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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!

vanalen dash composite

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. 

IMGP0837

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!**

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Catty

My sister had requested some fitted fingerless gauntlet gloves with claws sometime ago with a matching kitty hat like the one in Stitch n’ Bitch. After being rejected by Knitty, I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to try a submission with another site or publication. I’ve now decided that I’ll just post the pattern here. I’m currently working on a new patterns page for this blog, so Catty will be up soon. In the meantime, here are some previews:

My friend Ann modeling for me for the Knitty submission.



My sister is exuding her inner cat above.
Pattern: Catty
Yarn: 2 skeins of Manos del Uruguay
Notes: For the elbow length gloves, you’ll need 1 skein plus a small amount from a 2nd skein.


Pattern: Kittyville hat from Debbie Stoller’s Stitch n’ Bitch book
Yarn: 1 skein of Manos del Uruguay
Notes: I modified the hat to account for the larger gauge of the Manos, but I still cast on too many stitches for my sister’s smaller head. Apparently, I have a large head.

Lupita, my sister’s cat that likes to groom people’s head and her bf’s beard. gross!

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My hand had been causing me problems all last week. It’s my tendonitis and I wasn’t using the computer much, so I must have slept on it funny. Anyway, as hard as it was, just like any other obsessed addict, I stayed away from knitting and did not pick up my needles for about 10 days! Ai-yah! I’m sure other knitters out there can relate to the agony and pain of not knitting for 10 days. So my advice for you knitters out there is to use an ergonimic mouse and ask for one at work if you use it a lot in your job. That’s how I ended up with the tendonitis. Owwie.

So at my knitting group on Wednesday, I picked up my needles and knitted some lace swatch samples (not worth photographing) for a few projects that I want to do. Yesterday, I resumed working on the Kitty hat I was making for my sister. It’s part of a kitty accessories set for her. I already made her fingerless glove gauntlets with claws, per her request. I actually named the gloves “Catty” and submitted the pattern to Knitty. But alas, I was rejected with the response that although the pattern “is really fun but unfortunately not right for Knitty.” I’m still not posting the photos yet though because I’m trying to see if there’s another fun knitting pub that I can try submitting to. I don’t think this is up MagKnits’ alley. The option I’m leaning towards is just posting it on Craftster’s forum and putting up the free pattern on this blog.

Project:
This WIP is a modified version of the kitty hat from the Stitch n Bitch book.
Yarn: Manos del Uruguay, #108
Needles: Using 2 US 10 circulars (don’t have a 16″)

Another project that I worked on is a simple lace scarf for a former colleague. She requested a fuzzy pink scarf. I admitted my yarn snobbery and told her I don’t work with fun fur novelty yarns, so this is what I came up with.

Project:
Simple Keyhole lace scarf, my own pattern
Yarn: Knitted 2 stranded with 1 strand of hand-painted kid mohair, and 1 strand of hand-painted worsted weight merino wool.
Needles: US #15

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Another Liana

Here’s a pic of the sample of another Liana pattern in a colorway that makes me think of a desert sunset.

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I’ve spent the past week in the Houston area. Surprisingly, the weather has been mellow and cool. I can still feel the humidity, but it is much easier to bear than when it is hot. I definitely have been spoiled by the nice California weather. So, what have I been doing here? Doing what cats do — eat, sleep, eat some more. There’s the obligatory family dinners and visits followed by visits with family friends and then hanging out and catching up with some old friends. My sister and I attended the lovely wedding of some old friends. The mantra of the wedding basically was “It’s about time!” You see, our friends have been together for 11 years longer than some of us have been married and known our own partners! The wedding very nicely done and was almost like a mini college reunion. Plus, the open bar didn’t hurt 😉 No one but a young cousin of theirs got smashed though.

Anyway, in preparation for this trip and visit, I made sure to pack a good amount of knitting supplies. I made a sample pair of the Liana gauntlets for that class I will be teaching and I made my sister model them for me before I had to send them off. I also am pretty much done with a project I designed based on a request from my sister, which I think I’ll call “Catty.” I hope to meet the next submission deadline for Knitty. Another project I brought to work on is for a contest submission for Etsy, which I haven’t touched. That’s not all; I brought more projects to work on. My not-as-ambitious projects include a neckwarmer for my stepmom, which I made too long and have to undo part of; a yarn ball and yarn mouse for my aunt’s meanie guard cat Curry, who will claw at you he thinks you’re taking something that belongs to the house or if you try to venture beyond the living room into other areas of the house; and a scarf I’m making for Linh, for which I have only finished 10 inches.

I’ll post some pix later. Dad doesn’t have DSL yet…trying to set it up for him. I hate dial-up. Luckily, I brought my laptop here’s a weak but good enough signal from a neighbor’s wireless that I found (probably from my uncle’s house, which is right behind my dad’s.)

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I’m still suffering the effects of a severe cold. Now that some of the congestion has moved out of my lungs and chest, I feel a little better, but it has all moved to my head. ugh. Anyway, after several days of rest, I went to knitting group on Wednesday night, armed with drugs, cough drops and a new knitting project. Two lovely ladies came by to pick up the order they commissioned from me as a gift for their daughter/sister. Here’s the finished product, fingerless lace-up gauntlets from my hand-painted yarn (100% merino, double-faced satin ribbon):

Last night, I was pleasantly surprised to see that I had another sale on my etsy shop. So this morning, went early and was the first in line at the post office to drop off a new order from my etsy shop. yay! – I sold 2 of the headbands I made recently (see previous post). I couldn’t just put an estimated postage on the package in order to avoid holiday traffic because the package needed to go to Canada.

In other crafty news, I started yet another knitting project, despite having about 10 other WIPs. I’ve been planning on making something(s) for my friend Linh in preparation for her drastic climate change from Dallas to Chicago. I settled on a combination of a kid mohair yarn and a 60/40 cashmerino blend yarn, both of which I hand-painted/dyed. I think the lace pattern is called ivy lace.

My next cast on will be a pair of sample Liana gauntlets for the class that I will be teaching based on the kit.

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I just finished my first-ever craft fair as a vendor this past weekend. And boy, I am tired! I had attended the same craft fair as a spectator a couple times in the past and as a cheerleader for my friend when she had her booth in October, and there were more people in attendance then this one, which really surprised me because this one’s a holiday fair. My booth is pictured above. (I don’t know photoshop well enough to get rid of the bluish tint in the photo.) I should mention that my logo was designed by my sister and the sign was made for me by Zona’s husband, who also set it up for me!

I suppose, considering the low attendance, and my first attempt, I didn’t do to terribly — not as much as I had hoped, but enough to make me want to try it again. (Did I just really say that? Eek – another craft fair means no sleep for me!) Anyway, the response and interest I received was encouraging. A few people commissioned me to make them some knitted projects of my own design/pattern. I priced and quoted the commission work a little low for the amount of labor involved. But since they were my first craft fair commission work, I wanted to just get some repoire and establish relationships, so I really don’t mind that I undervalued my time/labor a little bit.

I sold mostly hand-painted yarns, some knitted items and a few sewn items. The item that got the most response is the lacy lace-up gauntlet “Liana” that I designed to be worn 2 ways and to feature my hand-painted yarns (see picture to right). I sold it as a kit and be will posting it on my etsy shop along with some yarns by the end of this weekend (hopefully). Towards the end of the second day of the fair, some ladies approached me and asked if I would be interested in teaching a class featuring “Liana.” Of course, I jumped a this opportunity to add more notches onto my belt. So, in January, I will be doing a demo on the gauntlets and some of the wonderful things you can do to show off hand-painted yarns. Then in February, I will be teaching a class on my pattern using the kit. The photo on the left shows the packaging I chose and designed for the gauntlets.

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