10 April 2012

OTN: Mermaid's Cardigan

Bunch o' tosh in Baltic
Here's what I have on my needles right now. I'm about two-thirds of the way through turning this delicious pile of tosh dk in Baltic (love that colorway) into a cardigan. Working with a dk/worsted weight yarn is a nice break from the laceweight thing I've been wrestling with (now in time out for a second time). I've been working on this in fits and starts, since I've had some soon-to-be published patterns to review thrown in there, which I'm very excited to share with you as we approach the publication date.

Not much else to report here. Easter was quiet. And I've got the urge to design a new shawlette - lots of lace and fingering weight yarn giving me the eye from the stash. Still mulling over ideas,  but I think something will crystallize soon.

27 March 2012

Trunk Show report

OMG! The trunk show was so much fun. I love the ladies of Yarns in the Farms dearly, and it was such a treat to hang out with them Friday afternoon and meet a bunch of their customers. I was so happy to show off some of my hard work, talk to a variety of real knitters, and sell some patterns and booklets. Since I spend so much time knitting on my own and/or in my own head, the best (and most tiring) part was interacting with people who are (almost) as excited about knitting and yarn as I am. Here are a couple of shots of the table:

Avast No. 1 trunk show at Yarns in the Farms
Walk the Plank, Aphros, Infinite, Babe in the Mist, Matryoshka Japonais and lots of yummy yarn options

My lovely model is sporting the Night Watch Cap (which photographs so dark but has lovely highlights IRL) and Captain Austen's Scarf. And there's the printed version of Avast No. 1! The printing came out very nicely (the art director in me was very nervous, since copies arrived the day before we left for Boston), and I'm quite happy with MagCloud. So happy, in fact, that I've set up a shop over there where you can purchase printed versions of all my patterns and have them mailed to you. It's pretty cool.

Here's the first one, the Avast No. 1 booklet. More to follow shortly!
Avast No. 1
Avast No. 1: Avast No. 1
Avast No. 1 eight patterns for piratical knitters by Kathleen DamesThis colorful, 24 page booklet contains eight patterns, helpful notes, charts, and written instructions. Suitable for the adventurous beginner or any experienced knitter. Patterns include: Aphros - a lace stole suitab…

12 March 2012

Trunk Show!

This Friday I will have a trunk show at Yarns in the Farms beginning at noon. Please stop by during your North Shore Yarn Crawl adventures to say hello and see all the lovely yarns my dear friends at Yarns in the Farms stock.

I will have print copies of

I'm particularly excited to have print copies of Avast No. 1, as I have reformatted it into an 8.5 x 5.5" 28-page booklet. Printed copies are arriving here Wednesday, and we'll be taking them up to Cambridge Thursday. If you're in the Boston area, let me know!

02 March 2012

Desert Island

Finally! It's been a crazy couple of weeks here with two knitting project/pattern deadlines, both of which bit me in the derriere at the eleventh hour and involved far too much reknitting. But they're good, very different from each other, and I'm quite happy with them.

Then, after some return to a semblance of order involving much laundry, vacuuming the bejeesus out of the apartment and actually cooking a meal or two, Noro hit. And not the colorful yarn-y Noro but the really gross one that involves more laundry, plus floor scrubbing. Sigh. Isobel got it last Friday night, starting in our room before heading to the bathroom. In her defense, our room is en route, but we had a little chat with the kids about heading directly to the bathroom for future ... gastric episodes without popping in to let us know. If you have small people in your house who haven't thrown up lately, you may want to educate them on this important notion. Noro seems to be sweeping the nation, so I highly recommend this chat, folks. Your floors/rugs/walls/furniture, as well as your hands/knees/housemaid's elbows will thank you.

So, I kind of feel like I've been on a desert island. Knittingknittingknitting, then writing, doing math, followed by lots of cleaning. And I've had this yarn staring at me from my dressing table:

Solitude Wool's tweedy alpaca/merino laceweight
Habu Textile's Wool Stainless
Jill Draper Makes Stuff Aurora
Jill Draper Makes Stuff Aurora laceweight in Leaf - I wound this up during that panel discussion
Makes it kind of difficult to concentrate on the business at hand, doesn't it? These are my spoils, along with an Addi US6 40" circular needle, from VKLive. I had been kicking myself for not bringing home a goodie from Solitude Wool's booth in 2011 - they focus on heritage breeds, which I find pretty neat - so this year I wanted something of theirs; however, with two sweater lots of yarn breathing down my neck for the aforementioned patterns, a small skein of lace seemed like the best choice this year. I love that the alpaca and wool aren't dyed - that's the color of the fleece and fiber; the nepps are dyed, though. The Habu Stainless is something I've been pondering for a while and have a pattern idea kicking around. And that Leaf color of Jill Draper's has been haunting me since Rhinebeck, so when I found her booth at VKL, I had to bring some home - the silk just makes that color sing. It's not even really my color, but I had to have it!

Other than that, I'm getting my sample together for the upcoming Folklore Crafts project. I'll blog more about this as we get closer to publication. I've also been pondering a print version of Avast No. 1, since I'm a firm believer in, you know, actual books and stuff. Come the robot revolution, the "cloud" isn't going to do you much good when you're hiding out in a cave :) But, seriously, my first career was as a print book designer and art director. I should probably print this baby. What do you think? I'll really have to up my sales-and-marketing game, though. There are so many options out there that I have to really decide what I want.

The other reason I called this post "Desert Island" is that in replying to a lovely PM on Ravelry, I mentioned EZ's Knitter's Almanac as one of my desert island books, so I thought I'd play the game out here and make a proper list of my desert island books (I should put links in there, but it's getting close to lunchtime - you're smart; I bet you can find them):
  1. Persuasion - just ... my favorite, the best, though I'd love to have a complete works of Jane Austen if I could on the island
  2. Knitter's Almanac - hopefully with some yarn and needles, too, but even without there is so much information to ponder and clever writing to enjoy
  3. something (or everything) by Dorothy Dunnett - Checkmate or King, Hereafter if there can only be one, but for anyone who enjoys the swoony Jamie of the Outlander series, Lymond is to die for, and Lady Dunnett's writing spoils you for most other things
  4. The Odyssey - my college minor was Ancient Greek so I could read this in the original, though these days I would need a Greek dictionary, too, so I'd be fine with a translation (except for the lines Nick translated for our wedding - all set with those)
  5. Possession - I first read this at a moment in college where it was just perfect for me, and I still dig it
  6. A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns - if I can only have one in Barbara Walker's invaluable series, this is the one, since it has the lace borders and edgings sections
  7. Ulysses - so I'd finally read it
  8. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - so much loopy fun
  9. Bossypants - Tina Fey's my girl crush, unsurprisingly, and my nickname at a former job was Princess Crankypants. What? I got cranky when people didn't clean up after themselves or do their jobs properly. Come on!
  10. Oh, I don't know! SO many possibilities for the last spot that I just can't decide: Goodnight, Moon; The Secret Garden; Little House on the Prairie; Villette; The Crying of Lot 49; Alice Starmore's Aran Knitting; some book from The Met's Costume Institute or the V&A; How to Find Water on a Desert Island. That last one is probably the wisest, but they're all good, as are so many more!
What are your desert island books?

20 February 2012

Pattern: An Aran for Frederick (download)

An Aran for Frederick is now available for download from Interweave for $6. [link] For those of you not interested in purchasing Jane Austen Knits in its entirety, now you have the option to download individual patterns.

14 February 2012

Errata: An Aran for Frederick

So, there is a minor glitch in the Double Wave chart. You could knit it in the round and not *really* notice, but a couple of savvy knitters have noticed, when swatching flat, that the cable crossings switch from even to odd in the second half of the chart. You can find a link to the revised chart here.

07 February 2012

When your hobby becomes your "thing"

I can't really say that knitting is my profession now, but I'm working towards that. Certainly, time-wise it's as close to a job as being a wife/mother, and I spend a lot of time thinking about it when I'm not actually knitting.

So, last month when I visited the Vogue Knitting Live marketplace (I received a ticket for being a last-minute volunteer during set-up), I made sure to be there for the panel discussion on When Knitting Becomes a Career. Melanie Falick moderated, and the panel included Trisha Malcolm (Vogue Knitting EIC, Deb Stoller (Bust founder, Stitch 'n' Bitch creator, you know who she is), Norah Gaughan (! If you don't know who she is, get thee to google), Erin Slonaker (EIC of Yarn Market News and, more importantly, Mintyfresh on Ravelry, who sent me some stashed Manos when I ran out on Nick's blanket), Kristy McGowan (Modern Top-Down Knitting), Kirsten Kapur (Ms. Through the Loops), Betsy Perry (owner of Classic Elite), and Laura Zander (owner of Jimmy Beans Wool). This was a seriously cool panel, and it was really great to be in a room with this bunch of women. I really appreciated the breadth and depth of experience these women have in the industry.

My big takeaway from this talk was that when your passion/hobby turns into your career, you need to find a new hobby. And lately I'm finding that is so true. I love knitting. I get such a thrill out of turning a little idea (often of the semi-crazy, "what if?" variety, like "what if you used ribbing to shape a piece?" or "what would that yoke style look like with cables?") into not just a knitted thing but a pattern for other people to turn into their own knitted things. I love yarn. My stash is barely under control, and visiting places like the VKL marketplace don't help :) But now that I'm trying to make it my business, I have to find something else to become my "down time".

To that end, I've gotten into a few things of late.

  1. Trashy, soapy TV: Gossip Girl (it's gotten terrible, but I can't quit it), The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (obsessed! I think it's partly the codependency between Kyle and Kim, and the rest of it is just voyeurism; plus, I love the recaps on Gawker), Downton Abbey (the classiest of the trashy, but still very soapy and fabulous, don't you think? I'm unsure of whether TV has gotten so bad, or it's so good), and Upstairs Downstairs on Amazon Prime (it's pretty funny to watch this and compare the production values with Downton Abbey - both are such products of their times; it's the same with the original Star Wars trilogy - so 70s - and the second set - epitome of the late 90s/early 00s - just look at the space ships, all sleek and organic in the second, very sharp-edged in the original).
  2. Candy making: I've been making marshmallows as Christmas gifts for the kids' teachers for the past few years, and then I saw a copy of Sugar Baby at the library. I tried my hand at the caramel spirals because they reminded me of the Snirkle candy we'd get as kids when up in Wisconsin. I've gotten a little addicted to the caramels - it's probably really bad for me even to eat a few, especially since knitting requires me to spend a lot of time on my derriere. Anyway, my next project is probably macarons because I'm crazy like that.
  3. OCM (Oil Cleansing Method): Washing my face with oil. Crazy, no? Pretty great, actually. Crunchy Betty's website has a lot of great information. I use jojoba and castor oils, which work really well for me. I tried switching out the jojoba for sweet almond oil when my face seemed a little dry, but that was a mistake, which I'm now patiently, gently washing away. After discovering that I'm allergic to propylene glycol (in an astounding number of things from sanitizer to all kinds of lip things to mouth wash), I've been trying to simplify my skin care routine. Two ingredients is pretty awesome for a cleanser/moisturizer. Seeing as I sometimes put my face on this blog, I prefer it to be spot-free and not in need of major retouching. I'm vain like that, I guess.
And, I guess this blog is more like semi-weekly at the moment. And sadly devoid of pictures. I will take some pics of the goodies I brought home from VKL for a future blog post. They are pretty!