Monday, December 29, 2008

Ravelry Pattern Store Open for Business

My Ravelry Pattern store is now open for business!

I have lots of my patterns available for sale...

the Peace Hat

the Exploded Ribbing Sock

the One Skein Luxury Kerchief

and lots more!

If you don't have a Ravelry account, email me and I can sell you patterns through PayPal.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Meet Earnest

This is Earnest the bear. He is rather serious looking, but that's because he knows he has an important job. He's my demo bear.

I've been wanting to design and knit a bear for a long time now, and finally gave myself the kick in the pants I needed - I decided to teach a class on the topic.

Earnest is knitted with a little less than 100m of plain and simple worsted weight wool, and he's about 6 inches tall when seated. His sweater is made from a scrap of DK (leftovers from the Peace Hat, actually). I embroidered his features rather than using button as it's safer for young children. He's thread-jointed, which means he's posable.

Bear knitting (whether in my class or from a pattern) is quick and fun. It's a good project for adventurous beginner or intermediate knitters. As long as you're comfortable with increasing and decreasing, and reading patterns, you'll do fine.

In the case of Earnest, the body and head are made in one piece, and the legs and arms knit up in a matter of minutes. The biggest challenge is the finishing, as the pieces have to be sewn up and carefully assembled.

In the class, we'll work through the bear pattern -- with any yarn you like! Fingering weight makes a terrific pocket pal - and a chunky weight would make a great bedtime companion. (Earnest is the perfect size to sit on a shelf, watching over the action at the shop.) We'll also create a customized sweater. Stripes, cables, even lace if you're making a girl bear. You can change his expression with the use of buttons for eyes, or different embroidery.

I'll teach you everything you need to know -- how to read and follow the pattern, how to sew up and assemble your bear, and how to add the finishing touches of face and sweater.

More details about the class here.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Noro socks: done! On the question of softness

At long last.

I've worn them a couple of times already, and I can report no ill-effects or untimely wearings-out.

I am going to keep wearing them as often as possible (allowing for washing, of course), to see what's up with this damn yarn. The wear is the big concern for me -- it's a single, and rather fine in parts, and I'm honestly not sure how long it will last when exposed to the abuse of my winter boots. I've heard that it "fills out" and felts a bit with washing, to make a better, denser fabric. I will post regular reports.

Another complaint I hear about this yarn is that it's not very soft. I get a little cranky about this, I'll be honest. Yes, softness is great, but the softer the yarn the more it pills, and pilling means wear, and wear means wearing out.

We're not talking about itchiness, we're talking about softness. I will happily concede the point if you tell me that you find the yarn itchy. Fine.

But softness? I mean, come on. Your feet just ain't that delicate. Who doesn't wear shoes or sandals without socks at least a few times in the summer? I don't know about your sandals, but mine are certainly less soft on the inside than Noro sock yarn. Anyone who's ever given themselves a blister from a pair of ill-fitting or uncomfortable shoes and then proceeded to wear them again is, IMHO, immediately disqualified from claiming that sock yarn might not be soft enough.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

I Dream of Noro

I had a dream about knitting last night.

Specifically, about Noro. But not the sort of dream I would have expected to have about Noro yarns....

I've picked the long abandoned Noro sock yarn, and am committed to finishing the second one in the very near future. Like others, I am unsure about the wearability of the yarn -- not the softness, more on that later -- but how well it will wear.

Last night, I had a very disturbing dream. I dreamt that the gusset separated from heel -- that the picked up stitches had all broken. I checked them this morning, they're all ok.


(Amateur psychoanalysts: have at it.)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Needle Pulling Thread

I'm thrilled to announce that two of my sock designs and a profile appear in the new issues of the Canadian magazine "A Needle Pulling Thread".

Click here for a preview...

There's a lot of terrific stuff in this magazine, and it covers a variety of different needlecrafts. There's some wonderful designs -- including an absolutely stunning quilt design called "Frosted Midnight" that may well actually cause me to dig out that quilting-for-beginners kit I got last year.

Look for it at your favourite Canadian crafting store.

Monday, December 15, 2008

For a Good Cause

Because I only take my clothes off for a good cause...

I'm Miss November in the 2009 Purple Purl "Naturally" calendar. I am modelling some of my socks. Several pairs of socks. In strategic locations.

For sale at The Purple Purl, $20 each, and all proceeds go directly to Princess Margaret Hospital. Someone close to me was treated there for cancer this year. He had nothing but good things to say about his experience, and thanks to their work he will live many more years.

I'm thankful for that, and they deserve all the support we can give them.

Rest assured there's a little something for everyone in the calendar -- there are fabulous knitters, crocheters and spinners, there are lovely ladies, handsome men, and a gaggle of adorable babies. I think my personal favourite is Tom's handsome rescue dog snuggling in a heap of Noro....

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Power of the Internets

Thanks to a reader (and commenter) on my blog, I now have two balls of the longed-for Regia Nation Colour in red and white.

Thank you Mrs. G!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

In Which I Reveal My Proclivities To All The World

To Graft or Not to Graft... my Knitty Winter 08 article.

Have already had one comment from a knitter who enjoys grafting. That makes three of you.


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

DKC Winter Workshop

I'm thrilled to announce I'm going to be teaching at the Toronto Downtown Knit Collective Winter Workshop, January 31 and February 1st 2009.

January 31st, 11am-1pm, I'll be running my Pattern Reading Workshop. This is designed for newer knitters who are confident with their needles, but less confident with pattern instructions. Over the years, as I've taught many different knitters, it's become very clear that being a good knitter is one thing -- being able to decipher the diagrams and tables and codes and strange abbreviations in a pattern is something else entirely. I've been collecting all the weird and wonderful things I've seen in patterns, and I'll explain every last one of them. If nothing else, this session is worth it to figure out how to handle the very unhelpful "reversing shapings".

Sunday February 1st, 10am-1pm, I'll be revealing the secret of Entrelac!

See flyer for more details.

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Peace Out!

Just finished!

Peace hat, also known as "hey, have you seen some of the wacky cables in the Barbara Walker books, I should do something with those... "

Update: Available at Patternfish and Ravelry.

My project for over the Christmas break is to get set up for pattern sales on Ravelry, BTW.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Two Quick Mitten Related Things

To answer a question I've been asked: the yarn for the mitered mitt is Kureyon colour #188. And no, I didn't plan it so that the colour change would happen at the end of the ribbing -- it just worked out that way. So for the second one, I could either throw caution to the wind and let the colours fall where they may -- or I could engineer it to match the first. Either is a valid technique with Noro, I feel.

(And in a related, very annoying point, the mitt uses 26gm of yarn. Which means that a single ball will almost but not quite be enough for two mitts. Argh.)

And on the other topic, it's cold today and snizzling today. Snizzle is like drizzle, but with snow. It's cold enough that the snowflakes are small, light and dry and pretty constant. Snizzling.

So I broke out the Latvian mittens for the streetcar ride. And I discovered a serious design flaw... the colour work is all over the hand of the mitt, making a lovely layered and warm fabric. Except for the thumb.

It's a single colour. Which means it's a single thread of yarn. So it's not nearly as wind-proof. Harumph. This may well be enough to inspire me to design my own, with stranded thumbs.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Look! A Mitten! Yay!

My own variation of EZ's mitered mitten, tweaked in several ways.

I added a ribbed cuff for better fit - a mitered k2 p2 - and reduced the number of sts so that it actually fit me.

Click on the picture to see the ribbing.

The original calls for 48 sts in this gauge yarn, which would be a good size for a man or a larger woman, but significantly too big for my little girly hands. I suspect that EZ was a big, strapping farm girl with big, strapping farm girl hands...

And of course, worked in Noro Kureyon because it's the best yarn in the world for this sort of thing -- warm and wooly, yes, and great colour effects for the mitering.

I'm teaching a class on the Mitered Mitt and its variations at the Naked Sheep. Click here for more info.