun.  It's part of a modular blanket but Jenise Hope and the pieces are super-fun (and super-pretty), I'm really enjoying it.

On a completely desperate note my one year old daughter has decided that waking up at 5am and a one hour nap are enough sleep for her.  I disagree.  In addition to honestly needing some time to get things done she's super-grumpy and just needs more sleep to be happy, which I want for her, because feeling tired is unpleasant and there's no reason that I can think of that she needs to feel like that, she just needs to sleep longer.  She just woke up and is complaining, but she's been down for less than an hour, I'm hoping she'll fall back asleep again.  Not quite sure what to do about that.

My raglan sizing spreadsheets are going fairly well, I''m doing a Craftsy class on it.  I've sold patterns on Craftsy before but this is the first class I've done.  I'm enjoying it, even though the intro has been mostly things I've already known (how to measure and use excel).  It's just starting to get into the meat and potatoes of the material and I think it's going to be very helpful.  I really want to get through it because there are about four sweaters I want to work on but don't want to start the samples until I sort out certain numbers so I can make sure the colourwork works across the different sizes.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Hello again old friend

I'm in this awkward place where my projects either is on hold until I hear from the designer because of a possible issue in the pattern, not done swatching yet, or needs finishing that requires a sewing machine or buttons (in other words not portable).  I didn't know what I would knit during knitting group today and was worried about it until I realized I have a project for just this occasion.

I've been using up leftover sock yarn in a double ten stitch blanket, it's about 4.5' square now, and I love it.  It's super straight-forward and is never at an awkward stage (until I finally finish it and have to weave in a hundred ends but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it).  I pulled it out last night and am still illogically in love with the thing.

Monday, 11 July 2016

Grading Knits

The last time I tried to size a sweater it was epically frustrating so I decided that this time, before starting, I would make a spreadsheet to help me.  I thought this was a brilliant idea, however I'm discovering that it is largely moving the part of the project where I want to poke my eyes out to now rather than putting it off.  I'm persevering though, because I think that if I get the spreadsheet sorted I'll be able to use it more than once which should avert the "arg this is awful" phase of my next sweater project.

I have found some really awesome resources for grading knits, this tutorial has been very helpful, and I have just signed up for a crafty class on it too, haven't started it yet though.

Friday, 8 July 2016

Argh

I'm doing some sample knitting for this gorgeous modular blanket at the moment, I was really excited do start but it's taken me forever to get gauge.  Yesterday I was so frustrated with it, the beginning is sort of finicky and it's a centre-out square with colour work and it's in the round and so I just had to guess a needle size, start until it's big enough to measure, then rip it out if it wasn't right.  It wasn't right about 4 times.  (Apparently the designer is a super-loose knitter, I am a tight knitter, and our needle sizes have to be waaaay different to achieve gauge.)

I was thinking about why it was so frustrating and I think it's because I just wanted to knit, not go back and forth between starting something and ripping it out.  I am absolutely thrilled that I finally got gauge, I was working happily along and then I realized something, there's a mistake in the chart and I have to wait until I hear from the designer before I move on.  I just want to knit it, it had just gotten fun.

Oh well.
(I should add that I'm participating in the design process, the teeny mistake isn't a reflection of poor work by the designer, she's awesome, and one of the points of other people participating in this stage is to weed out these things.  I'm mostly frustrated because I want to knit.)

Monday, 4 July 2016

Returned

For years I prayed I'd get good inlaws.  I figured, you get to pick the person you marry but sometimes awesome people can have nutty parents and inlaws are a big deal.

Yesterday mine drove a 3 hour round trip to get the hat that fell out of our car on vacation.  They are super-awesome.  They also explained to the lady at reception where the hat was that I don't sell knitted things because that makes no sense because knitting takes a long time, I sell patterns.  They did this without me ever explicitly explaining this to them.

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Found!

The hat must have fell out of our car while I was packing it to leave the last stop on our vacation!
Good news: It is safe and at the reception of the resort.
Bad news: That is an hour away from here.
Possibly good news: I may have family members headed that way this weekend.

Worst case scenario I can may them to man lit to me, I'm really happy it was found.

I've been working pretty hard on some design submissions to magazines.  I have one that I sent in last weekend and four more I need to get ready in the next two weeks.  The written parts have been typed and I just need to do swatches, drawings, and some photos.  I've been branching out into new colour combinations and I'm pretty excited about them.  Of course, they're just new to me but it's really nice to get out of that "I like teal" rut, as beautiful as teal is.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Gone

I knit a hat, it was beautiful and exactly as I envisioned but quite a bit smaller but that wasn't an issue since it fit Ada with a bit of room to spare, perfect for this winter.  I washed it and blocked it, and it is gone.  I'm thinking it fell out of the yarn as I got in at our last stop.  I have methodically gone through everything and it doesn't seem to be here.

I'm not as upset as I could be, it sucks that I'm out the yarn.  I'll make another since I loved it so much.  I wish I knew where it was.  Also, I wish that I had taken time to weave in the ends since whoever finds it won't even be able to use it.  It is sad.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

A baby!

Last night two friends of mine announced they're expecting their first early next year and I am so over the top excited for them!  They are completely lovely and are going to make great parents and I can hardly wait.

This also may solve my problem about what to knit on the trip since I can buy yarn en route (there's a great yarn store about half-way through our road trip), and make them a baby blanket, I have a really cute idea and I'm excited to start work on it.  (I may have been planning a baby blanket for them for a little bit since I knew they wanted kids eventually...)

Monday, 20 June 2016

Choices

The blue top is coming along really well, I'm at the top lacy bit and just need some dedicated time to sort out some of the shoulder shaping.  It's not going to take long, it just needs to be a time when my lovely little people are asleep because it's seriously difficult to do math while being asked "why?" every other second.  My son is in a super inquisitive phase and I do like the fact that he asks questions and thinks about things but it means I'm constantly interrupted and I just need to think for longer than that to be able to work out shoulder shaping.

I will definitely have some time tomorrow at the latest, because I have the sinus infection from hell and am going to see the doctor.  My mother is looking after the kids while I do this, so I don't have to take them with me.

I'm really happy with how the top is going.  I have a really long drive coming up later in the week and I was planning to finish this but that's no where near enough knitting and so I now need another plan.

The legs of the trip will be 5 hours, 1 hour, 1 hour, 1 hour, and 3.5 hours.  Plus knitting time in the hotel room after the kids are asleep.  I have 48 hours to figure it out and no time to get to a yarn store (other than Michaels.... but that doesn't really count, any big project I find I prefer yarn from LYS, and I need something big.) What would you bring?

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Quiet

I had a good friend in high school that hated quiet.  She always had to have people around or music on, I could never understand it.  I love the quiet.  But last night I had the evening to myself and all the things that needed to be done were done and I was at loose ends.  I almost always have a long list of things that need to be done and there were certainly things that could be done but nothing demanding my attention.  I love the quiet alone time, but it suddenly struck me at how I had become so used to noise, not just the audible noise but the chaos of people running around me.

I found a book to read.  It was lovely.

Monday, 13 June 2016

It goes

The blue top is going really well now, I've got the front and back split at the armholes and I'm almost at the point where the lace starts.  I'm going back and forth about how low I want it to start and I just can't decide.  I think I'm going to start it lower than I originally thought I might, it requires some math and probably ripping back a couple rows but that's alright.

I'm at a place where I'd rather do something well than live with results that annoy me because I didn't go back and fix something.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

I'm so excited

I have a bunch of designs in the works for the fall and I am so excited about them.  They're in various stages of progress, one is just swatched and I'm working on the pattern, I'll knit it later.  Another is knit and photographed but I have to figure out how to explain the technique and the degree of tutorial the pattern should include.  Another is knit and the chart is done and I'm two thirds of the way through the written instructions.  Another has the pattern and I'm enjoying knitting it.  I have a schedule (the spreadsheet is called "release schedule" which sounds super-official and makes me all sorts of dorky-happy), and it looks like all of the patterns will be released the month I want them to be.

I'm making progress and I'm so excited about it.  I feel like I've figured it out a bit.

Monday, 6 June 2016

The big rip

I should have paid closer attention to row gauge.

I'm working on this summer top and it was going really well, I was really surprised how quickly it was knitting up which is awesome because then I'll actually get to wear it this summer, when I realized it was a bit long.  I was 20 rows away from the armholes but had already hit the length it was supposed to be when that happened.  Apparently the row gauge I'm getting is 8 rows/inch instead of 9 rows/inch.

There's bust shaping that needed to be done so I couldn't just decided to do the armholes in the row I was on, since that way there wouldn't be enough stitches.  I did the math and I'd need to eliminate quite a bit of the straight waist rounds to get the length out, so last night I ripped back.  I've got it back on the needles now.  I was worried the stitches would run since it's bamboo and really slippery but it wasn't too bad and I'm back to making progress.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

One of the reasons I love designing

The other day I read this article about introversion and it really resonated with me.  For the longest time I've felt that I don't really fit in workplaces, my colleagues are forever going out to drinks without me because even though I really like them, I'd rather be at home.  I have friends, and I hang out with my friends, but my happy place doesn't have a ton of people in it.

During the kids' nap time I quietly work away at my design work (and laundry, because that's never-ending), and it's so wonderful, that time alone feeds me in ways I can't quite explain.  I love the glorious quiet and the progress I make working on my own.

Monday, 30 May 2016

Success!

I finally figured out the lace for the blue top I've been wanting to make and I've cast on, it's going really well (I'm not at the lace part yet but that's fine).  It's a bottom-up summer top, and there's no way I'll have the thing ready this summer.  I was initially really disappointed about that but I've decided it's not so bad.  I'll knit it and have it photographed this summer, then size the pattern over the winter, run the test knit in the spring, then release it next late spring/early summer.  It's a much more workable timeline and will end up making the project enjoyable rather than bananas.

One of the things I've gotten better at is figuring out how to make the process of designing and releasing my patterns work well and this timing really fits in with that.  I am hoping to have it done early enough to get to wear it this year, though.  In other news I was told yesterday that one of my patterns is missing a column in a chart (I don't know how the heck that happened).  I hate having this not done well, but have managed to sort it all out now.  The new file is uploaded everywhere but Love Knitting, but I'll have that done soon.

The next thing I have to figure out in terms of the blue top is how I'm going to join the yarn.  It's bamboo, isn't plied, and in about 8 balls, so I need a join that's going to work well with that, it'll take some research.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Maybe if I actually worked on it

I've been procrastinating about figuring out the lace for this summer top I'm working on, at this rate I'll be able to wear the thing next summer.  I have a vague image in my head and I just can't seem to get it figured out.  I've gotten frustrated and been working on other things, I've gotten a bunch of little jobs around the house done, which is awesome but not exactly related to knitting.

I finished knitting Bonny, just need to sew up the seams and block it.  I love it and I'm really really hoping it fits.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the rest of the yarn, it's Merino/Silk and I don't want an inch of it to go to waste, but there's not a ton, I'll have to weigh everything and try to figure out how much I have left then play around with Ravelry maybe.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Getting things done

A week ago yesterday I managed to cut the pad of my left index finger pretty badly, knitting wasn't a problem but I'd hit it every time I'd purl and occasionally get the tip of the needle caught in the bandaid.  All that to say I haven't got a lot of knitting done in the last week.  It has helped me be super-productive.  I've gone through the five next patterns I plan to release and written out things like gauge, yarn requirements, worked on the measurements, basically all the boring stuff I normally procrastinate about, and it feels really nice to have that done.

I'm about halfway done the upper back on Bonny, still think I have crazy amounts of yarn left over but I did get blocked gauge so I'm keeping going and hope it won't shrink (it shouldn't for any reason but I'm waaaay under the amount of yarn the pattern said I'd need.)

I'm super excited about the patterns I have for fall release but am in no rush for fall, this weather is far too nice.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Worrisome

I've completed the front of Bonny, it looks great.  I have about 35 more rows to do on the back and then I'm done, I'm really looking forward to wearing it.  The ball of yarn was supposed to have had 785y, the project was supposed to take 700y.  I'm not finished but am reasonably close to the end, and the ball of yarn looks like I've used slightly less than half of it, which has me worried.

There are a few options, it's possible that the yardage of the ball band was off (not super likely to be off by a lot but it's possible the ball had a bit more than was stated.)  It's likely that the pattern does overestimate how much yarn it takes to give knitter some insurance and so the yardage estimates come out to nice even numbers.   It's possible I'm having some major issue with gauge and the hole thing will turn out horribly when I block it.

I'm just really really hoping it's not the third possibility.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Work

Somehow I have finished almost all of my projects and have only Bonny to work on, plus a hat that needs a crocheted flower to be finished.  I've been planning a summer top out of the yarn that I had originally bought for Bonny but I can't get the lace in the swatch right.  I mean I can't get it how I imagine it looking.  I have a great other project all sorted, swatched for and charted that I'll start tomorrow, I just need to pick up one last supply this afternoon.

Yesterday the children had simultaneous three hour naps, which is nothing short of a miracle.  I spent the time putting a large knitting chart I had made by hand onto the computer.  I don't remember the last time I've had that long to just sit and work.  Entering the chart took me about 50 minutes and I didn't get up, no one asked me anything, I didn't have laundry to change, I just worked.  At the end of it I felt so refreshed.  It reminded me of something I read once from Maria Montessori, that children need to concentrate and actually find working uninterrupted restful and I can so appreciate that.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

TextureScape

A friend of mine is having a baby and I have made her a baby blanket (and kept the fact that I have a blog a secret from her, hopefully she doesn't stumble upon it.) They're not finding out what they're having which is what I did. I love the surprise, but I found when I was pregnant that there wasn't a lot of really nice gender neutral things for babies. I don't know why, there are so many colours. Orange, emerald, teal, red, grey, browns, but everything "gender neural" was this pale and boring yellow, and I wanted something that was gender neutral and made a statement. A statement that's cool and interesting, not just that says "I can't do blue or pink and have forgotten that all other colours exists."



It's inspired by old sampler scarves, where the entire scarf was made up of different textures and patterns as knitters just practised new techniques.  It's knit on a bias (so the entire thing's a diamond, rather than a rectangle), and the multi-colour sections are made up of slip stitch motifs, so each row only has one colour used at a time, so if you've been wanting to add some colour to your projects but are intimidated because that seems hard, this is a reasonable place to start.  If you're as charmed by it as I am you can get it on Ravelry here.

Monday, 9 May 2016

Progress

My quilt is going pretty well. I have all of the squares assembled and should have the quilt top and (hopefully) the border on today. You can tell I'm not experienced, but I'm happy with how it looks and it is being made with love so that's all right.

I'm on the lace section on TinCan Knits' Bonny. I thought the project would be really dull for the first while, when it's just 12" of laceweight stockinette but it ended up that I'd work on this when my other projects were too fussy, or when I was watching TV and was shocked when I got to the lace part. There's actually an extra half inch there because I didn't realize I had already hit that measurement. I like my tops long, so that works out quite well. Things are going quickly now because the lace is interesting, which is good because it's the only thing I'm actively working on, I've lost the pattern for my other project and because I had charted it out by hand I'm going to have to do some work to recreate it before I get back to it.

Friday, 6 May 2016

A quilt

Ada's birthday is coming up and I was planning on making her a blanket, the kind you just cut strips along the edges of two squares of fleece, put them back to back and tie them in knots. The store had no fleece and told me it was impossible to find it in the city, so I decided to buy a bunch of fabric and make a quilt. In two weeks. I don't quilt. Or I suppose it's accurate to say I didn't quilt, as I have three of the eight squares I need done. I'm using a paper piece patter and this tutorial, and it's going better than it might have. Why did I decide to make a quilt when clearly this plan is nuts? It's hard to make good decisions when you're in a store with two toddlers.

There are mistakes in the quilt, where I didn't cut quite a big enough block so I sewed two smaller blocks together after the first piece was already attached. It's easier to do that then start over or rip out tiny stitches. (You're supposed to use tiny stitches so the paper rips off more easily at the end.) I'm having fun and figure I'll deal with the actual quilting next week after I get this assembled. I'm okay with the little mistakes, the extra seams. I was thinking about this and I've seen kids get frustrated when they try to do something new and aren't good at it right away, I think it must be hard to have adults as your point of reference. Adults, who are competent at more things, like tying their shoes, and dressing themselves, and driving cars and all the other things they see us do. And I'm more than happy to explain that we learn too, and that we make mistakes when we're new at things, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with being proud of something that's imperfect. It's okay that there are mistakes we can see, because that means we're learning and that's something to be celebrated.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Sidetracked

Monday I had a huge list of things I needed to get done, a large list but within the realm of possibility. Then I woke up with all the muscles down one side of my neck seized (I must have slept on it funny, it was totally fine when I went to bed). My husband was sick too and worked from home, which was a good thing because while playing with the kids I ended up lying on the floor downstairs and was completely unable to sit or stand up. I don't know what would have happened if he hadn't been home because there is no way I could have gotten up the floor with just the "help" of my toddler.

The submission for the magazine is going great, I just need to weave in the ends and block it (today) get a few photos (tomorrow) then mail it (Saturday). I need to do a little text editing before the pattern is sent but it's completely reasonable, int arms of the timeline. :)

Thursday, 28 April 2016

I may go mad

I am working on a project with cables. As you may have surmised from the name of my blog, cables are something I like. However I keep realized I've miscrossed a cable ages ago and have to rip back and fix it. I swear I've knit enough stitches to have finished the project and yet I am perpetually at the one quarter part because I keep having to rip it back.

I can't overlook the miscrossed cables because the thing is for my magazine commission so I have to do it right (also that would bother me every time I saw it) and there's a deadline (again, because of the magazine thing) so I can't just put it aside, the entire thing is driving me mental.

I think I enjoyed cables more before I had kids, they're wonderful but make it a tad difficult to pay just enough attention to cross the cables the right way. I do really like how it's turning out and I'm so trying to have a good attitude about the whole thing, but I feel like I'll go just a little bit crazy if I have to rip it out again.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Real Life

When I first started designing knitting patterns with the intention to sell them, everything seemed new and intimidating. Every step was something I hadn't done before and a lot of the time it was really hard to push through that.

Last year I felt kind of like a teenage in terms of the business, like I knew some things and could do somethings but there was a lot that was still new and a lot where I felt like I was guessing.

This year I'm starting to really feel like I've got this a bit. Not that I know everything, I definitely don't, but things don't feel as foreign and when I run into a situation where I don't know how to move forward there's a good chance I know where to look for the answers. I've been reflecting on this journey so far as I prepare my first pattern that's going to be published by a third party, it's due next month. The yarn just came yesterday but I've been working on the details and making sure the background info that's listed in the publisher's style sheet is still there. It's new but I can pull this off, and things sort of feel like I'm in my first job.

I'm really enjoying the journey.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Chalk Paint

I've been wanting hooks for our front door for a while and I just haven't been able to find quite what I was looking for. A while ago I saw something I really liked at Home Outfitters, it was just one hook mounted on a wooden square, and I really liked it, and I liked that I could put a bunch at different heights. Since Home Outfitters gets rid of excess stock, they only had one. I figured I could probably make ones like it, though, and got some wooden squares at Michaels and some acrylic paint.

The result looked like a nine year old's art project. Not a terrible art project, but not what I wanted on my wall. Then I discovered chalk paint, which is actually easy to use and I randomly decided that stencils were a good idea and I have the coolest dragonfly square ever. I still need to get the wax and the hooks are on order but I'm super-excited.

I may be so excited that I spontaneously painted a matching bench.

Monday, 18 April 2016

There's something about spring that makes it feel like tackling lost of little jobs is way easier than it is in winter. I don't know why, but the list of things I have to do around the house suddenly seems possible instead of dreadfully long as soon as the weather gets nice. Maybe it's because the sooner they're done the more time I have to spend outside. This weekend I've gotten a ton done, and spent time enjoying the weather with the kids. I've got my test knit done in time (still need to do some finishing but the knitting is done) and I've started figuring out what I need to do for my first magazine commission, which is suddenly feeling very real. It's real in an exciting way. I emailed a yarn company about yarn support, and after I'm done this post I'm going to go print the style sheet the publisher sent me and get to work.

In some ways I feel like a sixteen year old at their first job, but I'm good at learning things and I'm really excited about getting published.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Today

My test sweater is due on Sunday, and I'm almost positive I'll make it. I have about 30 rounds to go. It looks pretty good, and I'm really glad the that I used the solid for the yoke (also really glad that the designer I'm doing the test for is okay with it). It's looking really good. I'll have a beautiful wool sweater just in time for when it gets warm. I suppose that means I can spend the summer looking forward to wearing it.

I have my knitting group tonight and so I'm saving the sweater for that (this is how sure I am that I'll have it done in time) and spent the last hour recovering our kitchen chairs with wax cloth. They look AMAZING. I agreed to buy chairs with a fabric cover because the chairs were comfy and IKEA said the cover was "removable" so you could "easily" clean it. Apparently they consider having to disassemble part of the chair part of the "easy" cleaning process, because you can't get the thing off without removing four screws, which also means that if I want to wash them when the kids are in bed (and would be okay sitting on the chair without the cover because we're grownups and won't hurt it while the cover gets washed), I can't use the chair because the seat has been removed. And the covers always looked dingy and gross because kids touch things.

JYSK had wax cloth for 4.99 a meter, so I went in to get some and discovered that the one I really liked wasn't actually 4.99 a meter as advertised, but was actually 98 cents a meter. I got four meters and made a matching tablecloth. That, however, was a failure. Too much overhang before the elastic. It's supposed to cling to the underside of the table so small people learning to walk can't pull it off. I think I can rip out the stitches, trim it, and try again, but not today.

It sounds suspiciously like my son has disassembled the childproofing thing on his door handle...

Monday, 11 April 2016

Done

I have worked and worked and worked to try to catch up from the computer dying. We might get things back through data recovery but that takes time. This weekend though, I hit a wall I desperately needed to do something other than try to get back to where I was. I knit (my test knit due on Subday only needs part of the yoke, so that's a good place) and I relaxed. Today I rearranged furniture. We had a ton of furniture delivered the other week and there were some things I didn't like the location of after we moved but just hadn't gotten around to moving them. I also culled the toys in the family room. There are SO many toys. Fewer now. Such a first world problem.

Our new computer arrived this morning after a detour to California, because despite "International" being all over the thing Fedex confused Canada with California. California is probably the furthest state from where we are. I figure while my husband sets up the computer this evening I'll sort out the few things I have to do to get my blanket test knit and be on my way tomorrow.

Initially I was nervous about the whole test knit thing but I've been so busy I haven't had time to be nervous.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

They say it comes in threes

I hope that saying is true because I don't think I can handle something else breaking. In the past two weeks my phone, the computer, and the breaks all died. Spectacularly the computer's backup system also failed and two patterns that were ready to be sent to testers are gone.

I've been recreating them this week because I want to release them as planned and thankfully I have really good notes for these two. (Those of you who have been around for a while may be remembering that a while ago I made a promise to myself to type things up as I go so I don't have to do it from notes later...yep, all for nothing.)

I think I'll be able to send one of the patterns to testers on Monday and the other one about a week after our new computer arrives.  It's been ordered, they didn't have the type we wanted in store. I've been typing up my patterns on a computer from 2000 in text edit so none of the formatting or graphic stuff is done but the majority of the work is.

I've moved from being really upset to working my butt off but today I'm taking some time to relax and knit. I need to get this sock yarn sweater done by the 17th and the goal is to get the back done by Sunday so I have a full week for the yoke.


Thursday, 31 March 2016

Nervous

I expect to hear from a knitting magazine about a submission today.  It's silly, but I'm nervous.  I don't know why, nothing bad is going to happen if I get rejected.  If one of the designs gets rejected it's going to be sent out to another magazine this weekend and if the other one gets rejected I'll probably just self-publish that one unless I see a call that it's particularly suited to in the next little while.

The anticipation is driving me mental, I normally find it fine to wait, but I know they're sending the emails out today and I have been obsessively checking my email since I found that out.  I'm enjoying the process of submitting things to magazines, and I'm really looking forward to getting my first pattern published.  I haven't had one accepted yet, maybe that's why I'm nervous today.  Because today could be today where that changes.

This entire blog post sounds like it was written by a fifteen year old.

Oh well.

Monday, 28 March 2016

Shoot

When I volunteered for the test knit I'm participating in I thought I had four and a half weeks.  I thought that was tight but doable.  I'm having a blast, it's a great pattern and really interesting, but I've misread the calendar and have one less week than I thought.  This sweater is in sock yarn, and I'm working really hard but am a tiny bit concerned about the deadline.

There's really nothing I can do but knit like mad so that's more or less what I'm doing.  I've decided if I can get the second sleeve done by tomorrow I should be able to get the small part of the body done by the end of the week.  (It's a funny construction, but that's what makes it so interesting.)

My phone died so I have to get another one (currently the cord is duct taped in), and I actually have a car tomorrow so that's what I'm going to do in the afternoon between my knitting group and picking Joshua up for work.

THEY WANT IT!!

The magazine wants one of my patterns!  They are PAYING me to write the pattern!  That I designed!  Then it's ACTUALLY going to be in the MAGAZINE!

I totally just left a voicemail for my best friend where the entire message was a couple octaves higher than I normally talk.

I am so ridiculously excited.  I should knit the sweater I'm test-knitting for now, because that deadline is first but man on man am I excited.


Thursday, 24 March 2016

And I fell off the wagon

Last Saturday I gave up on getting the yarn I had bought for Bonny to get gauge, it's not going to happen.  Clearly the yarn is meant to be something else, and I'll figure that out later.  This Saturday we went to the yarn shop and I picked out stunning soft-as-butter yarn (silk and merino), to use instead.  Caleb came with me, and helped speed things up by insisting that the only acceptable colour was pink.  (It's actually a coral, but he was quite definite that this particular ball was the one for me.)

It's absolutely luscious to knit with and I love everything about this project.

I've been really good about not having too many (for me that's more than 4) projects on the go for ages.   But on Sunday I saw this stunning sweater that needed test knitters and before I really thought about it committed to knit it by April 17th.  It's in sock-yarn.

It should be do-able, but that's pretty much all I can knit right now, and I took a number of swatches to get gauge and managed on DPNs but I don't have the corresponding circular for the body.  I'm knitting the sleeves first because I don't know when I'll get back to the yarn store and don't really have time to spare.  I'm having a marvellous time, though.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Gauge Issues

I really want to make Bonny by TinCan Knits.  I have the pattern and I bought the yarn ages ago.  The thing is, I'm not getting gauge.  Or rather, in order to get gauge I have to use a needle so small the fabric is really dense and there's no way it's going to drape well which is what I love about the pattern in the first place.

I really want this yarn and this pattern to work, but I don't think it will.  The only possibility is if I swatch and get a gauge I like, and run the numbers to see if it would work to knit one of the smaller sizes at the gauge I can get.  I was going to make a small, the pattern lists both an XS and a XXS, which isn't a ton of wiggle room but it's some.  I think I'll likely swatch with the bigger gauge and see if it's a possibility but I'm not really hopeful that it will work.

I just went through the stash and I have two balls of yarn that could work, the purple I definitely have the yardage for.  The orange would be close, and as I like my tops a bit on the long side it's not a great idea to tempt fate.  The alternative would be to buy yarn, which could be really fun, but I'd rather use something I have (namely the yarn I bought for this project).

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Width Play

This past winter I made Ada a dress, I'm completely smitten with it. 



I also adore that picture like nothing else.  

I've been working on the pattern for some time, it's a bit more complicated than some of the other patterns I've released plus it was in more sizes and I wanted to make sure it was done right.  It was really frustrating at times, but I am so happy that I pushed through that.  As a side note, if you want to save yourself a headache make a super-detailed schematic BEFORE you start the math, that's made the whole process a million and one times easier for the next pattern I'm working on.

The pattern is out on Ravelry here and I'm pleased as punch.

Monday, 14 March 2016

I actually finished something

I generally try to keep four or less things on the needles at a time, otherwise I just never finish anything.  I like finishing things, so having this little rule for myself works really well for me.  Last week my projects were pretty much all nearing the end, and I've been really looking forward to starting something new, I just needed to get something finished first.

Flax Light was almost done, I just needed to do the ribbing on one sleeve and weave in a few ends.  I did that on Saturday and wore it on Sunday.    I shortened the sleeves so they'd been three-quarter length, which I'm pleased about.  I think I should have actually shortened them more, so they'd be about half-length, I always end up shoving the sleeves up over my elbows anyways.  The pattern was well-written, I find that anything by TinCan Knits is, so that wasn't a surprise.


It wasn't a really interesting pattern to knit, there was a lot of stockinette, but that made it perfect for tv knitting, or knitting in more social settings.  I'm really happy to have it in my wardrobe, though, I think I'll get a lot of wear out of it.


Thursday, 10 March 2016

Detour

I haven't touched any of my works in progress other than the blanket, I have no finished object to show you.  Instead I've been spending time working on two submissions for a knitting magazine called I Like Knitting.  I noticed the call on Monday after my post and decided I had enough time before the deadline (tomorrow) to put something together.

I have two submissions for them, and I'm super-excited about them.  It's all I can do not to ignore everything I'm working on and knit them right now.  There's no point, of course.  If they accept my submission I'll have to knit them in the colours they want in the next two months anyways, and if they accept the proposal I'll knit them in whatever colours I want and release them myself.

Submitting to magazines has been a really different process than I thought it would be.  I thought I would design things and then submit them when a call matched what I had, but largely it's been me creating ideas that work within a call's specifications, using colours or concepts I might not have picked on my own.  I'm finding that really stretching and exciting.

I also am finding that it's adding to my to-knit list, which is the most exciting to do list I've ever had.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Mid-Point

I reached the halfway point on the baby blanket, I'm working on.  It's knit on the bias, corner to corner, so the halfway point is when I finally stopped increasing but started decreasing.  I don't know how many of stitches are on the needles, but it's a good number, I'd guess between 250 and 300, and starting those decreases felt really good.

I'm really happy with it, it's turning out exactly how I pictured.  It's sort of like an old sampler scarf, but more colour-blocked and a blanket.  I'm hoping to be able to release it in May.  I have to make sure not to become Ravelry friends with the recipient until after the baby shower though.  (I realize that if she looked for me she could probably see it, but the likelihood of her doing that is pretty low, the likelihood of me forgetting about this and finding her is, sadly, possible).

I have a few works in progress that are languishing on the needles, and I want to finish one of them this week.  So hopefully my next post will have a picture of a finished item.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Projects

I can't count the times I've tried to remember details about a project like what needles I used, the gauge, or yarn used.  I try to write these things down but even when I write them in my knitting notebook it's almost impossible to find them easily.  So, I'm trying something new.  I'm trying to enter each project I do into Ravelry, that will be easy to search even in the future when current projects get buried and I the fact that there's a form to fill out should help me remember to fill in the various details.

So far I've got everything I'm currently working on in there and a few older but larger projects.  There's no way I'll go back and add everything I can remember, since that's a surefire way to kill any desire to use this part of Ravelry again.  I think this is going to work, it should also help me from forgetting about works in progress which is a bonus I didn't think about.

I keep forgetting about that blue sweater, then remembering when I see it on Ravelry.  I've got about 2" of one arm to go and some ends to weave in.  I think I have some solid knitting time tonight and I might try to work on it.

Monday, 29 February 2016

Yarn Shopping

So I finally managed to get to the yarn store (Wool Tyme, if you're wondering) and I managed to get there while the sale was still on.  It's normally out of the way, but my mother and I happened to be driving by there and we were able to stop.  Better still, my mom stayed in the car with the kids so I could have ten minutes to shop without a toddler and a baby.  I love them, but they make yarn shopping difficult, especially because my toddler has very strong opinions on what yarn I should and shouldn't buy, which is awesome.

I tried to take a picture of the yarn but it got corrupted, but I got 12 balls of Patons Canadiana for a baby blanket.  It's not the most exciting yarn on the planet, but it wears well and it's super-washable, plus it comes in great colours which is what I wanted for a baby blanket.  I bought way too much, but I can return some of it, I kept the receipt

I was going to just stick to that but then I saw their Cascade 220 display.  I've been playing a couple of projects with that yarn and they have so many colours at this store (they say they're the biggest yarn shop in the country, and I believe them).  They were also $7.50 plus tax, which is a great price so six of those came home with me too.

I spent the kids' nap time that afternoon starting the baby blanket and it looks just like it did in my head which is totally gratifying.  Hopefully I'll manage to get a picture up soon.

Friday, 26 February 2016

All the boring jobs

I try not to have too many things on the needles at once, not because people who only have a couple things going at a time are in any way superior to those who like to have a dozen or more things to choose from, but simply because it's a recipe for me never finishing anything and spending lots of money on yarn with little results.  (This is only a problem for me because it doesn't work for our budget or yarn storage solutions, if it works for you, by all means enjoy it).

Generally I aim for three things on the needle, plus the blanket.  The blanket is a giant garter stitch blanket made out of leftover sock yarn I have so there's always something ready to be knit, it's never at a finicky place in the pattern, and it's always ready to go.  It's more fun than it might sound, it's a spiral sort of thing and I love it somewhat irrationally.  Because its intent is that it's never actually done I figure that doesn't count towards my total.

At the moment I have two hats that are almost done (they just need a crochet flower and their ends woven in) and my sweater.  The sweater had been going well until I realized the second sleeve was way longer than the first one.  I ripped it out to where the decreases should have started and tried again.  It's still too long (although this time it's less than one inch off instead of five).  I figure I'll stop knitting after it's as long as the first sleeve before the ribbing, block it to see if it changes anything, then do the ribbing after.  But that means that all of my projects are at boring parts.


Monday, 22 February 2016

Planning

I have this great long list of things I want to make.  One of them is someone else's pattern, the rest are ideas I've had for a while and am really excited about.  Normally I want to start projects right about, I tell myself I'll figure out the details as I go along, and I do, but it can lead to many unnecessary frustrations, and as I start to get more involved in selling patterns those frustrations are multiplying.

I'm trying to get better at really investing time in a project before I start.  It's something that I find difficult, I'm so product oriented that spending an hour knitting what is actually just a series of swatches, some that are scrapped, feels like I'm wasting time.  I know, in my head, that I'm not wasting time.  That time has been spent figuring things out, eliminating ideas that won't work the way I want them to now rather than later when I have half a project to pull out.  But it still feels like making that half a project is more productive because the fruits are tangible.

Nevertheless, I'm trying to persevere.  For this round of projects I want to have my schematics done before I cast on the project for real.  I want to have swatched not just the main part of the project but played around with borders and other elements that I would normally leave to the end to figure out.  I don't want to run to the other extreme where everything has to be fully written before I cast on, there are pitfalls there too, but I need to get more organized that I have been.

Yesterday I worked on a blanket I'm planning to make a friend, she's having a baby.  I'm really excited about the idea, and the swatch is going to be quite big because it involves a lot of textures.  Part of my brain keeps saying, "Swatching is for determining gauge and you're just making a big SQUARE."  It's untrue, of course.  One of the main things here is to eliminate textures that aren't working the way I want them to.  I am really excited about the blanket though, if it turns out anywhere as nice as I imagine it's going to look so great.  And a local yarn store is having a massive sale next week, so if I plan it out today and tomorrow, I might be able to get there Wednesday to buy the yarn and start next week.

Then I need to hide the blanket from my really good friend who I constantly knit around.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Pressing my button

I have a Knit Kit, it's this wonderful swiss army knife type of multi tool for knitters.  It has a needle guage, yarn cutter, crochet hook, measuring tape, a row counter, and a little compartment for a darning needle, stitch counters, and scissors you can take on an airplane.  I have owned three now (the first one died of old age, the second one died at the hands of my toddler).

I've been using the row counter to track what row I'm on for the sleeves of my sweater, I diligently recorded the rows I decreased on for the first sleeve and with about 15 rows to go on the second sleeve I tried it on.

The second sleeve is already longer than the first one.

The gauge of the two sleeves seem to match.

Caleb must have pressed the button for the stitch counter a bunch of times when I wasn't looking, before I started decreasing.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Snow

Tuesdays are normally for this delightful knitting group I go to at a local library.  It's in the afternoon and the kids play as we knit.  However, today instead of being at the library we've gotten about a foot and a half of snow, so far.  Obviously, it is a bad idea to go anywhere so we stayed home.  We had a busy morning, Caleb and I shovelled the driveway during Ada's morning nap then Ada and I headed out to deal with it again during Caleb's quiet time.  (Ada was in the trusty baby carrier, so I could shovel.)  We have absolutely wonderful neighbours with a snowblower who came over and helped which is such a blessing, they also just got engaged, so that was a lovely, if blustery little visit we had outside.

My sweater is almost done, which is great, because I like finishing things, but means I'm not sure what I'm going to knit during this lecture I have tomorrow.  I have started a hat for this purpose but am not sure it's enough knitting for an hour and a half, the yarn is pretty bulky.  I have the blanket that I've been working on but it's getting pretty big and difficult to carry around.  I do have enough yarn for both hats so I think my plan is to make the first hat and if necessary cast on a second out of the same yarn but reversing the colours.

Then again, if this snow doesn't stop by morning I'm not going anywhere.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Down for the count

My plan for yesterday was pretty simple, a day at home with the kids and some time doing knitting, housework, and blogging during their afternoon nap.  This plan was interrupted Thursday evening when I got violently ill around 8 in the evening, and spent all night throwing up.  I've been trying to think of the last time I was that sick and I think it was when I was about 13.  Seriously, not cool.  When yesterday morning came I could finally keep down water but couldn't stand without fainting.

Thankfully, my husband was able to work from home (there was apparently something that absolutely needed to be sorted out yesterday) and my mother came to the rescue to watch the kids and take care of me.  She brought me soup and sorbet and played with Caleb and Ada.  At one point she asked me if I wanted my knitting, and I had to say no, that I didn't think I could move that much.  So I lay there, thinking about how this was basically what happened when I was sick and about eight years old.  And you know, what?  When you're sick, eight years old is a pretty good place to be.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Binding off

I've been working on Flax Light by Tin Can Knits.  I'm really enjoying it, and just started the second sleeve last night.  It's a top-down raglan so I've been able to try it on as I go, which was really helpful since I wanted the sleeves to be three-quarter length instead of full length (I always end up pushing them up anyways).  When I tried it on I found that, even though I'd be super-careful to cast off loosely around the body the bottom was inelastic.  Even though getting the stitches back on the needles is going to be annoying I'm definitely going to undo it so I can do a more elastic cast off.

I searched around for a while, I wanted something both elastic and that would look good with ribbing and I finally came across Jeny's surprisingly stretchy cast off.  I used it when I finished the first sleeve and it works great.  The second sleeve is just started and probably will take me about a week but I'm really enjoying the sweater and am looking forward to wearing it.

Friday, 5 February 2016

Quite the reception

The sweater I've been working on for me has the body done and almost one of the arms.  The pattern's written for full length sleeves, but it's sock yarn and I always end up pushing my sleeves up anyways so I'm just going to make them three quarters.  I tried it on the other day, to see whether the sleeves were long enough yet (they weren't) and asked my two year old what he thought of it.  I don't know what I expected him to say, probably something along the lines of "I like airplanes, I'm going to space now, Mom." I love how the filter between his brain and mouth isn't quite there yet so sometimes I get a peek into his charming toddler world.

But he looked at it and exclaimed, "I love it!  I LOVE it!"  Then through his little arms around my neck and repeated that he loved it several more times.  It was the sweetest and cutest thing that has happened all week.

Monday, 1 February 2016

You notice when you look back

I'm on the hood of Caleb's sweater, the last part save for some sewing and weaving in of ends.  The slide seems are sewn, but the rest of the parts were joined by picking up stitches.  I was looking at the inside of the sweater as I was working on the hood last night and it occurred to me how nice it looked. Everything was really even, the seems and picked up stitches are barely noticeable from the outside and I'm sure a non-knitter wouldn't immediately notice they're there.  I'm really proud of that, when I started knitting that was the sort of thing I'd rush, too eager to get onto the next project.  I never consciously decided to stop that, but it seems I have and as I look at the pieces I've made, especially over the last five years, I see such an improvement in this and I'm happy about that.  It's one of those things I only notice when looking back.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Glory

Yesterday I finished sewing the second sleeve of Caleb's sweater and tried it on him, it fits.  Now I just need to do some math for the hood.

I also worked on Ada's dress pattern that I'm sizing and made a significant amount of progress without feeling like I should throw something then set the papers on fire.

I also got a good amount of cleaning done, so now my house looks less messy (I have a toddler so "clean" is a relative term, I've given up on tidy and generally aim for acceptably hygienic).

Then I drank tea and ate chocolate.  It was wonderful and the feeling that I actually made progress on stuff during nap time was so unbelievably wonderful.

Monday, 25 January 2016

And it came crashing down

There are a couple things I'm working on at the moment.  Ada's dress pattern is finally typed and I've been working on the math for sizing it so I can sell it.  Caleb's sweater had the sleeve picked up so I was knitting that and I was really enjoying my new slippers that I made.

Then on Friday I hit some sort of math-wall with the dress pattern and nothing was working, I realized as I tried the sweater on Caleb to see about the sleeve's length (it was almost done) that it was an inch and a half too narrow, and one of my slippers had a hole in the bottom.  It was one of those days where it felt like everything I'd touched had broken and it was beyond frustrating.

Saturday morning I sorted out the math for the dress, ripped out the sleeve and started it again, and darned my slippers. Basically I spent the morning re-doing things.  I had wanted to get a couple things done by the end of the month, this dress pattern and the sleeve for the sweater included and several things aren't going to happen on time but I seem to be back to making progress which is a good feeling.