14 October 2012

stash sale

Rowan CalmerCrystal Palace Splash PrintPlymouth Yarn Oh My!Handpaintedyarn.com Novelty BoucleMisti Alpaca Lace SolidsAlchemy Haiku
Madil Yarns Super Due Merino100purewool.com Merino LaceLane Cervinia Le Fibre Nobili ImperialeMisti Alpaca Lace SolidKnit One Crochet Too MeringueLion Brand Fun Fur Solid
Araucania AtacamaRowan Kidsilk Haze DewberryAraucania Nature Wool SolidsCherry Tree Hill Suri Lace AlpacaRegia Silk 4-ply sock yarnRowan Kidsilk Haze Toffee
South West Trading Company BambooMystery novelty yarnBerocco PlushAlpaca with a Twist Baby TwistFiltes King Australian MerinosBMFA sock yarn keychains
stash sale, a set on Flickr.
Last weekend in anticipation of the NYC Yarn Crawl, I spent a day airing/organizing/tossing the stash and found some goodies that I know I am not going to get around to knitting any time soon. So, they should go to a good home, where they will be appreciated. You may notice that there is quite a bit of Alpaca. Sadly, I've discovered that it irritates my annoyingly sensitive skin - my itchiness is your gain!

Check out the goodies and feel free to make me an offer.

On Ravelry, too!

12 October 2012

FO: Sotherton (P.S. Rhinebeck!)

Can't you see how excited I am?
Yay! I finished my Sotherton. Despite my bemused expression, I am really happy with this knit (self-portraiture with my D80's remote is, as yet, unperfected). There were a few modifications (I can't even knit my own pattern "straight"!), since I chose this beautiful tosh vintage, instead of the tosh dk called for in the pattern. My gauge was a little different, but since I was happy with the fabric I was creating I used the numbers for the 2nd size (I'm really a Medium/third size) for the body and ended up using the smallest size for the sleeves but knitting them much longer thanks to my lanky arms. And I raised the back of the neck about an inch by working a repeat of the twist pattern back-and-forth across the back stitches and then picking up a few stitches at each edge before working the collar ribbing.

Don't forget: There's an ongoing Sotherton KAL in my Ravelry group - join us!

And the back
Isn't that Byzantine colorway lovely? And aren't you proud of me for not knitting a blue sweater for once? After a skein disaster I had on an upcoming pattern, where one sleeve ended up looking more washed out than the rest of the sweater, I alternated skeins on the body of this one and chose the matching-est skeins for the sleeves. In case you're wondering, I ended up ripping out both sleeves on the other pattern, reknitting them alternating skeins, and then reknitting the yoke, also alternating skeins. That was a major bummer, but worth it. Hopefully, you'll see the final product of that agony next week. I'm sending the pattern off to my new tech editor today and hope to have good photos in the next few days, weather and "personnel" (Nick and the girls) permitting.

And there are three other patterns with the tech editor. I've been dying to share them, but I've decided that "you never get a second chance to make a first impression" and I love when I release a pattern on Ravelry once it's all ready to go. That way you don't have to wait to buy it, and I don't have to create additional documents like a pre-sell version with specs and swatch information. I like it all in one place, tidy and ready to knit. I hope you agree.

OK. Off to work on the other photographed pattern so I can get it to the tech editor ASAP. It's in Bartlett Yarns, who will be at Rhinebeck next weekend, so I'd love to release the pattern before I head upstate. But it's a cable doozy, so there are a lot of i's to dot and t's to cross, plus it's the first pattern I've written with a hood. You're going to love it!

Will I see you at New York Sheep & Wool on Sunday (10/21)? I'll be there just for the day and have to decide which sweater to wear, since there is an embarassment of riches this year :)

05 October 2012

Test knitting?

So, I spent my summer knitting up shawls and sweaters, and right now they are sitting in a pretty stack in my bedroom. Some have been photographed already, and there are more to do once I find a good location and figure out when we can do it (Nick is my photographer, usually, and we either have to bring the kids or find a time when they are all at school and he's not trapped in endless meetings). I've been busy writing up the patterns between the volunteer work I do at Penelope's preschool and at Isobel and Stephen's school, which has taken up a lot of time and mental space for the past month. Plus, doing Penelope's application to go to the big kids' school (can you believe she'll be in Kindergarten next fall?), which has been stressful. Now that the two shawls are written up (love them! they turned out just the way I wanted and only one required reknitting :) , along with one of the sweaters (stripey goodness graded for seven sizes), while the other three sweaters (cables and interesting hood construction, a little lace, alternative construction) are in various stages of notes, instructions, and spreadsheets (ah, grading for seven sizes - I love spreadsheets!), I'm looking for a new tech editor, which takes up more time.

The question for me is do I also add test knitters into the process? I know a lot of self-publishing designers do, but if I'm waiting until a pattern has been tech edited, what do test knitters add to the proposition? By the time I've knit a sample, usually from a bare-bones pattern, refined then graded it, photographed it, and sent it to a tech editor, I'm ready to release it to the world! I'm excited and dying to share what I've been working on. When I create patterns for publications, there aren't any test knitters, just me. But the reach of a publication provides its own publicity, right? So, test knitters are not just helping a designer figure out if the pattern is clearly written and correctly sized/graded/proportioned, especially since that is the tech editor's job, but they are also part of your publicity team.

Plus, I like the big reveal. It's sort of frustrating to see a great new pattern on Ravelry only to discover that you won't be able to buy it immediately. Some designers offer a specs page in that case that gives yarn and gauge information so knitters can get started. But I'm into that instant gratification.

What do you think?

13 September 2012

It's that time of year again!

Today is my birthday. Where does the time go? Sadly, I'm feeling a little old, as I seem to have pinched a nerve on Tuesday. Luckily, I had already sent off my submissions for the next Jane Austen Knits, so I could afford to spend some time with the couch and the ibuprofen bottle. I'm feeling a little better and hope to be recovered by the weekend. The weather is so beautiful right now that it's a shame to be in the house, but park benches are not kind to the achy lower back.

In addition to the JAK submissions, I have a number of patterns that are close to being ready for publication. But until then, I'm celebrating my birthday by giving you all a present: 20% off in my Ravelry and Etsy shops. The discount is automatic on Ravelry, but on Etsy you will need to use the code BIRTHDAY2012.

10 August 2012

Sotherton KAL

Sotherton is proving to be a popular pattern. I am, of course, deeply gratified and very humbled. It is very exciting when other people think something you came up with is worthwhile.

Anyway, I've started a KAL over on my Ravelry group, so please join us! I will be starting my own near the end of August with some lovely tosh dk in Byzantine. Can't wait! But until then I am happy to answer questions as best I can, and there is already a nice little gang working their way through the pattern. Until the Summer 2012 issue of Jane Austen Knits sells out, that's the only place to get the pattern. But once the issue is out of print, JAK will begin selling the individual patterns on Interweave's site.

And I'm hard at work on ideas for the 2013 call for entries!

09 August 2012

Mentioned by the Yarn Harlot

Yes, that was me that Stephanie mentioned about ten days ago in her Karmic Balancing post. I offered up a print/digital copy of Avast No. 1, which I sent to my new friend Carol, but Stephanie was really gracious in saying that I offered "what she does best". I'm going to go swan around Bath for a little while with a puffed up ego.

If you would like your very own copy, digital versions can be purchased on Ravelry. And I have a few copies of the print version with me and would be happy to send you one for $25 (includes digital copy and shipping) - shoot me an email at kathleendames at gmail dot com, so I can Paypal you an invoice.

01 August 2012

Maine: The Way Life Should Be

So, we've been here in Bath for about ten days, and aside from some marathon cleaning sessions (the caretaker wasn't the cleanest person, but you get what you pay for), it has been heaven. Moderate days, cool nights, beach time, knitting time, concerts on the green, lobster at the dock. Seriously, I should keep this place a secret, but it's too wonderful. Bath is particularly lovely IMO, since it's not overrun by tourists and t-shirt shops. There is a farmer's market here every Saturday, a farmstand just up the road, and they finally opened an ice cream parlor downtown (I've been saying they should for the past five years - next on my list is an old-fashioned penny candy store).

And there are yarn stores! Halcyon in Bath (I can walk there), Purl Diva in Brunswick (my friend Ellen stocks a great shop - she's even carrying Quince & Co. now), The Cashmere Goat in Camden (new and airy, right near the harbor), and all the way up to Heavenly Socks Yarns in Belfast, where I ended up modeling a shawl for their latest newsletter and "revealing" my Ravelry designer status.

Being a moderately shy person, I often feel weird just randomly introducing myself in a yarn store, but when talk turns to Ravelry and designs, I feel I have something to say. And it is fun talking to people about what I do (and since I didn't get that job I was interviewing for, knitwear design is what I will continue to focus on). I think my next task is to start teaching classes.

Anyway, I'm enjoying my time here and feel lucky to be able to come up for a month. I'm finishing up a submission for the Winter Knitty (keep your fingers crossed that it comes out the way I want it to, and that Amy & Co. like it), then there are some other knits that need final tweaks and photo shoots. I'm scouting locations and pondering outfits, so there will be a handful or so of new designs for Fall.

And I may have already acquired some yarn...

More to come next time we visit the library (free wi-fi)!