Monday, January 19, 2015

Copacetic


I have a big bin of tosh merino light leftovers. It is FULL. I've made a few things in the past to try to use some of them up, but it just seems to stay full to overflowing. Last May I decided to use one of my favorite stitch patterns and hold two strands together to make a throw, thinking that I might finally put a dent in the supply. I had a vague plan. I divided my leftovers into two groups - colors and non-colors. I would do a sort of rainbow progression through the colors and a shade progression through the neutrals. But still when it's time to add another color, I kind of randomly pick from the correct bunch, making sure the new goes with the old. I carried it around all summer on our trip and worked on it occasionally, but design work always took precedence so progress has been slow. It only measures about 16" long now.

Anyway, it's too simple to do a pattern for, but it looks really nice and I thought I would share what I'm doing and see if anyone else with a leftover problem wanted to join me. I'll start a thread in my Ravelry group if anyone wants to play along. I'm calling it Copacetic because it is "completely satisfactory" :) The doubled tml makes such a lovely fabric and this stitch looks good on both sides. I actually found it first in a stitch dictionary as 'sand stitch' which is the reverse side. There was a note that the other side is also attractive and called it 'dot stitch'.



Here's the general plan -

COPACETIC

adjective, Slang.
1.  fine; completely satisfactory; OK.

Divide your leftovers into two sets. I am using fingering weight but you could do it with any weight.Swatch in the dot stitch pattern to get your stitches per inch and then decided how wide you want your FO to be to determine the cast on. It can be odd or even, no special multiple needed. I am making a throw, so mine is going to be large and take LOTS of yarn (I hope!) but you could do a baby blanket, a wrap, a scarf, even a poncho with a couple of seams. I am knitting mine lengthwise because the rows would be dishearteningly long widthwise, but it can be done either way.

If, unlike me, you have a limited amount of yarn, you will need to figure out how large of an item you can make so you know how many stitches to cast on. The best way I know to do this is to knit a swatch (don't cut your yarn because you'll probably need it!), steam block it, measure it, weigh it to determine the yards you used. Calculate the yardage you used per square inch. Then you can determine the square inches you can get out of the yardage you have. This is something we can work on in the thread on Ravelry if anyone needs help.

Dot stitch: RS rows are knit, WS rows are k1, p1 across, offsetting the knits and purls from the previous WS row (another name for it is Broken Seed Stitch - you can see why!)



Using your border color(s) doubled, cast on using the long-tail cast on. (I cast on 240 for my throw using US7s/4.5mm). If you want to use the same color for all your borders, set it aside!

Knit the first border to the width you want in garter stitch, ending after a WS row. Note: my garter gauge and dot stitch gauge were the same. If yours are not, you may want to use different needle sizes!

Begin dot stitch -
Switch to the first color/s you want to use (doubled) and begin with a RS (all knit) row.
Work in dot stitch until your wrap/throw/scarf is the length you want, swapping out colors as needed/desired. I am usually only swapping out one color at a time since I'm uisng leftovers. When you get to the other end, knit a matching garter border, starting on a RS row. I like to use the stretchy lace bind-off with garter, but do not use larger needles or work it loosely! The stretch is built in! It can be worked on the RS or WS.

Stretchy lace bind-off:
Slip one stitch purl-wise with yarn in back, [k1, insert left needle into fronts of the two stitches you just worked and knit them together] repeat instructions in brackets until one stitch remains. Cut yarn and pull tail through last stitch.

I haven't gotten to this point yet, but for the side borders I plan to pick up stitches along each side in my border color and knit on garter edges. It looks like my pick up ratio is going to be 4 stitches in every 5 rows. This may vary with your individual gauge, but we can do the math in the thread if anyone needs help.

Naturally I am thinking of cool ways to handle the colors now that I am well into it! Some ideas -
1. Use a gradient for one group and a single color or similar colors for the other 
2. Use lights for one group and darks for the other
3. Instead of using doubled yarn, use heavier yarn and stripe in your leftovers.

My throw may take years to complete, but it's nice to always have it around in case I need some pretty mindless knitting or am between other projects.





Sunday, January 11, 2015

Let's start 2015 off right....

... with a big KAL! I have a collection of 3 patterns scheduled for release next week called 'in winter'.
The KAL is going on here and runs through March 20 - the last day of winter/first day of spring.

The patterns are for a shawl, a jumper, and a pullover -




I'm SO pleased with how this all came together and I'm really excited about it :)

Friday, January 2, 2015

Looking Back/Looking Ahead


2014 in review

  • I knit 7 hats, 13 cowls, 21 garments, 5 pairs of mitts, and 8 wraps for a total of 54 items. A tad more than one FO per week! 
  • I released 33 patterns which increased my catalog by 65%!

Goals for 2015
I really only have one - BALANCE
2014 was my first full year of working at this business full-time. I felt like I really needed to push myself to turn a hobby business into a real source of income for my family. My husband retired in 2014 and it was the perfect time for me to shift into high gear and produce. In 2015 I want to try to be more efficient, work smarter, take some of the pressure off of myself. I neglected myself to some extent and I need to make time for exercise and relaxation. I still plan to work full-time, just not ALL the time :)  I'm not complaining, I really enjoyed it, but I think another year or two like last year would just burn me out and I really don't want that. I love what I'm doing and hope to keep doing it for awhile yet!

Plans for January - I have 3 patterns in the works that I hope to release together mid-month and host a KAL for in my Ravelry group. There's a jumper -


a pullover -


and a wrap (still in progress) -


stay tuned!


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Mixing it up!

Instead of my usual birthday give-away, this year I decided to do one for Christmas instead! We got some great pictures on the beach last night that I can't show you because it's a MYSTERY! :D

Here's the pattern page photo and description - more details here.


A Christmas present from me to you! This is such a busy time of year for those of us celebrating the holidays and we usually end up neglecting ourselves while decorating, cooking, and shopping for everyone else. Starting on December 18, I challenge you to take an hour or so of time for yourself each day! The pattern will be updated daily for a week and will finish up on Christmas Eve. After Christmas all the individual pdfs will be replaced with a single pdf. It’s free until December 18 (EST) when the first bit goes out. In the meantime, you can download the planning sheet which includes gauge, materials, and abbreviations.
What is it? A huge cozy cowl/sort-of-poncho with an interesting construction that can be worn in several ways. Nothing difficult - just knitting, purling, decreasing, and simple short rows (no picking up wraps). Everything is fully explained so you can just sit in your favorite spot with your favorite beverage and enjoy a little time for yourself.
This is a mystery but it isn’t a KAL; there are no rules to follow, no prizes to win, nothing to stress about, just relaxing knitting and a warm present for you! I hope that seeing the end result will be like opening a gift so I won’t post a photo until after Christmas. There is a thread in my group where you can ask questions.
Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Gift-a-Long 2014!


It's time for the second annual indie designers Gift-a-Long - put together by 293 independent designers.

There's a BIG sale and lots of great prizes! Read all about it here!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Northward

As of the wee hours of this morning, my eBook is now complete! Hay Cove is up and is on sale for a week!


I never posted here about the middle 4 patterns. There's Skerwink - a cabled headband.


Twillingate - a short-sleeved pullover.


Fox Point - a multi-colored hat.


And Gunners Cove - a textured shawl.


I had so much fun putting this collection together!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A labor of love

When my husband and I set off for our second trip to Newfoundland we thought we knew what to expect. A lot of driving, beautiful scenery, and not a lot in the way of places to eat or stay. We were mostly right, but what we weren't prepared for was just how spectacular the scenery was, how friendly the people are, and how much good food we'd encounter! Our first trip 10 years ago was with our kids, then 11 and 13, and we were camping and it was high summer. It was HOT. There were BUGS. And MOOSE - IN THE ROAD. ALL THE TIME. We camped in some spectacular places and enjoyed seeing Western Brook Pond by boat and we took some memorable hikes. But we didn't make it as far afield as we'd hoped and we didn't find a lot of good places to eat. This trip was so different! We mostly went back because we hadn't made it up to L'Anse aux Meadows. We'd tried the first time but it was so far away -


This trip we had more time and no one whining in the backseat. We took the long, overnight ferry that put us down on the southeast corner to start. Our first stop was Cape Saint Mary's. Tens of thousands of sea birds nest here - gannet, kittiwake, murre, razorbill, guillemot, cormorants and fulmars. It was a foggy day but still amazing -




There were a few sheep scattered on the grassy cliffs. Grazing unconcerned from their precarious positions.


A day or two later it was clear and warm and we hiked the Skerwink Trail.





We continued on across the northern coast to Twillingate where we did more hiking and continued to enjoy snacking on blueberries and raspberries and saw lots of pitcher plants.





Next we worked our way up the great northern peninsula. We saw sea caves -


And mountains -




 and this trip we actually made it to L’Anse aux Meadows! 



I found the Viking yarn stash :)  


In St. Anthony, we saw two humpbacks and climbed 476 steps up to the top of a mountain. 


It was a lovely trip and we met so many wonderful people. We will definitely go back, but next time we want to see icebergs! It was so much fun to work on the designs for my eBook on our trip - be sure to check out each pattern page on Ravelry to read more about it.