Monday, June 11, 2012

And we have a winner!

As knitters, aren't we all winners?

Congratulations Lindr!  I sent you an email with more details. (Hopefully you got it!) I also love MMario's work.  He designs such amazing shawls!

I think that all knitters (crocheters, crafters, artisans, etc.) are amazing and ingenious.  Being able to turn something as simple as string into something as complex as fabric still amazes me.  I'm surrounded by crafters (in person and online) that have their own unique style and way of producing their craft.  I think each and every one is brilliant for trying (whether or not they succeed (because I know that I have at least three things on my list of crafts that I just can't seem to get my brain, or hands, to do)).

As a thank you to everyone who entered (and those that just stopped by) I'm offering 10% off of your entire purchase of the patterns in my Ravelry store for the next week. Just use the coupon code:  contest110 

Eligible patterns include my latest release: the Quetzal Shawl.

If it wasn't for EZ, I may never have figured out how to purl continental style,
ETA: EEK! I made a mistake when making the coupon, so it may not of worked for some of you.  It should be working now.  I've pushed back the expiration date to June 25th.  Sorry for the confusion.

P.S. Coupon can only be used once.  Expires June 18, 2012 at 11:59 Eastern US time zone.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Amazing Ingenuity

The ingenuity of people never ceases to amaze me.  I love seeing the ways that knitters alter and change patterns to suit their own needs and sense of beauty.  I'm especially amazed when I see a knitter take a design and turn it into something completely different. 

For instance, meet the Omelet Sunbrella

wyvon54 altered the pattern for Omelet to make it into a parasol (being a girl of the deep south, I understand the need for sun protection and beauty that is represented by the parasol).  But how awesome is that name: Sunbrella.  I just want to keep saying it over and over (until it stops making sense, then pause, and start saying it again. (You may want to avoid me for a while.))

Incredibly ingenious is EvaWood's Omelet Tunic.

Seriously, she made a sweater out of Omelet!  And it turned out gorgeous.  It kinda makes me want to make one too (but you know my history with sweaters).  I love the way the edging looks around the bottom of the tunic.  It also kinda makes me want to design sweaters (but again, I'd have to knit them, and you know how that usually turns out... although if I made it sleeveless...)

On a different note, I have potentially exciting news.  I decided to have a contest.  When Omelet topped 3000 favorites on Ravelry I was super duper, oh my goodness, ridiculously, beside myself excited (I like to keep my excitement goals modest) and I want to share the excitement with a contest.  The prize includes: three skeins of Koigu KPM (100% Merino, 175yds (160m)/50g) 1043 colorway, a $5 coupon from GiGi's Etsy shop (Thanks GiGi!), and a couple of surprises. 

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post by June 10th telling me who your favorite ingenious knitter of all time is.  I will draw the winner's name and post it Monday the 11th.  Good luck!

Can I enter my own contest?

Monday, April 30, 2012

Lovely Lace Laundering

I'm sure I've made no secret of my love of knitting lace.  However, thanks to Pinterest, I've recently been reacquainted with my love of other lace (all things lace, really).  When my mom took me to look at fabric as  kid, I was always drawn to the lace, be it eyelet or Venice style lace.

So, while I was surfing Pinterest and looking at skirts (because I've recently developed a desire to wear a skirt occasionally (this is a shocker to those that see me regularly because I have only worn skirts outside my apartment maybe once or twice a year for the past ten years (and only when visiting GiGi (Dude, this is four nested parentheticals! Score!)))), I rediscovered lace (I think we've talked about this before).  Now I want to put lace on everything.  I'm not going to (I'm still not sure why not, but GiGi said no), but I've been drooling over it anyway (my poor keyboard).

As a result, I purchased a 2lb assorted grab bag of discontinued or remnant lace from LaceHeaven (Yes, that is where I want to go when I die, why do you ask?) (It was one of only three they were selling, but there are also a lot of lots of lace on Ebay.  Go look, I'll wait.  Nice, right?)  The only drawback to it being leftovers was that much of the lace was stained with age and needed to be laundered.  (Don't tell anyone, but my inner fiber geek said "yay!")

So for the past week, whenever I've had a spare moment, I've been washing lace.  I've mostly been using Oxyclean because it really does power out the stains. 

I'm including a short tutorial in case you also ever have to wash lace.

Note: You'll want to try this on a small piece before you do the entire amount to test how the lace will hold up to cleaning and if you like the final result.

How to launder lace (using Oxyclean)
1) Add Oxyclean to water.  I used 3/4 cup to 2 gallons of water.  Stir to dissolve completely.

2) Place lace into the water.  Stir again to thoroughly soak the lace in the solution.  It should get really sudsy.

3) Soak for one hour.  (I recommend knitting while you wait, but if you've got something else you need to do... I'm sorry.)  Check after an hour.  If the stains appear to be gone, continue with step 4, otherwise let it soak some more.  (If not all of the stains have been removed after a couple of hours of soaking, they may not be coming out.  I recommend dyeing.  It's also a great deal of fun, plus what are you going to do with all of that white lace.)

4) Rinse thoroughly. I soaked the lace in the bathroom sink, but then used the bathtub to rinse.

5) Wrap in a towel and squeeze to remove the excess water. 

6) Long strands can be placed on a hanger to dry, but I recommend placing any appliques on a flat surface to dry. (I used the cardboard cutting board that I block shawls on.)

7) It usually takes about 8-10 hours for them to dry completely (probably less, but I like to be sure it's completely dry).

8) Giggle happily and wrap yourself in the beautiful, clean lace while doing a happy dance.  (This step is optional, but I don't know how you'll avoid it.)

The difference between the clean and dirty lace is quite dramatic.

Now to put lace on everything (::whistles:: Here Winnie!),

P.S. Song of the week: Somebody that I used to know, Gotye.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Spring flowers

Spring is fully upon us.  Every time I walk anywhere in the city, I try to take the time to enjoy the beautiful flowers in bloom.  I recently got the to spend some time in the garden that surrounds the American Museum of Natural History. 

The sun was shining.

The flowers were beautiful.

I couldn't ask for a better place to knit.

(Madtosh lace in Fig held double.)

Happy Spring,

Monday, April 2, 2012

Crescent City Shawlette

I grew up in southeast Louisiana in a town close to New Orleans.  I've always loved the city for it's culture, music, and historic feel. (But sadly couldn't eat much of the food given that I'm allergic to seafood.) So when I decided to try my hand at designing a crescent shaped shawl I had to name it after the city that will always be close to my heart, the Crescent City.

Meet the Crescent City Shawlette.

Photos above from

It is being offered as a kit (!!!) in two colors: red (for red hot jazz) and blue (for rhythm and blues).  The pattern is also for sale on its own as a pdf.

It's worked with two strands held together, one strand of Gloss Fingering (red: Cranberry, blue: Winter Night) and one strand of Aloft (red: Cranberry, blue: Celestial.)  The Gloss gives it substance while the Aloft gives it a soft, lovely halo. 

The crescent shape helps it stay over the shoulders, so it won't keep slipping off when worn.  Plus I really love the little curl at the ends.

I made mine in Stroll Tonal Sock in Lullaby and Aloft in Fairy Tale.

Now if only I can keep GiGi from talking me out of it,

Monday, March 19, 2012

Purl oriented centered double decrease- tutorial

Recently, while designing a shawl, I realized that I needed a way to do a knit side oriented double decrease but from the purl side (the stitch is worked on the purl side, but the double decrease shows up on the knit side).  Happily, I found a blog with a fairly simple explanation (plus a great photo tutorial) of how to do this.  Yay!

For many knitters, this might be the end of it, but it got me to wondering.  How would a knitter do a double decrease that was purl side oriented?

While fleegle's trick is super cool, on the purl side it look like an elaborate right leaning decrease.  I (and possibly you) want to be able to make a double decrease that is centered on the purl side.  But, alas, google was not helpful.  A search yielded no useful results (if I missed a tutorial for this, please let me know.) 

The knitting nerd in me (and that's a large part of me) insisted that I figure it out.

It turns out to be fairly simple to do.  All you need to do is: p2tog, s1, psso

I found slipping the stitch over on the right needle to be a bit tricky, so I moved the the stitches onto the left needle for slipping.  The less tricky (for me at least) way is what I've included in the photo tutorial below.

PSO-CDD (in 4 easy-ish steps):

1) Purl two together.

2) Move stitch from right needle to left needle.

 3) Pass slipped stitch over.

4) Move stitch back onto right needle.

Purl side view:

Knit side view:

So simple, yet so complex looking (as is much of knitting).  I hope this has helped you in your search to become a more nerdy knitter.

Just me, huh?

P.S. I was pretty excited about my status as a nerdy knitter when I figured this out (even though I'm pretty sure that I'm not the only one who has).  So I texted TK and told her that I'd figured out how to do a purl side oriented centered double decrease.  A short time later I got a text in return that said, "Is it p2tog, s1, psso?"  Yep, ego deflated.  Tell me again why I hang out with such smart knitters?

Monday, March 5, 2012

The old becomes new again

I've recently been introduced to the time sink exciting possibilities of Pinterest.  If you're not on Pinterest, I'm sorry I did that to you.  If you are, how did you manage to pull yourself away long enough to come here? 

I've found a lot of recipes for making lotions and lip balms through Pinterest, but my time on the website has had an unexpected side effect.

I've fallen in love with shawls all over again.  Anyone who's met me in a knitting store (on the street, in class, at national entomology meetings) knows that I've had an obsession with shawls for several years now.  However, I realized this past week that while I love wearing them and designing them, I'd kind of stopped looking at them as the objects of beauty that they really are.  Instead, I see them as individual stitches on a large canvas.

But then I saw this picture.

And this one.

And this one.

All I can say is Wow! Oh, and you should totally google 'vintage lace shawls'.  I'll wait.

You probably noticed that they are not knitted shawls, but rather actual lace which is much more time consuming than knitting. (Or so I've heard.  I don't know anyone that makes non-knitted lace.  I consider this to be a serious gap in my crafting social calendar.)  But when I went back to Ravelry, I discovered that I had started seeing the lace again instead of just the stitches.  And fell in love all over again. 

I lost my heart to lace shawls (sorry, Hubbie),

P.S. If you decide to join Pinterest, there's a two to three day waiting period similar to what Ravelry had when they first started.  But don't say I didn't warn you.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Jenolan Shawl

GiGi recently pointed out to me that I had not yet blogged about the pattern that I released in December, the Jenolan Shawl.

I have to admit that it surprised me that I hadn't even mentioned it, but, as I explained to Gigi, there's been a lot of stuff going on around here.  What with visiting my sister-in-law, rollerblading, making lotion, and working on my dissertation, poor Jenolan fell to the way side.

She's a lovely winged shawl and (brace yourself!) it's not a triangle.  Except for the points made by the edging, Jenolan has a flat bottom in back. 

The winged shape keeps it draped nicely around the neck so that it doesn't slip off of the shoulders. 

The main body of the shawl is in stockinette leading down to a lacy bottom.  The pattern has two versions of the bottom lace edging.  Version A is simple enough for beginning knitters to challenge themselves.

And version B, with double yarnovers throughout, is complex enough to keep an experienced knitter interested. 

Jenolan is named after the Jenolan Caves in the Blue mountains of Australia.  The lace is meant to resemble the limestone formations that help make these caves so beautiful.  Hopefully, it does them justice.

Not that I'm much of a spelunker,

P.S. Version A is knit in Knit Picks Swish DK in Indigo Heather.  Version B is knit in Knit Picks Capra in Regal.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sitting on dogs

Okay, so there is no actual sitting on dogs involved with dog sitting; however, the dog Hubbie and I are watching this weekend is the size of a pony, so I think a jockey could comfortably sit on her.

You may remember Bella from the last visit to my sister in law's house.Going to my SIL's house is great for many reasons. When they're here, we get to relax and spend time with family. When they're not here, we get to go wild… and sleep all day and watch tv. Oh, and we occasionally rollerblade in her huge-mongous basement.

In addition to all of the sitting around (and rolling around) this weekend,  I learned a new craft.  I may not have mentioned this in the past, but before I discovered knitting I was a flighty hobbyist. I would stick with a hobby for a few months, and then move on to something else. They were all perfectly good hobbies, but none of them were "the one".  Then I met knitting. And we've been in a happy committed and mostly monogamous relationship for several years now. I'll admit it, I am sometimes led astray by the allure of beading. After all, a girl needs sparkly stitch markers. 

The new  craft I learned this weekend was how to make lotion and lip balm. (Don't worry, Knitting, you know I'll always come back.)  It's surprisingly easy, quick and fun.

As is evidenced by the 28 tubs of lip balm, and three tubs of body lotion that I made (some are already in use, so they didn't make it into the picture.). The hardest part was waiting for them to solidify so I could use them.

Oh, and the sore lips from trying on six varieties of lip balm in an hour,

Monday, February 13, 2012

Liana Shawlette

This past Friday Knit Picks highlighted one of my designs as their Friday Freebie.  The Liana Shawlette is named after woody vines found in the tropics.  The lace in the edging mimics these vines as the grow throughout the forest.

It combines a self striping yarn for the body (Knit Picks Chroma in Prism) with a solid (and in this case sparkly) yarn for the edging (Knit Picks Glimmer in Potion). 

It would look great with any variegated main color for the stockinette body and a solid contrast color for the lacy edge. 

It is a winged shawlette which means that it will stay on the shoulders and wraps nicely around the neck for warmth.  The pattern can be downloaded for free online here.

And those of us that don't live in the tropics need all of the warmth we can get,

Friday, February 10, 2012

Wear a Shawl day

Tomorrow is the first ever official Wear A Shawl day.  There's a Ravelry group that's trying to make the 11th of every month a day when shawl wearers can throw off the concern of the " only old ladies wear shawls" stereotype and wear their shawls proudly, be they 8 years old or 80.

I was born for this day!  In honor of such an auspicious occasion, I present to you examples of different ways you can wear a shawl.

The Across The Shoulder (Traditional) Way: This way lets all of the people behind you see how pretty your shawl is, plus it keep your back and shoulders nice and toasty.

The Keep One Shoulder Warm While You Stare At The River Way: Similar to wearing a silk scarf, this way let's you enjoy your shawl, but keeps you from getting too warm.  (I recommend a lovely shawl pin to hold the two sides together and keep it from becoming the If This Thing Falls Off One More Time... Way of wearing a shawl.)

The As A Scarf With The Point In Front Way: This is my favorite way to wear my shawls.  It keeps my chest nice and toasty and can be worn under a coat.  (Plus it doubles nicely as a bib in a pinch.  Not that I would ever do that.  ::whistles innocently::)

The As A Scarf Way: This way works best with rectangular wraps, but will also work with long thin triangles. 

And if you love your shawls, but don't want to wear them on your body (sometimes it's just to hot.  Crazy, I know!) you can have your furniture wear them.  I haven't met a chair yet that would object to being draped in lovely yarny goodness.

You can also drape your pets in shawls, but keep in mind not all pets will wear shawls. They may not be as open minded as Winnie.

winnie scarf

So wear your shawls tomorrow (and every day) and know that there are lots of other people out there wearing shawls too.  And none of us are "old ladies" no matter how old we may be.

Happy Wear A Shawl Day,