Saturday, January 31, 2015

February's Mega-KAL: His Golden Lair

Did I forget to mention that my friend Marilyn and I are hosting a MegaKAL on Ravelry?  It's mostly shawls with a couple cowls, and each month is a different one.  It's been a lot of fun seeing everyone's different projects.  Different colors, yarns, etc all make such different looking projects!  Our project for February is His Golden Lair.  The shawl calls for worsted weight yarn, but after searching my stash, I couldn't find worsted weight in a color I wanted to use with enough yardage.  Instead, I found this:
Sorry, I guess I took the picture with a bit too much ambient light.  It's very washed out looking.  It's Malabrigo Silky Wool in Teal Feather (I may have an obsession with Malabrigo)!  Now, this is a DK weight yarn, but I have 5 skeins of it, which will be more than enough.  In fact, I think I'm going to make a larger version, and knit with needles appropriate for DK weight.  I should be able to compensate for the weight discrepancy, and have a larger shawl still, anyways!  Can't wait to cast on for this one!  :o)

Friday, January 30, 2015

From Failures

When I'm designing, sometimes my ideas don't actually work out in real life.  Sometimes it's because of not swatching enough, sometimes it's just because I'm designing based on myself.  This is a case of both of these things.  Here, let's have you look:
On the surface, it's not a bad pattern.  Maybe a little skinny at the top compared to the bottom.  I did that on purpose because I typically find the top a little too loose for my hands.  In fact, I love the way these mitts fit!  However, my hands are 6.5" (circumference around knuckles) and these mitts fit with negative ease.  My friend who has 7.5" hands has tried these on and declared that she would never be able to wear them.  They're just too tight to be comfortable.  

I didn't make a swatch for these because they are a small project that can be frogged if they aren't coming out quite right.  However, to me, they seemed just fine while I was making them because I have smaller hands.  I had thought by making the palms ribbing, this would fix any issues with fit because the ribbing would stretch.  Apparently, I was wrong.  :o/

I did think about trying to resize these, but with the stitch pattern being so large, there just was no way of creating two separate sizes that make sense.  The "average" womens' hand is supposedly 6.77" around, so maybe these would be fine, but I would feel bad releasing a pattern that felt uncomfortable to many people.  Back to the drawing board, I suppose.  Ah well, at least I have a pretty pair of gloves to wear when the weather is a bit nippy out.  :o)  

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Where do knits go?

I have to admit, I don't wear very many of my knits.  In fact, I give away my knits so often, that my friends ask who gets what I'm knitting next.  When I was at my LYS, I put a yarn back saying, "It's so pretty, but that color looks terrible on me." My friend replied, "yeah, but you never keep anything you make, so you should just get it if you like it."  It's true.  I either am knitting something specifically as a gift, or I will figure out who will love it and gift it to them later by the time I'm done with it.
My Armonika
For example, here is a gorgeous cowl that I started with yarn in my stash that I didn't love.  It is a luscious 50/50 silk/merino single ply hand dyed by StitchJones.  The feel of the yarn is divine, I've been loving knitting with it, the sheen on it is beautiful, but I'm just not super into the color for myself.  I love greens and blues, but sea foam green is not my favorite and it's heavily represented here.  I've been debating if I will over-dye the yarn once I'm done with the cowl or what.  Then it came to me, I know the perfect person to gift this to!  I don't want to say who until I have done the gifting, but the point is the same:  another case of me not keeping my handknits.

I've been thinking that maybe this year, I will try to keep some of my knits.  ;o)  Maybe I'll make that another goal for the year.  Let's see how well I do with that...

For the record:  this was a part of StitchJones' Yarnageddon club (which I highly recommend joining, it's great!), so I did not choose the color myself.  I've loved many of the other yarns and/or fibers from the club, this color just didn't fully resonate with me.  :o)

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Sneak Peek

 Here's a little glimpse of my next design.  They're going to be fingerless mitts in fingering weight yarn.  While they look super tiny, I can assure that they actually will fit a variety of wrists and hands! I've knit a pair in the past, and now that the pattern is written, I'm pre-testing them before I send them out to other knitters to test.  I have brought the other ones to knit night, and all of my friends are astounded by the fact that they have fit everyone who wanted to try them on!
I'm working on the only concern I have about the sizing, and once that is addressed, I think I'll be sending these out to be tested!  :o)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Consummate V's Update

I finally managed to settle on a color for my Consummate V's Hat that I'll be knitting along with my KAL!  I decided on Malabrigo Rios in Candombe!  It's such a pretty colorway, I can't wait to get started on it!
Have you chosen your yarn for the KAL?  I'd love to hear or see what you've chosen!  

Monday, January 26, 2015

Cat Snuggles!

As I mentioned on my previous post, one of the other great things about cold weather are pet snuggles!  I love how when it's cold out, our cat will demand to curl up in our laps or wiggle under the covers with us in bed.  She is definitely a social cat to begin with, but she certainly becomes more snuggly when winter hits.
Here she is lounging in Bret's lap as he is playing Wii.  I'm pretty sure she's thinking, "Why must he taunt me with dangling string (the wii remote handle), yet get angry when I swat at it?"  Poor Izi, she lives a tortured life of not getting to chase after yarn and other strings.  ;op

Sunday, January 25, 2015


Winter in Texas is like a ride.  It starts off slow, easing your way into the idea of winter.  The hot days turn into cool mornings and warm days, but all of a sudden you're in the middle of it and it's freezing then hot; up and down until spring hits and you're back to warm days.  I wouldn't care as much if it didn't mean for terrible allergies when the plants bloom on all the really nice days.
The nice part about winter, though, are the hot drinks and pet snuggles.  I do love a good tea or hot mulled cider.  Above is a hot ginger tea made from ground ginger root and a splash of lemon juice.  Definitely one of my favorites.  It warms you up when it's cold, and settles your stomach if you're not feeling well.  Because of that, it always feels so comforting to me, even if I'm feeling just fine.  :o)  Do you have a favorite hot drink?  I'd love to hear about them.  I'm always up for trying something new!  

Thursday, January 22, 2015

KAL - Consummate V's Hat

I am so excited to announce that I have created a group for people to join on Ravelry for pattern help, see recent releases, test knits I may be running, and KALs!  Please join and get involved!

To kick things off, I'm having a KAL with giveaways for my free Consummate V's Hat!
The rules of this KAL can be found here.  You do have to be a member of Ravelry to join.  If you're not a member of Ravelry, I highly suggest you join!  It's such a great resource for knitters, crocheters, spinners, and ever weavers.  :o)

There will be three prizes:

- One of my self published patterns, winner's choice.
- or enough yarn to make my next self published pattern (which will be published at the end of this knit along!) in either of these two colorways.
I hope you come join in the fun!  I can't wait to see everyone's projects.  :oD

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


I'm not one for New Year's resolutions.  I've made some in the past, and forgotten about them within a week.  This year, I plan on making some light suggestions of things I would like to do, and maybe you guys can keep me on target.  ;o)

1)  I just read about someone who tried to self publish a pattern a month.  That sounds like a great goal, but again, potentially too lofty for me this second.  If I fail at it one month, then I can see myself saying it's worthless, and end up not publishing anything else for the whole year.  Instead, I would like to push myself to self publish at least once a season.  A lot less pressure, but still a push towards productivity.

2)  Submit patterns to pattern calls more often.  I have let many submissions go by because I was too nervous to try.  However, what is gained by not trying?  I now have three accepted submissions to date that will come out later this year.  I can't wait to try for more!

3)  Unify my patterns.  I have now looked back at the patterns I've written in the past.  They do not sound like they are from the same designer because I wrote them at so many different times in my life.  As my knitting has improved, so has my ability to write a pattern.  I am currently working to unify my old patterns so that my new patterns will have the same voice.  Once done with my old patterns, I'll start releasing my new ones.  Thus, #1 will start in the spring time.  I also like this for the due date it gives me with revising my old patterns.  :o)

4)  Design at least one sweater.  I have ideas for 3 different sweaters in my head, and yet I still haven't actually tried to create any of them.  This is going to change this year!

Some of these are things that one may read and say, well, all of these are simple or self explanatory... but as a truly new designer (yes, my patterns on ravelry go back as far as 2008, but as far as actually thinking of myself as a real designer and not just someone who likes to create things with knitting...) these are some big ideas for me.  That I hope become second nature and I can expand on these next year.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


My OctoMitts
Pattern:  OctoMitts by SpillyJane
Yarn:  Louet Gems Fingering (blue), Crystal Palace Silky Panda (pink), and StitchJones Titanium Sock (in Celadon).

Notes about the yarn:  I didn't even use up an entire skein of the Gems with these mitts.  And the pink and green were small scraps I had lying around.  These mitts make great leftovers projects!

I am absolutely in love with SpillyJane designs!  They're so cute and quirky.  I wish I could buy them all, but I know that's a bit too much.  As it is, I have 3 of them already, and these were the first that I actually decided to make.  Once I started the pattern, it was quite easy, and now I'm hooked on colorwork.  Enough so that I am working on a couple colorwork designs myself now... ;op

I only have a couple qualms about the pattern, and these are just personal preferences.  The first is the afterthought thumb.  While this is an easy method that doesn't disrupt the pattern of the mitt, I am not in love with how it skews the palm of the mitt to the side when they are being worn.  I would much rather have had a thumb gusset, myself.  The second is also personal preference, but I feel the length of the fingerless version of the mitt is a wee bit short.  They only make it up to our knuckles, and I'm used to them going up just a tiny bit more.  I could have made them longer, but I followed the pattern exactly this time, as it was my first time trying them out.

Below picture shows both sides.  I messed up on the palm a few times, which you may or may not notice.  ;op  I think it just adds character, though.  :o)  Amie seemed to really like them, so that's definitely the more important aspect of this knit!
 All in all, I think this was a successful knit, with a very cute result.  Can't wait to try out another one of SpillyJane's amazing designs.  They're rather addictive... I couldn't stop knitting on these once I started!  :oD  Two thumbs up for a great pattern!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Zug zug

I've been working a lot lately.  Daily job has been getting busier (lots of people coming in makes for a constantly moving day), and when I have some spare time, I have been busy designing knits!

Right now, I'm still slowly trying to get my current designs all finished and converted over to a newer, cleaner look.  Once that is finished, I will have at least two more designs to test and self publish. And, in other exciting news, one of my patters will be published in a group publication around the end of February, and another pattern has been accepted for a yarn club!  I have submitted two more entries to another company, and am awaiting feedback on those.

My mind has been filled with fun ideas, and I can't wait to try them out.  It's hard to get any knitting of my own done with all these swatches to knit and design ideas to sketch!

Saturday, January 17, 2015


My Windschief
Pattern:  Windschief by Stephen West
Yarn:  KnitPicks Swish Worsted

Ah, Stephen West.  The prolific designer has a ton of great patterns available.  I, honestly, cannot say that I am the biggest fan of his stuff... but I will admit that some of his patterns are hip, yet classic at the same time.  I personally like his older work better, and this is where we find this hat.

This hat was made for my brother (though, modeled by Bret).  He requested a hat for Christmas.  I ended up making him two hats, but (of course) I forgot to take any pictures of the other hat.  He seemed to like both hats a lot.  He wore both of them around while I was there, and his girlfriend made a point of telling me that he loves them.  So, I'm pretty happy here!

The pattern is rather straight forward.  Simple language, and easy to follow.  My only complaint is that the cowl and hat actually have the exact same pattern (CO and everything) until the end.  I would think many people would prefer a looser cowl, if only to get it over your head without messing up your hair and everything.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Ikkicon, 2015

I've actually never attended an anime specific convention.  I've been to other types of cons... including a Japanese Culture Con that obviously had a lot of anime in it, but never just anime based.  Ikkicon is held yearly in Austin, Tx.  This year, it was held Jan 2-4 at one of the Hilton locations downtown.  I decided that I wanted to go, and that I wanted to cosplay (dress up).  My biggest problem with this was that I'm not a seamstress.  Maybe one day, but not yet.  Luckily, my friend Courtney is an extremely talented seamstress (knitter, spinner, artist, etc etc), and so I asked her if she would be able to help me out with this endeavor.  I suggested a few ideas (all images taken off google images):
Haramura Nodoka from Saki
Nonon Jakuzure from Kill la Kill
Hitagi Senjougahara from Bakemonogatari
I was initially looking for someone with pink hair, as that was my current hair color.  After discussing it with Courtney, it seemed that Nonon was out due to the proximity of the event and the complexity of her costume.  And after debating it through a bit, I decided on Senjougahara because her uniform was not quite as generic, and there was a higher chance of being recognized.

There was a debate on whether I should get a wig or dye my hair, but in the end, I decided to dye my hair.  So, based on that, the costume became based on Senjougahara after she cuts her hair.
Without much further ado, here is my rendition:
The sweater was extra because it was cold out, and we were about to leave.  I think it worked out pretty well, don't you?  :o)  I was only able to make one day of the con, but a number of people recognized the costume, and a few even asked if they could take a picture.

It was a fantastic experience.  Once inside the center, just about everyone was dressed up in some fashion.  Some in cosplay, some harajuku, some Lolita, and a few just in appropriately cutesy cute items.  So many people had ears on, stockings with bunnies, Totoro shirts, etc.  All in all, it was incredibly fun, and I can't wait till the next time an event like this occurs.  Only next time, I will find appropriate shoes ahead of time.  >.<  No heels for a con again!

Happy Hippos!

My Project
Pattern:  Feet Eaters by Anna Hrachovec
Yarn:  Berroco Vintage (blue), and Cascade 220 Superwash (red and white).  I did use up almost 2 balls of the blue, and the red took most of 1 ball of Cascade.  The whites can be done easily with just scraps of yarn.

I honestly don't know how I feel about this pattern.  They did come out looking right, but everything about making them felt cobbled together.  It didn't feel like it could possibly come out looking right, yet it did.  Is that a good thing?  Maybe?

Well, here are some of my big notes.  The original sole is not thick enough, in my opinion.  It is knit with the yarn held double, but still feels a bit floppy.  My dad has a tendency to eat through his slippers quickly, so I thought I'd go ahead and make a second sole.  My second sole is removable, and so can be replaced, if he wears through them.  The ears are the same size for all 3 sizes.  This means they seem a little tiny for the largest size, IMHO.  The same can be said about the teeth, but each size uses a different number of teeth, so that is adjusted for there.

My last aside is that I"m terrible at embroidery!  Maybe especially so on knitted fabric.  Not a single one of my eyes looks even remotely like another.  :o/  Oh well.  My dad said they were very warm, and so it looks like they are good for their purpose.  :o)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Cascading Cables Mitts

My Mitts
Pattern:  Cascading Cables Mitts and Mittens
Yarn:  Princess by Classic Elite (now discontinued)

Yay, I can finally post about my holiday projects!!!  Here are my first ones...

I don't think I can say how much I love this pattern!!  They're super cute, pretty easy flow of the pattern, and knit up very quickly!  Glowing glowing compliments, highly recommend!

This was a Christmas present for my friend Sarah who is a writer living in New Jersey.  The long length of these mitts will help keep her warm, but she needs her fingers free so she can type away!  I knit these in September as the beginning of my present making spree.  :o)  They are now mailed off, and she should have them already.  I hope they keep her warm in these cold months.

For those interested on the other side, they are ribbed along the arm, but plain stockinette for the hands.