Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Week of July 24th - 30th

I mostly worked on the red lace sweater for the past week. It's finally finished, and I have a picture:

It's oversized and, meaning no offense to my dressmaker's dummy, generally looks better on someone with arms. I'll try to get some photos of myself in it this week while I write up the pattern.

Speaking of patterns, I FINALLY sat myself down and finished the men's vest pattern I've been sitting on for a while. It's listed here.

I have two custom orders on the needles right now: another Mossy Jacket for a family member and a baby sweater. The baby sweater is taking precedence right now; I'm hurrying to get it done by Friday.

All in all, I've been having an exceptionally good few weeks, sales-wise, for the summer. Most of my sales lately have come from Australia, where of course it's winter. I'm very grateful.

I sometimes worry about my international pattern buyers because I write all my patterns American-style, using the silly, antiquated English system of measurements. I've considered adding metric measurements, but I'm not mathematically-minded and the metric system is daunting. I didn't learn it very well in school and I don't understand it well. Also, every country has its own way of writing knitting patterns, so how can I accomodate every method? So I make sure to clarify US sizes and hope that my fellow knitters don't mind converting from inches to centimeters.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Week of July 16th - 23rd

This week I have one new addition to my shop: a skein of handspun wool made from Bluefaced Leicester top, soft white, 94 yards. It's a lovely, squishy yarn and very soft.

Otherwise I've been plugging away at the red lace sweater. Last week I got a last-call email from the current Afghans for Afghans campaign, so I put the sweater on hold and knit up two more hats. That's pretty much the end of my scrap wool stash, and two more people will have warm hats this winter!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Week of July 9th - 15th

Dealing with photo-editing software this morning has made me irrationally cranky, so I'll keep things short and sweet. I'm pleased to have completed and listed three new infinity scarves in Ocean, Salsa and Cerulean:

I was also very excited to learn last week that the legendary Ohio Knitting Mills has a summer pop-up store in Ohio City. It's only open for a few weeks, so on Wednesday I braved a trip to the west side to visit.* I was thrilled to get to see all the vintage, never-before-worn sweaters they had for sale there. I expected them to be prohibitively expensive, but while there were some that were out of my price range, I was pleased to find that many weren't. Since sample garments tend to be in the smallest size, a lot of the early pieces (1940s and '50s) were too small for me; they would probably be XS according to today's measurements. The later pieces were generally larger, and I came home with two attractive ones from the '70s:

They're vintage without being too dated, they fit well, and - most importantly - I'll wear them both!

*As is probably true of many cities, there's a strange divide between the east and west side of Cleveland. Though I'm far from a native Clevelander, I fell right into it when I moved here. If you live on the east side, you may never go to the west side unless maybe you work there, or vice versa. "Your" side is familiar; the "other" side is uncharted territory.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Week of July 2nd - 8th

Cleveland hasn't been spared the heat wave, though we're lucky to have had a few days' rain last week and no windstorms yet. Thanks to our new window unit, I have two baby sweaters and my completed TARDIS scarf to show for this sweltering week.

First, the Hooded Cardigan by Debbie Bliss, from the pattern in Design It, Knit It: Babies, knit using two balls of Ella Rae Amity Prints acrylic/wool blend:

This hoodie pattern is one of my favorites for baby sweaters; it's quick, easy, and very cute. I knit this one for a baby girl in the family. For a boy, I decided on another old favorite, Elizabeth Zimmermann's Baby Surprise Jacket. I used the newsletter pattern from The Opinionated Knitter and two balls of Plymouth Yarn Encore Colorspun:

That one always turns out bigger than I expect, but I guess too big is always better than too small, especially when it comes to babies. I found the adorable elephant buttons at Joann Fabrics and couldn't resist; they don't match exactly, but I think they work anyway.

And, last but not least, I finally sat down and finished my TARDIS scarf. I would have liked to have made it longer, but I ran out of medium blue cotton and ultimately decided it was fine as is:

I'm considering putting the pattern up here for free, my only hesitation being the copyright issues of using the word TARDIS or the police box image. I'll see.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Week of June 25th - July 1st

My big achievement of the week is a toy monkey for a baby in the family. I used the pattern "Tucker the Monkey" from Toys to Knit by Tracy Chapman. Though it's not my design, I really think I outdid myself, especially with the mattress stitch seams and the fancy endless scarf:

I set out determined to follow the pattern to the letter for once (something I never do), but at the first line I was already making adjustments. These were the critiques I put on Ravelry.com:

- The pattern called for using worsted-weight yarn doubled and US 3 needles, which seemed unnecessarily time-consuming and difficult; I used a single strand of worsted-weight yarn and US 4 needles, and the toy came out just as nicely, I thought.

- The whole pattern was designed to knit the pieces flat, then sew up the seams. That was fine, but certain parts - like the legs - could have been worked in the round just as effectively, taking less time in the process.

- The tail is made using a 7-stitch i-cord, which I find near impossible to do in a way that looks good. I had to use 3 dpns for it.

- This is really nit-picky, but it calls for the hands and feet to be knit separately and sewn on later, when you could just pick up stitches right off the arm or leg and knit them. I just hate unnecessary seams.

I don't mean to be overly critical, however. This is a pretty easy pattern that makes a very cute toy, and I'll probably knit it again someday, with the adjustments.

And it's kind of dark, but here is a picture of the five bears assembled this week: