Category Archives: Creativity

What would you like to learn: knitcroblo 4

KnitCroBlo Day Four: Is there a skill related to your hobby that you hope to learn one day?

I want to learn how to chart crochet! I’m fairly proficient with knit charting. I even have a really nifty program that helps me out. (KnitVisualizer is what I’m running. There’s a new program, much less expensive from Intwined Studio that’s getting rave reviews. It checks in at $44, instead of $185 for KnitVisualizer.) Since I love charts for knitting as I can see immediately how stitches line up with each other, I’d like to be able to do the same thing with crochet.

When I learned to crochet charts were not commonly available in crochet patterns. Which meant that you crocheted along, checking the picture and sometimes you could be rows past a mistake before you realized it. With charting, it’s harder to do that because stitches are lined up and you can look down a column and see the previous stitches which are the foundation for your current work.

I recently found the StichinCrochet font by the talented Adriprint. If you download the True Type font (TT font) and own KnitVisualizer, you can import the Stitchin Crochet font into Knit Visualizer & use the crochet symbols within the charting software. All you need to do is use the Create Custom Stitch function, select the symbol you want to use, enter in directions for completing the stitch, save and you’re ready to go.

I’m so excited about the possibilities. I have a lot to learn about charting crochet, but I’m chomping at the bit to chart out a lovely crocheted edging along the cuff of a sock….or the edge of a sleeve.


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An Influential Knitter – Norah Gaughan

KnitCroBlo – Day 3: Write about a knitter whose work you enjoy.

I have to say Norah Gaughan is amazing. Her designs are both stylish and unique. By unique I mean off-beat and slightly quirky but loveable *not* weird. It’s as if Norah designs for a world that’s so pretty, I’d like to live there. She now works for Berroco, and every time they release a new Norah pattern collection I’m consistently drawn to the patterns. Her asymmetrical motifs and unique construction never fail to draw me in. One day when I grow up, I hope to make patterns as pretty as Norah.

Find more Norah Gaughan’s designs at www.Berroco.com.

Norah blogs at: http://blog.berroco.com/

Go check out her work. It’s beautiful & worth your time. Ideally, I’d post pictures of her designs here, but I don’t want to infringe upon Berroco’s rights by using their photos on my blog……

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Killer Poppies

The socks are turning out to be a bit of a nightmare. Not a full blown one, mind you. Just the kind where you knit half a sock, run into an issue and spend the next 5 days redesigning it. You may already have guessed it, but the Poppy/Sunflower socks are turning out to be Killer Poppy Socks.

I hit the first snag on Wednesday night. I’d forgotten to take into account the increasing that needs to happen between the heel of the sock and the calf. Now you might not realize it, but there is a significant increase in leg circumference over the length of a typical sock cuff. Since stranded color work has so much less stretch than regular knitting, you can no longer rely on the intrinsic stretch of the fabric to bail you out.  You must design them in.

The second snag I should have anticipated, since I ran into something really similar on my Grecian Goddess socks, but I didn’t. Anticipate the problem, that is. I certainly ran head long into it. This problem being that I am anal, and I want my pattern to reach a certain place on the colorwork chart at a certain place on the foot. Which isn’t a big deal, right? I mean seriously, you just start at the toe and stop knitting when the sock is long enough. Well, that works very well with a minor amount of wrangling when the designer is knitting for their own foot. Considering that not the entire world has the exact same foot size as I do means that the pattern would essentially be usuable (in it’s best form) by only me. So all of you reading this would be out of luck pattern wise. I am a nice person, and I want you to enjoy the pattern, too. So back to the drawing board.

Once I discovered these issues all knitting came to a screeching halt. I didn’t even have an auxiliary project on the needles to help me out. Sure, I was 50% of the way through another pair of socks, but one sock was fully done and the other wasn’t even cast on. Casting on was just way too much work. So I sat around restlessly for two hours that night trying to figure out what to do. So I thought….and thought…….and thought………….for 5 days before I worked it out.

The good news is that the pattern should work. I’ve completely redone the charts – so now the stitch count is correct and it should fit me at the calf area. The bad news is that I’ve changed the starting point of the sock. It originally was a toe up and now we’re going cuff down. That means the 50% of a sock that I have done right now is going to be ripped out. Completely.

So I just ripped out 2 weeks of design/knitting work in favor of the last 5 days worth of brain wrangling.  And just in case you think that I have magic fingers, and knitting charts just flow out of them without effort I’ll leave you with this. It’s essentially an unedited chart “doodle” which was created during several design brainstorm sessions. Doesn’t it make you truly appreciate the clarity and cleanliness of a finished pattern? (And these are just the most recent changes/charts/doodles….several iterations were already erased/doodled over.)

Just so those of you who are waiting for the pattern don’t lose hope – here’s a picture of all the component yarns for the new redeisign: (Colors are: Marigold, Violet Vale, Ancient Forest)

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Pretty Poppies or Sunflowers?

Forward progress has been slow, but it is happening on the Pretty Poppies Socks. But they are now no longer poppies. Why? Mostly because the word Sunflower just looked so much better charted out as opposed to poppy or poppies. So here are what the socks look like currently:

More progress would have been made if I hadn’t ripped out the original heel. The first go ’round continued the Salt & Pepper pattern from the foot. But it was too tight and thick. The shaping was dumpy and I was unhappy. Heels are a pressure/rub point for nearly everyone and you have to get that part right or the socks stink to wear. So I switched to a two color garter. You can see it in this shot:

I’m still not happy with the heel, though. Not because the shaping is wonky this time around (Although the ssk row isn’t as straight as I’d like it to be due to the color changes. But that should block out.) This time I think the combination of the instep pattern, the gusset stripes and the striped heel are too overwhelming. There’s no where for the eye to rest. Luckily, you can work the entire heel in one color and end up in the same place you started from (Beginning of round, where the other working yarn strand is waiting.). So the next sock is going to have a plain green heel. That should clear things up substantially.

I will try to get more knitting done this evening….right after grocery shopping, present shopping, dinner and applying the first clear coat to my kitchen table legs. It’s going to be a busy night!

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Pretty Poppies Socks

I’m back from Sock Summit and sort of almost recovered from the insanity that is planning, working and cleaning up after a retail yarn show. It was great to meet lots of you at the Summit, and you know I always enjoy the yarn show – even if I don’t sleep for a month!

So I’m in just a bit of a holding pattern after the show, while I wait for a large order of base yarn to come in. After being in such a wonderfully chaotic, creative environment, it’s hard not to design something new. So currently on my needles I have my Pretty Poppies socks.

1/2 way up the foot on the first sock

1/2 way up the foot on the first sock

The idea is that the flower grows out of the toe, up the foot and finally blooms on the leg. Yarn is: Yarn Love’s Diana in Violet Vale (Background color: non repeating, medium saturated purple, semi solid) and Scarlett O’Hara in Ancient Forest (Accent color: non repeating, moderately saturated green, semi solid). The flower will of course be another color, but I haven’t quite decided what color I’ll choose. I’m leaning towards a new tri color that I dyed up for Sock Summit called Marigold. Notice the entire floral motif thing we’ve got going here?

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Socks….lots and lots of socks.

I’ve been meaning to blog more, but not doing a good job of it for the past several (read 6-9) months. I’m attempting to fix that now, and get back on my Monday blogging schedule again. I have been busy in my off time. If by off time you allow that I’m running a hand dyeing business, branching into designing, teaching dyeing, and prepping to vend at Sock Summit.

I do have pretties to show you. Maybe I won’t post them all now, but snippets….to entice you to come back. (Some of these links will direct you to Ravelry.com. If you’re not a member there yet, you need to be. Don’t fuss, just sign up. You’ll be glad you did!)

I’m going to start with the most recent pattern added to the Katie Franceschi collection. It’s available for purchase (Immediate download, no less! Yay, instant gratification!)

Winding Path Socks

Yarn Loves Elizabeth Bennet yarn in Awakening Earth

Yarn Love's Elizabeth Bennet yarn in Awakening Earth

Designed especially to accentuate the particular beauty of hand-dyed yarns. No more knitting with the most gorgeous skein ever only to discover that it does wicked, wicked things when you actually knit it. The pattern contains specific guidance for choosing an appropriate yarn. Both examples are knit with high contrast, multi-color yarns. Generally speaking highly saturated colors with high contrast to each other present the largest challenge when knitting with hand dyed/ painted yarns. Ironically, the multi-color skeins are often the ones that catch your eye and draw you in!

The socks are worked toe up, with a generous gusset for a great fit. (The gusset is that triangle along the side of the foot.) The stitch pattern does a great job of breaking up and re-distributing the bold colors – which gives the sock an over all even sprinkling of color. Notice how there aren’t large blotches of any single color anywhere. Those blotches are referred to as pooling or flashing and are usually very distracting. Then I finished off the sock with a simple cable. It’s eye catching and keeps you interested as the knitting progresses. Yes, the pair is asymmetrical. The cable travels up the outside of each sock. You could place the cable on same side for each sock, but it looks….very odd when you wear them!

As a bonus, there are four widths included in the pattern. And instructions for using both fingering weight and sport weight yarns. You can knit these up for practically any adult foot size! The sport weight option makes these a good choice for a fast gift!

Extras

When I’m designing, I usually knit up more than one version of the sock. The first pair is the design template, and the second pair is polished and pristine (Well, mostly pristine.) for photography. You can see the prototype pair for this pattern in my Ravelry Projects. If you keep tabs on my projects at Ravlery, you’ll most likely see my design projects in progress.

Yarn Loves Elizabeth Bennet yarn in Nostalgia

Yarn Love's Elizabeth Bennet yarn in Nostalgia

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They’re done, and I’ve moved on.

Mushroom Mittens Chart - click to see actual patternI finished the Thrummed Mushroom colorwork mittens for my swap partner. I carefully washed and blocked them, lovingly wrapped them, and mailed them on their way to Canada…..and then realized I never took a finished picture of them! Oi! What an oversight! Anyway, they’re beautiful and I hope Jane likes them. Jane, if you’re reading this, then you know what to expect, but you’ll have to wait to see them in person before you know what they really look like, because of my aforementioned omission.

Click the picture of the Mushroom Mitten Chart to be taken to the actual chart. Use as you like, but please don’t reproduce the pattern or mitten for sale. Thanks!

 Sometimes I forget that I know how to do other things beside knit and dye yarn. There was a time when I spent the majority of my free time sewing and quilting. In fact, before the girlies were born, I even had my own long arm quilting business. Imagine a huge sewing machine set on a 10′ table used for quiliting full sized quilts. The pregnancy quickly put an end to that business, as there was no way for me to be able to run the machine with a huge belly. But I do have a beautiful, hand pieced Mariner’s Compass tree skirt, quilted by myself to show for that business venture. Just prior to that I worked in a small, specialty sewing shop for several years. Blankies under the tree

I was acutally nicely impressed with my ability to remember how to sew after about four years of very little sewing. It’s so hard to sew when you have little kids, and no dedicated space. I sewed these cute flannel and fleece rag quilts for the girlies for Christmas. Their original fleece and flannel blankets (Given to them just after they were born…) were wearing out. I got these done, start to finish in two days. Not bad, given that I’ve also been knitting a hat, knitting a scarf, sewing mittens and quilting. True, the project is simple, but it did involve cutting 80 squares, sewing a x down the middle, piecing together the quilts and cutting 1″ slits along every seam, and the entire outside of the blanket. The girlies like them, and I hope the blanket transition will be a smooth one. The fabrics were chosen to hide wear and show minimal dirt, and are cute to boot!

Merry Christmas to you all, if I don’t check in before then. I was just working out my shopping list, and let’s just say it’s a good one. I have at least three steady days of Christmas celebrations and chaos looming before me, and a lot to get done before then. I wish you a very blessed and crafty New Year for you and yours, too!

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