31 August 2010

Energy, I haz it

7 Small Shawls: T - 122 days and counting down.

I am starting to get things accomplished again, thank the FSM!

My Maia fingerless mitts have been test knitted by round one, and I've just finished editing the pattern. I got out the big guns today to check the chart (yes - I was a little brain dead, why do you ask?). Out came the worsted weight and the big needles because, really? Who wants to experiment on teensy tiny needles? Not me.
So I knitted the top of a mitt for the Jolly Green Giant. Now it's time to ask beg my friend A to take a look over the pattern. I need a fresh set of eyes!

And guess what, dear readers?! The Maia Mitts will be out this week!

Before I run off to knit, I have a hypothetical question. What would happen if, by chance, you knocked over your super glue, didn't notice it, and it leaked slowly out all over your straight edge? And then, days later, you picked it up, wondered what that gel was covering everything and rubbed it between your fingers before swearing like a sailor and trying to wash it off?
Yes. That's what.

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30 August 2010

Monday's Musing

“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared." - Buddha

Have a fabulous week, everyone! Share your joy.

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29 August 2010

knit knit knit tink tink tink

That's about what I have been doing this weekend. Listening to A Rule Against Murder and working on a secret project, while thinking about shawl shapes. Multi-tasking is Good. :)

I am so loving listening to audiobooks! It turns out my local library has a ton of them and they are just the thing for deadline knitting. But I'm in need of more, so back I go tomorrow. I'm about halfway done with the project and the Maia mitts are nearing test knitting completion. Then there are shawls 3 and 4 for the ebook....

Off to bed with me - long day tomorrow! School (online) starts for the boys and they are super excited.

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27 August 2010

Back in the land of the living

7 Small Shawls: T - 126 days and counting down.

Exhausted. But back. :) Overcome in the past week:

- 1 deadline knit
- 1 dental emergency
- 4 wholesale orders
- surprise guests
- major house and yard cleaning, and I mean Major
- 15 loads of laundry
- cleaning out of remaining household items from mother, aunt, uncle and grandmother
- 2 patterns written
- deadline knit begun
- another 2 deadline knits added

Then there was the usual day to day answering of pattern questions, making pins for retail orders and working on 7 Small Shawls stuff (Maia mitts are almost ready to be released).

And for the past couple of days? I slept. A lot. But there was still stuff to do, so don't worry. I'm not getting lazy. ;)

I discovered a Very Cool Thing while searching for storage options. Meet my stash's new best friends.
They're called bongo bags and they are teh awesome. And I mean Awe. Some. I have my downstairs stash in them, as well as some shipping supplies. They fold down into flat little circles in case I ever actually use up my stash without replacing it with more, and they pop up into these fabulous denim cylinders. They're classified as baby supplies. But hey! I've been known to be childish, so I'm okay with that. :) I have yarn and some cloves, bay leaves and lavender in them because I've been seeing m*ths fluttering around. I'm hoping they are merely pantry m*ths, which suck, but don't suck as much as wool m*ths. Just to be safe, the yarn is all in plastic bags inside the bongo bags. Yes, I may be a little paranoid, but as my grandmother used to say: "Even paranoids have m*ths enemies."

And have I ever mentioned how great Amazon Prime is if you live out in the middle of nowhere? One of the best investments ever.

Oh. Hey. My next secret project is waiting.
Later! :)

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25 August 2010

Checking in

Just checking in to say hello! I haven't forgotten about you all and I'm missing you! Things are slowly getting back into place again. One secret project gone, mitts being tested, wholesale order out, surprise guests gone, next secret project in progress, cold almost gone, swim practice resumed. Putting one foot in front of the other. Utterly exhausted and heading for bed!

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23 August 2010

Monday's Musing

Thank you all so much for your good wishes! Things are straightening out bit by bit. Hence today's quote. :)

“A jug fills drop by drop.” - Buddha

Have a great week!

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22 August 2010

Overwhelmed

You know how sometimes you think you really couldn't pile anything else into your life? And then something happens and it really isn't negotiable? Heh. Well, this past week more got heaped on. It's one of those things I really can't blog about, and I tried taking it in stride and blogging about other stuff, but it's just not really working all that well. It isn't life-threatening and it isn't another secret project, and you mustn't worry about me! It's just something that needs to be sorted and then I need to get back to my deadlines and finish them up because I am now way behind.

So I may be a little quiet for a few days, but I'm ok. I promise I'll pop in though!

xo!

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19 August 2010

Temptress

7 Small Shawls: T - 138 days and counting down.

Yesterday a priority mail box came. A surprise priority mail box. I love those. :) And this one did not disappoint! Dee had sent me a care package for my "inner magpie." Isn't that sweet?! And just look at what was inside!!! Warm.
And cool.
Oh, how I wish I could do the colors justice! Dee is an incredibly talented dyer.

The burgundy is Casablanca in the colorway Rusty Halo: 80% fine merino and 20% cashmere. The golden toned skein is Enya sock in colorway Harvest: 100% superwash merino. And the incredible deep aqua/teal/turquoise is Mica in the colorway Wild Night: 50% merino and 50% silk. I wish I could capture the incredible color! I spent some time trying to Photoshop it, too, and it's just one of those colors that doesn't photograph well. Trust me, though. It is incredible! I've been petting it. My inner magpie is very happy. :)

btw, did you see my interview over on the Knitting Daily blogs? I'm on "Inside Knits." Isn't that cool!? Sharon Riggs interviewed me. She's teh awesome. :)

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18 August 2010

Observations

7 Small Shawls: T - 139 days and counting down.

1. Green paint in a plastic bottle dropped from the balcony onto a tile floor does not bounce.
2. Explosions affect an amazingly large area.
3. Cuteness is essential to the survival of children.
4. Disasters invariably happen right before the post office closes.
5. See #3.

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17 August 2010

tick tock tick tock

7 Small Shawls: T - 140 days and counting down.

Oh. My. God. What can I say?

This week, the perfect storm has settled over my life. Not one of the things happening is bad, mind you. It's all fabulously and wonderfully good! It's just that they are all here at once - ulp!

Some old and dear friends are coming this weekend. We haven't seen them in 10 years. The house is an absolute disaster of biblical proportion. My kids are on break from swimming and when they don't exercise they are, well...a pain. Tomorrow: they are running the track until they drop. Meanwhile, I am writing up my Maia mitts pattern for test knitting. It's one of those things that is simple to knit, but is a long and time-consuming pattern to write up. Added to that, I have a secret project due on Monday, and another due September 1st. Holy carp. Do you realize how close September is?!?!?!? Not to mention finishing the rest of Celaeno and writing up that pattern. Oh, wait. Did I mention that I need to send out a couple of wholesale pin orders and a bunch of retail ones? And my new gorgeous golden shawl. I didn't have enough of the perfect beads, so I had to order more. Thank heavens that's a good excuse for not working on it right now. ;)

This past Sunday evening, I opened up 50 spots in my 2011 club for a first round of sign-ups and I forgot to send out an announcement to my Yahoo group! This wouldn't have been so terrible except that there were only 4 memberships left when I discovered my omission the next morning. So I did the only thing I thought was right. I sent out a notice and let more than 50 people sign up in the first round. This means that I may have a much larger club than anticipated when I open up again in October (another 50 spots). Which is absolutely wonderful. And incredibly terrifying!

Oh, and Mr. Romi? Absolutely. Totally. Swamped.

Did you see my interview on the Rainey Sisters blog? I got to chat with Susan - it was very fun. :)

I'm going to bed now, so maybe I won't catch this cold I'm working on.

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16 August 2010

Monday's Musing

This is particularly for a dear friend who is going through some difficult times right now (but it applies to us all).

“Energy and persistence conquer all things.” - Benjamin Franklin

Have a fabulous week!

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14 August 2010

You are my sunshine

7 Small Shawls: T - 143 days and counting down.

I am just loving this lovely sunny yarn from Zen Yarn Garden (Serenity Silk in 14k colorway). The color makes me happy just to look at it! And it's even better with beads.
This was one of those times when the best beads for the job were not at all a surprise. Sometimes, I am shocked by which beads look the best, but not this time. There was :yawn:.
Meh.
Yuck.
And so-so.
And then the angels sung.
I love it when they do that. :)

So.... Tomorrow is a big day for me! I'm opening up sign-ups for my 2011 Pins & Lace Club! I'll be doing a few things differently this coming year. First of all, the two month memberships will run one shipment after the other. So, whereas in 2010, if you signed up for two months you would get shipments in January and July, in 2011 you will get shipments in January and April. After the second shipment, if there are any two shipment memberships available for the rest of the year, those will go up for sale. Also different: I will not be offering cool or warm colors, but I will still be offering a choice of fiber. I want to make sure that my poor dyer stays sane this time around, so we're sticking to one new color per shipment! :)

I will be opening the club sign-ups tomorrow, August 15th, after 6 pm PST. These are pre-orders for the club which starts in January of 2011. The first round of sign-ups will last through the end of August, or until 50 spots are filled, whichever comes first. Those signing up in the first round in August will get some extra holiday cheer this year! On October 1st, I will open the sign-ups again for another 50 spots. I am doing it in two bursts to give those who have participated in the 2010 club (and new members!) two chances to get in for 2011, and I'm hoping it works! In the event that I am unable to close the sign-ups before more than 50 people sign up for the club in the first go-around (people tell me that I'd better watch out because there's a lot of interest - ulp!) there's a chance there will be fewer than 50 spots available in October. (I know there are ways to automate these things, and I am trying to figure out how to make it work with my site, but it's likely not going to happen in August).

To those of you who participated in my inaugural 2010 club, thank you so much! You made my year a fantastic one. I have learned so much and enjoyed it more than I can tell you. It's been an amazing year. :)

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12 August 2010

About last night

7 Small Shawls: T - 145 days and counting down.

Yes, to all of those who kindly asked, that pile of yarn was Celaeno. But, happily, not all of Celaeno. And also in answer to those who asked very kindly: yes, I am absolutely fine. The nice thing about yarn is that you can rip it out and re-knit it and no one will ever be the wiser (unless you are being a brutally honest ripper like I am). It's not like wood where you measure twice (or three or four times), cut once, swear a blue streak and then go out and buy another piece to repeat the process. No...I feel very fortunate indeed.

To explain a bit, or perhaps sum up.... Often, I rip as much as I knit when I am designing something. It's just part of the process that I accept. Things look good on paper; they look good in my head; then they don't do what I expected them to do when knitted up. Knitted fabric has interesting little quirks that vary with fiber and stitch. I know quite a few of them after having knitted for most of my life, but I certainly do not know all of them, and I am learning more of them every day. I enjoy that process, and I take ripping as just another facet of bringing my vision to reality.

That all being said, this is not why I ripped last night. I needed to rip Celaeno because I made a really foolish mistake and didn't notice it until I had gone far past it. The mistake threw off all of my stitch counts and messed with the shaping of the shawl. There was really nothing to do but rip. It's ok; I will have it back together in no time and then it will be off to my test knitters. Meanwhile, I am readying the Maia mitt pattern for testing! The mitts will be one of the extra patterns in my 7 Small Shawls eBook subscription, and will not be available for purchase alone.

I also took out the materials for my next shawl (#4). This lovely yarn is from Zen Yarn Garden. It is an incredible shade of golden yellow. And soft? So soft!
And there are beads.
Several options, actually.
I'm pretty sure which ones I want, but I may be surprised when I knit a swatch with them.
I have been thinking about this one for quite some time, and I think I have finally gotten it right. Some ideas come quickly and some are long in the planning stage. This is one that I dissected over and over again. It started out one way and ended another way entirely. But I will get into more of that later.

I will leave you with the picture of a 16 inch long cucumber that reminded me of "This is Spinal Tap."

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11 August 2010

Rip it. Rip it good.

7 Small Shawls: T - 146 days and counting down.

Le sigh.
But on other fronts, all is looking good in green and beads!
The lovely yarn is Creating from A Verb for Keeping Warm in Limon.
The pictures really don't do the color justice.
And the Maia mitts.
Well, they're just the right combination of girly and tailored for me.
I am in love.

Meanwhile...I am imagiknitting the next shawls to come and swatching for secret projects. Stay tuned!

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10 August 2010

Vive la différence!

7 Small Shawls: T - 147 days and counting down.

Pretty amazing, eh?
Can you believe this is the same pattern as this? Things always look better in green with beads. Just sayin'.

Wait 'til you see the whole picture!

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09 August 2010

Monday's Musing

“You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life." - Winston Churchill

This is to all of you out there who stand up for your principles (especially two people who are very close to me). It can be painful sometimes, but it's necessary in so many ways. Kudos to you!

Have a great week everyone!

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08 August 2010

Tubular

7 Small Shawls: T - 149 days and counting down.

Here it is, demonstrated on my Maia fingerless mitt in green! My very favorite stretchy cast on for socks, mitts and hats: often called "tubular" or "kitchener" cast on. It gives a beautiful finished edge.

Start with a provisional cast on of half the stitches you wish to use. IOW, if you want to cast on 30 stitches, provisionally cast on 15 using a smooth cotton waste yarn. I like crocheting directly onto the knitting needle. It makes the last step, where you will remove the provisional cast on, easier.
Most times when you use a provisional cast on, you will be picking up the stitches to knit the other direction. Not in this case. Here, it is just to hold the stitches for the time being. I will be doing the cast on in the round, so the first step is to provisionally cast on to one double pointed needle.
I then pick up stitches and distribute them onto four dpns as I go, thus: [k1, yo] repeat to end.
It looks messy for a bit, but do not despair. As long as you don't twist the cast on when you join, you'll be fine.
On the second row, you will be slipping the knitted stitches with yarn in back, and purling the yarn-overs.
After that is a row of [k1, sl1 purlwise wyif] repeat to end. When these three rows are finished, you can do whatever ribbing pattern you wish. Mine here is one by two garter ribbing.
As soon as you have knit those three rows, you can remove the provisional cast on with no problem. Here, I just kept knitting because I felt like it. :)

Now remove the knot from the end of the crochet chain. If the chain does not now unravel when you pull on it, you have used the incorrect end. Now worries; just try the other end. You're looking for the one that will unravel easily.
Keep pulling, the chain will unravel all the way around,
leaving a strand of waste yarn through the initial row of stitches.
Pull this out, et voila! It's magic! (But I have to say I was really nervous the first time I did this.)
Once you see how marvelously stretchy this cast on is, you will never want to use another for socks and mitts!

Drive by swim meet report: the boys had a fantastic meet this past weekend! #1 Son got his first 11/12 A time in the 500 yard freestyle and pulled off a stunning anchor leg in the 200 IM relay where he caught a bigger kid who was half a pool length in front of him. He is a real team player, and we were all so proud! Da Bear got his first ever A time in the 8 and under 25 yard freestyle and he's 2 seconds away from a PRT (Pacific Recognition Time). This is very good. Especially since he only turned 7 in March! They both came to play, and it was an awesome meet. They have come a long way!

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07 August 2010

Time in a bottle

This weekend is a swim meet weekend and so we've been running like crazy since yesterday, when #1 Son had his first event (500 yard freestyle)! It's a super fun meet - a team meet, which the kids absolutely love. I'm getting knitting done, but have no light for pics before we leave and after we return. I never take the good camera to meets! We did take some video, which I may treat you all to a little later. :)

What I really want is to show you some pics from last weekend when we took the kids to a birthday party. My friend L's son was turning 7 and siblings were invited along, so it was a great family affair. Their family had just moved (into a gorgeous house) and L decided that it would be fun to tie die - oops Freudian slip. I mean tie dye. Mind you, she had never ever tie dyed before, and wanted to try it with ten kids for the very first time out. Yes. She's completely insane, which is one of the things I absolutely love about her.

It went amazingly well. Perhaps because I had the kids in smocks? (Dad's old shirts are perfect for such things!) And barefoot.
There was dye everywhere!
Some of it even got on the shirts.
And here we go! I so love this picture of my boys. They were fighting like cats and dogs before and after this shot, but for one perfect moment....
Tie dye is the new big thing around here. Next time? Kool Aid. :)

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05 August 2010

I'm on my way

7 Small Shawls: T - 151 days and counting down.

Look! It's green.
And beaded - from stash yet!
Isn't it amazing how different the pattern appears in a semi solid color? I love how the leaf pattern looks like a watermark on the ribbing. The lovely yarn is from Kristine at A Verb for Keeping Warm. It is "Creating" in Limon, and the pictures truly don't do the color justice. At all. I love Kristine's yarns. Did I mention before that I'm going to do a design for her initial year of the Pro-Verbial Yarn Club? It's a secret which month, though. :)

Also? I got a new bag, and I am smitten with it.
I've been using a knitting bag as my carry-all and it has always bothered me that it isn't leather. I do so love leather. Love the smell of it and the feel of it. If I could sniff leather, silk, new books and warm California evening all the time, I'd be very very happy.

So I went looking for a leather bag, and found this great deal at Overstock.com! I love the color. It is super bright and happy. The bag has tons of space. I can fit several projects. And? It smells like leather. :happysigh:

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04 August 2010

It's not easy being green

7 Small Shawls: T - 152 days and counting down.

Today, we had a little visitor in the basil. I think he may have been a bit lost, but I'm not sure. He was a long way from the pool of water where he was most likely a tadpole.
When we realized that the frogs love our little "fountain" (a big word for a tiny spot of water), we let it go natural, and they come back every year. We all watch the eggs hatch and the tadpoles grow up, sprout legs, and go hopping away. The boys put pieces of wood down so the tiny froglets can crawl out of the water, and every morning we get an updated account of how many frogs have grown out of tadpoles. This year's crop has matured and left, so seeing this little guy again was a big treat!

In other news, I finished one of my Maia mitts today and started another. The new one is green. And beaded. :) I really like the way this one turned out in the variegated yarn, but I do love my green.

The lace pattern travels down the back of the hand.
And there is pattern around the cuff, as well.

The thumb gusset appeals to my anal retentive side.
It's looking very cool in the green. More pics of that later!

So now, the Maia hat...beret or beanie? That's the question! I'm already guessing it's going to be beaded. And I'm thinking it's probably a beret. Am I right?

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