Friday, February 26, 2010

Back to business

There has been very little yarn dyeing going on this month. I'm not sure if I've dyed anything since I did the sock club yarn last month.Talking about the sock club - if you wish to join for March now's the time. I'm dyeing the yarn this weekend. I've been dyeing some trial colourways today and i'm trying to decide on what to go for. It's a new base yarn which is replacing an old base yarn and is much better. Sock Club parcels will be sent out early next week. Click here to join.

Talking about new base yarns. I've found a replacement for my Amazing Cashmere Lace. The original Amazing Cashmere Lace base yarn was purchased from China and i had to pay in US dollars. Dealing with exchange rates makes ordering yarn more unpredictable when it comes to price you've got to pay as exchange rates change constantly. Also the shipping was horrendously expensive which all led to a tiny profit margin on this yarn. But then I found this new gorgeous cashmere lace yarn from a UK supplier. The old Amazing Cashmere Lace had 365 m per 55gr skein. The new Amazing Cashmere Lace has 400m per 50 gr skein. So it's not identical but it's not much of a difference. The new yarn is gorgeous. I love it. And I've dyed up some skeins of it today and I've got some gorgeous colours. So if you've been wanting to knit the Miyu scarf from Let's Knit last month, on Monday you'll have the chance to snap up some stunning colourways. i'll be dyeing more next week too. You can still download the Miyu pattern for free. Here's 5 skeins of the gorgeous cashmere twisted together in one big hank.On Tuesday my Mum and I went to Bovey Tracey to visit Spin A Yarn. We had a lovely welcome from Joyce and Ali and spent a long time in the shop browsing over patterns and enjoying a drink. How many shops do you get offered a drink while you're shopping? Excellent service from my favorite yarn shop. My Mum decided on another Rowan pattern with gorgeous but complicated cable panel up the front of the sweater. The yarn is Rowan Pure Silk but there were only 3 colourways in stock so we looked around for ages and considered lots of gorgeous yarns and colourways and in the end my Mum decided on the new Rowan Revive yarn in purple. Revive is a recycled yarn made from, I think, silk, viscose and cotton. The cable panel for this sweater is really complicated and I've got to translate the pattern into NOrwegian. I'm not looking forward to it.

I bought a ball of Rowan Revive too, for some swatching. I'm always looking out for new yarns to use for my designs. The Revive ball is the pink one on the right.
The silver grey ball is a wool/silk blend but I don't remember what it's called now.
I also picked up a skein of Aracunia (I've probably spelled that wrong) yarn made from 100% sugar cane. I've done some swatching recently in this yarn and it's lovely. I just fell for this colourway. It's stunning. They also had a stunning peachy/yellow sunny colourway. I'm not sure what to do with this one. I'd love to knit something for myself for the summer but time is a problem. I'm also thinking about using it for a new design. I'll have to set aside some time for swatching next week.
Yesterday we went to Tavistock on the edge of Dartmoor. My back was very bad so it was a struggle to walk around but we looked in some lovely shops and galleries. We also visited the yarn shop in Tavistock (I don't remember the name now) and the contrast between this shop and Spin A Yarn was huge. The lady in the shop never spoke a word to us. She sat behind the counter knitting and I'm not even sure she looked up. We spoke Norwegian so she may have thought we couldn't speak English but smiling and saying 'hello' as we walked is hte minimum I expect. They had some great yarns but I'm afraid I wasn't tempted to buy anything. Neither was my Mum. Maybe I'm being unfair as all the ladies at Spin A Yarn know me and I go there a lot and always get a friendly welcome whereas this yarn shop I visit about once a year.

My Mum left this morning. It was sad to see her go especially as I probably won't see her again until Christmas when we're going to Norway. I enjoyed her time here though.

I've spent the yarn catching up on lots of design and paper work, done lots of knitting and dyed a small amount of yarn. Which means there will be a small update on Monday with some Amazing Cashmere Lace and sock yarn.

Have a nice weekend x

Monday, February 22, 2010

Lots of knitting

We had quite a nice weekend which kicked off with a lovely Indian meal on Friday night. Saturday we woke up to snow, not much fortunately. Don't think my Mum was that keen on the snow. And fortunately it went pretty quickly. as far as I'm concerned we've had enough snow this winter.

After a lot of rather intense secret knitting lately, I decided to take some time off this weekend. Saturday night I pulled out this sock.It was the sock I started a few weeks ago with the 'faulty' Fantasy sock yarn. Once I dyed this yarn it looked like it was 3 different singles spun together. I quite liked the result so kept the 3 faulty skeins for myself. But once I started knitting with it I wasn't sure. It didn't feel like the Fantasy sock at all so I decided to abandon the sock and re-start it and I managed to get nearly the whole cuff done yesterday. I did a little bit more this morning at the dentist so the cuff is now finished. And the sock will probably be going into hibernation for a bit as I need to get 0n with some other stuff.I also picked up my secret Kureyon shawl. I made some good progress on it this weekend and I'm passed the slow bit and on the decreasing bit. I always knit shawls which start with just a few stitches then increase. So this time it's nice to start with a couple of hundred stitches and decrease. I'm looking forward to shorter rows. I'm keeping this secret for now. I did have a submission deadline in mind but it's next week so I won't get it done on time.

I also managed to get some spinning last night. My wheel has not been touched for rather some time and I'm still working on some natural grey merino I started before christmas. I bought 100gr bag first and loved it so much I decided I really wanted 200gr but it was only a few weeks ago that I managed to get another 100gr bag. So my slow spinning has paid off. Anyway, I've finished the first bobbin now and started the 2nd. I'm aiming to have this done before Easter as I'm thinking I may knit another Friendship Shawl with it and that would make a nice, easy project to take away for our Easter holiday.

My Mum tried on the 'Lilia' sweater from Yarn Forward and it fitted her. She wore it on our trip to Totnes on Saturday. But she didn't have scarf to wear with it so borrowed my Friendship shawl which she likes rather a lot. She told me the colours is perfect for her so I've got a feeling the Friendship shawl may be moving to Norway at the end of this week. If you fancy knitting the Friendship Shawl the pattern is free in return for a donation to Shelterbox. all the details are here.

We did a quick photoshoot of my Mum wearing 'Lilia' and the Friendship shawl on Saturday but it was very sunny and we were in a rush and on most ofthe photos you can see my shade.
I've got a pattern to finish sorting out so I'd better get back to work.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

More positive

Just a quick update to last nights rather downbeat post. I was really fed up and stressed last night. Nothing seemed to be working right. One of my main problems was trying to work out how to turn a document into pdf on our repaired laptop and works and word not being compatible. I downloaded Open Office which is compatible with word but not with works. so that didn't help me a lot. In the end after a near tantrum. Simon took over and downloaded cutepdf again and converted my works document into pdf so I could e-mail off my submisson. We then went out for an Indian meal in Looe and had great food and a lovely time.

Our toilet problem seems to be fixed for now. We have an on going problem with the overflow from the cistern. some bright spark who built this house has put the over flow underneath the dining room floor rather than to come out outside the house. Even me with no building knowledge would know that this is rather stupid. So every time and it's happened 3 times now, the toilet overflow system in the cistern fails we end up with a wet dining room carpet. At least it's fixed until next time.

It's snowing this morning. The last thing I want with my Mum visiting. We'd planned to visit Totnes this morning which is a lovely town with lots of fab shops. We've only been there once before and my Mum has never been. We'll wait till late morning I think tosee if this snow melts. It's not a lot of snow but we do live ona hill and I don't want to risk any problems or get stuck somewhere.

Congrats GB on the gold in skeleton last night. I couldn't believe the news this morning. An individual gold to a British person in the winter Olympics. I could go on and on about the appaling coverageof the Olympics in this country. Being Norwegian I love the Winter Olympics and Norway normally do rather well, we're 2nd in the medals table last night after the US with 5 gold and 5 other medals, which is rather good for such a small country. But I've not been able to see a single one of those gold medals being won on the BBC. BBC now has 4 regular channels which showa variety of rubbish programmes. Why can they not during the short time of the winter olympics dedicate for example BBC 3 to Olympic coverage. We are supposed to have coverage on the red button, well if you have satelite or cable you may get some coverage on the red button but not on freeview. Next Olympics I'm going home to Norway so I can watch all the coverage on Norwegian TV. And the little coverage there is here are mainly downhill skiing, snowboarding, skating and sliding events. What about cross country? Which is actually quite entertaining and exciting normally. BBC have had almost daily highlights programmes but a few days ago I switched on hoping to see the daily highlights programme and there was no coverage at all. Okay, enough winging.

Next week I'll try to show some knitting content on this blog. I should hopefully be able to do some work onsome non-secret projects next week which I'll ofcourse share with you all. I'm expecting a parcel of undyed yarn any day soon. I had a delivery yesterday while we were out and hopefully they'll redeliver on Monday. We'll have some new Amazing Cashmere Lace (finally!) and BFL sock and lace. I haven't dyed yarn for weeks so I'm looking forward to a dyeing session this week. Sock Variety Club is due out end of next week too although it'll probably be week Monday before it's posted. So join now.

Friday, February 19, 2010

From bad to worse...

... but our computer is fixed and up and running again. that does not mean we've got our documents back though. A friend's son may be able to help so the harddrive will be sent off to him to see if anything can be rescued.

In the meantime, things are going from bad to worse here. We went shopping in Plymouth today and came home to find an area of carpet in the lounge/dining room soaking wet. we have ongoing problems wiht the cistern in our toilet filling up too much and have had leaks several times now. Simon is working on it right now but it's unlikely he'll be able to fix it tonight and with my Mum here too the timing could not have been worse.

I've been working on a submission to a North American publication and deadline is today and I need a pdf. I wrote it all up on our old laptop over the last few days. Then realised I should have put it all in one pdf rather than separate ones for each design. So I went on our newer laptop (the one that broke last week) and re-did it. This laptop now has MS Works (we used to have Open Office which I hated). But it turns out works is not compatible with Word. They're both MS products so why don't they work together. Simon may know a solution to this problem but he's busy trying to fix the toilet and probably not interested in my word processing compatability issues. I've got two choices, wait till later and see if Simon can sort it out for me or re-type it on our other lap top for the second time today.

ETA: I may have found a solution. Simon suggested I download Open Office again. So hopefully I'll be able to copy and paste and convert to pdf. That's about the only thing I like about Open Office - being able to easily convert a document to pdf.

I've also got an inbox groaning with e-mails so if you're waiting for a reply from me please be patient. I've had several pattern queries from various tech editors which as I've lost the original patterns is a bit difficult to answer and embarassing to admit I've been an idiot and not saved copies.

We are supposed to be going out for an Indian meal tonight. Restaurant is booked. Let's pray we can get the toilet sorted, go out for a nice, relaxing meal and come home and sort out my Works/Word/PDF issues. Or I can do what my Mum suggested just now, thrown the computer out the window... Perhaps not.

At least one thing is going well. I've nearly finished the new Manos design I'm working on. I'll be finishing the sleeve tonight, only sleeve cap left to do. Pixie has finished one design and most of another. We had a sizing issue so I've got to re-knit the sleeves which I'll start tomorrow. So at least my knitting is not a complete disaster. Next week I'll be starting some summer designs. I've got some gorgeous summery yarns coming through at the moment in lots of gorgeous, bright colours. The first yarn up for knitting is Rowan Lenpur which I loved swatching with and yesterday some Sublime Soya Cotton arrived which looks gorgeous too. That's the best thing about being a designer, you get to try and lots of gorgeous yarns and you get lots of gorgeous yarn parcels in the post. Shame it's not something for me. Most of my magazine samples are a size 10 and most magazines return samples to me eventually. I'd love to be a size 10 and be able to wear all my designs. But I'm far from a size 10 and even if I starved myself I'd never be a size 10. My Mum has tried on a couple of designs though and they fit her perfectly. I'll try to get some photos over the weekend. I think a couple of samples may end up in Norway.

Have a great weekend. I'll try to relax and enjoy family stuff and forget about computer and toilet problems.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

STUPID ME!!!!

Yes, I've been a complete fool. An utter idiot. No, I'm not being hard on myself. Our main laptop has died and we've lost everything on the hard drive which is all my work in the last 6 months. And no I never backed anything up or saved anything anywhere else. That's why I'm such a stupid idiot. We've had the laptop checked by an expert and they can put a new harddrive in and bring the laptop back to life but can't do anything about our files.

One of my main problems is my list of sock and lace club members. I don't have a hardcopy and to re-do the current membership list will mean going through months of Paypal orders to find all the details. If you're a current member and happen to be superorganised can you please contact me and tell me your name, address, e-mail and when your membership is due to expire please. It would be a huge help.

The main problem is that the sock club is due end of next week althoughrealistically it'll be sent out first week in March and my Mum is coming tomorrow evening so less time for work over the next 9 days while she is here.

The other things i've lost inlcude a list of all my upcoming design deadines and details of the actual designs. I've managed to retrieve some of that info by going through old e-mails to editors. Very time consuming but I think I've got that sorted now. Also any pattern alterations to old patterns or new patterns are gone. I've been downloading some pdfs from RAvelry so I've got pdfs of a lot of patterns but if I need to do any more alterations to them I need them in some other format that pdf. I've also lost all my KnitVisualiser charts which are time consuming to do. All my pattern photos since last September. Holiday photos from Spain last September are gone. and tons of other stuff.

Because of all these problems i'm very behind wiht replying to e-mails so if you've e-mailed me in the last week and not had a reply please bear with me. I'm trying hard to catch up.
Now to some good news. I've had my first design for Knitting published. The idea was a spring design but it's photographed in the snow. I love the photo. Looks gorgeous in the snow. The yarn is Artesano Inca Mist and the garment is knitted in two pieces. Front and back with semi-batwing sleeves. the lace pattern is easy to memorise.I'm making good progress on the Manos sweater. I'm hoping to finish the back tomorrow and the front is done. Sleeves will be quick as they're short. So hopefully it'll all be done by end of the weekend at the latest.

Pixie was doing brilliantly wiht her Manos sweater until she realised at the beginning of the 2nd sleeve that she didn't have enough yarn to finish. There is no more yarn available right now. So I'm blocking the pieces and double checking my measurements and calculations to make sure i've not made it too big. Then it's decision time. Got to work out some sort of solution. I've got a couple of possible ideas but need to checkmeasurements first.

My Mum will be arriving tomorrow evening. We're all looking forward to seeing her.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Let's Knit & Inside Crochet

It's all happening this month. The new issues of Let's Knit and Inside Crochet have landed on my door mat in the last few days.
I've got two patterns in Let's Knit this month. The first one is Erin, a top down circular yoke cardigan which starts with a cable band worked first then stitches are picked up. The best thing about this kind of construction is that you can try it on as you go and tailor it to fit you. The pattern comes sizes from 10 - 26. The model sample is size 14.
I'm very pleased with the modelled shots in the mag.
A close up of the cable band:
I got VAnessa to slip it on for a very quick photo before sending it off. She's not been very keen on modelling for me lately and this cardi was a size too big for her so its not looking too great.
Next we have 'Afra' felted diamond bag knitted in Rico Creative poems. This is a yarn I'd didn't know aobut and I'm very impressed with it. I originally wanted to use Noro Kureyon and Creative Poems is very similar but much, much softer and much cheaper. It felted beautifully, actually it felts better and quicker than Kureyon does. If you like Noro Kureyon and Silk Garden but think it's a bit pricey, then Rico Creative Poems is a good alternative.

Here's the magazine shot:
Here's a sneak preview of the spread in Inside Crochet. 4 pages in total with lots of pictures of my yarn.

It's been a busy week and I've mainly been working on two secret projects, one which I finished today and will be posting to the magazine tomorrow. For the next two weeks my attention will be 100% on the Manos designs i'm working on. Pixie has already finished the front and back of the Manos sweater she's knitting for me so I'm very behind and need to catch up.
I did take some time out this weekend to do some work on my machien knitted SuperMerino cardian knitted in my SuperMerino Sock. I knitted the second front again on Saturday after realsing that somehow I'd ended up with two identical fronts. I then did the sleeves on Sunday.
I haven't got my ribber set up yet so I did the garter stitch border at the hems by hand and I'm currently working on a garter stitch button band/collar which goes right from the bottom of one front, up around the neck and down to the bottom of the ohter front. I've put it aside now to concentrate on the secret projects but I may try to finish it this weekend. The pictures arent' great as this cardi is knitted in my size, which is rather bigger than the size of my dress form. I'll get some 'modelled' pics when it's done. I can't wait to wear it. I'm very pleased with it as this is the first time I've knitted a proper project on my machine which included shaping. I've only done scarves before.

Yesterday i taught a 'Continental Knitting' class at Spin A Yarn. Four out of the six ladies on the course had been on my workshops before and it was great to see them again. We had a great day, at least I think they all enjoyed it. One lady thought she knitted continental but after showing me how she knits I think she actually uses the combination/eastern style of kniting which I've never seen in person before. It's a fascinating style of knitting and very quick. I may try to learn it. Unfortunately I'm suffering a lot with my back today as I always do after a day of teaching but today is worse. yesterday before I left home I sprained my back picking up laundry, I won't say how the laundry ended up on the floot but let's just say that a 14 year old having a tantrum and a basket of clean laundry flying down the stairs was involved. After a massage this morning my back is a little better but still sore and every time I get up after sitting down I struggle to straighten myself up. I'm very tired too. Girls broke up from school today for an early start to halfterm. I'm not impressed with two extra days added on to halfter especially after school closing for 6 days at the beginning of term but I won't have a rant about that now.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

How did this happen?

I was determined that apart from my Manos designs (more about that in a minute) I would not be casting on anythign else this month. I've got a quick knit to finish for a magazine for end of next week, my Knitty submission and a few other projects on the needles and I do not have time for a new wip now.

But yesterday I was in knitting heaven, ie Spin A Yarn. I'd seen some gorgeous Alchemy yarn the previous week which I'd resisted then and nearly bought yesterday but I managed to resist, but this ball of Noro Kureyon Sock yarn was just too tempting for me. Actually I bought 2 balls.
Then when I came home I looked through my stash of beads and found these gorgeous purple ones from a cute little bead shop in Totnes.
A few ideas went through my head and before I knew it I had this one the needles:


And look, as well as lots of gorgeous purple and violet shades, there's green in there too. the beads are perfect. I won't say too much about what I'm knitting yet as it may become a secret project.
So I gave in to temptation last night and allowed myself to knit on the new project all evening. It was a nice and easy knit and I was tired.
Had a great day at Spin A yarn by the way. Pixie came down for the day too and it was nice to catch up. We didn't have time to stay for as long as normal yesterday as I had to get back for a meeting at school.
Now to my Manos del Urugay news. Artesano, who distributes Manos del Urugay yarns in the UK, have asked me to design 3 patterns for the new Manos laceweight yarn. The new lace yarn is a gorgeous blend of baby alpaca, silk and cashmere and is lovely to knit with. I've been doing a lot of swatching with it and have just e-mailed off the pattern to Pixie so she can get started on one of the designs for me. I'm doing the other two myself. I'm designing one lace scarf and two lace garments. Now, I know a lot of people will probably think 'a sweater in a laceweight yar?? never! It'd take forever'. Well, most of the sizes take about 150gr of laceweight yarn and if you think about it, a big lace shawl is 100gr, so a sweater is not really that much bigger than a shawl. Anyway, I'm very excited about this assignment and can't wait to get started with it. I've got a short deadline though as it all has to be finished by end of FEbruary so I really cannot afford any more distractions like the one last night.
E-mails have apparently already gone out to yarn shops about the new Manos yarn and the accompanying designs. Two other designers are working on designs for this new yarn too but I'm not sure who they are or what they're knitting. I can't wait to see all the new yarns and the designs in yarn shops soon though.
I've spent the morning grading and writing up the pattern for the garment Pixie is knitting up for me. Now I've got to go and get hte sock club parcels done. Huge apologies to hte sock club members again. Parcels will be going out tomorrow which is a few days late. Yarn's looking gorgeous though.