Life With Yarn

Archive for the ‘own designs’ Category

Where did the time go? One moment I was thinking about Christmas and the next, we were throwing out the wrapping paper and recycling the boxes. On the plus side, I finished my present knitting with a week to go so there was no last-minute Christmas Eve frantic knitting as with previous years. Instead I spent Christmas and the early part of this year working on a lovely laceweight cardigan designed by the very talented Ashley Knowlton. It is beautiful and will look great with spring and summer dressed – assuming we get a summer of course!

I’ve also been working on some designs including a shawl that I hope to release in the next couple of months. I’m currently knitting a bag and doodling around with a cardigan idea and a jumper for next winter.

As for resolutions; well, I’d like to be a lot better at updating this blog for a start but crafty related, I’d of course love to have some/a pattern published and I’d also like to learn to spin after a very kind person on Ravelry gifted me a drop spindle and some fleece. I also really want to start to dye more yarn myself – I dyed the yarn for my sister’s cardigan and enjoyed it so would definitely like to do some more.

So that’s me. I hope you had a lovely end of 2012 and that 2013 brings you plenty of happiness.

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The nights are drawing in and the wind is blowing, which makes it perfect knitting weather. I’m not sure, being in the UK, if there is ever not perfect knitting weather – certainly our summers don’t get so hot that I can’t knit – but the change in the air definitely means autumn is settling in and winter will not be long in arriving. We’re now past the start of term, routines are established in the house again and things are calm – my daughters’ birthdays are both gone and we’re not quite at the hustle and bustle of the start of Christmas, although it’s definitely on my mind right now.

And, as always, the needles have been clicking madly. I’ve worked on a couple of commissions:

and have another pair of booties to finish up over the weekend. I’ve also been working on finishing a shawl for myself and some Christmas gifts. I also still have pattern writing and a couple of swatches to work through in the next couple of weeks for a magazine submission. There definitely doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day! I totally admire full-time designers – I love the design process but when it comes to actually typing the pattern up, I am not nearly disciplined enough and easily distracted. I do wonder though, if they have to just knit for themselves or friends/family? I keep living in hope that once the youngest starts at preschool next September, and school the year after (eek!), if that will mean I can get more stuff done. I’d like to think so but somehow, I doubt it!

I love September. It’s so much more the start of new things, for me, than January 1st ever will be. There’s that back to school feeling and a need to buy stationery – which I’ve so far resisted but only because I am so busy right now that wandering aimlessly round Paperchase going ‘Oh, pretty, must have’ is a disappointingly low priority right now.

But it is a new term, a new start and my eldest has gone back to school and celebrated her 6th birthday in the last week. Now her birthday is out of the way, I can officially starting thinking about Christmas. I know I’ve said in at least my last 2 posts that I’m starting the Christmas knitting but, to be honest, I’ve failed miserably at starting it. I made one quick gift a couple of months ago and I have (finally) finished this:

It’s a Christmas stocking for my youngest. My mum made me and my siblings one when we were little and so I’ve taken my stocking and written a pattern from it (she made it up as she went) and added a new picture to it. This is the one pattern I currently have for sale of Ravelry as well. So now both girls have stockings for Father Christmas to fill with goodies in December.

So the intention to start the gift knitting has definitely been there – I’ve balled up the yarn for my sister’s cardigan and I’ve cast on and knit one leg of a giraffe toy for the youngest (my first ever attempt at toy knitting as well). But then things went a bit out the window. I’ve completed a couple of baby shoe commissions, have a 3rd lined up and am also halfway through a pair of baffies/slippers for another friend and probably have a couple of baby blankets to do as well. This is just as I was beginning to think that the commission knitting was maybe something I’d do later and I was going to focus on some new designs first. I have a pair of gloves designed and knitted, just need to write that pattern up and see about getting it tested. I also need to consider whether to add the baby blanket pattern that I made for my nephew. I want to but there’s a couple of kinks in it – not least being I knit mine in discontinued yarn so I need to see how it would turn out in other yarns. At some point I also want to revisit the skirt that I made for my eldest and see if I can make a couple of changes to it to improve it.

In the meantime, I shall enjoy the last whirl of summer before the autumnal weather arrives.

So the Ravellenics are over and how did I do? I listed 5 projects to complete over the 16 days – 2 shawls, dye some yarn, frog a cardigan and complete a work in progress. I think we can call it a 50% success rate. I completed one shawl, the lovely Monica by the Fickleknitter

I also managed to frog a cardigan I made last summer – the pattern is lovely but the yarn is, I feel, too thick (DK instead of 4ply) and jjust not suited to the pattern. I intend to reknit the pattern in a lighter yarn at some point, although I have no idea what I’ll do with the reclaimed yarn yet.

I dyed the yarn for my sister’s Christmas present. This was lots of fun, I really enjoyed doing it and will definitely be dyeing more of my own yarn for my use. I dyed 5 skeins in total – the first 2 I did in the same pot because I thought there’d be enough room but unfortunately, there wasn’t and so the yarn has some undyed patches on it:

It’s all a learning curve, right? Anyway, I have some nice blue or purple dye to overdye it with at some point which I’ll then use for socks. So after that, I tried again with 3 more skeins, separately this time and these are the results:

Much better and my sister likes the colour so I need to get started on knitting with it in the next month.

The wip was picked up again and since the end of the games, I’ve worked on it some more. It remains unfinished but it is out and being slowly worked on, so it wasn’t a total washout. It needs to be finished by December 24th this year – whilst Eloise was only 16mths last year and not really into Christmas, at 28mths this year, I think she will be and as she likes having everything the same as her big sister, the stocking needs to be finished. The final shawl I planned to knit was completed after the games ended and looks fab:

This was my first time adding beads using a crochet hook (as demonstrated by the talented YarnAddict at Woolfest this year). It was so straightforward, no more hours of threading beads onto yarn for me any more!

I’ve also had a week away this month in Windermere with my husband and two girls. The weather wasn’t great all the time but we had a few lovely days out dodging the showers. Whilst there, I worked on 3 different projects: another shawl (which I would have finished but I ran out of yarn just before the end. Luckily I seem to have tracked down some more so it should be finished next month); a scarf for me for winter in a lovely orange/yellow colour – perfect for brightening up those long winter days; and my sock yarn blanket which is a continual WIP and perfect car knitting.

I also heard back about my submitted design to the magazine. It wasn’t chosen this time, but it was my first time ever doing a submission so I’m not too upset about that. I have since reworked it slightly and am currently halfway through test knitting it myself. Hopefully I can complete that next week when school & my childminder restart and get the pattern up soon after.

In the meantime, I have a couple of new ideas swirling round my head, partially inspired by our holiday in the Lakes, and I have a large amount of knitting to do for Christmas gifts. Somehow, I have yet again failed to be more organised and start earlier. Expect sore hands and not much sleep by mid December.

So it is another WIP Wednesday. There’s not actually a lot on the needles right now, I am working on a shawl by YarnAddict, Anniken Allis which is one of my Ravellenic Games projects. So far, as part of the Ravellenic Games, I’ve completed this shawl byMichelle Miller, the Fickleknitter:

 

I still need to complete Eloise’s Christmas stocking and dye some wool, but there’s still a few more days to go. At least the weather is good so I should be able to dye the wool today or tomorrow and get it dried.

I’ve also been busy with other things. I posted my nephew’s present, so can now post a pic here. I made this blanket:

I’ve also submitted a proposal for my first magazine design. This is more nerve wracking than I thought it would be but also quite exciting. I will hear, one way or the other, by the end of the month and if it doesn’t get accepted, will probably release the pattern anyway. This is the first time I’ve designed something without it being for family or friends, the first time I’ve not been meeting a need for a particular item. It comes on the back of a little disappointment with the skirt I made for Zoe. I’ve tried and failed to get it test knit on Ravelry so for now it is going on the back burner. I don’t feel happy releasing a pattern that has not been knit at least once in every size and, to be honest, I was never quite 100% happy with it myself. I plan to redesign it slightly and then try again, but it’ll be in a couple of months now as the start of August also signals, to me at least, time to get on with present knitting. I have my list, I now need to get started. Hopefully this level of forward planning will mean I am not still knitting crazily on Christmas Eve, with sore hands, and my husband should get his knitted gift on Christmas Day, rather than always being the one who has to wait until a couple of days later. That’s the plan anyway, but we shall see if it actually happens!

Last Friday, my brother and sister-in-law made me an aunt for the first time. I have 2 children of my own, but being an aunt is still quite exciting – a new baby to cuddle and welcome into the family but I don’t lose any more sleep (because I already get precious little with my own children). Of course, new baby also means new knitting, so even though I was half way through Rock Island and almost finished a cardigan for my eldest, I still had the overwhelming urge to cast on something else.

I did manage to hold back on a proper cast on for a couple of days whilst I swatched a new idea and finished the cardigan. I then had to buy some more yarn (any excuse, some may say) so that I could make what I wanted for my new nephew. I’m knitting a blanket for him, and will show a little pic:

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This is going to be the centre square of the blanket, with a border going around the outside. I’ve been trying out a couple of ideas for a modular type construction – I really hate sewing things up, so I try to do as little as possible. I think I’ve got it figured out now and will be starting on the rest of the blanket tonight. It’s knit in Rowan Calmer, which I love as a yarn – cotton and acrylic mix and just so, so soft. I used the same yarn (but in a dark purple) to knit a dress to wear to my brother’s wedding last summer. It’s a real shame it’s been discontinued and I find hard to resist buying it when I see it somewhere.

I’ve also finished my Rock Island shawl, I need to block that this weekend. It’s lovely even in its unblocked state, so I’m really looking forward to seeing how great it looks with the lace opened up. I’ve also made a start on my first pair of baffies – pink and white candy stripes. These are slippers made by a friend’s gran and very popular among one group of friends. I’m following a loose pattern to see how they look but will probably try and adapt it somewhat to be more sock-like in construction, which will also mean less sewing up (did I mention how much I hate sewing up?)

School holidays start tomorrow and I have a non-knitting work project that started (slowly) this week and which will be building up in the next few week. Not great timing, but there we go. I’ve also started a lace shawl design online class with Miriam Felton through Craftsy. I don’t know if I’ll get much time to progress through the class in the next few weeks, but what I’ve done so far has been really interesting and I’ve been flipping through my stitch dictionaries to get some ideas for stitches.

I finally have photos of the new skirt!

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So with the photos, I had no real excuse to delay the pattern writing and grading part of it all. This is the first time I’ve ever done a garment and graded it, so Sunday afternoon was a steep learning curve. The first thing I learned was that my daughter is an odd size, so my sample/her skirt didn’t fit neatly into one size, so I had to work out the numbers for all three sizes. It took a couple of hours and a little bit of muttering, but it is finally done. I need to type it all up this week and then see about getting it tested.

I do find myself nervous about this pattern, far more than the others I’ve done so far. I wouldn’t go anywhere near calling myself a designer right now – I’ve released one paid for pattern (a personalised Christmas stocking) and 2 freebies on Ravelry. The freebies are fairly straightforward patterns and that makes them safe, in some strange way. But the skirt is something I came up with for my daughter. She loves it, but, to be honest, it’s pink and she’s 5, it was always going to work. It’s whether other people will love it enough to knit it that has me stressed. I always wanted to be a fashion designer as a child, right up until my A-level art teacher told me I wasn’t unique enough and didn’t dress uniquely enough to be any kind of designer. Nice dream-crushing, right? I guess it comes down to that.

In the meantime, socks are still flying off the needles. Another pair finished yesterday, another one should be finished by Wednesday night at the latest. Then it’s more socks and then I’m going to start thinking about *whispers* Christmas knitting.


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