What's on my needles

Monday, January 19, 2015

I've been working on Laura Nelkin's Skywalker as a preparation for the Life Cycle Shawl, and it's quickly become apparant that if I keep using the yarn I'm working with (Cascade alpaca lace) on size two needles, I'm going to have to add a lot more stitches unless I want a shawl for a Barbie doll. The construction is a semi-circle using a version of Elizabeth Zimmerman's Pi Shawl technique, which doubles the number of stitches as the radius of the shawl gets longer. I have two full skeins of the stuff, so I can keep going until the yarn runs out

Last weekend, I took a trip to the Big Box Craft Store (not the controversial one) and bought some cheap yarn to use for trying out stitch patterns. I am all about luxury yarns, not just because of the beauty of the finished product, but because knitting is such a tactile activity that so much of the enjoyment is in feeling the luscious fibers in the hand as you knit. But because I want to develop a collection of swatches for design projects, I need something cheap. Big Box yarn to the rescue!

Best of all, I have just learned that my cousin is expecting a baby boy in May! This will be the first baby of the new generation, making me a first cousin twice removed, the cousin equivalent of a great aunt. I love making baby things because they finish so quickly even on tiny needles.  I have started Elizabeth Zimmerman's Baby Surprise Jacket in Cascade's North Shore Prints in Beach, which although 100% acrylic (and therefore washable), feels like the softest pima cotton. It's coming along quite nicely since I started in on Saturday.

A fresh New Year

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Much has happened over the past several weeks since I've last posted. I've started a new job, which, which, while not my perfect job, has the advantage of being a true "day" job and not a position that requires overtime or being connected to the office when I'm not there. In today's world, that is truly a gift, and I am grateful for it. But I do stare at a computer screen all day, which makes keeping up with online projects too easy to let slide.

I managed to get a lot of knitting done for the holidays, but also gave past projects as gifts, so not to become overwhelmed with gift knitting at the end of the year. That will be my strategy going forward - to make the projects I want to make and then think about whether to give them away and to whom.

My gift knitting included a warm scarf for my church's Mitten Tree, and I plan to make more things for the tree during the course of the year. I've joined the Mindful Knitters and enjoy knitting and creating in the company of like-minded women.

In the spirit of the new year, I've been thinking about goals for 2015, in my knitting and in my life. I've taken down my previously free patterns and run a test on the Checkered Moebious and will start one for Mossy Rib. Once they've been tech edited, I'm going to offer them for sale. This year, I'd like to release one accessory project a month to build up a collection of patterns. Since I'm a beginning designer, I want my patterns to be projects that adventurous beginners can tackle once they get past the basics of knit and purl; a challenge, but not so difficult that they give up in frustration. I love to create projects that impress nonknitters by looking more complex than they really are. I also love to use up every last yard of luxury yarns that are only affordable in small quantities.

For my own knitting skills, I'd like to master more complex lace. Lace has been my downfall more than once, and I'm determined to get really good at it. I signed up for Laura Nelkin's "Lace from the Inside Out" Craftsy class and will make the Life Cycle Shawl this year.

Last year, I signed up for Allie Edwards' One Little Word class. For various reasons, the word I chose didn't work for me, but I'm giving it another shot this year. I think it will work better with a verb rather than a feeling. So, for 2015, my word is FINISH. Finish or frog all those UFOs and be done with them. Finish MHK 1. Finish the other craft projects I've started, and finish with things I need to let go of in my personal life.

Another thing I'm going to finish is setting up and following a real editorial calendar for this blog in 2015. I hope you come along for the ride. Thanks for reading and knitting with me.