Have a safe and wonderful weekend!
Posted in knitting, knitting patterns - mine, tagged Anacortes, brioche, busty, cables, cardigan, fitted, Friday Harbor, Haiku, hood, interweave knits, jacket, Knitscene, knitted, knitting, Lakedale, patterns, Pfeiffer Falls, Remy, sale, scarf, sweater on October 28, 2011| Leave a Comment »
Have a safe and wonderful weekend!
Posted in craft shows, knitting, knitting design, knitting patterns - mine, media/ TV, travels, tagged Friends, Knitscene, knitting, knitting patterns, Lepidoptera, Portland, Roseling, Sock Summit, Socksummit, Ss11, travel, Twist Collective, Visionaries, Whittier Hat on August 27, 2011| 3 Comments »
Time has just quickly flown by this summer and I have so much to share!
Shortly after a fun and successful trip to TNNA, I decided to once again partner with my friends at Anzula to show at Sock Summit 2011. And why wouldn’t I? I love Anzula’s products and yarns — that’s why I have worked may of my Liberation hats in Anzula Squishy (superwash merino, cashmere, nylon) and in Anzula Sebastian (superwash merino, seacell).
For this second Sock Summit, I designed a very nicely fitted tank top out of a new yarn – Anzula Haiku. I named this pattern Haiku as well. With the timing, I really had to get this pattern written, designed, knitted, photographed and published within 2 weeks! (Yes, I know I’m not exactly sane in this respect — my friends remind me of this almost everyday.) The result is a sexy fitted pattern written in 12 sizes with 8 separate bust fitting options for bust sizes C to GG (I used UK sizing references)!! If you do the math, that’s 96 different fitting options!! This is actually a top that will fit me and my 32G breasts! It’s a top that I’ve been wanting to design and write for some time. I have future plans to write additional garments in this style as well, because I really feel that having well-fitting garments is very important, and I want us to be able to knit garments that really fit our bodies.
I brought Haiku, individual Liberation patterns and limited print editions of my Liberation e-book to Sock Summit and for sale at the Anzula booth. Several patterns, including Haiku, sold out by the second day. All and all, it was a great show.
One of the many events I attended in Portland while at Sock Summit was one of Pico Accuardi Dyeworks‘ fabulous sock club luncheon held at my good friend and fellow Visionary’s restaurant, Gino’s. I was a guest and featured designer and shared my Septima Clark pattern with the club. The company and food were spectacular. I ate until I couldn’t eat anymore.
Being Deb’s friend and hanging out with her also meant that this city girl had other opportunities to eat at Gino’s and visit her farmhouse on Mt. Hood.
Left: Playing with baby bunnies at Deb’s farm; Right: Her naughty goats that like to steal chicken and rabbit feed.
There were many events at Sock Summit, including a flash mob dance. I recorded a rehearsal at the Opening Night reception, a spontaneous dance at the 1980s themed sock hop, and the “official” dance.
Above: Video of the official flash mob. For the other videos, go to my CraftyDiversions YouTube channel.
One of the events was the Foot to Fleece challenge, in which teams spun freshly shorn fleece (in the grease) and attempted to knit a sock. I didn’t participate in any teams, but I was the official cheerleader for the Pico Accuardi Dyeworks‘ Spin U team. Above (clockwise from top left): Sheep being shorn; sheep pen; the PAD Spin U team; Shannon Okey took a photo of me in my cheerleading outfit when I went to visit the Cooperative Press booth.
My favorite event was the 80’s-themed Sock hop! If y’all know me, you know that my favorite genre of music is 80s alternative and new wave. Bands like Depeche Mode, OMD, New Order, The Cure, The Smiths, Nine Inch Nails, Jane’s Addiction, Pet Shop Boys, Information Society and Erasure rock my world. So you can imagine my excitement for this sock hop. My friends and I decided to dress up in costume for it. The irony is that except for the big hair (c’mon, I’m from Texas!) and bright red lipstick (of course my parents didn’t know), I really didn’t dress too 80s during that time. Sure, I had my share of hideous outfits, but I refused to succumb to the trendy fashions of the time (aka I was not that cool) and never even owned a set of rubber bracelets, nor did I wear large crosses (I did wear an ankh though).
Above Photos: 1. Party Banner; 2. Deb Accuardi, Me and Marisol Sanchez decked out a la Desperately Seeking Susan; 3. Me and Deb in our hideous but fabulous outfits. I even wore lots of blue eyeshadow; 4. Teri Sabah; 5. Crowd dancing; 6. & 7. Two ladies totally knew every single move to Thriller and led a group of people in the Thriller dance; 8. crowd dancing; 9. It got really hot, so I just had to get my hair into a side ponytail!; 10. Left to Right: Deb Accuardi, me, Teri Saba, Joely, Stevanie Pico, Misty, Marisol Sanchez.
Despite the fact that Portland and the Pacific Northwest apparently hate me and the allergy misery hell, I had a great time. (My allergies went into overdrive and went haywire by the end of Day 4 — Even though I take allergra on a daily basis and have been on immunotherapy for over a year, I’m still quite sensitive to allergens. I am very allergic to much of the flora in the region, like Alder, Birch and Cedar.)
I was able to visit with some friends and meet some in real life for the first time. A few folks I was able to visit with Marly Bird, Jaala Spiro, Shannon Okey , Stephanie Tallent, Caro Sheridan, Stitchy McYarnpants, Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark, Carl and Eileen Koop, Erica Owens…I’m sure there are many more folks I missed and I hope they’ll forgive me for having a brain fart right now. I was also quite flattered and humbled when fans of my work and designs wanted to meet me. Two people absolutely fabulous and talented people that that I was ridiculously ecstatic to finally meet in real life were Sivia Harding and Franklin Habit.
After helping Anzula break down their booth on Sunday, Deb (who also has a fabulous podcast, At the Kitchen Table) and I headed for another fabulous dinner at Gino’s with Cat Bordhi and some fellow Visionaries, many of whom I also had not met in real life. We were celebrating the birth of Judy Becker‘s upcoming book, Beyond Toes: Knitting Adventures with Judy’s Magic Cast-On. Dinner was great, but the company was more wonderful. It’s always nice to be able to share experiences, thoughts and ideas with a group of creative, intelligent, like-minded people.
I spent a few more days in the PDX area, albeit a bit miserable due to my horrid allergies. I could not breathe or sleep well. The allergies dashed my short-lived fantasy of buying a small farm or a cute house gorgeous Oregon. I stayed with Deb and her husband at their farmhouse on Mt. Hood. The beauty of the surroundings and a great hostess made my stay much less miserable. I spent the rest of my stay helping Deb with her 2012 Knitter’s Datebook (coming soon!!) and teaching her the basics of InDesign and Illustrator.
Above: We went to the top of Mt. Hood, where there were still lots of snow. Deb’s dog obviously loved the snow, and we ended the day with drinks at the Timberline lodge: great view, great drinks, great company….ahh…
Unfortunately, it’s back to reality for me and I’m still playing catch-up. In the past month, I’ve had lots of pattern releases, but I haven’t really been able to post or blog about those. I just recovered from a major chest infection (in the end, I could not fend off the ill-effects of the allergies from Oregon) and am trying to get a project done for Vogue Knitting Live in LA.
I’ll be posting more details about some exciting news later, but here are some of them in a quick nutshell:
Posted in craft shows, knitting, knitting design, knitting patterns - mine, travels, tagged Barbara Walker, Friends, Issara, knits, knitting, Lepidoptera, liberation, TNNA, TNNA Summer 2011 on July 5, 2011| 3 Comments »
This past TNNA was my 2nd Columbus and probably 5th (6th?) TNNA overall. Every show is a little different, but always exhausting, rewarding and energizing all at the same time. This year was different for me in that it’s my first show with a new distributor, Deep South Fibers. I also was walking the floor with a different purpose: shopping for yarns for my book projects.
Right after the show, I went straight to hot & humid Houston, Tx to visit my family as a Father’s Day present to my dad. So, my update on TNNA is a bit delayed and overdue. So, here it is…
I brought many of my samples for DSF to display at the booth and spent some time working the booth and chatting with various LYSOs and yarn shop representatives. I was also able to spend some time with fellow DSF designers both at the booth and post show hours during dinner and some social bar/knitting time at one of the hotel lobbies.
Below are some photo highlights. The rest of my photos are in my Flickr album.
Above: My areas in the DSF booth. Top: I was right next to Designs by Romi, whose shawls hung to the right of my Issara coat and Weekend Shawl. Bottom: Table with my hats, some other accessories and my “posse” buttons.
Left: Ysolda Teague and Stefanie Japel at Ysolda’s photo booth. Both of them are also fellow DSF designers. Ysolda generously gifted me a copy of her wonderful book, Little Red in the City. I haven’t really had a chance to look through it in detail, but it looks really wonderful. I’ll have to spend some time examining it and giving it a proper review later. Right: The beautiful Kristi Porter signing “More Knitting in the Sun.” The hat on the table just happens to be my design contribution to the book, “Eloise.”
Left: With friend and writing mentor Cat Bordhi at the Visionaries booth. Right: Stefanie Japel (with whom I had great fun being roomies!) and I visiting my talented friend and fellow Visionary Debby Accuardi at the Pico Accuardi booth. (I’m wearing Elizabeth Zimmermann in the photo.)
Above: Why yes, that is the great Barbara Walker! She was there for 1 day and I introduced myself to her again (I first met and chatted with her at Sock Summit 2009) and showed her my “Barbara G. Walker” hat that she so graciously allowed me to honor her by naming it after her. She was so humble and said to me “I am so honored that you named it after me. I’ve never had a pattern named after me before.” Seriously, Ms. Walker? Believe me, it is I who feels blessed and honored! The sample I’m holding up is the one worked in Tactile Fiber Arts Tencel-Merino.
Left: Super fun and lovely lady was a fan of my hats and tried on most of them! She’s from Amitie + Passion in Quebec, Canada (address: 4 rue Jacques-Cartier, Sallaberry-de-Valleyfield, QC J6P 4T4). She’s wearing “Septima Clark” and I’m wearing “Eleanor Roosevelt.” Right: Janet from The Salty Sheep in NC, trying on “ Issara.”
Left: Holy Cow! My first magazine cover! I can’t wait until Knitscene’s Fall 2011 issue hits the newsstands! The design on the cover is Lepidoptera. Right: Sarah Bible of Ravelry looking super fabulous with her very important WIP.
Left: I finally “officially” met Norah Gaughan at the Berroco Yarn Bar (fun, right!?) Pictured are Stefanie, me, Norah Gaughan and Amanda Keep. Right: Teva Durham, who I credit to really encouraging me to write a book last year, signing her new book, Loop d Loop Lace.
Part of TNNA is networking and socializing with your friends in the industry, old and new. The networking included dinner, lunches, ice cream/coffee and knitting in one of the hotel bar/lobbies everyday. One of the events, a Designers’ dinner organized by Marly Bird, was the highlight. Marly went all out in finding us a lovely venue for over 60 designers and getting some wonderful sponsors who contributed some gift bags that made us feel like A-list rock start Hollywood celebs. To thank my fans and blog readers (and really, I can’t keep all this stuff), I’m giving away most of the things in my goody bag, including a Namaste bag! I’ll post the details in my next blog post.
Left: I dined with some friends that I’m always delighted to see, Kate Oates, Stefanie Japel, Robyn Chachula and Simona Merchant-Dest. Right: I was absolutely delighted to have finally met Woolly Wormhead, who is an absolute delight and a fellow DSF designer. I was also very happy to meet Carol Feller and Ann Kingstone, who traveled from Ireland and the UK, respectively. We had some great laughs over drinks and dinner over some silly things, like the different UK and American terminologies.
Above: The 3 photos above show the tons of people (mostly designers at this location, but also yarnies and publishers) hanging out nightly at the hotel lobby & bar. It was a ginormous knitting circle! Some of the other wonderful people with whom I enjoyed chatting included Laura Nelkin, Kristen Tendyke, Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark (Pie Bird Designs/ Kitchen Sink Dyeworks), Bonne Marie Burns (Chic Knits), Shannon Okey (Knitgrrl), Rosemary Hill (Designs by Romi), Anne Hanson, Annie Modesitt, Benjamin Levisay (Knitting Universe/ XRX/ Stitches Events), Joanna Johnson, Mary-Heather Cogar, Alisha Goes Around, Sabrina Famellos (Anzula Luxury Yarns), Mary Beth Temple, Sarah Stanfield, Michelle Miller (Fickleknits), Amy Polcyn, and Grace Akhrem. For the first time, in person, I also met Heather Dixon (Army of Knitters), Petite Purls‘ Allegra and Brandy, Jaala Spiro of KnitCircus, Sarah Wilson, Anna Dalvi, Deb Robson (I got a copy of her fabulous new book “The Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook” – I’ll need to make time to review that one as well!).
Whew! I’ve never made that many links before, and still, I know that there are many others that I forgot to list, and even more folks that I wished that I had more time to chat with. Please forgive me if you are one of those folks.
I recently had an idea that I want to host a Knitalong in my Ravelry group. I couldn’t decide what or how to do it, so I used Ravelry’s polling feature and asked my Crafty Diversions group members to vote. The final tally at the time of the poll’s closing: 31 votes for a mystery KAL, 35 votes for a non-mystery KAL. For garment type, the top 2 choices were 21 votes for a shawl, 13 votes for a sweater.
The KAL will be free for group members and participants will have opportunities to win prizes donated by our KAL sponsors. After the KAL is over, the pattern will be available for sale in my pattern shop.
Since I always get asked by aspiring designers, friends and people who like my work how my design process works, how I come up with ideas, etc., I thought it’d be interesting to share the process with you from beginning to end…
Once the votes started leaning more heavily towards a non-mystery shawl knitalong, I started thinking about possibilities for designs. I think about shapes, size, color, theme, etc.
My brainstorming process consists of looking various sources of inspiration — home & architecture magazines, fashion magazines, old books, knitting stitch dictionaries, a scenic horizon, a tree, a door handle, etc. Sometimes everything swims around in my head for a little bit. Then I start doing some rough sketching my mini sketch pad (but when a sketch pad is not handy when a moment of brillance strikes, a napkin or a scratch piece of paper will do!) to work out certain things like construction and fit details.
If I have a particular idea that won’t let go of me, the only way to keep it from plaguing me all day and night is to work out the details, such as drawing up the bits and pieces on the computer, or creating and manipulating several charts. Below is an example of one of the designs I am considering for the KAL:
Some preplanning and working things out as I did above is a great way of identifying potential problems, especially when I’m trying to match up a stitch pattern into the stitch count or transitioning from one pattern to another. This type of preplanning and charting is also important for me to visualize and see how the patterning will work in different sizes of a garment. For example, will I be able to use the same stitch pattern for all the sleeves in all the sizes of a garment or will I have to modify the stitch pattern for some of the sizes?
One of the really fun parts of designing a project is thinking about all the yummy yarns! I go through a mental checklists of yarns that I like, fondle my stash, review my color cards, search manufacturer websites, and check Ravelry. (One of my tasks when I went to Stitches West was to look for yarn options for this project. The plethora of lovely options and my limited spare time at Stitches did not make the process easy.)
Other than looking at pretty yarn, I have to think about the resulting garment, fabric, shape and wearability. In knitting, I consider yarn weight (how thick the yarn is), fiber content (how the fibers in the yarn work for the project), drape and texture (how the stitch pattern, design and the yarn’s fiber content properties affect the garment), color (how a color might affect the design), feasibility (for example, considering whether knitters would be willing to work a coat in fingering weight yarn) and cost (while many yarn companies can provide me yarn support, it’s not really realistic to design a sweater requiring 8 balls of a $40/ball yarn. Instead, it’s probably better to design an accessory requiring only 2 balls of that luxury yarn. Thinking about the cost helps knitters with a special and relatively affordable splurge and helps the yarn company sell yarn.).
I considered several favorites yarnies and several that were new to me. While there were many that were at the top of my list, they were whittled down as I considered the following criteria: (1) I want to support a indie dyer; (2) Yarnie has to have quality yarn bases; (3) Yarnie has to have great colors; (4) KAL participants will need to be able to buy from Yarnie at least online since participants are likely quite internet savvy and are international; (5) Yarnie has to have the ability to have a variety of inventory from which to choose; (6) I was very open to working with a Yarnie that was previously unfamiliar to me
After several emails with a few candidates, one candidate stood out and met all the criteria: Yarn Chef. She advertised in my group last month and I could not get her yarns out of my head. Head chef Katy and I discussed her yarns, my needs and some other things. I am excited to be working with her on this project and that she will be the primary sponsor of our KAL. For the project, I will be using her Creme Brulee Fingering yarn, which is a light fingering/heavy lace at 122.87 yards per oz/ 4.33 yards per gram. Katy has already ordered extra yarn in anticipation of this KAL and will be dyeing them up as soon as she receives the yarn shipment in a couple of days.
I’m in as much anticipation about all this as y’all are and can’t wait to see what Katy cooks up. She will be restocking her shop soon and will also be donating a couple of prizes for KAL participants.
Add this blog to RSS feed if you haven’t already son you don’t miss my chronicles of this KAL, the design process and any other updates.
Posted in knitting, knitting design, knitting patterns - mine, tagged fingering, knitting, knitting design, lace, sanguine gryphon, shawls/capes, silk, socks, weekend shawl on March 4, 2011| 8 Comments »
Remember when I was talking and tweeting about Operation: Two-Day Shawl back in September?
Well, I decided to reworked and redesign it. Only this time, I was not crazy enough to knit it up in less than 48 hours. I didn’t want to name it “Two-Day Shawl” because well, it’s a bit intimidating and not a very good name, IMO. I asked my friends for suggestions and my friend Lydia came up with “Weekend Shawl,” which I thought was perfect.
I released it on Ravelry on Monday and after some technical difficulties, also managed to list it on my website. Look for its Ravelry pattern page here and its page on my website here. To celebrate its release, I’m offering it at a highly discounted price of $3.50 for just 1 week, until March 7. The regular price for the shawl will be $6.25.
I actually finished the fingering version very early because I had planned to wear and release it in January for TNNA (Needlearts trade show). However, I later decided that I’d offer additional sizing and options with a laceweight yarn. Thus, I had my sample knitter and friend make up a sample since I was busy working on 3 secret projects at the time. When I did wear the red one to both TNNA and Stitches West, I received lots of positive comments form people, including people who waved me down from afar to ask about it. Those sort of things always warm my heart and make me so proud for both my work and the yarnies that make the gorgeous yarns.
Both yarns were a delight to work with (while I didn’t knit the lace weight sample, I handled the yarn quite a but and knitted up a swatch). I love the volume, sheen and softness of Gaia Fingering and loved every stitch of my knitting. I am so glad that Sanguine Gryphon was kind enough to offer me yarn support for this project, as I had been drooling over it and their colors for several seasons now (I’ve done some tech editing for them on their pattern collections and just couldn’t stop thinking about their yarns!) When I get the chance, I think I’d like to knit another one using Gaia Lace in a green-gray or a rich medium/navy blue.
As for Yummy Yarn Studios, Sam is a newer dyer based out of Canada and she obviously has nice colors as well, but in her own style. Another great example of her yarn is in the pair of socks she knitted for me!! I was saying how I don’t own any hand-knitted socks on Twitter and was about to hire someone to do it for me. I’m such a lucky girl!
The socks that Sam made me is a pattern she designed called “Kisses” and can be found here. You can see the photo I took of me wearing them here. I love the lovely purple colors. I think the pattern will also work really well a nice honey color. I’ve already worn them several times around the house. I’m not wearing them now because I need to wash them.
And seriously, the Weekend Shawl… it’s only going to be $3.50 for a few more days so get it quick before it goes to its regular price. I’ve already received lots of sales on it since its release, so don’t be left out! And from the bottom of my heart, thanks to those of you who have already purchased it.
Posted in craft shows, knitting, knitting design, knitting patterns - mine, tagged Anzula, bijou basin ranch, Elizabeth Zimmerman, liberation, Mahika, Mera, Spectacle, stitches west on February 24, 2011| 5 Comments »
The rest of my time spent at Stitches West was rather intoxicating. I really can’t think of a better word for it at this time. The amount of wonderful yarns and other products is just overwhelming, and the hordes of people and all the people I meet there just make the experience one-of-a-kind. Everyday, I hopped around between 3 different booths doing cross-promotions, helping my friends out and meeting lots of people and friends.
This lovely lady, Sonia aka Peaceful Knitter, was the first one to buy a Liberation kit featuring my patterns and Anzula yarn. Sabrina (the incredible woman behind Anzula) and I put out the kit on Friday morning. By the end of the day, we only had a handful left and we sold out of all the Alice Paul patterns.
I was quite happy with the way that my patterns and the samples were displayed and presented at the Anzula and Unwind booths. They seemed to be a hit and I was constantly stopped whenever I was walking the floor by folks asking about the patterns.
I also spotted Issara in the wild. Okay, technically I know the woman who made it, but it was the first time that I saw her finished coat! Unfortunately, I never got a photo of her wearing it. Boo!
One of the Stitches events I also got involved in was hosting a yarn tasting with some of the most luxurious yarns you’ll find! I was my friends at Bijou Basin Ranch who was partnering with Windy Valley Musk Ox to do a yarn tasting. We played with various blends of yak yarn from Bijou Basin Ranc and qiviut yarn from Windy Valley Musk Ox. I cannot tell you how fun it was to meet tons of new people, play with some of my favorite yarns and sitting on those comfy couches!
I also spotted some of the things I designed for Bijou Basin Ranch at both booths.
I have MORE to write about on Stitches, including the really fun Pajama Party and the gorgeous drive home. Unfortunately, y’all will have to wait until I have more time to catch up and do the final Stitches West post.
Stitches West 2011 posts: