29 November 2013

a little play time

I finished my work today, and now I'm playing with Oddments. This one, to be exact:
It's Sheffield from Valley Yarns: (70% merino, 15% silk, 15% angora, 120 yards/50 grams): color 23 - a deep rust. I'm thinking that it needs to be something the guys will wear, too. Don't you think they need a little something? And I'm really liking this combination:
The orange is Valley Yarns Berkshire Bulky (85% wool, 15% alpaca, 108 yards/100 grams): color 18, Copper. Hmmmmmmm.

In other news, the first Y4 shawl is being coded for the Y4 app. Yay! I do apologize for the delay on that one. It's a very simple shawl to knit, but the writing of it was...well...long. I tried to shorten it in many ways and ended up making it way more complicated than it needed to be. So it is - once again - simple. But long. I think you'll love it. :)

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26 November 2013

monday's musing, late edition

Really? It's Tuesday already? Where does the time go?!

Candace sent me a terrific quote that has given me much food for thought: "That which can be destroyed by the truth should be." - PC Hodgell

So many angles on this one; I have been pondering as much as I can. Thank you Candace!

As an aside, my Bear's fifth grade class - as well as the other fifth grade at his school - did something called "Food for Thought." He came home very very upset. It seems that everyone used rice to pack socks and make "snowmen" with black bean eyes yesterday as a class project. We had just been at the store buying rice and black beans for the school food drive the day before (excellent protein source as a staple!), and he saw the snowman-making as a huge waste, and was horrified that some kids in his class were making decorations out of more food than their families might have at home. Mr. Romi and I both encouraged him strongly to talk to his teacher in a kind way - she has a very good heart - and let her know that he was upset about the waste of food. I'm still so impressed and amazed by him!

Have a great everyone!


23 November 2013

fairy snowcap

Introducing the first Great Oddments Knitdown pattern: Fairy SnowCap.

It's a top-down hat.

And the beginning is designed along the lines of vintage doilies.

There's a lot of cosy warm ribbing to cover your ears on a chilly day.

And my favorite part: a big luxurious pompom on the top.

It's knit from Valley Yarns Berkshire, a nice fat single wool yarn with alpaca for softness. Even if it isn't in your own oddments box, I recommend trying it!

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21 November 2013

soon sooner soonest

This is all I have left of the skein of yarn I used for the first project in The Great Oddments Knitdown!
I feel I have successfully respected the fiber on this one by using almost everything on this lovely fat skein of yarn. You may remember this one: Berkshire (85% wool, 15% alpaca, 141 yards/100 grams): color 24, Light Blue.
And I've still left you all with enough leeway for your own project, because I used all my extra yarn up on a pompom!
I do love fat pompoms. But instead of a pompom, you could use a button or something else fun as an ornament if you are running short on yarn. Or you could use other partial balls of different colored oddments for a multi-colored pompom. 

Remember...once I release this pattern, the price of the Oddments subscription eBook will go up to $15. Right now it's $10. Have you signed up yet? The pattern comes out soooooooon!

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18 November 2013

monday's musing

"I CAN is more important than your IQ." - Robin Sharma

Watch this incredible TED talk (I love TED) by Angela Lee Duckworth, and "live life like it's a marathon and not a sprint."

So get your grit on this week!


13 November 2013

the great oddments knitdown

Its here!

One knitter.

One box of yarn.

Endless possibilities.

Welcome to my oddments project! Everyone has them: stray balls and skeins of yarn here and there. They’re different weights and different colors. Definitely not a sweater’s worth of anything, let alone a shawl’s worth or a pair of socks. You can’t imagine what to do with them, but you don’t want to throw them away. Well, I’m no different; Kathy Elkins of WEBS sent me a box of yarn to swatch. It stared at me reproachfully and demanded my respect: riches of wool, silk, alpaca and other blends. And an idea kept niggling at my mind (for a couple of years, no less). And so I finally gave in.
This is my project: to use this box of yarn and to respect the fiber. The rules are simple: I use what’s in the box, no matter the weight and the color, no matter what the fiber content is (luckily for me, there’s some really nice stuff). I can add buttons and other little embellishments, but that’s it. I may not go out and buy other yarn or beg Kathy for anything else. I have 18 balls of yarn and my imagination. There will be 15-18 projects. Some will be easy to dream up. Others? Not so much! But fun knitting for you, all the same!
The patterns for this eBook will be delivered to subscribers within a subscription period ending November 15, 2014. There is no specific delivery time for each pattern, but look for the first pattern in mid November 2013. All patterns will have charts (if needed) and written instructions, and you will be able to make them out of oddments. These are small projects, not big ones: the perfect size for an evening or two of knitting in front of the fire or sitting on the porch sipping a lemonade! So…knitters: pull out those oddments!
This eBook subscription is offered at $10 until the first pattern comes out sometime next week, after which it will go up to its regular price of $15.

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12 November 2013

just bee

Today as I was about to kill a bug on the window, I noticed that it was an amazing color of deep iridescent teal. I stopped, of course. It wasn't the housefly I thought it was. But I couldn't figure out what it was, and even our three resident fly fishermen couldn't identify it.

Leave it to the Queen of Google (me): a halictid bee - now outside. Did you know bees came in so many colors? I had absolutely no idea. And now I shall be thankful it didn't sting me.

eta: I couldn't stop thinking about that color!
Top skein: Enya Sock from Saffron Dyeworks. Bottom 2 skeins: Rockpile High Twist Sock from Royale Hare. Both: yum.


11 November 2013

monday's musing

In Flanders fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

-by John McCrae

Many thanks to all the veterans out there, including my own Mr. Romi.

10 November 2013

3, 2, 1....

I've had some lovely walks these past few days. Somehow, even after my foot healed up, I continued to forget how gorgeous it is here and how incredible it is to be out of doors. I secluded myself in my studio and worked. And worked. I'm striving for balance now, because I know this upcoming year is going to be an incredibly crazy one. I want to be ready and I need to re-learn how to relax. I've gotten out of the habit of meditating, of doing 5 good things with my family (we each get a turn at the end of the day to tell about the good in our days), and - most of all - I haven't gone outside nearly enough. So yesterday in my quest to find my center again, this is where we ended up.
It's only 10 minutes from the house, and this is looking across the Sierras to the south. #1 Son says he'll be building a cabin to the left in the valley down there, for the spring and summer. It's difficult to tell at this distance, but there's a swath of Aspen across the valley floor where the snow melt runs through. Note: we will be returning next fall when the Aspen are in full color.

Between walks, I've been getting the box of Valley Yarns from WEBS organized for my upcoming oddments knitdown.

Pictured above, from the bottom left, clockwise: Deerfield (80% alpaca, 20% silk, 109 yards/50 grams): Stone Blue; Valley Superwash dk (100% extrafine merino wool, 137 yards/50 grams): color 18 - a deep blue; Southwick (52% pima cotton. 48% bamboo viscose, 105 yards/50 grams): color 27 - a rich deep purple; Stockbridge (50% alpaca, 50% wool, 109 yards/50 grams): Periwinkle; and Berkshire (85% wool, 15% alpaca, 141 yards/100 grams): color 24, Light Blue. 

Pictured above, from bottom left counter-clockwise: Huntington (75% fine superwash merino, 25% nylon, 218 yards/50 grams): Forest; Northfield (70% merino, 20% baby alpaca, 10% silk, 124 yards/50 grams): Avocado; Northampton Bulky (100% wool, 109 yards/100 grams): Dark Green Heather; Goshen (48% Peruvian cotton, 46% Modal, 6% silk, 92 yards/50 grams): Green Apple.

Pictured above, from top left, counter-clockwise: Northampton Sport (100% wool, 164 yards/ 50 grams): Raspberry Heather; Buckland (60% fine superwash merino, 20% mulberry silk, 20% nylon, 109 yards/50 grams): Ruby Red; Colrain (50% merino, 50% tencel, 109 yards/50 grams): Mauve; Longmeadow (60% cotton, 40% microfiber, 117 yards/50 grams): Purple Haze.

Pictured above, from top left, counter-clockwise: Valley Superwash (100% extra fine merino superwash, 98 yards/50 grams): color 617 - a light tan; Amherst (100% merino, 109 yards/50 grams): Wild Rose; Northampton (100% wool, 247 yards/100 grams): Fawn.

Pictured above, from bottom, up: Sheffield (70% merino, 15% silk, 15% angora, 120 yards/50 grams): color 23 - a deep rust; Berkshire Bulky (85% wool, 15% alpaca, 108 yards/100 grams): color 18, Copper. 

Pictured above is my first up: the Berkshire in Light Blue, and I am loving knitting with this yarn. It's similar in weight to my favorite Lopi sweater (I was a sweater knitter for years, and that's something else I need to get back to!), but the alpaca makes it loads and loads softer. I wear a turtleneck with my Lopi, but I'm guessing this one would work against my skin, and I don't think I would itch at all. It's a fat single, so it knits up lofty. The alpaca gives it a light halo, making it extra warm and snuggly.

Stand by, as I will be releasing the knitdown as a subscription eBook this coming Wednesday, and it will be discounted until the first pattern is released!

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04 November 2013

monday's musing

"Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself." – Confucius

Today is a bit of a difficult musing for me, because I tend to be a very live and let live kinda gal. As long as it doesn't hurt anyone or infringe on someone else's rights, I think people have a right to live their lives exactly the way they wish. I don't like being told what to do or what to think, and so I try very hard not to tell others what to do or place value judgements on anyone for living the way they wish. That being said, I find - after some reflection - that I can't be silent about something that's been disturbing me.

I read the comments on Stephen West's new designs the other day on Ravelry. I cringed. As a designer, I often get comments, and I am so very appreciative that most of them - I'd say about 99.9% - are kind and positive. But as I read through those directed to Stephen, I pictured myself faced with an inbox filled with ugliness, since designers get copied on each one of those comments. It wasn't all that difficult to imagine; when you upload a new design, there's always a niggling fear that everyone will hate it.

I understand that people have a right to say whatever they want; we are incredibly fortunate to live in a country where free speech is still possible. Cruel words are not illegal (though we are seeing a lot about bullying in the crime news lately). But they are painful and soul-sucking to everyone involved: the people who say them, the people who are the recipients, and the bystanders who witness them.

So I have two questions to throw out into the ether for those commenters, and no one need answer them to me, only to themselves if they wish.
1. How would you feel if someone left the same comments for you and you opened your inbox to a whole bunch of negativity?
2. What are you hoping to accomplish?

What I often say to my boys: everyone appreciates kindness and graciousness. That doesn't mean you have to agree with or like the other person, or admire them, or think they are right. Showing respect for a fellow human is always cool.

So there you go. Enough said.

And now I will stow away my soapbox (back to home use), put my rose-colored sunglasses on again, and go back to minding my own business. Before I sign off though, on a personal note: I want you all to know how very very much I appreciate how kind and gracious you have been to me. Have a great week, everyone!