lace

Lispenard KAL (or: Finally, something new!)

Lispenard Cowl WIP

Where there was six, now there is one. Or two. Ok, three!* But really only this one counts! I finished or frogged six knitting WIPs in my mission to complete and simplify, and in exchange, have cast on for Lispenard (pattern by Kirsten Kapur). This project had been in my queue for ages before I realized one of my knitting group friends had the same pattern in mind. We decided to work on it as a knitalong together, and cast on the same evening last week.

The yarn is Rowan Felted Tweed, which I got in the John Lewis post-Christmas sales last year, or maybe the year before. I snagged four balls half-price, and since the yardage on FT is madness, this will be plenty to make a lovely long loopy cowl. Which may or may not suit me at all, we’ll see. Anyway, I went down to 4.5mm needles since the FT is also a fairly slight DK – though I know from experience that it will plump up very nicely after the cowl is washed and blocked.

Lispenard Cowl WIP

So far, so good – oh, the cables and the lace. Dreamy!

(*The other WIPs are Umaro, which I don’t expect to be a finish-quickly kind of knit, and a pair of boring stockinette socks for pub-knitting time. Clearly those don’t count, and they existed already anyway. I swear!)

Introducing: Grace

She’s here, finally: Grace, a new fingerless mitten pattern. This is, indeed, the pattern I talked about submitting for publication waaaay ages ago, back in June. Sadly, it wasn’t picked, so here she is, all prettied up in my style and added to the Ravelry database / my Ravelry pattern shop.

I can’t pretend I wasn’t sad about my pretty Grace being passed over – actually, I think ‘devastated’ might be a better word. I was properly heartbroken, really really really felt like totally giving up on the whole thing, just wanted to lie in bed and stare at the wall … for about a day. At the beginning of that day, I thought I’d be very sad for a very long time. By the end of the day, I was even able to muster up a little pathetic chuckle about it.

And within a few days, I’d bounced back enough to start prepping the pattern to sell myself. Luckily, I had these beautiful photos to work with, taken by my lovely friend Holly, and I’m extremely proud to say that this is the best pattern I’ve written so far.

Because I was submitting under strict pattern guidelines, I filled out a few bits that I hadn’t done yet in any of my patterns: Grace includes both written and charted instructions for all lace patterns, a sizing schematic, gauge information for stockinette and the lace pattern, and both metric and imperial measurements. These aren’t huge things, and aren’t even necessarily reasons to buy or not buy a pattern for most people, but I take a lot of pride in taking care with the details. Some pattern writers are ok with leaving you to convert to inches or decide which increase to use, but I think it’s important to get that stuff right – who wants their knitters to have to fight with their pattern?

I’m really proud of this pattern, and if you buy / knit it, I hope you enjoy it. I s’pose I might be a little biased, but I think Grace is a very pretty and versatile pattern. The design features an easy-to-memorize lace pattern, a fully patterned thumb gusset, and a vintage-style buttonband (it was named after the always-elegant Grace Kelly). Knit in nearly any fingering-weight wool yarn and endlessly customizable with your choice of buttons, they can be knit to suit any style – soft and pretty like these sample pairs, dramatic in black, fun and peppy in a bright yellow or green, or classy and elegant in white.

In fact, though I should be working on finishing my next pattern and / or my WIP List Of Shame, I can’t help but want to knit up a pair in both black and white with neon buttons!

Grace is available to buy via Ravelry, where you can find out all the pattern information you might need before buying, or via my sidebar to the right (which is processed through Ravelry’s checkout system but does not require a Ravelry account). I hope you like it, and if you knit any, please let me know – I’d love to see them!

On Submitting A Pattern (and taking a little break)

On submitting a pattern...

I’ve made references to my big project (which is actually rather small in real-life scale) as The Project That Ate The Entire Universe, but I haven’t really talked about it. I actually can’t, because the project was a knitting pattern that I submitted to an online publication and I’m not allowed to show or give away any details until it is either published or rejected. I can’t even tell you what the pattern is, or what its name is, but I did want to talk a little about the act of submitting my first pattern somewhere. Partly because it was a very important goal to me, and partly inspired by this post by Rachel at Stitched In Color. In that post, Rachel talks about getting personal on your blog – do you do it? Do you avoid it? In either case, why, and how to you find the right balance for you? I’m summarizing, but it really struck a chord with me. I think about this a lot. I really don’t want my blog to be just an endless stream of show-and-tell, one project after another with no sense of the person that made them or what connects them all. But I find it difficult to inject ‘me’ into my writing – I’m only just now starting to feel like my posts read as if I actually wrote them.

I want to try and make an effort to tell you more about me, let you get to know me better — in the hopes that, just as it is when you meet people in person, you will see something in me that you can connect with (beyond a love of yarn or embroidery floss) and stick around with me. Maybe you’ll even feel moved to tell me more about you. That would be awesome.

So, here’s a start. I submitted this pattern and it was an awful lot of work. More than I expected actually, and very rewarding in a way, but still a lot of work. But I felt like it was an important thing for me to do. If it’s not picked to be published, I can just lay it out in my own style and release it myself, and I’ll have a higher quality pattern than anything else I’ve done so far. But if it is chosen, something I did could be seen by a lot of people, and maybe a few of them would like it enough to knit it, or to find out more about me and what I do. That would be flippin’ sweet.

I really had to push myself to get this done, because I have a terrible tendency to find reasons not to do things. I suppose a lot of us do that, it’s kind of natural, but I’m really trying to stop. I had the idea for this pattern a while back, when I was encouraged by Eirlys of Scrapiana to submit a pattern for a book she had heard about. I would’ve loved to, but the deadline really was way too short by the time I heard about it — like two days until submission of the pattern and finished item by post. I’d have had to time travel back several weeks to make it, but it was the push I needed to give me a design idea that I really loved. I decided to stick with the idea and submit it elsewhere, something I’d been thinking about for a while anyway. I mulled over the pattern details for almost too long, starting the finished pattern and knits a little too late, but I pushed myself to get it done in time anyway. I could so easily have used the lack of time as an excuse not to submit – a true one, but still an excuse – and I knew if I let that happen, I would always feel like I’d been a chicken. Anyone remember my resolution at the beginning of 2011? Stop wimping out.

I barely slept for a week, I snagged some awesome testers who helped me just because they’re awesome, I paid a friend in cookies for her photography services, and still owe another some cookies of her own for her testing and editing input. I discovered a massive mistake just as I was binding off the last sample piece, literally, and shed actual tears. But I fixed it, re-knit, wrote it up, edited, and got it all done with a day to spare before the deadline. Phew! I keep daydreaming about what my reaction will be if it’s accepted, and what it will be if it’s not. I can’t help myself, though I am really, really trying not to get my hopes up too high and accept that the odds are against me. The competition must be so fierce. It’s a cute pattern, if I do say so myself, but I’m realistic enough to know that it’s not going to take the knitting world by storm. But I did it anyway, and I can honestly say that’s all that matters this time. No matter what happens, now I know I have the guts to do it. I’ll have already put myself out there, and you only have to do that for the first time once. Thank goodness.

Of course I’ll let you know what happens but, in the meantime, I felt like it’d be nice to work on a just-for-fun knitting project before I start work on my next pattern. Cleansing the palate, in a way.

Magrathea Shawl WIP

So over the long Jubilee weekend, in addition to being cruelly struck down by a cold that I’m still recovering from, I cast on for the delicious Magrathea shawl by Martina Behm. I’ve been trying to find the perfect yarn for this for about 6 months, unable to accept anything that wasn’t very bouncy and very pink. This is one of those rare cases where I wanted my version to be almost exactly like the sample.

Magrathea Shawl WIP

I found the exact yarn at iKnit: a very sproingy superwash bright pink-with-a-touch-of-coral yarn with silver sparkles. It doesn’t photography terribly well, but it’s perfect. I am so smitten with the yarn, the pattern, the whole thing. Magrathea is an uncommonly clever design and a pleasure to knit – I’m already kind of sad that I’ll finish it at some point!

Big Week Off: Knitting

So, as mentioned yesterday, I took last week off – pretty much just for funsies. When you’re part of the unemployed hoard and trying to make a go of the crafty thing, at least as much as you can in the meantime, there’s an icky guilt that comes with any time ‘off’, so you kind of stop taking any. But even so, progress is still so much slower than I’d like, which makes me even less likely to take any.

But your brains do still need some rest from time to time. So I spent the week doing, well, crafty stuff. But crafty stuff that was just for fun, not really useful in any way, and did things as I felt like it. Very relaxing! I hurt my arm / hand somehow, so there wasn’t as much knitting as I might have done otherwise – but even injured, I ain’t no slouch. I finished the Terra shawl and pinned it out for blocking:

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And, sadly, frogged the Umaro lap blanket and started over with fewer stitches. I’m not sure it’s going to be big enough to bother with at this size, but it’s awfully fun to knit, so I’ll just keep on for a little while and see how it goes. I really love knitting this one, there’s something so deeply satisfying about the pattern:

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And then I started some plain stockinette Noro socks. Pretty much just to watch the amazing colors emerge from the skein:

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Yum, I can’t wait for that red section to come out and play!

When to say when …

I seem to be on about a two week rotation right now with knitting and embroidery. I binge on one so severely that, after about two weeks, I desperately need a break from it. Which of course makes me go crazy for the other and I end up starting a million new projects at once.

Which is exactly what I’ve been doing for the last few days. The G on my Sajou sampler had me stumped so a break seemed sensible. I like to let these things roll around in my head a bit before I decide what to do. So I started the Umaro blanket (pattern by Brooklyn Tweed, see it on Ravelry) and have made some decent progress already.

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And then the Terra shawl, also by Brooklyn Tweed. (He’s amazing.)

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I blame this one on my awesome friend Holly, because she was knitting a Terra so beautiful and squishy, I just couldn’t resist.

Then I spied a delicious Big Herringbone Cowl on Instagram, knitted by the also awesome Jaclyn, and had to cast on for that too.

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Oy vey, have I no self-control?!?! But in my defence, all of these new projects are using up stash yarn, which is always nice. On the other hand, there’s a good chance I’m going to run into yardage issues on all of them, which could mean trying to hunt down and buy more. Not really in the spirit of stashbusting.

In any case, I think it might officially be time to say when. These WIPs are in serious danger of getting out of control. And I’m not even counting the cardigan I’m meant to be knitting for my brother, or the socks that don’t ever seem to grow, or the new designs I’m going to start messing with this week. I’m pretty sure my project basket is at its maximum capacity.

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And you know what? I’m already starting to feel itchy for the Sajou sampler again. Oh boy.

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