#giftalong2016 - My To-Knit List

In just about 24 hours, the big Indie Design Gift-A-Long sale starts on Ravelry. I don't know if you have to be a member of Ravelry to take advantage of the sale -- 25% off (using coupon code giftalong2016) of 5,106 patterns by 335 designers from 33 countries! It's so inspiring to see how creative crafty people can be.

I started making my list of projects that I want to make -- mostly hats and small quick things. I find that they are the perfect type of thing to clear my knitter's brain between big projects or when my creativity starts to fail.

Just seeing how other designers create and combine and innovate helps fire the synapses in my brain.

So I've put together a list of five designs that I would like to tackle during the GAL/KAL while I'm also working on some of my other designs. I'd love to know what you're excited to make, too.

No Place Like Home - a pair of slippers by Carolyn Macpherson. I met Carolyn during last year's GAL. Or maybe the year be…

Winter is Coming. Will You Be Ready?

It's that time of year, folks. The northern hemisphere braces for cold weather and winter holidays and pumpkin spice everything; while the southern hemisphere rolls their eyes at northern-centricities. (I'm making all that up but you can bet, if I lived in the southern hemisphere, I'd be irritated that just as my weather starts to get hotter, most things turn to winter. Or at least that's how I imagine it would be. I've never actually been to the southern hemisphere. This is all pure fiction. Don't hate me.)

But knitters, in general, don't really care about the season. Most knitting takes too long to knit "in season." If you're anything like me, you're probably knitting three or four season changes ahead. I just started a sweater that I'm sure won't be ready until next winter season. But I started now. Because. I don't need a reason.

In my part of the country, winter is slow in coming. It's almost 70 degrees today! Middle …

Back to School: Knit a Hat

About this time of year I always get nostalgic for the good ol' days. The days of new clothes, new paper and pencils, new crayons, new teachers. Back to school. Okay, I get it, it's November, but c'mon, with climate change and everything it's still 80 degrees in eastern USA and that's summer weather in my book.

I loved the promise of learning new things. That promise wasn't often broken, but let's not get bogged down in the public school system of the USA. Blah.

I still get excited by learning new things. It's the constant expanding of my mind, making the mental connections between A and B, that I find so intriguing. YouTube is an amazing resource for someone like me that wants to constantly find new hobbies or new ideas. If I can make a suggestion for a YouTube channel that's really exciting to me right now, I'd suggest Corning Museum of Glass because they have all these long demonstrations of people working with hot molten glass and it's f…

Is "Free" Yarn Sufficient Payment

Yesterday I announced the beginning of test knitting for my new pattern, Edgewood Sweater. As part of the test knit, and hopefully to make up for not being able to pay actual cash money to testers, I said I'd be giving away three skeins of yarn. I hope that's not something that someone takes offense to.

I'm ultra-highly sensitive to causing offense. This often causes me to offend randomly. And that frustrates me greatly.

I know that all knitters are great stash collectors; I'm a great stash collector. So I definitely have extra yarn that, while it's beautiful and I love it--even covet it--I'm never going to use it. I actually can't think of anything better than giving it away. Giving away yarn makes me very very happy.

And if I can get something out of it, too, so much the better.

I hope that one of these three skeins will help sweeten the deal and encourage knitters to sign up to test Edgewood. Reminder, you can read more on yesterday's post, or in th…

Step Three: Test the Pattern

Wait, what were Step One and Step Two?

If you've been following me on Instagram (and, really, why not? It's harmless and I sometimes post pictures of pretty yarn and even other snapshots like that time I bleached my hair to orange), you will have noticed that I've been working on a sweater design. I've knit sweaters before; I've even knit sweaters without patterns and just made it up as I go, taking measurements and fitting the sweater to the recipient. But this is the first time I've set out to design a sweater from start to finish with the end goal of self-publishing the pattern.

It's a big proposition. I'm always kind of amazed when I'm working on a pattern that there are designers that churn out pattern after pattern and they all seem to be amazing and beautiful. I'd love to know their trick. So far, my only trick seems to be "let's design a sweater and just throw different stitches and yarns at it and see what happens."

So no…

A Peek at a Swatch

Step one: find the last photo of knitting or yarn on your phone and post it. 

Step two: talk about it
I've been shopping with a friend on our lunch hour recently at a high-end-ish clothing store for women that focuses on two primary colors (or non-colors, depending how you look at it) and, as per usual, I focus on the knitwear. I'm very intrigued by the classy, lightweight knitwear that you often find in the stores. It contrasts so much with "traditional" heavier hand knits, especially in garments. I totally get why it's intimidating to knit an entire sweater with lightweight yarns; that's a lot of work. I wonder if I can change that a little bit. 
The search above is three strands of lace yarn, Fyberspates Scrumptious Lace, in blue/blue/grey on US 8/5mm needles. It feels really interesting, a different drape from both plied and single/strand yarns and I really want to play with this more. I'm also going to mix the pattern up with some panels of single stran…

Cowls In a Book; and Thank You

So I have two things to share with you and one is an excuse for the other one being so late. I have so many other excuses but this is all I'm going with for right now.

Last week, or two weeks ago, I'm not sure, I got a copy of a new book in the mail -- "60 Quick Cowls" -- and one of my patterns is in it! It's a casual cowl with cables and a simple texture named "Budding Out." And the yarn (Cascade Yarns Highland Duo), oh, it was very very nice to knit with. I stashed several more skeins for myself. It's mostly alpaca with some merino wool. It's buttery soft and I didn't have any issue with color loss when I blocked the finished cowl, which I'm always ready for when it's a red shade even though it oddly happens more often with blue shades. Huh, something to think about.

The cowl starts with a cable knit sideways, so it's a lot of knitting but very few stitches to cast on. I think that's one the things I get irritated with whe…