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Posts Tagged ‘shawls/capes’

Flame 3140

target=”_blank”>Flame is a shallow crescent shawl that has an attractive reversible lace motif. It’s worked in one piece without any picking up for the edge.

A while back, I stumbled upon an interesting but a little too fussy looking stitch pattern in one of my Japanese stitch dictionaries. While I didn’t love the fussiness, I loved the basic bones of the stitch pattern. So, I started playing around with the stitch pattern and manipulating it on the computer. One of the manipulations resulted in a beautifully textured pattern that’s also reversible, perfect for a shawl.  (Several of the other manipulations inspired a few designs that are still under wraps.)
I was a little stuck in deciding a name for this shawl, which I had worked using Windy Valley Musk Ox Luxury Blend (45% qiviut, 45% merino, 10% silk; 1oz, 218yds); Color: 2016-Autumn Crimson. A week after finishing the shawl, I went on an Alaskan cruise and I realized how much the stitch patterning resembles a whale’s fluke. Destiny led me to name this after one of the humpback whales that I saw. She is named “Flame” by the locals and naturalists in and around Juneau. I think it’s an apt name for the fiery color and spirit of this shawl.

Flame was initially debuted only to retailers (yarn shops) for wholesale orders at TNNA this past June. It has since been in storage and got a little wrinkled. Re-blocking it was the perfect excuse to use the bottle of Eucalan Wrapture wool wash send to me by my friend and designer of the scent Kristin Omdahl. At first I was a little scared of the jasmine scent since many jasmine-scented and floral-scented products are overly scented with synthetic fragrances that smell quite chemical to me. I had nothing to be afraid of. Jasmine essential oil gives Wrapture a nice romantic floral scent while the lanolin in it conditions your knits and other delicates washed with it.

I’m now releasing Flame to all of you and our knitting community. It’s available for purchase as a PDF download on Ravelry and on my website.  Do you want a chance to win a copy of Flame and a sample of Wrapture as well? I’m trying out Rafflecopter and running the giveaway through it. You can enter as many times as allowed; the more you share, the more entries you can earn! Winners will be chosen at random.

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flame giveaway

CLICK TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY. Giveaway starts Nov. 19 and ends midnight EST Nov. 30.

**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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Woolly Wormhead: Bambeanies

One of the many highlights of attending TNNA is that you get to see lots of yarns and products in person. And as a designer, it’s always nice to see my designer colleagues’ work in person and mutually cheer each other on. This year, I was especially looking forward to seeing and sharing laughs with my friend Woolly, with whom I really got to know at last year’s TNNA. This year, Woolly also had a booth and her booth was diagonally across the aisle from mine, so we visited each other quite a bit. It was delightful seeing this prolific hat designer’s creations and books on full display. If I were to sum up Woolly, I’d say that she a genuine, straight-forward person with a  fun and quirky personality. If you are familiar with her work, all her designs reflects that about her.

One of her books, Bambeanies: 20 quick & quirky Hats to knit for little people in your life, just tickled me into some oohs and awws, which surprised me, because I’m not really a kid person and don’t find myself liking baby and kid things.  I loved the level of cute (not too cutesy, as I find in many kid books) and uniqueness in this book. I don’t really have any little people in my life, but if I do, I’d knit Aurora (left), Nupkin (center),  and Ruskin (right).

It is well named as “quirky” and is among the first words that come to mind if I were to describe the designs in the collection. There’s a definite sense of whimsy from cover to cover. Woolly begins the book with a wonderful foundation with an outline of techniques for any knitterof any skill level. Her references to technique are detailed, easily understood and well rounded. The patterns are colorful, fantastical and original. The simple shape of a child’s head shape becomes animated by the wonderful shapes crafted in each pattern. Each is unique, yet they are not daunting; and while simple in nature, they are not at all boring. All in all I found the book to be informative, engaging and empowering for any knitter wanting to knit out of the box. And, it definitely says Woolly all over it.

Please go check out Woolly’s site, there are lots of cool, fun, smart and quirky designs for just about anyone. She also has an upcoming new project, Classic Woolly Toppers.

Want to wind a copy of Bambeanies? Woolly has graciously offered a complimentary digital version of the book for my readers. Simply leave a comment and I’ll randomly draw someone to win a copy next Friday. Simple, right?

End of Summer

Summer is quickly coming to an end. Kids are already starting school and pretty soon Fall (my favorite season) and Winter will be here. To help you get an early start on your Fall and Winter knitting, I’m having a Get Ready for Fall sale. Enter code “YayForFall” upon checkout from Crafty Diversions or from my Ravelry shop to get 15% off. All products are eligible. Sale ends Sept. 30, 2012.

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Also, check out the official release of Falling for You. It was originally only available as part of a knitalong. The shawl is attractive from both sides and the optional dangling leaves are fully reversible as it flutters with movement.

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**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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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…

The adventure begins!

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.

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My kitchen table is quite cluttered with various design tools and inspiration. Click on photo to see notes on the various items on the table in Flickr.

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.

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Even a buffet table of delectable fruit tarts can be a source of inspiration. (I ate several of these during afternoon tea at Huntington Gardens.)

Rough sketch turns into a plan

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:

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I'm figuring out how I can alter and fit various stitch patterns (and variations thereof) together and how to create smooth transitions.

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?

Yarn Selection: Fun and Important

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.)

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Part of my yarn stash.

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.).

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A light fingering yarn (40% cashmere, 60% merino) yarn that I dyed a couple of years ago.

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

Yarn Chef Creme Brulee Fingering in Rosy Outlook (50% merino wool/ 50% silk, 650yd/5.3oz, 594m/150g)

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.

Yarn Chef Bouillabaisse in Fern Valley (100% superwash merino, 540yd/4oz, 494m/113g)

Yarn Chef Creme Brulee Lace in Gothic Rose (50% merino wool 50% tussah silk , 620yd/2oz, 567m/60g)

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.

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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.

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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.

Shawl Specs:

  • Pattern sizes: 6 sizes, 2 yarn weights (lace and fingering)
  • Pattern format: Written, tech edited, laid out nicely; Has lace chart but chart is also written out for those that don’t like charts.
  • Yarn used in sample: Sanguine Gryphon Gaia Fingering in Sundogs (red); Yummy Yarn Studio Alpaca Silk Lace in Indian Ocean (bluish-turquoise)
  • Samples: Fingering (red): I knitted it in approximately 3.5 weeks; Lace (blue): My sample knitter Denise Wilkinson knitted it in about 5 weeks.
  • Changes/differences from the original Operation: Two-Day Shawl:
    • The #1 difference: I didn’t try to do it within 48 hours at all!
    • I changed the increases to lifted increases instead of yarn overs because it flows much more nicely into the patterning
    • The second lace pattern (Sunday lace) was entirely reworked and changed.
    • I changed the background to Stockinette stitch instead of garter
    • The ratio/porportion of the Stockinette body and the lace sections were altered so that the lace, especially the Saturday lace was wider.
    • And of course, I knew not to use stash yarn and yarn that was too highly variegated for this. With Operation: 2-day shawl, I didn’t really have many options given the wackadoodle time line I gave myself.
    • There were also a couple of minor things that don’t affect the design.
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Sample of all the pages of the pattern.

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.

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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!

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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.

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MISSION: Design, knit and complete a shawl in less than 48 hours.
START: PST 9:00 a.m., Thursday, September 23, 2010
END: PST 9:00 a.m., Saturday, September 25, 2010
MISSION STATUS: Completed!

OTHER MISSION STATS:
– Number of times I casted and re-casted on: 5
– Number of times body rows ripped back: 2
– Number of stitches fudged prior to working border: 3
– Number of times border design changed: 3.5
– Number of times border ripped back and restarted: 4
– Approximate design & planning hours (pattern unwritten): 3
– Approximate actual knitting hours: 17-20

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My dear friends will wholeheartedly tell y’all that I am crazy for coughing up this idea in the first place. The idea came up when I realized that I hadn’t gotten anything for my godmother, who is visiting from Taiwan. I don’t have to give her anything, but I usually want to. Whenever she comes, I try to take her out or spend some extra time with her. However, this year, we were both busy and we could only arrange to see one another on Saturday for an early lunch. So, I thought that a nice handmade gift would be very nice and appropriate, but I only thought of it very late Wednesday night and I was planning to meet her for an early lunch on Saturday. Thus, Operation: Two Day Shawl was born!

I dug around my stash and came up with some 40% cashmere/ 60% merino fingering yarn that I had hand-painted a while back.  Since the yarn is so variegated, I wanted to keep the shawl design simple. Any intricate patterning would be immediately lost otherwise.

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The shawl is constructed with 5 panels worked in garter stitch with yarn over increases. I chose garter mostly because of the time factor. While I can knit and purl relatively fast, my knits are definitely speedier than my purls. I worked the shawl on US 9 needles for 2 reasons: I wanted a more open look to the fabric to show off the colors, and it also kept it light and more airy for Taiwan’s tropical climate. After lots of hemming and hawing, I chose to work a continuous border as opposed to a knitted-on edging, also in the interest of time.

I didn’t spend much time knitting or working on the project on Thursday and I only managed to get about 3 inches, which meant that the majority of my knitting occurred on Friday, and not without some setbacks. I finally finished knitting at around 5:45 a.m. Saturday morning and only had time to steam block  the sucker before I crashed for about 3 hours.

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By 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, the sun was already really bright, so I really couldn’t get any really great photos of the shawl, and of course I didn’t have time to even attempt a photo shoot.  And in my haze, I also forgot to measure the shawl.  Oh well. I definitely don’t think that it’s my best work, but it certainly isn’t bad for a 2-day shawl. The good part is that I finished and completed the mission. My godmother seemed happy to have received her gift (and I hope she likes it).

I am planning to write up the pattern with some changes and then I’m thinking that since I haven’t offered a free pattern in a long while, I might offer this one up for free. Well, maybe at least for a limited time. Some of the tweaking that I want to do for the shawl include working the body in stockinette stitch with lifted increases instead of yarn over increases, making small changes to the border’s patterning, and of course, I’ll have to reknit it. People like freebies, once in a while, right?

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eDSC01979 logo Happy Labor Day!  To celebrate, I’m going to give away 10 free copies (and maybe a couple more if I find some particularly clever posts) of my new pattern, Cocoon. Read on for details.

The initial concept for Cocoon came about about 2 years ago, when my stepmom requested a stole in some dark blue colors. So, I set forth to design a stole for her and I hand-painted a cashmere/merino yarn in some dark blues. In the end, I loved the stole and the design, but I felt that the hand-painted colors really did not show off the details very well. I also wanted to alter the design a bit and really incorporate more transitions and patterns in the stole to truly embody the idea of a the life of an insect (such as a butterfly) from cocoon to full metamorphosis.

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Above: The original Cocoon I created for my stepmom. As you can see, the variegated colors, albeit tonal, do not really do the lace patterns justice.

After percolating in my mind, nearly 2 years later, several several revisions, the official public version was unveiled at The National Needlearts Association trade show this past June in Columbus, OH. Cocoon was showcased at the Mountain Meadow Wool booth. Photos from the show below:

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Cocoon is not a difficult lace project for beginners and it is still quite interesting for more experienced lace knitters. The cocoon pod pattern in the body created by dropping stitches, which is both exciting and fun, and the pattern in the body and the border is relatively easy to memorize. The ends of the stole is flanked by a pattern that I intentionally created to resemble wings of insects, while at the same time look like a floral motif.

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As I mentioned at the top of the post, I will be giving away at least 10 Cocoon patterns (PDF file). Here are the many ways in which you can get a chance to get your free copy of Cocoon:

  1. Retweet my announcement on Twitter. (I’m @AnneKuoLukito on Twitter.)
  2. Post a comment below.
  3. Post about Cocoon or the giveaway on your blog (link this post so I can track your post).
  4. Post a comment on the Cocoon pattern page on Ravelry.
  5. Post a comment on my fan page on Facebook.

Each of the actions above will entitle you to an entry. Contest closes at 9pm PST on Tuesday, at which time, I will list everyone’s username(s) in a spreadsheet and then use a random number generator to select the winners. For example, if you retweeted and posted a comment, you will get 2 entries. Winners will be announced in via Twitter and in a blog post on Wednesday. Good Luck and Thanks for Playing!

EDITED TO ADD (9/7/10):  Since it was freezing last night here in SoCal, and I’m feeling generous, I’m also going to throw in 2 free copies of one of my most popular patterns, Lillian (Ravelry listing for you Ravelers). You’ll be eligible to win Lillian if you post about either patterns on Twitter (make sure you mention @AnneKuoLukito so I get alerted and add your entry) or make a comment on the Crafty Diversions Facebook fan page.

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Whitey Coyote was trying to snuggle up to Cocoon and the yarn when I was working on it. When I wouldn't let her rub on it, she decided to thwart my process by being cute and snuggling in my lap.

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Audra is finally available!  I just released the second of five patterns that I’m working on in collaboration with Southwest Trading Company.

On The Road

Audra and 3 other finished patterns were sent to and exhibited at the SWTC booth at the TNNA (a needlearts)  trade show in Columbus 2 weeks ago.  Currently, Audra and her sisters Pacifica, Carmen and Lillian are on tour with SWTC. They will be visiting other trade, fashion and trunk shows with the SWTC team.  (I’m staggering the pattern release, so Carmen and Lillian will be released in the upcoming weeks.) If you are on Ravelry, you can find Audra here.

The yarn I used for Audra is Tranquility, which is an optimal blend of wool and bamboo.  Sometimes I find that wool/bamboo blend yarns “grow” too much after blocking, and sometimes they are not spun up well. However, I did not find that at all with Tranquility.  In fact, the yarn also stood up to lots of abuse without any unsightly pilling or over stretching.

Inspiration

As you can probably guess, I’ve been playing around with simple cable textures lately, as see in Orinoco, Pfeiffer Falls, and Remy, which will be out in the Fall 2009 of Knitscene soon.

I’ve always lived in warm-weather areas, and never really needed any super heavy garments. (The coldest area I lived was Santa Clara, CA, about 1 hour south of San Francisco.)

I wanted to design something that would show off the colors and textures of the yarn, but also have a modern sense of style and practicality.  Audra fits the bill with cables that “grow” as the capelet/ shoulder warmer expands.  The resulting shape is a nice clean A-line shape juxtaposted with a generally traditional cable motif and buttons with a bit of a Victorian flair.

You Did WHAT To The Garment?!?

Initially, the sample of Audra was knit up by my friend and first time sample knitter Denise W.  After she finished the sample, she realized that she made a mistake half way down. So unfortunately, she had to rip out half of the garment to remedy that error.

The sample was perfect when she gave it to me, but then I was unhappy with the way the neckline behaved, as it was a little too wide and lose.  It was design flaw oversight, and entirely my fault.  All it needed was some minor tweaking to the instructions, and a correction of about 2-3 inches of the garment.   I’d just have to undo that part and fit it.

Sounds easy, right? BUT the garment is knit top-down.  I’m pretty smart (I think, most of the time), and don’t call myself Crafty Diversions for nothing, right? So, I thought that I could reknit the part that I want to fix, then I would carefully CUT out the portion with which I was dissatisfied and GRAFT it.  Daring, but it was certainly going to be easier than reknitting the entire thing. Or so I thought. The idea really would have worked if it wasn’t for the fact that the pattern is an all-over cable.  I counted, checked and marked the rows carefully. I even took precautions and put lifelines in the row directly above the snip line.  The logic and theory paired with some patience seemed sound, except I sure didn’t anticipate how much the cables would try to untwist itself, making it really difficult to see which stitch belonged where, even with the lifeline in place.  Thus, after several hours and the successful grafting of only about 12 stitches, I gave up.

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Third Time Is A Charm

rrrribbbbbitttttt. It was painful to rip out all the lovely work that Denise put in; more painful than cutting it. I was hoping that Denise wouldn’t ask about it so that I didn’t have to tell her what I had to do to all her hard work. ::headdesk::

Thankfully, third time is the charm! I reknit the whole thing with the revised instructions without any problems save my sore hands from trying to rush.  If only knitting was as easy as ripping put though. I am finally happy with the outcome  — the neck fits the way that I had imagined it to be, and the yarn really stood up to all the ripping and abuses.

Tweet Tweet

You may have noticed (or not) a new little button on my sidebar.  Yes, the Twitter one. I don’t know how I feel about it yet, but yes, I did succumb to the trend and started a new Twitter account. I was trying to avoid it, but it is a good way of increasing visibility, so I decided to try it out.  The thing that really irks me is that there really aren’t many Anne Lukito’s out in the world (2 others on Facebook that I found), but AnneLukito is not available, and Twitter is showing that there is no user by that name. grrrr.  The other thing is that they only allow 15 characters, so I am CraftyDiversion, without the “s” at the end of “diversions.” Boo. I guess this is what happens when you are a late player to the trend game. I could’ve done my whole name, but that’s 3 words. Should I change it to @AnneKuoLukito or keep it as @CraftyDiversion?

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