Thursday, February 5, 2009

Some Socks Just Don't Want to Be Born

Yes, I admit it. I am now spending a lot of my precious knitting time reading pregnancy books and guides. But hey, childbirth is serious business and I am not going to take it lying on my back! (I crack myself up, bahdum ching!) But I am giving it my all to finish up a few more projects before my arduously  enjoyable stitching is constantly interrupted by the crying, er, um, cooing of babes.

As with most things in my life right now, even knitting has become a analogous with my journey through pregnancy. In quite a few books, I have come across the idea that babies are born when they are ready. That miracle of biochemistry, hormones, and infinite spiritual connection between mother and child prompts both bodies into the dance of labor (can't wait to go to that sock hop...).

I think of all my knitting projects as babies somehow. Some are born quickly and painlessly; some are the worst back labor you can ever imagine. And then there are some that just don't want to be born. A point in case: the black socks which weren't meant to be (at least for the moment).

First, I always cast on at least twice with every first sock. I don't know why, but I think it has to do with the fact that I just can't count. Then, I picked several different challenging patterns thinking that I might actually be up for some lacy action. Thought wrong on that and dropped far too many stitches to decipher in a haze of black fuzz. And reduced to the reality of only being able to do some kind of ribbing or basket weave pattern, I cast on again....six times. And then it dawned on me. These socks are simply not meant to be born right now. I guess that means I better start knitting a baby cardigan or some booties real soon.

Knit well and knit often.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

My Next Article in Knitting Magazine

So, if you don't flaunt you achievements on your blog, than why have one in the first place? I mean, that is what knit blogging is all about, right? So, I am plugging my new article which appears in this month's Knitting. 
The article is about how wool is processed from "Sheep to Skein" (also the article's title). I am really pleased with how it turned out. The editor commissioned the piece when I met with her at Twisted Thread at Ally Pally last October.

My next article was planned to run next month, but due to the abstract subject matter, I haven't yet been able to source enough high res images to support it. So the editor pulled it. Another baby not yet wanting to be born - but more on that topic tomorrow.
Keep your eyes peeled for the April issue, when my next article, "The Knitted Isles" is slated to appear!

Check out my writer's blog  for a link to the article, but go out there and buy a copy. There are some nice patterns again this month and another great feature about the up and coming knitwear designer, Louise Goldin.

Knit well and knit often.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Gone But Not Forgotten

Just as I did on my other blog, brittuniainmancunia, I have to apologize for a long blogging hiatus. My trip to the US all November, Germany for Christmas and Scotland for New Year gave me lots of time to knit, but not much desire to write. Oh yes, and there is the pregnancy which I can now tell you about since I am officially 'out'. Since inviting this little life force into my life, I have struggled to channel my creativity into my personal writing, and dare I say, into my knitting (for a while). But now I am back, not knitting quite nearly as much as I am writing now, but at least I have a few FOs and a debut feature magazine article to show for it!

Feast your eyes on my Keep Baby Warm Leggings , pattern courtesy of Chopped Tomatoes, which I originally came across while reading the CRAFT: rss feed. Machelle's lovely design uses sock yarn to create a lovely pair of adorable baby tights. I immediately recognized Kaffe Fasset's Color Landscape Sock Yarn from Regia in Machelle's picture and was delighted that I had a spare ball leftover from knitting my husband's gigantosocks in the colorway Caribbean. A little teddy bear offered to model them for us:

Mind you, the bear's legs may be as long as a baby's, but his fuzzy abdomen does not have the same proportions as one with a loaded diaper. I did add a bit more for the crotch than was called for in the pattern to accommodate bulky nappies.

I started knitting them for a friend's baby, but he was unfortunately born with club feet. This means he has to get new casts put on his little legs each week and will be too big to wear the leggings by the time he is out of the casts.

Another small FO I can share is the Shapes and Ladders neck warmer (designed by Sian Luyken) I made from some Let's Knit booklet I got for free when I bought the mag. It called for Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk which I also had left over from my lovely snoody shruggy thing I knit using Kim Hargreaves pattern Aimee. It really has been a month for knitting with leftovers. Gotta love stashbusters! I couldn't find a link, so if you are interested, check out Weekend Knits from Collins & Brown where the pattern originally appeared. I used the DK instead of the chunky (which is actually called for), so the neck warmer is snug to say the least. I want to give it another go, but double up on the yarn to yield something a little larger for big headed recipients. It just barely goes over mine now. It has several rows of wrapped stitches before being dropped when continuing in stockinette stitch. It is quite lovely despite the size issue.

My professional writing is really picking up speed. During my blog silence, I was actually working on 4 feature articles commissioned by Knitting , a magazine here in the UK. This month, my first feature appeared profiling the ceramic gallery/knit studio Fibre + Clay. In each of the next three months, I will have one feature article appearing in this magazine! I am so excited and satisfied that I have reached   one of my largest writing goals for 2008. Now for the New Year. I predict many baby knits and parenting blogs...

Knit well and knit often.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Home Sweet Home

I am back after a self-imposed, month-long blog silence. It has been a whirlwind and very productive on so many other horizons. Now I am gearing up for a long awaited and well deserved respite in Seattle with my family.

I went to the Knitting and Stitching Show in London where I met with Emma Kennedy, the editor of Knitting magazine. We discussed two features she had commissioned a week before and gave me another. So needless to say, I have been working under deadline for three stories and I am thrilled to be paid to write about something I love. The show itself  was also very exciting. I got a lot of new ideas for story pitches and for my book. I also got to speak with prolific author and designer Nicky Epstein.

London wasn't all professional success and shoulder-rubbing with knitting icons. No, I also spent a day going to the US Embassy to apply for an emergency passport. Then there was my walking excursion from Bloomsbury to South Kensington to visit the textile galleries of the Victoria and Albert Museum.

I also spent a good 12 days building a website on a citizen journalism site as an application for a craft blogging position. I haven't heard anything back from the judges, but I am not assuming anything. Fingers crossed something comes out of it. And if not, there are more opportunities to be had elsewhere.

On the knitting front, I have also accomplished quite a bit. Aimee, the beautiful Kim Hargreaves pattern, has yielded a stunning plum snood in Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk. I knit it in the round on a tip from a fellow Raveler and the decreases make a barely noticeable seam up both sides.

The 'snood' was a completely foreign concept to me, but leave it to British fashonistas to explain such things to us fashionably challenged Yanks. Apparently, its modern incarnation is my Aimee, but this link suggests the snood is actually a glorified hairnet. Regardless, it is so yummy and soft; it is the perfect holiday knit and I will be sporting it on Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. Feast your eyes!

I also finished Minty Fresh's Bainbridge Scarf which is quite a feat since I have frogged and restarted three times. The first time, I messed it up and couldn't bear it. The second time I nearly finished it, but then decided that tension squares and gauge checks aren't as bad as they seem because this project turned out a lot smaller than it seemed it should have. So I frogged again, wound the yarn around the back of a chair and let it stretch out and straighten. I took it back up 10 days ago and added 50% to the amount of stitches to be cast on. I think it will make a lovely Holiday gift, don't you?

I can hardly wait to go home to Seattle for the month. It is something I have been looking forward to for nearly a year and something I haven't been able to do since March. Hopefully I will have some finished objects to share with you from there. Lord knows I have packed enough projects!

Knit well and knit often!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I'm a Winner

I used to complain about what crappy luck I had. For most of my life, I have never won any raffle, drawing or contest unless I entered it on behalf of someone else (like when I was 10, I entered my brother's name into a draw for a massive lego set at the local McDummies and he still pulled the heads off and scalped my dolls!)

For some reason, my luck has changed. Maybe it is because I joined a giving campaign for the next month (check it out - it is a really cool project) or because I bought a special booklet of blank postcards and religiously send them to my one of my favorite knitmags.....

This month, I have been the lucky winner of not one but two drawings from Knitting magazine! I can hardly believe it! Feast your eyes on what I've won:

Yes, I have won knitlit author Debbie Macomber's latest book, Twenty Wishes, and a Twilley's Knitting Fun Kit (those are sprites in case you are wondering). Now, I have never been so inclined as to actually purchase knitlit for myself nor have I been possessed by the urge to knit sprites. But I guess there is a first time for everything.

One thing I find very interesting about all of this is the strange coincidence (which in my eyes ceases to remain coincidence and becomes rather an instance of synchronicity) that Debbie Macomber was born in the same small town in the armpit of Washington State as I was. Knitting, writing, Yakima...there is a connection here. I feel it.

Knit well and knit often. And leave Yakima as soon as possible after birth.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Reader Giveaway at on October 11, 2008

This is my second post on this fantastic site ! This time the ladies have developed a super clever scheme to create a monstrous portal to numerous crafty freebies. It is the perfect opportunity to win stuff and/or promote your blog or crafty business. To participate, you will need to do the following:

  • Have a blog (Wordpress, Typepad, Blogger, Moveable Type, Live Journal, or similar)
  • Have goodies to giveaway
  • Be willing to pay to send the said goodies to the winner
  • Go to the Crochet and Knit Giveaways website and post a link to their blog entry announcing the giveaway.
Further details can be found here . Now, off to figure out what I can part with from the ol' stash.

Knit well and knit often.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wasn't I Just Talking About Purging?

Wouldn't you know it. As soon as I get done reading and returning (or shelving) my stack of reading materials, I am suddenly flooded with more. I think there should be a 12-step program for this. I really do compulsively accumulate new reading materials. But hey, I guess it is an occupational and hobby hazard.

And this is the collateral damage:

  • KnitKnit by Sabrina Geschwandter (for my experimental side and the art historian in me)
  • Yarn Forward Summer 2008 Issue 6 (market research)
  • Craft: 07 and 08 (lovingly sent by Mimi in Yakima)
  • Knitting Rules by Stephanie Pearl McPhee (I need to laugh too sometimes)
  • The Knitting Answer Book by Margaret Radcliffe (Knitting Tote-Sized for Emergency Reference)
  • The Knitter's Handbook by Elenor Van Zandt (Yes, I am obsessed with reference materials. How did you know?)
The upside is that I now have a plethora of post fodder in reviews and such. In fact, there are only upsides: when I look at that stack next to my knitting bag, I know that I am home.