We've gone from 60cm of snow to pouring rain to a few lazy drifts. I'm pretty impressed that Monday's rain was still not enough to completely eradicate Friday's snowfall, so that my birthday is still frosty and white.
I've been thinking about how I want to approach design this year; I have a deadline in September when the local Knitter's Guild has its annual fibre show. The yarn store in town has offered to host a trunk show for me; rather a modest version of the show that Anne Kingston did a few years back, as I have a rather modest library of published patterns in comparison to Anne. ...but I have a bit of time, and I'm hoping to beef up my portfolio in the months leading up to the show.
I do want to do a collection, but I'm thinking that holding everything back to release at once is not the wisest course. So I'm trying to plan for one pattern every 6 weeks or so, culminating with the collection to be released in September. So today I am pushing a prototype off needles so that I can finalize the charts enough to give to my testers. Tomorrow. No really, tomorrow...
I'm also recognizing that I need to do more with social media and branding to get my name out there. So, dusting off the blog, trying to figure out twitter, eying the budget for a graphic designer to create a template for my patterns...
Yeah. It's my birthday. I do not want to look back on my life and regret not taking this passion of mine seriously. ...so it's time to get down to it.
Let's get knitting...
Good morning, good morning!
I am happily swatching for Tsuga, and being very pleased that the yarn I want to use matches the tension of the yarn I used before almost perfectly.
Today and tomorrow will be ‘write the test swatch pattern and start writing the first clue pattern’ days. Gonna have to fit this around a stupidly busy work life, unfortunately, but that’s what I get for doing dick all through my vacation. Ooopsy! P) I intend to have the test/tension swatch released on Sunday, so that all those interested will have a few days to work out their yarn and needle sizes.
I have to admit, this is a departure for me - I don’t generally pay a great deal of attention to the gauge of shawls. However, I also like to design down to the very last inches of a skein, so those folks who’ve actually bought the Danu that I am using might have a bit more urgency to matching my own tension to ensure they don’t run out of yarn!
The tension swatch will also include beading information, so those who’re new to beads will have a bit of time to sort those out before the ‘real’ knitting begins. Folks will be able to link their projects to the swatch pattern, and once the games hit that link will remain as the link to the actual pattern. …at least, I think I can make it work like that. If not, I’ll let everyone know…
Looking ahead, my secret project is progressing nicely. It’s charted on paper, and has only been frogged back to the beginning once so far, to change needle size - I was clearly running out of yarn in the first iteration, so hopefully I’ll have saved myself some yardage this time around. …and the fabric I’m getting is nicer at this gauge, too, so that’s a win.
Of course my brain has hatched more ideas since I said there was nothing actively on the go at the moment, so we’ll see where that leads me. I have a rough idea for a farose-ish shaped shawlette based on the Buddleja aka Butterfly Bush. Buddlejas are my man’s favourite flowers. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to keep one alive in our yard no matter how much I try - I’m going to have to talk to my local plant nursery about a hardier version than the common Buddleja Davidii that seems to thrive in other people’s yards, but dies in mine.
So, back to working out the written pattern for Tsuga. It’s …not my favourite thing, written patterns, but people seem to like them so hey-ho, off I go P)
Mmm, been a while, hasn’t it…
My next pattern release, Tsuga, is imminent; a free KAL shawl worked in @510 yards of DK weight yarn, to be released in congruance with the Olympics in London. I have an ever expanding list of knitters signing up to knit along, which is both exciting and daunting. My own fault for talking about the project outside of my own small group of friends, but hey, exposure is good, right? So this month is a pretty intense month of swatching and tweaking charts, and producing the written instructions, and having the series of updated patterns ready to launch before the Games begin.
I don’t have anything else actively being worked on at the moment, but as soon as the Olympics are over, I have a secret project to work on that I’m really excited about. I’d love to tell you more, but, well, then it wouldn’t be secret, would it?
Coming up toward the Fall, I plan to release a pair of fingerless mitts in both fingering and dk weight. Designed in answer to my youngest’s complaint that his hands get cold playing the Elder Scrolls early in the morning, they will be named for Falkreath, a city in the Skyrim campain. There will likely be a follow-up hat pattern using the same stitch.
I’m also toying with a dragon-patterned double-knit scarf, also for late-autumn/early winter release. What, you didn’t think I only knitted shawls, did you? P)
Anyway. That’s what I’m working on and dreaming about right now. Hope your summer is filled with lots of outdoor adventures and happy knitting!
Hmmm, been quite a while since I’ve said anything here…
So, where are we in the designing process. Viola is still pending - for such a simple idea, she’s turned out to be rather a pain to get through. At the moment, I’ve got my final charts finalized (and am crossing my fingers no errors snuck in during that last shuffle), and my prototype blocking. I have not finished my own large size, but I’ve seen and blocked (and weighed the leftovers of) one of my testers’ large wraps and it is glorious, so I have no qualms about that. My intention is that Viola will ‘go live’ by the end of the month, after which this designer will swear off rectangles. Maybe. …for a little while at least.
Viola will be released chart-version only, in three sizes.
Meanwhile, Tsuga is working up rapidly; I think I’m about half way through her row count, although I’m not 100% set on how many rows she’ll wind up being. As of this posting, my intention for her is to have her released as an exclusive to Team Pissdrunk for a Mystery KAL of Olympic Proportions. If you want to get in on that fun, look for the Team Pissdrunk thread on the Ravelympics board, and let me or one of my co-captains know you’re wanting to be a part of the team. My current estimation is @600yds of DK-weight yarn; havn’t got a bead count yet. Beading will be optional (in reality, beading is always optional, either to add in or take out, but in this case I will myself be doing a beaded and non-beaded version) - depending upon the thickness of your DK, I recommend 5/0 to 3/0 beads. I’ve bought 4/0s personally.
Tsuga will be released chart- and written-version, but one size only - she can be sized up or down by changing yarn weight, and I’ll try to give % of yarn estimations for each section.
Other than that, I don’t have anything currently on needles design-wise. I have a baby project pending for my man’s work partner, and a few other patterns I want to do for the Ravelympics, but am taking a break from my own designing for a short while. Once I get back into the swing of things, I’ll be working up a fingerless mitts pattern for the fall, again using DK weight yarn, and hopefully a double-knit scarf and hat set with a dragon motif for fall as well - kitting the youngest out in style for his first year of high-school.
Heading into winter, I’m hoping to have an intarsia-motif possibly hooded blanket poncho on the go. Fun bits and then miles of stockingette in a heavy aran weight; hopefully it’ll knit up quickly!
…as always, these plans are subject to change P)
I don’t know now that I’ll get Viola out before Easter. I may be able to get her out for Easter, however…
Not sure where the mental block is with this one, truely. …and that’s all it is; a mental block. She’s all but finished, just needs a bit of last-minute chart juggling, some photography, and a pattern blurb. But I can not seem to get motivated for these things. Time to dig in and get my “do it anyway” doggedness into play. Tomorrow the man’ll be entertaining a gem cutting buddy, so I should be able to comandeer this computer at least part of that time.
It’s a good thing I’m not trying to actually make a living at this P)
Meanwhile, I seem to have become project monogamous. I’m working on my iteration of Dragonfly Wings to the exclusion of all else. Most unlike me! Honestly I think it is, at least in part, because my craft corner is so messy right now I can’t really see what else I have on the go, or get to it without shifting an embarassingly large pile of yarn. …so this weekend will be a Stash Inspection and Airing, Cataloging, Photographing and Flashing weekend. Saturday is my window of opportunity as it is predicted to snow today, and rain on Sunday…
I think today I’ll do an initial “take all the bags of yarn downstairs” mini-clear of the craft baskets, though. …and maybe I’ll find the remainders of my Alpaca with a Twist Baby Twist which appears to be MIA…
Figures that I am starting to look ahead to a dk-weight shawl when the weather here has definitely turned to spring (18C on Thursday - wtf?). …but with Viola close to wrapping up and releasing (next weekend, folks, that’s what I’m aiming for; release next weekend), I am itching to get back to Tsuga. She’s responsible for a fair bit of yarn shopping recently, even though I have stash yarn on hand I could use for her. Oops?
I even have a couple of testers already lined up. I might possibly make this a less public test, as I think Tsuga is unique enough that I could get her considered by Knitty, but I’m honestly not that private a person. So I’m undecided on that - I have another idea that could go to Knitty, too, which might be a bit more versatile in terms of multiple sizes. Tsuga I’m only releasing in one size, written and charted. I personally am finding less that holds my interest in Knitty, but I know that site still drives a lot of traffic, and a release there would give me exposure to a larger market and give them a taste for how I write patterns. Which, I think, is rather important.
Once Tsuga sees release, I’ll start taking out add space on Rav. glee fear excitment nerves
Meanwhile, it’s so warm now I really wonder if it is worth casting on for fingerless gloves for the boy. Who needs glovies in summer? Particularly worsted weight glovies? So that’s pushed back for the time being. Maybe I’ll work out something lighter weight in the mean time. After all, designing something now doesn’t mean it’ll be releasable now - I’ve figured out that much, at least!
One more shift to work before my “vacation,” and I can turn my attention to my one true love…
It’s the bouncing from project to project such that none of them get done. I’m really struggling with this right now; I’ve given myself a few too many “ought to do” assignments and nothing makes me lose interest in a project like thinking I ought to be working on it. …it’s also symtomatic of mental burn out, and it’s been one heck of a month for working too hard…
So what’s on my many, many needles right now that is “shoulding” at me? Two Violas. One Tsuga. Second sock for the youngest. Afghan for the eldest. New Romi shawl. Previous Romi shawl. A really odd sideways knit shawl. …and a hooded blanket poncho. …and I am fighting to keep from casting on another Tsuga, a Yáahl (shawl), and a sweater (either Sleipnir or Gulltoppr) for my man. Oh, and I’ve ordered yarn from my LYS to start another Camden for myself.
I also have a scrap yarn blankie waiting, but it’s waiting for me to use specific yarn so it’s not clamouring for attention particularly…
…so what do I do, when I’m home and have some time to work on these things? I surf Ravelry. Because a large part of pinball knitting is avoidance.
I’m going to push the release of Viola back; I’m taking a week’s vacation in March, starting on the 12th, so I’ll have time to really work on and finalize the charts and pattern lay-out then. It’ll also give my testers who’re running into RL issues a bit more time to work on their projects. I know at least one has hers off needles, but some others are struggling. Heck, I am struggling!
I think that today I’m going to take a look at my knitting baskets and really consider what I want to be knitting, as opposed to what I think I ought to be knitting. Because this is supposed to be relaxing, right? …not another source of obligation stress? Right.
Time to make some choices about priorities.
I cast on my year-long project last night; an afghan for my eldest son from a Patons booklet I purchased years ago. I have a romantic notion of giving it to him when he moves out of the house, as a “mother’s hug” he can snuggle into when he is alone (or with a girl, or boy, or what ever turns his fancy); I don’t know whether that’ll work out, though. He may move out before it is done, or it may be done long before he moves out; these things do not have firm timelines, after all.
I do hope to be able to give it to him for Christmas this year. Never mind that I’ve been hoping to give him a blanket for Christmas since he was 16…
Running into trouble with my Viola test personally, not because I can’t knit the pattern but because I’ve already knit the pattern a few times and I’d like to work on something different now thank you. Disadvantage to designing is having to make samples in multiple sizes. …well, I suppose I don’t have to, but I’d like to, kwim? But we’ve cancelled our trip to see the in-laws today due to weather (it’s snowing for my birthday - thank you, weather gods!) so I’ll be able to ‘slot a movie’ and spend some cozy time knitting on it today.
It doesn’t help that one of my friends has just handed me an idea - y’see, I have two skeins of Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock in one of the ‘Raven Clan’ colourways that has been in my stash for almost three years now. I really need to knit it up this year, but I’ve been looking for a pattern that looks like the wings of a bird, and I just havn’t found one. I’ve seen several that come close, but not quite…
I guess she is right - I’m going to have to make it up myself. …add it to the list P)
This weekend I’ll be re-writing the charts for Viola again, to put them into alphabetical order, and I’m going to have to start hammering on the written directions soon, too. It’s going to be a massive file to print out by the time I’m done, and I feel a bit badly for that, but what do you do, y’know? I suppose I could release a charts-only version, but I know of far too many knitters who don’t/won’t read charts, so that limits my purchasing audience. So.
Onward. Because none of this will knit itself, so I had best get to it.
Some day, some days are a marvel of fate and fortune and planning. Some days hum along like nothing could possibly go wrong, and the Universe smiles.
Today? Today was not one of those days.
Today was supposed to go
- add written instruction to charts
- turn charts into .pdf
- email .pdf to testers
- go to LYS and wind yarn
- get oil change
- come home for lunch with the man
- put on movie after lunch, cast on shawl
…but what I wound up with was
- add written instructions to charts
- turn charts into .pdf
- CutePDF fails, try again
- send .pdf to tester, realize file is corrupted
- turn charts into .pdf
- realize chart format cuts charts off six columns from the end
- reformat charts
- turn charts into .pdf
- realize written font is too small to read now that the columns are small enough for the charts to fit on the page
- eat box of chocolate, as it’s three hours past lunch time
- mail .pdf with written instructions contained in the body of the email, ‘cause dammit I am mailing this today, but I am NOT opening the gdamned exel file again
- resend emails several times as I keep forgetting to include the attatchment
- growl at the kid who’d been expecting some cozy Mama time over hotchocolate, ‘cause I’m frustrated and havn’t eaten anything in 6 hours except coffee and chocolate
- go out and get an oil change
- come back and pour a generous slug of rum into my hot chocolate
I don’t know if I should attempt to hand-wind my lace yarn and cast on tonight, or give it all up as a Bad Idea. …because this feels like the day that my skein of yarn will snarl like there’s no tomorrow, and I don’t know if I really want to tempt fate any further.
BUT! But. Emails are sent to at least half the testers, and hopefully someone is happily casting on for Viola this evening. Even if it’s not me…
Every once in a while, we are gripped by madness. The crazy notion that we can scale Everest, we can kayak Niagara Falls, we can knit an entire shawl every month for a year.
Yes, folks, I’ve committed myself to the 12 Shawls in 2012 challange. I managed to do the 10 in 2010, but dropped out for 2011. …and in dropping out, my overall production of FOs on the year suffered. I could blame the 3 months I commuted for work; I could blame the stress of reopening the store and dealing with internal politicking at work and the consequence slump into anxious depression; I could blame the alignment of the planets; I could blame any number of things, but the fact remains - I knit less last year than I had for many years beforehand.
…so. I am starting with Maia. (I have two shawls of my own on needles, but they won’t count toward the challange because I started them last year.) …and then I’ll do the large version of Viola. …and there will be at least one Tsuga entered into the challange. There will be a few more Romi shawls entered, and at least one more of my own (Tulpen or Syringa or the long neglected Betula, or something completely different that grabs my attention and rattles my brain until I knit her).
Viola is progressing, but more slowly than I’d hoped. …but the scarf-size prototype is 100 rows from the end, and with luck and perseverence today I should have her off needles. Also, I think I’ve cracked the code on how to present the charts so that all sizes can be made without having three different sets of charts in the pattern, ‘cause that would be just crazy.
There will be 10 charts in all, each 25 rows long (right side charted only). The largest size starts on chart 1, and will repeat chart 1 at the end, for 11 x 50 rows. The middle size starts on chart 2 and ends on chart 10, for 9 x 50 rows. …and the small size starts on chart 3 and ends on chart 9, for 7 x 50 rows.
I’m going to have to play around a bit to see how many times I’ll write out each repeat of the motif; part of me says write all of them out, and colour each size differently, and I think that’d be easiest for new-to-charts people to read them. It’d look similar to a chart for an intarsia sweater, where the largest size is charted fully and the smaller sizes are outlined in bold within the full chart.
Anyway. None of this will happen if I don’t get knitting, so away I go!