Sunday, January 31, 2010
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Friday, January 29, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Monday, January 25, 2010
Turns out it is such an odd problem that it has been lofted up to Corporate for a solution. They are supposed to call me before doing anything drastic like *shudder* deleting all my saved emails to start fresh. (I was up until 3 a.m. downloading all the important stuff to my hard drive, so as not to lose my contacts list, pattern submission info etc).
So, if you did not receive a reply to an email you sent me sometime on Friday or after, I will be going through my sent items folder and sending you a response via my gmail account sometime in the next few days. Today? I will knit quietly at my Aestlight Shawl, hoping I can count with only 3.5 hours of sleep under my belt. Maybe I'd better stop after the garter stitch section and start a second one?
Sunday, January 24, 2010
We let that cook another 45 minutes to an hour, then served it over rice.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Friday, January 22, 2010
My newest pattern renamed Hope Springs is available for download HERE from Ravelry! ($1.99)
A warm triangular hug provides the perfect canvas for hand-painted yarns.
The surrounding waved edge adds a touch of lace without detracting from the dance of colors.
An easy garter stitched border blends gracefully with the face-framing top edging.
Both charted and line-by-line written instructions included.
Easily customizable to any size (instructions for mods given)
Materials: Malabrigo or other Aran weight yarn 630-840 yards. Sample (made with a two-repeat border) used 650 yards (3 skeins of Malabrigo in Kaleidos). Full charts included for a deeper border, which would use up to 840 yards.
6 stitch markers
Circular needles U.S. size 9 (5.5 mm) at least 30 inches long.
Gauge is not crucial, but sample gauge was 15 st and 22.5 rows in 4 inches in stockinette after blocking.
Shawl sample measured 32 inches long, 65 inches wide (after gentle blocking)
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Add to that I somehow caught a cold (and have a wicked sinus infection) and my designing needs to be put aside for today.
Never mind, I have plenty to do to keep occupied.
I am currently knitting a sample of my Kiva Bag for Knit Picks. I have decided for that, (and for my other charity pattern, Cloud On Her Shoulders) I can bring in much more money for the charities by selling them through Knit Picks, and, thankfully, Knit Picks has accepted the patterns. Now to get new samples to them! I have gifted most of my samples away, and the one I still have has been heartily loved and used, and is not all shiny-new anymore.
There are three more existing patterns they have accepted, that also need samples. I can keep knitting on those today too.
One advantage of relisting these patterns is the impetus it gives me to re-write the directions using the knowledge I've gained over the past few years.
My next day with a good brain and relatively low pain will be dedicated to writing code for Otterwise.com. I can write enough cut-and-paste html to help put the site together. I also need to choose and resize the photos for each pattern. My self-imposed deadline is February 1st, and it is galloping toward me.
Today, though I will have a day filled with simple sample knitting and lots of hot tea, and hope to have kicked the cold's hind end and feel much better tomorrow.
Oh, and I have new DVDs of 'Waiting For God' to watch.
Monday, January 18, 2010
The important thing is that I was successful in charting an accurate lace pattern (one adapted from an old one I found in Weldon's). The blocked dimensions are 32 inches down the center, and about 65 inches wide from wingtip to wingtip.
Although it is hard to tell from the photos, the lace along the top looks quite nice, and will act like a collar. First nice day outside and we can take some photos.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
I was reading Deb Robson's blog yesterday and discovered a free-lance writer named Rosemarie Colombraro was starting something pretty darned interesting.
Remember the red paper clip guy who traded up for a house using Craig's List?
Rosie is throwing her fate on the winds and seeing if she can use a similar method to make one of her dreams a reality.
"I was reading an e-newsletter sent by Barbara Winter, author of “Making a Living Without a Job,” and was making notes on her first article titled “7 Easy Ways to Warm Your Cockles” Since I had no idea I even had cockles, I figured I’d better take notes. I wrote down the seven ways and planned to start cockle-warming first thing in the morning. I read on, and stopped at an entry about a workshop held in Galway, Ireland.
Be still my heart. This area of Ireland had called to me for the better part of my 50 years on this earth. It was on my “Boxcar List.” That’s like a bucket list, but much bigger and harder to ignore. I had written about the female pirate queen, Grainne O’Malley, and recognized her castle immediately among the pictures on the workshops web site. There was a strange need to visit, to walk the countryside and find spiritual sites I knew but could not describe, to breathe the air of a country that I recognized only through genetic memory, through the drops of blood that came from my Irish ancestors. Years ago, I shared my draw to the Galway region with a fellow writer who came from Ireland. “No matter how many generations are away,” he said, “Ireland always calls her sons and daughters home....
I believe that some things may seem improbable, but nothing is impossible. And I started thinking about the guy who had nothing but a paper clip. I did a quick look through my apartment – remember, readers, I am packing, so pickings are slim. But here are some items I found that I am willing to barter to piece together a trip to Ireland, in order of value:
1. 6 AAA batteries. Not new, but a few of them might have a little bunny left in them.
2. A wire hanger, used.
3. My wig, used this summer during my bald period.
4. The hair of a dog. Really. The hair of a dog. TRADED for handspun yarn – see pics and description in “Trading” page
5. A Virgin Mobile Kyocera phone , with chew marks and a battery that is still fairly good.
6. And, if I find it, I will offer a four-leaf clover, found by me. This is surely worth an entire trip, flight and all! Let me know if anyone is interested in this one and I will look harder. (UPDATE: I found it!)
JUST ADDED: My high school class ring, circa 1975.
My voice: Got an advertising project that needs a female voice?
My skill: Blog content? A story…on Ireland? Want me to tweet about your Irish wolfhound?
So, whatcha need? Let’s trade! We can’t win if we don’t play. I’ll post offers here and keep you updated on any progress. And if this dream doesn’t happen right now, it will eventually. There is always a Plan B."
She has added a Trading Up For Ireland Barter Page to her site that will log updates on her quest.
I decided to join in the fun, and traded two of my shawls (the sample of Aconite, and the Berroco Seduce Dragontail sample) for some glorious fiber Deb Robson traded for the hair of a dog.
I've always wanted to visit Ireland, too. I may not get there, but it will be very satisfying to help Rosie go!
So, if you would like to trade for either of my shawls or anything else that is listed (two Belgian lace butterfly pins have been added since I last looked) click on over and, if you feel drawn to, help Rosie get to Ireland!
Saturday, January 16, 2010
If a designer wishes to contribute all or part of the proceeds for one of their designs to the Haiti relief effort, they add that tag to the pattern page on Ravelry, then write in the description the details of their donation (what percentage, where they are sending the money, all that good stuff) Then a Ravelry user simply types "Help for Haiti" in the search box, and all those patterns come up, and the knitter or crocheter can help by buying one or more of the tagged patterns. With more than half a million registered users, this can make a serious dent in the money needed to help.
Both Alison Jeppson-Hyde and myself have ties to Haiti through family members (her son has Haitian friends through the Morman ministry, and my uncle Marshall and family lived there for a time when they were missionaries years ago.)
Putting it all together this morning made the choice of a donation pattern easy:
The bag I designed for Alison's new notebook computer when she was so sick last year; The Alison Bag.
(first link to Ravelry page) I will donate 50% of the resulting proceeds of the Alison Bag to Doctors Without Borders, through the Knitters without Borders program.
That donation deal also goes for the pattern purchased on my blog here (see the 'buy now' button at the right of this page) and for any Alison Bag purchased on Patternfish, through January 31st.
Friday, January 15, 2010
That small change in us can lead to giving what we can afford to give. No matter how small, those parts make up a whole until the charity grown from our love is as big as the disaster which prompts it.
Please find a way to help. It matters, it really truly matters.
I won it from a comment I left on Corvus Tristis.
The Crow's Cache Etsy shop has some really cool stuff, too. Beautiful hair combs, necklaces, earrings, bracelets.. Take a gander at the gorgeous Maneki Neko Necklace (Amethyst, hematite, malachite and silver). I dare you to look and not want it!
Thursday, January 14, 2010
So I sent off an email requesting the updated package.
So I guess I'll start that Thursday Master's Program thing after I get the update.
So, back to the crocheted Kimono for Great-Nephew Levi (due February 14th) and more work on my Knit Circus submission!
With breaks for dishes and more yarn organizing. And tea.
Edited to add: The updates just arrived in my mailbox! Back on task! (with a cup of tea, too)
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
I am doing it in two stages.
One stage where anything that already has a specified bag (Malabrigo, Yarn with Design ideas already attached etc) goes in it's special bag or bin, and anything without a home goes in a big empty 'orphan' bin.
The second stage is to take the 'orphan' yarns and create catagories and storage solutions for them (either bags within bags, or drawers).
Then I need to decide what should stay in the living room (hopefully just Works In Progress, design tools and finished objects, eventually) and what will live in the studio.
In reality the studio isn't QUITE ready to receive the majority of my stash, so it will remain in the living room for at least another week. I may also need to expand what stays in the livingroom. The primary purpose of the studio right now is for Oscar to do homework, at least until his back room Man Cave Study is ready for him.
Then on to the 'tools'. I want most of them to live in the studio too, keeping just the basics out for playing around with new ideas.
Now that I work anywhere up to 70 hours (70 hours when I am feeling great) per week on Otterwise and other knitting, I really want the living room to be for relaxation and working on only a few projects at a time, rather than all yarn all the time.
When I am ready to decide on yarn for the next project, I can bring out a selection to play with, then put them away when the decision has been made.
But for now, I need to stop blogging and start sorting, or Oscar will be back before I get anything done!
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
It is made of a combination of Berroco Peruvia (the darker green and orange), Cascade 220 (the gray) and Wool of the Andes (the lighter teal).
It is my own design, which I will tweak into a pattern sometime this year.
Leslie Go. asked which books I got, here is a photo.
from top to bottom:
Color by Kristin, Kristin Nicholas
Knitting Lace, Susanna E. Lewis
Andean Folk Knits, Marcia Lewandoski
Knitted Lace of Estonia, Nancy Bush
Crazy Lace, Myra Wood
I also have Modern Lace Knitting Books 1 and 2 on the way.
Monday, January 11, 2010
In no particular order:
-I am expecting my second check from Knit Picks today or tomorrow. Thereafter a check will come each quarter (January, April, July, and October). Sales are doing quite well. I have 6 patterns currently listed, and Knit Picks has accepted 5 more. (These will be patterns I have previously released using other yarns.) My friend Lynx has agreed to knit three of the samples for me, bless her. Knit Picks has also expressed interest in 3 more pattern ideas I presented, for which I already have yarn. Working with Knit Picks has been lovely, and I hope to work with them from this point forward as long as I am designing.
-I have finished the charts needed for my first of 10 shawls I am challenging myself to design this year. It was a big task, as I had first to learn how to chart lace stitches, then learn how to chart triangular lace shawls. It took a few weeks before I figured out that my first (antique and somewhat obscure) lace pattern was not going to work. After I changed to a well-tweaked lace pattern I wrote up last year, it took about 3 days to create the necessary 4 charts. Leslie Ga. has agreed to test knit the shawl from my proto-pattern. Bless her too!
- I am in the home stretch of a sweater I am knitting for Sean-boy. After I finish the second sleeve, all that will be left is a small collar, weaving in ends, and blocking. I sized it hoping it will be wearable this year, and fit him loosely next year. If I am lucky, it might still be wearable a third winter. (It has an easy-fit raglan shaping). Of course I wrote down what I did, and it has sparked two new pattern ideas. I am so blessed that I never seem to lack for new knitting ideas! I don't take it for granted. Sean and family will be visiting next weekend. It has been a looong time since everyone was well enough for us to get together!
-Oscar and I spent time this weekend organizing and sorting through some boxes that have been stored in my studio, soon to be Oscar's study-place. We ROCKED. We found out we work most efficiently when we work together in the living room (bringing boxes out a few at a time) not in the room which is the focus of the organizing. We both get too easily overwhelmed when in the messy room. So, we rocked it out, and sorted through much of my yarn, plus at least 4 boxes that have needed sorting for years. I am well over half finished going through all my yarn and resorting it for storage by manufacturer, and making a special space for my Knit Picks samples and yarn support yarns.
-Speaking of yarn sorting, I was very relieved to find I only have 4 projects in process for friends! I had somehow felt as if there were many many more waiting for me to finish.
1. Sean's sweater, almost done
2. Lynnie's platypus, almost done
3. Jason's Cthuluclava, only needing the tentacles and a bit more knitting
and 4. The final seaming of a small jackety thing for Ysabeau from a pattern I am still wrestling into shape, waiting for my skill level to reach my aspirations before actually writing it for different sizes.
I DO still have 2-3 more pairs of socks to knit for Dad, but they are still in yarn form.
- The Malabrigo shawl I am knitting from my 1st '10 for 2010' pattern (tentatively titled 'Soft Waves') is about 2/3rds finished.
-My first two book reviews in a long time have been written and submitted to Freshfiction.com.
The first, for 'Confessions Of A Demon by S. L. Wright is available HERE.
The second for 'Heart's Blood' by Juliet Marillier should be available any day now. (I have two more book reviews coming out in Knit Circus magazine in the next few issues)
-I am blocking out Thursday afternoon to begin working on my Master Level in knitting. Thursday afternoons will remain dedicated to this except when unavoidable deadlines or health crap gets in the way.
- Knit Circus Magazine is going online in early February with thier Spring issue. I will have a shawl pattern (based on another obscure antique stitch pattern I translated into modern terms) and a book review in that issue. I will have another book review in the Summer issue when that comes out. I will be submitting at least one pattern for the Summer issue (socks for little girls). I really like working with the Knit Circus staff. They are terrific people.
I am honored to be a stop on their blog tour, too. (currently scheduled to stop by here on February 10th).
- I treated myself to several knitting books I have been longing for. I am having a wonderful time sipping at each one in turn, soaking in information, enjoying what other knitters are doing with the craft. I will probably write reviews for at least some of them when I am done absorbing them. Always something new to learn, thank goodness! :-}
So, a lot going on for such a quiet retiring person like myself. (Someone clap my brother on the back to keep him from choking on his laughter) :-}
Sunday, January 10, 2010
As often happens, her blog sparked memories of my own.
I realized that everywhere I've lived, I have had one or two (or more) favorite eateries. When I ate there, it was like I created my own connection of 'home' to the place. Familiar space, familiar food, familiar faces. I imagine now those connections were a large part of balancing my life. My love of adventure balanced by some kind of connection to place, albeit far from Michigan.
In Tokyo, it was a yaki tori stand just outside the exit from the train station, and a small shop that sold steamed buns from a warmly-lit box on the counter.
In Kofu, it was a Japanese-owned Italian restaurant that served the best white clam sauce I have ever had.
In Nara, I loved to get the smoky whole sweet potatoes served off the carts in the park in winter, and the sushi rolls served in the same location in summer. Across from the school, there was a pub owned by a former British footballer, that had lovely ploughman's . Also near the school was a second floor family restaurant that had great breakfasts (an omelet stuffed with tomato-flavored rice and chicken comes to mind)
Near my apartment was the Boulangerie that provided delicious bagettes, perfect for filling with brie and butter and taking on all-day hikes.
After a long evening of teaching, I loved to visit the little mom and pop place around the corner that was set up to let you create your very own okonomiyaki at your diner-style booth.
And that's just Japan! When I look back, I followed the same pattern where ever I've lived.
Woodland, California: The little storefront that sold slow-roasted pork sandwiches on hand-made yeasty bread, with mayonnaise and pickled jalapenos. It also had the best chicken soup I've ever tasted.
Indianapolis, Indiana: The Thai restaurant that had a beautiful lush buffet, and the best Tom Kha Gai.
Even going as far back as my college days at Michigan State University, I still remember the Kung Pao chicken delivered by The Great Wall Chinese restaurant right to my dorm room. I've not had any better in all these years.
Wow. Now that I've lived here in Ypsilanti for so many years in a row (12 years, a new record for me) it's no wonder I have so many home-connections to restaurants around here. Hmm.. it's been too long since visited Dalat's, come to think of it.
Saturday, January 09, 2010
We have a small house, so noise travels pretty easily. So those early mornings have been kind of quiet and a bit boring until recently.
For Christmas, we each got a set of headphones. Now I can knit while watching bad TV on Hulu.com.
This morning, I discovered 'Cleopatra 2525'.
It has to have one of the, uh, most striking theme songs I've ever heard
The theme song is based on a pretty good hit from the 60's
In the Year 2525 by Zager and Evans
But when they used it for the Cleopatra 2525 theme song.. well. Let's just say they changed it up a bit.
I don't quite remember what I was doing in 2000 to have missed it the first time around, but I am enjoying the show immensely so far. (Of course I've only been watching about 10 minutes).
One of the actors is Gina Torres (Zoe from Firefly). I wonder who else I'll spot?
It's pretty easy to make me happy, I guess.
Bad TV. It's a lot like Saturday morning cartoons for my age group, only with hulu, I can create my own ever changing lineup.
Friday, January 08, 2010
On this particular morning, he was willing to climb early out of a warm and cozy bed, tramp outside in the chilly Michigan weather, trip over weeds and hidden holes in the yard, and help me get photos of my 'Mysig Means Cozy' socks.
We've been together ten years, and it just keeps getting better. (He isn't grumpy in the first photo, he's just sleepy and standing in very bright sunshine)
Thursday, January 07, 2010
Wednesday, January 06, 2010
Three more of my patterns have gone live on Knit Picks; Elijah Hat, Catseye Socks and Mysig Means Cozy socks.
They have a gizmo that lets you pick out the yarn for your project the same time as you get the pattern, which is pretty cool.
Here's an example screen shot for my Catseye pattern:
Tuesday, January 05, 2010
I also spent some time yesterday creating this ad. I am pleased with how it turned out. It will run in the Spring issue of Knit Circus (online), and link to my own website!
Yes, Otterwise.com will be live this month! (link is to the splash page Oscar made for me) Thank goodness I have a husband who knows how to build web pages. I am sure could learn how to do a rudimentary one, but his are MUCH better. And I'd rather spend time learning how to build knitting charts :-}.
Monday, January 04, 2010
Now that the pattern business is taking off and actually paying back some of the money I've spent on yarn, I don't want to become so mired in 'work' knitting that I lose part of the joy.
Like many ADHD folk, I have a tendency to hyper focus on one thing and neglect everything else until I run down and wind up too exhausted to do the next important thing.
So I have been pondering what activities in my life I really want to focus on, with the goal of creating a workable weekly schedule incorporating all of them.
One unexpected outcome of the good pattern sales has been an increase in my self confidence; to the point that I plan to begin writing fiction again.
I also want to keep learning new tools for design and writing.
I also want to complete the first tier of the master Knitter's program offered by TKGA.
I feel the only way to make progress on these fronts is to work on them every week.
Add in the house reorganization, and of course time with my beloved Oscar, and time spent communicating with dear friends and my empty life feels pretty busy these days :-}