Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Change My Pitch Up...Smock My Stitch Up

(Yes, its a terribly Prodigy pun. I'm deeply sorry, but not sorry enough not to do it.)

I think smocking might be my next detail-thing-that-I'm-really-into. Time will tell ;-) In the meantime, this hat is a great introduction to afterthought smocking, a very simple technique that livens up simple ribbing with just a few passes of the needle. It's made with Madelinetosh Tosh Dk in "Cosmos" which is a simply magical colorway- I could swear it changes from purple to green depending on the light.

You can find Smock My Stitch Up on Ravelry here, or...

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Interview with GAL Designer, Emmy Petersson!

For funsies, some of the Indie Gift-A-Long designers are interviewing other designers, and I had the pleasure of talking to Emmy Petersson, a Swedish designer with the most delightful colorwork (and a cat shawl!!!) Without further ado...

When and how did you first learn to knit? 
My first knitting memory is from when I was about five years old. I remember sitting in the kitchen, moving stitches from one needle to another. I didn't understand why I had to pull the yarn through the stitch and it was so much easier to just move them. I imagine I learned to do it correctly shortly after that. It was my mom who taught me. The first project I can remember was a simple doll, made out of a knitted square. I have since always had some kind of crafty project going even if I never worked on them frequently in my teens. It could take years to finish. When I finished high school I studied music for two years, and that was a very creative environment, and I started to knit more and more. I finished my first sweater during these years (it came out way too big, and I never wore it...). Then I moved to a bigger city to start university, discovered knitting cafés, met other knitters and found knitting on the internet. And since then I'm hooked, or some people would say I'm obsessed.

Whoa, I totally thought that was how knitting worked when I was little too, haha! What made you first begin designing? 
My first design was Freja, and it happened quite as an accident. I was sketching a bit in my notebook during a lecture and I came up with a repeated heart pattern that I realized would be just perfect pattern for the palm of a mitten. So I started to sketch up a matching motif for the back of the hand too, and knitted my mittens. And then I sent the pattern to Knitty, totally expecting to get rejected. I thought everyone got rejected in the beginning. But I didn't, and I was so excited. And then I kept going, making more patterns. With a full time job I don't have nearly as much time for knitting as I would like, but I do make new patterns in the pace that I can manage.

Can you talk a bit about the knitting scene in Sweden? I am curious about how it compares to America.
Knitting has been growing in popularity in Sweden during the last ten years or so, and it has changed from something that you only do in your home to something people meet and do in cafés and when they commute and so on. I think there are many reasons why knitting has grown popular again. One thing I think is that it is some kind of protest against the wear and tear fashion and the increased environmental awareness, and is a part of the same trend where it is popular to bake sourdough breads and make your own sausage. I also think many people have a need to create something substantial with their hands, as so many of us don't do that in our day jobs anymore. Knitting has been popular before, but then it lasted for a few years and then lost popularity again. This time it just seems to keep growing in popularity, and I do think internet plays a big part in that. You can connect with other knitters even if you don't know anyone who knits where you live and you can buy yarn and patterns from the whole world.

I see that you are an engineering student- do you find that there are parallels between your engineering work and your designing? Do skills and ideas from one ever transfer over to the other? 
I see that I haven't updated my profile in Ravelry for a while, as I'm actually not a student anymore. But yes, I usually say that designing is the perfect mix of knitting and engineering. My engineering skills are invaluable in my design process, and they make all the technical aspects of designing quite easy. And I feel that the creative part of designing helps me in my work as an engineer too.

Do you have a favorite project that you have made, whether your design or not? What makes it stand out?
I think that would be the prototype of the Alvinda cardigan that I submitted to Twist Collective. That sweater is very much about my aesthetics - simplicity and elegance. I do like the cardigan I worked up for the magazine too, but the prototype was made for ME, and fits me so much better, both in size and color. It is also special to me in the way that it is my first (and so far only- I hope to change that in the near future) published garment design.

What is your favorite fiber to work with, and why?
Wool, without question. Wool is such a versatile material, and there are so many kinds of wool from different kinds of sheep, with very different properties. I am not a fan of superwash treated wools though, as I think it destroys many of the fantastic properties that wool has. It also makes a natural fiber very much less natural, and the treatments aren't environmentally friendly. I am a bit sad that it is so hard to come by nice untreated wool yarns these days, as almost all popular yarns are treated. And the fact that it doesn't say superwash on the label is no guarantee it is not.

What is your favorite and least favorite part of designing? 
I love when an idea strikes, and I can't get it out of my mind until I've tried it out. I also love the technical parts of designing. I'm happy when I get to dive into my spreadsheets and make my calculations for a design - I guess the engineering speaks a bit here. My very least favorite part of the process is to find a good name for the pattern, I can get stuck at this part for weeks. I do publish my patterns in both English and Swedish and I don't like patterns that have different names in different languages so I try to find names that are at least pronounceable in both languages. I do also have kind of a love/hate relationship with photographing my designs. I do love photography. But I very rarely have anyone to help me with either being the photographer or the model, so I have to do it all by myself. And I do feel that I have so much less control when I have to be in the front of the camera, using the remote, than when I can be behind it, taking care of all the settings.

Oh how I feel you on that last point! What is one thing that most knitters probably don't know about you?
That I am (or was, there are not much time for it anymore) an enthusiastic birdwatcher, and that I spent my teens trying to see as many species as I could.

And just for fun: what would be your absolute perfect day?
A perfect day would be a sunny spring or autumn day. Not too warm, not too cold, when I would be able to alternate long knitting sessions with walks in the forest. There would be no need to work or to do any household chores. It's too bad that those days happens so rarely.

Thanks Emmy!! The sale portion of the Gift-A-Long may be over, but the festivities have barely started! Please check out the group for tons of KALs/CALs, beautiful FOs to ogle, games and tons of prizes!! And you can see all Emmy's work on her designer page.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

New Pattern- Peregrine!

Peregrine: adjective \ˈper-ə-grən, -ˌgrēn\ 
"Having a tendency to wander"

Let your stitches do the walking with this crisp lil' number, in Madelinetosh Vintage (the colorway is Magnolia Leaf, which is drop-dead gorgeous in person.) You can find Peregrine on Ravelry here, or:

(And just a friendly reminder- the Indie Gift-A-Long sale continues until November 21st at midnight EST, which means all of my patterns in this bundle are 25% off with the code "giftalong2014"! And be sure to check out the group- there are tons of other great designers participating and the KALs and festivities go on through the end of the year.)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Get ready... get set.... GIFT!

Some of you might remember the gigantic Indie Designer Gift-A-Long that happened on Ravelry last year. I'm pleased to say... it's back!

(And once again I am adminning because apparently I am insane. But I am pretty proud of this list of yarny prizes we've rustled up  - to say nothing of the THOUSANDS of pdf pattern prizes!)

Click that logo above to go over to the group and get the full details- basically, hundreds of designers have put part of their catalog on sale from the 13th at 8pm EST (that's tonight!!) through the 21st. You get 25% off participating patterns when you use the code "giftalong2014".

Then there's a big K/CAL that runs through the end of the year, with tons of games, prizes, and oh-so-much chatting. The idea, of course, is to help you plow through your holiday knitting... but it's totally okay if the gifts are for you ;-) It was a ton of fun last year and hopefully it'll be even better this time around!

You can find my bundle of on-sale patterns here (click the collage):

...but I encourage you to browse around because there's a lot of amazing stuff on offer! I have yet to find a moment to myself to properly go through the Participating Designers post and check out the designs, but I am really looking forward to doing so. (Even if I still haven't found time to knit the patterns I bought last year... oh to have time to make other folks' patterns!)

Hope to see you there!!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Garter-Tab Cast-on Tutorial (for Shawl Together!)

I was honored when Cate of Infinite Twist asked me to be part of her Fall Shawl Together! I didn't have any shawls on the docket right now, so I thought I'd share a technique that I remember totally boggling me when I first started shawl knitting- the garter-tab cast-on.

This technique is common in shawl patterns and not hard to execute, but if you haven't seen it done it and are just going off the directions, it can look very weird and "wrong". Don't worry, it's supposed to look that way ;-)

Apologies for wandering off-screen a time or two- I can never seem to keep my hands still. Also I realize I mentioned that the long needle is useful but I didn't really say why- it makes it much easier and more comfortable to pull those stitches on to the cord and then bend around and go back for more. My needle was probably a little longer than it really needed to be, though.

The Fall Shawl-Together is a season-long series of blog posts and other content from a range of knitting designers, all centered around (what else) shawls! If you're into shawl knitting- or even just interested in topics like color selection and yarn substitution- you should definitely check out the other posts, which are all gathered on this page (which'll be updated each week as a new post goes live.)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Fructose- Pattern #4 of Sweet Tooth

At last, we've come to the end of our mystery ebook journey: Pattern #4, Fructose, is here! 

Fructose features a split brim, knit & purl textures (figured y'all might want a break after all that cabling in the last one) and pi decreases. You can find it on Ravelry here, or:

A huge thank you to those of you who have been along on this whole mystery ebook journey with me! I hope you've enjoyed the patterns :-) It's totally not too late to get in on the Sweet Tooth KAL in my Ravelry group - there are prizes to be won and all you need to do to participate is post at least one WIP or FO picture!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The making of Malabrigo Book 6

I've been working with Malabrigo as their Project/Designer Coordinator for... maybe two and a half (ish) years now. Running the Quickies and Freelance Pattern Project programs have been a lot of fun, but I was SUPER excited to spread my curatorial wings for Book 6. I thought it'd be fun to look back a bit at the process of putting together a book like this (and maybe my process for styling a largish project will come in handy for someone working on their own book or collection- I pretty much did the same thing with Doomsday Knits.) 

I started with a basic color story/concept. We wanted brights and bolds, and to combine them with neutrals (though the brights definitely dominated in the end- it's always interesting to see how these concepts kinda morph over time.) 

These were the palettes that I sent the designers to get their creative motors chuggin':

After perusing awhile, the designers got back to me with some ideas about what they'd like to do, and we narrowed it all down to the projects you see here. (Though several other designs ended up being moved and will show up in other books ;-) ) 

Next was the styling bit. (I was working on this at the same time as I was doing the styling for Doomsday Knits so it was kind of a shopping-crazed few months!) For me, this starts with taking lots of reference photos of the items that I can bring with me while I'm shopping (I actually had to turn these over to the tech editor before the shopping was finished, so it was pretty important to have the photos.) 

These pictures aren't always exactly flattering...

...but that's okay. The most important part is to accurately capture the color and proportions. 

Before I start shopping, I spend some time just doodling, looking at Pinterest, etc, and trying to get some basic ideas for how I want to style each item. The final outfits might not look anything like the sketches (depending on what I can find when I'm shopping) but it helps to have a place to start.

And then the "awful dressing room selfie" stage (I take photos as I try things on, so I can pick the best option out of quite a few without having to re-try anything.)

(I kind of regret that that cat shirt didn't make the cut.) Shopping with someone else's money is about as fun as you think it would be (which is to say, really fun, as long as you like shopping.) It's a bit harrowing when you know you have to get X amount of things out of Y amount of dollars... but I like a challenge. I found what I could in stores (TJ Maxx and Target both did me right) and then filled in the gaps online. It's much easier to find a specific piece that you need online, but there's no guarantee that it'll be cheap, so I try to leave that for the end when I know exactly how much I can afford to splurge. 

And we have outfits!

I no longer had the actual items in my possession, but I wanted to make sure it would all go together, so I had to do some rather embarrassing...improvisation (in retrospect I don't know why I didn't just photoshop them on instead of this mess, haha):

I wasn't able to make it to the photoshoot in Uruguay, so instead I sent the clothes off with new, detailed sketches, so the on-site stylist would know what went where. 

There were, unsurprisingly, some changes made the day of- you never know what's gonna fit when you're buying clothes and shoes for an unknown model half a world away. We got pretty lucky though, I think the only real substitutions were some shoes! Thank god for stretch denim, amiright? (But seriously, pro-tip, have the model bring some of her own stuff just in case. And remember that tall people often have longer feet.)

The Uruguay team took it from there, sourcing great models and a fantastic photographer, and trekking out to a lovely, lonely, windy beach for the shoot :-) They also assigned the names, did the layout, and some little darling decided to put my cowl on the cover which is pretty much blowing my mind. 

You should be able to find Malabrigo Book 6 in Cabo Polonio at LYSes that carry Malabrigo yarn- if they don't have it in stock, they can probably order one for ya ;-) You can also look at all the finished items on Ravelry. Right now, I'm on the styling phase of the next book I'll be doing with Malabrigo (to be shot next year, likely in the US which means I'll be there, woohoo! My inner control-freak is singing.) I don't want to give anything away, but I'll say that it has a more "natural" aesthetic and the styling has been particularly fun so far ;-)*

*Hm, I realize that sentence kind of makes it sound like the models are naked. Sorry to disappoint but that's not it, haha. Interesting concept though. Feel free to take that one ;-P

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Graphic Knits Giveaway Winner

(Oh geez, I'm running late huh? Sorry!!)

We've got a winner for the Graphic Knits giveaway! sayyyys....

sparklerawk!!! C'mon down!!

Thank you to everyone that entered! :-)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

9 Tips for Keeping Your Costs Down as a Knitting Designer

(This one's for the designers, so for everyone else, here's some pretty and thematically-related yarn: )

Stash that green, yo!

I feel like I am always seeing designers bemoan how rarely their patterns actually cover the true costs of their creation. That's not surprising- the hours knitting, the testing, the editing, the photography... it all adds up! While a new business probably shouldn't expect to be profitable right off the bat, there does come a point where something has to give- either you need to take in more money, or hemorrhage out less of it. Since pattern prices are fairly fixed (try asking more than $6 or $7 for something and just see what kind of nasty emails you get!) and increasing your sales is a whole 'nother topic (that you are already putting a lot of effort into, right?) today I wanted to focus on ways to cut your production costs.

1. Bundle
Save up a few patterns to photograph and have edited all at once. Tech editors, photographers, and models often have a minimum rate- for instance a TE might charge you for a minimum of 1 hour even if the edit was quicker than that, or a photographer might have travel costs rolled into her fee. By doing multiple patterns at once, you'll save. Even if you're just doing it yourself, I find it's easier to get into "groove" and batch photograph, type, etc.

2. Shop around
A good photographer, illustrator, or tech editor is definitely worth paying for and you shouldn't just go with the cheapest candidate. That said, there are differences in pricing, service, and turn-around time - try working with a few different folks until you find someone who really clicks. Be aware of exchange rates- a falling dollar might mean that it's pricey for a US designer to work with a UK tech editor (even though the TE is charging a totally fair price.) On the other hand, if your country's currency is the strong one, it might be worth looking cross the border/ocean for your contractors. Shop around for your web services as well- there's a wide range of pricing for things like hosting, domain names (you probably don't need to spend more than $10 a year on a domain name unless you want something very specific and in-demand) mailing list services, etc.

3. DIY...
Technically the only thing you truly need to outsource is testing/tech editing. The rest, you can learn to do yourself if you really want to- it's just a matter of whether you've got more time or more money ;-) We'll assume, for the moment, that you're richer in time. Hit up the library and YouTube and devote some afternoons to learning to shoot great photos or use a graphics program. It might take you a full day to learn to draw schematics in Inkscape... but once you know how to do it it's something you'll never have to outsource again. Photography can be tricky to learn as there are so many variables, but once you've nailed a great, reliable recipe for shooting patterns (e.g. "This wall has great light between 3 and 5 pm on overcast days, and then I'll just need to bump the contrast and saturation up a little in an editing program") you can go back to it over and over. (While, of course, practicing and learning more in the meantime. You might get bored with that wall eventually!) You can even be your own model if you've got a tripod and remote (both fairly cheap.) Need a logo? It could be a complicated graphic.... but it could also be your name written out in an awesome font that you bought from a typeface designer for a few bucks. Maybe stick some lines under it or a circle around it.

4... but know when to Buy
If something is going to take you an insane number of hours to learn, doesn't sound particularly appealing, and especially if it's something you'll only need to buy once... it might be worth it to buy instead. A great example is a blog template- you can get a gorgeous one for $30 or less on etsy, stick your custom logo/picture/links/etc into it, and voila! No need to learn CSS (a little basic html/CSS knowledge is super helpful for tweaking, but for the most part you can Google "How do I do X in blogger/wordpress" and find a very specific walkthrough.) Or maybe you absolutely HAVE to have a graphic logo, in which case... you should probably hire a pro if you haven't had much experience. While a nice text logo looks perfectly profesh, amateur graphics scream "I did this myself and I don't really know what I'm doing!" Likewise, if you really can't seem to get the hang of taking pattern photos... find a photographer. Photos are so very, very important, and while I think most people could learn to do it themselves given time, practice, and half-decent equipment, if you're not there yet, don't settle. (Side note: I will give you a recommendation that I think I have given to literally every designer I've ever done a Brain-Sesh with: read this book.)

5. Beg, Barter or Steal
No, not really the last part. Don't steal things. But bartering? Bartering is great. Maybe your model will model your sweater in exchange for some photographs taken for her outfit blog or her handmade jewelry business. If you're lucky, your children may agree to model in exchange for being fed, housed, clothed, and raised to adulthood. Test knitters are often willing to barter time for patterns or yarn. I wouldn't condone asking someone to work for free, but often there are mutually-beneficial agreements that can be reached. Sometimes friends and family have old computer or camera equipment around collecting dust that they'd sell you for a song or loan you long-term - maybe put the word out on Facebook that you're in the market. Keep an eye on the "free/sale" section of craigslist- often estate sales are liquidating yarn stashes. Make ample use of your local library for education and inspiration- sometimes they even have things besides books to loan out (usually it's stuff like power tools, but hey, worth checking out.) When your parents call you up to pester you about what you'd like for Christmas, maybe you don't actually need new fluffy slippers. Maybe you need a tripod, instead, or a nice gift certificate to your LYS.

6. Shop the Sales
This kind of goes with the last bit, but... don't pay retail for your yarn if you can avoid it. Once you're well-established, of course, you may be able to get yarn support and it will be a non-issue...but until that point, look for sales. If you work at an LYS (or can snag a few hours work a week at one), make good use of that employee discount. Otherwise, keep a sharp eye out for sales on your favorite brands. Subscribe to the newsletters of the big online yarn retailers as well as your local shops, and try to have some money in reserve so you can strike when the opportunity arises. I know some people don't like stashing, but if you wait to buy the exact amount of yarn you need when you need it, you're probably going to have to pay full price. (Just make sure you USE the yarn, don't let your investment languish forever.) Same goes for non-yarn items, of course, and don't forget to make the most of that student discount if you happen to be in school- you can save big moola on computers with that magical little ID card.

7. Start Small
An accessory requires far less yarn, less time, and less of a TE's time than a garment, which means it's much cheaper to make. But due to weird pattern pricing pressures keeping garment patterns priced low (say that ten times fast), the prices between the two aren't that different. People who knit mostly accessories, as opposed to mostly garments, can knit far more of them in a given span of time, and therefore publish more patterns. I haven't actually run the numbers on any of this, but I suspect all these factors might add up to make accessory patterns more profitable than garments on average. At the very least, they are a great place to start since the cost and commitment will be a lot lower. You might not be able to afford to design a sweater in that gorgeous new yarn that everyone is gaga for, but you can probably swing a cowl (and using the gorgeous yarn that everyone is gaga for is often worth the investment- it'll look better in photos and it'll turn up in more "suggested pattern" searches.)

8. Trim the Fat
Take a hard critical look at your design process. Is there anything that could be eliminated? Do you knit an entire sample in "practice" yarn before using the yarn you'll publish with? Maybe you could get by with just a large swatch instead. Are you having to reshoot items because the photos aren't coming out right the first time? Make sure to check photos on the back of your camera and take far more than you need - and learn to zoom in on the screen so you can check that the shots are in focus. Maybe you've got some design flops that could be frogged and the yarn reused? Do you absolutely need both testers and a tech editor, or do you find that having both doesn't decrease the number of errors by very much? Look for things that are leeching your time or money and ruthlessly assassinate them.

9. Use What You Have
Maybe your boyfriend is a total shutterbug who'll take your pictures for free 'cause he just likes lookin' at yer purty face. Maybe your daughter is model-gorgeous and happy to help out in exchange for the snazzy new Facebook profile pics. Maybe your parents will let you live in their basement while you're starting your business, or your friend is cozy with a LYS owner and can get you the hook up on some trunk show action. Perhaps you have a rich aunt who'd think nothing of helping you buy some new equipment, or an ex-photographer stepfather who will long-term-loan you his camera. Point being, if you've got any unfair advantages, use them. All is fair in love and business, and you can bet your ass everyone else is using theirs. Never be ashamed of making the most of anything you've got. And if you don't have an easy breaks? Well, that's a bummer, and its not fair, and you're going to have to work harder... but it's still possible to get where you want to go. Remember that, to an extent, you can make your own advantages- maybe it's time to start cultivating some relationships by reaching out to local yarn shops, or start working your Facebook network to find friends-of-friends who're up for a barter. It can even be as easy as joining a stitch 'n bitch to get valuable knitter feedback on your latest designs.

Well that's what I've got off the top of my head- designers, if you've got any other cost-saving tips you'd be willing to share, please do!

(psst- if you enjoyed this post you might like this ebook, too :-) )

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Rocket Pop- Sweet Tooth Pattern #3!

The third pattern in the Sweet Tooth Mystery ebook is here! I call it Rocket Pop, for, um, obvious reasons. Fun colors and undulating cables abound!

For those just tuning in, Sweet Tooth is a collection of 4 hats, all knit in Malabrigo Merino Worsted, and released at 2 week intervals. The price of the collection goes up each time a new hat is released, so the more risk you're willing to take, the better price you get! This is the third hat, so this next fortnight is your last chance to get a discounted price on the whole collection. 

There's also a Knitalong going on - knit as many or as few of the hats as you like, and as long as you post at least one WIP picture in the thread, you're eligible for the fab-u-looussss prizes (which include yarn, copies of Doomsday Knits, and Jen Lucas's rad shawl book. More info here (and you can browse the lovely hats that have been made so far!)

You can find the ebook on Ravelry here!

Of course, Rocket Pop is also available on its own- click here to find it on Rav, or:

Monday, October 6, 2014

Book Review & Giveaway: Graphic Knits

I am extremely pleased to be offered the opportunity to check out Alexis Winslow's newest book, Graphic Knits. I'm a big fan of Alexis's bold-but-wearable aesthetic- all her designs seem to walk that narrow line between "comfortable" and "put together," like something you'd wear to meet friends for coffee on a Saturday afternoon. Fans of her past designs definitely won't be disappointed- this book is loyal to her aesthetic through and through. There's a good balance of the innovative with the wearable and the not-too-troublesome-to-knit. A few of my favorites:

Lazlo is the absolute winner for me- I love the colors, the collar, those wonderful buttoned cuffs. I'd probably skip the pockets simply because I never use sweater pockets, and I think we all know I can't be trusted with white handknits (klutzzzz) so I'd probably sub in a light gray...but overall I think this sweater is pretty much perfection.

I'm not usually the biggest fan of wrap sweaters, but something about Orly is really appealing to me (and it's only partially because the name reminds me of this owl.) I think it has to do with the unusual off-kilter striping pattern and that nice bold outline created by the edging- it doesn't have that "90's ballet sweater" look that some wraps can tend towards.

If the Rockling Cardigan doesn't make you want to snuggle up to the fire with some cocoa and wrap some presents in pretty paper, then I don't know what to tell you. Alexis has somehow captured, in a single cardigan, everything I actually don't hate about winter. It's very classic (which means its extremely practical and wearable), but also a little unusual with the marled, woven-looking stripes.

So those are my top picks, but there's a lot more to love in this book- you can check out all the patterns on Ravelry here!

Some official deets & links:
By Alexis Winslow
Interweave/F+W; $24.99

Wanna check it out for yourself?! 
I've got a copy to give away to one lucky commentor! Just go check out all the projects on Ravelry at the link above, and tell me which is your favorite :-) I'll pick a winner at random one week from today (so Oct 13.)

(Fine print: You must have a non-PO Box US address for the publisher to ship the prize to- so if you're elsewhere you'll need to grab a US-based friend to send it on for ya.)

Sunday, September 28, 2014


A little while ago, I reblogged a silly thing on tumblr that said "REBLOG IF YOU WOULD BE LITERALLY 100% OKAY WITH FAN ART ABOUT YOU EVEN IF IT WAS JUST STICK MEN" and commented "*imagining a world in which knitwear designers get fanart, lulz*" because, well, that's not really a thing, as far as I know.

(and yeah, I have a tumblr- it's not even remotely knitting related though, so I don't really promote it. It's all dogs and Harry Potter.)

Well, Katrin saw it and made all my wildest dreams come true:

IS THAT NOT THE MOST AMAZING THING EVER? There's Forager and Northern Line and Zebra Crossing and RUPERT! and a coconut (I'm fanatical about coconut oil, hehe) and goggles and Pisky and Sonny and Flabbergash and Lutine and boots and tights and that's even totally my hallway! AHHHHH!!!!

I do fully acknowledge that this is probably less exciting to everyone else than it is to me, but it's really, really, really exciting to me, so I had to share :-) Thank you so much Katrin!! You are amazing!!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Anserini Patterns now available!

Woohoo! The exclusivity period for Anserini is over and now the patterns are available to one and all, and can be purchased separately or together:

The Hat
The Cowl
The Set

Originally Anserini was part of a kit by Black Trillium Fibres - I believe kits will still be available, though they're out of stock at the moment. (Btw if you're into gradients, you need to check out her kits. Swoon-diddily-swoonswoonswoon.)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Citric- Second Sweet Tooth Pattern!

It's been two weeks, and here's the second installment in the Sweet Tooth mystery ebook! Citric (as in citric acid, the delightful sour food additive) is knit in Malabrigo Worsted Fluo- a delightfully electric shade of lemon. Simple textures with somewhat concentric detailing accent the citrus-y feel. 

The price is now $10 for the series of 4 hat patterns - two more patterns are left to be revealed and the price will inch upwards each time, so if you're feelin' gutsy, grab it now for the best deal! You can find the ebook on Ravelry here. 

Or if you'd rather just have Citric, you can hit this fancy button: 

We've also got a Sweet Tooth KAL going on

There are fabulous prizes to be had, and anyone who participates with any of the patterns is eligible (though I'll be coming up with a sizable prize pack for someone who finishes all four hats!) Please do drop by!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sweet Tooth KAL

I had some requests for a KAL to go with the Sweet Tooth mystery ebook... so we're doin' it! Over in the Dull Roar-ers Ravelry group. There are prizes. Perhaps more prizes later, as the mood takes me. Please do pop in! (And you can join right up until the end date, so if you weren't feeling Dragée and want to wait, that's a-okay.)

Friday, September 12, 2014


I do all my best knitting by the gentle glow of Netflix, so I thought it might be worth rounding up some recommendations. I have several simple rules for my knit-viewing:

1. Must be in a language I am fluent in (so, er, English. *shameface*)
I can knit plain stockinette without looking, but it's much easier to drop a stitch or split plies or otherwise make a silly mistake. Plus, I'm not often knitting only stockinette with no shaping for long periods. So subtitles just aren't going to happen. (Which is a shame, because I used to really enjoy foreign flicks and now I never get to watch 'em.)

2. TV Shows > Movies
If you pick a TV show, especially one with many seasons, you don't have to stop and find something new to watch nearly so often. Which is important when you're knitting several hours a day, and are terribly indecisive about movies, like I am.

3. It can't be too complex, or too visual
You want something dialogue-heavy with relatively little action-that-you-actually-have-to-watch. You want to be able to keep track of the plot without actually seeing every detail that happens on screen. This manifests in obvious ways (action flicks aren't great) but also less obvious ones- while I did watch Sherlock while knitting, their reliance on text messages was a pain in the ass and I did a lot of rewinding. Pretty Little Liars had the same issue, except that the characters frequently read the text messages out loud, so that helps. Knitting is a great excuse to watch guilty-pleasure tv, because you need your brainpower for things other than following the plot.

4. It must be available on Netflix Streaming
.... 'cause we cancelled our DVD plan and I ain't paying for Hulu as long as they insist on making you watch the same ad 10,000 times even though you are a PAID MEMBER, DAMMIT.

Without further ado, a few of my recent picks:

Once Upon a Time
Kind of low budget and the acting isn't great but somehow it's still SO GOOD. Basically, fairy tale characters in exile in Maine. Beloved Disney characters doing untoward things. Evil Queens being sasstastic.

Parks and Rec
This show is just objectively good. It's funny, it's adorable, it's feminist-friendly, and has the perfect balance of curmudgeonly characters and lovable idiots.

New Girl
Aww I know everyone kinda hates Zooey Deschanel a little but this show was kind of cute.

Don't Trust the B-- in Apt 23
This show is seriously underrated. It probably got cancelled because it has the WORST NAME EVER. But it features Krysten Ritter being amazing and James Van Der Beek as (an alternate version of) himself. If you watched Dawson's Creek as a kid it'll probably make you really happy.

Desperate Housewives
Okay fine it's not the BEST show, but it's addicting and it's like a million seasons long. It will entertain without distracting you for many, many hours.

My Name is Earl
Another underrated, cancelled-too-early gem. When this was on the air I assumed it was something dumb and trashy but it's actually pretty fantastic. Plus Joy Turner is pretty much my favorite tv character ever.

Also here's a song about eating crabs:

Respect The Meat from Livia Gondim on Vimeo.


However, if you ARE interested in dumb and trashy, I have for you the reality show to end all reality shows. Brides competing for plastic surgery! I'm actually not 100% convinced that this show wasn't designed to be a parody of other reality shows... it's just so unreal, and oddly engaging.

Do you like shows about fucked up teenagers who have way more dramatic lives than you do or probably ever did? Are you into sex, drugs, violence, and the folly of youth? Would you prefer it all with a side of Britishness? Step into my office.

I'm kinda getting all sentimental and feeling like rewatching them all now, man. There are, of course, many many more. I'm trying to avoid the obvious hits (OitNB, Whedon stuff, etc... Parks and Rec was pretty obvious but oh well) and the amazing-but-slightly-too-action-packed-or-complex-to-be-ideal (American Horror Story comes to mind) but I'm sure I can dredge up enough for a second installment.

How 'bout you guys? Any knit-able shows that I should definitely not miss?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Introducing Sweet Tooth, a Progressive Ebook

I am trying a little experiment - a "mystery ebook," you could call it.

I have in my (metaphorical) hands four knitting patterns- each a cheery-colored hat knit in Malabrigo Merino Worsted, each knit up on size US 8 needles. Some feature simple cables, others merely textures. Some are one-color, some are more (but there is no stranding.) One requires the use of charts, the rest do not.

Today, I release the first pattern (more on that in a minute). Two weeks from now, the second. Two weeks later, the third. And so on.

Each pattern can be purchased individually, of course. But if you choose to take the gamble and buy the ebook before the rest of the collection is released, you'll get a discount proportionate to the amount of risk you're taking. The price will go up each time a pattern is added, until all four patterns are released and it reaches its final price.

Like to live dangerously? Buy the ebook today and you'll get all four patterns for just $8. Rather wait and be sure? That's fine too, the ebook will still be a good deal even after it's all over.

The first pattern is Dragée:

Dragée features large (but simple) cables on heavily textured background (there's just something so delightfully... chewy, about seed stitch. Does that word make sense? Not rustic, exactly. Just...chewy. Maybe I'm just associating seeds with granola, haha.) The colors remind me of Jordan Almonds, hence the name (which is pronounced like this, btw- I had to look it up, heh. Been saying "Draggie" on my head for years.) 

You can find Dragée on Ravelry here (or buy now), and if you're ready to take the plunge and snap up the Sweet Tooth ebook at the lowest price it'll ever be, you can do that here!

Monday, September 8, 2014

ImagiKnit Trunk Show

If you're in the San Francisco area (luckyyyy), you can peruse a herd of Dull Roar samples over at ImagiKnit until the 15th!

Please tell 'em I said hi ;-)

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Twenty Things

I saw this thing that Stacey did and while I feel rather weird blathering about myself, it seemed like a fun way to rouse the blog a bit during the summer knitting-hibernation-season. So here's a bunch of stuff you probably don't care to know about me! I'll fill it with links to help you waste time more effectively.

1. All of my boots have squished and dented toes because I am intensely paranoid about spiders and centipedes hanging out in my shoes, and I'll step on the toes to make sure that nothing that made it through the "shaking out upside-down" phase lives. If I haven't worn them in awhile I'll sometimes vacuum them out, or ask Travis to stick his arm in there to check (whatta guy.)

2. I'm a super tactile person and I have an intense obsession with sturdy, classic-feeling textiles: canvas, wool (of course), velvet, leather. I'm slowly moving towards filling my house (and wardrobe) with as many of them as possible. Right now I'm super hung up on Hudson Bay point blankets (a phase that will probably last until I find a good deal on one) and waxed canvas.

3. Songs that I will never turn off before the end: Magic Man, Total Eclipse of the Heart, Crazy on You, Just Dropped In, Head Over Heels. I realize two of those are by Heart and one has "Heart" in the name, what does it all mean??

4. I don't really drink any alcohol or caffeine- not for any moral or health reasons, I just react strongly to both and therefore don't really enjoy them. I used to drink both, I'm not sure what changed. I will sometimes have green or black tea if I'm super tired (or in England), but I'll generally take decaf if it's available. And I'll taste other people's boozedrinks- I really rather miss the taste of wine.

5. One time I was on the Cobra Snake. I looked awful. I consider that the point where my hipness peaked before plummeting down the other side.

6. I have a BA in Psychology with a minor in visual arts (well, the equivalent of, since my school didn't do minors.) It's not getting a whole lot of use, but I still love reading about psych (book recommendations welcomed and encouraged!)

7. Occasionally (fortunately infrequently) I get ocular migraines where my vision gets taken over by blobs of light (kind of like if you press on your eyes) and I basically go mostly-blind for awhile. I certainly prefer them to the pain kind, but they're still pretty annoying when they happen. (That video is kind of accurate...closest I've found, anyway.)

8. Once when my mother was scanning the radio, I yelled out "Tarzan Boy" and lo and behold, the next station she switched to was just playing the opening yodels of Tarzan Boy. It was the proudest moment of my life, beating out two graduations and every other personal and professional achievement to date.

9. I once won a wedding craft competition! Looking back on it, I have no idea how I won...that project is kinda busted. I spent the entirety of the prize money fixing my car's power steering :-(
(Later my wedding was on that blog, though, so that's pretty cool! And THAT bouquet was much better.)

10. I had good grades and test scores in high school, but was rejected from the National Honor Society because I answered their "What are you good at?" essay question with something to the effect of "Making Kraft Macaroni and Cheese." I guess I thought they would appreciate my wit?

11. I play the ukulele, but not well, and never with an audience. More specifically, it's a banjolele (twaaang!) though I did buy a baritone uke recently thinking it might be a good stepping stone to a guitar. But so far in my life, I've failed at every instrument that had more strings that I had fingers.

12. Top 5 most bangable cartoon characters:
  1. Brock Samson
  2. Kronk (aka ditzy South American Brock Samson)
  3. Disney's Robin Hood (it's not just me, okay?!?)
  4. I was going to cheat and say "Adrian Brody if he was a cartoon" but I'll go with Trent.
  5. Both the guys from Road to El Dorado, at the same time.

13. I once got fired from a summer cleaning job that was run out of a trailer that smelled like cat pee. If being psychically linked to Tarzan Boy was the high point of my life, that was the low. In my defense, my boss was nuts and was firing me for something another girl was responsible for, but the other girl had already quit and someone had to go. House cleaning was actually a pretty interesting gig (I love looking around the inside of houses), though not exactly fun in the heat.

14. I can come out of pretty much any light-on-gore horror movie unscathed, but fat hairy plant stems scare the hell out of me.

15. If I'm home, in the car, or otherwise in a situation where nobody can see me, there is a 90% chance that my jeans are unbuttoned. Ahhhhh. Waistbands are a burden.

16. I'm a quitter. I like trying things but see no point in sticking with them if I don't fall in love. A brief list of things I've quit in vague chronological order: tap dance, T-ball, ballet, "hip-hop" dance, swimming, gymnastics, piano, violin, guitar (acoustic and electric), sitar, French, art school, German, meditation classes, juggling classes, pretty much every job I've ever had, Couch-to-5k (almost immediately) .... technically also horseback riding and ceramics classes, though that was more a matter of time and priorities changing - I'd still happily do both! I've never really regretted any of it, though sometimes I like to go back and dabble a bit, and I know my flakiness drove my mother crazy (sorry Mom!! Thanks for letting me bail and not going all Tiger Mother on me!)

17. I'm very into new-agey woo-woo things like crystals, candles, alchemy, celestial stuff, tarot, general witchery, etc... except that I don't believe a whiff of it. I just love the aesthetics. I did once get my fortune told by a professional, and it was...70% accurate, maybe. I was really impressed until she told me I wanted like 8 kids (haaaaa!)

18. If I have my choice, I watch everything with closed captioning on because I'm super bad at understanding mumbles and I hate having to rewind. Weirdly enough this helps even though I'm usually knitting while watching and not looking at the screen.

19. My nails don't have half-moons at the bottom (unless I paint them there). I'm pretty sure it's just because they're short and stubby, but as a kid some magazine told me they were a sign of health so I was pretty sure I was doomed.

20. I am firmly pro-Oxford-comma.

Okay! Well that was a fun procrastinatory activity. I try to leave the memes back in my Livejournal days, but once in awhile I can't resist. If any of you do it, leave me a link in the comments!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Re-release of Garterrific and Show-Off Scarf

I've been very slowly re-knitting, re-photographing, and re-writing some of my older, more sloppily-executed patterns, and I'm pleased to announce that two of them are back in a newer, shinier, better-written form!

There's the Show-Off Scarf:

And (in neon glory): Garterrific!

Click the names or photos to find 'em on Ravelry!

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