Monday, October 31, 2011

Hallowe'en 2011

Happy Hallowe'en from me and my 21-month-old-grandson, Braydon (aka Elmo).


At first Braydon wanted nothing to do with his Elmo costume but was okay with it once he got it on.


He wasn't sure what all this Hallowe'en stuff was about.  However, once he realized that people were putting things into his little bucket, he was anxious to visit every door.  He's not interested in the candy (unlike his grandma!) but liked all the little packages he received.


Braydon had fun visiting the houses in his neighborhood with his Mom, Jessica and Dad, Drew (behind the camera).  Grandma handed out candy at the house.

"Look for me again next year."

Saturday, October 29, 2011

In Memory of Duane Allman...

...who died 40 years ago today.  Thank goodness for the music we have, and, oh, the music we have missed.  Listen to this amazing performance at the Fillmore East in New York City when he was only 23 years old. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Jigsaw Afghan - 40%

My Jigsaw Afghan is now approximately 40% complete.  I've done 104 blocks of the 247, eight strips of the nineteen total.  I'm very happy with the way it's turning out.  The more I knit, the more of it looks like a jigsaw puzzle.


I'm setting it aside for a short while in favor of finishing a couple of small projects.  The red socks have been waiting patiently for such a long time and I'd like to finish them.  Then I can knit the bread basket liner that caught my eye on the Rainey Sisters' blog (yarn arrived in the mail yesterday!).  Also, I want work on the Effortless Cardigan now that the battle with the swatch has ended.

The Jigsaw Afghan will not become a UFO (unfinished object), however.  I get a rush from finishing projects and I'm looking forward to getting back to it, soon.  I just have so many things that I want to knit (and the designing bug is hitting me again), but I also want to see the projects when they are completely done.  Finishing can be as addictive for me as starting something new.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I'm Such A Lemming

This is Stonechat:


This is also a Stonechat:


The former is the Malabrigo sock yarn that I'm going to be using to make the Rainey Sisters' Bijoux Beaded Gloves.  The latter is a pretty African bird.

My friend, Sheila, is the enabler in this gloves project.  She and I and Pam S. will be making the gloves.  I have to admit that the gloves are lovely and I'm now living in a place where gloves are much more than a fashion statement.  They are a downright necessity.    I won't be starting immediately, but it would be nice to have them before it gets too cold. 

I'll need to find a good source of beads.  I've been all over the city checking out the local yarn shops.  Now, I'll have to see what it has to offer in the way of beads, assuming, of course, that I decide to add the beads.

Oh, the list of projects continues to grow.  I'm such a lemming, following my friends...and I wouldn't change it for the world!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Knitiffi

I just found the website, Knitiffi, via Jean Moss' blog.  Check out the yarn-bombed boat!

What a LOT of yarn and work. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pudding Yarn

I've now visited all the yarn stores in the Calgary area, all that I'm aware of at any rate. If I've missed any, please let me know. The latest one I visited was Pudding Yarn. I went there a few years ago on a visit to Calgary, so this was actually a re-visit.


The store is small, but obviously popular judging by the number of people who were shopping.  There was much more yarn than I remembered from my first time there, filling the shelves and spilling out. A great deal of it is from my favorite company, Rowan. This alone gives me a great reason to visit again.  Now I now where to go for my Rowan fix!  One small ball (25 g) of Rowan Fine Tweed followed me home.  It reminds me of some of Rowan's early yarns that I liked so much.  This ball, a deep red color (#369, Bainbridge) is just for swatching.  I have no doubt that one day I'll use this yarn for a project... in the distant future.


One of the things that I like about Canadian yarn stores is the availability of straight knitting needles.  I prefer straights most of the time, depending on the project, of course.


Other than the small ball of yarn, one other item came home with me, a Peep Sheep rubber coaster from Herdy.  Isn't it cute?  Now tell me, how was I supposed to resist?  It was difficult enough trying to decide on the color.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Non Compus Mentus

An update to the update:

The swatches have relaxed overnight, more than I have, I might add.  The last swatch on size 6 needles is too small.  The one on size 7s is now just about right.  It's off by a hair.  I need size 6.9 needles, I guess.  I'm going to go forward today and cast on with the 7s.  Let's hope that the knitting gods are with me!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

TGIS

I'm a little baffled about the yarn for the Effortless Cardigan.  The suggested yarn is Tosh DK.  DK knits up to around 5.5 stitches/inch on US 6 needles.  However, the pattern gauge is 19 sts = 4 inches on size 9 needles.  Normally you would get that gauge with a worsted yarn on size 7 or 8 needles. 

Something just didn't compute.

I was doubtful, but decided to make the swatch with the pattern suggestions and see what I'd get.  I didn't even measure my swatch, nor did I finish it.  I'd only done a little and it was obvious that it was going to be much bigger than 4 inches, and the fabric was very loose and unappealing.

On the pattern page the suggestion is made to use a worsted weight yarn if you are substituing. 

My next guage swatch was done on size 8s, which was still too loose and big.  Then I tried size 7 and it appeared to be right, that is, until I washed it. - a gentle soaking in Euclan.  As you can see, my swatch grew and it's still too large.  The resulting fabric is improving, however.


So, three swatches have been made.  Now, onto swatch number four on size 6 needles.  I wonder if it will be the last one or will I have to go on to try size 5s?

Updated later in the day:  It looks like I'll be using size 6 needles.  The swatch tells me that it's the right choice.  I hope so.  Swatches are notorious liars!

One other thing.  I know that monitors show colors differently, but I'm guessing that almost every one will show my swatch as beige, with perhaps a hint of a pink tone.  The shade is "gossamer".  Apparently the picture of the sweater on the pattern is gossamer.  It looks blue/gray to me.  I wrote to the people at Madeline Tosh and they said that gossamer is beige.  Again, something seems a bit off, but the gossamer I received is nice, so I won't complain.  It just leaves me a bit curious.

TGIS = Thank Goodness I Swatched!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Eye Candy Friday

Last weekend we went to the Calgary corn maze, petting zoo, pumpkin patch.  My 20-month old grandson, Braydon, had a good time.  Here he is becoming acquainted with a sheep.  He already says "Grandma knit".  Is he getting a good education or what?


I wonder if he wants to learn to knit someday?  If he does, I know just the person who can teach him!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook

I'm indebted to Deb Robson for two very special reasons.  First, she introduced me to the music of Playing For Change.  I've been to two of their concerts and bought the CDs and DVDs.  Playing For Change is now a favorite and I hope to be seeing them again before long.  You can see more about the group if you check out my blog post of October 13th

Now, I'm reading the book, The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook that she wrote with Carol Ekarius.  I followed Deb's blog and Tweets, reading about all the testing of the various fibers.  It sounded like a great deal of work. Now, in my hands, I have the result of that hard work and I'm totally blown away.


I'm not a spinner and I know very little about where my yarn comes from.  I get my yarn in a store all nicely prepared and labelled, ready for knitting.  I know that merino yarn is soft, that qiviut comes from the muskox and some of it's fabulous qualities.  However, now I'm learning so much more.  I've never seen a book quite like this one.  I'd say that this book is a textbook, educating the reader about the fibers of animals such as sheep, goats, bison, yaks and so much more.  But, textbooks are generally rather dry and boring and this one is definitely not boring.  There are loads of pictures of the animal, the fleece in its raw and cleaned state, the yarn and a sample of what it looks like when it's been woven and/or knitted.

As a person who likes geography I like the maps inside the front and back covers and that the various animals are sorted into regions. I'd never heard of an ouessant before and now I know where it comes from, what it looks like and about its fleece.

I'm enjoying my education.  I'm so glad that the ladies wrote this book and that it's now an essential part of my knitting library.  This is the go-to book if I want to know about a specific breed.  I now have a much better appreciation for the yarns in my stash. 
sThanks Deb and Carol.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Rule of Four - 10/2011

Here is my Rule of Four, which I've mentioned before.
  • I can only work on four knitting projects at a time, no matter how many I want to knit or how many are in my stash.
  • In order to move onto a new project I have to finish one of the four, opening up a slot.
Sometimes I fall off the Rules bandwagon, but currently I'm being good about it. 

My current projects are:

Red socks:  These were started some months ago and meant to be part of Project Spectrum.  However, because of my move and other distractions I set them aside.  One sock is finished and the cuff of the second one is done.  I plan to finish these as quickly as possible to open up a needed slot for a stealth project.  The yarn is Schachenmayr Nomotta Regia Line Steps Color #5372.


Jigsaw Afghan:  I made this pattern, inspired by a quilt that I saw online.  I thought that others might like to join me and knit along so I started a group on Ravelry.  There are approximately (it varies day to day) 168 people who joined the group and I'm looking forward to seeing other's versions of this blanket.  My plan is to have it done within the next month, again to make room for another project.  This is my main focus at the moment.


Damson Shawl:  I started this beautiful shawl by Ysolda Teague approximately a month ago and set it aside because I'm hosting the Jigsaw Puzzle afghan knitalong.  The yarn, Madeline Tosh Merino Light, was given to me by a good friend.  I'm looking forward to returning to it.


Effortless Cardigan:  This was originally going to be a Christmas gift for my daughter, Jessica.  She saw a similar sweater in a store but had issues with the color and size.  It was very similar to the Effortless Cardigan by Hannah Fettig and she said that she'd liked it when I showed her the picture.  The yarn, again by Madeline Tosh (Tosh DK) was ordered and has arrived and one ball has been wound into a ball.  I had planned to knit the swatch last weekend, but again, there's that Jigsaw Afghan project distracting me.  Now that she knows about the sweater it's no longer a Christmas gift.  I'll give it to her when it's ready and hopefully that won't take too long.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Knitting Room

A couple of weeks ago I visited one more yarn shop, The Knitting Room.  I think that I've now been to all the local stores.  Of course, I'll have to revisit Pudding as it's been a few years since I've been there.


As you can see, The Knitting Room is a very well-stocked shop.  I was greeted by the charming manager, Marnie, whose love of knitting was obvious. 


My only problem with the shop was finding it.  I put the address into my GPS and headed out.  The voice told me that I'd reached my destination but I was in the middle of a highway.  The store is actually a little bit away from the highway, closer to Varsity Estates than Crowchild Trail.


I was very taken with the pullover that you can see on the wall (below), the off-white one with the circular yoke.  Since I have so many projects planned already I resisted the temptation to buy the yarn.  I did, however, buy the pattern, Turia, knit in Berroco Lindsey yarn.  If I ever make the sweater, I'll lengthen the sleeves.


With all of these excellent stores in Calgary, Cochrane and Canmore, I'll be well-supplied for the future, and well-tempted, without a doubt. 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Jigsaw Afghan - The Border

This is the method I plan to use for my border.  You will also need 4 stitch markers.  One of them should be distinctively different from the other three.

If you cast on/started with 40 stitches for each of your squares, pick up and knit 20 stitches along each of your blocks starting on one of the short sides of the afghan.  If you started with a different number, then use half of that number. 

I will be picking up 20 stitches along the edge of each block.  There are 13 blocks.  Therefore, I am picking up 260 stitches total along the short edge.  Place a marker.

Now, pick up and knit along the long edge:  20 stitches x 19 blocks equals 380 stitches.  Place a marker.

Pick up and knit 260 stitches along the remaining short edge.  Place a marker.

Pick up and knit 380 stitches along the remaining long ege.  Place the marker that is distinctively different here.  This is the beginning/end of your round.

Total:  1280 stitches.  Yes, I know.  It's a lot of stitches.  I'm okay with that.

Proceed:

Round 1:  M1R (make 1 stitch leaning to the right) http://youtu.be/IlPQBhZ31B4, then knit to the marker, M1L (make 1 stitch learning to the left).  Slip the marker.  Repeat to end of the round.

Round 2:  Purl all the stitches, slipping the marker when you come to it.

Repeat Rounds 1 and 2 until the border is the width you'd like.  End with a Round 1.  Bind off loosely.  You can bind off in knit or purl, your choice.

If you'd like your garter stitch border to be striped, change colors whenever you like, but always on Round 1.


When it comes to the border, you have lots of options. Here are just a few other suggestions:
  • I-cord:  http://youtu.be/jcGj6tpqeJA  You can knit an I-cord and then sew it around the outside of the afghan, easing it around the corners. 
  • Attached I-cord:  http://youtu.be/H0PILVw6eO8  or http://www.purlbee.com/attached-i-cord-tutorial/  You can find other tutorials for I-cord and attached I-cord by searching online or in some knitting books.
  • You might like to add a lace border.  Many designs can be found in stitch dictionaries.  You can attach the border while you're knitting or knit it separately and sew it on.
  • If you know how to crochet, you can do a border using that method.  I don't crochet but I understand that this method is quick and quite easy.
  • Some may like to add a fringe on one side, or all 4. 
  • Look in books such as Nicky Epstein's book about borders for ideas.
Once you have finished the border weave in the yarn ends and you're finished!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Jigsaw Afghan - 3.5 rows

I'm making progress on my Jigsaw afghan.  Block 6 on the fourth strip is now on my needles.  It's going pretty quickly and I'm weaving in the ends whenever I finish a square.


I'm using SandnesGarn Lanett which comes in a lot of colors.  I have more colors in my stash to choose from, but colors will be repeated.  So far I've used the following:

1. Light green #8913
2. Grey #1032
3. Royal blue #5836
4. Red #4119
5. Pale blue #5930
6. Teal #6855
7. Navy #5575
8. Orange #3309
9. Grape #4853
10. Black #1099

Now that I can see some of the puzzle pieces taking shape the afghan is becoming quite addictive.

Knitalong on Ravelry:  http://www.ravelry.com/groups/jigsaw-afghan  Why don't you join us? 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Musical Interlude

While I knit some blocks for the Jigsaw Afghan I'm listening to the Playing For Change CD.  I love the reason that PFC was formed and the music.  I've been lucky enough to see two of their performances and hope that I'll see them again before too long.

Enjoy the video.  Peace.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Paul Smith Cardigan - Finished

The Paul Smith cardigan is now finished and I can move onto my next sweater project, the Effortless Cardigan.  My much more slender daughter, Jessica agreed to model the finished cardigan for me.  It's too big on her as you can see, but she makes an excellent model.  I haven't tried it on yet, but if the sleeves are too long, as they appear to be on her, then it's easy enough to fold them back.  With 3 inches of ribbing on the cuffs it'll be fine.


THE DETAILS

Pattern: Free pattern from

Fingering Weight
Off-white 02, Black 03, Red 09, French navy 13, Moss green 14

Needles: 3.00mm & 3.25mm


Buttons:  I found some nice buttons at Gina Brown's in Calgary.  They are made by "Hello Beautiful Buttons" by Jones-Chu Designs.  As I'm writing this there are no buttons listed on her website. I'm not sure if they are porcelain or stone.  I suspect that they are made of porcelain.

Notes:

(1) I loved this yarn and plan to use it again.  I'll be making something in maroon, a color which is now, unfortunately, discontinued. 

(2) I followed most of the pattern as it was written, but I should have listened to my inner critic and changed the decreases at the neckline.  The way the pattern had you do the shaping meant that there were large holes, which I carefully closed after the sweater was finished.  I trusted the pattern since the rest of it was good.  I should have trusted my instincts.  I would make the top of the sleeves a bit less gathered as well.

(3)  The buttonholes, as written, are fine when worked on the ribbed sections.  However, they didn't look tidy on the stocking stitch part of the sweater, so I made a change:  I purled to the last 6 stitches, p2tog, yarn round needle, purl to the end.  

(4) There really aren't buttonhole and button bands but only a 2-stitch border on each side.  This isn't enough to make the edges lie flat.  I'm going to try to block the sweater again and keep my fingers crossed that the edges will be less curled under.

(5) I don't normally like a 3-inch ribbing on my sweaters but I did it on this one, just to have more variety in my wardrobe.

Update:  I just tried on the sweater and the sleeves are much too long, but it looks okay with the cuffs turned up. I'm not fond of the bit of gathering on at the top of the sleeves, but I don't hate it. All in all, it's an acceptable cardigan and will get lots of wear. Wearing it, it feels very good.  I don't think I'll be using this pattern again in the future, however, but I will use this yarn.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Wibble Wobble Scarf

I used to have a free scarf pattern on Ravelry, but I forgot about it.  This was years ago and I changed websites over time and the pattern was no longer accessible.  I thought I'd post it here, just in case you need a quick-knit project or something warm for the coming months.  The link on Ravelry brings you to the page you are on now.  I particularly like the version that my friend, Steve, made:  Ravelry link.


WIBBLE WOBBLE SCARF


Yarn: Any heavy worsted or bulky.  The original was knit using Teseo yarn by Cascade:  Fiber: 53% Wool/47% Micro Fiber.  Yardage: 50gram ball = 98 yards.  I think it's been discontinued, but any heavy yarn will work. Approximately 196 yards for short scarf, 294 yards for long scarf

Needles: US #10 / 6.00 mm

Gauge: 4 stitches =1 inch.  Exact gauge is not important.

Hint: In order to be able to distinguish the right side of the scarf from the wrong side, attach a pin or thread to the right side.

Method: Loosely cast on 23 stitches, or any odd number of stitches.

Work 20 rows in garter stitch (every row is knit).

Work 13 rows as follows:

Right side – (knit 1, purl 1), repeat to last stitch, knit 1

Wrong side – (purl 1, knit 1), repeat to last stitch, purl 1.

Repeat the garter and ribbing sections to desired length, ending with a garter stitch section.

Bind off loosely. Weave in ends. Wear and enjoy!

Note: Pattern is for personal use only and is not to be sold. Scarf is not to be knit for resale.

© JConklinDesigns, December 2007

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Jigsaw Afghan - Onward and Upward

Okay, by now you may have your first strip of blocks completed = 13 blocks, and you're ready to start the second strip.

For the first block on the right hand side you will cast on 20 stitches.  This is half of the total number that you need.  (Your personal number may be different if you made adjustments).

Then, with right side facing, pick up and knit 20 stitches along the top of the first block, the swatch block.


Turn.  With wrong side facing, slip first stitch purlwise, knit to the end of the row.

From here on you'll work the block the same as all the others.

Next block (strip 2, block 2)With right facing pick up and knit 20 stitches along left side of previous block and then 20 stitches across top of block below.  Turn.


With wrong side facing slip first stitch purlwise, knit across the row.  Turn.

Continue as with other blocks.

You know have the methods for all the blocks and can continue to the end of the nineteenth strip.

Weave in the ends.  On October 15th we'll talk about the border.

For questions and discussions, please visit our Ravelry group. If you find errors in this post, please email me at: joanne @ jconklin . com (remove the spaces) so I can correct them.
I hope you're having fun!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Eye Candy Friday - The Ducks

The ducks go marching one by one.... down to the pond.

Calgary Zoo, Saturday, September 24, 2011
They were totally oblivious to the people around them who stopped to watch and photograph the little procession. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Jigsaw Afghan - Color & Placement

How did you make out with your swatch?  Did you decide on your needle size, yarn and finished afghan size?

Now we get into the fun part, the knitting.  Below is a schematic of the entire afghan.  The dark lines are drawn around the various puzzle pieces.  The pieces are also numbered to help you to know what color to knit for each block.  For example, starting in the lower right-hand corner you'll see blocks #1.  They will all be knit in the same color.  In my case, these are green.

You can repeat the colors are often as you like.  You can make #1 to be green, and #28 can also be green.  The choice is totally yours.  If you're going to plan your colors, you can print the schematic (it's a .jpg) and color it in.  I'm doing mine randomly.  I have lots of colors and will just pick whichever one appeals to me to knit next.  Again, your choice.  No rules!

Click to enlarge.  Use your Back button to return here.
 You already have your first square finished.  Next up is another block in the same color (another #1). 

Orient the square so that the middle decrease line goes diagonally from the lower right to the upper left:
With the right side facing pick up and knit 20 stitches on the left side of the first block.  Note:  I cast on 40 stitches for my first block (the swatch) and this is half of that number.  If you cast on a different number of stitches, then you will be picking up half of your number.


Cast on 20 stitches (or half of your number).  There are 40 stitches on the needle (your total number of stitches).

Turn.  With the wrong side facing knit to the end of the row.  Do not slip the first stitch on this row only.

From here on you'll be making the square the same way that you did the swatch.

*Good news* - When you have completed your block, and if the next block to be worked is the same color, DO NOT BIND OFF.  Simply enlarge the loop (last stitch) and pass the entire ball of yarn through the loop and tighten.  You're now ready to pick up the stitches and you'll have 2 fewer ends to weave in!

Work the entire first row of the afghan.  Next up, on Sunday, I'll give you directions to continue onto the next row.  Then, you'll be able to complete the entire afghan, except for the border.

Here's my first row:


Questions?  Please go to the Ravelry group discussion board, click here.  If you find any errors in this post, please email me:  joanne @ jconklin . com (remove the spaces).

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Jigsaw Afghan - The Swatch

First I need to insert an appropriate swear word here.  I wrote a long blog post and lost it. (*&^%  Okay I feel better now.

First we will start off with a swatch, but don't worry, it's a small one and when you're happy with it you will have completed the first block of your afghan, lower right-hand corner.

YARN:  You can use any yarn.  I'm using fingering-weight (equal in thickness to sock yarn, baby yarn, Koigu, Knit Picks Palette, Shetland, etc.), SandnesGarn Lanett.  I have a lot of it on hand and it comes in a wide range of colors, but you can use whatever you like.  My final swatch was done on 2.75mm/US #2 needles.


You can also use heavier yarns such as sport, DK or worsted.  If so, then you'll need to use larger needles.  To find the appropriate size, refer to your yarn label.  It's a good starting point.

SIZE:  My swatch measured 2.75 inches square.  The afghan is 13 squares in width and 19 squares in length.  To figure out the finished size of the afghan I multiplied:

2.75 inches x 13 = 35.75 inches (width)

2.75 inches x 19 = 52.25 inches (length)

Add the width of the border to these numbers and you have the finished size of the afghan.  This is the formula. Change the highlighted numbers to suit your swatch.

If you want a larger afghan there are several things you can do:

-- Using a slightly larger needle, e.g. 3.25mm, will make each square slightly larger.  Just be sure that you are happy with the feel of the "fabric", that it's not too loose.

-- You can add more stitches as long as you start with an even number, and then follow the pattern as written. 

-- You can use a heavier yarn.  Just remember to use larger needles, ones that are appropriate to the yarn.  The instructions for the swatch are the same no matter what thickness of yarn you decide on.

-- If you are feeling adventurous, why not get out your graph paper and draw more puzzle pieces?  Use regular graph paper, not knitter's graph paper for this.  The puzzle piece blocks are square.

THE SWATCH:

These directions are what I used, but please, feel free to adjust them to whatever works for you.  You'll need yarn, needles, stitch marker and a small safety pin or thread.

Abbreviations:

st(s) - stitch(es)
k - knit
sl - slip knitwise
psso - pass the slip stitch over the knit stitch
k2tog - knit 2 stitches together

*HINT*:  I found it easiest to use short straight needles when working with so few stitches.  I used 2 double-pointed needles and put a stopper on the end of each.  VoilĂ , easy to manage 6-inch needles.

Loosely cast on 40 stitches.

Row 1 (right side): Slip first stitch purlwise, k17 (two sts before the center), sl 1, k1, psso, place marker, k2tog, knit to the end of the row.
Row 2 (wrong side):  Slip first stitch purlwise, knit to the end of the row.
Row 3:  Slip first stitch purlwise, knit to 2 sts before marker, sl 1, k1, psso, slip marker, k2tog, knit to the end of the row.

*HINT*:  Put a pin or a thread on the front of the swatch (see picture) so that you can distinguish the right side from the wrong side.

Repeat Rows 2 and 3 until 6 stitches remain, ending with a wrong side row (Row 2).

Next row:  Slip first stitch purlwise, sl 1, k1, psso, slip marker, k2tog, k1. (4 sts on needle)
Next row:  Slip first stitch purlwise, knit to the end.
Next row:  Sl 1, k1, psso, k2tog.  (2 sts on needle)
Next row:  Slip first stitch purlwise, k1. (»Edited to add this row - see explanation below)
Next row:  K2tog. Break yarn. Pass the tail of the yarn through the loop and tighten.

» Edit: This row was added to give you just a bit more room to pick up stitches along the edge when you get to second afghan strip and above. If you’ve already made squares without this added row, no problem. You can continue, going forward, adding them on your next blocks…no need to go back! This little addition is just to make things easier for you.

Do you like the feel of your swatch?  Is it the size that you want?  If so, then you've just completed your first block.  Tomorrow we'll talk about color and placement, and we'll be making more blocks.

For questions and discussions, please visit our Ravelry group.  If you find errors in this post, please email me at:   joanne @ jconklin . com  (remove the spaces)  so I can correct them.

Swatch on!!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

NKOTB and Vanilla Ice

An update to those of you who have written to me about my New Kids on the Block sweater and Vanilla Ice sweater.  I would reply to you personally but I either don't have your email address or it's on my desktop computer in storage (I'm still in the midst of my move from Colorado to Canada.  


To answer the questions I've been asked:
  • I no longer have these sweaters or the patterns but I could probably recreate them reasonably well, given time.  They wouldn't be exact copies but replicas of what I made around 20 years ago.
  • I could also be convinced to knit custom sweaters, but I have to tell you that it would not be an inexpensive endeavor.  Even the fastest knitter, making a plain sweater, will take a couple of weeks to knit a garment.  These sweaters would take longer due to the intricate color work.  Then, too, there is the cost of the yarn.
  • I could also be open to the idea of making the pattern available to knitters, but it would take time.  I need to get settled here in Calgary first.  There would have to be a sizable market for these sweaters to make it worth my while in terms of the time I'd need to design the sweaters again and write up the pattern.
There is also the issue of copyright infringement.  When I made the original sweaters I admit that I really wasn't aware of copyright.  It wasn't something I knew about or thought about.  I did make money by selling some of the sweaters but ended up losing when you think of the time involved to knit the pullovers.

I would need to know that I had permission from the New Kids on the Block and/or Vanilla Ice.  I wouldn't know where to start with that.  I'm now know about copyright laws and will honor them.

If you're still interested and it's something that would be good for both of us, and if the details can be worked out, then please email me. 

It's been a blast to get your emails and revisiting the past has been such fun.  I thank you for that.  You people have "the right stuff"!! 

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Knitter's Life List

It's not often that I pick up a knitting-related book, skim through it, and then sit down to read it cover to cover.  This was the case when The Knitter's Life List by Gwen W. Steege arrived in my mailbox last week.  In the span of 2 days I had read it cover to cover, and will revisit it often. 

This is a book that's different than any other I've seen and that's refreshing.  It's not a book of patterns, although there are links to many.  It's so much more. 

Personally, I have a knitting life list.  I want to travel and see the world, visiting yarn shops whenever I stop  in a new area.  I want to take classes with amazing teachers and learn as much about my obsession as I can.  I keep attuned to the latest trends and find that my favorite projects tend to be more classic and will withstand the test of time.  I'd like to learn more about what makes a pattern popular or timeless.

This book is going to aid me in all of these goals and pursuits.  It will not be sitting on my bookshelf to be dusted off every now and then.  I'll be using it as a reference, a checklist.  Most of my knitting books are in perfect, like-new condition.  I know that I'll be writing in this one, making notes and check marks as I see what I've already accomplished and what I might move on to next. 

The topics are wide and varied.  Take Chapter 4, "The Socks Life List", for example.  It starts off with the list:  who do you want to meet, or have already met?  Charlene Schurch or Stephanie Pearl-McPhee for example?  Next, what would you like to discover?  Tweed socks yarns or the history of knitting.  What do you want to try, learn, experience?  Where do you want to go?

After the checklist are sections on techniques, secrets to sock success, tips, quotes from designers, a story about sock knitters during the war, yarns and needles, charity knitting, etc.  All of this is just in the chapter about socks.

You'll also find chapters about yarn, know-how, sweaters, scarves & shawls, hats, gloves & mittens, bags, kids-knit, home dec as well as the fiber-lover's life list and a section on who's who in the community of knitting experts.

My own short list includes, in no particular order:

- Go to Meg Swanson's knitting camp and take a class from the lady herself.
- Visit places like Peru or the Baltic region and meet and learn from the local knitters.
- Teach at events such as Stitches or Madrona, somewhere in the UK, etc. 
- Take classes from teachers such as Alice Starmore, Kaffe Fassett.
- Write a knitting book.  Maybe I'll finish the Matilda the Bear stories and knitting patterns one day.  Collect my patterns into a book, design more.
- Visit Rowan Mills in the UK.  Take a class and meet in-house designers.
- Make a significant dent in my stash.

Well, that's a start.  The bottom line about The Knitter's Life List is that it's a wonderful book.  To say that I like it a lot is an understatement.

Saturday, October 1, 2011