Grey Day

When Joey and I were first dating, he told me his favorite color was grey and I thought he was mad.  (My favorite color at the time was cobalt blue).  “How can your favorite color be grey?  Grey isn’t really even a color.”

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Fast forward 17 (!!) years later and things have changed yet not changed.  Joey’s wardrobe consists of mostly greys, with some black and navy thrown in for good measure.  If you ask him his favorite color I am positive he would still answer with grey.  Me, I have nary a bit of cobalt blue around anymore, save for a set of baking dishes that were a wedding gift; a throwback to our early days.  Over the years I’ve most certainly come around to grey as a color.  Without even knowing it was happening, it might have just become my favorite color too.  I was yarn shopping with a friend the other day and she commented that when it comes to yarn, I almost always go for greys and I realized she was absolutely right.

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Today the sky is grey as grey can be and although I am a bit tired of cold grey weather, I’m not tired of grey the color.  Not even a little bit.

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Coming Soon: Wayfinder Mitts

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A while back I started playing around with arrow motifs and incorporating them into my knitting. The Wayfinder Mitts were originally envisioned as a pair of grey stockinette fingerless mitts with an orangey-red arrow down the back of the hands, either knit using intarsia or possibly duplicate stitched on afterwards. After a while that idea started to feel too plain and I tried to think of a way to make them more interesting. I came up with an interesting stitch pattern for the cuffs that also featured directional arrows, but then I fell in love with the cuff idea more than the original idea and decided to file that particular stitch pattern away for something bigger and better. Another issue I had with the idea of doing a stockinette mitt is the fit. I wanted something that was fitted– not slouchy, so I knit a prototype that decreased towards the wrist and increased for the hand. Unfortunately when wearing the mitts, they would bunch awkwardly when you rotated your hands at the wrist, so I went back to the drawing board. Some of the best-fitting fingerless mitts I’ve ever worn have had ribbing on the wrist portion, so I went with a 2×2 rib for the arm and wrist and stockinette for the hand and added a two stitch traveling cable to the back of each hand for the visual interest. I really like the way these mitts turned out and the ribbing makes them easily stretch to fit most ladies’ hands nicely. This pair was knit in Madelinetosh Tosh DK, but they could also be knit in a heavy worsted or aran weight in a more rustic wool for a pair of manlier mitts. The pattern is being tech edited now and I’ll be releasing it very soon!

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Back in the Saddle

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I’m a lazy knitter. Not the kind of lazy knitter that makes mistakes and doesn’t bother to fix them— (I may be lazy, but I’m still a perfectionist). No, I mean the lazy kind of knitter that will set a project aside if there’s a section coming up that I need to devote my full attention to like calculating increases or looking up a particularly stretchy bind off. That is exactly what happened to me recently and it spiraled into an entire month of no knitting.

I’m slowly slogging away at a design idea (perfecting it, actually) and I was getting near the end of a ribbed edge where I wanted to try out a tubular bind off. I set the project aside, planning to research the best method of doing the tubular bind off, and then a crazy insane December happened and I kept thinking I didn’t have time to do it properly so it just sat there. For a whole month. Not a stitch knit.

Fortunately, my knitting mojo has returned post-holidays and I found some time to pick it back up over the weekend. The first thing I noticed was that all the ribbing I had knitted back in the insane days of December was worked in the wrong needle size. (What kind of burnout makes mistakes knitting their own pattern? Further proof that December was just a crazy month that I’m glad to see the end of). So instead of spending a nice hour or so knitting a beautiful tubular bind off and feeling the satisfaction of completing something that’s been on my mind for a month, I had to rip back quite a bit of ribbing and then start over with the correct needle size. All of that and I’m still not ready to tackle that dang tubular bind off.

The good news is that even though this design is taking me FOREVER (I’m not even going to talk about how I’ve got a whole second piece to REKNIT after this one….) it’s going to be a really killer design so it will be worth all the trouble. AND I’ve recently brushed off another design that has been waiting in the wings since summer time and all it needs is a quick tech edit and some photos, so I should have something to release fairly soon.

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Insta-December

Insta December 2013

Oh December, you were harsh but beautiful. The month started out with Joey heading back out on tour and me and our little Henry-dog getting snowed in by a big ice storm. As temps dipped into the teens and everything was covered in six inches of solid ice, Henry and I cozied ourselves up as much as possible. I made giant pots of soup and drank lots of tea and knitted while Henry would snooze on my lap. We ventured out on the ice for a few walks to try to combat cabin fever, and even decorated the house for the upcoming Christmas holiday. (Yes, I covered everything in yarn pom poms!) As things finally started to thaw out, I wrapped a few small gifts to put under our tree and waited impatiently for Joey’s tour to wrap up. As it turns out, I couldn’t take the full three weeks away from Joey so I drove down to Austin to catch the band’s show one Friday night after work. I also got to visit with lots of friends that I haven’t seen in a while, which was really nice. We spent a few nice days with both of our families for the holidays and are now gearing up to head out for a couple of New Year’s shows in Aspen. (Thank goodness I get to tag along this time!)  Now I’m trying to decide which handknit hat I should bring for the cold Colorado weather….

Happy New Year to you and thank you for reading!

you can find me on Instagram as Kimidawn24

Christmas Craft Show-Off

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This is the week when everyone can finally reveal what crafty things they’ve been making for Christmas gifts, right?

I only have one small handcrafted Christmas gift to show, but I was really pleased with the way it came out. I made my parents a set of coffee mugs emblazoned with their Sandybrook Ranch cattle brand. I created the brand in Illustrator and then printed it out and traced it onto the mugs using graphite paper and then filled in the design with black porcelain pen. I baked them in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes to set the ink and that was it!

My parents really liked the gift and I’m sure next time we go to visit they’ll be sipping their morning coffee out of their new Sandybrook Ranch mugs.

 

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Insta November

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November started out with Joey still out on tour and me adjusting back to home life after my trip to visit him.  The band played the Iceland Airwaves festival in Reykjavik and Joey brought me back some lopi wool as a souvenir. This leg of the tour ended with the guys playing two shows opening for Pearl Jam in Dallas and Oklahoma City and I went along for those shows.  It was a good time and it was really fun to get to watch the guys play in front of such large crowds.  I spent a little time working on charts for a cabled knitting pattern I’ve been working on, and decided I wanted to make a few tweaks to the cables I have been using.  The design is going to be a really good one and I’m glad I went back and made the changes, but that also means I have to reknit an entire piece of the design and with the small amounts of knitting time I’ve had lately, it seems to be very slow going at the moment.  I’ve also been enjoying having Joey back home for a few days before he heads out again until Christmas.  Henry sure hates it when he leaves, so we make sure to spend lots of time snuggling and watching movies in bed when he’s away.  We also got to spend a couple of nice days with family for Thanksgiving, which is always a good way to move into the month of December.

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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Wise Hilda

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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

Insta october

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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