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As usual, Stitches West this year was great fun. I always enjoy the excitement of the show, the camaraderie of knitters, my wonderful students and friends. And I really have to say that the XRX/ Stitches staff does an excellent job putting together a show of such mass proportions! I taught 3 classes: Kitchener Like A Pro (grafting in pattern off the needles), The Right Fit (your body shape and finding/adapting knitting patterns appropriate for it) and DIY (Design it Yourself): Shawls and Stoles (tons of shawl shapes and how to achieve it). Kitchener Like a Pro and DIY Shawls & Stoles were sold out very early on in registration and I had only 3-4 spots left in The Right Fit, but by the time all the classes started, all my classes were sold out (I capped all classes at 25 students). THANK YOU STUDENTS!

"Kitchener like a pro" class at Stitches West

Students from my “Kitchener Like A Pro” class working hard and showing off their successfully grafted ribbing and cable swatches in pattern.

Mera, Revisited

Cal was in my “The Right Fit” class. She is showing off the “Mera, Revisited” pattern she made after taking a class on that pattern the year before at Stitches.

Stitches West 2013; Flame pattern

“Flame” is a crescent-shaped shawlette worked in a really cool reversible edging pattern and it was on display at the Windy Valley Muskox booth, where they sold out of about 50 patterns of Flame within the 1st hour of the 2nd market day!

Stitches West 2013

Anzula had “Fantome Hat” and “Fantome Cowl” both on display and selling as a kit with their Sebastian (merino/seacell) yarn. They also sold some soft launch test products of my gift tags.

Stitches West 2013

And my friends at Bijou Basin Ranch, had the “Mera Shrug” on display in their booth. That was one of my favorite projects because the yarn was Bijou Bliss, a yak/cormo blend.

Some of the other fun things from Stitches included running into Christina and Debbie from Alamitos Bay Yarn Co. on my flight, meeting 3 generations of knitters during the Student Banquet, petting all the pretty yarns, button-shopping, hanging out with my friends, old and new, and just being able to be part of it all. Oh and let’s not forget my first encounter with an Inu-knit (aka Lily Chin in costume)!

Stitches West 2013 Stitches West 2013 Lily Chin as an Inu-knitStitches West 2013

A note regarding my website

Folks, I also want to let you know that my website is going through a major facelift and some construction woes. You can still navigate and purchase from it, but I cannot list new stuff on it. So, for the time being, you will see a new tab at the top of this blog, “~~PATTERN & PRODUCT INFORMATION~~” That’s where I’m putting and listing all my new stuff. Thanks!!

**For up to the minute updates and news, follow me @AnneKuoLukito on Twitter and CraftyDiversions on Instagram or “Like” my Crafty Diversions page on Facebook!**
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Recently, a new digital knitting magazine debuted: Skein Theory. The person, creator and editor behind this and the fairly new   The Sock Report is Janel Laidman, author of The Enchanted Sole and The Eclectic Sole. I am honored to be in this new magazine with 6 designs! Van Alen is a coordinated set of a hat, lined cowl and mittens, featuring a color work design inspired by the Chrysler Building in NYC. Dash is a coordinated set of a beret, cowl and fingerless mitts; the design plays with the simplicity and texture of knits and purls. If you’d like to win a copy of this premier issue, please read on!

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Above photos are copyright of SkeinTheory.com and Rustling Leaf Press.

I was quite excited at the opportunity to submit designs for Skein Theory and sent in my sketches. I wish I could say that things went smoothly thereafter, but they didn’t. First of all, there was a delay in getting some of the yarn and I barely got them all before I had to leave for Columbus, OH for the summer TNNA trade show. The yarns used for Van Alen was Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light (loved the colors!) and Three Fates Yarns MCN. Secondly, when I submitted my designs, I had only planned on a hat for Van Alen,  and submitted coordinated accessory options for Dash, but I was asked if I could come up with a 3-item coordinated set for Van Alen as well, so I ended up with way more work than I had planned. Lastly, I had a major design issues when working both the Van Alen hat and the Dash beret.

SkeinTheory Fall2012 sub

My submissions for Dash Beret, Gloves and cowl, and Van Alen hat.

There wasn’t too much of a real issue with Dash Beret, but I did knit the beret twice….I just wasn’t happy with the resulting proportions. Mathematically, the way I designed the beret increases worked out, and it was a similar proportion to other berets I’ve designed. However, after I blocked the beret, it still didn’t seem right. So, I started over and reworked the math and the entire beret to a more visually pleasing proportion. 

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The biggest problem I had was with the Van Alen Hat. I swatched. I had a swatch with an early prototype (left), I re-swatched for my submission, and I swatched twice after I received the yummy Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light (one of the swatches show below left). I blocked and measured, counted, re-measured, re-counted, but still, MY SWATCHES LIED!!

Do you know what happens when your swatches lie? I mean, it’s not really a big deal for things like scarves and cowls, but it can make a huge difference when you’re working on garments in which fit will be an issue, like hats, sweaters and gloves.

ST swatch1

In the case of the Van Alen Hat, I ended up with a hat large enough for a panda bear or a giant. My friend has been making fun of me and this little hiccup and said that I should turn the hat into an iguana hammock or a watermelon cozy. Hmph!

Needless to say, I had no choice but to rework my math and re-knit an entirely new hat, all under a really tight deadline. And y’all get the benefit of laughing with me on my design woes! The lesson here, my friends, is that swatching is very important and sometimes swatches do lie, especially with colorwork, so make sure you really make sure you swatch. In the case of a hat, you might want to block and check your gauge before you do too much of it. That was something I didn’t do here. I just wrote off the seemingly large hat based on the fact that I was originally knitting the Large size, was being a bit lazy (due to time constraints) and a little over-confident. This is the first time something like this has happened to me. Believe me, I hope it will be the last.

VanAlen fail2 VanAlen fail3

In the end, things worked out. Below are the finished photos of the projects from Skein Theory. The cowl is worked in one piece and is lined with the brighter color for a nice finished look. If you would like to win a digital copy of the entire premier issue of Skein Theory, Janel and her staff have generously provided me the opportunity to do that on this blog. To win, just comment and tell me what your favorite pattern is from this issue. It’s okay, I won’t be offended if you choose someone else’s design. 😉 My favorite is my Van Alen set, particularly the hat and the cowl, and Petiole by Miriam Pike. I’ll pick a winner randomly on Oct. 23.

**For up to the minute updates and news, follow me @AnneKuoLukito on Twitter or “Like” my Crafty Diversions page on Facebook!**

Get you Knit On. 25% off sale

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Happy Thanksgiving to all my real life, knitting and crafting friends out there! If you are not American and don’t celebrate this holiday, I wish you a wonderful weekend and thank you for your support!  To celebrate this holiday and my gratitude, I’m having a sale on my site and in my Ravelry shop. All PDF patterns and ebooks are 25% off through midnight PST on Monday, Nov. 28, 2011. To get the discount, enter the code “GOBBLEGOBBLE” (not case sensitive) upon checkout. The sale includes all my patterns, including my two most popular patterns (Pfeiffer Falls and Weekend Shawl), all the hats from the Liberation collection (incl. the ebook), and my newest patterns (Friday Harbor & Anacortes and Lakedale). Stock up on accessory patterns for all your holiday knitting!

ThanksgivingSale2011 Ad

This has been a difficult year for me, but I’m a glass half-full kind of gal and have lots to be thankful for. I have wonderful friends, I love being a knitwear designer, I love working from home and have a great family. While my health has not been the best and my body has been through lots of stress, I’m still very thankful that I’m relatively healthy. One thing I’ve been stressed about is that all the health and other personal setbacks have  negatively impacted my productivity and work quite significantly. However, my wonderful friends, knitters and fans out there have been fantastic cheerleaders, and I feel quite lucky to be in an industry made up of such warm and generous people and friends!

Wishing y’all a wonderful, fun, safe and delicious Thanksgiving,

Anne

P.S. Come back and check the blog again soon. Coming up: Book tour, review and giveaway of Woolly Wormhead‘s new book, Bambeanies!

For up to the minute updates and news, follow me @AnneKuoLukito on Twitter or “Like” my Crafty Diversions page on Facebook!

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Japanese Quakes

I stayed up almost all night obsessed and disheartened by the terrible news coming out of Japan. The bittersweet part of it is that at least it was Japan and not some other less equipped, less prepared country. I am  very relieved that my godbrother and his girlfriend, who both live/work in Tokyo are both fine, as are other friends in Japan. I’m also relieved that with all the worldwide tsunami warnings and alerts, I’m glad that all my friends and family in Taiwan, Indonesia and Hawaii are all okay and missed any disasters. Still, I am quite heartbroken for the Japan. It was horrifying watching the video of the tsunami enveloping Sendai as cars and people on foot tried to run from it, only to be swept up by the powerful water. The reports of additional large quakes and aftershocks as often as every 5-15 minutes and the continuous bad news regarding the damage and losses of life are just beyond words.

The activity map as of the timestamp posted on the image is already astounding. More reports of continued quakes and aftershocks continue to come in. As of March 11 22:06:14 UTC 2011, and this posting, the map shows 150 quakes.

I’ve been switching back and forth from various news streams, but I do want to commend Yokosonews.com – this man, in his effort to help English speakers has been doing a nonstop live streaming broadcast and translating Japanese news as they occur and are broadcasted by Japanese outlets. He has posted several helpful links on his site for folks in Japan and looking for friends/family in Japan.

Grated Finger

My grated finger is quite insignificant by comparison, but before the 8.9 quake hit, I was so smare as to grating my left ring finger on my microplane grater. After all these years, it’s still so sharp that I think I did a couple of passes before I realized what I had done. It’s a pretty deep wound, considering it’s location on my knuckle.  It took at least 30 minutes for the bleeding to stop, but that was only if I kept my finger immobile.

I decided to help the wound a bit and went out to get a liquid bandage after hearing good things about it, and a recommendation from Mr. Fireman to use that or superglue for some wounds (especially if you’re hiking or something like that) after I had my thumb incident. Well, no one told me that the liquid bandage stuff hurts like a mofo!! There’s not even a warning on it! I have a decently high tolerance for pain, but seriously, it stung very badly and for a long time, and I’m afraid to put more on. I think I’ll try after I start scabbing a bit. The fumes from it also set of my asthma, so asthmatics and folks with chemical sensitivities, beware.

For those of you that are squeamish (it’s not really gross or anything, but some people just get really sensitive to seeing those kinds of photos), I’ve kept the photos tiny, but if you are interested in stuff like this (as I am), click on them to enlarge:

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UnMöbius

This weekend, I am planning to go on a week-long knit designing/writing retreat in the Pacific Northwest. Since I don’t really have anything in terms of really suitable clothing, I borrowed a down waterproof snow-weather coat from a friend. I don’t care that I have a slight allergy to down. At least I’ll be warm and wet-proof and it’s better than my wool coat. I own a couple of light sweaters — nothing really suitable for colder weather. C’mon – I was born in Taiwan, grew up in SW Texas and am now living in SoCal.  I’m not used to cold wet weather.

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Since I’ve been really busy getting ready for the retreat and working on a host of other projects, I didn’t have time to knit a sweater, though I did, for a crazy fleeting moment, think that I’d design and knit one in 1.5 weeks.  Instead, I decided that perhaps I would knit myself a brioche cowl in möbius using various single skeins of Road to China Worsted by The Fibre Company.  I didn’t want to mess with doing a 2-color möbius cast-on, so I did a regular 2-color cast on and was going to use the twist and join method, or so I thought.

After working about 1.5″, I realized that I had somehow untwisted the twist when I joined for working in the round. I was too lazy to rip back, so thus, I have an unmöbius cowl. 😛  At least I love the way how all my single skeins are working together and I am really happy with the way I decided to combine the color.

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