Sunday, July 25, 2010


This is the Chinaberry Pullover. I have been working on this pattern for the last few weeks. As usual, it takes me almost as long to write the pattern as it does to knit it.

The original design idea started out as a sleeveless pullover in linen or silk and it may still become that, but I wanted something a little more versatile for the fall (when the oppressive heat of June/July '10 will be just a memory). I wanted to try it on, but it is closing in on 100 degrees in the Northeast today. I just can't.

I also want to have this test-knit before the pattern goes public. This is the Medium (36"), but I would like to have it checked for accuracy in the other sizes (33, 39, 42 and 44"). I am going to use a Ravelry group that I heard about through another designer. The issue is -- I will be away this coming week with spotty internet service. Do I just go for it or do I wait until I come back? I'm a little apprehensive....

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Love is a drug

Pssst. Do you need a fix?

This is the absolute truth. I have NEVER used an illegal drug. I'd like to say that up front. I'd like to say the reason is because I am a completely law-abiding citizen. In truth, the reason is because I like to have my wits about me. I don't like to think about not being in control. However, yarn is quite a different story. I am not in control around yarn. I don't know what it is about the stuff, but today I knew I needed to buy some. It needed to be the good stuff. I have enough good stuff. I needed more.

Over the past days, I'd been cruising the area looking for a dealer. I hit a couple of local places, but everything was ordinary. Today, however, I found IT. It was definitely not ordinary for these parts!

Everything was lovely. I left in a mind-altered state. I was high on yarn. Although I only bought 5 skeins of Madelinetosh Vintage and a skein of Lamb's Pride Bulky (for a contrast I'm doing on a pair of mittens), I'll definitely be back. Ann was so warm and friendly. It turns out, she and her partner, Katy, are people I've "met" through their blogs, which I've been reading since the pre-Ravelry days. They are my new enablers.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Studying Knitwear Design

One of the things I believe about designing is this: Knitting other people's designs is good for you.

I make a real effort to think about what the designer was thinking when I knit the pattern. There's usually a lot you can learn, especially if you're knitting the work of a good designer. Take Anne Hanson, for example. I have been reading her blog, knitspot, for quite a while. When I saw her latest design, les Abeilles, and noticed that it could be knitted in a "mini" version, I knew I had to try it, even though I'm in the middle of a design of my own.

Anne's design is a work of beauty, both in elegance and simplicity. The lace at the neck is added at the edges as you work up from the bottom edge to the neck. The lace in the body of the shawl forms an organically delicate bottom edge. What I learned about my own design work from Anne's is that simple is often better -- not only because it makes the knitting more enjoyable, but also because it makes the finished piece more beautiful. Sometimes I get bogged down in complications and the solution is to simplify.

I knit this up in Shibui sock in the seaweed colorway. I love this yarn, but one of the two skeins I used had so many sections that were unevenly spun. This has never happened to me before with this yarn, but because of this, there were a lot of joins.

I'd definitely knit this up again and I'd like to try it in a slightly larger size (there are two others -- petite and tall).

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Still me

I have finally decided to take a leap -- new name, new logo (which took me the better part of the day to create). After contemplating where I want to go with my design work, I came up with a list of things I should do. This was one (actually two, if you count the logo).

I'll be back when this "paint" headache goes away.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Friend + Yarn + NYC + Summer = Happy

I spent the day Wednesday with my knitting friend, Sima. We met 7 years ago at a design class with Shirley Paden. Sima and I have been in sporadic contact over those last 7 years as both she and I were published, however we reconnected at the launch party for Shirley's book earlier this year.

We decided to meet up in Manhattan which is a mid-point for us -- she lives in New Jersey, I live on Long Island. We had the loveliest time at lunch talking about design ideas and projects that each of us is working on. Unfortunately I didn't bring a camera. (I always forget my camera!)

After lunch, we decided to walk downtown to the new store location of Purl Soho, which opened in April. Both of us had been to their tiny original store. It was a 3 mile walk, but since the weather was gorgeous and we were chatting, the time passed quickly. When we arrived we spent some time looking around. I was impressed at the books they had for sale, which were a collection of both newly published and classic knitting books.

Sima suggested we head uptown to two yarn stores she frequents -- Knitty City on West 79th and The Yarn Co. on Broadway and 82nd -- so we hopped on the C train. It was my first time at both of these stores. I loved them both. Knitty City had a beautiful selection of yarn and was "hopping." The stores work table at the back was a lively group of women. However, Sima knew there would be sales at The Yarn Co., so we walked the few blocks farther uptown. It was quieter there, but Sima was right, there was a great sale. I ended up with a few balls of each of three yarns to swatch, two new "Rebecca"s and a circular needle holder that I had been eye-ing forever. The Yarn Girls -- Julie and Jordana were both lovely. We planned to go back to Knitty City, but I was pressed for time and needed to get home.

Sima and I made tentative plans to meet up again in August for something similar. We also talked about heading to Rhinebeck in October. Thanks, Sima. I had a great time!!!