Category Archives: knitting

Charting

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There is an interesting interview today on the Brooklyn Tweed blog with Leila Raabe on her latest design for Wool People 6. I particularly enjoyed the discussion on how she uses Illustrator to create chart mockups during her design process. I’m currently working on a cabled design of my own, and have found that charting the pattern out before knitting it up has been really helpful in visualizing the finished piece. By using charts in my design process I’ve been able to play around with the design by moving different cables around within the overall layout and my idea has morphed into an even better design in the process.

Do you like knitting from charts? Though they seemed intimidating at first, I feel like my understanding of knitting took a huge leap forward once I learned how to read charts. If you don’t know how, I would urge you to take the time to learn.  Links to a few good tutorials are below.

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The Perils of Knitting While Touring With a Rock Band, or How to Fix a Mis-Crossed Cable

I guess it was bound to happen. I was knitting backstage in Amsterdam and I looked down at my knitting and noticed something funny. For the first time in my knitting life I had mis-crossed a cable.

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My mistake was only a few rows back so I could have ripped back and reknit, but I was feeling kind of adventurous. I remembered the Yarn Harlot’s wonderful post about fixing a mis-crossed cable and decided to give it a go. I poured myself a whiskey drink and then took the cable stitches off the needles.

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I dropped each of the cable stitches down past the point of the mistake.  I momentarily questioned my decision when I looked at the mess I had made, but felt a little bit of hope after I placed the loose stitches back onto a DPN in the correctly crossed order.

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I used a crochet hook, pulling the loose strand back through each of the stitches and placing them on another DPN until I worked my way back up to the top.

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Success!  I celebrated by putting my knitting away and finishing my whiskey drink.

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On Rock Shows and Knitterati in London

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I arrived in London while Joey and the band were at the BBC recording an interview.  I made my way to the venue for that night’s show, where the tour bus was parked and unloaded my bags.  I decided to venture down Upper Street, knowing that Loop wasn’t too far away.  While I was window shopping, I got a text from Joey saying that he was just a couple of blocks away so I headed back in his direction and spotted him quickly.  We must have love-radar because he spotted me at almost the exact same moment.  We had one of those movie-scene greetings, where time stands still and you’re hugging and kissing in the middle of a busy street in a fabulous city- it was pretty magical.  Hand in hand, we strolled down towards Loop and popped in.  I got to finally meet Meghan Fernandes and Lydia Gluck of the wonderful Pom Pom Quarterly, and Meghan helped me pick out a British yarn. (I snagged that gorgeous skein of hand-dyed BFL sock yarn from The Uncommon Thread shown above).  Meghan also told me that Stephen West was knitting in their upstairs room, so we headed up to meet him as well.   Stephen was very nice, knitting away as we all talked about music- it turned out he would be attending the Iceland Airwaves festival that Joey would be playing soon.  We left the shop with my skein of beautiful British yarn and, sadly no pics with Meghan and Lydia or Stephen.  (I blame the jet lag for not thinking to snap an iphone pic at least).  Meghan and Lydia came to the show that night and I had a great time hanging out with them.  It was so lovely to meet them both and I hope to work with them again soon.

 

It’s-a-small-knitterly-world-post-script:

Since I was unable to stay on tour with the band through their Iceland show, I sent Joey with the sole purpose of making sure to snag me some Lopi yarn while he was there.  This  morning he popped into a coffee shop to ask where he could buy some yarn, and who else was there but Stephen West, knitting away with the WestKnits Fun Squad?  I now have a sweater’s worth of Lopi on its way home to the states with my wonderful knitwear-loving husband.

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Insta October

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October was a really great month.  I always love it because the change in seasons feels fresh and exhilarating but also because its my wedding anniversary month.  I was feeling a little sad when I first realized months ago that Joey would be out on tour during our anniversary, but what better excuse for me to go on a trip to Europe than to celebrate 12 years of marriage with my love?  I spent 7 days traveling with the band on the tour bus and had the most amazing time.  Some of my favorite parts of the trip were just watching the guys doing their thing and playing some really wonderful music.  I squeezed in a bit of knitting backstage and on the bus (the knitting pic above was taken while sitting in the artist’s lounge at the BBC!), but I mostly just soaked up all the sights and enjoyed some quality time with Joey.

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Packing

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I just booked a trip to Europe and I’m leaving next week! My darling Joey is on tour for the next five weeks and will be away for our anniversary, so I’ve decided to go see him. I’ll be going to London, Ireland (Sligo), Amsterdam and Paris and my mind is buzzing with ideas on what knitting to bring. I have a hat on the needles and a small accessory design that I’m about halfway finished with, but is that ENOUGH? What if I can’t sleep on the plane and I knit my way through both of those and then I don’t have anything else to work on? What if I walk through TSA and they think I’m a lunatic because my suitcase contains more yarn than clothes? What if I map out all the yarn stores in every city on my itinerary just in case?

What knitting projects would you pack for a whirlwind trip to Europe?

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Cold Snap

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I just lost an entire week to a cold. I was sick back in March with bronchitis and a sinus infection that had started out as an innocent little cold just like this one, so I tried to take it easy this time and get lots of rest. One night, Joey made me a spectacular hot toddy with ginger that warmed me up and soothed my sore throat. I tried to get lots of knitting done, but my cold medicine haze (and perhaps the whiskey from the toddy) had an undesirable effect on my knitting. I’ve now had to rip back a weeks’ worth of work because it just wasn’t right. Let this be a lesson to us knitters: never design under the influence. I’m back on track with my health and my knitting now and I think this design is going to be awesome.

We’ve also had our first real cold snap with lots of rain and temps in the low 50s. Joey and I were out and about this weekend and got caught in a downpour without an umbrella. We got so drenched running to our car and I came thisclose to slipping in a giant mud puddle. When we finally got in the car and slammed the doors shut, we just looked at each other and laughed. We went home and I made warm potato soup for dinner which was just perfect. Chilly weather, warm soup, knitting wooly things, and laughter with my love. I’m glad that fall is here.

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Insta September

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Wow. I can’t believe it’s almost OCTOBER. Looking back at some of my Instagram snaps from September, I can see why the month passed by so quickly. Joey and Midlake are gearing up for the release of their new album* and just completed a mini-tour of the Southwest which ended with a two-night-stand of performances in our hometown. We also received a test vinyl pressing of the album and sat down with a glass of wine and listened to it in its entirety. It was a nice way to celebrate the end results of a lot of hard work. The band also has a feature article in the October issue of MOJO Magazine and proud wife that I am, I kept harassing the poor people at Barnes and Noble by calling them almost every day to ask if they’d gotten it in stock yet. It has finally arrived and I snagged a copy this week.

Knitting and design-wise I’ve been squeezing in a bit of stitching whenever I can, during my lunches at work and early on Saturday mornings with my coffee. I’m working on the Rekaviður hat pattern by Bristol Ivy and its coming out really nice. I also spent a day knitting with a couple of my lady friends, getting them both up and running on some fun fall knitting projects. I’m looking forward to a couple of calm days where I can work on a new design using some lovely Quince and Co Owl and all I can say is that THERE WILL BE CABLES.

I’ve really been enjoying the change of the seasons lately, even though its a rather slight change here in Texas. The skies are darker and darker every morning as I’m leaving for work and the evenings have a bit of a cool breeze wafting about. I’m very excited for fall to get here, and I’ll be clicking my needles making something warm and wooly when it arrives.

(*Antiphon is out in the US via ATO Records on November 5th and in the UK via BellaUnion on November 4th. You can pre-order it here and I highly recommend you check it out. It’s AMAZING and BEAUTIFUL.)

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Baby Bushwick Beanie

My fabulous sister in law Heather asked me the other day if I thought it would be easy to modify my Bushwick Beanie pattern into a baby/toddler sized hat. Heather is a fly-by-her-needles sort of knitter and has no qualms with ripping back if something comes out all wrong, so I figured she wouldn’t hate me too much if I led her completely astray. I suggested that she might try using a worsted weight and smaller needles instead of taking the time to refigure the numbers and the cable pattern.

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Two days later I received these heart stoppingly cute pictures of my lil nephew Healy, modeling a baby Bushwick Beanie. I think the sizing she obtained is pretty much right on. Healy is not quite 3 months yet, and there’s plenty of slouch for now (so it’s Brooklyn style), and it leaves him plenty of room to grow into it for some time to come.

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Heather used I love Cotton yarn and US 7/4.5mm needles to make her baby beanie.

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A Crafty Saturday

The Autumnal Equinox arrived this weekend, and here in Texas we finally felt the first break from our 90+ degree heat. Saturday was such a lovely day with temps in the 60s in the morning and peaking in the mid 80s in the afternoon. I met up with some lady friends for a nice brunch and all around crafty day.

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We stopped by The DIME Store, a brick and mortar store born out of the Etsy Denton collective. DIME (Denton Independent Maker Exchange) opened up shop this spring and I have been really wanting to visit and take a peek at their handmade wares.

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These burlap pillows by Home Again were really cute, and even though the “I heart US” is surely referring to the United States, I really loved the idea of a pillow that says “I love Us” referring to the identity of a couple.

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There were some really adorable bags and clutches made by Rachel Elise that I was too busy drooling over to get a picture of and these cute little knitted baby hats by Cassie Arnold Art.

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Afterwards, we went back to my friend Felicia’s house for a little bit of knitting ourselves. Felicia cast on for a Hill Country Hat, and Bri started up a slightly modded version of my Infinity Cowl pattern, having given the one she previously knit away to a good friend.

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We had such a good time talking knitting all day and I look forward to seeing their finished knits.

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Woodland Knits by Stephanie Dosen

A little bit of fun back story before I talk about the book: I met Stephanie Dosen of Tiny Owl Knits about two years ago, when I was in the UK for one of Joey’s shows. Stephanie toured with Midlake on one of their previous albums and came to visit everyone in the artist area before the show. A mutual friend of ours told me that Stephanie was a knitter too and so we exchanged Ravelry names and promised to friend each other later on. We didn’t really talk much about knitting, but she did mention that she had put out a pattern for a quilt made with little knitted honeycombs and that lots of people had started knitting it and she was so surprised and delighted that other people were loving it too. I hadn’t heard of it yet but made a mental note to check it out next time I was online. I was traveling and didn’t really have internet access for the next few days, so I didn’t get to it right away but once I checked out her Rav profile I was kicking myself for not talking her ear off about knitting! She has SO MANY ADORABLE PATTERNS and I was instantly in love with all of them. In fact, I cast on for a Fairy Castle as soon as I got home from my trip and also started a Beekeeper’s Quilt not too long after that. So as soon as I found out her book was available for pre-order, I snagged a copy and HOORAY, it arrived last night!

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My first impression of Woodland Knits was that I love the size of it- it’s a little smaller than I was imagining from the photos online, but it’s a not-too-big- not-too-small size that I think will easily travel in your knitting bag.

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I also love the photos. The cover shot is beautiful and Stephanie looks great modeling her Deer with Little Antlers hat. The photos show the pattern details well, and the mossy forest setting and the styling of the models is perfectly suited for each of the designs. (PS my photos were taken using a filter app so the colors aren’t quite accurate here)

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There are over 20 patterns in the book and it’s a good mix of classic Tiny Owl Knits patterns and lots of new goodies as well. My top three favorites are Mr Fox Stole My Heart, the Dragon Watcher’s Hood and Fawn Poncho.

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I also really love how Stephanie has included helpful tips for felting and shaping freshly felted pieces, and words of wisdom for the colorwork patterns. The Tiny Owl even peeps in and offers a few words of owly wisdom for each pattern too.

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