Sunday, December 1, 2013

Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate Sweater

Chocolate Sweater!  This is the last pattern in my ebook, except for a super special surprise just for ebook customers.  Chocolate is about my favorite thing ever, because to me, chocolate means comfort. This sweater is worked in a super stretchy ribbed pattern with fancy cabling at the hem and cuffs. Tunic length with kimono sleeves, the arm shaping is generous to accommodate sleeves underneath. Sweater is worked in one piece sideways from the center back. Sleeves are worked join as you go sideways from the center underarm. Cabled collar is added join as you go, as well, for a bare minimum of seaming.

 This one is going to be a little bit different from usual, because my tech editor Carmel is awesome.  Pattern is available at the discounted price of $3.99 for the first week (until 12/7). At that time, the price will revert to $4.99.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Review: ThermoMorph

So something magical happened.  A company contacted me about reviewing their product.  Usually it's the other way around.  So here it is: ThermoMorph!

It is apparently made out of polymorph granules and is available on Amazon, for $19.95 per 500g.  Basically, it is a bottle of little plastic beads that melt in hot water.  They are about this big:
You dump them in hot water (I poured water from the kettle in a bowl, and dumped the beads in), and they quickly go clear and start to stick together, like so:
It's also quite sticky when you first pull it out, which solves the first worry I had about it, that it would be hard to get out of the boiling hot water.  It says on the bottle that it takes two minutes, but it never took that long for me.  It cools down pretty quickly to just pleasantly warm, but is really hot when it first comes out.  It is then surprisingly pliable:
My camera isn't good enough to pick it up, but when it's nice and hot, you can actually get a fingerprint in this stuff, which is cool.  The bottle says you can color it, which turned out ok, but don't be a dummy like me and use liquid food coloring, because it makes a big mess and is almost impossible to get evenly distributed.  I think a powder would work better.  Here is my best effort, at any rate:
That's going to be the handle of a beading tool, eventually.  It adheres to the wire really nicely.  It also adheres nicely to my crochet hook, that I made a nice ergonomic handle for:
You can also see how very badly I stained my hands making that beader handle pink.  It was everywhere, I tell you!  We also tried to make some buttons:
But I got super frustrated trying to get them all the same size and gave up.  The stuff is definitely hard enough to drill though, and should take paint well.  I don't keep any paint other than water colors on hand though, so I haven't tried that yet.

The one downside of this stuff is part of the whole reusable thing... once it's in a lump, it takes forever to warm back up again enough to be pliable.  We did get some interesting flower shapes, working with pieces that were warm and bendy on the outside and hard in the middle.  But, if you have leftover pieces, and you want to use them again later, I highly suggest rolling them out into a thin piece, and maybe snipping it into little bits before putting it back in the jar.  Also, a thing to keep in mind is that it's kind of boingy.  It springs back when you press on it, know what I mean?  But it is really neat, over all, and I'm looking forward to playing with it some more.

Full disclosure: I did get some free ThermoMorph to play with.  I was not however compensated in any other way for this review.

Just a reminder that my moving sale is still going on.  Get 20% off all the patterns in my Ravelry Store!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Yarn Review: Mountain Colors Weaver's Wool

If I have been quiet, and continue to be, I apologize, but Casa Driggs in in the midst of major upheaval.  We are quite suddenly moving to Virginia!  It is a move for the best of reasons (hello, shiny new job for my husband!), but as moves are expensive at best, I am having a big sale to try and raise some extra money.  All patterns in my Ravelry store are 20% off until we land, or January 15, whichever is later!

But the thing I'm really falling behind on is reviewing yarn and giving you cool previews of the next pattern in my book.  It will be a Chocolate Sweater, worked in this lovely yarn:
Mountain Colors Weaver's Wool.  This stuff actually comes in two put ups, a one pound skein, and Weavers Wool Quarters, which as the name implies is a mere quarter pound (4 oz).  I got the big skein, if you will remember, which was really cool because I geeked out on the idea of making a sweater without ever having to join a new piece of yarn.  But it was really NOT COOL because, even with extreme modifications, my ball winder won't hold nearly that much yarn.  If you also remember the cocoon-shaped, paper towel tube centered monstrosity of a ball I got that first skein into, let me tell you, it is not fun to work with.  Seriously, yarn popping off all over the place!  So in all honesty, if you get the big put up, just cut the dang yarn.  If I was really careful I could get half of a skein onto my ball winder at a time, and that isn't bad at all.  Or just buy the smaller put up.  The cost seems to be about the same per yard.

Weaver's Wool is, as the name implies, 100% wool, at about a DK weight.  It is the same as Mountain Colors 4/8's Wool, but a lighter weight.  It is smooth, round, and easy to work with (no splitting here!).  Of course, as with most small company yarn, the real draw is the colors, which are all beautiful.  Most LYS around here carry at least some Mountain Colors yarn, and I've yet to see a colorway that I didn't like.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Yarn Review - Knit Picks Comfy Sport

Suddenly I realize I've been neglecting to blog, for which I kick myself, but only a little bit.  I have been very busy, with all kinds of things.  But at any rate, I owe you a review of this lovely stuff:
Which I have been using to make this lovely thing:
Which is in fact available for preorder right here.  But at back to the yarn: Knit Picks Comfy Sport.  I've talked about the mixed feelings much of the knitting world has for Knit Picks in another post, and won't get into it again.  This one is 75% Pima cotton, 25% acrylic, and actually also comes in fingering and worsted weights, which is super convenient.  Also, six bazillion solid colors, so there's at least one color for everyone.  Also?  Soft and fluffy like a cloud.  All this combines to make Comfy my first pick for a workhorse cotton yarn.

Downsides?  You do have to remember that it is cotton, and it behaves like cotton (although the acrylic content does mitigate it a bit).  If you expect it to behave like a wool yarn, you will be disappointed.  Also, when I frog it, it tends to send tiny cotton fibers into the air, which makes me sneeze.  The yarn is none worse for the wear though, so I'll take it.  Most fluffy soft cotton yarns pill like a monster, especially if you frog them, and this does not.

So really, I'll probably keep using this stuff as long as Knit Picks makes it.  It's nice, and the price is right.  Can't argue with that.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Yarn Along the Rockies, Part 4 and Part 5

This week I have learned that there is in fact such a thing as too many yarn stores.  We did three on Friday, and three on Saturday, which was nearly too much because a) they were the far away stores, and b) we had to work around me and the kids' belt tests.  I have completely lost track of what I got on those days, however here is a picture of all the swag:

I think I lost something, but can't figure what.  Here's a picture of all the things I bought:
There was also actually a shawl pin, but I discovered this morning that I could also use it to pin up my hair, and forgot that it was attached to my head when I was taking pictures.  So, yarn stores visited on Friday:

Knit Knook:  I got the shawl pin here.  Another yarn store with a little coffee shop inside, except this one actually has muffins and stuff, not just drinks, which was a nice surprise.  Nice big open space in the middle to sit and knit in too.  They also have a restroom, which turned out to be very important to my cute little girls.

Yarn West:  They have a yarn bombed bicycle in front!  This one is kind of hidden in a shopping center - you have to walk down a little path from the parking lot.

The Recycled Lamb:  Happy thirtieth anniversary, Recycled Lamb!  Nice shop, I can see why they would be able to stick around so long.  They were having a yarn tasting that evening that we couldn't stay for, but it looked really cool.  Also, they have coned yarn for weaving.

And on Saturday, we went up to Boulder:

Mew Mew's Yarn Shop:  Cute little shop.  Oldest girl found something called "dragon scales," which are basically aluminum scales you can work into your knitting.  They look extremely cool.

Shuttles, Spindles, and Skeins: This is another one you have to walk down a bath through the shopping center to find, at least the way my cell phone told us to go to get there.  This is a BIG shop, which has an adjoining store that is basically all weaving stuff.  So if you weave, go here.  I also found a really clever DPN holder, that I can use over my needles when there's a project on them, which I'll probably talk about some more once I've tried it out.

Gypsy Wools: These guys dye most of the yarn in their shop, it seems.  And it is very nice stuff!  They also carry a wide selection of hand dyed embroidery thread, of which oldest girl got some for her tatting (it's linen!).  Be careful parking around here, most of the roads are one way and it was quite possibly more confusing than down town Denver.  There were fewer places to park, least ways.

So that was the yarn crawl, all twenty and three yarn stores, from Colorado Springs in the South to Boulder in the North.  If I had it to do again, I would figure out how to do in fewer days, because honestly, by the end I was ready to be DONE.  But we pulled it off with an assortment of small children in tow, so I think we did well enough!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Yarn Along the Rockies, part 3

Yarn Along the Rockies!  We went to five yarn stores yesterday, and had lots of fun.  Also got lost.  But fun!  So, acquired:

Swag: just buttons for my bag.

Purchased: 1 skein Dizzy Blond Superwash Sock (it comes with a stitch marker!), 1 skein Skeindalous Eartha Sock

Stores visited:

Bags by CAB: If you want to go here, make sure you have the right address, then google map the *address.*  If you just search for the store name, it will take you to a place that was, apparently, two locations ago.  We ended up at the two locations ago place first, which was annoying, but not the store's fault.  There was however a nice restaurant there, so we had snazzy lunch.  When we finally got there, the store is at least half bag store.  But what yarn they do carry is nice.

Wild Yarns: I like this store.  :)  They specialize in local hand dyed yarns, which is about my favorite thing ever, and have their shelves labeled as "dyed in (place)."  They also have other nifty local hand made things.  Easy to find, to boot, which was nice after the fiasco with the first store.  I wish they were closer to my house!  This is where I got the Dizzy Blond (dyed in California).

Lamb Shoppe: Big yarn store!  They also have a little cafe inside that has coffee and tea and stuff.  Also, a corner with toys for the kiddos, which I always appreciate.  We didn't get to linger here because the children were getting hungry again, but there is a place next door that has super tasty frozen custard treats.

Fabric Bliss: This was my favorite yarn store until I went to Stash this weekend, and it is still a close second. They carry nice quilting stuff as well as yarn, and it is nice yarn!  This is where I got the Skeindalous - it is a special limited edition colorway for the yarn crawl.  They do that every year.  Last year the special yarn was from Pigeonroof Studios, one of my favorite dyers.  I wish they were closer to my house too!

Knit Knack: These guys are all the way in Arvada!  That is much further away than I initially believed!  They are a nice store though, right in the downtown.  They have a little cafe with drinks in the yarn store, too, which I always like.  Little girl tried to take some yarn home from here, so I had to take her back.  She had to give it a good-bye hug, which was very cute.

We're taking a break until Friday, when we are going to do the rest of the Denver area stores (what we have been calling the "outer loop"), then on Saturday we will go up to Boulder for the last three stores.  We are almost done!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Yarn Along the Rockies, Part 2

Still doing Yarn Along the Rockies.  Today's conclusion: seven yarn stores may be too many for one day, especially if you have three small children with you.  They were very good girls.  Just holy CRAP are we tired now!  So today:

Swag: another Eucalan sample, several coupons, buttons to go on my bag.

Purchased: 1 ball Koigu KPPPM (this color looks like sprinkles!).

The swag is a lot less here in the heart of the yarn crawl.  I wonder if it will get more again as I move back toward outlying regions.  Also, towards yarn stores that are NOT going out of business.  But anyway, stores visited today were:

Zen Knitting: These guys are closing.  Their normal location is actually already closed, and their remaining stock is being sold at screaming deals from another store.  Kinda lame, and inconvenient because this was the yarn store closest to my house.

Knitty Cat:  Also closing.  They still have a fair amount of yarn, and TONS of books, and some fabric, for screaming deals, but from what I hear after the yarn crawl they are no more.  This was the second closest yarn store to my house.  GAH!

Colorful Yarns:  Still plans on being in business next week!  Yay!  I really like this store for browsing, I've found all kinds of interesting things there.  They also have monthly sales that are awesome, so if you live in the area, get on their email newsletter.  Also: they had lots of snacks for yarn crawlers.

A Knitted Peace:  I've actually never been to this one before, which was cool.  They have the largest selection of non-wool yarns I've ever seen - cotton and linen and hemp and all kinds of stuff.  They also have a toy bin under the window for kids, which was awesome, because little girl wanted me to stand next to her while she admired herself in the full length mirror in one corner.  BORING.  Also. made me wish I had bought that mink yarn yesterday, because it was significantly more expensive here.

Blazing Star Ranch:  This yarn store is actually inside a vacuum cleaner store.  Selection is limited, but almost all from local ranchers and dyers, which is cool.  They also have tons of spinning supplies, like wheels and stuff. The children wanted to use the wheels as bicycles, so we had to hustle out of there.

Fancy Tiger Crafts:  If you are into any craft involving yarn, thread, fabric, or paper, you will love this store.  If you are into multiple such crafts, you may have a hard time ever leaving.  Also, the road they are on is both four lanes wide and one way.  Down town Denver is an odd place.

I Love Knitting:  When I visited these guys last year, my first thought was "man these guys need to get organized," because there was basically yarn everywhere.  They are looking MUCH better now!  They are also within reasonable driving distance of my house, which is a relief after the first two stops today.  This is where I bought the Koigu.  They are also right next to an awesome French bakery, which is unfortunately closed on Mondays.  GAH!

We're going to go again tomorrow, and then rest until Friday.  We are definitely on track to go to ALL the yarn stores.  Fun!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Yarn Along the Rockies, Part 1

So me and my mom are participating in the Yarn Along the Rockies yarn crawl this year.  Nine days!  Twenty three yarn stores!  MADNESS!  So I thought I'd give a report on all these yarn stores.  Yesterday we went to five, and received:

Swag: 3 bottles Kookaburra Wash, 1 bottle Kookaburra Delicate (it smells like flowers!), 1 pen, 1 sample Eucalan, 1 nail file with llamas on it, 1 tube chapstick, 1 felted bag pattern.

Purchased: Official yarn crawl tote bag (also received: one pin for each yarn store visited, except one), a bunch of tatting stuff for the big girl's birthday, a 5.5 mm crochet hook (to replace one I lost), 1 ball Kiwi lace weight (it has possums in it!), 1 tiny felted purse.

The stores we visited were:

Green Valley Weavers and Knitters:  I like this store.  They have just about everything, but you have to ask to find anything.  This is where most of the tatting stuff came from.  Also, they had a super cute tortie kitten frolicking by the register.

Wooly Works:  If you like tatting, or thread crochet, or just like thread size #10 or smaller, go to this store.  They have about six MILLION colors.  This is where the rest of the tatting stuff (ie, the thread) came from.  Was suddenly glad I didn't buy thread at Green Valley, there was a better selection here!  These guys didn't have the button to go on my bag, though.  Super annoyed!

Needleworks by Holly Berry:  This is one of those yarn stores that is actually mostly a random rick rack store.  I got lost in their embroidery and needlework thread section.  One of the employees was really grumpy, but I don't blame her because it was SUPER crowded!

Table Rock Llamas:  I actually go to this yarn store all the time, because they are kinda right by my mom's house.  We are super excited because they didn't get burned down this summer!  Remember to go to the back building - that's where all the cool spinning/dying/SALE stuff is.

Stash:  This is my new favorite yarn store, despite them being twenty minutes from my mom's house and nearly forty minutes from mine.  They have tons of super nerdy stuff, like this hat:
As well as super rare yarns - like 100% mink, or 100% Tibetan yak - for super reasonable prices.  This is where I got the tiny felted purse.  It clips onto the belt loops on my pants!

Tomorrow we are planning on going to five more yarn stores, so I will try to keep you posted.  We're doing our best to go to them all this year!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Housekeeping, and a surprise!

First of all, my Tea Party Stole is finished and out of preorder:
It is available for purchase on Ravelry for $4.99.

Also, the next pattern in my book, Nuts and Spice Shrug, is now in the testing.  It is also available for preorder for $3.99.  I think it turned out really nicely!
There, done housekeeping!  Now, if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you know that I'm actually slightly ahead of schedule, which will allow me to give you a surprise.  My book is a collection of layering pieces - shrugs, wraps, and so on - but it has really bothered me that there isn't a shell included.  There was supposed to be, but between one thing and another, it seemed it wasn't to be.

I will be adding one more pattern, the Whipped Up Shell (in Knit Picks Comfy Sport) to my book.  This will necessitate me raising the price on the book to $18.  However, anybody who has already bought the book when I raise the price will get the additional pattern for FREE.  Surprise!  The price change will happen as soon as the shell goes into testing - hopefully in about two weeks.  I will set a date for it once I get a little closer to completing the pattern, however I wanted to let you know that if you want to get the lower price, you should go ahead and order now!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Yarn Review: Pigeonroof Studios 80/10/10 sw corriedale/tencel/nylon

One of the super hard things about designing is coming up with a name for your pattern that doesn't sound like you used those poetry magnets.  I assume the same is true of naming your yarn bases when you are a dyer, so I have to respect someone who just completely opts out of that whole mess, even if it makes her yarn name take a million years to type.  That being said, I would buy this yarn no matter what it was called, because of this:
Do you see those colors?  Gorgeous!  Stunning!  There is a reason my LYS can't seem to keep this stuff in stock.  Enough variegation to be interesting, but solid enough that it doesn't hide your stitch work, which is exactly what I'm always looking for in hand dyed, or in fact any, yarn.  It says on the website that she gets this lovely depth of color by applying the dye in layers.  I basically love every color I've ever seen this stuff in, which is saying something.

The yarn base itself feels kind of stringy in the skein - a bit stiff, you might say - but it softens beautifully on washing, without puffing up too much.  Sometimes you want your yarn to bloom, but if you don't, this yarn is perfect.  It's fabulous for lace, as the lack of fluff and smooth texture make the holes stay nice and crisp, even without aggressive blocking.  The tencel gives it a lovely sheen.  Also: wears like iron.  Corriedale wool has a longer staple (read: each hair is longer) than merino, which means it has fewer ends, making the yarn less prone to breakage and pilling.  It is also a four ply yarn (most yarn is two or three ply), which again adds durability.  This is definitely a light fingering weight - I wouldn't call it lace weight, but if I were making socks or something that needed a tight gauge, I would definitely go down a needle size or two.  Conversely, if you want a light and airy fabric, this yarn may be perfect for your project.

And now you get a preview of the next pattern in my book, Nuts and Spice Shrug:
Yes, you only get half of a swatch.  The other half of that swatch is messed up.  Remember when I said this stuff wears like iron?  Yeah, been doing a lot of frogging to get this stitch pattern just right.  But worth it!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

New in Preorder: Tea Party Stole

Like so many tea parties, this crochet stole/scarf (instructions are included for both a large stole version and a small scarf version) is fairly demure to start, but goes out with a bang! The center panel is a delicate star stitch pattern, which morphs into an interlocking blossom lace pattern (a variant on cone stitch), and ends in a shell stitch ruffle.

Finished pattern will be available from September 15.  Available for preorder here.

Saturday, August 10, 2013


I even picked on time!  ;)  Hayley and Lauren won a copy of my Blueberry Torte Capelette pattern, and Monica won the pattern and the yarn!  I will be contacting y'all shortly with the contact information you left me.  Thanks for playing, everybody!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Contest: Curio and Blueberry Torte Capelette

If designing has taught me one thing, it is that I am occasionally epically wrong in my estimated yardage for a project.  In this particular case, I thought that my Blueberry Torte Capelette was going to take two balls of Curio.  It actually only took one (with some left over, even!).  This left me with the problem of what to do with the extra ball of thread.  Of course my first impulse was to squirrel it away in my stash, but anyone who has ever been to my house knows that I have something of a stash containment problem, so that wouldn't be a good idea.  Then it occurred to me: I can give it away!

There will be three winners: two first prize winners will get a copy of the pattern, and one grand prize winner will get a copy of the pattern, and this lovely ball of Curio #10 crochet thread in Bluebell (plenty to work the pattern):

You also get three ways to enter.  First is your gimme entry: just comment on this post.  You don't have to answer any questions or anything, just leave me a way to get a hold of you if you win.  Second, if you like my page on Facebook, and leave a second comment on this blog post, you will get another entry.  Third, you can follow this blog, and leave a separate comment on this blog post, for yet another entry.  The winners will be chosen by random number generator on August 10 (by which point the finished pattern will almost certainly be published).  Good luck everybody!

ETA:  Gah I forgot all about Twitter... if you tweet my contest, and comment here, you can have ANOTHER entry.  :)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Yarn Review: All For Love of Yarn Luminosity Fingering

First of all, can I express my amazement that Angela has managed to get pink, blue, purple, and green into one ball of yarn, and have it be such a lovely tonal?  Everything from All For Love of Yarn comes in these special limited pooling colorways, and they are a delight to work with.  You can have festive yarn and festive stitches, and be able to see both at the same time!

This specific yarn (Luminosity) is 70% superwash merino, 20% bamboo rayon, and 10% nylon.  It has great drape and a lovely sheen to it (so great stitch definition!), and is holding up to all my frogging beautifully.  It would make a really luscious pair of socks.  One thing to remember about it is that bamboo rayon is still rayon, so it tends to squeak a bit on plastic needles/hooks.  If that's the sort of thing that bothers you, you should use tools in a different material.

Also, that's the swatch for my upcoming Tea Party Stole, which is included in my book.  It's turning out really pretty, isn't it?  I love star stitch for showing off nice yarn.

Suddenly I'm glad I didn't tell you about this last night like I was going to (instead choosing to veg out in front of junk tv).  I just found out that tomorrow is Angela's birthday, and so you can get 38% off any in stock purchase with the code BDAY38.  Tomorrow only!  Buy yarn!  (I'm probably going to!)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Now in Preorder: Blueberry Torte Capelette

I think it turned out pretty nicely.  Available for preorder for $3.99.  The finished pattern is expected about the ninth of August, at which point it will be available for $4.99.  This is the second pattern in my ebook, Cake (Because It Has Layers).

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Yarn Review: Curio

One of the awesome things about being a designer is that sometimes you can get yarn support in yarns that are not available to the public yet.  That is also one of the not so awesome things about being a designer - you have to keep it a secret until the yarn is released.  Case in point: Knit Picks Curio.  I have been wanting to talk about this stuff for like two weeks now, but it is finally released, hooray!

Curio is a #10 crochet thread, in 100% cotton.  For you knitters out there, that is a lace weight.  I would bet my last biscuit it is mercerized cotton (because it is so smooth and shiny), but the label doesn't say it is.  It is smooth, shiny, and has a very tight twist, as crochet thread should so that it doesn't split on itty bitty hooks.  It feels a little bit stiff in the ball, but softens beautifully on washing.

All that, however, is fairly standard for good quality crochet cotton.  The thing that makes Curio stand out is the colors:

Seriously, they are even better in person.  I have always kind of had a thing for colored crochet thread, but it is often difficult to find it in any colors other than white, ecru, baby pink and blue, and Christmas colors.  Curio comes in a nicely varied palette.  I'm particularly drawn to some of those softer colors in particular.

And now on a related note, a preview for my book:

The next pattern, Blueberry Torte Capelette, is in Curio, in Bluebell.  So if any of you were wondering why I hadn't put a planned yarn next to this one, when I have one for all the other patterns, now you know.  I am good at keeping secrets.  I just don't like it.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

16 oz of yarn is a lot of yarn.

This is going to be one of those posts where I do something crazy and take lots of pictures so you can laugh at me.  I swear, when I started this seemed like a great idea.  But getting to the point, anybody remember this picture?

That is a sixteen ounce skein of yarn - a whole pound. It is Mountain Colors Weavers Wool, which is very nice and squishy and will be a very nice sweater.  (To be specific, it will be Chocolate, the Sweater in my ebook).  It does create the problem of how to wind it tho.  See, this is how a normal skein of yarn looks on my swift:

This is how a sixteen ounce skein looks:

Problem number one, right there.  Problem number two:

I think it's afraid of that much yarn.  So I decided to make it bigger with a paper plate with a hole in it and a paper towel tube:

The little yarn guide thingy was too close in, so I tried to guide the yarn with my hand, but that largely resulted in the yarn getting caught in the gears of the ball winder.  Also, when it gets to spinning the paper plate acted like a little wing and tried to launch the whole assembly across the room.  So I decided to take off the paper plate and use the yarn guide:

It... kind of worked?  Sort of maybe?  But you see that blob at the bottom?  Yeah that just got bigger and bigger until I had to put the little yarn guide down again so it wouldn't put the yarn down in the gears again.  But I kept winding until it looked like this:

That's about when the gears in my ball winder started to skip.  Bad sign, that.  Unfortunately the swift still looked like this:

I finally had to take it off the ball winder and finish by hand, which was tedious, but at least I didn't have to worry about breaking my ball winder any more.  I don't think I'm going to get that paper towel tube out of there until the yarn is used up, but it is all wound now, without cutting or anything, as you can see:

It's also bigger than my kid's head.  The really sad part?  I have another one of these I'm going to have to figure out how to wind.  Beam me up, Scotty!

Monday, June 17, 2013

I present as proof I have not been slacking...

...a beautiful new pattern!

My Strawberry Cream Shrug combines a fun wagon wheel stitch with simple cables, to make a figure flattering faux-cardigan shrug.  Faux-cardigan because I love the look of buttoned shrugs, but can never get them to fit properly, so I made this pullover to look like it is buttoned.  For cuteness.  Now available at a discount preorder price of $3.99.

It is also the first pattern in my cool new ebook, Cake (Because It Has Layers).  It is also currently the only pattern, and yes technically still in preorder, but let me tell you, this is super exciting and my hooks are on fire, baby!  Keep checking here or on my Facebook/Twitter feeds for continuing updates.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Working behind the scenes

I am not blogging as much as I feel like I should be, but I swear, I am working like crazy on a couple of super special surprises that you are going to love.  Also, here is a picture of the biggest skein of yarn that I have ever seen.

It doesn't even fit in the picture, and weighs a whole pound.  Also, it lives at my house now.  Yay!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Dear designers:

As many of you may know, I have been doing lots of test knitting/crocheting lately.  I do this mostly because I am crazy, and partially because I have a mild obsession with getting free patterns.  That's ugly in a designer, but I digress.  The point is, I have several tips for you designers out there, to make sure you are ready to test your design.
  1. If you pattern isn't finished, you are not ready to test.  It can be rough.  It can have mistakes (heck, I expect mistakes).  But you have to have the whole pattern written before you send it to your testers, and send the whole thing to your testers.  Some of us like to skim the whole pattern so we know what we're doing before we start.
  2. Put your instructions in the order you want me to do them.  Sometimes I have Mom Brain.  It is not fun to spend half an hour trying to figure out part one, only to find out that you have to do part two first.
  3. Be ready to answer your email/rav messages/whatever in a timely fashion.  I am working hard to meet your deadline, and it freaks me out when I can't continue because I need more information from you.  I understand you have a life, but please try to be available.  If your silence can be measured in days, it has gone on too long.
I like testing patterns, really.  I learn interesting things from my fellow designers, and if you want to start designing, I highly recommend doing a few pattern tests first.  If nothing else, it will let you know what you are in for.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Apparently, I like deadlines.

I'm racing myself to see if I can finish a pair of socks in a month.

I'm also consoling myself that I couldn't afford a sweater's worth of All For Love of Yarn by making socks out of some I had in stash.  As you can see, it is stunning, even in a crappy webcam shot.  She's also having a massive sale on her DK and worsted weight yarn, and has some sweater quantities, so if you have cash money to blow on yarn, you might want to blow some of it on Angela's yarn.  I really like it, at least.

ETA:  Also, you can get 20% off your purchase with the code SH2013 through the seventeenth.  I picked up a lovely OOAK ball of RED!  My favorite color.  :)

Monday, April 29, 2013

Nerd Wars

You know what I like to do?  Play stupid crafting games.  My favorite right now (and possibly ever) is Nerd Wars.  This could quite possibly because I am so nerdy, I could fit right in on almost any of the bajillion zillion teams.  Anyway, the current tournament just ended, and I wanted a bonus chance to show off my awesome dissertation sweater:

As you can see I am very pleased with it, and it fits just the way I wanted it to.  The sleeves are even long enough, which is typically a big problem for me, since by the time I start making sleeves I'm just ready for the freaking thing to be done already so I overestimate blocking growth.  In any case you should consider playing Nerd Wars when the next tournament starts in a month, because you will finish all kinds of things.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Another new pattern. Yay!

Just released my newest pattern, Warm Your Sweetheart Hat and Cowl.

It's in Knit Picks' cuddly new bulky weight Billow, and I'm really pleased at how it turned out.  Both pieces feature an all over reversible XO cable pattern.  It was a lot of fun to make, I'm making another of the hats in my husband's size!  Available on Ravelry.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Getting back on the wagon, again.

The baby is very lovely, and is full of baby-ish activities, like snuggling and crying in the middle of the night.

BUT!  I am back, for reals this time.  I have in fact published a pattern, and re-released some of my old patterns for sale on Ravelry.  You might want to check it out.  Hopefully, I will be able to keep going.  Because gracious, I think I missed this just a little.  ;)