Showing posts from 2013

Scarf Contest - We Have a Winner!

Drum roll..........
And another...
and one more just because I'm being annoying.

There were an unprecedented THREE entries for the amazing Old Gold and Blue scarf. Your contestants are:
Ann A.Roberta M.Robin S. And the winner, as drawn by the random number generator at, is.....
Congratulations, Ann! You get a new scarf. I sure hope you're a WVU fan.

Now for a surprise -- I have an extra ball of yarn in gold and yellow, the same yarn I used to make the scarf. I'm never going to use it, so as a consolation prize, I'll send it to:
Roberta!! Roberta, email me and let me know where to send your two balls of Valley Yarns Berkshire. It's a fun yarn to knit with and I think you'll like it.

Old Gold and Blue Scarf: Contest Update

Time is running out! Hurry! Operators are standing by!

The contest to win the gold and blue scarf, knitted by me, ends 11:59 PM EST on November 28, 2013. So far, I have one entry. That kinda hurts my feelings. But, on the other hand, the one entry is someone I like so that makes it a lot easier.

If you also want Ann A. to sport a gold and blue scarf, don't do anything!

If you want to try to steal the win from Ann A., do something!

Tweet at me with the tweet below and include a snapshot of you displaying some kind of school/seasonal spirit!

I want a @RodeoKnits original! #RodeoBall

Gold and Blue - The School Spirit Scarf

I attended my first college football game one year ago - WVU Mountaineers vs. Baylor Bears - and it was a heckuva lotta fun. Great weather, good friends, high scoring game. And the Mountaineers won. That's always a bonus, especially at a home game.

I'll be heading back up to a game this year, the last regular season game for the Mountaineers against Iowa State Cyclones. I'm totally excited.

Every year, someone asks me "Do you have a pattern for a [insert team name] scarf?" or "Can you knit me a hat for [insert team name]?" It's a difficult thing. Generally, most sports teams are defined by two colors. WVU is blue and gold. Or navy and yellow. Or, according to the alumni page: "Old Gold and Blue." But I'm off track.

In case you're not aware, scarves usually have two sides -- a front and a back -- and because of how most people just toss them on, a scarf with an obvious "wrong" side can look messy. Two-color scarves make t…

Why You Should Knit Gifts, or Everyone's So Needy

About this time of year, when the first snow flakes fly in the northern hemisphere, I start to hear "I have to knit presents for..." There are a couple ways to react.

My personal favorite: "I don't knit under obligation to anyone else." I knit things because I want to knit. The finished object isn't as important to me, so generally when I'm done, I can find someone that will take it off my hands.

This removes all the stress from any type of gift giving, including the stress of "will they like it." That's the worst one. It's never the right color, the right size, or the right amount of softness. I warn ya now, you'll even have friends and/or family that will complain about how itchy that cashmere scarf is. And then you never knit for them again.

Another option? Buy them a pair of needles, a skein of yarn and a cheap how-to book and tell 'em it's their own scarf. They just have to figure out how to do it -- the proverbial &q…

3 Steps to Getting Paid to Knit

I read a little blog post today somewhere -- to be honest, I was still half-asleep and I clicked on a link in my Twitter stream -- about how to drive more traffic to your blog by having catchy titles and what titles work better. Apparently, numbered steps (don't spell out the number of steps) and DIY/how-to posts are most effective/popular. We'll see.

Step 1: Just Ask -- For several years, I've worked with a company in northern Virginia that dyes beautiful yarns, mostly lace weight and light weight yarns, and knit samples for them. They're a fantastic, talented duo (check out their stuff: Just Our Yarn) and the projects are fun to knit.

I met Diane and Cathy at Stitches East quite a few years ago -- I just checked my email history and it
was in 2008! -- by chance. My friends Jana and Pat had shopped at their booth first and when we stopped for a shopping break and a little snack, Cathy dropped by our table and we all chatted about how they started the business. Just …

You're a Star!

Way back since the beginning of time (or a couple of months ago, if you're really keeping track), I started playing around with the Estonian star stitch and trying different variations. One thing led to another, one idea to another and bang, here we are. I hope my obsession is finally over.

I have a confession. I'm not a trained designer of anything. I don't think I'm a prodigy or have any incredible talent that must be shared with the world. I'm not inspired by the falling leaves or the change in seasons or how people are interconnected and emotions and blahblahblah. I just like to knit things, I get ideas and sometimes I write those ideas down, mostly because I think they're good ideas and that someone else might like to make them, too.

I was thrilled to learn that two of my cowls were recommended to a group on Ravelry that was having a unisex cowl knit-along. I was following along, though not knitting with the group because I have too many projects already,…

My Mountain

I don't generally complain. Much. Well, not about me/my life. I do complain about other people sometimes (a lot). But I find that people don't really care all that much if you complain too much. Griping and complaining and moaning and whinging about all the minutiae of every day life won't win many fans. But that's my personal opinion, you can take it or leave it. I have some friends that make only complain all the time and I still like them.

Why such a downer of a post opening? Because that's just how cool I am. Also, because of "my mountain." Recently I entered a hat design contest and part of the contest included telling about "my mountain" - something that I overcame or fought against in my life. Just as no one really likes a whiner, no one likes that person that's all "my life is amazing/perfect/no problems." And my life isn't like that anyway. But when I do think about the problems in my life and compare to the problems i…

Win a Hat!

Do you need a new hat for winter? Do you love neon yellow and dark gray? The correct answer to both questions is "Yes, please! How do I win?"

Let me know in the comments that you want to win the hat. Or, tweet at me @RodeoKnits.

I'm calling it White Lightning after a ski run at Timberline in Davis. I don't ski. I've tried skiing. It was a terrible mistake and I spent way too much time non-upright on skis so I finally just gave up and sat in the lodge. The lodge is my favorite part of skiing.

If anyone wants to go skiing this winter and wants someone to hang out in the lodge by the fire, drink hot cocoa, and watch all your stuff while you're shredding the hills (that's a thing, right), let me know! I always have a good book or knitting to take with me. And as quick as this hat was to knit, I could probably finish one before you make it back down the mountain the first time.

Saturday Hat Knitting

Doesn't it make total sense to knit a hat on a Saturday in August? I mean, of course!

The best thing about my new hat is I finished it in about 4 hours of very interrupted knitting time, probably 2 hours all put together. Tops. Yes, it's a bulky yarn but I love it. I know you want to see it. But first things first . . .  I've been putting in more time on the designing/submitting knitting patterns thing, which has taken a lot of free time. Oh, and reading. But knitting: swatching and sketching (I'm a terrible sketcher) and re-swatching takes a lot of time. Lots of ideas and then trashing those ideas and then pulling those ideas back out again. It seems I might be a little indecisive but that's my current process.
On the "submitting" front, I'll have some super-super-OMG-wowwowwow exciting news to announce in the future. I'm not sure when, but it's coming. And it's not one of those "I think I'll be able to say something exciting soo…

Provisional Cast On - Crochet

Happy Monday, knitters and knitter-wannabes!

Last week was one of the hottest on record (and, in other news, I definitely exaggerate when it comes to hot weather) and I had a week off from work. It was ........

I slept in and took naps. I went out to lunch. I enjoyed coffee in restaurants I never go to during the day because I'm usually in an office. I watched movies and read books. Oh, did I read books. Only three books, but it was great.

Side note, I recommend Where'd You Go, Bernadette: A Novel. Fantastic story.

I knitted a little; not as much as I'd like, but a little. I started a pair of socks using two skeins of Miss Bab's aptly named Yummy 2-ply fingering weight yarn, one in Coast (blue) and the other in Coral (self-explanatory). I used a short row toe and then one-row stripes alternating each color. In one week, I got past the short row heel and I'm working on the leg. So.... that's a thing.

I don't know about you but I find that I'l…

Knitting With: Linen

How about another "series" of topics? I use quotation marks because, historically, my series have mostly been one-offs. But I think I like this one.

I'm very much a knit-with-wool kinda guy. I generally even stay away from superwash wools. It's not because they're not good enough; lots of superwash wools are great. I think I've convinced myself that I can feel a difference in "regular" and superwash. I'm sure it's all in my head.

Recently, I've started swatching with non-wool yarns. No, don't even think about it. Still nothing "novelty." No fun furs or glitter-tastic or pom poms hanging off the strands. (If my project has beads, I've added each one individually myself. Sadistic.)

A few days ago, I cast on with Sparrow from Quince and Company, a sport weight 100% linen yarn. I don't hate it. Actually, I've enjoyed it. Granted, the swatch I'm working is mainly stockinette with only a stripe and a little textu…

The Vandalia Collection, in print

For the first time, I'm offering The Vandalia Collection in print! I know, I know, that sounds like I'm being exclusive and it's never been offered before. That's really just because it's so new and I'm finally pulling the trigger on the "book."

I'm using a service called MagCloud by HP. It allows print-on-demand. I can upload files, share the link and you, my dear friends and readers, can order your own copy or copies and they will be mailed directly to you. I'm new to supply side and, right now, this is my supply chain for providing print copies.

The Vandalia Collection is first and I'll be working on adding more individual patterns.

Of course, you can still get the patterns, even the whole e-book, on Ravelry.

I'm looking forward to hearing your feedback and seeing finished projects!

The Vandalia Collection: A collection of seven knitting patterns for scarves, shawl, cowl and lace poncho.

Mountaineer By Choice

In June 1989, my family packed up and moved from northeast Pennsylvania to West Virginia. I was 24 years younger than I am today -- I don't do that kind of math anymore -- and, to be perfectly honest, completely unhappy about moving to a new state, new town, new school.

To my parents' credit, they did everything they could to help me adjust to new things. Not quite a teenager (we didn't have things such as "tween" back then) is a terrible age for change. That first summer, my family was very close. Mom bought a season pass to the wave pool and I feel like we spent almost every day at the pool. We went to movies -- wasn't that the year of "The Little Mermaid"? -- and started making new friends.

Fast forward through the rest of middle school and high school. Does anyone really like those years? I mean, I guess someone does or they wouldn't happen. It's a conspiracy. Many of my best memories was exploring West Virginia. Our family spent a lot …

Brawley - a knitting class

One of my favorite things about knitting is how it's lead me to being a teacher. I really do love helping knitters advance and become more confident in their craft (or art, depends on your viewpoint). Each time I teach a class, I look for ways to pass along tips and tricks I've learned in my knitting career.

I also really like learning that a word has a more perfect meaning, like "career." For a long time, I thought "career" was a perfect synonym to "job" -- interchangeable. But the definition for "career" is so much more.
ca·reer /kəˈri(ə)r/ -- noun: An occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person's life and with opportunities for progress. I've been knitting, an associated with other yarn crafts, for a very long time -- more than significant -- and there is always opportunities for progress. And knitting has been something that I feel I've progressed and improved. It's made me more confident (okay, onl…

Cash and Bel Canto

An interesting thing happens when I give something away for free -- it almost hurts. I mean, not physically or even mentally. It hurts that I feel bad about giving. As you know, because you've read my previous posts or you and I have had the conversation in person, I'm experimenting with "pay if you want" for my current patterns for sale on Ravelry. Well, it's more of a barter system: you give me something in exchange for a knitting pattern. So far, two knitters have taken advantage of the system. And I'm thrilled.

But the human in me (yes, I'm human) has the gut reaction "oh crap, that was a missed sale." But was it? Kim and Teri -- thanks, ladies! -- both chose Market Shawl. I love that pattern; it's simple and looks great in a wide variety of yarns. Would they have spent money if I hadn't offered it for free or would they have just gone on to some other free pattern? I'm going to assume this is the only way the pattern would make …


No autographs, please! Put your flashbulb camera away. (Do people still use flashbulbs? Is that a thing? Am I saying it right?)

I recently spent a fun hour or two with local reporter and writer-extraordinaire Monica Orosz with Charleston Daily Mail and we talked about my knitting, where/how I learned, what my projects and designing ideas and processes are and where I'd like to see everything go. Yesterday, a wonderfully written article was published in the Daily Mail and, I gotta be honest, I'd kinda like to meet and knit with that guy from the article. He sounds like a heck of a lot of fun.

I'm definitely hiring Monica to write my biography if that's ever needed. (Monica, you have my permission to take all the poetic license you wish.)

I wasn't sure I'd like the attention (one very astute coworker theorized that, really, I probably don't want to be perceived as liking the attention), but it really wasn't bad. Of course, some good-natured teasing but al…

Celebrity Knitting

There seems to be a lot of "oh my gosh how awesome" any time a celebrity admits to grabbing sticks and string and finding inner peace through knitting. I mean, I love that knitting can grab headlines and if it takes celebrity to do it, so be it.

For me, though, I want to become a celebrity through knitting. Or, barring that, meet a celebrity. Y'know, become best friends, trade book suggestions (I think lately, I just want suggestions - I haven't ready much lately), go to dinner, share wine, etc. All the things we all want to do with famous people. (I promise I won't take any cell phone pictures.)

Master plan: knit something for a celebrity, they love it, we strike up an intellectual conversation, we become friends, I knit more things for them, happily ever after, yada yada yada.

Who would I knit for? And what would they get? Partial list begins...

Now . . . . . . .

James Franco: I was listening to a recent interview with James Franco (I wonder if I'll call hi…

Holiday Weekend

Guess what I did this weekend. Yes, I almost overdosed on a marathon of "Arrested Development." Except I didn't watch the much-anticipated new season on Netflix because I, ashamedly, had never seen any of the series. I started at the beginning and made it through the middle of Season Three by the time the holiday weekend ended. It's very funny and I approve. The family is terrible. I wonder what it says about me that most of the shows I like to watch are about terrible people/families. Oh well.

I also worked on the collection of knitting patterns called "The Vandalia Collection." They're all available online on Ravelry or on the blog page here. Making a foray (is that a word?) into long-format desktop publishing, I am combining all of the patterns into one book. It's 36 pages long and I've ordered one copy. (I know - one copy? Crazy!) I want to see what it's like before I think about ordering more. If anything, it's a good experiment to…

Follow Up: Pay If You Want