Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Reasons To Be Cheerful

In order to maintain an equilibrium of sanity, I make lists.

Sometimes, I think having a list of reasons to be cheerful is a useful tool in the fight against woe-to-me-ism. This list, of course, takes for granted all those most basic needs of humanity1. And having those in and of themselves are reasons enough to be cheerful, no?
But, on to my expanded list.

Reasons To Be Cheerful
-the knitting waiting for me at home
-my copy of Joy of Cooking, and the fact that there'll always be a recipe I've never made
-my bed
-a good cup of Horton's Cafe Mocha (happily pictured right.) Incidentally, to all you fellow countrypeople, I still haven't won a thing on Roll Up.
-the sometimes odd behaviour of little yellow birds
-my family and friends
-my favourite shoes (which will change on any given day!)
-the prospect that I have so much more to learn about so many very cool and interesting things
-the country I live in
-men with a Scottish accent... it just makes me go dreamy
-polite, well-behaved children who give me hope for humanity's future
-knit night
-Jane Austen
-wine, cheese and delicious oatcakes
-family photo albums
-an empty notebook and all the potential it embodies
-the seemingly unending intricacies of the English language
-the random compliment (both offered and received)
-my life-long pursuit of the perfect golden yarn
-fantastic British comedies
-art supply stores (not to mention office supply stores, wherein my proclivity towards ├╝ber organization can be satiated)
-the fact that this list is as long as it is!

I'd like to encourage everyone to make a list. It's very good for the end-of-March blahs!!

1summed up nicely by Maslow in his hierarchy

Friday, March 26, 2010

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Caitlin Stopper
Blog: Honeycomb Originals
Rav ID: gooey
Some Great Designs: gooey's Rav Designer Page

If gooey's Anti Casualty (pictured right) is any indication, I think we've got a unique and exciting new designer on our hands!

Here's a bit from the designer herself re: this design:
"I love Lady Gaga. I love her spirit, her wardrobe and most of all, her fearlessness.
She inspired me to be a little more daring when it came time to dress myself in the morning, but not all of us can wear spiked vinyl jump suits with stripper heels to work or out to run errands. Big version or small version, here is a little something to Gagafy your life."

This piece looks like a great way to use up those perplexing and lovely bits of bulky ends you may have lying around (and if you're like me, you've got a number of them!)

Another gooey pattern currently posted is the Align Mitts - a pattern designed to match Natalie Larson’s Star Crossed Slouchy Beret (which, incidentally, I've had on my faves list forever!) and a great way to use any end you may have leftover from said pattern.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Zen Linen

Pattern: (hmmm, I think I'll call it) Zen Linen
Yarn: Zen Yarn Garden Pelusa in 14Kt
225 yrds

Want a real easy peasy and incredibly functional one skein knit?
I think I cast on something like 121 sts (had to be an odd number for the stitch pattern) to circs, and worked in linen stitch until I had no more yarn.

Linen Stitch:
Any odd number of stitches
Row 1: k1, *sl1 wyif, k1; rep from *
Row 2: k1, p1, *sl1 wyib, p1; rep from *, end k1

This beautiful hank was just hanging around, sitting tauntingly on my desk for months. I'm very glad it's become this simple cowl - it's seen a lot of use in the past few weeks, and was perfect for the overcast and slightly breezy weather we've had today.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Wendy Poush
Blog: running jack knits
Rav ID: maerchen
Some Great Designs: maerchen's Rav Designer Page

Here's a designer with ambition and discipline!
Admirably, mearchen has decided that she'll be writing one design a week for 2010!!
Here's a link to the Pattern-a-Week index.
The idea fascinates me.

But that incredible journey isn't what first drew me to her work.
The pictured Firstfall Convertible Mitts were it. I thought this was a totally ingenious idea. The designer states it best:

"The need for flip-tops secured with a button or Velcro is done away with by using flaps which are joined to the hand and thumb on three sides. The cable panel is reversible, so the cable looks lovely whether worn as a mitt or a mitten."

So very cool.

Another example of this species of mitt can be seen in her Cradle Convertible Mitts.

And, an adorably miniature version here, in the Basic Baby Mitts.

As you probably all know by now, I love a knit with a story, and maerchen's Dumber than Snake Mittens have a great one.

Lest you think all this designer creates are mitts, witness the sweet Bouncy Dress here. It was designed to show off self-patterning yarn, and creates a very beautiful, interesting and unique looking baby dress.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Knit Picks Independent Designer; Or, I Get Yarn Happy!

As you may have noticed, I've been rather silent as of late.

Herein I proffer one of the reasons; that is, I've been busy as a bee working on some patterns. Way back in the penultimate months of 2009, I was invited to be part of Knit Picks Independent Designer Partnership Program. Flattered, I certainly was.

And of course my mind started a-whirring, dancing out ideas and buzzing on the excitement of new yarns and possibilities.

My YarnCrushTM as of late has been Knit Picks' Palette.
The first garment I've been working on for my Knit Picks trifecta1 is one I've lovingly titled Chauntecler (pictured in a rather dreamily-edited teaser photo at right).
It's a dress, short-sleeved, with lace detailing on the back. And I'm sure you can imagine, knitting a dress in fingering weight takes one a bit of time.

I do hope to have the pattern written up and ready for test-knitting in the near future (and I hesitate to give ya'll a solid date because, honestly, wedding stuff is greedily hogging a large portion of my time).

For now, I must apologize for my blog-neglect, and hop on over to my favourite knit spot and get to working on that dress!

1It's a trifecta, cause I've been cooking up not only the Chauntecler dress, but a couple of other, as yet unnamed, patterns, including another dress and a cabled sweater.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tee Hee Hee

Not much to say today - just wanted to share a funny comic my bf cut out of the paper for me on the weekend.
Tee hee hee!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Emma Fassio
Blog: emmafassioknitting
Rav ID: emmafassio
Some Great Designs: emmafassio's Rav Designer Page

I'm always on a quest to find new and interesting knits; designs that intrigue, colours that capture, lines that flatter.

And this week's featured knitter and knit, emmafassio's Rosa's Sleeveless Cardi - Jumper, has a shape that delights. It's a soft detail that adds an element of whimsy to the knit, creating yet another reason to love the basic and wonderful raglan!

Her Mormor's Shawl is a nice basic with a sweet story - she created it for her Swedish grandmother, "mormor" being grandmother in Swedish.

Knits that use and show yarn in its best always make me smile, and the designer's Sansi Shawl is a great example of one such knit. The repeated little lace Os create visual interest that acts as a catalyst for the vibration of the hues in the yarn. This is a knit used best for variegated - that yarn which (for me at least) constantly eludes flattering knits.
Eureka! I've found one :)

As per usual, check out her Rav Designer Page - there's so much more there that I haven't touched on!

Friday, March 05, 2010

Indie Designer Day

Designer: Johanna More
Blog: And Sew It Is
Rav ID: morepjs
Some Great Designs: morepjs' Rav Designer Page

Round these parts we're seeing the last hurrahs of winter. Spring is thinking about springing, and one of those perfect transitional accessories is the wrist warmer.

This week's designer, morepjs, has a lovely, lyrical pattern for just this garment in the pictured Rosalind Wrist Warmers: woolly wrist warmer pattern. I'm a sucker for a good cable, and these function wonderfully with the shape of the warmer itself.

There's also the sweet and eye-catching Baby Blue: A spiral baby blanket. And, as the designer says herself, "It’s very effective without being complicated, it works up quickly and makes a lovely gift for a new baby." I always love the "simple" knit that appears complicated to all those who see it!

Finally, there's her Astrum Beret, another great transitional garment. I like the unexpected colour combination in the original.
Keep an eye open for her work!