Thursday, January 30, 2014


I'm blocking a gauge swatch for a new project! Can anyone guess what it's going to be?

I won't really be able to get officially underway until I make another Tanya Cap (maybe to be renamed?) and get the pattern for that written, but once I math it out, I'll be ready to cast on hundreds of stitches!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

My Sunshine

Every year since I moved to Oregon, I've gotten to enjoy a unique meteorological phenomenon that I call, rather unoriginally, "February summer." For a week or two, or even three, every February, the sun comes out and temperatures soar well into the high 50's or 60's, until inevitably, the clouds, rain, and arctic chill come creeping back for another few months.  This year, it came a bit early, starting just after the new year, and as of yesterday, we've officially bid the teaser summer of 2014 farewell.

I got to take the photos of Chloe in her new blue sweater while the sunshine still lasted, and I was afraid that once the rain set in, it would be too late for a photo shoot of her in the fairisle bonnet I was test knitting, but it turns out my baby girl is a true Oregonian after all! We went out for a walk in the misty drizzle this morning, and I got some really great shots in the overcast light.

The pattern for this cap is by Nuria Pastor and will be available soon at

I also took the opportunity to snap some decent non-phone pics of the chunky billed cap I designed for Tanya. I'm nearly done writing the pattern out, but I'm going to have to knit another one before I can submit this pattern for testing, because I am going to need some good progress pics to illustrate some of the trickier construction points. I improvised some fairly non-standard  methods to get the look I wanted, and I think without photos, the pattern will make no sense to anyone who buys it. :P

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Giving Back

My test request filled up in less than 24 hours! So exciting to know that five people are currently knitting the sweater that I designed for Chloe. Exciting and nerve-wracking. There has already been a bit of confusion with my chart design.

One person is modding the sweater to be a standard length suitable for a boy, and I'm really looking forward to seeing how it works out for her and incorporating the mod as a length option in my pattern! Woot!

In the meantime, a lovely mom new to my playgroup circle has commissioned a chunky cabled billed cap, designed by yours truly. She's sent me some photos to give me an idea of what she's looking for that but the realization of her dream hat is entirely in my hands!  Any commission work is awesome, but when I get to design it myself and maybe even create a new, publishable pattern from it? Score!

shh... work in progress
Simultaneously, I've decided to throw my needles into the ring as a beta knitter myself, and I've volunteered to test knit a nerdy fairisle bonnet for another designer. Yes, it's a tad bit overwhelming to think of juggling it all, but hats are small projects and it's all just so thrilling - I feel like I've really taken the next big leap in my knitting career, from pattern-follower to pattern-maker. It's kind of a headrush.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Intro to Designing

Yeesh, I am terrible at blogging. Sorry. I have resolved to do better.

And I mean that! I made several resolutions this year in the general vein of most people's resolutions - stay fit, eat more veggies, etc. But two of my resolutions were specific to my knitterly self - challenges that seem daunting and even perhaps a little tedious, but which I believe will pay off in so many ways if I can really stick with them!

One - I will stop ignoring this blog. Its little bookmark toolbar button taunts me, but I so often feel that I have nothing interesting to contribute, and even if I do, I've already written it all on some project page on Ravelry, or gone into lengths on Facebook, and I don't want to hash it all over again. But I so admire and adore those women who have truly found their home in the loving, knitwear-ensconced arms of their blog readers. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee! Rachael Herron! Kim Werker! I know I can make this blog into something better. Something not utterly forgettable.

Two, and this is where the rewards involve actual money (needles crossed!), I will publish a pattern. An actual, original design by yours truly. I will be a real designer.  I have dreamed of designing for years but I'm such a neurotic perfectionist that I could never bring myself to actually ask for money for anything I'd just improvised.  But, I've been a stay-at-home-mom now for over a year and a half, and failing repeatedly at selling handknit sweaters and scarves and hats, not because they're bad but frankly because they'e too good, and therefore too expensive for anyone who might stumble across my dinky little Etsy shop.  If I can make a pattern, a pattern that people love and lust after and will happily pay even $5 for, the return on my time and labors will be SO much more.

For over a month now, I have been working on a sweater for my daughter, with the intention from the get-go that this would be my first non-free pattern published on Ravelry. I took extensive notes, charted like a woman possessed, and did ALL THE MATH. SO MUCH MATH. I finally finished the sweater - what was supposed to be a sweater dress but turned out merely tunic-length - this week, blocked it, and took the niblet out into the glorious Oregon January sunshine, and took nearly a hundred photos.

Meanwhile, I have spent hours and hours (I didn't even keep track of how many) writing the pattern to a publishable polish. Creating the charts in a spreadsheet, turning them into images that could be popped into the pattern document. Adding in the photos of niblet in her new sweater. And then EVEN MORE MATH to make a larger sized version, since I feel like a jerkface charging for a pattern that only comes in one size.

And now it's been put out there in my pattern testing group on Ravelry for beta knitting and initial feedback. I am so nervous it's making me kind of ill. What if everyone thinks my style of pattern writing is totally incomprehensible?! I've never written down knitting instructions for someone who didn't live inside my brain! If I have to scrap large parts of it because they just don't make sense to anyone not me, I think I may cry. Or vomit. We shall see.

On the other hand, maybe my testers will think my pattern is genius! They'll tell me its clarity is refreshing, its layout is stunning, its charts are works of graphical spreadsheet wizardry.

One can only hope.