Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Pattern Sales and Promotions

First a big thank you to all of you following my blog.  I try to post approximately weekly so there isn't too much to read, but enough I hope to keep it interesting.  This post is purely functional, but I will have pictures of my work in progress yellow lace later this week.  Thank you also for all the comments you have made on my blog posts.  I don't feel as if I am posting to a black hole when I hear your thoughts, and I love to hear your thoughts! 
A little note on my Pattern Sales and Promotions.  On the left side of the blog under the photos and archives you will find a sale section.  I change this monthly and put up a promotion for my patterns.  It may be buy two get one free, as I am doing for June or 50% off as I did for one pattern in May.  The only place I am advertising these deals is the blog, so please watch for a deal that may fit your interests and needs. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Pattern Brainstorming

How do patterns emerge?  Mine have come about from a variety of inspirations.  Some patterns come from practical needs.  I needed a new kitchen rug, hence the striped kitchen rug was born.  The perfect dishcloth came about through trial and error as I made dishcloths to fill my needs.  The car and duck washcloths started as baby gifts, and my current lace shawl/table runner (still in production) started with my desire to work on lace and my love of the color yellow for spring.  While working on my current pattern (the yellow lace) I have let my mind wander and the idea of a fleur de lis lace shawl is emerging and a simple lace shawl in a wonderful pink novelty yarn is forming.  My mind and design notebook are full of ideas, and I only hope to have time to get to at least most of my ideas.  Where do find inspiration for your knitting?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Musings on Knitting inspired by For the Love of Knitting

I have just finished reading my first book about knitting.  Not a pattern book or an instructional book, but a book about the love and joy of knitting.  Kari Cornell appropriately titles it For the Love of Knitting.  It is a compilation of essays on knitting:  learning to knit, projects lovingly made for others, knitting as an art and Elizabeth Zimmerman.  (I have seen Elizabeth’s name in numerous places related to knitting, but this book explained more clearly who she was, and gave my a new book to hunt down and read…Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmerman.)  Throughout the book I jotted down ideas for my blog and thought about why I knit and why I love knitting.  It reminded me that we knit for many reasons.  I started to knit as an adult as a way to be productive while waiting for my children at various practices and activities.  I love the feeling of being productive while I wait.  I also started knitting as a way to release stress.  I kept knitting because it was a true passion.  I love the creative expression it offers, the practical garments and items it produces, the opportunity it provides to work with my hands, and the chance it gives me to express love and appreciation to family and friends through a handmade gift. 

I enjoyed reading the section of the book discussing knitting as art.  While I have enjoyed various crafting endeavors throughout my life, I have never thought about the finished project from knitting as art.  I think of weaving as art, but I believe I relegated knitting to a craft because of its practical applications.  I have never seen a knit piece on the wall of an art gallery; or thought to knit a piece as art.  I have always considered the skill of knitting an art, but the finished project I thought of practically.  Extending this thought process beyond knitting you really can find art in many practical things we do daily.  Cooking can be an art; surgery is an art; drafting a winning legal brief is art.  It reminded me that art is all around us in the world in our everyday experiences.  Furthermore, it challenged me to expand my notion of knitting and see the “art” not just in the process but also in the finished project.  My yellow-cabled sweater truly is a piece of art.

I share with many knitters a stash of yarn to rival a small yarn store.  I particularly enjoyed Lily Chin’s Top 10 Ways to Hide the Stash in For the Love of Knitting.  I haven’t gotten to the point where I need to replace my sofa cushions with yarn to hold my stash, but I will let you all know when I do.  Each skein and ball of yarn in my stash of course has a project attached to it.  One that most likely will never come to fruition, but a plan for the skein nonetheless.  I often have so many plans for things I want to create via knitting, I find myself making lists of projects to start.  (I am a list person.)  My stash is helpful when I come up with a new project, decide to start it immediately and need yarn.  I may not ever get to that cute little gray skirt, but the skein takes new life in my current project.  Worst-case scenario, I can open up a yarn shop someday.  At least knitters won’t find it odd to be purchasing yarn out of soup tureens.  (Again, see Lily Chin’s list to understand the reference.) 

Knitting as art has been handed down through the ages.  I was fortunate enough to first learn from my mother, a way of learning that is quickly becoming extinct.  I hope my children find joy in knitting, to whatever extent suits them.  For me, knitting has been the discovery of a passion.  What further roads it offers me for exploration will be a pleasure to roam. 

Monday, May 9, 2011

My First Lace Pattern

I have begun designing my first project in "lace." I picked a border that I liked and a simple lace stitch and put the two together.  So far so good.  My first glitch, however, (okay my second, I did have to rip out and start over when my edging on one side was not coming out correctly and I figured out I needed to make sure I was doing the right stitches on the Right side and wrong side of the finished piece and adjusted the pattern accordingly) is deciding as I work the project, do I add a different lace pattern in middle of the project to simply change things up, or do I Keep It Simple?  Keep it simple is a good motto with most craft projects, but with lace is simple good or maybe not so good.  I will probably just keep it simple, because as I stated, this is my first lace pattern.  But the urge to add more is one I constantly try to decipher.  To add more or keep it simple?  If anyone has the answer to this age old dilemma, please let me know.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

I've Made Another Discovery

I’ve made another discovery!  One that I am sure someone else made ages ago, but once again forgot to tell me.  I wonder if it was made by the same person who discovered the perfect dishcloth but forgot to tell me?  My big current revelation is a garter stitch scarf knit from stretchy sock yarn.  I know…huge discovery!  I’m using Pattons Stretch Socks a superfine yarn made from 41% cotton, 39%wool, 13% nylon and 7% elastic.  Elastic is great!  On my size four needles this is not a “quick” scarf.  I feel as if I’ve been working on it for ages truth be told, but it keeps me busy and has made a great grab and go project.  (See The Simple Joy of the Garter Stitch Scarf posted April 13, 2011.) 

The ah-ha for me with this project is multifaceted.  First as I just stated it has kept me busy for quite some time (both a good and a bad thing).  Second the stretch and drape of the fabric I’m creating is just luscious in my opinion.  Third, it creates a scarf that works well in warmer limits and feels more sophisticated than a bulky winter scarf.  If you are a scarf knitter, and if you knit, who doesn’t knit a scarf now and then, I strongly recommend grabbing some stretch fine sock yarn on your next trip to the yarn or craft store.  Grab thus smaller needles and make this light weight wonderfully draping scarf.  And if you find out who discovered this gem before I did, please let me know.  I am sure he or she could save me some time by revealing his or her treasure trove of discoveries and save me the time and aggravation of finding them myself.